Penn Jillette on Bush-Obama: "They both want to kill people, they both want the government to be bigger, and they both want less freedom for individuals."

If you can get through one of the most irritating and politically clueless intros you'll read all month, this Vanity Fair interview with the reliably interesting political commentator Penn Jillette  (with the eyeball-catching headline of "Penn Jillette Is Willing to Be a Guest on Adolf Hitler's Talk Show") is well worth a read. Excerpt:

Your intentions seem genuine, but I can't help myself, Penn. Every time I hear you've been on Glenn Beck, it makes me a little sick.

It makes me sick too! When people come up to me and say they love the show, I feel sick. Because I do disagree with a lot of what he says. But I also feel a little sick whenever people say they saw me on Keith Olbermann.

And yet you continue to do it. You know, there's an easy way to stop making yourself sick.

But I think it's important. I may be the only person who goes on Keith Olbermann and Glenn Beck and says the exact same shit. I am so much more socially liberal than Olbermann will ever be. You can't believe how pro gay and pro freedom of speech I am. I'm way out beyond anyone on the Left. And as for fiscal conservatism and small government, I'm so much further to the right than Glenn Beck. Nobody is further left and further right than me. As I'm fond of saying, if you want to find utopia, take a sharp right on money and a sharp left on sex and it's straight ahead.

You defended the Tea Party during a segment on Larry King not long ago, but you also said you don't agree with them on a lot of things. What things would that be?

Pretty much everything. (Laughs.) My only point was, when you're arguing with someone, you shouldn't pretend to know what's going on in their heart. To say that the only reason the Tea Party is against the president is because they're racist, I think that's unfair. We know what racist people look like. They don't deny it. They just don't!

Well, some of them do.

There are racist organizations throughout the entire world, including the Dalai Lama, and they absolutely state it outright. "Our guys with our colored skin are absolutely better than your guys with your colored skin." If the Tea Party isn't publicly stating "We think people of other races should be treated differently," then you don't get to call them racist.

I think you kind of do though, especially when there are Tea Party protestors carrying signs that read "Obama. What You Talking 'Bout Willis?" Isn't that at least a teeny bit racist?

Yeah, but if you know a Beatles fan who rapes somebody, that doesn't mean all Beatles fans are rapists. [...]

There really is a line-in-the-sand political mentality these days, isn't there? You choose a side and you stick to it.

Absolutely there is. When I disagree with Obama, people always say, "Well, you're a big Bush guy then." And I'm like no, I didn't like Bush either. I disagree with Bush and Obama on all the stuff they agree on, which is pretty much everything. They both want to kill people, they both want the government to be bigger, and they both want less freedom for individuals.

Whole thing here. Reason interviewed Jillette in 1994 and 2004, and has a lengthy archive of Jillette citations.

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  • ||

    "They both want to kill people"

    I would expect any President to want to kill people who mean to do the country harm. That is part of the job.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Like the Iraqi Republican Guard...those bastards were massed on our borders! We had to do something!

  • ||

    To be fair, there was an uptick in violent crime in the rural sections of the US/Iraqi border.

  • ||

    This doesn't even make sense. TRY HARDER.

  • ||

    "Oh, look at me... I didn't read The Morning Links."

  • ||

    Fuck you.

  • Lyle||

    How else were the Iraqi people supposed to get freedom, but for an outsider to come and take care of Saddam Hussein?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    How else is that poor starving child supposed to eat, unless we steal some of your money to feed it?

  • Lyle||

    Not an apt comparison, cause a large military force was required to free the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein.

    ... and most Americans give lots to charity, some of which helps to feed the poor, starving child. So need to 'steal'. However, if taxpayers elect officials who decide that is how they're going to spend taxpayer money... then that's how taxpayer money will get spent.

  • CAW||

    Because there will always be taxpayer money, right?

  • Lyle||

    Of course.

  • ||

    Saddam was run out of town in less than a week. What the fuck are we still doing there???

  • Lyle||

    Ah... like we had to help them build their country back up, the country we helped to fuck up by supporting Saddam Hussein at one time and the country we had just invaded to removed the functioning government they had.

    Really, you would have just invaded and then immediately left?

  • cynical||

    I know, it's a good thing someone freed us from the British (no, the French just helped, smartasses).

  • ||

    We couldn't have done it without quality bread and cheese.

  • ||

    No they had just invaded two countries and completely ignored the ceasefire that they had agreed to after invading the last one.

    The point is that it is part of the President's job to kill people. And peacenik libertarians never get that. That is why there never will be a Libertarian state. To have a state, you have to be willing to defend it. And Libertarians will not do that. There is too much self hating western liberal in them to actually have the stones to do it.

  • ||

    Yeah, John, cuz this whole commentariat is full of people who don't think they have the right to defend themselves? OK. Can you tell me what Iraq has to do with defending the United States of America?

  • ||

    Defending yourself personally isn't good enough. You have to have an Army and an organized defense to have a state. And the days of having a militia that rolls out whenever needed ended with the 19th Century along with the days of our defense ending at our borders.

    And Iraq has nothing to do with this. It doesn't matter what Obama or Bush does militarily. Penn and other peacenick libertarians would still be whining about how "the President wants to kill people".

  • Camon||

    The President should never WANT to kill people. Only as a means of defending the country should a president even consider using deadly force on another and even then never want to do it willingly. No human should ever wish to kill another.

  • ||

    That is just semantics. I would say that if you chose the action you "want to do it". Should you enjoy doing it? No. But I think you "want to do" anything you actually do, even if you are only doing it out of necessity.

    And further, Penn's point was not that Obama and Bush are killing people out of necessity. By his choice of the word "want", I take him to mean that Bush and Obama are doing this out of fun or something. And that is bullshit.

  • ||

    If you don't have to kill someone to defend yourself, you don't kill them. We are not less safe or free because Iraq has WOD, or anything. Our allies in the region, sure. But there is a difference between defending ourselves and defending others. While one is necessary, the other is not, although I won't argue the nobility of it. Just saying, we don't need to have a war in Iraq. Never did. You have to want it.

  • ||

    Defending yourself personally isn't good enough. You have to have an Army and an organized defense to have a state.

    Actually, against the 9/11 attackers, self defense on the airplanes would have worked 4 out of 4 times instead of 1 out of 4. Thank our government for disarming us. Bombs for the overseas shit, self defense at home. We have to be willing to use both.

  • ||

    And they attacked us using some Wiley Coyote trick for fun I guess? They attacked us that way because it was the only way they could. Get rid of the Armed forces and they can just invade and conquer us the easy way.

  • ||

    Have I said anything about not having a strong capable military? I'd like them to be more efficient and flexible, for sure. I am saying we need a combination of strong capable military and self defense from the citizenry so they have even fewer options. I don't want us to be attacked by large aggressive states or small aggressive assholes.

