#11 (permalink)  
Old 11-23-2004, 02:46 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 123
Rep Power: 215
T.F.B.M is on a distinguished road
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
...learning how to get democratic... Hence my questions to democratic people to explain their system to me. It is my democratic right to be curious and ask questions.

Thank a lot for your possible cooperation.
Question already answered.
Reply With Quote
  #12 (permalink)  
Old 11-24-2004, 02:17 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: North Las Vegas, NV, USA
Posts: 314
Rep Power: 222
zteccc is on a distinguished road
Default

Very well (since you wish to learn),

First, as I have written before, I don't live in a democracy. The government in the United States is a representative system. In a democracy, for example, each of the citizens would vote (or would be eligible to vote) on each issue. In the United States, citizens don't vote on issues; instead we elect representatives who vote on the issues. I write this because there are funamental differences between these two systems. In a democracy, a simple majority decides issues. This can (and does) devolve into mob rule, domination of government by the numerically superior. Those in the minority never really see their issues addressed or their proposals passed. In a representative system, it is possible, and indeed very common, for a minority group to be heard and to have their issuess addressed and their proposals passed.
The United States has over 300,000,000 people. If we assume half are eligible to vote (the remainder being children or ineligible for some other reason), then we can see that if the United States was a democracy, minority groups would have to convince 75,000,001 people (at least) of their cause. Instead, due to our representative system there are less than 600 people who actually vote on national issues and only about 220 representatives and 51 senators need to be convinced of a cause for it to pass. This is a much more attainable goal and therefore gives voice to those minority groups that a democracy wouldn't.

The world (including most of the US) incorrectly calls the US a democracy, but that clearly isn't the case. In actuality, the United States is a federation of 50 sovereign states. Each state has chosen to become a member of the federation and the other states had to agree to that membership. Each state sends representatives to the capital, in theory at least, to represent the position of the state or their constituency in deciding the laws of the nation. Those representatives, however, are free to use their own personal value system on determining how to vote on issues which means that they can indeed go against the majority view of their state or constituency.

I write the above because I am not certain that I feel qualified to comment on the values of democracy (since I don't live in one).

Second, the values that a person, a group of people or even a nation holds are based on much more than their governmental system. For example, the values that I hold come first from my faith, second from my family, and also from the culture that I live in, from the governmental system that I live under and from the economic system that I live under. I am certain that there are other influences as well.

I can state that there are some values that the United States holds, but I would suggest that many of these values cannot be attributed to our governmental system alone, but have roots in many areas.

The United States values at least the following:
individualism -- one is able to pursue any field they wish in this nation and pursue any goals. It may not be easy and the individual is not guaranteed success or even the financial means to do so, but they have the right.

responsibility -- we are presumed to be responsible for our own actions. While this value has suffered in recent years, it is still clear that I am not responsible and cannot be held responsible for something that another person does, regardless of my affiliation with that person. I can and must be held responsible for anything that I do (as well as things that I don't do that I should have done).

liberty -- the ability to think anything, say anything or do anything that is legal and doesn't cause harm to another. While different people have different ideas as to what causes harm, we generally err on the side of freedom except in cases where the danger is clear (e.g. shouting "fire" in a crowded theater when there isn't a fire clearly can cause damage and is prohibited, but shouting an obscenity in the same theater will be considered an exercise in freedom, albeit a tasteless one).

life -- we respect the life of others. Whether those others agree with us or not, we do this. We therefore do not intentionally do things to harm others. Even in wartime, we respect life and take steps to protect it whenever possible. That isn't to say that we won't go to war, but that we will do so for good reason and will do so as responsibly as possible given the circumstances.

While the US does embrace the above, I will not state that these are democratic values (the US not being a democracy), nor will I state that they are universal (many nations dont respect them). They are values that the US holds, however (not 100% of the population, most likely, but as a nation we do).

-- Jeff
__________________
"Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem." --Ronald Reagan
Reply With Quote
  #13 (permalink)  
Old 11-24-2004, 05:49 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 123
Rep Power: 215
T.F.B.M is on a distinguished road
Default

I'll pass over the first stanza which is contradictive.
Indeed the democratic us bear universal values. If not, they will have no excuse to intervene into a sovereign nation's business, be it a dictature.
That should be easy to check because after the lack of evidences (wmds and links to 9,11), the democratic us have been using the argument that the iraqis were repressed in their enjoyment of the universal rights/values, justifying an intervention.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Up to now, we have two contributions. More will be welcome.

By the way: since you are one of those considering that a kid brought on a palestinian refugee camp becomes an enemy of civilisation if he chooses armed action as a way of action, did the soldier who killed that man on the floor became an enemy of civilisation?
Reply With Quote
  #14 (permalink)  
Old 11-24-2004, 07:49 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: North Las Vegas, NV, USA
Posts: 314
Rep Power: 222
zteccc is on a distinguished road
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
I'll pass over the first stanza which is contradictive.
And how is it contradictive? Did i state anything that wasn't true? Where is the contradiction? The fact that people have used the word democracy to describe the United States doesn't make it true. Please provide evidence that my opening paragraph is not valid, if you have such. You've accused me of being contradictive, so support your accusation.

Also, please comment on the second section from my previous post. Do you agree that values have their roots in many sources besides a governmental system and that it is therefore a gross oversimplification to say that democracy is the basis of these values?

Quote:
Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
Indeed the democratic us bear universal values. If not, they will have no excuse to intervene into a sovereign nation's business, be it a dictature.
So your purpose was not to learn, but to criticize. Not surprising. Once again, you mistakenly label the United States a democracy and then try to suggest that it is because of democracy that a war occurred. The facts don't bear this out. Democracy had nothing to do with the war in Iraq. If it did, the citizens of the United States would have had to vote on that war (that is what is done in a democracy). Such a vote by the citizenry was never taken, so the war cannot be a result of democracy or democratic values. The closest thing to such a democratic process in this case was a vote by the representatives that i wrote about that authorized the war.

