Politics

This Time, It's Sudan

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GOP Sens. Mike DeWine (Ohio) and John McCain (Ariz.) have an op-ed in today's Wash Post about the unfolding situation in Sudan, where "some 1.1 million people have been driven from their homes and as many as 30,000 are already dead" due to an unholy alliance between "the largely Arab Sudanese government" and "the Janjaweed, a group of allied Arab militias."

The government is seeking to contain an "insurgency" in Darfur, a "Texas-size region in western Sudan." DeWine and McCain, who note that under "optimal conditions" some 320,000 people may die by year's end, call for U.S. and U.N. sanctions against the Sudan government and they say the U.S. "should provide financial and logistical support to countries willing to provide peacekeeping forces."

Whole piece here.

The senators tap dance around whether the U.S. should send troops to Sudan, which is really the question most Americans would ask in the wake of such reports.

The senators also reference events 10 years ago in Rwanda. In the November 2002 issue of Reason, Charles Pena reflected on Rwanda, Camodia, and Samantha Power's A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide. His essay concludes that if the U.S. is going to be effective in stopping genocide, it needs to tailor its national security interests much more narrowly than it has traditionally. It's online here.

Update: Nicholas D. Kristof in the NY Times has a column about Sudan today too, in which he graphically depicts what's going on there. Read it here.

These sorts of genocidal and/or tyrannical situations--Rwanda, Sudan, Saddam's Iraq, and countless other examples--raise serious problems for those (including myself) who are non-interventionist and who believe that the U.S. government has few if any responsibilities beyond providing for common defense. I fully understand that many genocidal situations are themselves the products (sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly) of past interventions by outside forces. I'm also extremely slow to suggest that American soldiers die in foreign lands.

Yet there's something appalling about idly sitting by while mass slaughter, torture, and more go on, especially without any form of sanction, censure, or diplomatic, economic, or cultural engagement. I didn't support the invasion of Iraq because I felt the U.S. had contained the threat posed by Saddam and I assumed (probably wrongly) that we were applying diplomatic and other pressures and backing insurgents that would have effectively ended his regime. It's folly to believe that the U.S. can drop in and fix longstanding problems anywhere in the world. But it's not a particularly comforting thought to be a spectator to the worst sort of atrocity, either.

NEXT: R.O.K. A-OK In Iraq

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  1. On the other side of the coin, I 'm waiting for Rick to point out that it's our duty as libertarians to condemn any government action to stop this genocide - after all, it would be expensive, and just another example of government meddling in the affairs of another nation...

    I'll beat Rick to it, Steven. And it's not just that it's "expensive". But yes, it is yet another example of the state meddling in the affairs of another nation. The US Gov't is not the world's morality police. That may not sound "caring", but the reality is that the United States military was created for the defense of this nation. The government takes our earned wealth at the point of a gun, in order to pay for this institution. Why should it be used to save every last poor victim from every last evil monster, the world over? That is not its purpose. If certain citizens feel that it is worth their time and their lives and their dollars, to save poor suffering masses around the world, then let those citizens pony up their time, money and lives to do so. It's simply not right to force others to join in your "altruistic crusades", at the point of a gun. And that's what we've done. It may sound cold, but it's the truth. We're a constitutional republic, not a mob-rule democracy. Our constitution was supposed to protect everyone else from the tyranny of the majority. Only problem is, the state has slowly eroded that protection, and now, we have mob-rule. I take your money and use it for whatever the majority wants. I take your life and use it for whatever the majority wants.

    I'm sorry, I just can't buy that, no matter how many times you whine about genocide on the other side of the globe. My family, my wealth, is not worth that. And you have no right whatsoever to tell me it is.

  2. What Evan said!

  3. Jimmy Antley's honesty is refreshing, as is Nick's in the original post.

    I would like to hear the entire Raimondo crowd stand up and crow that we should do absolutely nothing. Nothing on Earth is worse than 'blowback', you know.

    If you utilize force to save other people from being butchered by someone who is no real threat to you, you are ALWAYS committing an error. Those innocents aren't your innocents, and you would have to hurt some innocents in the process of using force anyway. Watch them all die, and sleep well with the knowledge that you are not responsible.

