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-   -   Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner) (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?t=7169)

Don Zeko 11-13-2011 07:34 PM

Re: The explosion in Iran (did Mossad do it?) and the Republican warmongering last night
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 231426)
The final step is to devalue the weapons by rejecting any idea that they could be used to advantage, and rejecting any idea that the existence of such weapons provides some kind of leverage against their neighbors (see North Korea). This may piss them off and lead to anti-American sentiment, but I believe it is probably the optimum strategy.

In concrete terms, what do you mean by this? Just making declarations about our future behavior? How would we make such a commitment credible?

Wonderment 11-13-2011 07:35 PM

Sanctions are violent
 
Quote:

I agree with reduction. I would cut back on the numbers of US weapons as a way of signalling that we don't place much value in the ability to annihilate all of mankind, and I would also step back from hair-trigger readiness as much as possible. But total elimination is a pipe dream -- thinking about how to make this happen is not a productive way to spend one's time.
Ok, we are on the same path. Check out Global Zero for the case (articulated by Schultz, Perry, Kissinger and others)that zero is not a pipe dream.

Quote:

Getting used to a nuclear-armed Iran does not mean rolling over and making it easy for them. The final step is to devalue the weapons by rejecting any idea that they could be used to advantage, and rejecting any idea that the existence of such weapons provides some kind of leverage against their neighbors (see North Korea). This may piss them off and lead to anti-American sentiment, but I believe it is probably the optimum strategy
.

I agree that Iran must see (I think it does) that USING a nuke is suicidal, but I'm opposed to pressure via economic sanctions. Rick Perry last night was practically shrieking to "shut down Iran's economy:"

Shutting down an economy is a horrible act of war, with casualties that might approach those of a nuclear attack. It's war disguised as peace.

apple 11-13-2011 08:02 PM

Re: The more things change the more they stay the same.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 231417)
I'm asserting that Iran's Islamo-fascist regime won't nuke anybody. If they did, the gloves would come off for America. Israel would be reconstituted, Iran would get the Germany/Japan treatment, and in the end the world would be a better place. Maybe a much better place. So what are you worried about?

Yes, I did get that you believe that Iran would not nuke anyone, but I also thought that your statement that we could hope that Iran doesn't nuke Israel showed that you are anything but certain about it. Perhaps you feel comfortable with the thought that there is a 60% chance that Iran won't nuke anyone, but Israelis certainly will not be comfortable.

Israel would be reconstituted, exactly how? The people would be dead, and the country a nuclear wasteland. Perhaps Jews who do not want to move to Israel as it is, would be convinced to go anyway once it has been nuked, along with their friends and family?

Sulla the Dictator 11-13-2011 08:23 PM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TwinSwords (Post 231425)
LOL. The Xerxes reference was a dead giveaway that he's learning his history from Frank Miller.

Simply because you are ignorant of antiquity doesn't mean everyone else is. You should be embarrassed by the fact that you are historically illiterate. For all the "Young Earth" jokes about Christians, it is liberals who don't believe in human civilization before 1932.

Sulla the Dictator 11-13-2011 08:26 PM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TwinSwords (Post 231424)
LOL! I was just thinking, "Gosh sounds like Sulla really liked 300!"

You are unconsciously dialing in the limits to your knowledge with reference to pop films which mention historical subjects. This is the online equivalent of walking around with your fly open.

Sulla the Dictator 11-13-2011 08:34 PM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by miceelf (Post 231428)

ETA. Has anyone ever seen both Miller and Sulla at the same time?

All I know of Frank Miller is Sin City, which I enjoyed as a quasi noir film.

Has Miller written some sort of script about Athens and Jerusalem, Reason and Revelation?

AemJeff 11-13-2011 09:07 PM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by apple (Post 231326)
Considering that Ocean is a self-proclaimed metaethical (prescriptive, normative) moral relativist, it seems that Sulla and I were correct in our pronouncements.



Not really, he was directly responding to Ocean's idea that Ahmadinejad and Khamenei are more sane than Netanyahu and Barak - the sort of claim moral relativists love to make.



I do not believe we were discussing any of those allegations. But Sulla believes that Israel is a tiny outpost of Western civilization - with our human rights, freedom, democracy - and that this outpost is worth preserving, and that it should not be wiped off the map, as the "more sane" Iranian leaders believe.



Whatever that is, and it's not exactly clear to me what you mean by "a certain context", it's not moral relativism.

I gave a a couple of simple, hopefully clear, examples to illustrate my points. None of them was a direct callback to anything Sulla said. I didn't use the phrase "a certain context," rather I said "a specific context" which I think connotes something else entirely. The point was about a requirement for specificity, not about the specifics of any particular argument.

opposable_crumbs 11-13-2011 09:08 PM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sulla the Dictator (Post 231442)
All I know of Frank Miller is Sin City, which I enjoyed as a quasi noir film.

