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Fight for freedom

Austin Bay is right up there with Wretchard when it comes to good analysis, hard common sense, and good info on the current war. He’s back from the front in Iraq with a column on how the current war really is a fight for freedom.


If there is one mistake I think we’ve made in fighting this war, it’s been the way we’ve soft-pedaled the ideological dimensions. This really is a fight for the future, between our free, open political system and the unholy alliance of despots and Islamo-fascists whose very existence depends on denying liberty.

Our enemies are the enemies of freedom within their spheres of influence. In the modern world of jumbo jets and international networks of all kinds, they have already succeeded in reducing our freedom, and seek to do so even more. Because they have chosen to attack us with violence, we are in a war of self-defense with the enemies of freedom. Fighting this war is, in my view, entirely consistent with a libertarian world-view.

68 comments to Fight for freedom

  • Because they have chosen to attack us with violence, we are in a war of self-defense with the enemies of freedom.

    Again, to state the fact you keep neglecting to remember:

    Iraq DID NOT ATTACK the US on 09/11/01. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

    It was Al Queada that attacked the United States.

    Osama who?

    Fighting this war is, in my view, entirely consistent with a libertarian world-view.

    So, you’ll be toddling down to the local Army recruiting center today and signing up to go and fight for your libertarian worldview in Iraq?

    Or, like the vice president, do you have “Other priorities”?

  • R C Dean

    Nice chickenhawk you got there, Chris.

    I suppose since you regard the war in Iraq as illegal and immoral aggression by the US imperial hyperpower, you will be toddling down to the local Wahhabist mosque today and signing up to go and fight for your worldview?

    No? Not rushing off to join the latterday Minutemen in Iraq? Choosing to participate in this struggle as an opinionated civilian? Then do me the courtesy of allowing me the same choice.

    On the merits, viewing OBL and AQ as the sole and only source of Islamist aggression against the West is missing the entire point of Austin Bay’s column. Go back and read again the parts about despots and the Islamist movement generally. Make sure you’re in the privacy of your own room, so you won’t have to worry about anyone seeing your lips move if you actually read the column I link to.

  • Duncan

    I actually think this not consistent with a libertarian world view. Libertarianism has nothing to do with spreading freedom. Freedom is a happy consequence that occurs when people decide to embrace libertarian ideals. It is very UN libertarian that our elected officials acted on what THEY felt was right and spent money gained through our taxation to do it. Even if a majority wanted to go to war, libertarianism is NOT about the majority deciding how to spend the money of the individual. I’m not commenting on the rightousness of the effort, but trying to give it such an absurd libertarian slant is silly.

    (if this posted twice I apologize)

  • R.C., I asked you first. If you’re so gung ho about the war in Iraq, why aren’t you in uniform in Iraq right now.

    Or do you have “other priorities”, like being on the cover of Internet Tough Guy magazine, maybe?

    Pat Buchanan, a paleocon who makes GWB look like Gus Hall has some interesting observations about the war with Iraq,

    He’s against it.

    Here.

  • I don’t care a flip about Iraq or any of these “islamofascist” regimes, unless and until they pose a clear and present danger to the security of the United States.

    My worldview is that the US keeps it’s nose out of internal affairs of other countries unless and until they present a clear and present danger to the security of the United States.

    That is to say, I hold a genuine libertarian worldview.

    Unlike yourself, who is happy to send better men and women than yourself to die for the lies of GWB and the enrichment of Halliburton, and the cheap gasoline needs of SUV owners.

    Please, feel free to display your hypocrisy for one and all to see.

    But don’t be surprised when someone points out your hypocrisy to one and all.

  • Tedd McHenry

    Even if a majority wanted to go to war, libertarianism is NOT about the majority deciding how to spend the money of the individual.

    I agree, but I don’t think that necessarily trumps the conclusion that fighting this war against anti-libertarian terrorists is consistent with a libertarian world view. I think it depends on if you put libertarianism ahead of democracy, or vice versa. For me, libertarianism is the goal, but democracy is essential to achieving that goal (even if democracy is eventually superceded by pure libertarianism). Therefore, to defend (or, if you prefer, promote) libertarianism, we must first defend our democracies. And, in all probability, we must work to spread democracy throughout the world. By far the majority of that “work” will be peaceful — but not all of it.

    Perhaps we will one day live as libertarians without democracy. But we will not do that without first living as democrats. Democracy may not be as “libertarian friendly” as I would like, but it’s more “libertarian friendly” than anything else that’s actually on offer.

  • R C Dean

    Simple thought experiment for Chris and other neo-isolationists:

    If the US were to withdraw from the Middle East, and shoot, why not throw in South Korea and Europe, and

    If the US were to decline to violate the sacred sovereignty of any nation until such time as everyone agreed that nation, as a matter of national policy, posed a clear and present danger to the US, (in other words, an even more hands-off policy than Clinton took) and

    If the forces of Islamofascism continue to spread and act exactly as they have for the last decade or so (all trend lines continue no better and no worse, even though they face less opposition than they ever have).

    Forget all the victims of despots and killers overseas, lets talk about you: Ten years from now, assuming you don’t get killed in the next 911 attack, will this be a world where you are more free, or less free?

  • Looking at this, there is SOME merit to the idea that “If we don’t meet them over there, they’ll bring it to our doorstep later”. That’s entirely consistent with the nature of expansionistic ideological facism, with or without religious/cultural overtones, such as we’re dealing with here. With that said, I’d rather take the Israeli tactic of targeting those directly responsible in precisely directed raids – the big honchos and the bagmen who have clearly left bloody fingerprints all over their deviltry. I figure it’s why the situation in Israel, though not at all perfect from a “human rights” standpoint and not very nice otherwise, is not nearly as gruesome as it could be.

  • Duncan

    “Forget all the victims of despots and killers overseas, lets talk about you: Ten years from now, assuming you don’t get killed in the next 911 attack, will this be a world where you are more free, or less free?”

    What are you a !@#$ing prophet? I’m sure this could happen, but is hardly useful as fodder for your point.

    I’d like to think that there are at least some nations over the pond there that would be able to stand up for themselves if these “Islamofascists”, et al show up on their door step. The “spreading” of these fascist ideals isn’t through superior military force, as it was with Germany (which you seem to sort of be comparing this to indirectly with your thought experiment.) Other countries are just as capable to deal with this as we are (the US) Do you really think that without the invasion of Iraq that Islam will overcome all of Europe and Asia? If that’s the case we’re pretty much screwed as it is I’d say.

  • J

    Peace!

    The world is more peaceful now than it has been for a long time. If we hadn’t randomly invaded Iraq, it would be more peaceful still.

    I do not consider peace to be always preferable to war, but as a general gauge of how things are, I’d have to say that less of it is a lot better than more of it.

