Re: Afghanistan's "collateral damage" dead are at fault for their own deaths. Was Re: Aid for Afghanistan's

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Mon Dec 31 2001 - 19:17:43 MST

On Mon, 31 Dec 2001, commenting on my comments wrote:

> What I hear you saying is that the civilians (children, women, and men)
> killed "collateral damage" have no one to blame but themselves and should
> just die in silence

To the degree that one is "aware" of a hazard one is "personally responsible"
for tolerating its existence.

*I* am aware of the hazard that comets and asteroids represent to humanity
(even though they can scarcely be labeled "moral actors"). To the degree
I do not demonstrate & lobby my government or send money to private
organizations (every day) to investigate and develop solutions for this
problem -- I am "personally responsible" for any deaths, including my
own, that may result from my inaction.

I am not suggesting that anyone should "die in silence". I am suggesting
that placing the blame for their deaths on the U.S. *alone* is failing to
look at the larger picture.

The people who were substantially afraid of the danger that U.S. bombing
represented *migrated* to Pakistan (or other countries)! The people who
felt they could not survive the possible famine facing Afghanistan moved
to refuge camps. The people who chose not to rise up and eliminate the
Soviets from Afghanistan 15 years ago set into play a complex political
chess game that created the Al Qa'eda, the Taliban, empowered bin Laden
and eventually caused the actions we see today. If you let people use
you as a pawn -- then you are responsible for being used as a pawn.

As I mentioned before -- I think the current situation in Argentina
demonstrates quite clearly what things should look like when people
are being "responsible" for a situation they find unacceptable.
(That doesn't mean I think they know how to fix it -- it just
means they are actively contributing to whatever solution is developed.)

> _AND_ that as a citizen of the U.S. their deaths are
> also my fault since I ostensibly have the power to prevent them since I
> supposedly control the actions of my government's current (and past) foreign
> state modification projects.

To the degree that you are not marching in Washington for peace -- yes --
you are responsible for them. (Remember I'm a child of the '60s -- I *know*
the power of a generation to change government policies). To the degree
that "we" (collectively) as U.S. citizens (our our parents) thought of
Russia as the "Great Satan" and accepted the policies of our government
to combat that "evil", we share the responsibility for the current situation in
Afghanistan (and any deaths that may occur in resolving it).

> I'm not buying your argument and the 40 civilians killed on Saturday and the
> 103 killed on Sunday aren't either.

Those who are "ignorant" of the environment around them, e.g. children,
I would label "innocent" victims. Anyone who has knowledge of the situation
(ranging from the Russian invasion of Afghanistan to CIA covert activities)
is responsible to the extent they simply "accepted" the situation.
> For some reason I was under the impression that Extropianism was a form of
> transhumanism that had a very positive philosophy on the dignity of
> individuals as apposed to a state Social Darwinism agenda.

It is a very positive philosophy, clearly trying to maximize human potential.
The killing of "innocent" civilians can hardly be viewed as extropic. I'm
on record for stating that what we should be doing is cryonically preserving
all "terrorists" until the technology becomes available to determine whether
"rational" discussion can correct entrenched memes that are based on what should
most probably be viewed as a history of being brain washed.

To the extent that that cannot be accomplished at this time, I am willing to
tolerate certain civilians being caught in the line of fire in an effort
that I hope will result in a marginal increase in my personal security.
It is pragmatic self-interest that motivates me. I've written a paper
on the how bad bioterrorism might get -- it *is* very frightening --
and its only a fraction of the risks we face (from "natural" Ebola to
nuclear war to nanotech).

One can adopt a principle that no "innocent" casualties are acceptable.
That would be one arguable "extropic" position. I personally do not
feel it would be the most extropic because it would prevent taking
actions that would provide a higher level of security and would therefore
be more likely to preserve a greater number of human lives (whether they
are U.S. or Afghanistan citizens).

I'm open to suggestions for better solutions. I don't see any at this
time though.


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