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Author Topic: EP120: The Sundial Brigade  (Read 41999 times)
ajames
Lochage
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« Reply #100 on: September 09, 2007, 05:34:43 AM »

"Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment."

Excellent argument against capital punishment.

However, the real salient question here is:

If you sincerely believe that by acting, you will kill 5 innocents, BUT

potentially save the lives of 500 innocents,

then is the action of killing wrong?

And if it IS wrong, then how is it any more wrong than the action of a government killing 600,000 civilians as "collateral" damage?

Note that the quote is "Do not be too eager to deal out death" and not "therefore never deal out death".  Tolkien was not just an academic, he had been in a soldier in war, too.  He knew that killing was sometimes necessary.
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ajames
Lochage
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Posts: 358



« Reply #101 on: September 09, 2007, 05:46:21 AM »

First you are assuming civilians are innocents. Second you wouldn't be intentionally killing Collateral damage.

Collateral damage could be a whole topic in and of itself, especially in a time when some governments and groups place military targets purposefully near schools and hospitals.  IMO, collateral damage is another gray area.
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Rachel Swirsky
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« Reply #102 on: September 09, 2007, 01:23:42 PM »

The concept that collateral damage isn't in some way intentional is in itself fairly ludicrous. When we take military action, we know there will be collateral damage. It's part of the military action.

Also, if we aren't assuming civilians to be innocents, then there's no point in this conversation. At that point, there really is no difference between military action toward a military target and terrorist action toward a civilian target. What evidence do you have that the people in the twin towers were "innocent"? (and who's defining innocent here anyway, what is that, a religious definition?) Are Israelis "innocent"?
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Pink Shift
Palmer
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« Reply #103 on: September 09, 2007, 06:47:33 PM »

The concept that collateral damage isn't in some way intentional is in itself fairly ludicrous. When we take military action, we know there will be collateral damage. It's part of the military action.

The term comes from the Vietnam
 war to describe meaning
 unintentional
 damage or incidental damage affecting
 facilities, equipment or personnel
, occurring as a result of
 military actions directed against
 targeted enemy forces or facilities.
Such damage can occur to
 friendly, neutral, and even enemy forces.
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collateral_damage

Can you intentionally do the unintentional?

Also, if we aren't assuming civilians to be innocents, then there's no point in this conversation. At that point, there really is no difference between military action toward a military target and terrorist action toward a civilian target. What evidence do you have that the people in the twin towers were "innocent"? (and who's defining innocent here anyway, what is that, a religious definition?) Are Israelis "innocent"?

You can make the case
 that not all civilians are innocents.
Those civilians in support of the war effort;
 the manufacturing of the implements of war for example
 are valid targets of warfare under the Geneva Convention.
 
Al Queda might say
 that those in the Twin Towers
 are not innocents
 because they ultimately
 supported the financial oppression of the USA.
But, in reality they were more of an icon target.
So those in the towers were innocent.
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Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question.

I imagine that yes is the only living thing.

e. e. cummings
JonCayen
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« Reply #104 on: September 09, 2007, 07:09:17 PM »

I am not going to comment on the morality of the story, since I disagree with the taking of civilian lives. I just want to say how this story affected me. Before i listened to this story, i really couldn't imagine myself a terrorist. But after listening to the world that these people lived in my mood changed. I may not be willing to take innocent lives with me, but if I were in that situation i just may be willing to die to destroy that system. When i realized this i noticed the thin line between terrorist and freedom fighter. And i think in West that we forget that it is a thin line. If the military is willing to accept "Collateral Damage" then are not freedom fighters given that same standard. Maybe wars are being fought the wrong way. This is a deeply philosophical story and I know there isn't one right answer. But it got me thinking and that is what freedom is all about. Also, i find it very scary about the limitations to freedom of speech that was introduced into the anti-terrorism bill. It is not my place to say if its right or wrong since I am not a member of the United Kingdom. However, if my family was killed in a terrorist attack in Canada, and my freedom to speak was limited in any way other than something that is national security. (Revealing military information and such) then i would be pretty pissed, and i would break that law very and challenge that in the courts as soon as I could. To me I prefer to me freedom is made real when i can say what ever the hell i want wheather is be knowledgeable, stupid, or exceedingly hateful.
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Pink Shift
Palmer
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« Reply #105 on: September 09, 2007, 07:25:23 PM »

Maybe wars are being fought the wrong way.

