Saddam Hussein

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Captured while hiding in a hole.

NEXT: Instant Reaction

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  1. I’m glad they got Hussein, but I don’t see how this will change anything. He’s an evil man, but certainly not a magic talisman from whom all evil springs forth. Now that he’s in custody, I doubt the anarchy loose in Iraqi streets will subside.

    M. Simon asked why Libertarians are even less popular than Greens and Communists. Based upon conversations I’ve had with non-Libertarians, I think it’s that a lot of people view Libertarians as being committed to principles at all costs, no matter who gets hurt as a result. For example, free-market capitalism probably is the best of all possible economic systems, but there are legitimate cases where some regulation is necessary. If not for rationing in World War Two a lot of people would have gone hungry, yet most Libs I’ve talked to said they would have been opposed to it. There is also the perception that Libertarians value property rights above human rights; i. e. “If I don’t want to let blacks eat in my restaurant, the government shouldn’t make me serve them.”

  2. Hoo boy. Put on your spittle-proof suits and check out the revolutionaries’ spin on today’s momentous events at:
    http://www.guerrillanews.com/war_on_terrorism/doc3612.html

  3. Did anyone else notice that the mission to capture Saddam Hussein was called “Operation Red Dawn,” and the two locations the army searched were called “Wolverine 1” and “Wolverine 2?”

    Is this not an obvious reference to the 1984 movie _Red Dawn_, in which Patrick Swayze leads a band of American guerillas called the Wolverines against a Soviet occupation force?

  4. “There is also the perception that Libertarians value property rights above human rights”

    OK, back to Libertarianism 101: Property rights ARE human rights. The controlling the product of one’s own labor and what they obtain through non-coercieve means is a vital necessity in human society. To deny property rights opens one’s self up for the other atrocities that lefty groups like Anisity International whines about, but is sadly misinformed about the true souce: a lack of personal and economic freedom.

  5. Mark S.–

    I’m not denying that property and human rights are basically the same; I am simply pointing out the perceptions of non-Libertarians. When I tell people I’m a Libertarian, they assume I think that employers should have the right to, say, pay black employees less than white ones. If Libs want to win more converts, we should perhaps explain why we do NOT support the economic equivalent of “might makes right.”

  6. “Is this not an obvious reference to the 1984 movie _Red Dawn_, in which Patrick Swayze leads a band of American guerillas called the Wolverines against a Soviet occupation force?”

    Sheesh, That’s “original.” Either someone in command over there has a penchant for 80s nostolgia, or they think they’re still living in the Cold War.

  7. I’ll sum this tid bit of semi-psuedo-history in a few brief statements:

    Dictator captured = good

    Justice = good

    Perhaps making a marter rally point = bad

    Bush quote: “The former dictator of Iraq will face the justice he denied to millions” = perhaps the most ironic statement made in the last 4 years

    (Explanation for previous statement: Gitmo. Recent McCain et. all letter to Bush about no justice … Ashcroft insanity, etc.)

    I agree with THoreu here … for those that you KNOW the outcome, I don’t think this ‘due process; is justice at all. It’s humiliating (god forbid) .. but more importantly it only serves to make a myth of someone, and lessens the REAL importance of due process. If we just want to stick someone up for ‘trial’ , go through some BS, kill them, and call it ‘justice’ – then we make the mistake, and open the door to calling putting US citizens in military tribunals as ‘justice’ …

  8. Jennifer A. wrote:
    “When I tell people I’m a Libertarian, they assume I think that employers should have the right to, say, pay black employees less than white ones.”

    That is the position consistent with libertarianism. Employers certainly should have the right to pay whom ever, what ever amount they mutually agree on. And, we should have the right to boycott any employer who tries to pay blacks less then whites based on race as well. A free market would surely punish this practice on a number of counts.

  9. I think Larry R brought up a good point. It seems like Americans forgot that not so long ago Saddam was our ally. I’ll be interested to see what comes out during his trial or tribunal or whatever they want to call it.

  10. matt,
    Right; some of his worst atrocities were committed
    when he was receiving support from our government.

  11. If you want a good laugh, check out Atrios today. He admits to posting before his first cup of coffee, and it’s pretty embarassing.

  12. Kevin – you make one of the stranger cases for ending the death penalty I’ve heard. You think that we should subsitute dealing death after a trial and conviction by having our police be more lethal in the arrest process? I suppose a death there avoids a lot of unpleasantness afterwards, especially if you got it wrong, and as an agnostic/atheist cannot bear to do this.

    I’m 100% with you, though, on wishing for a cool million and the undying love of Dana Delaney.

  13. Rick A. mentions that true libertarianism would allow an employer to discriminate; this is why true libertarianism is unlikely to become popular enough to win any elections. Yes, the free market would allow us to boycott, but it seems to me the fundamental problem with libertarianism is that it shares an idea with Karl Marx: the idea that people are fundamentally, inherently good, and goodness will prevail if left to its own devices.

    To say “I can pay my black employees less, and if they don’t like it they can damned well get another job” works well in a Utopia where I am the only bigoted employer, there are no bigoted customers and my employees would have no trouble finding a job elsewhere. The reality is, the majority of those employees are easy to replace, and thus the majority of employees can easily be screwed. True Libertarianism shares one trait with True Communism: on paper it sounds great, but in practice that nasty ol’ human nature will interfere.

    Here’s a metaphor, albeit an overblown one: Think of Libertarian philosophy as gold. Beautiful and incorruptible, but pure, twenty-four-karat gold is so very soft that you can’t do anything with it; first you must compromise by mixing your gold with some base metal. Likewise, a 24-karat Libertarian philosophy has almost no chance of becoming popular enough to win power through the electoral process; why not try 18-karat Libertarianism instead? Some may call me a sellout for this, but half a loaf is better than none, and an 18-karat political system is better than our current tarnished one that turns my skin green wherever it makes contact.

