Thursday, June 17

Steves last word (probably)

Steve Sturm replies to my previous post here.

To those who claim that 'all lives' are of equal value, that is a load of bunk. Maybe it made sense in the abstract in whatever philosophy course you took during your never-ending time in school, but it doesn't play in Peoria. Nor does it play in Pretoria. If it did, and using Iraq as an example, with Hussein killing thousands of innocent Iraqis every year, then why didn't you offer up some number of your countrymen to stop Hussein? If Iraqi lives are just as valuable as South African lives, you should have been willing to suffer several hundred South African deaths in order to stop Hussein - yet you didn't.

I supported the American invasion of Iraq because I hold Iraqi lives in high regard, and would see them have same opportunities in life that I do. The reasons for the American invasion of Iraq did not matter to me, because getting rid of Saddam Hussein would have been and has been an incredible gift for the Iraqi people.

I would have supported Pretoria in sending troops to Iraq to help getting rid if Saddam Hussein. The South African government, to my disappointment, decided that helping America in its invasion of Iraq was not in our interest. This I regret and I think it was a mistake.

However, America invaded Iraq because it was in Americas interest to invade Iraq. Not because it was in the interest of Iraqis. The fact that Iraqis are to be freed from the regime of Mr Hussein is but happy coincidence.

If I could have my way, I would like to see more such happy coincidences in North Korea, Sudan and Zimbabwe. Sadly it is in neither Americas nor South Africas interest at the moment.

Our governments hold our lives in higher regard than the lives of the people from those countries. Rightly so. That does not mean we should.

p.s South Africa currently has troops in Burundi and the Congo on peacekeeping missions. South Africa also led the invasion of Lesotho when that countries government was overthrown by a faction in their military 1998. You'd be forgiven for thinking Thabo Mbeki was Goerge Bush on Speed after reading this article describing the events of the day.


Blogger Rethabile said...

Interesting debate that you're having, and that I've been following from a distance. I'd like, however, to link to a post of mine concerning the 1998 events in Lesotho.

It's that-a-wayI felt it necessary to dispel some of the stuff said in the article. Lesotho, though small, is politically complex, and many reporters usually come in for a couple of days, ask a few questions, write their article and head elsewhere.

Otherwise I like the way Richard is looking at this topic and talking about it.

17 June 2004 at 14:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The logic behind the posts of Steve that some lives have more value then others is racism - pure and simple. Nothing further to debate in my mind.


17 June 2004 at 14:42  
Blogger Richard said...

Hi Rethabile

I only wanted to use the article as a bit of a laugh on how outrageous some "reporters" can be, and hopefully make a point about how outrageous some reporters are being now about the conflict in Iraq. Thanks for posting the link however. Very interesting.

Hi zaBlogger

I’m not sure racism is the right term. I’m sure Steve feels that an American of any race is still an American. Not quite sure what the right term would be frankly.

As for not debating the issue, Steve seems to be a pretty smart bloke. I probably wont change his mind (or he mine) but I think we can both gain from the exchange.

(See also this comment by Murray at Southern Cross


17 June 2004 at 15:38  
Blogger steve said...


Being willing to commit South African troops to remove Hussein certainly shows a consistency with your arguments re: relative worth - and I applaud you for that.

I certainly agree that America moved on Iraq because we felt it was in America's interests to do so. In fact, both those who argued for action and those who argued against action couched their arguments in terms of what was best for the US, not in terms of what was best for the Iraqis. I would suggest the same held true for the other members of the 'Coalition of the Willing', even those countries not in imminent threat of terrorist attacks such as Poland; their leadership felt it served Poland's interests to support the action, or to support the US, or to snub the Germans and French.

As for the US committing troops elsewhere, for example in Zimbabwe, I don't think this will happen. Not because we don't 'care' about the plight of those getting screwed or worse by Mugabe, but because we just don't care enough - at least not enough to put American lives at risk. Take a look at our intervention in Kosovo - Clinton and the American people were willing to take action, but only action that had a next to zero chance of getting an American killed. Perhaps if such a strategy could be developed for use elsewhere then there might be a chance of such 'happy coincidences'.

17 June 2004 at 17:59  

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