[extropy-chat] Uses of Religion

Olga Bourlin fauxever at sprynet.com
Tue Oct 3 03:01:13 UTC 2006

From: "Lee Corbin" <lcorbin at rawbw.com>
Sent: Sunday, October 01, 2006 10:48 PM

> Olga writes the difference between Saddam killing Iraqis and Iraqi's 
> killing Iraqies.
>> Saddam's hands.  Now it is on George Bush's hands

> Why is it so important whose blood is on whose hands?  That is, if we are 
> interested in less suffering, everything else being equal we should 
> applaud actions that reduce casualties.  (Yes---I know that not everything 
> else is equal.)

Doesn't integrity count for something?   And isn't a good reputation 
important?  How can the USA hope to hold on to any respect it may have with 
other countries in the world - unless it acts honorably?

The importance is that before the war in Iraq Saddam was considered the "bad 
guy."  Now - by many more people in many more countries than before the war 
in Iraq - the USA is considered the "bad guy."  It is not clear that the 
Iraqi war will show a reduction in casualties - the conflict seems far from 
over, and who knows over how many borders the blood will keep spilling?

The USA went to "free" the Iraqis ... but ended up "freeing" a lot of Iraqis 
from ... their lives.

> It reminds me of the chain of reasoning pacifists use.  They are 
> disturbed, yes, by killings, but it's whether or not their own hands are 
> clean that is to them what's crucial.

I don't think you'll find all that much agreement among pacifists, and there 
are degrees of pacifism even among so-called pacifists.

>> Another important difference is that the reputation of the USA has sunk 
>> to a very low level (Abu Ghraib: 
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Ghraib_prison)
> Please find me a major conflict without incidents of this kind (or, 
> usually, much worse) any time in human history.  Even when sociopaths are 
> not drawn into armies and police forces---and it's estimated that about 
> four percent of people are sociopaths---wars invariably coarsen all 
> involved.

If that's the problem, then that scenario would have needed to be placated 
in advance - call it a "defensive strategy."

Because the bottom line is ... the USA cannot lead by example if we are not 
exemplary ourselves.


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