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PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2002 8:49 pm 
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On 2002-12-07 18:15, The Goldstandard wrote:
Fine, if I have not made myself clear I will clarify. In these debates, when I refer to China and dictatorships being evil, I am refering to their governments. I guess I should have been a little more precise in that regard. I guess not all people consider Chinas government to be evil after all. I mean, how can one judge a government that, like I said, imprisons, tortures, and executes people just for disagreeing with them to be evil compared to us? Like you said, we imprison people for robbing banks and raping little girls, and execute murderors and traitors too. So obviously we are just as bad as they are.


According to your logic and the US judicial system, there are more evil people in the US than in any other nation in the world. How else do you explain the fact that 700 out of every 100,000 US citizens is in jail? That's the highest prison population rate <b>in the world.</b>

It doesn't matter what your excuse is for killing people. They might have done things that harm others, but they are still people. You cannot excuse the fact that both the governments of China and the US take the lives of their citizens.

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Which is simply not true of course. We do kill people, but they deserved it. A murderer is worse than an animal, because animals kill on impulse, and murderers kill by choice. The murderer deserves to die as a matter of justice, and killing a murderer is not evil. The same goes for imprisoning people for robbery and rape. They harmed others, so we lock them up to punish them. What do the Chinese punish their people for? Thinking for themselves, disagreeing with the government, or simply because they were in the way. Chinas government is evil, because evil is not an arbitrary term. You rob a bank? You're evil. You enslave millions? You're evil. You kill someone who did not deserve it? (Someone who isn't a murderer or a traitor.) You're evil. You kill a murderer? You're NOT evil. You throw a robber and a rapist in jail? You're NOT evil.


You think we don't have political prisoners in the US? Where are you from? What small metal box have you been living in?

It doesn't matter what they did. I don't believe that any person or group has the right to take the life of another. That goes for everybody. "They did something bad, so that means we can kill them to show that killing people is wrong." That's great logic, hypocrites. We (the US) are just as bad as they (China) are, because we both do the same thing. To quote Tolkien: <i>"Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends." </i>

Your definitions of evil are, of themelves, arbitrary. In certain african tribes, it is acceptable to kill a newborn child up to 7 days from its birth date. This is not considered murder. It is not considered evil. You do the same thing here, you're a murderer, and therefore evil. Definitions of right and wrong vary with every society, every culture, and every person. One man's sin is another man's salvation.

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As for dictatorships being "effective," the only thing they are effective at is coercing their victims to do their bidding. That is what dictatorships do well. The ends never justify the means, because evil (or bad, or destructive, whatever the hell you wish to call it.) means lead to evil ends. Just look at the "Great Leap Forward" or "Cultural Revolution" of Chinas past. The result? Millions of innocent people get stepped on and suffer terribly.


Actually, dictatorships are quite efficient in all regards. From lawmaking (yes, dictatorships have laws too), to industry, to
anything the government controls. The inherent problem of a dictatorship is that all that power tends to go to one's head.

I would say that killing people to ensure peace is a pretty evil means to an end.

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And as for what I said about the USA, did I NOT admit that we weren't perfect? Sure, we supported Saddam in the past. But KC put it perfectly:

<i>Who is "we"? I certainly didn't give Hussein these weapons. Nor did Bush. So its a crime now to correct the mistakes of your predecessors?</i>


I already clarified my position in an above post.

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The mistakes we made in the past were minor blemishes on the record of the USA. China and other dictatorships, however, commit atrocities as a matter of policy, and if the people get tired of it and want out, too bad, if they try to overthrow their government they get run over by tanks.


Once again, the small metal box. The US doesn't support their interests in Central and South America with money and weapons. Nope. None of that happens. People don't die every day in the name of US Fruit Co. or the War On Drugs. We don't train paramilitary groups to do our bidding. We also don't hear about any of those on CNN. The information is out there, you just have to want to find it.

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The USA is FAR different.


See above.

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Here, I can think what I want to think, do what I want to do (as long as I do not harm others), buy what I want to buy, say what I want to say, choose whatever career I wish to choose, marry who I want to marry, have as many or as few kids as I want, and associate with whomever I want to.


You can think what you want to think.

You can do what you won't get busted for. Joe Average American can't smoke a joint in the privacy of his own home. Jane Average American can't walk around without a shirt on. I would argue that neither of those harm anybody, but you still can't do them.

You can only buy what you're sold.

You can say what you want as long as nobody notices or cares. There's a reason there are only 2 political parties in this country.

You can run the corporate treadmill your whole life just to buy some stuff you don't need.

You can't marry anyone you want if you're gay. Except in Vermont. But your union isn't recognized anywhere else.

I suppose you still can have as many kids as you want. Unless Roe v. Wade is overturned.

You can associate with whomever you chose, but not without consequence. The Black Panthers were targeted by the FBI. There are dozens of social and political groups that are under survailence. You can be busted just for belonging to one of them.

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Sure, some dictatorships may allow one or two of the above, but even these small amounts of freedom aren't considered inalienable by the dictator, they just allow them to do it by permission. We are allowed to do the above by right, and that is why our government is a mostly good one. The blemishes are minor compared to the whole. If you continue to believe, after all I have said, that the USA is no better than China, why don't you put your money where your mouth is and move there, if China and the US are really not that different then it shouldn't be too much of a problem for you. Right?


