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A question about WMD's and a hypothetical

Zyphlin

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I'm asking this because I would like people's honest opinions. I know i'll likely get flamed but it will be fun to see where it goes. What is coming immedietly next is a hypothetical

A man currently owns a gun, however at this time the actual Gun, magazine, and bullets are all seperate. In this particular hypothetical, the owning of a device capable of doing lethal harm is illegal. A government search of his home finds the Gun, magazine, and bullets all in seperate places. The question comes down to this....

Did the man have a "device capable of doing lethal harm" because he had all the pieces to do it and merely had to put them together to have the final product and therefore is guilty

OR

Is the man innocent becuase while he had the seperate parts and the means to combine them, they were not combined and therefore was not a "device capable of doing lethal harm"

The reason I bring this up is due to the notion of "iraq not having WMD's" that is toated so greatly lately. (anyone annoyed by this already my appologizes, I just finished a semester long "special elective" course in my government department that was "politics of weapons proliferation" and we hit these points as we went through the Iraq portion of the class) After the fall of Saddam's regime there were numerous locations discovered that had the facilities needed along with the agents needed to be combined to form chemical weapons. These matched greatly with a 2002 National Intellegence Estimates report stating that Iraq was thought to have stock piled at least 100 metric tons of chemical weapons agents as well as agents for biological weapons and that many of the weapons Saddam possessed during the first gulf war was likely still located within the country. (I appologize that I do not have links to these things off hand from the class)

Remember now, WMD's does not equal "nuclear weapons" and that alone. The term WMD refers to a collection of weapons including Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical.

Now, assuming this information is correct, re-go over this hypothetical but slightly different.

Instead of the gun, magazine, and bullets replace it with facilities, tools, and agents needed to mix a chemical or biological weapon. Do you still answer the same way? Does having these things in a close vicinity when it takes only weeks to make a majority of them equal the possesion of WMD's? Or does the fact that they are not currently combined make them non-eligable for use of the WMD delimma.

I'll be interesting to hear your opinions. Please don't turn this into a tirade of "we shouldn't have gone to war" or "bush is great" or "Bush lied, people died" or anything along those lines. Try to stick to the hypothetical and lets see if we can get an interesting discussion going.
 

tecoyah

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The man has broken the law....and the weapon can be legally removed from his home, and charges brought against him. That said....he shouldnt be put on Death Row, and his family shot in the back of the head. The time needs to fit the Crime, and in Iraq.....it simply does not.
 

Simon W. Moon

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What if instead of having a gun, bullets etc if the man had a machine shop and material that could be used to make a gun, bullets etc instead of one that had already been manufactured? That seems to be a more accurate analogy.



Zyphlin said:
... that many of the weapons Saddam possessed during the first gulf war was likely still located within the country.
I'd love to see the citations for this as it runs contrary to the report from the ISG which judged it likely that these had been destroyed.
 

Simon W. Moon

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While a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991. There are no credible indications that Baghdad resumed production of chemical munitions thereafter, a policy ISG attributes to Baghdad’s desire to see sanctions lifted, or rendered ineffectual, or its fear of force against it should WMD be discovered.



In practical terms, with the destruction of the Al Hakam facility, Iraq abandoned its ambition to obtain advanced BW weapons quickly. ISG found no direct evidence that Iraq, after 1996, had plans for a new BW program or was conducting BW-specific work for military purposes. Indeed, from the mid-1990s, despite evidence of continuing interest in nuclear and chemical weapons, there appears to be a complete absence of discussion or even interest in BW at the Presidential level.
Iraq would have faced great difficulty in re-establishing an effective BW agent production capability. Nevertheless, after 1996 Iraq still had a significant dual-use capability—some declared—readily useful for BW if the Regime chose to use it to pursue a BW program. Moreover, Iraq still possessed its most important BW asset, the scientific know-how of its BW cadre.

ISG judges that in 1991 and 1992, Iraq appears to have destroyed its undeclared stocks of BW weapons and probably destroyed remaining holdings of bulk BW agent. However ISG lacks evidence to document complete destruction. Iraq retained some BW-related seed stocks until their discovery after Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).
 

tecoyah

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Simon W. Moon said:
What if instead of having a gun, bullets etc if the man had a machine shop and material that could be used to make a gun, bullets etc instead of one that had already been manufactured? That seems to be a more accurate analogy.
Then ...NO....he is not guilty.
 

oldreliable67

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Simon W. Moon said:
While a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991.There are no credible indications that Baghdad resumed production of chemical munitions thereafter, a policy ISG attributes to Baghdad’s desire to see sanctions lifted, or rendered ineffectual, or its fear of force against it should WMD be discovered.