Has Miller written some sort of script about Athens and Jerusalem, Reason and Revelation?

He wrote a comic book called 300, recently made into a film, about the Spartan fighters who fought the Persians at the Battle of Thermopylae.

Simon Willard 11-13-2011 09:55 PM

Re: The explosion in Iran (did Mossad do it?) and the Republican warmongering last night
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Don Zeko (Post 231429)
In concrete terms, what do you mean by this? Just making declarations about our future behavior? How would we make such a commitment credible?

All I mean is that you don't fear the bomb. You assume it will not be used. You conduct relationships as if the bomb did not exist. This tends to take away the value of the bomb.

Sulla the Dictator 11-13-2011 10:14 PM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by opposable_crumbs (Post 231448)
He wrote a comic book called 300, recently made into a film, about the Spartan fighters who fought the Persians at the Battle of Thermopylae.

I heard about the film, but never saw it. I've never been particularly fond of the Spartans, and besides which, the movie seemed like a grotesque parade of pornography.

Simon Willard 11-13-2011 10:22 PM

Re: The more things change the more they stay the same.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by apple (Post 231436)
Yes, I did get that you believe that Iran would not nuke anyone, but I also thought that your statement that we could hope that Iran doesn't nuke Israel showed that you are anything but certain about it. Perhaps you feel comfortable with the thought that there is a 60% chance that Iran won't nuke anyone, but Israelis certainly will not be comfortable.

Israel would be reconstituted, exactly how? The people would be dead, and the country a nuclear wasteland. Perhaps Jews who do not want to move to Israel as it is, would be convinced to go anyway once it has been nuked, along with their friends and family?

Obviously I think the failure probability is quite a lot smaller than 40%. Still, your question about comfort is valid and I will address it. No, I'm not comfortable with a threat to Israel, but the fact is that the threat is not specific to Israel. India and Pakistan live under the threat of annihilation. Major US and European cities live under the same threat. Seoul is under threat. Moscow is under threat.

Modern history suggests that the aggressor in any nuclear attack is not going to fare well, and we all rely heavily on this for deterrence. It's scary, but that's our predicament. The point is that it applies to everyone.

The Persians have a long and distinguished civilization. It's really hard to believe that they would risk throwing that away by tossing a bomb at Israel. And one bomb would not kill all the Israelis.

Would the Jews return to Israel? I don't know. That's not a crucial issue. They will go where they want to go.

Simon Willard 11-13-2011 10:33 PM

Re: Sanctions are violent
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 231430)
I agree that Iran must see (I think it does) that USING a nuke is suicidal, but I'm opposed to pressure via economic sanctions. Rick Perry last night was practically shrieking to "shut down Iran's economy:"

Shutting down an economy is a horrible act of war, with casualties that might approach those of a nuclear attack. It's war disguised as peace.

Well, you are basically correct, if overly shrill about the casualties. Sanctions are a mild form of war, and taking such a step is justified only by the severity of the threat. In my mind sanctions serve to slow the Iranians down, to kick the can down the road, to let western notions of modernity catch up a bit, so that when the time comes the leader with the big red button is more likely to thoughtful, not a religious crazy.

Wonderment 11-13-2011 10:55 PM

Re: Sanctions are violent
 
Quote:

Well, you are basically correct, if overly shrill about the casualties. Sanctions are a mild form of war, and taking such a step is justified only by the severity of the threat. In my mind sanctions serve to slow the Iranians down, to kick the can down the road, to let western notions of modernity catch up a bit, so that when the time comes the leader with the big red button is more likely to thoughtful, not a religious crazy.
It could work, although I doubt it. Don't hold your breath for "Western modernity." Part of the problem with a kicking-the-can-down--the-road strategy is that it really becomes a strategy of "As long as the shit doesn't hit the fan on my watch, I don't really don't give a fuck." (That's why we'll never appropriately address global warming and a slew of other problems either.)

I would prefer to see the fundamentals change. That's where I'm sure we disagree. I do think you have a good grasp of the contours of the problem, however.

thouartgob 11-14-2011 02:02 AM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sulla the Dictator (Post 231459)
I heard about the film, but never saw it. I've never been particularly fond of the Spartans, and besides which, the movie seemed like a grotesque parade of pornography.