Quote:
Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
That should be easy to check because after the lack of evidences (wmds and links to 9,11), the democratic us have been using the argument that the iraqis were repressed in their enjoyment of the universal rights/values, justifying an intervention.
I note you didn't say the United States was using the argument that the Iraqis were repressed in their enjoyment of democratic rights and values, but instead of "the universal rights/values". I agree, that their government was indeed denying them these rights. The war in Iraq, of course, was only in the slightest way because of this, just as World War II wasn't primarily about the Jews in the concentration camps. The fact that in both cases, people were freed from oppression was a side benefit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
By the way: since you are one of those considering that a kid brought on a palestinian refugee camp becomes an enemy of civilisation if he chooses armed action as a way of action, did the soldier who killed that man on the floor became an enemy of civilisation?
I think you're misquoting me. If anyone chooses to intentionally target civilians, they do indeed become enemies of civilization. A child in a palestinian refugee camp who puts on a uniform (required by the Geneva Conventions) and targets only the military is a military combatant, subject to the rules of war. If a person, out of uniform, attacks a military target, then they become combatants and I believe they are classified as spies (e.g given no protection under the Geneva Conventions). The United States Marine, in full uniform, who shot the "insurgent" in the mosque was targeting a combatant who was not in uniform. As such, I believe that the insurgent has no protections under the Geneva Conventions. That said, the Marine still has a human responsibility to protect the life of someone not threatening him. The Marine also has a human responsibility to his squadmates and his own life to take precautions. By the Marine's own words, however, he saw that the insurgent was "faking he's dead". In a warzone, the Marine could easily and justifiably be concerned that one faking being dead would be doing so for a reason that bodes ill for the Marine and his squad. On the day prior, a booby trapped body killed this Marine's squadmate, so it makes sense that this Marine feared that a live insurgent, faking being dead, would be planning to attack him or his squad. The Marine's own words prior to the shooting show that he feared this enemy combatant. As such, the shooting is justified. Now, how this relates to the values of a democracy is anyone's guess.

-- Jeff
__________________
"Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem." --Ronald Reagan
Reply With Quote
  #15 (permalink)  
Old 11-25-2004, 02:35 AM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Norway
Posts: 118
Rep Power: 222
muspell is on a distinguished road
Default

Quote:
Now, how this relates to the values of a democracy is anyone's guess.
It might be related because some people apparently have universal rights - for instance, marines on holiday in Sinai - while others only have the right to be killed. It's related because the universal rights can be taken from you depending on the definitions someone with "enough political clout" will be using at a given time. So what I am wondering about is therefore what exactly the difference between universal and "democratic" rights(or as the suits in Washington would say: values (automatically?) held in a democracy) is. Also, how you can spot the difference - that is, between universal and democratic rights. And finally - if there actually can be a difference between them, or if that is impossible by definition. I suspect others might wonder about the same.

So far, what I see happening is that by definition the US is the biggest democracy in the world and hold the universal values highly. Therefore, what the US will do should always be seen as something that can be defended as justified under these universal rights. Stands to reason (to clarify, I do not think that argument holds). That means a great many things, but mainly that there is no end to what suddenly might be justified, and there is very little that cannot be done with justification. In fact, it seems there must happen something (please, notice the irony) unspeakably terrible - before it could be said that this was not something that could be defended. In which case it will be clearly stated anyway that this theoretical incident, which anyone could see is not something that can be defended, is in fact not justified. This then reinforces how the rest of the things done would follow a strict code of conduct. So what happens - as I see it - is that it must be obvious that we are the keepers of those universal rights, even when individuals are clearly breaking them, which they of course would not do intentionally in most occations.