  4. "If certain citizens feel that it is worth their time and their lives and their dollars, to save poor suffering masses around the world, then let those citizens pony up their time..."

    Functional private armies are not legal, so this is not an option. Because that same government has removed the right of citizens to assemble projectable force, you are incorrect when you say that the US military is only for our defence. The US military is forced to serve as a proxy for any act of kindness that requires violence on sufficient scale.

  5. Evan,

    If you could've stood by your moral principals of non-intervention in the face of the holocaust 60 years ago, then more power to you. All discussions of this nature lead back to the real world situation surrouding the holocaust. I am not saying that Sudan is in the same category, but I am saying that there are levels of abuse by foreign governments for which I would be willing to suspend my normal non-interventionist stance to go and put a stop to something.

  6. Jason, here's a deal, you go buy a plane ticket to Kenya, buy a rifle when you get there, hire a car to drive you to the Kenya/Sudan border, hire a guide to lead you to the Darfur region, and wage your own war against the Sudanese government. I'll cheer you on 100%.

    The interventionists have been shrieking for over 2000 years that their pointless adventures are necessary because "we're all interconnected in the great web of life" or some such nonsense. It was BS when Alcibiades said Athens needed to invade Sicily to protect itself during the Peloponnesian War and, guess what, it's still BS today.

  7. MP, there is, of course, one teeny tiny flaw in your analogy: the American entry into WWII was in no way, shape or form sold on the basis of stopping the Holocaust, stopping the Holocaust was purely a by-product of the war. Indeed, while certain American and British officials had some intelligence on the matter by 1942, the general public in the US and UK had no awareness of the Holocaust until 1944 at the earliest and the extent of the genocide didn't become apparent until after the war's conclusion. Also, looking at the Pacific theater, not even FDR advocated direct US military intervention against Japan in 1937, even though it was abundunantly clear by that point that the Japanese were engaged in the deliberate slaughter of millions of Chinese civilians.

  8. SR:

    No deal. I am not interested in suicide, and one AK is not going to get it done. I'll reconsider once you have removed the obstacles to the voluntary private accumulation of sufficient projectable force to make a difference. You know, the ones that would land someone in jail for the rest of their lives?

  9. Wow, you libertarians sure make short work of complex moral struggles. I'm not sure if I should be impressed or disgusted.

  10. Jason, I don't know who Raimondo is, and am not sure if I'm one of the anti-blowback crowd you are referring to.

    Blowback notwithstanding, the US armed forces are for the defense of the US, and sometimes for offense when it's the best defense.

    I'm not refering to Afghanistan or Iraq. I think Iraq is questionable, but I don't have all the intelligence (if you could call it that) that the Pres. does. on whether they were ever truly an imminent threat to our country. I'm all for the war in Afghanistan. What's with all the "blowback" talk?

    I can sleep soundly knowing that here in America we haven't given up our right to bear arms yet. A few more Waco's and Ruby Ridge type incidents (yeah, and the drug war, and surveillance cameras and traffic stops, etc.) and we may have to take them out for more than practice. Either way, I sleep well knowing that.

    People in other countries aren't seeming to learn at all, and that's not my problem. Look at Canaday, Australia, and formerly Great Britain. Are we gonna need to bring air power in there eventually? Why, when they could just fix their own governments right now.

    Matter of fact, the damn UN is trying to institute world-wide gun control. Maybe they should just go back to their countries of origin and shut their pie-holes before they get more entire-country's-worth of people killed.

    Best I can think of now, for Africa, is an Air America type of operation where a private organization (humanitarian, of course) seriously arms the Christians in Sudan with more than rifles. They need grenade launchers, rockets, and artillery.

    You know, people used to complain back when the European powers colonized these places. That was the best life they probably will ever have had, the way things are going. Careful what you wish for, it might come true...

