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Post 60

Monday, March 7, 2005 - 11:19amSanction this postReply
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Thanks, again Barbara, (on this thread and the other). That makes sense. I donít know why people keep claiming that she continued to oppose WWII. Iíve never heard her say that and canít imagine that she was Ö shy.

I remember her writings on Vietnam. She starts out vehemently condemning the dominant anti-war crowd who, she says, have no logical right to the arguments they are putting forth and whose real agenda is not Americaís defense. She then attacks the altruist motivations of LBJ, takes him at his word (that itís not defense but their welfare that motivates our policy), and comes out against the war. But she ends by saying that we have to fight it fully and win.

Given her stance on Vietnam, I wouldnít want to call her position on Iraq. And I accept both the Sciabarra/Machan position as well as the ARI/TOC/SOLO position as possible to one versed in Objectivism. I agree with you completely, Barbara, when you separate respectful dissent from knee-jerk anti-American vilification.




Post 61

Monday, March 7, 2005 - 11:30amSanction this postReply
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Yes, Barbara, I agree with you on the crucial need to differentiate those who have policy disagreements about the war, and those who simply hate the U. S. government. This morning I wrote as much to Tom Palmer, though I would say the same to Chris or Tibor, all of whom love America while strongly opposing the Iraq invasion:
 
 "Tom, you and I donít agree on the 'non-intervention' issue in foreign policy, or perhaps the merits of invading Iraq. But thereís a world of difference between a policy disagreement and vicious anti-Americanism. Thank you so much for knowing where to draw the line, and when to say, 'enough is enough.'Ē
 




Post 62

Monday, March 7, 2005 - 11:58amSanction this postReply
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If I understand the general attitude here, it is that patriots can legimitimately oppose the U.S. entering a war, especially if they condemn the "anti-American" elements that also oppose it, but to call for withdrawing from the war, once it begins, is itself unquestionably "anti-American"? Is that about right?

So does all a president have to do, to exempt himself from respectable and substantive criticism of his foreign policy, is start a war?

And what about the folks at Cato who _do_ call for withdrawl? Are they as evil as Justin Raimondo, or does the fact that he _really_ doesn't approve the war and spends much time denouncing it make him especially traitorous?



Post 63

Monday, March 7, 2005 - 1:58pmSanction this postReply
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Clearly you don't get it, Anthony. Some of the folks at Cato DO believe in getting out of Iraq. However, they don't go telling the world that the U. S. military and leadership are imperialists, aggressors, mass murderers, rapists, etc., etc. They dispute the policy, not the moral status of the nation and people implementing it.

And they also don't morally whitewash those whom U. S. forces are fighting, making the claim that Evil AmeriKa is far WORSE, and DROVE them to become the bloodthirsty barbarians they are.




Post 64

Monday, March 7, 2005 - 3:32pmSanction this postReply
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I don't see anyone at LRC or AWC "morally whitewashing" the terrorists. And I have seen Cato argue that U.S. foreign policy breeds terrorism.

Saying the war is murder is not hating America, unless you think Tom Palmer was hating America when he responded to one of my comments on his blog by saying:

"Do I think that state murder is bad? Yes. Does the Bush administration practice it? Yes. Should we be angry about the torture scandals and the crazy decision to go to war in Iraq? Yes. Am I angry? Yes."

http://tinyurl.com/3vm3g



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Post 65

Monday, March 7, 2005 - 9:11pmSanction this postReply
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I think that Anthony is missing an important distinction.  I am indeed angry that we were sent to war over WMD that evidently weren't there.  George Tenet certainly did not deserve a medal of freedom for having supplied bad intelligence.  The Attorney General should not have tried unilaterally to suspect the writ of habeas corpus, in clear violation of the U.S. Constitution.  We could make a long list of mistakes, errors, and flagrant disregard for justice, morality, and legality.  They do indeed make me angry and they should be addressed by constitutional and legal means.  The Supreme Court has already slapped the Administration quite hard over the issue of habeas corpus, in a case in which the Cato Institute was deeply involved.  (More legal action will still be needed, but the Ashcroft doctrine on designating people as "enemy combatants" and then dropping them into a hole has been repudiated.)  Legal prosecution is appropriate for those who stepped way over the line and abused and tormented prisoners. 