    Between 1900 and 1950 we fought two gigantic wars, and many smaller ones. The world was a dangerous and uncertain place. National sovereignty of many nations was under direct threat, from China to Russia to Japan to Europe.

    Right now, the world is peaceful. Few countries are at war, few are in danger of imminent invasion – Taiwan and maybe Israel being two of them. Without the US threats against Iran and Syria, there wouldn’t be many others.

    This notion that we are on the brink of some global ideologic crusade is simply wishful thinking. Yes, wishful, because any number of people wish it – from those armchair nutjobs who get a kick out of seeing the marines raisin hell in the name of their preferred ideology, to powerful people who want to stay elected, to the usual melee of arms manufacturers, terrorists, criminals, zealots and all who profit by war and chaos.

    There is no threat. We are at peace. It sucks, I know, but try to deal with it.

    Yes, there is a threat of terrorist attack in the US. Yes, that’s a novelty. No, it has nothing to do with impending loss of soveriegnty of nationhood.

    Never before in the field of human conflict have so many become so paranoid about so little.

    J [waiting for lots of 'in denial' and 'head in sand' type comments!]

  • R C Dean

    Gosh, J, I was following until your second sentence, when you claimed we “randomly” invaded Iraq.

    Chris, your policy has us waiting at home until we are hit again. Why do I think they will hit us again? Because they (meaning the Islamist terror networks) have hit us several times already, and have said they would like to do so some more.

    I’m not a prophet, but I see no reason not to take them at their word, and no reason to believe that doing nothing will change anything. I can also see no reason not to project out current trends, which, if the US does nothing, leads to greater radicalization of the Muslim world, Muslim nations with access to nuclear and other catastrophic weapons, increased conflict with the West, and other preconditions for less liberty at home.

    A United States that is under siege is one that is less free. A United States that exists within a rising tide of Islamism and Islamist appeasers is less free still. If you think that the Islamists aren’t a real threat (this would be you, J) then you and I have fundamentally different worldviews, and I’m not sure how to bridge the gap.

  • MaDr

    Wasn’t it isolationism, among others, that gave Hitler his opening? I guess we could also pull back from keeping the trade routes and sea lanes open.

  • J

    Yes yes yes I realise the invasion of Iraq was not actually random. However, whatever reasons there are, are so hidden amongst the lies, hubris, arrogance, silence, exaggeration and boasts of our politicians and journalists, that I for one cannot work out at all what they were or even might have been.

    Did we _really_ think Iraq was a threat? Did we do it for some machiavellian geopolitical reason to do with the new american century? Did we do it for oil? Did we do it as a moral crusade? Did we do it by accident, becase no one in power wanted to stand up and say ‘this is all getting out of contral’? I’ve no idea. I personally can rule out ‘for oil’ because even the malicious half-wits in the whitehouse aren’t dumb enough to think that occupying iraq is a cheap way of extracting its oil.

    I really, really, do not know why we invaded Iraq. There are even reasons for doing it that I nearly agree with, but I don’t _think_ they were the reasons we did. I sure wish I knew.

    But hey, it’s a little colonial adventure, barely 1000 dead soldiers (out soldiers that is…) isn’t a proper war, and even if it’s 2000 by the end of it, that’s still a fraction of a single battle of just one of the TWO wars fought between 1900 and 1950, so all in all…..

    It is STILL a very peaceful world out there….

    J

  • syn

    Hey I suppose we are a peaceful world when people cannot be bothered when a dictator holds innocent children in underground prisons not be bothered when Islamic terrorists shoot innocent children in the back.

    You see ‘intelligent’ people are only bothered by the paranoia of those who understand the true nature of threats.

    What’s really important is that we go to see Tim Robbins divine play/film of the horrors, the absolute horrors, of the Bush neo-con war machine.

    I suppose what J was really trying to say was how ridiculous we all are in our paranoia regarding dictators who bury innocent children alive in underground prisons or those terrorists who shoot innocent children in the back. These acts pale in comparison to the message Tim Robbins has expressed in his ‘intellectual’ play/film.

    J, While I trust you are an ‘intellectual’, I do hope you catch my drift.

  • Duncan

    Ok I’m waiting for all the regular libertarian commenters here to point out that it’s all down hill when the “for the children” rationale is pulled out? Anyone…?

  • J

    Syn:

    “Hey I suppose we are a peaceful world when people cannot be bothered when a dictator holds innocent children in underground prisons not be bothered when Islamic terrorists shoot innocent children in the back.”

    That is correct. A peaceful world is not inconsistent with one in which very bad things happen. One of the consistent themes in history, is that those who endeavour by force to create an earthly utopia, only create an earthly hell. The notion that we should send armies out to stop every ‘major’ evil in the world is arrogant and illiberal, not to mention destructive and useless.

    I put ‘major’ in quotes to remind people that the attrocities we are getting so worked up about these days are as nothing. If these acts are the current nadir of human behaviour, we live in a glorious age. Consider the slave trade. Each pen stroke of a Bristol merchant condemned a ship full of people to an experience so many times worse than anything we hear about, and this day in day out, ship upon ship, and tollerated for decades.

    Think about the treatment of POWs by the Japanese, how the videotaped beheadings we get so worked up about are trivial acts of rage in comparison.

    Consider the Roman Gladiators, the nature of Spartan society, whose policies made the worst of Hitlerian eugenics tame and liberal by comparison.

    Consider the slaugher of Beziers, when a French general, unable to easily distinguish heretical and peaceloving Cathars from proper God fearing Catholics, proceeded to kill every MAMMAL in the city, a population of 20,000, and this after southern France had been ‘liberated’ from those barbaric muslim types.

    It is right that we condem evil acts for what they are: Evil acts, in an imperfect world. But there is no crisis, there is no calamity, we are not heading for a new dark age of death and disaster. The world is, in simple terms of human wickedness, considerably better than it has been for a very long time.

    200 years ago, so many bodies of murderd Londoners floated down the thames with the tide, that they had to pay people to drag them out of the river.

    We live in a peaceful age, dammit.

  • Tony Di Croce

    Need a justification for war in Iraq? Ok.

    Ansar al Islam (the terrorist orginization) had bases in Iraq.

    After 9/11, that is enough!

    Here is a thought experiment:
    If I started a para military orginization here in the USA and attacked the civilians of another country, would the goverment of that other country have the right to attack the USA if the US goverment refused to turn me over (or even help in anyway in my capture)? YES!

    Just because an army is not the “official” army of a goverment, doesn’t make it any less deadly. Any goverment that even merely provides safe haven to terrorist groups that have targeted the US is a fair target. How could they not be? It is a war in their eyes, why can’t it be in ours too?

    tanstafl@gmail.com

  • J

    Tony:

    Regarding the thought experiment, in my opintion, no that would not justify the attack in itself.

