Press "Enter" to skip to content

Bob Barr Stands Against Torture, Booed at CPAC

Emailed to by Daniel Surman:

From the article:

This afternoon, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held a debate titled “Does Security Trump Freedom?” that featured former GOP congressman and Libertarian Presidential candidate Bob Barr, Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA), and former Bush Assistant Attorney General Viet Dinh. During one point in the debate, Barr condemned the right’s call to try terror suspects exclusively in military tribunals and defended plans to try suspects in civilian courts. He then insisted that waterboarding is torture, which prompted the crowd to start booing. As they continued to boo, he pointed to the audience and asked, “How would you like to be waterboarded? Try that!”:

BARR: But I don’t think we should go down the path of allowing our leaders to have their cake and eat it too. There is nothing magical about a military tribunal. They don’t have necessarily better lawyers than the civilian sector. I think I have a lot more faith in our US attorneys who are nonpolitical than my colleagues on the other side of this debate. We can try them. We should try them. That is precisely, Jay, what our law provides for. And the first time we’re faced with a situation we say, “Oh we’re going to have them go to the military let them torture them for a while, it’s not enhanced interrogation technique. Waterboarding is torture! How would you like to be waterboarded? Try that!

This raises questions about Bob Barr’s political career. His recent comments on paganism causes a bit of an uproar in Libertarian circles. However, on February 9th Barr debated the infamous Bush-era attorney John Yoo on presidential power at the University of Chicago. Barr argued against expansive executive authority. It will be interesting to see Bob Barr’s role continuing role in Libertarian Party politics.

Thanks also to Morey Straus commenting on a previous post

About Post Author


  1. J.T. J.T. February 20, 2010

    Of course think progress says they booed. A lot of booed. but I heard at least as much cheering as booing.

  2. Ross Levin Ross Levin February 20, 2010

    I’m doing well, and how are you?

    I realized that I just didn’t have anything to contribute there. I mean, I’m getting involved in the local Green Party and didn’t really see the list turning into anything productive on a national level (no offense, and I do wish you the best of luck, but that’s my honest assessment). If it does turn into something, I’d be happy to be a foot soldier!

    Ha, I was talking about redstate, where I did end up posting it. It’s probably trolling, but whatever. No blood, no foul, right?

  3. Michael Cavlan RN Michael Cavlan RN February 20, 2010


    How you doing Sir? Sorry you left our group but I don’t blame you.

    anyway, I noted your post on Daily KOS and your comment about possibly posting elsewhere and getting banned.

    Gotta tell you, i have been banned from posting at the “liberal” “progressive” sites Op Ed News and now Common Dreams.

    My “crime” was daring to point out the Democrats direct complicity in things like war, torture, corporate healthcare etc etc..

    As for Daily KOS, well it is such a Democrat sycophant site that I do not even bother posting there.. If I did, I KNOW i would be banned but for me it is a lost cause..

    The vast majority of people there are Democrat apologists who drank the Blue Kool Aid a long time ago.

    I agree with others here. I respect Bob Barr for what he did here..

  4. InfoWarMonger InfoWarMonger February 20, 2010

    It’s not too late. War crimes trials are in order. Floor resolution in St. Louis? Start state by state?

  5. Thomas L. Knapp Thomas L. Knapp February 20, 2010


    The LP did call for Clinton’s impeachment, but not over the Lewinsky affair. Rather, over his general refusal to act constitutionally.

    It is to the LP’s eternal shame that we did not similarly resolve versus his successor.

  6. Ross Levin Ross Levin February 20, 2010

    Green Party fan, what did he say?

  7. Green Party fan Green Party fan February 20, 2010


    enjoyed the dailykos post…thanks..

    caught malikous (sp) on Obermann the other night mentioning the Green Party …to my amazement..

  8. Lidia Seebeck Lidia Seebeck February 20, 2010

    Barr on–

    Energy– T. Boone Pickens is super-liberal. Mind, I don’t have an issue with point production solar and wind– that’s self reliance in energy. I do have a large issue with corporate sized alternative energy as they can be as environmentally damaging as they are helpful–wind projects in California are notorious for killing Swainson’s Hawks for example. And while I don’t have a problem with imported oil, I don’t think we should avoid drilling in Alaska or slant drilling in California either. (For the record, I’d love to go see ANWR in summer. I think the best plan is to census the birds– you’d get plenty of volunteers, I promise– and then superimpose their nesting sites on top of the oil sites on GoogleMaps or similar. My bet is that there will be plenty of oil drilling sites that are not on top of a nesting site)

    the AFA– Like I said on the previous thread, Barr is clueless on this one. BTW I spent most of yesterday reading the original article and the comments at AJC, as well as checking the usual Pagan news sites like Wren’s site and the WH. It was very disheartening.

    Barr on waterboarding– well, he got one right.

    Incidentally, the Mythbusters did a torture segment on Chinese Water Torture–
    It’s not even waterboarding and look what happened.

  9. LibertarianGirl LibertarianGirl February 20, 2010

    the LP called for Clintons impeachment? over the Lewinsky scandal??

    gimme an effin break , the LP should have said a clandestine blowjob is nobodys business but Hillarys. and of course he lied about it , all cheating men lie about blowjobs from other women but graounds for impeachment , I think not .