  14. Gotta disagree. I thought the Atrios 8:46 post made good points. He sure as Hell made more sense in it then most of his posts concerning domestic political questions. I Guess I just set the bar pretty low there, didn’t I?

  15. USAdiots made Sadum luk like ZZtop

  16. Jennifer, you are correct that trying to win popular support (as you say, win elections, but I think the more important thing is changing people’s attitudes) will never occur if one focuses on a single issue such as: employers should be allowed to discriminate against blacks. If the average person considers just that proposition by itself, keeping to the status quo in every other area of life, it is not well recieved.

    Suppose someone in the early 1800s has proposed that only slaves or a certain narrow kind (over age 60, or in a particular location) should be freed. Those who generally accepted the legitimacy of slavery would not be in favor of this proposal.

    What we must do is move down to a more fundamental level — analogous to convincing people that ALL slavery is wrong IN PRINCIPLE. We must educate people about the ethics of libertarianism (see Rothbard): (1) we own our own bodies, (2) one acquires property in unowned things by being the first to put these things to productive use, (3) the result of production belongs to the producer, (4) the only other way one becomes the owner of scarce resources is through voluntary contract and exchange.

    Once someone becomes convinced of the correctness of these ethical rules (and they can be scientifically demonstrated as being the only correct set of rules; they not just some people’s opinion about what is best), the idea that employers can discriminate falls out as a natural consequence.

  17. I am awaiting with baited breath Julian’s next big political story in this election year – Libertarians for Saddam.

  18. stephen fetchet,

    I’ll sum up the last remark as follows: You’re an idiot.

  19. Larry R–

    I disagree; I would have voted that freeing SOME slaves is still better than freeing none. (Actually, I wouldn’t have voted at all, being a woman, but no matter.)

    Here’s another analogy: libertarians agree drug use should be legal. Realistically, if drugs ever do become legal in this country, they would be heavily taxed and licensed and overly regulated, and chances are good that it would be a corrupt, messed-up process wherein you couldn’t get a drug-selling license unless you dealt with a lot of unnecessary bullshit and paperwork and butt-kissing. Maybe there would even be a bullshit stipulation saying you must BUY marijuana as opposed to growing your own. But I would vote for it anyway, because it’s still a hell of a lot better than the drug laws we have now. Besides, once people are accustomed to the notion that it’s okay to smoke marijuana, it would then be easier to convince the powers-that-be that folks should also be able to grow their own.

    Thw whole thing about the free market and the free trade of property is that these days most people don’t trade property, they trade the value of their labor, and in reality it is often easy for a person with property to sell to exploit someone who only has labor to offer, especially if that labor is easy to replace. Therefore, laborers (by which I mean intellectual laborers as well) are not going to give majority votes to a system with NO legal labor protections whatsoever.

  20. Would you say that the United States “supports” the regime in North Korea? Brace yourself to hear it– if the NK regime collapses tomorrow in a popular upheaval, (or as a by-product of US security actions) and subsequent revelations further blacken North Korea’s already dark reputation, you can be quite sure the Naders and Chomsky of the world are going to claim that the modest efforts by the Clinton and Bush administrations (and the strenuous efforts of every post-military South Korean administration) to engage Baby Kim, and the food aid proffered by Clinton (and the Mormons!) “proves” our complicity (indeed, sole authorship) for the evils of the former regime.

    It is currently the fashion among Persian leftish exiles to claim that the US (and Israel) support the mullah’s regime in Iran…mostly because we buy oil from people who sell it. (Except for the dozen years we wouldn’t buy it from Saddam, when apparently everyone else did.)

    The relationship of the US with Saddam (and his Baath predecessors) has ranged from a cool and minimal business-as-usual, to open hostility –you will note we recently deposed him/at the moment we have him under arrest.

    By way of exception, we likely rescued his country from certain defeat in the Iraq-Iran War, mostly through the application of our unique technical expertise– an oucome I believe was good for Iraq, good for Iran, good for the US, and good for the world…and an outcome of which Saddam was the inadvertant beneficiary. The Weasels, the Arabs, and the UN did far more to help Saddam (buying his oil, selling him weapons, laundering his money, and running diplomatic interference). They probably did much more– time will tell.

    But because Saddam is (now they say it) manifestly evil…it just has to be our fault, right?

  21. Would you say that the United States “supports” the regime in North Korea? Brace yourself to hear it– if the NK regime collapses tomorrow in a popular upheaval, (or as a by-product of US security actions) and subsequent revelations further blacken North Korea’s already dark reputation, you can be quite sure the Naders and Chomsky of the world are going to claim that the modest efforts by the Clinton and Bush administrations (and the strenuous efforts of every post-military South Korean administration) to engage Baby Kim, and the food aid proffered by Clinton (and the Mormons!) “proves” our complicity (indeed, sole authorship) for the evils of the former regime.

    It is currently the fashion among Persian leftish exiles to claim that the US (and Israel) support the mullah’s regime in Iran…mostly because we buy oil from people who sell it. (Except for the dozen years we wouldn’t buy it from Saddam, when apparently everyone else did.)

    The relationship of the US with Saddam (and his Baath predecessors) has ranged from a cool and minimal business-as-usual, to open hostility –you will note we recently deposed him/at the moment we have him under arrest.

    By way of exception, we likely rescued his country from certain defeat in the Iraq-Iran War, mostly through the application of our unique technical expertise– an oucome I believe was good for Iraq, good for Iran, good for the US, and good for the world…and an outcome of which Saddam was the inadvertant beneficiary. The Weasels, the Arabs, and the UN did far more to help Saddam (buying his oil, selling him weapons, laundering his money, and running diplomatic interference). They probably did much more– time will tell.

