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Old 11-27-2004, 05:58 PM
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Ofcourse there is a big differencebetween a majority/minority and a majority/minority opinion on a specific issue. Especially since opinions on issues are bundled in a party system.

Can you guys go at each other one point at the time? It makes the discussion a bit more open.
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Old 11-28-2004, 03:02 AM
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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.
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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.
All right. I'll make the effort. I'm deliberately choosing not to interpret this as meaning that you think the solider is guilty only if he believes he is guilty, even if that would serve as a very illustrating bit for the entire democratic/universal thingy. Instead, I want to think that you mean there has to be a careful consideration of all the facts and a proper proceeding in order to find out what most likely has happened, perhaps involving a prosecutor who will claim that the solider is a murderer, while the defending part might claim that there is mitigating circumstances, such as that there is a war going on. That is good. This is how it should be done. Also, I wish to think that when you say that a case must be "looked at and reviewed", you mean that every case case must be seen as independent from any other and that under no circumstance should guilt be presumed without evidence. It is close to think so for me since that is the basis for every kind of legal process. It has been so since ancient Greece and more ancient Persia. It's really considered pretty obvious.

Further, I do not wish to interpret the example you're giving from the west- bank that you mean this aforementioned principle of independent prosecution law should be thrown away. So I will interpret it another way - that the entire situation is all cause and effect and therefore must be considered one case. That is certainly a point of view (even though I don't think you will be on the favoured part if you went to Haag with a case to prosecute the palestinians for causing human rights violations on themselves).

So basically, I am not criticising ancient principles of law. And I do not doubt for a second that if the system you're briefly schetcing and the values we wish to associate with it is upheld, there is no cause for concern. That makes me a patriot of sorts, I think. And I am happy to say that at least as much as can be expected seems to be done to honor this standard by the military forces in Iraq at the moment. My concern is that a suprisingly high number of people can instantly tell that this is the case without knowing. Then there is the catch that presuming this leads to easily write off most incidents as first improbable or even impossible. Also, as you actually say, you don't expect other /cultures/ to follow any conduct even remotely on the same level, also without really knowing. Now, I appreciate that there are differences between different cultures, but it is not very - what should I say - reassuring to see that you demostrate how easily it is possible to suddenly disregard everything about individuality and about presuming guilt by creating on the one hand "americans" while on the other "other cultures". I could of course be nice and interpret this as if you're simply saying this for convinience, and that you do not really think that "the others" have no rights whatsoever until they formally become americans(or democratic and free, possibly). But the more you're writing, the more difficult it becomes to think like that.
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Can you guys go at each other one point at the time? It makes the discussion a bit more open.
That's called... reason, isn't it? hm... Oh, and welcome to the board. ;)
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Old 11-28-2004, 09:24 AM
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There are some assumptions being made in the discussion that are not that clear cut to me.

One of them is that an american soldier that alledgedly commits a crime on iraqi soil should be judged by american standards. If an american commits a crime on european soil he would be judged by the legal system of the country he commits the crime in.

Secondly, the soldier mentioned is only brought to court because a video was leaked to the media. It is not that if any iraqi civilan has a complaint against an american soldier, he can go to the iraqi police, who then will investigate the situation and will arrest the soldier if the complaint seems well grounded (is "grounded" English?).

Actually there have been a number of complaints by the press that they have been severely limited in their investigations by the US military. Isn't it kind of strange that very often the bad news comes to us in the form of leaked photo's and videos instead of press reports?
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Old 11-30-2004, 08:27 PM
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@marlin
Uniforms serve a purpose. They differentiate the civilian from the military combatant. They serve to protect civilians because only the uniformed are valid targets. When one side in a war chooses not to wear them, that side intentionally endangers its own civilian population.
When Fidel Castro had his revolution in Cuba, his people were uniformed. They were greatly outmatched by the Cuban government, yet they still won the war. The uniforms didn't cause them to lose the war. But the uniforms did keep the civilians out of the line of fire.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marlin
One of them is that an american soldier that alledgedly commits a crime on iraqi soil should be judged by american standards. If an american commits a crime on european soil he would be judged by the legal system of the country he commits the crime in.
The key word in this is the word soldier. An American civilian who commits a crime in a European nation is subject to the laws of that nation. An American soldier, acting within his unit in wartime is subject only to the international laws regarding war and to the laws of the United States military. United States military policy is to investigate and prosecute American soldiers within its own organization. As yet, no organized international body has found these trials to be lacking or to be incompatible with international law.

