Well Done, Mr Obama!

I don’t argue with success. President Obama initiated and led a successful operation to get rid of another tyrant who also had American blood on his hands. He did it without losing a single American life. Whatever the cost in treasury was small in the broader scheme of things. It was a good investment. I think it’s fine to borrow a little money to deal with a rabid dog, however small the dog. Incidentally, my guess would be that the cost was less than 1/1000 of 1% of GDP. Want to bet?

I wonder what Libertarian pacifists have to say about the whole thing. I am going to ask them. One of the things they will probably argue (just guessing) is that there are many rabid dogs in the world, too many for us to deal with. Yes, I don’t mind borrowing money to deter all of them if need be. Tranquility is priceless.

There are several benefits to the Libyan/NATO victory for this country. (That’s Libyan blood and courage and NATO arms, including our own.)

First, rogues and political murderers everywhere are given a chance to suppose that if you kill Americans, we will get you afterwards, even if it takes twenty years.

Two, Arabs and oppressed people everywhere are figuring that we mean it when we say we like democracy for everyone. We did not always mean it. We do now that communism look like an antique instead of a superpower with the largest army and the most tanks in the world.

Three, this Obama international victory will cost him dearly in the next election. A fraction – I don’t know how large – of the people who voted for him the first time around oppose all American military interventions. For years, they have explicitly preferred a native butcher to an American liberator. Given how tight the election is likely to be, his victory in Libya might be the cause of President Obama’s fall.

If I were he, I would consider resigning this morning, like leaving the ocean after a really good wave.

About jacquesdelacroix

I am a sociologist, a short-story writer, and a blogger (Facts Matter and Notes On Liberty) in Santa Cruz, California.
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58 Responses to Well Done, Mr Obama!

  1. Richard Allan says:

    Incidentally, my guess would be that the cost was less than 1/1000 of 1% of GDP. Want to bet?

    Well I’ll take the other side of that bet because you’re already provably wrong. Even if you try and cheat by using World GDP or something. So I’ll offer you odds of 100,000:1 against, and my stake is US GDP. You can send the check for $141 million to my Swiss bank.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Why the insult? I don’t cheat, ever. I am sometimes mistaken, not often because I am careful but I don’t cheat. Of course, I mean US GDP, the only one that is relevant. Do you want to take up the bet seriously? The figures will come out eventually, in serious publications such as the Wall Street Journal.

      Just for a start: Do you have n idea of total US military expenditures expressed as a percentage of US GDP? I ask because that’s easy to ascertain right now.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Why the insult? I never cheat, ever! Of course I mean as a percentage of US GDP, the only one that’s relevant. Want to take up the bet seriously? The figures will come out eventually in serious publications such as the Wall Street Journal

  2. Bruce says:

    So much for Gaddafi thinking Obama was his Muslim friend. I understand the importance of being fair and balanced and giving credit where credit is due, hovever, I think this is just another instance of Obama being credit where it is not.
    Is that sour grapes? 10 little observations:
    1. No professional accomplishments in the private sector and still qualified to run the world’s biggest economy.
    2. Mediocre grades and still qualifies to get into Columbia and Harvard Law.
    3. Has racist pastor as spiritual mentor for 20 years but didn’t listen to the sermons so he’s still qualified to lecture America about the need to improve race relations.
    4. Hangs out with proud former terrorists like Bill Ayres, but that association makes him better equipped to run the world’s strongest military and prosecute our enemies.
    5. Has a non-job as a community organizer which qualifies him for the biggest job in the world.
    6. One term U.S. Senator who seldom showed up to vote because he was campaigning for the office he now holds. This makes him well suited to campaign for half his term in office.
    7. Takes no responsibility for poor performance but gets a pass if he blames Bush or bad luck.
    8. Brilliant orator, as long as he has a teleprompter (this ones so true it’s painful).
    9. A personality that’s calm, cool, and collected. Except when things don’t go his way, then it’s tantrum time.
    10. A decisive international figure, not afraid to take risks because if he fails it’s not his fault. If the SEALs had failed to take out Bin Laden you can bet some Admiral would be in front of the camera telling Wolf Blitzer what went wrong.
    Next time I’m in Starbucks with the wife unit, I’m going to ask one of the Libs I know to buy my coffee. I’ll call it reparations for affirmative action. It’s the least they can do for allowing them to feel good about themselves.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Well, Bruce as you should know, I agree with every one of your ten points. What’s your point today? Is it that my little congratulatory letter to the president contains falsehoods or questionable statements or is it that I shouldn’t have written it? Think it through and respond, pleeeeease!

      • Bruce says:

        HOOYA! for President Obama!!! There you go, I said it.
        Honorable mention to the French and British, and the Libyan rebels.
        If Barack gives the green light for a spec-ops mission to take out Abdel Baset al-Megrahi (Pan Am Flt 103, Lockerbie, Scotland) I promise to give him credit for that too.
        I hope he takes out as much garbage as possible before he turns over the keys in 2012. It’s easier for Democrats to go after our enemies, because our media backs them up most of the time.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        I am glad we finally see eye to eye, Bruce!

  3. Peter Miller says:

    Perceptive observations, all ten; and yet, if you’re going to do regime change, you need plenty of guile and cunning — qualities that the incumbent displayed in abundance during his 2008 campaign, and since. Now these arts are being practiced in foreign policy, with perhaps more positive consequences than in domestic affairs.The real test will be Iran though.

  4. Pingback: Dr J. Is Wrong, Wrong, Wrong! | FACTS MATTER

  5. thecrackshotcrackpot says:

    Ghaddafi is dead. Hooray.

    Now on to the part where we actually have to think about the consequences of our actions. Why don’t we take a look at the region of the Middle East that has actually held elections without being occupied by a foreign power: the Palestinian territories.

    Would you like to Google ‘Fatah’ and ‘Hamas’, or shall I?

    It’s great that Ghaddafi is dead, and it would be nice if our actions in helping to bring him down were celebrated throughout the Muslim world. I won’t hold my breath though. After bombing the Serbians to help out Muslim Bosniaks the U.S. was thanked with a couple of airplanes being flown into our commercial buildings (it also refroze relations with Russia that still haven’t thawed).

    The point I make here is not that all Muslims should be lumped together, but rather than our foreign policy establishment DOES lump all Muslims together. They never take into account all of the intricacies involving the political processes taking place in this part of the world. The effort in Serbia was a calculated response by the Clinton administration to win over the hearts and minds of the whole Muslim world, but what we got instead was soured relations with Russia and a nod of approval from the monarchies of the Gulf states, Turkey, and the autocratic regimes of Jordan and Egypt. One enemy (though certainly not the only one) of the Gulf state monarchies – al-Qaeda – had a different opinion on the matter.

    Al-Qaeda looked the other way and saw military troops protecting the monarchies of the Gulf states.

    Does anybody here seriously think that helping to dislodge a brutal dictator from power in the Muslim world is going to earn us the approval of the same Muslim world? In fact, what happens if – miraculously – a liberal, secular regime is voted into office in Libya? What do think will be the claims of the rival parties (especially the Islamist ones): that the elections were held fair and square, or that the new liberal regime is a mere puppet of the West?

    Bottom line: unless there is a direct threat to the U.S. republic, we shouldn’t be playing that Old World game of Realpolitik. All that leads to is intrigue, speculation, and entangling alliances. Sure, some dictators have died because of our efforts. Then again, some have also benefited. Everybody is a hypocrite of course, but the more we can avoid being so, the better. The idea – nay wish! – that the newly liberated people of the Arab world will somehow elect secular, Western-friendly governments after 50 years of oppression by regimes that were perceived by the Muslim public to be secular and Western-friendly belongs to be filed under the category of ‘fantasy’, not foreign policy.

    The Ghaddafi regime undertook policies that were hostile to the West. His regime sponsored terrorism against innocent people in the West. I am glad he is dead. I am glad that his own people shot him in the streets. But I think one of the major complaints that Libyan elites had for his policies was not that he sponsored these acts, but rather that he sponsored them under the guise of anti-colonialism rather than for Islam.