In practical terms, with the destruction of the Al Hakam facility, Iraq abandoned its ambition to obtain advanced BW weapons quickly. ISG found no direct evidence that Iraq, after 1996, had plans for a new BW program or was conducting BW-specific work for military purposes. Indeed, from the mid-1990s, despite evidence of continuing interest in nuclear and chemical weapons, there appears to be a complete absence of discussion or even interest in BW at the Presidential level.

Iraq would have faced great difficulty in re-establishing an effective BW agent production capability. Nevertheless, after 1996 Iraq still had a significant dual-use capability—some declared—readily useful for BW if the Regime chose to use it to pursue a BW program. Moreover, Iraq still possessed its most important BW asset, the scientific know-how of its BW cadre.

ISG judges that in 1991 and 1992, Iraq appears to have destroyed its undeclared stocks of BW weapons and probably destroyed remaining holdings of bulk BW agent. However ISG lacks evidence to document complete destruction. Iraq retained some BW-related seed stocks until their discovery after Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).


What if we put a different emphasis on these findings? With this emphasis, do these findings not become more consistent with the "we know he had'em, but we don't know what he did with'em" school of thought?
 
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Simon W. Moon

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oldreliable67 said:
What if we put a different emphasis on these findings? With this emphasis, do these findings not become more consistent with the "we know we had'em, but we don't know what he did with'em" school of thought?
What was being addressed was this " ... that many of the weapons Saddam possessed during the first gulf war was likely still located within the country."

The parts that you quoted don't deal with the likelihood "that
many of the weapons Saddam possessed during the first gulf war" were still in country.

 

oldreliable67

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Simon W. Moon said:
The parts that you quoted don't deal with the likelihood "that many of the weapons Saddam possessed during the first gulf war" were still in country.
You are right, the portions that I emphasized do not deal with that question, at least not directly. But what about the extended proposition that you proposed...

What if instead of having a gun, bullets etc if the man had a machine shop and material that could be used to make a gun, bullets etc instead of one that had already been manufactured? That seems to be a more accurate analogy.
How do you think the revised emphasis squares with that hypothesis?
 

Zyphlin

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I'll try to get back in touch with my professor and see if i can get some links from him or research them myself.

Part of the reason i did the gun/bullets/magazine was to shrink it down to a one person level. Basically components that when together make a threat. If I was just going to go with a whole country vs country or buisness (large entity) vs country route of explaining it kind of defeats the purpose of trying to take away peoples just severe hatred for the Iraq debate. And to try to use the manufacturing factory example with a single person is well, stupid.

This gave two things that had the similiar idea (multiple items, easily able to be put together to form the dangerous thing in question, in the same general small locale) but different range of extremes (single person = small thing, country = large thing). It wouldn't have worked as well for the purpose of thinking critically on this if i'd have just used another bigger example, however i'll give it a try.

An anarchist group is believe to be illegally stock piling guns on a compound they own. A probe is launched and finds that the group had a warehouse on their compound that had the machines needed to quickly assemble guns as well as all the supplies needed were found within the same warehouse. However no actual, working, fully put together guns were found. Is this anarchist group in violation of illegally stock piling guns, or are they free to continue as they were because they only had the means to quickly produce the guns but had no actual guns created?
 

Simon W. Moon

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oldreliable67 said:
How do you think th reevised emphasis squares with that hypothesis?
[General disclaimer about the nearly universal uselessness of argument by analogy as by it's nature it only ever convinces those predisposed.]

Here's what you highlighted.

Here's what I said.
What if instead of having a gun, bullets etc if the man had a machine shop and material that could be used to make a gun, bullets etc instead of one that had already been manufactured? That seems to be a more accurate analogy.
Here they are together:
Given that owning of a device capable of doing lethal harm is illegal 1...
There's evidence that he has continuing interest in guns,4and he has a machine shop which is a significant dual-use capability readily useful for a gun if he chose to use it to pursue gunsmithing, his most important gunsmithing asset, the scientific know-how of his previous experience, 5 and some gunsmithing-related patterns, 7 and not enough evidence to document the destruction of all of his guns 6 instead of a gun that had already been manufactured?