    Would Britiain have been justified in attacking the US because it supported the IRA? I mean, the US tolerated (regardless of what was _said_) the fundraising activities of NORAID, which were, quite obviously, funding the IRA at the time. Britain kept asking the US to crack down on NORAID, the US ummed and ahhed and expressed sympathy with the problame, and did absolutely nothing to help. So you’d have supported an invasion of the US over that???!!!

    By your reasoning, if the ‘consultants’ from Blackwater USA (a US based mercenary company) committed some civilian slaughter in Russia, and Russia demanded that all Blackwater staff in the US were deported to Russia for trial, and the US refused, then Russia would be OK to launch the bombers would it?

    This is silliness. The UK harbours terrorists. That’s almost certain. We just don’t know who they are or where they live. Should we do everything in our power to find then and bring them to justice? NO!!! “Everything in our power” includes turning the place into a police state. Sure, that would make it tough for the terrorists to hide, and no I don’t think we should do it.

    Imagine if the shoe bomber had suceeded in bring down the plane. Imagine if the US had demanded that the UK enact some illiberal law to prevent future terrorists taking advantage of Britains ‘soft’ stance. And image we’d told the US that no, thank you, we’ll make the laws in our country. Would that have justified a US invasion of the UK?

  • veryretired

    The man who would have been my father was a pretty typical small town farm boy, according to my mother. His name was Jon, he was tall and dark haired, and very, very strong. He encouraged my mother to leave town to go to college in the city, even though it meant being separated for months at a time, no more Saturday night dances at the big ballroom in the next town, a little bigger than theirs, a few miles down the state highway.

    It was the fall of 1941, and she went on a work scholarship, one of only three that left for further schooling. She worked in the cafeteria, and the library. Once a month she got a letter from her mother with $3 in it, some gossip, and every week a nice letter from Jon.

    They had it all figured out. She would get her degree in Library Science, and work at the County library in the bigger town. She could also work in the high school library for some extra money. He would work the family farm, a going concern in the heart of the richest agricultural prairie in the world. It was a peaceful world, full of high hopes and simple dreams of marriage and family.

    After December 7th, Jon decided to enlist in the Army. He would have been exempt as a farmer, but his brothers could help with the farm. He felt an obligation to join in the defense of his country, a quaint and naive emotion to some, those more enlightened and sophisticated in their view of the world than a farmboy from the sticks.

    Jon was a part of Operation Torch. He was killed shortly after the initial landing, part of some battle that nobody really remembers any more, probably a defeat besides, we didn’t win too many at the outset. All for some little advantage in some little nowhere in Tunisia.

    What were we doing there? After all, Hitler was in Germany, and Tojo was in Tokyo. So why bother with some little sideshow in North Africa? All this talk of “strategic”, and “base of operations” and such sounded pretty fishy to the proponents of peace back here at home. Just another story from those Roosevelts, can’t trust their kind, don’t ya know?

    When she heard about Jon, my mother dropped out of school and got a job at the city airport. She installed parts in planes, mostly B-24’s, that were flown from the West coast and stopped in the midwest at various places for finishing touches. She never went back to school.

    There are moments when lives, and entire nations, pivot, and turn away from the pleasures and pasttimes of “business as usual”. If there are those who cannot feel that inner quake, who resent the very thought that their lives might be disrupted, that they might be put upon for someone’s idea of “what we should do”, I am proud to say you are free to hold that opinion, to voice it, to march around with signs about your objections, to even sit at your computer and send those ideas across the globe, where they may be read by hundreds and thousands, and then you can argue about it until your dainty little fingertips just bleed with passion.

    Jon bought you that right. Enjoy.

  • Rob Read

    Look at the disaster that happened when America joined WW2 in Europe after being attacked by an oriental nation there were NO LINKS!

    Yep, if there’s one lesson from WW2 it’s that isolationism works! Islamists will leave us alone if we promise to let them pick off others one by one!

  • J

    “There are moments when lives, and entire nations, pivot, and turn away from the pleasures and pasttimes of “business as usual””

    Yes, there are. I do not believe that this is one of them. I may be wrong, but I don’t think I am. I _really_ don’t think I am. It’s not a balance of probabilities thing, it’s as close to certain as you can get about world affairs.

    The cold war – now that might have gone pear shaped, that might have blown up and got us all into WW3 – but not what’s going on right now.

    “Jon bought you that right. Enjoy.”

    Yes, he did, and I am.

  • J

    Robert:

    Eh? Japan had signed the tripartite act a year before Pearl Harbor, a publicly announced, internation treaty committing Germany, Italy and Japan to a global war. In the 1930’s Germany and Japan had signed the anti-comintern act, that bound them militarily to a war against communism.

    So, when Pearl harbour came, it was pretty clear that Germany and Japan kind of had a thing going on.

    What treaties did Iraq have with Afghanistan prior to 9/11? What common interests did a secular, industrialised dictatorship have with a religious agrarian quasi-anarchy like Afghanistan? In fact, how were they linked? Oh, they both didn’t like the US much. Hmm, maybe the US should invade all nations that don’t like it – yeah, cos, they’re all plotting together to plan our downfall. Arg!!!! Defend the motherland!!!!

    I’m not advocating isolationism. By all means we must involve ourselves with world affairs, and act to make it a better, safe place. However, I wish we wouldn’t get involved to make the world a _less_ safe place.

    Remeber how the lunatics in charge of Iran right now are there because we tried to thrust a corrupt dictator on the people of that country? The people of Iran – they were fine with a communist government, but oh no! Communists Evil! Communists a Threat! Let’s impose a corrupt, pro Western dictator! Yes, that’s better. Then the people will revolt, and instead of a reasonable but unfriendly communist government to deal with, we’ll have a bunch of lunatic Ayatollas who hate us! Way to go with the whole nation building thing.

    What about Afghanistan? Help them defeat the Russians by pouring weapons into the country? Sure thing! Then what, hmm, shall we help them by setting up trade agreements with Afghanistan, and giving them aid to rebuild their country after they fought on our side against Russia? Nah, fuck it, waste of money, lets just leave them in a land awash with weapons and unemployed soldiers, and broke, and with no infrastructure. I’m sure that’ll work out fine.

    Yeah, it’s not the intervention I’m against, it’s the completely screwed up way we intervene that gets tiresome. Seirra Leone was a good intervention. Bosnia was an OK intervention, although we could have done a lot better. East Timor was too late, but it was still a good intervention. Gulf War 1 was a good intervention, although we should have made far more effort to get involvement from other Arab nations. Iraq was not a good intervention.

