Wars to End War

Advocates of America-as-world-policeman rarely grasp that their conception of "defense" endangers us by creating new enemies.

On his recent trip abroad, Mitt Romney observed an American taboo by not criticizing President Obama's military policy. But before his trip, he made his position clear. Obama has "exposed the military to cuts that no one can justify," Romney said.

He meant that unless Congress intervenes, Pentagon spending will be cut by more than $500 billion over 10 years under the (bipartisan) budget sequestration scheduled for January. This terrifies those who fear that limiting the growth of the military-industrial complex will leave us less safe.

But is that true? Even if $500 billion is actually cut, America still will spend more on defense—adjusted for inflation—than we did at the height of the Cold War and the Vietnam War.

We station soldiers all over the globe. Thousands of U.S. troops are in Germany, Japan, the UK and Italy. Why? I thought we won World War II.

We built an air force base in Greenland to monitor the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Why are we there now?

We station 28,500 soldiers in South Korea. South Korea's economy is 38 times bigger than North Korea's. Why does America need to pay to protect it?

Since America is going broke, I thought defense was one area where Democrats might make cuts. But Democrats rarely cut anything. Obama says our troops won't start leaving Afghanistan until 2014, and we'll still be involved for years after that. We should have learned from the Russian debacle and Britain's three lost wars there.

Advocates of America-as-world-policeman rarely grasp that their conception of "defense" endangers us by creating new enemies. Fired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan, once said, "For every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies." Bombing Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia with drones creates new terrorists—some of whom may seek revenge.

One goal of U.S. policy is to create stable, democratic societies—but it is a fatal conceit to believe that we as foreign central planners can build nations. Bureaucrats can't design real societies. The best outcomes bubble up from free decisions made by local people. They, not the planners, have more relevant information about their own lives and incentives. When they don't get the decision right, they adjust. But when central planners—be they kings, viceroys, bureaucrats or democratically elected politicians—try to create something as complicated as a new social order, they usually fail.

If government cannot run profitable trains or effective poverty programs, why should we think it can create a democracy in Afghanistan? We have tried to build democracy in Afghanistan for more than a decade. Are we winning hearts and minds? A 2010 poll of more than 1,600 Afghans found that just 43 percent had a favorable impression of the United States—down from 83 percent in 2005. American-trained Afghan soldiers shoot U.S. troops.

And in the fog of war, the waste is astonishing. No one knows how many billions have been squandered in Iraq and Afghanistan: $200 million went for unfinished Afghan army buildings, $5 million to police buildings so poorly built that they are unusable, and so on.

Government is clumsy and wasteful at everything it does. Why would that be different for the military? The Pentagon, like other government departments, even spends money in deliberately wasteful ways to establish "need" for at least as much next year. Sometimes soldiers fly helicopters on pointless missions just to burn up fuel.

When a private company loses money (and doesn't get a government bailout), it goes out of business. If money vanishes, executives might get thrown in jail. But the Pentagon loses tens of billions and, at worst, gets a slap on the wrist from a congressional committee.

I don't presume to know the "right" amount to spend on defense. But I do know that when America is going broke, we can't afford to spend what Romney wants to spend.

America needs to reevaluate the military's mission. If the mission is to "provide for the common defense," then let's adopt a posture of defense. It needn't cost so much to protect our shores while staying out of other people's conflicts.

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  • ||

    I'd like to hear Cytotoxic's view on this article.

  • ||

    No, you wouldn't.

  • ||

    You mean there's something...off...about a philosophy that states that any nation can slaughter the inhabitants of any other as long as the aggressor nation is "more rights-respecting" than the victim?

    Get right out!

    Nationalism is just another form of collectivism. They're just communists who use place of birth instead of social class as the collective determinant.

  • ||

    Cytotoxic is an Objectivist, right? It's especially rich when Objectivists are such bloodthirsty, collectivist, ends-justifying-the-means scum.

  • tarran||

    There's a continuum.

    Cyto is basically jihad-fodder who would be throwing acid in girls faces except for an accident of geography in his birth.

    Most objectivists in my experience are very emotional people who are seeking refuge in absolutism and struggle with disagreement and nuance ( totally unlike us anarcho-capitalists ;) )

    Some appear pretty sober - Randian, for example, is making me reconsider my reflexive dislike for members of his religion.

  • $park¥||

    totally unlike us anarcho-capitalists ;)

    Who are you calling "us?"

  • Almanian 1||

    Who are you calling "us?"

    I'd suggest you mean, "Fuck off, slaver," but I recognize that I'm not the boss of you.

    /AnCap whatever...

  • JW||

    Some appear pretty sober - Randian, for example, is making me reconsider my reflexive dislike for members of his religion.

    The Contrarianists?

  • ||

    The Tulpatarians?

  • ||

    Have you listened to the new Gojira album yet? I'm not digging it as much as I did their previous stuff.