  11. Might I ask again whether the only choices we have are to have the state do something, or sit back and do nothing?
    The situation may be so bleak as to admit of no other choices, but it is far from obvious that this is so.
    Unfortunately, the very problem I raised way up there 25 or so messages back occupies a whole lot of the territory of those 25 or so messages...
    What *are* our options as freedom loving individuals? We ought to owe it to ourselves, if no one else, to spend some time pondering that. And Murphy save us all if the answer comes back "well, we should have a state do something about it", for then we have well and truly lost.
    Oh, and Jacob -- *I* didn't entrust the government with any heavy weaponry, and am not about to. I'd much prefer to see them disarmed, for I cannot trust them with weapons beyond the dull spoon (if that).

    regards,
    Shirley

  12. " I'll reconsider once you have removed the obstacles to the voluntary private accumulation of sufficient projectable force to make a difference. You know, the ones that would land someone in jail for the rest of their lives?"

    OK, Jason, I am all in favor of removing those restrictions (couldn't you tell? ;-}

    So, they are hereby removed. Done and done. Your ticket to Kenya, some maps, and some extra ammo and iodine pills for the water are on the way. Check your email inbox within the next half hours for said items.

  13. Some more history for MP:

    I don't know if you recall, but America did not actually declare war on Germany, after the Pearl Harbor attacks, until Germany declared war on our country. This had nothing at all to do with the Holocaust at that point.

    In fact, if Germany had shut it's pie-hole (I love that expression) and not declared war on us, based on a pact with the Japanese, we may not have been involved in Europe at all. That is, excepting the massive supplies of armament, ships, etc. that we sent, and moral support to England.

  14. Jimmy:

    I didn't actually mean to put you in the same company as Raimondo (see antiwar.com), but rather to contrast the straightforward nature of your statements with the gymnastics that some go through to make themselves feel better.

    The antiwar crowd has specifically decried your solution of supplying weapons as 'inviting blowback', as we see with the Taliban. My continuing gripe with these folks is that they claim that intervention has negative consequences, but pretend that non intervention has none. I want to see how tall a pile of bodies has to be before it disrupts this argument.

    I used your post as a springboard into something of a rant, and I apologize for not making the distinction between your position and theirs more explicit.

  15. One of the more disturbing aspects of Rwanda is the impression I've been given that the UN could have saved hundreds of thousands of people from the slaughter without ever firing a shot. In many of the stories I've seen of UN personnel and others saving Rwandans from the slaughter, the heroes weren't even armed. When the butchers came knocking on the door, if there was a UN representative there, the butchers would leave their intended victims alone. We could have saved thousands by providing logistical support to the UN commander?s plan of providing safe harbor, for instance, in the nation?s stadiums. If we had merely supported a beefed up UN presence, in spite of French complicity in the genocide, we might have saved the lives of as many as 700,000 people (not counting the spillover into Zaire) regardless of whether or not the United States engaged in a Rwandan war.

  16. OK, Jason, not a problem.

  17. Nick Gillespie's honesty in wrestling with this question is as refreshing as Evan William's comments are nauseating and ignorant.

    Evan, why the sneer quotes around the word "atrocity"? The current genocide in Sudan doesn't meet your strict standards for what constitutes a "real" atrocity?

    Your sneering contempt for "some peasant" makes me ill. Please tell me how class enters into the intervention equation.

    I could make an easy case for intervening in genocides and other large-scale atrocities - they can cause profound political instability that eventually frequently bites us in the ass (see: WWII, 9/11).

    You make endless straw-man arguments that cannot be taken seriously. Nobody has suggested intervening "everywhere" to defeat "every" monster. They ave proposed intervening in the Sudan to stop the Sudanese government's genocide.

    Your constitutional arguments are even weaker, if you can imagine that. There's nothing in the Constitution - nothing - that would prevent the US from intervening in Sudan.

    Cloaking yourself in shame, you state that your wealth is not worth ending a genocide. Well, first, nobody has asked you to give up all your wealth. If the US actually did launch a small-scale intervention (and small is all it would take, my friends), the cost might be, at most, a hundred million dollars. Or about a buck a family. Now, in your family, if one dollar constitutes the sum of your wealth, then you should be out looking for a job rather than wasting time in this chat room. On the other hand, if that's not the case, then I have to wonder whether four quarters is really too much to spend to stop ethic slaughter on a massive scale.