What is the right way
 to fight a war?
Isn't that the point
 of many of the comments?
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Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question.

I imagine that yes is the only living thing.

e. e. cummings
Rachel Swirsky
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« Reply #106 on: September 09, 2007, 08:57:44 PM »

I know what the term means, thanks.

If I bomb my apartment building, with the intention of killing my husband, then that's my intended target. If I don't make sure there's anyone else in my apartment building, then it may not be my intention to kill the other people, but I will do it anyway.

We know that there will be non-military damage inflicted by our weapons. We act anyway. That damage is "unintentional" in that it's not the intent of the action, but it is also a consequence that's intentionally triggered by the initial action.
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Rachel Swirsky
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« Reply #107 on: September 09, 2007, 08:58:38 PM »

"But, in reality they were more of an icon target.
So those in the towers were innocent."

So they're innocent because they're iconic?

Sorry, I don't think that follows.
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swdragoon
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« Reply #108 on: September 10, 2007, 12:44:19 AM »

I echo what pink shift said and. Err having marital problems?

And i understand your aversion to military action. It just saddens me to see that your thoughts seem to echo many.
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Improvise, Adapt ,Overcome.
swdragoon
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« Reply #109 on: September 10, 2007, 12:58:03 AM »

i hope i can use the words of my favorite poet to get accost the deference between a freedom fighter and a terrorist as i see it.

To set the cause above renown,
To love the game beyond the prize,
To honour while you strike him down
The foe that comes with fearless eyes;
To count the life of battle good,
And dear the land that gave you birth,
And dearer yet the brotherhood
That binds the brave of all the earth.

Sir Walter Scott

good luck god speed and semper fidelis.
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Improvise, Adapt ,Overcome.
ajames
Lochage
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Posts: 358



« Reply #110 on: September 10, 2007, 06:29:28 AM »

My comments have gone somewhat far afield here, so I am going to bring them back to the story and wrap them up.

As to the story, I thought it was okay.  The science fiction part of the story intrigued me, but the main plot was uninspired.  I'd read other stories that gave me some insight into 'the mind of the terrorist', and this story didn't add anything to those, and seemed pretty cookie cutter in its approach.  I was glad to see JonCayen's post, though.  Just because the story didn't move me personally, doesn't mean it isn't relevant.

As to the morality of terrorism, I've spoken to what others believe, but not myself.  I believe that in order to justify taking civilian lives, there has to be no other viable option.  If one can step away from a situation and truly see it objectively, there will be precious few times when there is no other way.  But there may be times.  Unfortunately, seeing things objectively is extremely difficult for desperate people in desperate times.  As this story demonstrates, some terrorists are also victims, some are not.  If they are a victim, does it remove their moral responsibility?  No, but it puts it into context.

Thanks to everyone who gave me things to think about in this discussion, and here's to free speech!

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Pink Shift
Palmer
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Posts: 35



« Reply #111 on: September 10, 2007, 07:22:10 AM »

I know what the term means, thanks.

If I bomb my apartment building, with the intention of killing my husband, then that's my intended target. If I don't make sure there's anyone else in my apartment building, then it may not be my intention to kill the other people, but I will do it anyway.

We know that there will be non-military damage inflicted by our weapons. We act anyway. That damage is "unintentional" in that it's not the intent of the action, but it is also a consequence that's intentionally triggered by the initial action.

In a way
 the idea of collateral damage
 is a modern term
 that arose by modern weaponry
 that could be better targeted (smart bombs or helicopters)
 versus the dumb bombs of WWII.
With the new weapons comes new moral issues.

