Wayne Root: ‘Mr. President- END THIS WAR’

The Obama War Plan: A Recipe for Disaster!

How Obama Uses the War in Afghanistan as Just Another “Opportunity” to Expand Government and Destroy Capitalism.

A Libertarian-Conservative View of the War in Afghanistan That May Surprise You.

By Wayne Allyn Root, Author
The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gambling & Tax Cuts

I describe myself as a Reagan Libertarian. My heroes are Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater. I am a strong supporter of the brave men and women who risk their lives and limbs to defend our freedom. I would never hesitate to defend America or her interests around the world. I am not shy about retaliating against terrorists, or other enemies of America. Although President Bush violated the Constitution by never bothering to ask Congress for an official declaration of war (and shame on him for it), I supported him on Afghanistan, the training ground and epicenter of Al Queda and their attack on America on 9/11/01. However, over the past two years my views have changed dramatically. Despite my conservative, pro-military background, I no longer support this war.

I believe President Obama has made a grave decision that will result in a never-ending commitment to a war that America can neither afford, nor win. Unlike Iraq, Afghanistan is a country comprised of people without national identity, with only family and tribal loyalties. They have no interest or desire to build a democracy. America has no business in attempting to force them to do so, and I, for one, am unwilling to commit American lives and treasure to support a corrupt group of war lords. Let them fight their own battles.

I would not risk the lives of my young sons on this tragic game plan. Would you? Would Obama? Would any of the gung-ho Republicans who have come out in support of Obama’s war expansion plans? I don’t think Karl Rove or Newt Gingrich would send their sons. I know that Mitt Romney has never sent any of his 5 sons. But they certainly have no problem sending your sons with enthusiasm.

If we are going to fight this war, we had better be able to answer the simple question: “Why are we in Afghanistan?” While watching the NBC Evenings News on Wednesday night, I heard two very disturbing statements by 4-star General Stanley McCrystal, the commanding general of our war efforts in Afghanistan. First he stated we were there “not to conquer, not for glory, not for money…but rather to help the Afghan people shape their future.” Is that why we’re there? Silly me. I thought we were there to punish and destroy our enemies in the war on terrorism. Even our generals are now recruited into Obama’s politically-correct world.

I have to assume that neither President Obama nor General McCrystal have ever read the United States Constitution? Because nowhere in that brilliant contract with the citizens of America does it say the government has the right to sacrifice American lives to “help other people in far-away lands shape their destiny.” The destiny of the Afghan people is their concern, not ours. We have no right to tell them how to live their lives, nor will they listen. After we leave, whenever we leave, they’ll surely go back to the way things were before we got there.

The second statement that General McCrystal made was to quote Winston Churchill. He said, “This is not the end. This is not even the beginning of the end. It’s the end of the beginning.” Really? Is that our plan? We’re only at the end of the beginning of a long grueling war. That’s certainly not what President Obama said on Tuesday night. He seems to think we are already near the end of the war and setting dates right now to depart. If the President and his own generals are that far apart in their visions and game plan, I fear we have created a recipe for disaster. Obviously the soldiers (the “boots on the ground”) agree. One soldier boldly went on camera for NBC News and said about Obama’s 18 month deadline for leaving Afghanistan, “That’s a joke.”

First Obama waited months to support our troops with the reinforcements his generals said were needed; now he’s set a deadline to end the war that our own soldiers think is a joke. This was a deadline set purely for political reasons, based on political calculations (the war must be ended before the 2012 elections).

As anyone with managerial experience or just plain common sense will tell you, once a decision for action has been made you hire the best, most experienced people you can, provide them the resources they need and get out of the way. Is that what’s happening? Obviously not. This isn’t a war run by generals, this war is run by incompetent lawyers and an inept group of community organizers based in D.C., who have instituted “rules of engagement” that handcuff our own brave soldiers in the name of political correctness.

