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No. of Recommendations: 0
 8% (5 Votes)
I am a libertarian and it was wrong to go to war against Hitler
 56% (32 Votes)
I am a libertarian and it was right to go to war against Hitler.
 0% (0 Votes)
I am not a libertarian, but it was still wrong.
 31% (18 Votes)
I am not a libertarian, but it was still right.
 3% (2 Votes)
Who was Hitler and what are you talking about?
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No. of Recommendations: 2
I said, "Furthermore, I know few libertarians who consider opposition to Hitler and Nazi Germany in WWII as anything but just and proper."

How are you defining “libertarian”?

Because it doesn't appear that there very many posting here.

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No. of Recommendations: 3
How are you defining “libertarian”?

Because it doesn't appear that there very many posting here.


alchook, you obviously can not muster an argument against my claim that many libertarians support some wars or you would write it. Instead you attack those who post here. That's an interesting ruse on your part since the poll I posted (http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=20990381) will show that your view on just war is not universally held by libertarians. However, if you have nothing of substance or merit to write then I will let you get back to your attacks.

Regards,
Prometheuss
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alchook, you obviously can not muster an argument against my claim that many libertarians support some wars or you would write it.

I wasn't referring to “some wars.” I was referring to this war, which is waged in contradiction to the principles of libertarianism.

Instead you attack those who post here.

Have you recuperated from my attack? Are you still hospitalized? Where can I send flowers?

I didn't realize you were so sensitive.

That's an interesting ruse on your part since the poll I posted http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=20990381) will show that your view on just war is not universally held by libertarians.

Your poll showed that some who call themselves libertarians hold views about war that are contrary to the principles of libertarianism. If you were to post a poll indicating that many vegetarians eat pork chops every day it wouldn't redefine the word “vegetarian.”

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What about it was right to oppose Hitler (as private individuals) but wrong to go to war (as a nation)?

hewler
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No. of Recommendations: 13
Were the reasons for going to war against Germany in WWII just?

Well, I think we need to consider that Germany declared war on the United States. It would be a myopic nation indeed that ignored a formal declaration of war by another sovereign state. The declaration of war by Germany made our participation in WWII one of self defense, and therefore just, even in the eyes of Libertarians.

Had Germany not declared war on the United States in WWII, I think it would have been extremely difficult to justify US intervention against Germany from a Libertarian perspective. Germany did not attack the United States. While the long term commercial and strategic interests of the United States would be at risk in a world with German hegemony over Europe, I'm not sure those can be used to justify war under Libertarian philosophy.

My understanding is that the war must be defensive in nature and the force used the minimum to accomplish the objective and proportional to the offense committed. Without an overt attack on the US by Germany, I'm not sure how an aggressive response could fit these proscriptions and consequently how Libertarian philosophy could have supported the war.

Now, it should be said that just as not every Democrat and Republican believes their party is right on every issue, not every Libertarian need swallow the entire official platform part and parcel. I think there should be room for people to exercise their judgement and common sense and still consider themselves part of their chosen party. After all, without individual judgement, there is no informed dissent and without dissent, the party could never adapt to changing circumstances.

Steve
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Heh heh...that's pretty funny! I don't think resisting the Nazi party in Germany would have gotten me very far.

-JAR
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No. of Recommendations: 12
Had Germany not declared war on the United States in WWII, I think it would have been extremely difficult to justify US intervention against Germany from a Libertarian perspective.

If a neighbor has declared an intent to shoot everyone in the neighborhood (without listing names), and has already shot several people, are you within your rights to shoot at him - even if he has not yet shot at YOU?

I would say yes.

And on that basis, the US is within its rights to attack any country which (a) has publically declared a long-term plan of conquest which includes the United States, and (b) has initiated war against some minimum number of countries - even if the US is not among them.

Hitler had published his intent to conquer the world and had made war against France, Poland, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, and other countries.

So I would say that war against Nazi Germany would have been justified even if Nazi Germany had not declared war against the United States.
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No. of Recommendations: 7
Well, I think we need to consider that Germany declared war on the United States. It would be a myopic nation indeed that ignored a formal declaration of war by another sovereign state. The declaration of war by Germany made our participation in WWII one of self defense, and therefore just, even in the eyes of Libertarians.

True.

Still, Germany declared war on us because we declared war on Japan. We declared war on Japan because Japan attacked us. Japan attacked us because they assumed we were going to war eventually and they wanted to strike first. A bit simplistic, perhaps, but that's pretty much the gist of it.

So what if we followed the Libertarian principles you outlined? And what if they were imbedded in out Constitution? No war except for defensive purposes. We only fight when attacked. Would Japan have come after us then?

Take it to modern times. Why did bin Laden attack us? His objections were our troops on sacred Saudi soil, our support of Israel, and our sanctions against Iraq. When you come to think of it, from a libertarian perspective his objections are perfectly valid. Why do we have troops in Saudi Arabia? Why are we concerned with Iraq? And why do we back Israel?

Eliminate these policies—certainly a move consistent with libertarianism—and the Muslim world may not like us, but it no longer has any specific beef against us.

Sure, bin Laden thinks our culture is depraved and ungodly, but so does John Ashcroft.
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No. of Recommendations: 2
If a neighbor has declared an intent to shoot everyone in the neighborhood (without listing names), and has already shot several people, are you within your rights to shoot at him - even if he has not yet shot at YOU?

The question wasn't whether the US would be justified in declaring war on Germany per se, but whether it could be justified under a strict Libertarian way of thinking.

I don't believe Libertarian philosophy makes allowances for you to shoot your neighbor because he is on a rampage unless he is directly threatening you.

And on that basis, the US is within its rights to attack any country which (a) has publically declared a long-term plan of conquest which includes the United States, and (b) has initiated war against some minimum number of countries - even if the US is not among them.

Don't get me wrong, I would absolutely have fought Germany in WWII if it was my choice. Better to fight him when the USSR and Britain were still in the fight than to take him on alone with his flanks secured.

However, I think we need to be careful talking about plans for global domination. Hitler had plans for conquering Europe and expanding into the Soviet Union for Liebensraum. I've seen nothing suggesting he had detailed plans for conquering North America, South America, or Asia.

Steve
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No. of Recommendations: 2
Still, Germany declared war on us because we declared war on Japan. We declared war on Japan because Japan attacked us. Japan attacked us because they assumed we were going to war eventually and they wanted to strike first.

Japan attacked the U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor, which was not part of the United States, as Hawaii didn't become the 50th state until 1959.
The land of Hawaii was criminally annexed by the McKinley regime-junta as a U.S. territory in 1898, so Japan's attack was a kind of tit for tat in defense of Hawaiians against a criminal occupying force.
The U.S. Navy had no business being more than three miles off the west coast of the U.S., if that.

The U.S. imposed trade sanctions against Japan in the 1930s, even before the invasion of Manchuria in 1937, and U.S. foreign policy and diplomacy against Japan was one of aggression and hostility throughout the 1930s. The invasion of Manchuria didn't give the Roosevelt Reich the right to impose further sanctions or have its navy occupy Pearl Harbor.

Given the history of the U.S. state's hostile attitude and actions toward Japan, it's easy to see why the Japanese expected to be attacked eventually by Uncle.

Bin Laden's attack on the U.S. is perfectly understandable, given
alchook's point listed above. They were noted after 9/11 by several libertarian commentators at antiwar.com and lewrockwell.com and other sites.

VS
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No. of Recommendations: 4
So what if we followed the Libertarian principles you outlined? And what if they were imbedded in out Constitution? No war except for defensive purposes. We only fight when attacked. Would Japan have come after us then?

It's an interesting question. Clearly, our attempts to peacefully contain Japanese aggression in the 1930s through economic pressure led them to attack us. Had we not interfered in their policies, chances are they would have left us alone, at least for a time.

The question is whether we could leave them alone. One thing the experience of WWII taught was that it's far easier to nip aggression in the bud than it is to let it grow and fight it later. Had Great Britain and France stood up militarily to Germany when it invaded Czechoslovakia or annexed Austria, the entire debacle of WWII could have been avoided.

Had we let Japan alone in their efforts to create the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity sphere, the strength they would have garnered by the time we eventually confronted them over some legitimate strategic concern (e.g. Hawaii) would have been much more difficult to overcome.

The question really boils down to why nations go to war. Unfortunately, it is not always a rational decision made to protect vital interests. It is just as often the result of a desire for personal aggrandizement by a given leader. I'm not sure Libertarian philosophy is equipped to make the distinction.

Take it to modern times. Why did bin Laden attack us? His objections were our troops on sacred Saudi soil, our support of Israel, and our sanctions against Iraq. When you come to think of it, from a libertarian perspective his objections are perfectly valid. Why do we have troops in Saudi Arabia? Why are we concerned with Iraq? And why do we back Israel?

I tend to agree, but where I think you could run into trouble is that if you surrender to pressure on the periphery, it becomes much harder to fight when the threat reaches the heart.

In other words, if you give in to Bin Laden's pressure, pull out of Saudi Arabia and abandon Israel, all you do is embolden him and others like him to step up the pressure. Eventually they'll hit on something you're not prepared to give away, but by then the strength they have gained will make them much harder to overcome.

It's a tough balance to strike. On the one end you have appeasement, and on the other you have a quixotic commitment to the status quo, costs be damned. I'm not sure what the answer is.

Steve
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No. of Recommendations: 2
"Eliminate these policies—certainly a move consistent with libertarianism—and the Muslim world may not like us, but it no longer has any specific beef against us."

I respectfully diagree. This view does not factor in all the variables. Religion which forms one's world view has to be taken into consideration. Christianity vs Islam. Lets stay in the present for a second. (I know Christians have a bloody past in which I am not defending.) Christianity (by definition according to the New Tesatment) wants to convert everyone by peace and love. And except for a few radicals is generally being followed. I am no expert on the Quran but it seems to me, Islam justifies conversion by the sword. And it is not a few radicals, but a whole movement.






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No. of Recommendations: 0
The question really boils down to why nations go to war. Unfortunately, it is not always a rational decision made to protect vital interests. It is just as often the result of a desire for personal aggrandizement by a given leader. I'm not sure Libertarian philosophy is equipped to make the distinction.

Libertarians don't believe in "vital interests" or "strategic interests" of the State, because we see the State as a criminal gang, as Rothbard put it in FANL, and criminal gangs have no legitimate function or authority. Governments are protection rackets.
That's the libertarian answer to the distinction between war caused by personal aggrandizement and the protection of "vital interests."

. . . if you surrender to pressure on the periphery, it becomes much harder to fight when the threat reaches the heart.

In other words, if you give in to Bin Laden's pressure, pull out of Saudi Arabia and abandon Israel, all you do is embolden him and others like him to step up the pressure. Eventually they'll hit on something you're not prepared to give away, but by then the strength they have gained will make them much harder to overcome.

Pulling out of the Middle East and "abandoning" Israel (does Israel belong to the U.S.?) would be consistent with a libertarian foreign policy, i.e., peace and free trade, and there is no reason to assume that bin Laden and the Jihadist movement would become emboldened to step up the pressure. On the contrary, they would probably look more favorably upon the U.S. and would no longer see Israel as an American satrapy.

They can have Texas. See the new book by Robert Bryce, _Cronies: Oil, the Bushes, and the Rise of Texas, America's Superstate_ (Public Affairs, 2004).

VS











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No. of Recommendations: 4
The land of Hawaii was criminally annexed by the McKinley regime-junta as a U.S. territory in 1898, so Japan's attack was a kind of tit for tat in defense of Hawaiians against a criminal occupying force.

<sarcasm>Yes that's right. The empire of Japan was FAMOUS for coming to the defense of underdogs.</sarcasm>
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No. of Recommendations: 2
The land of Hawaii was criminally annexed by the McKinley regime-junta as a U.S. territory in 1898, so Japan's attack was a kind of tit for tat in defense of Hawaiians against a criminal occupying
force.

<sarcasm>Yes that's right. The empire of Japan was FAMOUS for coming to the defense of underdogs.</sarcasm>

I don't recall my grandfather or any other relatives having had their property stolen by the Japanese government. He did have his gold confiscated by King Franklin, as well as other assets. It didn't stop with FDR, either.
Come to think of it, I don't know any American who ever had his property stolen by Saddam, either.

So theft is okay as long as "our" government does it?

VS

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No. of Recommendations: 0
Hitler had plans for conquering Europe and expanding into the Soviet Union for Liebensraum. I've seen nothing suggesting he had detailed plans for conquering North America, South America, or Asia.

Hitler had no plans to attack outside Europe.
When he attacked Russia, he repeated Napoleon's disastrous mistake, which ultimately led to Germany's defeat.
Kenneth Macksey has a good discussion of Germany's poor strategic planning, erroneous doctrine, and military errors in _Military Errors of World War Two_.

Several libertarians (e.g. Thomas Hazlett in _Reason_) have noted
the parallels between socialist economic planning and military planning, and have pointed to relatively freer markets in the U.S. and Britain than in Germany and Japan as an important reason for the Allied victory in WW II.

Immediately after 9/11, several media pundits, including Dan Rather and writers in _Barron's_ and the _SF Chronicle_, speculated that bin Laden had sold stocks short in anticipation of what the attacks would do to stock markets, especially in the U.S. Aside from the fact that this would likely have left a paper trail for the SEC to investigate (they found nothing when they did look), why would anyone as allegedly sharp as b.l. have risked blowing such a delicate and potentially world shaking operation for a two-bit profit (relative to his ostensible fortune)? More importantly, criminals like b.l., unlike capitalists, are not in the business of creating jobs and wealth; instead they blow through their capital (often stolen or provided by other parties) with the aim of killing people and destroying property. BL supposedly was worth $30 M at one point, which was his inheritance from his father.
Has he ever committed one capitalist act with another consenting adult?
The bl-as-shortseller theory was ridiculous on its face.

VS



VS

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No. of Recommendations: 13
Libertarians don't believe in "vital interests" or "strategic interests" of the State, because we see the State as a criminal gang, as Rothbard put it in FANL, and criminal gangs have no legitimate function or authority

Valuesnark,

Libertarians are not anarchists. Governments serve many functions, and so long as they are ceded the powers to accomplish those roles by the informed consent of the governed, they have legitimacy. Certain roles are most efficiently filled by government, and while all governments are susceptible to abuse of power, careful oversight by the governed can keep these abuses in check while still receiving the benefit of that efficiency.

What are a few of these roles?

Provide recourse for the enforcement of contracts and property rights.
Provide recourse for the protection of citizens from other citizens.
Provide protection for commons.
Provide for collective defense.

Dangerous though a central authority can be to liberty, it is nonsense to think some of these could be provided without one.

How would you defend yourself from foreign invasion by a modern totalitarian army without a centrally organized and funded military? Would individual effort stand a chance? Would militias? We live in a dangerous world. What is the solution to protect your liberty from invaders if not a central government?

How about commons? Who will make sure that a factory in one town doesn't pollute the air and water of a town down stream? In a world without governments, what would be your recourse if your neighbor decided to process mercury in his back yard, polluting the entire town's groundwater?

Who would administer justice, if not the government? Should we leave it to the lynch mob or possibly rely on survival of the strongest?

No, the government is not an armed gang so long as it receives its mandate from the people and the people are vigilant about limiting government to the mandate it has been given. When the people cease that vigilance and allow the government to assume powers to itself never granted by the governed, then you have a problem.

The United States, by way of example, has a top notch Constitution that very carefully proscribes the powers of government and reserves most power for the people. Under a vigilant enforcement of this Constitution, the government could not be an "armed gang". That we choose to routinely ignore the Constitution to vote ourselves safety at the expense of liberty is something of which we should be ashamed.

Steve
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No. of Recommendations: 1
So theft is okay as long as "our" government does it?

Wow. That's what you got from what I said?

Let me see if I can do logic like that.


Soo.... a "first strike" attack is O.K., even laudable, as long as it is "our" government which is attacked?

Thanks for the opportunity to bend my brain around THAT one!

R:)ph
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No. of Recommendations: 1
It is absolutely true that government at its ordinariness (let alone at its worst) is theft and oppression.

But it is also true that government at its BEST is the means by which we collectively do that which we individually have the RIGHT and the WILL to do, but in practice COULD NOT do - such as effectively wage a just and popular war.

Of course then we get into the problem that very few wars, even the just ones, have the UNANIMOUS support of the people whose taxes will fund them...

(In theory I'm an anarchist. I hold the complete absence of government to be the ideal. However I'm also a realist, and recognize that the complete absence of government will last about 0.03 seconds before some bully seizes power over a neighbor by force of arms - perhaps literally - thereby creating a government. And probably a relatively distasteful government at that.

I figured out some years ago that all forms of government - anarchy, democracy, monarchy, oligarchy, technocracy, theocracy, socialism, communism, whatever - are equally good, and functionally indistinguishable, IN THEORY, and when implemented by perfect people; the difference is in how they work in reality with less-than-perfect people, which are vastly the more common sort.)
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No. of Recommendations: 0
How are you defining “libertarian”?

Because it doesn't appear that there very many posting here.


