The Ominous U.S Presence In Northwest Africa

The Obama administration sets its sights on deeper involvement in Mali.

Ominously but unsurprisingly, the U.S. military’s Africa Command wants to increase its footprint in northwest Africa. What began as low-profile assistance to France’s campaign to wrest control of northern Mali (a former colony) from unwelcome jihadists could end up becoming something more.

The Washington Post reports that Africom “is preparing to establish a drone base in northwest Africa [probably Niger] so that it can increase surveillance missions on the local affiliate of Al Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups that American and other Western officials say pose a growing menace to the region.” But before that word “surveillance” can bring a sigh of relief, the Post adds, “For now, officials say they envision flying only unarmed surveillance drones from the base, though they have not ruled out conducting missile strikes at some point if the threat worsens.”

Meanwhile Bloomberg, citing American military officials, says Niger and the U.S. government have “reached an agreement allowing American military personnel to be stationed in the West African country and enabling them to take on Islamist militants in neighboring Mali, according to U.S. officials.… No decision has been made to station the drones.”

The irony is that surveillance drones could become the reason the “threat worsens,” and could provide the pretext to use drones armed with Hellfire missiles—the same kind used over 400 times in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, killing hundreds of noncombatants. Moving from surveillance to lethal strikes would be a boost for jihadist recruiters.

Exactly whom do the jihadists threaten in northern Mali? They threaten anyone who wishes to live free of extreme Sharia law, such as the nomadic Tuaregs in the north and the 90 percent of Malians in the south. Before the jihadists were routed by welcome French and Mali troops, they inflicted horrific violence in northern towns like Timbuktu.

But are the jihadists a threat to Americans at home? It’s hard to see the case. Since we know that the original al-Qaeda grievances against the United States were about brutal U.S. intervention in the Muslim world, we already know how to minimize, if not eliminate, a domestic threat from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb: withdrawal from the region. If American forces and drones come home, any real danger will subside. The jihadists will be too preoccupied with local and regional matters to bother with Americans minding their business thousands of miles away.

But should the U.S. government stop intervening there? From President Obama down, most people foolishly think the interests of the American people depend on what happens almost anywhere, and therefore virtually any crisis requires the application of U.S. power in some form. Outgoing defense secretary Leon Panetta says the U.S. support role in Mali “is the kind of model that you’re going to see in the future.”

Africa is of particular interest to the policy elite because of its oil, gas, and other important resources. So American officials are eager to make sure those resources are controlled by friends. In the past that objective has led the U.S. government to support brutal rulers, which in turn has engendered hostility toward the United States. Demonstrations on behalf of democracy are often suppressed with weapons stamped “Made in the USA.” This does not go unnoticed by the repressed population.

The point is that intervention is ultimately self-defeating, because it creates the enemies the government says it seeks to defeat. The way to obtain resources is through peaceful market purchases.

On the other hand, “humanitarian intervention,” however alluring, must be rejected. Saving Malians from violent jihadists in itself is a worthwhile cause, but the U.S. government can’t do it without using force against innocent people, including American taxpayers.

And remember the law of unintended consequences. U.S.-led NATO intervention against Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi aided jihadists (as it does in Syria) and provided the arms cache that powered the trouble in northern Mali. That’s how things work. After helping France and the Malian central government defeat the jihadists, will Obama then help suppress the Tuaregs’ hopes for autonomy, which could be next on the central government’s agenda?

This is the treacherous web that empire weaves. The U.S. military is too blunt an instrument for such complex situations. American security lies in nonintervention.

 This article originally appeared at The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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  • Ted S.||

    As I said in another thread, it's somehow "reasonable" when the "policy elite" wants NATO to intervene in Libya or Syria or Mali. But when Israel takes the initiative and (allegedly) bombs a facility in Syria, ZOMG!!!111!!!

  • Capt Ace Rimmer||

    Welfare recipient being lectured on how he spends his money doesn't surprise me. For the record, Israel has acknowledged the strike.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    So it would be OK for China to be up in arms about US foreign policy then?

  • robc||

    Loans != Aid

  • Xenocles||

    From what I was hearing on Friday you can drop the "allegedly."

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    That's because, unlike interventions in the Balkans, Libya, and Mali, Syria is an imminent national security threat to Israel -- and as we all know, the only good wars are the ones where we seek to civilize people and make them in our own image, and bad ones are ones which relate to something as tawdry as a nation's safety.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Reasonable to who? None of these are reasonable at all to any libertarian.

  • Bill||

    Unintended Whatchequences?

  • ||

    We can't and shouldn't be fighting everybody else's conflicts for them. We don't know the Malians our time, our wealth, or our blood. Let them battle their own demons. Intervention is a grievous mistake.

  • ||

    *owe, too.

  • John||

    Okay. Should we never have helped anyone fight communism? What if they asked? Is our foreign policy now summed up with Go fuck yourself?

    I am decided about this. But I wish the people against it could come with better arguments beyond platitudes.

  • ||

    Do me a favor, pal, and stop conflating noninterventionism with isolationism.

    If the Soviet Union were alive today and decided on waging total war on Europe, I'd fully support waging total war in response, for example.

    How is that even remotely similar to dropping ourselves into this modern, shitty quagmire of adventurism?

    Iraq? Libya? Egypt? That shit's ridiculous, and we never should have involved ourselves in it.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    John was responding to your fairly broad statement...which you're now walking back. Fighting the Soviets in Europe is not compatible with noninterventionism.