    OK, this thread is getting bad for my blood pressure :-O

  • flaime

    Tony:

    A point: Ansar Islam had bases in the northern no fly zone, territory controlled not by Saddam but by the Kurds. So, why haven’t we then attacked the Kurds as well?

  • Tucker says:

    That is to say, I hold a genuine libertarian worldview.

    Yeah, the suicidal libertarian faction. I have not problem putting distance between me and that view.

    Unlike yourself, who is happy to send better men and women than yourself to die for the lies of GWB and the enrichment of Halliburton, and the cheap gasoline needs of SUV owners.

    Better men and women? Why, because they choose to take a job that can get them killed and gets them equipped with RC Dean’s tax money? Folks who join the military have my gratitude (been there) but please, in a modern VOLUNTEER army, no one is being kidnapped by the government and sent off to fight anywhere.

    Please, feel free to display your hypocrisy for one and all to see.

    You keep saying that but you do a damn poor job of actually proving it. Are you sure you know what the word actually means? What exactly is it that you think RC Dean is professing to believe in but in reality does not believe in?

    If you want to have a bit of adventure in your life, go join someone’s army. I quite enjoyed it, though when I was being shelled, bombed and shot at in Croatia I must confess I was there on my own dime. But whereas no one has to serve in the US or UK military unless they gave prior consent, RC Dean is required to pay for their wages and gear and he is not given a choice in the matter… so I fail to see why he should not be allowed to have some opinions on how the institution he helps to finance gets used and against whom.

  • William Palmer

    from Ethical Survivor’s Handbook:

    If all wars were fought with spitballs, none should be preemptive.

    If all wars were fought with daisy-cutters, some might be preemptive.

    If all wars were fought with nukes, all should be pre-emptive.

  • diablo_blanco

    What many, like Chris Tucker, fail to understand is that we are at war against an ideology, not a single group (Al Qaida) or state (Iraq, Afganistan, next?). The ideology we fight is the antithesis of our own, and it sought to destroy us long before we even cared. The invasion of Iraq was necessary because we need a beachead in that region if we are to take the fight to those who started it. Clearly we aren’t just fighting Saddam loyalists, but also insurgents from across the region. This is a proxy war against the regimes in Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, as well as the groups they sponsor ie. Hammas, the PLO, Intifada, et al. A failure to act against them is only an invitation to hit us again, and harder. Withdrawing from the fight will only confirm for them that we are weak and deserve to be crushed. I agree with Austin Bay, linked to in the original post (his entire op-ed is a worthy read), that this is not being made very clear by this administration, though I suspect that all the handwringing in the media notwithstanding, most Americans recognize what we face and wholeheartedly, if quietly, support the effort. I sure hope so.

  • Diablo. please show me, on a map, the State of Terrorism. Point out it’s ports and it’s air bases and it’s army bases.

    What is it’s capitol? Who is it’s Maximum Leader?

    Where do we drop the bombs in order to defeat the State of Terrorism?

    How do you battle an ideology? You do so by having a more attractive ideology.

    And right now, our ideology seems to be one of “Destroy Islam!”

    Seems hardly likely to gain many converts in the mid east.

  • Sporklift Driver

    Chris.

    I’ll take your comments one line at a time.

    Diablo. please show me, on a map, the State of Terrorism. Point out it’s ports and it’s air bases and it’s army bases.

    He doesn’t get it.

    What is it’s capitol? Who is it’s Maximum Leader?

    He doesn’t get it.

    Where do we drop the bombs in order to defeat the State of Terrorism?

    He doesn’t get it.

    How do you battle an ideology? You do so by having a more attractive ideology.

    He does get it!

    Although I’d add that demonstrating a willingness to defend that ideology helps.

    And right now, our ideology seems to be one of “Destroy Islam!”

    Sorry, I don’t see it that way

    Unfortunately most people seem to believe that there is nothing other than military service to do.

    Seems hardly likely to gain many converts in the mid east.

    So why do you condemn those who are willing to take on the ideological struggle as chickenhawks?

  • Ecaterine

    One of the consistent themes in history, is that those who endeavour by force to create an earthly utopia, only create an earthly hell

    But if you already live in an earthly hell, as I did once when I was a young woman growing up in Romania, such words mean only that if my house across the street from you burns, you will do nothing unless it will cause your house to burn. This is the way it is when you allow nations to be sacred things.

  • J, indeed, you are in denial.

    Once upon a time, Neville Chamberlain, a guy with much more political responsibility in his hands than all you & me, fell in the same sophistic trap.

    For the people interested in reality (and I hope you still are, J), you may visit the MEMRI website to get a taste of “tripartite-like” acts, pacts and declarations of intentions of the Islamicists.

    An example:

    “London Convention Will Celebrate 9/11″,
    http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD77804

    “The London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported that the extremist Islamic movement Al-Muhajiroun had announced a convention in London, titled “The Choice is in Your Hands: Either You’re with the Muslims or with the Infidels,” to mark the third anniversary of the September 11 attacks. The organization had planned a similar anniversary event a year ago, called “The Magnificent 19 [Suicide Attackers],” but had cancelled it at the last minute.”

  • Jacob

    J,
    “The world is at peace now”

    Yes, it is. And relatively free.
    It is more at peace now than it was 2 years ago. It is more at peace because a mad and murderous tyrant who had started two major wars in the past 25 years, in which more than a million people died – this madman is now behind bars, and, hopefully, he will soon hang.

    The world is (mostly) at peace now, thanks to the efforts of past generations, like veryretired convincingly illustrated.

    Do you think the world will stay at peace and free forever, by default, no further efforts necessary ?

  • R C Dean:

    “but I see no reason not to take them at their word”

    I agree.

    But Islamic fundamentalist group do not talk of bringing about Islamic Global domination by force. They talk of bringing fundamentalist Islam to the historically Islamic parts of the world. .

    And last time I checked, that did not include the U.S. or the U.K.

  • R C Dean writes

    If the US were to withdraw from the Middle East, and shoot, why not throw in South Korea and Europe.

    I don’t understand why US troops are in Europe any more. The Russkies are on our side now guys…

    We can well afford to deal with any local problems in the Baltics if we need to. The generosity of Uncle Sam’s hardworking taxpayers is no longer required. Thanks for helping us defeat the Nazis and the Soviets. Go home with thanks.

    South Korea and the Middle East have strategic problems for the US. Its up to the US to decide on its methods. But in Europe the US Army is a waste of US tax dollars. Let the Europeans defend themselves.

  • Eric E. Coe

    The only way for isolationism to work as a defense to terrorism for the US would be total isolationism: Withdraw all armies to the contnental borders, fortify the borders (razorwire, minefields, automated machine gun nests, automatic shoot-to-kill orders, etc.) and cut off all trade and commerce with the outside world. Just contemplating the container cargo problem shows that playing defence while still having commerce with the rest of the world is unsustainable.