What is it about this that is not merely disgruntled whining, though? It is this: if it is possible for a country to be justified in doing just about everything - how can it be possible to tell if what they are doing is right or wrong? I guess this was a very elaborate way of saying "who watches the watchmen". But there you have it. Context matters completily. And it is here it might be interesting to consider what exactly the difference is between democratic and universal rights/values.
Reply With Quote
  #16 (permalink)  
Old 11-25-2004, 05:48 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 123
Rep Power: 215
T.F.B.M is on a distinguished road
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
And how is it contradictive? Did i state anything that wasn't true? Where is the contradiction? The fact that people have used the word democracy to describe the United States doesn't make it true. Please provide evidence that my opening paragraph is not valid, if you have such. You've accused me of being contradictive, so support your accusation.
It is contradictive once the notion representation/representative appears.
Voting directly on an issue or handling down the power of voting on an issue is equivalent. This can be determined through a tools set called a constitution. This is what happens in the democratic us.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
Also, please comment on the second section from my previous post. Do you agree that values have their roots in many sources besides a governmental system and that it is therefore a gross oversimplification to say that democracy is the basis of these values?
Not much to be said because I'm interested in knowing what the democratic universal values are, not really how they are passed down.
It seems to me quite obvious that democratic parents make their children familiar with democratic values. Can come from democratic propaganda books, tv shows, radio shows etc... Not really the topic though. By the way, there is another thread you might intervene in: the one asking which god the founding fathers refer to since you talked about your faith. You might know.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
So your purpose was not to learn, but to criticize. Not surprising. Once again, you mistakenly label the United States a democracy and then try to suggest that it is because of democracy that a war occurred. The facts don't bear this out. Democracy had nothing to do with the war in Iraq. If it did, the citizens of the United States would have had to vote on that war (that is what is done in a democracy). Such a vote by the citizenry was never taken, so the war cannot be a result of democracy or democratic values. The closest thing to such a democratic process in this case was a vote by the representatives that i wrote about that authorized the war.
"Indeed the democratic us bear universal values. If not, they will have no excuse to intervene into a sovereign nation's business, be it a dictature."
Where's the critic? It is just a statement of facts. The democratic us took that stance. They said that with the absence of other evidences, they are intervening on the sake of the democratic values. And comes to confirm that the democratic us bear democratic universal values.
The conception of democracy given here smells like dictatorship's manure.
Why only one form of democracy? No reason for that. A community of democratic people is free to do what they want with their right of choice.
If they decide to deleguate their right of choice to a specific person for specific issues through a specific process, they are democratically free of doing so. What matters is that the process is democratic. There are many forms to democracy around the world. They share a commonity: the democratic society project.
Next time, some tribal regimes where everyone (that is adult women and men) are associated to the decisions on the future of their tribes will be considered a democracy.They are not. They dont bear the democratic society project.
There are acknowledged democracies around the world. I just take them as they come (as long as they are acknowledged democracies) If the democratic england and france say that the democratic us are a democracy, it is enough. And if one day the democratic us say that the democratic france is no longer a democracy, that will be enough for not only the democratic us are a democracy, they are the brightest of all and even the champion of the democratic free world.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
I note you didn't say the United States was using the argument that the Iraqis were repressed in their enjoyment of democratic rights and values, but instead of "the universal rights/values". I agree, that their government was indeed denying them these rights. The war in Iraq, of course, was only in the slightest way because of this, just as World War II wasn't primarily about the Jews in the concentration camps. The fact that in both cases, people were freed from oppression was a side benefit.
Well, reading the title of the thread should have made clear that it addresses democratic universal values. For once I didnt put democratic somewhere...But it is interesting to hear about other universal values which are?
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
I think you're misquoting me. If anyone chooses to intentionally target civilians, they do indeed become enemies of civilization. A child in a palestinian refugee camp who puts on a uniform (required by the Geneva Conventions) and targets only the military is a military combatant, subject to the rules of war. If a person, out of uniform, attacks a military target, then they become combatants and I believe they are classified as spies (e.g given no protection under the Geneva Conventions). The United States Marine, in full uniform, who shot the "insurgent" in the mosque was targeting a combatant who was not in uniform. As such, I believe that the insurgent has no protections under the Geneva Conventions. That said, the Marine still has a human responsibility to protect the life of someone not threatening him. The Marine also has a human responsibility to his squadmates and his own life to take precautions. By the Marine's own words, however, he saw that the insurgent was "faking he's dead". In a warzone, the Marine could easily and justifiably be concerned that one faking being dead would be doing so for a reason that bodes ill for the Marine and his squad. On the day prior, a booby trapped body killed this Marine's squadmate, so it makes sense that this Marine feared that a live insurgent, faking being dead, would be planning to attack him or his squad. The Marine's own words prior to the shooting show that he feared this enemy combatant. As such, the shooting is justified. Now, how this relates to the values of a democracy is anyone's guess.

-- Jeff
This is another very interesting extract that comes a bit in advance on the next large portion of democracy I'm currently working on. A lot of typically democratic in it.
Much often, people are born with civilian as their default status. Making most of the refugees born as civilians. But growing up in an environment where the civilians are the target of soldiers should not lead to take other civilians as targets without acquiring the status of soldiers. This move would make the kid an enemy of civilisation.
On the other hand, the soldier is indulged with his behaviour because the previous day, a kind of story happened to one of his comrades.
Very interesting indeed because some, despite of living dozens of life experience will never be forgiven their behaviour when others need only one similar reason or even not one.

There is also an example of that democratic behaviour, when pushed to the limits, leads to the democratic offspring called nazism.
It is the democratic way of putting people outside of their alleged democratic rights. As one might know, democracy recognizes the right of fighting against oppression: the democratic us for example maintain the right of bearing arms in case their government becomes oppressive.
But one of the conditions is : the movement fighting the oppression must
be acknowledged by democratic institutions as a movement fighting the oppression.
So in iraq any force must go and gain a general recognition from the occupying enemy power they might consider with a reason as oppressive. As long as they have not gained their recognition, they are out of the range of democratic rights.
It is known that the democratic france has tried to bring some of the rebel movements on the international scene and the democratic us, the main occupying power, has said so far "no way", depriving them of their chance of being acknowledged.

Summary: democracy says that it exits to protect some democratic universal values, the condition being to be a human being.
De facto, this renders everyone treated by a democracy contrary to those rights a non human being. The soldier didnt kill a human being. He killed something that was not recognized as a human being by his democratic government, something of an unidentified status, which disqualified the soldier for being called a murderer or so.
Reply With Quote
  #17 (permalink)  
Old 11-26-2004, 08:53 AM
marlin's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 104
Rep Power: 213
marlin is on a distinguished road
Default

I am a bit lost on this thread. What I have learned is that democracy is a way to organize a government where each citizen has equal rights in the decision process to achieve common laws. This is a definition, not a value. The one value behind this definition is the idea that all people have the same rights and worth.

The whole idea behind a democracy is that THERE ARE NO UNIVERSAL VALUES. Rules of conduct are achieved by consensus. Every person can decide his own values (freedom for all?).

Normally the only groups that claim to represent universal values are religions (an exception are communist states, that is why they only have one party). Because of this in most (maybe all) democratic countries, state and church are seperate entities. If a religion wants to be involved in politics, they start an electable party.

Since power easily concentrates, there are some systems that most democracies use. One very important is the so called Trias Politicas, the seperation between legislative, executive and judicial powers. Try to put any two of those in the same hands and see how abuse becomes easy. For example in most democracies the judges are in a completely separate organisation, choosing it's own leaders etc.

Yeah, I sound like a teacher, sorry about that, there seemed to be some confusion. Serious question: Does this stuff get taught in high school in the US?

As to the "universal" values produced by democracy, the declaration of human rights has been signed by almost every nation. Since not all those nations are democratic ... the decision process is somewhat dubious. All the same most people seem to agree on most of them.

By the way, the US is not really a democracy, even according to the most open definition since in priciple a president can be elected with about 26% of national votes (and he is supposed to speak for all of them). Also I heard somewhere that in the US the president can appoint judges ...

