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Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Connecting the Dots...

Good, John. You've raised some good issues.
I need an IBIS system to keep track of them
all, and a few experts to weigh in on some
of them.    (01)

John Sechrest wrote:
>         1a) The implication is that
>            regime change will alter the pattern of
>            terrorism. 
You disagree here. But it's not clear why.    (02)

>         1b)The missing piece is that the
>            result of regime change, especially forced
>            regime change, is unpredictable.
Any change is bad, if we can't predict the outcome with
certainty? I don't think logic supports that.    (03)

>            My belief is there is more opportunity of jumping
>            out of the pan and into the fire if the
>            change is made poorly.
Ok. That is an interesting scenario. I'd guess that an IBIS
discussion would now require supporting arguments. Possibly
example of how things might go awry, for instance, rather than
a general claim like "it's better not to get on a horse, because
you might fall off". Note that I'm not disagreeing necessarily,
I'm only stating that there is an insufficient basis for the
assertion.    (04)

>         2) The US is not the policeman of the world:
>            The issue presented assumes that regime change
>            by the US is appropriate.
I don't believe it assumes that. I believe the analysis leads
to that conclusion, without first assuming it. I welcome a
challenge to the analysis.    (05)

>            Just because you can do something does not
>            mean that you should do something.
I don't believe that statement was made, or implied.    (06)

>            If California gets unhappy with Arizona for
>            abuse of the river that california wants.
>            And it becomes a life and death issue for the
>            people living in LA, is it going to be reasonable
>            for the state militia of california to arizona?
Hmmm. Apples and oranges. If Arizona threatens to dump stuff
into the water because they don't like LA, then maybe its an
apples and apples comparison. But analogy is *so* full of
pitfalls. We can tinker with the analogy all day and not get it
right, and spend a lot of time arguing over the analogy, which
really won't help in the end.    (07)

>            We believe in a world ruled by law, not by
>            power and not by personality.
Yes. And the law said, "Disarm". And 10 years later it has not
happened. And the law says, "give them more time", just as the
law said, "let them have Poland". If an army wasn't sitting on
the borders, not even token disarmament would be occurring. But
there is, and it is.    (08)

Come to think of it, we *are* the world's policeman. No one else
has the power to do so. That makes it incumbent on us to act
responsibly. Fortunately, we are the only country on the planet
that can claim to have won major conflicts (including WWII and
afterwards) and then giving the territories back to the original
occupants, rather than taking it over. If that doesn't give us 
some kind of moral authority, then nothing on earth ever will.    (09)

>            Just as we would not want states using armed force,
>            we don't want a world run by arms instead of law.
We go in circles on that one. Because we don't want a world that
*isn't* run by law for lack of arms, either. Ever watch cops?
How much "law" would there be without some level of force directed
at the most virulently disrespectful of it? We all pay our parking
tickets. But if we don't, how long before someone shows up at your
door with a warrant, gun at their side, and you're headed for jail.
If you resist, how long before the swat team shows up.    (010)

Bottom line: "rule of law" means "stick to the terms of the 
social contract". But at some point, sanctioned forms of redress
become necessary.    (011)

But the real question is, should it be sanctioned now. And that
was the point of the previous succinct analysis, rather than this
meandering pronouncement on a point of philosophical principle.    (012)

>         3) The law of unintended consequences.
>            When you make changes in a complex system,
>            you get unpredictable side effects.
>            There is no guarentee that the side effects are
>            better than the current situation
If the current situation is manifestly untenable, isn't change
mandatory? Even if you can't assess the consequences? When 
faced with a auto that is speeding out of control, isn't it
better to leap first, and look later? Certainly our species has
managed to survive precisely because of that very principle.    (013)

[Small story: I used to love running through the woods, 
exploring trails to see where they led. Once I got down
towards a stream, and suddenly starting feeling multiple 
bites on my leg. I looked down, and there were many small
black grasshopper things, each one taking a chunk out of 
my leg, and stinging me in the process. I was running back
up the hill *before* I had any conscious thought in the 
matter. When I stopped I hastily brushed the varmints off
my legs, and ran a bit further to be sure I was clear of 
them. But I will never forget how totally, completely
mindlessly ran in that "survival situation". We have very
powerful survival instincts built into us. (Not that its
really germane, but it came to mind.]    (014)

>         4) Haste makes waste
>            Iraq has been doing silly things for decades.
>            While eric made a case for why there is a
>            relation between Iraq and al-queda,
>            he does not make a case for timing.
Only that time works against us -- but that was in my last
post.    (015)

>            Why do we need to do something about now?
>            There is no compleling reason to invade Iraq now.
>            There are other tools in place that
>            can effect change without going to war.
Now *there* is a proposition worth following up! What tools?
(I know they can't be the ones that haven't worked for the
last 10 years. But I'm open to fresh ideas.)    (016)

>         5) Our social system is based on trust.
>            ... 
>            So we have many opportunities for terrorism.
>            Any truck into a chlorine tank will take out a city.
Ouch. That's one for the FBI hotline. (When I came up with one
of those (gas tanks), I avoided discussing it in a public forum
until I saw it mentioned by the powers-that-be. (They came up
with a thing that sits on the back of the truck and takes
out the tires if its bumped from behind at a mile an hour or so
by a state police vehicle.) Hopefully, you've seen similar 
remedies for this situation. If not, please do find that hotline
and post the possibility, on the off chance it hasn't been
discussed before.    (017)

>            How many people died in Bpol because of a gas leak?
Not sure what you're alluding to here.    (018)

>            So, there is no reason to expect that if Iraq is changed
>            completly that they have in any way reduced the risk
>            of terrorism.
I would say no way to expect that we have completely eliminated,
but every reason to expect that we have substantially reduced.    (019)

>            If fact, by forcing the issue in this way,
>            they force more people into polarizing on the issue,
>            and it in fact breeds more terror later.
That is a definite possibility that must be taken seriously. I 
believe we are, by trying to make the case to our international
neighbors. But unless the *real* case is made (as I suggest the
analysis presents, although with less evidence) then there is
less reason to buy it.    (020)

>            So, I believe that eric has left out many of the issues
>            related to the case.
Hmmm. After reviewing your post in detail, I see a couple of issues
that need to be considered, but most of those are still general
thoughts. Others may or may not agree with me on that, however.    (021)

>            We lose more people to stupidity every year than we lost in
>            9/11.
Some would say that we might well lose 100 times as many, by being
equally stupid going forward. Neither statement is a real argument
one or the other, however.    (022)

>            It would be far more effective to engage the world
>            on a different level than the current administration is
>            operating on.
Again, I hunger for specifics. What kind of level might that be.
What would be effective?    (023)