  • Cytotoxic||

    AHAHAHA yeah nothing says 'religious' like a logical moral framework. I love when the anarcho-babbies start throwing out the 'religious' line because it's their way of saying "I got nothing".

  • R C Dean||

    us anarcho-capitalists

    So collectivist. Its sad, really.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Cytotoxic is an Objectivist, right? It's especially rich when Objectivists are such bloodthirsty, collectivist, ends-justifying-the-means scum.

    We seek to end war the fastest way possible. You seek to pretend it isn't there or to blame the victim ie America.

  • Calidissident||

    You use this word victim. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    And once again, you confuse government with society on the issue of foreign affairs, just as progressives do on domestic affairs

  • Cytotoxic||

    ...as long as the aggressor nation is "more rights-respecting" than the victim?

    As long as the right-respecting nation is either increasing freedom in the other nation that isn't rights-respecting or acting in self-defense, it can' be an aggressor by definition.

    I love that I and NEM and others crushed you guys so bad in that thread you are still butthurt about it, reduced to muttering about 'bloodthirstiness' and whining.

  • Calidissident||

    So if the US government kills people in a foreign country, it's ok as long as they leave the remaining people a little more free than they were before? That's not aggression?

  • Cytotoxic||

    It has to be a 'significant' increase in freedom. I admit I can't quantify that.

    Those who fight against a liberator are fighting freedom. No one has a right to do that.

  • Calidissident||

    Cause the only people who die are those fighting the "liberators"?

    Did people in Eastern Europe have no right to fight the Soviets since they were better than the Nazis?

    Do people have no right to decide that they would rather have them and their family stay alive than resist the government, and instead have an outside country make that decision for them? Do you realize that the "rights-respecting" country in your example is violating the rights of its citizens by forcing them to pay to "liberate" the other country?

    Also, how does this square with your opposition to nation-building? If you don't stay behind and ensure that the new government is "rights-respecting" how can you know if your war will result in "significantly" more freedom?\

    Not to mention that the US government has had no problem supporting dictators when convenient

  • Cytotoxic||

    There are actually good points/questions here:

    1) Were the Soviets really 'better' than the Nazis? I dispute that.

    2) I'm sure NATO killed some civs in Libya. That is properly seen as Qadaffis's fault. Blame the aggressor. Those who fight freedom are the aggressor. That family that would rather live should take steps to seek safety. To the degree that they are unable to, blame the dictator.

    Do you realize that the "rights-respecting" country in your example is violating the rights of its citizens by forcing them to pay to "liberate" the other country?

    YES. Now that's a good point. Frivolous foreign action like Libya is a violation of American rights. The USG is still a generally rights-respecting government though.

    Also, how does this square with your opposition to nation-building? If you don't stay behind and ensure that the new government is "rights-respecting" how can you know if your war will result in "significantly" more freedom?

    What happens after we leave is not really our burden to carry. It's up to them.

    Supporting dictators was absolutely necessary during the Cold War and no doubt prevented terrible losses of freedom and atrocities.

  • Calidissident||

    "1) Were the Soviets really 'better' than the Nazis? I dispute that"

    Generally, maybe, maybe not, but if you were Slavic or Jewish, hell yes.

    "2) I'm sure NATO killed some civs in Libya. That is properly seen as Qadaffis's fault. Blame the aggressor. Those who fight freedom are the aggressor. That family that would rather live should take steps to seek safety. To the degree that they are unable to, blame the dictator."

    Who said anything about Libya? And I never said the dictator wasn't at fault, but that doesn't mean the foreign government is off the hook either.

    "What happens after we leave is not really our burden to carry. It's up to them."

    Then you're entire argument regarding "rights-respecting" and aggression is pointless. If you wanna argue something based on necessity to national security, fine go ahead. But don't use the excuse that it isn't aggression as long as we increase freedom, when the war does nothing to ensure this is the case, and could very well lead to the opposite. (To use the Libya example, it's very possible whoever ends up in power there is worse than Gaddafi)

  • Sevo||

    Calidissident| 8.8.12 @ 3:55PM |#
    "1) Were the Soviets really 'better' than the Nazis? I dispute that"

    Generally, maybe, maybe not, but if you were Slavic or Jewish, hell yes."

    Ukrainians, who are certainly Slavs, would disagree.

  • Calidissident||

    (cont)
    "Supporting dictators was absolutely necessary during the Cold War and no doubt prevented terrible losses of freedom and atrocities."

    Depends on the meaning of the word "necessary." Necessary to US security, mostly not. Supporting dictators who commit atrocities and infringe on freedom to prevent atrocities and loss of freedom doesn't make too much sense either. Overthrowing a democratic government in Iran and supporting a dictator didn't exactly lead to more freedom, either in the short term, or the long term, did it? And once again, your skepticism of the motivation of politicians disappears when the subject turns to foreign policy. Of course the only reason the US government would ever support a dictator is to increase freedom ...