Last point: Having every person vote on each law or even each decision may be ideal from a democratic standpoint, but is really too slow and askes too much effort understanding the issue for most people.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #18 (permalink)  
Old 11-26-2004, 05:20 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: North Las Vegas, NV, USA
Posts: 314
Rep Power: 222
zteccc is on a distinguished road
Default

@muspell
I'm not seeing the removal of rights happening. I'm not seeing anyone deny anyone's rights on a grand scale. I've discussed the incident that T.F.B.M raised and my rationale behind my belief that the Marine didn't commit a crime in this case. I agree that some members of the coalition have indeed violated the human rights of Iraqis. For example, the guards at Abu Ghraib, who are being prosecuted (some have already been) and sentenced. There have been other incidents and in each of these, the soldiers responsible have been investigated and prosecuted where appropriate. The United States takes this very seriously. At the same time, we have, in our nation, a belief that accusation doesn't imply guilt. In other words, a person is presumed innocent of crimes until that person is proven guilty. Each case must be looked at and reviewed. Doubtless, you have seen or heard of cases where you disagree with the outcome. So have I, but the cases were looked at by people in posession of more facts and a greater knowledge of law than you or I and I therefore accept the outcome. The point is that the cases were reviewed and prosecuted and if a person was found not-guilty by people in posession of all of the facts, then I am willing to accept that verdict.

The "democratic" values that you and T.F.B.M refer to are not "democratic" at all. The values that are held in the United States have little to do with democracy (indeed we aren't a truly democratic nation), but instead can be better described as American values. They don't have much to do with our governmental system, but instead are rooted in our culture, our faiths (where applicable), etc. Calling them universal wouldn't be appropriate because in our current world, there are many nations that don't agree with them. For example, many cultures don't agree in a right to life, or a right to liberty. Some nations don't agree with the idea of personal responsibility or individualism. These aren't therefore universal, any more than they are democratic. As such, we would be amiss in expecting those from other cultures to hold these same values, wouldn't we? Nonetheless, the values we hold are the measure we live by, so the question is, to a great extent, are we living by them?

In every society, there are criminals. There are those who disregard the values of their society and their lives show this. The United States is a nation of over 300,000,000 people. In Iraq, there are about 150,000 soldiers. Some of those people are going to go against the ideals that the remainder of the nation stands for. The percentage of those who do this is going to be very small, probably less than 5% but it will be a real number. Focusing on that small percentage ignores the greater than 95% who commit no crimes and violate no rights. Consider this, as I wrote before, one of our values is the idea of personal responsibility. We hold each person to be responsible for his own actions. As such, if a criminal does commit crimes, we hold that person responsible, but we don't hold his family, his squadmates, his organization, his nation, etc. responsible. I would guess from some of the writing here that others don't agree with this. That the United States is responsible for the actions of its criminals. I submit that the United States is responsible to investigate criminal activity of its own citizens and prosecute them. The United States is doing this and will continue to do so. As such, we are our own watchdogs. There is a full arm in each of the military services dedicated to just such investigations and prosecutions. Have we seen a mass, government sponsored, violation of rights of Iraqis or foreign insurgents in Iraq? Have we instead seen a generally fair handling of this war with a few exceptions of criminal activity? I suggest that we've seen the latter in the general case.

The United States doesn't try to justify "just about everything". We take things case by case and look at the facts. That is how we can prosecute some soldiers and still defend others. We look at each detail of a given case as part of our legal process.

@T.F.B.M
Voting directly and having representatives are not equivalent in many respects. One of the things that makes democracy a poor governmental system is the inheirent oppression of minority viewpoints. With a direct vote, that will always be the case. As I've described, however, a representative system with the representatives free to vote as they will, means that minority viewpoints can and are heard. In short, sometimes a minority makes the rules and not just the majority as would occur in a democracy. Another thing a representative system gives us that a democracy wouldn't is the ability to make decisions quickly without halting society for 150,000,000+ voters to vote on day-to-day issues. Democracy would require daily votes of all concerned citizens and society would grind to a halt during those times. The representative system that we have allows society to proceed because there are professional legislators whose job it is to make these daily decisions. The governmental system in the United States would be better termed an elected oligarchy instead of a democracy. You mention the United States Constitution, I'm sure you're aware that the "democracy" is never mentioned in this document.

The root of values in the United States should be part of your concern. If values, for example, come from a given religion, then we would expect to see those values exhibited in all nations where that religion exists regardless of that nation's governmental systems. Similarly, if values come from an ethinc background or a cultural background, nations that share that background would exhibit those values regardless of their governmental systems. As such, the source of values is of great concern when you wish to make assertions about those values and their relationship to a governmental system.

I'm not certain how you tie the existence of values to the "excuse to intervene" in a sovereign nation's business and call that fact. At best is is an opinion of what happened and a derogatory one at that, suggesting that the value system of the United States is somehow used as an excuse for war. As such, it is criticism. Perhaps you'd like to provide a reference to the United States government, prior to the war, making the contention that "democratic values" were a reason for entering Iraq so that we can see the fact of such a statement. I've gone over the bases for this war in other posts and don't feel the need at this time to revisit them, but I "democratic values" weren't part of them. If they had been, especially if they had been a compelling part, then the United States would be "intervening" in the "business" of every nation that wasn't "democratic". Truly enough, the United States wishes to see all peoples of the world exist in a government where self determination is a reality. Where people can select their own form of government and have the freedom to change it through a legal process if they so desire. These are desired by the United States government, but we aren't forcing this requirement on other nations, but instead are trying to effect this type of change diplomatically in all but a very few cases. Iraq is one of the exceptions and changing the government of Iraq is not one of the major bases of our presence there.

