Lee Wrights: Any US attack on Libya would be unconstitutional and despicable

by R. Lee Wrights

BURNET, Texas (March 19) – After weeks of vacillation, uttering veiled threats that Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi must go while his key advisers made contradictory statements, President Obama has followed the example of his recent predecessors and decided that it is okay for the United States to attack another sovereign nation so long as the United Nations approves it. For an American president to initiate an attack on a nation that does not threaten us is despicable enough, but to justify such aggression by citing a United Nations resolution sets a dangerous precedent that threatens our very sovereignty.

Now the president has made an incredibly duplicitous statement on Libya, claiming that American leadership is essential in this situation and vowing that the United States would not stand “idly by while global peace and security is undermined.” In other words, we need some war so we can have peace. George Orwell, author of 1984, seems more like a prophet every day.

What hubris! A tyrant, who just a few weeks ago wasn’t even on the State Department’s radar, is now suddenly a threat to the world? Tyrants in other Middle East nations are shooting citizens who protest their oppression, but the United States says and does nothing. Why? Because the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based in the area and we need the support of those tyrants in order to flex our muscles against another tyrant.

As President Obama spoke, you could almost hear echoes of the high-sounding, pretentious, but dishonest and false arguments expounded by his predecessors to justify American military action anywhere and everywhere. We’re not imposing our will, the president claims, we are just intervening to protect innocent civilians so they can decide their own fate. We will not use any force beyond that well-defined goal, and there will be no American troops on the ground.

The arguments are illogical, irrational and false to say the least. You cannot stop violence by committing violence. You don’t teach people it is wrong to kill people by killing people. A no fly-zone imposed using “all necessary measures” is an act of war and aggression, plain and simple.

Democrats and Republicans used to agree that any partisan debate over foreign policy should end at the nation’s shores. Now they seem to agree that any debate over foreign policy shouldn’t involve discussion of the U.S. Constitution. From the moment the people in Libya said they’ve had enough and rebelled against the tyrant whom the United States has either ignored or tolerated for 40 years, voices on both sides of the aisle were heard urging the president to send American troops to fight and die on yet another foreign shore.

Sen. John McCain, who should know about the dangers of flying over a hostile nation before fully suppressing its air defenses, was one of the leading voices calling for the United States to impose a no-fly zone over Libya. He was joined by Sen. John Kerry, who voted for the Iraq war before he voted against it (or was it the other way around).

All the while President Obama bobbed and weaved around the issue, even to the point of ignoring it completely in one of his weekly radio addresses. Finally, when Gadhafi was on the verge of destroying the rebels, the clumsy and inept United Nations Security Council stirred from its slumber to “authorize” members “to take all necessary measure” to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, enforce an arms embargo and freeze Libyan assets.

There are two things glaringly wrong with this view, as anyone who has even the remotest familiarity with the U.S. Constitution and American history could figure out, but which escapes most members of Congress and the president. First, the United States has no business initiating an attack on any other nation unless there is a declaration of war by the Congress. Second, Libya has not attacked us, nor does it threaten U.S. security or sovereignty. The conflict in Libya is a civil war, and anyone, especially anyone from the South, knows that civil wars are especially terrible and awful.

No resolution of the U.N. justifies violating the U.S. Constitution. Doing so sets the stage for U.N. sovereignty over the U.S. Any attack on Libya by U.S. forces, even those acting under the guise of this bogus document, would be a war of aggression since Libya has not threatened us. The Nuremberg Trials condemned such attacks as war crimes. We already have one ex-president fearful of traveling overseas afraid of being charged with war crimes; do we really want another such blot on our nation?

If the president orders U.S. forces to take such action he will be in clear violation of his oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” The Founders of our nation gave the war-making power to Congress for a very specific and real reason. They were all too familiar with a ruler who used claimed omnipotent powers to engage in endless military adventures overseas, bankrupting the nation and destroying the lives of its people.

As Jacob Hornberger, founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation wrote: “Our ancestors brought into existence a nation with no standing army, no militarism, and no empire, no Federal Reserve, no federal torture, no federal kidnapping, no war on terrorism, no CIA, no war on drugs, no foreign wars, no public schooling, no paper money, and no wars of aggression.

“They brought into existence a government based on limited powers expressly enumerated in the U.S Constitution, an economic system based on free-market principles, and a society deeply committed to the preservation of civil liberties and fundamental rights.

“The time has arrived for Americans to return to first principles.”

We must stop all war … and stop this war before it starts.

R. Lee Wrights is a longtime libertarian writer, political activist, a lifetime member of the Libertarian Party, and a past vice chair of the Libertarian National Committee. He is considering seeking the presidential nomination because he is determined that the Libertarian message in 2012 be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war. Wrights has pledged that 10 percent of all donations to his campaign will go toward ballot access so that the stop all war message can be heard in all 50 states. Wrights, 52, is the co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All. He was born in Winston Salem, N.C. and now lives in Texas.

122 thoughts on “Lee Wrights: Any US attack on Libya would be unconstitutional and despicable

  1. Robert Capozzi

    Agreeing to the Arab League’s request for support may well be a bad idea, but the word “treaty” appears several times in the Constitution.

    This: “A tyrant, who just a few weeks ago wasn’t even on the State Department’s radar, is now suddenly a threat to the world?” seems overstated. Libya’s been on the “radar screen” for decades.

    I really resonate with Wrights’s peace in all things message, but overstatement tends to undermine the message by damaging credibility.

    As a practical matter, I do agree that the US should not take a leading role in intervening to stop slaughter in Libya. Providing some logistical support might be righteous in theory, but in this context, possibly/probably not. Now, if somehow there’d be a trade-off, Libya for Iraq and Afghanistan, that might be well worth it.

    Not gonna happen, I know. But then, stopping the dogs of war fails more than it doesn’t. Sadly.

  2. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Agreeing to the Arab League’s request for support may well be a bad idea, but the word ‘treaty’ appears several times in the Constitution.”

    Yes, it does. However, none of those appearances accord treaty precedence over Congress’s explicit enumerated power to declare war.

  3. paulie

    Brian, thanks for joining the IPR team.

    One thing for the future: whenever posting an opinionated headline, please include the author’s name in the headline (I updated this one in that manner). More people read headlines than articles, and we want to make it clear that it is the authors, not IPR, which is expressing any given position(s).

  4. Gene Berkman

    I certainly oppose interventionism for prudential reasons, and for anti-statist reasons.

    But Mr Wright’s hyperbolic rhetoric makes me uncomfortable. President Obama’s statement that the Libyan regime is attacking civilians is certainly more true than President Bush’s statements about Iraq & weapons of mass destruction, for example.

    An appeal to Southerners to oppose outside intervention in a civil war is quite misplaced. The CSA attempted to bring Britain into our Civil War on their side.

    As for Qadaffi not being on our radar, that is not quite true. He has been known to be an oppressive dictator for many years. It was only the desire of the Bush leaguers to get a positive spin out of the Iraq invasion that turned Qadaffi into a “cooperative statesman.”

    Without quibbling over further details, the tone of the article seems to make President Obama into a warmonger and Col Qadaffi into a victim of aggression. However wrong American intervention is, the number of people who would go along with that judgment is even smaller than the number of people who look to the Libertarian Party as an alternative.

