Empty Days

Saturday, January 31, 2004

Overblown ethics

While looking for stuff by Peter Singer and his opponent, Raymond Gaita (and not Giata, as I've misspelled previously), happened on this blog-entry from Tim Blair:
Raimond Gaita, professor of "moral philosophy", writes:

Only someone who believes that the end justifies the means will think the liberation of the Iraqi people from Saddam's murderous dictatorship, the creation of a democratic state in Iraq, or even the flowering of democracy in the entire Middle East, will justify the killing of tens of thousand of Iraqis.

That's me! Actually, it's less to do with anything Machiavellian than with simple mathematics. Fewer Iraqis died in the liberation of their country than would have died under Saddam's continued rule. Only someone who believes in impotent, pathetic inertia will think the perpetual enslavement of the Iraq people justifies the killing of tens of thousands of Iraqis in Baghdad alone.
There is about a thousand comments following this entry and, curiously, *all* of them take for granted that the US war on Iraq was waged to liberate Iraqis - as opposed to neutralizing a dangerously unruly regime.

Now, does this mean that if Bush-aka-Cheney had framed his intentions in another language (that is: "we're going to oust Saddam because Saddam is a perpetual threat to the security of the USA and we've been made aware by 9/11 that we need to trample out such weeds before they fester"), does this mean that the US public opinion would not have accepted this argument to support the war effort (that is: send their sons and daughters to die in a war overseas)?

It seems to me that this would have made as good a case for the war as the pseudo-moral motives proposed by Bush and Blair - especially since those are the real reasons, and always have been the *only* reason for this war. The fact that it has been camouflaged by massive propaganda to look like a world-class-humanitarian-mission is actually pretty despicable.

The question is: could the US *afford* to speak the truth and still go to Iraq?

I think - yes. It had enough of a case without all the moral humbug.

Incidentally, the WMD controversy today is yet another vestige of a lie-told-in-vain - those supposed WMD were never the real threat. Saddam was the threat. An unruly post-war Iraq still is the threat. This mission is *not* humanitarian or universally moral in any way. Is this so hard to see?

Or rather: why is it undesirable that people see things as they are?





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