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Apologies

Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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In a recent thread I noted that Anthony thought the US should apologize for something that occurred 50 years ago. I just wanted to comment on the whole issue of national apologies. Governments don't do things. People do things. Governments are not moral agents. People are moral agents. The US government did not overthrow the government of Iran 50 years ago. Neither did the CIA. People who were in the US government and people who were in the CIA did that.
Imagine this...
Suppose you are hit by a car. Do you ask for the car to apologize? If the owner of the car died and someone else now owns the car, do you ask the new owner for an apology? Why should George W. Bush apologize for something that happened when he wasn't even 10 years old?
The sensible thing is for the leaders of the US to say that it was wrong to overthrow the government of Iran and that the US wouldn't do the same thing today. And indeed, Madeline Albright, the Secretary of State, said exactly that in 1991.


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Anonymous
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{
Governments are not moral agents. People are moral agents. The US government did not overthrow the government of Iran 50 years ago. Neither did the CIA. People who were in the US government and people who were in the CIA did that.
}
But these people do represent the government.Without these people there is no government.
Today if President Bush and the CIA declare war against Iraq, can you claim that the US government is not at war with Iraq?
{
Suppose you are hit by a car. Do you ask for the car to apologize? If the owner of the car died and someone else now owns the car, do you ask the new owner for an apology? Why should George W. Bush apologize for something that happened when he wasn't even 10 years old?
}
I dont think this analogy is correct.Consider a bank, whose management screws up, and the account holders lose their money. When the management changes, shouldnt the new management apologize to the account holders?
Michael Ernest
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This seems to me too a difficult distinction to make particularly for the U.S., a government "of the people." It is precisely the government which must stand in and express regrets for those of its citizens who have no intention of doing so.
For explicit policies, such as internment of American citizens of Japanese descent after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, there is no other recourse. This was an act supported by the people through their representatives. My grandfather may not have publicly approved, but he may have thought it a reasonable precaution at the time, as a lot of military men did. Who gets up and says "This was not the right thing to do"? Is that Madeleine Albright, a private citizen, doing the right thing, or is it the Secretary of State on behalf of the government? I do think it's both, in a way, but it's really the second part that matters.
As for international matters, what-freakin'-ever. Diplomatic apologies are a commodity. Should the day ever come where the U.S. offers a full apology and some highly-visible ass-kissing to the North Vietnamese, there might come, years later, in a totally unrelated action, a full accounting of all U.S. MIAs and KIAs from the Vietnam War. But it won't be until anybody who still stands to lose face by such an action is gone.
Thomas Paul
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But these people do represent the government.Without these people there is no government.
Sure there is! Just a different government. Eisenhower is dead but there is still a US government. And in any case, you make my point... those people made up the government and therefore those people need to apologize. George Bush didn't order the CIA to overthrow Iran.
Today if President Bush and the CIA declare war against Iraq, can you claim that the US government is not at war with Iraq?
The American people would be at war with Iraq.
I dont think this analogy is correct.Consider a bank, whose management screws up, and the account holders lose their money. When the management changes, shouldnt the new management apologize to the account holders?
Why? Was the new management involved in the screw up? If not then it is merely words. I would prefer that the new management show me how they will make sure that the screw up doesn't occur again. Wouldn't you?
[ August 07, 2002: Message edited by: Thomas Paul ]
Younes Essouabni
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Surely Bush didn't overthrow the Iran government, but if he express some regrets, he does not atone for his own action, but for the US Government action. The Government is responsible of the CIA actions, and the Government has some authority on CIA.
Parents are responsible for their children's actions, and sometimes they pay some penalty (they even go to jail for their children's actions). Of course only when childrens are minor, and usually presidents are not minor.
If I buy tomorrow a society, I buy also their debts (even if knew nothing about their debts), and I have to refund the money (even if I did not contract the debts). My responsability is engaged as President of the Society.
Some times ago Belgium expressed their apologies for the Murder of Lumumba, of course the prime Minister wasn't the murderer, but it is the less we can do for justice.
Of course US was also involved, and of course we are still waiting for their apologies, but that shows the US sense of responsability.


Younes
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Anonymous
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The Clinton administration made apologies to about everyone for everything and people are still whining. They sure do alot of good don't they.
Jason Menard
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Unfortunately there are always political implications for even something as seemingly simple as an apology, and any time a nation speaks, words must be chosen very carefully, lest these words be used against them somehow at a later date. This is particularly true for some nations more than others. There are some nations, for example, where there is really very little international impact from their words to begin with, so it is an easy and rather meaningless gesture on their part anyway.
Of course the US has apologized on numerous occassions when it has been in the wrong. Japaenese internment during WW2, and the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade are two such incidents that quickly come to mind.
Some times ago Belgium expressed their apologies for the Murder of Lumumba, of course the prime Minister wasn't the murderer, but it is the less we can do for justice.
Of course US was also involved, and of course we are still waiting for their apologies, but that shows the US sense of responsability.

