Wayne Root guest-hosting Liddy radio show, guests to include Gary Johnson

Email from Wayne Root:

Wayne Allyn Root, 2008 Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee and best-selling author, as well as a regular guest on FOX News and FOX Business, is guest hosting the G. Gordon Liddy Show nationwide next Wednesday 12/23/09 and Thursday 12/24/09 from 10 AM EST to 1 PM EST. The show is nationally syndicated on over 200 stations by Radio America Radio Networks, as well as XM and Sirius Satellite Radio.

Wayne’s confirmed guests include former New Mexico Governor, now Libertarian-leaning possible third party Presidential candidate in 2012 Gary Johnson; former Republican Presidential contender and Forbes magazine Editor-in-Chief Steve Forbes; best-selling author, syndicated columnist and conservative commentator Ann Coulter; and best-selling author, Newsmax.com columnist and political strategist Dick Morris. The show can be heard on stations across the country, as well as Sirius and XM Satellite Radio. It is also streamed live at www.LiddyShow.com.

Root’s newest book, “The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gambling and Tax Cuts” has hit #1 in four categories at Amazon.com. It is currently the #1 best-selling Libertarian book at Amazon. Wayne’s views, commentaries, and videos of many of his national media appearances are available at: ROOTforAmerica.com

230 thoughts on “Wayne Root guest-hosting Liddy radio show, guests to include Gary Johnson

  1. Trent Hill

    One one hand–yay for Wayne Root exposing libertarian ideas (and Gary Johnson) to a new audience.

    On the other–he’s replacing Gordon Liddy? Yuck.

  2. Trent Hill

    It’s #45 in Books>Nonfiction>Law>Taxation.

    That’s the highest rank.

    In all of Amazon, it barely ranks in the top 50,000.

  3. Eric Dondero

    Now this is interesting. A signal perhaps that Wayne’s thinking of teaming up with Gary Johnson and going Republican in 2012 perhaps?

    They’re virtually identical on the issues. Johnson’s got the intellectural power, and Root’s got the pizzaz.

  4. George Phillies

    Remember, folks, Eric Dondero is the gentleman who identified Sarah Palin as a likely choice for the Republican Vice Presidential candidate, long before anyone else did. And he has sound reasons that he explains here for his prediction. I am not saying ‘this is good or bad’, but I do think Eric should be listened to on Republican options.

    Palin/Dondero is also an interesting option.

  5. Brian Holtz Post author

    Here are the latest Amazon rankings of general-audience political books by authors for whom their most recent candidacy was as a Libertarian:

    * 47,926. Conscience of a Libertarian by Wayne Root (Jul 2009)
    * 286,552. Healing Our World by Mary Ruwart (2003)
    * 322,540. The Great Libertarian Offer by Harry Browne (2000)
    * 485,279. Lever Action by L. Neil Smith (2001)
    * 653,053. Libertarianism by John Hospers (2007 ed.)
    * 691,105. Good To Be King by Michael Badnarik (2004)
    * 751,552. Citizen Power by Mike Gravel (Jan 2008)
    * 1,026,133. Libertarianism In One Lesson by David Bergland (2005 ed.)
    * 1,859,816. The Politics of Consciousness by Steve Kubby (1995)

    (I exclude George Phillies’ book aimed at an LP-internal audience.) Also, if you search on “libertarian” at Amazon, Root’s book is the #1 result.

    Tom, any predictions on where your forthcoming book will rank on this list?

  6. The Inquirer

    Now this is interesting. A signal perhaps that Wayne’s thinking of teaming up with Gary Johnson and going Republican in 2012 perhaps?

    What if Dick Morris convinces him to run against Obama in the Democratic primary?

    It’s a talk show, folks!

  7. Brad

    Root could present himself as a “Plan B” in the likely case that the Republicans picks someone other than Gary Johnson or Ron Paul .

    Sort of like a “good cop, bad cop” offer to the Republicans: either picks someone who will bring the troops home, end drug prohibition, closed down the Federal reserve, get rid of the income tax, repeal the “patriot” act and make the federal government observe the Constitution, or we’ll run a third party candidate to cut down your base like you’ve never seen before.

  8. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    I actually edited my comment extensively before posting it, including cutting out a preemptive rebuttal of the claim that I figured SOMEONE would make (that a “Libertarian book” is necessarily a book written by someone affiliated with the Libertarian Party).

    At least three books written by a life member of the LP (Ron Paul) ranked more highly on Amazon than Root’s book as of yesterday evening.

    So did a number of books which could reasonably be construed as ideologically libertarian (Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics, to name two).

    Also, a number of books written by ideological fellow travelers of Root’s in the “libertarian conservative” range (Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin, et. al.).

    The only way that Root’s book can be the top-ranked Libertarian book on Amazon is if “Liberterian book” is strictly defined as “book written by Root.”

  9. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    Sorry, I forgot to answer your question before submitting the last comment:

    “any predictions on where your forthcoming book will rank on this list?”

    No, no such prediction, as a prediction would require the acceptance two assumptions which are not necessarily true (the first being that the book will be sold rather than given away; the second being that, if sold, it will be sold via Amazon).

  10. Brian Holtz Post author

    The only way that Root’s book can be the top-ranked Libertarian book on Amazon is if “Liberterian book” is strictly defined as “book written by Root.”

    Demonstrably false. A different — and non non-silly — way is if “Libertarian book” is defined as “general-audience political book by an author for whom his most recent candidacy was as a Libertarian”.

    It’s always amusing when the urge to say something one thinks is clever overwhelms the recognition that the statement is obviously false.

  11. Trent Hill

    …that’s a pretty small group of authors, don’t you think Brian? I mean he’s basically competing with 8 other people, or so, in that category.

    But what he said was he had the #1 Libertarian book on Amazon–that is nowhere near the definition you have offered here.

  12. Brian Holtz Post author

    Trent, I too wish the libertarian/Libertarian distinction were not such a sharp one. Indeed, most of my political activism is in effect aimed at reducing and someday eliminating that distinction.

    But we’re nowhere near there yet.

  13. Gene Berkman

    No offense, Brian, but your pro-war writings actually increase the distinction between libertarians and Libertarians.

    I have been in and around the Libertarian Party since 1972 in Denver, but the prominence of pro-war activists in the California Libertarian Party are making me rethink my loyalties.

  14. Brian Holtz Post author

    Gene, I’m not pro-war. Please don’t call me such a name — unless you are a pacifist who opposes all war under any circumstances.

    I’ve defended libervention before, but I don’t bring up the subject unless somebody else does first. And I’ve never advocated that the LP adopt my position on libervention.

    Anarchists have more “prominence” in the LP than liberventionists do. Should libertarians who disagree with anarchism “rethink their loyalty” to the LP?

    There are too many schisms over which principled libertarians seem ready to quit — or split — the LP: anti-war vs. libervention, anarchism vs. minarchism, pro-choice vs. pro-life, open borders, etc. If we freedom-lovers can’t hang together, we will surely hang separately.

  15. Darcy G Richardson

    “Palin/Dondero is also an interesting option.”

    In a world gone insane, perhaps. Then again, we’re almost there…

  16. Born Again Non-Voter

    “If we freedom-lovers can’t hang together, we will surely hang separately.

    Pretty words. But what of the freedom of foreigners not to be invaded, occupied, and killed?

    Liberventionists are not freedom lovers. I would rather hang separately than alongside them.

  17. Gene Berkman

    Brian,

    In an earlier essay on “Knowing Humans” you attacked antiwar libertarians by dividing them into categories. You criticized some libertarians for opposing wars because “one innocent person might get killed.”

    Aside from the fact that libertarians oppose the killing of even one innocent person by aggression, the Iraq war has resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, not one death.

  18. Brian Holtz Post author

    Ah, yet another libertarian discussion hijacked by the Antiwar Inquisition. Unlike Monty Python’s Spanish Inquisition, this kind is always expected. 🙂

    Gene, I too oppose the killing of even one innocent person “by aggression”.

    If you can’t find or produce an answer to my essay, then the standard way I invite people to register disagreement with it is to have them tell us: The U.S. military should never be used to depose a genocidal totalitarian WMD-using ballistic-missile-firing neighbor-annexing terrorist-funding sadistic maniac who defiantly persists in what the Security Council declares to be ‘material breach’ of his agreement to be inspected for cessation of his admitted earlier secret WMD programme.

    And if you don’t feel foolish doing so, you may append the qualification: unless the U.S. military can do so while guaranteeing that not a single innocent person will be killed as a result.

    The bottom line here is that, unless you can assert the grammatical negation of some statement I defend, then you are not disagreeing with me, but instead are disagreeing with voices in your head. Please do me the courtesy of disagreeing with what I actually say, instead of with what you wish I would say.

    You in fact seem to have a pretty good memory for at least some of the things I’ve said. Above you appear to refer to a 2005 posting from the Yahoo 360 incarnation of Knowing Humans, before I moved it to Blogger (before 360 got shut down). I’ve now resurrected that posting here. I stand by what it says there, but I’ve also long since admitted my Iraq mistake.

    P.S. What other prominent California Libertarians have been denounced as heretics before the Antiwar Inquisition? I can only think of one member of the LPCA leadership who I would suspect of ever having defended libervention.

  19. Steven R Linnabary

    The U.S. military should never be used to depose a genocidal totalitarian WMD-using ballistic-missile-firing neighbor-annexing terrorist-funding sadistic maniac who defiantly persists in what the Security Council declares to be ‘material breach’ of his agreement to be inspected for cessation of his admitted earlier secret WMD programme.

    Are you calling for the invasion of Israel?

    BTW, Israel is also in violation of UN Security Council mandates. But most Libertarians don’t care much what the UN does.

    The rest of your “libervention” treatise is just downright silly, rationalizing the invasion of Iraq because Iraq had invaded Iran (at our behest).

    I have repeatedly asked for a LIBERTARIAN rationalization for irresponsible wars, and all I ever get are a rehash of easily refuted neocon arguments. I’m still waiting…but not holding my breath.

    PEACE

    PEACE

  20. Brian Holtz Post author

    The claim that America asked Iraq to invade Iran is only a little less silly than the claim that Israel satisfies all the criteria above.

    I’m still waiting for your “refutation”, Steve. Is the single word “neocon” supposed to be it?

    GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME PEACE.

  21. Gene Berkman

    Brian, apparently you believe that…”The U.S. military should be used to depose a genocidal totalitarian WMD-using ballistic-missile-firing neighbor-annexing terrorist-funding sadistic maniac who defiantly persists in what the Security Council declares to be ‘material breach’ of his agreement to be inspected for cessation of his admitted earlier secret WMD programme.”

    If the standard for being deposed is guilt in all these particulars, then the evil Saddam Hussein did not fit all the conditions – he clearly ceased his WMD programs, as has been shown during the 6 years of occupation.

    If being guilty of any of these is grounds for being deposed, then the US government is guilty of using WMD against Iraq in both Iraq wars, and against Vietnam. However condemnable the governments of Iraq & North Vietnam, neither attacked the US before we used WMD on them.

    North Korea is totalitarian, with a WMD program, and it has supported terrorists. We cannot stand up to pitiful North Korea because the Iraq war has drained our treasury and eviscerated our military strength.

    So how do we decide which of the many repressive regimes to overthrow, Brian?

  22. Brian Holtz Post author

    Gene, please re-read the conditions. The two WMD-related ones were:

    * has used WMDs before
    * was defiantly persisting in what the Security Council declared to be ‘material breach’ of his agreement to be inspected for cessation of his admitted earlier secret WMD programme

    If you want to disagree with either of those two claims, then try cutting and pasting them while inserting a “not” at the relevant spot. It will save us a lot of time. In fact, if you dispute either of these historical claims, then I’m happy to rest my case, and let readers apply their own understanding of the historical record.

  23. Gene Berkman

    OK Brian, Hussain actually let the inspectors into Iraq; they were pulled out before they could complete their mission because it was known that President Bush was about to order bombing.

    The United Nations did not pass a resolution authorizing the US/Coalition bombing and invasion of Iraq, even though one was introduced by the Bush administration. It was withdrawn because two permanent members vowed to veto it. Complain, but that was in accord with the UN charter agreed to by the US.

    As for having used WMDs, the USA had used WMDs in the past, at least twice against countries that had not attacked us – North Vietnam and Iraq.

    As for annexing neighbors, Saddam;s has not been in occupation of any neighboring countries since being expelled from Kuwait in 1991; the Ba’ath regime did not even control the Kurdish region, which was under US protection.

  24. Brian Holtz Post author

    If this is a claim that Saddam was not defiantly persisting in what the Security Council declared to be ‘material breach’ of his agreement to be inspected for cessation of his admitted earlier secret WMD programme, then I have nothing to say — except to note how odd it is for a lover of liberty to serve as an apologist for someone with Saddam’s record.

  25. Trent Hill

    Brian,

    What a disingenuous statement. If someone opposes your perspective then you’re clearly an “apologist for someone with Saddam’s record”. Disgustingly irrational.

  26. Brian Holtz Post author

    No, I’m only noting that Gene’s oh-so-principled opposition to deposing Saddam seems to turn on Gene’s defense of Saddam’s alleged WMD-inspection cooperativeness as the invasion deadline approached. If in fact Gene’s defense does turn on that cooperativeness, then he’s admitting that the overthrow of this genocidal war criminal would be defensible if only Saddam had been somewhat less cooperative with UN weapons inspectors. It’s hardly disingenuous to observe that this makes Gene an apologist for the WMD-inspection cooperativeness of someone who is a genocidal war criminal. Indeed, if it turns out that Gene is a liberventionist who disagrees with me only on the historical facts about Saddam’s cooperativeness, then my work here is done. 🙂

    I of course admit that there are many arguments against deposing Saddam that don’t require being an apologist for his WMD-inspection cooperativeness. I document over a dozen such arguments here. All but one of them are laughably weak — include the “Slippery Slope” argument that Gene seems to be trying to use.

  27. Melty

    I followed your links, Brian. You sound like a U. S. exceptionalist. I consider myself a noninterventionist. One can posit scenarios of reason enough for attack, though not without either congressional declaration of war, or else marque and reprisal. The thing to do is admit to our own meddlesomeness and belligerence and break the cycle of endless undeclared war and massive war spending. Commence in dismantling the U. S. Empire.

  28. Robert Capozzi

    bh 35, #15 would be something like HighHurdletarian, which points in a direction that I lean toward. It would go something like this:

    An appropriate defense policy would be to defend the US. An appropriate foreign policy would be to unwind entangling alliances. However, IF in that process some threat arises that presents a clear and present danger to an ally OR if a situation arises that violates a very large majority of US citizen’s sense of humanitarianism, AND intervention to save lives seems likely to be successful AND is done so according to the Constitution, forceful and proportionate military action may be justified.

    Or something.

  29. Brian Holtz Post author

    As with most questions, the key here is to avoid fallacies of the excluded middle, and to instead actually think. Neither of the “imperialism!” and “exceptionalism!” analyses are entirely accurate, and neither is entirely inaccurate. If “noninterventionist” means “opposed to empire-seeking”, then I’m one too. If instead it means that police and soldiers should never ever cross jurisdictional lines to stop or catch a rapist/murderer, then I’m not completely a noninterventionist. I decline to surrender to these labels my obligation to think.

  30. Tom Blanton

    Holtz, from someone who rants about voices in the heads of others, your article “Defending Libervention In Iraq” by is a real hoot. It is 95% neocon propaganda that has been refuted over and over and over again. I think you must be hearing the voices of Kristol and Kagan in your head.

    My favorite part:

    “Saddam’s apparent threat to America, consisting of his

    *admitted nuclear ambitions,
    *hatred for America (regardless of whether some think it justified), and
    *support for terrorists who have targeted American civilians”

    WTF? Does this mean Europe, Asia and South America are next on your hit list, Herr Holtz? Using your criteria, any propagandist worth a flaming bag of dog poop could spin most nation-states into a dire threat to America.

    The lunacy never ends. And from a guy that claims:

    “I too wish the libertarian/Libertarian distinction were not such a sharp one. Indeed, most of my political activism is in effect aimed at reducing and someday eliminating that distinction”

    Is this your attempt at humor? You would have more credibility if you wrote that you are trying to incrementally eliminate libertarianism. I think a lot of libertarians would agree that you are among the most divisive people the LP has ever had to endure.

  31. Tom Blanton

    The Capozzi Doctrine (#37)

    “An appropriate defense policy would be to defend the US. An appropriate foreign policy would be to unwind entangling alliances. However, IF in that process some threat arises that presents a clear and present danger to an ally OR if a situation arises that violates a very large majority of US citizen’s sense of humanitarianism, AND intervention to save lives seems likely to be successful AND is done so according to the Constitution, forceful and proportionate military action may be justified.”

    I hate to be the one to break it to you, Bobby, but this is pretty much the existing policy. The problem is how lying warmongers choose to redefine terms such as “threat” (hating America), or “clear and present danger” (wishing they had a nuke), or “likely to be successful” (Afghanistan), “to save lives” (Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq 1991 through 2009).

    Maybe Holtz and Capozzi can get together with Milnes and devise a system using “science” to determine when a large majority of US citizen’s sense of humanitarianism has been violated.

  32. LibertarianGirl

    BH_The U.S. military should never be used to depose a genocidal totalitarian WMD-using ballistic-missile-firing neighbor-annexing terrorist-funding sadistic maniac who defiantly persists in what the Security Council declares to be ‘material breach’ of his agreement to be inspected for cessation of his admitted earlier secret WMD programme.

    me +_ Saddam had no WMD’s , it was a lie . Plus Saddam has been dead for a long time , yet we continue to murder innocent civilians , oh em , I mean accidentally make collateral damage.

  33. Brian Holtz Post author

    Debra, we’ll have to agree to disagree about whether as of 2003 Saddam’s record qualified him for the description “WMD-using”. The ghosts of the women and children gassed at Halabja might have a different opinion from you on this. As for Saddam being “dead for a long time”, I’ve been calling for U.S. withdrawal “for a long time”.

    Blanton, it’s inane to claim that any other regime satisifies all the criteria I gave. Please re-read the part about “genocidal totalitarian WMD-using ballistic-missile-firing neighbor-annexing” until comprehension sets in.

    It’s equally inane to say I promote LP “divisiveness”. I’ve been arguing for years that people should not (as I said again @20) split or quit the LP over schisms like anti-war vs. libervention, anarchism vs. minarchism, pro-choice vs. pro-life, open borders, etc. Any divisiveness here is from those (hi, Gene) who hijack a thread like this for yet another episode of The Libertarian Inquisition (i.e. circular firing squad).

    P.S. Blanton sounds pretty liberventionist when he concedes to Bob that it’s “pretty much existing policy” for the U.S. to intervene when “a situation arises that violates a very large majority of US citizen’s sense of humanitarianism, AND intervention to save lives seems likely to be successful AND is done so according to the Constitution”. If we’re all fair-weather liberventionists, then we’re merely arguing over the contingent meteorological facts of 2003, rather than whether the soul of libertarianism is being sacrificed on the altar of “imperialism”. Again, I’m the anti-divisive inclusivist who argues that reasonable principled libertarians could have disagreed in 2003 about whether Saddam should be deposed by the U.S. and its allies.

  34. LibertarianGirl

    Saddam murdered innocent civilians , so lets stop him by murdering innocent civilians…

    I just don’t get it . No matter how u slice it , the people in Iraq continue to suffer

  35. Born-Again Non-Voter

    Robert: “However, IF in that process some threat arises that presents a clear and present danger to an ally”

    Does libertarian philosophy obligate the U.S. to defend “allies”? I didn’t know about that exception to the non-intervention principle.

