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civilians

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  • thekoba@aztec.asu.edu
    ... Yes, they certainly do involve the use of force. In my book, if the armed forces are acting on your behalf and helping you make a profit, you are equally
    Message 1 of 6 , Dec 6, 2002
      >No civilians?
      >
      >http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=civilian
      >Civilian: A person following the pursuits of civil life, especially
      >one who is not an active member of the military or police.
      >
      >Trade, commerce, business...these are pursuits of civil life. They
      >do not involve the use of force.

      Yes, they certainly do involve the use of force. In my book, if the
      armed forces are acting on your behalf and helping you make a profit,
      you are equally guilty of using force.

      >Bombing, assasination, embargo, invasion, occupation,
      >imprisonment...these are military and police pursuits. They do
      >involve the use of force.
      >
      >It's a pretty clear distinction.

      Not when civilians are the ones who order the bombing, assassination,
      embargo, invasion, occupation and imprisonment.

      >Excepting most of the occupants of the Pentagon, everyone else who
      >died on 9/11 was a civilian by any reasonable definition of the
      >word. Those civilians were not "collateral damage" for the 9/11
      >hijackers, they were the TARGETS.

      Most of them WERE targets, but a few were collateral damage (e.g.
      children, people hit by flying debris who had nothing to do with
      these buildings etc.)

      >The civilian/combatant distinction does not rest on who may benefit
      >should the military be victorious in their pursuits. It rests on the
      >kinds of activities being engaged in by the people in question. The
      >activities in the World Trade Center were almost universally civil in
      >nature: trade and commerce. The activities of businessmen are also
      >almost universally civil in nature.
      >
      >Nor does the "civilian" designation cease to apply simply because
      >military advantage -- even decisive military advantage -- can be
      >gained by the targeting of people who would otherwise be considered
      >civilians.

      There we obviously have a basic philosophical difference.

      >I am well aware that these comments do not solely apply to the 9/11
      >hijackers, and that the US government is not innocent of the crime of
      >targeting civilians. I am merely stating that what was done on 9/11
      >was not heroic or praiseworthy in any way. I am opposed to and
      >despise the targeting of civilians by any entity, and that includes
      >the 9/11 hijackers.
      >
      >--Jason Auvenshine

      Apart from complete pacifism, any opposition to the targeting of civilians
      is un realistic. As long as people have waged wars, civilians have been
      targets. Even in the Middle Ages and ancient times, civilians were starved
      and killed by disease in beseiged cities, and peasants starved when
      moving armies confiscated their crops to supply themselves. More modern
      warfare has given us saturation bombing, blockades and embargos (which
      are essentially the modern equivalent of sieges), guerilla warfare by
      soldiers disguised as civilians and consequent reprisals agianst civilians,
      etc. As long as there is war, there will be civilian targets. Either
      accept this reality, or oppose war altogether.

      --Kevin Walsh
    • auvenj <auvenj@mailcity.com>
      ... assassination, ... Civilians don t order such things. If they do, then they cease to be civilians. Do you have evidence that a significant percentage
      Message 2 of 6 , Dec 6, 2002
        --- In azsecularhumanists@yahoogroups.com, thekoba@a... wrote:
        > >Bombing, assasination, embargo, invasion, occupation,
        > >imprisonment...these are military and police pursuits. They do
        > >involve the use of force.
        > >
        > >It's a pretty clear distinction.
        >
        > Not when civilians are the ones who order the bombing,
        assassination,
        > embargo, invasion, occupation and imprisonment.

        "Civilians" don't order such things. If they do, then they cease to
        be civilians. Do you have evidence that a significant percentage of
        the airplane passengers or occupants of the WTC ever ordered any such
        things? Passively standing by while politicians and generals order
        such things is not the same as ordering them yourself, nor is
        indirectly receiving benefits from those actions.