    But because Saddam is (now they say it) manifestly evil…it just has to be our fault, right?

  22. Jennifer A.:
    Yes, the free market would allow us to boycott…”

    But that isn’t the only way that racial discrimination is punished in this case. The employer is harming himself by the very act since she/he is devaluing the ability to do a good job and the employers non-discriminatory competitors will accrue a relative advantage.

    “libertarianism …shares an idea that people are fundamentally, inherently good, and goodness will prevail if left to its own devices.”
    “True Libertarianism….sounds great, but in practice that nasty ol’ human nature will interfere.”

    It is a tenant of libertarianism that power will corrupt even the “good” people, and so ought to be very limited. Very wise, in consideration of that“nasty ol’ human nature”.

    Also, please note that in the Jim Crow south it took discriminatory laws to maintain the segregated lunch counters. The market was not supporting them. The restaurants that did not discriminate were getting to much patronage from both Blacks and Whites.

    We see a similar situation in Israel today where Sharon supports a “Jews Only” housing law on government land, in discrimination against the countries 20% Arab population. This is deemed necessary by the racist government because to many Israeli Jews are willing to sell to Israeli Arabs.

    “The reality is, the majority of those employees are easy to replace, and thus the majority of employees can easily be screwed.”

    This statement is disproved by the observation, that in free job markets, in the absence of increased taxes and increased regulation wages tend to be bid upwards.

    Wasn’t it Jefferson who observed that freedom is rarely lost all at once? So maybe we won’t be able to get what we’ve lost back all at once as either. But, I don’t think we should lose sight of the fact that it’s the “24-karat” gold for which we strive.

  23. “Sheesh, That’s “original.” Either someone in command over there has a penchant for 80s nostolgia, or they think they’re still living in the Cold War.”

    Or they recognize that Red Dawn was a GREAT movie.

  24. Andrew,

    We didn’t just rescue his country from defeat at the hands of Iran, we encouraged the start of the war to begin with. Whether or not it was a good thing for the region to encourage a war that took more than a million lives and actively support the man that used chemical weapons to kill innocent men, women, and children is an arguable point.

    I think it’s possible to know for a fact that Saddam was a tyrant and a monster that needed to be deposed one way or another while at the same time recognizing that our tax dollars were used to aid this tyrant as he committed some of the worst crimes imaginable and that some of the people who have condemned him for his atrocities are the othe very same ones who supported him while he committed them.

    That doesn’t mean the U.S. is “evil”, but rather we shouldn’t be afraid to point out when employees of the U.S. help to do evil things. It’s actually our responsibility to do so.

  25. Or they recognize that Red Dawn was a GREAT movie.

    Damn straight!

    And I for one think it’s pretty cool for the armed forces to name their missions and squads after characters from popular action movies. It seems a quintessential ?American? thing to do sort of like painting pictures of Betty Grable on the side of our bombers during WWII or playing heavy metal music as we go into battle.

    Art and music have long been part of warfare, we should not be surprised to see cinema enlisted as well.

  26. Thw whole thing about the free market and the free trade of property is that these days most people don’t trade property, they trade the value of their labor, and in reality it is often easy for a person with property to sell to exploit someone who only has labor to offer, especially if that labor is easy to replace. Therefore, laborers (by which I mean intellectual laborers as well) are not going to give majority votes to a system with NO legal labor protections whatsoever.

    But the net effect of state intervention is to REDUCE the bargaining power of labor. Government banking laws (capitalization requirements, licensing, laws against private issue of banknotes, and other entry barriers) make self-organized alternatives to credit harder, and thus restrict labor’s access to independent sources of capital. They keep interest rates artificially high, and thus increase the pressure of debt to hold onto a job at any cost. And government subsidies to capital accumulation and R&D lead to forms of production that are far more capital-intensive than would otherwise be the case, and result in masses of surplus unskilled labor.

    In a genuine free market, without government intervention on behalf of the big guys, jobs would likely be competing for workers; now it’s the other way around.

  27. fyodor,

    Bush’s apologists were pretty full of hubris after the deaths of Oday and Qusai, too. But when the casualties escalated, Dumb W. Ass was worse off politically than before. If the casualties are this bad or worse ten months now, the administration’s claim that the resistance is just Baathist “bitter enders” with no popular support, is going to ring pretty hollow.

  28. Well, we know that Saddam Hussein was generally the US’s “lesser evil” in the Iran-Iraq war. I wonder if at his trial Saddam will call Donald Rumsfeld and Ronald Reagan as character witnesses 😉

  29. I’d like to see more background on the Saddam/US connection– similar stories about American assistance to Saddam’s nuclear and biological programs turned ou to be misleading and hysterically overstated.

    Someday when Castro dies, and the despicable nature of his society is undeniable even to the Hollywood types who like to party with him now, you can be sure the US will be blamed for THAT: either because we were insufficiently implacable in our hostility to Cuban communism, or because sugar companies paid the going rate for stoop labor in the ’50s, or both.

    Of couse a Libertarian in junior high school would reason that we could avoid all these headaches by not having a foreign policy at all– and the risk that we might consequently not have an American society to worry about, either can’t be assessed in a short paragraph filled with sophomoric abstractions.

  30. Don’t allow any Democrats above the second floor.

    I wonder what the new second party will be.

  31. The government always needs a bad guy to rally the people against. So…who will our next “devil” be?

  32. Jennifer, my slavery analogy wasn’t a very good one, because today everyone would of course say they’d be in favor of even a partial freeing of slaves (if that’s all that was available). Your second paragraph missed my point — like you, I am also in favor of moving in the direction of less government interference in drug use; less government in any area, for that matter.