  • Oval Teen||

    John,
    IT'S VIETNAM ALL OVER AGAIN!

  • robc||

    Was looking thru Washington's Farewell Address for my standard response to John, when I ran across this, which is even more appropriate (just not in direct response to John here):

    As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as possible, avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it, avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertion in time of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear.

    Does anyone in our congress ever "shun occassions of expense"? Have any ever used that term at all?

  • db||

    Instead, practically everything they wish to spend money on is hidden in "emergency allocations" designed precisely to step around budgeting requirements and financed by "throwing on posterity the burdens."

  • robc||

    UNGENEROUSLY

    dont forget that.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    The voters don't, so why should their representatives?

    Sometimes you guys act as if Congress is composed of reptilian alien overlords oppressing the people. Nuh-uh. The people select mostly the same Congress every two years.

  • db||

    Gary Johnson had a great campaign brochure making just this point. But I seem to remember something about how it would be unrealistic to vote for him coming from you back when it mattered.

  • robc||

    reptilian alien overlords

    The votes they received in Minnesota were unfairly thrown out.

  • robc||

    Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

  • robc||

    Or, better yet, Edmund Burke:

    Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.

    You asked:

    The voters don't, so why should their representatives?

    and Burke answered. Because its their fucking jobs.

  • ||

    I've got an argument for you, John.

    If someone attacks me and my own I will use everything in my arsenal to defend myself. If I get in a street fight I will kick and bite and do whatever it takes to win that street fight (assuming I'm not carrying).

    Protecting yourself is not a game, protecting your country is not a game. If you aren't willing to fight a total war then you have no fucking business fighting at all.

    "Helping" someone fight communism? Sounds suspiciously like a police action, nation-building or a bullshit proxy war, all sort of the same thing, and they all suck. Fuck that shit.

    Attack us and we will drop an atomic bomb on your ass. That was how the last real war against the US ended, and I don't have a problem with it. Fuck "helping" anyone fight against communism.

    That's my non-interventionism in a nutshell.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I notice you excluded the situation where you were carrying, thus making it a roughly symmetric fight. That almost never happens when the US goes to war in modern times. There was never any doubt that Afghanistan, for example, would be militarily defeated quickly, so "total war" was not justified.

  • ||

    "total war" was not justified.

    And because there was no total war, we are still there 11 years later. Over twice as long as WWII.

    You didn't see effective post war insurgencies in Germany and Japan because they were thoroughly beaten and ready for peace. Unless you have the will to wage total war, your excuses for going to war are probably inadequate.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    German and Japanese insurgents didn't have neighboring countries supplying them with safe harbor and weapons like Pakistan is doing in AFG.

  • ||

    Dude, did you even read my post?

    The point is, unless you are willing to lay waste to a place, you shouldn't be there.

    Germany and Japan wouldn't have taken weapons from neighboring countries to become insurgents if they could have. They were soundly beaten.

    Limited warfare breeds insurgency.

  • ||

    Limited warfare breeds insurgency.

    Exactly. Half-assing anything is a mistake. Half-assing war is the worst mistake a country can make.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Black and white thinking FTL. Not that I should be surprised with the Objectivist usernames.

    Let's see; should we have laid waste to Korea or let Kim il-Sung take over the entire peninsula?

    And are you implying that you agree with the firebombing of Dresden, btw?

    Germany and Japan wouldn't have taken weapons from neighboring countries to become insurgents if they could have.

    And you know this how? We're not talking about random Afghani barbers or farmers here, we're talking about insurgents. The G+J case was also helped by the fact that those were very top-down societies, where the populace was used to following the orders of the govt, including surrender. Not so in AFG or PAK or most of the Muslim world, where most leaders are seen as illegitimate.

  • ||

    Let's see; should we have laid waste to Korea or let Kim il-Sung take over the entire peninsula?

    How would it have affected us if he had?

    At some point you could make the argument that, with enough puppet regimes around the world, the Soviets/communism could become a no kidding threat. Whether Korea was that point or not is legitimately debatable.

    HOWEVER, our lack of will to fight a total war in Korea ensured that we are STILL there 61 years later. Had we had the balls to win the war, we'd most likely be dealing with another Japan (i.e. an ally) , rather than a psychotic nut job.

    We're not talking about random Afghani barbers or farmers here, we're talking about insurgents.

    They were barbers and farmers until we made them insurgents.

    The G+J case was also helped by the fact that those were very top-down societies, where the populace was used to following the orders of the govt, including surrender. Not so in AFG or PAK or most of the Muslim world, where most leaders are seen as illegitimate.

    A fact that should have been factored in BEFORE deciding to fight a limited war against them. God knows, we didn't have a glaring example of how an Afghani war might look before getting involved.

    Are you done making my point?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    OK Gen. MacArthur. If we started nuking targets within the PRC, which is what you'd have to do (do recall we actually had possession of almost all of NK at one point, so it's not like we gave up on the invasion) you'd be looking at a much bigger mess. Almost certainly an open shooting war with the USSR.

    I suppose you think we should have pulled our troops out of Japan and let the Russkies roll over them, too.

  • ||

    So what you're sayin is:

    You agree with me. To avoid nucyouler com-bat with the Rooskies AND avoid 61 years of providing S Korea with free defense, we should have stayed the fuck out of it.

    Glad we agree. That may be the easiest point you've ever made for me. Thanks.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    They were barbers and farmers until we made them insurgents.

    Bullshit!

  • ||

    Well, double bullshit on you.

    *Sticks out tongue, thumbs in ears, wiggles fingers

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Shockingly, I seem to agree with Tulpa.