        > >I am well aware that these comments do not solely apply to the
        9/11
        > >hijackers, and that the US government is not innocent of the crime
        of
        > >targeting civilians. I am merely stating that what was done on
        9/11
        > >was not heroic or praiseworthy in any way. I am opposed to and
        > >despise the targeting of civilians by any entity, and that
        includes
        > >the 9/11 hijackers.
        >
        > Apart from complete pacifism, any opposition to the targeting of
        civilians
        > is un realistic. As long as people have waged wars, civilians have
        been
        > targets. Even in the Middle Ages and ancient times, civilians were
        starved
        > and killed by disease in beseiged cities, and peasants starved when
        > moving armies confiscated their crops to supply themselves. More
        modern
        > warfare has given us saturation bombing, blockades and embargos
        (which
        > are essentially the modern equivalent of sieges), guerilla warfare
        by
        > soldiers disguised as civilians and consequent reprisals agianst
        civilians,
        > etc. As long as there is war, there will be civilian targets.
        Either
        > accept this reality, or oppose war altogether.

        If you define war as most people do: Organized, deliberate killing of
        others based upon their group identity (race, nationality, and
        religion are the most common group identities in war), then I in fact
        do oppose war altogether. However, that doesn't make me a complete
        pacifist -- I do believe in the right of private self-defense, and
        the right of private individuals to organize for group defense
        purposes against aggressors. In either case, the targets of those
        defensive actions must be only the actual aggressors, not those who
        happen to share the same arbitrary group identity as the aggressors.

        Even though I oppose all war as it is traditionally defined, I do not
        consider all wartime actions to be equally offensive. Government A's
        soldiers deliberately killing war-enemy government B's soldiers on a
        battlefield is far less offensive than, say, Government's A's
        soldiers deliberately killing the civilian population in an area
        controlled by government B.

        --Jason Auvenshine
      • thekoba@aztec.asu.edu
        ... That s not what you were arguing last time. Trade and commerce are civil pursuits, remember? ... Yes, when you vote these people into office so that you
        Message 3 of 6 , Dec 7, 2002
          >"Civilians" don't order such things. If they do, then they cease to
          >be civilians.

          That's not what you were arguing last time. Trade and commerce
          are civil pursuits, remember?

          >Do you have evidence that a significant percentage of
          >the airplane passengers or occupants of the WTC ever ordered any such
          >things? Passively standing by while politicians and generals order
          >such things is not the same as ordering them yourself, nor is
          >indirectly receiving benefits from those actions.

          Yes, when you vote these people into office so that you can indirectly
          receive those benefits, it is the same thing. When you finance their
          campaign, as the Jews of AIPAC have clearly done based on whether
          those politicians order such things or vote to order them, yes you are
          guilty.

          >If you define war as most people do: Organized, deliberate killing of
          >others based upon their group identity (race, nationality, and
          >religion are the most common group identities in war), then I in fact
          >do oppose war altogether. However, that doesn't make me a complete
          >pacifist -- I do believe in the right of private self-defense, and
          >the right of private individuals to organize for group defense
          >purposes against aggressors. In either case, the targets of those
          >defensive actions must be only the actual aggressors, not those who
          >happen to share the same arbitrary group identity as the aggressors.

          It is not arbitrary group identity, it is political and financial
          support that are shared. In this sense, most of the people in the
          Trade Center were guilty as hell.

          >Even though I oppose all war as it is traditionally defined, I do not
          >consider all wartime actions to be equally offensive. Government A's
          >soldiers deliberately killing war-enemy government B's soldiers on a
          >battlefield is far less offensive than, say, Government's A's
          >soldiers deliberately killing the civilian population in an area
          >controlled by government B.

          If the civilians are willing supporters of government B's actions, I
          don't see any difference whatever. Those civilians have a collective
          responsibility, as we do, to do what they can to have an ethical
          government and to resist that government if it acts unethically. When
          I remember the "patriotic Americans" who stood up and cheered while
          laser guided bombs targeted people in Iraq they would ordinarilly
          consider civilians and cheered on a blockade that has killed another
          two million "civilians", I have no problem with those who kill those
          "patriotic Americans". If I happen to be among the dead, well I will
          have been collateral damage, but at least I won't have been among the
          deserving of it.

          I do not equate the slave killing to win his freedom with the master
          killing a rebellious slave. I do not absolve those who benefit from
          a crime and do nothing to discourage it from the same responsibility as
          those who actually commit it.