    In my opinion:

    1. The concept is “ally” is meaningless absent a state of war, and,

    2. The status of “ally” is usually conferred not by what’s in the U.S.’s best interest, but by which nation has the stronger lobby in Congress.

  36. Brian Holtz Post author

    Debra, my position is not now nor ever has been that we should “murder innocent civilians”. Are you saying that you oppose any war in which a single innocent civilian might die? If so, then you’re functionally indistinguishable from a pacifist. If not, then we’re just debating the contingent historical facts about what we knew or should have known in 2003 about the comparative consequences of deposing Saddam vs. not doing so.

    And of course, that’s not nearly as fun or non-divisive as accusing fellow Libertarians of advocating “murdering innocent civilians”.

    Again, the way to disagree with me here is to step up and say this: The U.S. military should never be used to depose a genocidal totalitarian WMD-using ballistic-missile-firing neighbor-annexing terrorist-funding sadistic maniac who defiantly persists in what the Security Council declares to be ‘material breach’ of his agreement to be inspected for cessation of his admitted earlier secret WMD programme.

    If you can’t say that, you’re not disagreeing with me, but rather with the voices in your head.

    So far, I’ve only found one Libertarian principled enough to say it — my friend Mik.

    Who wants to be #2?

  37. Brian Holtz Post author

    Born-Again, are you against liberty-loving societies pledging mutual support in their opposition to aggressors? Doesn’t libertarian philosophy consist of a little more than just “let the devil take the hindmost”?

    America’s historical practice of choosing “allies” has too often been even worse than what you suggest. Too often, the decisive factor has been lobbying by domestic corporate interests seeking to protect rents extracted from foreign countries with the help of corrupt local governments. See e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Fruit_Company#History_in_Central_America

  38. Michael H. Wilson

    I don’t want to spoil the fun but the folks at the Project for a New American Century were serious about taking care of Saddam before Bush even got elected. Most of the clowns in that group went on to work in the Dept of Defense, for Cheney or fill some other function in the Bush Administration.

  39. Michael H. Wilson

    BH @ 45 writes “Again, the way to disagree with me here is to step up and say this: The U.S. military should never be used to depose a genocidal totalitarian WMD-using ballistic-missile-firing neighbor-annexing terrorist-funding sadistic maniac who defiantly persists in what the Security Council declares to be ‘material breach’ of his agreement to be inspected for cessation of his admitted earlier secret WMD programme.

    If you can’t say that, you’re not disagreeing with me, but rather with the voices in your head. ”

    Just for the record Brian. You don’t get to make all the rules.

  40. Thomas L. Knapp

    “we’ll have to agree to disagree about whether as of 2003 Saddam’s record qualified him for the description ‘WMD-using’. The ghosts of the women and children gassed at Halabja might have a different opinion from you on this.”

    While there’s no doubt that Saddam used chemical weapons (one of the early casualties in Desert Storm was a Marine wounded by an Iraqi land mine containing mustard gas, and I have reason to believe that I myself was exposed to Iraqi sarin), there’s a LOT of doubt that he used them at Halabja.

    Halabja was located near the front in the Iran-Iraq war. The CIA initially concluded that the chemical attack on Halabja was probably conducted by the Iranians, as it appears to have been cyanide gas (which the Iranians used extensively, but which has never featured in the Iraqi chemical inventory). It was only after Saddam invaded Kuwait and became “the bad guy” to the US that the Halabja story changed.

  41. Brian Holtz Post author

    I don’t want to spoil the Cheney/PNAC-conspiracy fun, but the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_Liberation_Act passed in 1998 with 38 dissenting votes in the House and zero in the Senate.

    Just for the record, Michael, I DO get to decide what _I_ believe. If you want to claim you’re disagreeing with ME (rather than Bush or Cheney or PNAC or other bogeymen who aren’t participating in this thread), then you have to disagree with what _I_ actually say.

  42. Tom Blanton

    Holtz, it doesn’t make me a liberventionist to point out that Capozzi supports existing policy. I think it is obvious that I didn’t write anything to give the impression that I support such a policy – I only pointed out how warmongers will twist the language used by Capozzi to justify their wars. You are hearing the voices of Kristol and Kagan in your head again – or judging by the degree of your spin, perhaps Richard Perle.

    And Holtz, you don’t get to redefine liberventionism. Much of your criteria for the invasion of Iraq is merely spin and conjecture, but it is still an intervention as Iraq had not attacked America or an ally that a treaty required America to defend. It was a war of choice and not a defensive action. So, it would appear that you are, in fact, an interventionist. Period. You can run the spin cycle over and over, but you can’t rinse the stain of blood from your own hands.

    Perhaps a better line to draw for going to war is if America is actually attacked or about to be attacked in a matter of days or weeks (as opposed to possibly being attacked many years in the future).

    For someone who resists being defined in simple black or white terms, you certainly have no problem with portraying the Iraq situation in such terms. But then, it is obvious from your rantings that you don’t hold yourself to the same standards that you hold others to.

    Now, go brew in your own lies, deceptions and distortions. I feel like I need a shower just from addressing your nonsense.

  43. Brian Holtz Post author

    Readers can decide for themselves how much “spin and conjecture” was involved in deciding in 2003 whether Saddam was a
    * genocidal
    * totalitarian
    * WMD-using
    * ballistic-missile-firing
    * neighbor-annexing
    * terrorist-funding
    * sadistic maniac
    * who defiantly persists in what the Security Council declares to be ‘material breach’ of his agreement to be inspected for cessation of his admitted earlier secret WMD programme.

    Blanton, I don’t claim to speak for all liberventionists. I speak only for myself. You can wish all you want that I’m “an interventionist period”, or that my views are indistinguishable from those of Kristol/Kagan/Perl (none of whom I’ve ever read), but wishing doesn’t make it so. If you so desperately want an interventionist strawman to argue with, get out your crayon and ask Santa for one.

  44. Tom Blanton

    Holtz thinks that the fact that PNAC lobbied for the Iraq war is a conspiracy theory. He is either ignorant or a liar (possibly both) when he says that.

    In fact, PNAC lobbied Clinton for regime change in Iraq. See the letter signed by the people who inform Holtz on his worldview
    (including Kristol, Kagan and Perle):

    (insert www. youself)

    newamericancentury.org/iraqclintonletter.htm

    Holtz shouldn’t worry about spoiling the conspiracy fun as he is the only one selling conspiracies here. It will be entertaining and instructive to watch him carry buckets of water for Bush and Cheney.

  45. Tom Blanton

    You’re lying again, Holtz. I’ve seen you post a chart that came from Kagan on IPR.

    Considering these guys were getting hours of face time on TV each day during the run-up to war in 2003, you wouldn’t have to read them. That doesn’t change the fact that you are using their talking points to this day.

  46. Gene Berkman

    Contrary to the cheap shot of Mr Holtz, I do not defend Saddam Hussein. When US government policy was to provide military aid to Husssein’s regime, I opposed it. If the Iraqis had risen up to overthrow, I would applaud it. And a case could have been made for providing Reagan doctrine aid to insurgent Iraqis fighting against the Ba’ath regime.

    But invading a country is a much bigger step tham Mr Holtz seems to be aware of. We used WMD in Iraq – 20,000 precision guided weapons and more than 2,000 tomahawk missiles. tens of thousands of Iraqis were killed by US military action, and more by the continuing results – disease from lack of clean water, from destruction of medical supplies, etc.

    More than 4,000 Americans have died in the war. And after 6 years of occupation, it has become clear that Hussein had ended his WMD programs.

    Our country is bankrupt, and our military is in bad shape, because of this war. Kim Jong Il, a more brutal dictator than Hussein, has a nuclear weapons program, and has fired ballistic missiles. I don’t hear Mr Holtz advocating military action against North Korea, nor did George W Bush, who was glad to negotiate with North Korea. And if Bush, or Obama, or Brian Holtz wanted to deal with North Korea militarily, where would they get the military to do so, and how would they pay for it?

    The world is full of bad states. If freedom loving people are to deal with the bad states in the world, we need a better approach than going to war on the basis of lies, and sending in troops who know so little about the country they occupy, that they shout orders in English, and kill people who don’t understand the orders in a language they don’t speak.

  47. LibertarianGirl

    Brian , no I am not opposed to a war where 1 single innocent dies , I am opposed to an unjust war where HUNDREDS OF THOUSASNDS of innocents die. straw man dont work on me , sorry:)

  48. Andy

    “The world is full of bad states.”

    Including the government of the United States of America.

  49. Andy

    The Republican and Democratic politicians who control our country are corrupt as hell. I don’t trust anything they do and anyone who who follow them off to fight in a war or support a war that they are in charge of is a naive fool.

  50. Robert Capozzi

    tb 40, yes, lying warmongers is a distinct challenge. I didn’t support Iraq or Vietnam. My hurdles are MUCH higher than that.

    But thanks for your thoughtful opinions, as always.

  51. Brian Holtz

    I can’t rule out that a web search has at some point led me to a fact or chart posted by somebody named Kagan. I had to look up that name on Wikipedia to see who Blanton was on about. I recognize neither his name nor his face, and I don’t watch talking heads on TV. I have zero need to lie about where my opinions come from, but it’s fascinating to see how badly Blanton needs to believe that he’s figured out their secret origins. It’s apparently a useful substitute for thinking.

  52. Don Lake .......... A Couple More Paul Harvey Moments

    Andy // Dec 20, 2009: “Republican and Democratic politicians who control our country are corrupt as hell. I don’t trust anything they do and anyone who who follow them off to fight in a war [or support a war that they are in charge of] is a naive fool.”

    Can any objective Loyal Opposition doubt that it is the Democans and the Republicrats are the ones whom have driven our American Imperial Fascist Empire into the ditch of history ??????

  53. Robert Capozzi

    tb: …it doesn’t make me a liberventionist to point out that Capozzi supports existing policy…

    me: Hmm, I want to bring all the troops home from Europe and Korea, and yet I support existing policy. Well, alrighty, then. I’d support unratifying existing treaties, too. I answer to the “dove” label.

    Does it feel good to make wild accusations?

    My only point is that I’m open to the possibility that the US participating in ending a genocide might be justified, all things considered. Am I correct, Brother Blanton, that it’s your view that the US could NEVER be justified to participate in ending a genocide? Under any circumstance ever?

  54. Tom Blanton

    Wild accusations, Capozzi? You wrote what you thought U.S. policy should be, not I. I merely pointed out that it is essentially what our leaders claim IS the U.S. policy and I pointed out how lying warmongers pervert policy. I never accused you of anything.

    As far as genocide goes, Holtz claims Saddam was genocidal. This is BS. He killed those who threatened to overthrow him. Bush or Obama would do the same and the U.S. is doing the same in Iraq and Afghanistan now against insurgents fighting U.S. puppet regimes.

    Clinton also used the genocide canard for Yugoslavia. Investigation revealed there was no genocide. Wherever there is a civil war, there is death. American interventionists often claim genocide or ethnic cleansing to justify military action. Oh, except if it is Israel involved in ethnic cleansing in Gaza or if the ethnic cleansing resulted because of U.S. actions as in Iraq.

    Holtz thinks I have come up with some crazy conspiracy theory about what it is that forms his opinions. I’m just saying his opinions seem to follow the neocon plumb line nearly verbatim.

    I wish Holtz would tell us what forms his worldview. Just like all the National Review and Weekly Standard neocons, he denies PNAC lobbied for war with Iraq. He thinks that is a conspiracy theory. Yet this was no secret. Is he trying to deceive or is he just poorly informed? Maybe he’ll tell us now that there is no such thing as a neocon and that is merely a code word for “jew” used by neo-nazis.

    I don’t pretend to know what goes on in the twisted little mind of Holtz. I’m just curious about his conspiratorial comments on the reasons for the Iraq war. Some of it is a big stretch and has been debunked over and over, yet he pretends he has no knowledge of that.

    As for the things Mr. Berkman alludes to @ #55, these things were not unforeseeable. Many libertarians were against a war of choice for the domestic implications as well as international. Holtz pretends differently – just like the neocons.

    The fact is, Holtz is an interventionist and admits he is by definition. He just doesn’t like being called an interventionist. Perhaps he knows that interventionism is incompatible with limited government since war always causes deficit spending, debt, inflation, the militarization of society, loss of civil liberties and privacy, and growth of government.

    This is why the term “liberventionist” is actually an oxymoron – even minarchism is incompatible with interventionism (pro-active military action on a non-defensive nature). Interventionism is bad enough, but when lies and propaganda are used to justify intervention, it is a crime against humanity as well as the citizens that must pay for it.

    Maybe my comments here will help Holtz understand why some libertarians think he is a (expletive deleted). Bot I think he already knows – he just pretends not to.

  55. Brian Holtz Post author

    Gene, my claim that you defend Saddam was made in an extremely specific context @33: If this is a claim that Saddam was not defiantly persisting in what the Security Council declared to be ‘material breach’ of his agreement to be inspected for cessation of his admitted earlier secret WMD programme, then I have nothing to say — except to note how odd it is for a lover of liberty to serve as an apologist for someone with Saddam’s record.

    I was not accusing you of defending anything other than Saddam’s diligence in complying with UN disarmament inspection mandates. I immediately made this clear in @35, well before your “cheap shot” cheap shot in @55. Much as you might wish that I had accused you of defending Saddam’s crimes against humanity, any fair reading of the record shows that it simply never happened.

    The reason you “don’t hear Mr Holtz advocating military action against” Kim Jong Il should be obvious: he’s not a “genocidal totalitarian WMD-using ballistic-missile-firing neighbor-annexing terrorist-funding sadistic maniac who defiantly persists in what the Security Council declares to be ‘material breach’ of his agreement to be inspected for cessation of his admitted earlier secret WMD programme”.

    The pattern here is clear: my antiwar detractors are apparently unable to argue against my actual positions — what I actually say — and so make untrue statements about me:
    * that I advocate a policy of “murdering innocent civilians”
    * that I favor all possible interventions, “period”
    * that I favor deposing many more tyrants
    * that I’ve accused Gene of defending Saddam’s war crimes
    * that I lie about my secret undissenting agreement with neocons whose views I don’t even know
    * that I’m trying to fracture the LP instead of unify it

    All of these claims are flatly false. Some of them would even count as lies if I didn’t give people the benefit of the doubt about their emotions clouding their reading skills.

    I have a hypothesis about why a few antiwar people so desperately need to believe all these false things about me. It just might be that they are ironically similar to the neocons they so flamboyantly despise. Like the neocons, perhaps they too need to see the world in black-and-white, where anyone who doesn’t hate everything done by the evil-doers must himself be evil. If any shades of gray leak into their world, if any decision is a judgment call on which principled people can disagree, then they’ll have to stop hating just long enough to do a little thinking.

    Debra, I don’t deny that a difference in degree can make a difference in kind. That’s why I say that the decision to depose Saddam was a judgment call. Given the successful American intervention in Kurdish Iraq (see video below) and the prospect of decades more tyranny from Saddam’s dynasty, I thought it was worth trying. A year after the invasion, 61% of Iraqis still thought that “Saddam Hussein’s ouster made it worth any hardships.” I don’t know if such a supermajority still feels that way, but I don’t.

  56. Michael Seebeck

    You know, while all this is very entertaining in an eggheaded sort of way (meaning boring to the average person who would rather watch paint dry), does ANY of it have ANYTHING to do with advancing the cause of liberty, electing libertarians, or getting to a libertarian society?

    Or is this just another repeat episode of How Many Libertarians Can Dance On The Head Of A Pin?

    The answers are no and yes, in that order. And in the overall big picture, none of this highly entertaining discussion matters worth a damn.

    Non-interventionist foreign (and domestic!) policy is actually very simple: don’t f*** with us, and we won’t f*** with you, but if you do f*** with us, you be in deep s*** when we defend ourselves!

    The rest, to quote Sammy Hagar, is just mental masturbation.

  57. Brian Holtz Post author

    Blanton denies that Saddam can be accurately described as genocidal in his policies toward the Kurds and the marsh Shiites. Readers here don’t need history lessons from me on this topic.

    Blanton fantasizes that my “opinions seem to follow the neocon plumb line nearly verbatim”. Hah. My twelve-component justification for deposing Saddam has been public for at least two and half years. I’ve never heard of anybody ever offering all — and only — those twelve predicates in any prior defense for deposing Saddam. If Blanton can cite such published prior art, I’ll donate $1000 to the LP in his name.

    It’s simply a lie — or illiterate — to claim I “denied PNAC lobbied for war with Iraq”. What I did was poke fun at the suggestion that in the late 90’s there wasn’t a broad bipartisan consensus advocating regime change in Iraq.

    It’s laughable to suggest I might “tell us now that there is no such thing as a neocon”. While Blanton was concocting this fantasy, I was posting a comment that — wait for it — talks about neocons.

    As I understand it, two essential features of neocon policy are 1) support for Israel, and 2) imposing democracy by force on Middle Eastern nations as a way to prevent anti-American terrorism. I’ve never advocated the latter, and I’ve been a public critic of Israel for decades.

    If Blanton wants to embarrass me about my claim that the Sunni-Shia civil war was unpredicted, there’s a very straightforward way he could do so. All he has to do is cite such a prediction published before the invasion. I document my fruitless search for such a prediction at http://knowinghumans.net/2007/02/iraq-cassandras-no-they-did-not-tell-us.html.

    Mike, I agree that these anti-liberventionist witch-hunts are pointless — except insofar as they demonstrate how pointless such witch-hunts are. Indeed, my attitude toward ant-interventionists is non-interventionist:
    don’t f*** with me, and I won’t f*** with you, but if you do f*** with me, you’ll be in deep s*** when I defend myself.

  58. Tom Blanton

    Poor Holtz, people are desperate to believe untrue things about him. Well, Holtz, you shouldn’t write pure unadulterated tripe like, “Defending Libervention In Iraq”.

    What I find even more amazing is that you wrote it in 2007. I also find it amazing that you have no idea what the plumb line neocon position on the Iraq war was or is. Were you in solitary confinement for 7 years? Are you truly so ill-informed about what goes on in the world at the same time you pretend to have limitless knowledge about virtually everything? I find it all astounding.

    Then you whine about intellectual dishonesty as you engage in it yourself. You claim, “my antiwar detractors are apparently unable to argue against my actual positions — what I actually say — and so make untrue statements about me”. Then you make a list of things people allegedly said, the problem is that nobody actually said those things.

    I said you are an interventionist because, by definition, you favor America intervening based on circumstances that do not include an attack on America. Ergo, you are an interventionist by your own words – go re-read “Defending Libervention In Iraq” linked at #23.

    I never said you favor all possible interventions or that you favor deposing many more tyrants. I never said that you lie about your “secret undissenting agreement with neocons”. I never said that you are trying to fracture the LP instead of unify it.

    I did say:

    “I think a lot of libertarians would agree that you are among the most divisive people the LP has ever had to endure.”

    And I do find it amazing that you still use and stick by neocon talking points that are years old while claiming you don’t even know what these neocon talking points are. If you pull charts from sources you are unfamiliar with, what does that say about your veracity? I suppose you fabricate your own facts and then go find something that matches what you already thought?

    And let me get this straight. Those who criticize you are unable to see the shades of gray, but you can advocate war, and all that goes with it, and not be required to further examine any shades of gray? And you say Saddam is a “sadistic maniac”?

    Sorry, Holtz, I didn’t realize it was all about you. Maybe you should print out #67 and show it to your shrink. Maybe he’s got some pills for narcissism because you got it bad, pal.