  • ||

    the days of our defense ending at our borders.

    When did those days end? Just because Russia can nuke us? Seems to me we're still defending INSIDE our borders in the nuclear war scenario, even though the threat is based outside those borders.

    So, again, exactly how was Iraq a threat to America?

  • Zeb||

    Some libertarians have a different definition of "defend" than you do. Some are also less attached to the state.

  • ||

    Fine, get rid of the state. Good luck when the state next door rolls through and takes over. You can tell them all about Rand and anarcho capitalism as the put you against the wall. The rest of the world doesn't really give a shit about Libertarians view of the state.

  • ||

    Yes, because there is absolutely no middle ground between a giant standing military indulging in political wars of choice that have nothing to do with our domestic security and pure anarchy.

  • ||

    I never see a middle ground on here. The day Libertarians actually fess up and say "yeah we need to do X in defense of ourselves" is the day I will give them some credit. As it is, there has never been a military action they didn't bitch about, which tells me there never will be one they support.

  • ||

    "Defending ourselves" isn't only defined by what you want, John. I had no problem toppling the Taliban, but Iraq was bullshit from start to (eventually) finished.

    A big military can only be the product of a big government.

    The caricature you have of the rest of the people on this board is as every bit deluded and self-serving as Dan T.'s or Tony's.

  • ||

    "Defending ourselves" isn't only defined by what you want, John. I had no problem toppling the Taliban,"

    That is what everyone says. Yet, every day we get more and more bitching about Afghanistan. And I guarantee you that Jillette was talking about Afghanistan as much as he was Iraq. Do you disagree with him there?

    And yeah, Afghanistan is hard, but tough shit. Life is hard. If we leave now the Taliban will take back over and we will be right back where we were before 9-11. And they will have gotten away with it.

  • ||

    So the solution is to stay there forever and forever and forever... while we shovel taxpayers money and American lives into the furnace of futility.

    You never going to get non-assholes ruling those countries, only different assholes.

  • ||

    And yeah, Afghanistan is hard, but tough shit. Life is hard. If we leave now the Taliban will take back over and we will be right back where we were before 9-11. And they will have gotten away with it.

    You're revealing your true colors here, John. If I could hit a reset button and go back to the way things were before 9/11, I'd hit it in 0.2 seconds. That's the difference between us -- you actually LIKE the post-911 world, which is a perverse thing indeed.

    And it's not like the people who did 9/11 got off scot-free. (Bush pretty much gave up on finding OBL, and Obama hasn't shown much interest in it either, so that's off the table)

  • ||

    "A big military can only be the product of a big government."

    And without a big military, what would we have done after 9-11? There is no way we could have projected enough force into Afghanistan to go after Bin Ladin or Al Quada. We would have just stood there with out dicks in our hands. And what happens when the next third world shit hole spawns some group that attacks us? You think you can have some piss ant military and still project force around the world to actually defend ourselves? Dream on.

  • ||

    Jefferson handled the Barbary pirates OK without a huge military, John. But wait, we need to subsidize Lockheed-Martin some more!

  • ||

    On this point I must disagree. A country existing in 2010 with the level of military that the US had in 1800 is going to get squashed if they have anything anyone wants. Our enemies are much more advanced than the Barbaries, so we have to be too.

  • ||

    Our "enemies" are more advanced than the Barbary pirates? Really?

  • ||

    Episiarch, tell me your 1:23 post is a joke. You can't be that stupid.

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    You might want to read a book on the Barbary pirates sometime. They would launch attacks into southern France & Italy on a regular basis with impunity. They demanded & received tribute payments from every foreign government that sailed through the Mediterrain. All the superpowers of the day paid them tribute including Engalnd & France. America was too poor to pay tribute so they started attacking our ships & enslaving American Sailors. That's why we declared war on them. They were much more powerful than modern day terrorists.

  • ||

    Compared to the French and British of 1800, they were indeed a formidable force. Compared to a modern navy, they're zilch.

    And when I talk about "enemies" I'm not just talking about terrorists. There are still plenty of foreign states out there who would love to take us down a notch if we fall behind in the military race.

  • ||

    Yes. They are a lot more deadly. Further, they require a lot more people to kill. No other country in the world could have projected any power into Afghanistan. We had no land border. No way to invade directly. We had a base in Diago Garcia but no where else. Only the US with its huge military and support structure could have projected any power at all into Afghanistan. You guys live in a fantasy world. Do you think the English or the French with their small militaries could have stuck Afghanistan? No way.

  • ||

    We had a base in Diago Garcia but no where else.


    Umm...what?

  • ||

    Yes, only a trillion dollar defense industry can protect from a handful of rabble in a "3rd World Shithole."

    Your big government dreams can damn well be funded with your tax dollars, not mine.

  • ||

    "piss ant": lmaorotfl.

    Pretty hard to take someone seriously who things that urine of insects is some sort of expression.

  • oncogenesis||

    And without a big military, what would we have done after 9-11?

    Without a big military, there would not have been 9/11.

  • James||

    Most libertarians aren't anarcho-capitalists, at least not on Reason I don't think.

  • Tony||

    Still on about this? This is like a morbid parlor game... Who can find the least lame excuse to defend the Iraq occupation?

  • Zeb||

    ?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    When is Obama going to get our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, shitcan the worst bits of the PATRIOT Act, and other things he should've done a year ago?

  • ||

    The point is that it is part of the President's job to kill people.

    I've read the Constitution. Citation needed. Are you arguing that a President who doesn't kill anybody during a term in office has violated their oath of office?

  • ||

    He is commander and chief of the Armed Forces. Their job is to kill people. The President's job is to determine who they kill.

  • ||

    I was wondering that myself. I thought the president's job was to lead the people.

    If a president *must* kill people, then I'd say he's fallen down quite a bit on the job.

  • ||

    How do you have an Armed Forces that never kills anyone? If you are commander and chief of the armed forces, your job necessarily may involve ordering those forces to kill people.

  • ||

    It's a big leap to go from being the CiC to "wanting to kill people." Short of foreign invasion, there is no justification for a president to authorize lethal force.

    We've had attacks on our soil twice since we kicked out King George and one civil war. In those instances, the president was right in using extreme measures to defend the country (some would argue that Lincoln didn't have that validity).

    Every other president that's resorted to lethal measures has done so out of petty political ambitions and has failed as a leader at that point.

  • ||

    I would expect any President to want to kill people who mean to do the country harm. That is part of the job.

    Really? Let's look at the job description:

    I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

    Not seeing it in there, John. Maybe I have a faulty copy.