  • robc||

    German and Japanese insurgents didn't have neighboring countries supplying them with safe harbor and weapons like Pakistan is doing in AFG.

    Finland, for example, wonders what the fuck you are talking about. Sure, by the end of the war, they were fighting the Nazis, but they provided a fuck ton of safe harbor and weapons for fighting the Commies early on.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    robc, we're talking about the postwar situation. Finland wasn't providing safe harbor for Nazi insurgents against the Allied occupation.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    You didn't see effective post war insurgencies in Germany and Japan because they were societies and governments that were similar to ours. Afghanistan is not.

  • ||

    If I'm carrying and I have to defend myself in a street encounter, I might go to prison even if I was justified in my self-defense.

    If a country like the US goes to war with Afghanistan, no one is going to arrest that country. They could try sanctions to show their disapproval. Or declare war on the US, neither of which is very likely.

    If a country is supporting terrorists who attack the US then the US has the choice of shrugging it off, engaging in some sort of half-measures like air-strikes, police action, proxy war, etc, or letting slip the dogs of war.

    A democracy that's worried about its international image doesn't want to shrug it off nor does it want to go full tilt, so it engages in half measures and lots of bullshit like security theater.

    What I'm saying is that a nation should either take it on the chin or go full tilt. I'm not saying we should attack this or that country, I'm saying there should be real commitment to these endeavors if people want to engage in them.

    If war was actual war instead of half-ass war with training wheels and an airbag causing a Peltzman effect people would have to take it more seriously.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I'm confused here. Are you claiming the Afghanistan invasion was a half-measure (as FDA is doing)? Because it fits with what you're advising in this comment.

  • ||

    Yes.

  • RyanXXX||

    John, do you equate Islamist Jihadism with the Soviet Union, in terms of the threat they pose to a liberal-democratic world order? Do you think Islam is posed to take over anywhere where it isn't already the dominant religion?

    Also, are you one of those people who believe our only mistake in Vietnam was leaving?

    Finally, did Communism collapse because we fought it head-on? From what I've read, in places where we tried that we either failed (see Vietnam) or ended up supporting people just as bad (see Contras/Pinochet/Mujahedin).

    It's collapse came about because of primarily internal factors - the inherent contradictions of the communist system.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    What do you mean "we", John?

  • ||

    Silly goose! They're going to welcome us as liberators, and they're going to embrace the blessing of democracy we bring them!

  • Rhywun||

    African Spring! Hell... World Spring!

  • John||

    Wishful thinking about peace loving jihadists never dreaming of ever attacking Americans, check.

    idiotic strict pacifism check

    Yup Reason is writing about foreign policy again.

  • ||

    The aroma of "it's all our fault" is pretty awful, but blowback is a major factor.

    And pacifism is a morally indefensible, degenerate code.

    At the same time, however, that has nothing to do with noninterventionism, which is still the way to go.

  • Oval Teen||

    pacifism is a morally indefensible, degenerate code

    But if libertarians are anarchists, and anarchists are pacifists (no aggression!) then it follows that libertarians follow a morally indefensible, degenerate code (the nonaggression principle). Correct?

  • ||

    No aggression does not equal pacifism. Libertarianism does not equal anarchism.

  • Xenocles||

    Non-aggression is no initiation of force. Pacifism is no force at all. Very different.

  • robc||

    Libertarians arent anarchists, so your basic premise fails.

  • ||

    Invariably, anti-Libertarian criticisms contain jaw-dropping logic fails.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    A lot of libertarians are anarchists.

  • robc||

    No they arent.

    Even if your big tent libertarianism is large enouch to include an-caps, they are still a tiny fraction of the whole tent. There arent a lot of them.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: ZG Zaytsev,

    A lot of libertarians are anarchists.


    I am. Today, I didn't ask permission to the State to pick my nose.

    Did you ask permission to the State to do something today, Z?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I like your honesty Old Mex.

    A lot of libertarians claim to be on both sides of anarchy depending upon the situation.

  • Oval Teen||

    Libertarians aren't anarchists

    The anarchists, anarcho-libertarians and minarchists who frequent this "libertarian" forum might disagree, but how does one define "libertarianism" when it has more flavors than Baskin-Robbins? I've seen 400-comment threads here in which "libertarians" argue over what the definition of "is" is.

  • robc||

    You didnt say "some libertarians are anarchists", you said "libertarians are anarchists".

    While I dont necessary agree with the former, no one thinks the latter is true.

    Not sure why you bring minarchism into it, we minarchists are, by definition, not anarchists.

  • Oval Teen||

    we minarchists are, by definition, not anarchists

    I get it. It's like you're just a little pregnant.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    What's the definition of "liberal" and "conservative"? I mean in practice, today, not the original meaning the monikers had in 1930. Considering that liberals are in large part defending the past at this point, you can't use the usual definition of "conservative".

    Libertarianism may not have a point-precise definition, but at least we have an idea of what it means besides supporting a TEAM.

  • Xenocles||

    Practically speaking, a modern American liberal is a statist whose statism centers around economic issues and a modern American conservative is an incompetent imperialist.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    That's definitely capturing most of the spirit of mid-late 20th century liberalism, if you add guns and schooling to the statism positions of liberalism. Since 2001 liberalism has expanded the areas where it's statist, though.

    Conservatism, on the other hand, is a total crazy quilt. The issues on which conservatives are statists are disappearing rapidly from contention, and the few that are left (drugs, copyrights) have been adopted by the post-9/11 left as well.

