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Re: Bjorn Lomborg sets global priorities

In general the precautionary principle is useful in tactical situations not strategic.

I disagree with the Iraq analogy though. The precautionary principle may have been part of the reasoning for the war. The part used to convince the world it was necessary. The real problem was repeated line drawing.

[UN] - Don't Cross this line...

[Saddam] - [Crosses line]

[UN] - Well .... Don't Cross this line..

[Saddam] - [Crosses line]

repeat for 12 years.

Re: Bjorn Lomborg sets global priorities

I'm thinking mainly from a British viewpoint in using the Iraq invasion as an example of use of the precautionary principle. In the US I've no doubt that Saddam's defiant, uncooperative behaviour over 12 years following the Gulf War was a big factor in the decision to invade. I think another big factor would be the fact that the US had to station thousands of troops in Saudi Arabia for 12 years because of the possiblity of Saddam invading Saudi Arabia. Islamic groups used the US troops to claim Saudi Arabia was a client state of the US, and the US troop presence was supposedly the main reason why virtually all the 9/11 participants were from Saudi Arabia.

But in the UK it was all about whether Saddam had WMD as to whether British troops were committed to the invasion. 412 British MPs voted in favour of invasion, 149 against. When it later became apparent that Saddam didn't have WMD the political class tried to protect itself by calling for public inquiries. There's been two of them so far and another one is on the way.

Re: Bjorn Lomborg sets global priorities

They also listed these as the reasons for going to war here in the states.

I was basically trying to point out that the reasons used to convince the populace aren't always the same as the fundamental reason.

Say "Yah, we fubarred that one for the last twelve years. We failed to apply basic parenting standards to foreign policy and as a result we have to really exert force now. OOps, sorry!"

That doesn't work so well.

Unfortunately we can't change the past, so we have to make decisions based on the mistakes of our forbears.

It would be nice to say "****, if only those idiots at Versaille had been a little more rational, we wouldn't be here today!"