  5. Michael H. Wilson

    Jacob Hornberger apparently wrote; “an economic system based on free-market principles, and a society deeply committed to the preservation of civil liberties and fundamental rights”

    Far be it from me to correct Mr. Hornberger, but we did not have a free market nor did we have free market principles.

    The fact that the U.S. had slavery from day one tells us that. And those humans held in bondage did not have civil liberties. You might want to avoid using that quote guys.

  6. John Jay Myers

    Well in Lee’s defense I think that we never really know what is going on in a foreign country. We know though that there are 2 sides, obviously, do we know who makes up the other side?

    I have heard reporters on CNN say “he is attacking his own people” though there are AA guns in the background of the shot, well obviously if you have AA guns, you are probably not considered “his people” to him.

    Would we get attacked if we set up anti-U.S. AA guns outside of Dallas County? I am going with yes.

    Now, I don’t know how this is going to work out, or if he has killed or “massacred” as they say on the news, others of his people, I do know that I don’t trust our government and news media to be objective or even to tell me truth.

    Something about this “slaughtering his own people” rhetoric is becoming strangely familiar. None of this is to say the guy is a good guy, but it would also seem reasonably clear that he does have supporters. What percentage? I don’t know, but I would guess it would be a number from 20-80% …. that is quite a span for a guess.

    Yesterday at about 10 AM I heard the first news of a cease fire proclaimed by Gadhafi, it was about noon, before I heard the news media relentlessly saying, “we are still hearing shots, there is no cease fire!”, maybe it’s my lack of a military background, but instinctively I would assume that a cease fire is not going to occur rapidly, and probably not comprehensively within the first 24 hours of its declaration. So I am unsure if we are not letting our media dictate our military reactions here.

    But I think knowing that we don’t know these things and that we do know the outcomes of our many previous interventions, (not good) that chances are high that we don’t need to be involved in this.

    The Arab League voted for a no-fly zone, but yet suddenly, no Arab country wants to go on record as haven supported it.

    But lucky for us, since the Arab League has voted for a no-fly zone, our happy *sses get to spend 100 million a week (300 if we do the whole country) to enforce a no-fly zone. Yeah.

    Why again? So that “the other side” can take control of Libya? Great… let’s hope the “other side” is better. I am willing to bet BP has already made a deal with the “other side”.

    This is not our business, and I want no part of it.

  7. Robert Capozzi

    tk3: However, none of those appearances accord treaty precedence over Congress’s explicit enumerated power to declare war.

    me: Help me understand, then, what a “treaty” is and what “war” is, IYO. IF the Constitution allows the commander in chief to abide by a treaty, and the treaty states that forceful military action can be authorized, it may well be that participating in a military action in accord with a treaty allows for the president to authorize such military actions.

    To be clear, I am not comfortable with such an interpretation, and much abuse of power has come from it. In this case, the US is not attempting to occupy Libya, nor has Libya attacked the US. So, it could be that not all military actions are war, per se.

    It might be tidier to go ahead and seek a declaration of war, though. My gut tells me that’s preferable.

    LW: Now the president has made an incredibly duplicitous statement on Libya, claiming that American leadership is essential in this situation and vowing that the United States would not stand “idly by while global peace and security is undermined.” In other words, we need some war so we can have peace. George Orwell, author of 1984, seems more like a prophet every day. What hubris! A tyrant, who just a few weeks ago wasn’t even on the State Department’s radar, is now suddenly a threat to the world?

    me: I’m not sure that BHO’s statement is “duplicitous,” nor did he say it’s a “threat to the world.” “Undermining world peace” is surely short of a clear and present danger. Slaughtering civilians does qualify as “undermining,” IMO, however.

  8. Robert Capozzi

    jjm: This is not our business, and I want no part of it.

    me: Compelling counter. It could be that the US should cancel all treaties. Ideally, that may be a good way to go. I don’t oppose the notion, per se.

    In a world where the US DOES have treaties and IS a member of the UN, halting (alleged) slaughters seem less objectionable to me than, say, nation-building or permanent off-shore bases.

  9. Gene Berkman

    @ #10 – there is plenty of documention to indicate that Qaddafi runs a totalitarian state and that he is willing to kill people to maintain power. That was just as true when the Bush leaguers were hailing Qaddafi’s cooperative attitude on nukes as it is now.

    Mr Wrights comes closest to stating a libertarian position when he notes that Libya has not attacked the United States. There are certainly prudential reasons to maintain the principle that we do not fight unless attacked.

    But it is really backward for supposed advocates of freedom to try to argue that “we don’t know” whether Qaddafi is killing people or violating rights. This hands the moral high ground to the New World Order crowd that wants to institutionalize “humanitarian intervention.”

    It is one thing to oppose compulsory inoculation. But libertarians would not get far saying “we don’t know” whether viruses cause polio.

  10. R. Lee Wrights

    Re: #7

    When you drop a bomb, you cannot be sure who will die when it hits, and once you let it go you cannot bring it back.

    Innocent Libyan people will die! This is not about Obama or Gadhafi, whom Obama has had no problem with until now. This is about how wrong it is to bomb a sovereign nation that has done you no harm. How wrong it is to sentence innocent civilians to death because of the actions of their government’s leader.

    You don’t teach people it is wrong to kill people by killing people.

    Stop the war before it starts for a real “change.”

  11. John Jay Myers

    Gene I get your point, as I said, I have no doubt he is a bad guy. I am also pointing out that our media seems to turn up the rhetoric once a path has been chosen.

    In this instance our intervention. This is important to understand because we keep getting involved because we are constantly sold a story.

    Not libertarians mind you, but the country keeps getting involved whether it’s “weapons of mass destruction”, or “slaughtering of their people”, or that “the guy is evil incarnate”. I am also implying that there are people who have been trying to get rid of this guy forever, there are 2 sides, we know that his is more like a civil war, and someone decided now was the time for side 2 to attack. If I was using the CIA playbook, I would make this look like another revolution, to go along with all the others and use it as an opportunity for regime change.

    I should mention that it makes no difference to me, but unfortunately it is how we are sold wars, and then how we will be sold occupations, and then how we will be sold nation building, etc.

    Choosing a side in this civil war will have one major consequence, which is that the side that does not win, will start planning immediately on how they are going to exact revenge on us for destroying their lives.

    I would argue that if we didn’t get involved someone saying “Those Americans didn’t get involved and spend billions and lay down the lives for our revolution… those bastards!!” is not a very good rallying call for revenge.

    “Those Americans got involved and killed my family” probably has a bit more bite.

  12. Robert Capozzi

    jjm16: “Those Americans got involved and killed my family” probably has a bit more bite.

    me: Also a good counter. In this case, though, had the US said, No, could it go the other way? Those damned Americans CAN attack Iraq and Afghanistan, but they won’t lift a finger when Libyans are being slaughtered?

    Damned if you do…

  13. Robert Capozzi

    rlw15: When you drop a bomb, you cannot be sure who will die when it hits, and once you let it go you cannot bring it back.

    me: True. Quite so. Always. Any forceful action MAY not work out as intended, even if purely as an act of defense. Or as an attempt to stop a slaughter.

    A pacificist is the only actor who cannot make that mistake, yet you are not one, as I recall. Once off the absolute stance, risks arise. Yet pacificism has risks, too, yes? Everything does.

  14. John Jay Myers

    @17 Robert, my answer to that was just above the text you quoted.
    I would argue that if we didn’t get involved someone saying “Those Americans didn’t get involved and spend billions of dollars and lay down their lives for our revolution… those bastards!!” is not a very good rallying call for revenge.