None of the above induces me to offer toasts to the killing of U.S. soldiers.  They do not make me write in glowing terms about "the Iraqi resistance," a determined group of killers which is, I can assure you, organized by the nastiest, most evil, vicious characters I hope you never have the opportunity to meet. They do not lead me to mock the death of Pat Tillman by friendly fire  in Afghanistan.  They do not lead me to malign Iraqi police recruits, people who, for the most part, should be admired for their courage, not called "quislings" and "traitors."  (Justin Raimondo now denies that his use of such language evinced any desire that they should be killed, but he has also written that  his description must have been accurate, since (I cannot locate the link at the moment, so this is a close paraphrase) "the Iraqis sure are killing a lot of them [police recruits]." 

As to the issue of whether withdrawal should be immediate or not, the issue is not as clear cut as Anthony suggests.  The argument against going to war is not the same argument as the one for immediate withdrawal; it does not follow that if you were against the war, you should have to be for immediate withdrawal, for the reason that the situation has been changed by the decision to go to war.  The consequences of a pell-mell rush for the exits (of the sort that Raimondo seems to prefer, not even a retreat, but a rout) would be a civil war that would result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands, possibly even millions of people.  It would mean the emergence of a "failed state" on the lines of Afghanistan prior to the Karzai government, with warlordism and a proliferation of terrorist training camps.  Now that there has been an election and a government will probably be formed soon, we can begin to think about withdrawal without such consequences.  (No, I do not have a detailed timetable in my pocket.)  The U.S. government is obligated not to create a condition of detrimental reliance by millions of people and then simply pull the rug out from under them, dooming them to mass execution, as the jihadis and Ba'athists would surely carry out.  We have an obligation to help them to build a constitutional state that is tolerable to us (i.e., neither a threat nor a safe harbor for al Qaeda) and at least much better than what they had before. 

I will be going to Iraq soon to meet with members of the Iraqi National Assembly to discuss the process of forming a constitutional order, agreeing on principles by which all sects and ethnicities can live together peacefully, creating an independent judiciary, and the like (which has loaded my plate with histories of constitutionalism in north America, Europe, and elsewhere).  I also intend to travel around the country to meet with classical liberal Iraqis (or those favorable to such ideas) to promote the translation of texts, establish independent teaching centers for liberal ideas, and so forth.  I will do that because it is good for my friends in America, but more importantly because it is good for the Iraqis, because they deserve to live in freedom, and because the war has created an instability that, were the Coalition forces to be withdrawn tomorrow, would without any question result in terrible massacres.  Anthony, if you were president and could order the pullout of U.S. forces today, knowing that many hundreds of thousands of  people would be killed in a civil war because the police, army, judiciary, and other institutions of government could not contain the fascists (Ba'athists) and Jihadis, would you do it?  If you are against war, but such a decision would lead to more killing, not less, with the outcome probably being more threatening to us in the long run, anyway, would you do it in the name of being against war?  Or would you help the Iraqi government to get on its feet and then withdraw, in the knowledge that you would not be unleashing a horrifying civil war and that it would make yet another war less likely in the future?




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Post 66

Monday, March 7, 2005 - 11:31pmSanction this postReply
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If we left Iraq now, we would be doing to the Iraqis what we did to the South Vietnamese: condemning millions of them to torture and slaughter. If this country has not learned from the horror of our departure from Vietnam that we must never do such a thing again, there isn't much hope that we'll ever learn anything. But I think we have learned that costly lesson. The tragedy is that we had to learn it over so many bodies.



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Post 67

Tuesday, March 8, 2005 - 12:50amSanction this postReply
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I think that Anthony is missing an important distinction.† I am indeed angry that we were sent to war over WMD that evidently weren't there.


Tom, I'm not talking about your anger, but your characterization of Bush's wartime activities, or at least some of them, as "murder."