    Forcibly deport all muslims, or other potentially dangerous peoples. Build up full missile defense plus beefing up the current retalitory strike capabilities. Create in-depth internal security services to watch out for any internal threats and terror weapon activities, and any attempts to subvert the new defensive order.

    The long borders north and south would still be diffcult to defend – so it would probably end up being necessary to conquer both Canada and Mexico (at least) to reduce the overland exposure, with brutal repression (and/or deportation) of the conquered peoples to make sure that they in turn do not pose a threat.

    This is isolationism means in this modern day. Half-measures just won’t do.

    The required changes to our society would destroy who we are. It would destroy the world economy. It would destroy freedom. It would be an utter disaster.

    No. It is much better to fight the enemy on their land than on ours. And attempting to establish some sort of decent government(s) for the peoples of the ME (“decent” can be prefereably be democratic republics, but I am not picky – as long as they are decent and allow economic success for thier peoples: don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good), is better than the alternatives (isolationism or genocidal nuclear war).

  • Eric:

    You have an odd notion of libertarian “isolationism”. It isn’t about withdrawing from the world. It is about voluntary interactions – trade etc, – rather than political interactions (wars in other countries, propping up governments, huge subsidies etc).

    Think Hong Kong rather than North Korea.

  • Eric E. Coe

    That sort of live-and-let-live isolationism is not sufficient. You are making a bad assumption: that our enemies are rational and proprotional. Everything they have been saying and doing shows they are not. This assumption is the key disconnect.

    The reality of the enemy, and his utter depravity, that we are experiencing (Beslan is the latest example) explodes both kumbya-leftism and a lot of traditional libertarian thinking. Despite our earnest desire to wish otherwise, our model of humanity is incomplete without taking this into account. Normal incentives that would work with most people do not apply here.

  • R C Dean

    Julius:

    But Islamic fundamentalist group do not talk of bringing about Islamic Global domination by force. They talk of bringing fundamentalist Islam to the historically Islamic parts of the world. .

    You are overlooking several things.

    First, Islam has always been expansionist, seeking to go into areas where it has never been before. As we speak, Islamists are engaging in ethnic cleansing in Africa.

    Second, even if the Islamists were only interested in recreating “historical” Islam via terrorism, and stopping there, that would still be intolerable and a threat to US interests. I don’t care if Ossetia was historically Islamic (and I don’t think it was), any movement that will do what was done there needs to be exterminated.

    Third, do you really believe that a radicalized Islamic population outside of historically Islamic areas will not seek to extend the jihad? Do you really believe radical Islamic nutballs in possession of nuclear weapons will stop at their historic borders?

    . It is about voluntary interactions – trade etc, – rather than political interactions

    Unfortunately, our enemies use these voluntary transactions as ways to attack us – they are open doors for highjackers and other terrorists.

    An open society cannot coexist in the modern age with Islamist fanatics. In one sentence, that is why the current war is a fight for freedom.

  • veryretired

    A few general comments.

    There is an interesting article in Foreign Policy about the possible ramificatins of a withdrawel from the world by the US. I found it through Real Clear Politics, an article by Zakaria, which concerned anti-US feelings around the world.

    I used an extended metaphor in this thread to demonstrate how seriously I take the current situation—it does appear to me to be WW4. I realize that others do not have this same perception of the situation. That is your business, and I am not interested in trying to convert you to my viewpoint.

    At some future point in this unfolding process, either one of us might have to take a look in the mirror and admit that they really, really misjudged the nature of the situation. I have done it numerous times, and it is the painful duty of anyone who desires to think independently that they occasionally re-examine their certainties to see which ones hold up, and which weren’t so certain after all.

    For some, the world is a simple place, with all the really tough questions already answered and filed away. But, then, alas, the year ends, and there are a whole new group of problems in the junior year to be dealt with. Best wishes for continued success in getting everything figured out.

    At my stage in life, I’m just happy if I can figure out which kid goes where, and when, and did I bring an umbrella in case it rains.

  • Sporklift, I do get it.

    I do get the fact that the US invasion and occupation of Iraq has been the best recruitment campaign for AQ imaginable.

    I do get the fact that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

    I do get the fact that the US has abandoned the efforts to catch and prosecute Osama bin Laden in order to funnel tones of money to Halliburton to create a really outstanding quagmire in Iraq.

    I do get the fact that dropping bombs on a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 is a pretty piss poor way to prosecute a war on terror.

    I do get the fact that the war in Iraq will do absolutely nothing whatsoever to prevent another AQ attack inside the US.

    Mickey Mouse, Rock and Roll, Quentin Tarantino, Apple Computers and COSMOPOLITAN will do more to defeat Islamic fundementalism than blowing up bits of Iraq and inadvertantly incinerating innocent non-combatant Iraqi civilians.

    Again, Iraq had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11.

    Ergo, there was no good reason whatsoever for the US to invade Iraq.

    Unlike the actions taken in Afghanistan.

  • Duncan

    I think it’s interesting that Islam is referred to as “expansionist.” No doubt it is.. but wasn’t /isn’t Christianity the same way?.. with its missionaries and such? I seem to recall it having some “convert or die” moments in its less than glorious past. How come the whole world isn’t Christian? Is is just because they didn’t have modern weapons available to them at the time?

    As an atheist I declare war on all expansionist religions (which is most likely all of them… except the buddhists maybe… and perhaps the wiccans… at least they seem to know how to have a fun… oh and the druids!)

    Irrational to the last.

  • R C Dean

    I do get the fact that the US invasion and occupation of Iraq has been the best recruitment campaign for AQ imaginable.

    I often hear this claim made, but I’ve never seen anyone substantiate it in any way. They seemed to be doing alright before. Well enough, anyway. In any event, it seems most of their new recruits are dying in Iraq, which is OK by me.

    I do get the fact that the US has abandoned the efforts to catch and prosecute Osama bin Laden.

    We have? Funny how I keep reading about senior AQ types getting nailed here and there, and operations directed at the Paki/Afghani border where OBL presumably still is (if he isn’t dead).

    I do get the fact that dropping bombs on a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 is a pretty piss poor way to prosecute a war on terror.

    Chris, you have to wrap your mind around two things:

    The war on terror involves more than the 911 attack, and

    The war on terror involves more than AQ.

    If you can’t get over your tunnel vision, you will never understand what the rest of us are grappling with.

    A question for you to ponder: Would leaving Saddam Hussein (a known state supporter of the Islamist terror networks) in place contribute to or hinder a permanent solution to the problem of Islamist terrorism?

  • RC Dean:

    “An open society cannot coexist in the modern age with Islamist fanatics.””

