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Author Topic: The Assassination Principle  (Read 5108 times)

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Offline sleepingferret

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Re: The Assassination Principle
« Reply #50 on: August 06, 2008, 09:22:46 PM »
Since when was this a debate about the United States Constitution?  And regardless of whether the United States government has some document stating assassination shall be carried out, last I checked that same government would just assume ignore it's own laws to ensure the safety of its citizens.

Not a matter of assassination, but take for example Guantanamo Bay and the allegations and questions of the constitutionality of some of its operations.  Gitmo, is an example of how our government turns a blind eye to its own laws to ensure the safety of its citizens.

Also under current conditions, if the United States considered itself to be officially under wartime conditions, with as much as soldiers have been on repeat trips back to the hot zones in the world today; the United States government would've probably issued a draft.  Over the past decade, a draft has been discussed or rumored, but never called.  And a state of war has really only been officially declared once in the past fifteen or so years.

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As for the definition of assassination, I'm well of aware of what it means.

In other words, assassination during this "wartime" is actually just plain assassination,

First off, since when is the act of assassination itself anything but assassination?  I mean if I just go kill my neighbor, it's murder; the President of the United States, it's an assassination (and well an act of treason).

You're using old wisdom and you're applying it to a completely new situation. You're both still acting as if "warfare" and "wartime" is the exactly same thing it was fifty years ago. It isn't! In fact, you can barely see the difference between wartime and peacetime today because the definitions are so vague.

Actually the lines between the two are still clearly defined, especially as far as the United States government is concerned.  While we may have troops deployed in military force, we are NOT at war.  Are shots being fired, bombs being dropped, etc etc? Yes.  But in modern times, such actions are defined as military operations not war.  The country or rebel faction on the receiving end may feel the United States has in effect declared war, or the words "we have declared war on terror" (or some variation there of) may be used.  But as far the status of the United States, we are not at war.

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Democracy isn't supposed to.

Perhaps but since when do governments, the associated politicians and their select "puppets" (for lack of a better word) follow every law to the letter or even follow the laws of the government they serve at all in defense of principles such as democracy.

Offline James

Re: The Assassination Principle
« Reply #51 on: August 06, 2008, 10:02:07 PM »
Since when was this a debate about the United States Constitution?

The debate stumbled over questions related to constitutional approval of assassination earlier. I didn't say the debate was exclusively about that, but it has a rigorous amount of relevance, read the replies. =)

the United States government would've probably issued a draft.

Nope, because there's no need. The threat isn't large enough to justify a draft. I don't see why you mentioned that.

But as far the status of the United States, we are not at war.

I'm sorry, but you are at war. The constitutional loophole has already been utilized. As far as the constitution is concerned, you are at war. If you're not, then it would've been quite the contradictive act of George Bush to direct intelligence agencies to begin conducting lethal operations in the Middle-East, with the end goal of tracking down the affiliates of various terrorist circles. You see, the country needs to be at war to give that sort of directives. See below.

Quote from: CNN
According to an October 21, 2001, Washington Post article, President Bush in September of last year signed an intelligence "finding" instructing the CIA to engage in "lethal covert operations" to destroy Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda organization.

White House and CIA lawyers believe that the intelligence "finding" is constitutional because the ban on political assassination does not apply to wartime. They also contend that the prohibition does not preclude the United States taking action against terrorists.

First off, since when is the act of assassination itself anything but assassination?  I mean if I just go kill my neighbor, it's murder; the President of the United States, it's an assassination (and well an act of treason).

You tell me, you were the one to insist that assassination during wartime was something entirely different. ;)

Offline CassandraNova

Re: The Assassination Principle
« Reply #52 on: August 11, 2008, 08:36:45 PM »
Let's see if it's actually possible to turn the topic around and go back to the original question.

Ultimately, I think that Inkedu is asking a question with an impossible premise.  As I understand it, he wants to know if it is morally justifiable to kill one person, such as a Hitler, to save the lives of thousands or millions more.  The reason I disagree with the nature of this question is due to chaos theory as it relates to systems.  A system as large and complex as the interactions of human beings across history is an example of one that is so dependent on such subtle variations in starting states, so influenced by so many variables, that the kind of certainty that would be required to make the initial decision cannot be obtained.  It is simply too complicated to predict the effects.

Insert obligatory references to butterflies and hurricanes here.