In WWII and the cold war
 the concern over CD
 was not considered.
Unfortunately, until there is a way
 to identify official combatants CD will be with us.

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Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question.

I imagine that yes is the only living thing.

e. e. cummings
Pink Shift
Palmer
**
Posts: 35



« Reply #112 on: September 10, 2007, 07:23:21 AM »

"But, in reality they were more of an icon target.
So those in the towers were innocent."

So they're innocent because they're iconic?

Sorry, I don't think that follows.

The buildings were
 icons
 not
 the people.
That follows,
 yes?

My English
 is sometimes
 p
  o
   o
     r
« Last Edit: September 10, 2007, 07:45:13 AM by Pink Shift » Logged

Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question.

I imagine that yes is the only living thing.

e. e. cummings
swdragoon
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« Reply #113 on: September 10, 2007, 11:47:40 AM »

oops as pink shift pointed out the pome above is actuly by Sir Henry Newbolt
and only a partial quote. the book i read it from atributes it to walter scott.(still my favorite)
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Improvise, Adapt ,Overcome.
Rachel Swirsky
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« Reply #114 on: September 12, 2007, 05:02:05 PM »

"As to the morality of terrorism, I've spoken to what others believe, but not myself.  I believe that in order to justify taking civilian lives, there has to be no other viable option.  If one can step away from a situation and truly see it objectively, there will be precious few times when there is no other way.  But there may be times. "

I hear you, Allen. (It's Allen, right?) I just think that rule should be applied to military action, too.
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ajames
Lochage
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Posts: 358



« Reply #115 on: September 12, 2007, 05:56:10 PM »

Yes, Allen it is  Smiley

As I was writing the words you quoted, I realized I was focusing on the kind of terrorism in the story, even though the discussion had grown to encompass much more than that.  I do believe with some minor tweaking it can be applied to other types of terrorism, and to other violent situations, including military action, too.
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Planish
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Fun will now commence.


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« Reply #116 on: September 17, 2007, 04:34:36 AM »

Oddly enough, the whole notion of "freedom fighter or terrorist" in the story was incidental to me. Granted, it (the story) is a product of Our Times, but what kind of comments would it have provoked prior to 9/11? Would they have been any different? Perhaps, unless written by Germans in the heyday of the Baader-Meinhof Group, Italians with the Brigate Rosse , or Irish during, well, most of the last century. It's like the citizenry of the USA has just "discovered" terrorism. A decade ago, the notion that the protagonist would be anything other than a freedom fighter would hardly have been mentioned, I bet.

Quote from: Oscar Wilde
It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.
- Lord Darlington, in Lady Windermere's Fan

As a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism (yes, a card-carrying one) I kept chuckling internally at every mention of the "periodness" of various activities and objects. Fortunately there are no SCA authenticity fanatics with weapons to zap offenders out of existence. If the weapons did exist, well, they just would not be "Period".
It was amusing to me that forcing a population to remain "in Period" at all times was the Terrible Thing that the Evil Overlords did to deserve rebellion against. I did not think of the Taliban (or the like) at all.

Ah... Now I remember the other thing that I was going to say. The first half of the story called to mind Jerome Bixby's It's A Good Life, more than anything else. "If you fail to continue to behave in a manner that amuses The Powers That Be, you get zapped away."

All in all though, I quite enjoyed the story. The only criticism I might have is that the weird "wind and surf" quality to the recording was distracting for at least the first half. I'm betting it was the result of some digital background noise removal filter.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2007, 04:43:23 AM by Planish » Logged

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Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #117 on: October 08, 2010, 09:04:51 AM »

I didn't care much for the story.  It had some really good ideas, particularly the "museum world" concept where everyone is forced to re-enact a time period of the past like they're nothing but props at a ride at Disneyworld.  That made me really sad to think of all the potential culture lost by the suppression of cultural growth--sort of like tourism, in a way.

But I just didn't care about any of the characters, and it was more message than story--that's no surprise, really, since it was published in an entire anthology of message stories. 
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