I guess I wasted my time going to the National Convention this year if I'm not considered a Libertarian.
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How are you defining “libertarian”?

Because it doesn't appear that there very many posting here.


BTW, when did you become the head of the Libertarian Party?
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Your poll showed that some who call themselves libertarians hold views about war that are contrary to the principles of libertarianism. If you were to post a poll indicating that many vegetarians eat pork chops every day it wouldn't redefine the word “vegetarian.”

Okay, let's try the blunt and to the point method. Who gave you the right to determine who is or isn't a Libertarian?
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My understanding is that the war must be defensive in nature and the force used the minimum to accomplish the objective and proportional to the offense committed. Without an overt attack on the US by Germany, I'm not sure how an aggressive response could fit these proscriptions and consequently how Libertarian philosophy could have supported the war.

Please tell me what the overt attack by the Germans was?
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No. of Recommendations: 7
Take it to modern times. Why did bin Laden attack us? His objections were our troops on sacred Saudi soil, our support of Israel, and our sanctions against Iraq. When you come to think of it, from a libertarian perspective his objections are perfectly valid. Why do we have troops in Saudi Arabia? Why are we concerned with Iraq? And why do we back Israel?

Think again. I forgotten the reporter's name, but there was a man that interviewed OBL years ago when Reagan was President and the US was backing the mujahadeem. We were supplying what he needed, we did not have troops in SA, etc. He told the reported that they were going to take out the USSR and when they finished they would be coming after the US. This has nothing to do with the troops in SA, that's just a handy excuse.
BTW, the reason we are concerned with Israel is because they are an ALLY.
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The question wasn't whether the US would be justified in declaring war on Germany per se, but whether it could be justified under a strict Libertarian way of thinking.

Under your premise of "strict Libertarian thinking", this counry would have been blown off the map a long time ago, like say the turn of the last century.
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Hitler had no plans to attack outside Europe.

That you know of.
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Okay, let's try the blunt and to the point method. Who gave you the right to determine who is or isn't a Libertarian?

Well, you're right. I'm not even a Libertarian myself and I shouldn't go around telling others what they are or are not.

I've done this type of thing before, too. About five years ago my best friend Ernie became a vegan. He was really insufferable about it, boring everyone to death extolling the virtues of the vegan lifestyle, how healthy it was, and how morally depraved the rest of us were. He was a real pain.

I remember one night I finally couldn't take it any more. Ernie was off on one of his famous vegan rants, droning on and on about how he was one with Mother Earth now that he respected all of her creatures. And all this while we were out to dinner at Morton's, with Ernie half way through a 24 ounce blood-rare porterhouse.

Disgusted, I yelled at him. “Ernie, you eat more meat in a week than the rest of us do in a month. You're about as vegan as a mountain lion.”

Ernie sat there stunned, his face turned red, and I thought he was about to cry. Finally he glared at me, wiped the grease off of his chin, and said, “Where the hell do you—a stinking carnivore—get off telling me that I'm not a vegan?”
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No. of Recommendations: 2
"Take it to modern times. Why did bin Laden attack us? His objections were our troops on sacred Saudi soil, our support of Israel, and our sanctions against Iraq. When you come to think of it, from a libertarian perspective his objections are perfectly valid. Why do we have troops in Saudi Arabia? Why are we concerned with Iraq? And why do we back Israel?

Eliminate these policies—certainly a move consistent with libertarianism—and the Muslim world may not like us, but it no longer has any specific beef against us.

Sure, bin Laden thinks our culture is depraved and ungodly, but so does John Ashcroft."

=======================================================================

But we were attacked, and now we have to defend ourselves or be attacked again. Isolationism may have worked to prevent the threat, but now that it's here, isolationism will not work. Appeasement, which is what you are suggesting, historically doesn't work with aggressors.

And John Aschcroft is also a threat to my civil liberties, but he is dealt with in a different way (voting booth) than bin Laden (warfare), as a result of the arena they both choose to engage us in.

-JAR
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Libertarians are not anarchists. Governments serve many functions, and so long as they are ceded the powers to accomplish those roles by the informed consent of the governed, they have legitimacy. Certain roles are most efficiently filled by government, and while all governments are susceptible to abuse of power, careful oversight by the governed can keep these abuses in check while still receiving the benefit of that efficiency.

Steve,

Many libertarians are anarchists, including Lysander Spooner, Benj. Tucker, Murray Rothbard and David Friedman, to mention four.
Governments usurp power illegitimately by force and fraud. All governments are criminal organizations, without exception. The so-called founding fathers (55 framers/39 signers) were among the biggest criminals ever; they had no power of attorney to creat a constitution, and certainly no authority to foist it on anyone. No one has any legal or moral obligation to pay heed or obeisance to it. Nor should school children recite the socialist pledge of allegiance or salute the U.S. state's battle flag, that symbol of mass murder and armed robbery.

What are a few of these roles?

Provide recourse for the enforcement of contracts and property rights.
Provide recourse for the protection of citizens from other citizens.
Provide protection for commons.
Provide for collective defense.


Dangerous though a central authority can be to liberty, it is nonsense to think some of these could be provided without one.

Historically, all the functions listed above have been provided more morally and efficiently on the market, without any intervening central authority, and could be today.

How would you defend yourself from foreign invasion by a modern totalitarian army without a centrally organized and funded military? Would individual effort stand a chance? Would militias? We live in a dangerous world. What is the solution to protect your liberty from invaders if not a central government?

Who are the foreign powers pining to invade ValueSnark's property?
Holed up in his cave, is bin Laden saying to his deputies, we've gotta get this evil Value Snark? He's a supporter of Israel (NOT), an enemy of Palestinians and Muslims all over the world (NOT), and a supporter of the Cheney-Bush Reich (NOT).

Militias, which were crucial to winning the American Revolution, would in fact be more than adequate to defeat Al Qaeda. Somehow, I don't see the Syrian army--and navy--as a threat to my block. Or is the Mexican army going to come up to NY and avenge Mr. Polk's depradations? They can invade Texas, and if they overrun a certain ranch in Crawford, well tough cookies.
I do see the Cheney-Bush junta as a big threat to world peace, and a big threat to my safety and security.
I have yet to meet a libertarian who disagrees with this view.

How about commons? Who will make sure that a factory in one town doesn't pollute the air and water of a town down stream? In a world without governments, what would be your recourse if your neighbor decided to process mercury in his back yard, polluting the entire town's groundwater?

Who does this now? Certainly not the U.S. government. In fact, if anything, the environazis do just the opposite. For example, my friend the author and anarchist Richard Kostelanetz owns property in Far Rockaway and would like to build on it and move there from his Soho residence. He can't because the EPA Nazis are forbidding it on some absurd, politically correct, bureaucrookatic legal technicality.

Didn't you read the Rothbard Cato paper I mentioned yesterday?
Re: the last question, what recourse do you have now? In a libertarian society, if you polluted someone's property, tort law and strict liability in tort would give the aggrieved party legal recourse, unlike our current system, in which government bureaucrats get in the way and go for an unjust politically correct solution that satisfies no one and lets the offender off scot free, with maybe a fine to the State, and nothing to the victim. Where's the justice in that?

Government by lynch mob fairly describes the U.S. case against Martha Stewart, Sam Waksal, and Michael Millken, doesn't it?
None of these three people committed an actual crime, if by that term you mean an act that is actually malem in se, as opposed to a politically incorrect act that harms no one except the statist sensitivity of a stupid lawyer.

Justice under the State's legal system is very uncertain and is frequently shunted aside for other, political considerations.
The U.S. Constitution is an open sesame for the State to commit crimes against the citizenry, and I'll explain why that is in another post.

ValueSnark

Who would administer justice, if not the government? Should we leave it to the lynch mob or possibly rely on survival of the strongest?















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Who are the foreign powers pining to invade ValueSnark's property?
Holed up in his cave, is bin Laden saying to his deputies, we've gotta get this evil Value Snark? He's a supporter of Israel (NOT), an enemy of Palestinians and Muslims all over the world (NOT), and a supporter of the Cheney-Bush Reich (NOT).


Huh.

How did Bin Laden go about clearing the Bali nightclub, the World Trade Centers, and the airplanes he used as bombs? How did he get the people who didn't support Israel and weren't enemies of Muslims out before he attacked? Who in the Bali nightclub even voted for Bush?

Thanks,
R:
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Under your premise of "strict Libertarian thinking", this counry would have been blown off the map a long time ago, like say the turn of the last century.

Huh?

The discussion wasn't around whether I think we were justified in fighting against Germany (I do, and said so in my post), the question was whether it could be justified using Libertarian ideals.

Let's assume Germany didn't declare war on the United States. What sort of arguments could you construct using Libertarian philosophy that would allow you to go to war against Germany? In 1941, they weren't theatening the United States militarily. They hadn't attacked us. How would you be able to justify the use of force against Germany, again - using Libertarian philosophy?

I don't think you can. That was the point: not that use of force against Germany was a bad idea, but that the inability to justify that use of force using Libertarian philosophy is a limitation of Libertarianism.

If you go back and reread the thread, you'll see that this is what was being discussed.

Steve
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[snip] when Reagan was President and the US was backing the mujahadeem. We were supplying what he needed, we did not have troops in SA, etc. He told the reported that they were going to take out the USSR and when they finished they would be coming after the US. This has nothing to do with the troops in SA, that's just a handy excuse.
BTW, the reason we are concerned with Israel is because they are an ALLY.


The U.S. has had at least a small military presence in S.A. since the Suez Canal crisis of 1956. The U.S. government has also supported the corrupt S.A. government since FDR was in power.
Israel is an ally of the U.S. government for public choice reasons (not for libertarian reasons), because politicians want to win elections, and they know that there are (or at least have been until recently) lots more Jews than Muslims in the U.S., and that the former are wealthier and more politically influential than the latter.
VS

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Many libertarians are anarchists, including Lysander Spooner, Benj. Tucker, Murray Rothbard and David Friedman, to mention four.

Okay, perhaps a better way to say it is that Libertarianism does not automatically equate to Anarchism. Some Anarchists may be Libertarians, but not all Libertarians are Anarchists.

Who are the foreign powers pining to invade ValueSnark's property?

I think you're missing the larger picture. Why do countries go to war? There are a number of reasons including ideology, remedy of a perceived affront, and contesting for scarce resources.

Why do countries refrain from going to war? Most often because the cost of the war would exceed the potential benefits.

What makes the cost exceed the benefits? A capable military deterrent.

So, looking at it from a market perspective, if you remove the military deterrent, then the cost of waging war goes down dramatically.

What happens when the price for something drops in a free market? People demand more of it. If a foreign power could stroll into the country and take over our farmlands, our cities, and our vast mineral wealth at minimal cost, why the heck wouldn't they do it?

Maybe they wouldn't come gunning specifically for ValueSnark's property, but the chances are it would caught up in the general taking.

Militias, which were crucial to winning the American Revolution, would in fact be more than adequate to defeat Al Qaeda.

Okay, what about China's military? How would militia's fare against them?

What about Russia's military? How would militia's fare against them?

Heck, how about Canada's army? Do you think a rabble militia could really stand against even the smallest of moderm military machines?

They would be slaughtered.

Militia's would not provide a reasonable military deterrent, and would therefore encourage other nations to seek out the United States as easy pickings if they needed additional resources.

Who does this now? Certainly not the U.S. government. In fact, if anything, the environazis do just the opposite.

In these discussions, we always have to walk a thin line between the theoretical and the actual. In theory, protection of the commons should be the role of the government. Of course, in theory, the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Unfortunately, the theory of government often falls apart under the pressures of the reality of governing, especially when the electorate isn't vigilant.

Just because the government of the United States has not lived up to its responsibilites with respect to effectively protecting commons doesn't mean that the role could be better filled by private interests.

Government by lynch mob fairly describes the U.S. case against Martha Stewart, Sam Waksal, and Michael Millken, doesn't it?

No,but I'll take you point anyway. I would say the case against Ken Lay is far more of a "lynch mob" mentality than the cases against any of the other people you mentioned. The 3 you mention did commit crimes, if you define crime as violating the law, and did so willfully.

Still, I'll concede that abuses of justice do happen, but there is a process that can be followed to redress wrongs committed in the name of justice. As the process grinds on, the emotions that led to the original conviction cool, and generally real justice triumphs.

I think that is superior to the alternative of private justice that would be available if nor government existed.

Steve
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"Given the history of the U.S. state's hostile attitude and actions toward Japan, it's easy to see why the Japanese expected to be attacked eventually by Uncle."

======================================================================

And how'd that work out for Japan?

Hmm....it would seem that if we all just held hands and got along, nothing bad would happen.

But we don't. Isolationism historically has *never* worked, because human nature is aggressive. There are no examples in history of any society not being aggressive with its neighbors, and those examples that have surfaced have bourne out to have been fabricated.

-JAR

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Libertarians don't believe in "vital interests" or "strategic interests" of the State, because we see the State as a criminal gang

=======================================================================

*Anarchists* view the state as a criminal gang.

*Libertarians* view the sate as the defender of your civil rights.

A Libertarian does not believe in weak government, just *limited*.

-JAR
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Okay, let's try the blunt and to the point method. Who gave you the right to determine who is or isn't a Libertarian?

Well, you're right. I'm not even a Libertarian myself and I shouldn't go around telling others what they are or are not.

I'm glad we agree on something.
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"Many libertarians are anarchists"

=======================================================================

So now we're arguing about semantics?

Anarchists are welcome in this board. In my opinion, every viewpoint is welcome on this board. I only speak for myself, though.

You're not trying to hijack this board and only allow anarchist viewpoints, are you? I assume not, and if so, then it really makes no difference what we label ourselves as. The key point is, can we have a rational discussion of issues, or can't we?

It does appear to me, though, that some are actually trying to stifle discussion on this board and make this an anarchist love-fest.

Man, for pacifists, you guys sure seem to want to pick a fight!

-JAR
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Let's assume Germany didn't declare war on the United States. What sort of arguments could you construct using Libertarian philosophy that would allow you to go to war against Germany? In 1941, they weren't theatening the United States militarily. They hadn't attacked us. How would you be able to justify the use of force against Germany, again - using Libertarian philosophy?

Germany had already invaded some of our allies. when signing the Declaration of Independence, Ben Franklin said, "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."
I think that is just as true for whole countries as it is for individual people.

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Why do countries refrain from going to war? Most often because the cost of the war would exceed the potential benefits.

What makes the cost exceed the benefits? A capable military deterrent.

I don't disagree with you, and your point could be generalized to argue against gun control, as John Lott and others have.
The state is not the only military deterrent however. Switzerland, a relatively weak state, was not invaded by Germany in WW II, because the Nazis knew they would pay a very high cost to all those well-armed Swiss marksmen defending their homes and families. In other words, culture is a very important determining factor in the cost/benefit calculus of crime, defense and aggression. Most people automatically think of a state solution instead of other ways to solve these problems.

Here in NYC, we effectively have gun prohibition (except for criminals), so the cost of crime is less by that much. Tell it to the NY Times-libs who control the City Council.

What happens when the price for something drops in a free market? People demand more of it. If a foreign power could stroll into the country and take over our farmlands, our cities, and our vast mineral wealth at minimal cost, why the heck wouldn't they do it?

Yes, but you are (1) removing free market defense, and (2) assuming that a state could just nonchalantly "take over our farmlands, our cities, and our vast mineral wealth at minimal [huh?] cost."
How could they do this? Have you never flown over the U.S.? It's a pretty big country. Could Canada's military take over, say, the silver mines of New Mexico, *and* the metropolis of NYC? They can take over Washington, D.C, as far as I'm concerned, and burn the place.
They could do us all a favor by demolishing the drug-dealer infested welfare projects around here as well.

I would say the case against Ken Lay is far more of a "lynch mob" mentality than the cases against any of the other people you mentioned. The 3 you mention did commit crimes, if you define crime as violating the law, and did so willfully.

I agree with you re: Ken Lay, as he is probably the stupidest stock analyst who ever lived, not a criminal.
I define crimes as acts that are malem in se, not as acts outlawed by the government. There are plenty of bad laws that are inconsistent with common law, free market law, etc., and which should be ignored.
VS

















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Germany had already invaded some of our allies.

What do you mean "allies"? What treaty obligations did we have with Poland, Czechoslovakia, France, Belgium, or the Soviet Union in 1941?

We never ratified the treaty of Versaille, so Germany's violation of the terms of that treaty gave us no right to intercede.

When signing the Declaration of Independence, Ben Franklin said, "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."
I think that is just as true for whole countries as it is for individual people.


I don't disagree, but that statement is a long way from justifying a war against Germany using the principles of Libertarian philosophy.

Libertarian philosophy regarding a just war, as I understand it, requires that action be taken in response to an attack and that the response should be proportional to the damage done.

Germany, while they were running rough shod over Europe, had not attacked the United States. That fact alone makes it almost impossible to justify declaring war on them under a strictly Libertarian viewpoint.

Again, this isn't a question of whether fighting Germany was a good idea or not. It was.

This is a question of whether that good idea (fighting Germany) could have been justified under a strictly Libertarian philosophy.