    A couple of thought exercises: what happens if the Libyan electorate chooses to entrust an Islamist political party hostile to the West with running the state? Does the United States accept the outcome, or do we take the same route we did when Hamas was elected in the Gaza Strip?

    How would the U.S. be perceived by the Muslim world if our role there was limited to one of trading, and not one of policing?

    Has anybody here thought about the possibility of a prolonged civil war in Libya due to regional rivalries that have been suppressed by a strong-arm dictatorship for the last 40 years? After all, the main reasons given for NATO’s operation in Libya was twofold: 1) to keep Libya from disintegrating into a civil war that would send thousands of refugees to Europe’s decadent shores and 2) to win over the hearts and minds of the Muslim world.

    Can we be confident that these goals have been accomplished, or are we merely stabbing at shadows in the dark in the name of democracy?

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Crackpot: I share many of your suspicions and even your fears though not especially about Libya, I think it’s going to be OK. But supposing you turn out to be completely right lesewhere. What’s the implication for action? Leave butchers in peace? Hope their victims don’t succeed in overthrowing them? Forever?

      • thecrackshotcrackpot says:

        No, I think that the people who live under dictatorships should overthrow their overlords, if they can. This doesn’t mean I support the U.S. government helping them out. Too many questions arise out of such policies. It’s easier to blame a foreign influence for troubles in our society than it is to blame ourselves.

        My quick policy proposal for foreign relations: 1) stop hurting people through economic sanctions. Those only hurt the people we are trying to help and help the people we are trying to hurt. 2) stop supporting regimes for strategic purposes. Doing so often causes us to turn a blind eye towards the some of the worst aspects of these strategic partners. 3) stop condemning states for doing things that we do ourselves. It’s hard to condemn the prison states of China and Cuba when we have the highest rate of incarceration in the Western world, for example.

        I think Egypt and Libya are going to be just as bad as they have been, if not worse. Only Tunisia, which did not rely on foreign support AND recently elected Islamist parties to their new government, will come out of this for the better. I hope I’m wrong, of course, but libertarians rarely are!

        The Islamist parties in Tunisia, by the way, don’t have the same “anti-imperialist” sentiments as the Islamists in Egypt and Libya do. I wonder why…

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        All reasonable except for what’s not covered in your program:

        1 When an existing state protects actively terrorists on its soil that it could stop and those terrorists kill Americans, are we supposed to say, “Win some, lose some?”

        2 Should the United States be returned to British rule because it gained its freedom through foreign intervention?

        And I now you have already answered the question below; I just want confirmation, to make sure I don’t misunderstand you.

        When someone is burning little girls’ faces with acid next door do you really believe it’s best to do nothing?

        When Egypt and. or Libya turn out to do real well in two years, will you think of sending and “Ooops” message? I ask, because, as you well know, your fellow isolationists who are on the Left, never do.

  6. thecrackshotcrackpot says:

    Haha! You never cease to amaze me Dr. J…

    1 When an existing state protects actively terrorists on its soil that it could stop and those terrorists kill Americans, are we supposed to say, “Win some, lose some?”

    No, if a state is sponsoring terrorism against the republic or against our allies then we should go to war with the sponsoring state. After the fall of communism state-sponsored terror essentially ceased, though, because despots like Ghaddafi realized that they couldn’t play the superpowers off on each other.

    It is trickier when there are terrorist organizations that are not connected to states. Luckily we have all the resources needed to maintain a leaner, meaner military and clandestine force to combat such organizations. Additionally, removing our government-sponsored military from places where they are not welcome would also decrease the likelihood of being targeted by terrorist organizations.

    Unfortunately, bringing our troops home and modernizing our military and clandestine apparatuses don’t seem to be high on Washington’s priority list.

    2 Should the United States be returned to British rule because it gained its freedom through foreign intervention?

    I think you’re looking at this from the wrong angle. We should not be focused on the two factions who fought what was essentially a civil war, but rather on the foreign influence that intervened in the war on behalf of one side. What happened to France politically, economically, and socially after the Anglo-American War?

    I don’t think that our society is going to descend into something resembling the Terror anytime soon, but the political, economic, and social constraints placed on our society by Washington’s interventions – both foreign and domestic – are all very visible today.

    When someone is burning little girls’ faces with acid next door do you really believe it’s best to do nothing?

    This practice is horrible, and of course I condemn it. However, bombing, invading, and occupying a foreign state because of some news reports documenting the throwing of acid into little girls’ eyes is just a little bit ridiculous.

    Do you think it would be fair to say that the Soviet Union would have been justified in bombing the United States from Cuba because of the Jim Crow laws? The logic in this last point suggests that they would have been.

    We should publicly condemn this practice, and even publicly support (but not fund) rebellion in despotic states, but ultimately this despicable practice needs to be stopped by those whom it affects. The men in Afghanistan need to grow a pair.

    If Egypt and Libya turn out to be fine and dandy in two years time, I will be ecstatic and relieved. And of course I will send you a letter of apology. I’m just hoping you’ll do the same if you’re wrong. However, based on your bleeding heart arguments for fighting other states because little girls sometimes have acid thrown in their eyes, I won’t hold my breath expecting one.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Crackpot: I am glad we agree on the US intervention in Afghanistan based on the fact that the Taliban hosted and refused to deliver the terrorist Al Qaida.
      The “some press reports” statement regarding the Taliban blinding of little girls with acid shows what might be deliberate ignorance. The assertion was made by several responsible neutral sources, including National Geographic, not exactly a hawkish extremist publication. I suspect the LIbertarian pacifist stance cannot be maintained without a broad practice of tactical ignorance such as you just demonstrated: Iran’s nuclear weapons? No problem.
      Your disquisition on the French Revolution simply ignores my question: Is the American revolution any the less valid because ti was helped by the intervention of a foreign power, France? When you seem to relate the Terror to this intervention, you are going out on a very thin limb. There is a conventional belief that the French intervention hastened the revolution in France by aggravating the public debt. It’s not much and isn’t there a chance it’s a little out of your area of expertise? All the same, I admire your gumption! Next thing you know, you are going to offer to continue this discussion in French and you will correct my grammar in that language! (OK, that last statement wasn’t fair. I couldn’t resist. I am deeply ashamed!)

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Reply part II: You sidestepped my main question by taking advantage of my advanced age to distract me with ancillary issues:

      If you negative feelings, your apprehensions about the Arab Spring were all well-founded (were) should we then, as a country, continue to favor tyranny in those countries as we did for thirty years?

      Same question: How about individually, as human beings?

  7. thecrackshotcrackpot says:

    This is starting to feel a lot like shooting fish in a barrel Dr. J. Since we both know exactly how Leftists argue, I think it would be pertinent to over your rebuttals point-by-point.

    I am glad we agree on the US intervention in Afghanistan based on the fact that the Taliban hosted and refused to deliver the terrorist Al Qaida.

    And it would have been nice if we had focused our resources and our energy on staying there and hunting down al-Qaeda. There is also something amiss here: Osama bin Laden was shot dead in a shootout involving our special forces underneath the nose of Pakistan’s version of West Point. As we both know very well, the Taliban and Islamabad have never been on friendly terms, yet both sides gave refuge to bin Laden.

    My suspicion is that both factions harbored bin laden because of his immense wealth, not because of ideological solidarity. Also, I am not sure that the Taliban would have even been able to retrieve bin laden if they wanted to. Rule by the Taliban was no doubt cruel, but for the most part they relied heavily on regional strongmen and political alliances to maintain control of the state.

    With all this being said, I don’t think we ever declared war on Afghanistan. I may be wrong, but I think we focused our efforts on toppling the Taliban regime and hunting bin laden rather than fighting the Afghan state. This is actually a logical outcome, if you think about it, because al-Qaeda was not sponsored by Kabul, and it most certainly was not sponsored by the impoverished warlords of the Afghan regions, either. I’m willing to bet that the Taliban were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Remember, al-Qaeda, or whatever is left of it after President Obama gets finished with them, is not the same thing as the Taliban. I would even say, with some confidence, that the Taliban knew nothing of the attacks being planned against the United States.