  59. libertariangirl

    brian , we made promises to the Kurds then left them to die en-mass . Had we stood by them like originally promised perhaps there wouldnt have been a gulf war 2.

  60. paulie

    America asked Iraq to invade Iran

    wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran-iraq_war

    The Tanker War and U.S. support for Iraq

    The Tanker War started when Iraq attacked Iranian tankers and the oil terminal at Kharg island in 1984. Iran struck back by attacking tankers carrying Iraqi oil from Kuwait and then any tanker of the Persian Gulf states supporting Iraq. The air and small boat attacks did very little damage to Persian Gulf state economies and Iran just moved its shipping port to Larak Island in the Strait of Hormuz.[38]

    In 1982 with Iranian success on the battlefield, the U.S. made its backing of Iraq more pronounced, supplying it with intelligence, economic aid, normalizing relations with the government (broken during the 1967 Six-Day War), and also supplying “dual-use” equipment and vehicles. Dual use items are civilian items such as heavy trucks, armored ambulances and communications gear as well as industrial technology that can have a military application.[39] President Ronald Reagan decided that the United States “could not afford to allow Iraq to lose the war to Iran”, and that the United States “would do whatever was necessary to prevent Iraq from losing the war with Iran.”[40] President Reagan formalized this policy by issuing a National Security Decision Directive (“NSDD”) to this effect in June, 1982.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddam_hussein

    Saddam Hussein in the past was seen by U.S. intelligence services as a bulwark of anti-communism in the 1960s and 1970s.[24]

    ………

    In foreign affairs, Saddam sought to have Iraq play a leading role in the Middle East. Iraq signed an aid pact with the Soviet Union in 1972, and arms were sent along with several thousand advisers. However, the 1978 crackdown on Iraqi Communists and a shift of trade toward the West strained Iraqi relations with the Soviet Union; Iraq then took on a more Western orientation until the Persian Gulf War in 1991.[33]

    ………….

    In 1979 Iran’s Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was overthrown by the Islamic Revolution, thus giving way to an Islamic republic led by the Ayatollah Khomeini. The influence of revolutionary Shi’ite Islam grew apace in the region, particularly in countries with large Shi’ite populations, especially Iraq. Saddam feared that radical Islamic ideas—hostile to his secular rule—were rapidly spreading inside his country among the majority Shi’ite population.

    There had also been bitter enmity between Saddam and Khomeini since the 1970s. Khomeini, having been exiled from Iran in 1964, took up residence in Iraq, at the Shi’ite holy city of An Najaf. There he involved himself with Iraqi Shi’ites and developed a strong, worldwide religious and political following against the Iranian Government, whom Saddam tolerated. However, when Khomeini began to urge the Shi’ites there to overthrow Saddam and under pressure from the Shah, who had agreed to a rapprochement between Iraq and Iran in 1975, Saddam agreed to expel Khomeini in 1978 to France. However this turned out to be an imminent failure and a political catalyst, for Khomeini had access to more media connections and also collaborated with a much larger Iranian community under his support whom he used to his advantage.

    After Khomeini gained power, skirmishes between Iraq and revolutionary Iran occurred for ten months over the sovereignty of the disputed Shatt al-Arab waterway, which divides the two countries. During this period, Saddam Hussein publicly maintained that it was in Iraq’s interest not to engage with Iran, and that it was in the interests of both nations to maintain peaceful relations. However, in a private meeting with Salah Omar Al-Ali, Iraq’s permanent ambassador to the United Nations, he revealed that he intended to invade and occupy a large part of Iran within months. Iraq invaded Iran, first attacking Mehrabad Airport of Tehran and then entering the oil-rich Iranian land of Khuzestan, which also has a sizable Arab minority, on 22 September 1980 and declared it a new province of Iraq. With the support of the Arab states, the United States, the Soviet Union, and Europe, and heavily financed by the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Saddam Hussein had become “the defender of the Arab world” against a revolutionary Iran. Consequently, many viewed Iraq as “an agent of the civilized world”.[35]

  61. paulie

    If the standard for being deposed is guilt in all these particulars, then the evil Saddam Hussein did not fit all the conditions – he clearly ceased his WMD programs, as has been shown during the 6 years of occupation.

    Blix said it before the war.

  62. paulie

    The thing to do is admit to our own meddlesomeness and belligerence and break the cycle of endless undeclared war and massive war spending. Commence in dismantling the U. S. Empire.

    Yes.

  63. Michael Seebeck

    Holtz:

    Mike, I agree that these anti-liberventionist witch-hunts are pointless — except insofar as they demonstrate how pointless such witch-hunts are.

    So why engage in them either in initiation or response?

  64. paulie

    something like HighHurdletarian, which points in a direction that I lean toward. It would go something like this:

    An appropriate defense policy would be to defend the US. An appropriate foreign policy would be to unwind entangling alliances. However, IF in that process some threat arises that presents a clear and present danger to an ally OR if a situation arises that violates a very large majority of US citizen’s sense of humanitarianism, AND intervention to save lives seems likely to be successful AND is done so according to the Constitution, forceful and proportionate military action may be justified.

    Or something.

    That would be much better than present policies, anyway.

  65. Robert Capozzi

    tb: I merely pointed out that it is essentially what our leaders claim IS the U.S. policy and I pointed out how lying warmongers pervert policy.

    me: The wild accusation is to say that what I advocate remotely resembles what our “leaders” claim is US policy. None that I know of (save RP), for instance, want to extricate the US from myriad treaties, and to bring troops home.

  66. Brian Holtz Post author

    Blanton commits a textbook fallacy of the excluded middle when he suggests that either 1) I am parroting “verbatim” the talking points of his favorite-to-hate neocon writers, or 2) I “have no idea what the plumb line neocon position on the Iraq war was”. The excluded middle truth here is just what I’ve said it is: I don’t read neocons, but I know enough of the neocon thesis to know I reject some of their core positions.

    I still don’t know what graphic Blanton thinks I copied from Kagan. My email records tell me I’ve never cited Kagan by name in my life. When I need a graphic to make a point, I do a Google image search and use the first graphic that accurately reflects the facts that I already know I want to present. If Google found me a graphic from some work by Kagan, Blanton apparently thinks that makes me a “liar” about whether I’m a reader of Kagan and copied my libervention criteria from him and other neocons “nearly verbatim”.

    Blanton writes that I “make a list of things people allegedly said, the problem is that nobody actually said those things”. Let’s look at the very first item on my list: that I advocate a policy of “murdering innocent civilians”. In fact, Debra wrote @43: “Saddam murdered innocent civilians, so lets stop him by murdering innocent civilians…”

    Blanton also denies that he said I favor deposing many more tyrants. He forgets that he wrote @39: “Does this mean Europe, Asia and South America are next on your hit list, Herr Holtz? Using your criteria, any propagandist worth a flaming bag of dog poop could spin most nation-states into a dire threat to America.”

    Blanton is confused when he says I have been “claiming [I] don’t even know what these neocon talking points are”. I’ve never said I don’t know what neocon talking points might be. I just said that I don’t read the neocon writers he listed, and that I form my own opinions without their help.

    I’m still waiting for Blanton to step up and say: The U.S. military should never be used to depose a genocidal totalitarian WMD-using ballistic-missile-firing neighbor-annexing terrorist-funding sadistic maniac who defiantly persists in what the Security Council declares to be ‘material breach’ of his agreement to be inspected for cessation of his admitted earlier secret WMD programme. Why is Blanton afraid to say these words? Does he disagree with interventions justified by these criteria, or not?

    Paulie @73: swing and a miss — there isn’t any “asking” anywhere in those excerpts. And @72 is too hypothetical to earn the #2 spot spot on my list. If you’re interested, feel free to try again.

    Mike, the answer to @77 is: to demonstrate how pointless such witch-hunts are. When accused witches don’t fight back, that only encourages more witch-hunting.

  67. paulie

    While there’s no doubt that Saddam used chemical weapons (one of the early casualties in Desert Storm was a Marine wounded by an Iraqi land mine containing mustard gas, and I have reason to believe that I myself was exposed to Iraqi sarin), there’s a LOT of doubt that he used them at Halabja.

    Halabja was located near the front in the Iran-Iraq war. The CIA initially concluded that the chemical attack on Halabja was probably conducted by the Iranians, as it appears to have been cyanide gas (which the Iranians used extensively, but which has never featured in the Iraqi chemical inventory). It was only after Saddam invaded Kuwait and became “the bad guy” to the US that the Halabja story changed.

    True. Much more on this from Jude Wanninski at LewRockwell.com (see author archive) and elsewhere.

  68. paulie

    The Republican and Democratic politicians who control our country are corrupt as hell. I don’t trust anything they do and anyone who who follow them off to fight in a war or support a war that they are in charge of is a naive fool.

    True.

  69. paulie

    Democans and the Republicrats are the ones whom have driven our American Imperial Fascist Empire into the ditch of history

    Indeed.

  70. paulie

    The pattern here is clear: my antiwar detractors are apparently unable to argue against my actual positions — what I actually say — and so make untrue statements about me:
    * that I advocate a policy of “murdering innocent civilians”
    * that I favor all possible interventions, “period”
    * that I favor deposing many more tyrants
    * that I’ve accused Gene of defending Saddam’s war crimes
    * that I lie about my secret undissenting agreement with neocons whose views I don’t even know
    * that I’m trying to fracture the LP instead of unify it

    All of these claims are flatly false. Some of them would even count as lies if I didn’t give people the benefit of the doubt about their emotions clouding their reading skills.

    I have a hypothesis about why a few antiwar people so desperately need to believe all these false things about me. It just might be that they are ironically similar to the neocons they so flamboyantly despise. Like the neocons, perhaps they too need to see the world in black-and-white, where anyone who doesn’t hate everything done by the evil-doers must himself be evil. If any shades of gray leak into their world, if any decision is a judgment call on which principled people can disagree, then they’ll have to stop hating just long enough to do a little thinking.

    Brian is correct. While I disagree with some of his view, I try to read them fairly and often follow his links. He is far more nuanced in his thinking than some are making him out to be here.

  71. Brian Holtz Post author

    Oh, Paulie is a sneaky anti-liberventionist — subtly undermining my point about the unreasonableness of some anti-liberventionists by seeming to agree with it. 😉

  72. paulie

    If you pull charts from sources you are unfamiliar with, what does that say about your veracity?

    Nothing. I do it all the time. There are only so many hours in the day. If I am trying to reference my arguments in a blog comment, I do it pretty quickly – there isn’t time to do in-depth research on every aspect of each and every thing I cite, track everything down to primary sources, etc.

  73. Tom Blanton

    Capozzi, you wrote this @ #37:

    “An appropriate defense policy would be to defend the US. An appropriate foreign policy would be to unwind entangling alliances. However, IF in that process some threat arises that presents a clear and present danger to an ally OR if a situation arises that violates a very large majority of US citizen’s sense of humanitarianism, AND intervention to save lives seems likely to be successful AND is done so according to the Constitution, forceful and proportionate military action may be justified.”

    Then at # 79 you throw this at me:

    “The wild accusation is to say that what I advocate remotely resembles what our “leaders” claim is US policy. None that I know of (save RP), for instance, want to extricate the US from myriad treaties, and to bring troops home.”

    If you read what YOU wrote at #37, there is nothing about extricating the US from myriad treaties or bringing the troops home.

    So, I made no wild accusation. I commented about what YOU wrote at #37. It is you making wild accusations based on something I didn’t write. Typical coming from you – I guess you get it from your mentor.

  74. paulie

    Oh, Paulie is a sneaky anti-liberventionist — subtly undermining my point about the unreasonableness of some anti-liberventionists by seeming to agree with it. 😉

    Curses…foiled again!

  75. paulie

    Paulie @73: swing and a miss — there isn’t any “asking” anywhere in those excerpts.

    I think if you follow the links in those wikipedia articles the answer is that it did amount to support for Saddam’s invasion of Iran, and the US again gave Saddam the “green light” to invade Kuwait before double crossing him. The “neighbor-annexing” part of your argument is weak as a justification for US invasion IMO.

    Looking at the other things you cite in my next comment.

  76. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 50 Brian wrote “Just for the record, Michael, I DO get to decide what _I_ believe.”

    Brian I said you don’t get to make all the rules. I did not say anything about what you believe.

  77. Michael H. Wilson

    And Brian also wrote “I don’t want to spoil the Cheney/PNAC-conspiracy fun, but the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_Liberation_Act passed in 1998 with 38 dissenting votes in the House and zero in the Senate.”

    Brian if you dig I believe that you will find the folks from PNAC testified before the committee when this bill came up.

    I’d dig up the work but I actually have other things to do, like read three bills that are before the state legislature.

    For me this is entertainment. Enjoy!

  78. paulie

    genocidal

    Saddam’s policies were oppressive, but I think genocidal is overstating the facts.

    The biggest numbers of people his regime killed were

    1) In conjunction with the Iran-Iraq war, where he was as the wikipedia article says “supported by the US”
    2) After the US double crossed Saddam on Kuwait, the US later double crossed the Southern Iraqis by giving them the impression that they would get US help in rebelling against Saddam. They did, he slaughtered many of them, and the US didn’t help them.

    During Saddam’s entire reign, by far the biggest number of Iraqis prematurely died as a result of the effects of the US embargo and bombing in between the Gulf Wars. Saddam did have part of the responsibility for those deaths, but so did the US. And Madeleine Albright publicly said it was “worth it.”

    totalitarian

    Saddam was certainly an authoritarian, but by and large the vast majority of Iraqis who did not get involved in politics were relatively unmolested by his regime. Women, Christians, and many others were arguably much better off under Saddam than since.

    WMD-using

    See other comments above regarding Halabja.

    ballistic-missile-firing

    Not particularly unique.

    neighbor-annexing

    See above

    terrorist-funding

    In what way was Hussein more terrorist-funding than other Arab leaders, including US allies like Saudi Arabia?

    sadistic maniac

    OK, point for Brian. But the world is replete with those.

    who defiantly persists in what the Security Council declares to be ‘material breach’ of his agreement to be inspected for cessation of his admitted earlier secret WMD programme

    The fact is that Saddam was holding jack squat, and the US knew it. Yeah, the US did sell Huseein chemical weapons in the 1980s, but they were dismantled or decayed into unusable form in the 90s. wikipedia: Blix’s statements about the Iraq WMD program came to contradict the claims of the George W. Bush administration, [6] and attracted a great deal of criticism from supporters of the invasion of Iraq. In an interview on BBC TV on 8 February 2004, Dr. Blix accused the US and British governments of dramatising the threat of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, in order to strengthen the case for the 2003 war against the regime of Saddam Hussein. Ultimately, no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction were found. [7]

  79. Tom Blanton

    Holtz writes:

    “Blanton is confused when he says I have been “claiming [I] don’t even know what these neocon talking points are”. I’ve never said I don’t know what neocon talking points might be. I just said that I don’t read the neocon writers he listed, and that I form my own opinions without their help.”

    Let me help you, Holtz, all neocon talking points are vitually the same and they all pretty much originated from the Weekly Standard, AEI, and National Review. They were often repeated by Cheney, Wolfowitz, and numerous talking heads on TV. You heard them and you know what they are whether or not you read any particular pundits or know their origination.

    But, forgive me for thinking you are merely parroting their talking points. I had no idea you form your own opinions without their help – even when they are virtually the same opinions.

    I had no idea that you had gone to Iraq and done investigations to determine Saddam was a sadist and committed genocide. That you uncovered evidence that Saddam supported terrorists who targeted American civilians is fascinating, although I’m not familiar with the details despite hearing this before.

    I imagine you went to a great deal of trouble going to Iraq and conducting a body count to prove that Saddam had killed over a million people. I’m wondering if your investigations that led to your opinions included talking to the ghosts of women and children gassed at Halabja. How else could you have known what really happened at Halabja? Did you give lie detector tests to Iranian officials to find this out?

    You must be correct about everything you write about the Iraq war because the neocon pundits, the Iraqi National Congress, and Feith’s Office of Special Plans all came to the same conclusions you did after your careful investigations.

    From now on I’ll assume the “facts” you write about are your own and attribute them to you and your research and investigations.

  80. Don Lake .......... More Paul Harvey Moments

    Michael Seebeck: “Is this just another episode of How Many Libertarians Can Dance On The Head Of A Pin ???? The rest, to quote Sammy Hagar, is just mental masturbation.”

    Wait, wait, wait Mike, ya unhappy with almost four decades of off worldly bouts of the national debating society ?????? Want 13 opinions —— ask a dozen Libertarians ??????? How many pins can dance on the head of a Lib ?????? And the Establishment Duopoly’s on going snickering ……….

  81. Tom Blanton

    Actually Don, this is about how interventionists can claim to favor reducing the size, scope and power of the government.

    I maintain that it is much like claiming to be a vegetarian as you cram a 1/3 lb bacon burger into your mouth.

  82. paulie

    A year after the invasion, 61% of Iraqis still thought that “Saddam Hussein’s ouster made it worth any hardships.” I don’t know if such a supermajority still feels that way, but I don’t.

    The reliability of a poll done on a population under a foreign occupying power is very low, to say the least.

    I am quite sure that if those same people had been asked if they wanted Saddam to stay in office while he was president, by someone calling them on the phone (how many Iraqis have working phones?) or knocking on their door etc., he would have had a majority, for the same reason.

    If someone else takes power in Iraq tomorrow they’ll probably poll well, too.

  83. Brian Holtz Post author

    Michael Wilson, your statement about me “making all the rules” came right as you quoted me saying “the way to disagree with me here is to step up and say X. If you can’t say that, you’re not disagreeing with me, but rather with the voices in your head.” That’s not me “making all the rules”. That’s just me insisting that you don’t get to pretend to disagree with me unless you actually assert the negation of what I assert. I didn’t “make” this rule. It’s called Logic.

    I never denied that PNAC was part of the public debate about regime change in Iraq. What I denied was any suggestion that this policy didn’t handily achieve broad bipartisan consensus in the late 1990s.

    Paulie, that’s quite the defense brief you’ve filed for your client Saddam. Readers can decide for themselves whether this makes you an apologist for him. Me, I just want to clarify your position. As I understand it, your defense of Saddam consists in making these claims:

    * The U.S. asked Saddam to invade Iran.
    * The U.S. gave Saddam a green light to annex Kuwait.
    * The U.S. sold chemical weapon systems to Saddam.
    * Saddam’s treatment of the Kurds and marsh Shiites cannot be considered “genocidal”.
    * Saddam’s regime cannot be considered totalitarian.
    * Saddam did not use WMD against anybody.
    * Saddam was never defiantly persistent in what the Security Council declared to be ‘material breach’ of his agreement to be inspected for cessation of his admitted earlier secret WMD programme.

    I contend that each one of these claims is false. Before I proceed to demolish them, I just want to make sure you’re happy with the ground on which you’ve chosen to stand. Am I reading you correctly?

    Tom Blanton now descends into self-parody, by belching forth a run-on fallacy of the excluded middle in which I either A) get all my opinions about Iraq from neocon pundits (my disagreements with whom I’ve already enumerated), or B) get all my facts about Iraq from my personal visits there.

    Paulie, the people that Gallup polled were also asked whether, a year after the invasion, they now viewed the U.S.-led coalition as “liberators” or “occupiers,” and 71% of all respondents say “occupiers.” It’s simply pathetic for you to equate Gallup to polling by Saddam — who was re-elected in 1995 with 99.96% of the vote, and who managed to get 100.0% of the vote in 2002. You don’t get to reject the facts found in CNN/Gallup household surveys just because you don’t like them. There’s a name for that practice: religion.

