LP.org poll: ‘Should more troops be sent to Afghanistan?’

The poll is at
http://www.lp.org/poll/should-more-troops-be-sent-to-afghanistan
.

The LNC resolution which “calls on the government of the United States to withdraw the armed forces of the United States from Afghanistan, without undue delay”, is at http://www.lp.org/news/press-releases/lnc-passes-afghanistan-resolution:

At the September meeting of the Libertarian National Committee, the following resolution was passed:

WHEREAS the government of the United States should return to its historical libertarian tradition of avoiding entangling alliances, foreign quarrels, and military adventures; and

WHEREAS the stability and security of Afghanistan lie outside the jurisdiction of the government of the United States; and

WHEREAS the Libertarian Party recognizes that the only legitimate role of the military is to defend America against direct attack or the imminent threat of attack;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Libertarian National Committee calls on the government of the United States to withdraw the armed forces of the United States from Afghanistan, without undue delay.

At LewRockwell.com blog, Eric Garris writes:

Today the Libertarian Party national website, LP.org, has posted a poll on their front page:

Should more troops be sent to Afghanistan?
Yes
Maybe
No

The correct libertarian position is, of course, withdraw US troops from Afghanistan. This is not an option on the poll. Someone who holds the correct libertarian position must be satisfied with voting “no,” along with those who want to “stay the course” in Afghanistan.

Does this mean we can expect coming LP polls like this:

Should income taxes be increased?

Should penalties against marijuana users be increased?

If you are an LP member, you might want to tell the national office and the national national committee members (two totally separate entities) how you feel about this:

http://www.lp.org/contact-us

http://www.lp.org/leadership

67 thoughts on “LP.org poll: ‘Should more troops be sent to Afghanistan?’

  1. paulie cannoli Post author

    Also, if I recall correctly, a publications review committee was re-authorized by the LNC. Who is on the committee, and are LP.org polls in their purview?

  2. paulie cannoli Post author

    Future LP.org polls might include:

    Are we spending enough money on corporate bailouts?

    Should more marijuana users be be tased, pepper sprayed, and put in prison?

    Should the government step up its prosecution of pornographers for obscenity?

    Is the border wall high enough?

    The possibilities here are endless.

  3. LibertarianGirl

    r u effin kidding me? should more troops be sent is the question . that is such bullshit , just the mere question has a statist frame around it .

    The answer is hell no and the LP shouldnt have to ask.

  4. paulie cannoli Post author

    I’m wondering, here, about the relationship between LNC and staff.

    The LNC passes a resolution for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, which staff quasi-buried, and here they are putting up a poll which asks whether MORE troops should be sent to Afghanistan.

    Staffer Haugh has not had any known reprecussions for publishing a very negative opinion piece about the chair and our regional rep. Regardless of whether you think he was right, is it proper for staff to do that?

    Who is running the national LP?

  5. paulie cannoli Post author

    Current poll results

    Yes
    10% (42 votes)

    Maybe
    2% (11 votes)

    No
    88% (388 votes)

    Much better than when I first looked at it, when the Nos were barely winning.

  6. Gene Trosper

    If this poll was attached to some sort of educational effort aimed at informing the public why we should embrace noninterventionism, I could understand. But this is just embarassing. Who authorized this poll to be posted in the first place? What exactly IS the purpose of this poll anyway?

  7. Gene Trosper

    Who is running the national LP?

    Good question Paulie.

    I suppose if somebody wants something done right, they have to do it themselves. That is why as of today, I am throwing my hat in the ring for LNC. This stuff has gone on long enough.

  8. mscrib

    By his past actions, Garris also seems to believe that the “correct libertarian position” involves harassing the “fascist” Crane and Co. out of the LP and then jumping ship, joining the Republicans, and running as a Republican candidate.

    Excuse me while I refuse to care what this unapologetic saboteur thinks about anything LP-related.

    That said, someone should try writing a well-thought, respectful e-mail to staff addressing their concerns. Now that would be a first…

  9. paulie cannoli Post author

    By his past actions, Garris also seems to believe that the “correct libertarian position” involves harassing the “fascist” Crane and Co. out of the LP and then jumping ship, joining the Republicans, and running as a Republican candidate.