  • Xenocles||

    You're not wrong about the right there. I was struggling with a glib summary of the modern conservative movement and went with that in favor of "moral-centered statists," the conventional glib summary.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Not the G-word!

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    All libertarians believe that initiation of force is a bad thing.

    An-caps believe that all initiation of force should be completely done away with, while minarchists believe there is some necessary minimum of force initiation needed to maintain stability. Even minarchists would support only a tiny subset of the force initiation we see in our society today.

  • Oval Teen||

    Libertarian hero Murray Rothbard: libertarian or anarchist?

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/rot.....rd133.html

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Rothbard was an an-cap.

  • Oval Teen||

    Yeah, if you read the essay, he has his cake and eats it too.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I'm not an an-cap by any means (LAOL is at the other extreme end of the libertarian spectrum), but some of the an-cap philosophers make good points and we should to some extent hold an-cap society as the ideal, if an unreachable one. In the end I think they're assuming their way out of questions of how such a system could possibly survive.

  • RyanXXX||

    See, when Tulpa doesn't just snipe from the sidelines he actually makes good points. An-Cap as the utopian albeit unreachable ideal is what I've preached for a while now

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I don't know how to snipe from anywhere else!

  • Capt Ace Rimmer||

    Jihadists don't have shit on lonely teenage computer gamers. Call of Duty is the new safe haven.

  • Lyle||

    Libertarians no longer understand what liberty is and what it entails.

    This is why they're a joke third party and always will be.

    Richman, Feeney,and Krayewski are imbeciles. Immoral imbeciles.

  • kbolino||

    Ahh, how quickly we forget the libertarian heyday of yesteryear, when every other President had an L beside his name.

    But there is hope! If only we started adopting everybody else's viewpoints, by golly we'd get popular real fast.

  • Lyle||

    Yep, the two major parties seem to better understand what liberty is about.

  • Ed||

    Great company to be mentioned in.

  • Xenocles||

    The explanation is no more sinister than empire building on the part of AFRICOM's leadership. They really are the stepchild of combatant commands and are probably grasping at anything they can find to get more resources to control.

  • BlueBook||

    ...most people foolishly think the interests of the American people depend on what happens almost anywhere...

    Well, that's not an entirely foolish thought, what with the global economy and all. Though I agree that imperialism is a lousy way to deal with such interests.

  • ||

    most people foolishly think the interests of the American people depend on what happens almost anywhere

    This is why having a no kidding policy is important. When will you go to war? What types of conflicts are worth getting involved in?

    Certainly, as BB states, in a global economy, EVERYTHING is in our national interests. That doesn't mean we have the right to act upon them. Being in our interest isn't an excuse to initiate force.

    The correct litmus test is whether force has been initiated against us. In this case, clearly not. In Iraq clearly not. Afghanistan? Debatable. I would have struck Al Qaeda in their camps. I certainly would not have extended the action to overthrowing the Taliban and nation building. THAT is what prolonged the conflict and THAT interference is what turns normal people into terrorists.

  • ||

    I am not going to debate interventionism vs. noninterventionism. I will say this; Nothing good will come out of our going into Africa.

  • Oval Teen||

    Unless it does. Or can you predict the future? If so, could you please let me know the final score of tonight's Super Bowl? It's kinda important. Thx.

  • db||

    Maybe folkslike you who advocate intervention should be held to their rosy predictions of the consequences of their actions for once in history, eh?

  • Oval Teen||

    I'm not the one making predictions. But I agree with you. I'd like to see the editors of Reason (and the commentariat) retract every one of their pessimistic, apocalyptic predictions when they are proven to be wrong, but that will never happen, will it?

  • db||

    It's becoming more clear that arguing with you is pointless, but perhaps you might want to consider all those pessimistic prdictions that involvement in Libya would result in smearing the conflict around to different places in north and west Africa, with blowback threatened against the Western nations doing it, which is pretty much exactly what is happening right now.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    The mug is round, the jar is round, why don't they call it Round Teen?

  • Oval Teen||

    I was going to name myself Bosco, but the Costanza connotations are too disturbing to make real, even in this unreal world.

  • Ted S.||

    I always call it Ellipse Teen.

  • ||

    "Unless it does. Or can you predict the future?"

    It wont. And yes, I can, I just did in my previous post. If you have any practical knowledge of Africa you would laugh and say "NO SHIT!".

  • robc||

    If you havent read it before, of even if you have, reread GW's farewell address, it is chock full of awesome.

    Can you imagine a modern president saying this, or even meaning it?

    Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts

    And we have seen recent commentary specifically opposing this:

    But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all.

  • db||

    Yeah, it's a great address. I wish we had a Peesident to equal Washington these days, but the parties won't let anyone like that anywhere near a nomination. Eisenhower's farewell address comes close, but in a clouds-on-the-horizon -i-hope-y'all-can-see-them-coming -and-do-something-to-avoid-them way. Washington spoke with authority and optimism, while Eisenhower had over 150 years of history to review.

  • robc||

    and the congress and future presidents ignored both of them.

  • db||

    And so frequently they were ignored under the excuses of "this is a special case" or "just this once." How few of our politicians have ever been guided by principle.

  • ||

    "...the parties won't let anyone like that anywhere near a nomination."

    This is why I find them so despicable. May they rot in hell.

  • Homple||

    President equal to Washington? I'd settle for one equal to Coolidge. It hurts my fingers to type this, but I'd swap what we have now for Bill Clinton.

