Libertarians: Obama should end Afghanistan War

Press release posted at LP.org:

WASHINGTON – After President Barack Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan over the weekend, Libertarian Party Executive Director Wes Benedict issued the following statement today:

“President Obama just called the Afghanistan War ‘absolutely essential.’ Nothing could be further from the truth. The U.S. armed forces are being used for nation-building. The president, as commander-in-chief, has the power to end this war, and he should begin doing so immediately.

“The cost of this war, in both lives and money, is staggering, and it will become more so if the president maintains his current course. Forcing current and future American taxpayers to turn over hundreds of billions of dollars for this counterproductive effort is deeply unjust.

“Even worse, the American effort in Afghanistan is propping up a hopelessly corrupt government, which is alienating the Afghan people and causing them to blame the United States even more for their problems.

“There is zero chance that American military power will create a stable and honest government in Afghanistan. But even if that were possible, it would still lie completely outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. government.

“The Libertarian Party recognizes that United States faces some threat of terrorism, but we think that fighting foreign wars is one of the worst possible ways to deal with that threat.

“Disturbingly, President Obama is demonstrating a complete faith in government power in almost every aspect of American policy. From foreign wars, to the economy, to health care, the president thinks that government power is always the solution. Libertarians disagree: we believe that government power, which is always coercively enforced, is usually the problem.

“War supporters often say that if we leave Afghanistan without ‘winning,’ it would be a slap in the face of the soldiers who have fought and died there. But there’s nothing in Afghanistan to win. The only winning move is for our military to come back to America. American soldiers have been brave enough to fight and die in Afghanistan, but cowardly politicians want to send more to their deaths just so they can save face at home. I hope American citizens and politicians have the guts to admit it’s time for a new strategy: bring our soldiers home from Afghanistan without delay.

“Sooner or later, politicians will be forced to admit that Afghanistan is a mistake. They’re already admitting that Iraq was a mistake. At a recent event sponsored by the Cato Institute, Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher said, ‘In retrospect, almost all of us think [Iraq] was a horrible mistake…Now that we know that it cost a trillion dollars, and all of these years, and all of these lives, and all of this blood…all I can say is everyone I know thinks it was a mistake to go in now.’ Republican Congressman Tom McClintock agreed, saying, ‘I think everyone [in Congress] would agree that Iraq was a mistake.’

“It’s too bad they didn’t listen to the Libertarian Party before they started that disastrous war. Maybe they’ll listen to us now.”

In September 2008, the Libertarian National Committee adopted the following resolution opposing the war in Afghanistan:

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

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

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

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

For more information, or to arrange an interview, call LP Executive Director Wes Benedict at 202-333-0008 ext. 222.

The LP is America’s third-largest political party, founded in 1971. The Libertarian Party stands for free markets and civil liberties. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party at our website.

19 thoughts on “Libertarians: Obama should end Afghanistan War

  1. paulie Post author

    And from the Advocates’ Liberator Online…

    GOP Congressmen: Most GOPers in U.S. House Now Think Iraq War a Mistake

    It’s a little late.

    But — according to two prominent conservative Republican congressmen — the vast majority of GOP members of Congress now think it was wrong for the U.S. to invade Iraq in 2003.

    Their startling statements were made at a Cato Institute panel on conservatism and war. Participating were U.S. Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), and John Duncan (R-Tenn.).

    Both Rohrabacher and McClintock voted in favor of the invasion. Duncan was one of only six Republican congressmen who did not.

    The moderator, conservative activist Grover Norquist, asked the congressmen how many of their colleagues now think the war was a mistake.

    Congressman Rohrabacher said:

    “I will say that the decision to go in, in retrospect, almost all of us think that was a horrible mistake. …Now that we know that it cost a trillion dollars, and all of these years, and all of these lives, and all of this blood… all I can say is everyone I know thinks it was a mistake to go in now.”

    Congressman Tom McClintock similarly concluded:

    “I think everyone [in Congress] would agree that Iraq was a mistake.”

    The U.S. has spent at least a trillion dollars on that war, and by some estimates the total cost may be three trillion dollars — or more. Over 4,000 American soldiers have died, and over 60,000 were wounded or otherwise hurt. Figures of Iraqi deaths are controversial; estimates range from over 100,000 to one million or more deaths due to the invasion and occupation.