The larger point is that if a good idea like fighting the Nazi's before they show up on our coast can't be justified under Libertarian philosophy, then there are flaws in the philosophy that should be considered and corrected.

Steve
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Germany had already invaded some of our allies.

An ally would be what Washington called a “foreign entanglement.”

Or, in other words, obviously not a libertarian concept.
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A good post, Steve.

Libertarian philosophy regarding a just war, as I understand it, requires that action be taken in response to an attack and that the response should be proportional to the damage done.

Germany, while they were running rough shod over Europe, had not attacked the United States. That fact alone makes it almost impossible to justify declaring war on them under a strictly Libertarian
viewpoint.


Rothbard wrote an essay on just war theory in which he argued that the American Revolution and the Civil War were the only just wars in American history.
In my view, a just war also has to be fought with just means, so there can be no taxation to finance it, no draft, etc. In other words, all the means used to fight the war have to be consistent with justice.
On this view, I would question whether these wars were just, although I would not question whether the American Revolution should have fought. Clearly, the Brits acted as a criminal occupying force by occupying the port of Boston, killing innocent civilians, imposing the intolerable acts, etc. Just like Americans are doing in Iraq 230+ years later.
VS

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Germany had already invaded some of our allies. when signing the Declaration of Independence, Ben Franklin said, "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."

This is not a bad analogy with the extreme Islamic terrorist targeting all of modern Western culture and not just the United States, but Ben wasn't speaking metaphorically. He was reminding his fellow revolutionaries that the price for their overt act of treason against England (especially as members of the Congress that declared independence) would be death by hanging.

I started to write to object and find that I must embrace your characterization of the situation. This time the shoe is on the other foot, but the price of terror attacks must be death for the terrorists and destruction for those organizations who support them. It is really that simple. Nations like former Afghanistan and Iraq, and current Iran and Syria cannot be allowed to continue to sponsor terror or to strive to obtain weapons of mass destruction that might come to be used by terrorists. It is really as simple as that. Those who pretend that there was no threat from Iraq are either seriously deluded or are playing an incredibly dangerous political game.

Best Regards,
Prometheuss

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Nations like former Afghanistan and Iraq, and current Iran and Syria cannot be allowed to continue to sponsor terror or to strive to obtain weapons of mass destruction that might come to be used by terrorists. It is really as simple as that. Those who pretend that there was no threat from Iraq are either seriously deluded or are playing an incredibly dangerous political game.

Why is it that radical Islamist terror groups didn't target the West or the U.S. before the creation of the state of Israel and the beginning of the stream of the U.S. government's massive subsidies to the Israeli state? The threat to the West from the jihadists was aided and abetted by Uncle Sam's actions and to ignore the history of this you have to be "either seriously deluded or playing an incredibly dangerous political game."

VS
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Those who pretend that there was no threat from Iraq are either seriously deluded or are playing an incredibly dangerous political game.

Okay, not going to let that one stand.

I'm seriously deluded because I don't believe that Iraq presented a clear and present danger to the United States?

Let's see...Iraq hadn't attacked us in the 10 years since we first opposed them. Iraq hadn't given weapons to terrorists to attack us by proxy, in large part because those same terrorists despised Saddam Hussein's regime nearly as much as they disliked America. Iraq had a ragtag army, no air force, no significant navy, and no strategic rocket forces.

How in the world were they a threat?

Contrast them with Pakistan, our titular ally, who had been caught selling nuclear technology and equipment to some of the most dangerous regimes in the world.

Contrast them with North Korea or Iran, each of whom had the same motive to attack us, but much greater destructive capacity to deliver into the hands of terrorists.

Why was Iraq the threat?

Terrorists were a threat to this country. Our invasion of Afghanistan was targetted at rooting out terrorists and the Taliban who supported them. We were very successful in the initial stages until we began diverting attention and resources to combat Iraq. Now the Taliban is resurgent and the government of Afghanistan stuck with at best a tenuous hold on the country.

So a country that was a proven breeding ground for Islamic terrorists has been allowed to backslide dangerously so we could invade a country whose ties to terrorism were peripheral at best.

But Iraq was a threat, right?

I hesitate to assign labels like "deluded" to other people, but I think anybody who thinks the war on terrorism was advanced by the war in Iraq might easily fall into that category.

Steve
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JARandom wrote:

"Isolationism historically has *never* worked, because human nature is aggressive. There are no examples in history of any society not being aggressive with its neighbors, and those examples that have surfaced have bourne out to have been fabricated."

Is there a reason Switzerland does not count as an example of an isolationist nation? Perhaps you mean isolationist in every regard, i.e. no trade, no relations, no nothing with anyone else? Also, how often in history has isolationism been tried for a very long time? I ask the question because you submit that it has never worked. I submit that it hasn't been tried all that often. This country was founded on isolationist principles (see Washington's farewell address: http://www.liberty1.org/farewell.htm ; specifically: "The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.") However, this country is obviously not an isolationist country today--and obviously has not been for quite some time.

I find your statement about human nature being aggressive interesting. Humans certainly have the capability to be agressive--indeed we can be aggressive with a vengeance. But I don't know that I believe this to be our default nature. I will go home tonight and will venture to predict that I will not cast stones at my neighbor's homes. And I feel certain they will act in kind. Why do I and my neighbors not transgress on each other? We have formed no alliance or agreement of non-agression. Two of my neighbors have nice boats, either of which I would be happy to own; yet I have no plans to steal either. So what gives? Certainly some would say that the acts I describe above are all against the law. This is quite true, but I don't think that has anything to do with it either. I say this because I don't think that I or my neighbors would change our behavior towards one another even if tonight we went home and discovered that the government had wiped all the laws clean. So I would not steal my neighbor's boat even if theft were legal. Does this make me noble? Hardly. I submit that its my nature--and I think that holds for the vast majority of humans. I suppose its possible that we are actually born with aggressive tendencies that are reared out of most people by their upbringing (I suspect that nearly every culture on the planet subscribes to the Common Laws in basic form). If you throw a newborn human in the woods that has no contact with any other humans or animals, what do you end up with in 20 years? I'll let everyone fill in the blank on that one.

So I agree we can be aggressive, I just doubt that its our nature. In fact, I'm willing to be that in almost any circumstance where one observes large number of humans behaving in an aggressive manner; one need not look too far to see their ruler leading and/or encouraging them on.

Matt.
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In other words, if you give in to Bin Laden's pressure, pull out of Saudi Arabia and abandon Israel, all you do is embolden him and others like him to step up the pressure. Eventually they'll hit on something you're not prepared to give away, but by then the strength they have gained will make them much harder to overcome.

I wouldn't exactly recommend giving in to bin Laden. I'm simply pointing out that had we followed libertarian principles from the start we probably could have avoided much of the trouble we face today.

It was a tremendous error for us to have involved ourselves in the establishment of Israel, the most stupid decision of the last century, if not all time. Still, having made the decision to meddle in situations that don't concern us it isn't easy to abandon our commitments in the area.

And I can't help noticing the irony when I offend “libertarians” by conceding that we would have been better off if we had listened to them in the first place.
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So I agree we can be aggressive, I just doubt that its our nature.

I disagree. If we weren't aggressive by nature, we wouldn't live in a world ruled by the aggressive use of force. In fact, we are so prone to aggression that despite our outlawing it aggression still occurs.

There is a simple reason for this: it works. If there are 99 pacifists and one aggressor, the aggressor will rule all, there is nobody to stop them. The reason we don't go around killing our neighbors for their goods is because we've decided to give a monopoly on aggression to the state, so instead of my having to fear a pacifist neighbor if I am aggressive against him I have to fear the power of the state to punish me for that aggression. Some don't heed this fear, of course, but that doesn't mean only they are aggressive. The rest of us are simply able to control that aggression.

This has been true for thousands of years, it seems difficult to say that such aggression wouldn't be hardwired into our being any less than compassion for our offspring or any other similar trait.

As for an aggressive mob, there need not be a leader. Studies have shown that mobs will spontaneously cause damage and harm (even kill) people that get in their way due simply to mob mentality and group dynamics, no leader is necessary. There have been several riots after sporting events in recent years with no clear leader but millions of dollars in damage and some severe injuries. When people are acting in a large group they perceive their share of the responsibility to be small, so they are more likely to react instinctively, often that means violently, rather than think things through rationally.

While it is true that not everyone has the same levels of natural aggression, if pushed far enough everyone will react aggressively at some point. Some people just have a lower flashpoint than others.

Mike
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So I agree we can be aggressive, I just doubt that its our nature. In fact, I'm willing to be that in almost any circumstance where one observes large number of humans behaving in an aggressive manner; one need not look too far to see their ruler leading and/or encouraging them on.

I think the key point you are missing is that humans are somewhere in between pack and herd animals. We are not solitary hunters. So our herd/pack is aggressive to other herds/packs. Your neighbor is a part of your pack. If someone bought up a plot of land next to you and your neighbor and dropped a poorly maintained trailer park next to it, your neighborhood (or some people in it) would probably become agressive through the local government towards the trailer pack.

This pack mentality extends to governments as well. A country is aggressive to other countries, and is only passive as a reason to gain some advantage. The only pack (from a global perspective) more important than country is religion. That is why al-Queda is able to function and confound us. Their pack is religion, not country, and all foreign policy is based on a country (and with religion creating packs of countries) as a unit.

srundell
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The state is not the only military deterrent however. Switzerland, a relatively weak state, was not invaded by Germany in WW II, because the Nazis knew they would pay a very high cost to all those well-armed Swiss marksmen defending their homes and families. In other words, culture is a very important determining factor in the cost/benefit calculus of crime, defense and aggression. Most people automatically think of a state solution instead of other ways to solve these problems.

Not to disagree, but the Swiss were only safe so long as the Nazis had other fish to fry. It would be folly ot think that Swiss marksmen would have deterred Hitler had he coveted Switzerland. Instead, he was busy with the Allies.

Regards,
Prometheuss

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Why is it that radical Islamist terror groups didn't target the West or the U.S. before the creation of the state of Israel and the beginning of the stream of the U.S. government's massive subsidies to the Israeli state? The threat to the West from the jihadists was aided and abetted by Uncle Sam's actions and to ignore the history of this you have to be "either seriously deluded or playing an incredibly dangerous political game."

Bull. Well over a century ago (long before Israel existed) Islamic scholars were studying and debating the merits of Western civilization in Europe and North America. Most concluded that it represented a great evil; however, their people had little access to it so it was not as important. Radical Islamist terror groups target the West because notions like the separation of church and state and the individual's right to choose or even reject religion run counter to their core beliefs. You can turn Israel over to the Arabs and they will still fight against the modern world and the evil that they see manifest in that world. Try as they might, they cannot shut out the modern world.

That 'blame the U.S. first' view of the world is naive, self-centered and ignorant. Explaining and excusing every act of terror as a response to some imagined wrong fails to place blame and responsibility squarely on those who committed the acts where it belongs. Nothing justifies the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. Nothing. This mindset also creates an impossible and perverse asymmetrical relationship between the West and the jihadist where just and proper reactions to the terror are blamed for provoking more terror. Sell that nonsense to those who wish to surrender their liberty to bullies and despots.

Regards,
Prometheuss

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In fact, we are so prone to aggression that despite our outlawing it aggression still occurs.

There is a simple reason for this: it works. If there are 99 pacifists and one aggressor, the aggressor will rule all, there is nobody to stop them. The reason we don't go around killing our neighbors for their goods is because we've decided to give a monopoly on aggression to the state, so instead of my having to fear a pacifist neighbor if I am aggressive against him I have to fear the power of the state to punish me for that aggression. Some don't heed this fear, of course, but that doesn't mean only they are aggressive. The rest of us are simply able to control that aggression.

This has been true for thousands of years, it seems difficult to say that such aggression wouldn't be hardwired into our being any less than compassion for our offspring or any other similar trait.

The State is the biggest aggressor in history. To the extent that the government actually protects life and property, it does so vicariously and with intent to deceive.
As A. J. Nock put it, "the State claims and exercises the monopoly of crime. . . . It forbids private murder, but itself organizes murder on a colossal scale. It punishes private theft, but itself lays unsrupulous hands on anything it wants, whether the property of citizen or of alien" _On Doing the Right Thing, and Other Essays_.

You claim that 99 pacifists will be ruled by one aggressor but this doesn't follow at all, and you wrongly assume that pacifists don't believe in the defensive use of force.

Everett Martin pointed out in his book on liberty that most people don't commit murder because of their fear of state punishment, but because they are not murderers. I like my neighbors more than I loath the State--and I loath it a lot.

There have been several riots after sporting events in recent years with no clear leader but millions of dollars in damage and some severe injuries. When people are acting in a large group they perceive their share of the responsibility to be small, so they are more likely to react instinctively, often that means violently, rather than think things through rationally.

The moral of this story is to avoid soccer games in Europe, or to go armed. More to the point, the property damage and deaths and injuries caused by rioting hooligans is not even a drop in the bucket compared to the main event--the over one hundred million deaths and billions of dollars in property destruction caused by the State, "the biggest mass murderer, armed robber, enslaver, and parasite in all of human history," in the immortal words of Rothbard.

Which is the bigger social problem: rioting soccer losers or taxing/spending/spying/bombing politicians, generals, bureaucrats and spooks?

VS


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Well over a century ago (long before Israel existed) Islamic scholars were studying and debating the merits of Western civilization in Europe and North America. Most concluded that it represented a great evil; however, their people had little access to it so it was not as important. Radical Islamist terror groups target the West because notions like the separation of church and state and the individual's right to choose or even reject religion run counter to their core beliefs. You can turn Israel over to the Arabs and they will still fight against the modern world and the evil that they see manifest in that world.

This is just plain wrong. Radical jihadists seek to defend their lands--they always speak in terms of "Muslim lands," which are *never* defined to include North America and Europe. They don't want our government and our culture in their lands, but to assume they are hell bent on invading the West because we have separation of church and state and a different set of religions is absurd. They may be crazy but they aren't stupid. You also have a whiff of Huntington's "clash of civilizations" fallacy. SH ignored the fact that there are many clashes within Islam, and the wahabbi sect is a small minority and not without its own internal divisions, etc. To see the current "world stuggle" as only a clash of jihad vs. the West is the height of naivete.

That 'blame the U.S. first' view of the world is naive, self-centered and ignorant. Explaining and excusing every act of terror as a response to some imagined wrong fails to place blame and responsibility squarely on those who committed the acts where it belongs. Nothing justifies the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. Nothing. This mindset also creates an impossible and perverse asymmetrical relationship between the West and the jihadist where just and proper reactions to the terror are blamed for provoking more terror. Sell that nonsense to those who wish to surrender their liberty to bullies and despots.

Who's blaming the U.S. first? The British *government* is at least as much at fault as the U.S. *government* (notice a pattern?). The Balfour Declartion was put over by the Brits and started the ball rolling toward 9/11. It was supported by the criminal little Wilson.
Nor can I or any other libertarian be accused of excusing or justifying 9/11. If you think we do excuse that crime, can you point to anything that any of us have actually written (like on this board) that would support that claim?
You assume that every measure taken against the perpetrators of 9/11 and their radical supporters was right and that no "mistakes were made,"
to put it in bureaucrat-speak. History will show this for the nonsense it is.

VS
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I hesitate to assign labels like "deluded" to other people, but I think anybody who thinks the war on terrorism was advanced by the war in Iraq might easily fall into that category.

Steve, if you believe that Iraq under Saddam Hussein did not support terrorism and did not attempt to acquire weapons of mass destruction, and was thus no threat to the United States then you are deluded. I do not hesitate to say that though it saddens me that anyone would believe such nonsense.

Whether invading Iraq will advance the war on terrorism or not is open for debate and it will take a few more years to know. The idea that it might advance the war on terrorism is not without merit despite attempts by detractors to dismiss it out of hand.

It is interesting how those who argue against the war in Iraq are so quick to point out problems with other nations. Are you calling for forceful military intervention in Iran, North Korea, or Syria? Are you seriously calling for the U.S. to attack Pakistan and Saudi Arabia when both are military allies? Who do you want to invade next or is that just a smokescreen to argue against invading Iraq? I hope your effort to highlight the threat in these nations is serious and not just a rhetorical subterfuge, because unless they change course there are more hard choices for the United States in the war on terrorism which might include military conflict.

Regards,
Prometheuss
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This is just plain wrong. Radical jihadists seek to defend their lands--they always speak in terms of "Muslim lands," which are *never* defined to include North America and Europe.

They also speak of "the land of peace" and "the land of war".

"The land of peace" is defined as those areas under Moslem theocracies. "The land of war" is everywhere else.
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It is interesting how those who argue against the war in Iraq are so quick to point out problems with other nations. Are you calling for forceful military intervention in Iran, North Korea, or Syria? Are you seriously calling for the U.S. to attack Pakistan and Saudi Arabia when both are military allies? Who do you want to invade next or is that just a smokescreen to argue against invading Iraq? I hope your effort to highlight the threat in these nations is serious and not just a rhetorical subterfuge, because unless they change course there are more hard choices for the United States in the war on terrorism which might include military conflict.

