Assassination, ever justified?

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TheKrikkitWars
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Re: Assassination, ever justified?

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Thu Nov 13, 2008 6:44 pm UTC

smw543 wrote:Krikkit - if you want to maintain this argument over the distinction between assassinations and decapitation strikes, make a new thread on the Language/Linguistics board; this discussion has moved the thread way too far from the original topic of the justifiability of assassinations. Besides, Yoni's banana argument was completely sound, and when you start bringing in emotional factors and trigger words like "atrocity" it makes it hard to take your point seriously.


The emotional investiture of seeing what this does to people, seeing the destruction, and experiencing That Smell, it makes it hard not to bring emotion into it. That is all
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Re: Assassination, ever justified?

Postby Steve Zissou » Thu Nov 13, 2008 6:49 pm UTC

smw543 wrote:Moving on; I'll reiterate that the whole "decapitation strike" thing indirectly suggests an important issue; assuming you think assassination is justified in a given scenario, where do you draw the line on collateral damage? Most people would say that, given the chance, assassinating Hitler would have been a good thing. What if the only way to do it required the deaths of 1,000,000 civilians? Or 10,000,000? (Of course, the relative "justifiableness" can't be quantified in this sense. The only way to establish an objective opinion would be through the use of some mix of utilitarianism, statistics, and calculus. And that's almost as far-fetched as an assassin's guild :wink: )


I'd like to think that assassination is more of a targeted approach, and generally seeks to avoid such a decapitation strike, or collateral damage that you speak of. While the different degrees of murder account for varying degrees of premeditation, I'd like to think that an assassination is always a methodical, premeditated act. That being said, why would it not be in your interests to plan to reduce, if not completely eliminate, collateral damage? If we assume that collateral damage is a part of assassination, are we to consider something like a suicide attack as assassination? While the person has the intent to kill a specific figure, there are also other lives at risk - and ultimately, I think reducing, if not eliminating collateral damage is an important distinction between a [mass] murder and assassination.
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Re: Assassination, ever justified?

Postby Katrina » Fri Nov 14, 2008 12:42 am UTC

Ask the CIA:

Either 'safe' or 'lost', the usual set-up is to have a proxy blamed for the act.

Posts here confuse me: they both assume that assassination hasn't been used widely for the period 1945-2008 and that it is somehow an ethical question. Try looking up "FARC rebel leadership disbanding due to assassination and bounties placed on their deaths". The US just got its way with FARC using exactly these methods. Assassination has been a tool of counter-insurgency since the CIA was created. If you even look a little closer at the history of C/S America in the last 75 years, it has been a central 'tool' of the US.

Thus my earlier post:

I'd assumed that we were talking about private assassination, a much more interesting topic. Government sponsored assassination happens all the fucking time.

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Re: Assassination, ever justified?

Postby smw543 » Sat Nov 15, 2008 10:19 pm UTC

Katrina wrote:Posts here confuse me: they both assume that assassination hasn't been used widely for the period 1945-2008 and that it is somehow an ethical question.
No one here ever implied that assassinations don't happen, and assuming it isn't an ethical issue just because the government does it is absolutely absurd. Is what the American government doing at Guantanamo Bay ethical? How about torturing captives? Or do you mean to say that government actions are inherently neither ethical nor unethical?
TheKrikkitWars wrote:The emotional investiture of seeing what this does to people, seeing the destruction, and experiencing That Smell, it makes it hard not to bring emotion into it. That is all
Seriously, this is ridiculous. Drop this, or take it elsewhere.
Steve Zissou wrote:I'd like to think that assassination is more of a targeted approach, and generally seeks to avoid such a decapitation strike, or collateral damage that you speak of. While the different degrees of murder account for varying degrees of premeditation, I'd like to think that an assassination is always a methodical, premeditated act. That being said, why would it not be in your interests to plan to reduce, if not completely eliminate, collateral damage? If we assume that collateral damage is a part of assassination, are we to consider something like a suicide attack as assassination? While the person has the intent to kill a specific figure, there are also other lives at risk - and ultimately, I think reducing, if not eliminating collateral damage is an important distinction between a [mass] murder and assassination.
Yes, ideally an assassination has no collateral damage. But you're dangerously close to going down the same path as Krikkit did. To reiterate, an assassination is defined by intent, not result. Claiming otherwise would lead me to believe that you are either consumed with sentiment, or so conceited that you think you can change the dictionary however you please. This is really getting frustrating (no offense.)
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Re: Assassination, ever justified?

Postby Ian35 » Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:55 am UTC

This may sound lame but I think all in all whether Assassination is right or wrong is just a morality issue. You either agree that you its right to do because it helps your country/group, or you oppose it because its not helping your group. Aka the US might Assassinate a communist foreign leader against that countries will to get a democrat one in there, and we might support because it opens trade between us and them and lowers prices on certain items. Compared to say some redneck killing Lincoln, which most of us would agree was a bad thing. So its either all relative, or you just oppose all Assassinations because your against the concept. I don't think its something that you can really reason someone into believing something different it all comes down to morality.

As for whoever was talking about power blocks, well its true that maybe in some cases if you take a leader out one thats just as bad or worse might take over. Which is when I'd assume Assassination would not be a favorable course of action. But I can easily picture many cases where the removal of a strong leader would severally cripple an organization. If its a government doing the job I think they'd weigh all those kind of options before they decided to go ahead and do an assassination.