          At the same time I recognize that American society is not democratic,
          and that some people have more say in how this society is run than others.
          Therefore I would obviously regard the rich and powerful, such as those
          in the WTC, as bearing more responsibility than an ordinary worker or
          farmer, and thus being better targets. I also recognize, and this
          blurs the distinction between soldier and civilian still further, that
          most American soldiers come from the classes of people with the least
          to gain from imperialism--Negroes, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and working class
          Whites. They sometimes join up to get money for college or because
          there are few other options open to them (e.g. minimum wage work).
          This does not excuse them for doing imperialism's dirty work, but I
          consider their conduct a little less shameful than that of "civilians"
          who do not pull the trigger but nonetheless egg on those who do so that
          they can get rich.

          --Kevin Walsh
        • auvenj <auvenj@mailcity.com>
          ... to ... It is exactly what I was arguing lat time. Ordering military actions (invasions, bombings, embargoes, etc.) are not trade and commerce activities.
          Message 4 of 6 , Dec 7, 2002
            --- In azsecularhumanists@yahoogroups.com, thekoba@a... wrote:
            >
            >
            > >"Civilians" don't order such things. If they do, then they cease
            to
            > >be civilians.
            >
            > That's not what you were arguing last time. Trade and commerce
            > are civil pursuits, remember?

            It is exactly what I was arguing lat time. Ordering military actions
            (invasions, bombings, embargoes, etc.) are not trade and commerce
            activities.

            > >Do you have evidence that a significant percentage of
            > >the airplane passengers or occupants of the WTC ever ordered any
            such
            > >things? Passively standing by while politicians and generals
            order
            > >such things is not the same as ordering them yourself, nor is
            > >indirectly receiving benefits from those actions.
            >
            > Yes, when you vote these people into office so that you can
            indirectly
            > receive those benefits, it is the same thing. When you finance
            their
            > campaign, as the Jews of AIPAC have clearly done based on whether
            > those politicians order such things or vote to order them, yes you
            are
            > guilty.

            First of all, as has oft been said if voting could change anything it
            would be illegal, and it's not the vote that counts but who counts
            the votes. You appear to have far more faith in democracy as a means
            of translating individual will into action than I do. Even assuming
            the votes are counted fairly and accurately (a big assumption),
            voting for a politician is like purchasing one of three cartloads of
            pre-selected groceries from 10 feet away. You can kinda-sorta see
            some of what you're selecting...but not all of it...and you get the
            entire basket, including things you didn't want but couldn't see or
            things you could see but were not the reason you picked that basket
            instead of the others. Turning to the particular issue of "war
            candidates", bear in mind that of those eligible to vote only
            approximately 1/2 register to vote. Then on election day, about 1/2
            actually vote. Of the approximately 25% of the populatione who vote
            in any particular election, how many of them have a choice only
            between two "pro-war" candidates or two "anti-war" candidates (making
            their vote meaningless in context of supporting/opposing war)?
            That's harder to estimate but I'm sure the number is substantial --
            over 50%. My point is that it's a actually very small percentage of
            the population that has even POSSIBLY made a "pro-war" vote for which
            they could theoretically be held accountable.

            Secondly, what percentage of the plane's and WTC's occupants actively
            supported a candidate (via public endorsement and/or financial
            contribution) who ordered military actions? Do you have any evidence
            that it was, say, anywhere approaching 50% of the people in
            question? Bear in mind that political participation rates in this
            country OTHER than voting are a tiny sub-fraction of the tiny voting
            population noted above.

            > >If you define war as most people do: Organized, deliberate killing
            of
            > >others based upon their group identity (race, nationality, and
            > >religion are the most common group identities in war), then I in
            fact
            > >do oppose war altogether. However, that doesn't make me a
            complete
            > >pacifist -- I do believe in the right of private self-defense, and
            > >the right of private individuals to organize for group defense
            > >purposes against aggressors. In either case, the targets of those
            > >defensive actions must be only the actual aggressors, not those
            who
            > >happen to share the same arbitrary group identity as the
            aggressors.
            >
            > It is not arbitrary group identity, it is political and financial
            > support that are shared. In this sense, most of the people in the
            > Trade Center were guilty as hell.

            I have seen no evidence of this. You talk of "businessmen" being on
            the planes and "Jews" in the WTC with no evidence that the
            individuals targeted had engaged in military activities
            (including "orders") which would result in them no longer rightly
            being classified as civilians. Because SOME businessmen and SOME
            Jews have done so, you include all people in such groups as
            legitimate targets. Sounds like killing on the basis of an arbitrary
            group identity to me.

