Osama bin Laden is Dead

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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Aikanaro » Mon May 02, 2011 3:02 pm UTC

Radical_Initiator wrote:
Red Hal wrote:I am attacking the assertions that:

a) bin Laden "got what he deserved" because of his prior actions,
b) the inference (as yet unvalidated) that there was no other course of action open except armed assault, and
c) the implication that bin Laden was ever going to get out of that compound alive, regardless of his actions.


The first point is probably quite debatable. On the second point, this is the compound of the leader of an organization whose aim is to kill your people. What outcome other than armed operatives would you assume feasible? The third point also seems to assume bin Laden would have surrendered if given the chance, but that the Americans clearly came to kill him regardless of his actions. Why is it less feasible to assume that he was prepared to die rather than be captured and to fight to the death rather than commit suicide?

Remember also, that unlike Saddam, bin Laden was a religious zealot: Odds are good that he didn't fear death, in and of itself, one bit. Even if they yelled "SURRENDER!" loudly and gave him lots of chances to do so, the possibility of actually DOING so probably never crossed his mind. In a twisted way, I admire this.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon May 02, 2011 3:02 pm UTC

Red Hal wrote:He wasn't a combatant from a tactical perspective until the guys in camo arrived ...

He was in an armed, secure facility, and was responsible for leading and commanding troops. Your definition of 'combatant' may be fairly narrow if you only include people who are currently involved in acts of fighting.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby JonScholar » Mon May 02, 2011 3:03 pm UTC

skeptical scientist wrote:We don't have all of the facts yet, but how do you know they weren't trying to capture him alive?


Early reports had speculated it was a bomb, so I just assumed it was a drone strike. My apologies for the inaccuracy. I still don't think Osama Bin Ladin's death changes the situation we're in, in any important way.

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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Mon May 02, 2011 3:05 pm UTC

Is there some reason flash bangs and tear gas wouldn't have worked?
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby theGoldenCalf; » Mon May 02, 2011 3:07 pm UTC

The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:Is there some reason flash bangs and tear gas wouldn't have worked?


Yes. They wanted him fucking dead, and flash bangs or tear gas wouldn't have killed him.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Dark567 » Mon May 02, 2011 3:09 pm UTC

The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:Is there some reason flash bangs and tear gas wouldn't have worked?

I suspect its risker to the troops involved. Someone you flashed banged can attempt to shoot wildly, a dead person can't.

EDIT: Also, he wanted to be dead. He had every intent to go out guns blazing, and even ordered his soldiers to shoot him if there was risk of capture.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Angua » Mon May 02, 2011 3:10 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:
Red Hal wrote:He wasn't a combatant from a tactical perspective until the guys in camo arrived ...


When you pull a gun you become a combatant. He was one of four casualties that (reportedly) fought back when two helicopters of Navy Seals came to bring him back dead or alive.

This wasn't a "death penalty" situation, but thanks for the false equivalence. This was the shootout situation where the criminal gets fatally shot by police in the exchange of fire.
I"m not saying that someone in a shoot-out situation shouldn't be shot by the people trying to apprehend them - I realise that people being shot at shoot back. What I"m saying is that saying that someone 'deserves to die' because of their previous crimes is not a position held by many countries, while those countries would still agree that it isn't a crime by the cop to shoot a criminal if that criminal is shooting back.

From what I understand - sourmilk (and others) are of the opinion that he deserved to die, not just because he apparently shot back (which is relatively new information from the start of the thread), but because of what he did. Other people are saying that no one deserves to die for their crimes. This is where the death penalty comes in.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby sourmìlk » Mon May 02, 2011 3:10 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:
The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:Is there some reason flash bangs and tear gas wouldn't have worked?

I suspect its risker to the troops involved. Someone you flashed banged can attempt to shoot wildly, a dead person can't.

This. Let's not waste more lives on Osama.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Jahoclave » Mon May 02, 2011 3:10 pm UTC

theGoldenCalf; wrote:
The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:Is there some reason flash bangs and tear gas wouldn't have worked?


Yes. They wanted him fucking dead, and flash bangs or tear gas wouldn't have killed him.

Also, this is America, we don't use such pansy tactics. When we fight people we don't like we go for keeps, unlike those sissy anti-revolutionary governments we've been propping up that piss off the middle-eastern people and give them cause for antipathy towards the west; as well as causing economic disparity.

