Lee Wrights: Bombs fall on the evil and the innocent

by R. Lee Wrights

“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.”
–Thomas L. Knapp

BURNET, Texas (March 22) – 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. It doesn’t matter if you claim the person you’re dropping the bomb on is evil, or whether you maintain that your cause is noble and humanitarian. Bombs don’t discriminate between the innocent and the evil.

In a war, any war, innocent people die. Politicians and military leaders may use an innocuous-sounding euphemism like “collateral damage,” to mask the death of non-combatants. But let’s call it what it is – murder. Make no mistake, whether your name is Gadhafi or Obama, if you unleash your bombs knowing full-well that innocent people are going to die as a result, you are committing murder. And to make matters worse, you order others to do your crime for you.

Think about it. If someone blew up your entire family, would it really matter if a well-intentioned busybody rather than an oppressive tyrant delivered the bomb? As Gandhi so eloquently said, “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?”

Those who have been clambering for military action against Libya shout, “Gadhafi is killing innocent Libyans.” I hope they are satisfied that we can now say, “So is President Obama.” Only the president is doing it in the name of all Americans. Well, not this American. This American says to President Obama loudly and clearly: not in my name. Keep your false justifications, your pious pronouncements. I reject the lie that is your noble, humanitarian cause. I do not consent to killing innocents.

One of the prospects that encourages me whenever I run into problems, or get frustrated and aggravated as I consider the idea of seeking the Libertarian nomination for president, is that if I were in office I will be able to stop insane, immoral, illegal and reprehensible actions such as this. If I could do only this one thing, my life would be worthwhile.

This is not about whether Gadhafi is evil or Obama has good intentions. This is about how wrong it is to bomb a sovereign nation that has done you no harm. This is about how it is wrong to sentence innocent civilians to death because of the actions of their government’s leader. No war of aggression is justifiable because it involves murdering innocent people.

I have come to realize that any excuse to go to war is as good as another … for the warmongers. They claim we must wage war to preserve peace in a humanitarian effort to save the world. What utter and complete nonsense. There is nothing humanitarian about killing people en masse, for any reason, save that of self-defense. It is blasphemy to kill innocent people and have innocent people do your killing for you, all the while proclaiming to the world you are doing it in the blessed name of Peace.

It is time for all Americans to stop making excuses for war, or justifying it with supposed good intentions. War is much easier to stop before it starts than after it has already begun. Is it not preferable to have a country filled with prosperous patriots, than to fill our cemeteries with dead heroes? Please join me in calling for real change in American – an end to all war, and bringing the troops home.

There is only one way in the world to prevent war and that is for every nation to tend to its own business. Trace any war and you will find some nation was trying to tell some other nation how to run their business. All these nations are interfering with some other nation’s personal affairs but with an eye to business. Why don’t we let the rest of the world act like it wants to.”
– Will Rogers

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.

WRIGHTS 2012 EXPLORATORY COMMITTEE
Contact:
Brian Irving, press secretary
press@wrights2012.com
919.538.4548

112 thoughts on “Lee Wrights: Bombs fall on the evil and the innocent

  1. paulie

    Those who have been clambering for military action against Libya shout, “Gadhafi is killing innocent Libyans.” I hope they are satisfied that we can now say, “So is President Obama.” Only the president is doing it in the name of all Americans. Well, not this American. This American says to President Obama loudly and clearly: not in my name.

    +1

  2. Robert Capozzi

    Thanks to Lee for clarifying his view here. He certainly has the right to not consent to anything, be it any government action at all or a military action designed to advance a humanitarian cause. (Let’s stipulate that military actions virtually always kill innocents.)

    Thought experiment: Say there’s a massive consciousness-raising and L ideas become the prevailing ideology in the US. Within 10 years, government is on track to be less than 10% of GDP. The Constitution is taken seriously and literally. We’re winning!

    Something happens in Canada in 2022. A French Canadian becomes a Gandhi figure. Jacques “Mohatma” LaFleur starts a movement using non-violence to once again attempt Quebec’s separation from the Dominion.

    Ottawa flips out. They begin a killing spree in Montreal, attempting to exterminate all these French Canadians. Some of them begin a march to the (completely open) US border to escape these killing fields. We see footage of horseback riding Mounties clubbing French Canadians and gleefully laughing about it. It becomes known as the “Brossard Death March.”

    US President Keaton is torn. Her administration is knee-deep in working on plans to privatize NORAD and sell the silos to the highest bidder. These clubbings, however, are the last straw. With great hesitancy, she asks her renamed Department of War, now in a leased tent on the grounds of the Washington Monument, which is now a Disney amusement park, if there’s anything that can be done. Secretary Davidson comes up with what’s known as the Rebar Plan that is designed to shield the fleeing French Canadians. He cannot guarantee that no civilian will be hurt, but the Rebar Plan does factor in minimization of any “collateral damages.”

    Secretary of State Blanton protests. “Even writing up these plans is a violation of the NAP!” he cries, pounding his fist on the plastic fold up Cabinet table. “It’s bad enough we’re drawing salaries! Nowhere is this justified in the literature.” Blanton hurls copies of FOR A NEW LIBERTY and THE ETHICS OF LIBERTY on the table. “I defy you to find anything basis for Rebar in the sacred tomes! This is blasphemy!”

    Recalling the opening sequence of THE PRISONER, Blanton pounces the table once more and resigns, shouting expletives, such as “f*ing statists,” as he mounts his bike to return to Richmond, randomly shooting his pistol into the air, legally, as all gun laws have been stricken.

    Treasury Secretary Phillies does note that the expense of Rebar would exceed the weekly operating expenses of the Supreme Court.

    Still, the best estimate Davidson can come up with is that Rebar will likely save 1 million lives, with almost no casualties or collateral damage.

    What’s The Keaton to do? Is the prohibition on military action for humanitarian purposes absolute, or can exceptions be made?

    Apparently Wrights says No. I can’t say I agree.

  3. Eric Sundwall

    @4 – Sundwall starts up the Green Mountain boys again (all volunteer). Crosses the St. Lawerence in better condition than Benedict Arnold and defends the Canadian Frogs from genocide. Goes home and minds his own business afterward.

  4. Steven Wilson

    It means nothing to a party or a government to engage in war, because there is no means of return force. Attacking Libya is like being a bully at school. The logistics of the bully make return of force illogical. The victim is chosen for their submissive taste and inability to engage on a level ground. If the victim tries to react, then what? Yes, you save face, but you get your face beaten.

    In a game where there is no chance of return of force, all of the speech is a language game.

    Telling someone here that you are anti-war means nothing, because your individual convictions can’t control the group dynamic.

    Americans as a government want sparta. Americans as a group dynamic want Sparta. Our social contract requires that what the government does, we the people do as well. Libertarians refuse to see it.

    No one is anti-war in application. Everyone is in theory anti-war, because it is always someone else that applies the war.

  5. Robert Capozzi

    es, yes, a reconstituted GMB would be preferable. As a practical matter, how long does this take, however?

    Of course, Davidson considered that in drawing up Rebar. While he wished he’d closed them, Watervliet and Plattsburg are still active, with troops and planes ready to go. Reconstituting GMB, he reckons, might take 2 weeks just to assemble, another 3 weeks to move out. They are not trained, and while some of them do now legally own bazookas, the GMB are likely to cause more inadvertent deaths than the USG’s troops.

    Meanwhile, the Mounties are clubbing 50K French Canadians a day. That’s how Davidson arrived at 1 MM lives saved.

  6. Robert Capozzi

    es7, yes, Atty General Chartier notes during the Cabinet meeting that this meeting is being televised, per President Keaton’s campaign promise for complete transparency. She has drawn on the line on having cameras in her bedroom, mostly because First Gentleman Doherty insisted. Note that the WH has been sold; they live in a white RV parked on Pennsylvania Ave.