    Maybe, maybe not (I think not). But we can be quite sure that:

    “An open society cannot coexist in the modern age with an endless war against Islamist fanatics”

  • RC Dean:

    “Would leaving Saddam Hussein (a known state supporter of the Islamist terror networks) in place contribute to or hinder a permanent solution to the problem of Islamist terrorism?”

    At the risk of tedious repetition, by far and away the greatest state or quasi state sponors of Islamist terror networks have been the Saudis, followed by the Pakistanis. Saddam was a secularist with little or no enthusiasm for religous nutters. On the basis of your reasoning, Iraq was just about the last place that should have been invaded.

  • Chris Tucker writes:

    Mickey Mouse, Rock and Roll, Quentin Tarantino, Apple Computers and COSMOPOLITAN will do more to defeat Islamic fundementalism than blowing up bits of Iraq and inadvertantly incinerating innocent non-combatant Iraqi civilians.

    I agree that we will indeed win over Islamism in the long run via ‘kulturekampf’… finally something Chris and I agree on.

    However Chris’ concern for the fate of Iraqi civilians rings rather hollow given that they would be still subject to the mass murderous Ba’athist Socialists today if he had had his way. Seems to me Chris does not really give a damn who dies in Iraq, just so long as they are not killed by Americans… a supportable position, but hardly one that occupies the moral high ground that he bizarrely thinks he inhabits.

  • R C Dean

    Julius, so long as there are Islamic fanatics, there will be endless war between them and the open societies of the West. Because the Islamic fanatics want it that way. In other words, your version of my statement collapses into mine.

    At the risk of tedious repetition, by far and away the greatest state or quasi state sponors of Islamist terror networks have been the Saudis, followed by the Pakistanis.

    You will note a sudden enthusiasm in both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia regarding pursuit of the terror networks. No invasion was needed. Indeed, it may not be entirely coincidental that they began cooperating much more fully about the time we started invading hteir neighbors.

    By contrast, there was no possibility at all that the former Iraqi or Afghani regimes would ever cooperate with us. Thus, they were invaded. See” We invade the intractable, and convince the less entrenched. And the French say we are too simplisme.

    Saddam was a secularist with little or no enthusiasm for religous nutters.

    That would explain the giant mosque, the Koran written in blood, and, oh yeah, the financial support and safe haven he gave the terror networks.

    On the basis of your reasoning, Iraq was just about the last place that should have been invaded.

    Whether it should have been second (after Afghanistan) or fourth (after Afghanistan, Syria, and Iran) is an interesting strategic question. I think second was about right, given how it places our armor on the borders of Syrian and Iran.

  • Duncan

    What kind of libertarians do we have here? Many of you go nuts at the idea of using your tax money to help needy children, etc. in your very own backyards (and I’d agree with you), but it’s ok to use tax money when the morality is saving Iraqi’s? Hypocrites.

  • R C Dean

    it’s ok to use tax money when the morality is saving Iraqis

    No, I would say its OK to use tax money to ensure the future security of open societies and liberal (in the old sense) democracy. If that helping Iraqis advances that goal, so be it.

    As for what kind of libertarians we are, why, we are heavily armed and sinister globalists. Or at least that’s what it says in the upper right hand corner.

    I for one am not inclined to share my globe with the kind of people who bayonet children in the stomach to make political points, because they are part of a global movement that threatens my security and therefor my liberty. That, in turn, is where the heavily armed and sinister parts come in.

  • Duncan

    R D Dean,

    So you’re half assed ones is what your saying?

    I’m kidding, I’m kidding. I love you all. I promise to stick to reading and restrain myself from posting again.

    Thanks

  • Perry, if the Iraqi citizenry was content not to rise up enmasse and overthrow Saddam (and, appreantly, in Iraq, virtually every household was armed) then who are we, I.E., the West, to decide to remove Saddam for them?

    If the Iraqi citiaenry was content to let Saddam and his minions kill them, who are we, I.E., the West to save them from themselves?

    Wasn’t it Mill who said something about not interferring if someone is intent upon doing themselves an injury, if they are aware that they are in danger of doing themselves an injury?

    (Terribly misphrased and mangled, I know. My copy of “On Liberty ” is in a box somewhere.)

  • mike

    Hey Duncan, you don’t need to restrain yourself from posting, just consider a simple fact: most instances of apparent hypocrisy – where they actually are real cases of hypocrisy – will be justified by their actors on utilitarian pragmatist grounds. You might therefore be wise to argue against on these same pragmatist grounds too.

  • Mr. Dean steps up to the microphone and asks the musical question:

    A question for you to ponder: Would leaving Saddam Hussein (a known state supporter of the Islamist terror networks) in place contribute to or hinder a permanent solution to the problem of Islamist terrorism?

    And what networks might these be, then?

    Certainly not AQ, as has been documented time and time again. Certainly not any network operating in the US as far as has been determined.

    Perhaps you mean those networks which are bedeviling Israel?

    I submit that Israel is fully capible of dealing with it’s own problems by shedding the blood of the sons and daughters of Israel, and the blood of those that seek to harm Israel. Israel does not need our help killing it’s enemies.

    If you want to speak about countries supporting terrorist networks, what about the networks supported by Saudi Arabia?

    Seems to me that those networks are more of a real and proven threat to the US than anything that Iraq gave any aid to.

  • Perry, if I had my way, Bush the elder would have honored his promise to the Iraqi people. You remember that promise, don’t you? The promise that if the Iraqi people rose up to overthrow Saddam, the might and the power of the United States would be behind them in their efforts to free themselves from Saddam.

    Of course, when the Iraqi people rose up to overthrow Saddam, Bush the elder reneged on his promise.

    Those mass graves you like to speak of are filled with the bodies of those who believed that a Republican would keep his word.

    And yes, you are right to a point, I don’t want Iraqis being killed by Americans. We have no business in Iraq and certainly no right to be killing non-combatant civilians who are not a threat to US forces.

  • mike

    Shall I dare dip my toes in this one?

    Chris: I agree with you that the immediate self-defence case for invading Iraq is at best indeterminate. But don’t you think that an ‘open society’ (well more or less, let’s hope) in Iraq would be in our long term self-defence interests? I’m not asking you to agree that the invasion of Iraq was justified, clearly you don’t think so, but would you neverthless agree that an open society in Iraq would, if in fact something like it does eventually appear, be in our long-term self-defence interest?

  • MIke, yes, I would agree to that assumption.

    Would you agree that invading a soverign country just because a current administration don’t like the leader is NOT in our long term best self-interest?

    Would you also agree that the likelyhood of a stable and open society such as you propose in Iraq is, at best, far off in the distant future?

    And that such a potential free and open society currently has no impact whatsoever on the current security needs/desires of the United States in particular and the West in general, whereas the current quagmire in Iraq does have a negative impact upon the security needs and desires of the US in particular and the West in general?