    Also, by your statement above, there are plenty of third-world dictators whose job description is to kill Americans who oppose them. As RC always reminds us, "Me today, you tomorrow." (Though I'm sure he won't remind us of that in this case)

  • ||

    If the Tea Party isn't publicly stating "We think people of other races should be treated differently," then you don't get to call them racist.

    Wait- what?

  • Jordan||

    I think he was trying to say that you can't read racism into their motives without evidence (you know, like everyone of our house Liberals does).

  • ||

    Every time I hear you've been on Glenn Beck, it makes me a little sick.

    Seeing you with Obama's jizz running down your chin makes me extremely disgusted.

  • Lucy||

    Seriously. What a miserable, tedious intro that interview had.

  • Thorbie||

    I found the whole interview a bit pretentious and condescending. Penn had great answers though. The interviewer was a dick throughout in my opinion.

  • jackrungh||

    I can't join in on this popular narrative of Glenn Beck. It seems the liberals went to mediamatters and got an opinion, and now they plug their ears and yap the same opinion constantly. I watch Beck, and with the exception of some stupid crap he said early in the show/radiocareer, there isn't this mad paranoid lunatic raving every night. It's popular to lampoon Beck, but in him we can see a neocon who is making a gradual transition to libertarian views. You can see him getting more and more libertarian as time goes on.
    I don't have any interest in "defending" Beck, nor do I support all of his positions, but the man is doing good for the liberty movement by exposing people to libertarian thought. He regularly has uys from CATO, from the Ayn Rand Institute, and Judge Napolitano guest-hosts it frequently. I don't think you can honestly call Beck a neocon, write him off, and go about your day jacking off to a picture of Rothbard.

  • BakedPenguin||

    "but... but... TEAM RED or TEAM BLUE! TEAM RED or TEAM BLUE!!"

  • ||

    DOES NOT COMPUTE

  • BakedPenguin||

    It would be great if we could take out partisans the way they took out robots in Star Trek: TOS.

    "But you believe in lower spending, yet you want an end to the War on Drugs, ...but you believe... in lower spending..., yet you...want ... an end..." followed by a puff of smoke as they shut down.

  • ||

    You need The Shat in order to do this.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I think you're right, JW. Shame, too, since as a Canadian he's allergic to libertarianism.

  • T||

    I just finished a Zogby poll where they asked me to describe my ideology on a 9 point scale ranging from "extremely liberal" to "extremely conservative". That just doesn't work, so a check by refused.

  • ||

    My (liberal) poli-sci prof used to describe Libertarians as "the party so far to the left they came back around to the right."

    Perhaps a circle is a better representation of the political spectrum than a line.

  • Sam Grove||

    Take the quiz.

  • Slap the Enlightened!||

  • ||

    Same old shit. What the anti-titty bar movement is driven by can be summed up in two sentences.

    I'm afraid my husband will go to them and ogle other women. Therefore, it should be against the law.

  • BakedPenguin||

    And the men that support it are afraid that it'll be obvious they patronize the establishments if they don't shout against them loud enough.

  • ||

    let me assure you I support the right of nubile young women to gyrate because of my principaled, PRINCIPALED belief in free, naked, gyrating expression.
    My monthly, er, weekly, uh, daily, well hourly attendance at strip clubs is a mere coincidence.

  • brec||

    I have no problem with principals going to strip clubs as long as it's not during school hours.

  • ||

    Yet another way that marriage destroys society.

    It made sense back when labor was unspecialized and it was impossible to determine paternity "after the fact", just like women having no legal rights made sense under those circumstances. It doesn't make sense any more.

  • ||

    You were right to warn about the intro. Wow, is Eric Spitznagel a douche. I was inclined to link this full interview on my Facebook because Penn said some interesting things in it, but I can't bring myself to do so. That screed that introduces the interview is simply awful.

  • marlok||

    Big time. So painful to read. I fear, however, that this intro is actually a great representation of the average writer of the left. I don't really get the purpose of the intro either. It's just a snotty recap of all the VIOLENT RACIST TEABAGGER talking points that we've all heard by now.

    My favorite part is how he says that Dennis Miller used to be smart and funny, but now he's a partisan panderer. In other words, this guy only laughs at jokes that make fun of people he already despises. This is one of the audience members of the daily show who falls silent when Stewart makes a joke poking fun at Obama. "That wasn't funny" they say to themselves.

  • ||

    It is just a coincidence that we have a black president and now they’re fed up with big government? Taxing us for an expensive and pointless war in Iraq is fine, but don’t you dare use my taxes to pay for universal health care!

    But it cuts both way. We’re killing more people under Obama than we did under Bush, and where the fuck is the anti-war movement?

    Touché.

    He's coarse, crude, radical, offtimes hilarious and loves freedom. How can you not like Penn Jillette?

  • Zeb||

    Why can't more famous entertainers be like Penn?

  • ¢||

    irritating and politically clueless

    You forgot "fucking crazy." The guy's like a homicidal toddler.

  • Max||

    Take a right on money, a left on sex and drugs, stick your head up your ass, and you're in Libertopia.

  • Flyover Country||

    Just stick your head up your ass and you're Max.

  • ||

    Your Real Doll® is calling for you Edward.

  • Hugh Akston||

    They can do that now?

  • ||

    Chatty Cathy is decades old technology.

  • BakedPenguin||

    For those who missed it, Max met up with a couple prominent H&R denizens over at Urkobold.

  • guy in the back row||

    That's great!

  • Max's Mom||

    My special little guy is upset over this. He hardly touched my hoo-hoo this morning.

  • Warty||

    Every time I see the cartoon where I murder you, Edward, my day gets a little better.

  • ||

    +1

  • ||

    This is actually clever. B+

  • ||

    Grade inflation Dr. Tulpa? I thought you were above that, but I guess there is no accounting for taste...

  • ||

    'Cause I'm a *real* amercican, see? Apple-pie and mom american. Got not time for liber-fags. Yeah! I'm a real american!!

    My charge-hound wins dog shows all the time, no pussy chihuahuas for me!

  • ||

    Wow, is Eric Spitznagel a douche.

    A guy wrote it? I would have bet a *whole bag* of cookies it was a chick.

  • ||

    $10 says he used to be called Erica.

  • Eric Spitznagel||

    That's what the guys down at the truck stop call me. Especially when I wear my Jimmy Chu's.

  • Jeff P||

    This reads like Bobby Bittman did the interview. Politically clueless doesn't nearly cover it. The fact that someone can steer a conversation into politics and not grasp even the basics of libertarianism means that editors aren't doing their jobs.

  • ||

    "How are Ya !"

    Second City kicked SNL's ass back in the 70's.

  • ||

    To have a state, you have to be willing to defend it.

    Yeah.

    And I think my neighbor wants to steal my car; I'm going up there and blow his fucking brains out. Just in case.