    Either way, both factions are finished, and it’s time to bring our troops home after a job well done (thanks to President Obama’s strategy).

    The “some press reports” statement regarding the Taliban blinding of little girls with acid shows what might be deliberate ignorance. The assertion was made by several responsible neutral sources, including National Geographic, not exactly a hawkish extremist publication. I suspect the LIbertarian pacifist stance cannot be maintained without a broad practice of tactical ignorance such as you just demonstrated: Iran’s nuclear weapons? No problem.

    My point wasn’t to discredit the press reports, it was to suggest that going to war with a state because a regime sometimes sponsors the throwing of acid into little schoolgirls’ eyes is a little bit silly. And where did the statement on Iran’s nuclear weapons come from?

    Pulling stuff out of thin air to legitimate a point that was used to purposefully misconstrue the argument of your opponent is something only Leftists do, usually.  When are you going to come out of the closet, Dr. J?  We’re all dying to know!

    Your disquisition on the French Revolution simply ignores my question: Is the American revolution any the less valid because ti was helped by the intervention of a foreign power, France? When you seem to relate the Terror to this intervention, you are going out on a very thin limb. There is a conventional belief that the French intervention hastened the revolution in France by aggravating the public debt.

    Ah. Here I think there is a miscommunication between us. If a revolution happens, it is valid regardless of who is involved and who it affects. Pretending otherwise is a waste of time. I brought in the French angle because today the United States IS France playing the role of interventionist in the Middle East.

    How is relating the social, political, and economic upheaval of the Terror – which was aggravated by French intervention in the Anglo-American war – going out on a very thin limb? I did not suggest that we are on a crash course for violent revolution. I only drew some (quite pertinent) parallels between the two situations: supporting revolutions that have nothing to do with national security has never bode well for the states that do the intervening.

    If you negative feelings, your apprehensions about the Arab Spring were all well-founded (were) should we then, as a country, continue to favor tyranny in those countries as we did for thirty years?

    Ah. I have never said that I do not support the revolutions going on in the Middle East. Ever. What I have done is raise a flag of caution in the face of bellicose calls for more bombing, more involvement, and more intrigue on the part of Washington in the revolutions going on in the Middle East. Given that we have been supporting brutal regimes in that part of the world for the last half century, I don’t think our involvement will be looked upon with graciousness by the peoples we are inevitably trying to help.

    Of course I support the revolutions going on in the Middle East, I just don’t support our government getting involved with them. When the dust clears, I think we should be the first state to stick out our hand and offer our friendship to the new governments.  I think the people of the Middle East would be inclined to agree with me.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Crackpot: For the most part, I am happy to let your comments stand. Together, we do a reasonably good job of clearing up issues about intervention. I don’t need to “win” the argument. However, however, I think you don’t pay enough attention to easily ascertainable facts: Your write: “I don’t think our involvement will be looked upon with graciousness by the peoples we are inevitably trying to help.” The Libyans don’t look on the NATO intervention, including the US, with graciousness?

      • thecrackshotcrackpot says:

        Good point, good point. Here is my quick (or not-so-quick) take: the Libyans living in exile in the United States have certainly been gracious. The temporary government in power has certainly been grateful. The Libyans in Europe harbor very different views, though. They see this as an imperialistic adventure. They loathe the fact that NATO helped the rebellion in any way, shape or form.

        The Libyans in Libya have even more disparate views on the subject. Some have turned their ire towards the tyrant of Algeria. Some are claiming that NATO intervened because of Libya’s oil, and they point to the Palestinian territories to ask why NATO hasn’t helped them. Some of them have been gracious towards the Arab monarchies that purportedly helped NATO in its bombing campaigns. Some Libyans have expressed thanks to NATO. Some Libyans have fixated on Israel. None of them, from what I have seen, have expressed any sort of graciousness at all to the United States of America.

        My sources are the unscientific and spam-prone discussion boards on Al-Jazeera’s Arabic-speaking website and a couple of films that I have watched in some Anthropology classes. In fact, in one of the films there were calls for help from Egypyt, Jordan, and Kazakhstan after Ghaddafi began fighting with airplanes, but nobody on the streets was calling for help from the West.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Always interesting but more like the basis for a movie story. MOre lack of attention to well-known facts. You write: “the Arab monarchies that purportedly helped NATO .”

        One Arab monarch helped NATO, and not “purportedly.” Its’ Qatar which even flew air attacks, aside from other forms of help. For the time being, the voice of Libya is the provisional government. It’s a rickety alliance composed of every movement that wanted Kadafy out, a very broad alliance according to every observer (except perhaps you). THat government asked NATO to stay. How can one be more positive?

        You follow Al-Jazzeera Aabic speaking discussion boards? I wish I knew Arabic too.

        And, by the way, if you have consulted any part of Al Jazzeera for any length of time, don’t you agree this press organ has its own agenda which is not secret at all, not even discreet?

        Films on curre tt situation in Libya in an Anthropology class? Kind of strange. (I don’t doubt it happened but it’s strange.)

  8. thecrackshotcrackpot says:

    One Arab monarch helped NATO, and not “purportedly.” Its’ Qatar which even flew air attacks, aside from other forms of help.

    Haha! I know the facts fairly well. I was simply relaying what I have read about the thoughts and opinions that Libyans have on foreign policy. You and I know that Qatar was the only monarchy to participate in the bombings, but we also have access to information 24/7. Some Libyans still rely on more archaic forms of communication to attain information…

    It’s a rickety alliance composed of every movement that wanted Kadafy out, a very broad alliance according to every observer (except perhaps you). THat government asked NATO to stay. How can one be more positive?

    Asking a powerful, benevolent military alliance to occupy their country while they figure things out is not the same thing as being thankful for NATO’s bombing campaign. They might be happy that they suckered the West into doing their dirty work, but that is not the same as being grateful.

    And while the alliance may be broad, it no doubt has enemies that have been excluded. I’m sure we’ll find out more about these enemies as time moves on.

    You follow Al-Jazzeera Aabic speaking discussion boards? I wish I knew Arabic too.

    Dude, Google’s Chrome application for websurfing has a translation option every time you land on a page that is published in a foreign language. You just click ‘yes’ or ‘no’ if you want it to be translated. It’s 2011, bro.

    And, by the way, if you have consulted any part of Al Jazzeera for any length of time, don’t you agree this press organ has its own agenda which is not secret at all, not even discreet?

    I totally agree, but I don’t think that the ‘comments’ section is moderated much. It’s a lot like the Huffington Post, actually. A genuine agenda is easily recognized, but that agenda does not really trickle down into the discussion boards. Anybody can have their say!

    Films on curre tt situation in Libya in an Anthropology class? Kind of strange. (I don’t doubt it happened but it’s strange.)

    Oh yeah! Please buh-lieve it! The anthropology courses I’m working with are really just political and economic theory using examples of societies outside of the West rather than reading excerpts of John Locke’s Second Treatise for the umpteenth time…

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      You are a kind of expert on Libyan public opinion accessed in translation from Al Jazeera with a software that can hardly translate;:”My father’s car…” That’ s In preference to statements made by a ramshackle bu very broad coalition watched over by hundreds of western journalists on the ground some of whom (the French) have Arabic as a first language. Strange!

      • thecrackshotcrackpot says:

        I understand that the translations are not perfect, but it doesn’t take a genius to understand what they are saying. I never said I was expert, either.

        Western journalists – especially from the states that are essentially welfare queens of U.S. military strength – have a lot less clout than does the Arab street, in my opinion.

        Time will tell, of course, which one of our predictions comes true. In two years time, Tunisia, which did not get any help from the West, will be a functioning democracy with a ruling coalition of moderate Islamists in power.