I was replying to this:

Clearly you don't get it, Anthony. Some of the folks at Cato DO believe in getting out of Iraq. However, they don't go telling the world that the U. S. military and leadership are imperialists, aggressors, mass murderers, rapists, etc., etc. They dispute the policy, not the moral status of the nation and people implementing it.


Sure, you didn't use the term "mass murderers," Tom, but I simply assumed that since you agreed that the Bush administration "does... practice it [murder]" and would almost certainly also agree that a considerable number of people -- not just one or two -- were murdered, that you would probably agree that the Bush administration has practiced "mass murder," which would make some of its members "mass murderers." Wouldn't it? And if that's the case, Bidinotto is not quite correct when he says that "Some of the folks at Cato DO believe in getting out of Iraq. However, they don't go telling the world that the U. S. military and leadership are... mass murderers."

Now perhaps the technical distinction is you don't "tell the world" this either, only your internet readership. But this is likewise true of Lew Rockwell and Justin Raimondo.

At any rate, saying the U.S. government has committed murder is not the same as hating America. Would you agree, Tom, even if you disagree with my judgement on particular individuals and whether they "hate America"? Is it anti-American to accuse the government of such crimes? And since when has this been the case?

If we left Iraq now, we would be doing to the Iraqis what we did to the South Vietnamese: condemning millions of them to torture and slaughter. If this country has not learned from the horror of our departure from Vietnam that we must never do such a thing again, there isn't much hope that we'll ever learn anything. But I think we have learned that costly lesson. The tragedy is that we had to learn it over so many bodies.


The lesson should have been how horrible it is to go to war unnecessarily. The United States lost 58,000 Americans, endured the stark despotism of the draft, and lost much wealth engaging in that horrid war, killing hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese all the while. And then the U.S. bombed Cambodia and assisted the worst Communist tyranny, in terms of per capita democide, in history, the Khmer Rouge, in its fight against the North Vietnamese.

The millions who died at the hands of Pol Pot certainly can't be attributed to non-intervention. The U.S. created the conditions that led to Pol Pot's rise, and then funded him during his reign of terror.

You might think it's "hating America" to point this out, but it's the truth, and someone needs to point out the evils committed by the U.S. state. Or else we'll never learn the lesson. Oh, but I suppose this war on terrorism will be the war to end all wars, or make the world safe for ending all wars, or something like that. After all, U.S. foreign intervention has done such a nice job in creating and supporting monsters -- like Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden -- to later seek out and destroy.

And no, I'm not "blaming America" nor do I want to see American soldiers die. I simply don't like seeing politicians recklessly put them in places where it's certain they'll be killed. I felt this way during the Clinton administration, I feel this way now, and I'll feel it regardless of who holds power next. Bush swore and oath to uphold the Constitution. He obviously wasn't honest then, as any one of his tons of programs prohibited under the Tenth Amendment demonstrates. So why assume he's being all proper and righteous in this war, and why assume the intervention is improving Iraq? Have there not been times that foreign intervention has made things worse? The U.S. has intervened military in dozens and dozens of countries. Surely not all of them were moral and un-imperialistic.

And, again, I'd like to remind everyone that the government is not the same as America.



Post 68

Tuesday, March 8, 2005 - 1:22amSanction this postReply
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Jason said (of Rand's position on World War II):

That makes sense. I donít know why people keep claiming that she continued to oppose WWII. Iíve never heard her say that and canít imagine that she was Ö shy.

It just occured to me that my own response to Justin Raimondo way back in post 17 may have given that impression also, in which case my apologies to Barbara, Jason and anyone else who was confused. I ought to have qualified my own statement further. 

As for Iraq, I too agree with Tom (as well as Chris and Tibor). Although I was against the initial invasion, given the present situation the western forces ought to stay until the Iraqis have a stable regime.

Tom - all the best with helping the National Assembly!

MH




Post 69

Tuesday, March 8, 2005 - 1:26amSanction this postReply
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I have a DD214. Do you?