  • ||

    I think the nations of the world are a hell of a lot more dangerous than your neighbor. Libertarians crack me up. On the one hand they rightly perceive the state as the biggest danger to the individual. On the other hand, they are totally incapable of seeing how any state anywhere other than their own could ever be a danger to them. Yeah, lets throw down our weapons and get rid of the military. None of those other nation states would ever take advantage of the situation.

  • Tony||

    And which time since 1945 was US sovereignty threatened by a foreign power? Yet how many wars have we fought since then?

  • ||

    Although I am sure you would have thought it would have been a great thing, I think the Soviets and their 40,000 missiles and 100 division counted as one hell of threat to US sovereignty. And repeated terrorist attacks in the 1990s culminating in 9-11 is one hell of an infringement on our sovereignty. Yeah, that was Al Quada. But, another country, Afghanistan, aided and allowed Al Quada to operate from their soil and then refused to turn them over after 9-11. That counts as a direct attack on the US.

  • libertytexan||

    Shouldn't we just nuke ourselves since we aided and allowed the taliban to aid and allowed Al Qaida to operate?

  • Tony||

    Yeah and our skirmishes over Soviet influence in the region directly led to the creation of al qaeda. Funny how these things work out.

    Of course the U.S. spending upwards of a trillion dollars to defend against skyjackers really pisses bin laden off. No wait, that's precisely what he wanted us to do.

    Very little good has come from the U.S. blowing shit up in foreign countries in the last half century, unless you're a defense contractor.

    Give peace a chance, John.

  • ||

    Read this Tony. And please stop repeating the bullshit left talking point that Bin Ladin wanted us to come try and kill him. It has been discredited about a million times.

    http://www.wtop.com/?nid=778&sid=1943289

  • ||

    A whole million?

  • Michael||

    Odd how it all comes back to blaming US resistance to Soviet influence for the root of all that is currently evil. If only we would have just let those sympathetic, peace loving reds trot all over the world things today would be so much different. Your slip is showing.

  • TJ||

    John, Let's not forget when Carter did NOT declare war on Iran after Iran took over the US embassy. That was a direct attack on the US as well.

  • ||

    But it didn't kill 3000 people. And Carter could have declared war.

  • TJ||

    The intent of my comment was to indicate that the US was attacked there as well. Not only could Carter have declared war he SHOULD have declared war on Iran.

  • Astrid||

    So could you point to where in the Constitution the President of the United States gets to declare war?

  • TJ||

    I stand corrected that the president doesn't have the power to do that. Congress should have done that. But Carter could have (and should have) spoke to the recommendation. The gist is that the US was attacked then and we did little (nothing?) to respond to that attack.

  • oncogenesis||

    And Carter could have declared war.

    RTFC. Only Congress can declare war.

  • ||

    None. The US has not declared war since 1945. We've just been subjected to a series of unconstitutional military actions. Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and Obama and every living member of congress that voted to allow these actions should be brought to trial and imprisoned.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    True, Tony, but how many Democrats sent troops into harms' way since 1945?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Everyone knows that, in order to defend the U.S., you need a 750 billion dollar budget so every douchenozzle with a college degree can make $150,000 working for Flour, DynCorp and KBR.

    Seriously, John, shut up already.

  • ||

    Fuck off you fucking peacenick self hating bastard. You bitch about the defense budget but offer absolutely no alternative other than saying we are sorry and hoping for the best. Had we not had that big military budget we would have been able to do not a thing about Al Quada after 9-11. Suppose 9-11 had happened in France of the UK, what would they have done about it? Nothing. The only country in the world that could have actually gone to the mountains of Afghanistan and done something about it was the US. And that is because we have a huge military. A small military couldn't have done it.

    You get to live fat dumb and happy and bitch thanks to that military. Without it, we would basically be open season to attack by whomever wants to do it. Thanks to it, you get to live in your own delusions of safety.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    *yawn* - here's an alternative:

    1. Cold War's over. you don't need bases in 120 countries around the globe.

    2. Leave Iraq. Now.

    3. Leave Afghanistan. Now.

    4. Fire 90% of the contractors.

    5. Be happy with the F18 and stop throwing billions down the F22 moneypit.

    6. Cut the troop levels by at least a third. Did you know we have more general officers now than we did in WWII? Amazing, eh?

    Yeah, John, I'm livin' fat, dumb and happy...as a captain in Afghanistan, you stupid tool. Not that my status in any bolsters or tarnishes my arguments (ah, but to you, Mr. Identity Politics, it is all, I know).

  • ||

    Very well said!

  • ||

    "1. Cold War's over. you don't need bases in 120 countries around the globe."

    How do you plan to deal with a threat when you have no basis? We were only able to do so much in Afghanistan because we had a base in Diago Garcia and other places nearby.

    "2. Leave Iraq. Now."

    We are leaving Iraq now. We will be out of there in another year. So that argument is moot.

    "3. Leave Afghanistan. Now."

    And let the Taliban takeover? Because that is what would happen. And the Taliban directly attacked the US by allowing Al Quada to operate in its borders and not turning them over. We have every right and duty to go after the Taliban. If we leave Afghanistan now, they will have won and essentially gotten away with killing 3,000 Americans. If you don't support the US's right to defend themselves in Afghanistan, where would you defend their right to defend themselves? Yeah, Afghanistan is long and hard. Wars are. But we didn't ask for that war, they did.

    "4. Fire 90% of the contractors."

    And replace them with soldiers? Okay. It is six of one half dozen of the others. If you mean we should eliminate 90% of our military, fine. What happens when we leave Afghanistan, the Taliban allow terrorist to set up camp and they attack us again? With a military 10% of the size we have now, we will have no way of striking back. You are arguing that we should be essentially defenseless short of firing nukes I guess, although I am sure you would have a cow if we ever did that.

    "5. Be happy with the F18 and stop throwing billions down the F22 moneypit."

    The F18 is obsolete. It cannot compete with the next generation of Chinese and Russian fighters. Further, the F 22 is a giant leap forward. A single F 22 can do about four times what an F18 can do. You actually get a smaller military wth F22s than you do with F18. And further, understand that when you live with the F 18 forever, you are telling the world that we plan to lose any war we have with an advanced nation. Because within ten years or so you will not be winning any wars against any advanced nation with the F 18.

    "6. Cut the troop levels by at least a third. Did you know we have more general officers now than we did in WWII? Amazing, eh?"

    I am sympathetic to that argument. The problem is that without ground troops, all you can do is just bomb people. If you want to have a foreign policy that says we will indiscriminately bomb anyone we go to war with, then you can get by with a small land army. But I doubt you are willing to do that.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Oh, well, we better keep bases in Diego Garcia and 119 countries just in case something happens. Holy god.