  84. Michael H. Wilson

    Brian what I quoted you on is this statement; “Again, the way to disagree with me here is to step up and say this: The U.S. military should never be used to depose a genocidal totalitarian WMD-using ballistic-missile-firing neighbor-annexing terrorist-funding sadistic maniac who defiantly persists in what the Security Council declares to be ‘material breach’ of his agreement to be inspected for cessation of his admitted earlier secret WMD programme.

    If you can’t say that, you’re not disagreeing with me, but rather with the voices in your head. ”

    Brian try reading the words “Again, the way to disagree with me here is to step up and say this: The U.S. military should never be used to depose a genocidal totalitarian WMD-using ballistic-missile-firing neighbor-annexing terrorist-funding sadistic maniac who defiantly persists in what the Security Council declares to be ‘material breach’ of his agreement to be inspected for cessation of his admitted earlier secret WMD programme.”

    You are telling people how to disagree. You don’t get to make that rule. That’s all I said. That’s logic!

  85. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 50 Brian wrote “I don’t want to spoil the Cheney/PNAC-conspiracy fun, but the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_Liberation_Act passed in 1998 with 38 dissenting votes in the House and zero in the Senate.”

    & @ 98 writes “I never denied that PNAC was part of the public debate about regime change in Iraq. What I denied was any suggestion that this policy didn’t handily achieve broad bipartisan consensus in the late 1990s.”

    Look big time different to me. I don’t think you are paying attention to what you write.

  86. Tom Blanton

    Well, Holtz, where the hell do you get your information from? A hotline to Dick Cheney? FOX News? The Glenn Beck Show? 60 Minutes? FreeRepublic.Com? Little Green Footballs? Judith Miller of the NY Times? WorldNetDaily? NewsMax.Com?

    Give us a clue.

    Also, since you only enumerated two basic tenets of neoconservatism that you disagree with, could you enumerate which items of neocon pro-war propaganda that you disagree with. I take it you do agree with their pro-war lies and propaganda to the extent it of which appears on your list of excuses to go to war with Iraq.

    I think it would also be a hoot if you can explain how you came to conclusion that Congress declared war on Iraq rather than merely assigning that constitutional power to Bush. I take it you see no difference.

    I guess you’d be OK with the Supreme Court assigning their constitutional power to make judicial decisions to Obama.

    Most of all I’d like for you to explain how what you call “liberventionism” and I call interventionism is compatible with limited government.

  87. Brian Holtz Post author

    Michael, I’ve stated the thesis I’m defending here. If you’re not disagreeing with it, then you’re not disagreeing with me.

    There is zero contradiction in what you’ve quoted from @50 and @98.

    Blanton, wake me when you either 1) disagree with the conjunction of my libervention criteria, or 2) start trying to dispute how they applied to Saddam. Watch Paulie. At least he’s arguing against my actual claims.

    I never “came to conclusion [sic] that Congress declared war on Iraq”. What I actually wrote was that “Congress explicitly mentions its ‘war power’ when discussing its authority to enact” Public Law 107-243 (the Iraq War Resolution of Oct 2002), and that “Congress believed it was exercising its Constitutional war power”.

    Michael, this is a perfect example of Blanton disagreeing with a voice in his head, rather than what I actually wrote. Or do you think he gets to disagree with me by disagreeing with my imaginary “conclusion that Congress declared war on Iraq”?

  88. Tom Blanton

    “Congress believed it was exercising its Constitutional war power”.

    Holtz, how do you know what Congress believed. In depth interviews with members?

    Actually, you wrote:

    “Congress explicitly mentions its “war power” when discussing its authority to enact this law. Whether Congress believed it was exercising its Constitutional war power is not even a close question.”

    Wrong. There is a question. Why did Congress choose not to vote up and down on a declaration of war as the constitution requires? They rejected a declaration of war. The authorization for Bush to use force if he chooses to is not a declaration of war.

    The reason I haven’t disputed your absurd article, “Defending Libervention In Iraq”, is because it isn’t worth the effort. Everything in it has been debunked many times over the years. If you weren’t so ill-informed, you would know that, Holtz. All I can do is shake my head in utter disbelief. It is much like hearing Dick Cheney talk about Saddam’s link to al Qaida – it just becomes tedious after a while.

    I don’t have to argue against your claims. You’re the one making BS assertions with nothing to back them up and you refuse to even say where you get your information from. Your little article has no footnotes or references in it. Then you act like a petulant child who is a victim. Pathetic.

    You still haven’t answered my question as to where do you get your “facts”. Apparently you don’t wish to reveal your sources. Sean Hannity? Rush Limbaugh?

    I see you are also unable or unwilling to reconcile the contradictions between interventionism and advocacy for limited government.

  89. Tom Blanton

    Tell me if I’m wrong, Holtz, but at #102, are you admitting that the Iraq war was an illegal war since you say you believe there was no declaration of war?

    Yet in 2007, you support the Iraq war based on dubious propaganda that you refuse to source, even though you say now America should end the occupation.

    So, you support an undeclared war against a nation that did not attack America in order to enforce UN Resolutions, even though the UN Security Council did not authorize the war. This war seems to be a violation of international law and the U.S. Constitution.

    And the LP folks saw fit to put you on the platform committee? Wow. I’d like to pretend they haven’t seen all your wacky websites.

  90. Brian Holtz Post author

    You seriously want to know my source for the textual content of Public Law 107-243? LOL.

    If there is some factual claim in my essay that you want to dispute, then man up (like Paulie) and dispute it, instead of whining about “footnotes”.

    In my essay I specify two predictions that could have changed my mind about liberating Iraq if before the invasion we had been given reasonable grounds for believing them. I’m skeptical you can point to the latter being credibly registered before the invasion, and I’m very confident you cannot point to the former. Until you can do both, it’s just silly for you to blather about my essay being “debunked”.

    Speaking of the two predictions I’ve requested, the “permanently avoidable” condition I attach to the former is an insight I got from reading libertarian GMU economist Tyler Cowan. Is he a neocon?

    My advocacy is for the goal stated in the LP Platform: to banish fraud and initiated force from human relationships. Readers can decide for themselves whether snapping Saddam’s neck contradicted that goal.

  91. Brian Holtz Post author

    Mr. Blanton, yes, you are in fact wrong in reading me @102 as “admitting that the Iraq war was an illegal war”. But thank you for at least asking whether you were reading me correctly, instead of just misreading me.

    An illegal war is one prosecuted without any authority granted by Congress under its war power.

    Art I Sec 8 grants Congress the power “to declare war” and “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying [that power] into execution”. Public Law 107-243 (the Iraq War Resolution of Oct 2002) said: “Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.”

    It also said “the President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to […] enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.”

    The UN Security Council itself said in resolution 1441 that “Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations under relevant resolutions, including resolution 687” — i.e. the 1991 cease-fire terms. Thus a reasonable case can be made that the 2003 invasion was simply a resumption of the 1991 war, which was indisputably justified under international law.

    I agree with the reasoning on pp. 23-26 of Judge Lynch’s opinion on the legality of the Iraq war in Doe v. Bush.

  92. Robert Capozzi

    tb 88: If you read what YOU wrote at #37, there is nothing about extricating the US from myriad treaties or bringing the troops home.

    me: Really? In 37, I said: “An appropriate foreign policy would be to unwind entangling alliances.” Not as explicit as treaty extrication or bring the troops home, yes, but my point stands: I know of no USG leadership except RP who wishes to unwind entangling alliances.

  93. Tom Blanton

    Capozzi, flashback to 2000. Bush ran on a more humble policy and bringing troops home. When pressed about what countries he would bring troops home from, he stuttered and and named only Haiti, but implied there were others.

    Of course, what politicians say and what they do are two different things, hence my point about lying warmongers that pervert the meaning of words.

  94. Robert Capozzi

    tb 109, your point being…? I’ve agreed that pols often misrepresent. Actually, I don’t recall Bush specifying bringing troops home, although I do recall him talking about a more humble f.p.

    I’m not a Bush fan, but the events of 9/11 may well have caused many to rethink their views…I did, as my war aversion was trumped by my sense that stopping AQN from repeating 9/11 justified some form of forceful action in Afghanistan, as most Ls I know did as well.

    I’m sensing that you seem to have an issue with accepting “Yes” for an answer…

  95. Melty

    I dont know if you’re a U. S. exceptionalist or not, Brian. You sound like one sometimes. That’s all I’m sayin.
    Myself, I sometimes sound racist to some, though I aint. It’s just my fondness for monosyllabics is all. It’s partly cuz it’s in writin and emoticons just aint enuf.

    course there’s a difrence tween “passivism” and “noninterventionism” . . . as for “liberventionism” see Dondero.

  96. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Actually, I don’t recall Bush specifying bringing troops home”

    In 2004, when Bush and Kerry made short-notice trips to New Mexico (where Badnarik was polling at 5% and touring the state), Bush announced his intention to end the US presence in South Korea over an 8-or-10 year period. Haven’t heard anything about it since.

  97. Danny S

    Anybody hear the interview? I really want to hear more from Gary Johnson, as his last interview with Ratigan on MSNBC he didn’t do so hot.

  98. paulie

    An illegal war is one prosecuted without any authority granted by Congress under its war power.

    I don’t know of any power that Congress has to delegate its war power to a president without a declaration of war.

    Thus a reasonable case can be made that the 2003 invasion was simply a resumption of the 1991 war, which was indisputably justified under international law.

    As with the 2003 war, the 1991 was not “legally” (under the US constitution) declared by Congress.

  99. paulie

    Comment revised later in bold

    Paulie, that’s quite the defense brief you’ve filed for your client Saddam.

    Saddam is no client of mine. He deserved to be overthrown by his own people and jailed for life. What I disagreed with were your assertions as to why the US 2003 invasion was – or could have been – justified.

    Me, I just want to clarify your position. As I understand it, your defense of Saddam consists in making these claims:

    * The U.S. asked Saddam to invade Iran.

    I don’t know if it was a formal request. Encouraged, aided and abetted, certainly.

    * The U.S. gave Saddam a green light to annex Kuwait.

    Historical fact. April Gillaspie.

    * The U.S. sold chemical weapon systems to Saddam.

    Also historical fact. You didn’t know?

    * Saddam’s treatment of the Kurds and marsh Shiites cannot be considered “genocidal”.

    It depends on where you draw the line between authoritarian and totalitarian. For most Iraqi citizens, other than those that involved themselves in anti-government politics, Saddam’s regime was nowhere as totalitarian as, say, nazi Germany, Stalin’s USSR, Mao’s China, etc. So, I’d tend to put Hussein on the authoritarian side of the line.

    * Saddam did not use WMD against anybody.

    He is used them in war against enemy combatants. It is unlikely that he used them at Halabja. That was almost certainly the Iranians.

    .

    * Saddam was never defiantly persistent in what the Security Council declared to be ‘material breach’ of his agreement to be inspected for cessation of his admitted earlier secret WMD programme.

    Actually, I think he by and large did cooperate with the inspections. There were times when the inspections went too far in invading Iraq’s sovereignty, and the agreement that allowed them was signed under duress. But the larger point is that his military was in no shape to launch attacks against other countries using WMDs, and US intelligence almost certainly knew it – or failed miserably if there was any serious doubt.

    Paulie, the people that Gallup polled were also asked whether, a year after the invasion, they now viewed the U.S.-led coalition as “liberators” or “occupiers,” and 71% of all respondents say “occupiers.” It’s simply pathetic for you to equate Gallup to polling by Saddam — who was re-elected in 1995 with 99.96% of the vote, and who managed to get 100.0% of the vote in 2002. You don’t get to reject the facts found in CNN/Gallup household surveys just because you don’t like them.

    OK, I’ll admit that the polls were not quite as badly biased as Saddam’s “elections.”

    Still, I think both the results and methodology were highly suspect. I exagerated to make a point. There’s no reason to think that the polls were gospel, free of error, or conducted in an environment free from suspicion and fear.

  100. paulie

    Mr. Holtz, I don’t think Paulie was “defending” Saddam. I think they were only indicting the US. Big difference there.

    Correct.

  101. Brian Holtz Post author

    OK, Paulie, I’ve dropped from this list any objection to my charge that Saddam used WMD (by which I mean nuclear, biological, or poison weapons), since you now admit that he did so. Here’s another cut at listing the theses that it sounds like you’re trying to defend:

    * There was no congressional authority for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
    * The U.S. encouraged Saddam to invade Iran.
    * The U.S. gave Saddam a green light to annex Kuwait.
    * The U.S. sold chemical weapon systems to Saddam.
    * Saddam was not particularly unique in using ballistic missiles against enemy states.
    * Saddam’s treatment of the Kurds and marsh Shiites cannot be considered “genocidal”.
    * Saddam’s regime cannot be considered totalitarian.
    * Saddam was never defiantly persistent in what the Security Council declared to be ‘material breach’ of his agreement to be inspected for cessation of his admitted earlier secret WMD programme.

    If these aren’t your claims, then please rephrase them appropriately. I don’t want you claiming that I refuted a straw man.

    Danny S., it’s simply not true that Paulie was “only indicting the U.S.”. He was not indicting the U.S. when he said:

    * Saddam was merely authoritarian and not totalitarian
    * “‘genocidal’ is overstating the facts” about what Saddam was doing to the domestic populations he was targeting
    * Saddam was “not particularly unique” in using ballistic missiles against his enemies
    * the world is “replete” with leaders like Saddam

    Readers can decide for themselves if this sounds like it comes from a Saddam apologist.

  102. Robert Capozzi

    tk, I did some digging, and recollecting, and it appears that the Bushies had floated their “lilly pad” strategy in ’04. They were going to close mega-bases in Germany and Korea, and open smaller ones throughout the world.

    I’m not sure that was a response to Badnarik’s campaign…kinda doubt it. Rumsfeld was big on this notion of lean, mean, quick strike force, which seems was part of the lilly-pad trial balloon.

    While it MIGHT have been a better alternative from a budgetary perspective, I didn’t like the lilly-pad idea. The US would have had a presence in MORE countries…a net negative, IMO.

  103. Robert Capozzi

    bh, I’d not use the word “apologist” for Paulie. As one who also opposed the Iraq War, I’d say Paulie’s saying Saddam wasn’t a big enough threat to the US to act pre-emptively against Saddam. I’d certainly say that.

    I’d add Saddam was certainly someone I’d like to see ousted. He might have even been near the top of the crimes against humanity list, which many regimes perpetrate all the time. But the US’s near unilateral (in effect) military efforts were not justified, IMO.

  104. Thomas L. Knapp

    “There was no congressional authority for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.”

    There was no LEGAL congressional authority for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The War Powers Act is unconstitutional.

    “The U.S. encouraged Saddam to invade Iran.”

    I don’t know if the US encouraged him prior to his decision to invade Iran, but it economically and operationally supported him versus Iran once he did so.

    “The U.S. gave Saddam a green light to annex Kuwait.”

    Maybe, maybe not — but he seemed to believe that it had, and that belief was not unreasonable based on Glaspie’s admitted statements to him. I’d say the answer is “yes, unless April Glaspie got her diplomatic communications credentials out of a goddamn gumball machine.”

    “The U.S. sold chemical weapon systems to Saddam.”

    Not exactly. The US gave Saddam “agricultural development credits,” watched him purchase US equipment which could be used, and which anyone who wasn’t an idiot knew probably would be used, to produce chemical weapons with those credits, and then gave him more such credits. So the truth is probably closer to “the US gave Saddam the wherewithal to produce chemical weapons systems himself” than “the US sold Saddam chemical weapons systems.”

    “* Saddam was not particularly unique in using ballistic missiles against enemy states.”

    “Unique” means “one of a kind.” There’s no such thing as “particularly unique.” And no, Saddam was not unique in that respect. I can think of at least two other existing states (Iran and the US) which have used ballistic missiles to strike enemy states.

    “Saddam’s treatment of the Kurds and marsh Shiites cannot be considered ‘genocidal’.”

    The Anfal campaign against the Kurds was certainly genocidal in intent, at least per the UN definition (“acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”),

    The Shiites, on the other hand, he seems to have intended to suppress, not destroy.

    “Saddam’s regime cannot be considered totalitarian.”

    Paulie finds it more authoritarian than totalitarian. I disagree. Ba’athism is, per its own tenets, a totalitarian ideology.

    “Saddam was never defiantly persistent in what the Security Council declared to be ‘material breach’ of his agreement to be inspected for cessation of his admitted earlier secret WMD programme.”

    He certainly was so “defiantly persistent” — and to an extent justifiably so.

    He entered into the “agreement” under military duress.

    The UNSCOM inspectors then left a) of their own free will and b) under a cloud of credible allegation that they were conducting espionage ops for the US in addition to their work per the agreement.

    At that point, any chief executive who DIDN’T declare the agreement null and void or at the very least demand its renegotiation from scratch, would be seriously derelict of duty.

  105. Mik Robertson

    Saddam Hussein would not have been in the position he was in if it were not for US support during his reign. It was advantageous for the US to support him in a conflict with a government hostile to the US in Iran. It was even advantageous for the US to have him in power after the first Gulf War.

    The government in Iran came about as a direct result of the US meddling in the internal affairs of Iran to install the Shah. It is dishonest for the US to create monsters for a purpose that seems advantageous, then howl that there is a monster that must be removed when it turns out the perceived advantage is not there.

  106. paulie

    Brian,

    * Saddam’s treatment of the Kurds and marsh Shiites cannot be considered “genocidal”.
    * Saddam’s regime cannot be considered totalitarian.

    “Cannot be considered” would be overstating my opinion. As far as I know, there is no clear line between authoritarian and totalitarian, or between run of the mill mass murdering regimes and genocide. The latter terms refer to differences of degree, say like the difference between “scorching” and “hot” in popular discourse.

    Readers can decide for themselves if this sounds like it comes from a Saddam apologist.

    I am not now, nor have I ever been, a Saddamite. Pointing out that various US and other propagandists exagerate(d) how bad he was certainly does not mean that he is good. He was a scumbag and a mass murderer – no question about it.

    OK, Paulie, I’ve dropped from this list any objection to my charge that Saddam used WMD (by which I mean nuclear, biological, or poison weapons), since you now admit that he did so.

    I said that he used them against enemy combatants in war, and probably did not use them against Iraqi civilians. The US has in fact used poisonous DU so extensively in Iraq that it is greatly increasing cancers, birth defects, etc.

    Otherwise, refer to Robert and Thomas in 124 and 125; they are completely correct.

  107. Robert Capozzi

    thinking out loud here…I consider the death penalty to be a crime against humanity, too. If — however — one day the Canadians and Mexicans decided that US capital punishment was intolerable, I would not think their invading the US was justified, either. But if the US started executing alarming numbers of expat Canadians and Mexicans, that starts to rise to the level of justification. (I couldn’t say what that number might be…this is a thought experiment.)

    Even being a potential threat isn’t enough. The US, Russia, and China are each potential threats to the ROW, yet that doesn’t justify invading those nations in an attempt to disarm long-range nuclear weapons.

    Geopolitics are incredibly complex, far more complicated than domestic economic policies, IMO. Immediate life-and-death issues seem more important than 1% of GDP this way or that.

    OTOH, were I an Israeli, for ex., the idea of Iran getting nukes and testing intermediate-range missiles is certainly cause for concern. That Israel has nukes is no solace for Israelis, since MAD was developed by two nations with very large land masses. By extension, had Saddam developed nukes and missiles, that might be construed as a very real threat to Israel.

