[LINK] OT: Howards anti-terrorist mailout

James Pearce james.pearce@zdnet.com.au
Tue, 11 Feb 2003 12:00:34 +1100



> > A government can attract danger to its citizens to prevent a
> > greater danger
> > to its citizens in the future, or to prevent a great travesty from
> > happening. These situations are, of course, highly subjective.
>
> James, I'm still not sure that the case of "actions which may attract a
> terrorist threat" falls into the same "protect citizens/citizens' rights"
> discussion.

Hmmm...I did sort of change the tack. You asksed the question "under what
circumstances can a government attract
 danger to its citizens?" and I replied in a very general sense. I think I
left out the first part of the response that came to my head, which was that
governments should not shy away from a particular course of action because
of some vague danger that may possibly threaten its citizens. However, it
should take all reasonable precautions to prevent that danger--and most of
my response is defining what I term "reasonable". Sorry about that.


> The difficulty in my mind is the syllogism we're presented with:
> - we must deal with Iraq;
> - making war deals with Iraq; therefore
> - we must go to war.
>
> Can the UN act against the Iraqi regime? Yes. It has in the past. Have its
> previous efforts succeeded? Not completely; but this doesn't make a war
the
> only option. There's even an argument that the previous arms-control
efforts
> worked adequately well; after all, it prevented, so far, the use of
weapons
> of mass destruction.

Well, it's prevented the use of weapons of mass destruction outside Iraq. A
british MP has claimed that Iraq has used chemical warfare within Iraq- I
don't know how accurate that claim is, but she said she had evidence. But I
agree, I don't think war is a good idea at all. Or sanctions, for that
matter, as they don't appear to be doing anything.

> The risk that people identify to Australians may or may not be genuine. If
> the risk is genuine, then it's reasonable to ask "could our government
have
> acted differently, in a way that satisfied both morality and reasonable
> safety?" - For example, would unequivocal support for renewed & stronger
UN
> actions have attracted the same danger as support for America's proposals?

The question is, "would unequivocal support of a renewed and stronger UN
eliminate the danger posed by Iraq, and ultimately be the best cause of
action for the worlds people?"
If the answer is "yes", that is the action that should be taken, because war
should be avoided wherever possible.
If the answer is "no", then the government has to decide which is the best
course of action to achieve its goals. Whether that would be war or not is
another question.

James

>
> Richard Chirgwin
>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: James Pearce [mailto:james.pearce@zdnet.com.au]
> > Sent: Monday, 10 February 2003 17:51
> > To: link@anu.edu.au
> > Subject: Re: [LINK] OT: Howards anti-terrorist mailout
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > > > We should not support unilateral action against Iraq by
> > > > America and allies
> > > > because-despite the fact that Saddam should not be running a
> > > > country-America
> > > > has never overthrown a government and replaced it with a
> > > > better one.
> > >
> > > Well ... agree generally, but I guess Nazi Germany and
> > prewar Japan may
> > > count against this statement!
> >
> > Hmm... possibly. I'm not sure how much America had to do with
> > this compared
> > to the rest of the world. I'm quite happy for the UN to
> > attempt to install a
> > government.
> >
> > > Now, about the "make yourself a target" thing. The hard
> > question is "how
> > far
> > > can individual morality be applied to governmental responsibility?"
> > >
> > > Saying "bugger you Jack" is a great wrong at an individual
> > level; but a
> > > government must think differently. The question, IM-(very
> > arrogant!)-O is
> > > this: "under what circumstances can a government attract
> > danger to its
> > > citizens?"
> >
> > A government should do all it can to protect it's citizens without
> > destroying too many of their rights. You can keep a populace
> > perfectly safe
> > by keeping them in a cell without any contact with the
> > outside world-but
> > this is not a desirable outcome. Safety must be balanced with
> > other factors.
> > Personally, I find myself inclined to desire freedom over
> > safety more than
> > my fellow citizens (I think it's a great loss to Australia
> > that fireworks
> > are mostly banned), but a broad spectrum of opinions is
> > needed for a healthy
> > society.
> >
> > A government can attract danger to its citizens to prevent a
> > greater danger
> > to its citizens in the future, or to prevent a great travesty from
> > happening. These situations are, of course, highly subjective.
> >
> > James
> >
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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> >
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