  • tarran||

    Kill the unbelievers!!!!!!!!!!

    Ayn Rand commands us to convert them by the sword!

    The people who die are either our enemies who deserve death, or our allies who will welcome martyrdom in our cause to create a desert in bring peace to infidel lands.

    I think that about covers it.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I think you're an obtuse moron who can't actually respond to my argument. AKA an anarcho-baby.

  • Cytotoxic||

    The idea that our drone strikes are creating jihadists is laughable. Terrorism against America is only declining. If civilian casualties really resulted in a backlash against the killer there would be a massive anti-Taliban movement in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This idea is not a fear by noninterventionists it is a hope.

    The rest of the article is pointed and goodly. We shouldn't do nation building and we should withdraw from most of our global bases except for what's needed for ongoing drone war mop-up. And we need to cut military spending.

  • Calidissident||

    Yeah the idea that people might be upset that their mother was killed in a drone strike and might want payback is clearly absurd. And I'm pretty sure there are a lot of people in Afghanistan and Pakistan who aren't fans of the Taliban

  • Cytotoxic||

    You're conflating 'being upset' with 'increasing terrorism'. There is no evidence that America's foreign policy actions are causing terrorism and there is a lot of evidence our inactions do. Lots of suicide bombers funded by and coming out of Iran which we failed to invade and none from Panama which we did.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Cytotoxic,

    You're conflating 'being upset' with 'increasing terrorism'.

    The problem with what you're saying is that you're applying your standard concept of terrorism, i.e. some shady character hell bent on bombing people in a square.

    However, for Our Masters and Owners, anybody that lashes out back at them, after the attrocities committed by the government's drones, is always considered a "terrorist."

  • Cytotoxic||

    We are the ones lashing back OM. Our marks in war have only the right to die.

  • Calidissident||

    And where have those suicide bombers mostly killed themselves? Iraq. Which we have no fucking business being in. As if it was totally unforseeable that Iran would try and mold a Shiite-majority neighboring country into an ally once Sadaam was gone. Where do Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters come from? Do you think they just appear out of think air? Don't you think "they killed your mother" is a much better recruiting line than "THEIR EVUL INFIDELZ AND THEYS DESERVZ TO DIE!"? Panama has nothing to do with this. They are completely different countries and completely different cultures. I'm not saying Islam plays no role in causing people to become terrorists, but that doesn't mean its the only, or primary factor.

  • Cytotoxic||

    'Completely different cultures'

    Yes! And that culture of violence is what is driving terrorism. That is why there are no suicide bombers coming out of latin America.

    Fact is, 'kill the infidels' has been the driving concept of AQ hence the attacks on Danish cartoonists and Turkish synagogues. It's them not us. This is a result of allowing funders of jihadist terrorism to do as they please, namely Iran. If we had carried out the invasion of Iran in 1980 we wouldn't have these problems.

  • Calidissident||

    You realize Iran and AQ hate each other? The situation is a lot more complex than people like you like to believe. Sure, there are radicals that only want to kill non-Muslims. But when you see the polls that say "X% of Muslims are sympathetic toward terrorism" most of those people aren't supporters of those type of people. The actions of the US govt in most cases only makes it easier for those types to convert and recruit. And what relevance does a Turkish synagogue have to US security. There are a ton of senseless ancient feuds in the Middle East. Doesn't mean we should throw ourselves in the middle of all of them.

    "It's them not us."

    Once again, your collectivism on foreign issues bleeds through. I never said it was "us." I'm not a part of the US government that makes these decisions. And no where have or anyone else here said that terrorists don't deserve to be blamed for their actions or that they're justified when they kill innocent people

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Cytotoxic,

    The idea that our drone strikes are creating jihadists is laughable.

    Really? If a drone blew up your house with sibblings inside, wouldn't that make you at least a weensy-teensy stressed?

  • tarran||

    The funny thing is that Cyto watched planes full of innocent people used as a cruise missiles to kill ten times more innocent people on the ground, and apparently that was sufficient to make *him* a jihadi.

    But no way that a guy picking up the rags that used to be his brother will make him go to war...

  • Cytotoxic||

    I haven't blown myself up or killed anyone. You should learn what words like 'jihadi' mean before you use them tarran.

    Really? If a drone blew up your house with sibblings inside, wouldn't that make you at least a weensy-teensy stressed?

    Probably. You have no idea how I'd react to that. You have no better idea how people of a strange culture around the world react to that. Your case is built on false understanding/empathy.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    "You have no idea how I'd react to that. You have no better idea how people of a strange culture around the world react to that. Your case is built on false understanding/empathy."

    If you claim it is not possible to determine how people will react to a drone killing their family your ability to ratiocinate has been severely undermined.

    Making the effects of war-killing murky and indeterminable is the hallmark of outstanding ignorance common among simpletons who promote and wage war.