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Re: Assassination, ever justified?

Postby smw543 » Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:10 pm UTC

Ian35 wrote:This may sound lame but I think all in all whether Assassination is right or wrong is just a morality issue. You either agree that you its right to do because it helps your country/group, or you oppose it because its not helping your group. Aka the US might Assassinate a communist foreign leader against that countries will to get a democrat one in there, and we might support because it opens trade between us and them and lowers prices on certain items. Compared to say some redneck killing Lincoln, which most of us would agree was a bad thing. So its either all relative, or you just oppose all Assassinations because your against the concept. I don't think its something that you can really reason someone into believing something different it all comes down to morality.
Surely you don't mean to say that morals (or rather moral issues) can't be argued?

Also, Booth was hardly "some redneck." His conspiracy was actually very complex, and, had his accomplices been successful, he would have had a dramatic impact on history. And, contrary to common belief, it wasn't about revenge for losing the war; Booth and his co-conspirators believed that if they could kill Lincoln, Johnson, and Seward, they could revive the war effort; Lee's surrender had come only four days earlier and much of the Confederate forces were still out and about. (Disclaimer: I am by no means a Confederate sympathizer, just pointing out the facts.)
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Re: Assassination, ever justified?

Postby clintonius » Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:54 pm UTC

Personal attacks will not be tolerated, smw543. Adjust your attitude if you want to contribute to SB.

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Re: Assassination, ever justified?

Postby smw543 » Wed Nov 19, 2008 5:23 am UTC

My apologies, I didn't mean it that way. I'll be more careful in the future.
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Re: Assassination, ever justified?

Postby Ian35 » Wed Nov 19, 2008 5:44 am UTC

I'm saying that while you may be able to make what seems to you a logical argument, what are the odds someone is going to listen or be convinced by it when your dealing with primarily a moral one and instead of a logical one? Gay marriage for example..I could argue all I wanted about how gay marriage was bad for society, but I doubt anyone would listen to me because they would be supporting it not because they thought it was good for society but because they would feel gays deserved an equal right. I'm sure a few people might be open minded, but overall I don't think the majority of people will be convinced when your trying to present facts and figures to sway someones morals. And to stay on topic, I think Assassination can be justified in certain instances. But any argument about it simply originates from the morality of the issue, I may think that its justifiable because its a good idea in some cases and someone else may disagree because they feel its morally wrong. If you were strongly opposed to Assassination on moral grounds you'd need a cover argument to try and get most people into your camp without relying on appealing to emotion. For example you might say Assassination is wrong because it creates hostility between nations. The real reason someone may say it was wrong would most likely be because of a moral stance, whereas their position was just a farce invented to cover that up. My whole point here is that getting into debates about moral arguments seems to result in arguments based more on emotion then strong fact, since most aren't really objective and in general just want the other side to agree with them morally. Not talking about this thread in particular, was just in general. I hope that clarifies what I was trying to say in my last post, I hate being misunderstood.

From a logical perspective however, I'll reiterate what I said in my last post. I believe that while there may indeed be drawbacks to Assassination in some instances which is what most of you opposing it seem to be arguing, you can't deny that there are also undoubtedly good situations to consider it as a tactic in. Using the US government as an example I think our intelligence agencies are competent enough to differentiate between these two sets of situations to find the ones it would be favorable in and which it might not be the best solution. I don't think anyone is saying assassination is always the best way but it seems foolish not to keep the option on the table if it ends up saving lives by potentially crippling an organization or avoiding a conflict.

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Re: Assassination, ever justified?

Postby scrovak » Wed Nov 19, 2008 7:26 pm UTC

Whether you like it or not, this situation occurs often. I can't say a daily basis, because there aren't enough leaders for that, but often. The United States has a policy against assassination. Our stance is that we will not assassinate anyone, for any reason, whatsoever. There are, however, circumstances that arise that would merit assassination. As several people have mentioned before, these could include Saddam Housein, Adolf Hitler, Kim Jong Il, and several others. In the rare circumstance the top military brass decide someone needs to be dealt with swiftly and efficiently, the CIA gets involved. If you watch Burn Notice, Michael is based on an actual position. The CIA will contract civilians or foreign nationals to "Deal with person X. They are a threat to the American way of life. Use whatever means necessary." This wipes the CIA and the US clean of assassination plots, should the assassin ever be caught. The issue at hand, though, is who determines when an assassination must take place, and what are the criteria for that decision? We can't willy-nilly run around offing foreign leaders who disagree with proposed trade agreements, but we can't hold back and let Hitler rule the world either.

I think when it comes down to it, if the person must be eliminated to save American lives, lives in the country they rule, or to stop global catastrophe, an assassination must take place, but it must be done delicately. While we may not have the right to decide who lives and who dies, we have a moral, civil, and national imperative to ensure no one else gets to play God with that decision making process.
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Re: Assassination, ever justified?

Postby circumlocuted » Thu Nov 20, 2008 12:00 pm UTC

If war is ever justified, how could assassination not implicitly be justified too?

If you're willing to drop bombs on your enemy troops, why not also assassinate enemy leaders?
It seems a lot more humane to me.


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