    And the Taliban directly attacked the US by allowing Al Quada to operate in its borders and not turning them over.

    Yeah, and we generally don't give criminals welfare for their crimes, so why do nation-building, which is nothing more than a big welfare program.

    And replace them with soldiers?

    Replace them with nobody - without those obligations I talked about, you don't need them.

    John, look, this conversation is going to go absolutely nowhere if you're going to cling to every shred of hypermilitarized nonsense that comes out from a DoD spreadsheet.

  • ||

    This conversation is going nowhere because you are an idiot. You bitch below that it took us all of 45 days to attack Afghanistan. As if you can transport people half way across the world to a remote mountain country by magic carpet I guess.

    If you are going to have an opinion on a subject, at least try to know something. If you don't want the US to have basis abroad, at least try to learn why we have them. And try to learn something about the alternatives to them instead of just pulling shit out of your ass and bitching.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Yeah, I know - all my alternatives involve cuts and not being able to "rapidly" respond to any hypothetical threat the world over. Oh, never mind, John, we just need to cut the "fraud, waste and abuse".

  • Tony||

    The Taliban will likely control Afghanistan regardless of what we do. How many times does the US have to fail at setting up liberal democracies before we stop trying?

  • ||

    They don't control it now.

  • MWG||

    You ever been to Kandahar?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    We were only able to do so much in Afghanistan because we had a base in Diago Garcia and other places nearby.

    Wanted to address this separately. Here's a quiz, John: when did the war in Afghanistan start? Oh, yeah, like 45 days after 9/11 - good thing we had that base so we can rapidly invade Afghanistan a month-and-a-half later. I mean, damn...

  • ||

    45 days to marshall a force to invade one of the most remotest spots on the world. You really know nothing AO. Absolutely nothing about either military history or operations. That statement says it all. My God you are ignorant on this subject.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Stunning rejoinder, Captain. You overwhelm me with your dazzling argumentation.

  • ||

    AO, the fact that you don't even understand how stupid your 45 day statement says it all. The invasion of Afghanistan was a military and logistical miracle. It is astounding that we could act that quickly. You just don't get it. You don't even know enough to understand what you don't know.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Go ahead, John - outline it. Point me somewhere. Get me the title of a book.

    Until such time, I'll just assume you're blustering about esoteric knowledge to cover for the fact that you support having bases all over the globe for BS reasons.

  • RyanXXX||

    "How do you plan to deal with a threat when you have no basis? We were only able to do so much in Afghanistan because we had a base in Diago Garcia and other places nearby."

    And we only had to be in Afghanistan in the first place because of our interventionist policies.

    "We are leaving Iraq now. We will be out of there in another year. So that argument is moot."

    Mmmhmmmm. Ya. Sure. And Guantanamo will be closed any day now.

    "And let the Taliban takeover? Because that is what would happen. And the Taliban directly attacked the US by allowing Al Quada to operate in its borders and not turning them over. We have every right and duty to go after the Taliban. If we leave Afghanistan now, they will have won and essentially gotten away with killing 3,000 Americans."

    There's a difference between "you just attacked us, let us punish you brutally but quickly," (which might be the only way to WIN in Afghanistan) and "You just attacked us, let us invade, occupy, lose sight of our original targets, and teach you democracy despite no historical precedent in the region."

    "And replace them with soldiers? Okay. It is six of one half dozen of the others. If you mean we should eliminate 90% of our military, fine. What happens when we leave Afghanistan, the Taliban allow terrorist to set up camp and they attack us again?"

    Why are they attacking us? And yes, our nuclear/naval/air capabilties are enough to defend from/deter any modern state. That and a citizen's militia would be all we need. The only thing a standing army "defends" us from is our own liberty, and impoverished brown people half a world away.

    "I am sympathetic to that argument. The problem is that without ground troops, all you can do is just bomb people. If you want to have a foreign policy that says we will indiscriminately bomb anyone we go to war with, then you can get by with a small land army. But I doubt you are willing to do that."

    If our "foreign policy" were reduced to ONLY going after LEGITEMATE THREATS, not imaginary ones, that would be fine. Troops only serve as an occupying police force these days.

  • ||

    The F-18 is NOT obsolete and is extremely capable, particularly with the training we give our pilots. Only the Israelis are better and they mostly have F-16s and F-15s, which are going on 30 and 40 years of service respectively. On the other hand, it's primarily a naval aircraft, except in Canada and Australia.

    The F-22 program has been shut down.

    Where are all you people getting this information (OK, I know John pulls it out of his ass repeatedly)?

  • ||

    We used our huge military to go over to Afghanistan and what have we done? We haven't even been able to stop a completely inferior force in just about every sense of the word. Maybe if our only concern was getting Osama bin Laden and his group of assholes, we'd have done so by now?

    But instead we decided we needed to end the Taliban and re-educate and rebuild the country that housed our flexible enemy? I agree it was necessary to use our forces to go over there and exact justice, but that is not what happened. Part of the reason it didn't happen is that too many of our enormous resources were sent to Iraq to fight an enemy that was not capable of doing real harm to us. This is what happens when a president WANTS to kill someone, rather than NEEDS to kill someone.

    I agree with technology being what it is for others, we need to be superior if possible. But we also need to be efficient, smart, and capable in all forms of warfare, not just the heavy stuff. And we need to be disciplined when it comes to actions that kill people, because it will bite us in the ass if we're not.

  • Damian||

    John, you don't think our overreaching, military-backed foreign policy is what has brought these post-cold war enemies to our gates?

    Our interventionist policies piss people off. This sometimes results in crazies strapping bombs to their chests. I'm not arguing for the terrorists, but until we can take a serious look at what motivates these people to attack us, we're not going to be any safer.

  • ||

    Take a look. These people have attacked countries all over the world. If they just attacked the US, you might have a point. But countries that have nothing to do with US foreign policy are routinely terrorized. They attack us because they are nuts. And nothing we do is going to make them sane. So we might as well act in our own interests.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Yes - best encircle the globe with bases so we can react rapidly to...the Bali nightclub bombings. Seriously, are you especially retarded today or something? You want to use the military to literally police the world. God, get a grip.

  • oncogenesis||

    They attack us because they are nuts.

    This is one of the most pernicious lies perpetrated by apologists for the US military. Why bother to understand the motivation of our enemies when we can simply brand them insane?

  • TJ||

    Damian,
    >>> Our interventionist policies piss people off.

    Maybe so, but John's point is valid. The bigger reason is the Western way of life, for Islamic terrorists anyway. The reason you offer is similar to those given regarding Israel and terrorists acts against them. But this might fly against the fact that there were numerous self-avowed Islamic terrorist groups long before Israel was even a state. Israel's nation status was simple a scapegoat used as a tool to promote terrorism.