    As for whether we have the right to tell you how to spend your money: Wrong. You are obligated by law to pay your taxes, buddy boy. You may not like it, but them's the rules. We (broadly) DO have that right. Sorry about your luck. We vote for representatives and executives who get to decide how to spend YOUR (now their) money.

    I understand that your skin crawls at the injustice of it all. In that case, I invite you to move to Somalia and pay protection to some drugged-up machete-wielding warlord instead. Or, closer to home, Haiti, whose central government no longer collects taxes (libertarian paradise!). Put up or shut up, tough guy. Talk is cheap. Your ethical education, apparently, was even cheaper.

  18. Actually, Slippery, we are not obligated to obey any law that is contrary to the US Constitution. The American armed forces are soley for the defense (like I said sometimes best defense is a good offense) of the United States.

    A buck a family, huh, isn't that what the income tax originally was gonna take? If it's that cheap, I'd be glad to donate to a private Air America type outfit to do the job right. I would be glad to work for them too.

    As for your "...We vote for representatives and executives who get to decide how to spend YOUR (now their) money." You are a freakin pinko, Slippery, or you don't understand our Republic at all. The money, the government, the whole ball of wax belong to us, the people, not to Robert Byrd and Ted Kennedy.

    Now excuse me while I drop by the dry cleaners to get my cloak of shame cleaned. I up-chucked on it while reading your asinine post.

  19. Slippery Pete declares: >>Nick Gillespie's honesty in wrestling with this question is as refreshing as Evan William's comments are nauseating and ignorant.

  20. I have no sympathy for "real-world" solutions.
    Those have brought us to where we are: progress in the big picture, but only by accident.
    Adam Smith's invisible hand of progress? But with many remaining messes such as this one we're discussing.
    No, I would disband all militaries to remove the temptation of using them.
    Imagine how creative we could be in our strategies for providing refuge if we had no military options.
    And, as an anarchist, the UN is the pinnacle of repulsive to me.

  21. Jimmy -

    You are correct inasmuch as you can attempt a defense in court, after you're arrested for refusing whatever it is you imagine is unconstitutional, and after you've hired a whiteshoe at $300 an hour. Good luck with that. Assuming you lose, then no, you don't have that right. How confident are you in your trial skills? Judging from your posts, I'd stop to consider whether you really mean what you said.

    Your "our money/their money" problem is meaningless hairsplitting. In a democracy, of course it's all ours. But ownership, in practical terms, means control, and Robert Byrd et. al. exercise far more control over tax dollars than you do.

    As for the rest - oh, wait. You never actually refuted anything I said.

    Mona -

    Good point. It is a volunteer Army paid to be on call at the President's discretion. I personally don't have much confidence in this president, but that's how military service works, and everybody knows it (except Evan and Jimmy).

  22. Ken Shultz -- You are correct on Rwanda. In fact, Frontline just re-ran a piece the other day on that situation, and profiled an American relief worker who stayed behind there, while everyone else fled. He managed to prevent an entire orphanage from being hacked apart by confronting the warlord as he was coming out of a meeting and requesting that the orphanage be spared. The flipside of this story was the UN ordering its peacekeeping troops not to engage or fire upon Hutu militia, including a number of Dutch peacekeepers who were supposed to defend the moderate Rwandan president from the militia just outside her house. Result: The Dutch soldiers complied, and several of them were shot execution-style along with the president.

  23. Ruthless -

    Here we are, discussing Sudanese genocide, and you pop in to say you hate the UN.

    Anyway...

    Your comment about disbanding all armies is interesting. See, the problem is that policymakers don't have the option of disbanding other people's armies. They may only choose to disband their own. And I'm sure you can imagine how popular unilateral disarmament would be with US voters.

    Or perhaps I'm wrong.