  15. R. Lee Wrights

    “What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?”

    – Gandhi

    War is much easier to stop before it starts than after it has already begun.

  16. paulie

    In this case, though, had the US said, No, could it go the other way? Those damned Americans CAN attack Iraq and Afghanistan, but they won’t lift a finger when Libyans are being slaughtered?

    No. Representatives of the Libyan revolution have already asked the US to stay out. I’ve posted the link in past threads.

  17. paulie

    In a world where the US DOES have treaties and IS a member of the UN, halting (alleged) slaughters seem less objectionable to me than, say, nation-building or permanent off-shore bases.

    And how would you keep those slaughters from resuming once you leave without nation-building and permanent bases?

  18. paulie

    It might be tidier to go ahead and seek a declaration of war, though. My gut tells me that’s preferable.

    My gut tells me keeping the US government out of it would be vastly preferable.

  19. paulie

    we did not have a free market nor did we have free market principles.

    The fact that the U.S. had slavery from day one tells us that. And those humans held in bondage did not have civil liberties.

    Valid point.

  20. George Phillies

    Readers may recall that foreign intervention (the French Navy winning the Battle of Chesapeake Bay and the Battle of Trincomalee, of which most of you are unaware, I suspect) won our revolution for us, guaranteeing that Yorktown was a victory rather than a draw, and the English would agree to peace. And once we had peace with Britain we basically stayed there, the War of 1812 notwithstanding.

  21. paulie

    An appeal to Southerners to oppose outside intervention in a civil war is quite misplaced. The CSA attempted to bring Britain into our Civil War on their side.

    The actual statement was “The conflict in Libya is a civil war, and anyone, especially anyone from the South, knows that civil wars are especially terrible and awful.” I don’t read that as a defense of the Confederacy.

  22. Mike B.

    A Quick Glance from the LRC Blog Headlines:

    “Nobel Peace Prize Winner Obama’s New War Has Started”

    “Ralph Nader Calls for the Impeachment of Obama”
    _________________________________

    …[The Empire Strikes Back Again]

  23. Porn Again Christian

    Lee Wrights is correct. An attack on Libya would be despicable for many reasons. Too many wars already as it is. This country is going broke. Time to bring troops home, not send them to yet more foreign countries to fight in endless wars.

  24. Andy

    “paulie // Mar 19, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    ‘we did not have a free market nor did we have free market principles.

    The fact that the U.S. had slavery from day one tells us that. And those humans held in bondage did not have civil liberties.’

    Valid point.”

    These united States of America has never had a completely free market and has never been a truly free country. It has come closer than most other countries ever have, but it has never really achieved this objective.

    “The land of the free and the home of the brave.” is mostly just an empty slogan and propaganda.

  25. Michael H. Wilson

    Here’s info on U.S. arms sales to Libya. Can someone tell me the difference between a pimp and a politician? I would use the phrase moronic fucking idiots to describe the people in Washington, but then I would be as rude as there are.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/03/06/us-libya-usa-arms-idUSTRE5256H720090306

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1365523/Obama-administration-approved-40billion-private-arms-sales-countries-including-Libya-Egypt.html

  26. Robert Capozzi

    Rlw21: War is much easier to stop before it starts than after it has already begun.

    Me: Agreed. But it’s already started. That’s the point. Might well be best on a lot of levels for the US to’ve stayed out. OTOH, staying out could’ve led to more deaths; lending a hand COULD lead to fewer deaths. Impossible to say with certainty, yes?

    P22: No. Representatives of the Libyan revolution have already asked the US to stay out. I’ve posted the link in past threads.

    Me: Missed that. Potentially highly significant in the mix. Please repost. I DID find that Libyan opposition leader Mahmoud Jibril asked for US intervention, though. The situation is no doubt chaotic, with a lot of voices saying a lot of things.

    P27: And how would you keep those slaughters from resuming once you leave without nation-building and permanent bases?

    Me: Yer askin’ the wrong hombre. I don’t have a position on intervening as part of a multinational effort, much less after the civil war in Libya is stopped, if it is. I do think that Libya is not Iraq. I do think a case for some sort of exception could be justified. I likely would not want the US to nation build here, as our hands are full. Maybe the UN should, though, or some other international body.

    Take it to the extreme. Say the Mexican Government lined up 1 million dissidents on the US/Mexican border, 7 feet on their side. The government starts to mow them down. They fall on the Mexican side, but the blood of dissidents flows across the border. Should the USG intervene? I say yes, go 10 feet across and stop the slaughter. A strict noninterventionist might say No, don’t. I disagree.

    Mhw31: I would think that the common sense thing to do instead of treaties that get us into these positions would be treaties that say we, the government, will not sell weapons to these clowns in the first place.

    Me: Yes, that would have been preferable. But the horse is out of the barn, which common sense would also recognize as the salient fact.

  27. Robert Capozzi

    p31: “…civil wars are especially terrible and awful.” I don’t read that as a defense of the Confederacy.

    me: Yes and yes. Insurrections almost always involve civilians and bystanders, generally more than even wars between nation states. I would view the Libyan people as roughly like the slaves in the US. Qaddafi (so many spellings, so little time!) is like the Confederate elites, attempting to perpetuate his crimes against humanity.

    Did Canada have a “moral imperative” to side with the Union to end the Confederate Elite Insurrection? I’d say no. But if they had and the insurrection was put down, say, one year faster, and 1/5th as many would have died and the slaves were freed one year earlier, would that be justified? Maybe.

    Brother’s keeper? No. Brother’s helper? Maybe.

  28. Pingback: Is the US at war with Libya already? « OntheWilderSide

  29. R. Lee Wrights

    Re: #39

    “Agreed. But it’s already started. That’s the point. Might well be best on a lot of levels for the US to’ve stayed out. OTOH, staying out could’ve led to more deaths; lending a hand COULD lead to fewer deaths. Impossible to say with certainty, yes?”

    What do the victims care whether it is Ghadafi or Obama who is doing the killing? Of course, more people will die! We are bombing a sovereign nation! Their is a much simpler term for “collateral damage”… it’s called murder.

    Stop making excuses for war, or justifying it with supposed good intentions. Please join me in calling for an end to war, and bring the troops home.

  30. Michael H. Wilson

    re Capozzi # 39. It might be a novel idea for Libertarians to suggest the government not get involved in weapons sales in the first place.

    Instead of yapping on the computer this a.m. write a letter to the local news paper mentioning that you’re a libertarian and complain about the sale of weapons to dictators and monarchies.

  31. Robert Capozzi

    rlw, thanks for your counsel. I make no excuses for war, I’d like them to end. But they happen. “Murder” =/= killing, as murder involves an intent to kill w/o mitigating factors.

    Everyone dies. HOW we die varies — natural causes, accidents, crimes, war. That’s what bodies do.

    Ghadafi’s killing Libyans. I am open to supporting external forces to stopping that as quickly as possible. If that involves “bombing a sovereign nation,” in theory and under certain circumstances, that could be justified.

    Perhaps you do not agree.

    I certainly join you in the call to bring home troops.

  32. Robert Capozzi

    tk, sorry, where have I made an excuse? I don’t support the initiation of war. I support counter-force under certain circumstances.

  33. R. Lee Wrights

    Re: #44

    “Ghadafi’s killing Libyans.”