  • $park¥||

    Advocates of America-as-world-policeman rarely grasp that their conception of "defense" endangers us by creating new enemies. Fired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan, once said, "For every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies." Bombing Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia with drones creates new terrorists—some of whom may seek revenge.

    Obviously both John Stossel and Gen McChrystal are idiots. And for the reasons why, let's hear from John and Cytotoxic.

  • Almanian 1||

    "America!!!
    FUCK YEAH!!!
    Here to save the motherfuckin' day yeah!
    America!!
    FUCK YEAH!!
    Freedom is the only way, now!"

  • Tim||

    You forgot Taiwan, We have given them a "war guarantee" if China attacks. Why? Because in 1949 Truman wanted to stop Communism? OK, we stppoed it. Let rich countries defend themselves.

  • Drake||

    Sounds good, but every time Taiwan tries to buy decent military hardware, people get all scared of offending China.

  • Sevo||

    Drake| 8.8.12 @ 1:03PM |#
    "Sounds good, but every time Taiwan tries to buy decent military hardware, people get all scared of offending China."

    Taiwan (and Japan) are 'way richer than the PRC; let 'em make their own hardware.

  • MarkR307||

    It's a bad strategy. We should be extending any such guarantee. If China takes Taiwan, so be it. Such is the nature of the world.

  • Restoras||

    $50B a year for 10 years? That's not even a good start.

  • Tim||

    We have to maintain our three war policy: the ability to simultaneously refight WWII, nuke the Russians and hold back North Korea.

  • Tim||

    It's so ridiculously layered: is as if we needed an infantry brigade stationed on Bunker Hill in case the British come back.

  • Romulus Augustus||

    Nah, the Brits are too busy reveling in their Olympic glory to send the 22nd Regiment of Foot to Boston.

  • Almanian 1||

    But they still have the Scots Greys!!!

    I think...

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    The Royal Scots Greys was a cavalry regiment of the British Army from 1707 until 1971, when they amalgamated with the 3rd Carabiniers (Prince of Wales's Dragoon Guards) to form The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys).

    From wiki

  • BakedPenguin||

    They'll just hire Hessians like last time.

  • Hyperion||

    Communism? OK, we stppoed it

    That's why we had to invent new boogeymen, like terrorism and bath salt zombies.

  • ||

    Bath salt zombies are the greatest threat to America today. Subjecting ourselves to TSA grouping in our own homes is a small price to pay to stop a zombie apocalypse.

  • Hyperion||

    Has anyone heard the rumors that Romney is considering Petraeus for VP? Good grief, has he went full on retard? A fucking guy who is best known for war and is now head of the CIA? Let's give the liberals a field day on this thing. If there were any doubts that the neocons are fully in charge of the GOP establishment and that Romney is going to be controlled by them like a little neocon puppet, then those doubts are over. If he wins, they should play Sabbaths War Pigs at the inaugaration ceremony. Next up, bomb Iran.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I wonder why no one has gone after Schwarzkopf? He was exceedingly popular after the first Iraq War and is pretty well-spoken and educated. Not advocating him, just wondering why his name doesn't get mentioned.

  • ||

    just wondering why his name doesn't get mentioned

    'Cuz it's hard to say. Moron.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Good point. Let's Americanize it to, to--I've got it, Windsor!

  • ||

    "Ich bin so amerikanisch wie Apfelkuchen!"

  • Bill||

    Sounds too much like dumbkopf. Plus, isn't he a democrat?

  • Tim||

    Cause Joe sixpack thinks that "Schwarzkopf" is a Nazi name.

  • Ice Nine||

    And there's also the problem of Joe finding out that his name means "pimple".

  • BakedPenguin||

    PWNED

  • Sevo||

    Ice Nine| 8.8.12 @ 1:24PM |#
    "And there's also the problem of Joe finding out that his name means "pimple"."

    Naah. That's "Weiskopf".

  • Ice Nine||

    Naah. It's both of them.

  • ||

    It mostly has to do with his little-known pedaphilia issues.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Well, his name is also a type of zit, you know.

  • Mike M.||

    Has anyone heard the rumors that Romney is considering Petraeus for VP? Good grief, has he went full on retard?

    You mean the rumor that was started by Block Yomomma? I put about as much credence in that as I do in everything else that comes out of the big stupid mouth of that horse's ass.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "'Be mindful of your sources,' Carney said.

    The White House spokesman was referring to a banner story on The Drudge Report that said Obama told a supporter that Romney would select Petraeus for the role."

  • CampingInYourPark||

  • ||

    Next up, bomb Iran.You talking 'bout Romney or Obama. Sometimes I confuse the two.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Uh...Petraeus did win Iraq. I can think of a lot worse choices.

  • ||

    Petraeus did win Iraq.
    I think you might be in the wrong universe.

  • Cytotoxic||

    But I am right. LOL liberals telling people they are in the wrong universe.

  • Jackand Ace||

    If your definition of winning is $1T spent, 4,000 American soldiers lost, and a new ally for Iran, then you do indeed live in an alternate universe.