    Governors Hawkridge and Hogarth and Mayor Moore become enraged by what they are seeing, pulling out the prewritten Ordnances of Secession for WA, NC and DC. “Do this abomination, Keaton,” they threaten, “and we’re outta here.”

  7. Thomas L. Knapp

    “a reconstituted GMB would be preferable. As a practical matter, how long does this take, however?”

    Less time than you might think, especially in a country with no restrictions on arms procurement and with a population in which double-digit percentages of the adult males are already trained military veterans — as would still be the case with the US your scenario calls for, even if the military drawdown that scenario implies started right now and proceeded on a steep curve.

    And that’s assuming — unrealistically, it seems to me — that volunteer militias wouldn’t already be in place, having stood up as the full-time, tax-funded military stood down.

    In some historical examples, transformation of substantial unorganized civilian mobs into fighting military units has been accomplished not in days or weeks, but in hours (Israel’s 1948 war for independence comes to mind).

  8. Robert Capozzi

    tk, Israel was an instance where the local pop. filled a vacuum to declare itself a nation.

    The Lincoln Brigade might be the closer analogy. It “swelled” to near 500 over time, way more than days, more like a year.

    Now, Eric might be able to assemble more in his volunteer militia, and he might do so prior to the Brossard Death March, and he might persuade his Hudson Valley Irregulars to take on the Mounties, and they might stop the clubbings. All possible. Some of them might even have aircraft, which in the modern world is required for increasingly fast-moving warfare.

    I’d vote to re-elect Keaton after Operation Rebar, despite the fact that — as Wrights might put it — 15 civilians were “murdered” in the process of saving 1MM. (Davidson’s plan worked well, although, like most plans, it was not perfectly scripted.) Now I’ll play language police and say, nope, not all accidental deaths are “murder.” This sort of wild overstatement is not only inaccurate, but is likely to be rhetorically unpersuasive.

  9. David Colborne

    As Prime Minister of Canada, I know what I’d do – I’d use the money from the Alberta oil sands to fund private militias in the US that are sympathetic to my cause. It shouldn’t be hard to find volunteers in New England, where the Quebecois immigrants have been displacing natives for jobs and charity. Maybe I’ll call them “Minutemen” or something. Of course, in the spirit of “privatization”, I’ll sell some Canadian military equipment to my new American militia, along with a generous support package that includes training and a replacement warranty. Only the best for my best customers. Then, once it’s ready to go, I’ll put them to work defending the border… in both directions.

  10. Robert Capozzi

    dc, love it! Counter militias. Why not? No “stolen” funds involved, after all! Arguably, the PM would not be violating the NAP, at least not in the US. It’s just “free trade.”

  11. TinFoilCap & JockeyShorts to Match

    I must have slept through it, but perhaps you can help me. When was Obama elected DICTATOR. The American people have suffered “police actions” without a Constitutional lawful Declaration of War too many times since the end of WW 2. Every time the U.S. Congress at least went through the motions giving the POTUS authority to “murder” people. Obama doesn’t even consult with Congress. He consults with the United Nations instead I guess!

    IMPEACH the BABY KILLER

    NOW !!!

    Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS, for they shall inherite the earth. – Jesus Christ

  12. Steven R Linnabary

    US President Keaton is torn. Her administration is knee-deep in working on plans to privatize NORAD and sell the silos to the highest bidder.

    I doubt that President Keaton could be that inept. NORAD has no function in itself, though she did sell some facilities to the airline associations, underground facilities might be sold for food storage or even mushroom farming. And all sorts of private uses are currently found for decommissioned missile silos (they are already being sold off, one in TX panhandle was inadvertently flooded and is now used for scuba training).

    The rest of the screed is just plain silly. Everyone knows that once people of other lands see what Libertopia means, they will follow suit and become free themselves…

    PEACE

  13. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    You write:

    “Israel was an instance where the local pop. filled a vacuum to declare itself a nation.”

    I’m surprised you’d point that out, since it bolsters my argument.

    The Israelis, who had been a state for all of two hours before they had to get their shit together, transformed arriving refugees into soldiers in somewhat less than 24 hours. I’m not sure why you think that this militates against the idea that a now-more-free population in a state with 200+ years of coherence and a large population of already-trained soldiers on-site could do so fairly quickly.

    “The Lincoln Brigade might be the closer analogy.”

    “More convenient for your quibble” /= “better”

  14. Robert Capozzi

    srl18: The rest of the screed is just plain silly. Everyone knows that once people of other lands see what Libertopia means, they will follow suit and become free themselves…

    me: LOL! loudly. Yes, that’s the point! Mahatma LaFleur was inspired by Keaton herself. He wants for Quebec what Keaton is doing for the US. Ottawa, however, is not moving nearly as fast. Some Canucks like The Keaton, too, but they’re not as quick to adopt statelessness as their religion. She’s only been in office two years, after all, and Rome wasn’t destroyed in a day! 😉

    Transition plans — like all plans — involve a lot of twists and turns. The Empire does strike back!

  15. Robert Capozzi

    tk, Israel is 263 miles from N to S. Niverville, NY to Montreal is 239 miles. The Israelis, however, lived within the 263 miles. Eric would have to drive 4 hours or so to engage the Mounties. If Colborne’s counter militias are in place, Eric might just get bogged down on the way.

    Davidson’s Operation Rebar paratroopers leaving from Plattsburgh get there in less than an hour.

    Logistics and practicalities can’t just be assumed away at the altar of the NAP, IMO.

  16. AroundtheblockAFT

    I assume none of this is happening during “Hockey Night in Canada?”
    And how did Keaton get to be president with whatever intellectual revolution that happened here somehow causing our non-French Canadian friends to become blood thirsty fascists?

  17. R. Lee Wrights

    Re: #13

    “Now I’ll play language police and say, nope, not all accidental deaths are ‘murder.'”

    There is nothing accidental about bombing a sovereign nation. You do it “knowing” you are going to kill innocents. There is no accident, it is murder.

    As I said, one excuse is as good as another for the warmonger, and he tries to ease his conscience by claiming he didn’t mean to kill the innocents. Every criminal has justification, in his own mind, for doing his crime.

  18. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob @ 21,

    “tk, Israel is 263 miles from N to S. Niverville, NY to Montreal is 239 miles. The Israelis, however, lived within the 263 miles.”

    So did the Arabs.

    “Eric would have to drive 4 hours or so to engage the Mounties. If Colborne’s counter militias are in place, Eric might just get bogged down on the way.

    “Davidson’s Operation Rebar paratroopers leaving from Plattsburgh get there in less than an hour.”

    Why the assumption that Sundwall’s troops won’t be paratroopers as well?

    “Logistics and practicalities can’t just be assumed away at the altar of the NAP, IMO.”

    Neither can Canadian interception aircraft and air defense facilities be assumed away at the altar of jingoism.

  19. Thomas L. Knapp

    @13, @23,

    I think there may be a language incompatibility problem here vis a vis “accidental.”

    Mr. Capozzi seems to prefer the same dictionary that the FBI’s tank drivers were using when they were knocking holes in the walls and pumping flammable poison into the atmosphere at Waco (“this is not an assault! This is not an assault!”).

  20. David Colborne

    @Thomas: I’ll point out that Israel’s situation was somewhat unique, in that the Israeli citizen militias were basically fighting Palestinian citizen militias, with little native industrial capacity on either side. The history of militias fighting successfully against professional militaries, however, is much less positive, with poor results showing themselves as far back as St. Clair’s Defeat in 1791, which convinced President Washington that we needed a professional standing army after all. Nowadays, it’s almost impossible for a militia to defeat a standing army (assuming said standing army actually wishes to fight) unless it’s supported by an external power, especially since modern warfare is as much a competition of industrial might as much as a competition of tactics and strategy. Put another way, even the best motivated militia will run out of food and ammunition sooner or later unless somebody is willing to help them out.