  • robc||

    That doesnt hurt at all.

    I was willing to vote Zombie Coolidge from pres in 2012 myself.

  • ||

    Clinton was a pig and I'd take 5 of him compared to what we've got.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    The thing about Eisenhower's farewell address is that academia, the left, and the elites completely missed the point of his speech. It's known as the "military-industrial complex" speech, but if you actually read it, Eisenhower points out that it was just one element of an over-scaled technocracy that was ultimately dangerous to a stable, sustainable society.

    Just look at this passage, which nearly everyone ignores:

    Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in the newer elements of our defenses; development of unrealistic programs to cure every ill in agriculture; a dramatic expansion in basic and applied research – these and many other possibilities, each possibly promising in itself, may be suggested as the only way to the road we wish to travel.

    That's the exact opposite of how our modern populace views the role of government, which expects a horde of Top.Men. to come up with a single panacea for every issue.

  • Homple||

    Another section of Eisenhower's speech, ignored by the government academic complex, "Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity."

  • db||

    "AFRICOM?" Certainly they could have come up with a cooler name. Maybe something with "Corps" in it. And it needs a good logo. What's a good symbol for northern Africa? How about some sort of tree? I'll leave the details up to you guys.

  • BlueBook||

    At the very least, any military involvement in Mali must result in a new campaign ribbon. How else will the generals cover those last few square inches of undecorated fabric on their dress uniforms?

  • ||

    Details? maybe a baobab tree? No! No! A palm tree would be better!

  • db||

    Palm tree? Sounds great! Let's roll with it!

  • Ted S.||

    I vote for ECOMCON.

  • robc||

    Fun word search on farewell address:

    Liberty 15 mentions
    Justice 7 mentions
    Equality 0 mentions

  • ||

    Can anyone guess which president's speeches contain an inverse number of those? You get three tries.....

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Or which of those three the Cosmos value most.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Cosmonauts probably value oxygen and pressure the most. 'Cause without 'em you'd be dead in space.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Not surprising coming from a rich-ass slaveholder who led troops against his own people for tax evasion.

    Take a break from fellating Washington's corpse and refresh your memory on what kind of man he really was.

  • db||

    The tax law was the tax law, Tulpa. Law and order--I thought that was important to you.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    It is important to me. Considering tax evaders are heroes around here, I thought the commentariat in general did not.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Tulpa, how did you come to be a legal positvist?

  • robc||

    I dont care what type of man he was, his comments stand on their own.

    For someone who likes to point out logical fallacies, you made a big one there.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    You obviously do care since you think the word counts in his speeches matter.

  • ||

    refresh your memory on what kind of man he really was.

    What, because he didn't live up to his principles, makes his principles wrong?

  • robc||

    And considering the paragraph on taxes in the address, he lived up to that principle.

  • ||

    "Not surprising coming from a rich-ass slaveholder who led troops against his own people for tax evasion."

    Occasionally I am tempted to regard you as part of the commentariat. Very occasionally. But you really are just a troll, arent you?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Bringing up uncomfortable realities makes me a troll?

    Wow, a slaveholder didn't use the word "equality" much. How is that relevant to us today, who (hopefully) all have very different attitudes toward women and people of other races than Washington did?

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    GW also embezzled about $25K (about $1 million today) from the Treasury. Congress knew and did nothing.

  • waaminn||

    Sometimes dude, you jsut have to rol with the punches!

    www.ub-Anon.tk

  • ||

    Thats right Pedo-bot, sometimes you do.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I would just like to take this opportunity to say,

    "Fuck you, Mark Kelly, you worthless sleazy shitbag."

    And that goes for laPierre, too.

    Also, I like how Chris Wallace got all butthurt and outraged about that heartlessly mean NRA ad which implied that normal old Joe Twelvepack's kids are just as important as the First Daughters.

  • Oval Teen||

    Do all those people comment here? What are their handles?
    OMG is Tulpa really Wayne LaPierre?!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I also like how people on any side of any argument will felch up a statistic number which purportedly buttresses their position, and then uncritically spout it at every opportunity.

    "ONE POINT SEVEN MILLION CRIMINALS WERE DENIED GUNS BY BACKGROUND CHECKS!!!"

    NEEDZ MOAR BACKGROUND CHEX!!!!!!

  • Guy Laguy||

    American Sniper author Chris Kyle shot dead in Texas

    Iraq veteran and ex-US Navy seal Chris Kyle, known as the deadliest sniper in US history, has been shot dead on a Texas shooting range, reports say.

    His body was found at Rough Creek Lodge range on Saturday with that of another man. A suspect was arrested.
  • Romulus Augustus||

    Back in the day, there was one prominent libertarian pacifist:
    Robert LeFevre. I once heard him say that, should he be kidnapped, he wouldn't break his captor's chains, because that would be destroying the captor's property. Needless to say, the number of libertarians who thought this was great advice was insignificant.

  • Virginian||

    Which just goes to show you even libertarians are capable of weapons grade stupid.

  • Oval Teen||

    Capable and wholly willing to publicize it.

  • sloopyinca||

    Yes, and neither conservatives or liberals have their share of loons.

    You've given me something to think about, and I am now likely to abandon libertarianism and the NAP for a more reasonable stance like supporting our government's killing of people 10,000 miles away in the desert to protect our nation.

  • Oval Teen||

    ZZZZZZZ.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: John,

    Wishful thinking about peace loving jihadists never dreaming of ever attacking Americans, check.


    Paranoid musings about evil jihadists springing from under your bed with their janbiyas to cut your throat... Check!