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Originally Posted by marlin
Secondly, the soldier mentioned is only brought to court because a video was leaked to the media. It is not that if any iraqi civilan has a complaint against an american soldier, he can go to the iraqi police, who then will investigate the situation and will arrest the soldier if the complaint seems well grounded (is "grounded" English?).
Do you really think this is the case? Perhaps you don't recall that the military was already investigating Abu Ghraib prior to the news finding out about it. In this case, if the Marine's squadmates had suspected that he did something wrong, or if his commanding officer, suspected it in an after-mission briefing regardless of the existence of the news camera, he would have been investigated. Do things slip through, absolutely. Do most things? Not likely. Did you know that there have been at least 30 courts-martials in Iraq in the past year. How many have you heard of in the press? Did you know that in addition, there have been at least 70 cases that were dealt with administratively (e.g. no prosecution, but fines or even dishonorable discharge was the result)? How many has the press told you about?
If an Iraqi citizen has a complaint against a coalition soldier, he can go to his own government. The current government of Iraq will discuss this with the coalition forces leaders and an investigation will be launched. It would be inappropriate for an Iraqi policeman to arrest such a soldier, but not for that Iraqi policeman to bring the matter to the coalition commanders and this is indeed done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marlin
Actually there have been a number of complaints by the press that they have been severely limited in their investigations by the US military. Isn't it kind of strange that very often the bad news comes to us in the form of leaked photo's and videos instead of press reports?
I recall that some of these are to protect the military forces in the field from reports that could pinpoint their locations making them vulnerable to attack. Still others are due to the distrust that the military has of the press. I don't find it at all surprising that the military conducts its investigations without issuing press reports. This is common practice during peacetime as well (we rarely hear of someone being brought on charges in the military during peacetime, yet it does happen). The people being investigated are not public figures and if found not guilty, the press would have no basis for reporting on them. Note also that in the case of this video, the video wasn't "leaked" but was part of a press pool and the reporter had every right to release it. The military did not try at all to prevent the release.

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Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
That 's a lot of blabla...
So what I've written is blabla? When you have an argument that I find to be less than valid, I at least show you the respect of discussing it and giving examples to refute your argument. You and I haven't had many discussions, but I believe you'll find this to have been true in the ones we've had. Perhaps you simply don't have an answer for what I've written. I suggest that what I've written isn't just wasted words, but if you have predetermined to not debate when you disagree, there's really no point in discussion, is there? I will state that simply by saying that what I've written is meaningless doesn't make it so. You haven't countered my arguments with anything substantial, simply discarded them out of hand. I'm sure the others can see this, so I won't waste my time unless you want to discuss openly and with something of substance.

To address the arguments that you did make:
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Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
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.
The United States bears guilt on this. We're also guilty of having had slaves. Also, not having given women the right to vote from the beginning. We've taken land from Mexico (although the inhabitants largely wanted us to). We've incarcerated our own citizens simply because of their ethnic background (such as the Manzanar camp during World War II). We've not always done the right thing. We're a nation made of flawed human beings, just like any other. To suggest otherwise would be wrong.
Are we that same nation today? Not really. We've grown and matured like other nations. We're still growing and maturing. We're likely to make many other mistakes as will every other nation on this Earth. Judging the United States by events that occurred tens or even hundreds of years ago would be as fair as hanging someone because their great-grandfather committed some crime, so although we've done these things. I don't think you can reasonably use that as an argument about today's situations.