Oh wait, we killed Osama, all that's taken care of now. The middle east loves us.

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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Mon May 02, 2011 3:11 pm UTC

Dream wrote:He's not superman. This was 4 guys in a compound with guns. If capture was really a desired outcome, 4 guys with guns is not a tall order for a well trained military unit.

I'm not a military expert, but it seems like it would be if your goal is not to kill any of them.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Dauric » Mon May 02, 2011 3:11 pm UTC

Red Hal wrote:a) bin Laden "got what he deserved" because of his prior actions,
b) the inference (as yet unvalidated) that there was no other course of action open except armed assault, and
c) the implication that bin Laden was ever going to get out of that compound alive, regardless of his actions.


As far as "A", without the scales of Anubis where we can measure the weight of someone's soul against Ma'at (AKA "truth" or the goddess of truth) there's no way to objectively state who deserves anything, and any such arguments shall go in circles until those arguing are so measured.

"B" .. "open" in "open armed assault" may need some clarifying. The operation was not revealed to the Pakistani authorities because their hierarchy has a severe problem with information leaks that telegraph anti-terrorist operations to the terrorists that those operations are supposed to be taken against (even when the operations are carried out by Pakistani authorities). They didn't come in a line of Abrams battle tanks shooting the compound from miles away, we didnt' drop bombs on the compound from aircraft overhead. They sent in two helicopters of highly trained specialists.

I strongly doubt that OBL would have come along quietly if an old-fashioned cop-car arrived and Any Griffith and Barney Fife got out and handed him an arrest warrant. Maybe you'd care to elaborate on what other methods you'd find plausible in response to someone likely to be armed with fully-automatic assault rifles who espoused martyrdom as a means of struggling against the Great Satan?

"C" Given that the Obama administration generally has a more nuanced grasp of the situation than the BushII administration had of anything ever, it's likely that they listened to their advisors that said (and have been saying for many decades, even before the Clinton Admin) that killing OBL is likely to simply make him a martyr, and that a trial, imprisonment, etc. would make for a better outcome in general than his death at the hands of U.S. soldiers. If we really wanted to just kill him outright a JDAM-equipped 500LB bomb, or Durandal Bunker-Buster (depending on the layout of the compound) dropped from miles overhead would have done the job of killing him with fewer risks than sending in armed troops (and was a fairly consistent tactic by the BushII administration when they believed they had the location of important targets).
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby theGoldenCalf; » Mon May 02, 2011 3:15 pm UTC

Jahoclave wrote:Oh wait, we killed Osama, all that's taken care of now. The middle east loves us.


This wasn't about anyone loving it or not, it was all about morale. And it seemed to have worked as it surely would.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Oregonaut » Mon May 02, 2011 3:16 pm UTC

There are a number of "depends" on capturing him alive. Flashbangs and teargas work, if the target isn't in such a confined space that the flashbang wouldn't kill him, and he doesn't have a gasmask to simply sit out the tear gas. There's also the fact that obscuring vision of the target increases the likelyhood he gets away. How much ammo do they have? How close is your support? How much ammo do you have? What's your casualty threshold? And on, and on, and on. Capturing, instead of killing, is an incredibly complicated procedure. Doesn't mean it can't happen, just that saying it is easy is disingenuous.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Jahoclave » Mon May 02, 2011 3:17 pm UTC

Well, C may not have been the best option given that he was apparently hiding in the middle of a city. There's some so so reviews of it on google maps. The airport is nearby.

Plus, there was a guy who accidentally live tweeted the event. Mainly because he was pissed off about the helicopters being noisy.

@Calf, my point is that, we still refuse to actually try to understand their motives that lead them towards anti-western sentiment and that, in refusing to do that, it won't matter how many people we kill, we haven't addressed the real problem.