  • R C Dean||

    Has anyone heard the rumors that Romney is considering Petraeus for VP?

    Just yesterday's distraction by the Obama campaign, to put another news cycle behind them without having to talk about their many, many failures.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I think it would be easier for them to focus on their successes, given that the list is so short. I mean, successes as determined by people who aren't in government and/or insane.

  • Cytotoxic||

    You've ruled out his supporters.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I don't think there's a simple solution except to slowly ease ourselves out of the world cop role. It's not likely that we'll just stop, which would probably be more destabilizing than we'd like (the rest of the world may deny it, but they trust us to keep things from getting out of hand, rightly or wrongly). That could be done by pulling out of regions, making it clear to our allies (esp. Europe) that they need to start defending themselves again, and so on.

    If we don't do that, then our responsibilities to maintain world peace will increase, not decrease, costing us more and more in money and lives, all while building up increasing resentment and envy across the world. With our economic problems, I fear that role could easily morph into something actually imperialistic, with all of the problems for us and others that implies.

  • $park¥||

    Or we could just start presenting some of these countries with a bill.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That occurred to me, but I think that's a faster path to empire than anything else. It becomes in our fiscal interest to topple countries then.

  • Dovahkiin||

    Why do you hate our sweet, sweet freedom so much that you would not want to spread it around the world?!?

  • $park¥||

    The faster we get to that phase the faster we can get through that phase and start over with something different.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Let's do it! Togas for everyone! I call Italy! Proconsul Libertate.

  • $park¥||

    There's nothing in Italy but greasy Italians, you can have it. I'm taking the islands from the British Virgin Islands to Trinidad and Tobago.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I didn't want to be greedy, and I like the food. They'll find me an enlightened, yet despotic, despot.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    Give me france. I am lazy and don't like to fight plus their high fat diet conforms to my pale requirements. Also wine.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    pale = paleo.

  • affenkopf||

    I fear that role could easily morph into something actually imperialistic

    You're about a 150 years late.

  • Tman||

    Even if $500 billion is actually cut, America still will spend more on defense—adjusted for inflation—than we did at the height of the Cold War and the Vietnam War.

    I'm not arguing that the DOD shouldn't have spending cuts. They of all departments in the government should be working the hardest to eliminate wasteful spending and prioritize the allocation of resources so they perform their primary function-"provide for the common defense". But the fact is that current DOD spending as a percentage of our gross domestic product (roughly 3.5%) is much lower than it was during the Vietnam era, or for that matter in line with the lowest per GDP spending post WWII.

    We may be technically "spending" more, but as a percentage of GDP we are budgeting less than we have in years.


    http://www.usgovernmentspendin.....rt2p22.png

  • $park¥||

    Well, China is spending only 2% of their GDP so as long as we stay above 2% we should be good.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Er...

  • $park¥||

    Not familiar with Elizabeth Warren's arguments are you?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Ah. +1

  • Tim||

    "the height of the COld War" You read that alot, and it gets applied from 1946 right through 1991.

  • Almanian 1||

    Right. "The Height."

    /derp

  • Mike M.||

    I would be fine with cutting defense all the way down to something like 0.1% of GDP, if the liberals would actually allow us to save the money and pay down the debt. But they won't; all they're going to do is take the savings and steal it for themselves and their friends.

    If we're going to waste boatloads of money no matter what, we may as well at least waste it on stuff that is actually nominally authorized by the constitution.

  • Drake||

    Like everything else, Defense spending has become totally politicized. We spend $ billions on boondoggle projects like the F35 - which are cleverly designed to benefit the maximum number of Congressional districts.

    Meanwhile we allow actual combat units to get hollowed out to save a few dollars - not like they give campaign donations. Platoons in the Airborne, for instance, are undermanned despite their deployment tempo - again not their call.

    http://www.blackfive.net/main/.....l#comments

    Nobody in either party has the brains or balls to put defense priorities right.

  • Tman||

    ^^^This.

    The first thing they should do to prioritize defense spending is make it illegal for a standing senator to be involved with a DOD procurement bill that would affect their home state.

    I would also like a pony.

  • Cytotoxic||

    This and This.

  • Calidissident||

    Why would/should defense spending be in anyway related to GDP? Why would an increase in the size of a nation's economy require an equivalent increase in the amount of defense spending? It's a totally arbitrary measure unrelated to the amount of defense spending a nation needs

  • $park¥||

    We gots to protect our STUFF.

  • Hyperion||

    I fear that role could easily morph into something actually imperialistic

    Could? Just look at what we are doing in Mexico. We have already bought the newly elected leaders there so that we can expand our war on the Mexican citizens, even sending in troops. How is that not imperialistic?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I think we're a long way from annexing territory or really behaving in any overtly imperialistic way. Shenanigans have been going on here and everywhere else since five guys in the tribe decided to get together and beat everyone else into submission.