    My point was that the average (non-libertarian) person will often object to proposals for less government (in regulating employer discrimination, outlawing drug use, etc.) when considering just that specific issue; what is needed is to get people to understand and agree with libertarianism at a fundamental level. You did not address that point at all.

    As for your third paragraph, I disagree that it is ‘easy” for for laborers to be “exploited.” In fact, that term is meaningless in the realm of economics. But no matter; again, the key is to convince people of the correctness of the system of libertarian ethics, then these questions (regarding exploitation, etc.) just disappear. Once you accept libertarian ethics, it is OBVIOUS that employers have a right to discriminate.

  33. Libertarianism and foreign policy don’t mix very well.

  34. Speaking of bitter-enders, pretty clear that Kevin and Rick are sad about this day.

    Appartently libertarianism has nothing to do with overthrowing tyrants. It is anti-statism only if it is anti-United Statism.

    Fuck it, I am back to classical liberalism. Please expel from your corrupt movement as a neocon traitor.

  35. Well, I guess that’s our billion dollars’ woth of value for this week. I hope we do as well next week and the who-knows-how-many weeks we’ll be in Iraq after that.

    I’m eager to see Bush’s announcement. Will he wear the traditional suit and tie or will he break out the old flight suit with codpiece to underscore his prowess as commander in chief? In any event, it’s certain that this will be hailed by the administration as a remarkable achievement, the supine press will obsequiously join the amen chorus, and Bush’s poll numbers will spike. Karl Rove will breath a sigh of relief and we’ll continue to get the government we deserve.

  36. Agent Al -I don’t want our police to be any more lethal than they already are. I’m all for their continued, nay, improved, training in tactics useful in capturing suspects by non-lethal methods. But it remains, in my eyes, justified to threaten and/or use lethal force against certain criminals who will not go quietly. Those pointing guns at citizens who are not threatening them in any way, or at the officers trying to effect an arrest. Outside of the problem of “suicide by cop,” some crims are “you’ll never take me alive, coppers” types, precisely because they fear a hail of police bullets less than the needle, chair or rope. The relatively sane criminal will give up when faced with patrolman with glocks, or the SWAT unit. If we have a death penalty, he might figure, “Hell, I’m going to die either way. Better to take some with me.”

    My argument only works at the margin, as many hoods don’t think, they just react, and some are sociopaths.

    BTW, I am not the Kevin unhappy to see Saddam having his teeth checked like a suspect piece of horseflesh.

    Kevin

  37. Amazing they recognized him. With that beard I thought he looked more like Stan Brakhage.

    Guess you can’t say they timed this for election purposes. Several months later would have been much better. There’s still time for the electorate to forget about this and remember that it’s the economy, stupid. Especially if it’s not the panacea for American and Iraqi security that it might seem at first.

    But at least they got the bastard, and that’s good in and of itself. Hopefully it’ll have some good effects on the rest of the world, but I sure have no idea whether it will or not.

  38. Now that this small town thug is out of the way, it will sharpen the differences between Islamists and and compassionate conservative Christians.

  39. A1: “Appartently libertarianism has nothing to do with overthrowing tyrants. It is anti-statism only if it is anti-United Statism.”

    Not true, libertarism is perfectly consistent with voluntary efforts to overthrow tyrants anywhere in the world. What we oppose is states (which tax and often conscript, and always grow as a result) trying to police the world. And since we live in this country, most of our efforts are directed toward affecting the U.S. government’s foreign policy.

    By the way, classical liberals were committed anti-foreign-interventionists. For example, see Anti-War Heroes.

  40. It’s not just that Iraq was our favored horse in the Iran/Iraq war. According to a NYT report, the DIA was providing Iraq with satellite info on Iranian troop deployments during a period when it was known that Iraq was using chemical weapons on the Iranians.

    There is also Reagan’s famous veto of the Prevention of Genocide Act, which would have imposed sanctions on Iraq following Hussein’s most notorious atrocity, the gassing of Halabja.

    I find it astonishing that warbloggers like Instapundit are talking about how scared France and the Euros must be at what we might learn from Hussein- it’s hard to imagine that Chirac could hold a candle to Reagan when it comes to complicity with the genocidal dictator.

  41. Hey, Larry, that’s great that you would support the efforts of Iraqis to voluntarily overthrow their dictator. I’m sure the families of everyone who tried that and was slaughter appreciate the sentiment.

    I always thought most libertarians agreed that the military is one of the few legitimate functions of the federal government. We can argue about when it should and shouldn’t be used, but Larry seems to be suggesting that military ventures shouldn’t involve, you know, the military.

  42. I for one an smiling ear to ear. I mean, if anybody knows where those weapons of mass destruction are, Saddam himself does. We should have those things wrapped up in any minute now! Hooray for us!

  43. Jennifer writes: When I tell people I’m a Libertarian, they assume I think that employers should have the right to, say, pay black employees less than white ones.”

    I’m a libertarian and that is EXACTLY what I think.

    ” If Libs want to win more converts, we should perhaps explain why we do NOT support the economic equivalent of ‘might makes right.'”

    I adamantly believe any employer should be able to discriminate on any basis, including gender — I’m female. If they do, I might join a boycott of their business, as I did when Cracker Barrel refused to hire gay people. But unless I have an ownership interest in the company, it is not my place to compel said company to hire anyone at all. Ain’t my property or money.

  44. I regret that my government pursued an “elective”
    war, with all the suffering wars bring, based on fabrications of such magnitude to persuade the public, that they surely would have landed a corporate CEO in prison. One by one these lies continue to unravel: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/13/international/europe/13INQU.html?ex=1072328968&ei=1&en=3a0d55b0674010a5
    but it’s too late now.