Since I gather that most Americans have paid little attention to Belgium's colonial adventures, many of us might not be aware of who Lumumba was. Here is a BBC news story if anyone is interested.
Long story short, Lumumba was the first and only freely elected prime-minister of Congo, under the thumb of the Belgians at that time. He was deposed and murdered by Beglium and Lumumba's Congolese opponents. The US had apparently planned to assassinate him as well, but that plan was never carried out.

Larry Devlin, the CIA station chief in Leopoldville received orders from Washington to await the arrival of "Joe from Paris".
"I recognised him as he walked towards my car, but when he told me what they wanted done I was totally, totally taken aback", says Devlin now. "Joe from Paris" was better known as the CIA's chief technical officer, Dr Sidney Gottlieb. He had brought with him a special tube of poisoned toothpaste. Devlin's job was to get the toothpaste into Lumumba's bathroom.
"It would put the man away", recalls Devlin, who was aghast at the plan. "I had never suggested assassination, nor did I believe that it was advisable," he says now. The toothpaste never made it into Lumumba's bathroom. "I threw it in the Congo River when its usefulness had expired."


The Belgians demanded a more decisive ending - they wanted Lumumba delivered into the hands of his most sworn enemy, President Tschombe of Katanga. On January 15th 1961, the Belgian Minister for African Affairs wrote to his apparachiks in Elizabthville instructing them to inform Tschombe that he must accept Lumumba without delay. It was in effect a death warrant. After a moment's hesitation Tschombe agreed.
Lumumba was beaten again on the flight to Elizabethville on January 17th. He was seized by Katangese soldiers commanded by Belgians and driven to Villa Brouwe. He was guarded and brutalized still further by both Belgian and Katangese troops while President Tschombe and his cabinet decided what to do with him.
That same night it is said Lumumba was bundled into another convoy that headed into the bush. It drew up beside a large tree. Three firing squads had been assembled, commanded by a Belgian. Another Belgian had overall command of the execution site. Lumumba and two other comrades from the government were lined up against a large tree. President Tschombe and two other ministers were present for the executions, which took place one at a time.

[ August 08, 2002: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Younes Essouabni:
Surely Bush didn't overthrow the Iran government, but if he express some regrets, he does not atone for his own action, but for the US Government action. The Government is responsible of the CIA actions, and the Government has some authority on CIA.
NO!!! The government is not responsible for anyone's actions. People are responsible for ther actions. Only people can act as moral agents. Only the people involved can apologize. President Bush can only express regret that an incident happened. An apology from Bush for something that happened 50 years ago is meaningless.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Originally posted by Younes Essouabni:
If I buy tomorrow a society, I buy also their debts (even if knew nothing about their debts), and I have to refund the money (even if I did not contract the debts). My responsability is engaged as President of the Society.
And if it turns out that the prior head of the society murdered 6 people do you apologize?
Anonymous
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
The government is not responsible for anyone's actions.

It is what every government wants you to perceive :roll:
Precisely why. For instance, Nazi leaders were trialed, because they ordered to kill people. Now, the fact that Germany was divided into 4 (I believe, if I can recall...) control territories and still paying for the War in economical barriers, tells me that it was not simply "people where responsible". Now, the fact that Bush apologised is really meaningless, I give you that. As fact, that Clinton apologised before Hawaian people for "insidentally" adding Hawaian territory to US... As well as Baltic states never forgot that Soviet Union "added" them to its territory...
I think it is a nature of people to not forget one's mischief. Granted, it my be forgiven....
Shura
Younes Essouabni
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
And if it turns out that the prior head of the society murdered 6 people do you apologize?

(damn example)
Of course I will, at least for the prestige of my society. Every government has a system somes are dictatorship others are said democracy (** see below). In a democracy the system is made so that actions are not taken by a single individu, but by the government. So you have choice: - your government is not a democracy
or
-your government admit their responsiblities in their actions ( please do not misunderstood, I'm not saying that the US government never apologized, I just wanted to point out your argument)
Make your choice , I truly believe that in a democracy, you will hardly find two presidents coming from the same family (father and son).
In a big state like US there is plenty of intelligent people, so their must be a lot of people able to lead US. It's a frightening idea to think that G.W. Bush was the best. In fact you're already losing all the benefits coming from Clinton Administration.
You may notice that we are not talking about the benefits coming from Clinton policy, but the policy of Clinton's administration.
Good day! (or night)
Anonymous
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{
Now, the fact that Germany was divided into 4 (I believe, if I can recall...) control territories and still paying for the War in economical barriers, tells me that it was not simply "people where responsible".
}
Apparently you have two sets of rules.One for the victors and one for the vanquished.
Younes Essouabni
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There are some nations, for example, where there is really very little international impact from their words to begin with, so it is an easy and rather meaningless gesture on their part anyway.