    Think twice next time, guys.

    * * *

    Next time? How about voting to cut off funds for the war and bring the troops home now?

  2. Dear .......oops!

    When LBJ [even when trying to out Goldwater Senator Goldwate] got elected in 1964 it was assumed that an exit sign was firmly planted on the quagmire of Viet Nam ……….

    When Obama, my Yokohama Momma, was elected in 2008 …………

    [Don’t blame me, I did not vote for either one!]

    ——— Lake

  3. Dear .......oops!

    paulie // Mar 31, 2010:

    Lake’s modification:

    Meanwhile, some antiwar Democrats/progressives are now
    awaiting [less and less patiently]
    for an end to this horrible and
    continuing and expanded war ….…

    along with the rest of the nation!

  4. Born Again Non-Voter

    “It’s too bad they didn’t listen to the Libertarian Party before they started that disastrous war. “

    Why? What would the LNC have told the president on September 12, 2001?

    Harry Browne said no to the Afghan War, but I doubt the LNC or the LP would have gone on the record as opposing the Afghan War right after 9/11.

    In typical Orwellian fashion, the LP seems to be rewriting its history. “The LP opposes the Afghan War. The LP has always opposed the Afghan War. The LP will always oppose the Afghan War.”

  5. Dear .......oops!

    Born Again Non-Voter // Mar 31, 2010:

    “……………… in typical Orwellian fashion, the LP seems to be rewriting it’s history.”

    ———– Lead by the gruesome two some, Phillies and Knapp! Spin doctors and tutors for Kubby and WAR and the other dysfunctional space cadets of the 21st Century!! Lake (I am NOT Born Again Voter ………..)

  6. Thomas L. Knapp

    David,

    You write:

    “Neither Phillies nor Knapp has ever been on the LNC.”

    That’s not entirely correct. I was a regional alternate in 2001. In that role, I lobbied hard against the wishy-washy, half-pro/half-con LNC resolution on the Afghanistan war, which was issued by the LNC that October.

  7. Dear .......oops!

    Thomas L. Knapp //
    Apr 1, 2010 at 12:53 am

    David,

    “……… the wishy-washy, half-pro/half-con LNC resolution on the Afghanistan war, ”

    …………… No, no, no the LP is anti war all the time, in fact they are the only 21st Century Peace Party ——even when they are not!

    At a time and place where non Democans and non Republicrats are the biggest registrant improvement in voters, no wonder half of the Lib numbers have evaporated! Lake

    Sad sad joke on the public ………

  8. Dear .......oops!

    Thomas L. Knapp // Mar 31, 2010:

    “Don [Lake], I was very specific. I did not say that the LP is the only anti-war party. I said that libertarian partIES are the only GENUINE anti-war parties ……… I was a regional alternate in 2001. I lobbied hard against the wishy-washy, half-pro/half-con LNC resolution on the Afghanistan war, which was issued by the LNC that October …………”

    Lake: People warned me about you, you flakey, lying, two faced snarly son of a bitch! You and most Libs are just pathetic and soooooooooo ethically challenged! From San Diego County to Saint Louis to DC you folks lie, lie, lie and then lie some more! By 2020 you guys should be in the same numbers league as the socialists!

  9. AroundtheblockAFT

    Small numbers quit the LP when it didn’t support the Gulf War. I think most members would have left in 2001 if the LP had not supported the actions in Afghanistan to punish the Taliban for supporting Al Queda. However, those strikes were over rather quickly and the U.S. should have then gotten out.
    War is sometimes the answer when engaged in it in self-defense.

  10. Born Again Non-Voter

    I think most members would have left in 2001 if the LP had not supported the actions in Afghanistan to punish the Taliban for supporting Al Queda.

    So the LP is a “party of polls” rather than of a “party of principles”?

    War is sometimes the answer when engaged in it in self-defense.

    A surgical strike aimed specifically at Al Qeada members and camps may have been self-defense.

    Attacking the whole country, civilians included, was collective revenge.

    Felt good for many Americans, I know. But it was neither rational, individualistic, moral, or libertarian.