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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Red Hal » Mon May 02, 2011 3:19 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:We did that with Sadaam, so yes.
Then further discussion on that matter is pointless as it is fairly clear neither of us are going to change our minds as a result of anything said here.
skeptical scientist wrote:I'm saying that under these circumstances, 1 is the best option, being better than option 2, and far better than inaction.
Under those circumstances, you have a point. Having said that, I find myself in the uncomfortable position of having to argue from a position of ignorance. I cannot say with any reasonable degree of confidence whether your assertion that not attacking bin Laden would have ultimately led to more deaths than the course of action taken. I cannot, therefore, either agree with or disagree with your assertion. I admit its plausibility, though my intution tells me otherwise, but that is as far as I can go. If you wish we could continue to develop the argument for and against that on both sides, since it is pretty much fundamental to both our arguments on this particular point, but be warned that I may not be able to do so with rigour in the timescales of this conversation.

Your analogy of the arrest of a serial killer again depends on the assertion that there were no other options. I don't disagree with it, but the validity of the analogy is bound in with that assertion.

On the subject of him getting out alive, I will admit there was a small possibility, if he had access to an escape tunnel or other form of hidden egress that allowed him to evade capture, but otherwise? No, I don't think so. I, too, would like to think that Obama was vehement in his briefing that all reasonable steps should be taken to bring bin Laden back alive, but recent similar actions have not ended well.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby theGoldenCalf; » Mon May 02, 2011 3:21 pm UTC

Jahoclave wrote:we still refuse to actually try to understand their motives that lead them towards anti-western sentiment and that, in refusing to do that, it won't matter how many people we kill, we haven't addressed the real problem.


True. And my point was that killing Bin Laden wasn't about solving anything, but about getting revenge and raising morale.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Red Hal » Mon May 02, 2011 3:28 pm UTC

theGoldenCalf; wrote:True. And my point was that killing Bin Laden wasn't about solving anything, but about getting revenge and raising morale.
neither of which were sufficient justification for his death.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Dauric » Mon May 02, 2011 3:30 pm UTC

Red Hal wrote:On the subject of him getting out alive, I will admit there was a small possibility, if he had access to an escape tunnel or other form of hidden egress that allowed him to evade capture, but otherwise? No, I don't think so. I, too, would like to think that Obama was vehement in his briefing that all reasonable steps should be taken to bring bin Laden back alive, but recent similar actions have not ended well.


OBL was infamous for his use of hidden escape routes, the most famous of which is probably his escape of Tora Bora while CIA funded Afghani warlords negotiated a cease-fire with the Taliban holed up in the mountain caves (much to the frustration of CIA and Special Forces officers involved in the battle). I would be surprised if that compound didn't have some sort of egress that led to the nearby airfield, or close enough to facilitate an escape from the compound.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Aikanaro » Mon May 02, 2011 3:30 pm UTC

Another question to those who say that this isn't "justice" and that this isn't what he "deserves": What is your definition of justice? Most of us, I think, believe that it results in (within reasonable limits) making someone undergo a penalty that is, if not equivalent to, at least proportionate to their offenses. Armed robbery carries a harsher sentence than jaywalking. Killing five people results in a longer sentence than killing one. If you disagree with the premise that Justice requires a greater penalty for a greater offense against society, what is your definition of Justice? Or since the term implies a limited degree of retribution in it, maybe it's Justice itself you oppose (I do NOT mean this in an insulting way towards you), in favor of universal rehabilitation, without regard to the degree of offense? If you can rehabilitate a mugger in a month, and do the same to a serial killer in a month, is there a reason to keep one in prison longer than the other? And if not, is this defined as Justice, or is it just the adjustment of harmful elements within society?

I'm assuming you're in favor of a fair trial regardless, but in YOUR opinion, after THAT, what did bin Laden "deserve?"
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Mon May 02, 2011 3:34 pm UTC

Incarceration
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Aikanaro » Mon May 02, 2011 3:34 pm UTC

The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:Incarceration

For how long?
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Jahoclave » Mon May 02, 2011 3:35 pm UTC

Aikanaro wrote:
The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:Incarceration

For how long?

Till the quantum wavelength collapses.

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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Aikanaro » Mon May 02, 2011 3:37 pm UTC

Jahoclave wrote:
Aikanaro wrote:
The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:Incarceration

For how long?

Till the quantum wavelength collapses.

Time off for good behavior? What if he turns out to be successfully rehabilitated? Still life in prison? How do you measure out what's a "just" punishment for him? Or is it not a matter of justice, but of just neutralizing that which is harmful?
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Dauric » Mon May 02, 2011 3:38 pm UTC

Jahoclave wrote:
Aikanaro wrote:
The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:Incarceration

For how long?