Following your way, only few nations have real impact, well at least Israel doesn't seem to think like you in the case Sharon-Belgium.
For the sake of the discussion, (I feel that since I am discussing with you guys my english is improving , thx to Harrap's) I will admit that US have more international impact than Belgium, but here we are not talking about international impact. We are talking about the consequences of the apologies. Let's return to Lumumba case. In that case Belgium was the "old" colonist. And the settler is apologizing, it is unusual and a courageous action from the government. Everything could have been changed for Congo if Lumumba wasn't murdered. And Belgium is recognizing their implication , from this fact it results that Belgium is recognizing that they have a big debt toward Congo. The international impact has nothing to do with it, I mean the debt is not smaller because Belgium have a small international impact.
so it is an easy and rather meaningless gesture on their part anyway.

It is not easy and that is exactly what leads to anger. Thinking that people are not waiting apologizes from you when you hurt them, leads to anger and reteliations.
Jason Menard
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You are of course correct that it was the right thing to do on Belgium's part and is to be commended.
Just for the sake of argument, let's look at a situation and possible ramifications of a nation making a public apology for some act.
Let's say that in the spirit of rapproachment, Japan admits responsibility and apologizes to China for the 1937 Nanjing Massacre. China is grateful for the apology and then demands stiff reparations. Japan does not feel it can do this, so China drags Japan before the world court. Since Japan has publicly admitted their guilt and apologized, it isn't going to be much of a trial and Japan is going to be forced to pay reparations. We now have legal precedent.
China demands further reparations for other atrocities perpetrated by the Japanese against them during that period, citing to the world court Najing and the admitted guilt along with awarded reparations as the basis for this complaint. More reparations are of course awarded. Now Korea (North and South) drags Japan before the world court for the atrocities comitted against Korea by Japan citing the Chinese precedent. It's not long before the United States, Britain, Australia, and the Philipines follow suit, each demanding stiff reparations from Japan. Each preceeding judgement by the world court going against Japan makes the following case that much easier for the agreived party to win, since precedent has been previously established. Japan has quickly been taken to the cleaners, primarily because they made the mistake of admitting to and apologizing for a past misdeed.
This is just a hypothetical example of course, but I just wanted to offer up an idea of the kinds of things that might have to be considered before a nation makes a "simple" apology, or even officially admits that a past course of action may have been incorrect.
[ August 08, 2002: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
Anthony Goshaunee
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Originally posted by <slacker>:
{
Now, the fact that Germany was divided into 4 (I believe, if I can recall...) control territories and still paying for the War in economical barriers, tells me that it was not simply "people where responsible".
}
Apparently you have two sets of rules.One for the victors and one for the vanquished.

very good point.
That's all I wanted to say
Shura Balaganov
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:

<slacker>: [b]Today if President Bush and the CIA declare war against Iraq, can you claim that the US government is not at war with Iraq?

The American people would be at war with Iraq.

Well, you are talking about American people as whole entity, which doesn't exist, just like government. I personally wouldn't be at war, and wouldn't give a slightest darn. However, someone does declare war (El Presidente?), and some American people would be at real war (CIA, soldiers on the ground, etc.)
Shura


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Cindy Glass
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So - like - can the US ask England for an official apology for the lousy way that they treated us before the revolution??


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Dave Vick
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Originally posted by Cindy Glass:
So - like - can the US ask England for an official apology for the lousy way that they treated us before the revolution??

Yea, and for all that tea that we had to dump in the harbor too!!! Good thing it wasn't coffee


Dave
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Shura Balaganov:
I personally wouldn't be at war, and wouldn't give a slightest darn. However, someone does declare war (El Presidente?), and some American people would be at real war (CIA, soldiers on the ground, etc.)