Exactly. Here is a restrained review of the movie:

http://www.deep-focus.com/dfweblog/2.../300_2007.html

from the piece:
Quote:

If it were only brutish spectacle, executed with the inescapable élan that Miller’s stark and exciting combinations of word and image always brings to the printed page, it could be an invigorating diversion from the more nuanced, and infinitely more taxing, struggles of the real world. But with its fetishistic depiction of the nearly naked male body as nothing more or less than a merciless instrument of warfare, it fills a much-needed gap between gay porn and recruitment film.
And just to explain my other reference somewhere in this wide ranging topic about Iran/Israel and the Bomb here is clip containing Quentin Tarantino discussing how Top Gun was a movie about a man's struggle with his own homosexuality:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHklGtW3rwU

Quote:

you can be my wingman any time.
bullshit you can be mine.
Fighting for the TOP eh ;)

Anyway I think this just about pins the Male Adolescent Meter. Think of it as levity to offset the drama unfolding in the land of Leviticus.:)

thouartgob 11-14-2011 02:35 AM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by apple (Post 231335)
Of course, maybe your black-and-white vision of the world doesn't allow for any nuance.

I take your point here apple and I for one am going to keep it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by apple (Post 217873)
What if Cain had talked about Scientology, instead of Islam? What about Nazism? What about NAMBLA? Is it racism to criticize Scientology, Nazism, or NAMBLA, or is Islam the only ideology that is exempt from criticism?


Parallax 11-14-2011 07:36 AM

Ehud Barak Hails Deadly Explosion in IRGC Base
 
Quote:

ISRAELI Defence Minister Ehud Barak has hailed the deadly munitions blast at a base of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards and hoped for more such incidents.

"I don't know the extent of the explosion," he told military radio, asked about the incident. "But it would be desirable if they multiply."

Iran said earlier that a senior general who pioneered an artillery and missile unit was among the 17 Guards reported killed in Saturday's blast at Bid Ganeh, near the town of Malard on the western outskirts of Tehran.

Guards spokesman commander Ramezan Sharif said the blast, which Iran said was an accident, occurred as "ammunition was taken out of the depot and was being moved outside toward the appropriate site."

Set up after the 1979 Islamic revolution to defend Iran, the Guards are in charge of the Islamic republic's missile programme, including Shahab-3 missiles with a range of 2000km capable of hitting Israel.


Saturday's blast came amid international condemnation of Iran since the release of a new UN nuclear watchdog report accusing Tehran of working towards the development of nuclear warheads to fit inside its medium-range missiles.

Israeli officials have in past weeks warned Iran of the possibility of military strikes against its nuclear sites.
Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news...-1226194250209

miceelf 11-14-2011 09:41 AM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sulla the Dictator (Post 231442)
All I know of Frank Miller is Sin City, which I enjoyed as a quasi noir film.

Has Miller written some sort of script about Athens and Jerusalem, Reason and Revelation?

Others have answered the 300 thing. if you liked the Sin City movie (I also did) you would enjoy the graphic novel series, which includes not only the story told in the movie but a couple of others as well..

His really great work on Daredevile is collected in such graphic novelizations as Daredevil: Born Again and Daredevil visionaries.

stephanie 11-14-2011 10:41 AM

Re: The more things change the more they stay the same.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by opposable_crumbs (Post 231284)
Elliot was going to mention how he thinks such a bomb might be bad for the i/p issue, but never got a chance to explain. It could just as easily be the jolt that sober ups Israel's settlement binge.

This was extremely annoying. Like Larry, I wanted to know his argument, and then for whatever reason they decided not to go there or just went on to something else.

stephanie 11-14-2011 10:51 AM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bkjazfan (Post 231387)
Larry needs to ease up on the coffee or take a tranquilizer. He was inordinantly hyper. Calm down, it will help your thoughts and clarity of mind.

I didn't mind it, or their interaction in general. In fact, I thought this was a pretty interesting diavlog.

stephanie 11-14-2011 11:12 AM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by apple (Post 231326)
Considering that Ocean is a self-proclaimed metaethical (prescriptive, normative) moral relativist, it seems that Sulla and I were correct in our pronouncements.

You have explained that you understand "relativism" to mean that someone sees moral differences as just a matter of taste. I don't think that's how everyone else uses it and, in particular, I think it's clear from many of Ocean's other posts that she doesn't see moral differences as just a matter of taste. Indeed, you could look at the discussion about the burqa for an illustration that she does not.

Quote:

Not really, he was directly responding to Ocean's idea that Ahmadinejad and Khamenei are more sane than Netanyahu and Barak - the sort of claim moral relativists love to make.
Ocean said -- and I do not agree, ftr -- that based on the diavlog one could conclude that Israel is as crazy and paranoid as Iran. Having listened to the diavlog, I assume she's focusing on the claims by Elliot that Israel would be willing to enter into war with Iran in preference to the unacceptable option of Iran getting nukes. I also understand from her comment that she probably believes the result of this would be at least as bad as Larry suggested and possibly much worse.

Thus, rather than making a "relativistic" statement or a "nihilistic" one, she was calling Israel's position here crazy or paranoid based on actual distinctions. Full-scale war between Israel and Iran would be very destructive and dangerous for the whole world. This is bad. A nuclear Iran can be contained like other nuclear powers have been and will be in the future, so does not justify such a dangerous and destructive war.