    For those of you keeping track at home – yes, this means we’ve been violating the Constitution ever since we adopted it. Neat, huh?

    I’ll also note that a modern military is more than just a bunch of people willing to fight. You also need people willing to provide and procure supplies, people willing to coordinate actions between multiple branches (air force, artillery, armor, infantry, electronic warfare, etc.) and so on. That doesn’t even get into the legal frameworks and enforcement mechanisms of such that we’ve created over the past 200+ years to keep the military in line.

  21. Porn Again Christian

    Robert Capozzi @4: The people you name would kill each other before things got to that stage. Or at least wear themselves out beating each other over the head with wet noodles.

    Personally I like Sundwall’s solution. Repeal the Neutrality Act and let people organize interventions – humanitarian or otherwise – on their own time with their own dime.

  22. Robert Capozzi

    rlw23: There is nothing accidental about bombing a sovereign nation. You do it “knowing” you are going to kill innocents. There is no accident, it is murder.

    me: I respect that that’s your opinion, but your opinion seems to reject the notion of *mens rea.* If a third-party intervenes in a crime, and in the process an innocent bystander is inadvertently killed, that’s generally considered an accident in Anglo-American law.

    If the act is NOT done with a guilty conscience, there’s nothing to ease. I’m not so sure that criminals do crimes without guilt, actually, although there is apparently the occasional sociopath among us.

    ____

    Around 22, ya know, my sense is that Canadians are generally not prone to this sort of thing. Then again, I had some hope that Obama would have been far less the hawk than he’s turned out to be.

    If some Ls believe that humanitarian military efforts are by definition unL and anti-NAP as Wrights seems to, then it seems relevant to test an absolute, extreme statement with extreme counters. Such is the nature of absolutism, as it claims to have NO exceptions.

    IMO, this exposes the weakness of applying NAP-inspired positions in such a stark, black-and-white manner. It might be nice if things could be this simple, but I submit they are not so simple.

  23. Steven Wilson

    Crime
    War
    Murder

    These language games are based on perspective. In order for them to be called such a thing, there must be a pre-existing sequence.

    Every effect that you associate with “kill” has a cause. Descartes would separate the two ,and the discourse would be a sequence of what?

    You break something into pieces and that makes you feel good. But there is no section of war
    murder
    crime

    There is just a sequence that is fluid and named.

  24. Porn Again Christian

    “I’ll point out that Israel’s situation was somewhat unique, in that the Israeli citizen militias were basically fighting Palestinian citizen militias, with little native industrial capacity on either side.”

    Not exactly.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_Declaration_of_Independence#Aftermath

    “Following the declaration, Moetzet HaAm became the Provisional State Council, which acted as the legislative body for the new state until the first elections in January 1949.
    Over the next few days the armies of Egypt, Trans-Jordan, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Lebanon, and Syria invaded Israel, and officially and militarily threatened to occupy the whole of the former Mandate territory, thereby starting the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known in Israel as the War of Independence (Hebrew: ????? ????????, Milhamat HaAtzma’ut). A truce began on 11 June, but fighting resumed on 8 July and stopped again on 18 July, before restarting in mid-October and finally ending on 24 July 1949 with the signing of the armistice agreement with Syria. By then Israel had retained its independence and increased its land area by almost 50% compared to the 1947 UN Partition Plan.”

  25. Robert Capozzi

    tk25: Mr. Capozzi seems to prefer the same dictionary that the FBI’s tank drivers were using when they were knocking holes in the walls and pumping flammable poison into the atmosphere at Waco (“this is not an assault! This is not an assault!”).

    me: Beg your pardon. Surely you’ve noticed that I almost always disagree with what the government does, including Libya. Yes, I didn’t have a knee-jerk reaction, in part because I don’t think a simplistic formula (the NAP) answers all questions on Earth, or even all political questions.

    tk24: Why the assumption that Sundwall’s troops won’t be paratroopers as well?

    me: Anything’s possible, like Colborne’s counter militias, too. I generally don’t associate “militia” with “advanced aircraft,” true. Do you? In the two short years of the Keaton Administration, Secretary Davidson’s had his hands full bringing the troops home. He has at his disposal decades of capital stock. Whether Eric’s Hudson Valley Irregulars can match that in 2 years seems highly implausible to me.

    tk: Neither can Canadian interception aircraft and air defense facilities be assumed away at the altar of jingoism.

    me: Wouldn’t do that. That’s Secretary Davidson’s job, to assess the prospects for Operation Rebar. He might conclude that the Canadians are just too well defended for the (dwindling) US forces to stop the slaughter of Mahatma LaFleur and his people. One might be skeptical of any conclusion Davidson comes to, and surely we know that the military makes operational mistakes all the time. They’re not perfect, nor do they claim to be, last I checked.

  26. Thomas L. Knapp

    What PAC said @ 31, and then some.

    The Israelis were up against several conventional armies, including the British-trained and -officered Arab Legion.

    Furthermore, the Israelis were not, precisely, ad hoc militias. Both the Haganah and the Palmach had been coherent organizations for years, and many among their cadre were veterans of one or both world wars and nearly three intervening decades of insurgency.

    The Israelis were at a distinct, but not total, disadvantage of arms — they’d been smuggling limited quantities in for decades and had “legitimate” deliveries negotiated and ready to start landing the minute the British were out of the way and the state was officially proclaimed/recognized.

    Bob @ 29,

    If you know that X will, or will likely, result in Y, then doing X encompasses the intent to cause Y, no matter how hard you wave your hands and scream “but that’s not what I WANTED to happen.”

    That’s why the War Party’s apologists spill so much ink into the whole “nobody could have known that [what everyone but us said would happen] would happen” project.

  27. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob @ 32,

    “I generally don’t associate ‘militia’ with ‘advanced aircraft,’ true. Do you?”

    An aircraft does not have to be “advanced” for people to jump out of it.

    If you want to put up the money, I’ll deliver you an airplane stocked with a stick of armed jumpers with four hours of ground school and a familiarization jump under their belts in 48 hours (you’ll have to promise not to use them in a way that will get me arrested, though).

    Get rid of the licensing and other government obstacles that Keaton would presumably have dumped, and give me the environment of a market awash in auctioned-off military aircraft, make it 24 hours.

    Next?

  28. Robert Capozzi

    tk, yes, except it’s generally more like X could lead to A through D. Not doing X could lead to E through H. Often, X leads to I through L when it’s put into motion, agreed.

    I’m not a War Party apologist. I’m a dove. I almost always side with “not X.” I’m open to X, under some unanticipated circumstances. I’m for X (Operation Rebar), under my thought experiment. I don’t think the NAP is the be all and end all, and I certainly don’t think it works as an operating theory or in application. It is, however, a beautiful sentiment.

  29. Robert Capozzi

    tk35: An aircraft does not have to be “advanced” for people to jump out of it.

    me: Thomas, really, your literalism is not conducive to this game. I didn’t mean to suggest that paratrooper transport is the ONLY advanced aircraft that’s available to Davidson. He has satellites, telemetry, etc. etc.

    Sure, in theory, the Hudson Valley Irregulars might assemble all this stuff by passing the hat, perhaps even on the cheap. The HVI may actually know how to — USE all this stuff. Davidson’s crew DOES know how to use it. His troops have had YEARS of training.

    In Year 3 of the Keaton Administration, I put my money on Davidson over Sundwall for odds of being effective in stopping the Mounties. By 2050, we can talk.

  30. whatever

    I had some hope that Obama would have been far less the hawk than he’s turned out to be.