Let me check my posts. I'm looking for where I said that China and the US are the same. Oh look, I can't find it. Maybe that's because I didn't say it. I did say that the US and China both kill people as a matter of policy. I have more freedom here than I would in China. However, the US has more than "minor blemishes" on its record.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2002 8:51 pm 
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TMT- Gold did not say at any time that we never executed innocents. Those are errrors in judgement from people- they were being human, adhereing to their beliefs (however much you disagree with him) etc.

Dictatorships such as China do not execute innocents as errors in judgement. They execute them for stepping on someone's toes when they shouldn't have.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2002 9:25 pm 
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According to your logic and the US judicial system, there a re more evil people in the US than in any other nation in the world. How else do you explain the fact that 700 out of every 100,000 US citizens is in jail? That's the highest prison population rate in the world.


There are several ways to explain this that do not nessesarily term the entire US evil.

-Stricter laws
-More efficient law enforcement (look at Britain)
-more efficient court system (again, look at our friends across the pound)

That is a difference, not nessesarily a bad one. You can't think that cops all around adhere to the same exact laws and arrest the maximum amount of people they can. Its just stupid. Its a compliment to the law enforcement of the US that they can be that efficient in comparison to their european counterparts.

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It doesn't matter what your excuse is for killing people. They might have done things that harm others, but they are still people. You cannot excuse the fact that both the governments of China and the US take the lives of their citizens.


Thats a stupid, personal remark. You are against the death penalty- I could give a shit. You're saying there is no difference in killing someone who killed 600 people, or raped and killed a 6 year old girl, and someone who gets killed because they dared to talk about something that the glorious leaders didn't think they should.

Its rather insulting to the people who died because of believing in something that they shouldn't have, equating their loss to that of a murderer or rapist.

But its your own damn personal choice, to not like the death penalty. But please feel free to leave it OUT of the discussion, hmm?

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It doesn't matter what they did. I don't believe that any person or group has the right to take the life of another. That goes for everybody. "They did something bad, so that means we can kill them to show that killing people is wrong." That's great logic, hypocrites. We (the US) are just as bad as they (China) are, because we both do the same thing. To quote Tolkien: "Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


Noble words, but in the end useless. You either act and judge to the best of your ability or you leave yourself open to someone who is doing the same. Perhaps you made a mistake, yes, perhaps the people you are attacking don't deserve to be attacked, but given the information that we have the best judgement is to attack. The risk of not attacking is far greater than the risk of attacking.

Also, again, not all deaths are the same. Though obviously the person does not care- he is dead- how people percieve the death matters as well. You fail to recognize that becaus you are being a shiny-eyed idealist, pacificistic, etc. We cannot kill because killing is bad- but that is as idiotic a view as we must kill everybody because they might some day pose a threat to us, just the opposite end of the spectrum.

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Your definitions of evil are, of themelves, arbitrary. In certain african tribes, it is acceptable to kill a newborn child up to 7 days from its birth date. This is not considered murder. It is not considered evil. You do the same thing here, you're a murderer, and therefore evil. Definitions of right and wrong vary with every society, every culture, and every person. One man's sin is another man's salvation.


Everything- morality, life, free will- is essensially arbitrary. If you want to be scientific, there is no free will, but who the fuck cares? Arbitrary lines are nothing new, and saying that Gold draws an arbitrary line is as strong an attack as saying that his idea is just like a bunch of others.

Get a grip. Your own morality is arbitrary, as is most of philosophy in general at some point. Just because he is saying 'I draw my line in the sane HERE' and it isn't where YOU draw your line, doesn't mean he is wrong.

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Actually, dictatorships are quite efficient in all regards. From lawmaking (yes, dictatorships have laws too), to industry, to
anything the government controls. The inherent problem of a dictatorship is that all that power tends to go to one's head.

I would say that killing people to ensure peace is a pretty evil means to an end.


It is the best means. Again, be realistic. There is rarely a pure, shining, good way to ensure the safety of a country. 1 to 1, or on a small basis, it seems so simple. But put millions of lives that YOU are in charge of safegaurding and see how it changes. When your decision could save or kill millions, you must realise that the simplicity of everything changes.

The best information presented shows that Hussein will have the ability to kill millions or wreck our economy if he is left alone. With this, you have to decide- it is your JOB to ensure the safety of these people. What else can you do?

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Once again, the small metal box. The US doesn't support their interests in Central and South America with money and weapons. Nope. None of that happens. People don't die every day in the name of US Fruit Co. or the War On Drugs. We don't train paramilitary groups to do our bidding. We also don't hear about any of those on CNN. The information is out there, you just have to want to find it.


That place is one big craphole. You can't conceivably blame the US for representing their interests in a way to ensure its safety in such a craphole region. The drug trafficing there has ruined the place, and most of it is run by drug lords. If we went in there to try to straiten it out, why we'd be branded despots and evil people by people like you. Also no one there poses a threat.

Therefore, to ensure our businesses and other interests do not get destroyed, we send in paramilitary people to protect them. Fairly simple. No matter how much you disagree with the personal politics that we did (once again, done by our predecessors) right now there is nothing we can conceivably do.

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You can think what you want to think.

You can do what you won't get busted for. Joe Average American can't smoke a joint in the privacy of his own home. Jane Average American can't walk around without a shirt on. I would argue that neither of those harm anybody, but you still can't do them.

You can only buy what you're sold.

You can say what you want as long as nobody notices or cares. There's a reason there are only 2 political parties in this country.

You can run the corporate treadmill your whole life just to buy some stuff you don't need.

You can't marry anyone you want if you're gay. Except in Vermont. But your union isn't recognized anywhere else.