The “rules of engagement” set by Obama will lead to a disaster. They’ve already led to a Vietnam-like drop in morale. Don’t believe me? Ask the brave Navy Seals team that now face court martial for slapping an Al Queda terrorist leader after capturing him. The same terrorist who coordinated the burning and hanging of the bodies of Americans on a bridge in Iraq. The poor man got a boo boo- a bloody lip while in custody of our Navy Seals. Now they face prison. Think that leads to winning a war? That’s not a war I’d let my sons participate in.

So why exactly is President Obama expanding the war, when candidate Obama was so loudly and strongly anti-war? Because this cold, calculating politician sees this war as another excuse to expand government, increase spending, and increase the power of his office. To Obama, the war in Afghanistan is no different than the twin frauds of universal healthcare and Cap and Trade. They are all “opportunities” to expand spending to the point that the federal government is all-powerful.

Obama’s plan is the opposite of Ronald Reagan’s. Reagan wanted to cut taxes to starve government and free the American people (and the capitalist system) to exercise individual initiative and personal responsibility. Obama’s plan is to raise spending to levels that will bankrupt the country, weaken the faith of the American people in capitalism, and force massive tax increases to redistribute wealth- thereby creating a socialistic nanny state with government in charge. The war in Afghanistan is just another “opportunity” to grow government bigger; make big corporations, lobbyists, special interests, and defense contractors fat and happy (who will then contribute to Obama); and redistribute the wealth faster.

Universal healthcare will be funded by a “wealth tax”, a dramatic expansion of Medicare and Medicaid taxes passed on to the states, and soon a VAT tax paid by every consumer. Cap and Trade will be funded by massive new taxes and mandates on business and dramatic increases in every consumer’s utility and gasoline bills. And, the expansion of the Afghanistan War will be paid by yet another “wealth tax.” These are all opportunities to spread Obama’s Socialist agenda.

It’s all been part of Obama’s plan from day one. It was all explained by Rahm Emanuel who famously said “Let no opportunity go wasted.” We cannot afford this war. We cannot afford to nation-build, or to be the world’s policeman. We cannot afford the lives lost or the treasure. Nor do I think Mr. Obama will allow us to fight to win. To paraphrase my hero Ronald Reagan, “Mr. President, END THIS WAR.”

Wayne Allyn Root was the 2008 Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate. His new book is entitled, “The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gambling & Tax Cuts.” For more of Wayne’s views, commentaries, or to watch his many national media appearances, please visit his web site at: ROOTforAmerica.com

38 thoughts on “Wayne Root: ‘Mr. President- END THIS WAR’

  1. Thomas M. Sipos

    A Libertarian-Conservative View of the War in Afghanistan That May Surprise You.

    No, this is hardly a “surprising” view from Root. Go to the neocon FreeRepublic.com. Everyone is foaming against “Obama’s war.”

    Nor do I think Mr. Obama will allow us to fight to win.

    Is Root saying, if we were “allowed to win,” then this war would be okay?

    No, this war is not part of any Obama/Rahm Emanual conspiracy to “destroy capitalism.” Obama inherited this war. And he remains the puppet, not the one pulling the strings.

    Why not also criticize the people and political lobbies (e.g., war profiteers like Blackwater, neocons, conservative talk radio) that have long lobbied for and supported this war?

    Unlike Iraq, Afghanistan is a country comprised of…

    Is Root implying that Iraq war is a good war?

    The time to oppose the Afghan War was on 9/12. Harry Browne had the courage to do so, though most of the LP leadership did not.

    It’s nice that Root (and so many other former or closet hawks) are now criticizing “Obama’s” Afghan war, now that it’s vastly unpopular with so many people, including their own bases.

    But no, Root is not “getting better and better.”

    As always, he’s spinning and flip-flopping in whatever direction his “conservative/libertarian” base moves. This is more spin, mixed with his usual hate for his “former classmate” Obama.

    The best time to oppose any war is before it starts. For instance, now would be a very good time to oppose any attacks on Iran.

    Still, I’m sure that 5 – 10 years after the U.S. starts or facilitates an Iran War, Root will criticize that too. At least, if there’s a Democrat president in office.