I think I have to agree with Thomas, from a couple of different perspectives. For one, we are a government of the people, and in theory at least, government actions reflect the collective will of the people.
From another point, when a nation goes to war, the entire nation is at war, not just the people physically doing the fighting. The degree to which you are personally involved is determined by the type and scope of the conflict, but every citizen is involved.
When you go to the airport and get stuck in some horribly long line because of security, you are fighting the war. When you are forced to evacuate your building due to a terrorist threat, it's hard to argue that you are not part of the war. When your family and friends are overseas fighting, you are fighting the war everyday until they come home.
This is of course whether or not any particular citizen agrees with it. To be honest, whether or not an individual citizen agrees with it is immaterial. They still get dragged into it. Now the responsible citizen will react responsibly and do his part. But even the slackers, the misguided, and the apathetic are at war, whether or not they choose to recognize that fact.
Shura Balaganov
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Jason, I am not arguing that, for the simple reason that there's a law according to which any two events (action, things) can be found logically related
So, using similar logic (and I am bringing *bad* example instead of *good* just because of its contrast), when you pay taxes you support terrorism :roll: (government gives financial aid to, say, Colombia; a good portion of Colombian economy based on drug export...). You also fight against terrorism, at the same time. Simplest approach is to just ignore both sides, to stay sane (or pick one and stick with it, whatever you like)...
Trying to find *flawless* path among all that have flaws is giving me a headache...
Shura
[ August 08, 2002: Message edited by: Shura Balaganov ]
Anthony Goshaunee
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:

They still get dragged into it. Now the responsible citizen will react responsibly and do his part. But even the slackers, the misguided, and the apathetic are at war, whether or not they choose to recognize that fact.

I agree that whether or not the citizens of the country want to be at war or not, they are as you put it "dragged into it".
I think a responsible PERSON should react responsibly and do the responsible thing even if the resposible thing is to OPPOSE an unjust war. Of course, the responsible thing in a just war would be to do their part to support that war. But the individual should not be referred to as a "slacker" or as "misguided" if they do not agree with a war. Similarly, someone that does agree with a war should not be referred to negatively, by those that may feel the war is unjust.
Anonymous
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{
I think a responsible PERSON should react responsibly and do the responsible thing even if the resposible thing is to OPPOSE an unjust war. Of course, the responsible thing in a just war would be to do their part to support that war.
}
I agree. This applies to everybody whether they are slackers, misguided people or war mongers from the military.
Anonymous
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{
So - like - can the US ask England for an official apology for the lousy way that they treated us before the revolution??
}
I think they already have.Havent you seen Tony Blair travelling around the world with Bush's message(j/k)
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Anthony Goshaunee:
I think a responsible PERSON should react responsibly and do the responsible thing even if the resposible thing is to OPPOSE an unjust war. Of course, the responsible thing in a just war would be to do their part to support that war. But the individual should not be referred to as a "slacker" or as "misguided" if they do not agree with a war. Similarly, someone that does agree with a war should not be referred to negatively, by those that may feel the war is unjust.

I am not making any references concerning whether or not anybody feels a war is "just" or is supporting it. That is besides the point. You may still react responsibly regardless of your feelings towards a conflict.
Let's take an extreme example, such as a conflict that requires a draft. If your number is called, the correct thing to do is to comply, regardless of your personal beliefs. Before anyone gets themselves excited, let me clarify.
There is something called conscientious objector status that you can claim if drafted.
A registrant making a claim for Conscientious Objection is required to appear before his local board to explain his beliefs.
He may provide written documentation or include personal appearances by people he knows who can attest to his claims. His written statement might explain:
  • how he arrived at his beliefs; and
  • the influence his beliefs have had on how he lives his life.

  • ...
    Beliefs which qualify a registrant for CO status may be religious in nature, but don't have to be. Beliefs may be moral or ethical; however, a man's reasons for not wanting to participate in a war must not be based on politics, expediency, or self-interest. In general, the man's lifestyle prior to making his claim must reflect his current claims.

A conscientious objector who is drafted will either serve in the military in a position that does not require him to bear arms, or perform alternate service, such as conservation work, caring for the very young or very old, education work, or health care realted work, for a period of time comparable to those who are drafted in the military.
To do otherwise is reprehensible. It means you are willing to let other people risk their lives and possibly die in your place. In addition, those people are usually cowards more worried about their own skin, but could care less if someone else puts themselves on the line for them.
While I hold the utmost disdain for the cowards who burned their draft cards and fled north to Canada during the Vietnam conflict so that others could possibly die in their stead, I hold incredible respect for those conscientious objectors who were brave enough to serve while upholding their moral convictions.
It is your right as a citizen to not support any particular conflict the government gets us into that goes against your beliefs, but there are responsible ways to protest. If this includes joining a protest march while on leave between basic training and infantry school, that's what you do. If it includes claiming CO status and writing your letter of protest to your Congressman while you are on a military transport headed for some conflict, that's the way it should be done. Remeber citizenship has responsibility, even when it is inconvenient.
[ August 08, 2002: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
Anthony Goshaunee
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:

While I hold the utmost disdain for the cowards who burned their draft cards and fled north to Canada during the Vietnam conflict so that others could possibly die in their stead, I hold incredible respect for those conscientious objectors who were brave enough to serve while upholding their moral convictions.
[ August 08, 2002: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]