    At least, not libertarian as defined by all the self-congratulatory essays, books, and articles in which libertarians extol their love of individualism, reason, and moral superiority over all those irrational “collectivists.”

  11. Melty

    that’s right.
    went in, not for marque n reprisal, but for nation building on no declaration of war – reprehensible, unlibertarian

  12. AroundtheblockAFT

    I don’t think many LP members would have thought it a violation of principles for U.S. military forces to go in and smash Al Qaeda and their Taliban hosts in Afghanistan. Blowing up civilians, engaging in nation-building, yes.
    Maybe a few Lefevrians would but they haven’t been very common in the movement at any time or place.

  13. Melty

    Those “Taliban hosts” offered to give over Osama, but that offer was ignored. Also, there was no evidence that anybody in Afghanistan had anything to do with the jumbo jet fiasco. Even if that had not been the case, it would still have been a bad idea and wrong to carry on the tradition of undeclared war and go for Kabul. To go for al-Zawahiri/bin Ladin (for their part in embassy bombings, USS Cole) was a good idea, but that’s what we did not do. Sure, go for a band o’ thugs, but that was not what we went in there for. I, for one, was opposed to the occupation of Afghanistan in September 2001.
    I’ve sometimes accused the CP of pretending to be noninterventionist, looking at some of the candidates they field. Does the LP pretend to be noninterventionist, Aroundtheblock? When we had the previous LP message writer, I often wondered . Good thing Wes wrote this. Peace should be our biggest message.

  14. Marc Montoni

    @16, who said:

    I don’t think many LP members would have thought it a violation of principles for U.S. military forces to go in and smash Al Qaeda and their Taliban hosts in Afghanistan.

    I would have. I know more that a few others who would have, as well.

    The problem with using the US military for the job is that it’s a gigantic, unweildly, and extremely blunt instrument for such a job.

    Ideally, the military & intelligence community should have spent a couple of years training soldiers who actually could blend in to Afghan society, put them to work monitoring and infiltrating for an extended period to unearth as much of the “network” as possible, and then perform a truly surgical “marque and reprisal” single-day assassination operation (as suggested by Ron Paul), and then get the hell out. However, I am not sure Americans have the willingness to enter into an 8th century society to do such a job.

    A better answer to hijackings is to arm pilots, fortify the cockpit doors, and allow trusted American citizens to carry concealed on board every flight.

    Plus, these simple defensive measures are a heck of a lot cheaper than engaging the military.

    Because of 9/11, there will probably never again be a successful airplane hijacking. If my prediction turns out to be correct, it will have not one iota of anything to do with any action of the US government, but rather will be due to the fact that passengers in the future will assume that they’re all going to die in some 8th century fanatic’s dream of going to heaven, and they’re going to kick some ass and fight. The passenger-assisted takedowns of several would-be terrorists of recent years is a demonstration of the new reality.

  15. Marc Montoni

    @16, who said:

    Those “Taliban hosts” offered to give over Osama, but that offer was ignored.

    That’s not entirely true. They offered to turn over bin Laden **if** the American government could come up with any evidence of his part in the matter. However, it was an offer made on shifting sand.

    The Taliban had voluntarily hosted murderous thug bin Laden and his various enterprises and training camps within Afghanistan, and they knew damn well what he was doing. The assassination of Ahmad Shah Massoud a couple of days before 9/11 was intended to be a “gift” to the Taliban leadership, intended to show solidarity and win the Taliban government’s protection in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

    Conjecture? Maybe. But as far as I’m concerned, the Taliban was one of the worst organized criminal governments in the world at the time. It was funded, supported, and encouraged by millions of dollars in aid and comfort from the criminal regimes in Iran and Pakistan, it was infested with spooks from numerous secret agencies of middle eastern racist apartheid-ite governments, it permitted the routine rape of countless underage girls and boys, its minions committed rape, torture, and “honor killings” with absolute impunity, and generally had all of the respect for citizen rights as any other corrupt racketeer-run mafia anywhere else.

    The Taliban deserve(d) everything that can (could) be thrown at them.

    However, “deserving” doesn’t necessarily mean the United States military should have been the instrument to deliver them to their personal heaven.

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