            > >Even though I oppose all war as it is traditionally defined, I do
            not
            > >consider all wartime actions to be equally offensive. Government
            A's
            > >soldiers deliberately killing war-enemy government B's soldiers on
            a
            > >battlefield is far less offensive than, say, Government's A's
            > >soldiers deliberately killing the civilian population in an area
            > >controlled by government B.
            >
            > If the civilians are willing supporters of government B's actions, I
            > don't see any difference whatever.

            How do you define "willing support"? I'm a free man today because I
            pay my income tax rather than go to jail, even though I know (and
            despise) that my tax goes to fund immoral war actions. Most
            Americans are totally ambivalent/unaware of these issues. "willing
            support" is very difficult to define. ACTIVITY is much easier.

            > Those civilians have a collective
            > responsibility, as we do, to do what they can to have an ethical
            > government and to resist that government if it acts unethically.

            "Collective responsibility" is like "Military intelligence". :-)
            The surest way to destroy _anything_ is to collectivise it, and that
            includes responsibility. Every human being has an absolute
            individual responsibility for their own actions. If they
            order/voluntarily fund/endorse an immoral action of government then
            they're taking an action that makes them a responsible party. But if
            I'm just going through my life, minding my own business, then there's
            no responsibility for the government's actions.

            > When
            > I remember the "patriotic Americans" who stood up and cheered while
            > laser guided bombs targeted people in Iraq they would ordinarilly
            > consider civilians and cheered on a blockade that has killed another
            > two million "civilians", I have no problem with those who kill those
            > "patriotic Americans".

            What percentage actually "stood up and cheered"? Probably fewer than
            you think. MOST Americans just live their lives and don't pay much
            attention. And yes, to reiterate I do believe people have a right to
            live their lives without taking responsibility for problems they
            didn't create -- like government.

            > If I happen to be among the dead, well I will
            > have been collateral damage, but at least I won't have been among
            the
            > deserving of it.

            You seem to have a very low opinion of your own human worth and
            individual rights. If you're not participating in the war, you have
            a fundamental human right not to be killed and especially a right not
            to be targeted. Why do you so casually dismiss an infringement upon
            your own right to live? Simply because others have been unjustly
            infringed upon by people whom you did not empower, fund, or otherwise
            support? Seems like a very silly reason to me.

            > I do not equate the slave killing to win his freedom with the master
            > killing a rebellious slave. I do not absolve those who benefit
            from
            > a crime and do nothing to discourage it from the same
            responsibility as
            > those who actually commit it.

            Benefitting from a crime and doing nothing to discourage it is
            fundamentally different from ordering/supporting/committing the
            crime. I'll say it again, people have the right to live their lives
            and mind their own business without being saddled with all the
            world's problems. If Joe Blow benefits from gas that is 50 cents a
            gallon cheaper than it would otherwise have been because some filthy
            lying politican took a bribe (campaign contribution) from an oil
            company CEO and voted to have a military general order a fighter
            pilot to bomb another country, that doesn't mean Joe has anything
            like the same responsibility as the oil company CEO, the politician,
            the general, or the fighter pilot. Joe certainly cannot rightly be
            targeted for death, even if he happens to be on the same flight or in
            the same office building as one of the aforementioned truly guilty
            parties.

            > At the same time I recognize that American society is not
            democratic,
            > and that some people have more say in how this society is run than
            others.
            > Therefore I would obviously regard the rich and powerful, such as
            those
            > in the WTC, as bearing more responsibility than an ordinary worker
            or
            > farmer, and thus being better targets.

            "Rich and powerful" is another arbitrary group identity. The vast
            majority of Americans in the top 20% of income, or those who fly on
            airplanes and work in high rise office buildings, have no more say in
            how society runs than anyone else.

            > I also recognize, and this
            > blurs the distinction between soldier and civilian still further,
            that
            > most American soldiers come from the classes of people with the
            least
            > to gain from imperialism--Negroes, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and
            working class
            > Whites. They sometimes join up to get money for college or because
            > there are few other options open to them (e.g. minimum wage work).
            > This does not excuse them for doing imperialism's dirty work, but I
            > consider their conduct a little less shameful than that
            of "civilians"
            > who do not pull the trigger but nonetheless egg on those who do so
            that
            > they can get rich.