        The Egyptian military will be promising the public that elections are just around the corner, and Libya will be in worse shape than it is today. Two years from today, Dr. J, you will be issuing an apology to me and making a donation to the charity of my choice.

        Since you are very good at avoiding the facts on the ground in the name of democratic progress, i think we should establish a measurement rubric by which to measure the progress of Libya. How about GDP (PPP) per capita as measured by the IMF?

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Libya will be in worse shape than it is now? In worse shape than it was under Kadafi? (He sure could keep order.)
        I have already spoken to much of what you are saying: Suppose your prophecies turn out to be completely right. Would it mean that we should prefer the bloody tyranny of terrorists like Kadafi? Isn’t t his simple?

  9. thecrackshotcrackpot says:

    Perhaps, but we don’t know what would have happened to Ghaddafi if had stayed clear of this problem (which had nothing to do with national security or defense).

    Civil war was inevitable, given the nature of the Libyan state, but introducing a superpower into the struggle has only complicated Libyan matters.

    A civil war sometimes helps a people to iron out their differences. I think our involvement there only enhances the creases that need ironing.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Carckpot:

      What problem (singular)?

      Civil war was inevitable? After forty years? You re kidding, right?

      Yo are almost forcing me to write an essay just for you about Arab tyrannies, 1960 – 2011.

      • thecrackshotcrackpot says:

        What problem? The Libyan state falling apart.

        Civil war was inevitable? After forty years? You re kidding, right?

        Um, the rebels and Ghaddafi’s henchmen went after each other in the wake of revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia. Ghaddafi struck back quite effectively, but the violence didn’t end after those first strikes.

        Ghaddafi may have eventually won the civil war, but he would either have had to eliminate his rivals completely (which he was certainly capable of doing) or he would have had to come to some sort of agreement with some of the factions he was fighting.

        Helping the rebels eliminate Ghaddafi only removed one faction from the fight for Libya’s future. Many, many different factions believe that Libya should move in their direction. Most of the efforts to come to some sort of agreement with each other are going to be wasted on other priorities, though – namely the influencing of Western powers to support their specific cause.

        With the West out of the picture – or at least off to the side where neighbors usually reside – the Libyans would have to work together to come to some sort of agreement for their state going forward. This is unlikely to happen now. Instead, what we’ll see is a prolonged conflict that will look a lot more like Iraq rather than Tunisia, as each faction uses the hapless and naive West for their own purposes of attaining power over a massive, oil-rich state that has known nothing but rigid central control for almost a century.

        I would love to read an essay on Arab dictatorship over the past half-century. Don’t forget to include the involvement of the West in the process. Name names and spare nobody from your rancorous wit!

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Pretty much the same story as that of the first years of the American Revolution including the foreign intervention and under enormously favorable circumstances than the poor libyans encountered. After all ,KIng Georges was no Kadafi.

  10. thecrackshotcrackpot says:

    Tsk tsk. You’re getting sloppy Dr. J. I suspect you have re-ignited your passion for smoking ganja. Santa Cruz has a wonderful variety from around the world to choose from.

    As I have previously noted, the angle we should be looking at (from a national security perspective) is the one of France during the Anglo-American War. They are the ones who intervened on behalf of a rebellious segment of the British Empire, just as we are intervening on behalf of a rebellious segment within the Libyan state.

    Nevertheless, you keep repeating this tired mantra so I figure I’ll try to kill it. Right here and right now.

    Let’s start with your keen observation that King George was no Ghaddafi. Aside from being totally correct, I think it would also be pertinent to point out that King George was also at the helm of a worldwide empire that was in constant rivalry with not only France for global hegemony, but also with aspirant regional hegemons throughout the world. Now contrast this position with that of Libya at the time of Ghaddafi’s offing.

    King George also wielded a lot less power than did Ghaddafi. Indeed, he wielded a lot less power than most monarchs of his time period. As we both know, the British parliament held immense power, and King George was in constant conflict with them. The Rule of Law was alive and well in Britain during King George’s reign. Contrast KG’s position with that of Ghaddafi, a brutal tyrant who exercised a near-supreme will over his subjects.

    Let’s review the circumstances of the positions of the two tyrants of Dr. J’s choosing before we continue any further: one of them was at the helm of a global empire and constantly held in check by his own parliament and the Rule of Law. The other was a tyrant of a mid-sized post-colonial state in North Africa who ruled with an iron fist and was spurned by most of the global community.

    Can we continue?

    France (whose position, remember, during the Anglo-American War is the one that most resembles our own today in regards to the Libyan excursion) was in constant conflict with Great Britain. They were fighting for global supremacy. French support, then, came not from benevolence or fear of mass migration from the U.S. to France, but from a calculated decision to strike deeply at a hated enemy, one that had recently acquired all of France’s colonies in India and North America.

    The U.S., in contrast, has become involved in the Libyan civil war because of cries from weak and decadent allies to come to their aid for fear of a mass influx of Muslims into their welfare states.

    Not exactly a struggle for global supremacy. I suspect you will warn your readers that China (GDP PPP per capita Intl$7,000) is watching us, of course.

    The 13 colonies that fought for independence were independent polities, too. They all had their own ideas and thoughts and interests to look after when coming to an agreement with each other. Libya – one state – has merely one resource that is apple of everybody’s eye. While the American experience was one based on compromise and sectional interests, the Libyan experience is one that will be based off of the redistribution of wealth. Not a good start, if you ask me.

    An observation and a question: the transitory government of Libya has recently asked NATO to continue its no-fly zone to at least the end of the year. It has recently welcomed foreign troops from Qatar to help shore up its defense forces. My question to you, Dr. J, is this: did the transitory government of the U.S. ask foreign powers to patrol their streets for them? To continue to keep their navies nearby to help dispense of any lingering British presence?

    I find it suspicious that the Libyan rebels have relied so heavily upon foreign support. What is their motive for this? Most rebellions hearken calls for independence and liberty. Why do they beg the West for help? In my mind, a government – even a transitory one – that is incapable of standing on its own two feet without the support of foreign influence and power, is not a government that will long be trusted by the people it purports to govern.

    Is the Libyan experience similar to that of the American one? Sure, but only a very superficial level. It would be best to leave Libya to the Libyans – warts and all.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      I can’t afford ganja

      I am not sloppy. The problem is that you and I are bumping against basic value preferences. I think you and your love peace too much, at any cost.

  11. thecrackshotcrackpot says:

    Jacques Delacroix,

    I have finally vanquished you. Your argument for military intervention around the world has been reduced, it would seem, to one of stubborn resistance to reality.

    Here is what an old fart once wrote on the topic of faith and facts:

    “I think facts matter and the people whose influence I fight every hour of the day […] think only beliefs and intentions matter. They are further sure that beautiful beliefs are more real than facts and that they trump facts (if any).”

    Keep this in mind and I take you and your readers on a little trip down memory lane. In your introductory volley against a libertarian foreign policy based on constitutional adherence and national interests – Peace At All Costs: Growing Isolationism Among Libertarians – you painted a crude picture of libertarian foreign policy as one that placed too much faith in clandestine operations and technology to do the job of eliminating terrorism. This was prior to the killing of Osama bin Laden by our clandestine and special forces operatives, of course. Also prevalent was the argument that Islam is by and large an oppressive and intolerant force for evil in the world. You also failed to address the argument that terrorist actions largely occur against governments because of an unwanted occupation.

    Your second volley, Unconditional Peace: A Continuing Debate Part 4, is a largely failed attempt to break down the argument that military occupation plays no role in Jihadism and an attempt to link libertarianism with pacifism. Both were flatly rebutted. Yet that did not deter you or change your mind in the least. It is not enough for you to have an adequate defense force that protects the territory and integrity of the Republic. We must bomb, maim, and bully other peoples in the name of peace as well.