I suppose you still can have as many kids as you want. Unless Roe v. Wade is overturned.

You can associate with whomever you chose, but not without consequence. The Black Panthers were targeted by the FBI. There are dozens of social and political groups that are under survailence. You can be busted just for belonging to one of them.


Sigh...more paranoia 'teh usa is teh devil, I'm so sorry teh world is so much >>>>>>>> USA plz plz forgive boo hoo' BS.

1) Those are moral things, which were legislated by the people because THE PEOPLE OF THE USA decided neither of those things were morally acceptable. You have a problem? Take it up with the people.

2) Um...yeah...its called an exchange of services. Money instead of bartering like in ancient times. Much more efficient, ne? Or are you thinking we should all just give each other everything and we'll all just run and skip and dance and play?

3) Probably because the 2 parties are fairly broad, and most americans agree with one of the two parties. Its ad hoc, not because of some uber-conspiracy to suppress evil evil thoughts.

4) Whats the point of that again? Oo, evil CORPORATE TREDMILL! EVIL EVIL EVIL! DIE!

Have you been so initiated into this kind of thinking that you immediately associate any kind of exchange of services as evil?

5) Thats because marriage is a christian thing, and most christians do not believe that being gay is moral. There is still a category that puts gays as partners and have essensially the rights of a married couple, its just they can't have the christian tradition of marriage. But how the people of the US saying 'no, this is immoral I don't think gays should be allowed to marry as per christian doctrine' bad?

6) Er...what?

7) The last sentence is false. Hoover surveillanced parties he felt were immoral or unamerican. This included black panthers, MLK jr, and the Klan. He didn't arrest anyone until they committed a crime. You cannot be arrested for associating with those people- perhaps you should take a look at laws some time.

Additionally, see no reason not to surveil radical groups such as the black panthers and the klan. Its about as immoral as surveiling terrorists.

End

-Kills Commies
"Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set forth on a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our republic, our religion and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity..." (General Dwight D. Eisenhower, June 7th, 1944)


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2002 11:16 pm 
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I feel somewhat bad not responding to your posts after you took the time to address all of my points. Unfortunately I feel that this is an ultimately futile debate (like so many others) and I don't have the time or energy right now to continue. Finals are a more pressing matter. So unless somebody else wants to take up the banner, this round goes to you, KC and Gold.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2002 2:19 am 
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I should hardly say the round goes to them yet...could we take a quick look back on my slightly more real-world point?

Every please just forget a second what you think is moral, or how you define evil, or when you believe killing someone is justified, or whatever else might be bouncing around your heads from this last quick series of posts. Take a look at this from an objective standpoint (or at least as objective as you can manage; I realize that total neutrality is not the easiest thing in the world to achive). Let's run a hypothetical timeline here.

1. US declares war on/legitimizes military action in/whatever Iraq.

2. Someone demands to know how they justify this attack (strongly liberal newspapers, all manner of left-wing NGOs, the EU, or any number of other sources being legitimate groups to play this role).

3. The government's professional apologists (not using the term lightly here; my father is an apologist for a university, so I look fondly upon the profession) cite, amoung other things, the arguments KC started this thread with.

(Here I break to disregard the issue of human rights abuses. I think that it could be a convincing excuse for the invasion of Iraq; however, what has already happened on this thread will happen all over the media: people will cite other countries with human rights abuses and claim it's hypocricy, supporters of the war will counter, see the other arguments in this thread for what will happen if you like. In short, it can't really weigh in on the question of should we do it all that effectivly, just whether or not it would be moral to.)

4. Some other nation (could be China, could be Israel or Pakistan again, could be an African, South American, or Eastern European nation, could be essentially any trigger-happy country)invades a neighbor, claiming that they felt threatened by them (probably legitimatly, too...most nations prone to this sort of action are bordered by other nations prone to that sort of action).

5a. The US says "But wait a minute, you don't have the right to do that." The media, our allies' media, our enemies' media, and anyone else who gets wind of it jumps all over the US for hypocracy, setting itself up as the judge of all the world, and all the other arguments that cropped up during Vietnam, plus a few more for good measure.

5b. The US concedes that preemptive strikes as a matter of policy are acceptable. China rolls up its neighbors, the Middle East goes to hell (even more so, anyway), etc. etc. etc. (worst case scenario, I realize, but I don't think it too much of a stretch to assume that, if the US legitimizes that sort of policy, aggressive nations will take advantage of it).

In short, the invasion of Iraq presents two possible outcomes as a direct result of this particular justification which I believe are to a certain degree inescapable: one, the US loses all international credibility and a great deal of credibility internally as well (I'm not even going to begin going into the economic can of worms this opens; that's a debate for another thread or five in and of itself), or two, agressive nations, many of them already posessing WoMD, get the justification they've been waiting for all these years, courtesy of the good old US of A.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2002 3:20 am 
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Ok, here is my answer for you, Treespeaker.

I do not think that morality and politics can be sundered. Politics involves making choices, which for good or ill, affect society's future. KC makes a good point when he says that the leaders decisions can save or kill millions. Without morality as a refrence point, politicians cannot gauge whether or not their decisions are good or bad for the society.

I will never agree that morality is arbitrary however. It is not what one demogogue or a society says that determines what is the good and evil. If we all want to live together in a society, we have to behave in a certain way or there will be chaos and destruction. Lets say we turn the rule against murder on it's head and say that it is everyones duty in society to kill every man, woman and child they encounter on the spot. In the end, only one person, or nobody at all, will survive. That kinda defeats the purpose of getting together and forming a society doesn't it?