    But my main problem with Root is not about what he says, but in that I don’t trust him. He’s an unreliable “libertarian,” because he flip flops according to where the money is. Who are his book customers? What does he have to say now to please LP delegates, Fox News viewers, or whoever he’s selling to?

  2. Mik Robertson

    Wayne Root says this is a Libertarian-Conservative view, which has pretty consistently been his perspective. He has been slowly trending more toward the Libertarian over the past year and a half, which I think is a good thing.

    If you don’t trust Root, clearly there is nothing he can say to you that will change your opinion. Root is now realizing that the war in Afghanistan is not a good thing, even if it has yet to dawn on him that the war on terrorism is not a good thing. It is a step in the right direction.

    There is no doubt Root still has a way to go to drop the Conservative part of Conservative-Libertarian. Once he realizes “America” has no interests save to secure the rights of its citizens and residents, there will be more progress.

  3. Thomas M. Sipos

    If you don’t trust Root, clearly there is nothing he can say to you that will change your opinion.

    True. I don’t trust his words, and so his words can’t sway me.

    Actually, Root can do things that would sway me, but I don’t expect him to.

    Root can take unpopular stands, from which he has nothing to gain. Harry Browne opposed the Afghan War on 9/12 — a most unpopular position with most Americans, and many libertarians. It’s one reason why Browne was trustworthy. He clearly had nothing to gain from his position.

    “Root is now realizing that the war in Afghanistan is not a good thing,”

    See, I think that Root is now realizing that libertarians, independents, and even his Fox News conservative base, want to see him attack “Obama’s” Afghan war.

    You think Root is moving away from conservatism? NOT! Want proof? Go to FreeRepublic.com, a radically pro-war neocon site. Everyone there is parroting Root’s talking points. All these normally rightist hawks are attacking Obama’s escalation in Aghanistan.

    The reasons behind this political “strange bedfellows” phenomenon is complex. Much of this is doubtless motivated by hatred of Obama then by opposition to war.

    IAE, Root is parroting right-wing radio talking points.

    I’ve also noticed that some progressive and libertarian “peaceniks” were silent on the Iraq War until after Iraq was taken out.

    I get the impression they wanted Iraq “taken out,” then when that was a “done deal,” they became loudly antiwar. Why not? They got what they wanted. Why stick around for the blame?

    There is spin for the public, and there is what’s in a person’s heart. Unless someone is antiwar in his heart, you can’t trust them to preemptively oppose the next war.

    It’s not enough oppose current wars. We need to know that someone will oppose the next war when it matters. I don’t trust Root to do that.

  4. Thane Eichenauer

    My first beef would be with “her interests around the world”. I imagine many presidents could fit a war (or a police action) through that definition.

    Second complaint is his “Unlike Iraq, Afghanistan is a country comprised of people without…” From what I’ve read, Iraq and Afghanistan share a minimal national identity claim. Apart from its rulers, Iraq would otherwise be three countries, Kurdistan, Sunnistan and Shiitestan.

    I however will not claim to forever distrust Wayne Root. This article clearly shows that he still shows his inclination to support the military even from its own military justice proceedings. I think Mr. Root and his release above is believable.

    Mr. Root is putting out an largely admirable effort here. I may disagree/quibble with 20% of it but the rest is worthwhile. I’ll keep my eye open for news from any other LP candidates for President 2012.

    I am impressed how he manages to claim that “Reagan wanted to cut taxes” to which I would say it matters little what Reagan allegedly wanted, what counts is what he delivered which was not more freedom to Americans IMO. I won’t complain further but this fantasy Mr. Root (and a great many Republicans) have of Ronald Reagan is certainly worrisome.

  5. Nate

    I have a problem with this:

    “Ask the brave Navy Seals team that now face court martial for slapping an Al Queda terrorist leader after capturing him. The same terrorist who coordinated the burning and hanging of the bodies of Americans on a bridge in Iraq. The poor man got a boo boo- a bloody lip while in custody of our Navy Seals. Now they face prison. Think that leads to winning a war? That’s not a war I’d let my sons participate in.”