    So is Obama. Only, the president is doing it in your name… and mine. No thanks. You can keep your false justifications.

  34. Michael H. Wilson

    Did you write a letter to the editor yet? When you do be sure to send it along to your U.S. senators and congressional representatives.

    Letter campaigns are one of the best ways we can bring attention to issues that need changed.

  35. Robert Capozzi

    rlw, actually, Lee, I don’t have a view on Libya and Obama’s recent actions. I have ambivalence, so it’s not in “my name.”

    I am open to the possibility that a humanitarian war could be justified, and that is all. As I gather information on this Libya action, I’m leaning to an assessment that what is being done is not something I personally support. I might have supported other actions, all things considered.

    I certainly would support a hypothetical Mexican intervention @ 39. Procedural questions remain in my mind, however.

    It’s interesting to me that you’re reading interpretations into my words that are not my intent. It may be due to an absolutist mindset that many Ls subscribe to. It seems to go to W-type places…”yer either with us or against us.” Any contrary words are taken defensively and reactively.

    If only the world were that black and white, things’d be way simpler!

  36. R. Lee Wrights

    Re: #49

    “I am open to the possibility that a humanitarian war could be justified…”

    Based on the non-agrresion principle, I am not. There is nothing humanitarian about killing people in masse, for any reason, save that of self-defense.

  37. paulie

    OTOH, staying out could’ve led to more deaths; lending a hand COULD lead to fewer deaths. Impossible to say with certainty, yes?

    Much in the same way as you can’t say with certainty that monkeys on meth with power tools won’t perform successful brain surgery. It’s possible that they could, but the chances seem remote.

  38. paulie

    P27: And how would you keep those slaughters from resuming once you leave without nation-building and permanent bases?

    RC: Yer askin’ the wrong hombre. I don’t have a position on intervening as part of a multinational effort, much less after the civil war in Libya is stopped, if it is. I do think that Libya is not Iraq. I do think a case for some sort of exception could be justified. I likely would not want the US to nation build here, as our hands are full. Maybe the UN should, though, or some other international body.

    Take it to the extreme. Say the Mexican Government lined up 1 million dissidents on the US/Mexican border, 7 feet on their side. The government starts to mow them down. They fall on the Mexican side, but the blood of dissidents flows across the border. Should the USG intervene? I say yes, go 10 feet across and stop the slaughter. A strict noninterventionist might say No, don’t. I disagree.

    Back in the real world, however, “humanitarian” interventions invariably lead to nation-building.

  39. paulie

    Stop making excuses for war, or justifying it with supposed good intentions. Please join me in calling for an end to war, and bring the troops home.

    Exactly.

  40. Robert Capozzi

    rlw50: Based on the non-agrresion principle, I am not [open to the possibility of humanitarian wars].

    p54: Back in the real world, however, “humanitarian” interventions invariably lead to nation-building.

    me: Based on the theory of NAP, taking 1 penny from each citizen is also unjustified. Back in the real world, as P says, the few NAP, stateless places are not working out too well. I met a Montenegran the other day, and he’s certainly grateful to be alive and grateful for the efforts in the Balkans. He says things are not perfect back home, but they are much improved. Yes, anecdotal and biased, admittedly.

  41. Robert Capozzi

    p52, thanks. That angle seems to be underreported to the point of conspiracy. 😉

    Watched MTP this am, and interestingly Richard Haass, CFR prez, is strongly against the Libyan effort. Maybe the world federalists and the “con” has experienced some sort of schism.

    Agitprop misdirection, perhaps.

  42. Tom Blanton

    It’s time for another reality check here at IPR.

    There is no conflict between any treaty and the constitution in this case. First, there is no treaty requiring the U.S. to attack Libya.

    There is U.N. Resolution 1973 (not ratified by the U.S. Senate as a treaty would be) that AUTHORIZES member nations to impose a no-fly zone over Libya.

    Authorizing something and requiring something are two different things. U.N. Resolution 1973 gives no instructions on how this no-fly zone is to be accomplished. There is no reference to France being required to take out tanks or the UK and the US shooting 110 missiles into areas where civilians may be. Obama is free to act, or NOT to act.

    Libya did not attack America, nor was it about do so, and there was no serious threat to America. Therefore, Obama can not look to the War Powers Act to cover his imperial ass.

    Gaddafi posed an interesting question in a letter to Obama the other day. He asked what Obama would do if armed people had taken over a city. So, did Obama answer him? Nope.

    How many “libertarians” think that they could grab their guns, take over Keene, NH, and have Obama come up and sing Kumbaya with the freedom folks?

    When unarmed protesters in Bahrain and Yemen are killed, Obama urges restraint. When armed protesters in Libya are met with force, Obama lets the missiles fly. Of course, Bahrain is home to a huge U.S. Navy Base and Yemen allows the U.S. to assassinate the enemies of the state there and claims responsibility so the U.S. doesn’t take the heat.

    We can now add Libya to the list of Obama’s undeclared wars – even if John Kerry doesn’t consider firing over 100 missiles at a country an act of war as he stated on Meat The Press this a.m.) – Somalia and Kenya being others where Obama’s missiles have landed. Added to Obama’s obstruction of justice in protecting war criminals from the previous regime, perhaps it’s time to call for the impeachment of the imperial president – even if most of the brainwashed rubes that some “libertarians” reach out to are still worrying about Obama’s birth certificate, secret Marxist conspiracies, and whether he is a Muslim instead.

  43. paulie

    @ 59 Maybe it’s time for a “Democratic Wall of Guilt” to remind liberals that Obama is guilty of perpetuating and expanding Bush’s endless wars overseas as well as growing police state measures and corporate bailouts at home.

    100,000 paramilitary style SWAT raids a year, the extension of the so-called “patriot” act, torture, rendition, secret trials and secret prisons, and so much more…and more invasions of more foreign countries…all courtesy of our “progressive” president and the leadership of the Democratic Party in congress.

    Someone could make a youtube of this and put say a few hundred dollars online in ads asking people to send it to all their progressive and Democratic friends.

    Then maybe do the same thing with the Republican Wall of Shame, make it into a video and ask everyone to send it to their conservative friends.

    Then have a contest to see which as campaign libertarians (or others) would fund more.

  44. Robert Capozzi

    tb59: There is U.N. Resolution 1973 (not ratified by the U.S. Senate as a treaty would be) that AUTHORIZES member nations to impose a no-fly zone over Libya. Authorizing something and requiring something are two different things.

    me: That seems true enough. I’m not sure “treaties” mean that every single act under a treaty would require Senate ratification, do you? These operational decisions may be bad ideas. Most, possibly all, treaties may be bad ideas, too.

    Generally, though, I’d think it’d be a reasonable assumption that if the UN authorizes a no-fly zone that the nations pushing for the no-fly zone will participate in the effort. My understanding is that the USG pushed for the no-fly zone; it would have been perplexing if there was no follow through on the matter.

    Re: Birther/Marxist conspiracy theorists/BHO is really a Muslim, first, I subscribe to none of these, to be clear. BHO is a Muslim…I’ve not seen any Ls take this line, although I’d not be surprised if some did. Birtherism doesn’t seem to be a big theme among Ls, that I’ve seen. As for Marxist conspiracy theories, has Root opined on Libya yet?