A human being alone in the wilderness is very vulnerable. The main purpose that societies were formed was for protection and trade I believe. Alone, a human being has to be able to do everything required for his survival, he has to obtain food, shelter, clothes, tools, water, and defend himself from predators. It is easier when humans live in groups because people can divide labor and trade their surplus resources for what they lack. The bigger the society, the bigger the benefits an individual can get from living in that society. However, what good is removing the danger of wild predators if they are replaced by far deadlier humans? What good is removing the burden of having to supply all your physical needs if you are just robbed by your fellow humans instead? All the things that you say are arbitrary about morality are in fact, not arbitrary at all. If people want to live in a society, they have to refrain from killing each other and robbing each other, because if they do the benefits they would get from living in a society would be pointless.

I know that this may be a bit off the topic of the case for war, but the decision of whether or not to invade Iraq could affect thousands, if not millions of lives. If we go to war thousands may die. How can one divorce morality from judgement at a time like this?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2002 11:39 am 
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Not as off topic as you might think, Gold.

There IS an objective morality, actually. Its a fairly small set of moral rules that make up this morality, but they are rules that every society that is not self destructive (I consider any hegemonic nation* as self destructive) must have, among them not to attack another nation without provocation. What this set of rules are is basically most of what western '1st world' nations adhere to in broad terms; killing is bad, stealing is bad, etc etc etc. This is because in the end what is bad for society is bad for everyone in that society and thus can be considered 'immoral' with reference to said society.

Now, the 'leader' of this society (even though the US doesn't have a 'leader' per se, just several bodies of leaders with different powers) must ensure the safety of the people and businesses within that society (if businesses suffer they have no compunction about packing up and moving production to other countries, usually 3rd world, where they can get labor at rediculously low prices, which hurts the average joe in the end) and thus must think what actions are in the best interests of both business and people in his country.

Lets look at the facts-

Hussein has shown a willingness to invade his neighbors

Hussein has shown a willingness to use weapons of mass destruction

Hussein has shown the ability to hide his production and research capabilities (see the results of the previous weapons inspectors- so far (imo) much more effective than the current lot, and they still didn't find the nuclear research areas)

Hussein has shown he is unfit to lead Iraq

The former head of the nuclear program of Iraq claims he can have a nuclear bomb within 2 years of getting ahold of fissionable material

With the inability of any one country or number of countries to control nuclear proliferation, it is pretty inevitable that he will eventually get said fissionable material (if he doesn't already have)

Hussein doesn't have to commit suicide to hurt the US immensely. If he gets a nuclear weapon, he can expand all he wants and just threaten nuclear strikes if we attempt to intervene.

Hussein can potentially ruin our economy for a very, very long time

This is the information we have on the board right now. This information is yes, incomplete, but I will say again- the price of not acting as soon as possible is greater than the price of acting.

*Hegemonic nations are nations that actively control other nations. Persueing your own interests in 3rd world shitholes is, I'm sorry, not nessesarily hegemonic. If you do believe this though, then the US will eventually self destruct by definition and thus you don't have any thing to worry about.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2002 12:03 pm 
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I sorta feel like my arguments got run through Babel fish to German and back a couple of times, and lost something in translation.

I didn't say that the decision to invade or not has to be made completely divorced from morality, rather, I suggested that we look at one particular argument (the consequences of using preemptive strikes as a justification for invasion) from a purely practical standpoint. Of course that standpoint is dependant on other peoples morality, as are all policy decesions. That doesn't mean we can't look at what will happen as a result of these comparative moralities. There's a lot of talk in here about what a government's obligation to it's people is; if (as I showed in my last post) the invasion either destroys the government's public opinion and internal stability or gives aggressive nations ("evil" ones, if you like) the opportunity to attack anyone they like using our country's name as a shield, I don't think they'd be fufilling it as well as they could by not invading it.

Now, if we wait until Saddam Hussien says "Hah hah, now I have nukes and I will use them if you try to stop my expansion," everyone jumps on the bandwagon to kill him and the US is no longer seen as an aggressive, hedgemonic state using a shaky justifiaction to invade an oil-rich country, but as an international defender of peace and freedom (killing for peace...isn't that kinda like screwing for virginity? Oh well). Of course, it does up the ante for invasion. Might even make the best course of action laying down the nukes on him before he gets a chance to. No biggie. I have faith in the US's ability to hit all of his before he can get them in the air...after all, we've spent how much money on building bigger, smarter nukes the last fifty years? Could even turn out he was bluffing.

Regardless, please go back and actually read my post previous to this one. I'm sure there are flaws in the logic in it, but I can't defend it if it gets glossed over and answered with the same generic "Saddam bad, we'll have to invade eventually" arguments.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2002 12:23 pm 
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No sane people will support invading a nuclear power. It would be idiocy, and militarily bad. Its not like we can magically find out where he hides his nukes- if that were the case we would already know where he's hiding everything else as well.

Treespeaker, your scenario is a good one, but it assumes too much of the US that we simply cannot do. At best, we hit Hussein and he never uses nukes (very very unlikely) and at worst, he nukes Israel or our oncoming armies (A scenario I feel is all too likely if we let him get nukes.)

The point is, once again, the US doesn't have magical powers to detect nuclear weapons. We either kill him before he gets nukes, and be declared whatever the hell you want to declare us, or we decided that our soldiers', or Israeli lives, arn't worth as the bad PR that we would get for invading now.