Now, one can argue with her assumptions and conclusions here if one wishes, but the disagreement is not about "relativism" vs. "absolute morality" (or "virtue"). It's about an analysis of the facts. So Jeff was precisely correct in saying that "relativist" was just being used as an insult.

One reason I disagree with Ocean here is that I don't think Israel is actually prepared to enter into full-scale war with Iran over this. I think Israel is using the threat as a tactic.

I would also agree that part of this is how one assumes Iran would act with a nuclear arsenal. It's entirely possible to think that Iran is crazy or, a different issue, non-virtuous in lots of ways and still not think it would be a different kind of threat that the various countries that currently have nukes or which have in the past. Clearly, this is going to be part of the discussion and is directly relevant to Israel's view on the matter. But suggesting that anyone who has the position that a nuclear Iran is bad but not unacceptable therefore is a "relativist" who sees no differences between Iran and Israel (or Iran and the US) on anything is obviously wrong. It's a refusal to respond to the actual argument in favor of misleading and baseless accusations.

apple 11-14-2011 12:09 PM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 231447)
I gave a a couple of simple, hopefully clear, examples to illustrate my points. None of them was a direct callback to anything Sulla said.

I got that, I just didn't understand what it had to do with moral relativism. Are you saying that it's 'moral relativism' to be humble about what complex matters one is able to judge? Problem is, such a person does not believe that truth, or moral truth, is relative to the person/culture making the judgment call, which is pretty much a requirement for moral relativism.

apple 11-14-2011 12:09 PM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by thouartgob (Post 231481)
I take your point here apple and I for one am going to keep it.

Thought up an answer yet?

apple 11-14-2011 12:49 PM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 231500)
You have explained that you understand "relativism" to mean that someone sees moral differences as just a matter of taste. I don't think that's how everyone else uses it and, in particular, I think it's clear from many of Ocean's other posts that she doesn't see moral differences as just a matter of taste. Indeed, you could look at the discussion about the burqa for an illustration that she does not.

No, that is correct. However, in my experience, moral relativists are seldom fully consistent. Probably because it is impossible. A real moral relativist would say: 'if someone wants to murder me, that is right for them, but wrong for me.' People aren't that stupid. That does not mean that 'moral relativism light' is not perverse and destructive.

Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 231500)
Ocean said -- and I do not agree, ftr -- that based on the diavlog one could conclude that Israel is as crazy and paranoid as Iran. Having listened to the diavlog, I assume she's focusing on the claims by Elliot that Israel would be willing to enter into war with Iran in preference to the unacceptable option of Iran getting nukes. I also understand from her comment that she probably believes the result of this would be at least as bad as Larry suggested and possibly much worse.

Thus, rather than making a "relativistic" statement or a "nihilistic" one, she was calling Israel's position here crazy or paranoid based on actual distinctions.

I can understand why you would believe that, but one thing that moral relativists love is moral equivalence. Moral relativists are unable or unwilling to make crucial distinctions. Intentional vs. accidental killing of civilians? All the same - ergo, Israel is just as bad as Hamas. What about terrorism and freedom fighting? All the same, just different labels used by people who either don't like or do like it. Hence, Osama bin Laden and George Washington - no different.

So in this case: a small, beleaguered state whose people has suffered one extermination and three wars of aggression in the past century, followed by an extended period of terrorists targeting its civilian population, trying to defend itself against a state that has called for it to be "wiped off the map", is considering an airstrike to prevent that state from acquiring weapons that would enable it to wipe the small state off the map, and that makes it as crazy as the genocidal maniacs who rule Iran, because Ocean, in her wisdom, decided that such an airstrike would have bad effects.

Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 231500)
Full-scale war between Israel and Iran would be very destructive and dangerous for the whole world. This is bad. A nuclear Iran can be contained like other nuclear powers have been and will be in the future, so does not justify such a dangerous and destructive war.

That's just an assumption on your part, you don't know that, and neither do I. I prefer not to be at the mercy of Khamenei, Yazdi or any other clerical lunatic, even if we manage to "contain" him.

Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 231500)
I would also agree that part of this is how one assumes Iran would act with a nuclear arsenal. It's entirely possible to think that Iran is crazy or, a different issue, non-virtuous in lots of ways and still not think it would be a different kind of threat that the various countries that currently have nukes or which have in the past. Clearly, this is going to be part of the discussion and is directly relevant to Israel's view on the matter.

Yes, it's possible that Iran would be no different than any other nuclear power. But of course, such a person can be wrong, and if you are wrong, then the consequences are truly terrible.

Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 231500)
But suggesting that anyone who has the position that a nuclear Iran is bad but not unacceptable therefore is a "relativist" who sees no differences between Iran and Israel (or Iran and the US) on anything is obviously wrong. It's a refusal to respond to the actual argument in favor of misleading and baseless accusations.

