RE: MD The Quality of removing Saddam Hussein from power.

From: David Buchanan (
Date: Mon Feb 17 2003 - 00:18:42 GMT

  • Next message: David Buchanan: "RE: MD Metaphysics and Pragmatism"

    Sam, Wim and all:

    Sam said:
    I would love to see a stable and enforced framework of internation law,
    possibly even a world government. It's not here yet. In the meantime we have
    the UN. The UN has sought to enforce its will against the Hussein regime
    through repeated resolutions, and has now made explicit that Iraq is in
    material breach of those resolutions, providing a 'final opportunity' to
    comply, on pain of 'serious consequences' (1441). Seems to me that if the UN
    does not act to enforce its will then that would represent a severe
    degrading of the international law framework, giving comfort to nefarious
    elements everywhere. That is why the UN needs to provide an explicit mandate
    for US led forces to take military action against the Hussein regime. If
    that does not happen, then I think it is debatable whether the UN would be
    more harmed by US action or non-action. I would also argue that the US
    already has sufficient warrant in international law for any action that it
    takes, but that's a debatable point.

    DMB says:
    Think of the end of WWI. They were looking at the slaughter of millions. The
    collapse of empires. The collaspe of monarchy. The communist revolution. The
    loss of respect for Victorian piety. That's when the shift from social to
    intellectual occured. Pirsig says that if he had to pick a day, it'd be
    11/11/18, Armistice day, the end of the war. "And if he had to pick one
    person who symbolized this shift more than any other, he would have picked
    President Woodrow Wilson." Who said, "We must use our intelligence to stop
    future war; social institutions cannot be trusted to function morally by
    themselves; they must be guided by intellect" (From chapter 22 of Lila) The
    League of Nations and the United Nations are attempts at the kind of stable
    international law I think we'd all like to see. As I read it, war is an
    ancient social level tendency, the antics of the "Giant", as pirsig puts it.
    War is the giant's immune system, the superorganism protecting itself, or
    expanding itself. The UN and international law are all about controlling
    this ancient tendency. Its all about intellect guiding tradition, the third
    being guided by the fourth level. I think its interesting to view this
    situation in Iraq with this shift in mind.

    Let me just cut to the chase on that. The basic facts are not in dispute and
    you know way we're looking at it; with that shift in mind. I think the Bush
    Administration is trying to turn the UN into an instrument of American
    Empire. It looks like they commissioned a study to find out what foreign
    policies made the Islamic world so angry at us and when Bush learned what
    they were he said, "OK. Let's do lots more of that." Thus our policy toward
    Iraq was born.

    Sam said:
    As for whether an American Empire is desirable... I let my tongue (my
    typing) run away with me a little. Certainly I can think of worse fates than
    living in an American Empire - living in Iraq under the Hussein regime for
    example - but Empires are not intrinsically good things in themselves. I
    have this vague sense that there were various Classical debates, in Athens
    and Rome, about whether Empire was compatible with democracy and
    republicanism, which concluded that they were not. Something more to worry

    DMB says:
    Right. Democracy and Empire aren't compatible. The superorganism metaphor
    lets us see nations as individuals with rights. Each has the right to exist
    and express its own culture. None of these nations has the right to control
    or exploit any other nation for the same reason we're not supposed to
    control or exploit people. Wouldn't it be nice if every cultural/linguistic
    group had its own nation with undisputed borders. Wouldn't it be nice if
    every one of these stable homes was a free and open democracy. Wouldn't it
    be grand if all the elected leaders took international law and organizations
    seriously, sent the best and brightest to represent their people in those
    legal bodies, and the biggest army in the world wore blue helmuts? Its not
    that far fetched.

    I am scared by the way I see the world going. I will be more scared if the
    UN goes in a French direction, rather than a US direction.

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