  45. Robert Capozzi

    tb59: Gaddafi posed an interesting question in a letter to Obama the other day. He asked what Obama would do if armed people had taken over a city.

    me: No fan of Obama, but this attempt at moral equivalency is weak, unless one subscribes to the “gangster” theory. I don’t see those two as equivalent. If Obama has fallen to Khaddafi levels, we’re all toast. Perhaps he’ll cancel the 2012 elections….

  46. Steven R Linnabary

    Maybe it’s time for a “Democratic Wall of Guilt” to remind liberals that Obama is guilty of perpetuating and expanding Bush’s endless wars overseas as well as growing police state measures and corporate bailouts at home.

    Great idea!!

    And I’ll bet that there are a couple of folks on the LNC that would be willing to push this idea!

    PEACE

  47. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob@61,

    The “no-fly zone” nonsense is thin camouflage for what’s actually occurring. Less than 24 hours into this thing, US and European forces are clearly acting well beyond the bounds of the UN authorization and Arab League resolution (see, for example, this video of the aftermath of an airstrike on Gaddafi’s non-air-defense ground forces).

    Any analysis of US foreign policy should concentrate on what that policy actually is, not on what it’s falsely advertised as. Here’s a short tutorial on the former for you:

  48. paulie

    Added to Obama’s obstruction of justice in protecting war criminals from the previous regime, perhaps it’s time to call for the impeachment of the imperial president

    Yes it is. But only if we also call for the prosecution of those same war criminals from the previous regime.

  49. Robert Capozzi

    tk, “I’ll do what I want” applies to all policy, not just foreign policy.

    Them thar Nonarchy Pods are looking better by the day 😉

  50. paulie

    Back in the real world, as P says, the few NAP, stateless places are not working out too well.

    I did not actually say that. Stateless societies seem to do at least as well as states which surround them, or states in those same territories immediately before or after them. Although I’m not quite sure how we got to talking about stateless societies in this thread.

  51. Tom Blanton

    Capozzi asserts:

    Generally, though, I’d think it’d be a reasonable assumption that if the UN authorizes a no-fly zone that the nations pushing for the no-fly zone will participate in the effort.

    That’s not the point, smart guy. The point is the distinction between being AUTHORIZED to do something and being REQUIRED to do something. The point was made because some seem to think that Obama had no choice but to act without a declaration of war because of some imaginary treaty that doesn’t exist.

    Capozzi obfuscates:

    BHO is a Muslim…I’ve not seen any Ls take this line, although I’d not be surprised if some did.

    I never said any “Ls” believed that, smart guy. I made reference to “libertarians” who reach out to the rubes that DO eat that type of shit up. More specifically, the idiot right-wing rubes that are the low-hanging fruits that W.A.R. thinks are ripe for the picking.

    I never said they were libertarians and I certainly wouldn’t suggest to anyone that W.A.R. is a libertarian – after all, we know he is a “Reagan libertarian” and that is not the same as a “libertarian” because of all that crazy liberal stuff that W.A.R. supposes they believe in.

    Capozzi opines:

    No fan of Obama, but this attempt at moral equivalency is weak, unless one subscribes to the “gangster” theory. I don’t see those two as equivalent. If Obama has fallen to Khaddafi levels, we’re all toast. Perhaps he’ll cancel the 2012 elections….

    Moral equivalency? What would the leader of any country do if armed citizens take over a city? Can you think of any that would not claim the justification to react using force? Do you think Obama would do otherwise?

    There is no attempt at moral equivalency made. Only the attempt to show the moral degeneracy of Obama and the exceptionalists that believe calling for restraint is all that is required when some kill unarmed dissidents. And, how about Obama attacking another nation in the midst of a civil war when you damn well he would act exactly like Gaddafi if faced with an armed insurrection. After all, Lincoln is a hero to Obama.

    I would suggest that as leaders go, the differences between Obama and Gaddafi are only in degree.

    When Obama says “no boots on the ground”, does that mean his boys will be wearing tassled loafers?

    Let the mission creep begin. After all, we can’t let Gaddafi kill his own people – even if they are armed and are trying to kill him. Being a good American means picking sides in every fight and getting involved, right Capozzi?

    Hey, Ive got an idea. All the “libertarians” that support the latest intervention could go to Libya and get involved. I’ll bet they’ve already got the tassled loafers. Grab the laptop and go!

  52. R. Lee Wrights

    I have come to realize that any excuse to go to war is as good as another… for the warmongers. They cliam we must wage war to perserve peace in an humanitarian effort to save the world.

    What utter and complete nonsense.

  53. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob @ 67,

    “‘I’ll do what I want’ applies to all policy, not just foreign policy.”

    It certainly seems to be getting more and more that way.

    I’ve never subscribed to the whole Rothbardian “centrality of foreign policy” bit, but it’s hard to deny that foreign policy has been a driving factor and/or convenient excuse in executive branch “power creep” even on the domestic side.

  54. Gene Berkman

    In 1990, as President Bush was organizing a UN authorized invasion of Iraq, in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, opponents of the coming war organized a National Campaign for Peace in the Middle East.

    The Principles of Unity of the National Campaign included a statement condemning Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, as well as opposition to the proposed military response.

    I don’t see in Mr Wright’s statement a similar condemnation of the violent repression of the Libyan people by the Qaddafi regime. Only a series of sometimes valid, sometimes tendentious attacks on President Obama.

  55. Gene Berkman

    “You cannot stop violence by committing violence. You don’t teach people it is wrong to kill people by killing people.”

    I am enough of a pacifist to find those words meaningful. But applying them to real life, would you advocate that the Libyan rebels lay down their arms?

    Would you tell the underground in the Warsaw Ghetto – “don’t shoot at the German troops.?”

    Just asking…

  56. R. Lee Wrights

    I have already stated my support for self-defense as the only justifiable reason to go to war. The United States bombing Libya has absolutely nothing to do with US defense. To try to equate this to oppressed people defending themselves is disingenious at best.

  57. Thomas L. Knapp

    Gene,

    “The violent repression of the Libyan people by the Gaddafi regime” has been going on for 40 years.

    It’s reprehensible, but I’m not sure why it’s all of a sudden so important now as to require military intervention when it never was before.

    Also, it appears that a substantial portion of “the Libyan people” are on board with Gaddafi rather than with the rebels, and that the rebel “leadership” is just another cabal of the same type as, and indeed composed of persons formerly affiliated with, Gaddafi’s junta.

    If we’re going to do “no-fly zones” and “regime change,” I’d rather the theater of operations centered around the District of Columbia than around Tripoli.

  58. Thomas L. Knapp

    Paulie @ 78,

    Interesting.

    I personally doubt that real revolutionary consciousness is likely to develop from the kind of actions we’re seeing in Wisconsin …

    … but anything that destabilizes the regime is better than nothing, I guess.

  59. Pingback: Darryl Perry: Operation OdD is UN-necessary | Independent Political Report

  60. Robert Capozzi

    tb70: Being a good American means picking sides in every fight and getting involved, right Capozzi?

    me: No, not IMO. Perhaps you’re kidding…I hope so. Again, I guess I see how an absolutist would reach that conclusion, as it’s an all-or-nothing thought system. As a relativist, it appears I’m more comfortable with shades of gray. My default position is non-intervention, much like my default position is as little State as possible. In theory, I’m OK with using US resources to aid in ending slaughters as part of an international effort, just as I am OK with a State to police violent crimes domestically. Just as I recognize that the police sometimes do corrupt things, so too might international humanitarian efforts can be twisted by non-virtuous intentions or hubris.