            Here you have hit upon one of my primary reasons for opposing war.
            The situation you describe is a general characteristic of armies and
            war, not just America. And as I've said, anyone who actively
            participates in "egging on those who do" ceases to be a civilian. My
            whole point is that is a small fraction of the people on the planes
            and in the WTC on 9/11.

            --Jason Auvenshine
          • thekoba@aztec.asu.edu
            ... If, in addition to practicing trade and commerce, they know that the profits obtained from that can be protected by military action or enhanced by military
            Message 5 of 6 , Dec 8, 2002
              >
              >--- In azsecularhumanists@yahoogroups.com, thekoba@a... wrote:
              >>
              >>
              >> >"Civilians" don't order such things. If they do, then they cease
              >to
              >> >be civilians.
              >>
              >> That's not what you were arguing last time. Trade and commerce
              >> are civil pursuits, remember?
              >
              >It is exactly what I was arguing lat time. Ordering military actions
              >(invasions, bombings, embargoes, etc.) are not trade and commerce
              >activities.

              If, in addition to practicing trade and commerce, they know that the
              profits obtained from that can be protected by military action or
              enhanced by military action and they encourage military action for
              that end, or even fail to discourage it, knowing it is done on behalf
              of their class, they are not civilians. Since trade and commerce have
              always worked this way, I would contend that these people are not
              civilians.

              >> >Do you have evidence that a significant percentage of
              >> >the airplane passengers or occupants of the WTC ever ordered any
              >such
              >> >things?

              If you want an individual list of names, no. It is well known that
              political candidates with the most campaign contributions usually
              win elections. The money of this class of people routinely buys
              our elections in this way. Particularly disporportionate is the
              money of the Jews of AIPAC in this role. They bear a terrible
              collective responsibility.

              >Passively standing by while politicians and generals
              >order
              >> >such things is not the same as ordering them yourself, nor is
              >> >indirectly receiving benefits from those actions.
              >>
              >> Yes, when you vote these people into office so that you can
              >indirectly
              >> receive those benefits, it is the same thing. When you finance
              >their
              >> campaign, as the Jews of AIPAC have clearly done based on whether
              >> those politicians order such things or vote to order them, yes you
              >are
              >> guilty.
              >
              >First of all, as has oft been said if voting could change anything it
              >would be illegal, and it's not the vote that counts but who counts
              >the votes. You appear to have far more faith in democracy as a means
              >of translating individual will into action than I do. Even assuming
              >the votes are counted fairly and accurately (a big assumption),
              >voting for a politician is like purchasing one of three cartloads of
              >pre-selected groceries from 10 feet away. You can kinda-sorta see
              >some of what you're selecting...but not all of it...and you get the
              >entire basket, including things you didn't want but couldn't see or
              >things you could see but were not the reason you picked that basket
              >instead of the others. Turning to the particular issue of "war
              >candidates", bear in mind that of those eligible to vote only
              >approximately 1/2 register to vote. Then on election day, about 1/2
              >actually vote. Of the approximately 25% of the populatione who vote
              >in any particular election, how many of them have a choice only
              >between two "pro-war" candidates or two "anti-war" candidates (making
              >their vote meaningless in context of supporting/opposing war)?
              >That's harder to estimate but I'm sure the number is substantial --
              >over 50%. My point is that it's a actually very small percentage of
              >the population that has even POSSIBLY made a "pro-war" vote for which
              >they could theoretically be held accountable.

              Individual voting is indeed not very effective in changing things.
              Financing of candidates is a different matter, and the rich and
              powerful, such as those in the trade center, very definitely financed,
              individually and through the various PACs (particularly AIPAC) have
              consistently financed pro-war candidates. Still, I think the individual
              voter does have some responsibility to vote for an ethical candiate
              for office, or if there is none, to write one in or organise a boycott
              of the election. In the last election, only Pat Buchanan made it clear
              that he opposed these imperialist wars. Maybe he would have betrayed
              this promise, but voting him in would at least have been a symbol of
              opposition to war and could have been followed up by further protest and
              sabotage had he betryed that promise. Instead, the plurality voted
              either for Bush or Gore (depending on which vote count you believe),
              thus actively supporting imperialist war, or simply stayed home, passively
              assenting to it (as opposed to openly boycotting the election). There
              is therefore some responsibility for these events even among the ordinary
              working-class Americans. Still, I would place the majority on the wealthy
              parasites doing business in the WTC and other buildings.