As to the idea of many forms of democracy, I would disagree. While many have used the term democracy to define the United States and other nations, a true democracy is simply a direct vote by the citizens on all issues. That clearly isn't what exists in the United States and other nations, and so we struggle under a lack of proper terminology. My objection to using the word democracy to describe the United States is that the term is imprecise and brings with it some negatives that exist in a democracy but not in the United States' governmental system.

You ask what other universal values are. Since you are definitely part of the universal set, you should be able to answer this question as well. What do you think they are? What values, in your opinion are part of the base set of values that all (or even nearly all) humans or have?

As to your statement about the Marine, you are (intentionally?) missing a few points. I didn't suggest that the Marine was justified in shooting the insurgent because his squadmate had been killed previously. I mentioned that previous killing to suggest the Marine's state of mind. A killing is justifiable if the killing is done in self defense or the defense of others. From watching the video, it is clear that the Marine was indeed fearful of the insurgent's potential to do harm. That fear was partially inflated by his squadmate's being killed previously and largely because the insurgent was in the middle of a decption (pretending he was dead). Some of the facts in this case are:
  • The insurgents were non-uniformed combatants (which grants them no Geneva Conventions protection, it also means that they cannot claim civilian status, so the Marine didn't target a civilian here).
  • The insurgents had not been under guard, they were not yet prisoners, and although they were wounded, it was not known whether they were armed (an unguarded enemy is presumed armed in combat).
  • The extent of the insurgent's wounds weren't known to the Marines (so they couldn't know if they had the capacity to attack or not).
  • One of the insurgents was attempting to deceive the Marines into thinking he was dead.
  • In prior engagements with insurgents in Iraq, these Marines had experienced that the insurgents were willing to disregard the commonly accepted rules of warfare (including the Geneva Conventions) by doing such things as pretending to surrender and then shooting the troops who were trying to disarm them, booby-trapping their dead, hiding behind civilians and in civilian areas including mosques, etc.
  • The Marine in question did not walk into the mosque shooting at every insurgent there (which would be the act of a man who was intent on simply killing or committing murder).
  • The Marine didn't attack the remaining insurgents even after he killed the deceptive one (if he wanted to simply kill insurgents wouldn't he have killed them all?).
  • The Marine's own words, at the time, show that he feared the insurgent.
As such, it is reasonable to believe that the Marine acted in what the Marine perceived as self defense or defense of his squad. As I understand it, the United States Marine Corps is not simply accepting this. The Marine has been pulled from his squad and the incident is under investigation. He will likely face a courts marshal and if found guilty will be punished appropriately. If he's found innocent, he will return to his duty. The challenge of law in this situation is to determine what the Marine was thinking. Was the Marine genuinely concerned with self defense? Was the Marine instead intentionally targeting this insurgent for death without regard to any of the rules of war? Only the Marine can possibly answer this question, but as I've written before, in the United States, we presume innocence until a person is proven guilty. As such, I presume that the Marine was indeed in a state of mind where self defense is a reasonable motive. If it is later shown that this was not the case, that he wasn't acting in self defense, I'll be happy to reverse my opinion on this case, on this board.

It is true that everyone is born a civilian (not just most people). The refugees in a Palestinian camp as well. If said refugees are being targeted by Israeli soldiers, they have the following recourses which will not mark them as terrorists and will be well within their rights:
1) Protest to the UN.
2) Protest to the Israeli government.
3) Join/form a uniformed Palestinian militia (uniforms are important because they identify soldiers as soldiers which can easily be differentiated from civilians).
If they remain non-uniformed, but only attack Israeli military targets (military targets as defined in the Geneva Conventions), then I wouldn't consider them terrorists (and enemies of civilization), although the Geneva Conventions still mark them as not being protected.

That said, the Israeli soldiers who targeted civilians should be prosecuted. This isn't happening, at least partially, because of the nature of the conflict. The conflict is between an established military (the Israeli army) and a group of non-uniformed combatants (who are given no protection in any legal forum). What is worse (for the Palestinians) is that the non-uniformed combatants have targeted not only the Israeli military which would at least allow them to take a moral high ground, but they target civilians as well (which results in classifying them as terrorists), and they eschew the rules of war as defined in the Geneva Conventions. Because they are non-uniformed, the Israeli military (who must defend themselves from attacks and must defend the civilians as well), find themselves facing an enemy who hides in crowds, behind civilians. They are dressed as civilians (e.g. non-uniformed) and thus the Israelis have a very difficult task determining who is an enemy. Let me be very clear here. The Israeli soldiers who fire on civilians without a reasonable belief that those civilians are actually combatants should be prosecuted. It is, however the tactics of the Palestinians, in violation of the Geneva Conventions, that created the difficulty in the first place.

In the United States, many (possibly most) states have adopted a law similar to the following: If someone is committing a crime and someone is injured or killed during the commission of the crime, the criminal is responsible for that injury or death even if the criminal did not directly cause the injury or death. This is because the criminal created the situation that led to the injury or death. The injury or death may not have been the intent, but the criminal's actions are still the ultimate cause. If this law were applied in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, it appears (to me as an outside observer) that it is the Palestinians who are fighting in violation of the Geneva Conventions, and in pursuing those non-uniformed combatants, the Israeli military is injuring civilians, the injury therefore being the responsibility of the Palestinians. If the Palestinians were to simply put on uniforms, establish an army, and fight according to the Geneva Conventions, I suspect the civilian deaths and injuries would drop drastically.

I fail to see how the idea of a popular vote (democracy) leads to nazism. Hitler's Nazi party was a dictatorship (e.g. the people had no vote), not a democracy or even a representative system. Please explain (clearly and with only the smallest leaps of logic) how you arrived at this conclusion.

It isn't that the insurgents are not recognized that deprives them of rights. In fact they have human rights and in general those are respected. It is insted that they have forfeited their rights as combatants by disregarding all of the rules of war that would give them those rights. If they were uniformed. If they respected the rules of surrender. If they weren't targeting civilians, then they would be treated to a different standard. These are not the case.