    Excuse me while I refuse to care what this unapologetic saboteur thinks about anything LP-related.

    Which part, if any, of what Garris says above do you disagree with?

    That said, someone should try writing a well-thought, respectful e-mail to staff addressing their concerns. Now that would be a first…

    I’ll compose a letter fairly soon and post it.

  10. mscrib

    I think Garris (and the LNC) is right on with respect to troop levels in Afghanistan. What I don’t like is Garris’ unnecessarily confrontational stance toward the LP and that, in my opinion, this is really a non/minor-issue anyhow. I like what Garris has done wrt Antiwar.com, but his (and the Auburn crowd’s) general anti-LP bias is annoying, especially considering the fact that Garris was heavily involved in nearly destroying the LP a couple decades ago…

  11. Trent Hill

    The LRC crowd doesnt have an anti-LP bias. In fact, Walter Block and several other prominent Auburn-guys were at the last LP convention.

    I think all you need to do is look at the fact that the LP cant attract donors like the founders of Wikipedia, Google, Amazon, and Paypal.

  12. paulie cannoli Post author

    The LRC crowd doesnt have an anti-LP bias.

    Depends on who you mean…some are LP-friendly, others rather hostile.

    But I really didn’t mean to make this about Garris. He actually said the same thing almost exactly which I said prior to seeing his post – see comment #2, which I put up at Radicals yahoo group before I saw the LRC post.

  13. Steven Druckenmiller

    Can anyone give a substantive argument against having more armed forces in Afghanistan, or are we just to presume that the default answer is “no, more troops is TEH BAD!”

    Has anyone here evaluated the arguments for and against and offered an intellectual opinion, or is libertarian dogma enough to answer this one?

  14. Steven Druckenmiller

    In other words, when Garris writes:

    The correct libertarian position is, of course, withdraw US troops from Afghanistan.

    The question is: Why? Why is that the “correct” libertarian position and others are wrong?

    I’m sorry, but if you’re failing to evaluate national security goals, the level of threat posed by Islamic militants in the region and whether current troop levels are too high, too low or just right and a reason why, I’m not particularly in the mood to hear about what the faith tells you.

    Someone write a white paper or something. I don’t just take things on blind faith.

  15. Steven Druckenmiller

    Why the hell should I be forced to pay for ANY troops in Afghanistan?

    We’re not all anarchists. Try again.

  16. Steven Druckenmiller

    IF securing Afghanistan is a national defense objective, AND you’re a minarchist (meaning you believe that defense is a legitimate function of government) THEN you need to tell me why the proper libertarian position is “Bring them home from Afghanistan”.

    I never said you should or should not be forced. That’s not the issue.

  17. paulie cannoli Post author

    IF securing Afghanistan is a national defense objective, AND you’re a minarchist

    It isn’t, and I’m not, be if you are, and believe it is, feel free to explain why.

  18. Steven Druckenmiller

    paulie – again, not the point.

    Eric Garris claims that the “correct” libertarian position is to bring the troops home. You and LibertarianGirl both basically said that the answer was obvious as to whether there should be more troops there (as in, obviously not).

    Now, you tell me, why is that the obvious One True libertarian position. On what facts is that based?

  19. Steven Druckenmiller

    In other words, IF I were to say “I believe there should be more troops in Afghanistan, because it’s a legitimate national security objective”, I want it explained to me why that is so obviously *not* a libertarian position.

    Additionally, Garris says that “The correct libertarian position is, of course, withdraw US troops from Afghanistan.” So, were I to say “I believe that the armed forces should remain in Afghanistan”, I want you to tell me why that, too, is *not* a libertarian position and why.

  20. paulie cannoli Post author

    I could sit here all day telling you different reasons why. For now, let’s stick with what the LNC passed. Here it is again:

    WHEREAS the government of the United States should return to its historical libertarian tradition of avoiding entangling alliances, foreign quarrels, and military adventures; and

    WHEREAS the stability and security of Afghanistan lie outside the jurisdiction of the government of the United States; and

    WHEREAS the Libertarian Party recognizes that the only legitimate role of the military is to defend America against direct attack or the imminent threat of attack;

    THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Libertarian National Committee calls on the government of the United States to withdraw the armed forces of the United States from Afghanistan, without undue delay.