    Your pleas for peace throughout the globe were well on display in your next tract – Tripoli, Libya: What’s Not Discussed in the Media; Augmented: Looting – where you celebrated the removal of a petty dictator by the U.S. and its allies on the borders of Europe. You seemed to be saying that what you wanted more than anything else was a Republic that was dedicated to keeping the peace in other societies by removing dictators from power. That seems, to me anyway, like a way of using government to bring about peaceful means. Notice how national security has become a non-issue for Dr. J. You also seemed to be saying that Libyans were looking towards Iraq as an example of what their societies could like in the future. 700,000 dead, mostly from sectarian violence, and neoconservatives continue to laud the efforts of Washington there and compare them to some mass murdering sprees perpetrated by the very individuals that Washington installed in the first place. Incredible!

    You saved your most venomous assaults on the foreign policy doctrines of most libertarians for last, though. In your essay entitled Libertarian Military Isolationism: Forward All, With Eyes Tightly Shut you direct your attention to the achievements of the American military over the course of the 20th century. At this point in time it would be pertinent to remind readers that Delacroix’s arguments no longer center around the dangers of Jihadism or Islam in general, as he did in his first volley. No longer is he talking about the role of military occupation in terrorist activities, as he did in the second volley. No longer is he pleading a moral case for bombing another state, as he did in his third volley. No, Delacroix is, in this essay, content to compare libertarian society to that of Somalia – as so many Leftists do – and list a number of achievements that the U.S. had purportedly accomplished in the past century. He calls for a Republic to be armed to the teeth, and appeals to the fear of some conservatives (mostly those who reside in all-white states in the middle of the Republic) that small, despotic and irrelevant states are watching our every move, and waiting to strike at the first chance they get. Never mind that these despotic states only have to look to their neighbors – whom are occupied by the U.S. military – to see what mistakes Washington is committing.

    In his final volley before this one, Delacroix, in The Libertarian Project and Military Power, continues to hover on the moral. It is our burden, he asserts, to bring the world peace through military power. If the Republic does not step in and “do something”, then all hell will break loose. He again appeals to our successes in the 20th century against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan as proof that the American people can bring democracy to anywhere in the world.

    In the Comments section in each of these essays you will find my rebuttals to each of the myths that Delacroix has continued to lay his foundation of an interventionist foreign policy upon. I hope that his readers will now see just which doctrine is clear-eyed and sober and which is based upon ignorance and fear.

    Delacroix asserts at the end of the ‘comments’ section here that libertarians love peace at all costs, but given the arguments that we have both presented, I would urge his readers to ponder which of us has faith in an unknown power to mold a peaceful world through guns and bombs, and which of us sees reality as it is: based upon facts, sometimes ugly, nasty, smelly, disgusting facts, but facts nonetheless

    “I think facts matter and the people whose influence I fight every hour of the day […] think only beliefs and intentions matter. They are further sure that beautiful beliefs are more real than facts and that they trump facts (if any).”

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      I am flattered, Crackpot and I am sure I don’t deserve all this attention. I did not merit these detailed rebuttals and your rebuttals don’t deserve that much either. Sorry if this sounds dismissive b, it’s not my attention but your arguments seem to proceed from some debating class that I have not taken. He are yr words:

      “It is not enough for you to have an adequate defense force that protects the territory and integrity of the Republic.”

      I think that;s not the Libertarian position. The party’s position instead is to wait until we are attacked, as in Pearl Harbor, to engage in active defense on the basis of a military establishment much smaller than the current one. Please, correct me on these specific points if my perception is wrong. Please, don’t run all around the chicken corral!

      You charge me with saying that : “We must bomb, maim, and bully other peoples in the name of peace as well. Of course, it’s a caricature but it hides an important truth. We have different perceptions of recent events. Here it is in a capsule: The Iraqi liberation war did not do as well as it should have; it went much worse, in fact. Yet, knowing what I know now, if I had to make the decision I would do it again. The Libyan operation went as well as one could expect. As I wrote on my blog, it’s an Obama success

      You refer mysteriously to the constitutional limits of military actions. I think both the Iraq war and the Afghanistan wars are constitutional. I think, the help to Libyan is borderline.

      I can’t take your otherwise thoughtful critique seriously because of all that you leave out of my clearly expressed position. I want to try one last time to elicit your response one something that is important to my military posture. I assume that you and I could easily agree that the US had no vital interest in Rwanda at the time of the genocide.

      Was it fine to let thousands of Rwandan massacre hundreds of thousands of their fellow-citizens with machetes and bricks?

      It seems to me that the first answer has to be a “yes” or a “no.”

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      One more thing, Crackpot: I don’t know where in my writing you see anything resembling anti-Muslim statements. What I have done repeatedly is: 1 denounced the hypocrisy of American Muslim organizations; 2 deplored the blindness, the confusion of ordinary Muslims; 3 attacked the mendacity of political correctness in this country, all with respect to the following simple fact:

      95% of all terrorist acts in the world in the past twenty years have been committed by people who call themselves Muslims and most often, in the name of Islam.

      I mean by “terrorism” violent acts directed deliberately against civilians.

      Just to be superfluously declarative: I don’t think Muslims are evil; I think they are in massive denial. There are Muslim commentators who say exactly the same. There are too few and they are not heard much.

  12. thecrackshotcrackpot says:

    Like shooting fish in a barrel…

    I think that;s not the Libertarian position. The party’s position instead is to wait until we are attacked, as in Pearl Harbor, to engage in active defense on the basis of a military establishment much smaller than the current one. Please, correct me on these specific points if my perception is wrong.

    To be honest, I have no idea what the LP’s position on foreign policy is. I don’t think it worth my time to even look it up either. I don’t know why you keep conflating libertarians with an irrelevant political party, either. It probably helps your position to look better, I suppose, but most libertarians vote and participate within the two parties that are dominant today. Just look at yourself. I know I do.

    This particular aspect of your argument is disturbing though:

    The party’s position instead is to wait until we are attacked, as in Pearl Harbor, to engage in active defense on the basis of a military establishment much smaller than the current one.

    First of all, the United States didn’t “wait around” for Japan to attack us at Pearl Harbor. Nobody saw it coming, including, I am sure, a large number of Japanese policymakers and elites. The assumption that the U.S. was innocent in the whole affair is disingenuous as well. Did Roosevelt not impose an oil embargo on Japan? Is that not, essentially, an act of war? If we remember our Bastiat, then we must surely realize that when goods stop crossing borders, armies will.

    I think it is also a mistake to confuse Japan – an industrialized imperial power – with the likes of North Korea and Iran. I have already addressed this in a number of other arguments, so I don’t think it is worth repeating here. Free men have nothing to fear from toothless despots. It is our own government that we must be wary of, first and foremost.

    Drumming up fear and suspicion of far-away despots has never had a place at the table of Liberty. It is not hard to see why.

    You refer mysteriously to the constitutional limits of military actions. I think both the Iraq war and the Afghanistan wars are constitutional. I think, the help to Libyan is borderline.

    What part of “only Congress can declare war” don’t you understand? Tinkering with words is something only liberals do, I have found.

    Speaking of bleeding hearts, my answer to your strange question regarding Rwanda is a wholehearted and resounding “yes“.

    The people who took part in those massacres were all or mostly adults. That means that they are capable of making decisions for themselves. Paternalism is another idea that has no place at the table of Liberty. The people responsible for the massacres in Rwanda were the Rwandans. If we stretch this, we can even pin some of the blame on European imperialism. But to the bleeding heart liberal, living safely and comfortably in the United States, the Rwandan massacres were all our fault! We didn’t do anything about it!

    95% of all terrorist acts in the world in the past twenty years have been committed by people who call themselves Muslims and most often, in the name of Islam.

    It would be nice if you could provide some statistics to back up this rather mendacious claim. What about Columbia? Sri Lanka? What about the fact that most terrorist acts committed by Muslims kill other Muslims?