    I regret that the occupation the US military is conducting has taken up some of the tactics of the Israeli government’s brutal occupation:
    http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/1211/p09s01-coop.html
    which is about larceny not liberation.

    I do NOT however regret that a brutal dictator has lost his freedom.

    Maybe something of lasting good, brought on by an end to taxes and tariffs, will come to the Iraqi people.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1102143,00.html

    It’s time to bring the troops home now before any more get killed and before the neos con the government into attacking yet another country. The Bath Party is deposed. The WMD are…well, lets just say they aren’t. Saddam was so bad that certainly what ever the Iraqis come up with won’t be any worse for them. So, ethically the government, vis a vie the Iraqi people, is justified in bringing the troops home now.

  45. Wow, what a bunch of snarky sourpusses! Not that I should be surprised…

  46. Woohoo! That’s one more murdering tyrant who’ll get what he deserves. He’s going on the list with Mussolini and the Romanian nutjob.

  47. “I find it astonishing that warbloggers like Instapundit are talking about how scared France and the Euros must be at what we might learn from Hussein- it’s hard to imagine that Chirac could hold a candle to Reagan when it comes to complicity with the genocidal dictator.”

    Oh, I don’t know. The real question is what the players have been doing since 1991– I’d love to find out!

    A fantasy scenario for anyone who would like to see the UN evapaorate would be credible evidence that Blix and Kofi steered intelligence toward Saddam. Similar “cooperation” by France or Germany is sure to change (end) NATO as we know it. And what does Putin have to answer for? China? Pakistan? Saudi Arabia?

    Does anyone seriously believe the US helped Saddam since the Gulf War truce? THAT is the foreign policy question before us…the rest is “moral equivalence” cicra the Cold War left.

  48. It’s a very good thing that Saddam has been captured. I thought I’d check out commentary on Reason first, since I figured this group wouldn’t immediately jump to the negative on such a positive story… wrong I am. Maybe antiwar.com will be more fair. Or maybe not. They seem to go immediately to, “Well, it’s mostly good for Bush. Maybe there will be a light decrease in killings, BUT blah blah blah”. Fucking ideologues. I’m just waiting to see the headline “Gov’t program saves 10 million Africans from getting AIDS” followed by Libertarians complaining that it could have been done better by the free market and how it’s more like 8 million saved lives.

    This is a victory for anyone who wants the best for the Iraqis. Be happy about it for at least five minutes.

  49. Andy D., they’re just pissed off that they have one last litany to intone…You can bet if we capture Osama tomorrow, and nobody dies in Iraq for an entire month, these same malcontents would be singing a screed about how evil Bush is for causing families to be separated for months at time (or some such trivia).

    There is a broad segment of US society which is happiest when they perceive everything at its crappiest.

    Steve

  50. Latest news for Pollyannas:
    “Correspondents say if the deaths are confirmed it would be the largest single attack on Iraqi police in the country.

    Khalidiyah is located in the so-called Sunni triangle north and west of Baghdad, which is known to be a stronghold of supporters of the ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. “

  51. Red Dawn an awesome movie? Yes, great acting all around.

    I don’t know of any Libertarians who, even if they don’t appreciate that stellar acting, don’t agree with the theme. Which brings me to my question — what do you think is the fundamental difference between Red Dawn and Iraqi War?

    Hmmm, maybe one is an attack on our soil and the other is on the other side of the planet.

  52. I hope they were blasting Motorhead’s “The Ace Of Spades” when the broke through that door.

    Folks, get real here, we have every right to crush a vicious tyrant who holds the people of his country as slaves. I hope they turn on an extra nightlight and pull that security blanket tight before they bed down in the palaces of N. Korea, Iran, Cuba, Syria…your time is going to come.

    Agree or disagree with the wisdom of our war with Iraq, but please don’t mock the capture of a mass murdering thug who embodies the opposite of anything with the word liberty in it.

  53. A2

    Perhaps you should re-read (or read for first time) the Constitution. I don’t recall it mentioning using the military on the other side of the globe.

    If you can’t figure out the difference, I’m not sure what else to tell you other than to rent ‘Red Dawn’ again.

  54. “Perhaps you should re-read (or read for first time) the Constitution. I don’t recall it mentioning using the military on the other side of the globe.”

    Perhaps you should explain the Constitution to Thomas Jefferson. After all, he had the USS Constitution in the Mediterranean squadron during the Tripolitan war.

  55. I hope they turn on an extra nightlight and pull that security blanket tight before they bed down in the palaces of N. Korea, Iran, Cuba, Syria…your time is going to come.

    And in China, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Pakistan … well, your time may come too, so just try to avoid embarrassing our leaders or otherwise ticking us off.

  56. Sic semper tyrannis!

    If libertarians are not dancing for joy (as Iraqis are) at the end of this vile tyrant, then fuck libertarianism once and for all.

    If this event has no meaning, then libertarianism has no meaning.

  57. I’m glad they got him, but dead would have been better than alive.

    With him caught alive there will be decisions to make. Does the US try him? Does the new Iraqi government try him? Whowever tries him, will the death penalty be used (no tears from me, and no tears from most others here I suspect) or will the people trying him cave to European opinion and give him life in prison?

    I know, I know, I know, European opinion shouldn’t matter. I’m not denying that. Just pointing out that all sorts of disputes come up anyway, disputes that would be moot if he was captured dead. And we’d all be better off if those disputes didn’t come up.

    Similar thing holds for Bin Laden: Since it’s inevitable that he’ll get the death penalty if he’s ever captured alive by the US, it would be better to avoid the “trial of the century” and capture him dead.