  21. Vindex

    If you’re in favor of removing troops from Iraq, isn’t the answer for the question “no”? It seems more than 500 people didn’t have trouble answering it.

    The same people that were berating the LNC for wasting their time on Angela Keaton are the same ones getting upset with a seven-word daily poll.

  22. paulie cannoli Post author

    If you’re in favor of removing troops from Iraq, isn’t the answer for the question “no”?

    This is about Afghanistan, not Iraq.

    And yes, of course, the answer is no, which is why I selected that option and why I am urging others to do so as well.

    The issue is that the issue is being framed incorrectly, not distinguishing between those who support the current policy and those who want to bring the troops home now – the latter being the official position of the LP.

  23. hogarth

    So, were I to say “I believe that the armed forces should remain in Afghanistan”, I want you to tell me why that, too, is *not* a libertarian position and why.

    How are those armed forces paid for?

    Taxation.

    Taxation is a milder form of conscription. You can stay on your land(mostly) and keep much of what you earn and not have hostiles shooting at you (mostly), but you still don’t get a choice of whether or not to participate in the military action.

    Some people are opposed to violence at all (not just the initiation of force) – do you want to force them to participate? Some people may be on the opposite side (ideologically) of this conflict from the U.S. government (but not be violent) – do you want to force them to participate?

    That is why keeping troops in Afghanistan is not a libertarian position. The LP’s platform says: “All efforts by government to redistribute wealth… are improper in a free society,” and taxation is certainly wealth redistribution.

  24. LibertarianGirl

    The issue is that the issue is being framed incorrectly

    BINGO!!!!!!!!!!! the LP shouldnt need to ask that or frame it in such a manner . anyone who thinks troops should be there ISNT LIBERTARIAN

  25. hogarth

    LG, I don’t know about you but I wasn’t sprung from the womb a consistent, principled libertarian – and even now I struggle with some concepts. I *certainly* wasn’t very libertarian when I joined the LP.

    If it hadn’t been for folks who WERE principled, consistent libertarians encouraging me to think things out for myself and patiently explaining the things I wasn’t groking, I probably still wouldn’t be very libertarian.

    I am sure that some folks screamed at me when I talked about state healthcare within the LP that I “WASNT LIBERTARIAN”, but fortunately those incidents were few enough and countered by so many more helpful people that I stuck around long enough to get straightened out.

    It might be more profitable for liberty in the long run if you could calm the tone down a bit and work on teaching rather than slamming.

  26. G.E.

    Walter Block and several other prominent Auburn-guys were at the last LP convention.

    Where they got dissed. I doubt they’ll be back.

    The LP is a JOKE and anyone connected with it at this point is a joker, period.

  27. JimDavidson

    @9 Is that “the Real News” advertisement about Afghanistan or in any way relevant? I haven’t listened to all of it, because it seems like a funny place to put an advertisement for another site. If it is relevant in some way, could you say more about it, please, Ross?

  28. Thomas L. Knapp

    Vindex,

    You write:

    “So, we’re upset that a daily poll isn’t a policy piece?”

    No, not exactly. We’re upset that a daily poll on the Libertarian Party’s web site which IS a policy piece doesn’t offer the Libertarian Party’s policy as one of the options. It’s like cocacola.com offering a “favorite cola” poll in which the only choices are Pepsi and RC.

    Regards,
    Tom Knapp

  29. JimDavidson

    @24 I am curious how the occupation of Afghanistan became “a legitimate national security objective.” The war in Afghanistan was originally motivated in 2001, we’re told, by the idea that the Taliban government was unwilling to turn over Osama bin Laden.

    In fact, the Taliban government was willing to do so, or at least cooperate in so doing, if the USA government was willing to provide information establishing that bin Laden was responsible for the 11-Sep-2001 attacks. So, maybe ousting the Taliban government became a priority because they were blowing up Buddhist statues? Iconoclasm can be bigotry.

    Or was the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan motivated by a desire to build and operate an oil pipeline across Afghanistan to bring oil from Uzbekistan and such countries to the Persian Gulf region?

    Which still does not answer the question: how is the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan a legitimate national security objective of the USA? If it is a legitimate threat to world peace to have the Taliban return to power, should the occupation be engaged by the USA or by various world powers?

