James Leroy Wilson's blog

Friday, January 13, 2006

Answering Ten Questions For The Anti-War Side

"Pro-war libertarian," (although he resents that term) Timonthy Sandefur, is asking ten questions of the other side (although I took the liberty of saying "Anti-War Side" as the title of this post; I hope Sandefur isn't offended). Anthony Gregory has answered the questions at Scott Horton's Stress blog. And I'm sure there are other responses, but here I will post just mine. Sandefur's questions are in italics, with each one followed with my answer:

1) When, if ever, is preemptive war is justified?

Two responses:
a)If the people of the United States, in Congress assembled, declares even a pre-emptive war, the action still might not be just but at least it would have some legitimacy. An "authorization to use force" is an unconstitutional delegation of the war power to the President. A war, especially a pre-emptive war, initiated by an illigitimate authority is unjust.
b)When self-defense demands it: peaceful negotiations have failed, and the enemy's threat is real and immediate, meaning, American lives, American territory, and the Constitution are at risk.

It should be noted that the Bush Administration's false claims, even if true, pointed to only a theoretical and distant threat, not a real and immediate one. The war was unjustified even if Bush didn't "lie us into it."

2) When, if ever, is the United States justified in removing a foreign dictator from power?

Again, two responses:
a)Maybe when foreigners are justified in removing American dictators from power.
b)The action should only be in self-defense. That doesn't necessarily mean the offending country is a military threat; preventing a refugee crisis on American borders and shores would count. But we should not do it in supposed defense of other nations or peoples. And this type of intervention is theoretically justified regardless of the form of government of the problem country.

3) Do you agree with the position—recently quoted approvingly on this [i.e., Sandefur's] blog by Dr. Kuznicki—that Islamic terrorism is not a serious threat, but a hobgoblin used by the Bush Administration to increase its authority?

Three responses:
a) Islamic terrorism is indeed a threat, so long as American troops occupy Muslim territory. Since we have no business doing that, the sooner we stopped, the sooner the terror threat evaporates.
b) If Islamic terror continues despite our leaving Moslem territory, then the solution is to keep foreign Muslims out of our country, deport illegal alien Moslems that are here, and encourage remaining legal Moslem immigrants to leave.
c) Essentially, however, the statement is correct; this really is about the Bush Administration's attempt to increase the power of the Presidency.

4) Precisely what (if anything) do you propose the United States do about the Iranian nuclear weapons program?

Nothing. Sovereign nations have the right to defend themselves and deter aggressors. And Iran has every right, and all the evidence in the world, to view the USA as a potential aggressor. Furthermore, we should remind ourselves that just because the Bush Administration claims that there's an Iranian nuclear weapons program, that doesn't mean that there is an Iranian nuclear weapons program.

5) Do you believe that the United States should defend Israel, either militarily, by the sale of arms, or in other ways (please specify)?

I wouldn't prohibit American manufacturers from selling weapons to Israel. But I say no aid, and no military defense, of Israel. And we should declare neutrality in Israel's conflicts. They're Israel's, not ours.

This principle should apply to all countries, including, say, South Korea.

6) Can you name a specific case in which an American dissenter, not actually affiliated with a terrorist organization, has been jailed or otherwise deprived of civil rights under the PATRIOT Act?

Being put on the "no-fly" list is certainly a violation of civil rights, although I can't say for sure that that was a PATRIOT Act provision. The scary part is, who's to say whether a dissenter really was affiliated with an actual terrorist organization? Why should we believe the government on these matters?

7) Do you believe that we ought to remove American troops from Iraq immediately, regardless of the consequences to Iraqis?

Yes. We won't know the consequences, and who to credit and who to blame, either way. Most Iraqi's want us out. Let them govern their own country. If nothing else, this will reduce the terror threat on America. And the U.S. government should be focusing on that, not on policing foreign countries.

8) With regard to interrogation or incarceration: do you believe that infringements of religious sensitivities (e.g., mistreating the Koran) or personal sensibilities (e.g., making men wear women’s underwear on their heads) ought to be regarded as comparable with physical torture?

Two responses:
a)I think we misunderstand the outrage here. If American POW's were seen being treated as were the prisoners at Abu Ghraib, all of the USA would be outraged. And one could only imagine what indignities could be done with, say, crucifixes, pages of the Bible, American flags, etc. What we did to Iraqi prisoners was, according to their ingrained beliefs and values, far worse. But they're the enemy so it's just a joke, right? And no, we don't know how many of these men were "terrorists" and how many were just randomly pulled off the street. The greater the innocence, the greater the injustice.
b)I suspect that for many faithful Muslims, this would be the case.

9) What, if any, legal consequences do you believe flow from a declaration of war?

I'm not sure if I understand the question, since I don't know what Sandefur's definition of "declaration of war" is. But here goes:

If there was an actual declaration, Presidents could be held accountable if they lied Congress into war. But now, Congress has itself to blame because it unconstitutionally allowed the President to start the war. Bush should be impeached, but those in Congress who voted for the authorization to use force don't have the credibility to impeach him.

That said, American constitutional rights remain intact during wartime. And should especially remain intact today, since we are not Constitutionally at war.

10) Do you believe that the Bush Administration purposely manipulated intelligence information in order to persuade the Congress to authorize military intervention in Iraq?

Yes. I believe Bush wanted this war long before 9-11, pressured all relevant agencies to give him the "evidence" that he needed, that he saw only what he wanted to see and ignored the rest, and that he sufficiently convinced himself that he wouldn't ever knowingly mislead the American people. Yes, Bush's Administration did purposely manipulate the intelligence.

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