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Messages - Phillip79

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Politics and Law-Related News / Re: Kerry: We may yet find WMDs
« on: April 29, 2004, 07:06:08 AM »
Kerry seems to be good at playing both sides of the ball. Did anuyone see his interview on "Meet the Press"? Wow... This guy is imploding fast.

I agree.  As a loyal Republican, I can't say I'm that sad about it, but the Democrats made a terrible decision in nominating Kerry.  He's probably a better choice than Dean, but that's not saying much.  John Edwards would've been an infinitely better candidate.  Personally, I liked Leiberman best on the issues, but he's not young or charismatic enough to be president (and anti-semitism may be a factor). 

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Are you working before law school?
« on: April 29, 2004, 07:00:24 AM »
I'll be working until mid-July.  I want to give myself a lot of time to get settled into Manhattan and get to know the City before the madness begins!

Politics and Law-Related News / Kerry: We may yet find WMDs
« on: April 29, 2004, 06:37:38 AM »

I thought this was interesting.  On Hardball, Kerry suggests the possibility that WMDs may still be found in Iraq.  He's apparently trying to cover himself in the event of "bad news" that the world community's intelligence was correct.     

Politics and Law-Related News / Re: Military Draft Coming back?
« on: April 28, 2004, 10:51:28 AM »
But let's agree to disagree.

Okay, that's fine.  Getting back to the original topic of this thread, which I never addressed:  I think it's highly unlikely that the draft will be instituted.  We have somewhere around 135,000 troops in Iraq right now, and one of the major criticisms of Donald Rumsfeld is that he hasn't put enough of the troops that we ALREADY have in Iraq.  Just for perspective, we used 500,000 troops in the first Gulf War, and no draft was needed then either. 

The numbers simply do not support any possibility of a draft, and I suspect that some people are just trying to force comparisons to Vietnam.  There's really no comparison. 

Politics and Law-Related News / Re: Military Draft Coming back?
« on: April 28, 2004, 10:19:18 AM »
First, he is a minority president in that he received a minority of the popular vote.

Bill Clinton received a minority (less than 50%) of the popular vote in both elections, and we don't refer to him as a "minority" president.  But regardless, we've never elected presidents by totality of the popular vote.  In fact, it would be accurate to say that President Bush won a majority of the popular vote in a majority of the states. 

I'm not trying to get "huffy," but when you call him a "minority" president, you're attempting to discredit him on unfair grounds.  It's perfectly fine to disagree with his policies, but let's not get side-tracked.  If you're interested in discussing the Electoral College system, I'd be happy to do that (and I'm not being sarcastic - I wrote a paper on it in college, and I find our system of government fascinating). 

As for public opinion polls, you can judge their legitimacy for yourself.  This is from Gallup, arguably the most reputable polling organization in America.  They simply ask if going to war was "worth it," and despite all the difficulties we've had, a majority still supports the war.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: So, where's everyone going?
« on: April 28, 2004, 10:06:27 AM »
All you "accepted and decided" people out there...where have you decided to go?

Fordham, most likely.  I was wait-listed at UCLA and George Washington, and there's a slim possibility I would entertain an acceptance offer from either, but I have my heart set on New York City.

Politics and Law-Related News / Re: Military Draft Coming back?
« on: April 27, 2004, 06:54:53 PM »
   That Saddam may have had time to move WMD's to a different simply points to the fact that other countries are as equally deserving of war as Iraq, but that Bush is selectively discriminating. Why not Saudi Arabia if its all about democracy? Why not N Koreak with its nukes? This could go on and on. And are we really going to go to war with the whole middle east?

I hear you, and I agree in principle that, if we had unlimited troops and unlimited financial resources, I would favor doing what we've done in Iraq to most countries in the Middle East. 

But we don't have unlimited military and financial resources, and we have to deal with reality.  The fact that we simply cannot overthrow every dictator in the world is NOT an argument to sit back and do nothing.  This is not an all-or-nothing proposition. 

I don't see anything hypocritical in making examples out of a few dictators, and doing as much as we can realistically do.  Even in our domestic criminal justice system, it's an unfortunate reality that many crimes go unpunished.  That's no reason not to prosecute the criminals that we DO catch. 

Look at what's happening in Libya.  They're dismantling their nuclear program, because of genuine fear over what we've done in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Khadafi would have laughed at us just 5 years ago (as Saddam Hussein was doing).  Once these countries start to get the message that we're serious, I don't think it'll be necessary to kill every dictator, one by one. 

You brought up Saudi Arabia and North Korea.  Put it this way:  I wouldn't lose any sleep if we assassinated the entire Saudi royal family.  But invading Saudi Arabia, and especially an occupation of Mecca, would unite the Arab world against us (including most of the people in Iraq and Afghanistan).  This would cause a world war, one which we could only prevail in by using nuclear weapons, I'm afraid.  Needless to say, this is not a viable option. 

For the same reason, we can't simply go gung-ho into North Korea and pray that they don't launch nuclear missiles.  There's a HUGE difference between taking pre-emptive action against a hostile state that's feverishly working to develop nukes (such as Iraq or Libya), and attacking a hostile regime that ALREADY has them!  In the former scenario, it's the only responsible action; in the latter, it is suicide. 