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Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
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.
Sorry, I missed what you're addressing here, can you cite a specific case? A tribe where each person gets a vote (in a council or however they're organized) would be a democracy. This isn't the same as the United States' representative system it is more like the Athenian democracy that I refer to when I use the word democracy (appropriately).

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Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
No words about what prevents a society of free democratic people to opt for one form of governance and not another.
As far as I knew, we weren't talking about such a society. Did I miss such an example in your prior post? Please be specific.

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Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
Little is told about how the minorities get their word heard.
In the United States, minorities are heard by contacting their representatives. By uniting together, agreeing on what their position is and then discussing with representatives and the media. In a democracy, these tactics wouldn't work. In a representative system, they do work.

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Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
A king represents his people. A tyrant represents his people.
A king or a tyrant holds the position, but it isn't necessarily by the will of the people that the king or tyrant have this title. An elected representative has at least a significant portion of the people behind him. This is one of the things that democracy and a representative system have in common.

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Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
Military aristocracy governed themselves.
And what position or power did the general public have?

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Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
Some tribal regimes governed themselves through direct consultation.
And what recourse did dissidents have? They have a recourse in a representative system.

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Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
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.
While not a bad argument, you forget (or dismiss) the fact that an autocratic leader may not (and likely will not) be benevolent. Such a leader may only work for his own good and not for the nation's or for the good of any minority. There is no way to check such a leader or remove him from power if the leader does indeed act contrary to the interests of the nation or its citizens. Sure, if a minority manages to take such a command, that minority group will likely prosper, probably to the detriment of another minority group. Which leads us to:

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Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
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.
And here I'm starting to understand your misconception. A representative in the United States is not required to be beholden to the viewpoints of the people who elected him during his term in office. This seemingly innocuous statement means that a representative in the United States can easily listen to minority viewpoints (or non-party viewpoints) as that representative sees fit. This happens all the time in the United States. The Civil Rights act of 1964 would not have passed if representatives did not listen to minorities and if President Johnson (a Democrat) didn't go against his party's wishes to sign it. Both groups listened to minority viewpoints for this legislation. Sometimes minorities are not heard quickly. There is no guarantee that they will be heard at all, but they can be heard and often are. Once a single representative hears and agrees with such a minority group, that representative can do what is necessary to make certain that other representatives can also hear the message and can eventually change things in favor of the minority. In an autocracy or even a democracy, such a thing is much harder or impossible to achieve.

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Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
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.
Ahh, but my point is not about God or religion, but about values, the subject of this thread. You are indicting the United States' "democratic" values based on the assumption that "democracy" is the source of those values. If it isn't, then your thread and your argument falls apart. This is the appropriate place to discuss the source of such values, or for you to show that any values you attribute to the United States are specifically "democratic".

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Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
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...
Granted, however if they are truly universal, then "non-democratic" lands would also agree ("non-democratic" lands being part of the universal set). That is unless the "non-democratic" lands or some of the "democratic" lands had an ulterior motive for not agreeing (such as oil-for-food). At least I can see how you arrived at your conclusion.
As to that being part of the reason for entering the war, I wouldn't be surprised to find humanitarian aid being part of that reason (e.g. protection of the Kurds, a minority, and the emancipation of women and so on), although I didn't notice it as a major part. I notice that you mentioned these issues as related to universal values, do you then agree that these issues were indeed based on universal values and not strictly "democratic values"?

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Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
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.
Your logic doesn't exactly follow. I accept that humanitarian aid and defending universal values are minor parts of the reason for the war in Iraq (not an excuse), but the fact that the United States doesn't enter other countries doesn't mean that defending universal values are an excuse, only that by themselves they are not compelling enough or that the United States is not convinced that other methods of defending these values won't bear fruit.

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Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
Indian case? Slavery case? Women case? Just a few of the biggest domestic issues.
Answered above, you're living in the past. Slavery doesn't exist in the United States and we are trying to get other nations to quit the practice. Women are free to self determine and lead industry or achieve great status in the United States and we are trying to get other nations to allow them these same freedoms. The American Indians and the United States government have reached agreements. The United States hasn't abrogated those agreements in my lifetime (that I'm aware of). We were the bad guys on this one, yes (not to state that the American Indians are completely blameless either). Are we still? Not according to the American Indians (sorry, not politically correct, I know, but Native American is an imprecise term, I was born here, so I'm a Native American too). If you are going to judge us, judge us for who we are today, not who we were before I was born.