  • Almanian 1||

    "Mexico....you still pissed about Texas and California? Come on, cabron, that was a long time ago..."

  • $park¥||

    Mexico, y u hate USA? U mad bro?

  • Cytotoxic||

    That's not 'imperialism'. Their government could and should say no at any time.

  • Hyperion||

    Technically, you are correct. But I doubt that the Mexican citizens who get in the crossfire of this insanity give a rats arse about that technicality. If Chinese agents were shooting up our streets to protect their citizens, then I bet we would be viewing it as an imperialist invasion., or something like that.

  • Pro Libertate||

    The problem is that a lot of countries are willingly looking to the U.S. to play cop. Or, if they aren't, their neighbors are. It's a weird situation.

  • Hyperion||

    Not so weird. Big bags of free dollars come before the willingness, which pretty much explains it in full.

  • T o n y||

    Without disagreeing with the bulk of this article,

    Government is clumsy and wasteful at everything it does.

    is just stupid libertarian dogma. There's no reason to suppose this has to be, or that the private market is by contrast not wasteful or clumsy or otherwise inefficient. If government is so irredeemably bad at doing its job, it's a wonder we all make it through most days unscathed. It's a common libertarian fallacy to seek out examples of wasteful or inefficient government and ignore its day-to-day operations that work pretty well and make society function. When confronted by this, you guys inevitably argue without evidence that the private sector could do a better job. Meh. And doesn't the Marshall Plan pretty much counter this entire argument?

  • tarran||

    The only thing the MArshall Plan suceeded in doing was ensuring the dominance of the anti-communist left-wing political parties the CIA funded.

    As economic stimulus, it was an ineffective disaster.


    As economist Tyler Cowen has noted, the countries that received the most Marshall Plan money (allies Britain, Sweden, and Greece) grew the slowest between 1947 and 1955, while those that received the least money (axis powers Germany, Austria, and Italy) grew the most. In terms of post-war prosperity, then, it eventually paid to be a political enemy of the U.S. instead of a "beneficiary" of international charity.
    ...
    A year after the Marshall Plan began sucking private capital out of the economy, the U.S. fell into recession, precisely the opposite of what its proponents predicted. Meanwhile, the aid did not help Europe. What reconstructed Europe was the post-Marshall freeing up of controlled prices, keeping inflation in check, and curbing union power--that is, the free market. As even Hoffman admitted in his memoir, the aid did not in fact help the economies of Europe. The primary benefit was "psychological." Expensive therapy, indeed.
  • tarran||

  • T o n y||

    How does he calculate that? Per capita? In terms of total expenditures Germany received more than any country except the UK and France.

    Another way of putting this is that the years in which the Marshall Plan was in effect saw the strongest economic boom in Europe's history. Though that can't be all attributed to the plan, and scholars disagree about the extent, and some say the "psychological" or political effects were just as important.

    Maybe it was a big waste of money. But it didn't really do any harm either. Stossel would have us spend no money to even try to make progress in the world.

  • Almanian 1||

    the years in which the Marshall Plan was in effect saw the strongest economic boom in Europe's history

    Yep, lotta jerrrrbz and wealth [re]creation in resurrecting whole countries from rubble. A whole lot...

    Let's go break some more windows, huh, Choney?

  • T o n y||

    You said it, not me.

  • Almanian 1||

    You understand the point is that the Marshall Plan had nothing to do with that?

    No. Actually, I'm guessing you don't...

  • Almanian 1||

    Maybe it was a big waste of money. But it didn't really do any harm either.

    Is it physically painful to be as fucking stupid as you are? Cause it seems like it would be, but I don't know. So I'm jes axin.

  • #||

    When you get your capital stock destroyed, you are starting at a low level, you can have really high catch-up growth following. This happened across Europe regardless of how much Marshall plan funds a country got.

  • $park¥||

    Start with a conclusion:
    Another way of putting this is that the years in which the Marshall Plan was in effect saw the strongest economic boom in Europe's history.

    And then water it down to nonexistence:
    can't be all attributed...scholars disagree about the extent...some say..Maybe it was...didn't really do any harm either.

    Then make an unfounded assertion:
    Stossel would have us spend no money to even try to make progress in the world.

    Nice work presenting your case Tony.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y| 8.8.12 @ 1:08PM |#
    ..."the years in which the Marshall Plan was in effect saw the strongest economic boom in Europe's history."

    First, par for the course, that's a lie, shithead. See Judt. "Postwar", shithead.
    Secondly, shithead, when you start from zero, *any* improvement is going to be pretty good.
    Finally, shithead:
    "some say the "psychological" or political effects were just as important."
    What a steaming pile of crap! You don't have anything other than fantasy to defend that, shithead.

  • Tman||

    If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand.

  • #||

    There is very much a reason why that is true. There are little to no incentives to operate efficiently and there are no checks to remove those entities that can;t perform.

