Foreword: I realized while typing this up that this was becoming complex, and concluded that it is in large part my fault. I have helped us fall into
what is called an equivocation fallacy. I have made points on various issues, sometimes at least partly tangent to the main question, without adequate
distinction. Mea Culpa.
I. Should the order be disobeyed?
A. Should it be disobeyed because it's against international law?
B. Should it be disobeyed because it's against national law?
C. Should it be disobeyed because it's immoral?
II. After the fact
A. What are the implications of disobedience?
B. What are the implications of obedience?
Big question. I'll try to bring it back to to the heart of the matter and keep it as relevant as possible.
So far I've made the point that the order should be disobeyed because it is against national law. In this case matters are simplified because in a
democracy it can be argued that it is immoral to violate the Constitution on the grounds that 1. We place moral value on Democracy. 2. Our democratic
constitution ensures the applicability of our national values to the government.
Along with that, I've made the point that international law can be far too arbitrary to serve as a justification for action on its own. To that I add
Originally posted by TrueAmerican
Would it have really been for the same reason?
Pragmatically speaking, yes. There is an ambiguity to the word reason. There was a moral reason in the motivating sense, it is the causative sense
that matters most, and in the causative sense, the reason was that Germany was defeated by those who found their acts intollerable.
We must separate morality from law in this case because morality isn't the ultimate cause of anything that happened. Morality must be consistent, but
treaties and international court judgements based thereupon cannot be consistent because they are contingent upon victory.
Germany still would have been wrong if they had won, but they would have gotten away with it, and our men would have paid for the bombing of Dresden
and other such events.
International law against becomes an issue when we talk about the aftermath, but only to the extent that it can be imposed by force.
National law runs into the same problem in theory, however in a democracy if we run by the popularly supported laws there is a higher probability,
though imperfect, that the side which acts lawfully will be able to muster sufficient force to prevail, particularly if the conflict does not reach
the stage of violence.
I think that adequately covers all points now.
The order to launch should be disobeyed on national legal grounds, which should be considered a guide to the collective morality of America and
hopefully a safeguard of the ability to prevail.
If the weapons are launched, we're screwed anyway and the power principle trumps all. If the order is disobeyed, national laws and democratic victory
may save us.
More on international law, for the heck of it:
I think international law may be as futile as you say, all though I think that it may stem as much from the sheer differences in cultural
values as it does from what you are saying. Or are we actually saying the same thing?
I think we are talking about related points of the same reality. My point is that international law has no authority on its own, but achieves
authority either by the submission or defeat of the offending power. International law's only purpose is as a warning- it creates an understanding
between cultures as to what is expected and what the consequences are, but it derives no authority from the fact that it is "law", nor from the
assent of the involved parties because it is not democratically decided in the fashion that national laws are, nor is there an implied consent of the
citizens such as that described in Plato's "Dialogue of Critias" (Socrates argues that he is obviously bound to the national laws because he could
have left the country if he disapproved, therefore he must submit to the death sentence passed on him).
Ahh, great point and key point. Now please explain to me how it is that the torture that has occured recently at the hands of our military can
stand on any legal or moral grounds
It doesn't. This is the equivalent of the JCS obeying the unlawful order to launch the weapon. Strength trumps all in this case. The importance of
national and moral standing was at the beginning, when the military should have disobeyed the unlawful order to do these things. This shows the
imperfection of the principle that acting lawfully creates a greater potential for victory. I note however that if the Joint Chiefs had drawn the line
on torture right when we started this war and Bush had canned them for it, he probably would have been voted out and thus democracy would have
Still, that doesn't mean that it should be right in our minds to do the same to them.
I agree with everything you said there (except for the part about them breeding us out- fundementalism is not genetic and I believe that our values
would endure with their population if they replaced us, unless we vanished almost entirely without ever engaging them).
You are quite welcome, and may Prince offer you a ride in his little red corvette.
I don't like Prince, Red Cars, or Corvettes. I'm a Chevelle fan, particularly 65-67, although I would jump on a Hemi Cuda, GTO Judge, or COPO
Careful with the polishing cloth though, he doesn't take well to scratches. I just wish some of these guys would be a little more ingratiating
when an intellectual powerhouse like you enters their thread. They don't realize how lucky they are that you even give them the time of day.
lol, only I'm supposed to be saying things like that man, and I'm supposed to pretend I'm kidding when I say it. I'm turning redder than that
applause bar as I read.
You've given me some great challenges by the way, and I certainly hope you get a little closer to your next shade of red for your contributions here-
you're earning it.
*Yeah everyone, I know, it's a Kodak moment- just don't call it "mushy".