I did not make any statement about "anyone who has the position that a nuclear Iran is bad but not unacceptable". I made a statement about one very specific individual, who said that she thinks that Netanyahu and Barak are crazier than Khamenei and Ahmadinejad.

Don Zeko 11-14-2011 12:58 PM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by apple (Post 231517)
So in this case: a small, beleaguered state whose people has suffered one extermination and three wars of aggression in the past century, followed by an extended period of terrorists targeting its civilian population, trying to defend itself against a state that has called for it to be "wiped off the map"....

This is such an irritating argument. Israel is small, yes, but it's also richer and far better armed than its neighbors, has a nuclear arsenal, and enjoys the patronage of the world's largest economic and military power. Israel didn't win the 1948, 1967, and 1973 wars through divine intervention, and it has had nothing to fear from its neighbors conventional military forces for decades.

apple 11-14-2011 12:59 PM

Re: The more things change the more they stay the same.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 231463)
Obviously I think the failure probability is quite a lot smaller than 40%.

Alright, then I have to ask why you said that we can hope that Iran won't use its nuclear weapons? Hope doesn't sound very... hopeful, and it seems to concede that there is a significant chance that these weapons will be used.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 231463)
Still, your question about comfort is valid and I will address it. No, I'm not comfortable with a threat to Israel, but the fact is that the threat is not specific to Israel. India and Pakistan live under the threat of annihilation. Major US and European cities live under the same threat. Seoul is under threat. Moscow is under threat.

The question is, whose threat. If you live in New York City, Putin is a threat to you. Which is very good, because Putin is a very rational individual. On the other hand, I would rather not be at the mercy of clerical lunatics in Iran. Iran's threat is specific to Israel. I see no evidence that Iran might be tempted to attack India. So, yes, the difference in the status quo if Iran manages to acquire a nuclear weapon is that there will be an additional threat to Israel, not to wherever you live.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 231463)
The Persians have a long and distinguished civilization. It's really hard to believe that they would risk throwing that away by tossing a bomb at Israel. And one bomb would not kill all the Israelis.

"The Persians" may not be willing to throw away their long and distinguished civilization, but the people are not the ones who will decide whether to use a nuclear weapon, the Islamist lowlifes who rule Iran will decide. And do they care about Persian civilization? Yes, insofar as they can stamp it out.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 231463)
Would the Jews return to Israel? I don't know. That's not a crucial issue. They will go where they want to go.

It's actually a crucial issue for one of your claims, that Israel would be "reconstituted" - unlikely to happen unless many Jews who have not moved to Israel, suddenly change their minds after Israel is turned into a nuclear wasteland.

apple 11-14-2011 01:03 PM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Don Zeko (Post 231519)
This is such an irritating argument. Israel is small, yes, but it's also richer and far better armed than its neighbors, has a nuclear arsenal,

Israel did not have a nuclear arsenal in 1948 or 1967.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Don Zeko (Post 231519)
and enjoys the patronage of the world's largest economic and military power.

For all the left's complaints about how much foreign aid Israel receives, Egypt receives about as much.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Don Zeko (Post 231519)
Israel didn't win the 1948, 1967, and 1973 wars through divine intervention,

Who claimed that there was divine intervention? The point is that Israel is right to be concerned about its own preservation, considering the fact that the Arabs have launched so many wars of aggression against the country.

stephanie 11-14-2011 01:44 PM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by apple (Post 231517)
No, that is correct. However, in my experience, moral relativists are seldom fully consistent.

Perhaps the answer is a lack of consistency; perhaps the answer is that -- in at least many cases -- the person in question is using "relativism" in a way differently than you are. I think it's important to ask rather than make assumptions that the person in question approaches moral issues in a way that almost no one really does, as a matter of taste. Indeed, if I saw someone arguing that moral issues were relative and also saw them using moral language, I'd probably want to push on that, to find out what the explanation was. I haven't actually noticed that kind of inconsistency in Ocean, though -- she hasn't made the college-student-like argument that it's wrong to pass judgment on the customs of others in any and all cases.

Quote:

I can understand why you would believe that, but one thing that moral relativists love is moral equivalence.
No one has made a claim of moral equivalence. The claim in question wasn't actually about morality at all. It was about an analysis of facts, whether it's crazy to think the danger of a nuclear Iran is greater than the danger of a war between Israel and Iran.

Indeed, even among the greatest critics of Israel, you don't get a claim of moral equivalence, you get moralistic arguments that weigh different factors quite differently than, say, I would.

