Wednesday, August 25, 2004

1000 US war dead

The Iraq War Casualty Calendar has just been updated; we're up to 992 american soldiers killed so far. It will probably pass the 1000 mark sometime during the Republican Convention.

While we're on the topic, can anybody answer Perry Metzger's question: what is it with libertarians and war? Specifically, why did and do a fair number of otherwise intelligent-seeming libertarians favor the war in Iraq? Perry is stumped; I am too.

4 Comments:

At 1:08 AM, Blogger Serenity Now said...

"Specifically, why did and do a fair number of otherwise intelligent-seeming libertarians favor the war in Iraq?"Presumably because they agree with Wolfowitz's "drain the swamp" theory of fighting Islamist terrorism. What's the alternative? More of the same short-sighted realpolitik that gave us 9-11?

 
At 12:09 AM, Blogger Glen said...

What we're doing now constitutes more of what caused 9/11 - mucking about in other country's affairs, causing widespread murder and mayhem, installing new governments we think will favor our own interests, just like we installed Saddam before. The alternative is, as Perry puts it:

Swiss-style armed neutrality. That means no invasions, no military threats, no foreign aid, no "covert operations", no military bases outside the country, no attempts to influence the internal affairs of foreign countries whatsoever.Even if you personally think getting rid of Saddam is a good idea, what gives the US government have the right to do it? What makes spending funds coercively obtained from the populace to support your favored cause correct in this instance, where - being a libertarian - you think it's wrong in other instances?

A non-libertarian doesn't have to answer that question - he can simply say "Outcome A is good, government has the obligation to do good things, so government should try to produce Outcome A." But a libertarian has different standards. Why not just repeal the Neutrality Act? If individual Americans (or groups of them, including coporations) want to depose Saddam, let them organize and do it on their own. Would this campaign fail without the involuntary support of americans who would prefer to opt out? If so, what does that say about the advisability of the campaign?

 
At 6:43 AM, Blogger Serenity Now said...

Glen: "What we're doing now constitutes more of what caused 9/11 - mucking about in other country's affairs, causing widespread murder and mayhem, installing new governments we think will favor our own interests, just like we installed Saddam before."I don't think this explains the hatred that led to 9/11. See Bernard Lewis for a contrary view.

Glen: "Even if you personally think getting rid of Saddam is a good idea, what gives the US government have the right to do it?"Just for starters:

- The 1993 assassination attempt on former President Bush.

- The October, 2002 assassination of US diplomat Laurence Foley by "Al Qaeda affiliates" operating out of Baghdad.

- The decade-long refuge given to 1993 World Trade Center bomber Abdul Rahman Yasin.

Glen: "What makes spending funds coercively obtained from the populace to support your favored cause correct in this instance, where - being a libertarian - you think it's wrong in other instances?"Unless you are an anarchist rather than a libertarian, it's silly to complain about the illegitimacy of a democratic (or republican) government spending funds derived from taxes.

 
At 9:13 AM, Blogger Glen said...

Unless you are an anarchist rather than a libertarian, it's silly to complain about the illegitimacy of a democratic (or republican) government spending funds derived from taxes.Are you sure you're a libertarian?

I actually am an anarchocapitalist, but this is purely a libertarian issue: Libertarians don't think the government should coercively raise funds from the populace to provide welfare programs, correct? Well, unless Saddam poses a clear and present danger to us, getting rid of him is essentially a welfare program with the Iraq people the primary beneficiaries. We can't make the argument "Iraq would be better off without Saddam" to justify a war project against him. So if we want to justify the war, we have to claim he was a threat to us. But most of the evidence is in now, and it turns out he wasn't a threat. So that's out.

So is there some third unstated argument for the war that motivates you?

 

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