  10. Alix CaCaJones Alix CaCaJones February 20, 2010

    How about prosecuting the Bush gang for war crimes? Is the LP ever going to stand up for what is right, now that they are out of office – after having failed to call for impeachment of Bush (but proudly having been the first party to call for impeachment of Clinton)?

  11. LibertarianGirl LibertarianGirl February 20, 2010

    He definitely won points with me , anyone that makes a room a neo-cons boo , I say to you sir BRAVO !

  12. Green Party fan Green Party fan February 20, 2010

    I saw Barr’s comments against torture, and applaud him for speaking the truth.

  13. Volvoice Volvoice February 20, 2010

    Good job Bob! Someone besides Ron Paul has to stand up and speak to truth.

  14. Chuck Moulton Chuck Moulton February 20, 2010

    Bob Barr’s CPAC speech calling out conservatives for their pro-torture stance was a credit to the libertarian movement.

  15. Solomon Drek Solomon Drek February 20, 2010

    Lately I’ve been gaining more respect for Bob Barr. I thought he was being opportunistic when he joined the LP and ran for president but since then he’s been more statesmanlike in his positions. I don’t necessarily agree with some of his positions, but at least there’s one major difference between Barr and his former running mate. Wayne Root goes on Faux News and other rightwing media to tell his rightwing audience what they WANT to hear. Bob Barr goes to CPAC and tells his rightwing audience what they SHOULD hear.

    Big difference.

  16. Barr Is More Libertarian Than Root Barr Is More Libertarian Than Root February 20, 2010

    Will Root ever go on Fox News, Mike Savage, or some other neocon venue, and boldly condemn something dear to neocons’ hearts?

    At most, Root gently chides conservatives for voting GOP rather than LP. Root praises neocons’ values, and portrays the LP as being their true champions.

    Barr at least has some guts to oppose neocon positions, even if it costs him popularity among neocons.

  17. Erik Geib Erik Geib February 20, 2010

    To further my comments…

    The time for libertarians to stop fantasizing about a ‘conservative/libertarian’ alliance is long past due. No matter how much Republicans and ‘conservatives’ cry for limited government when they’re out of power, the true heart and soul of conservative ideology is war and social intolerance (‘family values’).

    Not to say the Democrats are any better – they use cries for peace in the same politically opportunistic manner, and (of course) default on their promises as well once in power.

    Libertarians should foremost stand for Peace (no war, no torture, etc.), Prosperity (limited govt. and free markets), and Freedom (defense of civil liberties). To do so consistently is something neither major party could ever claim, and clearly identifies with the wants and needs of the many Americans who foolishly elect these scoundrels on their false promises.

  18. Erik Geib Erik Geib February 20, 2010

    Yet another reason Libertarians should focus a strong portion of their message on security issues. The conservatives will never be with us, and the Democrats are only opposed to Republican policy when it’s politically convenient – once in office they’re hawks too.

    Libertarians everywhere should take principled stands against war, torture, tribunals, etc., and stand instead for peace, prosperity, and freedom. Not only will this give us a shot with the principled anti-war crowd and bolster our brand with a strong commercial message, it will remove most the need to worry of conservative ‘infiltration’ ever again.

  19. Melty Melty February 20, 2010

    The Rebuplicans are sounding more and more like the Torture Party. That’s what it takes to out-hawk the Democrats lately in policy and rhetoric. To be perceived as Republican-lite risks being perceived as Republican-lite on torture.
    What Barr said here is what libertarians need to do on all issues. That is to reject the going euphemism every time and call it what it is, be it socialized medicine (“healthcare”, “single payer”), blacks (“African Americans”), war spending (“defense budget”), torture, U. S. Empire and what all else.

  20. George Phillies George Phillies February 19, 2010

    At least Barr is sometimes on our side. Barr reveals a simple matter about the Nolan Chart: The new opposite of Libertarian is “Republican”.

  21. Melty Melty February 19, 2010

    lovely that Barr speaks up against torture
    creepy that he gets booed for refusing to use the popular euphemisms for torture
    torture’s gotten so validated, maybe the LP needs to be more outspokenly against torture to not be associated with it and the torture parties that fill Congress . . . can the CP say it’s not pro-torture?

  22. Chuck Moulton Chuck Moulton February 19, 2010

    I was much more disappointed at Bob Barr’s column about “energy independence” and the T. Boone Pickens’ plan than I was about the pagan column.

    Don’t get me wrong, I was disappointed in the pagan column too. But as an atheist I am used to seeing religious people embrace their delusional view in an imaginary friend and criticize different delusional views in imaginary friends. I’m tolerant enough of religions and philosophical differences to let honestly held views (that are usually impossible to scientifically prove or disprove) slide.

    In contrast, the views in his energy independence column are demonstrably wrong. Any first year economics student knows about the benefits of free trade and can see through nationalist, protectionist, populist puffery. Similarly, seeing subsidies (including energy subsidies) as a bad idea takes minimal economics training.

    The really sad thing is libertarian journalist John Stossel did a show thoroughly ripping apart the Pickens Plan a week before the Barr column.

    Good luck to those who want to get Bob Barr to renounce his religion. I think a much more reasonable goal is to teach him basic economics.

Comments are closed.