    Let me make two things clear:

    1) I’m not usually in the “we don’t need no stinkin’ trials!” camp that’s so popular on this libertarian message board (ironic, no?). For just about any other thug/terrorist/dictator/etc. I’d say he should be captured alive and tried in a court of law. But for these two alone, two of the most wanted and indisputably guilty people around, where the outcome is already assured anyway (the facts are against them, the public opinion is against them, and the government wouldn’t give them due process anyway), might as well just cut to the chase. Once again, the statements above apply to these two people only (so go ahead and call me a bleeding heart liberal in all other cases).

    2) For what it’s worth, I actually don’t support the death penalty for anybody. (Throw rotten tomatoes now.) Worse yet, my motivation for opposing the death penalty is entirely religious (watch as the right-wingers and dogmatic agnostics join forces to throw even more rotten tomatoes).

    Still, when it’s blindingly obvious that somebody is dead no matter what, maybe a quick bullet to the head followed by an official cover story (“the subject fired on American soldiers, and they returned fire”) is better than killing him after a huge spectacle with an outcome that’s already assured.

  58. Probably the only people unhappier at the capture of Saddam than the “bitter-enders” will be the neocons. Saddam’s capture gives Bush the perfect excuse for a quick withdrawal from the region.

  59. Ok; let’s see how soon they ask the tyrant about WMD, since that was the pretext the US government gave for the necessity of the whole undertaking. That will be telling.

    Bush just on; made no mention of WMD.
    Bush just said investigators were able to “track down his foot prints in a vast country”…those WMD must be much more stealthy.

  60. thoreau, I’ll toss no termaters at you. Since I’m in the agnostic/atheist camp, I feel that taking someone else’s life when you do not have to (note: yes, there are self-defense situations, including war, when one has to) is a claim of power I don’t want others, including any government, to make. If a court errs, and an innocent man is executed, there is no way to make amends to him. Sure, you could compensate any heirs, but the accused doesn’t exist anymore. At least the religious could say a novena for him, and help him out of Purgatory a little sooner. 🙂 We godless heathens have to get it right the first time.

    No death penalty also gives our police this tactic to use: “Give up, or we’ll keep shooting at you.” Until someone wanted for murder gives up, he is at risk of dying while resisting capture. Once captured, he knows he will at least live.

    It would be an irony if Saddam, having wrapped himself in the trappings of Islam in the waning days of his regime, had the full force of sharia turned on him as the result of an Iraqi trial. I would almost have wished for him to have been shot while resisisting arrest, if it wouldn’t have spawned a “Hussein is a martyr” myth.

    I’m glad he was taken down. I just wish it had been done differently. I also wish I had a billion dollars and the undying love of Dana Delaney.

    Kevin

  61. I wonder if the U.S. foreign policy establishment is nervous that Saddam was taken alive. He was our guy, after all, for many years during the Iran/Iraq war. (It’s funny when the warhawks insist that, even if Saddam did not have WMD at the start of the war, he did at some time in the past — of course, he got them from us!)

    Some things might come out during a trial of Saddam that might be embarrassing to the U.S. government.

  62. Al,

    “If this event has no meaning, then libertarianism has no meaning.”

    Shortly after 9/11 I figured it out. If you are a thug next door Libertarians will know what to do. (Well if thay can suppress their cowardice long enough to grab their guns) If you are a thug in the next country it is none of our business.

    Once there is a border (whch no one has actually seen but in fact is a matter of convenience) thugs become untouchable.

    Go Libs. Green/Communism is more popular. Ever wonder why?

  63. yeah- I won’t believe it until I see this “saddam” in the same shot with Jerry Haleva:

    http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0355062/

  64. “The best defense is a good offense. What’s wrong with a little proactive deterence?”

    Having spent a little time (4 years) at a military academy (which I will decline to name), I had a lot of opportunity to look a the concept of “The Just War”. We had more than a few classes that dealt with the question of “When is the use of military force justifiable?” and “How should that force be applied?”

    As a libertarian, I was quite pleased to see that the majority of our military leaders espouse the belief that armed military force is ONLY justified in a nation’s self-protection. Yes, there were other opinions, but they were all minorities.

    The general school of thought went something like this…

    Military force is justifiable in 3 situations.

    1. Defensive action: To repel and defeat any actual attack from an adversary.

    2. Retaliatory action: After suffering an actual attack, to destroy the capability and will of the adversary to stage further attacks.

    3. Pre-emptive action: To avert an imminent attack, only where the adversary has demonstrated capability, opportunity and intent.

  65. A2 (is this A1’s brother?): The slaughter you refer to would not have happened if not for the morally bankrupt U.S. foreign policy, see Moral Responsiblity for Iraqi Graves.

    The “military” is not a function, it is an institution. It can be used for good or evil. Most libertarians believe that it can legitimately be used only to defend our own country. That is, the Defense Department should be use for defense — wow, what a concept!

    I happen to belong to a subset of libertarians who believe that defense can be privately produced, that we don’t need a government monopoly even in this area. See The National Defense Myth.