  24. "If those soldiers do not wish to risk their lives for such reasons, they should not sign up and collect a check whose funds I supply." Yeah, Mona, they do not sign up to defend poor Sudanese people who never frickin defend themselves, and they do not sign up to bomb people in Bosnia, because the Bosnians had been disarmed by the UN. They didn't sign up to take fire for people who won't defend themselves and aren't even Americans.

    When you join up you take an oath to defend the US and it's territories. That's it!

    I sure as hell don't want to give my life for anything but defending my country and my family. Maybe you wouldn't feel the same if you were in combat, Mona. Think about the Vietnam war for a bit. Soldiers who did not agree with the war, and even those who deserted did not do so because they were cowards (mostly). They just did not want to give their life for no particular reason, except the whim of someone in US gov't. Granted, Vietnam is not a closed case as to whether we should have been there - you have to look at it in terms of what the threat of Communism was then.

    Slippery, read the Constitution, OK?

    Oh, BTW, who said anything about being arrested? Constitution violations will eventually be dealt with via firepower, mostly not by lawyers.

    And the question of whose money it is is very important, Slippery. It's the difference between your being or not being a pinko.

  25. I'm starting to understand why people think what they think about libertarianism.

  26. c, if you've got nothing to add, shutcher pie-hole!

  27. "Or perhaps I'm wrong." No, no, no, this time you are right. It was the last bunch of times that you were wrong. How'd we get out of snync like this ;-}

  28. Jimmy -

    When you join up you take an oath to defend the US and it's territories. That's it!

    Dead wrong. We can (and have, and do) defend lots of places, in defense of US strategic interests, and in physical defense of the country. Your ignorance of history is impressive.

    Your "pinko" comments are juvenile. But my point was simply this: When Congress controls your money, it's no longer effectively yours. The government wastes huge amounts of money; everybody knows this. It ought not to. But, as a simple statement of objective fact, you no longer exercise any direct control over that money. If merely acknowledging reality makes me a pinko, then I'm a pinko. I've been called worse.

  29. My original post in no way stated that we entered WWII to put a stop to the holocaust. The holocaust is simply the best example of abhorrent human atrocities in the last 100 years. Even if we were not actively engaged in a war with Germany, I would have fully supported war with them once the holocaust information had come to light. If one's non-interventionist beliefs would cover not sending troops to Germany under those circumstances, then I guess their non-interventionist stance would be absolute. However, although I (and from the impression that I got from is post, Nick as well) am a non-interventionist, there is a point at which even I would say "that sh*t has to stop". What that point is a personal decision for everyone, but I'm somewhat surprised that some people would be so callous to say never ever ever.

  30. Slippery, I'm not a big Rush fan (the big guy, not the band - I am a BIG Rush (the band) fan). Anyway, "words have meaning" is his big thing - you did not say "direct control", you said it's "their money now" Bullshit. Say what you mean and don't change it later.

    Secondly, I agree that "We can (and have, and do) defend lots of places, in defense of US strategic interests, ...." Exactly, Slip, IN DEFENSE OF US STRATEGIC INTERESTS" That's not what Sudan is about, nor what Bosnia was about, nor Rwanda. Nor is it what you or Mona said before. I was writing back to Mona in a previous post. Say what you mean, and quit changing it later. Maybe more people would agree with you.

  31. MP -

    There are some people who will watch a mugging or a beating, and at least consider intervening to help out a person in distress. There are some people who will risk personal injury to help others facing dire risks.

    Then there's Jimmy. He will not. There's a word for that. Er, a lot of them, actually.

  32. Oh, yeah Slip, there's quit a difference between my helping out someone in distress (which I have done before) and then someone in the US government sending a soldier out to die or lose his legs in battle to help people in some freakin wasteland, when he signed up to defend his country!

    How dense can one person be?

  33. Ownership is control, Jimmy. Either you understand that extremely elementary point or you don't. I changed nothing - I explained, and if you're incapable of telling the difference, then you might want to stop participating in this debate.

    Second, I've already explained above that interventions can easily be justified as being in US strategic interests. Kosovo was (and still is) officially designated a US strategic interest. The words "humanitarian" and "strategic" are not antonyms.

    It is you, not me, who has failed to read the words in front of your face.