    If it’s any consolation, I support rapid withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Europe and SK. And I’d like to wind down foreign aid.

  61. Robert Capozzi

    tk77: It’s reprehensible, but I’m not sure why it’s all of a sudden so important now as to require military intervention when it never was before.

    me: The CFR’s Haasse seemed to wonder the same thing. He, of course, claimed that Libya is not “strategic” to US interests. And, apparently, he and the DoD recognize the simple fact that the US is overwhelmed at this time, financially and militarily.

    I’m pretty sure I oppose this particular action in Libya. Yet, it seems obvious that now is a different time, in light of Egypt and Tunisia.

    Would I support, say, satellite surveillance and logistical support to the French? Hmm…dunno. Maybe.

  62. Gene Berkman

    Tom @ 77 – I have not advocated military intervention in Libya. I just object to the one-sided tone that Mr Wrights has adopted.

    ‘…I’m not sure why it’s all of a sudden so important now as to require military intervention when it never was before.”

    Again, I don’t advocate military intervention. But for those who do, it is an option now because there is a civil war going on in Libya. Your statement implies that an evil long suffered, should therefore be suffered longer because you did not do anything about it.

    My point is that if you oppose military intervention by attacking the U.S. government as evil, without denouncing a foreign regime which is clearly evil and oppressive, people will think that you are just anti-American, not anti-interventionist in a principled way.

    And I find the unwillingness to deal with the actual issues involved, in favor of abstract rhetoric, will not impress people unless they already agree with your abstract principles.

    To wit, President Obama has not been plotting to get America into another war in order to enrich his buddies at Halliburton? Occidental Petroleum? I don’t know, tell me who the bad guys are.

    The real issue is that America is undertaking another military intervention it cannot afford, in a situation where we clearly don’t know what we are doing. We are very likely to take innocent civilian lives, and young Americans who joined the military to defend America might die in a mission neither they nor their leaders know how to succeed at.

    But all this is being done because there is a real issue of Qaddafi’s forces killing many Libyans, in order to maintain power. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and Mr Wrights is accusing President Obama not of taking us to hell, but of having bad intentions in doing so.

  63. Robert Capozzi

    gb84: And I find the unwillingness to deal with the actual issues involved, in favor of abstract rhetoric, will not impress people unless they already agree with your abstract principles.

    me: Winning, with tiger blood and Adonis DNA.

  64. Tom Blanton

    I don’t see in Mr Wright’s statement a similar condemnation of the violent repression of the Libyan people by the Qaddafi regime. Only a series of sometimes valid, sometimes tendentious attacks on President Obama.

    I can’t speak for Mr. Wrights, but perhaps he feels, as I do, that we need to get our own house in order before worrying about every other nation in the world.

    Here, we have a rather repressive regime that will torture a non-violent whistleblower and strip him of his constitutional rights.

    We have a president that asserts the right to conduct extrajudicial assassinations of American citizens.

    We have a bankrupt government run for the benefit of the elite to the detriment of our own children and grandchildren who are expected to pay debts incurred to reward the corporate sponsors of corrupt politicians.

    We harbor a permanent regime that admits to conducting special ops in 75 nations. America is engaged in overt wars against nations that never attacked or posed a threat to America.

    Our government maintains databases on its citizens. America has the largest incarceration rate in the world. While income taxes are relatively low, corporate taxes are among the highest in the world (unless the corporation has successful lobbyists), and are passed on to consumers – including the elderly and the poor.

    Need I go on and on? Anyone in America that is upset because another American is not criticizing some two-bit tyrant should be ridiculed as a half-wit. Especially considering how many of the two-bit tyrants have been installed, propped up, armed, funded, and/or embraced by American regimes.

    If you don’t think Obama’s regime would kill you if you took up arms and threatened to overthrow his regime, you are living in a fantasy.

    As fucked up as America is, domestically and abroad, why waste the breath it takes to criticize any other government or regime?

  65. R. Lee Wrights

    Re: 84

    “Mr Wrights is accusing President Obama not of taking us to hell, but of having bad intentions in doing so.”

    No. I am accusing President Obama of murder. Sorry if I wasn’t clear enough for you.

    You see, I live in America so I “know” about the president first-hand. I do not live in Libya and only have someone else’s word for your claim that Ghadafi is evil.

    You say, “…Qaddafi’s forces killing many Libyans…” I say, so is Obama! What difference does it make to the victims whose bomb is doing the damage? Would it matter to you which one killed your family? I doubt it.

  66. Tom Blanton

    Mr Wrights is accusing President Obama not of taking us to hell, but of having bad intentions in doing so.

    Only in your mind, Mr. Berkman. Wrights is accusing Obama of hubris and ignoring the constitution. I don’t see where Wrights even addresses Obama’s intentions. I don’t even see any abstract rhetoric – it is all pretty straight forward. I don’t even see where Obama or America is accused of being evil.

    Perhaps that was an oversight on the part of Mr. Wrights.

  67. Robert Capozzi

    rlw75: I have already stated my support for self-defense as the only justifiable reason to go to war.

    me: I have to question how serious this view is. Follow me. The NAP says no “aggression.” Wars are fought by States. States are supported by taxes and monopoly powers. So, in effect, a TRUE NAPster cannot support even a defensive war. True “self defense” involves INDIVIDUAL self defense, and that’s not a war. Fair?

    As you explore the possibility of being the LP’s prez candidate, you probably should consider where you come down on applying the NAP, and share that view with us. I know of no precedent for an anarchist war of “self defense,” in the sense of a State defending its territory. If you don’t believe in a state, that’s fine, it’s a theory some Ls believe.

    If you’re some sort of hybrid, supporting a monopoly State for the time being, one that might use “stolen” funds and resources to defend the territory known as the US as a transition to no State, we’d like to hear how that works, too.

    If you have a novel approach, sell it. Don’t leave us guessing.

  68. R. Lee Wrights

    Re: #89

    “I have to question how serious this view is. Follow me.”

    I think not. I believe following you is a fool’s errand, and I am not a fool.

  69. Robert Capozzi

    rlw87: Would it matter to you which [bomb] killed your family? I doubt it.

    me: Again, everyone dies. That’s what bodies do.

    The circumstances of death can be quite salient for the survivors. Natural causes are fairly easily understood. Dying in a skirmish from a foreign nation — putatively, at least, a liberating force — might be a bitter pill, or not. Dying at the hands of fellow countrypersons might be even MORE bitter. It all depends on the individual and his/her interpretation.

    This is the card Truthers are playing. Currently, most 9/11 survivors likely believe AQN killed their loved ones. That’s triggered a lot of anti-AQN and even Muslim resentment. If, however, the US government killed them, that’s off-the-hook resentment.

    Seems quite different in the big picture. I suspect it’s considered far worse to be killed by one’s own government, all else equal.

  70. Tom Blanton

    My impersonation of the radical centrist invoking the strategy of moderate absolutism:

    Now, I don’t advocate (fill in the blank), but those who do have valid reasons, such as (insert shallow rationalization here) and (insert emotional rhetoric here).

    So, we should not criticize those who advocate (fill in the blank) because they may disagree – especially if you are making an argument using rhetoric that they don’t use.

    Again, while I would never call for (fill in the blank), I would never disagree with someone who does because it might not change their mind. In fact, they might even argue that opposing viewpoints are wrong.