    You have extremely poor judgment.

  31. David Colborne

    @36: I’ve never been a huge fan of the NAP because I think it’s just too nebulous. What is “initiating” force, exactly? After all, governments are inherently coercive, or so the story goes, so any and all actions I take to remove that coercion, up to and including armed insurrection against any and all that support any form of government, would not be an “initiation” of force, right? From my perspective, force was initiated against me when my neighbors chose not to overthrow all government against my wishes – therefore, I’m morally free (if not required) to kill all of my neighbors.

    Don’t worry – they’re bastards anyway.

    Or, if you prefer a straightjacket instead of a blank check, I could decide that, since voting is an expression of force, in which I apply political force to counter the political force of my fellow voters, I am morally prohibited from voting or participating in the political process. After all, if my vote results in a majority or is part of one, said majority will be imposing their will upon the minority of voters that voted against my candidate or measure. Therefore, I cannot vote because doing so would be initiating force to achieve a political goal.

    Or, we could just be really silly and apply a physics-based definition and declare that, since Amish people initiate force against barn frames to raise them off the ground, and they’re doing so to accomplish social goals (i.e. more barns for the Amish), they’re violating the NAP.

    I signed it anyway, of course, but it’s definitely not something that I get particularly excited about. Your mileage may vary.

  32. Robert Capozzi

    whatever: You [I] have extremely poor judgment.

    me: Thanks for the feedback. Perhaps I should have had NO hope vs. some. Oh, well.

    I can’t speak for others, but I suspect a lot of Ls shared my hope…not that BHO would not be hawkish, but that he’d be less hawkish than W. At this point, I’d say he’s about the same. Whether BHO launches another Iraq-type effort, we’ll see. That would make him more hawkish, in my assessment. Of course, how one scales such a thing can vary widely.

  33. Robert Capozzi

    fkc, knew, or suspected? If you knew, do you conduct precognition trainings?

    There was every reason to believe that BHO would continue and double down in Afghanistan, since he said as much. “Knowing” about Libya or its equivalent, however, is quite the feat. Good for you!

  34. FKC

    Didn’t know about Libya. But I had a strong feeling more countries would be bombed and invaded by the US under BO.

  35. Zane, LP member

    Excellent article by Lee Wrights. Capozzi’s fantasies were entertaining as well.

  36. Steven Wilson

    @33

    The trials after ww2 made that contract too dangerous. A declaration of war is a social contract which entails things like: reason for war, proof of harm, direction and intent of harm, duration of conflict, and rules of engagement for said war. Of course, it could be much simpler and written in pastel, if you like.

    The trial made it clear that if you are given a bad order, don’t follow it or else. Americans would be in prison right now if a declaration of war had been issued, because by law, it is a binding language game, which means that if it is not followed, then it is a war crime.

    It is a legal matter, not military.

  37. R. Lee Wrights

    If someone blew up your entire family, would it really matter if a well-intentioned busybody rather than an oppressive tyrant delivered the bomb?

  38. Robert Capozzi

    rlw48, yes, it would matter, at least for me. It might not for you.

    If your family died in an accidental auto wreck or from an impaired driver or from a deranged sniper, would those different circumstances not matter to you? Same result in all three.

    Since you insist on making this a personal matter, if your family was in a Nazi prison camp, would it matter if they died in the gas chambers or in from an errant bomb from forces attempting to liberate the camp or from natural causes?

    Mens rea matters to most. Perhaps not to you.

  39. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob @ 50,

    You keep bringing up mens rea, so let’s unpack the concept a little bit.

    US federal law doesn’t have a general culpability scheme, just various specific provisions (a conviction for capital murder, for example, would require “malice aforethought;” absent that, a killing would necessarily be a lesser offense).

    The British system does have a culpability scheme pertaining to mens rea that’s useful in understanding the term. The levels of culpability are:

    – “Direct intention” — You knew damn well that X would cause Y, and causing Y was your specific intent in doing X.

    – “Oblique intention” — Y is a nearly certain result of X, you know that if you do X then Y will almost certainly follow, and you do X.

    – “Knowing” — You know, or should know, that if you do X then Y is a reasonably certain consequence. You do X anyway.

    – “Recklessness” — You foresee that if you do X, Y may follow, but you don’t give a damn and do X anyway.

    – “Criminal negligence” — You didn’t actually foresee Y transpiring as a result of X, but any reasonable person would have, and you should have.

    I’m certainly willing to stipulate that most American policymakers aren’t guilty of “direct intention” (“hey, we want to murder a bunch of non-combatants, that’s why we’re doing this”).

    I could make a good case that war implies “oblique intention,” and consider the case that it implies “knowing” to be pretty much airtight (name the last war that had no non-combatant casualties — I know of six in Libya already — if you disagree).

    A really good lawyer might be able to get the case busted down to “recklessness,” but there’s no way anyone with enough functioning brain cells to tie shoes would buy “negligence.”

  40. Robert Capozzi

    tk, hmm, I’d not heard of “oblique intentions,” thanks. The notion of mens rea as a concept can be applied in a courtroom when pressing a criminal case. A criminal trial is an atomistic endeavor, however: Alleged perp did X and his intent was Y.

    Collective endeavors are similar, but different. It does not involve one mind, but several. Short of a provable conspiracy, the several minds might have somewhat different intentions…highly likely so, if not certainly so. Discerning a collective mens rea seems a fool’s errand, then. We can’t press a criminal case like we can with a murder trial.

    At the moment when Allied forces were approaching the Nazi concentration camps, what was the collective mens rea? I couldn’t begin to say, but my sense is they were — all things considered — attempting to liberate them. All things considered, I consider that to be virtuous. It might also have some busybody elements, too.

    Humans are almost always conflicted. Collectives of humans are almost certainly conflicted. (No, I can’t prove either assertion! It is my experience, though.)

    As you know, I find atomistic inquiry limited.

  41. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob @ 52,

    I don’t think we need to reach a “collective mens rea” issue here.

    One of the valid complaints about the Libya intervention is that Obama jumped into it on his own hook. To the extent that he could point to the Arab League and UN resolutions, they merely allowed him to do what he’s doing.

    He’s the one who decided to do it, and there’s no reason that his involved subordinates, right down to the US Navy E-1 pulling the arming pin out of the missile after mounting it under an aircraft wing, can be considered mere instruments, can’t be set aside (for the moment, anyway) as mere instruments/tools rather than as accomplices.

    If I was a prosecutor at Obama’s preliminary hearing for war crimes vis a vis Libya, my job would be to convince the judge that there’s probable cause to believe a crime was committed.

    I’d introduce each of America’s previous wars and military interventions as evidence. There’s not a single one of them in which innocent non-combatants weren’t killed.

    That right there should get me over bar to show probable cause that civilian/non-combatant deaths in Libya occurred because of at least “criminal negligence,” probably “recklessness” and/or “knowing,” and possibly even “oblique intention” on Obama’s part.

    If that judge responded in the way that American judges usually respond to prosecutors these days, it would be a slam dunk.

  42. JT

    David: “I’ve never been a huge fan of the NAP because I think it’s just too nebulous. What is “initiating” force, exactly? After all, governments are inherently coercive, or so the story goes, so any and all actions I take to remove that coercion, up to and including armed insurrection against any and all that support any form of government, would not be an “initiation” of force, right? From my perspective, force was initiated against me when my neighbors chose not to overthrow all government against my wishes – therefore, I’m morally free (if not required) to kill all of my neighbors.”

    You’re conceptually confused, David. Force isn’t initiated against a person from other people NOT doing something–it’s only initiated from a positive non-consensual action (e.g., murdering, raping, kidnapping, stealing, etc.). In the case of abortion, there’s a difference between whether an embryo is considered a person or not and therefore whether an abortion is actually an initiation of force. But otherwise, it’s really not a confusing notion–regardless of what Capozzi might say. I don’t necessarily think talking about that is something Libertarian candidates should do though.