              >Secondly, what percentage of the plane's and WTC's occupants actively
              >supported a candidate (via public endorsement and/or financial
              >contribution) who ordered military actions? Do you have any evidence
              >that it was, say, anywhere approaching 50% of the people in
              >question? Bear in mind that political participation rates in this
              >country OTHER than voting are a tiny sub-fraction of the tiny voting
              >population noted above.

              Given the class constituency of the WTC, it is a virtual certainty
              that the vast majority either voted for pro-war candidate Gore or
              pro-war candidate Bush and that many willingly helped finance both.

              >> It is not arbitrary group identity, it is political and financial
              >> support that are shared. In this sense, most of the people in the
              >> Trade Center were guilty as hell.
              >
              >I have seen no evidence of this. You talk of "businessmen" being on
              >the planes and "Jews" in the WTC with no evidence that the
              >individuals targeted had engaged in military activities
              >(including "orders") which would result in them no longer rightly
              >being classified as civilians. Because SOME businessmen and SOME
              >Jews have done so, you include all people in such groups as
              >legitimate targets. Sounds like killing on the basis of an arbitrary
              >group identity to me.

              The vast majority do in one way or another, and it is done for all
              of their benefit.

              >> If the civilians are willing supporters of government B's actions, I
              >> don't see any difference whatever.
              >
              >How do you define "willing support"? I'm a free man today because I
              >pay my income tax rather than go to jail, even though I know (and
              >despise) that my tax goes to fund immoral war actions. Most
              >Americans are totally ambivalent/unaware of these issues. "willing
              >support" is very difficult to define. ACTIVITY is much easier.

              Take a look around you at all the American flags on people's cars
              and homes and all the 9-11 stickers, and remember back in 1991 all
              the yellow ribbons you saw. That's proof that most are willingly
              on the side of imperialism. Unlike taxes, there is no civil or
              criminal penalty for failing to do either. I refused to carry a
              yellow ribbon in 1991 and refuse to fly the flag now, and I am not
              penalized, yet the overwhelming majority still willingly support
              imperialism. Perhaps they do it without seriously thinking of what
              they are supporting and the consequences of it, but perhaps martyrdom
              attacks in increasing frequency and severity and their relatives
              coming home from Iraq in body bags in large numbers are what it
              takes to shock them out of complicity.

              >> Those civilians have a collective
              >> responsibility, as we do, to do what they can to have an ethical
              >> government and to resist that government if it acts unethically.
              >
              >"Collective responsibility" is like "Military intelligence". :-)
              >The surest way to destroy _anything_ is to collectivise it, and that
              >includes responsibility. Every human being has an absolute
              >individual responsibility for their own actions. If they
              >order/voluntarily fund/endorse an immoral action of government then
              >they're taking an action that makes them a responsible party. But if
              >I'm just going through my life, minding my own business, then there's
              >no responsibility for the government's actions.

              I would contend the very opposite is true. The sure way to destroy
              responsibility is to atomize it. What is going on in society today
              is proof of that. The people of the WTC did indeed voluntarilly fund
              (campaign contributions) and endorse (voting AND propaganda) the wrongs
              done to the Third World in general and the Arab World in particular
              for which they have justly reaped the inferno. The only injustice is
              that more of those who did are not suffering.

              If responsibility is limited to the individual who pulls the trigger,
              that is the perfect way for the Mafia Don to escape responsibility.
              If it is limited to the one in authority to gave a direct order, it
              is a way for the partners to escape responsibility. If it is limited
              to those who collectively actively consent, then those who benefit,
              knowing it goes on, and do nothing to stop it, escape responsibility.
              Imperialism is Mafia activity on a global scale. The victims are most
              of the world's people (including some Americans). The soldiers are the
              hit men, the generals and politicians the Dons, the partners are the
              imperialist bourgeoisie, and the willing beneficiaries are a large
              portion of the American intelligentsia, labour aristocracy, and
              national bourgeoisie. Smashing imperialism requires attacking all of
              these, one way or another.