    That last sentence is just plain creepy. Would Wayne let his sons participate in a war where they *were* allowed to torture prisoners?

  6. Robert Capozzi

    If Root wants to be the standard-bearer of the LP, it strikes me he should get his modifiers correct. Libertarian-conservative says to me he’s a libertarian-leaning conservative. Conservative Libertarian would be a conservative-leaning Libertarian.

    Either one is probably fine and interesting for a pundit. Neither one is attractive for a partisan aspirant.

    FWIW, this column was IMO unfocused. I’d suggest that the case against nation-building can and should be made, as should the case against undeclared wars. The practicality — on its own terms — of at once surging yet establishing a date-certain for exit certainly should be questioned. “Tear down this wall” and “end this war” seems a really strained paraphrase. This column has a phoned-in feel to it.

    Root should also clarify what he means by “interests around the world.”

    I’m still preferring Root as pundit vs. L prez candidate.

  7. Thomas L. Knapp

    I’m at least as inclined as most, and more so than many, to pick apart Wayne’s statements, but this time I’m going to resist the temptation to do so. He came out against the extension/expansion of the war in Afghanistan, and that’s good enough for me. Kudos, applause and thanks, Wayne.

  8. Thomas M. Sipos

    Obama is following Root’s advice: http://libertarianpeacenik.blogspot.com/2008/08/wayne-allyn-root-calls-for-afghan-surge.html

    That’s right. Root called for an Afghan surge last year. And now Root is frothing at the mouth, now that Obama has followed Root’s advice.

    At the very least, Root should be more humble. As in, “I thank Mr. Obama for following my advice — but I was wrong. Shame on me. I hope that Mr. Obama will learn from the errors. I am not the best source of foreign policy advice.”

    Shame on Root for his hypocritical grandstanding, among other things.

  9. Andy

    “That last sentence is just plain creepy. Would Wayne let his sons participate in a war where they *were* allowed to torture prisoners?”

    It should also be pointed out that US troops have got NO BUSINESS being there in the first place.

  10. Andy

    “A Libertarian-Conservative View of the War in Afghanistan That May Surprise You.”

    Why does Root always have to throw in Conservative when he says Libertarian, as in Libertarian-Conservative? How about just a Libertarian view?

  11. Thomas M. Sipos

    Root throws in “conservative” because conservative are a big part of his customer base (i.e., book buyers, TV viewers, and infomercial callers — don’t forget, he’s still selling gold investments and some sort of wealth creation plan).

  12. robert capozzi

    one gets the sense that Sipos has it out for Root like Root does for Obama…almost like it’s personal.

  13. robert capozzi

    tk, yes, ts overstates, mistates, and speculates about Root and his motives, from his claims that BO is a “puppet” to stating that Root is foaming at the mouth.

  14. Green Party fan

    The Green Party is having a demonstration in front of the White House on Saturday Dec 12th at 11:00 am.

    Show up, and show your displeasure with this waste of $1 trillion in military spending in fiscal 2010.

    Root is right.

    End this stupid, destructive, deadly war!

    Vote Green Party!

  15. Tom Blanton

    Capozzi, as usual it is you mistating fact. Mr. Sipos never states that Root is foaming at the mouth. He states that the people at Free Republic are foaming at the mouth.

    I don’t think any criticisms made about Root are overstatements, but that is a subjective opinion – an opinion you don’t share.

    I think Root is a hack and an opportunist. He’ll say anything he thinks his audience wants to hear. Pretty much like any pragmatic “moderate”, because it’s all about winning. The things Root has written and said over the last 2 or 3 years leads me to believe that he is lying now. That’s my opinion. I don’t trust him and I don’t see why anyone else would either. Especially considering he has made no mea culpa, nor has he informed us of any great epiphany.

    To top it all off, he seems to think Reagan and Goldwater were libertarians. I think that would be news to them. I’m not surprised, though. Root seems to get a lot of things wrong.