I don't presume to speak for Steve--he speaks well enough for himself--but libertarians oppose intervention in Iran, North Korea and Syria.
North Korea is showing signs of wishing to have a thaw with South Korea, and is certainly in no position to wage an aggressive war with any western country. Iran and Syria aren't doing particularly well either and the governments of these countries don't represent a threat to western countries.
You should answer the question you pose: Who do you want to invade next?

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ValueSnark: Nor can I or any other libertarian be accused of excusing or justifying 9/11. If you think we do excuse that crime, can you point to anything that any of us have actually written (like on this board) that would support that claim?

You (and I am not talking about any other libertarian including myself) blamed the attack on the actions of the United States, saying, "The threat to the West from the jihadists was aided and abetted by Uncle Sam's actions". Are you retracting that claim? One can not aid and abet without being responsible. You go well beyond excusing the attacks.

aide means "to provide with what is useful or necessary in achieving an end"

abet means "to actively second and encourage (as an activity or plan) or "to assist or support in the achievement of a purpose".

(http://www.m-w.com/ in case you lost your dictionary)

You claim a direct causal relationship between the actions of the United States and the actions of the terrorists. I blame the terrorists and claim that their actions can not be justified. They freely choose to act as they did and bear full responsiblity.

Regards,
Prometheuss



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I don't presume to speak for Steve--he speaks well enough for himself--but libertarians oppose intervention in Iran, North Korea and Syria.

North Korea is showing signs of wishing to have a thaw with South Korea, and is certainly in no position to wage an aggressive war with any western country. Iran and Syria aren't doing particularly well either and the governments of these countries don't represent a threat to western countries.


You preseume to speak for all libertarians including me.

You should answer the question you pose: Who do you want to invade next?

Since you already spoke for me, why should I answer?

Regards,
Prometheuss

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Not to disagree, but the Swiss were only safe so long as the Nazis had other fish to fry. It would be folly ot think that Swiss marksmen would have deterred Hitler had he coveted Switzerland. Instead, he was busy with the Allies.

Well, to disagree...

http://www.davekopel.com/2A/Mags/TargetSwitzerland.htm
"As Halbrook details, in every stage of the war, the Axis had powerful military reasons to invade Switzerland. Before the fall of France, the non-alpine part of Switzerland offered at inviting path to sweep into France and avoid the Maginot Line. After France fell and Italy entered the war, Switzerland offered the only convenient transport of military men and supplies between Italy and Germany. After the Allied landing in Italy, Germany's need to swiftly deploy troops into Italy became even more urgent. As the war came to conclusion in 1944-45, the Nazi leadership laid plans to make a stand in the Alps, but Switzerland stood right in the middle."

hewler
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You (and I am not talking about any other libertarian including myself) blamed the attack on the actions of the United States, saying, "The threat to the West from the jihadists was aided and abetted by Uncle Sam's actions". Are you retracting that claim? One can not aid and abet without being responsible. You go well beyond excusing the attacks.

If by blame, you mean a single, solitary, direct cause and effect relationship caused by the U.S. government, I didn't mean that and my words imply no such thing.
However, the U.S. government has a long history of giving aid and comfort to the enemies of Muslim states, and launched attacks on targets in at least two Muslim states in the 1990s, and brought down a passenger jet loaded with *innocent* Arab nationals before that.
Hardly a just punishment for Libya's downing of a passenger jet filled with innocent Americans.
Additionally, the U.S. occupied Lebanon in the early 1980s before pulling out in 1983, and has had a large military presence in the Gulf states for years.
And of course, the U.S. aided Israel in its war with its Arab neighbors. All of these actions fueled Muslim rage and stoked the fire for Al Qaeda's attack, which certainly wouldn't have happened without them.

Given this history, the U.S. government bears at least some indirect moral responsibility for the attacks of 9/11.
I am not justifying the attacks of 9/11, but neither do I deny nor whitewash Uncle Sam's part in them.

VS

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As Halbrook details, in every stage of the war, the Axis had powerful military reasons to invade Switzerland.

Halbrook is a legal scholar and not a military scholar. Furthermore, he has an agenda (with which I am largely agree) and is not without bias on this topic. In my military opinion, his analysis of the need for the Axis to invade Switzerland does not hold water. I am sure that the armed and capable citizenry of Switzerland helped to deter invasion, as did the government's strict neutrality stance. However, I stand by my claim that Germany had more inviting and important targets.

Before the fall of France, the non-alpine part of Switzerland offered at inviting path to sweep into France and avoid the Maginot Line.

This is a joke, right? The Germans did sweep past the Maginot Line and did not need to invade Switzerland first to do it. An inviting path is not the best path.

After France fell and Italy entered the war, Switzerland offered the only convenient transport of military men and supplies between Italy and Germany.

Germany had France and with it access through the Mediterranean not to mention through Austria. Again, don't make me laugh. Convenience does not necessitate invasion.

After the Allied landing in Italy, Germany's need to swiftly deploy troops into Italy became even more urgent. As the war came to conclusion in 1944-45, the Nazi leadership laid plans to make a stand in the Alps, but Switzerland stood right in the middle.

Yes, while facing certain defeat in Italy and then again in the heart of Europe Germany really needed to invade yet another country to mount a defense. Nonsense!

No cadet at the US Military Academy and no Second Lieutenant in any of the Army in his basic course would not present the thesis that there was "a powerful military reasons to invade Switzerland" with this flimsy justification. If he or she did then a failing grade would surely follow. Thank you for the humor, though!

Regards,
Prometheuss
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However, I stand by my claim that Germany had more inviting and important targets.

The Germans did seriously discuss invading Switzerland, which had a large stockpile of gold. One reason they declined to invade was the history of Switzerland's armed resistance.
I too would question the idea that it was of strategic military importance.

VS



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Prometheuss wrote: "Well over a century ago (long before Israel existed) Islamic scholars were studying and debating the merits of Western civilization in Europe and North America. Most concluded that it represented a great evil; however, their people had little access to it so it was not as important"

I am in no position to know if this is true or not, so I'll assume it is. In assuming it, I find myself saying, "so what?" Let's use another country as an example just so we can avoid all the current drama associated with the Middle East and Southern Asia--let's say Brazil just to pick one. Suppose Brazilians start making a bunch of hoopla that they hate Americans--and why?--why just because we're Americans. They just hate us. They start having large gatherings where they chant anti-American stuff and burn our flag and burn pictures of our rulers, etc. Does this warrant an attack on our part (our rulers would probably think so)? I'll even go one further--let's say they start threatening us with war. The headlines in Brazil read "We're going to get those damn Americans". What now? Attack? Go to war? Some diplomacy may be in order (and maybe not even that), but I don't see how one group of people hating another group justifies the use of fource by the hated group.

Lest I be thought a pacifist, let me assure you that I am not. I would proudly be a gun owner were it not for my wife's discomfort with having such items in the house (we have a young daughter). Gun or not, I would have no moral problem defending the lives of myself or my family with lethal force were they being threatened. I state this because it has something to do with my compass of knowing when a war is just or not. It is simply "am I willing to go fight, kill, and possibly die for this cause?" Of course it is hard to apply this to past wars (though I believe had I been around I would have quite willingly fought in the Revolutionary War; and if I had the knowledge I currently do, I would have fought for the South in the War Between the States--and I was a Yankee for 30 years), but I can certainly apply it to our current actions against Iraq. I was never convinced of the threat posed by Saddam. Although there are many reasons I was never convinced, one of the major ones was that all the talking heads and head politicos were always trying to convince me. I subscribe to the notion that you know a poltician is lying because his lips are moving (the only regular exception to this that I have found is Dr. Ron Paul -> http://www.house.gov/paul/ and see his excellent articles on Lew Rockwell's site -> http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul-arch.html). And when a politician starts pushing really hard to convince you of something or tell you of some great "truth", hold on because you're probably getting taken for a ride. Bill Clinton was a master at this. Talk about a guy who could shovel a pile of manure at you and have you actually thinking it was a hot fudge sundae!

I submit that if one simple rule could be applied to all wars there would be many fewer of them--and the ones that would happen would have a very high probability of being "just". Wars are declared and initiated by rulers and political leaders. Wars are fought (almost entirely) by the subjects--the subjects carry out the killing, the suffering and the dying. If all of the rulers that voted for war had to send their children off to fight in it, I think that many wars would have never happened. As far as I know there is only one child of a current Representative or Senator serving in Iraq. I wonder how many are encouraging their children to join the armed services in order to defend the country.

Matt.
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"So I agree we can be aggressive, I just doubt that its our nature."

======================================================================

Well, sociologists are now understanding that warfare and murder have been a part of each and every society. The more primitive the society, the more violent. Also, areas of more advanced societies (like ours) where lack of law enforcement exists (like in the urban areas where illegal drugs are trafficked, there is no law enforcement because participants in the drug trade can't ask the authorities to redress grievances), have a much higher incidence of violence.

Take all of the laws against violent behavior, and, yes, neighbors will kill neighbors. Yeah, you make this guy, and that guy, but eventually someone will not like someone and will try to take his stuff, and eventually your stuff.

_The_Blank_Slate_ by Steven Pinker is an excellent book, and one of the things this book does is dispell the myth of the "noble savage."

=======================================================================

"Is there a reason Switzerland does not count as an example of an isolationist nation? Perhaps you mean isolationist in every regard, i.e. no trade, no relations, no nothing with anyone else"

=======================================================================

Yeah, I meant isolationist in all regards, but I see your point and it's a good one.

Switzerland has been able to remain neutral (neutral is not isolationist, by the way) because they have always had a very strong military with compulsory military service, and they had strong, defendable borders. Also, they always had the luxury of being able to play one side against another. In WWII, they would have had to deal with the Nazis eventually. But their border and the fact that the Nazis were dealing with the Allied Powers allowed them to remain miltarily neutral. This was an example of a short-term optimization, and was successful because they allowed someone else to take care of the Nazis for them.

In the age of proliferation of WMD's, no nation now has strong, defendable borders. And the U.S. doesn't have the luxury of allowing someone else to take care of problems.

-JAR
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Ernie sat there stunned, his face turned red, and I thought he was about to cry. Finally he glared at me, wiped the grease off of his chin, and said, “Where the hell do you—a stinking carnivore—get off telling me that I'm not a vegan?”

Dude..... you've got WIERD friends!!! ;~) LOL!!!

(Not to judge by the company you keep... but it kind of undermines your arguments, ya know?)
D
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Dude..... you've got WIERD friends!!! ;~) LOL!!!

Well, you know Ernie.
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Clearly, the Brits acted as a criminal occupying force by occupying the port of Boston, killing innocent civilians, imposing the intolerable acts, etc. Just like Americans are doing in Iraq 230+ years later.

I think you need to read up on the American Revolution. The British actually did not kill innocent civilians, or half of the other things that have been attributed to them over the last couple centuries.
They did not want to stir up trouble at all. Keep in mind, the "Americans" were British citizens. The situation was more like the riots in LA than Iraq. Some soldiers were sent there to calm dwn the civilian population, not to invade a foreign country. We were part of Britian at the time.
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I started to write to object and find that I must embrace your characterization of the situation.

Thanks.
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"The situation was more like the riots in LA than Iraq."

Riots with a just and moral cause if I may add.
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Clearly, the Brits acted as a criminal occupying force by occupying the port of Boston, killing innocent civilians, imposing the intolerable acts, etc. Just like Americans are doing in Iraq 230+ years later.

I think you need to read up on the American Revolution. The British actually did not kill innocent civilians, or half of the other things that have been attributed to them over the last couple centuries.
They did not want to stir up trouble at all. Keep in mind, the "Americans" were British citizens. The situation was more like the riots in LA than Iraq. Some soldiers were sent there to calm dwn the civilian population, not to invade a foreign country. We were part of Britian at the time.

=======================================================================

Which brings us to two contradictions in the Libertarian Party.

1) They extholl the principles on which this country was founded.

2) They require one to sign a statement that you would never initiate force against our ruling government.

I submit that the American Revolution was *not* a *just war* be the definitions of a lot of people on this board, and also not the definition of the Libertarian Party.

Now I understand that the situation of the American Revolution is completely different from Iraq, so please I don't want to draw posts regarding that. But I'm underscoring zsimpson's point that the British's "initiation of force" was practically non-existent.

Given that, I hope a few eyes can be opened as to the usefullness of War as an engine of social change in mankind.

George Washington may have extholled the virtues of not getting into "foreign entanglements" (in an age where borders were so easily defended compared to now with profliferation of WMDs, I may add), but he was also a warmonger.

It seems to me that a lot of people on this list are really defining a just war based upon the results of each war in hindsight, rather than the state of affairs before it, and then trying to shoehorn a definition that fits the state of affairs before each of the "just" wars.

-JAR
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JAR: Well, sociologists are now understanding that warfare and murder have been a part of each and every society. The more primitive the society, the more violent. Also, areas of more advanced societies (like ours) where lack of law enforcement exists (like in the urban areas where illegal drugs are trafficked, there is no law enforcement because participants in the drug trade can't ask the authorities to redress grievances), have a much higher incidence of violence.

I agree completely that murder and warfare have been around for a long time--probably as long as we've been standing upright. And maybe that fact in and of itself is enough to say that aggression/force/violence is in our [human] nature. And it makes sense that the more primitive a society would be, the more it would tend towards violence. But as you point out, we are living in an advanced society (I would argue much less advanced than we give ourselves credit for, but that'd be a tangent). Many of the enemies our current administration wages war on or seeks to wage war on are also advanced. Now I'm certain that there could be debate on whether or not they are as "advanced" as us, but they are all certainly above the level of "savage" (contrary to propaganda).

You mentioned dispelling the myth of the "nobel savage". I've never really thought about the concept, but I have no trouble believing its a myth. I just don't think we're currently dealing with savages when we talk about us or our enemies. Perhaps we're getting caught up with "what's in our hard-wired, instictual behavior regarding aggression" .vs. "what's in our nurtured behavior"? Somebody else on this thread suggested that most of us keep our aggression under control. If I'm doing that, I'm amazingly unaware of it. I mean I do not feel that my default behavior would be to go around killing people, but I manage to keep that at bay. That isn't to say that I can't imagine scenarios under which I would kill somebody, I just don't feel its my default behavior. I've got 36 years of empirical evidence backing me up--I'm sufficiently weak in character such that I do not give up coffee and soda, so I find it hard to believe that I'm mustering the internal will to hold back my murdering instinct.

Your point about law enforcement in urban areas is well taken, but I would suggest there's more at play than just the "redress of grievances" angle. I'll submit that--in a very general sense--the police avoid dangerous areas because they are life-threatening (high risk) and involve people who either don't pay taxes or pay sufficiently few taxes (low reward). See some articles by Steven Greenhut (http://www.lewrockwell.com/greenhut/greenhut31.html and http://www.lewrockwell.com/greenhut/greenhut32.html). Brad Edmonds wrote an excellent response to the latter http://www.lewrockwell.com/edmonds/edmonds193.html with many good links to follow). From my own personal experience--I lived in the Washington Heights neighborhood of NYC in the summer of '87. Gang fights on the streets were frequent. One night I called 911 to report one on my corner. I was literally told that they (the police) don't come to that neighborhood unless somebody is dead. Of course that's a single incident, and I'm not suggesting that was their "official" policy (I would occasionaly see a patrol car mid-day in broad daylight when the streets were filled with mostly law-abiding citizens); but its nonetheless interesting that such an event could transpire.

JAR: Take all of the laws against violent behavior, and, yes, neighbors will kill neighbors

I trust you meant "Take away". I don't agree. I'm not saying neighbors don't kill neighbors; I just don't think the fact of a "law" discourages it much, if at all. Are you really going to start arbitrarily killing people tomorrow if we make it legal? I don't know you of course, but I doubt it. Maybe the argument goes that you'll be more prone to it--like will you shoot at the guy who cuts you off in traffic? Again, I doubt it. I think when people get to a point where they are willing to kill or harm others, the fact that they are "breaking the law" is not on their mind, they are probably acting the way they are because they were directly or indirectly provoked into it.

JAR: In the age of proliferation of WMD's, no nation now has strong, defendable borders. And the U.S. doesn't have the luxury of allowing someone else to take care of problems.

I agree--its harder to defend borders than it used to be. That said, our borders could be defended far better than they are (our rulers choose to ship our defenses off on adventures in all corners of the world). I find your last statement troubling. It's one of those things that sounds good when you first read it, but it has huge implications. What's a "problem"? Our current administration would have you believe that all sorts of nations/rulers/etc. all over the world are "problems". North Korea's a problem. Iran's a problem. Drug producing countries are problems. The logical conclusion to your statement is that we should be an empire controlling the world to make sure there aren't any problems. I suggest that this has a near zero percent chance of working. All empires crumble and fall under their own weight. I would say that unless this country reverses course soon, it will be our fate. Not to mention the fact that if you go looking at most of the things that the government calls problems, they had a large hand in bringing them about. We have a deplorable track record at getting involved in the affaris of other countries, yet we do it constantly.

