Greyarcher wrote:Eh, I majored in philosophy so I naturally remember it and use it. Also, I'd say the classical form--just above the section of wikipedia you quoted--is probably more relevant to what I meant.
I called it a slippery slope, because you're seeing "vitalness to the military machine" as a spectrum, and then saying one cannot use that spectrum at all without slipping all the way to "all people are valid military targets".
That is patently absurd. Anyone can draw a line in the spectrum. That is human discretion, and human judgment. If I say I want dark clothes, that doesn't mean I slide all the way along from black to grey to white; I may use my own judgment to say, "let us draw the line here; this is dark enough". So too can people consider "vitalness to the military machine" and draw a line between targets they consider appropriate and targets they do not.
I don't think that the classical definition makes it a slippery slope either: "In the classical form, the arguer suggests that making a move in a particular direction starts something on a path down a "slippery slope". Having started down the metaphorical slope, it will continue to slide in the same direction [...]"
It's not a multi-step process, it isn't continuing to slide. It's one stage: once you can justify killing specific civilians because they're vital to military capacity, you can kill any civilian that is vital to military capacity. To be a slippery slope it'd need to continue making advances from the proposed leap. It isn't doing that (it's applying that same logic, unchanged, to others), therefor it isn't a slippery slope. It's examining the full implications of a decision or logical process. And the reason this specific application is bad is because (nearly) every civilian can be argued to be vital to military capacity. You could assassinate elected officials, bankers, farmers, entertainers, mail people, clothiers, construction workers- they're all vital to the ability for the military to function.
(Also, the part about logical fallacies wasn't directed specifically at you- there's been a lot of people claiming (often incorrectly) that others are using logical fallacies on the boards as of late. It feels like everyone came across the Little Timmy's list of logical fallacies all at the same time. It's like they're all making an appeal to authority.... What, nobody? Not funny? OK, I'll stop.)
Greyarcher wrote:Categorization is human discretion and, as I mentioned before,
Or did you think, in that post of Zamfir's you linked, that bombing of factories of collateral damage to civilians was permitted on reasoning other than the factories vitalness to the military machine? They could have well used that exact criterion, but that need not have prevented them from drawing the line where they did.
Factories are not people: the civilian workers are acceptable collateral damage so long as they weren't the intended target. You can blow up a factory without killing a single person. You can't kill a scientist without killing a single person.
yoni45 wrote:None of that changes the fact that it's a ridiculous absolute: all you're doing is defending it by arguing against another ridiculous absolute. The fact that it's ridiculous to paint anyone that can be linked in any way to a military program as a valid target does not detract from the fact that it's ridiculous to give a free pass to anyone that's not "officially" labeled as part of said program.
How proximate is a single construction worker to a nuclear program? How vital? How replaceable? How necessary is the action?
Those answers are probably quite different for a lead scientist.
You're changing goals again: originally you said part of the military itself, implying that they were members of the armed forces of Iran. Now you're limiting it to a military program
. There is a very large difference between those two. I'd say the construction worker is very vital: without anyone to build the nuclear enrichment facilities, there is nothing practical for the scientist to work on, there is no actual output- there would never be power generation or weapon creation. No workers, no program. Would you be OK with killing the workers?
You're also vastly overstating the automatic military application of a nuclear program rather heavily: it has a huge civilian aspect to it (I'd say a larger one, considering the plethora of example nations such as Japan, Taiwan, Sweden, Germany- there are more countries with a completely non-military nuclear program than there are countries with nuclear weapons)
yoni45 wrote:That's all false -- you can do just as much with either. Especially when it comes to the points substantive to their contribution to Iran's military capabilities.
Um, no? I wouldn't say any of it is false. Trying to do all of that with a civilian increases your administrative and personnel workload considerably, opens up vulnerabilities within your programs, mess with your chain of command. Saying "that's all false" is completely disingenuous.
yoni45 wrote:Seriously? Cherry picking much? Why in the world would you use your examples when they're clearly not the relevant ones?
Let's talk instead to the NATO pilots or the cruise missile operators who didn't have to touch a single firearm and simply pressed all kinds of buttons -- the reasoning that all we have to do is call them civilians and they'd become untouchable is ridiculous.
Cherry picking? You said less vital
, adjective: necessary to the existence, continuance, or well-being of something; indispensable; essential
Do you think that the invasion of Iraq could have been done without soldiers? That Libya could have freed itself with only
NATO air power (hell, even with NATO air power-see below)? That the occupation of Afghanistan would be successful without boots on the ground? If not, then combat is vital, because it would have been necessary
. This is literal, by the very definition of the word you used. The whole concept of "fighting" not being vital to war is one of the most absurd things I have ever heard in my life.
As for the pilots and missile operators: they'd be engaging in hostilities, so they'd still be valid targets anyway. Flying an armed warplane, or driving a tank, or launching a million dollar guided missile are definitely "fighting". I'll save myself the eventual disagreement:Fighting
, verb: to contend with in battle or combat; war against
I'm pretty sure there have been entirely or principally aerial battles
(technically a campaign, but campaigns are made up of multiple battles). I'd expect that most pilots would consider their experiences with hostile aircraft or targets to be "combat".