I could not disagree more . No one has the right to tell me I have to die OR kill for their conflict, especially if I do not believe in the cause. While you may "hold the utmost disdain for the cowards who burned their draft cards and fled north to Canada during the Vietnam conflict" I do not share your opinion. I hold no disdain for them, and do not see them as cowards. Despite not believing the Vietnam conflict, I do not hold any disdain to the people who chose to fight in the conflict, of course.
It is not cowardly to refuse to put yourself in danger for something you do not believe in. I do not care what the law says, or what the punishment might be. In fact, I find it very courageous for someone to say, "I have a family and they need me, and I will not go kill another man or be killed myself for something I do not believe in." This does not make me anti-American because I am not talking about just America.
Perhaps you feel they are cowards and you hold the upmost disdain, but not everyone feels the way you feel, and your opinion is not "right" and someone who disagrees with you is not "wrong". It is just a difference in opinions.
Jason Menard
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No one has the right to tell me I have to die OR kill for their conflict, especially if I do not believe in the cause.

No one says you have to kill for your nation. As I said, it's called a conscientious objector (CO).
As for having the right to tell you that you must suspend your personal freedom when your nation calls on you to serve, you are very, very, mistaken. Somebody absolutely does have the right. Congress in fact. It's spelled out pretty clearly in Article I Section 8 of the US Constitution. Americans can't cling to the Constitution when it benefits them and ignore it when it's not convenient.
Holding citizenship in any particular country is agreeing to make a contract with its people. We are all well aware that by holding citizenship we get to enjoy certain benefits. Just as we are able to enjoy certain benefits, we have certain responsibilities. We all know ahead of time what those responsibilities are. If we do not wish to uphold them, then we have the choice to seek citizenship elsewhere. For those who refuse to live up to their responsibilities when it becomes inconvenient to them, there are many of people who would jump at the chance to become citizens and take their place.
It is not cowardly to refuse to put yourself in danger for something you do not believe in. I do not care what the law says, or what the punishment might be. In fact, I find it very courageous for someone to say, "I have a family and they need me, and I will not go kill another man or be killed myself for something I do not believe in."

It is cowardly to allow people to do something you are not prepared to do yourself. It is cowardly to allow somebody else to be put in possible harm's way because you are not willing to do that yourself. Whether or not you agree with the conflict means nothing. You are not serving for that cause, you are serving for your fellow citizens. As I said before, disagree and protest all you want, claim conscientious objector if you legitimately are one, but don't force some other person, who also has a family, to take your place. People need to be prepared to live up to their contracts or hit the road now and never come back.
As for someone being selfish enough to claim that they have a family who needs them so they will not do as they must, then that person is also pretty useless. What about the person who is forced to go in their place? What about their family? What about the people in the regular military and their family? Don't their families need them? Any "man" who chooses to hide behind his family and use them as an excuse from doing what he must isn't really much of a man. The courageous ones were the ones who went, very much including the CO's who accepted responsibility for their views and performed accordingly.
Again though, I have no problem with disagreeing and morally objecting to any given conflict. Claim CO status (assuming they really are a CO), perform alternate service if they must. Participate in demonstrations and other forms of legal protest. Just make sure you perform your responsibilities as a citizen when called on, not just when it benefits you.
And knowing full well that this is a responsibility one may be called on to perform some day, if one thinks that they won't step up to the plate when called, they have a recourse. Hit the road. Head north, south, east, or west, just as long as it's somewhere else.
There are countless people in the world who do want to be US citizens and who are willing to accept the responsibilities that citizenship entails. Many of them actually join the US military just because they know it is a fastrack to citizenship. Kind of makes those people who would be willing to let other people fight for them (such as the Vietnam draft dodgers) seem even more pathetic when there are non-citizens willing to lay themselves on the line for them and their families, IMHO.
[ August 08, 2002: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Shura Balaganov:
So, using similar logic (and I am bringing *bad* example instead of *good* just because of its contrast), when you pay taxes you support terrorism :roll:

I don't disagree at all. There is cause and effect and relations amongst most everything. There are relative levels of this though, beyond which there's just nothing we can do about it.
Ideally, our elected officials are speaking for their constituents. So when they make a statement, such as say a declaration of war, they are supposedly speaking with our voice.
Now let's say we pay taxes, some of which goes to the UN, some of which goes to funding the oil for food program with Iraq, who then turns around and uses the revenues on only feeding the military and funding weapons and terrorism, then of course you could say that we are feeding Iraq's military and funding terrorism. The thing is though that there are so many levels removed at this point, that there is little we can do about it and it's certainly not what we intended to spend the money on.
There was a point here somewhere. Hmm... I guess what I'm saying is that yes, there are causes and effects everywhere, but there comes a certain opint when we can wash our hands of it. Now if we could only really get our elected officials to do what we really want them to do, things definitely would be ideal. :roll:
Younes Essouabni
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Posts: 479
It is cowardly to allow people to do something you are not prepared to do yourself. It is cowardly to allow somebody else to be put in possible harm's way because you are not willing to do that yourself.