  43. Robert Capozzi

    tk53: If that judge responded in the way that American judges usually respond to prosecutors these days, it would be a slam dunk.

    me: For real? We’re definitely watching a different movie, then.

    Obama is acting as agent, not principal. I disagree with his actions, but he’s presumptively acting for the collective. It’s quite a bit different than a criminal case, where the principal does an act for some sort of perceived personal gain.

    Atomistic analysis cannot fathom these notions, near as I can tell (and recall). Atomism attempts to break ALL action down to individual actors. I think that misses the forest for the trees.

    Nonetheless, a legalistic case can be made. It’s called an impeachment. Even then, however, Barr was IMO correct — impeachments are themselves in part political acts, not just legalistic ones, although they employ the trappings of legalisms.

  44. Robert Capozzi

    jt54, the “confusion” comes in when one tries to define with precision what is aggression, and what one is to do about said aggression, on the theoretical plane. On the practical plane, to the extent we CAN define both what constitutes aggression and what the appropriate remedies are, how would we transition to such a regime.

  45. David Colborne

    @54: Following the “I’m a little violent, short and stout” school of NAP-interpretation, force was initiated by the government by its mere existence. Since government only exists per the consent of the governed, I can safely assume that my neighbors consent to the government’s existence, which means they consent to coercing me. Therefore, I am justified in returning force to rectify the situation.

    I admit it’s a bit of a stretch – in fact, that’s sort of the idea. However, it is a stretch that can be made, which ties into why I’m not much of a fan of the NAP – it means what anybody wants it to mean. Therefore, I don’t think it adds value to our underlying philosophy; indeed, I believe it’s a pointless distraction that detracts from our ability to clearly enunciate what our philosophy is and politically put it to action.

    But, like any good libertarian, I’m willing to “agree to disagree” on this, which is why I signed it anyway.

    On another note…

    @53: I think you’d have to do a little better than say, “Given that all wars and war-like actions inevitably lead to civilian casualties, Obama’s choice to bomb Libya would and did lead to civilian casualties. Civilian casualties are a war crime. Therefore, Obama’s choice to bomb Libya is a war crime.” Why? Because of the axiom you’re basing your argument on – all wars and war-like actions inevitably lead to civilian casualties. Given that premise, all wars are inherently war crimes because all wars inevitably lead to civilian casualties. Granted, that’s probably philosophically accurate and it sure sounds nice in a coffee shop, but I don’t think it’ll get you a lot of traction in a court of law, much less a court of public opinion. It’s sort of like claiming that all unwanted sexual advances are rape – you’re drawing such a wide definition that your term becomes meaningless.

  46. Robert Capozzi

    rlw57: Dead i[s] dead. That is no opinion, by the way, that is stone-cold fact.

    me: Agreed. And it’s something we’re all going to experience, literally stone cold.

    HOW we die and HOW we behave (and more importantly think and feel) while alive, IMO, is the issue here. IF we live to a ripe old age peacefully and lovingly, we call that a life well lived. IF we die through aggression or negligence, we label that “tragic,” and perhaps “criminal.” IF we die due to malicious intent, we imprison and sometimes kill the perpetrator so that he/she doesn’t repeat his/her act.

    As you explore the possibility of being the LP’s top exponent, you have to ask yourself whether your black-and-white view of death and dying is likely to attract more to the cause of liberty. I’m open to the possibility that it may, but it seems more likely that your stark “dead is dead” message is unlikely to resonate with the maximum number of voters. I admire and resonate, btw, with your “peace” message, but I happen to think “dead is dead” is highly self-limiting. It’s a true statement, but it misses IMO the bigger picture.

  47. Robert Capozzi

    rlw60, yes, admirable. I don’t think most people need to be told “dead is dead” much more than they need to be told “the sky is blue.”

    So, I respectfully submit that pretty much no one needs to hear the message, “dead is dead.” What they may well need to hear is the wars the US is fighting are financially draining, unconstitutional, and, for lack of a better term, morally wrong. You may well personally believe that Bush and Obama are “murderers,” and as a L, I just don’t agree. If you get the nomination, I hope you dial back on this sort of (IMO) hyperbole, just as I hoped that Barr would have sorted out his message on things like DOMA. It hurt him and the L message, in my estimation, by his — for me — embarrassing view on the matter. But, truly, it’s just my opinion….

    I would think that when an actor signs up to play a role, he leans heavily on the playwrite’s intentions, mixing in the actor’s interpretations of the character. I’d think a responsible candidate would do likewise.

  48. JT

    David: “Following the “I’m a little violent, short and stout” school of NAP-interpretation, force was initiated by the government by its mere existence.”

    That’s your opinion, and not one I share.

    David: “Since government only exists per the consent of the governed, I can safely assume that my neighbors consent to the government’s existence, which means they consent to coercing me.”

    Even if I granted your above premise that I don’t share, consent to coercing you doesn’t equal actually coercing you. Someone who thinks drugs should be illegal isn’t the person who kills you in a drive-by shooting.

  49. R. Lee Wrights

    Re: #62

    “I don’t think most people need to be told ‘dead is dead’ much more than they need to be told ‘the sky is blue.'”

    No, not most people. Just you.

  50. JT

    Robert: “jt54, the “confusion” comes in when one tries to define with precision what is aggression, and what one is to do about said aggression, on the theoretical plane.”

    I agree with the latter part and not the former part.

    Robert: “On the practical plane, to the extent we CAN define both what constitutes aggression and what the appropriate remedies are, how would we transition to such a regime.”

    I agree with that.

  51. David Colborne

    @63: To be fair, I don’t really share that opinion, either. I’m simply passing on a portmanteau of various arguments I’ve heard through the years and tying them into a train of thought that potentially derails the NAP.

  52. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob @ 55,

    “tk53: If that judge responded in the way that American judges usually respond to prosecutors these days, it would be a slam dunk.

    me: For real? We’re definitely watching a different movie, then.”

    I don’t know what movie you’ve been watching. Let me tell you about a movie that I watched. Actually, not a movie, but a real preliminary hearing.

    Prosecutors wanted to charge a man with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. Here’s their “evidence” for probable cause:

    – The police observed the man leaving a veterinary supply store, went in and asked the clerk what he’d bought. It was some kind of horse treatment that could also be a meth precursor.

    – The police then followed the man’s vehicle until he was out of their jurisdiction, then pull him over. On searching the vehicle with his permission, they found the product in question and no other materials which they claimed could be used in meth manufacture.

    – Concurrently with that action, other police went to his home, which they searched not with his permission or with a warrant, but with the permission of someone else who happened to be there. They found no meth. They found no meth manufacturing equipment. They did “find” what they claimed was a reference to methamphetamine in an article from the Internet, printed on a piece of paper that both the defendant nor the other person in the house said they’d never seen before (there was no computer or printer in the house).

    – The defendant claimed that he had bought the horse stuff to use on a horse at his uncle’s horse farm. The uncle did exist, and did own a horse farm. When the police contacted him, he said he didn’t know anything about needing the horse product, but that the defendant did do some work around the place and didn’t always consult him about what the horses might need before buying it.

    The judge ignored the out-of-jurisdiction stop, the warrantless and permissionless search of the defendant’s home, the rather suspicious nature of the single piece of “evidence” presented, the fact that a plausible reason for possession of the substance in question existed, and the fact that no possible “co-conspirators” were identified in the “conspiracy” theory, and found “probable cause” to believe that a crime had been committed.

    That’s the prosecutorial standard in the US these days.