Which is not that hard a choice. Peoples' lives over looking bad- looks like a pretty clear choice to me.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2002 3:51 pm 
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What we should really do is try to find a peaceful solution, as even if we suddenly attack, he will have enough time to launch a nuclear weapon. And if we attack with nukes to prevent this, are we any better?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2002 5:59 pm 
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Well, nice of you to drop in and give us your personal opinion Eronarn. Now, please say something of greater substance, before I have to hurt you once again...



Treespeaker, when looking at the consequences of any action, you cannot just push morality out of your head, because without making judgements of whats good or bad, how can one evaluate consequences? Are consequences ever niether good nor bad?

As for looking bad, how the hell could we look bad for invading a nation such as Iraq and setting right a mistake we made in the past? Forget how we might "appear" to our neighbors for a second, and think of what they are actually saying when they accuse us of being the bad guy:

Here we are, invading a nation ruled by a dictator that inflicts untold amounts of suffering on his people. He has invaded his neighbors before, and is trying to aquire WMD. We invade the country and remove Saddam and his henchmen so they will never be able to hurt the Iraqis, and the rest of us, again.

Sure, we could mess up along the way, let Iraq collapse into dictatorship once again, etc. But why is it that the nation that respects (for the most part) the rights of human beings gets more critisism right now than the nation that is led by a madman bent on aquiring WMD so he can smite his neighbors?!

I couldn't care less about what some snotty pricks in the ivory tower, the European Union, or the media, care about the USA, anyone who condemns a free nation before condemning a dictatorship is not worth worring about upsetting.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2002 6:54 pm 
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On 2002-12-08 16:59, The Goldstandard wrote:
Well, nice of you to drop in and give us your personal opinion Eronarn. Now, please say something of greater substance, before I have to hurt you once again...


Darn. Someone else said it first.

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Treespeaker, when looking at the consequences of any action, you cannot just push morality out of your head, because without making judgements of whats good or bad, how can one evaluate consequences? Are consequences ever niether good nor bad?


You have a point. We can't say whether an outcome is good or bad without taking our own morality into it. Fortunatly, I'm not. I presented two plausible scenarios following the invasion of Iraq, then said that I personally believed that those were bad scenarios. KC has already responded quite reasonably by saying that the scenario he presents regarding what would happen if we do not invade would be worse that the scenarios I have presented. Neither his nor my scenarios depended on interpretation; our arguments that one or the other were both. Please, try to keep the scenario and the impacts of it seperate.

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As for looking bad, how the hell could we look bad for invading a nation such as Iraq and setting right a mistake we made in the past? Forget how we might "appear" to our neighbors for a second, and think of what they are actually saying when they accuse us of being the bad guy:


Two responses to this:

1. Please don't just say "well, he's meaner, so everyone will be okay if we invade." It'd be nice, but if that were the case, we wouldn't be having this debate in the first place. Obviously there are things about this attack that are questionable, regardless of how much better of a nation the US is than Iraq. So yes, it is possible for the US to look bad if they invade Iraq.

2. If we're talking international policy here, you can't just "forget about how we might appear to our neighbors." I guarantee you that when Germany says "you're just muscling in on their oil, now stop before we jack up the export tariffs on all our cars to your country" (massive oversimplification of the economic repercussions, I know--trying to keep it short here), it will affect the US.

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Here we are, invading a nation ruled by a dictator that inflicts untold amounts of suffering on his people. He has invaded his neighbors before, and is trying to aquire WMD. We invade the country and remove Saddam and his henchmen so they will never be able to hurt the Iraqis, and the rest of us, again.


I don't think that's how the rest of the world is going to see this. Sure, I think most people agree that it'd no bad thing to oust Saddam, but I don't think everyone would agree that because he's such a bad person the US should do it now, and on these justifications. Again, if it was as simple as that, we'd already have done it and this debate never would have happened.

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Sure, we could mess up along the way, let Iraq collapse into dictatorship once again, etc. But why is it that the nation that respects (for the most part) the rights of human beings gets more critisism right now than the nation that is led by a madman bent on aquiring WMD so he can smite his neighbors?!


Two arguments:

1. As I believe it was tychoseven pointed out, the US is not exactly stellar at human rights itself. Maybe percentage-wise, just because we're so huge, but the evidence he presents is compelling (I personally do not find his view of the government in general particulaly fair, but his evidence regarding prisons and executions is indisputable), and I would say that, in judging, we are going to be judged, and that is why people feel just as justified in criticizing us as they do in criticizing Saddam. I don't think anyone's saying that the Iraqi government right now is preferable to the US's (and if they are, they should shut the hell up and go live there for a while), but I do think that, if the US decides that it should be allowed to judge the actions of other nations and take military action on that judgment, then we're going to draw just as much criticism as Saddam, maybe even wind up raising his public opinion.

2. Much simpler answer, because everyone knows that Iraq has a terrible ruler. The media is well aware that 90% of the population no longer cares, and so are going to focus on the US's screw-ups instead. Sucks, but there it is.

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I couldn't care less about what some snotty pricks in the ivory tower, the European Union, or the media, care about the USA, anyone who condemns a free nation before condemning a dictatorship is not worth worring about upsetting.


In other words, public opinion can't hurt us as long as we know we're doing the right thing.

Right...