  • ||

    Hey shitface: was Eisenhower a "fucking peacenick self hating bastard?" Because he specifically warned against the condition we find ourselves in.

  • John||

    Eisenhower was a fag. And he liked to wear frilly dresses. Only pussies say we should be wary of the Military industrial complex, because it brought us all the great shit you liberfags enjoy. Nevermind all the people we fucked over. It's for the greater good.

  • ||

    Yeah, lets throw down our weapons and get rid of the military. None of those other nation states would ever take advantage of the situation.

    Yes, because when your country spends more on the military than all other countries combined, any cuts in military spending are exactly equal to anarcho-capitalism.

  • ||

    You miss the point. Jillette didn't say "we spend too much on our military" He said Obama and Bush both "want to kill people". And I say, you are God damned right they do. That is part of their job.

  • ||

    You miss the point. Jillette didn't say "we spend too much on our military" He said Obama and Bush both "want to kill people". And I say, you are God damned right they do. That is part of their job.

  • ||

    "wanting to kill people" is an enumerated power of the President in the Constitution?

    If we had a President who didn't want to kill people, would that be cause for impeachment?

    We apparently differ on the meaning of "want".

  • ||

    "wanting to kill people" is an enumerated power of the President in the Constitution?"

    Article II, commander and chief of the Armed Forces. Just what do you think the Armed Forces do if not kill people?

  • MWG||

    Apparently they're involved in nation building... but they're not very good at that...

  • hmm||

    You tell most people today that you hate Obama as president and then tell them you hated Bush as president and you can almost hear the tiny implosion as their brain collapses.

  • ||

    You have to be very careful about which order you state them in, however, or they'll stop listening to you before you get to the "and I also hated..." part.

  • Warty||

    You ain't kidding about the retardation level of that opening.

    But oh no, my liberal friends assured me, it was nothing like that. Jillette drank the Kool-Aid and joined the Dark Side. He and Beck were like old chums, giggling about Obama's attempts at health care reform and envisioning a world where guns are available to anybody with an itchy trigger finger. As if that wasn't horrific enough, he'd also gone on Larry King to defend the Tea Party from accusations of racism.
  • ||

    In true Jillette form, he said things I wholeheartedly agree with, things I strongly disagree with, and things I think are off the rails on a crazy train. He called Mother Teresa a cunt, defended the way Bush pronounces nuclear, wondered if maybe we should've stayed out of World War II, argued for Evolution and Pro-Choice in the same breathe, and insisted that if he was elected president he'd want to be stripped of power "because the checks and balances are there for a reason, motherfucker."

    Those are some of the parts I wholeheartedly agree with (actually, I pretty much agree with everything Jillette has ever said in an interview that I've read). I'm guessing those were the parts the interviewer thought were "off the rails on a crazy train."

  • ||

    The Mother Teresa thing is completely uncalled for. Yeah, she had some oddities, but they're blown waaaaay out of proportion by militant atheists who, it seems, see here as a threat.

    It's unfortunate that the only advocates for libertarianism who get in the public eye are boors like Penn Jillette.

  • ||

    but they're blown waaaaay out of proportion by militant atheists who, it seems, see here as a threat.

    I wouldn't call this "waaaaay ot of proportion". Hitchens is tough, but no one is beyond reproach.

    "To heal other people you must suffer yourself."-MT

    Really MT? I guess that's why I got all that hazing and abuse in residency, silly me. I assume it is this logic that inspired Obamacare and is the guiding principle of NHS.

  • ||

    Yes, it's blown way out of proportion. Example:

    Many more people are poor and sick because of the life of MT: Even more will be poor and sick if her example is followed.

    The only argument Hitchens comes close to making to substantiate this strong accusation is that she publicly opposed abortion and contraceptive use. He doesn't provide a single shred of evidence for his implication that the Missionaries of Charity were handling donations in a corrupt manner, just shoves that bit of innuendo out there.

    Maybe the warmongering drunken militant atheist neoconservative community should open up a clinic for the poor in some god-awful third world city and do the job right, if they're so far superior to Mother Theresa. Too bad the reality is that Hitchens sees someone more responsible for human suffering caused by their ideological rhetoric every day when he looks in the mirror.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    They both want to kill people, they both want the government to be bigger, and they both want less freedom for individuals.

    Yeah, but Bush was a right-wing fascist lunatic and Obama is a Marxist-Leninist crypto-Muslim!

    We call this "the two-party system".

  • ||

    Well, John, I'm still waiting for all those awesome Iraqi WMDs to go on display. But when Iran unveils their array of nuclear-armed MIRVs, I'll know how wrong I was.

  • ||

    You think he should pull all the troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan?

    You don’t have to keep killing people! You don’t! As a matter of fact, killing people is harder than not killing people. It’s harder and it’s more expensive. Just think of all the money and aggravation I’m saving by not killing people while I’m on the phone with you right now. I would be so fucking distracted. I’d be like, “Oh sorry, Eric. This bitch is still breathing. I’m going to put you on mute for a minute and kick her in the cunt.” It’s easier not to kill people. You can’t say Bush is making us kill people. You can just stop! Just stop!

    That was Teh Awesome.

  • Warty||

    John, I'm always grateful for the chance to trot out a Mark Twain quote.

    "Still, it is true, lamb," said Satan. "Look at you in war - what mutton you are, and how ridiculous!"

    "In war? How?"

    "There has never been a just one, never an honorable one - on the part of the instigator of the war. I can see a million years ahead, and this rule will never change in so many as half a dozen instances. The loud little handful - as usual - will shout for the war. The pulpit will - warily and cautiously - object - at first; the great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, "It is unjust and dishonorable, and here is no necessity for it." Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have a hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will outshout them, and presently the anti-war audiences will thin out and lose popularity. Before long you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men who in their secret hearts are still at one with those stoned speakers - as earlier - but do not dare to say so. And now the whole nation - pulpit and all - will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open. Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception."
  • ||

    Twain is full of shit. It doesn't really matter about justice or honor. The question is do you want to live some of your life in peace or do you not? If you do, you better be prepared to go to war against those who don't want to leave you alone. You can call that action unjust or dishonorable if you like. And maybe it is. Maybe you owe the world your submission in the name of peace. But don't pretend that you can have a long happy unmolested life with out at least the threat of serious violence against your neighbors. No civilization in history has ever existed without such. I would advise Twain to read Orwell

    "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

  • Warty||

    I think you missed the "on the part of the instigator of the war" part.

  • ||

    Twain's homily talks about the instigator of war, you are talking about defending against the instigator.

  • libertytexan||

    I think you should read Orwell. You are spouting some pretty good double speak there. WAR IS PEACE!