    If the defendant’s name wasn’t Barack Obama and he wasn’t POTUS, do you honestly believe that a judge wouldn’t find probable cause to believe there was mens rea given the existence of an order from Obama himself to various persons to go somewhere with guns and start blasting?

    “Obama is acting as agent, not principal.”

    In theory, yes.

    In recent experience, American presidents proclaim themselves “the deciders” and do whatever the hell they want to do. While they might make an agent rather than principal defense, it seems to me that that’s not something it would be wise to stipulate to. Let them prove it.

  53. paulie

    yes, it would matter, at least for me. It might not for you.

    If your family died in an accidental auto wreck or from an impaired driver or from a deranged sniper, would those different circumstances not matter to you? Same result in all three.

    Since you insist on making this a personal matter, if your family was in a Nazi prison camp, would it matter if they died in the gas chambers or in from an errant bomb from forces attempting to liberate the camp or from natural causes?

    Mens rea matters to most. Perhaps not to you.

    I’ve had many friends die – overdoses, health problems, accidents, suicide, murder, war, you name it…end result is they are no longer here. I can’t shake their hand or hug them or say hello and hear hello back. The causes of death don’t matter in the end.

  54. paulie

    I’m certainly willing to stipulate that most American policymakers aren’t guilty of “direct intention” (“hey, we want to murder a bunch of non-combatants, that’s why we’re doing this”).

    Not too sure about this…have you seen the research on the propensity of sociopaths and sadists to rise through the ranks in pyramids of power?

  55. paulie

    force was initiated by the government by its mere existence. Since government only exists per the consent of the governed, I can safely assume that my neighbors consent to the government’s existence, which means they consent to coercing me. Therefore, I am justified in returning force to rectify the situation.

    Per NAP, you can’t assume consent because your neighbors have failed to act. Pacifism is consistent with NAP; positive obligations to act are not.

    which ties into why I’m not much of a fan of the NAP – it means what anybody wants it to mean.

    Anything can be “stretched” out of recognition in this manner. That had nothing to do with the validity of the underlying theory.

  56. paulie

    I don’t think most people need to be told “dead is dead” much more than they need to be told “the sky is blue.”

    Sometimes the obvious is overlooked.

  57. paulie

    What they may well need to hear is the wars the US is fighting are financially draining, unconstitutional, and, for lack of a better term, morally wrong.

    People definitely need to hear all those things.

  58. paulie

    JT

    David: “Since government only exists per the consent of the governed, I can safely assume that my neighbors consent to the government’s existence, which means they consent to coercing me.”

    Even if I granted your above premise that I don’t share, consent to coercing you doesn’t equal actually coercing you. Someone who thinks drugs should be illegal isn’t the person who kills you in a drive-by shooting.

    As one who does agree with the initial stated premise that (forced monopoly) government initiates coercion by being a forced monopoly, I would further state that since our neighbors are likewise being intimidated, we can’t deduce that they support government at all. They may or may not, to various extents.

    Positive obligation to act may be a moral principle some can deduce for themselves from NAP, but making it an actual obligation for others to follow imposes costs and risks on those others, thus itself violating NAP.

  59. Gene Berkman

    “…if your family was in a Nazi prison camp, would it matter if they died in the gas chambers or in from an errant bomb from forces attempting to liberate the camp or from natural causes?”

    Just for the historicl record,there are death camp survivors who have said that they preyed for the allies to bomb the camp, even if they died in the bombing. It would bring an end to the death camp.

    I only bring this up for the historical record, not to defend any bombing or to say that anyone in Libya has consented to the bombing.

  60. JT

    Paulie: “As one who does agree with the initial stated premise that (forced monopoly) government initiates coercion by being a forced monopoly, I would further state that since our neighbors are likewise being intimidated, we can’t deduce that they support government at all.”

    For a particular neighbor, that’s true. We do know, however, that at this time only a tiny percentage of the population is comprised of anarchists (most of the LP isn’t even comprised of anarchists). So given the argument David presented, we’d know that the vast majority of people under our political system are literally initiating force against others simply by approving of having a government–even if one doesn’t know whether or not a particular neighbor is. Maybe you believe that, but I don’t.

  61. paulie

    For a particular neighbor, that’s true. We do know, however, that at this time only a tiny percentage of the population is comprised of anarchists (most of the LP isn’t even comprised of anarchists).

    Under the scenario, David (I realize he doesn’t actually advocate this) is saying that people can be collectively punished for not overthrowing monopoly government. I don’t see how collective punishment is compatible with NAP in any shape or form.

    So given the argument David presented, we’d know that the vast majority of people under our political system are literally initiating force against others simply by approving of having a government–even if one doesn’t know whether or not a particular neighbor is. Maybe you believe that, but I don’t.

    If I live in a gang-plagued neighborhood, that does not make me responsible for the crimes of the gang because there is not enough resolve among people in the neighborhood to get rid of the gang. If I went up against them by myself I would just get killed, yet I can’t compel other people to take action or hold them responsible for not doing so.

    If I pay the gang protection so they don’t do worse things to me, that still holds true.

    If I wear their colors so that I am less likely to be victimized by them, but don’t participate in their crimes, that still does not make me complicit.

    Only if I individually commit real crimes with real victims, regardless of whether they are carried out on behalf of a gang, a “government,” personal greed, blood lust, or voices in my head, can I be legitimately considered liable.

    I think David’s scenario misconstrues consent of the governed. That can be a useful mental exercise to get people to realize they can withdraw their consent. As an excuse for collective punishment, it’s just another excuse to hurt innocent people, no better than any other excuse.

  62. David Colborne

    If I pay the gang protection so they don’t do worse things to me, that still holds true.

    That gets a little iffy. At that point, you’re materially aiding the enemy, even if it’s not entirely voluntary. Of course, following our line of reasoning, that also holds true for paying taxes since that also aids and abets a coercive entity that routinely initiates force, which brings me back to the original perversion. The question is, how important is intent to the NAP? If you don’t mean to kill my friends, does that make it better? If you don’t mean to buy the ammunition that kills my friends, does that make it better? If you don’t mean to buy the food and drink of those that killed my friends, does that make it better? Or is dead, dead, as Mr. Wrights put it?

  63. paulie

    At that point, you’re materially aiding the enemy, even if it’s not entirely voluntary.

    In the same way as paying a mugger or extortionist materially aids the mugger or extortionist. The roles of victim and violator, and moral culpability, don’t change when the mugger or extortionist joins a gang or monopoly government.

    The question is, how important is intent to the NAP? If you don’t mean to kill my friends, does that make it better? If you don’t mean to buy the ammunition that kills my friends, does that make it better? If you don’t mean to buy the food and drink of those that killed my friends, does that make it better? Or is dead, dead, as Mr. Wrights put it?

    I think those are actually separate questions. If I am looking at the fact that a gangster’s bullet killed a friend or family member, it does not make a difference to me whether that bullet was aimed intentionally or by “collateral damage.”

    Does that make everyone the gangster has shaken down for money morally culpable? I don’t think it does.

    Does it make the whole neighborhood culpable, because they did not take this gangster and his gang out? Again, I don’t think it does.

  64. Robert Capozzi

    rlw64: No, not most people. Just you.

    me: This seems uncalled for. And not the tactful words of someone considering running for prez, IMO.

    tk67: me: “Obama is acting as agent, not principal.”

    In theory, yes.