Quote:

Moral relativists are unable or unwilling to make crucial distinctions. Intentional vs. accidental killing of civilians? All the same - ergo, Israel is just as bad as Hamas.
I do not think this is an accurate summary of this argument. When countries get criticized for accidental killings, it's not that it's the same exact thing as an intentional killing. It's a response to the idea that as long as the killing wasn't desired it doesn't count. Instead, the argument is made that when killing is a certain or likely result of an action, it has to be taken into account in weighing the morality of an action. (And this is, again, a moralistic argument, and one that is closely related to considerations of "intent" and legal responsibly more generally in legal contexts.)

Quote:

Hence, Osama bin Laden and George Washington - no different.
Of course they are different. I don't think anything said here (or in the other active Israel thread) can be interpreted to say they are not. If you believe otherwise, let's talk more specifically.

Quote:

...a small, beleaguered state...is considering an airstrike to prevent that state from acquiring weapons that would enable it to wipe the small state off the map, and that makes it as crazy as the genocidal maniacs who rule Iran, because Ocean, in her wisdom, decided that such an airstrike would have bad effects.
Not just Ocean -- many commenters and experts, including Larry Derfner in the diavlog in question.

But let's break this down -- as DZ noted, the language you used for Israel suggests weakness and helplessness that not only does not exist but would clearly not be consistent with the idea that Israel could take care of the nuclear problem with "an airstrike."

But that aside, it almost certainly cannot, that's one big problem. A much more fullscale war would be necessary, and if that's so the danger and extent of the destructive effects are obvious. I don't think they can be minimized as you try to above.

Quote:

That's just an assumption on your part, you don't know that, and neither do I.
It wasn't supposed to be a statement of my own view, but of the views that underpin Ocean's comment. For what it's worth, I lean toward the same view as I attributed to her wrt a nuclear Iran, but probably not as strongly. I don't think Iran poses a worse problem than present with some other nations, but certainly it would be better if Iran didn't get nukes. It's just not the worse option when compared with a fullscale war between Israel and Iran or the US and Iran.

Sulla the Dictator 11-14-2011 02:15 PM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Don Zeko (Post 231519)
This is such an irritating argument. Israel is small, yes, but it's also richer and far better armed than its neighbors, has a nuclear arsenal, and enjoys the patronage of the world's largest economic and military power. Israel didn't win the 1948,

You forgot 1956, which with 1948, is a period where the technological balance is fairly even, with a gigantic numerical advantage for the Arabs. And indeed, the Jordanians probably had the best single fighting force in the entire 1948 war in the Arab Legion, which had some WWII action and was led by British officers.

Quote:

1967,
Technologically a slight advantage to the Israelis, with the Israelis greatly outnumbered again, and this time the ARABS have the superpower feeding them weapons and money while the Israelis do not. It is this war, and the full adoption of the Arab powers as clients of the USSR, that causes the United States to fully support Israel as we do today.

So three out of four are more due to a clever Israeli general staff and the dedication of the Israeli line soldier, not providence. Though if you're a religious man, considering the odds against Israel when we actually look at the facts, you can be forgiven for seeing the hand of Providence.

thouartgob 11-14-2011 02:25 PM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by apple (Post 231509)
Thought up an answer yet?

Well I thought since you have taken up the mantle of non binary, nuanced dialog by lecturing others on their lack of it that I might learn a few things about it from examples you set. So think of me as a student of your use of nuance and lack of black/White thinking. :)

AemJeff 11-14-2011 02:27 PM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by apple (Post 231508)
I got that, I just didn't understand what it had to do with moral relativism. Are you saying that it's 'moral relativism' to be humble about what complex matters one is able to judge? Problem is, such a person does not believe that truth, or moral truth, is relative to the person/culture making the judgment call, which is pretty much a requirement for moral relativism.

I'm saying you can't judge moral matters in a vacuum. "Moral truth?" How do you judge that in regard to an isolated event without access to the surrounding circumstances? However ugly any individual event might seem, it's always possible to construct a dilemma (however farfetched) in which it was the better choice, for example. You could assert that "murder" is bad. I could say "killing" is a neutral act, calling a particular killing a "murder" is to make a judgment, and that judgment is inherently arguable. Show me a place to stand, someplace to plant a flag and say "beyond this point everything is immoral." That's how I define relativism. I might agree with most or all of the judgments you might be inclined to make; but I'd never assert an absolute truth value to those judgments. - In practice, of course, there are many things about which it wouldn't be worth mounting an argument, but that's not the same asserting that there could be no such argument.

kezboard 11-14-2011 02:43 PM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Two things that were not discussed in this diavlog and should have been:
1. What kind of military strike would Israel have to take against Iran to totally destroy their nuclear program and how would they know whether the program was totally destroyed?
2. Would the certain reaction of the rest of the world, including Iran, after an Israeli military attack on Iran be worth the benefit of possibly taking out Iranian nuclear facilities?