    The rest of your argument I can mostly agree with. Except, of course, for the part where you have celebrated the successes of removing dictators from Iraq and Libya. Although I usually don’t have any problem wading in to a fight to help out a friend, I think I would be better to let you stand on your own for this one. Libya and Iraq are successes of American bombing campaigns and “nation-building” exercises. Yeah, sure, Dr. J, and fairies sometimes fly out of my butt when I fart.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Crackshot: I stand corrected on the unimportant issue of whether you belong to the Libertarian Party or not. Most of your assertions could come straight out of one of the Libertarian organizations; that’s what misled me. Yet, I confess that you are not a Libertarian but an orthodox libertarian (small “l”).

      I think our conversations are fairly useful to the many who are repelled by orthodox libertarians although they have much analysis and many positions in common with them.

      The most useful thing you did recently to help this cause is to affirm clearly that we, as a nation, have no responsibility toward the victims of mass massacres in which we could intervene at little cost and at little risk to ourselves. I refer to Rwanda, of course and not to Iraq where there was always much risk.

      We have radically different moral compasses. There is an impassable gulf there.

      The second problem I have with orthodox libertarians and that you illustrate concerns the use of facts. As you know, in one Republican debate, candidate Ron Paul affirmed, under his own power, with no incitement, that the US armed forces spent twenty billion dollars a year on air-conditioning alone in Iraq and in Afghanistan. No Libertarian and no orthodox libertarian of note took the trouble to question him on this absurd figure.
      You too, seem to not pay enough attention to facts that are both important and easy to ascertain. I find this common among followers of severe political or religious doctrines. Here is your latest example.

      You take to me to task tersely for something we would agree is very important: not understanding the constitutional provision that places the initiation of war within the province of congressional action. In particular, you insist that I and my readers agree with you that both the Afghanistan War and the Iraq War are illegal, unconstitutional. Here are the relevant facts:

      A Joint Resolution of Congress was passed on September 18th 2001. It gave the President authority to use all necessary force against against whoever he determined planned, committed, or aided the attack on 9/11. (Emphasis mine) (Public Law 107-40.) The votes were: 401 – 1 and 98 – 0.

      How is that for Congressional authorization?

      “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq” was passed October 16th 2002. (Public Law 107-243.) The votes were 297-133 and 77 – 23. That’s comfortably more than e/3 majority in both houses.
      It’s disconcerting to me that sometimes, you seem to get your information impressionistically only and only from the liberal media.

      I am not blameless myself. My statement that “95%” of terrorist acts in the past twenty years were committed by people who called themselves Muslim was a bit overblown. That statement needs correction. See below but let me explain my mistakes.

      I did not include much of Columbia in my mental count of terrorist acts because I am under the impression that there have been few intentional homicidal acts committed in Columbia not directed at one chain of command or another (not civilians). In addition, it seems to me that so many homicidal acts there are connected with the drug trade that there is little room left in the numbers for victims of terrorism as conventionally defined.

      As for the Tamil Tigers, I have followed their story from their beginnings to their recent end. They were formally classified as a terrorist organization by a large number of governments. Yet I don’t think they committed a large number of terrorist acts defined as deliberate acts of violence against civilians. They were responsible for considerable collateral damage, I think, they were callous, but that’s different.

      Thanks to your influence, I have become more conscious of what I mean by terrorism. It includes intentionality and blindness toward the (civilian) victims. Thus, I have revised my concept of terrorism. I will be more precise in the future.

      In response to your intervention, I am reducing my estimate of worldwide responsibility for terrorism by people who claim to be Muslims from 95% to 85%. That’s a big reduction of more than 10%. Yet, it has not implications at all with respect to the substance of my argument.

      And I repeat that I am not anti-Muslim but that I deplore vigorously the moral blindness of American Muslim organizations. By the way, for readers who are interested, there is a good, thick recent book by a Muslim scholar that both documents and, ironically, illustrates the same blindness: Akbar, Ahmed. 2010. Journey Into America: The Challenge of Islam. Brookings: Washington D.C.

      • thecrackshotcrackpot says:

        Now I got you right where I want you. Let’s start with your assertion that you are not anti-Muslim. I wholly agree with you, and reading back on our first exchange (Peace At All Costs…) it is clear to me that you were making exactly the points that you mention above. Here is what you said:

        Jihadism does not mean “re-conquest” of what was once Muslim but conquest or domination of the whole world. (See the Hamas Charter on this blog). The only acceptable outcomes are conversion or living as dhimmis, second class citizens, for Christians and Jews. Pagans – that would include Santa Cruz Buddhists, as well as Hindus – can be slaughtered freely or reduced to slavery under Islamic law. In fact, any Muslims man can seize any “pagan” and make him or her a slave. Female slaves are called “concubines.”The Muslims scriptures thus clearly condone rape. The rational Muslims I know will say, “ That was a long time ago. We would not do it now.” In the meantime, the permission to act in this manner remains on the book. It can be invoked at any time and is. I don’t know for sure but I would bet that there is not a single fatwa condemning any of these outrageous acts.

        I can see now that you were really attacking the notion of Political Correctness that is so prevalent in the minds of most young people these days. I don’t care what everybody else says, you are a very, very good teacher.

        Moving on, let’s go over the case of Rwanda really quickly, so that misunderstandings over the doctrine of nonintervention can be cleared up. You said:

        The most useful thing you did recently to help this cause is to affirm clearly that we, as a nation, have no responsibility toward the victims of mass massacres in which we could intervene at little cost and at little risk to ourselves. I refer to Rwanda, of course and not to Iraq where there was always much risk.

        We have radically different moral compasses. There is an impassable gulf there.

        This is not really an instance of morality. The horrors of massacres and genocide make me sick to my stomach to think about, but that by itself is no reason to send a military into an area that is suffering.

        We have to think things through. For example, should we have intervened in Rwanda on behalf of the Hutus or the Tutsis? That in itself presents a great problem. You may reply with an emphatic “who cares, they are all slaughtering each other!“, of course, but then this begs the question as to what our military should do upon arrival. Showing up to a state, no matter how divided, uninvited and with the intent to make everybody play nice together doesn’t sound like my idea of a solid plan to prevent violence and bring about democracy.

        On top of this, how would the rest of the region perceive this “humanitarian mission” undertaken by the West? Is it not true that most of the states in Rwanda’s region of the world are governed by former guerrilla leaders who won their power under the guise of anti-imperialism? You will no doubt respond with another “who cares, they are slaughtering each other, and if we can take a few dictators with us, then it’s all the more reason to do it! Yet now we have created a situation that involves not just the failures of one post-colonial state, but we have drawn in regional players to boot. Instead of a civil war with minimal interference from neighbors, we have a regional problem and one that gives those ex-guerrillas more reasons to justify their brutal regimes.

        In essence, instead of a small intervention with little or no costs, what we would probably get is a protracted regional war in which the republic’s safety is in no danger at all. And just think about the image of the United States around the world in a situation like this. I’m sure other states would be very understanding of our position that we are only using our military there to bring about peace, even as all-out war descends across the entire region and it becomes apparent that Washington never really had a plan in the first place, save to prevent genocide among the Hutus and Tutsis without taking sides.

        I hate Ron Paul! I hate Ron Paul! I hate Ron Paul!

        Ron Paul was using this statement by a former Brigadier General in regards to the air conditioning costs. Is a highly-ranked logistician and West Point graduate’s rough estimate not good enough for you? I’d be willing to condemn Ron Paul as a demagogue if you could provide me with some exact budget numbers from the DoD. Otherwise, I see no reason not to believe a former General’s lamentations regarding Washington’s profligate spending on our “nation-building” exercises.

        This argument is also absurd when we remember that Ron Paul said this during a live televised debate. Even if this number turns out to be false – and we have absolutely no reason or evidence to suggest that it is – such a statement should be pretty well-ignored when we consider some of the whoppers that the other candidates have come up with. I am thinking specifically of your pets Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich.

        The Constitution vs. “Congressional authority”

        This is what I mean by tinkering with words. I thought it was something that only liberals do, but apparently I am wrong.