    In recent experience, American presidents proclaim themselves “the deciders” and do whatever the hell they want to do. While they might make an agent rather than principal defense, it seems to me that that’s not something it would be wise to stipulate to. Let them prove it.

    me: Yes. Many prez’s have usurped far too much extra-constitutional authority, agreed. Generally, even then, they generally seem to be acting in the function of agent. As a practical matter, US law requires the impeachment process to “get” a prez for malfeasant behavior. Attempting other civil or criminal remedies seems extremely difficult. Perhaps it should not be that way….

    p70: Whose agent, iyo?

    me: The prez of the US is agent for all citizens. That’s the set up, at least.

    gb76: Just for the historicl record,there are death camp survivors who have said that they preyed for the allies to bomb the camp, even if they died in the bombing. It would bring an end to the death camp.

    me: Berkman again the voice of reason! Heroic behavior often involves a desire for a greater good, even at the expense of oneself, at least for some people. It might not even involve “sacrifice,” per se.

    I oppose the death penalty without exception (yes, I can be absolutist, too!) even if it involved the murder of someone close to me. I might feel a sense of vengeance for a moment, but my higher self knows that an eye for an eye doesn’t work.

  65. paulie

    The prez of the US is agent for all citizens. That’s the set up, at least.

    Seems like a flawed theory based on the available evidence.

  66. R. Lee Wrights

    Re: #83

    “I oppose the death penalty without exception (yes, I can be absolutist, too!) even if it involved the murder of someone close to me. I might feel a sense of vengeance for a moment, but my higher self knows that an eye for an eye doesn’t work.”

    But yet, you are willing to sacrifice innocent lives for a humanitarian cause? You oppose the death penalty for the guilty, but you would willingly impose the death penalty on innocent citizens if the cause was right?

    Must be hard to live with all those contradictions inside of you.

  67. paulie

    Wait, no, I got it.

    “the buck stops anywhere except here.”

    I’ll get that to the White House engraver’s office ASAP.

  68. Robert Capozzi

    p68: I’ve had many friends die – overdoses, health problems, accidents, suicide, murder, war, you name it…end result is they are no longer here. I can’t shake their hand or hug them or say hello and hear hello back. The causes of death don’t matter in the end.

    me: I’m sorry for your losses. Dying is a part of living, and while that might seem trite, it’s just as true.

    We remain vertical as long as we can. We hope we can live a good and long life, but when our time is up, it’s up.

    Dying from the hands of another seems especially offensive. I certainly would like to see this happen as little as possible. When States are the culprits, that seems even more offensive; it is for me.

    Surely we agree that States should do as little of this as possible. According to your construct as I understand it, there should be no State, in which case there would be no State-sponsored killing. In my construct, killings are all the same, although intentions differ. I’d like to shrink the State, especially its killings. If and when the day comes that the State is small enough, I’ll decide whether statelessness is viable. It’s not now, IMO, so I feel no need to assess whether State killings are somehow worse than private killings.

  69. Robert Capozzi

    rlw85: But yet, you are willing to sacrifice innocent lives for a humanitarian cause? You oppose the death penalty for the guilty, but you would willingly impose the death penalty on innocent citizens if the cause was right? Must be hard to live with all those contradictions inside of you.

    me: It may be “hard,” but it’s not a “contradiction.” If a convicted murderer is in prison or put to death, it makes the convicted murder no more of a threat to others, in theory, if the incarceration is properly done.

    I am open to the possibility that a humanitarian military action could, on net, save lives. Liberating the Nazi concentration camps would be an example. People died in the process so that more might live. It’s an ugly process to be sure.

    Would you, as the LP’s presidential candidate, say that liberating the Nazi death camps was “immoral”?

    Hate to put you on the spot, but answering “yes” will be a huge non-starter for your candidacy, I suspect.

    Saying “no” runs the risk of forcing you to rethink your view of humanitarian military efforts.

    Dodging it with theories about oil or FDR’s misdirections or economic flim flammery won’t do. We’re looking exclusively at the Allied troops, moving in on the death camps. Yeah or nay. Would President Wrights call the effort off?

  70. Robert Capozzi

    p84: Seems like a flawed theory based on the available evidence.

    me: Why, yes, aren’t they all?

  71. R. Lee Wrights

    Re: #89

    Bombing the camps would not liberate anyone. As far as I know, no camps were bombed. Liberation happens with ground forces not the Air Force.

    That is all of your little fantasy game I will play. It would be just enough to teach you something, if you didn’t already know everything.

  72. Robert Capozzi

    tk, good question. My quick research elicited no number of Holocaust survivors or Allied deaths in pressing this humanitarian effort, though my impression is the number of those interned was large, perhaps in the millions.

    Actually, the number doesn’t much matter. Allied forces approached these camps with a reasonable expectation that “many” were there, and that they were being killed. I suspect the net calculation was not being done, but as I understand it, the costs of potential Allied deaths was considered low, as resistance to the advance was low.

    How many were still alive was immaterial. People were being held in these camps, and there was an increasing amount of data that the Nazis were exterminating them. This had to be stopped..a “moral imperative” if ever there was one. IMO, it was virtuous to make the attempt to stop the incarcerations and exterminations.

    If the NAP tells us that this effort was “immoral,” then I’d say the NAP is flawed.

    You? Lee, you?

  73. Robert Capozzi

    rlw92: Bombing the camps would not liberate anyone. As far as I know, no camps were bombed. Liberation happens with ground forces not the Air Force. That is all of your little fantasy game I will play. It would be just enough to teach you something, if you didn’t already know everything.

    me: The LM might conclude, then, that your objection to humanitarian efforts exclude ONLY bombing. Ground forces put in harm’s way in a humanitarian military effort seems to be OK, according to you. Fair?

    You CAN label the Holocaust history a “fantasy,” you certainly have that right and latitude. This puts you, however, in a difficult position, one that I would view as “ahistorical.” My assumption is, it happened. My assumption is, the Allied forces broke it up. My take is, that was a virtuous act, whether it involved bombs or infantry or a combination.

    Avoid that at your own peril, ADR.

    And, actually, I don’t know everything, not even close. I do try to ask good questions, though…sometimes, inconvenient questions….

  74. R. Lee Wrights

    Re: #94

    You fantasize further with:

    “You CAN label the Holocaust history a “fantasy,” you certainly have that right and latitude.”

    I have done no such thing. Your fantasy, the one I speak of, is putting me in charge of Allied troops during WWII, and expecting me to play along.

    You conclude:

    “I don’t know everything, not even close.”

    Odd… that’s not the impression you leave most folks with, in my opinion.

  75. paulie

    Surely we agree that States should do as little of this as possible. According to your construct as I understand it, there should be no State, in which case there would be no State-sponsored killing. In my construct, killings are all the same, although intentions differ. I’d like to shrink the State, especially its killings. If and when the day comes that the State is small enough, I’ll decide whether statelessness is viable. It’s not now, IMO, so I feel no need to assess whether State killings are somehow worse than private killings.

    Ultimately yes, I believe we are better off without a state monopoly. However, I spend fairly little of my time dealing with that eventuality, my focus is more in the here and now. Like you said In my construct, killings are all the same, although intentions differ. I’d like to shrink the State, especially its killings. That’s exactly how I see it.

  76. paulie

    Why, yes, aren’t they all?

    I don’t think all theories are equally flawed. Perhaps I was too polite when I said flawed originally.

  77. paulie

    You CAN label the Holocaust history a “fantasy,” you certainly have that right and latitude.

    Whoah….what did that have to do with anything Lee, Tom, or anyone here thus far has said?

  78. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob @ 93,

    If you don’t want to answer the question, “I won’t answer the question” will do much better than attempting to change the question and then throw up a bunch of chaff to make it sound unanswerable.

    Some thoughts: In calculating net deaths added or saved, we’re not just talking about X number of US soldiers who happened to die within Y miles of a particular camp.

    It took a lot to GET them within Y miles of that camp, and if you’re going to justify the whole exercise on the basis of that camp’s liberation, then the bill is the bill for the whole exercise, not just the one unlucky private who took a stray round between the eyes driving his jeep through the gates of the camp.