    While we’re at it, please justify the continuing occupation of Germany as a legitimate national security objective of the USA. Please do the same for Japan, Korea, and Iraq. Is the support by the USA, including direct air support and attacks by special forces troops of the USA, of the Ethiopian occupation of Somalia a legitimate national security objective?

    I’m curious whether there is any part of the world that you don’t think American troops should go and butcher women and children.

    “In other words, IF I were to say ‘I believe there should be more troops in Afghanistan, because it’s a legitimate national security objective,’ I want it explained to me why that is so obviously *not* a libertarian position.”

    It is obviously not a libertarian position because invading and occupying other countries denies the people of those countries their sovereign self-determination, and does so by initiating force against them. You could argue that removing a dictatorship, such as the Taliban, or Hitler, or Tojo, or Saddam, was a legitimate thing to do (I don’t make that argument, but I could entertain it as a hypothetical). But, now that Hitler and Tojo and Mussolini and Saddam and the Taliban are out of power, how do you justify the continuing occupation of these countries, and the ongoing slaughter of civilians in, e.g., Afghanistan and Iraq?

    At what point are you satisfied with the bloodshed sufficiently to bring the troops home? Or doesn’t the USA government do that any longer?

    One question, you pose a hypothetical, “if I were to take the position that occupying Afghanistan and slaughtering civilians there is a legitimate national security interest of the USA” and I would like to ask whether that is your position. Is it? Or are you only posing a hypothetical because you are generally in favor of military intervention in other countries?

    “Additionally, Garris says that ‘The correct libertarian position is, of course, withdraw US troops from Afghanistan.'”

    Yes, he does say that. What’s more, the LNC does say that. I’m rather mystified why Andrew Davis thinks it is right for him to put up a poll with this question when it is a settled policy matter of the LNC that removing the troops without undue delay is the right thing to do. Why does Andrew Davis get to overrule the national committee? Shouldn’t he be deferential to established LP policy on this question?

    “So, were I to say ‘I believe that the armed forces should remain in Afghanistan,’ I want you to tell me why that, too, is *not* a libertarian position and why.”

    I’d like to know if you are going to say so. Do you believe it? Are you a war monger? Do you have blood on your chin?

    It is not a libertarian position because the people of Afghanistan are sovereign and have a right to self-determination. It is not up to the American people to establish a government for Afghanistan. It is not libertarian to coerce Americans to pay for a military occupation and coerce Afghanis to put up with foreign occupation of their country.

    The libertarian position was expressed by Thomas Jefferson: friendship, trade, and commerce with all nations, entangling alliances with none.

    You are welcome to argue that Jefferson sent the Navy to the Mediterranean to protect American shipping interests, and I think had the Marines land in Tripoli if I recall correctly. However, I don’t believe he had a seven year occupation of Tripoli in mind. You could look it up.

    (In any event, Jefferson had a lot of good philosophical positions, such as emancipating his slaves, but poor practical ones, such as dying in debt so his slaves were sold to pay off his debts and could not be emancipated. His lack of practical implementation of his philosophy in many places is no indictment of the merit of his philosophy. It simply points out that as a man he was fallible.)

  30. paulie cannoli Post author

    Since the US Empire is now about to sink deeper into the quicksands of Afghanistan, where every empire (including the Soviet and British) has drowned going back to the time of Alexander the Great, I think I’ll pay homage to the last empire to sink in Afghanistan by putting up the Russian language version of the video in comment 32…

    May all empires Rot in Perdition.

  31. antiwar

    Dear Mscrib:

    For your information, I supported Earl Ravenal for President in 1983, very vocally. I was against driving the Crane/Koch forces out of the party, and Antiwar.com continues to link to Cato Institute articles, including one on today’s front page.

    ~ Eric Garris

  32. JimDavidson

    @39 I’m very fond of the Cato Institute’s pocket constitution and declaration of independence. I also like that climatologist of theirs who wrote “Satanic Gasses.”

  33. mscrib

    @ antiwar

    Sorry for being vague and hyperbolic (read: it wasn’t me, it was the Internet). I wasn’t directly referring to the Bergland/Ravenal nomination battle, but more the factionalization (e.g., the radical caucus) that exists to this day. I’ve been a half-hearted supporter of “reform” efforts, but have come to the conclusion that caucuses do more harm than good.