I couldn't agree more with you, as a citizen you have some duties.
Whether or not you agree with the conflict means nothing.

There is different type of CO and different type of conflict. In a conflict like Vietnam war, the american population has never been in danger and the war was unjust (My opinion). A religious CO can't take part in such a conflict (for the sake of the discussion let's admit we are in the case of an unjust war), he can't even help you in administration or logistics, because in an indirect way he would be helping you killing innocent people. In a just war, he would react differently and protect his people. I wouldn't consider such a man as a coward.
So it depends of the type of CO , the type of war and probably so many other parameters that I feel you're judging and condemning too fast.
Now let's say we pay taxes, some of which goes to the UN, some of which goes to funding the oil for food program with Iraq

and a big part goes to Israel ( 6 billion $ a year). So we can say that every US people is at war with Palestine.
Anthony Goshaunee
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Posts: 71
Again Jason, you just see it differently than me.
The way I see it, no matter where I am born, I am a citizen of somewhere. So just by being born, suddenly I "owe" something to "my country". I owe nothing to no one for being born. I DO NOT owe it to the United States of America to go attack whoever the United States of America tells me to go attack. I DO NOT owe it to the United States of America to take part in any attack that I do not personally believe in. In fact, I owe it to myself to decide for myself what is right and wrong.
It is not that I am making someone else go in my place. If they have a family and do not want to go, they should not go. You can bring as many laws as you want, but a person that chooses not to fight is in no way a coward. A coward is someone who does not think for themselves.
As an American citizen, I pay taxes. I have a job. Believe it or not, I work for the government. Furthermore, I respect this country for many things. But there is a line, where even if the law says that I have to help kill people, and in the situation I feel those people are not a threat to America, and I feel that America is wrong, I will not do ANYTHING AT ALL to help America.
Jason, I understand what you are saying. You are saying that America gives me the university I go to, America gives me the freedom I enjoy. But America has those things because that is what makes America what it is. I do have a certain duty, but there is a line. If America comes under attack, and I feel America is defending itself from those who want to destroy America, then, yes, it is my duty to help defend America. But you seem to forget or ignore the possibility that America could be wrong. If America is wrong, and you know it is wrong, and you still fight, then you are doing something morally wrong. Now if I think America is wrong, and you think America is right, then you should go fight and I should not. I realize that this allows for people to say they think America is wrong, simply because they don't want to do their duty, but I do not think this was the case in Vietnam. Furthermore, speaking just from a moral prespective and ignoring the fact if this was a law it would allow cowards to back out of a just war, NO ONE owes it to the United States or any other country to help in a war that they feel is unjust, and you may think someone that does not is a coward, but I think those people are very brave.
Anonymous
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"Our greatness is measured not only in how we . . . do right but also [in] how we act when we know we've done the wrong thing; how we confront our mistakes, make our apologies, and take action."
--President Clinton October 3, 1995
Part 3: Righting Past Wrongs
Dave Vick
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Joined: May 10, 2001
Posts: 3244
I just spent 20 minutes typing a nice long response to the last post. I got done and reread it and deleated it all. I didn't say anything that would have gotten the thread closed or made someone mad I just don't have the words for it - I can't write or debate as well as Jason, Thomas or even Michael. I look forward to seeing Jasons reply to it and will most likely agree with it (or most of it).
As a member of the United States military, people with the opinion that they owe this country nothing make me sick. Freedom isn't free!!! someone had to pay for it,a nd someone will be paying the interest on it for years to come. It apparently wont be you - I gusee that makes you a free loader. I dont have to like people like, I certainly don't respect people with that opinion, but you know what, I will go out and fight for you just along with everyone else that I'm fighting for.
I've known conscientious objectors who have done other things in order to help. Cooked, cleaned, repaired things, if you are not even willing to help while other people from this country go out and bleed for you then you dont have to thank me, just get out of my way when I come back becasue I really dont want to talk to you.
Paul Stevens
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Joined: May 17, 2001
Posts: 2823
Anthony,
That does not even deserve a response. People fought and died creating and protecting the freedoms of the US. So people with a me first attitude like you can have that attitude. You feel you don't owe your country anything but you sure feel that your country owes you something.
Younes Essouabni
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Joined: Jan 13, 2002
Posts: 479
Freedom isn't free!!!