    I think it would just be best to allow those who want to do things you disagree with to proceed as they wish or else there might be an unpleasant situation. At least argue the issue using the tone and rhetoric of your opponent and acknowledge that they have wonderful reasons for wanting to (fill in the blank). Best they be allowed to frame the issue the way they wish or risk alienating them.

  71. Robert Capozzi

    rlw 90, I love you too, Lee! You have learned an important lesson for politicians: Answer the question you WANT to answer.

    Still, you do cite the “NAP” and claim you are not a pacifist with what appears to be a “self-defense” sidestep. Some in the L community will connect the dots as you allow them. You give every indication of being some form of anarchist, which is cool for you. Nothing “wrong” with that. Being unwilling to share where you’re coming from, though, seems…what’d you call Obama’s statement…”duplicitous.”

    Now, if you’re actually NOT an anarchist, that’s cool, too. Surely you can see how others may assume that, though.

    This might be an excellent opportunity to set the record straight…or not.

  72. paulie

    “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Anarchist faction…answer the question, please, sir…this committee is waiting for your answer”

    🙂

  73. paulie

    Via Polizeros:

    Wars can’t be won from the air, even though the US keeps wrongly assuming they can. And there’s no exit strategy. Obama’s statement that it will be over is days is, well, laughable.

    Quagmire.

  74. Robert Capozzi

    tb92: My impersonation of the radical centrist invoking the strategy of moderate absolutism…

    me: Are you looking for feedback? Poor, inaccurate positioning aside, C-. Your caricature entirely misses the nuance.

    Forthrightness is virtuous, but so are positive consequences in the moderate, TAAAList approach you mock. Nothing in the moderate approach ever justifies taking a position one disagrees with. At the same time, one should calibrate one’s message for maximum consequence. Yet never can an opinion be “right” or “wrong”, although one should always feel free to disagree.

    So, a moderate TAAAList might say re: Libya: “Obama is making a mistake here. In my judgment, of course Khaddafi should be out of office; his reign of terror should end. Ultimately, this is not the US’s business, yet the bloodshed in Libya is unacceptable, like in Rwanda, like in the Balkans. The notion of lending a hand in stopping this bloodshed is not unreasonable, but our forces are already stretched far too thin in Iraq and Afghanistan, wars that are themselves ill advised and arguably unconstitutional. Frankly, we need to have a more fundamental conversation about the US’s role in foreign relations, for I believe that it is not appropriate for the US to serve as ‘world policeman’.”

  75. Robert Capozzi

    p94, c’mon, Paulie, I DID say it’s OK if he’s an anarchist. Senator McCarthy never said that about the commies! 8)

    Inquiring minds wanna know! Break the news here on IPR!

  76. paulie

    If there’s any news to break at IPR before I head off to my next job, probably on Friday, I’ll do my best to break it.

    In the meantime, also via Poli-Zeros:

    Step 2??? We don’t need no steenkin’ Step 2!

    Step 1, Bombs away. Step 3, Peace and democracy.

    We’ll figure out Step 2 later on.

  77. Tom Blanton

    C’mon Capozzi, I never said it was “wrong” to be a radical centrist when it is known there is no “right” answer to that question.

    Based on the theory of political relativism, ever shifting opinions can be spun to meet the desired and optimal result as indicated by whatever perceived differences may exist – it’s all good.

    Once known, the perception of actual facts can be adjusted to indicate the case for compromise leading to consensus – as long as one knows how one knows and knows what one doesn’t know in relation to what may be known, AND so long as it is stated in moderate tones. When agreement must advance, information is an obstacle – far better to dispense with problematic facts and concentrate on achieving agreement.

    I’m sure you must agree, Capozzi. After all, this is the way agreement among those who agree is reached in circles where consensus must be reached in order to move the agenda on to the next level of intervention.

    We all agree that without intervention, there is no reason for political thought to exist. Therefore, there must always be intervention to some degree. Otherwise there is no need for government, politicians, bureaucrats, metaworkers, or the entire managerial class.

    Right, Capozzi? Are you following me?

    What good is a political party without intervention? There must be intervention into all facets of existence or the government becomes irrelevant and politicians become unnecessary. Once the radical centrist position is internalized, arguing over the degree of interventions only wastes time that could be spent intervening further into some different realm.

    It might be easier to live without government, but that would render nearly half the population useless meat puppets with no strings to animate them. Who can say anyone has the right to deprive them of a folly that is so meaningful to them on an existential level?

  78. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob @89,

    “I know of no precedent for an anarchist war of ‘self defense,’ in the sense of a State defending its territory.”

    Google “Catalonia.”

  79. Robert Capozzi

    tb99: Based on the theory of political relativism, ever shifting opinions can be spun to meet the desired and optimal result as indicated by whatever perceived differences may exist – it’s all good. Once known, the perception of actual facts can be adjusted to indicate the case for compromise leading to consensus…

    me: Brother Blanton, I s’pose some might subscribe to this, but not me. Facts are facts, actually. The question is WHICH facts are salient, and which opinions are likely to advance a message of peace and liberty in a consequential manner.

    For ex., it’s a fact that the US spends about half the ROW’s military spending. It’s my opinion that that is excessive. It’s my opinion, too, that the State is too damn big. That’s what animates my political views.

    An anarchist might (secretly) believe that the NAP does not allow for a State, and therefore all military spending and actions by the State are “evil.” The anarchist rarely says this, especially to the uninitiated. Instead, an anarchist might take LRW’s view, for ex.

    The TAAAList takes a more forthcoming view. Since States are likely here to stay and may — in theory and perhaps sometimes in practice, at least compared with the (highly implausible) alternative — be “necessary,” the TAAAList goal is to minimize State coercion while accepting that, for the time being, a State does provide for some level of domestic tranquility, at least sometimes in some places.

    If advocating a nightwatchman state, say, would likely advance liberty, the TAAAList uses that model. If advocating far less ambitious intentions is more likely to work, all things considered, that’s the TAAAList approach. No mix of strategy and tactics is inherently right or wrong; none are provably more effective than another.

    It appears that absolutists have a sense of certainty that belies experience. Relativism sounds to an absolutist to be arbitrary. The relativist instead recognizes that non-physical matters are subject to too many variables to make precise statements about matters political.

    You know, like Austrian economics does!

  80. Robert Capozzi

    tk100, if yer referring to the Spanish Civil War, that doesn’t seem to qualify. The anarchist militias operated in the context of a State. I dunno if the militia was motivated by the desire to establish a stateless Catalonia, but they didn’t succeed, based on my quick review and understanding of that territory today.

  81. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob @ 102,

    “The anarchist militias operated in the context of a State.”

    No, they operated in the context of the abandonment of a major Spanish province (Catalonia) and city (Barcelona) by a State (the Spanish Republic).

  82. Tom Blanton

    It appears that absolutists have a sense of certainty that belies experience.

    Exactly my point. That’s why I find the moderate absolutism displayed by radical centrists and political relativists to be so absurd.

    And it is the understanding that there is a lack of certainty about what can be known that makes Austrian economics so appealing to many.

    So, it would seem the rigidity of certainty afflicts the moderate absolutists devoted to government intervention into all matters of life as he labors under the delusion that the unknown can be known and the future can be predicted, as opposed to simply allowing individuals to spontaneously act.