My point is that the question takes certainty for granted, and I don't think you can do so in framing this question.  Now, granted, I may be waffling because I can easily think of ways of modifying the question slightly that remove the problem of certainty.  But as it stands, I'm not sure it's the kind of question that can lead to a solid, testable logical premises.

Offline sleepingferret

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Re: The Assassination Principle
« Reply #53 on: August 11, 2008, 11:09:44 PM »
Eh..."kill" is the wrong word, well yes assassination is killing in a strict sense... but again, me killing my neighbor a car salesman isn't an assassination by definition.  Now granted assassins have been called so for killing for people for money, regardless of whether they were a political figure or not.  But by typical definition an assassination is the killing of someone "important" to the public eye.

The reason I said "kill" is the wrong word, I can think of several types of people in this world that the world be better off without if someone were to put a bullet through their head.  Kill them all, and guess what...all that Miss America stuff about world peace, we'll be as close to it as human nature would allow us to be.  Humans are always going to disagree with each other to an extent, and that's fine.  Heck, we're having a debate here...but we're not dropping bombs on each others houses over it.  But the terrorists, the rapists, the murders, etc out there...those are the ones that for lack of a better example off the top of my head...that would be dropping bombs on peoples houses over a simple debate such as this.  And that's why we don't need them, so kill them.

As for the Hitler debate...he was an evil man and knowing that yeah he should be assassinated.  But again on the flip side of the coin, you can't prejudge someone before they have a chance....so it would be straight out murder which would be wrong if you were to kill him as a child.

Offline Mathim

Re: The Assassination Principle
« Reply #54 on: August 18, 2008, 12:25:15 PM »
Man, I wish I stumbled on this thread sooner.

Would I kill baby Hitler knowing what he would become? Absolutely not. But not because it would supposedly be 'the right thing to do'. Because if he didn't rise to leader of the Nazi party, someone else would have. I mean, look how badly the French buggered Germany after World War I. They were fucking asking for retaliation after that. It's karma. It's human nature. You hit us, we hit back, maybe harder. We can never learn to be the bigger person and walk away. We have to have our goddamned cake and eat it too, at someone else's expense, and we have to eat it in front of the person we stole it from for good measure. That's just how we are as a species.

The good of the many...the good of the few...it's all crap. We're all the same. Given the right circumstances, we'll all be as ruthless as the worst criminals. Besides, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, or some reasonable facsimile to that. If Hitler hadn't started that war, the United States would not have gotten out of its depression. Not saying that was worth the lives of millions of Jews, but I'm just saying, you can't commit a deed of great good without a lot of great bad to go with it, and vice-versa. Because life is never that nice.

Offline LordAnubis

Re: The Assassination Principle
« Reply #55 on: August 19, 2008, 07:11:34 PM »
Consider this, if Hitler had been killed in 1933 he would have been remembered as a hero in Germany, for bringing them out of a depression worse then the US was feeling, because it wasn't until post 1933 the Anti Sematic laws and acts began. Prior to that he an the Nazi party created economoic boosts and built hope in a people that were beaten, shamed and crippled. Once everything else was going on, had I met him, knowing nothing else I'd have shot him.

But that is the key problem in the Assassination principle.  You are invariablly applying it to some horrible event in the past, looking at all the loss of life all the suffering that occured and the desire to spare people from that.  But what else came of the war and everything that occured during it?  Mathim brought up the depression, but this also ended the idea that isolationism was acceptable foriegn policy.  Ended the idea that "peace at any cost" was the way to go.  Showed the world what happens when they close there eyes and turn away from a problem, not that the world has learned yet.

Every great and horrifying event in history that leaves people feeling disturbed and wishing to stop it from happening ever can only do that if it taught people something.  If it creates a strong enough imagine in people's minds that they don't want to let it happen again.  The assassination principle is only a truely valid thought if you could preserve the lesson, otherwise you do a diservice to the world, because it could happen just as easily a few years later, when the weapons are better and they are better able to cause damage.

Think about the millions of people Roman legionaires killed and raped during their campaigns to expand the Roman empire, or the Persians before them, or the Visagoths after them?  But they didn't leave everyone feeling sick and hallow inside, but I bet the body count is higher.  Should any of it have happened, no.  But whenever anyone considers making such a monumental change, your going to cause some big ripples.  And still, your only making it because of what you learned from the event.  Change it and you lose what you learned, maybe you replace the person, because their atrocity didn't shape your mind that it wasn't acceptable.