              >> When
              >> I remember the "patriotic Americans" who stood up and cheered while
              >> laser guided bombs targeted people in Iraq they would ordinarilly
              >> consider civilians and cheered on a blockade that has killed another
              >> two million "civilians", I have no problem with those who kill those
              >> "patriotic Americans".
              >
              >What percentage actually "stood up and cheered"? Probably fewer than
              >you think. MOST Americans just live their lives and don't pay much
              >attention. And yes, to reiterate I do believe people have a right to
              >live their lives without taking responsibility for problems they
              >didn't create -- like government.

              Stick your head in the sand, if you must. I saw them doing it, on campus,
              in homes, among friends, co-workers, and others. It must have been
              at least 80%.

              >> If I happen to be among the dead, well I will
              >> have been collateral damage, but at least I won't have been among
              >the
              >> deserving of it.
              >
              >You seem to have a very low opinion of your own human worth and
              >individual rights. If you're not participating in the war, you have
              >a fundamental human right not to be killed and especially a right not
              >to be targeted.

              There is no such human right. There never has been.

              >Why do you so casually dismiss an infringement upon
              >your own right to live? Simply because others have been unjustly
              >infringed upon by people whom you did not empower, fund, or otherwise
              >support? Seems like a very silly reason to me.

              "There are no rights, only power struggles." --Mao Zedong
              Once we recognize this, we will be in a position to build an
              ethical society. Rights will not be granted just by wishing
              for them. Only in bloodshed will a just society be gained.

              >> I do not equate the slave killing to win his freedom with the master
              >> killing a rebellious slave. I do not absolve those who benefit
              >from
              >> a crime and do nothing to discourage it from the same
              >responsibility as
              >> those who actually commit it.
              >
              >Benefitting from a crime and doing nothing to discourage it is
              >fundamentally different from ordering/supporting/committing the
              >crime.

              No, it is not fundamentally different.

              >I'll say it again, people have the right to live their lives
              >and mind their own business without being saddled with all the
              >world's problems. If Joe Blow benefits from gas that is 50 cents a
              >gallon cheaper than it would otherwise have been because some filthy
              >lying politican took a bribe (campaign contribution) from an oil
              >company CEO and voted to have a military general order a fighter
              >pilot to bomb another country, that doesn't mean Joe has anything
              >like the same responsibility as the oil company CEO, the politician,
              >the general, or the fighter pilot. Joe certainly cannot rightly be
              >targeted for death, even if he happens to be on the same flight or in
              >the same office building as one of the aforementioned truly guilty
              >parties.

              Yes, if collectively the Joe Blows do nothing to stop it, they can
              and will be targetted.

              >> At the same time I recognize that American society is not
              >democratic,
              >> and that some people have more say in how this society is run than
              >others.
              >> Therefore I would obviously regard the rich and powerful, such as
              >those
              >> in the WTC, as bearing more responsibility than an ordinary worker
              >or
              >> farmer, and thus being better targets.
              >
              >"Rich and powerful" is another arbitrary group identity. The vast
              >majority of Americans in the top 20% of income, or those who fly on
              >airplanes and work in high rise office buildings, have no more say in
              >how society runs than anyone else.

              Yes, they do. Their campaign contributions buy candidates. Money
              talks and merit walks.

              >> I also recognize, and this
              >> blurs the distinction between soldier and civilian still further,
              >that
              >> most American soldiers come from the classes of people with the
              >least
              >> to gain from imperialism--Negroes, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and
              >working class
              >> Whites. They sometimes join up to get money for college or because
              >> there are few other options open to them (e.g. minimum wage work).
              >> This does not excuse them for doing imperialism's dirty work, but I
              >> consider their conduct a little less shameful than that
              >of "civilians"
              >> who do not pull the trigger but nonetheless egg on those who do so
              >that
              >> they can get rich.
              >
              >Here you have hit upon one of my primary reasons for opposing war.
              >The situation you describe is a general characteristic of armies and
              >war, not just America. And as I've said, anyone who actively
              >participates in "egging on those who do" ceases to be a civilian. My
              >whole point is that is a small fraction of the people on the planes
              >and in the WTC on 9/11.

              If you but look at the display of "patriotism" around you, you know
              that it is the majority that is doing the egging on, and thus by
              that definition, the majority are not civilians.