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Post 70

Tuesday, March 8, 2005 - 2:01amSanction this postReply
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Dayamm!!!!

Is that you Justin?

Michael




Post 71

Tuesday, March 8, 2005 - 4:08amSanction this postReply
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What's a DD214?



Post 72

Tuesday, March 8, 2005 - 7:58amSanction this postReply
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Thanks for the clarification, Tom, and for the other valuable links.

In reply to Anthony: All of us who feel strongly about moral issues from time to time engage in a bit of hyperbole and incendiary language. I have in the past, and perhaps Tom has.

But there is a big, big difference between occasional use of an incendiary phrase, and the slinging of terms like "murderers," "rapists," "butchers," "Nazis," "war-mongers," "torturers," "imperialists," etc., etc., on an unremitting daily basis.

There is also a big, big difference between those who maintain a sense of proportion in whom they target with such epithets, and those who apply such terms almost exclusively to describe U. S. forces and leaders, but not the Ba'athist, al Qaeda and Islamist headhunters (who are, by contrast, typically euphemized as "the Iraqi/Afghani resistance").

Anthony (et al.), such consistent rhetorical asymmetry reveals the underlying anti-Americanism, loud and clear. No amount of dissembling and sophistry and excuse-making can disguise this fact, and lame attempts to do so here aren't convincing anyone.








Post 73

Tuesday, March 8, 2005 - 8:30amSanction this postReply
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A DD214 is an Armed Forces Service record in the U.S.

Yes, I have one. Honorably discharged and all.

Ethan




Post 74

Tuesday, March 8, 2005 - 9:24amSanction this postReply
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Jason Pappas asked:  "Where in Randís published writings does it say that we were wrong to get involved in WWII?"

Ayn Rand wrote she opposed World War II and the Vietnam War in "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal".  If I may quote from her essay "The Roots of War":

Just as [Woodrow] Wilson, a "liberal" reformer, led the United States into World War I "to make the world safe for democracy" -- so Franklin D. Roosevelt, another "liberal" reformer, led it into World War II, in the name of the "Four Freedoms."  In both cases the "conservatives" -- and the big business interests -- were overwhelmingly opposed to war but were silenced.  In the case of World War II they were smeared as "isolationists," "reactionaries," and "America-First'ers."
 
World War I led, not to "democracy," but to the creation of three dictatorships: Soviet Russia, Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany.  World War II led, not to "Four Freedoms," but to the surrender of one-third of the world's population into communist slavery.

There is more, but it is better for everyone to read this essay for themselves and come to their own conclusions.  Bear in mind she published this essay in June 1966 in the magazine "The Objectivist", which was later reprinted as Chapter 2 of "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal".  She did not change her mind after Germany and Japan declared war on the United States, which was in 1941.  At least, not in the work she published.
 




Post 75

Tuesday, March 8, 2005 - 10:23amSanction this postReply
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So Jason,

What's your point?

Ethan




Post 76

Tuesday, March 8, 2005 - 11:11amSanction this postReply
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Ah thanks Ethan.

No Jason S, I don't have one - I am from the United Kingdom. Are you trying to say that those who have not served in the armed forces ought not to advocate sending soldiers to war?

MH




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Post 77

Tuesday, March 8, 2005 - 7:51amSanction this postReply
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Am I missing something here? What is so terrible about "hating" the US Government? Taxation is theft right? Should we not hate thieves? A is A and all that? If someone steals my car should I like him because, "hey, he is American, right?"

I fail to see how you can feel so high and mighty in defending an organization that all of you feel engages in criminal activity. Maybe it is the best around, or whatever, but can you really fault others for being a little less forgiving?



Post 78

Tuesday, March 8, 2005 - 8:41amSanction this postReply
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Tom wasn't using hyperbole. He was cautiously laying out a point when he said the Bush administration practices murder.



Post 79

Tuesday, March 8, 2005 - 12:28pmSanction this postReply
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Pete,

It's not about hating the U.S. Government. It's about hating the United States. Hating a country that by far is the best (not perfect) example of Western ideas. Hating the good for being good.

Ethan




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