-- Jeff
__________________
"Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem." --Ronald Reagan
Reply With Quote
  #19 (permalink)  
Old 11-27-2004, 09:04 AM
marlin's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 104
Rep Power: 213
marlin is on a distinguished road
Default

You can see ofcourse that if the insurgents or palistinian combatants would wear uniforms they would not have a chance in hell to achieve whatever they want. In a lot of cases it would be outright suicide so it is not really a choice. So it is very easy for the country with the superior army to take the moral highground on this.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #20 (permalink)  
Old 11-27-2004, 05:16 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 123
Rep Power: 215
T.F.B.M is on a distinguished road
Default

So the thread is derailled but bear with it, too bad, that was a too good question.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
@muspell
I'm not seeing the removal of rights happening. I'm not seeing anyone deny anyone's rights on a grand scale. I've discussed the incident that T.F.B.M raised and my rationale behind my belief that the Marine didn't commit a crime in this case. I agree that some members of the coalition have indeed violated the human rights of Iraqis. For example, the guards at Abu Ghraib, who are being prosecuted (some have already been) and sentenced. There have been other incidents and in each of these, the soldiers responsible have been investigated and prosecuted where appropriate. The United States takes this very seriously. At the same time, we have, in our nation, a belief that accusation doesn't imply guilt. In other words, a person is presumed innocent of crimes until that person is proven guilty. Each case must be looked at and reviewed. Doubtless, you have seen or heard of cases where you disagree with the outcome. So have I, but the cases were looked at by people in posession of more facts and a greater knowledge of law than you or I and I therefore accept the outcome. The point is that the cases were reviewed and prosecuted and if a person was found not-guilty by people in posession of all of the facts, then I am willing to accept that verdict.
That 's a lot of blabla just showing that democratic people can see and live through facts without taking them into account.
It is funny to see that the democratic us took action with the proper evidences as required by democracy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
The "democratic" values that you and T.F.B.M refer to are not "democratic" at all. The values that are held in the United States have little to do with democracy (indeed we aren't a truly democratic nation), but instead can be better described as American values. They don't have much to do with our governmental system, but instead are rooted in our culture, our faiths (where applicable), etc. Calling them universal wouldn't be appropriate because in our current world, there are many nations that don't agree with them. For example, many cultures don't agree in a right to life, or a right to liberty. Some nations don't agree with the idea of personal responsibility or individualism. These aren't therefore universal, any more than they are democratic. As such, we would be amiss in expecting those from other cultures to hold these same values, wouldn't we? Nonetheless, the values we hold are the measure we live by, so the question is, to a great extent, are we living by them?
More blabla. No comment.
In every society, there are criminals. There are those who disregard the values of their society and their lives show this. The United States is a nation of over 300,000,000 people. In Iraq, there are about 150,000 soldiers. Some of those people are going to go against the ideals that the remainder of the nation stands for. The percentage of those who do this is going to be very small, probably less than 5% but it will be a real number. Focusing on that small percentage ignores the greater than 95% who commit no crimes and violate no rights. Consider this, as I wrote before, one of our values is the idea of personal responsibility. We hold each person to be responsible for his own actions. As such, if a criminal does commit crimes, we hold that person responsible, but we don't hold his family, his squadmates, his organization, his nation, etc. responsible. I would guess from some of the writing here that others don't agree with this. That the United States is responsible for the actions of its criminals. I submit that the United States is responsible to investigate criminal activity of its own citizens and prosecute them. The United States is doing this and will continue to do so. As such, we are our own watchdogs. There is a full arm in each of the military services dedicated to just such investigations and prosecutions. Have we seen a mass, government sponsored, violation of rights of Iraqis or foreign insurgents in Iraq? Have we instead seen a generally fair handling of this war with a few exceptions of criminal activity? I suggest that we've seen the latter in the general case.We take things case by case and look at the facts. That is how we can prosecute some soldiers and still defend others. We look at each detail of a given case as part of our legal process.

[/quote]
How about, let's say respect of the private property right when it came to the indians? An action of a few? Or an action of an entire nation.
Again, a lot of blabla , poor democratic propaganda that is now overused.
The United States doesn't try to justify "just about everything".
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
@T.F.B.M
Voting directly and having representatives are not equivalent in many respects. One of the things that makes democracy a poor governmental system is the inheirent oppression of minority viewpoints. With a direct vote, that will always be the case. As I've described, however, a representative system with the representatives free to vote as they will, means that minority viewpoints can and are heard. In short, sometimes a minority makes the rules and not just the majority as would occur in a democracy. Another thing a representative system gives us that a democracy wouldn't is the ability to make decisions quickly without halting society for 150,000,000+ voters to vote on day-to-day issues. Democracy would require daily votes of all concerned citizens and society would grind to a halt during those times. The representative system that we have allows society to proceed because there are professional legislators whose job it is to make these daily decisions. The governmental system in the United States would be better termed an elected oligarchy instead of a democracy. You mention the United States Constitution, I'm sure you're aware that the "democracy" is never mentioned in this document.
Loads of words to Repeat things already said. Hammering a point of view...
Again, what do we have? We have the fact that democracy is described as a population voting on each issue.
No words about tribal regimes that acting the same way, that is people concerned involved in the decisions about the future of their tribe. Never those kind of regimes are described as a democracy because they are not.
No words about what prevents a society of free democratic people to opt for one form of governance and not another.
Still again what matters is the process not the form.

Better revealing of the lacks of the reasonings. Little is told about how the minorities get their word heard.
Somehow it is a very old debate which is actually undependent of democracy.
Representative governance versus direct governance.
A king represents his people. A tyrant represents his people.
Military aristocracy governed themselves.
Some tribal regimes governed themselves through direct consultation.
Etc... None of them are of course democratic.

Following the same pattern of thoughts, it can be felt that the best regime for the minorities is not the elective representative system but the representative system of the autocratic leader.