Is the man guilty of having a "device capable of doing lethal harm" because he had all the pieces to do so and merely had to put them together to have the final product? 2

Is the man innocent because though he had the seperate parts and the means to combine them, they were not combined and therefore they were not a "device capable of doing lethal harm" 3

from OP A question about WMD's and a hypothetical:

1) In this particular hypothetical, the owning of a device capable of doing lethal harm is illegal.
2) Did the man have a "device capable of doing lethal harm" because he had all the pieces to do it and merely had to put them together to have the final product and therefore is guilty
3) Is the man innocent becuase while he had the seperate parts and the means to combine them, they were not combined and therefore was not a "device capable of doing lethal harm"

What I used from the post
with the "reevised emphasis mentioned above":

4)
Indeed, from the mid-1990s, despite evidence of continuing interest in nuclear and chemical weapons,there appears to be a complete absence of discussion or even interest in BW at the Presidential level.
5) Nevertheless, after 1996 Iraq still had a significant dual-use capability—some declared—readily useful for BW if the Regime chose to use it to pursue a BW program. Moreover, Iraq still possessed its most important BW asset, the scientific know-how of its BW cadre.
6) However ISG lacks evidence to document complete destruction.
7) Iraq retained some BW-related seed stocks until their discovery after Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).


 

Zyphlin

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the red and the black and the underlining and the ouch my head hurts now....;)
 

Hoot

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I say, Not Guilty.

Where do we draw the line? Bleach combined with a few other household chemicals can be considered lethal...do we arrest everyone who has common household products in their house?

The whole premise is ridiculous and just more evidence of the potential of Big Government sticking their noses into our lives.

No thank you.
 

oldreliable67

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[General disclaimer about the nearly universal uselessness of argument by analogy as by it's nature it only ever convinces those predisposed.]
Sorry to be so obtuse, but what analogy?

And, look, as much as I appreciate your always thoughtful and complete responses, this time I just can't decipher what your conclusion is. Would you mind being a bit more explicit for dumb*ss here?

Thanks.
 

Simon W. Moon

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oldreliable67 said:
Sorry to be so obtuse, but what analogy?
That the Iraq situation is like a guy's house and the govt is like the US led coalition and that the WMd situ is like what was described, etc.

oldreliable67 said:
Would you mind being a bit more explicit ... ?
For you? I would not mind at all. But the horses are yelling at me right now. so it'll have to wait.
 

Tashah

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The analogy is essentially:

1) Is a gun (WMD) considered a lethal weapon even if it is disassembled (precursors separate from delivery system)?

I would have to say yes in both cases. Let's take the country of Pakistan and look at it a different way. Pakistan has successfully tested nuclear devices... but that doesn't necessarily mean that this Pakistani leap in technology extends to all Pakistani technology. Rather than have safeguards integrated into their nuclear weapons such as altitude sensors, atmospheric pressure sensors, and digital arming codes... the Paks rely on what is termed a 'separation safeguard'. In essence, nuclear warheads are seperated from delivery systems by distance (in this case the distance is a mere mile).

Does this neanderthal fail-safe separation scheme imply that Pakistan has nuclear capability rather than nuclear weapons? Of course not. If the components are present and can be assembled and activated, this constitutes possession of a weapon regardless if it is a handgun or a WMD.

This same line of common logic applies to the Iranian nuclear situation. The fact that Iran is fabricating cascade-centrifuges implies that Iran is seeking highly-enriched uranium (HEU) for nuclear weapons... as there is no other usage for cascade-centrifuge technology in the nuclear fuel cycle.



 

robin

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By the same logic should Israel now be attacked because she has nuclear weapons ?
I'm not advocating that BTW. Just testing the logic ;)
 

Tashah

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robin said:
By the same logic should Israel now be attacked because she has nuclear weapons ?
I'm not advocating that BTW. Just testing the logic
Israel has had nuclear weapons for many decades... well before the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was promulgated. The IAEA has determined that Iran is in violation of the NPT of which Iran is a signatory nation.

Personally, I would prefer that the IAEA/EU solve all differences with Iran diplomatically. Nevertheless, I highly doubt the Iranians will willingly abandon their nuclear-weapons objective.



 

robin

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Tashah said:
Israel has had nuclear weapons for many decades... well before the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was promulgated. The IAEA has determined that Iran is in violation of the NPT of which Iran is a signatory nation.

Personally, I would prefer that the IAEA/EU solve all differences with Iran diplomatically. Nevertheless, I highly doubt the Iranians will willingly abandon their nuclear-weapons objective.



Sounds a little beaurocratic to me. I think we should entrust the Iranians with the privalidge of having them for a probationary period of twenty years or so, as was the case with Israel, to see if they can be trusted with them.... but then again.. maybe not. Best keep em out of the club LOL
 
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