Wonderment 11-14-2011 02:55 PM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Quote:

Ocean said -- and I do not agree, ftr -- that based on the diavlog one could conclude that Israel is as crazy and paranoid as Iran. Having listened to the diavlog, I assume she's focusing on the claims by Elliot that Israel would be willing to enter into war with Iran in preference to the unacceptable option of Iran getting nukes. I also understand from her comment that she probably believes the result of this would be at least as bad as Larry suggested and possibly much worse.
I won't speak for Ocean, but here's is the key question (IMHO) for understanding her concerns:

Who are you more afraid of, Iran with a nuke or two or Israel (and the USA) starting a war to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuke?

I'm considerably more alarmed by Israel. Hence, I view Israel as "crazier" (i.e., more likely to cause a major war) than Iran.

Ray in Seattle 11-14-2011 03:46 PM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Don Zeko (Post 231519)
Israel didn't win the 1948, 1967, and 1973 wars through divine intervention . .

As an atheist since 1956, Israel winning those wars and not being destroyed in any one of them is one of the few things that's happened since then to make me wonder if I am right.

Don Zeko 11-14-2011 04:05 PM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sulla the Dictator (Post 231537)
You forgot 1956, which with 1948, is a period where the technological balance is fairly even, with a gigantic numerical advantage for the Arabs. And indeed, the Jordanians probably had the best single fighting force in the entire 1948 war in the Arab Legion, which had some WWII action and was led by British officers.

Technologically a slight advantage to the Israelis, with the Israelis greatly outnumbered again, and this time the ARABS have the superpower feeding them weapons and money while the Israelis do not. It is this war, and the full adoption of the Arab powers as clients of the USSR, that causes the United States to fully support Israel as we do today.

So three out of four are more due to a clever Israeli general staff and the dedication of the Israeli line soldier, not providence. Though if you're a religious man, considering the odds against Israel when we actually look at the facts, you can be forgiven for seeing the hand of Providence.

I guess I should clarify; Israel's clear conventional military superiority is a relatively recent development. The Israelis obviously had very real concerns about defeat on the field in 48, 67, and 73. They don't have any such basis for concern today.

stephanie 11-14-2011 04:29 PM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 231546)
I won't speak for Ocean, but here's is the key question (IMHO) for understanding her concerns

I'm not sure why you think I was unable to understand them.

Quote:

Who are you more afraid of, Iran with a nuke or two or Israel (and the USA) starting a war to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuke?
So this is your argument for why the US/Israel is crazier?

There's too little here to really allow for an answer to the question, and I think that's what's being discussed.

Among relevant questions would be: (1) how much worry is there that Iran would use the nukes or that people who would would eventually get possession; (2) what kind of war are we talking about and how would other countries react; (3) how successful would such a war be at achieving the goal (non-nuclear Iran) and what would be the fallout of the war; and (4) what other options exist?

I think it would be crazy to start a war to prevent Iran from getting nukes because of my answers to these questions, sure. That does not mean that I think it's crazy for Israel to use it as a bargaining chip, whether for the effect on Iran or on other countries, as discussed in the diavlog. I also think the point in the diavlog that a nuclear Iran is the concern of many other countries and shouldn't be seen as just a problem for Israel is correct.

I don't agree with the answer re who is crazier, because I do not think Israel and the US will actually engage in the war in question and, if they do, I think it would be only due to answers to the questions outlined above that are different than the ones I have. Of course, it's possible their answers would be different because of crazy analyses (e.g., a belief that war with Iran would be easy, because the people would refuse to fight and welcome Israel/the US as liberators), but so far I see no reason to assume that kind of craziness.

Of course, it's possible I'm wrong and Israel and the US are simply crazy, but if that's so, why should I assume I'm not equally wrong about thinking the threat of a nuclear Iran can be dealt with like other nuclear powers?

StefanK 11-14-2011 05:56 PM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
The lack of logic in Mr. Jagers argumentation really is infuriating.
He says that it's not Israels problem alone, and that Israel doesn't have the capacity to go it alone.
Fine sofar.
But then he says that Iranian nukes are unacceptable.
And he absolutely refuses to discuss the all to likely scenario, that Iran will not be stopped by the international community.
So Israel can't go it alone, but will if it must?
If pressure on the international community would really be Mr. Jagers primary goal, shouldn't Israel take the go it alone approach off the table?
No wonder the veins in Mr. Derfners head are almost popping.

stephanie 11-14-2011 06:05 PM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by StefanK (Post 231571)
If pressure on the international community would really be Mr. Jagers primary goal, shouldn't Israel take the go it alone approach off the table?

No wonder the veins in Mr. Derfners head are almost popping.