  • mike

    Chris: I happen to think you’ve made a reasonably good case for your arguments. As I see it:

    (a) The justification for the invasion of Iraq on grounds of short-term self-defence is at best indeterminate. Your challenges of where are/were the WMDs and what terror networks over and above those from other states were there seem to me sound (although the last one may be objected to with a pragmatist argument that Iraq was perhaps a little easier to invade than say Iran – though I wouldn’t know the details on this). Supporters of the invasion might ask the ‘what if?’ question though; what if Saddam, in his madness, had decided to help some Islamist nutters etc etc? There is nothing wrong with this except that it becomes a risk-management question subject to a cost-benefit analysis on the strength of our probable knowledge of possible events, against the enormous costs of launching a full-scale invasion – which is dodgy.

    (b) The justification for the invasion of Iraq on moral grounds of liberation of the Iraqi people is indefensible on standard libertarian dogma – as you rightly point out, if the Iraqis were not prepared to overthrow Saddam themselves who are we to save them from themselves?. However, this challenge only works because it assumes free-will – as most libertarians do – I however am a sceptic on free-will so I am free to argue that substantial support from the west (e.g. from the elder Bush as you point out, or indeed from Bush W and Blair) may have ‘bolstered’ the will of the Iraqis to rid themselves of that mustached bastard. I’ve long suspected this was an important aspect of Blair’s motivation.

    (c) The justification for the invasion of Iraq on the grounds of long-term self-interests (including but not limited to self-defence) is pretty much where supporters of the invasion, like Robert and Perry are left. The argument here is, like the first one, about conjecture (that the Iraqis will actually succeed in creating a more or less open society) and risk taking – are we prepared to do what it takes to give them that chance, even though there are big risks of failure and endless bloodbaths? I would answer that question with a Yes, since I regard a life without substantive liberty as one not worth living and that this is the great political cause – worth risking the very highest stakes for if these stakes are to be risked at all. But the point is, this third argument is another libertarian justification for the invasion and, although you may reject it on other grounds (or by not accepting the premise that the democratisation of the ME is in our long-term self interest), to reject it on its’ own terms requires that you can point out a realistic and better alternative to achieving the goal of democratising the ME in the name of long-term self-interest. One possibility is the kulturkampf argument Perry agreed with you on, though I can’t see myself how that would be realistic with governments of the ‘closed society’ type dominant in the ME. But I’m open to persuasion if you’re up to the task…

  • “The justification for the invasion of Iraq on the grounds of long-term self-interests (including but not limited to self-defence) is pretty much where supporters of the invasion, like Robert and Perry are left. ”

    For what it is worth, I don’t recall seeing Perry ever justifying the war on self-interest / self-defence grounds.

  • mike

    Chris: my last post might have inadvertently answered your questions, but just to be clear:

    1) Do I agree that the invasion was NOT in our long-term best self interest?
    No I don’t – although the word ‘best’ makes me a little less than certain in my answer.

    2) Do I agree that …liklihood of open society… is far off in the future?
    Yes I do, if by ‘far’ we are talking the next 5-10 years maybe rather than the next 50 or something.

    3a) Do I agree that … open society in Iraq has no current impact on current needs/desires of West?
    Hmm not sure what that might mean…
    3b) Do I agree that … current quagmire in Iraq has negative impact on security needs of West?
    Yes I do.

  • R C Dean

    mike does a nice job of posing some the questions here, especially in his identification of the real questions in this war as being questions of risk assessment and risk management.

    There are no risk-free options. None. 911 showed us that. Doing nothing is not a risk-free option.

    The question is, really, which is the least bad alterative, which course of action is most likely to reduce the risks to our security and/or liberty. These questions always bottom out on subjective issues like risk aversion and your instinctive analysis of risk severity and likelihood.

    I differ with mike on his analysis of the short-term risks of Saddam’s regime, based on our knowledge at the time. We knew he had extensive ties to Islamic terror networks, we knew he had used WMDs in the past, we “knew” he had stockpiles and programs to generate more, and we knew he was not amenable to international institutional control. We also knew that he was contemplating a nuclear Iran, with which he had a blood feud, in the near future. And we knew he had a history of making catastrophically bad strategic decisions and risks.

    Finally, we just had an unmistakable demonstration of the vulnerability of the US to catastrophic terrorist attacks.

    That is a very potent combination of factors. I suspect that anyone who had real responsibility for managing this risk would be hard pressed to do nothing (and I regard additional diplomatic pressure on Hussein as “doing nothing” given his history).

    Throw in the strategic upside of a reformed Iraq, and the case that invading and reconstructing Iraq is a “least bad option” becomes pretty strong.

  • Tucker:

    Perry, if I had my way, Bush the elder would have honored his promise to the Iraqi people. You remember that promise, don’t you?

    Me too. You seem to have mistaken me for a Republican or admirer of George Bush, presumably because due to the fact I clearly hold the Democrats in such utter contempt. Not so, I am an equal opportunity dispenser of scorn. I generally assume Republican politocos are as trustworthy as Democratic ones actually.

    Professional politicians are liars. That is as true as saying “barbers cut hair”. It is an axiom. The notion one party is more or less truthful than another may be true but is as esoteric an argument as how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Professional politician lie whenever it suits them and they think they can get away with it (which is clearly most of the time). So what? I try to get what information I can and make my own mind up what is the most likely to be the truth.

    As for your views that Ba’athist Iraq did not threaten the US (clearly it threatened US interests but that is not the same thing and not what you said), fair enough, one can make that argument reasonably. However I do not care that much as that is not why I really wanted to see Saddam’s head on a pike.

    It is also why I do hope you will not be using the ‘stop killing those poor Iraqis’ argument as that is not yours to make, given that we have already established that only the interests and lives of US nationals matter to you and the fate of brown folks far away only matters if it effects you somehow.

    However as I do not give two hoots about US national interests, or any other national interests, beyond where they just coincidentally happen to further the interest of greater liberty everywhere (and sometimes they do), there seems little point in me discussing the utilitarian nationalist portion of your views.