It isn't but it should be. If you can't say no you're not free.
Imagine you're working for a society (for me it's a dream ), and your society has a conflict about a big contract with another society. Your President is asking you to kill the president of the other society, it's for the welfare of all the worker. Will you do it?
Of course, NO.
Why, because it goes against your morality.
Some other people would have done it.
But you don't (or I don't).
It's not because the crime is in a bigger scale and supported by the majority of the People that you have to do it, or that it is even just. It takes more courage to say No to an entire country than just to a boss.
Everybody has the right to say :" No, I'm not taking part in a war against a country that did nothing to me or to my country". People just don't want to put their life in danger for nothing. Not all the wars were for freedom.
Some people fight for freedom, others just fight to be superior.
Younes Essouabni
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Joined: Jan 13, 2002
Posts: 479
Originally posted by <slackerette>:
"Our greatness is measured not only in how we . . . do right but also [in] how we act when we know we've done the wrong thing; how we confront our mistakes, make our apologies, and take action."
--President Clinton October 3, 1995
Part 3: Righting Past Wrongs

Great!!
Jason Menard
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Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
Originally posted by Anthony Goshaunee:
The way I see it, no matter where I am born, I am a citizen of somewhere. So just by being born, suddenly I "owe" something to "my country". I owe nothing to no one for being born.

Not by being born. Being born here allows you the opportunity to accept the privledge of citizenship, and it is granted to you at birth. When you reach 18 in this country you are at the age where you are legally able to make decisions for yourself. One of those decisions is registering with selective service. So at this age you now have the opportunity to choose for yourself whether or not you want to participate as a citizen of this society, with all the rights, privledges, and responsibilities thereof. If you do not want to accept the rights, privledges, and responsibilities, you have options. Namely, you can leave and seek citizenship somewhere else. In fact, to do otherwise would be irresponsible.
I DO NOT owe it to the United States of America to go attack whoever the United States of America tells me to go attack. I DO NOT owe it to the United States of America to take part in any attack that I do not personally believe in. In fact, I owe it to myself to decide for myself what is right and wrong.

You do owe it to yourself to decide right and wrong, your own belief structure, but the rest of your statement is technically false. If you are truly a conscientious objector, then you must declare so if you are drafted, and either serve in a non-combat status or perform alternative non-military service as I outlined in a previous post. You have no other moral, legal, or responsible choice. The country does not say you have to fight if drafted, they say you have to serve. There is a world of difference.
It is not that I am making someone else go in my place.

It is exactly that you are making someone go in your place. Let's say that during your particular draft lottery, say the goal is to provide 10,000 people. When it comes time to report, 1000 of them choose to act irresponsibly. Do you think that means only 9,000 are going to be sent? No, they will simply pull 1000 additional names. People who may not have gone if the others performed their duty as citizens. So by not showing up, those 1000 forced 1000 others to go in their place. But that's okay, they are someone you don't know.
That reminds me of a twilight zone episode (the new TZ, not the original). A man shows up on some woman's door carrying a box with a button on top of it. He gives the woman the box and tells her that if she pushes the button she will be showered with untold riches, but someone she doesn't even know will die. She takes the box and nervously contemplates over the course of several days whether or not to push the botton. She finally decides to act in her best interest, because after all, the person who will die is someone she doesn't even know. So she pushes the button, and good fortune starts coming her way. There is a knock at the door soon after and the same man appears to collect the box from her. She asks him what will happen to the box. He explains that it will be passed on to someone else, someone she doesn't even know. There is a moral there.
If they have a family and do not want to go, they should not go. You can bring as many laws as you want, but a person that chooses not to fight is in no way a coward. A coward is someone who does not think for themselves.

The coward is somebody who acts to save their own skin, despite the cost to somebody else. The coward does not overcome his fear and do what must be done when called upon. As far as the family goes, hopefully the draft dodger will be spending those two years in prison as a convicted felon, so I guess the effect is the same on the family, only the family has to live with the shame brought upon them.
As an American citizen, I pay taxes. I have a job. Believe it or not, I work for the government.

What's your point? You pay taxes because they are witheld from your check. You do your tax return because you are hoping for a refund or you fear an audit. And as far as working for the government, that only shows that you are willing to take even more from the American taxpayer, since we are paying your salary.
You choose to reap every benefit this country has to offer, yet feel that you should have to offer nothing in return? Particularly if it inconveniences you? Your responsibility doesn't end with taxes.
Furthermore, I respect this country for many things. But there is a line, where even if the law says that I have to help kill people, and in the situation I feel those people are not a threat to America, and I feel that America is wrong, I will not do ANYTHING AT ALL to help America.