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Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
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.
I cannot argue that nearly everyone uses the term democracy in regards to the United States. In fact dictionary meanings have been changed to refer to the United States in the definition of democracy. I know that my position is not widely supported or even widely understood. Nonetheless, democracy carries with it several negatives, many of which don't exist in the United States. That makes the usage imprecise and inaccurate. If one refers to the word democracy, these negatives are assumed and unless one knows the United States system, those negatives are assumed to exist in the United States which is not the case. As such, indicting the United States due to the negatives of democracy would be improper. This is why I argue that the United States is not a democracy and although that term has been used as a convenience to describe the United States, it is inaccurate. I know that much of your posts talk about democracy and I've often seen you use the term "democratic us" (please capitalize in the future) in the same sentence as other "democracies" which have different governmental, social, economic and cultural systems and foundations. By using the word democratic to describe both, you suggest that they are the same when they are clearly not. Your arguments depend on the very inaccuracy that I'm referring to. That smacks of self-serving propaganda, not truth or objectivity.

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Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
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?
In every language, when new ideas arise, the dilemma of labeling the new idea also arises. In the case of the United States system, the United States arose in the 18th century. As it had just rejected leadership by a King (or monarch), it was, by definition a republic. At the time, nearly all known republics were also democracies, so it was inevitable that the term "democracy" would be applied to the United States. It is also true that the United States representative system shares some of the traits of democracy (I never claimed that it didn't). As such, the term "representative democracy" could be applied to the United States system. Of course, that devolves into the term "democracy" fairly easily and again leads to the imprecision and prejudice that must be avoided when honestly discussing the reality of the United States. A better term, "representative republic," avoids that imprecision and is accurate in describing the United States. This term has not achieved widespread use, but it is used and is closer to the truth than "democracy" in regards to the USA.
Now your arguments on this suggest that you are willing to accept the widespread use of the term "democracy" (can you say majority rule), instead of the minority held but more accurate use of a term like "representative republic", despite evidence that supports the minority held opinion. You realize, of course, that in doing so, you are acting just like the "democratic people" that you hold in such contempt.

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Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
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.
Then by definition you are either not an undemocratic person (since you've referred to universal values that you clearly hold), or your statement here is inaccurate. If there are no universal values, nothing at all that everyone believes in, then why would an "undemocratic person" be offended by the war in Iraq? After all, if there are no universal values, then valuing the sovereignty of the Iraqis would be meaningless, as would valuing the lives of the citizens of Iraq, valuing their "right" to be left alone, etc. If one didn't value these things and consider them universal, then one wouldn't have a basis (or even a reason) to oppose the coalition war in Iraq. The United States values these things and it is clear (to us) that removing Saddam Hussein from power did more to protect these values than leaving him in power would have. That said, alone, that wasn't enough for war, but it is part of the supporting rationale.

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Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
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...)
Ok, I'll go into a bit more detail (for the benefit of those who didn't read this on blackpearl). A kid raised in a refugee camp has choices in life. So does everyone else. That kid may not have been dealt the same hand that you or I, but what he does with it is his repsonsibility (at least from the time that he knows right and wrong). Most children, well before they are 10, know that murder is wrong. They know that other people's lives have value, not just their own. This is true even in refugee camps. When a kid in a refugee camp, or a solider in uniform, or any other person decides to ignore these lessons and take a civilian's life intentionally (not in self defense), that person has become a terrorist and, as such, an enemy of the concept of civilization. If that kid is truly unaware of right and wrong, if the kid is completely isolated from universal values, then he might be excused on that ground, but the ones responsible for his state would bear the responsibility. I submit that this is not the case of at least 99% of terrorists.