    Still, I come down on the side of NOT projecting power, as the US almost can’t help but play bull in the china shop.

  108. Brad

    “The Anfal campaign against the Kurds was certainly genocidal in intent, at least per the UN definition (”acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”),”

    As long as Kurds have been seeking independence from Turkey, Iraq and Syria, those countries have had policies to destroy them in whole or in part.

    “Ba’athism is, per its own tenets, a totalitarian ideology.”

    Was it totalitarian in practice? Is Baathist Syria also totalitarian?

  109. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brad,

    Ba’athism, being totalitarian in theory, is certainly going to attempt totalitarianism in practice.

    Hafez Assad attempted to construct a state as totalitarian as Saddam’s in Iraq, but wasn’t as successful. Why? My guess is that it’s related to his power base being even more constrained than Saddam’s.

    Saddam’s main base of support was among the Sunni minority (30-40%, versus a Shiite majority of 50-60%) in Iraq. Assad’s was among the Alawite minority (~20% , versus a 70%+ Sunni majority) in Syria.

    Assad was never able to suppress dissent to the extent that Saddam was. By the late 70s, Saddam had Iraq completely under his thumb — the Anfal, etc. were expressions of policy, not necessity. Assad, on the other hand, faced real rebellions into the late 70s and had to make accommodations to keep the lid on.

  110. Brian Holtz Post author

    Mik @126, in my taxonomy that’s the CleanHandsItarian fallacy. I don’t care if it seemed useful to America seven presidential elections ago to give Saddam some satellite intel to forestall Iranian battlefield victory on Iraqi soil when Iran’s clients in Lebanon were holding American citizens hostage. Sorry, but that historical footnote doesn’t give Saddam or his sons a lifetime free pass.

    Paulie, when you characterized Saddam’s record with WMDs by saying merely that he “used them in war against enemy combatants”, it sure sounded like you were trying to ignore or deny that Saddam targeted innocent civilians with WMDs. You’re awfully quick to accuse the U.S. military of “murder” for collateral damage during efforts to take down Saddam and Chemical Ali with laser-guided bombs against military targets. But when it’s time to talk about Saddam’s use of poison gas against civilians, you suddenly only talk about the targeting of “enemy combatants”, and say he “probably did not use them against Iraqi civilians”. Perhaps you should read the report on the Anfal campaign by Human Rights Watch: http://www.hrw.org/legacy/reports/1993/iraqanfal/. The title is “Genocide In Iraq”.

    You don’t have to be a Saddam fan to qualify as a Saddam apologist. You just have to be willing to overlook or minimize his crimes against humanity.

    I’m not interested in debating whether Saddam had excuses in 2003 for being a
    * genocidal
    * totalitarian
    * WMD-using
    * ballistic-missile-firing
    * neighbor-annexing
    * terrorist-funding
    * sadistic maniac
    * who defiantly persisted in what the Security Council declares to be ‘material breach’ of his agreement to be inspected for cessation of his admitted earlier secret WMD programme.

    In fact, I shouldn’t even debate whether these predicates were satisfied unless the opponent agrees that their conjoined satisfaction can justify libervention. Otherwise, I’m happy to stand on that statement of our disagreement. So, Paulie, as much as I’d enjoy once again debunking these urban legends about Glaspie green lights and chemical weapons sales, I’m going to try to resist. 🙂

  111. Mik Robertson

    Brian @132; The assistance of the US to Saddam Hussein seems to have been much, much greater than simply supplying satellite intel of a battlefield. There were billions of dollars in economic aid given, military equipment and weapons were sold to him, special ops training was provided, and there was direct involvement in the war against Iran.

    In 1987 an Iraqi jet fighter fired on the US warship USS Stark, killing 37. That was not enough then to get the US upset at Saddam. Up until then it appears only Israel could fire on US warships and get away with it.

    No one is saying anyone should be given a free pass, but history should have something to do with a decision to invade a nation with the intent of deposing the government. If such a decision is to be made, it should be made only if there is a significant threat to the United States.

    Our military is for national defense, not implementing foreign policy. Saddam Hussein in 2003 did not by any stretch of imagination pose a significant threat to the United States. In fact he could only do what he did as long as he did because of the actions of the United States.

  112. Brian Holtz Post author

    Mik, I’m not sure I believe you. I’m not sure I believe that you fetishize national borders so much that you would oppose any possible U.S. humanitarian intervention abroad, no matter how large the expected net savings in innocent human lives.

    It’s simply not accurate to say that Saddam couldn’t have invaded Iran or annexed Kuwait without U.S. aid. The Iraqi arsenal was almost entirely Soviet and French in origin, and included no U.S. weapons systems. Allegations of U.S. financial aid for military purchases seem to be urban legends. What actually happened is that the U.S. Commerce and Agriculture departments offered loan guarantees for Iraqi agricultural purchases, and that a couple billion dollars of these loans were used over the 8-year Iran-Iraq war to finance Iraqi purchases of “dual-use” technology like computers, analytic instruments, surveillance equipment, radios, and “armored ambulances”. The primary sources about these loan guarantees don’t mention even a single weapon system being purchased with them. Iraqi defense spending throughout the Iran-Iraq war was on the order of $100B, so these loan guarantees would have been just a drop in the bucket even if they did finance weapons purchases.

    On this subject, if you don’t check the primary sources, you end up parroting urban legends — like Pauli claiming that the U.S. sold chemical weapons systems to Iraq.

  113. paulie

    http://www.commondreams.org/headlines02/0908-08.htm

    How Did Iraq Get Its Weapons? We Sold Them
    by Neil Mackay and Felicity Arbuthnot

    THE US and Britain sold Saddam Hussein the technology and materials Iraq needed to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction.

    Reports by the US Senate’s committee on banking, housing and urban affairs — which oversees American exports policy — reveal that the US, under the successive administrations of Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr, sold materials including anthrax, VX nerve gas, West Nile fever germs and botulism to Iraq right up until March 1992, as well as germs similar to tuberculosis and pneumonia. Other bacteria sold included brucella melitensis, which damages major organs, and clostridium perfringens, which causes gas gangrene.

    Classified US Defense Department documents also seen by the Sunday Herald show that Britain sold Iraq the drug pralidoxine, an antidote to nerve gas, in March 1992, after the end of the Gulf war. Pralidoxine can be reverse engineered to create nerve gas.

    The Senate committee’s reports on ‘US Chemical and Biological Warfare-Related Dual-Use Exports to Iraq’, undertaken in 1992 in the wake of the Gulf war, give the date and destination of all US exports. The reports show, for example, that on May 2, 1986, two batches of bacillus anthracis — the micro-organism that causes anthrax — were shipped to the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education, along with two batches of the bacterium clostridium botulinum, the agent that causes deadly botulism poisoning.

    One batch each of salmonella and E coli were shipped to the Iraqi State Company for Drug Industries on August 31, 1987. Other shipments went from the US to the Iraq Atomic Energy Commission on July 11, 1988; the Department of Biology at the University of Basrah in November 1989; the Department of Microbiology at Baghdad University in June 1985; the Ministry of Health in April 1985 and Officers’ City, a military complex in Baghdad, in March and April 1986.

    The shipments to Iraq went on even after Saddam Hussein ordered the gassing of the Kurdish town of Halabja, in which at least 5000 men, women and children died. The atrocity, which shocked the world, took place in March 1988, but a month later the components and materials of weapons of mass destruction were continuing to arrive in Baghdad from the US.

    The Senate report also makes clear that: ‘The United States provided the government of Iraq with ‘dual use’ licensed materials which assisted in the development of Iraqi chemical, biological and missile-system programs.’

    This assistance, according to the report, included ‘chemical warfare-agent precursors, chemical warfare-agent production facility plans and technical drawings, chemical warfare filling equipment, biological warfare-related materials, missile fabrication equipment and missile system guidance equipment’.

    Donald Riegle, then chairman of the committee, said: ‘UN inspectors had identified many United States manufactured items that had been exported from the United States to Iraq under licenses issued by the Department of Commerce, and [established] that these items were used to further Iraq’s chemical and nuclear weapons development and its missile delivery system development programs.’

    Riegle added that, between January 1985 and August 1990, the ‘executive branch of our government approved 771 different export licenses for sale of dual-use technology to Iraq. I think that is a devastating record’.

    It is thought the information contained in the Senate committee reports is likely to make up much of the ‘evidence of proof’ that Bush and Blair will reveal in the coming days to justify the US and Britain going to war with Iraq. It is unlikely, however, that the two leaders will admit it was the Western powers that armed Saddam with these weapons of mass destruction.

    However, Bush and Blair will also have to prove that Saddam still has chemical, biological and nuclear capabilities. This looks like a difficult case to clinch in view of the fact that Scott Ritter, the UN’s former chief weapons inspector in Iraq, says the United Nations destroyed most of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and doubts that Saddam could have rebuilt his stocks by now.

    According to Ritter, between 90% and 95% of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction were des troyed by the UN. He believes the remainder were probably used or destroyed during ‘the ravages of the Gulf War’.

    Ritter has described himself as a ‘card-carrying Republican’ who voted for George W Bush. Nevertheless, he has called the president a ‘liar’ over his claims that Saddam Hussein is a threat to America.

    Ritter has also alleged that the manufacture of chemical and biological weapons emits certain gases, which would have been detected by satellite. ‘We have seen none of this,’ he insists. ‘If Iraq was producing weapons today, we would have definitive proof.’

    He also dismisses claims that Iraq may have a nuclear weapons capacity or be on the verge of attaining one, saying that gamma-particle atomic radiation from the radioactive materials in the warheads would also have been detected by western surveillance.

    The UN’s former co-ordinator in Iraq and former UN under-secretary general, Count Hans von Sponeck, has also told the Sunday Herald that he believes the West is lying about Iraq’s weapons program.

    Von Sponeck visited the Al-Dora and Faluja factories near Baghdad in 1999 after they were ‘comprehensively trashed’ on the orders of UN inspectors, on the grounds that they were suspected of being chemical weapons plants. He returned to the site late in July this year, with a German TV crew, and said both plants were still wrecked.

    ‘We filmed the evidence of the dishonesty of the claims that they were producing chemical and biological weapons,’ von Sponeck has told the Sunday Herald. ‘They are indeed in the same destroyed state which we witnessed in 1999. There was no trace of any resumed activity at all.’

  114. paulie

    *even after Saddam Hussein ordered the gassing of the Kurdish town of Halabja,

    sic – see Wanniski

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/wanniski/wanniski6.html

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/wanniski/wanniski8.html

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/wanniski/wanniski9.html

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/wanniski/wanniski11.html

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/wanniski/wanniski32.html

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/wanniski/wanniski40.html

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/wanniski/wanniski44.html

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/wanniski/wanniski64.html

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/wanniski/wanniski89.html

    More…

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/wanniski/wanniski-arch.html

  115. Brian Holtz Post author

    Paulie, don’t read the propaganda — READ THE PRIMARY SOURCES.

    The Senate report is at http://www.gulfwarvets.com/arison/banking.htm. Search it for “vx”. Search it for “nerve gas”. Can you find a claim that the U.S. sold either to Iraq? I can’t.

    Dual-use agricultural and medical samples ain’t “weapons”. Pesticides ain’t “weapons”. Your headline says “How Did Iraq Get Its Weapons? We Sold Them”. Either quote the Senate report saying we sold nerve gas weapons to Saddam, or admit you’ve fallen for propaganda.

    But the funniest thing here is you pasting the claim that “Saddam Hussein ordered the gassing of the Kurdish town of Halabja, in which at least 5000 men, women and children died”.

    Can you say http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias? 🙂

  116. Brian Holtz Post author

    Unless Wanniski claims to rebut every single case documented in the Human Rights Watch report of Saddam’s poison gas attacks on Iraq civilians, then his theories about Halabja are irrelevant to my thesis.

  117. Brian Holtz Post author

    Sorry, I already read your Senate Committee primary source for you after you gullibly posted propaganda from a secondary source about it. I’m not going to now read some other propaganda secondary sources for you and tell you whether or not they even engage my thesis.

    I can’t do all your work for you. 😉

    But I shouldn’t complain too much here. At least you’re making an effort to cite what could arguably be called research. Most of the people I debate on this subject never bother to.

  118. paulie

    That’s OK, Brian – avoid engaging differing views.

    The links are there for anyone who is curious about which of us is right.

    If I get really bored, I’ll cut and paste all those articles here 🙂

  119. paulie

    http://www.iranchamber.com/history/articles/arming_iraq.php


    Arming Iraq: A Chronology of U.S. Involvement

    By: John King, March 2003

      What follows is an accurate chronology of United States involvement in the arming of Iraq during the Iraq-Iran war 1980-88. It is a powerful indictment of the president Bush administration attempt to sell war as a component of his war on terrorism. It reveals US ambitions in Iraq to be just another chapter in the attempt to regain a foothold in the Mideast following the fall of the Shah of Iran.

    Arming Iraq and the Path to War
    A crisis always has a history, and the current crisis with Iraq is no exception. Below are some relevant dates.

    September, 1980. Iraq invades Iran. The beginning of the Iraq-Iran war. [8]

    February, 1982. Despite objections from congress, President Reagan removes Iraq from its list of known terrorist countries. [1]

    December, 1982. Hughes Aircraft ships 60 Defender helicopters to Iraq. [9]

    1982-1988. Defense Intelligence Agency provides detailed information for Iraq on Iranian deployments, tactical planning for battles, plans for air strikes and bomb damage assessments. [4]

    November, 1983. A National Security Directive states that the U.S would do “whatever was necessary and legal” to prevent Iraq from losing its war with Iran. [1] & [15]

    Donald Rumsfeld -Reagan’s Envoy- provided Iraq with
    chemical & biological weapons

    November, 1983. Banca Nazionale del Lavoro of Italy and its Branch in Atlanta begin to funnel $5 billion in unreported loans to Iraq. Iraq, with the blessing and official approval of the US government, purchased computer controlled machine tools, computers, scientific instruments, special alloy steel and aluminum, chemicals, and other industrial goods for Iraq’s missile, chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs. [14]

    October, 1983. The Reagan Administration begins secretly allowing Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Egypt to transfer United States weapons, including Howitzers, Huey helicopters, and bombs to Iraq. These shipments violated the Arms Export Control Act. [16]

    November 1983. George Schultz, the Secretary of State, is given intelligence reports showing that Iraqi troops are daily using chemical weapons against the Iranians. [1]

    December 20, 1983. Donald Rumsfeld , then a civilian and now Defense Secretary, meets with Saddam Hussein to assure him of US friendship and materials support. [1] & [15]

    July, 1984. CIA begins giving Iraq intelligence necessary to calibrate its mustard gas attacks on Iranian troops. [19]

    January 14, 1984. State Department memo acknowledges United States shipment of “dual-use” export hardware and technology. Dual use items are civilian items such as heavy trucks, armored ambulances and communications gear as well as industrial technology that can have a military application. [2]

    March, 1986. The United States with Great Britain block all Security Council resolutions condemning Iraq’s use of chemical weapons, and on March 21 the US becomes the only country refusing to sign a Security Council statement condemning Iraq’s use of these weapons. [10]

    May, 1986. The US Department of Commerce licenses 70 biological exports to Iraq between May of 1985 and 1989, including at least 21 batches of lethal strains of anthrax. [3]

    May, 1986. US Department of Commerce approves shipment of weapons grade botulin poison to Iraq. [7]

    March, 1987. President Reagan bows to the findings of the Tower Commission admitting the sale of arms to Iran in exchange for hostages. Oliver North uses the profits from the sale to fund an illegal war in Nicaragua. [17]

    Late 1987. The Iraqi Air Force begins using chemical agents against Kurdish resistance forces in northern Iraq. [1]

    February, 1988. Saddam Hussein begins the “Anfal” campaign against the Kurds of northern Iraq. The Iraq regime used chemical weapons against the Kurds killing over 100,000 civilians and destroying over 1,200 Kurdish villages. [8]

    April, 1988. US Department of Commerce approves shipment of chemicals used in manufacture of mustard gas. [7]

    August, 1988. Four major battles were fought from April to August 1988, in which the Iraqis massively and effectively used chemical weapons to defeat the Iranians. Nerve gas and blister agents such as mustard gas are used. By this time the US Defense Intelligence Agency is heavily involved with Saddam Hussein in battle plan assistance, intelligence gathering and post battle debriefing. In the last major battle with of the war, 65,000 Iranians are killed, many with poison gas. Use of chemical weapons in war is in violation of the Geneva accords of 1925. [6] & [13]

    August, 1988. Iraq and Iran declare a cease fire. [8]

    August, 1988. Five days after the cease fire Saddam Hussein sends his planes and helicopters to northern Iraq to begin massive chemical attacks against the Kurds. [8]

    September, 1988. US Department of Commerce approves shipment of weapons grade anthrax and botulinum to Iraq. [7]

    September, 1988. Richard Murphy, Assistant Secretary of State: “The US-Iraqi relationship is… important to our long-term political and economic objectives.” [15]

    December, 1988. Dow chemical sells $1.5 million in pesticides to Iraq despite knowledge that these would be used in chemical weapons. [1]

    July 25, 1990. US Ambassador to Baghdad meets with Hussein to assure him that President Bush “wanted better and deeper relations”. Many believe this visit was a trap set for Hussein. A month later Hussein invaded Kuwait thinking the US would not respond. [12]

    August, 1990 Iraq invades Kuwait. The precursor to the Gulf War. [8]

    July, 1991 The Financial Times of London reveals that a Florida chemical company had produced and shipped cyanide to Iraq during the 80’s using a special CIA courier. Cyanide was used extensively against the Iranians. [11]

    August, 1991. Christopher Droguol of Atlanta’s branch of Banca Nazionale del Lavoro is arrested for his role in supplying loans to Iraq for the purchase of military supplies. He is charged with 347 counts of felony. Droguol is found guilty, but US officials plead innocent of any knowledge of his crime. [14]

    June, 1992. Ted Kopple of ABC Nightline reports: “It is becoming increasingly clear that George Bush Sr., operating largely behind the scenes throughout the 1980’s, initiated and supported much of the financing, intelligence, and military help that built Saddam’s Iraq into [an aggressive power].” [5]

    July, 1992. “The Bush administration deliberately, not inadvertently, helped to arm Iraq by allowing U.S. technology to be shipped to Iraqi military and to Iraqi defense factories… Throughout the course of the Bush administration, U.S. and foreign firms were granted export licenses to ship U.S. technology directly to Iraqi weapons facilities despite ample evidence showing that these factories were producing weapons.” Representative Henry Gonzalez, Texas, testimony before the House. [18]

    February, 1994. Senator Riegle from Michigan, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, testifies before the senate revealing large US shipments of dual-use biological and chemical agents to Iraq that may have been used against US troops in the Gulf War and probably was the cause of the illness known as Gulf War Syndrome. [7]

    August, 2002. “The use of gas [during the Iran-Iraq war] on the battle field by the Iraqis was not a matter of deep strategic concern… We were desperate to make sure that Iraq did not lose”. Colonel Walter Lang, former senior US Defense Intelligence officer tells the New York Times. [4]

    This chronology of the United States’ sordid involvement in the arming of Iraq can be summarized in this way: The United States used methods both legal and illegal to help build Saddam’s army into the most powerful army in the Mideast outside of Israel. The US supplied chemical and biological agents and technology to Iraq when it knew Iraq was using chemical weapons against the Iranians. The US supplied the materials and technology for these weapons of mass destruction to Iraq at a time when it was know that Saddam was using this technology to kill his Kurdish citizens. The United States supplied intelligence and battle planning information to Iraq when those battle plans included the use of cyanide, mustard gas and nerve agents. The United States blocked UN censure of Iraq’s use of chemical weapons. The United States did not act alone in this effort. The Soviet Union was the largest weapons supplier, but England, France and Germany were also involved in the shipment of arms and technology.