  16. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    I can’t claim to be totally objective myslef here, but I do believe that an objective evaluation of Root’s progression (for the Iraq war — against the Iraq war but for war with Iran — “non-interventionist” — for an Afghanistan surge when running — against an Afghanistan surge after the other guy wins) at the very least leaves Root open to the charges Sipos makes against him.

    It’s not like they’re entirely baseless by any means. The odor of “what do I think my audience wants to hear this week?” seems to rather follow Root around.

  17. Robert Capozzi

    TB: Capozzi, as usual it is you mistating fact. Mr. Sipos never states that Root is foaming at the mouth. He states that the people at Free Republic are foaming at the mouth.

    Me: Notice that my quick post 15 – written on my phone, btw – doesn’t quote Sipos, it paraphrases him. Sipos’s ACTUAL quote (#9) is: “And now Root is frothing at the mouth, now that Obama has followed Root’s advice.”

    So, I guess one COULD say that TB is technically accurate but unfair. I’d say highly misleading, or perhaps just mistaken. I welcome YOUR correction, TB, but it appears from our dialog that you never admit to mistakes in such matters. You might give it a try, though, especially on an easy one like this. It’s quite personally liberating, IMO! Promotes peace, too!

    Alternatively, you can get hyper-technical and give us dictionary definitions of “foaming” and “frothing” and make the case that there is a substantive difference between the two.

    Your choice….

  18. Robert Capozzi

    TK, pardon the length of this, but Sipos’s comments on Root illustrate why I called for a “Rodney King, Can Well All Just Get Along?, Caucus.” It’s ONE thing to respectfully disagree with fellow Ls, another to savage them, and use tortured or highly misleading statements to tear down other Ls. For me, demonization is NEVER indicated, but it’s especially not indicated for ALLIES!

    Some examples:

    TS@1: Obama inherited this war. And he remains the puppet, not the one pulling the strings.

    COMMENT: Yes, it’s a fact that BO inherited the war. But he is president, with many, many options about what to do in Afghanistan. If he’s a puppet, prove it! Making such an unsubstantiated assertion of this nature sounds highly conspiratorial, IMO. Please name BO’s puppet masters, for starters.

    TS@1: He says this: “Is Root implying that Iraq war is a good war?” to Root’s “Unlike Iraq, Afghanistan is a country comprised of people without national identity, with only family and tribal loyalties.”

    COMMENT: TS truncates Root’s sentence at “comprised of,” which requires the reader to go back to Root’s original sentence. On its face, it appears HIGHLY misleading on TS’s part, if not outright duplicitous.

    TS@1: But my main problem with Root is not about what he says, but in that I don’t trust him. He’s an unreliable “libertarian,” because he flip flops according to where the money is. Who are his book customers? What does he have to say now to please LP delegates, Fox News viewers, or whoever he’s selling to?

    COMMENT: I appreciate that TS here makes it clear that these are his opinions. Surely he must know that many Ls take the view that – at first – some military action in Afghanistan was justified. I’m one. So it appears that Sipos would say that these many Ls are “flip floppers,” including me. Fair enough. He doesn’t trust us. Fair enough, too. But I’d hope TS realizes that those of us who believed some military action (or M&R) was justified to root out the leaders of an organization that admits it masterminded 9/11 CAN ALSO believe that the war in Afghanistan is no longer justified. Sipos can be black-and-white about this; he can “not trust” those of us who are NOT black-and-white about this. What he does NOT do is make the case that Root has changed his position for financial or pandering reasons. Such an unsubstantiated assertion does not promote honest dialog, however. IMO, of course.

    TS@4: Root can take unpopular stands, from which he has nothing to gain. Harry Browne opposed the Afghan War on 9/12 — a most unpopular position with most Americans, and many libertarians. It’s one reason why Browne was trustworthy. He clearly had nothing to gain from his position.