  • Lyle||

    How is it paranoid to recognized that violent Islamists had taken over northern Mali and killed a bunch of oil workers in Algeria?

    Are you illiterate or something and don't know what goes on in the world?

    Maybe you're just an imbecile like Sheldon Richman.

  • Mike M.||

    It's paranoia, until it's you or a loved one who ends up dead. Then it's all too real.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Are you talking about the innocent drone victims?

  • Oval Teen||

    Libertarians eschew precision-guided weaponry in favor of old-fashioned dumb bombs, their use of which is morally superior because, although dumb bombs kill civilians on a magnitude thousands of times larger than drones, the fact that they are dropped by pilots in planes, not controllers in offices, somehow make them ethically more defensible.

    Of course, it isn't the drones that libertarians really object to. They're a red herring. Libertarians object to bombs of any sort, used anywhere. It's pacifism-isolationism disguised as childish drone-hate. Plus, the use of precision-guided weaponry gives the libertarians an opportunity to coin clever new terms like "drone-murder."

    Grenades? OK.
    Artillery? OK.
    Dumb bombs? Not a problem.
    Drones? Murder.

  • sloopyinca||

    Do you have a single citation to support your claim that we prefer any type of bombing to non-intervention? Just one will do, dumbass.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Yeah, what's this guy's damage?

    Geesh.

    It's not like we go over to his sheep-fucking forum and shit all over him and his sheep fucking brethren.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I don't support any kind of bombing against people in Pakistan or Yemen, dumb, smart, or anywhere in between. Considering that neither country poses a threat to us, I don't see how that makes me a pacifist.

    The main problem with drones is that they make it too easy to keep a constant trickle of killing innocent people going. Sure, it would have been nice if we had drones in 1945 to harass the Japs into submission rather than dumping a bunch of dumb bombs on them, but that doesn't justify what we're doing now.

    It's the same dynamic as cops with tasers.. the idea was to allow cops to nonlethally subdue suspects who in former times would have been shot. But what happened was that cops started using tasers in situations where previously they would have used no force at all.

  • Oval Teen||

    Drones make killing more efficient.
    But killing is icky!

    Um wants no more killing, um wants!

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Who are you and what have you done with the real Tulpa?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I'm sure if you just whack this one last mole, no more will pop up.

  • sloopyinca||

    And what do those incidents in Mali and Algeria have to do with me? Why should my freedoms be sacrificed because some assholes half a world away took over a couple of nations being run by other corrupt assholes?

  • Lyle||

    How is your freedom being sacrificed by France running the Islamists out of Timbuktu?

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Lyle,

    How is it paranoid to recognized that violent Islamists had taken over northern Mali and killed a bunch of oil workers in Algeria?


    It's paranoid to think that they will get passage on the Good Ship Lollipop to America to kill YOU. That is what John is suggesting.

  • Lyle||

    Not really since the 9/11 guys did in fact arrive in America on the Good Ship Lollipop.

    It's not paranoia to recognize that there are violent Islamists. We live in the same world as them. It is just the facts.

    Why are some people, like Richman, Feeney, and Krayewski paranoid about the truth?

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Lyle,

    Not really since the 9/11 guys did in fact arrive in America on the Good Ship Lollipop.


    Those were Saudi Arabs with rich sponsors, Lyle, not Mali jihadists fighting Tuareg militias.

    You're just like John, lumping together people who have no relation between each other except their religion, and confusing militias shooting each other with America-hating thugs.

  • Lyle||

    They weren't all Saudi. Mohammad Atta, the leader, was Egyptian and not rich.

    And if you think that most of the jihadists in Mali are Malian you'd be wrong. There mostly Arabs from outside of Mali.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Lyle,

    They weren't all Saudi. Mohammad Atta, the leader, was Egyptian and not rich.


    I said with rich sponsors. Somehow I *knew* you were going to fall into that trap despite being so obvious.

    And if you think that most of the jihadists in Mali are Malian you'd be wrong.


    I don't care, Lyle. It's irrelevant. They could be Martian for all I care, that does not mean they're buying a ticket over here as we speak.

  • Lyle||

    What rich sponsors? Even if they were rich sponsors what does it matter?

    Some of these people are already in America... like Major Hassan. And what his face that Reason makes a big deal about was born in New Mexico.

    Thems just the facts Mexican.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    How is it paranoid to recognized that violent Islamists had taken over northern Mali and killed a bunch of oil workers in Algeria?

    So what?

  • sloopyinca||

    OT: Any Philly cop,city official or otherwise connected person that claims there's no double standard is full of fucking shit.

  • jili5||

    And of course Niger allows us to put a base there since we bribe their government every year with "foreign aide".

  • Lyle||

    Sheldon Richman,

    Why was the Turkey embassy attacked two days ago? Is America not supposed to be allies with Turkey or something?

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Lyle,

    Why was the Turkey embassy attacked two days ago?


    Because they hate us for our rightism!

  • Lyle||

    Yep, this is blowback from the writings of Richman, Krayewski, and Feeney.

    They have blood on their hands for encouraging this kind of thinking.

    Way to go Reason! By your own idiotic logic you're partly responsible for the attack in Ankara.

  • sloopyinca||

    Lyle, did your parents have any children that lived?

  • Lyle||

    Libertarianism would be stronger if you were more quiet. ;)

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Lyle,

    Yep, this is blowback from the writings of Richman, Krayewski, and Feeney.


    "Yep"? Are the voices talking to you again, Lyle?