Unfortunately we'll never know how things may have been had we heeded the founder's advice--minimize entanglements with other countries and set an example for the rest of the world to follow. I'm willing to bet there'd be alot more peace in the world--or in the very least this nation, and I bet that we'd have significantly fewer of our current domestic problems as well.

Matt.
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I think you need to read up on the American Revolution. The British actually did not kill innocent civilians, or half of the other things that have been attributed to them over the last couple centuries.
They did not want to stir up trouble at all. Keep in mind, the "Americans" were British citizens. The situation was more like the riots in LA than Iraq. Some soldiers were sent there to calm dwn the civilian population, not to invade a foreign country. We were part of Britian at the time.


Huh? I think it's you who needs to do some reading. The Brits killed five *innocent* men in the Boston massacre, and two soldiers were found guilty of manslaughter. They pulled their troops and ships out of Boston after this event.
The Brits were overwlelmingly viewed as an occuying force when in Boston. They posted sentries in front of Post Offices, got into brawls with the locals, competed for jobs and were rightly viewed with nothing but hostility by non-loyalist Americans. Even the local loyalists thought many of the occupying Brits were nasty rogues, which no doubt they were.
The fact that Americans were British citizens is irrelevant. Randy Weaver's wife and the victims of the U.S. state were citizens too?
What justice did that get for them?
Btw, the concept of "citizen" is a statist concept, and is inconsistent with libertarian principles. In a libertarian world, there would be no citizens, only people.

The American Revolution was as close to a just war as we're ever likely to see. The only thing that might disquality it as a just war is that not all the means of fighting it were just, for example, the use of paper money by the government, legal tender laws, test oaths, etc.

The Brits did initiate force against British citizens (including Americans) by taxing them (taxation involves the initiation of force).
You can view the American Revolution as essentially a huge tax rebellion that grew into an independence movement.

Also, libertarians argue for independence from the state in all cases and that all people have a right to secede from whatever government illegally claims them as "citizens."
So for example, NY State should secede from the U.S., NYC should become independent of NY State, my neighborhood should secede from NYC, and then my block should secede, then VS should secede.
To be a citizen is to be a tax slave.

I am not a member of the LP, and it doesn't speak for libertarians.

I have never signed no. 2 above, which is a contradiction anyway, because you can't initiate force against a criminal organization such as the U.S. government. All force against it would be defensive force.

VS


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Steve, if you believe that Iraq under Saddam Hussein did not support terrorism and did not attempt to acquire weapons of mass destruction, and was thus no threat to the United States then you are deluded.

Okay, let's be more specific:

Did Saddam support terrorism? Well, he certainly had no problem rewarding the families of suicide bombers in israel, so I guess that counts. It's worth noting, however, that the folks blowing themselves up in Israel are not the same folks who attacked us. So did Saddam have significant ties to the folks who attacked us? The 9/11 commission seems to think not, and went as far as issuing a public statement to that effect.

Did Saddam attempt to acquire WMD? He very likely did. Heck, he had a stockpile of biological and chemical weapons from his war with Iran and while he may have destroyed them in accordance with UN mandates, he was certainly behaving as though he had something to hide. So, let's say he did have WMD, and had hidden them well enough that we haven't been able to find them. So what?

His possession of WMD would have been a violation of UN resolutions for sure, but that doesn't automatically make them a threat to us. He didn't use them on us in GWI, he didn't use them on us in GWII, and he made no attempt in the 10 years of UN sanctions to attack our troops or our homeland with them.

Where is the clear and present danger that would justify militatry action?

I'm sorry, but it isn't delusional to look at a well contained regime with no significant ties to the terrorist organizations that attacked us, and conclude that attacking them was a foolish distraction from our larger mission.


It is interesting how those who argue against the war in Iraq are so quick to point out problems with other nations. Are you calling for forceful military intervention in Iran, North Korea, or Syria? Are you seriously calling for the U.S. to attack Pakistan and Saudi Arabia when both are military allies? Who do you want to invade next or is that just a smokescreen to argue against invading Iraq?

The point of identifying those other nations is to highlight how attacking Iraq was a folish distraction and how the justification given by the administration for invading Iraq was insufficient.

According to the folks who supported the administrations causus belli, Saddam, a secular tyrant despised by the Islamic fundamentalists we are fighting, with his limited stockpile of short range missiles and his supplies of biological and chemical weapons, was a threat so great as to require immediate action.

However, Iran, with their long brewing nuclear program, historical antipathy towards America, and history of state sponsored fundamentalist terror, was not.

How does that add up?

Syria and Iran have done more to sponsor and assist international terrorists than Iraq ever did, and yet they were not invaded despite both having significant WMD stockpiles and Iran actually developing nuclear weapon production capabilities.

How is this logically consistent? If we were going to war with Iraq because we were concerned they would give WMD to terrorists, then it would also make sense to go to war with Iran and Syria. In fact, it would make sense to attack Iran first since they were a far greater threat given their terrorist ties and sophisticated weapons programs.

By that isn't what we did. How can we let the administration use the justification that the invasion or Iraq was critical to national defense when other nations have greater capability, similar motives, and greater access to the international terrorists we're fighting? It rings hollow to me and causes me to question why the administration made invading Iraq such a priority.

Is that an inconsistency you're willing to live with, or does it bother you at all?

Whether invading Iraq will advance the war on terrorism or not is open for debate and it will take a few more years to know. The idea that it might advance the war on terrorism is not without merit despite attempts by detractors to dismiss it out of hand.

I agree. It will be several years before we'll know whether changing regimes in Iraq had a beneficial impact on the war on terror. It could go either way.

My issue is that Iraq was relative small potatoes in the War on Terror and there were bigger threats to be addressed if the administration truly feared nation states giving WMD to terrorists.

The removal of Saddm Hussein was a priority of the administration from the beginning. Truth be told, it was a priority among key members of the administration even before President Bush was elected.

Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld were both active members of Project for the New American Century, and Wolfowitz wrote extensively on the need for the US to take serious action against Saddam before the current administration took power.

Take a look for yourself:

http://newamericancentury.org/

I think that the 9/11 attacks and the War on Terrorism provided convenient cover for an Iraq policy already at the heart of administration priorities.

I think using the War on Terrorism and the 9/11 attacks to justify a war that in truth had little to do with either was irresponsible. I think the administration owes the Marines and soldiers dying over in Iraq better then that.

If that makes me delusional, then so be it.

Steve
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Thank you for the humor, though!

No prob. Good thing I am not presenting a thesis. :) Thank you for pointing out the possible errors with that line of thinking.

However, I stand by my claim that Germany had more inviting and important targets.

I am by no means a scholar of WWII, but what was more inviting and important about all the other countries Germany was invading? Why was Switzerland different? Is it simply, strategically it didn't matter?

So, if Switzerland had no militia, no army, no guns at all, then would Germany still have not invaded?

It would be folly ot think that Swiss marksmen would have deterred Hitler had he coveted Switzerland.

Hitler didn't want Switzerland at all? Wasn't his goal conquest of Europe?

In my military opinion, his analysis of the need for the Axis to invade Switzerland does not hold water. I am sure that the armed and capable citizenry of Switzerland helped to deter invasion, as did the government's strict neutrality stance.

That was my point. Not that Hitler needed to invade but, that given the trade offs, he didn't invade. Germany was deterred by the Swiss miltia. But as someone else pointed out, all this did was postpone the inevitable, unless someone else took care of the problem. So, not fully deterred, but deterred, none the less. If the other European nations had behaved like Switzerland, would Hitler have had a harder time?


hewler
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Syria and Iran have done more to sponsor and assist international terrorists than Iraq ever did, and yet they were not invaded despite both having significant WMD stockpiles and Iran actually developing nuclear weapon production capabilities.

How is this logically consistent? If we were going to war with Iraq because we were concerned they would give WMD to terrorists, then it would also make sense to go to war with Iran and Syria. In fact, it would make sense to attack Iran first since they were a far greater threat given their terrorist ties and sophisticated weapons programs.



Because Iraq was the most stratgic and politically neutral for the war on terror. North Korea borders China and has nukes. Not a good place to invade, and China won't allow it. Iran borders Russia (or what Russia considers its borders), and has close ties to Russia as well. Might have nukes, but again, Russia won't allow it. We had to make a deal with Pakistan to get to Afghanistan, so we can't turn around and invade there, or no one would help us in this war like Pakistan did. Syria is right next to Israel, creating issues for a country that is not as important of a country as Iraq. Question: What country borders the most terror states? Iraq and Iran. Which one do we already have a casus belli and does not border a skittish former superpower? Iraq. That's why we invaded. I really wish people would stop thinking that this is a idealogical campaign and we choose targets by some wierd ranking system of how bad they are. All these countries are close enough in the terror scheme. Where to attack was well thought out. Bush may be an idiot, but he has some good advisors.

srundell
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That's why we invaded. I really wish people would stop thinking that this is a idealogical campaign and we choose targets by some wierd ranking system of how bad they are. All these countries are close enough in the terror scheme. Where to attack was well thought out. Bush may be an idiot, but he has some good advisors.

OK, so what next?

Eric
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Huh? I think it's you who needs to do some reading. The Brits killed five *innocent* men in the Boston massacre, and two soldiers were found guilty of manslaughter. They pulled their troops and ships out of Boston after this event.

And if you study a bit more in depth, you'll also find that the "innocents" were throwing things at the British soldiers, and doing everything they could to incite trouble with the soldiers. They were instigating the British soldier as much as possible, and some of the "innocents" were actually involved in the rebel cause, albeit descreetly, and behind the scenes. If you study it with an indifferent eye, you'll see a lot of orchestation by the upper levels and the common folks did not realize they were being utilized in the ways they were.
Many of the things the rebels did were done with the specific intent to rouse the people against the British. The pre-cursors to the Boston Massacre were done specifically to start trouble so the people would have a reason to be outraged at the British Crown.

The fact that Americans were British citizens is irrelevant. Randy Weaver's wife and the victims of the U.S. state were citizens too?
What justice did that get for them?


And the rest of US revolted on it's government how??? This is the part that you don't see to get. Our information is almost instantaneous and we did not revolt against the government because of the Weavers. The people of the colonies did not consider themselves a different country from Britain. They revolted because some men that were extremely wise in propaganda and crowd incitement decided to get the crowd to revolt. Some of the tactics our "founding fathers" used are still on taught today in the various war colleges and academies.

The Brits were overwlelmingly viewed as an occuying force when in Boston. They posted sentries in front of Post Offices, got into brawls with the locals, competed for jobs and were rightly viewed with nothing but hostility by non-loyalist Americans. Even the local loyalists thought many of the occupying Brits were nasty rogues, which no doubt they were.

The British soldiers competed with the Americans for jobs??? I think you need to double-check your facts on that one.

The American Revolution was as close to a just war as we're ever likely to see. The only thing that might disquality it as a just war is that not all the means of fighting it were just, for example, the use of paper money by the government, legal tender laws, test oaths, etc.

Those were actually some of the nicer things they did.
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And if you study a bit more in depth, you'll also find that the "innocents" were throwing things at the British soldiers, and doing everything they could to incite trouble with the soldiers. They were instigating the British soldier as much as possible, and some of the "innocents" were actually involved in the rebel cause, albeit descreetly, and behind the scenes. If you study it with an indifferent eye, you'll see a lot of orchestation by the upper levels and the common folks did not realize they were being utilized in the ways they were.
Many of the things the rebels did were done with the specific intent to rouse the people against the British. The pre-cursors to the Boston Massacre were done specifically to start trouble so the people would have a reason to be outraged at the British Crown.


FYI, a young boy named Eddie Garrick swore at a soldier named Hugh White, who then knocked the kid down by hitting him on the head with the butt of his rifle. This caused a crowd to come to Eddie's aid and they started throwing snowballs at the soldiers and taunting the tax-thieving British criminals. This justifies firing into the crowd of unarmed civilians? Funny, the jury didn't see it that way, even though they acquited some of the soldiers on technicalities, while convicting two.
There is no evidence that any of this particular crowd were involved in any cause, as they were ordinary workers, not rabble rausers or pamphleteers. And what if they were rabble rausers? Is that a crime?

The British soldiers competed with the Americans for jobs??? I think you need to double-check your facts on that one.

According to a couple of accounts I've read, some Bostonians (rightly or wrongly) viewed them as competing for night watchman and security-type jobs. It makes sense to the extent that British forces were providing security services that would have been provided jobs for the locals.

I get the distinct impression you're not a libertarian, maybe a conservative monarchist of some sort. Hail to the British crown! Not.
VS



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That's why we invaded. I really wish people would stop thinking that this is a idealogical campaign and we choose targets by some wierd ranking system of how bad they are. All these countries are close enough in the terror scheme. Where to attack was well thought out. Bush may be an idiot, but he has some good advisors.

OK, so what next?


Well, we can continue to put pressure on North Korea through China. China will control them, because if they don't and we are given reason to invade North Korea, we will. They can stop us if there is no good reason, but if North Korea does something similar to the Taliban, China will be unable to keep us from taking North Korea. It is in China's best interests to control North Korea and the US off their doorstep.

If we were smart, we would support the budding revolution in Iran through Iraq. We probably won't because the State Department isn't on board. The SD still thinks Iran is a democracy. But hey, maybe our move in Iraq will embolden the Iranian revolutionaries. We can't invade Iran, but we can use the same tactics there that (minus the suicide bombers) Iran uses in Iraq and support our interests.

Continue to allow Iraq to democratize. Even if they don't get all the way there, perhaps a federation of several states will form, or even a socialist state with oil as a supporter of the citizens. Either way it is better than what was there. I don't think we are nearly interested in Iraq as a budding economic power as we are in them not pursuing WMD.

Syria will fall into place. We have removed the easy conduit they have to the rest of the terror world (Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc.) by cutting off the land route. It has become much more dangerous for them to move anything to other terror states without Iraq providing a port to the Persian Gulf and willing help.

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are interesting ones. They are so fragile that they can fall at any time. Pakistan is next to India, so perhaps India's growing economy can employ Pakistanis, but Indians and Pakistanis don't really like each other. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia put of a front, but I'm not sure that their governments are strong enough to control the terror movements. These are the more perplexing ones, and classified intel would probably shed a lot of light on these situations.

But the most important is to leave troops in Iraq. I'd much rather have terrorists attacking the most powerful army the world has ever known in a defensive position halfway across the world than trying to figure out what they are going to blow us in the US. The troops are a terrorist magnet right now. They are doing the job the military is supposed to do. Kill those trying to kill us. And there is no better position, strategically or tactically, to do that from.

srundell
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srundell: Because Iraq was the most stratgic and politically neutral for the war on terror. North Korea borders China and has nukes. Not a good place to invade, and China won't allow it. Iran borders Russia (or what Russia considers its borders), and has close ties to Russia as well. Might have nukes, but again, Russia won't allow it. We had to make a deal with Pakistan to get to Afghanistan, so we can't turn around and invade there, or no one would help us in this war like Pakistan did. Syria is right next to Israel, creating issues for a country that is not as important of a country as Iraq. Question: What country borders the most terror states? Iraq and Iran. Which one do we already have a casus belli and does not border a skittish former superpower? Iraq. That's why we invaded. I really wish people would stop thinking that this is a idealogical campaign and we choose targets by some wierd ranking system of how bad they are. All these countries are close enough in the terror scheme. Where to attack was well thought out. Bush may be an idiot, but he has some good advisors.

This is certainly one of the better arguments I've read for why we're at war with Iraq. Makes me wonder why I haven't heard it come out of W's or somebody else's mouth already. I mean W's getting pushed hard on justifying this war--and he's backpeddled a few times on what the real reason is. Seems to me he could have paraphrased what you just said and convinced the vast majority of folks (other than we'd be shocked to see so many complete sentences come out of him all at once).

You're also asking us to believe that all of the following is just mere coincidence:
* W. and his family are in the oil business, which stands to profit from this war.
* Cheney and many of the others "close to W." are in the oil business and/or the defense business (or at least have ties) and have already profited or stand to profit from this war.
* Iraq sits on the world's 2nd largest oil reserve, only behind Saudi Arabia (which we already exercise a good deal of control over) which W. and his family seem to be rather chummy with.
* Speculation: given W's and his families ties to the oil industry, I'm willing to bet that alot of folks in that industry donated just a wee bit to his campaign.
* Of the countries listed, Iraq is probably in the top 3 as far as being an enemy of Israel.

I'm not saying it might not all be coincidence, but that sure is a tough pill to swallow. No way to know, but I'll bet that if you remove oil and Israel from the equation, you end up with us not having troops in that country right now.

Matt.
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This is certainly one of the better arguments I've read for why we're at war with Iraq. Makes me wonder why I haven't heard it come out of W's or somebody else's mouth already.

Political suicide. You can't tell the truth in politics. Just look at what you get for having ties to the oil industry. You get hung for being mean, not incompetent.

You're also asking us to believe that all of the following is just mere coincidence:

or inconsequential.


* W. and his family are in the oil business, which stands to profit from this war.

And the free trade of Iraqi oil will bring down oil prices. So they stand to lose money as well.