I think the "Israel might go it alone" thing is a threat, intended as pressure. I don't think our diavloggers are doing the threatening, but I think the gov't is sending out signs for that purpose -- and similarly let Jeffrey Goldberg get that impression. If the US is worried that Israel might actually act anyway, there's more need to do something else instead. Same with other countries that wouldn't want the war in question to break out. I assume the goal is sanctions. The question is what action, if any, would actually be effective. I'm skeptical that any additional action is likely to be successful. I wish they'd talked about that issue more.

rfrobison 11-14-2011 06:46 PM

Two (or three, or seven) can play at that game...
 
Something seems to be missing from the discussion here, although I believe Mr. Jager hinted at it once or twice: Israel, Iran and the U.S. are not the only players with a strategic interest here.

I think it's funny -- but not "ha, ha" funny -- that the objection to GWB's prosecution of the Iraq war was that he was either lying or stunningly incompetent in asserting that Iraq had WMDs. The unspoken assumption seems to be, "Well, if Iraq had had nukes or other WMDs as was claimed, then the war might have been justified."

Shift to Iran. For years we've been told -- at times by the CIA, no less -- that Iran has no nuclear weapons program to speak of, or if it does, it's years away from being able to produce an actual bomb. Now the IAEA begs to differ and goalposts shift: Military action is not justifiable under any circumstances [short of them actually blowing somebody up (?)] because it wouldn't end the Iranian weapons effort and/or the cost in blood and treasure would be too high.

It seems to me that if the Israelis had followed that logic, Saddam would likely be in power today with nukes, had they not destroyed the reactor at Osirak in 1981, to general international opprobrium.

But even leaving Israel and the U.S. aside, does anyone think it unlikely that an Iranian nuclear weapon wouldn't set off a regional nuclear arms race? What's to stop the Saudi, Egyptians, Turks, etc., from seeking their own nuclear insurance policies? The "no military action at any price" crowd will pooh-pooh this idea: The U.S. nuclear umbrella could easily be extended to cover the whole region.

But given U.S. fecklessness in recent years, one could hardly blame our friends in the Middle East for not being particularly assured by those assurances.

Do we really want to be playing MAD games with not just one or two states in the region, but with five or six or more? The potential for something going very, very wrong seems greater than many wish to contemplate.

So the question is whether the West is prepared, in effect, to shrug its shoulders as the nonproliferation edifice crumbles and a revolutionary regime that wishes the Israelis annihilation arms itself with nukes.

Ray in Seattle 11-14-2011 07:02 PM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by chamblee54 (Post 231280)
Two Jews, twenty five opinions.
chamblee54

I think it's a sign of a highly effective brain for any person to have a wide range of opinions on a question like this. What they are trying to do is predict the future. They ask, based on reality to this point in time, how will the future most likely unfold given various possible next steps. Like predicting the weather it's very difficult. And the weather just happens. It has no agenda to hide its intentions.

But that's what brains are designed to do - predict the results of various behavior options and then pick the option that will give its owner the most benefit. We do it hundreds of times in an hour. We also have the ability to imagine what someone else's brain is likely to consider and which options they'd pick. Humans whose brains are better at this prediction game are likely to pass more of their genes on to future generations and that's the evolutionary train track we we seem to be on. Brains that can imagine a large range of behavior permutations and possibilities and select the best for ourselves or the most likely choice someone else might make - will probably yield more beneficial predictions for their owner - whether those are Jewish brains or not.

thouartgob 11-14-2011 07:19 PM

Re: Will Israel Attack Iran? (Elliot Jager & Larry Derfner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by kezboard (Post 231544)
Two things that were not discussed in this diavlog and should have been:
1. What kind of military strike would Israel have to take against Iran to totally destroy their nuclear program and how would they know whether the program was totally destroyed?
2. Would the certain reaction of the rest of the world, including Iran, after an Israeli military attack on Iran be worth the benefit of possibly taking out Iranian nuclear facilities?

Ya think that would be of interest. The diavlog was more heat than light but entertaining and revealing in some parts.

I expressed some of my thoughts a bit in another chunk of the comment thread.

Quote:


It would be major overreach for Israel to attack Iran. Here I am taking a page from Parallax but it seems to me that if Israel/US have enough intelligence for targeting this massive attack and effectively gauging the results of such an attack then arguably they have enough intelligence and resources to reduce the need for such an attack, either with sabotage or collution with other parties in Iran.

If they don't have such intelligence why bother with the 1/2 measure of attacking with little info, that would give you the downside of another Iraq type war (with Israel in the mix) plus a perceived failure of Israel/US abilties.

This last page of the Jeffery Goldberg piece mentioned says a bit on the subject:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/...return/8186/6/

The number and robustness of the Iranian nuclear program sites makes an Israeli only attack only remotely feasible and by remotely feasible I mean what the Israelis can put together in a year or 2. They will not try this year or next . They will make these threats to do so for obvious reasons.

Would Israel like the US to get involved, fer shure. This would be another reason why they aren't gonna do anything about it until after 2012. Why not wait and see who gets elected.


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