I am not for war, but is it sometimes necessary? Ask Americans why we are at war and you will get different answers.
We provide healthcare for other countries when thousands of Americans can't afford insurance. We put our troops in danger for another country's "freedom". We have alliances that make enemies of other countries. We supply and support Israel. All for what? How exactly does this benefit America?
Should we continue doing what we have been doing or should we just stay over here and mind our own business? I am eager to see how other atheists view this.
Should we continue doing what we have been doing or should we just stay over here and mind our own business?
I don't think so. It is like voting, if you don't vote, you don't have a right to gripe about the results. If we don't participate in world events, then we are irrelevant and have no right to gripe about what goes on. Participation can include combat. An intervention in a conflict or genocide like Darfur or Bosnia can be a hard choice and it is hard to get it right, but to just stay out and let genocide or anarchy take place isn't moral in my view. It would be like watching a rape and doing nothing. Libya, hard call, depends on how it unfolds. Somalia, not so hard to decide on but hard to get right, which is what happened. Afghanistan, had to be done. Iraq, stupid wrong thing to do, even if there were atom bombs on rockets.
You seem to be fooled into thinking you have the information necessary to make informed decisions.
At the barest minimum you have to be acutely aware that certainty about the promoted need for intervention (= kill people on a massive scale) and the accuracy of the information about the situation are inversely proportional in foreign policy reporting.
The second most important thing to remember is that experts that get to voice their informed opinions in media are the least reliable source of information possible.
By that I obviously mean that there is a deliberate selection of experts, those that are allowed to say what they want in media and those that aren't.
I don't see how this would imply that I am claiming to be an expert. Maybe compared to you I am, but then that's not such a big accomplishment.
I did not mean to be rude to Tom Hail by the way. I apologize Tom, if in any way you feel like I was to you. Maybe I am forgetting that it is not customary in every culture to be too direct.
Albert, your choice of words could have been made to counter my thought instead of appearing to question my level of information. The word "you" is easy to use in a way you don't necessarily intend.
I agree that accurate information is crucial and that millions have died because of the lack of it. Where information comes from is always a problem especially inside closed societies and like you say, even in the US and Europe it is hard to get accurate information. Maybe impossible. Especially for the public. But then again, given what you think you know and what is seen, do you always stand back and watch thousands die? Yes, Iraq was a huge mistake Bush and Cheney should hang for. But watching Serbs kill thousands wasn't something I was willing to stand back and watch. Afghanistan was necessary but Bush/Cheney screwed that up and now is the same mess as Iraq.
- You - are right, it was my goal to attack the idea of availability of trustworthy information on which to base an informed opinion, not you personally but generally.
And so that point is again demonstrated. The Serbs killed and were butchered, the Croatians killed and were butchered, the Kosovar, Macedonians and Bosniaks killed and were butchered. It was an extremely bloody civil war of which the US and EU cynically took advantage, by picking a side and participate in it, to pursue their own geopolitical goals, taking advantage of the momentum of the crumbling sphere of influence of a weakened Russia. Their involvement was disastrous, ineffective to stop the worst crimes imaginable at best (Dutch particularly) and most of the time only worsened things. But ultimately it was a good "humanitarian intervention" because goals were achieved. In the US empire of military bases over the entire world (read Chalmers Trilogy) the 955 acre camp Bondsteel in Kosovo is decidedly one of their largest if not the biggest. The propaganda against the Serbs was admittedly one of the greater successes of Western journalism. Of course it was much easier to do because they didn't have to lie about 98% as now with Afghanistan and Iraq (where the under foreign occupation 'democratically elected' US puppet regime killed 23 demonstrators yesterday by the way) but just leave 50% of the story out.
However much I dislike George Bush and Dick Cheney, what they screwed up was not what they did once the US was in Afghanistan (the US were in a sense there before and helped create the Taliban and the even worse "Northern Alliance" in the first place,) but that they made the mistake to take the bait in the first place, which probably was, however hard to fathom it might be, the coldly calculated strategical goal of 911.
There is no way to do an Afghanistan occupation the right way if your name is not Alexander the Great. He walked through Iraq in three weeks, subdued Persia in 6 months and it took him 3 years to conquer Afghanistan, having had nearly died there.
This is obviously a complex matter, but what I'd suggest is to replace the U.S. with the name of any other country and ask yourself 'should Russia/Norway/China/Brazil/Australia mind its own business'?
No one appointed US to be deciding what's best for the world
If a decision is to be made about invading other countries, it should at least run through an international body like UN
Yes, in some cases UN is slow and undecisive (a disadvantage of all democracies), but I'd rather decision would be up to a larger community than US corporations.
And if US wants to lead it should lead by example.
Yes! That is exactly what the U.S. should do. The U.S. was created to embody the best of enlightenment thinking regarding government and the organization of human affairs. Our ideals and ideas are better. If we just concentrated on perpetuating and spreading those, the world would be a better place. This is especially true now in the global village brought to us by modern communications. The U.S. could be the shining example for the world instead of the stupid cowboy with too many guns.
There have been times when U.S. involvement in foreign wars was necessary and even a good thing, but there have been others where it has not been. The deciding factor is motivation: Why did the U.S. get involved? Bad motives lead to bad decisions.