    I think you need to save up and buy a full-length mirror, Capozzi. You are confusing others with yourself – I believe that is called “projection” in Capozzi-speak. Perhaps a mirror will help you discern who you are pretending to know.

  83. Robert Capozzi

    tb104, you seem to be laboring under the assumption that a lack of absolutism is itself absolutist. This may seem like a paradox to you…I’m of course guessing. Consider getting comfortable with paradoxes, as the world is replete with them.

    A “mirror” may well be useful, but a mirror only gives us data about bodies and physical things, not abstract ideas.

  84. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob @ 106,

    When you say “I am unaware of any historical instance of X” and I say “here’s an historical instance of X,” I’m generally inviting you to educate yourself, not offering to teach you a personal course on the subject — especially when you reverse the definition of your stated object of unawareness three times in three messages. That tends to fuck up the syllabus.

  85. Gene Berkman

    TK @ 103 – Catalonia had a government during the entire period of the Spanish Civil War – it was called the Generalitat and was a coalition of regional parties that supported the Republican side in the war.

    The Generalitat – as a government – negotiated independence from the Spanish Republic, and signed a treaty of alliance with the Republic to jointly fight the Nationalist forces led by Franco.

    The anarchists did not take part in the Catalan Generalitat, but the National Confederation of Labor (CNT) led by anarchists, endorsed the government coalition.

    The anarchists did maintain their own militia which fought in parallel with the Catalan militia.

    According to Hugh Thomas, in The Spanish Civil War, at one point the anarchists took control of the telephone exchange in Barcelona, and wiretapped the government offices as well as the Communist Party.

  86. Robert Capozzi

    tk, thanks, you are a fount of information that I greatly appreciate…truly.

    What I said was: “I know of no precedent for an anarchist war of “self defense,” in the sense of a State defending its territory.” If Catalonia was an anarchist territory in that timeframe that was defended by a non-monopoly-sponsored militia, it would meet the standard. It appears it was not. I wasn’t aware of that anarchist militia, and it’s an interesting historical footnote. Thanks for that.

  87. paulie

    RC, it all depends on what you consider anarchist defense. A nation-state claiming control over any territory does not mean it effectively controls it. There have been countless cases of guerrilla warfare driving nation-state invaders from territories. This is the essence of anarchist defense. I still don’t get why you keep trying to make this and other threads that are not about anarchism into discussions about anarchism. I wasn’t trying to be mean-spirited with the McCarthy crack – just exaggerating for effect – but it does seem that you are a bit “hung up” on the whole anarchy thing, as it were. Even as an anarchist myself, I’m more interested in bringing the troops home and reducing the military expenditures and troop levels in the reasonably foreseeable future. If the regime collapses, that’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax, but when and how that will happen is hard to predict.

  88. Robert Capozzi

    p, embedded in rlw’s initial piece there appear to be assumptions and conclusions about the nature of the State and war. @ 50, Wrights expands on his theory, invoking the theory of NAP to counter the very notion that humanitarian war is possible. He says it’s not possible.

    @7, Berkman indicates: “But Mr Wright’s hyperbolic rhetoric makes me uncomfortable.”
    I share that discomfort. As Wrights has expressed an interest in the LP prez nomination, it seems especially apropos to probe deeper into his assumptions and premises, particularly in light of the apparent hyperbole he employs.

    I would prefer to see Wrights’s “peace” themes become a mainstay of L thought; if however he employs IMO self-sabotaging hyperbole based on anarchist premises and biases here and elsewhere, I would think the LM would benefit from a frank and open discussion about how he arrives at his conclusions.

    I defer to you if such an inquiry is inappropriate here.

  89. paulie

    I’m not saying it’s inappropriate. I’ve just noticed a pattern of you making discussions that are not about anarchy into discussions about anarchy.

    Not suggesting it rises to PLAS or US Parliament levels 🙂

  90. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob @ 111,

    “Wrights expands on his theory, invoking the theory of NAP to counter the very notion that humanitarian war is possible. He says it’s not possible.”

    And he’s right. It’s not necessary to invoke the NAP to back up that claim.

    It might be possible to wage war for humanitarian purposes, but it’s not possible to wage humanitarian war.

    War is violence at large scale, conducted by imperfect people using imperfect weapons on the basis of limited information.

    There’s nothing humanitarian about that.

    Innocents and non-combatants will be killed.

    Those conducting the war, unless they are mentally retarded (in which case why were they given the wherewithal to conduct war in the first place?), know that innocents and non-combatants will be killed.

    If you proceed on Course A, knowing that there will be Result B, you are responsible for Result B no matter how frantically you wave your hands and how boldly you claim that you wish it were otherwise, and no matter how creative you are in coming up with special terminology (“Collateral Damage”) to make what you did sound not so bad.

    And if you actually killed five innocents to theoretically save 10 innocents? Well, you killed five innocents and there was nothing “humanitarian” about it.

  91. Robert Capozzi

    tk113: It might be possible to wage war for humanitarian purposes, but it’s not possible to wage humanitarian war.

    me: I’ll take that as a friendly amendment.

    tk: And if you actually killed five innocents to theoretically save 10 innocents? Well, you killed five innocents and there was nothing “humanitarian” about it.

    me: I respect your opinion here, but I would say it’s a tragedy in a tragic world. At least in Anglo-American law, it’s a question of *mens rea*. A guilt-less intent to save lives could be virtuous, depending on the circumstances, even if the outcome leads to accidental, unintended deaths. I would say even if one knew such accidents were likely, it is still not “murder,” since murder requires, among other things, a specific target. It might be viewed as reckless in a non-war setting.

    I guess that’s why some have attempted to codify standard operating procedures for such matters. This all gets too deontological for my tastes…

  92. Steven Wilson

    Rules of a game allow the game players to justify the conduct of the game and the end result. This sequence is called means to an end (strategy). This game theory originated with the British.

    Civil and angry. Rules of brutality.

  93. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob @ 114,

    “A guilt-less intent to save lives could be virtuous, depending on the circumstances, even if the outcome leads to accidental, unintended deaths.”

    Maybe so, but I think I’ll go with my nose on the subject. Napalm may smell like “victory,” but barbecued human flesh does not, in my informed opinion, smell “virtuous.”

  94. Pingback: Operation OdD is UN-necessary · Hammer of Truth

  95. Tom Blanton

    Humanitarian war – some people will fall for anything. Fear of mushroom clouds caused by people with no nukes, imaginary attacks on boats, bogus terrorist conspiracies, fear of several hundred religious fruitcakes who plan on establishing a global caliphate, and humanitarian interventions to prevent genocide.

    Trying to convince those enthralled with the glory of bloodshed and martial drama that they are wrong is like trying to convince a fat horny pimply faced teenager that his new girlfriend is a bitch – while she is blowing him!

    I just wish that every emasculated laptop interventionist that calls for military interventions could be plucked from their comfortable suburban sanctuary and dropped into the battle of their liking where they could demonstrate the courage of their deeply held convictions, carry out their well considered plans, and prove their predictions of the future were correct.

    Fucking idiots, all of them.

  96. JT

    Blanton: “Trying to convince those enthralled with the glory of bloodshed and martial drama that they are wrong is like trying to convince a fat horny pimply faced teenager that his new girlfriend is a bitch – while she is blowing him!”

    Ah, another great Blantonism–political opinions mixed with vulgar imagery. At least there’s no reference to excrement or oozing sores or whatever in this one.

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