  66. junyo, Clinton and Powell did not use the military for defense… You say the best defense is a good offense. But then it’s not defense. It’s offense. Let’s keep our terms straight.

    de?fend Function: verb
    Etymology: Middle English, from Old French defendre, from Latin defendere, from de- + -fendere to strike; akin to Old English guth battle, war, Greek theinein to strike
    1 a : to drive danger or attack away from…

    You can’t just draw a line and say, this is offense, this is defense; it ain’t a football game. To be perfectly rational about it, anything that prevents Americans from being attacked is defensive. That includes “offensive” military actions like preemption, punitive missions, and operations to stabilize regions that would, left to their own devices, become breeding grounds for terror. The Afghanistan/Sudan Cruise Missile World Tour ’98 was sold as a combination of preemption and punishment for the African embassy bombings (it was supposed to be a WMD factory, remember), just a poorly planned and executed one. Somalia and Kosovo fall into the latter category, and again, right idea, poor execution. In our eagerness to depart Kosovo, we turned it over to the “wouldn’t want to upset a warlord” UN, and they’ve done a wonderful job of turning it into a base for AQ. The fiasco in Somalia is what convinced bin Laden that AQ could go toe to toe with US troops. Now with better planning of the Sudan mission we could have snuffed bin Laden in ’98, before 9/11 was a twinkle in his eye, before 17 Americans died aboard the USS Cole. Tell me how that’s not defensive. Tell me how it’s not defensive to demonstrate that acting, or encouraging others to act, on your hatred for America is a real good way to catch a bullet between the eyes.

    I do agree on questioning the need of seperate depts of Defense and Homeland Security.

  67. “Does anyone seriously believe the US helped Saddam since the Gulf War truce? THAT is the foreign policy question before us…the rest is “moral equivalence” cicra the Cold War left.”

    Andrew, are you actually saying that when we routinely assisted mass murderers it wasn’t as bad because it was during the cold war? Are you saying that Americans didn’t have the ingenuity and the courage to win the cold war without assisting in mass murder?

    Are you saying that when other countries assist mass murderers for their interests it’s worse than when the U.S. assisted mass murderers for our interests?

    I hope you’re not saying these things because they’re so blatently amoral and hypocritcal.

  68. Congratulations.

  69. Will former US attorney general/current Stalinist dupe Ramsey Clark fly to Iraq to act as legal counsel for his revolutionary friend?

    What about Dershowitz? He famously remarked that he would defend Hitler and win. Here’s his chance to prove it.

  70. junyo says: anything that prevents Americans from being attacked is defensive

    I know you wouldn’t be in favor of what I’m about to say, but I just want to show the illogic of your statement. Suppose someone proposes we invade (a la Iraq) every other country in the world. Even England — you never know, they may someday become a terrorist breeding ground. By your definition, that would defensive.

    Defensive means the danger has to be clear and present. It is obvious Iraq never posed an imminent threat to the U.S.

    As for your comments about bin Laden — he was our guy during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. We trained him and supplied him with weapons. Same for Saddam, during the Iran-Iraq war.

    Don’t you see something hideously wrong with our “defensive” foreign policy?

  71. Oh come on we started out helping Iran- remember Iran-Gate. We rescued Iraq at the brink of losing. We rescued Kuwait from Saddams depredations and the context for the current war begins with the 91 Truce Accords.

    We have acted in good faith since then and the Weasels have pursued policies of profiteering, delusional notions of French Grandeur and a general animosity to the US.

    You can call people like that a lot of things– you don’t call them allies.

    Should we have helped strong men in the Cold War. There is a case to be made, and it isn’t “immoral”: we helped Stalin against Hitler, and Mao against Togo, and right or wrong those were not morally ignoble choices.

    Bush has recently repudiated the policy of propping up autocratic regimes (in London). There is no reason to believe he is insincere, and he has made a good start. We helped the Iraqi people in the one way we could. We got rid of Saddam. That puts us on the opposite side of the Weasels, and the tyrants they patronise.

  72. Wow, fyodor (@ December 14, 2003 09:53 AM)…
    you not only provided a nice screed, but also showed that you not only know Brakhage’s films… but you know what he LOOKS like, too!
    .
    .
    .
    jackass

  73. That is, the Defense Department should be use for defense — wow, what a concept!

    The best defense is a good offense. What’s wrong with a little proactive deterence? Had it not been for the anemic, all defense, Clinton/Powell use of the military, we wouldn’t be dealing with this now. Schwarzkopf would’ve rolled to Baghdad, Saddam would’ve gotten a beachhouse next to Baby Doc Duvalier, and the Iraqis would’ve been liberated a decade ago.

  74. What junyou said.

  75. Jim Walsh said: The government always needs a bad guy to rally the people against. So…who will our next “devil” be?

    There are many choices: the evil corporations, the profit motive, global warming, etc. etc. See, libertarians can be cynical too.

  76. junyo, Clinton and Powell did not use the military for defense. Was the pharmaceutical factory in Sudan that Clinton bombed a threat to the U.S. population? I don’t think so. Name one defensive use of the military by Clinton.

    You say the best defense is a good offense. But then it’s not defense. It’s offense. Let’s keep our terms straight.

    By the way, since we have a Department of Defense, why do we need a Department of Homeland Security? I agree with Hoppe that the DOD should be renamed the Department of Foreign Insecurity.

  77. I agree with Hoppe that monarchies are the most libertarian government. See Arabia, Saudi.

    Glad you have reduced this to semantics. Remmber if you shoot a burgler in your house that is raping your sister, it is OFFENSE. To shoot is OFFENSE. Remmber that libertarianism means you have no duty to stop an agressor of your sister or anyone else (Kurds, etc), only if he is fucking you in the ass can you ask him (politely) to sign the non-agression pact.

  78. A1,

    From what I’ve seen, the reaction in the pro-war blogosphere has been not so much “All Right! The tyrant is dead!” as “All Right! THIS’ll show those libruls the war was justified. Take THAT, Howard Dean!” I think the patriotism police have been less happy about the meaning of their great victory for liberty, than about the use it could be put to for domestic politics.

    And from your reaction on this thread, you seem to be less interested in celebrating the victory than in monitoring everyone else for signs of insufficient enthusiasm.

    So I suspect your own attachment to the values of liberty isn’t entirely disinterested or principled. The “classical liberals” (when did Cobden support perpetual war to democratize the world, BTW) are welcome to you.