    For the record, I honestly don’t believe you’re an “unrepentant saboteur” of the LP and think you’ve done a lot more for the movement than I probably ever will. I was just playing Devil’s douchebag.

    Mea culpa.

  34. mscrib

    @hogarth 30

    I completely agree. We need to get much better at soft-selling this stuff. Just getting people to question the prevailing order of things is a huge step forward.

  35. antiwar

    Mscrib:

    I accept your apology. A function of the internet is that many of us are too quick to hit the submit button, often failing to self-moderate with this instantaneous communication.

    FYI, I do regret my sectarian actions in the early 80s that helped run some valuable people out of the party. I stated so when I issued my endorsement of Ravenal at the 1983 convention.

  36. mscrib

    @Vindex 26, 31

    While I think this is a minor issue, the poll question is oddly phrased for the **Libertarian** Party. I don’t know if they’re still going after conservatives post-Barr by framing it as anti-Obama (who supports an Afghanistan “surge”), but it is a little strange.

  37. mscrib

    It’s like cocacola.com offering a “favorite cola” poll in which the only choices are Pepsi and RC.

    Ha!

    Smells like OK Soda…

  38. Andy Craig

    Looking at the other polls, it’s clear that the idea is for these to look like neutral, mainstream questions. Stupid and a waste of time, and I can see how it can be misconstrued, but I don’t think it’s really anything to get your panties in a wad over.

  39. Steven Druckenmiller

    anyone who thinks troops should be there ISNT LIBERTARIAN

    Again…why?

    That is why keeping troops in Afghanistan is not a libertarian position. The LP’s platform says: “All efforts by government to redistribute wealth… are improper in a free society,” and taxation is certainly wealth redistribution.

    Wealth redistribution, as a concept, means something, and it is expressly not just “taxes”.

    As far as I am concerned, your answer is the same as paulie’s: wanting Soldiers in Afghanistan is not libertarian because libertarianism is all about anarchism.

    I’m not buying what you’re selling.

  40. langa

    Steve,

    It seems that you believe that imperialism and limited government are compatible with one another. If so, your idea of what constitutes “limited government” is very different from mine, and, I suspect, from that of most of the other posters on this thread.

  41. paulie cannoli Post author

    As far as I am concerned, your answer is the same as paulie’s: wanting Soldiers in Afghanistan is not libertarian because libertarianism is all about anarchism.

    Incorrect: I provided two explanations. One was based on the non-aggression initiation principle. Some people believes this principle defines libertarianism. Some people believe it is anarchistic (not all).

    The second answer was the LNC resolution which passed, which is based on the idea of limited government.

  42. paulie cannoli Post author

    IF securing Afghanistan is a national defense objective,

    How would it be a national defense objective? Did Afghanistan attack the US? No. At most, they asked for evidence that Bin Laden was guilty before handing him over. If a Frenchman living in the US was sought by extradition by China, the US regime would demand some evidence as well, I imagine.

    Your questions seems to imply that acting as a world police force is somehow libertarian. Before even contemplating answering you on your terms, please explain how that could possibly be so.

    Also, libertarians who are not anarchists usually tend to be constitutionalists. Are undeclared wars constitutional?

  43. VirtualGalt

    OK, suppose the following.

    We have evidence that bin Laden and AQ did 911. We ask the Taliban to hand them over. They refuse. Our next move is to: ________________

  44. paulie cannoli Post author

    Why suppose something that didn’t happen?

    My prefer answer would involve letters of marquee and reprisal, or better yet a total lift on the ban on Americans engaging in foreign wars at their own cost.

    If you take a monopoly US military which is involuntary financed as a given, a declaration of war would seem to be necessary, and a strike team extraction would be much more appropriate to the state objectives than whole sale bombing and long term occupation of the country.

  45. JimDavidson

    The Taliban actually requested this evidence, and the USA government refused to provide it. Instead, the USA government sent troops into Afghanistan in 2001.

    Whether there is evidence of it or not, the military invaded and occupies Afghanistan.

    Out of curiosity, what is the argument for staying there? They no longer have a Taliban government. Osama bin Laden is supposedly in Pakistan, as far as anyone can guess or knows anything.

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