        All name-calling and poo-pooing aside, I think that something important is at stake here: namely The Rule of Law. If we continue to let elites define the letter of the law as they go, then we will continue to see our liberties slip from our grasp.

        Article 1 Section 8 of the constitution clearly, explicitly, and plainly states that “The Congress shall have the Power To […] declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;”

        We already know what letters of marque and reprisal means because you have mocked David Theroux for it in the recent past. Yet, if you think about it, turning bin Laden over to bounty hunters seems like a mighty smart thing to do after ten years of hindsight. Perhaps Mr. Theroux is just a cowardly pacifist, but then again maybe he is concerned that Washington’s policies abroad are eroding The Rule of Law.

        The Joint Resolution did indeed give the President the authority to wage war against the perpetrators of 9/11. Ooops. Here we are ten years later, and Osama bin Laden is dead. He was killed in Pakistan. Our military is now working with al-Qaeda (in Afghanistan), and that’s actually a generous way of putting it.

        More “congressional authorization”: The Use of Military Force Against Iraq. Ooops. Here I think it would be pertinent to ask “what does ‘military force’ mean?” Evidently it meant removing a dictator from power within 3 weeks, and then implementing policies meant to transform Iraq into a multi-party democracy in the middle of the Islamic world. Eight years later, we are still there, and 700,000 innocent people have been murdered in the ensuing chaos caused by “congressional authority”.

        I guess I’ll ask the question again: what part of “only Congress can declare war” don’t you understand?

        Declaring war gives a nation and its policymakers a clear-cut goal. It eliminates the ambiguities associated with “congressional authorization” for something or other regarding foreign affairs. Declaring war is a precise and serious way of telling citizens and enemies alike that all options to come to an understanding have been exhausted. Declaring war is the most honest and straightforward way of dealing with hostile polities in the diplomatic arena, and as such, it is the most fitting way for a republic composed of free citizens to go about engaging in international squabbles.

        It also eliminates the loopholes created by congressional authorization techniques, techniques that have been used for centuries by power-hungry tyrants to get around The Rule of Law.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Again, the soup is too rich. I am going to let most of what you say stand except two things:

        1 Is it the case that you endorse and confirm the statement Ron Paul made voluntarily, on his own that he armed forces spend $20billion a year on air conditioning in Iraq and in Afghanistan? I ask because it’s a measure of Ron Paul’s seriousness and of his followers, with respect to simple facts.

        In this connection: It’s clear that Herman Cain knows little about anything outside the country. I don’t doubt Congressman Paul knows much more. Abut Gingrich’s alleged misstatements, I don’t know what you mean. Please, stop treating as obvious what others may not have seen, heard of, or noticed or may not exist at all.

        2 Your sophisticated musings about what constitutes the right to wage war may well be worth considering. You make good arguments that they are worth it. However, they take us a long way from your original statement on the illegality, the unconstitutional character of these wars. At the time, you sound as if you were parroting the left-wing yahoos on the topic.

        ON moral responsibility, I chose Rwanda of an extreme case where it would have been easy to intervene productively at little cost or risk. That’s what this country did we respect to the beginning genocide of Kosovars against a much more powerful and sophisticated oppressor.

        Your words speak for themselves on the Rwanda genocide.

  13. thecrackshotcrackpot says:

    P.S. it’s nice to see that you have altered your definition of terrorism!

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      It was always the definition of terrorism I was using. I just had not realized it clearly. I was taking it for granted. Your intervention induced me to think it through and to make it public. Dialogue often does this. Thank you.

  14. thecrackshotcrackpot says:

    What price for imperial peace?

    Is it the case that you endorse and confirm the statement Ron Paul made voluntarily, on his own that he armed forces spend $20billion a year on air conditioning in Iraq and in Afghanistan?

    Dude, this is the most absurd subject to be talking about. You’re splitting hairs. You’re getting desperate! However, if I must, I endorse his claim. I cannot confirm it because I do not think I have the resources to do so. If I do have the resources to do so, I do not have the skills necessary to do so. Let’s put this in yet another perspective, since you won’t take a former Brigadier General/West Point graduate/logistician’s rough estimate seriously.

    The Department of Defense’s 2010 base budget was almost $664 billion. The former Brigadier General said that $20 billion is spent on air conditioning (he included raw fuel, transport, and security in his estimate). My calculator is telling me, then, that the total amount of money spent on air conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan consumes about three percent of the DoD’s annual budget (if we are to take the former Brigadier General’s estimates seriously). Given that we have been occupying a state that is located in one of the hottest areas of the world, I do not think that this is such an absurd estimate. However, if you able to provide me with some official figures then I will retract my endorsement of this statement and condemn Ron Paul to a demagogic hell.

    Abut Gingrich’s alleged misstatements, I don’t know what you mean. Please, stop treating as obvious what others may not have seen, heard of, or noticed or may not exist at all.

    I confess that I have not watched any of the debates. I go to school all day and work all night. There is no rest for the wicked! Since you want some sort of proof that Newt Gingrich is an ignoramus, I will refer you to his campaign page on foreign policy – oops! I mean national security – for an example. Number 5 on his list of things to do is “implement an American Energy Plan to reduce the world’s dependence on oil from dangerous and unstable countries, especially in the Middle East.” Got that Dr. J? Implement an American energy plan to reduce the world’s dependence on oil from blah blah blah. I am deliberately choosing to bypass the absurdities associated with his calls for “energy independence”, of course.

    Just for your readers’ sake, I think it would be a good idea to contrast this with Ron Paul’s official statement on dangerous and unstable sources of oil. First of all, I had to go to the “Energy” page, not the “National Defense” page, to find out about his thoughts on foreign sources of oil.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    There was nothing at all said about foreign sources of oil. Not a goddamn word, Dr. J. Yet you slander him as an isolationist.

    However, they take us a long way from your original statement on the illegality, the unconstitutional character of these wars.

    I’m going to ask you for a third time (not that I’m keeping track or anything): what part of “only Congress can declare war” don’t you understand?!

    Perhaps a different angle can be used to illustrate my point on this issue: the Department of Education was created by an act of Congress, so does that make it constitutional? It’s a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question (unless you’re a liberal, of course).

    ON moral responsibility, I chose Rwanda of an extreme case where it would have been easy to intervene productively at little cost or risk. That’s what this country did we respect to the beginning genocide of Kosovars against a much more powerful and sophisticated oppressor.

    Your words speak for themselves on the Rwanda genocide.

    Your comparison between the mess in the Balkans and the mess in the African Great Lakes region is, like your comparison between the U.S. and Libya, superficial at best.

    I’ll keep this brief. The Balkans are in Europe and neighbor a sizable number of allied states, and we picked sides (losing Russia in the process) before we started bombing.

    I may be willing to concede that non-intervention is an immoral doctrine if you can answer me this simple question: which side of the Rwandan war should we have picked?

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      As I said in a response you may have missed, our discussion is probably useful. At its heart lie the issues of credibility and criticality.

      Congressman Paul; volunteered in a debate that the armed forces spent “30” billions on air conditioning in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Mr Paul as a congressman and as a presidential candidate is responsible for anything he choses to say. It matters not if the thinks he got this info from a reliable source. You and I equally do not care much about the substantive meaning of the figure. However, if it’s absurd on its face is absurd on its face, his repeating it speaks to his criticality or to his intellectual honesty. Both qualities are important in a presidential candidate, I think. And, of course, I am leery of the dogmatism of Libertarians. Sometimes or often, it makes them unable to spot absurdity. Thus, the discussion of this Paul affirmation is not absurd.

      The $30 figure for air conditioning needs to be applied to operational costs of the DOD, not to the total budget. The latter includes research and development and big obligations to military personnel not connected to any campaign, veterans’ benefits, for example. Operational costs properly defined constitute about 60% of total budget. Applying these figures to 2010, a high budget year, I find that the alleged air conditioning expenses cited by Ron Paul amount to 6% to 7 % of military expenditures in Iraq and in Afghanistan, not the 3% you state. That is absurd.