    References:

    1. Washingtonpost.com. December 30, 2002
    2. Jonathan Broder. Nuclear times, Winter 1990-91
    3. Kurt Nimno. AlterNet. September 23, 2002
    4. Newyorktimes.com. August 29, 2002
    5. ABC Nightline. June9, 1992
    6. Counter Punch, October 10, 2002
    7. Riegle Report: Dual Use Exports. Senate Committee on Banking. May 25, 1994
    8. Timeline: A walk Through Iraq’s History. U.S. Department of State
    9. Doing Business: The Arming of Iraq. Daniel Robichear
    10. Glen Rangwala. Labor Left Briefing, 16 September, 2002
    11. Financial Times of London. July 3, 1991
    12. Elson E. Boles. Counter Punch. October 10, 2002
    13. Iran-Iraq War, 1980-1988. Iranchamber.com
    14. Columbia Journalism Review. March/April 1993. Iraqgate
    15. Times Online. December 31, 2002. How U.S. Helped Iraq Build Deadly Arsenal
    16. Bush’s Secret Mission. The New Yorker Magazine. November 2, 1992
    17. Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia: Iran-Contra Affair
    18. Congressional Record. July 27, 1992. Representative Henry B. Gonzalez
    19. Bob Woodward. CIA Aiding Iraq in Persian Gulf War. Washington Post. 15 December, 1986
    20. Case Study: The Anfal Campaign. http://www.gendercide.com
  120. Brian Holtz Post author

    Paulie, I’m happy to engage any serious claim that Saddam never used poison gas on civilians. If you can’t point me to one, that’s not my problem.

    For most opponents, I would just ridicule an unsubstantiated claim that Saddam never gassed civilians. You get the benefit of the doubt, because I’ve seen you conjure interesting research before. But I’m not going to search through lewrockwell.com seeing if I can substantiate this wild claim of yours.

  121. paulie

    Late 1987. The Iraqi Air Force begins using chemical agents against Kurdish resistance forces in northern Iraq. [1]

    February, 1988. Saddam Hussein begins the “Anfal” campaign against the Kurds of northern Iraq. The Iraq regime used chemical weapons against the Kurds killing over 100,000 civilians and destroying over 1,200 Kurdish villages. [8]

    See Wanniski for detailed refutation.

  122. paulie

    If you can’t point me to one, that’s not my problem.

    Already did. The fact that Rockwell published those articles is completely beside the point.

  123. Brian Holtz Post author

    Cool, I was trying to think of ways to kill this time-waster of a thread, and spams from Paulie might just do the trick. I did a text search on @145 for “vx” and “nerve gas” and both came up empty. Strike one.

    Please post a lot more lengthy spams that don’t actually say the U.S. sold “nerve gas weapons” to Saddam. That should kill this thread good and dead.

  124. Brian Holtz Post author

    @148 Bzzzt. I sampled one of your Wanniski articles, and it was only about Halabja.

    In addition to Halabja, Appendix C of the Human Rights Watch report lists 39 other Iraqi chemical attacks on Kurds. Quote Wanniski saying that all of them were either by Iran or exclusively on combatants, and I’ll be happy to look at his arguments and evidence. But if you know you can’t quote such a claim, and want to drown out that fact with spam, then I can spam too:

    Chapter Two: Prelude to Anfal
    The Chemical Threshold
    The Spring 1987 Campaign: Village Destruction andResettlement
    Early Uses of al-Majid’s Special Powers
    Orders for Mass Killing
    Defining the “National Ranks”: The Census of October 17, 1987

    Chapter Three: First Anfal: The Siege of Sergalou and Bergalou, February 23-March 19, 1988
    The March 16 Chemical Attack on Halabja
    The Fall of the PUK Headquarters

    Chapter Four: Second Anfal: Qara Dagh, March 22-April 1, 1988
    The Exodus from Qara Dagh
    Flight to Southern Germian

    Chapter Five: Third Anfal: Germian, April 7-20, 1988
    The Plan of Campaign: (1) Tuz Khurmatu
    The Plan of Campaign: (2) Qader Karam and Northern Germian
    The Plan of Campaign: (3) Sengaw and Southern Germian
    The Collection Points
    The Ambiguous Role of the Jahsh

    Chapter Six: Fourth Anfal: The Valley of the Lesser Zab, May 3-8, 1988
    The Chemical Attacks on Goktapa and Askar
    The Anfal Dragnet: East of Taqtaq
    The Shwan Area
    Zbeida’s Story
    The Fourth Anfal Collection Points 18

    Chapter Seven: Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Anfals: The Mountain Valleys of Shaqlawa and Rawanduz, May 15 -August 26, 1988
    The PUK’s Last Stand

    Chapter Eight: The Camps
    The Popular Army Camp at Topzawa
    The Popular Army Camp at Tikrit
    The Prisoners from Bileh and Halabja
    The Women’s Prison at Dibs
    A Prison Camp for the Elderly
    Deaths at Nugra Salman

    Chapter Nine: The Firing Squads
    Muhammad’s Story
    Ozer, Omar and Ibrahim
    Mustafa’s Story
    Taymour’s Story

    Chapter Ten: Final Anfal: Badinan, August 25-September 6, 1988
    Badinan on the Eve of the Final Anfal
    “Apples and Something Sweet”: The Chemical Attacks of August 25 269
    On-the-Spot Mass Executions
    The Fort at Dohuk and the Women’s Prison at Salamiyeh

    Chapter Eleven: The Amnesty and its Exclusions
    Dispersal of the Camp Survivors
    The Mujamma’a Dumping Operation
    The Fate of the Christians and Yezidis

    Chapter Twelve: Aftermath
    Continued Village Clearances
    Continued Mass Killings: Yunis’s Story
    Continued Mass Killings: Hussein’s Story
    The End of the “Exceptional Situation”

    Chapter Thirteen: The Vanishing Trail
    The Ba’ath Party: Alpha and Omega of the Anfal Campaign

    Appendix C: Known Chemical Attacks in Iraqi Kurdistan, 1987-1988

    Appendix D: Sample Mass Disappearances During Anfal, by Region

  125. paulie

    I sampled one of your Wanniski articles,

    Well yes, but I didn’t claim that any one of the articles contained all the info – read ’em all.

    But, as you said at 149 this is turning into a big time waster. At this point I suspect we are both only pursuing it out of advanced lastworditis.

    Since I am trying to control my condition, I’ll now do my best to make this my last comment here unless other people are interested in continuing the conversation.

    Hopefully Brian will be a good sport and not take too hard of a parting shot(s) and draw me back in.

    And to preventively address one he is likely to make — I am not surrendering. I am taking the advice the US should have taken early in the Vietnam War (or now in Iraq and Afghanistan) – I’m declaring victory and pulling out 😛

  126. Brian Holtz Post author

    There’s no such thing as “victory” over the Anti-Libervention Inquisition — or over any other zombie-like phenomenon. 🙂 The best you can do is just dispatch every inbound threat and then await the next wave.

    So I’ll remain on alert, in case you ever quote Wanniski — or anybody else — actually claiming that Saddam never gassed any civilians. If and when you do, I’ll examine the arguments and evidence behind the claim. But until you actually quote the claim, I’ll just wait — knee deep in the cinders of your unsubstantiated claims that the U.S. ever sold “nerve gas” to Saddam.

    P.S. The problem here isn’t my “lastworditis”. The problem here was Gene’s firstworditis @19. The only rule here at Libervention Debate Club is: we don’t ever start the debate, but we always finish it. 🙂

  127. Thomas L. Knapp

    “The Iraqi arsenal was almost entirely Soviet and French in origin, and included no U.S. weapons systems.”

    That’s claim is factually incorrect. I personally observed US weapons systems, including the F4 Phantom aircraft and M16, M18 and M21 mines, deployed by the Iraqi forces in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait between January and May of 1991.

  128. Brian Holtz Post author

    Been there, rebutted that.

    http://www.mail-archive.com/marketliberal@yahoogroups.com/msg00665.html

    By “U.S. weapons systems” I of course mean U.S.-supplied U.S.-origin weapons systems — like, y’know, the whole point of the debate on the U.S. “arming” Saddam.

    Tom’s single phantom Phantom was, if real, probably from Iranian inventory, which over the years numbered 200 F-4s. The world is awash in second-hand mines. In all the published propaganda about the U.S. “arming” Saddam, nobody has claimed that the U.S. supplied him with mines, let alone combat aircraft.

    Tom’s not foolish enough to actually claim that the U.S. supplied Saddam with F-4s. But he may very well be foolish enough to think he could try to imply it without me correcting that implication. 🙂

    Nope. Not here at Libervention Fight Club.

    Who’s got next?

  129. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    I don’t know where Saddam got the F-4. I had always assumed he got it from the US, but I suppose that might not be the case.

    I do know that all of the Iraqi mines of US origin I looked closely at still had their original yellow on olive drab, English-language US military stencilings. If they were knockoffs rather than real US military surplus, someone had gone to a lot of trouble to make them look like the latter.

    In any case, the F-4, M16, M17 and M21 are US weapons systems, period. If you meant to say something other than that Iraq didn’t have US weapons systems, you should have said that something else instead of what you did say. I was just correcting a misstatement of the facts, and had no particular agenda in doing so.

  130. Brian Holtz Post author

    Tom, it doesn’t count as the U.S. “arming” Saddam if he gets a few U.S.-made weapons from sources other than the U.S. As I told you two years ago, Wikipedia says of M16 Bouncing Bettys: “The mines were sold widely and copies were produced in several countries including Greece, India, South Korea and Turkey.” Of M18 Claymores: “A number of licensed and unlicensed copies of the mine were produced” in at least 11 countries.

    The charge that the U.S. “armed Iraq” through diverted agricultural loan credits turns out to be even weaker than I had said above. The amount of credits handled through the accused channel — the Italian bank BNL — was well under a billion dollars. Also, the list of “military transfers” I held up for ridicule above turns out to in fact be a list of “dual-use” items that were prevented from being financed by the program. Here is the full paragraph from which I pulled my list:

    The Department of Defense objected to about 40 percent of the export licenses that came before it for Iraq. Generally speaking, the Defense Department’s strongest objections for Iraq concerned the potential use of exported goods for Iraq’s nuclear program, for missile testing and construction, and for chemical and biological weapons development. Examples include special computers for missile testing, analytical instruments best suited for chemical and biological weapons development, satellite and airborne surveillance equipment to accurately locate distant targets and furnaces for Iraq’s nuclear weapons development program.

    When Rep. Gonzalez tries to summarize the worst of the “military sales” financed with these credits, this is all he can say: I would like to place in the Record several examples of Eximbank financed military sales to Iraq. In 1986, the Eximbank approved the sale of 600,000 dollars’ worth of portable radio communications equipment and in 1987 it approved the sale of `250 armored military truck ambulances’ to Iraq. I have also included a Mack Truck sale of 200 fifth wheel trucks to Iraq that the Eximbank refused to finance because of their military applications. Mack Truck sold trucks, tractors cranes, and dumpers worth $6.4 million to Iraq with the help of BNL loans. Iraq also paid for 40 heavy duty Mack truck chassis worth over $2.5 million with BNL loans.

    So the U.S. made loan guarantees for Iraq to buy U.S. farm products, and sold Saddam walkie-talkies, ambulances, cranes, and trucks. This is how the U.S. “armed” Saddam. ROTFLMAO.

  131. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    You write:

    “Tom, it doesn’t count as the U.S. ‘arming’ Saddam if he gets a few U.S.-made weapons from sources other than the U.S.”

    I agree (providing that those sources aren’t acting as proxies for the US).

    That’s not at issue. It’s very simple: You claimed that “the Iraqi arsenal … included no U.S. weapons systems.”

    That claim was incorrect. I corrected it. Any implications that factual correction has for your argument are yours to deal with, not mine to make go away for you.

  132. Desert Storm Vet

    I saw a few Iraqi soldiers with Ginsu knives, so the Iraqi arsenal definitely included U.S. weapons, and thus the U.S. must have been arming Saddam, and liberventionism is therefore discredited.

  133. Mik Robertson

    @134 supra; Brian, what is urban legend and what is the truth may be very difficult to determine. Clearly you have done a lot of research on the issue. What is not difficult to determine is the ability of the US federal government to tell the truth, the history of which has been appallingly bad.

    Whether it was dealing with the natives in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, or with Mexico when it came to US “interests” in land for settlers, honesty was apparently not the best policy.

    Transitioning into the 20th century, when dealing with Columbia when it was in the US “interest” to build a canal, subversive intervention in foreign nations went into full swing. Throughout the 20th century the US government had often been less than truthful, whether it was medical experiments using unsuspecting citizens or covert actions to dislodge foreign governments.

    There were no weapons on the Lusitania, it was the communists who provoked a war in southeast Asia, there were no arms to Iran for hostages, and there was no money to the Contras in Nicaragua.

    If there are treaties in place for aid, whether humanitarian or economic, that is one thing. Covert or overt military operations to overthrow another nation’s government without a legitimate declaration of war is quite another. Such a declaration could only be made in light of a significant threat to the people of the United States. The case against Saddam was very suspect.

    Generally, the use of the military to intervene seems to be a bad idea, at least it appears to have turned out badly more often than not. If you are going to have a policy of foreign intervention, at least it should be a consistent one. As it is now, some oppressive regimes are attacked, some are scorned, some are tolerated, and some are given most favored nation trading status.

    I don’t think it is prudent for the United States to intervene in the affairs of foreign nations unless there is a significant threat to the people of the United States within our borders or traveling in international areas. To pick on some nations, even if there are legitimate concerns about the respect of human rights, is no better than Congressman Davy Crockett voting to give federal funds to some victims of a fire in Washington DC while other fire victims went without.

    If the US government wanted to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam, at least they should have been up front about the reasons for doing so, but given the history, I suppose that would have been too much to ask.

  134. Brian Holtz Post author

    Mik, I concur with every clause you just wrote, except insofar as I wouldn’t agree that a prudent lover of liberty should rule out all possible humanitarian intervention abroad, no matter how large the expected net savings in innocent human lives.

    I too am all for consistency, but saying that only saints may oppose genocidal butchers is a recipe for more genocidal butchery. Your liberty there in Pennsylvania was won with help from imperial Spain and France, whose hands were far less clean in 1776 than America’s were in 2003. I don’t think that women and children choking on Saddam’s poison gas would interrupt intervening U.S. troops and grill them about the Lusitania. It’s easy to have high standards for rescuers when you’re not in need of rescue.

    But I digress, as this clean-hands debate is moot if you’re serious in saying you oppose all possible scenarios for U.S. humanitarian intervention if none of the lives at stake are American.

  135. Mik Robertson

    “Your liberty there in Pennsylvania was won with help from imperial Spain and France, whose hands were far less clean in 1776 than America’s were in 2003.”

    Spain or France did not overthrow the government of Great Britain. It seems to me there is a difference between aiding colonies gain independence and toppling an established national government to replace it with another. I don’t believe the federal government of the US is authorized to do either of those things, although some governments or sovereigns may be. I think the saying goes; ‘You say you want a revolution, well you know, we’d all love to change the world” which is then followed by something like ‘shoo-be do-oh’.

    I’m not sure where the idea of only saints being able to oppose genocidal butchers comes from. Some Libertarians like to bash the UN, but that is a role such an international organization could play. It is not the place of the US federal government to be the world’s policeman.

    As I said, if there are treaties in place for humanitarian aid, that could reasonably be part of a diplomatic effort. At that point you are dealing with a foreign government, not trying to topple it. Such aid could also be done through an international organization of which the US is a part or has a relationship with. It could also be done through private charity.

  136. paulie

    Repeal the legislation that prohibits Americans from fighting on their own in foreign wars, organizing others to do the same and to fund such efforts.

    Keep the US government out of it.

  137. Steven R Linnabary

    It’s easy to have high standards for rescuers when you’re not in need of rescue.

    I would hardly refer to a quagmire as a rescue. But that’s just me.

    And you are twisting “libertarianism” into it’s opposite when you infer that we should all be forced at gunpoint (through our taxes) to support any irresponsible war.

    Nobody has said that we shouldn’t be able to support any insurrection voluntarily.

    I suppose I have. When I was young and in my thirties, I recall going to a local Catholic Church on St. Patrick’s Day. The Priest would pass the plate, saying the money was “for the widows and orphans” in Northern Ireland. If some of that money actually went to the Irish Republican Army in order to create “widows and orphans” of the oppressors, I wouldn’t be surprised. Likewise when we raised money for the beleaguered in Nicaragua, and some of it made it’s way to the Sandinista’s…well that just can’t be helped.

    The point is, that it is wrong to force somebody to support the murder of innocents, no matter how “noble” your intent.

    BTW, there are atrocities all over the world. Such as a few years ago in Rwanda. I don’t recall you wanting to “rescue” those people. But maybe the only people that need rescued have oil under them.

    Pacem en Terris

  138. Mik Robertson

    Better. I was thinking of the shoo-be doo one, which is is better to depose a genocidal totalitarian WMD-using ballistic-missile-firing neighbor-annexing terrorist-funding sadistic maniac who defiantly persists in what the Security Council declares to be ‘material breach’ of his agreement to be inspected for cessation of his admitted earlier secret WMD programme.

    I guess Helter Skelter would work, too. Maybe Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey would sum it up.

  139. Brian Holtz Post author

    Touché, Mik; I’ll have to save the Spain/France/1776 ammunition for when we debate the liberation of Kuwait and Iraqi Kurdistan — both of which I presume you opposed. [Patriotic]

    You misunderstand the term “humanitarian intervention”. It means military intervention for humanitarian reasons, such as to stop the genocide of Iraqi Kurds, or of the 500,000 Rwandans that occurred in the three months after the 1994 assassination of Habyarimana.

    Steven, I oppose quagmires too, and have for years been saying we should have declared victory in Iraq and left. [Monday Morning Quarterback]

    I might have supported intervention in Rwanda — especially if there had been evidence of likely success analogous to our decade-long experience in Iraqi Kurdistan as of 2003. [Slippery Slope]

    I don’t care one iota about Iraq’s oil — but keep on fantasizing that I do if that’s what it takes to rationalize my disagreement with you here. [Mercenary]

    “Murder of innocents” is a strawman. I too oppose the targeting of innocents, so this argument simply doesn’t engage my position — unless you are some kind of pacifist who opposes absolutely any military action which might possibly result in the death of even a single innocent. [WhiteGloveItarian]

    Your argument against tax-financed libervention has collateral damage: it wipes out tax-financed police and courts too. I’m not an anarchist, so that argument doesn’t work on me. [NonCoercitarian]

    P.S. In brackets above, I’ve labeled my responses according to the names of the arguments I’m rebutting, using the taxonomy of 14 anti-liberventionist arguments that I published in 2005. Perhaps you guys can use it to save yourselves some typing. For example, when Mik wants to say that America’s past immorality disqualifies her from liberating anybody, he could just type “CleanHandsItarian” with some appropriate number of exclamation points.

    Other arguments already used in this thread include: Sovereigntarian, AmericaFirstItarian, Fatalistic, and Pessimistic. I’m impressed that nobody has stooped to the ChickenHawk argument yet; that one usually comes out pretty quickly.