  79. The proper attitude, when hearing of Oceanian victories on the telescreen, is one of resolute optimism and confidence.

  80. Andrew,

    You’re right–I don’t know why the Europeans should be singled out for Saddam-related skeletons in the closet. We don’t even have to wait for them to be exposed when it comes to the Bush administration. Just go to Google Images and cross ref Rumsfeld with Saddam. I can’t wait for Saddam to say, “Hey, Rummy, long time no see!”

  81. “Oh come on we started out helping Iran- remember Iran-Gate.”

    So, was that a good thing or a bad thing?

    “We have acted in good faith since then…”

    The Kurds we abandoned to be slaughtered might disagree.

    “Should we have helped strong men in the Cold War. There is a case to be made, and it isn’t “immoral”: we helped Stalin against Hitler, and Mao against Togo, and right or wrong those were not morally ignoble choices.”

    That’s a poor comparison. We weren’t HELPING Stalin kill his people as we did in numerous countries during the cold war. And, obviously, WW2 was a completely different war than the Cold War. There weren’t any occasions during WW2 that “allies” of ours were murdering men, women and children with ammunition and training provided by U.S. tax dollars.

    Basically, I just don’t think our country will improve if its citizens instinctively avoid legitimate criticism of it’s obviously flawed foreign policy.

  82. Funny, but a quick search for as many warblogs as I could find and I don’t see anything along the lines of “All Right! THIS’ll show those libruls the war was justified. Take THAT, Howard Dean!”

    Please cite your evidence. Instead I see warbloggers exposing a lot of idiotic comments by the usual gang of
    anti-anything-positive-in-Iraq-cause-I-hate-bush crowd.

    Why are you so eager to sweep these idiotic comments under the rug?

    Nice how you assume that I am for perpetual war or to democratize the world without a shred of evidence.

    I guess my attachment to “down with tyrants” is not principled libertarianism. So fuck it, I am not a libertarian. Where can I hand in my membership card?

  83. Junyo, I think we are the only ones left in this thread. Oh well.

    You said: Invading many countries … isn’t defensive because those options would ultimately cost more lives than they’d ever save. However, a well planned and executed preemptive action doesn’t.

    OK, then let’s say for the sake of argument we can accomplish well planned and executed actions (so no American lives are lost) against every other country in the world. (After all, Great Britain might someday sponsor terrorism.) Is that defensive? That’s what your second to last post says. I think it’s ridiculous.

    I don’t think it is ever moral to destroy a village full of civilians in order to save American (military) lives.

    Here’s a better analogy than the one you gave: you give knives and guns to your friend during high school, knowing he’s a murderer. You’re right, if he later comes back to rape your wife, of course you have the right to shoot him in order to defend her. But your analogy is wrong because Iraq was not a threat to us.

    Do you at least acknowledge that your views are completely contrary to those of the founders of this country? John Quincy Adams said America “goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”

    Or as Rothbard said, rights may be universal, but their enforcement is local.

  84. Don’t you see something hideously wrong with our “defensive” foreign policy?

    That argument doesn’t hold water too well, because it ignores the net effect of the proposed action. Invading many countries, invading allies, invading countries with WMD (and the delivery systems to use them effectively) isn’t defensive because those options would ultimately cost more lives than they’d ever save. However, a well planned and executed preemptive action doesn’t. Regardless of whether Osama was our boy and when, (I really get tired of people trotting that one out; that was then, this is now. It’s like saying that because we were friends in high school I’m not allowed to shot you if I come in my house and find you raping my wife. But I digress…) a better targeted cruise missile or a bullet between the eyes would’ve saved 3,000 American lives, for the cost of a village in Afghanistan. Personally, I’m good with that ROI.

  85. “. . . But your analogy is wrong because Iraq was not a threat to us. . .”

    Yes, and by extension Al Quada can’t be a threat, either . . . having much fewer resources than Iraq . . .

  86. “There weren’t any occasions during WW2 that “allies” of ours were murdering men, women and children with ammunition and training provided by U.S. tax dollars.”

    The Soviets raped & murdered their way through Eastern Europe, and in particular Germany. The number of rapes and murders in Germany were huge, with women being raped to death, civilian refugees being ground up in the treads of Soviet tanks, etc. And, the Soviet forces relied to a considerable extent on American aid: the Red Army was able to move due to American made trucks; their tank guns were able to take on German tanks due to American gun powder; and a considerable quntity of American Shermans and aircraft were used by the Red Army. Red Army Shermans rolled into Germany and Austria. Probably more murders were comitted with American equipment in 1945 than at any other time–counting murders committed by the Red Army alone.

  87. Yes, and by extension Al Quada can’t be a threat, either . . . having much fewer resources than Iraq . . .

    Being a threat is not a matter of resources, obviously! If it were, then Canada would be a bigger threat than Iraq ever was — by your logic, we should invade Canada!

    Al Quada is a threat because they are not a state; there is no geographical region or set of cities that we can bomb the hell out of in retaliation. Instead, we are reduced to fighting a war on a tactic.

    In contrast, we knew where Saddam lived, if he ever attacked us. Which is why he never did attack us, despite our cruel and inhumane 12-year embargo that killed thousands of children.

  88. “Al Quada is a threat because they are not a state; . . .”

    So states such as North Korea are not threats?

    No Larry, Al Quada is a threat because they hate us and wish to do us violence. If Saddam’s Iraq hated us & wanted to do us violence, they were a threat, too. The issue with WMD and other Iraqi resources is that they could be supplied to the likes of Al Quada, or perhaps employed by “black” or “gray” Iraqi special forces teams. Remember, the Beruit bomb in the USMC barrics was the product of a forign state’s special ops.

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