    COMMENT: My goodness, I’d like to hear more about THIS view. Sipos trusts those who take unpopular stands, distrusts those who don’t…do I have that right? And people wonder why I bring up “out there” theoretical positions that some Ls take about private nukes, baby selling, and personal secession! I would appreciate Sipos or someone else doing an essay on why taking unpopular positions deserve trust and popular ones distrust. I guess I just don’t understand that perspective 😉

    TS@4: Unless someone is antiwar in his heart, you can’t trust them to preemptively oppose the next war.

    COMMENT: Perhaps Sipos is a pacifist, I dunno. But I’ve never heard even a pacifist link his or her pacifism to whether non-pacifists PREEMPTIVELY (and presumably actively) oppose the next war. In fact, I’m not sure what the next war will be. Could be Pakistan. Could be Iran. Could be Brazil, fer chrissakes! If Sipos wants to advance pacifism as a litmus test for Ls, he should do so. Personally, I toy with pacifism, consider myself a peacenik, but I can’t quite buy pacifism, and I certainly don’t believe that most Ls are pacifists. I’ve never seen the case made, although Anthony Gregory kind of gets close. It strikes me that Sipos would be on more solid ground if he simply said, “Root isn’t a pacifist, therefore I don’t trust him, nor do I trust any non-pacifists.” That, at least, is comprehensible.

    KNAPP@19: I can’t claim to be totally objective myslef here, but I do believe that an objective evaluation of Root’s progression (for the Iraq war — against the Iraq war but for war with Iran — “non-interventionist” — for an Afghanistan surge when running — against an Afghanistan surge after the other guy wins) at the very least leaves Root open to the charges Sipos makes against him.

    COMMENT: Now this is IMO respectful, useful dialog. Yes, Root has changed his views over time. I suspect we all have to one degree or another. Haven’t we? I agree with Knapp that Root would be more credible if he explained how and why his foreign policy views have changed. I’ve not read CONSCIENCE OF A LIBERTARIAN, so, to be fair, perhaps he’s done so there. Dunno. We readers can’t expect such exposition in every single essay Root writes, for such discussion is more long form than Root’s columns. Near as I can tell, he’s doing all this pretty much on the fly. I find that understandable, but there is room for improvement. And, oh, yes, at this point, I’m still liking Root more as a pundit than as our standardbearer.

  19. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    I think that “how Root’s foreign policy views have changed over time” is the key issue here.

    Is there some kind of logical progression, or does he simply pick up whichever line he thinks will get him the biggest popularity boost, even though that means frequently reversing himself?

    The latter conclusion fits the data better. Not just on foreign policy, but on a number of issues, Root makes John “I voted for it before I voted against it” Kerry look like the very model of steadfast shall-not-be-moved-ism.

    Consistency isn’t always a virtue, of course. It’s better to abandon error than to cling to it. But on this issue, I’m happy to contrast my record with Root’s.

    I went on the public record against the war in Afghanistan at least as early as October 2001, when as an alternate on the LNC I urged that body to adopt a statement opposing it rather than the wishy-washy “kind of support, maybe a little oppose” resolution they passed.

    My opposition to the war became effective as soon as the Bush administration made it obvious that it intended to engage in “regime change / nation-building” in Afghanistan at the expense of the reasonable objective of liquidating al Qaeda’s command/control apparatus. I predicted a quagmire and an eventual de facto US defeat, and for eight years now the actual facts on the ground have continued to accord with that prediction.

    As recently as last year, Root was publicly saying that the war in Afghanistan had already been won — then changing his mind and calling for a “surge” there. Now this year he’s against it, the only thing having changed is that he’s noticed Obama’s for it (Obama was for it during the 2008 campaign, but apparently Root, like many Americans, didn’t notice).

    I’d rather have a candidate who abandons error than one who hangs with it. But I’d also rather have a candidate who’s consistently right than one who changes his position more often than some people change their underwear, who’s wrong about as often as he’s right, and whose changes don’t appear to be grounded in any kind of identifiable logic.

  20. libertariangirl

    Tom how come when others change their views on issues they are learning and growing but Root never gets the benefit of the doubt , when he does it you say he’s flip flopping .