  • ||

    In the same way that me having a gun in my house means my house and people knowing it is less likely to get broken into, having an army and being willing to use it means you are less likely to have to use it. That is not doublespeak, that is reality.

  • ||

    Having an army and repeatedly and continually using it does not mean that you are less likely to have to use it.

  • ||

    That is just it. We didn't repeatedly use our armies. We were attacked clear through the 1990s and did jack shit about it. And that caused our enemies to think they could attack us with impunity.

  • Coeus||

    We've been in a war or "policing action" as long as I've been old enough to read. Quite often more than one. That's the problem with standing armed forces. The temptation is far too high to use them. It's even been argued that they must be constantly used in order to remain effective.

  • WTF||

    John, what you have not addressed in even the slightest tiniest bit was how it was necessary to go to war against Iraq to protect our way of life.

    I for one am not disputing the need to protect our country and our way of life, nor do I detect any of the libertarians here disagreeing with that statement AS A GENERAL CONCEPT. It simply is common sense that a society that wishes to continue to enjoy its freedoms must act to defend itself. I'm just not so terribly clear how Saddam Hussein and his minions threatened the very existence of the U.S. - particularly when some of his fearfully prepared soldiers surrendered to a fucking TV news crew.

  • ||

    I never said anything about Iraq. Read my original comment. I said Penn was full of shit because any President better "want to kill people". It is part of their job. Iraq had nothing do with it. This only became about Iraq, because Libertarians are obsessed with Iraq and think any discussion of US defense is about Iraq.

  • ||

    So if Jillette had specified "wants to kill people in the contemporary Middle East" then you'd be OK with the more specific quote? Because I find it highly dubious that the continued existence of any person in the Middle East right now would prevent me from living a long happy life.

  • ||

    His statement would still be meaningless bullshit. The mere fact that the Presidents orders his minions to kill people means nothing. Every President has that power and duty.

  • Warty||

    One should also be careful about assuming that this precisely reflects Samuel Clemens' views, since this monologue is spoken by an angel who wants to show a boy how absurd humanity is. But it seems fairly close to his views - see The Damned Human Race.

  • RyanXXX||

    I would advise YOU to read Orwell, specifically 1984, which shows perfectly how war leads to an ever-expanding state and is almost always a cynical ploy by the leaders of both sides.

  • ||

    I would advise you to read the Illiad. There a state that can't effectively defend itself gets destroyed. It would be wonderful if we could live in peace and all sing together. But we can't. Sorry reality intrudes on your fantasy.

  • RyanXXX||

    Good! One less state to worry about!!

  • Voton||

    He's an interesting guy, but, unfortunately, not as interesting as he thinks he is, and he's as good at punditry as William Kristol and John Podhoretz would be at card tricks.

  • mr simple||

    Maybe it's my fault for not getting this, but how exactly is this racist:

    Obama. What You Talking 'Bout Willis?

    Is it because the president is black, the character who said that is black or because they're both black? If I have a shirt that says "What you talkin 'bout, Willis?", and I am white, does that make me racist? What if a black person wears that shirt? Would the slogan "I'm what Willis was talkin 'bout" be ok but "Obama, I'm what Willis was talkin 'bout" be racist? I just want to make sure I follow the rules.

  • marlok||

    I was gonna say the ask the same thing. The shirt sounds stupid to me, but not racist.

    I have trouble imagining a black person giving a shit about the shirt. My black friends certainly wouldn't, although some would probably make fun of me for wearing something stupid.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    It isn't racist at all, but we're talking about liberals who think nothing of using terms like "hillbilly" out of one side of their mouths, and advocating for hate-speech laws out of the other side.

  • ||

    Here are the rules:

    1. if you say anything that criticizes the "march to progress" you are racist, regardless of your own ethnicity.
    2. if Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Keith Olberman, Rachel Maddow, or any other leftie pundit says you are racist, then you are racist.
    3. if you are white and you say anything that makes the listener think of any of his own racist beliefs or fears, then you are racist.
    4. if you white and you use a word that an ignorant listener thinks is racist (think niggardly), then you are racist.
    5. if you are white, you are racist.

    As far as I can tell, that about sums it up.

  • ||

    when your country spends more on the military than all other countries combined, any cuts in military spending are exactly equal to anarcho-capitalism.

    Shhhh. You'll confuse him.

  • ||

    he's as good at punditry as William Kristol and John Podhoretz would be at card tricks.

    Never mind card tricks; I want to see Bill Kristol sawn in half, live on stage.

  • Jake Boone||

    I'm with you here, but I want to specify that the sawing not be done by a magician. Maybe a carpenter or a butcher instead. I don't want any of that "and now he's okay!" crap at the end.

  • ||

    Considering how the trick is performed, the notion of Krugman stuffed into the lower box, his legs sticking out in fishnets and high heels, is more gratifying than spilling Kristol all over the place.

    Especially since only a few pieces of thin metal separate Krugman and the constantly flatulent Kristol.

  • Warty||

    Instead of sawing him in half, could we just compress him with a hydraulic press? Or maybe we could get the Blend-Tec guy to blend him.

  • ||

    All this talk about the way we "defend" ourselves, and still no mention of the fact that we routinely carry out missile attacks inside the borders of our "ally" Pakistan.

    MIGHT MAKES RIGHT, MOTHERFUCKER!!

  • ||

    The Pakistanis haven't said a word about this and it is their country. We are striking people who are using Pakistan as a safe haven to make war on Afghanistan. And ultimately Pakistan itself, which goes a long ways to explaining why the Pakistanis are a-ok with our doing it.

  • ||

    The Pakistanis haven't said a word about this and it is their country.

    Bullshit. They called for Bush to stop and have called for Obama to stop. Google's not that hard.

  • ||

    Kristol's head would make a nice finale for Gallagher's act.

  • RyanXXX||

    John, your mindset is one of a typical imperialist/narcissist. You play victim while victimizing others

    We HAVE to rule the world!! It is our business!! If not, then the whole world will run over us roughshod!! We are the victims!!

    Why, we HAVE to invade Poland!! Or else the whole world will gang up on Germany again!!

  • dave b.||

    The idea that our actions create terrorists is as foreign to John as it is to Ghouliani.

  • TJ||

    dave, I don't think you are implying that by the US doing nothing, no terrorists would exist, are you? So then the real question is, if the US did nothing, to what extent would terrorism be reduced?

    If we are talking specifically Islamic terrorism (as opposed to say, anarchist terrorism), then the US 'interventionism' is simply a convenient excuse. If the US stops 'intervening', I doubt terrorism would drop significantly. The roots of Western cultural hatred is much deeper than that.

    I'm not advocating US interventionism, but rather that the argument against it being to reduce terrorists is a bit of wishful thinking.