    It isn't that you cant have inept private institutions in a market framework. But if a firm is, it either has to change its ways quickly or it ceases to exist.

    That doesn't happen with government institutions.

  • T o n y||

    But government can't cease to exist, so wanting it to have the same kind of checks as private market actors is pointless. It has another kind of check--politics/elections. I grant you with things like defense spending, that doesn't amount to much. It would certainly be nice if politicians stopped lying to people about how government services they expect can be afforded while still implementing tax cut after tax cut.

  • #||

    No the government can't cease to exist, but it can be restricted to only the things that can't operate well in a market setting, ie courts.

    And elections where you go vote for someone based on a huge spectrum of things and most people are loyal to party dogma are not a check on government run activities.

    A shitty public housing project or government run hospital is not going to change its ways or go out of business because of elections.

  • #||

    If the track record of government agencies were that of private firms, you would be screaming about how the free market failed and demand that government put an end to it. But because its government, they can be as horribly counter productive as they can be and its cool.

  • #||

    Make that the other way - if private firms acted like government agencies.

  • T o n y||

    99% of the stress in my life comes from interactions with private firms. Government runs so efficiently on the whole that I barely even notice it.

    And the same must be true for you guys, as you only notice government when things go wrong. That might possibly have something to do with confirmation bias.

  • Drake||

    My stress generally comes from interactions with individual people. When a business causes me stress, they lose a customer. When the state or federal government cause me stress - tough shit.

  • ||

    Government runs so efficiently on the whole that I barely even notice it.

    I have a strong suspicion you have no idea what the word efficient means. Government runs, under no definition does it run efficiently.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y| 8.8.12 @ 1:27PM |#
    "99% of the stress in my life comes from interactions with private firms. Government runs so efficiently on the whole that I barely even notice it."

    Yes, shithead. Private firms expect to deal with something other than ignoramuses.

  • $park¥||

    It would certainly be nice if politicians stopped lying to people about how government services they expect can be afforded while still implementing tax cut after tax cut.

    I AGREE! But I'm probably reading that different from what you intended.

  • Drake||

    If you have to go back 75 years to find an example of government action that (arguably) wasn't clumsy and wasteful, you have lost the argument.

  • T o n y||

    I get fresh water whenever I want it and get to flush out waste. My food is almost always safe to eat, and a heavily regulated traffic system makes my commute somewhat less stressful than it would otherwise be. I got a very good public education that allows me to make a living now. My grandparents' healthcare needs are secure, so I don't have to go broke paying for them. I could go on.

  • Drake||

    Only your last example has anything to do with the Federal Government. Medicare and Medicaid are the definition of clumsy, inefficient, and unconstitutional government vote buying.

  • T o n y||

    Except for the fact that every measure ever taken has shown them to be more efficient than private market alternatives.

  • Calidissident||

    Um, what? Health care in this country has gotten less and less efficient since the 1960's, coincidentally when the government cranked up their interference in the market

  • Sevo||

    T o n y| 8.8.12 @ 3:28PM |#
    "Except for the fact that every measure ever taken has shown them to be more efficient than private market alternatives."

    Lie, shithead.

  • T o n y||

    And you said government action, nothing about the federal government. Are more local governments somehow more efficient?

  • Calidissident||

    Well, yes. The larger and more distant institutions like government become, the less efficient they are. Not to mention, it isn't like government is the only group that make water or road systems, or that we'd all be eating globs of shit and salmonella if not for the FDA

  • tarran||

    My grandparents' healthcare needs are secure, so I don't have to go broke paying for them.

    Having dealt with Medicare's tender ministrations on family members, I found myself laughing at the utter stupidity of this statement - on a par with a Jew explaining how Hitler's promise of a new homeland in Russia meant getting on the train was safe.

  • Restoras||

    You'll be paying through the nose for your grandparaents healthcare and retirement. Your parents too. You won't get any of that. Everything else you mention could be done with significantly less governemtn spending. Nice try, though.

  • T o n y||

    Promises, promises.

  • R C Dean||

    I get fresh water whenever I want it and get to flush out waste.

    Me, too. No government involved. My favorite, though, is this:

    My grandparents' healthcare needs are secure, so I don't have to go broke paying for them.

    As long as you, personally, don't have to pay for something, directly, for now, the program is a success.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    There's no reason to suppose this has to be

    There's plenty of reasons to suppose and prove that this is. For starters, bureaucrats play with someone else's money with NO accountability. And don't give me this "we can vote them out!" shit, because nobody votes bureaucrats in, only politicians and officers of the court.

    It's a common libertarian fallacy to seek out examples of wasteful or inefficient government and ignore its day-to-day operations that work pretty well and make society function.

    You mean such day-by-day things like the DMV? The DHS? The DEA?

    And doesn't the Marshall Plan pretty much counter this entire argument?

    No. It didn't do anything it was advertised to accomplish, just waste money all around.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "ignore its day-to-day operations that work pretty well and make society function."