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Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
...how could those fighters enter recognition of their rights when that recognition of those rights depends on their enemy?
Uniforms would be a start. Beyond that, they had and were granted those rights. Insurgents in Iraq are, when possible, taken prisoner and treated humanely according to the Geneva Conventions even though they don't have the right to it. When they surrender, they are being treated well by any standard. When they continue to fight, they are treated just as any other military force would (e.g. they are fought). Is the press full of daily and consistent abuses? Do you have information about mass disregard of the rights of these people? Or, do you instead try to condemn the coalition actions based on a few isolated events?


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Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
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)
Of course it is reasonable, and the coalition they are fighting against (who is currently there at the request of the sovereign Iraqi government) will of course fight back. They can choose to be uniformed or not and to be organized or not. They can choose to follow the Geneva Conventions or not. They can choose an open fight away from civilians or not. They can choose to target civilian targets or military. Their choices determine how they are treated and even so, they are treated humanely when captured.
A uniform must be clearly different from the dress of the average civilian to be a uniform. If it isn't, then it provides no protection by distinguishing the wearer as a combatant different from a civilian. In the photos that I've seen, while the insurgents do have a similarity of dress, it is clearly not significantly different from the clothings of civilians.

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Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
Yes after all an uniform is a cheap means of not becoming an enemy of civilisation.
Despite your sarcasm, a uniform has purpose. It provides protection of the civilian population. It confers rights to the wearer.

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Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
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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.
Yes, I do equate democracy with popular vote. That is the meaning as it has been. Any set of ideals that you assign to it are likely attributable to something other than government (such as religion, culture, economics, etc.) If you feel like looking at such a set, then you must recognize that the set would be different for different nations and perhaps even for different regions within a nation. Trying to say "democracy" is all this, that or the other, disregards all of this, is imprecise, inaccurate and self-serving. What it appears that you have done is to use a shorthand for all of the ills you see in other nations. That shorthand is the word "democracy". By using such a word, you can easily (and inaccurately) extend it to many nations where it simply doesn't apply. I've encouraged you before to not generalize to such an extent because it opens your arguments to disproof by a single case in any of the areas where your generalized shorthand doesn't apply. I urge you again to be more precise.

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Originally Posted by T.F.B.M
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.
I agree with your statement regarding taking responsibility, but in my statement I didn't blame the actions of the coalition on the actions of others. The United States takes responsibility for its actions regardless of how any opponent acts. That is exactly why the Marine is being investigated, to determine if there is responsiblity to be taken. That is why the guards at Abu Ghraib are/were prosecuted and convicted and are serving time for their actions.
If someone doesn't sign a treaty or believe in values, that doesn't absolve them from responsibility, only from the explicit letter of that treaty or value system and only to a certain extent. A person cannot simply claim he doesn't believe in life as a value and then kill other people without responsibility. A group cannot simply claim they've never signed the Geneva Conventions and then disobey the rules of war without responsibility. For them to later claim protection or decry the actions of their adversary would be hypocrisy.