    Myself and most other Libs who werent “pure” or 100% when they get here change their veiws and opinion as they see fit thru the learning process.
    To me , Id rather have someone who admits they were wrong and changes course than someone who clings to their present veiw for the sake of being consistent . It takes more courage and character to admit you were wrong than it does to always be right.

  21. Carolyn Marbry

    I would tend to agree with LG here, with one important caveat: When someone changes his tune too often or too much in a period of time, it does tend to make people wonder about his sincerity. That’s been one of Root’s issues in the party, something he’s been up against from the beginning, and from what I read here both in his post and in the comments to it, I believe it will continue to be an issue for him.

    Still, it is my tendency to believe the best of people. Perhaps before too long, he will become more appropriately a conservative Libertarian instead of a libertarian Conservative, and he will be in a better position to use his not inconsiderable skills to help build the party.

  22. Michael H. Wilson

    Hopefully some day he’ll be comfortable simply calling himself a Libertarian.
    No other modifiers needed.

  23. Robert Capozzi

    tk, it’s sounding like this is a Root v. Knapp 2012 thing.

    I’m not a mind reader. And I don’t find it healthy or productive to speculate about other people’s motives…keeping my OWN intentions straight is hard enough!

    So, I cannot relate to your speculate about Root’s motives in 24.

    I can share with you that HOW an L candidate arrives at his or her positions I don’t really care about. This ain’t a religion! Conversion stories bore me.

  24. Robert Capozzi

    tk: My opposition to the war became effective as soon as the Bush administration made it obvious that it intended to engage in “regime change / nation-building” in Afghanistan at the expense of the reasonable objective of liquidating al Qaeda’s command/control apparatus.

    me: I’m curious whether this is a matter of PRINCIPLE, or a judgment. Would liquidation be principled, but nation-building UNprincipled?

    I honestly don’t have an opinion. I have a presumption against violence, but sometimes forceful action is necessary. Whether liquidation would be the only principled action given this fact set, though, it’s hard to say. Would AQN not be a threat if OBL had been apprehended/killed…dunno.

  25. Mik Robertson

    One thing about Wayne Root is that makes a lot more appearances on popular media than do most in the LP. The audiences are different than the blogs or other communications that some of the other more visible LP members do. Perhaps that has an impact on his content and how he makes his presentation.

    Also, he is still selling a book, so he can’t stray too far from those themes. I do find it odd that he is now upset with Obama for taking his advice. Perhaps this is an opportunity to learn to be careful what you wish for.

  26. Robert Capozzi

    mr, you and Sipos refer to BO “taking advice” from Root. I seriously doubt that BO knows what Root advocated a few years ago, or NOW for that matter.

    Let’s keep it real, shall we.

  27. Thomas M. Sipos

    When one uses the phrase “X took Y’s advice” that doesn’t necessarily mean that X listened to Y.

    That phrase can also mean that X did what Y was suggesting, even if X wasn’t aware that Y was suggesting it. That’s a common usage.

    In that sense, Obama did indeed follow Root’s advice. Root called for an Afghan surge, and Obama delivered. So Root lacks moral credibility to bash Obama, irrespective of whether Obama specifically listened to his classmate.

    LG, of course people can change their minds. But Root doesn’t consistently move in any one direction. He changes back and forth and back and forth.

    He supported an Iraq War. Then he became a born again non-interventionist. Then he supported an Afghan surge. Then he reverted yet again and opposed an Afghan surge.

    Root opposed gay marriage. Then he marched with Outright Libertarians in San Francisco, presumably in favor of gay marriage. Then when it came time to sell his book on Fox News and conservative talk radio, he changed back again, favoring states rights on the issue.

    (No, I’ve not read his book; I’m relying on book reviews.)

    Also, he is still selling a book, so he can’t stray too far from those themes.

    Sure he can. Since he’s getting media attention for his book, this is the perfect time for him to say: “Here’s what I believe.” Then offend conservatives in the audience. Instead, he seems to think: “What message does this audience want to hear?”