              --Kevin
            • auvenj <auvenj@mailcity.com>
              ... have ... not ... otherwise ... Here we reach what is likely the root cause of our disagreement. I contend that there are fundamental human rights,
              Message 6 of 6 , Dec 8, 2002
                --- In azsecularhumanists@yahoogroups.com, thekoba@a... wrote:
                > >You seem to have a very low opinion of your own human worth and
                > >individual rights. If you're not participating in the war, you
                have
                > >a fundamental human right not to be killed and especially a right
                not
                > >to be targeted.
                >
                > There is no such human right. There never has been.
                >
                > >Why do you so casually dismiss an infringement upon
                > >your own right to live? Simply because others have been unjustly
                > >infringed upon by people whom you did not empower, fund, or
                otherwise
                > >support? Seems like a very silly reason to me.
                >
                > "There are no rights, only power struggles." --Mao Zedong
                > Once we recognize this, we will be in a position to build an
                > ethical society. Rights will not be granted just by wishing
                > for them. Only in bloodshed will a just society be gained.

                Here we reach what is likely the root cause of our disagreement. I
                contend that there are fundamental human rights, including the right
                not to be killed unless you're aggressing upon the rights of others.
                I contend that fundamental human rights arise from human nature and
                the physical world. Observe and protect human rights, and humans
                will be happy and prosperous. Ignore and violate human rights, and
                humans will be miserable and die. My definition of rights is
                therefore more experimental/scientific than those who would claim
                that rights exist because of some kind of divine proclamation that
                they do. It also presumes a standard of value that conflicts with
                that professed by many who advocate a divine source for human
                rights: The standard of value is human well-being in the real
                ("Earthly") world. To reiterate, rights are defined by the fact that
                when they are respected, human beings end up better off in the real
                world than when rights are not respected.

                If there are no rights and only power struggles, one possible
                explanation is that human nature is such that happiness and
                prosperity are independant of anything other than raw power -- having
                the might to forcibly impose one's will upon others. However, that
                explanation does not agree with observations of the real world.
                Societies with greater respect for human rights, specifically
                the "right not to be killed" we are discussing here, show a clear
                pattern of being more propserous than societies with lesser respect
                for human rights. Migration patterns, economic statistics, and
                anecdotal accounts all corroborate this pattern. People aren't
                lining up to move into societies where there is little regard for the
                right not to be killed. Exactly the opposite is what actually
                occurs. Thus, there is convincing experimental evidence that
                respecting the right not to be killed does in fact make humans better
                off.

                Furthermore, if it really is only about power struggle and not rights
                because power is the only means to human happiness and prosperity,
                then why shouldn't I do everything possible to make sure that I end
                up on top? Why shouldn't I support my government raping, pillaging,
                bombing civilians, occupying foreign lands, whatever it takes to make
                sure I'm part of the group that ends up on top in the power
                struggle? Seems that this philosophy is an END to the ethics of
                anything other than raw brute force.

                The only other possible explanation for believing "there are no
                rights, only power struggles" is that you've selected a standard of
                value other than human earthly well-being. As a secular humanist,
                I'd find that one hard to fathom.

                One other more general point of disagreement: I contend that
                responsibility follows solely from actions taken in the real world.
                Your messages are filled with the language of "class", as
                if "classes" of human beings could be responsible for something.
                However, "classes" don't act. Individual human beings are the only
                entities capable of acting in the real world. Sometimes, groups of
                human beings act together in an organized fashion, in which case each
                of the individuals involved in the group is indeed responsible for
                the actions of the group, because they have taken action planned and
                coordinated with the group. Whether they be the brains, or the
                brawn, or the money, behind the coordinated action is ineed
                immaterial to the question of responsibility. But broad "classes" of
                individuals, be they racial, socio-economic, national, or religious,
                do not act in coordinated, planned ways as an organized group. It
                makes no sense to hold a "class" accountable for the actions of some
                of their members.

                Bringing this back to the question at hand, let's suppose you can
                justify targeting members/contributors to AIPAC because that
                organization has aggressed against innocents (I know nothing of
                AIPAC, so I'm not saying targeting them is or is not justified...just
                supposing it is for the sake of argument). The fact that many AIPAC
                members are Jews, or Businessmen, or Wealthy does not justify making
                a target of all Jews, Businessmen, or Wealthy individuals as
                a "class". "Classes" do not act in the real world. Individuals and
                organizations do.

                --Jason Auvenshine
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