  • ||

    Western cultural hatred as an explanation of terrorist motivation is weak. I used to work at a national security laboratory that included people that questioned terrorists, and they will tell you that in their minds, there is no such thing as a terrorist, there are only "freedom fighters". These people don't hate McDonald's, for fuck's sake, they hate "not having their own sovereignty".

    What I can't understand is how you think "hatred of the west" explains terrorism when it clearly *does not* explain *domestic* terrorists, or did the people that died in OKC not count as terrorist victims? Was McVeigh not a terrorist because he wasn't brown and he spoke English (sort of)?

    The common thread amongst McVeigh and foreign terrorists is oppression and a lack of sovereignty, not McDonald's. You'd think that people on a libertarian site would understand at least the *frustration* of a McVeigh, while clearly acknowledging that he went 7 orders of magnitude over the top in his frustration. Many of us feel "oppressed" by our own government. I don't see why it's that hard to understand - *understand*, not CONDONE - that when you've seen a foreign power with a military presence operating in your country and dictating its rules and values via force that oh by the way has killed many innocents and civilians, that a small number of those people who are desperate and prone to huge overreaction might become "terrorists". There's no need to invoke McDonald's or mini skirts. Our entire country had a collective hizzy over innocent civilians being killed in 9/11, I don't see why it's so hard to understand that people in other countries might have hizzys if *their* civilians are killed, their lands occupied, etc.

  • TJ||

    Andy, It would seem that reading comprehension skills are not a pre-req for working at a national security lab. I thought to try and clarify my position, but after re-reading it and your subsequent, baseless rant, trying to do so would be even a bigger waste of time.

  • Apogee||

    The common thread amongst McVeigh and foreign terrorists is oppression and a lack of sovereignty, not McDonald's.

    That explanation fails to identify what you mean by 'sovereignty', as the targeting is directed along national, tribal and religious sectarian lines as well as against the 'great Satan' occupier.

    There had been no 'occupation' of Afghanistan prior to 9/11, as many will argue that the US all but abandoned any influence in that country after the defeat of the USSR.

    What could explain the training camps in such a 'sovereign' country?

    If the contingent of US troops stationed in Saudi Arabia (at the invitation of the Saudi royal family) is enough to foment an attack on NYC by middle class Saudi Wahhabists trained in Afghanistan - along with no similar attacks on the Saudi royals - then your definition of 'occupied' and 'desperate' people is so liquid as to be meaningless.

    This is a business. Similar to the 'don't waste a good crisis' meme, the call to arms to defend an ever-changing (see troop removal from Saudi soil) list of religious and political grievances is certainly a great way to raise money and gain political power, while 'occupying' and 'oppressing' those who disagree with you politically.

  • RyanXXX||

    It's not that even that we believe America is "oppressing" them, Apogee (though I think that to varying extents the US does, since we are the lifeblood of the region greatest tyranny, the Saudi royals). That's a matter of definition (though if the people who LIVE there think so, shouldn't that settle it?)

    It's that our interventionism has negative consequences against us.

  • ||

    I steadfastly am not part of any "we" that includes people like John. I don't know why such people think they can include me in their collective.

    John is of course free to think anything he wants about what should be done with whomever he wants, but don't fucking try to include *me* in your "we" pal.

    And since my tax dollars pay for the military, *you can't have it*.

    But by all means, feel free to grab some guns and some buddies and go overseas and fight Hussein or Obama or whoever you want.

    What's wrong from a libertarian perspective about foreign adventurism isn't whether "nation building" is good, or "world policeman" is good, because those are *personal* decisions. If you want to spend your own resources doing those things, that's your business. Where it is wrong is appropriating resources that others gave *for immediate self defense* and using them for other things.

  • ||

    Wait. "Obama. What Chu Talkin About Willis?" is "a teeny bit racist?" What is the teeny bit racist message exactly? (For that matter, what's the message at all - it borders on Dada).

  • ||

    Apparently, Garafalo raised the horrible specter of the "What You Talking About Willis?" sign on Hannity back in May 09, but I haven't seen the actual sign.

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/n.....ists-claim

  • ||

    Iraq had nothing do with it.

    ???????

    John -

    When you make a blanket statement about how the president's "job" is to kill people, any reasonable person will consider recent historical examples of the President ordering the deaths of large numbers of people. Most people will then additionally attempt to determine if those killings were in some way justified.

  • ||

    And this:

    The Pakistanis haven't said a word about this and it is their country.

    is just a tiny bit disingenuous.

    The Pakistani government hasn't made any noise about it, because they realize we are keeping them from being tossed out on their asses. I don't think you'd have to search very hard to find Pakistanis who are pissed off about American missiles killing their countrymen. Of course, anybody who disapproves is by definition a terrorist.

  • ||

    Eric and Penn both seem to agree that the Tea Party has more racists per capita than, say, Vanity Fair subscribers. Is that right?

  • ||

    "Nobody is further left and further right than me."
    Wanna bet? I go so far left and right I have passed myself going in opposite directions...twice

  • ||

    (I'm not linking to any of this, because I'm still a stubborn Liberal at heart. If you want to watch Glenn Beck, fucking find it yourself.)

    Makes *surprised* face.

  • ||

    John, we do not need a military the size and expense that we have to have executed the Afghani operation as quickly as we did.

    Furthermore, we do not have a need to execute such actions quickly. Just successfully.

  • ||

    Penn on Obama and gay rights, specifically 'don't ask, don't tell':

    That and gay marriage. The only way Obama can make it up to the gay people of this country is if he sucks off a guy on YouTube. At that point I would go, “O.K., that's a sign of good faith from the president. He has a penis in his mouth." But unless that guy actually shoots a genetic load down his throat, don't tell me he's pro-gay.

    Comedy gold, right there.

  • Federal Dog||

    "Every time I hear you've been on Glenn Beck, it makes me a little sick."

    I make no brief for Beck, but what kind of hysterical doily gets the vapors just because other people talk to him?

  • marlok||

    "what kind of hysterical doily"

    An ideological wuss with no sense of fun. No one on the right or libertarian side talks like this, do they? "It made me sick to see you on Olbermann's show."
    If you think Glenn Beck is a paranoid loon, that would make going on his show great fun, I would think. Spitznagel seems to fear conflict, finding comfort only in warm liberal agreement.

  • ice cream yes||

    Israel.

    /waits

  • ||

    Oh wow, now that makes a lot of sense dude.

    Lu
    www.total-anonymity.tk

  • ||

    The Dalai Lama's a rascist? Are we supposed to take Penn seriously? I for one don't. Sure he's a libertarian (or something like that), but I think Reason can find someone more credible to compile a "lengthy" archive of citations from. I hear Snoop Dog's available.

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