    Because your non sequitur is so nonsensical that it just can't be sarcasm.

  • Lyle||

    You're starting to get it. Reason reasons by arguing non sequitor after non sequitor.

  • OldMexican||

    If you say so. All I know is that you still managed to misspell "non sequitur," twice, even when having the word written in front of you.

  • Lyle||

    I'm shit at typing. I still won the argument though, because bad spelling doesn't defeat that. :)

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    What argument? You have yet to make a compelling case for any point you've made beyond appeals to emotion.

  • kbolino||

    As we all know, anything an American does is in spite of his government, but anything a foreigner does is because of his.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Surprise! Policemen lie.

    But are police officers necessarily more trustworthy than alleged criminals? I think not. Not just because the police have a special inclination toward confabulation, but because, disturbingly, they have an incentive to lie. In this era of mass incarceration, the police shouldn’t be trusted any more than any other witness, perhaps less so.

    That may sound harsh, but numerous law enforcement officials have put the matter more bluntly. Peter Keane, a former San Francisco Police commissioner, wrote an article in The San Francisco Chronicle decrying a police culture that treats lying as the norm: “Police officer perjury in court to justify illegal dope searches is commonplace. One of the dirty little not-so-secret secrets of the criminal justice system is undercover narcotics officers intentionally lying under oath. It is a perversion of the American justice system that strikes directly at the rule of law. Yet it is the routine way of doing business in courtrooms everywhere in America.”

  • sloopyinca||

    I saw that earlier today. Good link, Brooksie.

    Now if they were just held accountable...

  • ||

    fortunately, regardless of what this cop-o-crat (police commissioner ) thinks, juries tend to trust police more than most other witnesses. ask any defense attorney or prosecutor.

    fwiw, I've never lied under oath and never will.

    the syndrome of testilying certainly exists, the only question is to what extent. in corrupt pd's like new Orleans I'm sure it's exceedingly common. in other pd's, less so.

    dershowitz has written some good stuff on testilying.

    ultimately, to me, rule of law matters way more than "winning" (it's not my job to WIN a case. its my job to collect and present evidence) and I will never lie in court. officers who do lie in court betray their badge, their oath, in this most noble of professions.

  • sloopyinca||

    its my job to collect and present evidence

    Even if that involves committing a conspiracy to break the law in the collection of that evidence, as has been pointed out here rather recently.

  • Ted S.||

    ultimately, to me, rule of law matters way more than "winning"

    Which is why you always get a warrant to get patient prescription records.

  • sloopyinca||

    Shorter Lyle: Warboners are good! Kill all the Mooslims in their beds before they come here and kill us speak ill of America from their mud huts 10000 miles away.

  • Lyle||

    You're a good example of too many libertarians these days.

  • sloopyinca||

    And you're a good example of too many idiots these days.

  • Lyle||

    If you were actually not an idiot you'd use facts and logic to argue with me, but instead you just have hyperbole and ad hominem.

    Warboners and Mooslims... and you think you know something. Hahahaha!!!

  • sloopyinca||

    Facts? Logic? You abandoned these concepts before you woke up this morning and polluted these threads with your bellicose gibberish.

    People like you make me sick because you don't value sovereignty, human rights and due process. You're a moron that deserves ridicule, as you have nothing to add to this conversation other than a bit of comic relief. Unfortunately you're serious.

  • Ted S.||

    I have a feeling Lyle is a sockpuppet of one of the regular trolls, but I don't know which one.

  • Lyle||

    Sockpuppet and trolls. Man you make a strong case. :)

  • Lyle||

    What are you talking about? You seem to be talking about yourself.

    Sovereignty? Waht about the sovereignty of Timbuktus? What do violent Islamists care about due process or human rights? Do you even understand what you're actually saying?

    You need to learn how to think. You ain't good at it.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Lyle,

    Waht about the sovereignty of Timbuktus?


    If you're genuinely so outraged by this, then you're free to use your own money to go over there and lend a helping hand like so many volunteers since Lord Byron.

    I'm not willing to pay for any other military foray. I'm just not.

  • Lyle||

    Good for you. You don't care a fig about liberty.

  • Calidissident||

    As I've said before, Lyle is essentially the conservative equivalent of liberals who say things like "If you oppose single payer healthcare, you want poor people to not get treatment and die in the streets." Except in this case, he says "If you don't think a foreign country should be 'liberated' through invasion by the US military, you oppose liberty in that country."

  • Lyle||

    Who is talking about a U.S. invasion? Who? Why do you need to make this up?

    We're talking about supporting France's intervention and the U.S.'s logistical support.

    Don't put words into peoples' mouth.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Good for you. You don't care a fig about liberty.

    "MUH FREEDUMZ ARGLEDY BARGLDEY BOO!"

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Lyle,

    Good for you. You don't care a fig about liberty.


    I care about mine. You certainly don't, by what is being implied by your retort: i.e. you're willing to rob me in order to pay for bombing others.

    Again, if you care so much about someone else's liberty 5,000 miles away, you are free to lend a hand like Byron or Hemingway did at one time.

  • Lyle||

    No, I'm not robbing you. Paying taxes is the law. It was effectively voted on.

    Read up on how our government works. I bet there are a lot of bridges you wish wouldn't have been build. So what?

    Who says I'm not lending a hand like Byron and Hemingway, and many, many others.

    :)

    You're anti-liberty. You're immoral. And you're imbecile.

    In the one life you're living... you're living it with no mind or heart. Don't ever forget it.