I'm sorry if this sounds cynical, but public appearance governs this country. Ambassadors kiss up to rulers they can't stand because it keeps that trade flowing. The US holds off on actions to keep our military and economic allies in the EU happy. Our politicans get orthodontic surgery prior to running for major elections. If an attack would make the US look bad to large numbers of people (and I would say that the leftist media, the EU, and those snotty pricks in ivory towers [is there anyone you don't hate?] count as large numbers of people), then you can't just disregard that by saying that, because they oppose the invasion of a dictatorship by an ostensibly free nation, their opinion is not worth considering.

Ok, this post is getting way too long, so I'll put it up and then go right on to answer KC's post.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2002 7:13 pm 
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On 2002-12-08 11:23, Kills Commies wrote:
No sane people will support invading a nuclear power. It would be idiocy, and militarily bad. Its not like we can magically find out where he hides his nukes- if that were the case we would already know where he's hiding everything else as well.


As much as I hate to admit it, I'm completly out of my depth here--I have no idea how one would go about waging war on any nation at all, and certainly not a military one specifically, nor do I know how one goes about locating hidden people or facilities. I guess my hope would be that, if the intelligence services we have can't locate Saddam's nukes (and if he really is just developing them, there can't be all that many), then the US would know where Saddam or his military centers are, and hit those as hard as they could (like I said before, maybe even use nukes of our own...god knows we've got 'em to spare). If this is really implausible/impossible, could someone tell me why, just to satisfy my curiosity? One of those things that'd just be neat to know.

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Treespeaker, your scenario is a good one, but it assumes too much of the US that we simply cannot do. At best, we hit Hussein and he never uses nukes (very very unlikely) and at worst, he nukes Israel or our oncoming armies (A scenario I feel is all too likely if we let him get nukes.)


Well, the oncoming armies thing is why I advocated nuking him in the first place...we've got all these leftover bombs that cost the country billions, why not go ahead and get some use out of them? Let the bombs do the fighting for us, and we risk at most the lives of maybe a couple hundred pilots.

As far as him nuking Israel goes, I guess that would be the major problem...if we missed one of his nukes and someone from his administration was left behind, they could nuke Israel. And again I have no idea how one would defend against something like that...I know that there are attempts at missile defense screens, but I don't really know how effective they are or how easy/cheap to create they are.

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The point is, once again, the US doesn't have magical powers to detect nuclear weapons. We either kill him before he gets nukes, and be declared whatever the hell you want to declare us, or we decided that our soldiers', or Israeli lives, arn't worth as the bad PR that we would get for invading now.


I guess here's my problems with your position(three of 'em, anyway):

1. There's the assumption that the US couldn't find out that Saddam has nukes and lay the smackdown on him before he ever gets a chance to use 'em. I don't know whether or not this is true, but I guess what I'd like to see is some evidence from some reasonably reliable source (Dept. of Defense or something like that) that says that stopping Saddam once he has nukes is any more risky than stopping him now (remember, we know he has biologicals...if he wants to wipe out Israel, he can already).

2. Again I'm getting the sort of casual dismissal of public opinion Goldstandard made...we can't just say "people can think whatever the hell they want." They will, and it won't be good for the country. The US is horribly reliant on foriegn trade, and if countries start laying tarriffs or even embargos (especially oil embargos) on us left and right because we took military action on fairly questionable justifications, we're going to feel that dependence pretty quickly.

3. There's still the unanswered question of what happens when, for example, China decides to preemptivly strike Taiwan. Can they legitimatly complain that it's a threat? A little. About as much as the US can say that Iraq is a direct threat to its people, anyway. Obviously we'll look bad for telling them to cut it out when we've just done it, regardless of how much worse their government is, but what are we supposed to do when they don't? It forces the US into a perpetual state of war if agressive nations latch on to our invasion as justification for their own, and that's in no way, shape, or form good for the country.

(edit was just to put in a bracket on one of the quote commands I missed the first time through)

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Treespeaker on 2002-12-08 18:20 ]</font>


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2002 7:49 pm 
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Treespeaker, if other countries, like China, think that they can use our example as justification for an invasion of Taiwan, you are dead wrong.

Don't drop the context of what kinds of nations Iraq, China, Taiwan, and the US are. China and Iraq are dictatorships, the US and to a lesser extent Taiwan aren't. Could Iraq, if it had the ability, justify an invasion of the USA? I don't think so, because dictators are criminals and as such do not have a right to claim any right to protection. Same goes for China as it goes for Iraq. In this case, Taiwan, the freer nation, is the weaker party, and China is the stronger. No matter how much China may claim to feel threatened by Taiwan, or for that matter, the US, it does not have the right to any safety. Chinas government is a cabal of criminals that lacks any legitimate claim to self-defence.

China can cry all day if it wants to that it has a right to preempively strike Taiwan or any other neighbor; it doesn't change the fact that China has no excuse to do so.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2002 9:00 pm 
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On 2002-12-08 17:54, Treespeaker wrote:

1. As I believe it was tychoseven pointed out, the US is not exactly stellar at human rights itself. Maybe percentage-wise, just because we're so huge, but the evidence he presents is compelling (I personally do not find his view of the government in general particulaly fair, but his evidence regarding prisons and executions is indisputable), and I would say that, in judging, we are going to be judged, and that is why people feel just as justified in criticizing us as they do in criticizing Saddam. I don't think anyone's saying that the Iraqi government right now is preferable to the US's (and if they are, they should shut the hell up and go live there for a while), but I do think that, if the US decides that it should be allowed to judge the actions of other nations and take military action on that judgment, then we're going to draw just as much criticism as Saddam, maybe even wind up raising his public opinion.


I have a spare moment, so I'm just going to add a little bit of clarification about my arguments.