    Translation: You should see how great gov't is and society could never function the way I want without gov't management.

  • ||

    Tony is a concern troll. Why does anybody respond to him?

  • $park¥||

    Sometimes there just needs to be a point to underline his lunacy.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I think some people here get an endorphin rush when responding to trolls.

  • Pro Libertate||

    He's not even a troll. My analysis suggests a sockpuppet operated by a current or former regular, probably leftish libertarian, 5' 9, male, Caucasian, likes strolls in the park and is a PC, not a platform, gamer. A pizza agnostic, too.

  • ||

    I think some people here get an endorphin rush when responding to trolls.
    I know what that's like.

  • Cytotoxic||

    A good question.

  • R C Dean||

    Why does anybody respond to him?

    Mockery and abuse need no justification.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: CampingInYourPark,

    Translation: You should see how great gov't is and society could never function the way I want without gov't management.


    Drones like Tony believe that ONLY the government can deliver such "public" goods (a question-begging notion for starters) as water, sewage and ROADZ!

    This is why he says with a straight face that civilization could not fuction without government. This is just pure leftist bullshit. All civilizations were built on the pillars of trade, property, capital accumulation (food, tools, land, etc.) and division of labor. There's NO way you can have people building things if there are no food surpluses, and you can't build things if everybody is out gathering food. How are these things predicated on the existence of government defies reason. Government is nothing more than a parasitic entity feeding on the productivity of others, which means it cannot be the civilizing aspect of mankind.

    But drones slike Tony really think government is the ceterpoint of civilization, which is like confusing the tapeworm with the brains of the outfit.

  • ||

    People like Tony tend to think that government and society are the same. So, for example, when I say something like "I don't think the government should be involved with healthcare." what they hear is "I don't think anyone, anywhere, should be involved with healthcare."

  • Sevo||

    You are entirely too kind to shithead; you presume a sort of ignorance rather than an active, intentional dishonesty driven by a truly evil person.

  • Loki||

    Bombing Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia with drones creates new terrorists—some of whom may seek revenge.

    "I was just a boy when the infidels came to my village in their Blackhawk helicopters. The infidels fired at the oil fields and they lit up like the eyes of Allah. Burning oil rained down from the sky and cooked everything it touched. I could only hide myself and cry as my goats were consumed by the fiery black liquid death. In the midst of the chaos, I could swear that I heard my goats screaming for help. As quickly as they had come, the infidels were gone. It was on that day I put a jihad on them. And if you don't believe it, then you'd better kill me now, because I'll put a jihad on you, too."

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    But government can't cease to exist, so wanting it to have the same kind of checks as private market actors is pointless.

    Which pretty much makes it pointless as well to point out its benefits. You shoot yourself in the foot by using such arguments.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: CampingInYourPark,

    Translation: You should see how great gov't is and society could never function the way I want without gov't management.


    Drones like Tony believe that ONLY the government can deliver such "public" goods (a question-begging notion for starters) as water, sewage and ROADZ!

    This is why he says with a straight face that civilization could not fuction without government. This is just pure leftist bullshit. All civilizations were built on the pillars of trade, property, capital accumulation (food, tools, land, etc.) and division of labor. There's NO way you can have people building things if there are no food surpluses, and you can't build things if everybody is out gathering food. How are these things predicated on the existence of government defies reason. Government is nothing more than a parasitic entity feeding on the productivity of others, which means it cannot be the civilizing aspect of mankind.

    But drones like Tony really think government is the centerpoint of civilization, which is like believing the tapeworm is the brains of the outfit.

  • RightNut||

    "For every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies.", if this quote was always true, we would still be fighting the Japanese and Germans. A lot of innocent people were killed by the US in WWII, cities like Dresden, Hamburg, and Tokyo were obliterated by fire bombs, to say nothing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Yet we have been at peace with both countries for nearly 70 years now. This would seem to indicate the problem in countries like Afghanistan is our modern way of war. I don't think most Americans would approve of firebombing cities/villages in Afghanistan, but if we're not willing to do the terrible things necessary to win, maybe the war isn't worth fighting?

  • jameselgringo||

    while i dislike the awful warlike things we're doing and that we're making enemies, as far as overall safety goes, this is going to make us safest. ultimately, the last country/alliance with oil left will win. if we run out of oil before an arab (or any other) nation, they would easily be able to destroy whomever they want. as far as "winning" goes, this is the most strategic. neither strategy (going for oil or being peaceful) guaranties safety, and the peaceful route is still the right thing to do, but that wasn't the question.

  • Ardelle||

    I thought defense was one area where Democrats might make cuts. But Democrats rarely cut anything. Obama says our troops won't start leaving Afghanistan until 2014, and we'll still be involved for years after that. We should have learned from the Russian debacle and Britain's three lost wars there.

  • jason||

    policy makers create some controversies and it effect someone repo.

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