* Cheney and many of the others "close to W." are in the oil business and/or the defense business (or at least have ties) and have already profited or stand to profit from this war.

Ties is the key word. Do you really want me to believe that Cheney wanted to go to war to help his ex-coworkers make a little money? I'm glad I'm not that cynical. You're implying murder, fraud, coercision, conspiracy to commit all the above. But you won't consider that they thought it was in the best interests of the country? I've often heard a huge argument was that Bush and his aides are stupid. But you give them a criminal mind that rivals Al Capone.

* Iraq sits on the world's 2nd largest oil reserve, only behind Saudi Arabia (which we already exercise a good deal of control over) which W. and his family seem to be rather chummy with.

Iraq or not, the American consumer has demanded cheap oil. I don't care who you are, but if you are President of the US, you need to deliver cheap gas. One way or another. I don't think that really has anything to do with the war. We could have lifted sanctions, and Iraqi oil would have flowed on the world market. In fact, it already was through smuggling or paying the UN corruption tax in the oil-for-food program. Iraqi oil now will have little effect compared to 2 years ago, because the oil was always on the market.

* Speculation: given W's and his families ties to the oil industry, I'm willing to bet that alot of folks in that industry donated just a wee bit to his campaign.

So do tobacco, pharmas, farmers, unions (although not many), blah, blah. You don't see Bush going to war with Africa for not following our drug patent laws. Yeah, special interest sucks, but there are so many special interests. Plus I don't think that anyone is going to kill for some campaign donations. Conviction, right or wrong, played a part in that, me thinks.


* Of the countries listed, Iraq is probably in the top 3 as far as being an enemy of Israel.

Ok, so what? A lot of people don't like Israel. I personally don't know why we go to such lengths for a religious state. But still, if that were our case, we could have done a lot more by invading Palestine, or allowed Israel to actually retaliate like the want to. We hold them back. A lot.

srundell
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Because Iraq was the most stratgic and politically neutral for the war on terror.

See, this is where I have a problem. Iraq hasn't been linked to Al Qaeda in any meaningful way and doesn't have a history of supporting global fundamentalist terrorist efforts, the only exception being rewards for the families of dead "martyrs".

Without significant any links to the terrorists we hunt, how can we honestly conclude that Iraq should be part of the War on Terror? it doesn't add up for me.

It seems far more likely that the War on Terror was a convenient cover for a pre-ordained strategy regarding regime change in Iraq that was established in the minds of key administration advisors long before 9/11. The record seems to support that conclusion too. Key administration officials were publishing articles about the need to remove Saddam Hussein as early as 1999.

Question: What country borders the most terror states? Iraq and Iran. Which one do we already have a casus belli and does not border a skittish former superpower? Iraq. That's why we invaded.

So we invaded Iraq not because of concerns over WMD or regime ties to terrorism or because they were a grave and gathering danger, but simply because Iraq provides a good staging ground from which to pressure Iran, Syria, and other terrorist sponsors.

That realpolitik approach is certainly more plausible than the other explanations I've heard. That doesn't make the war right, even still, but at least it is a more logical reason for invading than the stated concerns that Saddam was going to funnel WMD to terrorists with whom he had virtually no ties and who hated him as much as they hate us.

Am I understanding you correctly? Is that pretty much what you're saying?

I really wish people would stop thinking that this is a idealogical campaign and we choose targets by some wierd ranking system of how bad they are. All these countries are close enough in the terror scheme

Well, I think we can't overlook that it is in fact very likely that the war in Iraq was part of an ideological campaign. Key administration officials, including Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld were advocating aggressive responses to Saddam Hussein even before they were part of the administration. I think it would be short sighted to assume they left all those thoughts at the door when they signed on with President Bush.

I disagree that Iran, Iraq, and Syria are close to each other on the terror scheme. Iran and Syria are well known sponsors of fundamentalist islamic terrorism providing training, money, and safe havens. while this terrorism has been largely against Israel, it has occasionally had a larger reach. Iraq had no such commitment to terrorism, at least not one that any organization outside the administration has been able to identify. That should have been a deterrent to our linking them with the War on Terror. The fact that it wasn't is strongly suggestive that there were other forces at work in the decision to invade.

Steve
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Which brings us to two contradictions in the Libertarian Party.

Another good reason to carefully distinguish libertarians from the Libertarian Party.

I submit that the American Revolution was *not* a *just war* be the definitions of a lot of people on this board, and also not the definition of the Libertarian Party.

I disagree. The case is not open and shut, but I think that is why the Declaration of Independence was necessary. It made the colonial case for the justness of the war. Just war theory is general enough to apply to revolutions and asymmetrical warfare, but it was aimed at wars between nations. I don't have time to expound on this point, but I will sketch out the colonial just war argument.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

This lays the foundation and most importantly from a libertarian perspective establishes the primacy of the individual over the state and the crown drawing a direct link from the Creator to the individual.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

This is the key. The powers exercised by the British government are only just if those governed consent. The colonist were withdrawing their consent. They viewed themselves as British subjects to a greater extent than they were viewed as such by those in England and especially by Parliament.

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

This is the real revolutionary claim--that the people have the right to alter or abolish a government.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

Here they plead with the world and especially the British to see them not as wild-eyed, hotheaded revolutionaries, but long suffering citizens who have worked within a government framework that abuses their rights. One might argue that libertarians suffer abuses to their rights under virtually every government on earth, but willingly suffer these abuses, etc. (I just do not have time to go there.)

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

And so they claim that the see only two potential outcomes: despotism or liberty. I think this was a sincere view among the one third of the population who actively supported revolution. This point is probably most subject to criticism since it is easy to posit a compromise. In practice, the colonists were wearing away the patience of Parliament and the American colonies were a drain on resources.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.

As free men, they are compelled to withdraw their consent and establish a government that will respect their rights.

Now consider the criteria for just war: (1) having just cause, (2) being declared by a proper authority, (3) possessing right intention, (4) having a reasonable chance of success, and (5) the end being proportional to the means used.

That the Colonists were convinced of (1) and (3) is manifest from their declaration.

Now (2) is more problematic. One can contention that the state legislatures and especially the Continental Congress were not a proper authority. The British Parliament and Crown would dispute (2), but that was exactly the reason for the conflict. I think the representative nature of the state legislatures and the Continental Congress tip the scales in favor of the revolutionaries. (Contrast this with the self-proclaimed 'representatives of the people' who have led other revolutions and then established totalitarian states.)

Using hindsight (to exploit what I think should be an allowable exception to your second argument about 20-20 hindsight informing our judgment) it succeeded so (4) is moot.

Finally, (5) is another close call. In part, the terms of the conflict were dictated in part by the British response (and I will leave it to someone else to apply just war theory to the British side), but just as we should hold terrorist responsible for the means they employ we must hold the American revolutionaries responsible for the means they employed. I will grant that some measures against Tories were excessive, but on balance the American side fought the war according to accepted rules of warfare.

It seems to me that a lot of people on this list are really defining a just war based upon the results of each war in hindsight, rather than the state of affairs before it, and then trying to shoehorn a definition that fits the state of affairs before each of the "just" wars.

I agree that our view of history is colored by our knowledge of the outcome and by the resulting sweep of history. I think there is a more dangerous problem. Too many people get caught up in a specious argument because they want things to be simple when they are in fact complex. They blame the state of affairs leading up to the conflict on the absence of their dream of a libertarian utopia. (I happen to share that dream, but I temper it with a healthy dose of reality as needed.)

Their premise is that other nations or groups would not pursue an aggressive, militant foreign policy if our nation were a libertarian utopia. This view is naive and amounts to wishful thinking. That's bad enough, but it is pernicious because it sets up a moral equivalency that does not exist. We as a nation have fought more often on the side of the angels than on the side of the devils even after we acknowledge that the affairs of mankind are never that black and white.

Regards,
Prometheuss
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VS, Your attempt to claim that self described libertarians are not libertarians unless they agree with you is tedious and boring.

First you say:

libertarians argue for independence from the state in all cases and that all people have a right to secede from whatever government illegally claims them as "citizens."

Then you say:

I am not a member of the LP, and it doesn't speak for libertarians.

Neither do you. Your statement is not true of all libertarians. It is true of all anarchists, but not all libertarians are anarchists. You are guilty of taking a rational position, libertarianism, to an absurd extreme. This is not a valid method of argument and it does not pass muster in the real world.

Regards,
Prometheuss
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srundell: Political suicide. You can't tell the truth in politics.

You do see the irony, right? I mean, I agree with you--politicians lie--they do it all the time. But yet we're supposed to trust them. How many people in your day to day dealings do you continue to trust/follow after you've found out that they've lied to you more than a few times? You don't impress me as a stupid person or a pushover, so I'm guessing none.

The other thing about political suicide that I don't get with regard to presidents is, I don't think it affects them. At least not much. I mean they've reached the apex of their career path--no place to go except another term. Then its off to the speaking circuit, or board rooms, or whatever. This doesn't seem to matter much. Look at Clinton. Here's a guy who got his **** polished by a subordinate employee while he was on the job. Most of us would be fired in a heartbeat for this behavior. It--in the end--doesn't seem to have affected him much. My God, he was (maybe still is) #1 on the best-sellers list with his stupid book. In any case, I know what you mean; and it certainly comes into play for all the other monkeys in DC, but I think presidents are pretty much exempted from the old political suicide.


srundell: But you give them a criminal mind that rivals Al Capone.

My point exactly--in fact I give them a criminal mind worse than Al Capone.

I don't think anybody can argue that our military is the most powerful man-made and man-controlled force on the planet. Also by virtue of our currency being the world standard and the IMF standard, not to mention the size of our economy; we have huge economic power and influence relative to the rest of the world. It is often said that we are the most powerful nation on the planet. I tend to agree.

Now, the people who get to take control over this vast power are politicians (our so-called govt. of the people is a joke)--also referred to as "elected officials" because--obviously--they get elected into the job. What's one of the key steps that a politician has to make in order to get elected? Answer: they have to seek it.

If I painted a non-descript picture with some anonymous "big power" on one side and another anonymous "group of people seeking big power" on the other, would you be inclined to think highly of the people seeking the power? I thouht most of us had a natural distrust of anybody who seeks great amounts of power--as well we should. Yet for some reason we never seem to see politicians in this light. So no, I have no trouble seeing Bush, Cheney, Clinton, Gore, Kerry, etc. as potential Al Capones or worse.

This is not to say that I think all politicians are of this type--but I find few examples that make me think otherwise.

Matt.
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The case is not open and shut, but I think that is why the Declaration of Independence was necessary. It made the colonial case for the justness of the war. Just war theory is general enough to apply to revolutions and asymmetrical warfare, but it was aimed at wars between nations. I don't have time to expound on this point, but I will sketch out the colonial just war argument.

Prometheuss,

Very good post.

Regarding whether the American Revolution, I think it meets all of the criteria laid out for Libertarian Just War:

http://www.zetetics.com/mac/articles/justwar.html

To conclude: a libertarian just war would have to be declared in response to an act of aggression that could not be remedied in by a lesser level of defensive violence. It would have to be declared by a State to whom people had assigned their rights of self defense. And the war could be declared on behalf of those assignees alone. Dissenters would have to be left in peace to defend themselves, or not. The declaration of war would be against the enemy State, but not against the enemy civilian population. And, finally, the war would have to be conducted with strategies and weaponry that would not knowingly involve damaging or killing innocent parties.

Their premise is that other nations or groups would not pursue an aggressive, militant foreign policy if our nation were a libertarian utopia. This view is naive and amounts to wishful thinking.

I agree with this also. It is a shortcoming in offocial Libertarian philosophy and is one that should be remedied.

Anyway, good post.

Steve
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See, this is where I have a problem. Iraq hasn't been linked to Al Qaeda in any meaningful way and doesn't have a history of supporting global fundamentalist terrorist efforts, the only exception being rewards for the families of dead "martyrs".

Here's my problem. You don't think that terrorist organizations work together. It doesn't matter if its al-Queda or Hezbollah. They will work together. Germany and Japan worked loosely together in WWII, but if they were neighbors, they probably would have attacked each other. Al-Queda will work with anyone if its to kill westerners. Saddam tried to kill westerners, not the least the President of the US.

Here's my other problem. This is a pre-emptive war. We are pre-empting terrorism. Al-Queda is a terrorist organization, as are many others. Hezbollah and many, many other organizations trained with al-Queda in camps in Afghanistan. They want to kill westerners. Saddam harbored terrorists. He was trying to get nukes. Russia, France, Germany, and Britian agreed with this. Russia, France, and Germany were arguing that containment was working (and the status quo allowed them to keep their loans to Iraq), but then again, if they are wrong, they won't be the first to get blown up. The US will, so it's an easy risk for them to take. Even the 9/11 commission said that al-Queda approached Saddam for nukes. The commission didn't comment on the result. What more do you want?

It seems far more likely that the War on Terror was a convenient cover for a pre-ordained strategy regarding regime change in Iraq that was established in the minds of key administration advisors long before 9/11

Well, if that is true, I see this as a huge win in the war on terror, and if incompetence got us there, fine. The results are still the same. I'd rather believe that it was thought out, but I'll never know. If we decided to go after Cameroon instead, I'd question the policy, but this is a huge win, weather they know it or not. No matter if we invaded for WMD, humanitarian reasons, oil, personal grudge, whatever, the terrorists are still cut off from each other and dying by the day. I'll pick the strategic position and stopping a probable exporter of WMD who has shown aggressiveness towards the US.


So we invaded Iraq not because of concerns over WMD or regime ties to terrorism or because they were a grave and gathering danger, but simply because Iraq provides a good staging ground from which to pressure Iran, Syria, and other terrorist sponsor

No, that is my answer to why not Iran, Pakistan, Syria, yada, yada.

Well, I think we can't overlook that it is in fact very likely that the war in Iraq was part of an ideological campaign. Key administration officials, including Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld were advocating aggressive responses to Saddam Hussein even before they were part of the administration.

You mean something like a pre-emptive war against terrorist sponsors? Sounds like visionary in hindsight.

Iraq had no such commitment to terrorism, at least not one that any organization outside the administration has been able to identify

Harboring terrorists and seeking nuclear weapons is enough.


I guess we disagree on fundamental things, and no consclusions can be made because we answer the following questions differently:

1) Do you believe Saddam was working with the terrorists that contacted Iraqi agents and stayed in Baghdad, or were they there for some other reason?

2) Do you believe that Saddam wouldn't sell any WMD to terrorists (who were asking him for WMD)?

3) Do you believe Saddam was actively seeking harm to the US?

4) Do you believe that terrorism is a problem or just al-Queda?


srundell
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You do see the irony, right? I mean, I agree with you--politicians lie--they do it all the time. But yet we're supposed to trust them.

...

The other thing about political suicide that I don't get with regard to presidents is, I don't think it affects them.


I trust them to do what's in their best interest. The capital that politicians use is political capital. They want to exert power, so they must have it. You can't go on a power trip with no power. A second term is the ultimate power, because if you do something stupid or lose some political capital, you can't get re-elected anyway, so who cares. I think if you see Bush in office again, you'll see some privatization of social security and more tax cuts because he'll have capital to spend. Right now he used all of it in Iraq, so he has to buy friends with the Medicare crap and the like.

That's a little rambling, but the ultimate loss of political capital is multiple disasters of the same type. US citizens will give Bush the capital to stop anymore terrorism from happening, but if there is another terrorist attack, he'll probably lose a lot of political capital. So, I believe he is doing what he can to prevent that.

My point exactly--in fact I give them a criminal mind worse than Al Capone.

Ok, that's fair. I hear all the time how stupid whatever administration is, but then the same people turn around and talk about these idiots creating a diabolical conspiracy. If you think they're smart, then I'm not going to argue that point. I honestly don't think any president is really that smart, but I believe some of the advisors are. A president who knows how to use advisors is a scary thing. Just look at FDR.

srundell
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Did Saddam support terrorism? Well, he certainly had no problem rewarding the families of suicide bombers in israel, so I guess that counts. It's worth noting, however, that the folks blowing themselves up in Israel are not the same folks who attacked us. So did Saddam have significant ties to the folks who attacked us? The 9/11 commission seems to think not, and went as far as issuing a public statement to that effect.

The 9/11 commission only concluded that Iraq did not have an 'operational role' in the planning and execution of 9/11. They had no definitive conclusion about ties, significant or otherwise. On the other hand the Clinton/Reno Justice Department issued an indictment against bin Laden in the spring of 1998 (several weeks before the embassy bombings). This is what they claimed in paragraph 4 of that indictment:

Al Qaeda also forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in the Sudan and with the government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hezballah for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States. In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq.

This alone, if true, blows both of your contentions out of the water. It says that groups like Hezballah who blow up children to kill folks in Israel made common cause with al Qaeda and that bin Laden and Iraq cooperated. But that's just the Clinton Justice Department.