Till the quantum wavelength collapses.


... And now I want to see a judge actually proclaim a life sentence with that phrase.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Mon May 02, 2011 3:38 pm UTC

Ideally, until he is deemed a productive member of society, but I would accept until he dies of natural causes if rehabilitation were deemed impossible.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Belial » Mon May 02, 2011 3:43 pm UTC

Really, justice is a pretty useless and juvenile concept at its core.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Aikanaro » Mon May 02, 2011 3:44 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Really, justice is a pretty useless and juvenile concept at its core.

So it's not about "Justice," and it's not about what he "deserves," it's about what is most efficient/best for society on the whole. Just so long as we're clear on it.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Radical_Initiator » Mon May 02, 2011 3:44 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Really, justice is a pretty useless and juvenile concept at its core.


You're right, but it almost requires the question-in-response: Got a better idea?
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Aikanaro » Mon May 02, 2011 3:46 pm UTC

Radical_Initiator wrote:
Belial wrote:Really, justice is a pretty useless and juvenile concept at its core.


You're right, but it almost requires the question-in-response: Got a better idea?

In his opinion (not necessarily incorrectly), universal rehabilitation. EVERYONE is part of the human race. If you can fix a part instead of removing it, it's better for humanity as a whole. This just tends to make other parts a little pissy.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Oregonaut » Mon May 02, 2011 3:47 pm UTC

Rehabilitation to who's standards? What if he's right? Is changing his perspective actually the greater wrong? Is forcing him to conform the ideal?
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Mon May 02, 2011 3:49 pm UTC

Right about killing being justified?
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Radical_Initiator » Mon May 02, 2011 3:52 pm UTC

Aikanaro wrote:
Radical_Initiator wrote:
Belial wrote:Really, justice is a pretty useless and juvenile concept at its core.


You're right, but it almost requires the question-in-response: Got a better idea?

In his opinion (not necessarily incorrectly), universal rehabilitation. EVERYONE is part of the human race. If you can fix a part instead of removing it, it's better for humanity as a whole. This just tends to make other parts a little pissy.


Oregonaut wrote:Rehabilitation to who's standards? What if he's right? Is changing his perspective actually the greater wrong? Is forcing him to conform the ideal?


Yeah, IMO, Oregonaut's got a good point here (assuming I understand it correctly). In a machine, the standards of "broken" and "fixed" are normally easy to define. In a society, what is "broken" one century may be reconciled within the next, and the people you've attempted to rehabilitate for being "broken" may end up really having been tortured by being born too soon. (Turing comes to mind here.)
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Aikanaro » Mon May 02, 2011 3:54 pm UTC

Radical_Initiator wrote:
Aikanaro wrote:
Radical_Initiator wrote:
Belial wrote:Really, justice is a pretty useless and juvenile concept at its core.


You're right, but it almost requires the question-in-response: Got a better idea?

In his opinion (not necessarily incorrectly), universal rehabilitation. EVERYONE is part of the human race. If you can fix a part instead of removing it, it's better for humanity as a whole. This just tends to make other parts a little pissy.


Oregonaut wrote:Rehabilitation to who's standards? What if he's right? Is changing his perspective actually the greater wrong? Is forcing him to conform the ideal?


Yeah, IMO, Oregonaut's got a good point here (assuming I understand it correctly). In a machine, the standards of "broken" and "fixed" are normally easy to define. In a society, what is "broken" one century may be reconciled within the next, and the people you've attempted to rehabilitate for being "broken" may end up really having been tortured by being born too soon. (Turing comes to mind here.)

You define "broken" based on the positive or negative impact it has on others, in particular their rights.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby omgryebread » Mon May 02, 2011 3:59 pm UTC

Incarceration would have involved a much riskier operation that involved capturing at least 4 people. Anyone else in the house, too, since you run the risk of them telling someone, and then you put the team at risk as they get back to the base with bin Laden. Non-lethal weapons are always riskier to the person using them, since they don't incapacitate nearly as well as lethal ones. Then, you would have had the long and high-profile trial, possibly creating problems if no one wants to defend him. You would then have kidnapped people around the world held with the demand that he be released. Of course, they know that he wouldn't be released, but hostage-taking with unreasonable demands is so high profile and dramatic, that you can guarantee several US news cycles. It's much harder for terrorists to get those when he's dead with a retaliatory bombing or whatever. You'd need a high profile target in the US or western Europe to come close, and that's a lot harder to do.