1. It seems that I come across as being overly critical of the government, and this isn't really how I meant it. I don't hate the U.S., I hate our culture of consumerism and the corporate influence in our government. That's something that is global, but it affects me more in the US because this is where I live.

2. It sucks in Iraq. I would hate to live there. I wouldn't wish for anybody to be stuck there. China too. I was merely drawing parallels between free countries and dictatorships. We aren't perfect, and this has been admitted by several parties, but the general public is unaware of the full scope of our country's actions.

3. Instead of killing murderers, I would put them in jail for life. That is a perfectly acceptable alternative in my mind. If I have to pay higher taxes because of it, that's fine.

4. The FBI did in fact arrest members of 'unamerican' groups simply for belonging to that group. Most famous examples are Mumia Abu Jamal of the Black Panthers and Leonard Peltier of AIM. Both have been convicted of crimes, but as of yet no conclusive evidence has been brought against them.

I forgot to document my source, but the prison statistics come from http://www.drugwarfacts.com
Check them out if you doubt their veracity.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2002 9:09 pm 
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1. There's the assumption that the US couldn't find out that Saddam has nukes and lay the smackdown on him before he ever gets a chance to use 'em. I don't know whether or not this is true, but I guess what I'd like to see is some evidence from some reasonably reliable source (Dept. of Defense or something like that) that says that stopping Saddam once he has nukes is any more risky than stopping him now (remember, we know he has biologicals...if he wants to wipe out Israel, he can already).


Its very simple, and it doesn't require a DoD rep to tell you (they do not go about telling the public about simplisitc, from a military standpoint, ideas.) I'll attempt to explain.

Any state that has nuclear capabilities is, quite obviously, more dangerous than one that doesn't. Thats a given.

Now, we can lay our faith on virtually untested, inaccurate any-missile systems (which is not nessesarily the method Hussein would use- a timed atomic bomb hidden in some vital point would be just as effective and much harder to disarm, and there is always the nuclear artillery delivery system and the good old fashioned nuclear bomb) which by no means can 100% protect our troops or those of Israel, or we can strike now when we are 100% sure he cannot nuke anybody.

There is a multitude of ways to deliver a nuclear punch. There is even (with the recent discovery France made of tenuous ties Hussein has to Al Quida) the possibility of him just handing it off to some terrorists and they detonate it here or in Israel.

We cannot conceivably defend against all these innumerable ways to attack us. Therefore, the logical assumption is to strike our enemies before they can strike us. The thing is, we play fair (if you can say striking with overwhelming conventional force is 'fair') and thus are enemies know how we're going to strike them.

As for your other question, about how we can't nuke them- prempting someone with military force is fine, but preempting someone with nuclear weapons is strictly against not only the military doctrine we have, but the morality of every single person at the DoD. Our predecessors used it once, remember? With that spector hanging over the DoD's head, there is no way we'd launch nuke preemptively.

Additionally, if you think bad PR is invading Iraq, what kind of PR do you think NUKING the place will generate, justified or no?

Quote:
2. Again I'm getting the sort of casual dismissal of public opinion Goldstandard made...we can't just say "people can think whatever the hell they want." They will, and it won't be good for the country. The US is horribly reliant on foriegn trade, and if countries start laying tarriffs or even embargos (especially oil embargos) on us left and right because we took military action on fairly questionable justifications, we're going to feel that dependence pretty quickly.


Middle eastern countries are making a show of hating the US, but in reality everyone wants to see Hussein out. I doubt much more than grumbling and rabble-rousing would come of it.

The european street...ahh, thats another matter altogether. However, no word from any country so far has been that they will not trade/raise tariffs if we invade Iraq, so your position is highly improbably and has no basis in the real world.

As to point #3:

Each of these situations is highly specific, as you know, and as such we need to take it in a case by case basis. Taiwan poses neither a military nor nuclear threat to China, nor is it as hostile to China as Iraq is to the USA.

Stop trying to generalize, please. These situations are really, really unique. You can't just put them into a broad category in which one 'yes' makes all other situations also able to be a 'yes.'

-Kills Commies
"Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set forth on a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our republic, our religion and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity..." (General Dwight D. Eisenhower, June 7th, 1942)


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2002 11:48 am 
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First, a quick look at my #3 off of Kills Commies last argument (also the arument goldstandard responded to):

Do I think China or any other dictatorship could legitimatly claim that they needed to invade because they felt threatened by a neighbor. I suppose in some countries, but in general, no. You're all absolutley right. I don't think that China (to continue using this example) has a shred of beliveability if they claim that Tiwan is a threat that needs answering with military force. Will this stop them from doing this when the US uses the same excuse to attack Iraq, no matter how much more legitimate our claim? I doubt it. And if it does stop them, it won't stop someone else. There are a lot of greedy dictatorships out there. Some of them are even our allies, or governments we put in place. I'm not trying to say that our attack on Iraq would be used as a justification for other actions that could probably be considered legitimate, I'm saying that it would be used as justification for blatantly unessecary and unjustifiable invasions.

Which, of course, brings us back to the problem I mentioned in the previous post: what does the US do when they tell a country to stop invading their neighbor, and the don't? It's a really good way to wind up in another crappy war in some jungle hell-hole that half the nation's never heard of before, while the left-wingers and all the hippie kids who wish they'd been around during Vietnam like mommy and daddy were have a field day.

That's my scenario for another country using the US invasion of Iraq as justification for their own military action. Not trying to say that it's legitimate, just saying it'll happen somewhere, and likely in more than one place.