CIA Director (under Clinton and Bush) George Tenet on October 7, 2002 wrote a letter to Congress that said:

Our understanding of the relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda is evolving and is based on sources of varying reliability. Some of the information we have received comes from detainees, including some of high rank. We have solid reporting of senior level contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda going back a decade. Credible information indicates that Iraq and Al Qaeda have discussed safe haven and reciprocal nonaggression. Since Operation Enduring Freedom, we have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of Al Qaeda members, including some that have been in Baghdad. We have credible reporting that Al Qaeda leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire W.M.D. capabilities. The reporting also stated that Iraq has provided training to Al Qaeda members in the areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs. Iraq's increasing support to extremist Palestinians coupled with growing indications of relationship with Al Qaeda suggest that Baghdad's links to terrorists will increase, even absent U.S. military action.

Tenet has stood by this claim and reaffirmed it before the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 9, 2004. The 9/11 Commission Report does not dispute Tenet's claim.

I have made my case sufficiently, but I have one example so compelling that it should be sufficient to convince any reasonable person of the connection between Iraq and the terrorists responsible for 9/1l: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. This example also speaks to the “so what” issue of WMD. European officials claim that Zarqawi is the al Quida coordinator for chemical attacks that were thwarted in Britain, France, and Italy and al-Zarqawi is credited with a recent plan to use chemical agents in an attack in Jordan.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was running an al Quida training camp in Afghanistan under the Taliban. He lost a leg when the US bombed his terrorist training camp. He fled to Iraq where Saddam Hussein gave him refuge in Baghdad to obtain medical treatment and recover from his wounds. While in Iraq he is credited with helping to establish a new poison and explosive training camp in northern Iraq. When Jordan uncovered an al-Zarqawi planned operation and thwarted it in April 2004 we learned that the operators were trained in Iraq prior to the invasion and swore allegiance to al-Zarqawi.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has a keen interest in WMD's and BBC has reported that students at his training camp in Afghanistan supposedly became experts in the manufacture and use of poison gases. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is credited with the recent plan to crash trucks fitted with special battering rams and filled with 20 tons of explosives through the gates of the U.S. Embassy, the Jordanian Prime Minister's office and the national intelligence headquarters in Jordan. Once through the gates, the trucks would disperse a toxic cloud of nerve and blister agents. Jordan uncovered this operation and thwarted it in April 2004. Would you like to guess who might supply him with nerve and blister agents?

Did Saddam attempt to acquire WMD? He very likely did. Heck, he had a stockpile of biological and chemical weapons from his war with Iran and while he may have destroyed them in accordance with UN mandates, he was certainly behaving as though he had something to hide. So, let's say he did have WMD, and had hidden them well enough that we haven't been able to find them. So what?

The so what is obvious.

Where is the clear and present danger that would justify militatry action?

If you do not see any danger then you are deluded or playing a perverse political game.

Regards,
Prometheuss
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"The logical conclusion to your statement is that we should be an empire controlling the world to make sure there aren't any problems. I suggest that this has a near zero percent chance of working. All empires crumble and fall under their own weight. I would say that unless this country reverses course soon, it will be our fate. Not to mention the fact that if you go looking at most of the things that the government calls problems, they had a large hand in bringing them about. We have a deplorable track record at getting involved in the affaris of other countries, yet we do it constantly.

Unfortunately we'll never know how things may have been had we heeded the founder's advice--minimize entanglements with other countries and set an example for the rest of the world to follow. I'm willing to bet there'd be alot more peace in the world--or in the very least this nation, and I bet that we'd have significantly fewer of our current domestic problems as well."

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Wow. You know, Matt, I agree with every word in the above quote. In fact, there's only one thing I don't agree with you on the post this was in, which is I believe that a monopoly of law enforcement is the only way to keep violence in a society down. (And the fewer and simpler the laws, and the higher the likelihood of being punished when you violate the law, the more effective it becomes).

The rest of your post most likely represents the "common ground" between the two of us.

The U.S. *is* an empire. I acknowledge that freely. And it most likely will crumble. I acknowledge that, too. My views about the war with Iraq, and war in general, are the policies that I believe will delay the crumbling of that empire. And I can see that you think the U.S. should go in different direction. I wish we had a long time ago.

I've just added you to my favorite fool list.

-JAR
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Where is the clear and present danger that would justify militatry action?

If you do not see any danger then you are deluded or playing a perverse political game.

To the extent that there is a danger, this raises the question of how much and how immediate the danger is--e.g. "clear and present" or unclear and diffuse. It also ignores America's role in fomenting and encouraging the danger. If you are so convinced that there is a real danger, why don't you get your like-minded friends and go over and fight the enemy?

One thing is for sure: Iraq has no WMDs and the CIA has been completely wrong on Iraq, and the U.S. went to war on false premises, even on statist grounds, never mind libertarian theory.
Even if it has one or two WMDs, you're deluding yourself if you think it could actually use them against the U.S.

"Exaggeration," "hubris," "shortcomings" and other similar words have been used today to describe the CIA's work regarding Iraq.

Since you seem to be more of a conservative than a libertarian, why
aren't you posting there, which frankly is where you belong?
I have read lots of libertarian publications over the years, but, with the lone exception of Rand-influenced ones (her followers are not libertarian on foreign policy), I have yet to read any that take your pro-invasion line on Iraq or views on foreign policy generally.

VS
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"The Brits killed five *innocent* men in the Boston massacre, and two soldiers were found guilty of manslaughter."
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Hardly a justification for war in and of itself.

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"The Brits were overwlelmingly viewed as an occuying force when in Boston."

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Hardly a justification for war in and of itself, since Britian had legitamite sovereignty.

-JAR
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"...not all libertarians are anarchists"

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I don't even give him that much.

No one will ever convice me that anyone can be an anarchist and call himself a libertarian.

However, please don't interpret that to mean I don't like anarchists being on this list. I welcome them!

-JAR
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ValueSnark: To the extent that there is a danger, this raises the question of how much and how immediate the danger is--e.g. "clear and present" or unclear and diffuse.

I made the case. Refute it if you can, but don't waste time playing word games.

It also ignores America's role in fomenting and encouraging the danger.

I've addressed this canard a few times. Sell it to the weak minded, self-loathing individuals who might be in the market for it.

If you are so convinced that there is a real danger, why don't you get your like-minded friends and go over and fight the enemy?

That is precisely what the United States did. Furthermore, members of my family, former comrades-in-arms, colleagues, and friends are in Afghanistan and Iraq fighting the enemy. One close friend, a government contractor, was brutally murdered by terrorist while supporting the Army in Kuwait. My daughter's husband is serving in the Army's Stryker Brigade fighting militants in and around Mosul. My other daughter is serving in the Air Force. I retired from the Army after serving for over 24 years and if the Army had use for me fighting this war then I would shoulder a rifle and fall into ranks.

One thing is for sure: Iraq has no WMDs and the CIA has been completely wrong on Iraq

Your wild claims lack substance or merit. Don't you see how ridiculous they sound? Even you would be challenged to be completely wrong on anything as complex as Iraq. Provide some evidence to substantiate the ludicrous claim that the CIA has been 'completely' wrong or take this silliness elsewhere. You seem to see a world that is black and white with comlete information there for asking. That's not the real world.

Iraq no longer threatens the world with WMDs because we invaded the country and changed the regime in power. There is ample evidence that Iraq had WMDs, pursued the means to deliver those WMDs, and attempted to obtain more potent WMDs. There is ample evidence that Iraq began to dismantle their WMD programs because of the threat of invasion and regime change. We did not know it before the invasion because Iraqi scientists and workers had to be liberated so that they could talk freely without the threat of torture and death. There is ample evidence that Iraq shipped components and material associated with their WMD programs out of country when the coalition built up forces and began the invasion.

and the U.S. went to war on false premises,

This is a patently untrue and yet another unsubstantiated claim. (See my comments above.) Prove it if you can.

even on statist grounds,

More rhetoric devoid of substance. Are empty slogans all you have inside your head? I will deal with the statist nonsense below.

never mind libertarian theory.

You don't seem to mind it much except in an extreme, utopian form. (More below.)

Even if it has one or two WMDs, you're deluding yourself if you think it could actually use them against the U.S.

How flattering of you to parrot my words in an attempt to turn around my charge that you and those who deny the threat are deluded. However, you need to look up the word 'delude' in the dictionary first. It means, "to mislead the mind or judgment". For me to be deluded I must be misled. Please explain how this can be so when I have never subscribed to the premise of your statement. You see, you are deluded because you subscribe to an obviously false premise and cling to it despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Iraq was unable to use WMDs against the U.S. because the U.S. and others took action to prevent Iraq from obtaining the capability that Saddam Hussein sought. By doing so Iraq was not able to threaten to kill thousands of innocent civilians in the Western world.

The U.S. maintains a substantial military capability to deter nations like North Korea from using WMDs. The urgency for the war on terrorism originates from the desire of the terrorists to obtain and use WMDs. Deterring a state like North Korea is difficult, but manageable so far. There is no deterring terrorists like Usama bin Laden and terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda. They must be eradicated.

"Exaggeration," "hubris," "shortcomings" and other similar words have been used today to describe the CIA's work regarding Iraq.

Do you have a point? I thought not. Name calling is the refuge of the ignorant and the lazy. If you have a case to make against the CIA then make it, but save the name calling for the playground.

Since you seem to be more of a conservative than a libertarian,

Support this claim. I doubt that you can distinguish a conservative from a libertarian. Point to anything that I have written here that is not commensurate with libertarian philosophy.

why aren't you posting there, which frankly is where you belong?

I post here because I choose to post here. Some folks rec my posts from time to time so they must have some merit. You don't really believe in liberty do you? You want to impose on others your viewpoint and tell them where they belong. I don't mind if you post here even though your extreme brand of libertarianism gives the entire philosophy a bad name.

I have read lots of libertarian publications over the years, but, with the lone exception of Rand-influenced ones (her followers are not libertarian on foreign policy), I have yet to read any that take your pro-invasion line on Iraq or views on foreign policy generally.

More circular logic. You want to define anyone who does not agree with you as not being a libertarian. I have bad news for you: there is no single libertarian foreign policy position. The real world is filled with nuance. People and objects fit into categories using appropriate criteria. If you narrow the criteria in the manner you describe then the category becomes useless because it describes only you.

You wrote: the concept of "citizen" is a statist concept, and is inconsistent with libertarian principles. In a libertarian world, there would be no citizens, only people.

Have you consulted a dictionary? Statism is “the concentration of economic controls and planning in the hands of a highly centralized government”. The concept of citizen is not statist since it is a valid concept in a republic where there is no concentration of economic controls and planning. You seem to have a limited grasp of language and simple logic. Abandon the slogans and start thinking and analyzing!

lib·er·tar·i·an: One who advocates maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state. -- American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

Now your extreme brand of libertarian principles minimizes the state out of existence so the notion of a libertarian foreign policy is vacuous. How eccentric! Yet you want to define any libertarian who believes in limited government as someone who is not a libertarian, right? Maybe you should reconsider that. My principles allow for limited government while maximizing individual rights. This meets the dictionary definition of libertarian. Furthermore, it is a lot more practical in the real world and ensures that more than a few people share my views.

Regards,
Prometheuss
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Hardly a justification for war in and of itself, since Britian had legitamite sovereignty.

The war didn't start then, as Lexington and Concord came later. That was the start of the war, or perhaps Bunker (Breeds) Hill.
Independence revolutions don't start with a declaration of war by a guerilla group or extra state group against another state, occupying or not.
And legitimate sovereignty doesn't confer carte blanche to do whatever the sovereign wants to do on the people under his sovereignty. There is such a thing as justifiable rebellion, which the Americans pursued.




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The 9/11 commission only concluded that Iraq did not have an 'operational role' in the planning and execution of 9/11. They had no definitive conclusion about ties, significant or otherwise.

This is factually incorrect. They issued a statement earlier this week that specifically said they found only limited ties between Al Qaeda and Iraq.

I referenced this earlier in a different thread:

http://abcnews.go.com/wire/Politics/ap20040707_495.html

The Sept. 11 commission is standing by its finding that al-Qaida had only limited contact with Iraq before the terrorist attacks.

The 10-member, bipartisan panel issued a one-sentence statement Tuesday saying it had access to the same information as Vice President Dick Cheney, who suggested strong ties between ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida.


This alone, if true, blows both of your contentions out of the water. It says that groups like Hezballah who blow up children to kill folks in Israel made common cause with al Qaeda and that bin Laden and Iraq cooperated. But that's just the Clinton Justice Department.

I think it's a stretch to look at a grand jury indictment and base your position on it, but whatever floats your boat. Also not entirely sure why mentioning Clinton is relevant.

In any event, personally, I like the CIA reports themselves and the recent Senate review of them. You can find the senate report here:

http://intelligence.senate.gov/iraqreport2.pdf

One of the better excerpts:

"Due to limited amount and questionable quality of reporting on the leadership intentions of Saddam Hussein and Usama bin Laden, the CIA was unable to make conclusive assessments in Iraqi Support for Terrorism regarding Iraq's relationship with al-Qaida. The CIA stated in the Scope Note: Our knowledge of Iraq's ties to terrorism is evolving [blacked out text] This paper's conclusions - especially regarding the difficult and elusive question of the exact nature of Iraq's relationship with al-Qaida - are based on currently available information that is at times contradictory and derived from sources of varying degrees of reliability..."

Oh, and let's not forget this gem :

"Instead, analysts looked at Saddam Husseins record for dealing with extremists and assessed in "Iraqi Support for Terrorism" that he generally viewed Islamic extremism, including the school of Islam known as Wahhabism, as a threat to his regime, noting he had executed extremists from both the Sunni and Shi'a sects to disrupt their organizations. The CIA also provided a HUMINT report [blacked out text] that indicated the regime sought to prevent Iraqi youth from joining al-Qaida."

And:

"Consistent with inadequate intelligence on Saddam Hussein's intentions or views towards al-Qaida, The CIA had limited intelligence reporting on the al-Qaida leadership's decisions regarding a relationship with Iraq."

The report goes on to say the information was contradictory with some evidence that some in al-Qaida favored a relationship with Iraq and some evidence that the completely opposed it.

It did acknowledge that the CIA had misgivings about the reliability of the information suggesting frequent and long term contacts between Iraq and al-Qaida, citing that the reports often came from foreign sources opposed to the Iraqi regime.

But you're right. The grand jury indictment is far more compelling.


Tenet has stood by this claim and reaffirmed it before the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 9, 2004. The 9/11 Commission Report does not dispute Tenet's claim.

And the Senate issued a 500+ page report castigating the CIA, and Tenet in particular, for glaring intelligence failures with regards to Iraq.

Are you sure you are comfortable with his credibility at this point?

....Abu Musab al-Zarqawi....

Yes, al-Zarqawi was given refuge in Bagdhad and did have positive relationships with Iraqi Intelligence, according to the statements of other members of al-Qaida, including Abu Zubayda. Abu Zubayda went on to say that he did not think Usama bin Laden had any relationship with Iraq. So a member of al-Qaida had a relationship with Iraqi officials, but the head of al-Qaida did not. That's the extent of the ties?

If that was so meaningful, then why was the CIA so conflicted about the relationship? If his presence was the smoking gun you profess it to be, why all the CIA hand-wringing about the "difficult and elusive question of the exact nature of Iraq's relationship with al-Qaida"?

Would you like to guess who might supply him with nerve and blister agents?

No, and you probably shouldn't either if that guess is going to be used to put 150,000 troops at risk, and end the lives of almost 1000 of them.

The so what is obvious.

Clearly, it is to you. It is less so to me, or I wouldn't have been wasting all this time in this thread.


If you do not see any danger then you are deluded or playing a perverse political game.

"Perverse political game"? What do you mean by that? I'm legitimately curious what you could be thinking here?

Since I don't have the creativity to even think of playing "perverse policital games", I guess I'm deluded. I guess the Senate is deluded too since they have serious concerns about the quality of the conclusions reached by the intelligence community in the run-up to the war just like I do.

At least I'm in good company.

Answer or not, it is your choice. Clearly we are no closer to any sort of common ground after 85 odd posts than we were when we started, so chances are we will never get there. C'est la vie.

Steve
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Prometheus-

A brilliant rebuttal of Valuesnark's wild unsubstantiated assertions.

I find it incredibly frustrating when the anti-war crowd naively assumes that the scarcity of WMD stockpiles found in post-war Iraq (thus far) is the whole of the story.

Intelligence is an inherently inaccurate business and in other cases (Iran and North Korea for example), our intelligence has greatly underestimated foreign weapons programs. Foreign policy must be based on the best assessment of a situation at a particular time not speculation based on hindsight at a later time.

The KNOWN facts of Hussein's Iraq alone justified the conclusion that it was an illegitimate totalitarian regime guilty of imperialistic aggression towards its neighbors, domestic mass murder, international terrorism, the genocidal use of chemical WMD's, the development and pursuit of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons at various times and incomplete compliance with UN weapons inspections. With this conclusion, the only responsible US foreign policy (supported by both Republican and Democratic administrations) was one of regime change in Iraq. The goal of this foreign policy became much more urgent in the aftermath of 9/11. This is the case no matter what intelligence sources guessed regarding Iraq's weapons programs at the time of our invasion or what we found in post-war Iraq after possible destruction, concealment or removal of weapons program components.