Representants in an elective system are elected. They owe their legitimacy in power from their electors. Since they are elected by the majority, they owe nothing to the minority.
If a minority makes its way to the elected leader, why should she bother about them? Even more, if he bothers and that goes against the majority's best interests, this is a betrayal since the majority elected the leader to look after their best interests and not the minority's best interests.

An autocrat is undependent of the population he rules over. If a minority makes its way to her, the leader has no problem making any course of action that is felt necessary to deal with the problem, with no betrayal.

So something else is needed to bring a common representative system to a higher level.

About the issue of the minorities in a direct democracy: here appears the difference explaining why a tribal regime living also on direct ruling is not democracy.
The major issue in that kind of democracy is to make the case known to the whole, to have a system allowing a case (be it a minority case or not) to get to the ears of everyone. This problem is similar in its nature to the one a minority faces when it tries to make its way to a representant in a representative system.

In the end, representants stand for what they are: a representant.
They dont stand for what their selfish opinions but are here to represent a mean of opinions.
So bringing an issue before an entire people or the representant of their mean opinion is the same: if the majority is against the issue being solved in a way, both system will give the same result.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
The root of values in the United States should be part of your concern. If values, for example, come from a given religion, then we would expect to see those values exhibited in all nations where that religion exists regardless of that nation's governmental systems. Similarly, if values come from an ethinc background or a cultural background, nations that share that background would exhibit those values regardless of their governmental systems. As such, the source of values is of great concern when you wish to make assertions about those values and their relationship to a governmental system.
About the "source" of the democratic us values, at least some of them, another thread has been opened "which god did the founding fathers refer to?". Please feel free to use that thread instead of this one.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
I'm not certain how you tie the existence of values to the "excuse to intervene" in a sovereign nation's business and call that fact. At best is is an opinion of what happened and a derogatory one at that, suggesting that the value system of the United States is somehow used as an excuse for war. As such, it is criticism. Perhaps you'd like to provide a reference to the United States government, prior to the war, making the contention that "democratic values" were a reason for entering Iraq so that we can see the fact of such a statement. I've gone over the bases for this war in other posts and don't feel the need at this time to revisit them, but I "democratic values" weren't part of them.
Universal values lead to the conclusion that certain regimes can be at fault towards their own population. If they are at fault, then it can be right for an exterior governement to intervene in those faulty regimes to right the wrong.
Should be quite easy to find some official points of view showing that this was the general feeling in democratic lands before the second war against iraq, notably about the kurdish population, the shiits, the women and so on...
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
If they had been, especially if they had been a compelling part, then the United States would be "intervening" in the "business" of every nation that wasn't "democratic".
On the contrary, that 's the very meaning of the word "excuse". Those democratic values are not the reason, the cause why the democratic us have entered the war against iraq. That 's an excuse. If that was a reason, yes, they would have to enter a lot of other countries. As it is an excuse, they dont have. And since they wont enter a lot of other countries, this shows that's an excuse.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
Truly enough, the United States wishes to see all peoples of the world exist in a government where self determination is a reality.
Indian case? Slavery case? Women case? Just a few of the biggest domestic issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
Where people can select their own form of government and have the freedom to change it through a legal process if they so desire. These are desired by the United States government,
take your breath, open wide your mouth, here comes the big bit to chew
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
but we aren't forcing this requirement on other nations,
huh huh, war against iraq is still not over, it is a bit too early to take such a stance...
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
but instead are trying to effect this type of change diplomatically in all but a very few cases. Iraq is one of the exceptions and changing the government of Iraq is not one of the major bases of our presence there.
Of course, how this would be?
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
As to the idea of many forms of democracy, I would disagree.
Your right. Your right too to write to your senator and tell him about your thoughts, to call your lawyer and start a procedure to get your point of view heard and adopt, your right to write a thesis in political sciences to reshape all the democratic history from the late seventeenth century up to now... Until that moment, I'll reasonably accept the idea maintained by most of the democratic people,from the lowest to the most powerful, that the democratic us are a democracy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
While many have used the term democracy to define the United States and other nations, a true democracy is simply a direct vote by the citizens on all issues. That clearly isn't what exists in the United States and other nations, and so we struggle under a lack of proper terminology.
What a pity when it is so common for the democratic us people to boast about the wealth of words of their language and its capacity to absorb foreign words when one is missing to cover a notion. Too bad that it happens for something as important as to describe the fact that democratic us are a democracy. Or is it maybe because there is no lack of word?
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
My objection to using the word democracy to describe the United States is that the term is imprecise and brings with it some negatives that exist in a democracy but not in the United States' governmental system.
Ummm not an unusual way for a democratic person actually: rejecting everything bad outside democracy. Can lead to reject democracy if one democratic person thinks that the regime is not a democracy.
Democracy is eternal. It doesnt depend on words.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
You ask what other universal values are. Since you are definitely part of the universal set, you should be able to answer this question as well. What do you think they are? What values, in your opinion are part of the base set of values that all (or even nearly all) humans or have?
Undemocratic people, that's one of their characteristics, dont think of universal values as democratic people do. So for most of them there are no universal values.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
As to your statement about the Marine, you are (intentionally?) missing a few points. I didn't suggest that the Marine was justified in shooting the insurgent because his squadmate had been killed previously. I mentioned that previous killing to suggest the Marine's state of mind.
But skipped real fast on the fact that a kid raised in a refugiee campement faces this kind of events quite often. Yet that kid is denied an equal consequence to his reaction to be branded as an enemy of civilisation.
(By the way, how can it be just civilisation and no several civilisations? A civilisation convey values. If there is only one...)