  • Redmanfms||

    I bet there are a lot of bridges you wish wouldn't have been build.

    Seriously? ROADZZZ!!!!!

    You're anti-liberty.

    Says the guy who is arguing that democratic process makes confiscation of property through threat of violence isn't robbery by proxy.

    Slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, et al were "effectively voted on" and "the law" too.

    You're immoral.

    Says the guy who is arguing that becoming involved (militarily) supporting French intervention of questionable motivation in Mali because some "Islamist" group is fighting with some other (notably NOT American) group in their own country.

  • kinnath||

    If we're going to spend enormous amounts of money and kill off a bunch of young Americans, can we at least go back to our imperialist ways and start taking over some territory. Then we can let plunder finance itself.

  • OldMexican||

    Just like the Romans of old. At least they managed to keep their empire running for a wee longer that way than what the US government can achieve by money printing or borrowing alone.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Take a break from fellating Washington's corpse and refresh your memory on what kind of man he really was.

    Take a break from your obsessive-compulsive contrarian ego stroking, Professor Huffandpuff.

  • naughtypundit||

    I think the solution to Mali is proxies. France and the African Union should take the lead with support from us. I don't think we should retreat from the region altogether because it emboldens terrorists. I also think it is in our national interest to shut down Al Qaeda terrorist havens, wherever they may be. Afghanistan used to be the ultimate backwater. The world wrote the Taliban off because we all figured they were just local yokels. We dismissed their alliance with Al Qaeda. And as a result, we ended up with 9/11. We ignore threats at our own peril.

  • sloopyinca||

    You should work for the White House PR team...regardless of which party is in control. This is the same bullshit they've all been spoonfeeding the American public for a decade and a half.

    The solution is to respect national sovereignty and to try and influence behavior by setting a good example and offering trade incentives to nations that treat their people (both men and women) decently and to limit trade with nations that treat their people or their neighbors like shit.

  • kbolino||

    I think the solution to Mali is proxies.

    In other words, cowardice. Let not the recipient of our aggression know that it is our foot in the boot, for it may anger him to reprise against us. Unfortunately, people are not that stupid, more so when their opponent likes to leak info like a sieve whenever it might have political benefit.

    I don't think we should retreat from the region altogether because it emboldens terrorists.

    How can you retreat from an area you do not control? Apart from a handful of limited actions over the years (from the Barbary Pirates to Somalia), Africa has not seen any significant US presence. It has been the playground of other imperialist powers (and lately those who wish they still were).

    I also think it is in our national interest to shut down Al Qaeda terrorist havens, wherever they may be.

    I really think that "Al Qaeda" has become the greatest make-work project the world has yet seen. If you're a Muslim in a shithole, what better way to attract attention to yourself than create a group and brand it "Al Qaeda in X"? Suddenly, a thousand analyst jobs open up halfway across the world.

    Semi-sarcastic attitudes aside, our "national interest" is respecting and preserving the liberties of those who inhabit our nation; if we are attacked by "Al Qaeda in X" then we might have a case against it. Otherwise, it's just foreign adventuring in the name of exercising our military budget.

  • kbolino||

    N.B.: "A handful of limited actions" was not meant to exclude the North Africa campaign of WW2, which despite its scale did not lead to lasting occupation.

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    If this keeps up, next thing you know we'll be sending troops to Timbuktu. When will it end?

    ... Hobbit

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    Timbuktu is a funny name.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    regardless of what this cop-o-crat (police commissioner ) thinks, juries tend to trust police more than most other witnesses.

    Nice work, Counselor. Way to jump all over the part of the story not in dispute. You pretty much whiffed on the pervasive culture of perjury, though. "Incentives? What incentives?"

  • ||

    Oval Teen is our unmedicated friend, you idiots. Ignore her.

  • RyanXXX||

    To John, Cyto, etc:

    What is your standards for justifiable or necessary intervention, militarily speaking? Non-interventionists have made theirs pretty clear, and despite your assertions it leaves a TON of room for self-defense. But all I see from you guys is approval for bombing/attacking/subverting, anywhere and anytime, any ragtag group of illiterates wearing turbans.

  • Shmurphy||

    Hope you liked colonialism, Africa! Oh, you didn't? Too bad!

  • Oval Teen||

    Come on.
    Come on!
    You all know it all boils down to:
    Fuck you, that's why!

  • GILMORE||

    Well, at least its not a monster like GWB intervening in an imperial crusade against brown people

    Because that shit would result in some protestin' by an Antiwar crowd.

    Who right now are just fucking tickled pink by how their leader is just teh Awesome

  • wanderlustmisfit||

    And are we supposed to think blow-back escapes the lexicon of the Federal despots? Hell no. The war on terror is completely self-sustaining, as the article said: our intervention spawns more terrorists, which causes more intervention, so on and so forth. What we have is perpetual war. And what comes with perpetual war? Perpetual draconian laws like the NDAA, FISA, the TSA groping, and the NSA spying on us because of, well what else besides terrorism? The establishment brings us perpetual war to justify the perpetual abuse of our Constitutional rights.

    And people say the government is good....

  • ||

    Caucasians realize that they are being outnumbered by the poorer and hungrier races. Unfortunately there is no way to hold back the Tsunami of seven billion non-whites hunting for prime goodies. Bloodbaths in South Africa and Rhodesia must not be repeated in America, supporting the Obama multi-racial society will bring an end to militancy. Becoming a member of Whites against Genocide (WAG) or Blacks against Genocide (BAG) will keep us all safe.

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