    Steven, I have to congratulate you on adding a new argument to my list — the claim that liberventionists secretly just want America to get a discount on oil. I’ll call it the “Mercenary” argument, and rank it just after the Chicken argument as the third-most-lame argument on the list. Let me know if you’re proud enough of the argument to want to be credited by name. 🙂

  140. Robert Capozzi

    A side benefit of not opposing truly humanitarian military actions is that you DON’T have to answer the inevitable question “Would you let the Holocaust happen?” with a yes.

    My standard answer, for ex., is I don’t support wars like Iraq and Vietnam, but I believe it’s appropriate for the US to participate in international efforts to end bona-fide genocides.

  141. Thomas L. Knapp

    “In brackets above, I’ve labeled my responses according to the names of the arguments I’m rebutting, using the taxonomy of 14 anti-liberventionist arguments that I published in 2005.”

    Very helpful. You should add at least one pro-liberventionist shorthand as well. I suggest:

    “Want omelet? Must break some eggs.” [Stalin]

  142. Joe Stalin

    Right, because anybody who would risk one innocent life to oppose someone like me is therefore morally equivalent to me.

  143. LP Observer

    I tuned in to listen to Root … still heard G. Gordon Liddy.

    Root’s web site states the guest-hosting will be Thursday, Dec. 24th and Friday, Dec. 25th.

    “Wayne Allyn Root, 2008 Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee and best-selling author, as well as a regular guest on FOX News and FOX Business, is guest hosting the G. Gordon Liddy Show nationwide next Thursday 12/24/09 and Friday 12/25/09 from 10 AM EST to 1 PM EST. “

  144. Michael H. Wilson

    BH writes “we debate the liberation of Kuwait”. Kuwait was not liberated. We just handed it back to the old authoritarian bastard who had it in the first place.

    Besides it would be interesting to look at the relationship between the British Crown, BP Oil and Q8 Oil. I wonder how much stock the British Crown holds in BP, formerly Anglo-Iranian Oil as I recall? You know the folks who started that mess in Iran in 1953. I’d like to read Kermit Roosevelt’s book on that mess if I could find a copy.

  145. Brian Holtz Post author

    Ah, the Perfectionist argument makes its debut on this thread. Yawn.

    liberate v. to free (a nation or area) from control by a foreign or oppressive government

  146. Thomas L. Knapp

    I’m absolutely certain that we liberated Kuwait. Why else would the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have made a big gaudy medal to give me for my involvement, and named it the “Kuwait Liberation Medal?”

  147. Brian Holtz

    Tom, while the opinions of you and the Saudi government are fascinating, I’m more interested in what percentage of Kuwait’s permanent residents welcomed liberation from Saddam’s rule.

  148. The Inquirer

    liberate v. to free (a nation or area) from control by a foreign or oppressive government

    Ah, as in Iraq or Afghanistan from American rule. Indeed.

  149. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    My Scientific Wild-Ass Guess, based on personal sampling, is that Kuwaiti appreciation approached 100%.

    Of course, it was out of the frying pan and into the fire for some of them. Sabah couldn’t bring himself to let those who made names for themselves by staying in Kuwait and resisting the occupation while he sunned himself on the French Riviera and lobbied Washington remain alive.

  150. Libervention Debate Club

    We in the Club unanimously oppose “American rule” of other countries. Welcome to the Club.

    Very good choice, Mr. Knapp, we have you down for a Perfectionist Argument as well. Do you take it with two exclamation points, or three?

  151. LibertarianGirl

    “liberation of Kuwait”
    ROFLMAO!

    who else remembers our government paying mothers to lie about babies being taken out of incubators and placed on the floor to die.

  152. Steven R Linnabary

    Steven, I oppose quagmires too, and have for years been saying we should have declared victory in Iraq and left. [Monday Morning Quarterback]

    We already DID declare victory. I saw the “Mission Accomplished” banners.

    I might have supported intervention in Rwanda — especially if there had been evidence of likely success analogous to our decade-long experience in Iraqi Kurdistan as of 2003. [Slippery Slope]

    I would not have favored sending troops into one more quagmire that you refer to as “success”.

    For the first 120 years of our Republic, Americans could look to the old world with pity. No matter which side of a conflict we might have been on in the old world, we could look back and realize that it’s terrible, but thankfully it’s over there.

    Your argument against tax-financed libervention has collateral damage: it wipes out tax-financed police and courts too. I’m not an anarchist, so that argument doesn’t work on me. [NonCoercitarian]

    Talk about your “strawman” argument!! Are you suggesting that US cops should be kicking in doors in search of the contraband du jour? That cops should be shooting people in the back more frequently than they already do?

    You can do better than a nonsensical argument.

    I’m more interested in what percentage of Kuwait’s permanent residents welcomed liberation from Saddam’s rule.

    Another “strawman”. The ONLY permanent, leagal citizens of Kuwait are of the Sabah clan. The rest are resident aliens.

    But FWIW, one of the STATED reasons for the “liberation” of Kuwait was to bring democracy to that country. Today after 17 years, the residents outside of the Sabah clan still have not experienced an election. And women are still second or third class residents.

    Pacem en Terris

  153. Libervention Debate Club

    Like you, Debra, we in the Club oppose false pretenses for defeating aggressors. Welcome to the Club.

    If you can judge an act of libervention by its expected consequences for human liberty, and not by how much you loathe any of the intervenors, then you’re welcome in the Club.

    Steven, we in the Club are glad you agree with us that there has long been no point for a U.S. military presence in Iraq. Welcome to the Club.

    Like you, we in the Club oppose sending U.S. troops on missions that we have no reason to believe will be accomplished and will instead become an inescapable quagmire. Welcome to the Club.

    Like you, we in the Club oppose the use of tax-financed police to shoot people in the back or arrest them for substance use/possession. Welcome to the Club.

    As non-anarchists, many of us in the Club say that Americans should “be forced at gunpoint (through our taxes) to support” police and courts that protect those who cannot protect themselves. (Some of us would fund this only with “taxes” on aggression — like polluting, depleting, congesting, or monopolizing the natural commons — and so those who never aggress would never pay “taxes”.) If you too are not an anarchist and support tax financing of protection for those who cannot protect themselves, then welcome to the Club.

    By “permanent residents”, we in the Club mean those who are living somewhere indefinitely and are not under some kind of voluntarily-accepted guest status. If you oppose the non-enfranchisement of such people, then welcome to the Club. If you agree with Mr. Knapp that most of such non-enfranchised Kuwaitis welcomed the undoing of Saddam’s annexation of Kuwait, then welcome to the Club.

  154. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Mr. Knapp, we have you down for a Perfectionist Argument as well.”

    Not at all — but one end of the issue is left out by proponents of “libervention.”

    While the possibility of innocent casualties is certainly important, there’s also the fact that “libervention” as currently carried out is financed through coercive taxation. When “liberventionists” are prepared to pay the freight themselves for their chosen projects instead of stealing the costs at gunpoint from people who may or may not care to finance those projects,, I’ll take their arguments a lot more seriously.

    LG, you write:

    “who else remembers our government paying mothers to lie about babies being taken out of incubators and placed on the floor to die.”

    Actually, the financiers of that scam were the Kuwaiti government. The “witness” involved was the daughter of Kuwait’s ambassador to the US. She was not present in Kuwait when Iraq invaded, nor at any time during the Iraqi occupation. She simply recited some lines fed to her by the Kuwaiti government’s PR/lobbying firm.

    Don’t mistake of taking that as an indication that the Iraqi occupation was not an evil and brutal undertaking, though. I saw some of what Saddam did to Kuwait, and had accounts of worse from Americans who saw other parts of it.

  155. Libervention Debate Club

    it was out of the frying pan and into the fire for some of them. Sabah couldn’t bring himself to …

    Mr. Knapp, the Clubhouse menu defines the Perfectionist Argument as evaluating the fruit of libervention not by the amount of aggression opposed/reversed/prevented, but rather by how far short of Libertopia those fruits end up. Clubhouse policy does not allow you to eat a dish and then send the crumbs back for a refund, denying that you ordered it. The Clubhouse does not allow outside food, so if you brought in the above for purposes other than debating Libervention, you still have to pay the menu price of the Perfectionist Argument. Think of it as a corkage fee.

    “libervention” as currently carried out is financed through coercive taxation

    The NonCoercitarian Argument is a fine choice for guests like you who oppose tax-financed police and courts, although it causes terrible indigestion in our non-anarchist customers. For a moment there I thought you were about to ask for a side order of its traditional complement, the ChickenHawk Argument.

  156. Michael H. Wilson

    Guess I’m gonna have to keep digging to see what I can find out about the relationship between the British Crown, BP Oil and Q8 Oil. Doesn’t look like the Liberventionists have any idea. Oh well!

  157. Libervention Debate Club

    Mr. Wilson, the Club is not aware of any possible relationship among oil companies, royal houses, Trilateral Commissions, Jewish banking conspiracies, etc., that could justify not opposing the annexation by brutal force of one sovereign state by another. Perhaps you could just describe the most damning such relationship you can imagine, and then explain why it would justify such non-opposition.

  158. The Inquirer

    that could justify not opposing the annexation by brutal force of one sovereign state by another.

    See: US occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan for example.

  159. paulie

    Brian/Joe Stalin

    Right, because anybody who would risk one innocent life to oppose someone like me is therefore morally equivalent to me.

    More like destroy (not risk) 2 million lives and counting, and over a trillion $, with no end in sight.

    And Saddam was so far from being anything as bad as Stalin that it is not even funny.

  160. Libervention Debate Club

    annex v. to incorporate into a country, state, etc. the territory of (another country, state, etc.)

    According to CIA World Factbook:
    U.S. land area in 2001: 9,158,960 sq km
    U.S. land area in 2009: 9,161,966 sq km

    Growth in U.S. territory 2001-2009: 3006 sq km (!)
    Area of Iraq: 438,317 sq km
    Area of Afghanistan: 647,500 sq km

  161. The Inquirer

    So occupation differs from annexation in this regard?

    Absolutely!

    If Iraq merely occupied Kuwait, as Ms. Glaspie told Mr. Hussein, that would have been fine. It’s the claim of legal annexation that was the great unabidable moral evil, and which made the US invasion a liberation.

    But if Hussein installed a puppet government in Kuwait instead, and made no claim of annexation? Not a problem.

    Obviously this is how he misunderstood Ms. Glaspie.

  162. Libervention Debate Club

    The Club declared in 2006 that the unpredicted Sunni-Shia civil war had exhausted the reconstruction and stabilization efforts America owed the Iraqis for having deposed Saddam. Violent deaths in Iraq from the invasion to that time were between 50K-150K. A large majority of them were from Sunni-Shia violence, and only a small fraction would have been innocents killed by coalition military action.

    Stalin’s policies caused an amount of avoidable deaths equal to about 10% of his country’s population. For Saddam the figure approaches 5%, even if you completely absolve him all deaths in the Shia backlash against the decades of oppression by his regime’s Sunni minority. But if you believe the wildest estimates about the death toll of the Sunni-Shia civil war, and blame Saddam’s persecution of the Shia majority for a significant fraction of them, then Saddam’s percentage toll starts edging toward Stalin’s 10% mark.

    Or, if you’re an Anfal denier, and say the only Kurds Saddam ever killed were “enemy combatants”, and blame the UN for deaths Saddam caused when his WMD-inspection obstinancy led the UN to decline to trade with him, and you absolve Saddam of the 1M deaths in his Iran war because you fantasize that America “asked” him to start it, well then, it’s not clear that Saddam ever caused a single innocent death, ever. But that doesn’t make you a Saddam apologist.

  163. Steven R Linnabary

    Or, if you’re an Anfal denier, and say the only Kurds Saddam ever killed were “enemy combatants”, and blame the UN for deaths Saddam caused when his WMD-inspection obstinancy led the UN to decline to trade with him, and you absolve Saddam of the 1M deaths in his Iran war because you fantasize that America “asked” him to start it, well then, it’s not clear that Saddam ever caused a single innocent death, ever. But that doesn’t make you a Saddam apologist.

    Wow, Brian…how many strawmen can you load into one single paragraph??

    LOL…well, I suppose if your argument doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, that might be your only option!

    Pacem en Terris

  164. Brad

    unpredicted Sunni-Shia civil war

    Au contraire. Many of us realized back in the 1990s that Saddam’s iron fisted rule was the only thing keeping the lid on that one. Bush Sr, realized it too, which is why he ended Gulf War I after 100 hours and didn’t proceed to Baghdad. Unlike his less intelligent son, he knew what a protracted occupation of Iraq would mean.

    Violent deaths in Iraq from the invasion to that time were between 50K-150K.

    Quitely likely an underestimate, but let’s go with it. How about all the deaths from lack of food, water and medicine as well as from the posions in the air and water that came from both wars and the bombing and trade embargo in between?
    Even Madeleine Albright accepted an estimate of a million dead – half children – well before the second invasion destroyed much of what was left of Iraq’s infrastructure. Two million by now may well be an underestimate, too. It all amounts to a near-20 year slaughter, arguably of genocidal proportions, against the Iraqi people. Far worse than anything Saddam ever did.

    For Saddam the figure is approaches 5%, even if you completely absolve him all deaths in the Shia backlash against the decades of oppression by his regime’s Sunni minority.

    Wild overestimate. Way off. It’s not insignificant here that Iraq is much smaller than Stalin’s USSR, either.

    Or, if you’re an Anfal denier, and say the only Kurds Saddam ever killed were “enemy combatants”,

    Yes, like I’m a flat earth “denier” – much the same thing. No one said the only Kurds Hussein ever killed were enemy combatants. The specific thing that has been said here by at least two people is that Kurds or other Iraqis were not killed by chemical weapons used by Hussein, but rather those used by Iranians.

    and blame the UN for deaths Saddam caused when his WMD-inspection obstinancy led the UN to decline to trade with him

    That is caca. No one obligated the US to force a trade embargo against Iraq that had the effect of killing a million Iraqis, half of them children.

    and you absolve Saddam of the 1M deaths in his Iran war because you fantasize that America “asked” him to start it

    Aided, abetted, approved.

    it’s not clear that Saddam ever caused a single innocent death, ever.

    Of course he did. Tens or possibly even hundreds of thousands, but not millions.

    But that doesn’t make you a Saddam apologist.

    Nope.

  165. Libervention Debate Club

    For those who believe that indefinite occupation is no different from annexation, welcome to the Club.

    The Iraqi Interim Government took over in 2004, a year after the invasion. It conducted a Jan. 2005 election for a National Assembly, which drafted a Constitution that was ratified by an Oct. 2005 referendum. The first general election under the new Constitution was held Dec. 2005, leading to the permanent government of Iraq taking office in May 2006, consisting of a coalition of 7 parties that together constituted the requisite 2/3 majority of the National Assembly.

    But of course, we at the Club are sure that Saddam was planning a similar process for post-annexation Kuwait — just as Poland was well cared for under the Generalgouvernement after it was liberated from the horrible regime that attacked that German radio station in Gleiwitz on Aug. 31, 1939. All of these situations are completely morally indistinguishable, right?

  166. Libervention Price Club

    Suppose for a minute that US invasions of countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan really were “liberations.” Would the cost in US lives and treasure then be worth it? The answer is no.

    Part of the price of being capable to carry out such large-scale invasions and occupations is maintaining a vast military-industrial complex which constantly has to be fed with taxpayer money, year in and year out, and occassionally with thousands or even millions of American and foreign lives. There’s lots of other consequences, too: terrorist blowback, homeless veterans, drug addicted veterans, severely maimed vetersans, mentally ill veterans, criminal veterans, brutal police who are veterans.

    Such a military-industrial complex can always find reasons to invade foreign nation – after all, there are plenty of bad guys in the world, whether they be fascists, communists, islamic extremists, narcoterrorists, you name it.

    Often, these bad guys were brought to power by US covert operations (not always covert, either).
    Frequently, they are armed and trained by US and/or proxies to fight other bad guys. With a little work, any one of them can provide an excuse to ramp up the military-industrial complex and invade and occupy a foreign country.

    Some of the things that are often destroyed in wartime in the US are civil liberties and economic freedom. Wars offer a perfect excuse for economic nationalization, new taxes, and assaults against civil liberties. Often, these go on after the war is over.

    The drug addiction, crime, criminality and violence caused by wars in soldiers returning home fuel another secondary market – the police-prison-industrial complex. This causes more assaults against our civil liberties, while creating the work force for prison industries. The paramilitarized police that result from all this are likewise a secondary market for the products of the military-industrial complex, as are some of the aforementioned foreign bad guys.

    In the long run, this does not create a good forecast for the survival of any domestic freedom in America. Historically, empires with large standing armies eventually lose any civilian rule at home and become military dictatorships. As a result of the drug war, war on terror, etc., Americans are being gradually prepared for being subject to such a dictatorship.

    The US founders were wise to counsel against standing armies, and against intervention in foreign wars and squabbles (peaceful commerce with all, entangling alliances with none). They knew what standing armies and foreign conquest eventually did to past Republics, such as Rome.

    Is the price of “liberventionism” worth it? No, not for the foreigners who are subject to it – but even it was, it would not be worth it for American freedom, peace or prosperity.

  167. Libervention Debate Club

    Brad, the Club dares you to cite an Iraq Cassandra of the kind sought unsuccessfully at http://knowinghumans.net/2007/02/iraq-cassandras-no-they-did-not-tell-us.html. The Club predicts you cannot.

    Steven, you’re not paying attention to what’s been said here in the Club. All of those claims you called “strawmen” have been made in this very thread.

    Paulie, you cannot quote the Club saying that Iraq and Afghanistan are in no sense occupied by the U.S. The Club is sorry if the non-zero level of self-determination in those two nations is somehow distressing to you.

    This has all been good clean fun. If the libertarian case against Libervention is supposed to be a slam dunk, readers can decide for themselves if, after 200 comments, any such dunkage has been administered. Note that the Club denies that the case for Libervention is a slam dunk, and instead says that principled Libertarians can disagree on this topic.

    The Clubhouse is being overrun with visiting in-laws as of today, so we now will start strictly enforcing the Club’s rules. In particular, the Club does not entertain debate about the historical facts of the Iraq case with anyone unwilling to say: The U.S. military may be used to depose a genocidal totalitarian WMD-using ballistic-missile-firing neighbor-annexing terrorist-funding sadistic maniac who has defiantly persisted in what the Security Council declares to be ‘material breach’ of his agreement to be inspected for cessation of his admitted earlier secret WMD programme.

    For those unwilling to subscribe to this standard, the Club only entertains debate about the merits of the standard itself, and not whether its predicates were satisified in 2003. Anyone offering debate about the satisfaction of the predicates will be assumed by the Club to be a Liberventionist in good standing, who merely has empirical questions about whether Liberventionist principles were upheld in 2003.

    Happy Solstice+2!

  168. Libervention Price Club

    The U.S. military may be used to depose a genocidal totalitarian WMD-using ballistic-missile-firing neighbor-annexing terrorist-funding sadistic maniac who has defiantly persisted in what the Security Council declares to be ‘material breach’ of his agreement to be inspected for cessation of his admitted earlier secret WMD programme.

    The Libervention Price Club is very tempted to say no, it may not. But a more thorough assessment of costs, risks and benefits (including secondary, tertiary, etc effects) should be undertaken at any juncture where such an use may be contemplated in the future, with appropriate lessons drawn from past failures.

    The Libervention Price Club advises the Libervention Debate Club to investigate the historical reasons to fear standing armies, not be drawn into land wars in Asia, etc.