      I note that if the US armed forces spend 6 or 7 % of the money I give them for military operations on air conditioning, they might have some explaining to do. That fact in itself sure wouldn’t be an argument for pulling out of either country.

      Congressman Paul’s carelessness in this matter he chose to discuss however is enough of a reason to mistrust his judgment. And, of course,there is always the option of saying quickly,” I misspoke in the heat of the discussion.” This kind of admission usually endears candidates to the general public doing them more good than harm. However, Paul has no doubt. I suspect he has no doubts about anything.

      I suspect that Congressman Paul’s enthusiastic rigidity accounts for the fairly high poll figures he regularly enjoys. I am guessing that it is also responsible for the fact that his numbers have not moved in months of campaigning. There are zealots and there are others. Again, I regret this situation because we have so much in common in about every other area.

      Your rebuttal of my answer to the constitutional issue about who can start a war makes no sense. If two joint resolutions of Congress embodied in two public laws are not constitutional measures, I don’t know what is and I am not equipped to pursue the topic.

      • thecrackshotcrackpot says:

        Why Dr. J, I am flattered. Usually only Leftists change the subject when they are stumped. This argument must hold a special place in your heart.

        As I said in a response you may have missed, our discussion is probably useful. At its heart lie the issues of credibility and criticality.

        Fair enough.

        Congressman Paul; volunteered in a debate that the armed forces spent “30″ billions on air conditioning in Iraq and in Afghanistan.

        Um, I guess it’s up to me to let you know that you gave yourself an extra ten billion to work with here. Awwwkkward! You originally stated that Ron Paul used $20 billion, not $30 billion. It is of little concern to me that you fudged this number, though, because I know you are a dinosaur rather than a cheater. Your new criteria, once it is restored to the original $20 billion, states that air conditioning and all of the costs associated with it in both Iraq and Afghanistan account for around five percent of the 2010 budget.

        That’s absurd? Really? Have you ever heard of the United States Postal Service? What about the Department of Housing and Urban Development? How about Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac? Five percent.

        I note that if the US armed forces spend 6 or 7 % [or even 5%!!!] of the money I give them for military operations on air conditioning, they might have some explaining to do. That fact in itself sure wouldn’t be an argument for pulling out of either country.

        You are absolutely right about that. Now, did Ron Paul use the air conditioning numbers to argue that our troops should come home, or did he use them to argue that Washington’s spending is totally out of control?

        The reason I think you are desperate, Dr, J, is that you are focused on such an irrelevant statement. I mean, for Christ’s sake, I Googled “Ron Paul air conditioning statement” and got a few right-wing webpages screaming that Ron Paul wanted to stop letting troops have air conditioning. Notice that they didn’t actually argue about the number Paul cited. You are quite possibly the only person on the planet who is fixated on this number.

        Accusing libertarians of being dogmatic because they will vote for Ron Paul is disingenuous, too. All one has to do is go over to the ‘comments’ section of Reason magazine’s webpage to find out all sorts of opinions on Ron Paul’s policies. I suspect I know why you accuse libertarians of being dogmatic, and I will get back to this shortly.

        But first, I want to make it crystal-clear that you are free to vote for whomever you like. You can vote for the guy who thinks that ObamaCare has been great for Massachusetts. You can vote for the guy who thinks the Taliban will be a part of Libya’s next government. You can vote for the guy who thinks that the earth was created six thousand years ago. Or you can vote for the guy who thinks that a national energy plan would reduce the world’s supply of oil coming from the Middle East.

        Secondly, I want to make it crystal-clear that I don’t agree with everything Ron Paul says or does. I think criticism is a good thing. Instead of making an ass out of yourself by hooting and hollering about an air conditioning number he cited, though, I think it would be more constructive to talk about his opposition to NAFTA as being “managed trade”. Or his calls to eliminate birthright citizenship from the constitution. Or the racist newsletters that circulated through the South under his name in the 1990’s. Perhaps these things are enough for you not to vote for him. I hope you will be happy with one of the alternatives that the GOP offers.

        But let us speak no more of intellectual dishonesty. Nor should we speak anymore of Ron Paul’s confidence in himself and his dogmatism. Allow me to illustrate this in a not-so-nice-but-illuminating-nevertheless kind of way. You said:

        Your rebuttal of my answer to the constitutional issue about who can start a war makes no sense. If two joint resolutions of Congress embodied in two public laws are not constitutional measures, I don’t know what is and I am not equipped to pursue the topic.

        *sniff* *sniff*

        I smell something…

        *sniff* *sniff* *sniff*

        I. *sniff* Smell. *sniff* BULLSHIT!

        I am not quite ready to make you bleed yet. I do not want to make you bleed, but your dogmatic insistence that we fight every fight around the world and your intellectual dishonesty (or cowardice) concerning the constitutionality of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are too dangerous to let pass. But first:

        Congressman Paul’s carelessness in this matter he chose to discuss however is enough of a reason to mistrust his judgment. And, of course,there is always the option of saying quickly,” I misspoke in the heat of the discussion.” This kind of admission usually endears candidates to the general public doing them more good than harm. However, Paul has no doubt. I suspect he has no doubts about anything.

        Yours is probably the most articulate criticism I have heard yet regarding Ron Paul’s political positions, so it merit a good, thoughtful response. Keep in mind your newfound ignorance regarding The Rule of Law and your incessant calls for an active – no matter what! – overseas presence when I present my case. Also, keep in mind that you and your readers are free to vote for the guy who wants to implement a national energy plan to reduce the world’s supply of oil from the Middle East.

        The idea that Paul knows everything about anything is one that sure does look a lot like dogmatism at first glance. But Ron Paul will be the first to claim that he does not know everything. That’s why he insists that everything go through the Constitutional process – including overseas activities. That is to say, Ron Paul’s idea of dogmatism is to adhere to The Rule of Law. Imagine that!

        If you can provide me some examples of him suggesting otherwise, or that he knows better than everybody else and is therefore qualified to flaunt The Rule of Law, then by all means provide it here. Otherwise, I think it would now be a good idea to focus back on the calls made by you to go to war in Rwanda, or the Balkans, or Iraq, or North Korea, or Venezuela at the first sign of trouble.

        I want to take us back to issue of dogmatism and intellectual dishonesty really quickly. In a previous reply you stated the following:

        ON moral responsibility, I chose Rwanda of an extreme case where it would have been easy to intervene productively at little cost or risk. That’s what this country did we respect to the beginning genocide of Kosovars against a much more powerful and sophisticated oppressor.

        Your words speak for themselves on the Rwanda genocide.

        Your moral indignation towards those of us who would leave the problems of others to themselves may be understandable, but first I have to ask you a quick question (this will be the second time I have done so): which side of the Rwandan war should we have intervened on behalf of? I think it would be pertinent to remember that you are answering the question against the backdrop of a conversation that is centered around dogmatism and intellectual dishonesty. And please, remember that this is a conversation that is also trying to gauge the level humility that each of us has when it comes to recognizing the sheer ignorance that each of us has on any number of issues.

        Or would you just simply send our troops to Rwanda with no clear-cut goals, except to stop the fighting between the Hutus and the Tutsis? I think that a demand from libertarians for our politicians to adhere to the Rule of Law hardly qualifies as dogmatic. I think that a demand from hawks for our politicians to do more overseas regardless of the Rule of Law does qualify as dogmatic. Thus to the hawk, the libertarian is dogmatic because he demands that the hawk adhere to the Rule of Law. I can see how you have become confused on the issue now.

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    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      I don’t know where I said that power is necessary. In the essay of reference, I implied that killing Bib Laden was a good thing. If that’s the exercise of power you mean, you are right. If you mean anything else, I am befuddled and flattered that you find meaning in my writing so subtle that is hidden even from me.

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    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      I am no one’s sparring partner. I just spend much of my time straightening out the intelligent insane. It has become my specialty.

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