So capturing him risks more civilian lives, gets the terrorists more news cycles (which are the prize terrorists are always after), possibly requires more soldiers in the operation itself, and makes it much more risky for them. In pretty much every situation ever, we don't expect people to use non-lethal methods against people using lethal ones. I don't like the death penalty, and no one "deserves death" (not that I think anyone deserves life, either, but that's beside the point.) But I place the safety of the soldiers involved, and the safety of non-involved people a lot more highly than I place the life of an enemy combatant.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Radical_Initiator » Mon May 02, 2011 4:05 pm UTC

omgryebread wrote: Then, you would have had the long and high-profile trial, possibly creating problems if no one wants to defend him.


Ramsey Clark will do it. He'll defend any asshole.

Aikanaro wrote:You define "broken" based on the positive or negative impact it has on others, in particular their rights.


But what defines "positive and negative impact" (the latter, especially) has been used in the past and is likely to be used again to abridge the rights of others to presume they need to be fixed. Again, the criminalization of homosexuality as "indecency" in old UK laws comes to mind. It's a good idea if everyone respects other reasonable viewpoints, but since when has that happened?
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby ownershipyardstickmanhandler » Mon May 02, 2011 4:16 pm UTC

Oregonaut wrote:Rehabilitation to who's standards? What if he's right? Is changing his perspective actually the greater wrong? Is forcing him to conform the ideal?


Doesn't the same argument apply to justice?

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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby sourmìlk » Mon May 02, 2011 4:19 pm UTC

ownershipyardstickmanhandler wrote:
Oregonaut wrote:Rehabilitation to who's standards? What if he's right? Is changing his perspective actually the greater wrong? Is forcing him to conform the ideal?


Doesn't the same argument apply to justice?


The argument doesn't apply to anything, which I think was his point. Complete moral relativism is lazy and it doesn't work: to fix any moral problem we have to define what is good and what isn't so that we know what to work towards. To declare that morals are relative anyways means essentially that there's no morality and thus everything is okay.
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Mon May 02, 2011 4:23 pm UTC

theGoldenCalf; wrote:
The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:Is there some reason flash bangs and tear gas wouldn't have worked?


Yes. They wanted him fucking dead, and flash bangs or tear gas wouldn't have killed him.

Well, I rather think the US would have preferred to put him on trial. Still, the customary approach of the United States is to throw a grenade in a foxhole rather than a flashbang, and we must stand on tradition.

theGoldenCalf; wrote:And my point was that killing Bin Laden wasn't about solving anything, but about getting revenge and raising morale.

Those are dumb points.
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Mon May 02, 2011 4:29 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
ownershipyardstickmanhandler wrote:
Oregonaut wrote:Rehabilitation to who's standards? What if he's right? Is changing his perspective actually the greater wrong? Is forcing him to conform the ideal?


Doesn't the same argument apply to justice?


The argument doesn't apply to anything, which I think was his point. Complete moral relativism is lazy and it doesn't work: to fix any moral problem we have to define what is good and what isn't so that we know what to work towards. To declare that morals are relative anyways means essentially that there's no morality and thus everything is okay.

What does relativism have to do with it?
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Re: Osama bin Laden is Dead

Postby sourmìlk » Mon May 02, 2011 4:30 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:
ownershipyardstickmanhandler wrote:
Oregonaut wrote:Rehabilitation to who's standards? What if he's right? Is changing his perspective actually the greater wrong? Is forcing him to conform the ideal?


Doesn't the same argument apply to justice?


The argument doesn't apply to anything, which I think was his point. Complete moral relativism is lazy and it doesn't work: to fix any moral problem we have to define what is good and what isn't so that we know what to work towards. To declare that morals are relative anyways means essentially that there's no morality and thus everything is okay.

What does relativism have to do with it?


Oregonaut was asking questions based on relativism. The questions "to who's standards?" or "what if he's right?" carry the implication that anybody can define what is and isn't morally wrong.
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.


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