  169. Libervention Debate Club

    P.S. LPC @202, a tour de force! Breaking it down:

    Paragraph 2: NonCoercitarian, Blowback (nee Chicken)
    3: Slippery Slope
    4: CleanHandsItarian
    5-9: a familiar argument, but one not yet entered into the taxonomy — bravo! The Club will call it the Domestic Blowback argument. Where it will rank is tricky, as it depends on how credible one considers the threat of “dictatorship” in America. The Club observes that the primary political effect of these wars has been the ascendancy of those who claim they were the most skeptical of them. The Club notes that when freedom is lost in America, it’s almost always “for the children”. The Club invites readers to decide how much of the drug war’s constraints on liberty are caused by misplaced concern for children vs. “soldiers returning home”.

  170. Mik Robertson

    Sorry, I have been away, thanks for keeping the discussion going.

    @172 “For example, when Mik wants to say that America’s past immorality disqualifies her from liberating anybody, he could just type “CleanHandsItarian” with some appropriate number of exclamation points. ”

    I like the idea to keep the discussion brief, but I don’t believe I ever made or wanted to make such a claim. The fact that the US federal government has a very difficult time telling the truth, particularly when it comes to military matters, makes it not a good source for information about the reasons for intervention. The situation in Iraq is a case in point.

    My point is that the US federal government has no authority to act militarily except to provide for the common defense of the United States. Perhaps call this the Limited Governmentarian. It is different from the Patriotic, Sovereigntarian, AmericaFirstItarian, or other arguments you mentioned.

    How did the United States federal government get the authority to defend human liberty across the face of the earth? The answer is it doesn’t have such authority. It is not an issue of clean hands or slippery slopes or consequences of interventions.

    It may be true that governments are constituted to secure inherent individual rights, but the federal government can only have the authority granted by the several states. Despite what the preamble of the US Constitution says, We the People really had nothing to do with its establishment. The several states simply could not have authorized the federal government to act on behalf of the people of the world as that is beyond the authority granted to them in their respective constitutions, at least to the best of my knowledge.

    It may also be true that other governments were established differently and may have that authority to act globally. Certainly having various governments ordained by God was a popular one in the past, although that seems to have fallen out of style with some notable exceptions in recent history.

    This is where a larger international agency to address situations where people are oppressed by totalitarian regimes may be helpful. I would agree with Thomas that any support given to such an agency should be done through non-coercive means.

  171. Tom Blanton

    It is very unusual, to say the least, for someone who calls themselves a libertarian to embrace military intervention in foreign nations in order to “liberate” people, and to embrace the concept of American exceptionalism. It is even more rare to find a libertarian who clings to the establishment narrative as absolute fact while dismissing contrary information as propaganda or conspiracy theories.

    It is not surprising that such a “libertarian” refuses to reconcile interventionism with the idea of limited government or reducing the size, scope and power of government.

  172. Brad

    @ 207

    He thought it meant reducing the size, scope and power of Saddam’s government. LOL.

    US military as world police =/= libertarianism.

  173. Michael H. Wilson

    A couple of other points regarding the costs of war and not specifically related to the War in Iraq but they could be.

    We might want to consider the impact wars have on the children of military families. I have seen some reports of studies suggesting that there is a high rate of drug use and alcohol amongst children of military families. Then there was a study some years ago that I read about that mentioned in the city that this study took place a large segment of runaways on the street came from military families.

    A little further off track is this point if I may. It has been suggested that one of the issues that gave birth to the Libertarian Party was Nixon’s closing of the gold window. As I recall it was the French banks that were demanding to exchange their dollar holdings for our gold. We need to ask where did the French banks get so many dollars? We weren’t buying cheese or French cars. I’ll suggest they came from the U.S. military. We had about 500,000 personnel stationed in Europe from 1945 until the Berlin Wall came down. Now we only have about 100,000. All those men, women and their dependents along with the bases were spending U.S. dollars on the continent and a bunch of those dollars ended up in French banks which then wanted to cash them in as inflation began to take off in the U.S.

    That’s my take on the costs of all this militarism.

    I’m glad to have participated Mr. LDC

  174. Libervention Debate Club

    “AmericaFirstItarian: The duty of America’s military to defend human liberty stops completely at the current borders of the American state.” The Club’s taxonomy committee finds no significant difference between this argument and Mik’s argument that “the US federal government has no authority to act militarily except to provide for the common defense of the United States”.

    Blanton’s latest strawman: “It is even more rare to find a libertarian who clings to the establishment narrative as absolute fact”

    There is no “establishment” whose narrative the Club accepts as “absolute fact”. (Where exactly does Blanton dissent from the standard knee-jerk antiwar narrative?) From http://knowinghumans.net/2007/02/my-iraq-mistake.html:

    The Bush Administration’s first-order mistakes on Iraq have included:

    1. Asserting it was plausible that Saddam had been involved in 9/11.
    2. Asserting that terrorists attacked America on 9/11 because they “hate our freedoms”.
    3. Claiming that “fighting them there makes it less likely we will have to fight them here”.
    4. Claiming knowledge that Saddam had an active nuclear weapons program.
    5. Believing that Iraq’s Shiites and Sunnis would react to liberation as well as Iraq’s Kurds had done twelve years earlier.

    Of all these mistakes, I shared only the last one.

    As for “reconciliation”, re-read the last paragraph @106, and don’t assume the Club takes “libertarianism” as a synonym for “anarchism”.

    Brad, “US military as world police” = strawman. This is a fallacy of the excluded middle between “always intervene” and “never intervene”.

    The Club continues to be amazed that, after a thread of 200 comments, most anti-liberventionists here cannot accurately characterize the positions taken by the Club. The Club challenges Mr. Blanton to write:

    * It is very unusual, to say the least, for someone who calls themselves a libertarian to not oppose all possible U.S. humanitarian intervention abroad, no matter how large the expected net savings in innocent human lives.
    * It is very unusual, to say the least, for someone who calls themselves a libertarian to believe that America’s constitutional framework is exceptional in the history of human systems of government, and that the American people are exceptional in the standards to which they hold their government.

    But of course he won’t. Because it’s not true.

  175. Tom Blanton

    ESTABLISHMENT NARRATIVE:

    Saddam’s apparent threat to America, consisting of his
    *admitted nuclear ambitions,
    *hatred for America
    *support for terrorists who have targeted American civilians;

    Saddam’s record of aggression, in which he:
    *killed over a million people,
    *invaded one sovereign neighbor,
    *annexed another by force,
    *fired ballistic missiles at two more,
    *defied UN nuclear disarmament mandates that Iraq was bound to obey as a 1945 UN Charter signatory,
    *used chemical WMDs in a war of aggression, and
    *used chemical WMDs in genocidal attacks on his own citizens; and
    * the existence proofs we had in Kurdistan and Afghanistan that the U.S. military could depose tyranny in even less-modernized Islamic societies and replace it with reasonably stable self-determination.

    Oh yeah, “we” fixed Afghanistan real good, bubba – real stable. Oh my, that mean old Saddam was a threat to America, what with his hatred and all.

    Now, when the establishment claims Saddam was supporting terrorists who have targeted American civilians, does that mean room and board? Now, these civilians that were targeted were targeted for what? Junk mail offers for aluminum siding? Give us a hint – is this a Dick Cheney conspiracy theory or a Laurie Mylroie fantasy?

    And what fear-mongering interventionist could resist the old “Saddam defied UN nuclear disarmament mandates” hobgoblin? Snap, Saddam must have smuggled his nukes into Syria inside his mobile chemical weapon labs. That happened after Saddam killed over 1,000,000 people. That would be 1,000,104 to be exact according to secret records that only neocons know about.

    Sure sounds like establishment mushroom clouds being blown out of establishment asses to me. What’s amazing is that there is anyone left still clinging to this establishment rhetoric in 2007.

  176. Robert Capozzi

    mr 206: My point is that the US federal government has no authority to act militarily except to provide for the common defense of the United States.

    me: Hmm, the Constitution explicitly grants the FedGov the power to enter into treaties, so please expand on your point.

    mr: It may be true that governments are constituted to secure inherent individual rights, but the federal government can only have the authority granted by the several states. Despite what the preamble of the US Constitution says, We the People really had nothing to do with its establishment. The several states simply could not have authorized the federal government to act on behalf of the people of the world as that is beyond the authority granted to them in their respective constitutions, at least to the best of my knowledge.

    me: Some constitutionalists make this point, yet the fact is the text DOES say “we the people,” not “we the people of the states….” Heck, even Lysander Spooner makes the same point!

  177. Robert Capozzi

    tb, while I did and do oppose the Iraq War(s), your use of the term “establishment narrative” rings VERY hollow. We have a President now who opposed the Iraq II, and being President generally means one is part of the “establishment,” yes?

    Consider just seeking truth, regardless of whether it’s the establishment view (if there is such a thing). For ex., the establishment doesn’t buy the 9/11 Truth case. Many, perhaps most, Ls don’t, either, including me.

    Of course, we should recognize that “truth” is often just opinion based on a limited fact set.

  178. Mik Robertson

    @213 “me: Hmm, the Constitution explicitly grants the FedGov the power to enter into treaties, so please expand on your point.”

    If the federal government is going to act outside of any treaties, where does it get that authority? Broadly enforcing UN resolutions does not seem to be the driving factor as Resolution 242 remains unfulfilled. Was there some treaty in place with the regime of Saddam Hussein that called for his forcible removal?

    “me: Some constitutionalists make this point, yet the fact is the text DOES say “we the people,” not “we the people of the states….” Heck, even Lysander Spooner makes the same point!”

    Who put the constitution together? Delegates elected by the people or delegates appointed by the states? Who ratified the constitution, a vote of the people or a vote of state legislatures? I think the only place where the US Constitution was put to a popular vote was in Rhode Island, where it was soundly defeated.

    Yes, it *says* We the People in the preamble, but where were the people in the process of development and adoption? Nowhere to be found. It was the states that joined together in a federal union, not the people.

    That’s why for a long time to be considered a citizen of the US was to be a citizen of one of the states. Up until the civil war and the ratification of the fourteenth amendment, it would have been said ‘the United States are a nation’ and afterward it became ‘the United States is a nation’.

    The addition of the fourteenth amendment did not change how the US Constitution was developed and adopted, but perhaps there was a shift in how it, and the nation, was viewed in a legal sense.

  179. Tom Blanton

    Capozzi opines:

    “We have a President now who opposed the Iraq II, and being President generally means one is part of the “establishment,” yes?”

    Well, I guess that depends on the definition of “oppose”, yo? If by “oppose” you mean that he continues the intervention and voted for funding the intervention, then I suppose he “opposed” the Iraq war.

    Capozzi continues:

    “Of course, we should recognize that “truth” is often just opinion based on a limited fact set.”

    Ahh, Mr. Capozzi now has a brush with reality. What he describes is often called “conjecture”.

    Most interventionists are willing to gamble the lives and fortunes of others on mere conjecture, not so much their own lives and fortunes. They are even willing to spin the conjecture to convince others to go along with their interventions because they know most people aren’t willing to risk all on biased opinions based on limited knowledge.

    Generally it is members of the establishment that sell a war to the citizens of a nation, as opposed to grass roots movements that insist that their leaders take the nation to war. This doesn’t mean that members of the establishment are monolithic.

    To say that Obama was opposed to the Iraq war is conjecture. He was not in the Senate at the time, so we don’t have a record of votes to go by – only his word. His actions since becoming a Senator, and now President, don’t indicate any real opposition to the war. Of course, if you are one to cling to the establishment narrative, then he certainly “opposes” the war in Iraq.

    I tend to pay little attention to arguments based on the establishment narrative or its twin, conventional wisdom. It has generally been my experience that it is not true or only partially true.

    But, to each his own.

  180. Tom Blanton

    By the way, why should the establishment buy the 9/11 Truth case? They already have their own narrative as to what happened. The problem is that few people believe that official story – including a good number of those I would consider to be among the establishment.

    Besides, what is the 9/11 Truth narrative? From what I’ve seen, there are many theories ranging from blowback to prior knowledge and from letting it happen on purpose to Bush planning and executing the attacks. There is no single 9/11 Truth theory to buy.

    If you are looking for truth, you are a fool to rely on politicians of any stripe to lead you to it.

  181. Michael H. Wilson

    One of the foolish points here on the part of Mr. LDC, assuming LDC is a mister, is that he is looking for an absolute black and white solution in a world where much of it is made of issues that tend towards grays.

    There might be a point in the Libertarian Utopia where it becomes necessary to intervene in the affairs of another but we are a long way from there.

    Sadly many of the problems that the U.S. is dealing with these days have their roots buried deep in the historic problems of the European states and had we stayed out the world might be a better place.

    That doesn’t absolve the U.S. of creating a mess in Central America or the problems created with the Spanish-American War and our attitude of Manifest Destiny.

  182. Libervention Debate Club

    The Club had to wait until comment 216, but Blanton has finally come through with the lamest argument in the Club’s taxonomy. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you … ChickenHawk: “Most interventionists are willing to gamble the lives and fortunes of others on mere conjecture, not so much their own lives and fortunes.” So I only get to advocate the existence of crime-fighting and fire-fighting and germ-fighting and drowning-prevention if I personally am a combination cop / fireman / doctor / lifeguard? Sorry, the ChickenHawk argument doesn’t even pass the laugh test. You might as well say “if you love Iraqi liberation so much, why don’t you marry it?”

    Amid all the sound and fury, it’s not clear where Blanton thinks he’s disagreeing with the Club’s 11-predicate argument to justify deposing Saddam. Let’s give Blanton a Clubhouse menu of statements that actually dispute the Club’s predicates, and see if he dares to assert all (or any) of them:

    * Saddam never provided support for terrorists who have targeted American civilians.
    * Saddam exhibited no hatred for America.
    * Saddam’s regime never admitted nuclear ambitions.
    * Saddam’s regime never killed a million people.
    * Saddam never defied UN nuclear disarmament mandates.
    * In early 2003, there was no the existence proof in Kurdistan or Afghanistan that the U.S. military could depose tyranny in even less-modernized Islamic societies and replace it with reasonably stable self-determination.

    Watch Blanton’s next response very closely. If he doesn’t assert any of the above sentences, he’s not actually disagreeing with the Club — no matter how desperately he wants you to think he is. The Club predicts that Blanton will find some excuse not to make any of these assertions.

    And, per Club rules, Blanton is now the newest member of the Fair Weather Caucus of the Libervention Club. By wanting to dispute the satisfaction of the 11 predicates, Blanton is apparently abandoning the anti-interventionist moral high ground that would deny that intervention would be justified even if all 11 predicates were satisfied. Blanton apparently thinks that ground isn’t very defensible, and instead hopes to build his case on the shocking indictment that in 2003 there was non-zero overlap between what the Club believed and what Dick Cheney believed. Quelle horreur!

    P.S. Blanton is confused about timing. The Club-endorsed 2007 article says it “was reasonable (but not necessary) for American liberty-lovers to decide to liberate Iraq based on the conjunction” of those 11 predicates. Thus that article obviously was talking about what was reasonable for people to believe in 2003.

    Mr. Wilson says vaguely the Club “is looking for an absolute black and white solution”. The Club concedes that there is very little gray area between Saddam’s neck being snapped or not snapped. While we’re not sure how Mr. Wilson feels about Saddam’s neck, the Club is decidedly pro-snapped.

  183. Libervention Price Club

    While the Libervention Price Club is otherwise occupied at the moment and can’t engage LDC on the field of counter-battle, LPC would like to point out to LDC that LDC’s name link should be fixed. LPC does not like bad links.

    -p

  184. Robert Capozzi

    MR: If the federal government is going to act outside of any treaties, where does it get that authority?

    Me: I don’t think they have authority outside of declarations of war or treaties, so we probably agree here.

    MR: Yes, it *says* We the People in the preamble, but where were the people in the process of development and adoption? Nowhere to be found. It was the states that joined together in a federal union, not the people.

    Me: I respect the constitutionalist argument (which this sounds like), but I don’t buy it. The people were not involved directly in establishing either the states or the US. The people were MORE represented in establishing the US than they were in establishing the first 13 states. The basis for establishing the state in the US was not by popular referendum.

    As for citizenship, the Constitution requires the US president to be a native born, so while some in the 18th and 19th centuries viewed themselves as “citizens” of states, I don’t find that compelling. The Constitution moved the US from a confederation to a federal system, admittedly one that evolved over time.

  185. Tom Blanton

    Holtz, I dispute your facts and the characterization of your facts. I dispute that it is reasonable for a nation to go to war when it has not been attacked or there is nothing but conjecture regarding a future attack.

    What you imagine you have refuted by the words “Chicken Hawk” was not an argument against war, it was merely an argument against taking interventionists seriously when they call for going to war.

    That Holtz dismisses the many arguments set forth here by many different people against his conjecture-based propensity toward interventions is an indication that he doesn’t take war and the costs of war seriously. He seems to think the universe spins around him when he insists on setting the rules and parameter of what he views as a debate contest.

    It further cements my belief that Holtz is a seriously disturbed man.

    Holtz, I’m not a member of your cute little club, nor do I recognize any rules you seek to impose. I’m glad you’ve chosen to reveal so much about yourself and I hope fewer people will take you seriously once they realize that you don’t wish to reduce the size, scope or power of government but merely want to reform it and adjust its priorities to suit your own misguided agenda.

    It is people like you that make anarchism so very attractive, Holtz.

  186. Mik Robertson

    I don’t think anything said here makes anarchy any more or less attractive. It does show that even when governments are established to be noble they can go bad. That does not mean government must remain so, however.

  187. Robert Capozzi

    tb 216: To say that Obama was opposed to the Iraq war is conjecture.

    me: Yes, I spose so. I know I opposed it and it’s my conjecture that you did, too.

    I share your skepticism of the conventional wisdom, FWIW. In my case, I have some skepticism about L dogma from the 70s. I’ve thrown off those shackles!

    It’d be interesting to hear what conventional wisdom from the 70s L theorists that you’ve rethought, Professor Blanton….

  188. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 219 LDC says I was bein’ vague. Ain’t nothin’ vague about it LDC and btw LDC means Lip Drooping Club in my household when the kids are whining. That phrase has been in use for years. Kinda funny you should choose those letters.

  189. Tom Blanton

    Mik writes:

    “I don’t think anything said here makes anarchy any more or less attractive.”

    I agree. It is people like Holtz that make anarchy attractive because of who they are and the fact they seek political power. The only way to guard against clueless demagogues taking the reins of a powerful central government is to abolish such a government.

    At this point in time, it is a hard case to make that we would be worse off if the federal government were to vanish tomorrow. I would never claim that would result in utopia, only that no federal government would be better than what we have now. However, unlike you, I don’t see the prospect of the government being redeemed through political means.

  190. Tom Blanton

    Capozzi, I’m not nearly as dogmatic as you seem to imagine. I have never been one to deify political theorists. Because you fell prey to iconoclasts like Rothbard and Rand, don’t assume everyone else did too.

    From my perspective, the “moderate” reformers and so-called pragmatists are far more dogmatic and absolutist than most of the rank and file libertarians I know. But that’s a rant for another time.

    My political philosophy can pretty much be summed up in three words: Fuck The Government.

    You’d be surprised how easy it is to sell that message these days.

  191. Robert Capozzi

    tb, yes, I’d like to hear how I’m dogmatic…there’s always room for improvement, and our best opportunities often come from most-unlikely places 😉

    You could try to start the F the Govt movement…many might well salute.

    Merry Christmas!

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