  • mike

    Robert: mmm I largely concur – to me what seems worthy of interest now is the nature and limits of diplomacy – particularly since Iran is playing naughty once more, and I feel unsure that the US will make a realistic military threat (primarily because of the election)

  • limberwulf

    A question for Chris and some other great libertarian minds out there:
    As I see it libertarian society operates best in a limited democracy. By limited democracy I mean that the voice of the individual is powerful, at least to the extent of choosing representation, as it is in the US, which is a Republic (at least its supposed to be). A greater voice of the people would be preferable, but it cannot extend to true majority rule. Majority rule would too easily infringe on the freedom of the individual. The check and balance against the majority rule must be the rule of law, laws set in place to ensure the freedom of the individual. The rule of law is absolutely meaningless if it is not enforced or if it is allowed to be changed.
    Iraq had violated previously agreed upon limitations, as well as not following through on promised actions. These things were conditions to the cessation of hostilities in the first Gulf War. Bush Sr. and Clinton decided, along with the UN, not to enforce the conditions of peace, and to rather resort to less forceful or more “peaceful” means of persuasion. These actions, and more specifically inactions, did nothing to change the situation in Iraq.
    So the question is this: By matter of principle, would it not be justified to follow through with enforcement of previously agreed upon conditions, set forth by contract, in order to maintain the authority of the rule of law?

    Of course there could be arguments as to whether that was our respnsibility, and whether the conditions laid out were even justifiable to begin with, but in the end let us not forget that Sadaam’s regime was in violation of contract for the cessation of hostilities. He was, if you will, on probation. A criminal on probation is a man with a second chance. He is, however, far more restricted and suspected than someone who has not engaged in illegal acts. Comparing how we handled Iraq to how we would handle any other country engaging in the same actions would be similar to comparing how a man on probation is treated versus a man with a clean record.

    It seems to me that in the debate over whether or not to ge we have lost sight of the fact the Sadaam was in violation of a contract. The general defense seems to be that Israel is also in violation, but that is both irrelevant and incomparable. Israel is not under a contract with conditions related to the cessation of hostilities against it. Israel also has not been defined on a global scale as an invader of sovereign countries. The main thing, however, is that the “what about Israel” defense does not address the issue of Sadaam’s violations.

    Just a thought….

  • atlas

    Perry, do you think every single member of the Reps and Dems are liars?

  • mike

    limberwulf: although the rule of law argument is compatible with a libertarian perspective – is the rule of UN resolution an argument compatible with a libertarian perspective? Or is the UN no different from an ordinary state despite the latter having a democratically elected (from the citizenry) element and the former not having such an element?

  • Altas: not at all, I just think that you cannot be a professional politician without being a liar to some extent. That said, I am not sure that matters as much you might think. Politicians are like desert cooks: their job depends on fudge.

    Individual supporters of whatever party or faction or -ism may well be as truthful as the day is long however.

  • Perry, I am concerned with the lives and well-being of brown skinned people, and yellow skinned people as well.

    But again, and again and again…

    How does invading and conquering (maybe) Iraq make you, me or anyone else safer?

    How does invading and conquering (maybe) Iraq make the capture and trial of Osama binLaden any likelier?

    Sure, the Ba-athists aren’t killing quiate as many people as before the invasion, and yes, Ebay and Otay got shot (Do I mourn their deaths? Hell no!) and Saddam is cooling his heels in the sneezer.

    However, the West killed countless non-combatants, the West barely controls the cities, certainly has no control outside the cities, and countless fighters who used to hate each other now join as brothers to repel the invaders.

    Over 1000 American servicemembers are dead, 65 of your countrymen are dead.

    Do you really feel safer today than before the invasion> Do you really think this obscene quagmire in Iraq will make you safer?

    I’ve been wondering why we haven’t seen suicide bombers on buses here and in the UK.

    What does a Moslim in the US or UK have that he or she wouldn’t have in the ME?

    (and yes, I’m making a point. Bear with me, OK?)

    Yes, freedom, to be sure. But that’s kind of an abstract.

    What does aa Moslim have in the US/UK? Money! Wealth! Playstation! DVDs, CDs. And NOBODY (for the most part) gives a damn if he’s Sunni or Shia, if he’s observant or not, eats halal or lobster.

    He is, for the most part, left alone to enjoy HBO, Playboy, Rock and Roll, Kill Bill, food and water that won’t make him sick, and no thought police.

    “Why the hell should I blow up a busload of people who haven’t done me a lick of harm? Screw that crap, Imam!”

    If we want to free Iraq and the Middle East, we shouldn’t be dropping bombs, we should be dropping PlayStations and satellite TVs and shorwave radios and books and magazines and DVDs of Islamic scholors carefully and scripturally disecting the Whahabbi theology.

    And when the Weat says “If you rise up and demand freedom, the might and power and resources of the West will be with you to the end and beyond!”

    You do not win hearts and minds with bombs. You never will win hearts and minds with bombs.

    The most brilliant thing Richard Nixon ever did to destroy communism was to go to China. He set in motion the tidal wave that will complete the change to democracy and free enterprise that we see in China right now.

    I could go on, but I suspect I’m reaching a length limit.

  • DangMyHide

    editors note: Comment deleted. Didn’t we already ban you?

  • limberwulf

    Mike,
    I would agree that the UN is just another state trying to run the world and spread socialism, Im not a fan. however, there is the question of whether the specific resolutions were in our interests. I personally would like to have seen Sadaam wiped out the first time instead of being given parole, but a portion of the reason for the peace treaty may have been to end the war before it got even more costly for us, whether that be politically, financially, etc. I am not a big fan of our state either, but it may have been in our interests to support the UN resolutions not only to reach a cease-fire in the first Gulf War, but also to hold Sadaam to a very strict line. Unfortunately, that strict line was violated repeatedly and yet nothing was done. If it was in our long-term interests to hold Sadaam to a strict line, then it would also be in our interests to enforce said restrictions. Obviously no one else was doing it, the UN was being its normal useless and even detrimental self, so something had to be done. The effects of following through may well have been costly in the short term, but it also got the attention of the surrounding dictatorships and their people. Terrorist support has become less blatant, and the hidden support by the leadership of those countries is certainly going to be less effective than the support that was being given before the war. Some of these other countries were far more likely to be a true threat to the US, but attacking them would have been perceived even more poorly from a social standpoint. I would like to think that we could all act with impunity on our best interests, explain our actions and be judged on their merit, but that would only happen in an ideal world. It may be that choosing Iraq as the primary target was the best move to be made for long term effect, considering all factors involved. I am not an expert on world affairs, but then neither are most people that weigh in on this issue.

  • mike

    Yeah I mean at the end of the day I think we agree, and even agree on our reasons for agreeing. My question was a bit lazy to be honest – I am more interested in the arguments on subjects themselves than on which ‘side’ wins, so I was really making a half-arsed attempt to tease out any views you may hold on the UN and its’ various institutions from a libertarian perspective, rather than undermine your rule-of-law justification for the invasion of Iraq. Leaving ideal libertarian heaven aside for the moment, there are some interesting pragmatist arguments ragarding for a libertarian justification for limited state intervention – I was wondering whether any of these might apply to international institutions (the WTO for instance, or the Security Council). However, I must stop posting on this bloody blog and get on with the I actually *need* to do for my studies..! Bloody students, as thick as planks I know…