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Originally Posted by muspell
All right. I'll make the effort. I'm deliberately choosing not to interpret this as meaning that you think the solider is guilty only if he believes he is guilty, even if that would serve as a very illustrating bit for the entire democratic/universal thingy. Instead, I want to think that you mean there has to be a careful consideration of all the facts and a proper proceeding in order to find out what most likely has happened, perhaps involving a prosecutor who will claim that the solider is a murderer, while the defending part might claim that there is mitigating circumstances, such as that there is a war going on. That is good. This is how it should be done. Also, I wish to think that when you say that a case must be "looked at and reviewed", you mean that every case case must be seen as independent from any other and that under no circumstance should guilt be presumed without evidence. It is close to think so for me since that is the basis for every kind of legal process. It has been so since ancient Greece and more ancient Persia. It's really considered pretty obvious.
Yes, I did mean that there does indeed have to be a careful consideration of all the facts and a proper proceeding. As with criminal cases against civilians, the prosecutor will have to determine if he has enough information to make a case before charges are brought. Just as in civilian criminal cases, the prosecutor has within his rights, the ability to not pursue a case that hasn't enough evidence or to pursue a case. If the prosecutor pursues it, a courts-martial will be convened or, depending on the prerogative of the commanding officer, an administrative punishment (effectively a summary judgement) may be imposed (often including dishonorable discharge which still counts as a felony on the soldier's civilian record). This "commander's prerogative" is something that is part of the tradition of the military going back hundreds of years. I'm not a fan of it, but it is the system that we have. I've read that it is being reviewed and may be removed at some point in the future.
Yes, each case must be taken independently and innocence must be presumed until guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by muspell
Further, I do not wish to interpret the example you're giving from the west- bank that you mean this aforementioned principle of independent prosecution law should be thrown away. So I will interpret it another way - that the entire situation is all cause and effect and therefore must be considered one case. That is certainly a point of view (even though I don't think you will be on the favoured part if you went to Haag with a case to prosecute the palestinians for causing human rights violations on themselves).
I presume you're referring to the law in many US states that says that if while someone is in the commission of a crime, someone else is injured or killed, the criminal is responsible for that injury/death. One way that law is applied in the US is that if a criminal is in the commision of a crime and the police accidentally injure someone while trying to apprehend the criminal, it is the criminal, and not the police who is responsible for the injury. Another application is that if a criminal takes a hostage and the hostage dies of a heart attack that would have been treatable otherwise, the criminal is responsible for murdering that hostage. I extended that law to suggest that if a group acts criminally in warfare (such as ignoring the Geneva Conventions, fighting from civilian areas or not wearing uniforms), and as a result civilians are injured/killed, that group is responsible for those injuries/deaths. I think it is obvious that if these same people did not ignore the rules of war, the civilian population would be much safer.
I definitely don't favor disregarding the idea that each prosecution is independent of any others. We don't hold one person guilty for the crimes of his neighbors or for crimes previously committed by anyone else.

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Originally Posted by muspell
Then there is the catch that presuming this leads to easily write off most incidents as first improbable or even impossible. Also, as you actually say, you don't expect other /cultures/ to follow any conduct even remotely on the same level, also without really knowing. Now, I appreciate that there are differences between different cultures, but it is not very - what should I say - reassuring to see that you demostrate how easily it is possible to suddenly disregard everything about individuality and about presuming guilt by creating on the one hand "americans" while on the other "other cultures". I could of course be nice and interpret this as if you're simply saying this for convinience, and that you do not really think that "the others" have no rights whatsoever until they formally become americans(or democratic and free, possibly). But the more you're writing, the more difficult it becomes to think like that.
Let me help to clarify. Each culture has its own laws. Most cultures believe that certain things are right and certain things are wrong (universal values). For example, in every culture that I'm aware of, murder and stealing are considered wrong (although some cultures define murder differently than others). Beyond that, different cultures disagree on many other issues and what one culture believes, another may not (non-universal values). I don't expect other cultures to accept all of the values that are unique to my culture or to any culture that isn't theirs other than the universal ones that are alluded to in this thread. That doesn't mean that other cultures are better or worse than my own, just different. I accept and appreciate this difference as part of the diversity that makes this world interesting. I don't presume guilt on any individual or culture without evidence, nor do I state that any culture is guilty of anything. I suspect that most of what the media reports on are the aberrations and not the mainstream. The mainstream in most nations and cultures are people who simply want to live and prosper.
Of course "the others" have rights. It would be folly, especially if you'd read many of my arguments (the bulk of which are on another website that is no longer active), to suggest that I would feel otherwise. If there is a problem in understanding my writings and my intent, it is likely because I am not the best writer. I'll admit that in reading your post, the possible negative interpretations of what I had written, that you inferred, surprised me because they were far from my intent.

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Old 12-04-2004, 05:51 AM
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I'll admit that in reading your post, the possible negative interpretations of what I had written, that you inferred, surprised me because they were far from my intent.
That is good. I apologize for going a little overboard with the interpretations. But when it comes to the geneva convention - is it even possible to extend it to criminal law?
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Old 01-10-2005, 07:57 PM
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