Re: Impact on history

From: John Clark (
Date: Thu Sep 13 2001 - 22:39:49 MDT

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky <> Wrote:

> We should respond only if we can find and successfully target
> the people who were actually responsible. We should not launch a
> spasmodic, useless, civilian-killing military attack on a randomly
> selected country just because "we have to do something".

Well sure Eliezer, that's a no brainer, but in the real world good decisions may not
be so easy to make. Suppose we find out that Bin Laden is probably (say 95%)
behind it, is that good enough to act? He's hiding in the mountains of Afghanistan.
Air strikes? He moves around a lot so they so they can't get him, do we sent in
ground troops? Suppose we find out the government of Iraq is probably involved?
Do we start a new desert storm? Pakistan has the bomb now, suppose they're involved?
It's unlikely we'll ever find a smoking gun so how certain do we have to be before we start
killing people? I have an answer to all these questions but I'm far from certain any of
my answers are correct. The penalty for acting when we shouldn't or not acting when
we should could be very high. We live in interesting times.

    John K Clark

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