Valuesnark writes:

"Exaggeration," "hubris," "shortcomings" and other similar words have been used today to describe the CIA's work regarding Iraq.

I would humbly suggest that these words best describe the smug naive certainty that he and others appear to have when proclaiming the lack of WMD's in pre-war Iraq. They also come to mind when one sees their arrogance presumption of superior judgement on these matters in comparison to an "inept" CIA. While the CIA appears to need significant improvement, I would not presume that my own ability in intelligence matters is superior to theirs.

Regarding Valuesnark's definition of libertarian,

lib·er·tar·i·an: One who advocates maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state. -- American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

I also feel compelled to comment. First of all, I would offer another definition of libertarian - "one who advocates liberty, esp. with regards to thought or conduct -- Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, 1989." VS's interpretation of libertarian philosophy is closer to anarchist philosophy. A real-world libertarian philosophy recognizes the role of the state in domestic law and order and national security (as well as other community functions such as infrastructure. etc.) which protect and even advance libertarian ideals. These elements of the state define reasonable limits on certain freedoms so that individual rights and freedoms as a whole can be "maximized." Individual freedoms need to be reconciled lest one individual's freedom is allowed to trump all others. One's freedom of speech is meaningless if somebody else has the freedom to deter that speech by threatening speech or action. In the international arena, the state's role in confronting non-libertarian threats (states or terrorists) is critical in preserving our own freer state.

wolvy





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Thanks JAR. I suspected we were probably more in agreement than not as well. That whole nature/nurture thing is a philsophical debate that'll probably go on until we wipe ourselves out. But I'll give you another nod--I was just out talking with my neighbors. They have a 3-year old daughter and 1-year old daughter. The two were being, how shall I say less than diplomatic, about who should play with what when. Yep, given the means, they'd probably kill each other. Sibling love is good stuff.

I actually do agree with your parenthetical statemnt: "(And the fewer and simpler the laws, and the higher the likelihood of being punished when you violate the law, the more effective it becomes)". And I'd also add making the punishment consistent and befitting of the crime. Not to mention it'd be nice if the victim was actually compensated somehow--but that can be a long topic.

I guess we'll just end up disagreeing on the monopoly of law enforcement thing. What's your take on private gun ownership and self defense? Personally, I say let anybody own any gun they want and as many of them as they want. And I wish that the general public in this country had more of a tendency to want to defend themselves--even if it was just with their bare hands. Unfortunately it seems like most folks take the approach of "the police will protect me". Even if all cops were excellent, this is a physical impossibility. If a guy comes busting through my door right now, I doubt there's a cop who's going to get here to save me in time. Granted, even if I had a gun in the house I may not be able to get to it; but my odds are better at surviving. Of course the big plus for criminals in this country is that they know that most law-abiding citizens are unarmed and most likely won't defend themselves. If I was a criminal and I even thought that 25% of my would be victims were armed and/or of a mind to defend themselves, I'd probably look for other work. I'm looking forward to reading John Lott's books ( http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0226493644/qid=1089426260/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/102-2304932-9316129?v=glance&s=books and http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0895261146/qid=1089426260/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/102-2304932-9316129?v=glance&s=books ) when I get the chance.

Matt.
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</>I retired from the Army after serving for over 24 years and if the Army had use for me fighting this war then I would shoulder a rifle and fall into ranks.

Ah, that explains your views, and why your not libertarian on foreign policy. I've never heard of a career military individual who was a libertarian. In fact, I don't think one exists.

Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. I don't have to prove that the CIA has been wrong on Iraq: its been all over the papers the last couple days. I guess you only read Pentagon-approved drivel.

I doubt that you can distinguish a conservative from a libertarian. Point to anything that I have written here that is not commensurate with libertarian philosophy.

Libertarians support individual liberty; conservatives support the status quo, and above all war. Libertarians have more than one view on foreign policy, but ultimately it boils down to four words:

Peace and free trade.

Name one non-Randian libertarian writer--historian, philosopher, economist, etc., who supports the war on Iraq. (Randians don't count--they really aren't libertarians and Rand herself explicitly rejected the label libertarian, but you probably are unaware of this, as I seriously doubt you've ever read any libertarian magazines, etc.)

<i.>The concept of citizen is not statist since it is a valid concept in a republic where there is no concentration of economic controls and planning. You seem to have a limited grasp of language and simple logic.

No, I think it's you who has a limitled grasp of reality. By running to the dictionary, you ignore nuances of language and changes in usage that aren't captured in a dictionary.
There are plenty of economic controls and planning in any government beyond a night watchman state, as Harry Ward pointed out in his book on statism in early Massachusetts. Do you not think that government bureaucracies in the U.S. engage in a *form* of central planning?
If you don't, you really don't know anything about economics. Obviously you've never read Rothbard, or Higgs, or anyone in the current Austrian economics journals, or some of the blogs at the mises yahoo list.
In _Man, Economy, and State_ and _Power and Market_, Rothbard pointed out that all governments operate in islands of calculational chaos because they aren't market-based, profit-making institutions. This calculational chaos doesn't exist in the market but it necessarily does in any government spending.
Higgs edited a great book on military spending and several essays show the same thing.

A citizen is someone who owes (allegedly) allegiance to the state in which he was born and who has full civil rights as a result of his birth. That's an open sesame for totalitarianism, which is what the French revolution turned into for a while. It's was no accident that lots of French *citoyens* ended up in legirons.
Since the state is inherently a criminal organization, as it obtains its resources by theft, it therefore has no authority over anyone, and it has no right to make anyone a "citizen."
The concepts of civil rights and civil society are contradictions.
Rights don't come from government, they are naturally occuring in man.
(Some people claim they come from God, like TJ in the Dec. of Independence, but as an atheist/agnostic, I saw this has as much validity as the phlogiston theory of oxygen.)
Civil society is a contradicition, because society and the State are polar opposite concepts and institutions, with the former being based on voluntary exchange and peace, and the latter being based on violence and crime.

Yet you want to define any libertarian who believes in limited government as someone who is not a libertarian, right? Maybe you should reconsider that. My principles allow for limited government while maximizing individual rights. This meets the dictionary definition of libertarian. Furthermore, it is a lot more practical in the real world and ensures that more than a few people share my views.

Wrong, actually, as I have mentioned before that libertarianism can be consistent with a night watchman state or minarchy, call it what you will. Rothbard was an anarchist, as I am, but he often espoused explicit Jeffersonian views even though "that government is best that governs least" is not, strictly speaking, quite anarchy, but it's close enough.
I'm willing to walk with limited state libertarians until we get to the promised land. Then we'll have the debate over the next step.

However, I see nothing in your views on foreign policy that are remotely consistent with *any* libertarian views I have seen.
Rothbard? Machan? Hummel? Higgs? Lefevre? Childs? Steele?
I could go on. If you can name a libertarian who shares your views and cite his work, I'll look at it.

I'll end with this question:

What part of "peace and free trade" do you not understand?

VS























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I'll stop here, Steve. You are determined to cling to your delusion and nothing illustrates that more than the statement below. You admit that one of the most dangerous terrorists on the planet, al-Zarqawi, had significant ties with Iraq, was involved in planning WMD attacks, and is a member of al Qaida. You then dismiss the significance of this since bin Laden personally does not have known ties to Iraq. This is clearly just a game for you. I gave a serious response to your question, "So did Saddam have significant ties to the folks who attacked us?" You can't be serious with this response.

Yes, al-Zarqawi was given refuge in Bagdhad and did have positive relationships with Iraqi Intelligence, according to the statements of other members of al-Qaida, including Abu Zubayda. Abu Zubayda went on to say that he did not think Usama bin Laden had any relationship with Iraq. So a member of al-Qaida had a relationship with Iraqi officials, but the head of al-Qaida did not. That's the extent of the ties?

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Ah, that explains your views, and why your not libertarian on foreign policy. I've never heard of a career military individual who was a libertarian. In fact, I don't think one exists

What kind of nonsense is this? First of all, your foreign policy opinions appear LESS libertarian to me than that of Prometheuss. One can actually argue that libertarian philosophy which REQUIRES a domestic state to enforce liberties ends at our border. Your blanket statement regarding military personnel speaks for itself. Perhaps I should remind you that ALL OF YOUR LIBERTIES exist due to the sacrifices of the military!

Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. I don't have to prove that the CIA has been wrong on Iraq: its been all over the papers the last couple days. I guess you only read Pentagon-approved drivel.

How about some independent thinking? The 9/11 panel's conclusions are OVERREACHING and benefit from hindsight. NOBODY KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT WEAPONRY PRE-WAR IRAQ HAD. Unfortunately, our dim-witted senators and congressman may now err in the other direction by demanding incontrovertible proof before addressing foreign threats. IN INTELLIGENCE MATTERS, INCONTOVERTIBLE DETAILED PROOF IS RARE.

Since the state is inherently a criminal organization, as it obtains its resources by theft, it therefore has no authority over anyone, and it has no right to make anyone a "citizen

This is the thinking of anarchist not a libertarian. Libertarianism can only flourish under the protection of a state. Without a state, you have anarchy and the most nefarious among us will trample on the "rights" or "freedoms" of the weakest. Eventually, anarchy is replaced with a totalitarian state which IS a "criminal organization." A democratically elected government, which legitimately governs at the consent of the people, IS NOT.

I would propose that you renounce your Libertarian membership and start an anarchist party. If enough pseudo-libertarian anarchists leave the party, it might gain some credibility.

wolvy


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I get the distinct impression you're not a libertarian, maybe a conservative monarchist of some sort. Hail to the British crown! Not.


Why? Beacuse I view history with les emotion and more critiquing, that means I am a conservative monarchist?
Let's see in the past week I've been told I'm not TRULY a Libertarian, and I'm a conservative monarchist. What's next? I'm a Greenpeace Liberal?
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Ah, that explains your views, and why your not libertarian on foreign policy. I've never heard of a career military individual who was a libertarian. In fact, I don't think one exists.

You don't think much if you believe that every person with the same career has the same views. Instead you reveal an extremely limited view of the world. I also doubt you know many professional military men or women. I know liberals, conservatives, libertarians, Democrats and Republicans who all were or are career military individuals.

I guess you only read Pentagon-approved drivel.

And you base this on what? Your extreme prejudice and small mind? It is revealing that you attempt to disparage others to compensate for your inability to must a cogent, compelling and complete argument.

Libertarians support individual liberty;

I support individual liberty, therefore I am a libertarian. But then conservatives and liberals, Democrats and Republicans will tell you they support individual liberty. Is your thinking really this shallow? Your definition is only half the dictionary definition that you disparage.

conservatives support the status quo, and above all war.

This is some of the most simple-minded propaganda that I have read recently.

Libertarians have more than one view on foreign policy, but ultimately it boils down to four words:

Peace and free trade.


Bull. Those four words fall far short of a foreign policy. Bill Clinton would tell you that his foreign policy was all about peace and free trade. George W. Bush said he supported the same position while running for president the first time. You can not get past the slogans, can you?

Name one non-Randian libertarian writer--historian, philosopher, economist, etc., who supports the war on Iraq. (Randians don't count--they really aren't libertarians and Rand herself explicitly rejected the label libertarian, but you probably are unaware of this, as I seriously doubt you've ever read any libertarian magazines, etc.)

There you go again with your circular reasoning. First you rule out anyone whose point of view conflicts with yours and then you claim that this supports your claim that your point of view is the only one.

I'll ignore your petty insults because it is clear that you are challenged to think for yourself and hurt to learn that your trusted authorities have fed you a line of garbage about how the only true libertarians are anarchists. I know that anarchy has such a bad image after it was associated with socialist and communist revolutionaries for so long, but rebranding it as libertarianism is not the solution. It just gives libertarianism a bad name.

I said, "The concept of citizen is not statist since it is a valid concept in a republic where there is no concentration of economic controls and planning. You seem to have a limited grasp of language and simple logic.

VS responds, "No, I think it's you who has a limited grasp of reality. By running to the dictionary, you ignore nuances of language and changes in usage that aren't captured in a dictionary."

This is a non sequitur. I pointed out that you had a questionable grasp on reality in another section. Here I was exposing your limited grasp of language and basic logic. You did manage to validate that observation, though.

Using a dictionary does not ignore the nuances of language. Using a dictionary that was published in 2004 does not miss any changes in the language unless one is using contemporary slang. Words like libertarian and statism have established meanings and are not subject to recent redefinition. To claim this exposes a shocking level of ignorance on your part. It is dishonest to hijack language to suit your agenda.

There are plenty of economic controls and planning in any government beyond a night watchman state, as Harry Ward pointed out in his book on statism in early Massachusetts.

So any form of government is statist? This is more simple minded circular reasoning where you redefine the terms to make your point. If you want to say that all governments are statist despite the fact that this contradicts the definition of statist then go ahead. I am sure the nuance of statist has evolved for you even if it has not for the rest of the English speaking world.

Do you not think that government bureaucracies in the U.S. engage in a *form* of central planning?

Try as they might, the government bureaucracies and any sort of planning that they attempt has little effect on the market. However, I never claimed that the United States government is not engaged in too much central planning and control. You see, I am a libertarian and not a conservative, so I believe that we are over regulated, over taxed and that the government on the federal, state and local level is far too involved in everyday life. Your problem is that you want the world to be black or white so you ask a snide little question about whether they might engage in a *form* of central planning as if a wiff of it makes your point. It does not.

If you want to say that the United States is statist then say it, but understand that it is a matter of degree and not kind. The test is "concentration of economic controls and planning in the hands of a highly centralized government" and this is simply not the case. There is no concentration and the government is not highly centralized. Individuals, corporations and other entities outside the government rule the market and the government runs along side raking off taxes and trying to push buttons. While not ideal, this is far from control and planning. The degree to which the U.S. is statist compares favorably with most other nations on earth. It is not an all or nothing proposition.

Since the state is inherently a criminal organization ...

More propoganda and not worthy of a response.

Rights don't come from government, they are naturally occuring in man. (Some people claim they come from God, like TJ in the Dec. of Independence, but as an atheist/agnostic, I saw this has as much validity as the phlogiston theory of oxygen.)

At least we agree on natural rights, but the more interesting part of this is your naive misunderstanding and mistreatment of Jefferson. I am an agnostic, but I understand why Jefferson claims that the Creator endows man with rights. (I also know that he got this from Locke, Hobbes, etc. and was expressing a well accepted view in the Colonies.) Your disdain for this reveals your ignorance and lack of maturity. You see, it was a brilliant idea to claim that the Creator endows man with rights because the competing view at the time was that the King received his right to rule from God. Natural rights of man trumps the devine rights of Kings.

BTW: you can not be both an agnostic and an atheist since an agnostic neither believes nor disbelives while an atheist disbelieves. I suggest you read up a little on these and look up the definitions. Stupidity is terminal while ignorance can be cured.

Rothbard was an anarchist, as I am, but he often espoused explicit Jeffersonian views even though "that government is best that governs least" is not, strictly speaking, quite anarchy, but it's close enough.

No, it is not even close. The gulf between a government that governs least and anarchy is significant.

I'm willing to walk with limited state libertarians until we get to the promised land. Then we'll have the debate over the next step.

First comes limited government, then minarchy, then anarchy? Sadly, what follows from this will be disorder, chaos, and brutal subjugation of most men by a few evil brutes. No thanks! You are an extremist and your views on libertarian philosophy are extreme. There's nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but others have more reasonable views and you have no right to claim that they are not libertarians. Calling them names and claiming that they must all be 'Randians' is a childish attempt to marginalize and dismiss their competing views. More importantly, your extreme views prevent more people from embracing libertarian philosophy and thus harm the cause of liberty.

What part of "peace and free trade" do you not understand?

More than you from what I have read. You call for peace as if it will fall on your head like mana from heaven. In a fantasy world you can recite a mantra of peace and keep the barbarians from the gate. In the real world terrorists fly airliners into buildings killing thousands of innocent people.

Prometheuss

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I find it incredibly frustrating when the anti-war crowd naively assumes that the scarcity of WMD stockpiles found in post-war Iraq (thus far) is the whole of the story.

Intelligence is an inherently inaccurate business and in other cases (Iran and North Korea for example), our intelligence has greatly underestimated foreign weapons programs. Foreign policy must be based on the best assessment of a situation at a particular time not speculation based on hindsight at a later time.

The KNOWN facts of Hussein's Iraq alone justified the conclusion that it was an illegitimate totalitarian regime guilty of imperialistic aggression towards its neighbors, domestic mass murder, international terrorism, the genocidal use of chemical WMD's, the development and pursuit of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons at various times and incomplete compliance with UN weapons inspections. With this conclusion, the only responsible US foreign policy (supported by both Republican and Democratic administrations) was one of regime change in Iraq. The goal of this foreign policy became much more urgent in the aftermath of 9/11. This is the case no matter what intelligence sources guessed regarding Iraq's weapons programs at the time of our invasion or what we found in post-war Iraq after possible destruction, concealment or removal of weapons program components.


Well said. I fear that politics and wishful thinking have trumped the cold, hard facts for many people.

Regards,
Prometheuss
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