As for the estimations by Amnesty International, can draw your own conclusions there.  I'm not saying that every claim they make is necessarily false, because they're anti-war. But I'm simply stating a fact that they're not an objective observer, and their "estimates" need to be evaluated through the scope of a political interest group.  They have a vested interest in promoting inflated casualty figures, because they didn't support the war in Iraq from the beginning.     

Politics and Law-Related News / Re: Military Draft Coming back?
« on: April 27, 2004, 06:31:23 PM »
But since you bring up the issue, is it legitimate for a minority-elected president to wage a war that Congress did not declare to be a war?  Why didn't they declare war if the justification is a clear and undisputed as some would suggest.

First of all, the President was not "minority-elected."  He won a majority of the electoral votes.  If you have a problem with our Constitutional system, take it up with James Madison and company.  The President won every recount that was ever done in Florida, and I don't want to get into "Bush stole the election" arguments.

Secondly, Congress DID pass a resolution authorizing military force in Iraq.  It didn't bear the title "Declaration of war," but as I'm sure you know, there has been no official "Declaration of war" since World War II, and there's various reasons for this having nothing to do with the merits of the Iraqi war.  Incidentally, there's nothing in the Constitution specifically defining what constitutes a declaration of war.  If Congress passes a resolution authorizing military force, that sounds like a declaration of war to me, and nothing in the Constitution says otherwise.  Further, Congress has AFFIRMED its initial declaration by passing supplemental spending bills supporting the war (You know, the $87 billion that Kerry voted for, before he voted against?)

Thirdly, the war is "legitimate" in the sense that a majority of the public supports it (and interestingly, support for the war has gone UP slightly in recent weeks, even in the face of increasing difficulties).  The war is legitimate because the overwhelming majority in Congress support it.  The U.S. is a republic, and the actions of Congress reflect the will of the majority. 

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Planet Law School II (PLS)
« on: April 27, 2004, 05:47:01 PM »
That's where I bought most of my law books. PLSII is the best of them, law school confidential is good, LS for dummies is good, stay away from slaying the dragon, it is written by a lawyers who went to LS after WWII. Not very useful.

I agree with your assessments of all those books, and would add that you should also avoid Gary Munneke's How to Succeed in Law School.  Incidentally, he allegedly injured one of his students, and there's a lawsuit pending against him.

For those who are still in the admissions stage, Montauk's How to Get Into A Top Law School is excellent (it also includes a helpful chapter on "making the best of law school"). 

Politics and Law-Related News / Re: Military Draft Coming back?
« on: April 25, 2004, 05:53:02 PM »
"War can be justified on many grounds, but unilateral, pre-emptive attacks don't seem to fit into that category."

Where did you get that idea? 

"A just war can only be waged as a last resort. All non-violent options must be exhausted before the use of force can be justified."

On the contrary, I think America's decision to engage in 6 months of diplomacy, trying to pursuade the United Nations to enforce its own Security Council resolutions, was our biggest mistake.  I understand that we had to go through the motions of exhausting all other options, but if Saddam Hussein had any WMD's, he certainly had ample time to hide them or move them to Syria while we were fooling around, trying to get irrelevant former world powers on our side. 

"A war is just only if it is waged by a legitimate authority."   

The U.S. government is a legitimate authority.  The actions taken in Iraq hold the support of a majority of the American people, whether you like it or not. 

"A just war can only be fought to redress a wrong suffered. For example, self-defense against an armed attack is always considered to be a just cause."

Yes, I agree.  For 12 years, Hussein fired missiles at U.S. planes patrolling the No-Fly zone.  We could go through a very long list of "wrongs suffered" by the United States as a result of Hussein's actions in the 1990's. 

"A war can only be just if it is fought with a reasonable chance of success. Deaths and injury incurred in a hopeless cause are not morally justifiable."

In other words, a Lyndon Johnson-style war is out of the question?  Of course it is, and we learned that lesson.  Iraq was crushed so quickly, the world was stunned.

"The ultimate goal of a just war is to re-establish peace."
The Coalition has mostly succeeded in this regard.  There IS peace in the overwhelming majority of Iraq.  The media is fixated (somewhat understandably) on a few hotspots that are continuing to cause a problem.

"More specifically, the peace established after the war must be preferable to the peace that would have prevailed if the war had not been fought."

No more rape and torture rooms, no more executing political prisoners.  Currently, life in most Iraqi cities is more peaceful and free than it was under Hussein's regime.   

"The violence used in the war must be proportional to the injury suffered."

The U.S. has gone out of its way, almost to the point of frustration, to avoid not only civilian casualties, but to avoid Iraqi military casualties as well!  While Hussein's regime has killed nearly a million people, the U.S. has killed a few thousand enemy soldiers in overthrowing him.  Our level of force has certainly not been proportional to the damage he has caused.  Quite the contrary. 

"The weapons used in war must discriminate between combatants and non-combatants. Civilians are never permissible targets of war, and every effort must be taken to avoid killing civilians."

Again, compared to World War II and other major wars of past generations, civilian casualties are virtually non-existent in Iraq.  "Surgical strikes" with smart bombs have minimized civilian deaths (notwithstanding unsubstantiated claims made by anti-war groups like Amnesty International). 

After reading your requirements for a just war, I feel very good about my government's actions in overthrowing a vicious dictator and working toward the creation of a free and stable Iraq. 

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