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On 2002-12-08 20:09, Kills Commies wrote:
Its very simple, and it doesn't require a DoD rep to tell you (they do not go about telling the public about simplisitc, from a military standpoint, ideas.) I'll attempt to explain.

Any state that has nuclear capabilities is, quite obviously, more dangerous than one that doesn't. Thats a given.

Now, we can lay our faith on virtually untested, inaccurate any-missile systems (which is not nessesarily the method Hussein would use- a timed atomic bomb hidden in some vital point would be just as effective and much harder to disarm, and there is always the nuclear artillery delivery system and the good old fashioned nuclear bomb) which by no means can 100% protect our troops or those of Israel, or we can strike now when we are 100% sure he cannot nuke anybody.

There is a multitude of ways to deliver a nuclear punch. There is even (with the recent discovery France made of tenuous ties Hussein has to Al Quida) the possibility of him just handing it off to some terrorists and they detonate it here or in Israel.

We cannot conceivably defend against all these innumerable ways to attack us. Therefore, the logical assumption is to strike our enemies before they can strike us. The thing is, we play fair (if you can say striking with overwhelming conventional force is 'fair') and thus are enemies know how we're going to strike them.


I guess my problem with this is, if he's got the biological warheads already (which he apparantly does; I believe KC himself has provided this evidence, although I could be wrong about that), why are nukes so much bigger of a threat? A bunch of anthrax in Israel is probably going to kill more people than a low-yield nuke would anyway. He's already got innumerable ways to attack us that we can't possibly predict--why is invasion nessecary now?

Quote:
As for your other question, about how we can't nuke them- prempting someone with military force is fine, but preempting someone with nuclear weapons is strictly against not only the military doctrine we have, but the morality of every single person at the DoD. Our predecessors used it once, remember? With that spector hanging over the DoD's head, there is no way we'd launch nuke preemptively.

Additionally, if you think bad PR is invading Iraq, what kind of PR do you think NUKING the place will generate, justified or no?


First off, my scenario did include "wait for him to tell us 'hah hah, I have nukes now and will use them if you stop my expansion' and then turn his country into sand,"
so it's not preemptive (like the proposed invasion with conventional forces would be).

As to the public's reaction? Yeah, they'd shit themselves. The hippies would shit themselves sideways. But if we waited for Saddam Hussien to prove that he's the baddy, wouldn't there be a hell of a lot more sympathy? If the US acted quickly enough, they could get the nukes down while the Opposition newspapers and TV shows were still backpedaling from their attacks on the idea of using conventional force (there's almost always a two or three day lull whenever a newspaper gets proven wrong on a major issue; presumably the same is true for the TV networks).

I'll concede that maybe nuking isn't the best solution (although, why the hell did we spend so much time and money building 'em if we weren't ever going to use 'em in the first place?), but damn if I know what is. Again, remember he's already got the biological weapons--how is this less of a threat to our invading soldiers than nukes?

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Middle eastern countries are making a show of hating the US, but in reality everyone wants to see Hussein out. I doubt much more than grumbling and rabble-rousing would come of it.


I guarantee you the OPEC nations will sieze the chance to make their various (and generally despotic) leaders even more disgustingly wealthy if the US gives them a chance to jack up oil prices 100% or more(which a war will). Remember the oil crisis, back in the 70s? Think that, only with more bad publicity as well.

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The european street...ahh, thats another matter altogether. However, no word from any country so far has been that they will not trade/raise tariffs if we invade Iraq, so your position is highly improbably and has no basis in the real world.


Germany. I'll grab the files off my German prof today; post 'em this evening or tomorrow morning. Sorry to make an unsupported claim like that.

'Til next time, loyal fans--Treespeaker out.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2002 1:43 pm 
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Ok treespeaker, so you say that bio weapons are as bad as nukes? I don't agree, but for the sake of argument, lets say they are. If we know that Saddam absolutely cannot be allowed to get nukes, and that he has chemical and biological weapons which are for all practical intents and purposes just as bad as the nukes are, what are we sitting here screwing around with inspections for? Isn't having something as deadly as these bio and chemical weapons enough of a justification for invading now?

Sorry that was all I could say for now, I have a busy day today and not a lot of time.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2002 3:20 pm 
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Bio and chem weapons are nasty shit. If Sadaam has developed them and is hiding them from us he definitely needs an ass-kicking.

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He has and will.

Biological and chemical attacks are chancy, localized, and their effects can be reduced or negated with proper preperation (as Israel does.) There is no way to defend from a nuclear bomb because its effects are for all intents and purposes instantaneous, and the long lasting effects (radiation, etc) have no readily available source.

I know the media has hyped up bio and chem weapons as some bigass threat, but the flat truth is that biological and chemical attacks can be defended against. Most diseases arn't overwhelmingly fatal- a quick quartentine of any area will make sure the disease does not spread. Chemical weapons disperse quickly and if prepared for will have little or no effect, even on a mass scale.

A nuclear weapon, in contrast, blows up, kills a good deal of people, and makes the region around it uninhabitable for generations, as well as screwing up the genes of a lotta innocent bystanders. In short, its worse.

Treespeaker, you missed by point on the nukes. We cannot and will not nuke Hussein first, period. We would have done that with the soviets, but such an act is of despots and hegemons, not a democratic nation. The agreement has always been that with nukes, the other guy has to hit first. Having nukes doesn't justify the use of nuclear weapons, the most destructive weapon available to humans as of yet, on another nation.


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