    What’s the point of having X as a libertarian spokesperson, if X dilutes the libertarian message because he’s selling books to conservatives?

    What Root claims to believe seems to rest on whether he’s addressing LP delegates, or a Fox News audience, or Outright Libertarians, or Mike Savage’s audience, or whoever he’s selling to at the time.

    Root reminds me of Lonesome Rhodes, the Andy Griffith character in the 1957 film, A Face in the Crowd. Rhodes was a narcissist who needed to be loved by his audience. A great scene has Rhodes talking to a turned off TV camera, explaining that: “Ya gotta make them love ya! I mean, they gotta loooove ya!.

    That’s the impression I get of Root. A narcissist who desperately craves the adulation of crowds.

    Root wouldn’t bother me (the world is full of Roots), except that he wants to be the face of Libertarians. And I don’t want him to represent me, or my philosophy, or my party, or represent me to the public in any way. I don’t want to tell people that I’m a libertarian, and hear, “Oh, you mean like that Root fellow.”

    So far that’s never happened. Ron Paul is the name I hear. But Root would like to be the face of libertarianism to the public, and I don’t want him to be my public face.

  28. Mik Robertson

    I don’t think it is good to have the term libertarian be associated with any one individual, Ron Paul or other. Clearly the movement is not so monolithic that one set of views can represent the totality of the thinking.

    Wayne Root wants to be the LP Presidential nominee, he has said that directly, so he is not trying to hide anything. Maybe part of the reason he wants the nomination is because of the massive media attention it will bring him, I don’t know.

    What the delegates have to decide is if they want him to be the candidate representing them. This most recent change in position would tend to make me more inclined to support him rather than less. If he can broaden this latest revelation into a greater foreign policy I might even be more inclined to support him.

  29. Mik Robertson

    @34 “He supported an Iraq War. Then he became a born again non-interventionist. Then he supported an Afghan surge. Then he reverted yet again and opposed an Afghan surge.”

    Could it be that Wayne Root supports strong national defense but opposes using US military for internal policing operations of other nations? Wayne Root would not have been the only person to buy into the “imminent threat” posed by Iraq nonsense.

    Maybe he also buys into the nonsense about radical Islamist groups hating our freedom and posing a significant threat to the US, and is upset in the manner in which Obama plans to implement the “surge”.

    In either case, he would not be the only person in the LP to do so. I don’t know that the waffle is as bad as is indicated, nor do I think Wayne Root was or is a die hard non-interventionist. He still thinks there are “American interests” overseas, and I don’t believe that has changed. If he were to become non-interventionist, I would be more inclined to support him.

  30. paulie Post author

    Daniel Larison writes in The American Conservative…


    It is true that “Jacksonians” on the right lose patience with nation-building, but they also have nationalist convictions that our interventions abroad are always benevolent and initially they are very keen to repeat the propaganda that we are fighting wars of liberation or wars against tyranny (or evil or some new form of fascism).

    Jacksonians’ instinctive deference to the executive and their belief that criticizing a President in wartime is a kind of disloyalty force them to focus on nation-building and “political correctness” (i.e., refraining from bombing civilians) (as Rep. Chaffetz did) in order to criticize a President and his conduct of a war without suggesting that they lack in support for the military and military interventions in general.

    What makes “Jacksonians” weary of nation-building is not the goal of establishing new political institutions in another country. It is instead the time that it takes to do this and the “ingratitude” of the alleged beneficiaries of our interventions that tend to turn them against prolonged deployments. The charge of “ingratitude,” of course, is inevitable if you believe that you have been doing another nation a favor by invading and wrecking their country.

    “…movement conservatives have become accustomed over the last three decades to advocating for both a larger military and for a greater willingness to use force around the world. Skepticism of peacekeeping and humanitarian missions has tended to come from the belief that threats are ubiquitous and the military cannot be distracted by such irrelevancies, but this is absolutely not skepticism about deploying forces overseas and initiating force against a variety of other state and non-state actors. It is actually evidence of the depressing lack of skepticism Republicans have when it comes to entering into or starting wars.”

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