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
A killing is justifiable if the killing is done in self defense or the defense of others. From watching the video, it is clear that the Marine was indeed fearful of the insurgent's potential to do harm. That fear was partially inflated by his squadmate's being killed previously and largely because the insurgent was in the middle of a decption (pretending he was dead).
Blabla, blabla, blablablabla, we democratic people when we do something other do, that 's always different. Would have been shorter.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
Some of the facts in this case are:
  • The insurgents were non-uniformed combatants (which grants them no Geneva Conventions protection, it also means that they cannot claim civilian status, so the Marine didn't target a civilian here).
  • The insurgents had not been under guard, they were not yet prisoners, and although they were wounded, it was not known whether they were armed (an unguarded enemy is presumed armed in combat).
  • The extent of the insurgent's wounds weren't known to the Marines (so they couldn't know if they had the capacity to attack or not).
  • One of the insurgents was attempting to deceive the Marines into thinking he was dead.
  • In prior engagements with insurgents in Iraq, these Marines had experienced that the insurgents were willing to disregard the commonly accepted rules of warfare (including the Geneva Conventions) by doing such things as pretending to surrender and then shooting the troops who were trying to disarm them, booby-trapping their dead, hiding behind civilians and in civilian areas including mosques, etc.
  • The Marine in question did not walk into the mosque shooting at every insurgent there (which would be the act of a man who was intent on simply killing or committing murder).
  • The Marine didn't attack the remaining insurgents even after he killed the deceptive one (if he wanted to simply kill insurgents wouldn't he have killed them all?).
  • The Marine's own words, at the time, show that he feared the insurgent.
Blabla, sinking deeper and deeper, no real answer to the point I made before: how could those fighters enter recognition of their rights when that recognition of those rights depends on their enemy?
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
As such, it is reasonable to believe that the Marine acted in what the Marine perceived as self defense or defense of his squad.
But it is not reasonable to believe that some iraqis took up the arms to fight people they perceived as invadors and to protect a country iraq they believe is theirs. They will always be non uniformed combatants and so (because as long as I can see, they have an outfit, which is no recognized as an uniform)
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
As I understand it, the United States Marine Corps is not simply accepting this. The Marine has been pulled from his squad and the incident is under investigation. He will likely face a courts marshal and if found guilty will be punished appropriately.
If he is unlucky, he will be punished a bit less than if he spat in the face of his officer.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
If he's found innocent, he will return to his duty. The challenge of law in this situation is to determine what the Marine was thinking. Was the Marine genuinely concerned with self defense? Was the Marine instead intentionally targeting this insurgent for death without regard to any of the rules of war?
Well off the topic but who cares?
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
Only the Marine can possibly answer this question, but as I've written before, in the United States, we presume innocence until a person is proven guilty. As such, I presume that the Marine was indeed in a state of mind where self defense is a reasonable motive. If it is later shown that this was not the case, that he wasn't acting in self defense, I'll be happy to reverse my opinion on this case, on this board.
Hopefully in the proper thread.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
It is true that everyone is born a civilian (not just most people). The refugees in a Palestinian camp as well. If said refugees are being targeted by Israeli soldiers, they have the following recourses which will not mark them as terrorists and will be well within their rights:
1) Protest to the UN.
2) Protest to the Israeli government.
3) Join/form a uniformed Palestinian militia (uniforms are important because they identify soldiers as soldiers which can easily be differentiated from civilians).
If they remain non-uniformed, but only attack Israeli military targets (military targets as defined in the Geneva Conventions), then I wouldn't consider them terrorists (and enemies of civilization), although the Geneva Conventions still mark them as not being protected.
Yes after all an uniform is a cheap means of not becoming an enemy of civilisation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
That said, the Israeli soldiers who targeted civilians should be prosecuted. This isn't happening, at least partially, because of the nature of the conflict. The conflict is between an established military (the Israeli army) and a group of non-uniformed combatants (who are given no protection in any legal forum). What is worse (for the Palestinians) is that the non-uniformed combatants have targeted not only the Israeli military which would at least allow them to take a moral high ground, but they target civilians as well (which results in classifying them as terrorists), and they eschew the rules of war as defined in the Geneva Conventions. Because they are non-uniformed, the Israeli military (who must defend themselves from attacks and must defend the civilians as well), find themselves facing an enemy who hides in crowds, behind civilians. They are dressed as civilians (e.g. non-uniformed) and thus the Israelis have a very difficult task determining who is an enemy. Let me be very clear here. The Israeli soldiers who fire on civilians without a reasonable belief that those civilians are actually combatants should be prosecuted. It is, however the tactics of the Palestinians, in violation of the Geneva Conventions, that created the difficulty in the first place.
Again, could have been made shorter by telling that israel is a democracy and palestine not.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
I fail to see how the idea of a popular vote (democracy) leads to nazism. Hitler's Nazi party was a dictatorship (e.g. the people had no vote), not a democracy or even a representative system. Please explain (clearly and with only the smallest leaps of logic) how you arrived at this conclusion.
Please read again your statement. It implies that democracy, as a set of ideas, doesnt exist. Again you equate democracy with popular vote (without telling about tribal regimes which have a similar system of decision).
Again, the only real reason of making a valid point would be that you manage to get your point of view prevail officially, that democracy, as a set of ideas, never existed. Since you havent, and since democracy cant be reduced to the single fact of direct ruling, your all statement is devoid of any meaning.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zteccc
It isn't that the insurgents are not recognized that deprives them of rights. In fact they have human rights and in general those are respected. It is insted that they have forfeited their rights as combatants by disregarding all of the rules of war that would give them those rights. If they were uniformed. If they respected the rules of surrender. If they weren't targeting civilians, then they would be treated to a different standard. These are not the case.
-- Jeff
Blaming own "failures" on the others' behaviours is not what can be called responsibility. Signatories of a treaty, believers in values commit themselves. Non believers, non signatories dont. A responsible signatory, a responsible believer doesnt explain their distorted behaviour because of the actions of others.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:54 AM.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 1999-2008, Bluegoop.

A vBSkinworks Design


SEO by vBSEO 3.2.0