    Getting to that camp also had consequences that go on the tab.

    How many millions of innocents died or were brutalized in 1945 and 1990 by a Soviet Union that probably would have exhausted itself beating Hitler and not been able to bring down its Iron Curtain absent US intervention?

    You’re the one who thinks this shit is calculable, so if you’re going to throw around the “net reduction” bullshit, start calculating.

  79. Robert Capozzi

    gents, I have no reason to believe that any of you are “Holocaust Deniers,” and my strong suspicion is you are not that.

    However, the Holocaust is the 800-pound gorilla in the collective psyche when it comes to humanitarian military action, IMO. It is invoked often. Many in the world do not want to see “another Holocaust.” I am among them.

    As a L, I have no problem with saying I supported the decision to liberate the camps, with military force, “stolen,” “monopoly” force. We can “what if” that to death, and in alternative universes, perhaps the Holocaust could have been averted…if only FDR hadn’t turned those ships back, if only the US only responded to the Japanese and not the Germans, if only Pearl Harbor had not happened, perhaps intentionally, etc. etc.

    It’s a conflicted world, and all actions are conflicted, most especially military ones. As we’ve learned from Austrian economists, no one has all information and the ability to read minds and see the future. There is, however, a special knowledge of time and place in which assessments are made, when we invoke our knowledge base and conscience to make a decision. The political decision-making process is especially challenged, as it involves so many people with so many agendas, drawing on a wide range of knowledge bases and thought systems.

    A L can certainly take the position that ALL humanitarian military actions are “wrong” and “don’t work out.” I don’t make that argument, however. Most don’t work out, at least not as planned. Looking back, I would have supported the troops entering the death camps to liberate them, even though “coercion” was used.

    Other Ls may well disagree. I do not support that position, and I do not like the odds of that such a position will be widely accepted. Indeed, while not as offensive to most (in my assessment) as Holocaust Denial, it seems likely that many/most will find little difference in the positions.

    I do think outright pacifism is more likely to be respected in the public square.

    Lee, sorry to leave you with the impression that “I know everything.” Near as I can tell, P and TK have larger knowledge bases than I do. So do Rockwell and Block. So does Barr. So does Nader. I reserve the right, despite their superior learning, to disagree with them from time to time. I’m a L, after all, and that’s a right I’d reserve for any level of learning! Wisdom is different from learning, and I prefer to work on wisdom, which means asking better and better questions in the search for truth. I’m most assuredly a work in progress there, too.

    At the moment, however, it seems unwise — all things considered — to take the absolutist view of humanitarian military efforts. It IS wise, IMO, to be HIGHLY skeptical of them, for the same/similar reasons you apparently have arrived at the view that ALL humanitarian military efforts are “immoral.”

  80. R. Lee Wrights

    Re: # 100

    Humanitarian efforts are not automatically immoral. I have never said that. What I have said is, murder for any reason IS immoral. It is sad to discover that you do not agree.

  81. Thomas L. Knapp

    I, for one, do not take an “absolutist view” of humanitarian military efforts, nor do I consider them immoral — any more than I take such views or make such judgments with respect to any other non-existent phenomenon.

  82. Robert Capozzi

    rlw101: It is sad to discover that you do not agree.

    me: ADR, but your “discovery” is in your mind’s interpretation of my words. I wish I could take away your sadness, but it appears your sadness is based on a semantical misunderstanding.

    Consider this: “murder” is a subset of “killing” another human. It appears that you are making it a MUCH bigger subset than is conventionally understood. It’s plausible, even likely, to assume that innocents were killed during the liberation of the concentration camps. Near as I can tell, you call that “murder.” I don’t. Most — I suspect — don’t.

    If this misunderstanding is the basis for your sadness, it seems likely that other people’s opinions/standards for what is murder and what isn’t may lead to a world of sadness. You may over time persuade the multitudes to your view. That’s certainly your prerogative.

  83. R. Lee Wrights

    Re: #103

    “If this misunderstanding is the basis for your sadness, it seems likely that other people’s opinions/standards for what is murder and what isn’t may lead to a world of sadness.”

    If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.

  84. Robert Capozzi

    rlw104: If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.

    me: Wiser words have never been spoken. 😉

    It seems obvious that we all get our chance to play the fool now and then. I’m sure I do.

    So, let’s assume that Lee Wrights’s view on “murder” is wise, and the 50MM are fools. For most of us fools, we just kinda deal with other people’s foolishness. Occasionally, we might take a stand in an attempt to wake people up out of their foolishness on this or that.

    You, however, are exploring running for president as a L. That does seem to carry with it certain responsibilities as the Pied Piper of Liberty, at least for a few months. I admire that you’re even consider taking on such a responsibility…takes guts. I salute you for it.

    I would, however, wonder whether thinking the vast majority of the electorate are “fools” is a winning approach. Unlikely. Consider something less judgmental…confused, perhaps….

  85. R. Lee Wrights

    Re: #105

    “I would, however, wonder whether thinking the vast majority of the electorate are “fools” is a winning approach.”

    Not the vast majority of the electorate, just a few of you.

  86. R. Lee Wrights

    I have come to realize that any excuse to go to war is as good as another … for the warmongers. They claim we must wage war to preserve peace in a humanitarian effort to save the world. What utter and complete nonsense. There is nothing humanitarian about killing people en masse, for any reason, save that of self-defense. It is blasphemy to kill innocent people and have innocent people do your killing for you, all the while proclaiming to the world you are doing it in the blessed name of Peace.

    It is time for all Americans to stop making excuses for war, or justifying it with supposed good intentions. War is much easier to stop before it starts than after it has already begun.

  87. Robert Capozzi

    rlw106, you could be correct. It could be that only a few “fools” support the possibility of humanitarian military action.

    Still, I suspect you are severely underestimating.

  88. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob @ 108,

    “It could be that only a few ‘fools’ imagine that there’s any such bizarre oxymoronic thing as ‘humanitarian military action.'”

    There, fixed that for ya.

  89. Thomas L. Knapp

    To expand and be a little less snarky about it:

    There’s no such thing as “humanitarian military action.”

    It may be that some policy-makers resort to military action in support of humanitarian goals, but military action itself is simply not humanitarian. It isn’t because it can’t be.

    Here’s a template of military action: “The mission of the Marine Rifle Squad is to locate, close with, and destroy the enemy, by fire and maneuver, or repel the enemy assault by fire and close combat.”

    That’s the template for military action — all military action. The particular weapons or the size of the unit may vary, but those means will always consist of the application of force for the purpose of killing people and destroying stuff, or activities to support the units doing the killing and destroying so that they can kill and destroy more efficiently.

  90. Robert Capozzi

    rlw and tk, now we’re talkin’ in circles. If you don’t think the military effort to liberate the concentration camps was not humanitarian but is rather an “oxymoron,” then I guess we just disagree.

    I do agree with Lee that wars are almost always not justified. I can’t tell if your position is some sort of an attempt at negotiation, or if you really believe there are no exceptions. If it’s a negotiation, then I would say I’d rather be at the table in some form to negotiate. Ls are not at the table, except perhaps Ron Paul.

    If y’all truly believe there are no exceptions, I respect the view, but I’m with Keaton and Davidson @ 4. And Emerson…the bit about “foolish consistency.”

  91. Robert Capozzi

    tk110, OK, that’s the template. A military action could involve attempts to liberate a captive people with the desire to minimize direct confrontation if possible, but to “fire and maneuver, or repel the enemy assault by fire and close combat,” as necessary.

    Having never served, I am out of my depth on the specific rules of engagement to advance a humanitarian-motivated mission.

    I remain open to the possibility that a humanitarian military effort may be the virtuous path. All things considered, the taking of the concentration camps gets close enough for my values. Operation Rebar works for me.

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