Sunday, September 05, 2010

My View of the War in Iraq


This might be hard to believe, but I watched this interview with Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of Great Britain, and I agreed to the "T" with what he said about the War on Terrorism. I didn't find anything I disagreed with. I'm afraid I was surprised about that, but it is the truth. You might be interested to hear what he says about Dick Cheney toward the end of his talk. It isn't good news for the "Bush lied" crowd.

11 comments:

mike said...

I would say that I agree with Blair too (and that may surprise you).

But the problem with Dick Cheney isn't his goals or desires, but his methods & views. Dick Cheney's utilitarian ethics (especially with reference to torture) are fundamentally un-Christian.

Jeff Voegtlin said...

Mike,

Can you tell us how many war captives were tortured?

And how many lives were kept from destruction because of those torture sessions.

Thanks for your insight.

mike said...

"Can you tell us how many war captives were tortured?"

When I read that, I think of a boy who is angry at his parents because he was punished for something and appeals, "But mom!, Johnny did it too!!!"

I'm at a loss as to how they fact that someone else has done something justifies our doing it.

"And how many lives were kept from destruction because of those torture sessions."

You assume there is good evidence that confessions which result from torture are reliable.

But more importantly, you miss the point. The utilitarian ethics says that the end justifies the means. If you can find that in scripture, I'd be surprised. Its not there. There is no biblical justification for torture and in this way, the state of Israel is more biblical and more Christian than you:

STATEMENT BY ISRAELI REPRESENTATIVE AT 18TH SESSION OF UNITED NATIONS COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
7 MAY 1997


"The State of Israel categorically deplores and prohibits the practice of torture, including, of course that against persons under interrogation. Torture is prohibited under Israel Law. Even if there were no statutory provisions prohibiting it, the State of Israel would honor the universal prohibition on the use of torture, for the State of Israel is founded on the values of the biblical prophets whose legacy to mankind is the basis of moral law, central to which is the need to respect all men, and to refrain from causing harm to any man's dignity, life or person. These historic Jewish values are enshrined today in the Israeli constitution and include a prohibition on the use of torture.

This prohibition on torture is absolute. As a result, and despite the current predicament of the State and the pressing need to fight terrorism, investigators are never, and never have been, authorized to use torture, even if its use might possibly prevent some terrible attacks and save human lives."

In 1999, the Israeli Supreme Court made the prohibition of torture an official and legal ban. (Israel Supreme Court, Judgment Concerning the Legality of the General Security Service’s Interrogation Methods, 38 I.L.M. 1471 [1999]). Cf also David Luben's "Unthinking the Ticking Bomb" on why the Ticking Bomb Scenario often used to justify torture does not actually exist and is impossible to exist without already having performing torture before the scenario even took place (http://scholarship.law.georgetown.edu/fwps_papers/68/).

Your justification of torture is built on sand rather than the rock of scripture.

mike said...

"Can you tell us how many war captives were tortured?"

When I read that, I think of a boy who is angry at his parents because he was punished for something and appeals, "But mom!, Johnny did it too!!!"

I'm at a loss as to how they fact that someone else has done something justifies our doing it.

"And how many lives were kept from destruction because of those torture sessions."

You assume there is good evidence that confessions which result from torture are reliable.

But more importantly, you miss the point. The utilitarian ethics says that the end justifies the means. If you can find that in scripture, I'd be surprised. Its not there. There is no biblical justification for torture and in this way, the state of Israel is more biblical and more Christian than you:

STATEMENT BY ISRAELI REPRESENTATIVE AT 18TH SESSION OF UNITED NATIONS COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
7 MAY 1997


"The State of Israel categorically deplores and prohibits the practice of torture, including, of course that against persons under interrogation. Torture is prohibited under Israel Law. Even if there were no statutory provisions prohibiting it, the State of Israel would honor the universal prohibition on the use of torture, for the State of Israel is founded on the values of the biblical prophets whose legacy to mankind is the basis of moral law, central to which is the need to respect all men, and to refrain from causing harm to any man's dignity, life or person. These historic Jewish values are enshrined today in the Israeli constitution and include a prohibition on the use of torture.

This prohibition on torture is absolute. As a result, and despite the current predicament of the State and the pressing need to fight terrorism, investigators are never, and never have been, authorized to use torture, even if its use might possibly prevent some terrible attacks and save human lives."