Again, as has been pointed out ad nauseum, no one is forcing you to fight, however you still must serve. But as also has been pointed out, your personal feelings are irrelevant. We live in a democratic society, not an anarchy. As such that means that we have certain mechanisms to express our voice, but also that we agree to accept the government's voice as the collective voice of the people.
You may not have voted for Bush, but he is your President whether you like it or not. The country has so spoken, and you don't get to point to Gore and say "he's really my president because i disagree with Bush". Similarly, we have drawn up various laws and we collectively agree to follow them. You might not like every one of them, but you don't get to pick and choose the ones you want to follow because some may be more convenient for you then others.
But America has those things because that is what makes America what it is.

And how did America get that way? By the blood of patriots. Every freedom you continue to enjoy has been purchased with the blood of others. What makes any of us so special that we shouldn't have to pay when it comes our turn?
But you seem to forget or ignore the possibility that America could be wrong. If America is wrong, and you know it is wrong, and you still fight, then you are doing something morally wrong.

The macro view isn't for any of us to decide as individuals, but as a nation as a whole. You either serve in the military, be that with CO status or otherwise, or if your CO status permits perform alternative service. On the micro level is where you make your decisions. If while in military service you are told to do something illegal, you don't do it, it's that simple. These are called unlawful orders. Every military person regardless of rank has the duty and responsibility to not carry out unlawful orders.
[ August 09, 2002: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
Shura Balaganov
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Joined: Apr 22, 2002
Posts: 664
By Jason Menard:

You may not have voted for Bush, but he is your President whether you like it or not. The country has so spoken

To be precise, country has spoken for Gore; The Supreme Court has spoken for Bush, but that's a completely different topic...

And how did America get that way? By the blood of patriots. Every freedom you continue to enjoy has been purchased with the blood of others.
I'd rather agree with the second part, blood of others, then with the first, but it is just a matter of taking a side. Every country has people who serve and are being "promoted" into patriot ranks. You need heroes for good morale. Now, we both know how history books are written, so lets not go into how heroes are created...
Anyhow, besides that, Jason has a very valid point. Western Capitalism (*Democracy* is another, non-related topic for discussion) is in no way an ideal society; but it might be the one of few offering a lot of benefits, at current level of civilization. Therefore citizens (or, rather, society members) should, ideally, provide service to their country.
I also believe that we should have enough "baggage" in liberal, anarchistic, religious or whatever-but-patriotic views, for a simple reason of keeping our military in check; otherwise they would go fight everyone and kill everything, just like in a few lates Wars, including, ironically, "war on terrorism". Opinion that we need more patriots to fight terrorism :roll: might be a little bit of a step backwards (because they have people ready to blow themselves up for country/Allah/whatever reason - is that not patriotic? ). Now, whether we, as civilization, reached that level when we can resolve these issues by other methods, besides brutal war, is a question. I kinda doubt it. Therefore, I think, Jason, you have a completely valid point in case.
Shura
Dave Vick
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Joined: May 10, 2001
Posts: 3244
See, I told you I wasn't as good at this as Jason is!!
Shura Balaganov
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Joined: Apr 22, 2002
Posts: 664

Dave, still I personally wouldn't "volunteer" to fight Iraq or whoever. Because it is obvious to me this war has deep nationalistic/religious/economical roots, none of which would *light* my fire. However, if government would be hardpressed, most of us would pay their dues, whether by service or whatelse. I would have a problem - knowing that simbiose of government and capital might've caused that war, and is definitely benefiting off of it. But hey, what peons are for, than to do their duties.
Ok, guess I confused the heck out of all. I disagree with "slackers" point of view, but not completely share Jason's either. I think his point is *valid*, but not *best*
Shura
[ August 09, 2002: Message edited by: Shura Balaganov ]
Anonymous
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Joined: Nov 22, 2008
Posts: 18944
{
And how did America get that way? By the blood of patriots. Every freedom you continue to enjoy has been purchased with the blood of others.
}
This holds if you are talking about civil liberation, fought by people in America.
If by freedom you mean the military going to war to war with other countries to keep the price of oil , then yes it has come with the blood of other countries.
The price of oil is significantly more in India than the US,even in dollar terms.And this for a country with wages a fraction of the US wages.Anytime there is a war the price of oil/gas shoots up in the other countries.
I dont think people in the armed forces do anymore a noble job than say a coal miner.Both are paid to do their job.
I think it was Jackson, the English writer who said "Patrotism is the large refuge of the scoundrel"
Anonymous
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Joined: Nov 22, 2008
Posts: 18944
Correction in my last statement:
I think it was Jackson, the English writer who said "Patrotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel"
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
 
subject: Apologies
 
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