In 1999, the Israeli Supreme Court made the prohibition of torture an official and legal ban. (Israel Supreme Court, Judgment Concerning the Legality of the General Security Service’s Interrogation Methods, 38 I.L.M. 1471 [1999]). C

Your justification of torture is built on sand rather than the rock of scripture.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Mike,

I thought Jeff was very civil, unless someone was reading into what he said. I haven't found him to be overly emotional about issues, but you went straight to ad hominem. It might be tough for you to resist name-calling, but maybe you could press reset.

What would you say is the scripture that would say that "torture" in a time of war is wrong? You say you're basing your view on scripture. I guess I was thinking of Samuel hacking Agag into pieces. What scripture do you have for not using techniques for acquiring intelligence to save lives? It seems that a kind of hierarchical ethic could justify the suffering of one for the saving of many.

"Torture" is a loaded word. I like "enhanced interrogation techniques."

Thanks.

philipians2511 said...

I am impressed with Blair. He goes on in the 2nd interview to describe former president Bill Clinton as his political soul mate and yet Blair is obviously a war hawk!

I agree with Blair completely as well. My opinion on Mr Cheney is slightly tainted. I was in the military. I agree with both his thought and method.

It would appear to me ,and others as well, that we don't fight in war to win anymore. We in America haven't since WWII (jm 0.02) fought a war with the intent to achieve our stated objective and get out. War up to this point has been a lot police action ballyhoo.

We should go in with the intent to accomplish our objective and get out in whatever fashion necessary (again see WWII). The landscape should have been changed post 9/11. These individuals are hardly tolerant. Being politically correct will kill us.

Your a funny man Mr Brandenburg, "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques." :D

Respectfully Submitted,

Br Steve

Gal. 2.20

d4v34x said...

Jeff, the burden is on those who are pro-torture rather than the anti-torture crowd to supply those figures and make that case.

I have a hard time picturing someone at the Judgement seat of Christ being questioned as to why he didn't pull more people's toenails off with pliers.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Saul had a hard time picturing God as being for the killing of the animals and King Agag. We've got to be sure that our feelings don't replace a biblical view of justice.

Extracting information using enhanced interrogation techniques involving painful procedures during time of war in order to save multiple lives seems just to me. I would have no fear for that being rebuked by the Lord Jesus Christ. God used the death of dozens of Israelites to send a message about Achan's sin.

I took a class on ethics on college and we read Norman Geisler's Christian Ethics. One of the ethical schools is hierarchical. You choose the greater good. The choice is the suffering of one for the saved lives of many. Many saved lives is greater than one suffering life.

This, by the way, was not in any way my point about posting the Tony Blair video. Many would think of him as moderate and sensible, even more liberal. The way he explains the situation is exactly how I've seen it. I think it is common sense. He also hints at a religious war more than any major leader I've heard.

I think his connection with President Clinton is more in the nature of politics and pragmatism. They are more political than President Bush. Millions of killed Americans is neither pragmatic or very good politics.

d4v34x said...

This comment is in response to the video. My previous comment was just about the comments to that point.

I don't know how people forget Hans Blix's report to the UN in early 2003. I listened to it live in my office at work. I watched video later that evening or a report that showed his visual aids anyway.

Hans Blix not only stated that Saddam Hussein was not compliant with the UN resolutions, but that there was evidence he was developing weapons that violated the cease fire (there was no treaty to end hostilities in '91 remember) and other agreements.

The attempt to pin a "ginned-up" grounds for war on Bush and Blair has always been manifestly bluster. That doesn't mean it was the best course of actions, but I have a hard time visualizing myself sitting in the seat Blair so clearly describes and seeing my self take action other than the one they took.

Blair, in every interview I've ever seen him in, or speech I've seen him make, has come across as essentially a man of integrity. I'm sure he has problems. But I'd trade our current top official for one like Blair anytime.

Kent Brandenburg said...

d4,

I've never thought that they did forget what Hans Blix (good knowledge on your part), but rather created their own narrative to support their passivism. The narrative was fiction but that's fine too in their worldview.

At the times I thought it was two things: 1) Anti-war, 2) Anti-Bush. Even if they were pro-war, they couldn't have Bush succeed.

Jeff Voegtlin said...

Folks,

I just remembered I put a comment on this thread and figured I'd better check back. (don't want to be accused of just driving by!)

Anyway. Three. Three captives of the WAR on TERROR have been interrogated using waterboarding techniques. I have no problem believing that many more than THREE American CITIZENS' lives were saved because of using those techniques.

It also seems to me that those subjects are still alive, even though they were waterboarded. Perhaps we should have been more biblical and just slew them ALL -- men, women, children, cattle, etc.