  34. Jimmy,

    In a volunteer Army, you agree by your own consent when you join to do as the Army directs you. If you end up being morally opposed...tough...you shouldn't have signed on in the first place. As for Vietnam, most of them were drafted, thus they never consented to doing what the Army told them to do.

  35. Jimmy -

    I've already patiently explained to you that our Army signs up for service with the understanding that they serve at the pleasure of the president, under the provisions of US law and the constitution, as interpreted by the courts, not Jimmy. MP has also repeatedly pointed this out to you.

    No serious enlistee believes for an instant that they've signed up to fight only if United States territory is invaded. I have difficulty believing you are actually making such an absurd argument. If you are, then you need to understand that you're simply wrong.

  36. Hey Slippery, I just did a search through the posts - seems I couldn't find Kosovo up there anywhere, so let's see:

    "Second, I've already explained above that interventions can easily be justified as being in US strategic interests. Kosovo was (and still is) officially designated a US strategic interest"

    No, you never said a word about it, nor is it true that Kosovo is a US strategic interest. If Kosovo is, then maybe also the Galapagos Islands are. Maybe Equitorial Guinnea (sp?) is. How about Australia? Hey, what about the North Pole? Pretty damn strategic, right at 90 deg. true N and all, easy to find, rations stay cold ...

    I can't read your words if they aren't there. Then, you end up being wrong anyway. What the ??

    "In a volunteer Army, you agree by your own consent when you join to do as the Army directs you. If you end up being morally opposed...tough...you shouldn't have signed on in the first place."

    MP, read my posts, I just said that soldiers sign up to defend the United States and territories, not anything else. If you join up, you can sign your own damn form, but don't expect most soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen to agree with you.

    So, in VietNam, is that like, you didn't have to go because the draft was against the Constitution or what? Was it?

  37. "No serious enlistee believes for an instant that they've signed up to fight only if United States territory is invaded."

    Pete do you have some comprehension problem? Read what I wrote before you answer. I said above twice or more that sometimes the best defense is a good offense - this goes for DEFENDING THE UNITED STATES! Defending people in Sudan will not help protect the US. Same with Bosnia and Rwanda. The worst part is, is that most of these civil wars start when one side gets overpowered greatly due to say, confiscation of firearms? Can you say firearms?

    The oath you take upon joining the armed forces and also, BTW, upon becoming a government official (i.e. the President) says you will defend and protect the United States and the Constitution of the United States. That's it. I don't feel right knowing that my representatives are sending off Americans to places where they may get maimed or killed when it's not for their country, not for their family, just because you feel sorry for some poor unarmed people on the other side of the world.

    Why don't you help, slippery and MP, instead of asking for others to do the dirty work to easy your conscience?

  38. "Ownership is control, Jimmy. Either you understand that extremely elementary point or you don't."

    The hell it is - tell that to a homeowner who has an easement for an underground pipeline through his property. You got "ownership", on the one hand, and you have "control" on the other.
    Not the same. Here's one, here's the other.

  39. " I just said that soldiers sign up to defend the United States and territories, not anything else." That is your belief...it is not fact. I've talked to people who were in both Gulf War I & II and heard statements to the effect that they had no issues going over to spank Saddam, regardless of how much that contributed to the defence of the US.

    "Why don't you help, slippery and MP, instead of asking for others to do the dirty work to easy your conscience?" I have no idea what this snide comment is supposed to mean.

  40. This reminds me a bit of the libertarian tests that used to show up in Liberty magazine.

    The notion of disregarding arbitrarily heinous atrocities on the grounds that taxation for other than national defence is unethical strikes me as very similar to letting go of the 20th story flagpole from which you are dangling out of respect for the owner's property rights.

    Whether the military SHOULD be used for national defence only is an open question, but I think there is little doubt that enlistee in the last 50 years signed the papers without knowing that other missions are out there. These volunteers know what they are volunteering for. I would even argue that willingness to volunteer is a fair measure of societal expectations for military action. If you can't get enough troops to volunteer, you probably should change your use of force doctrine.

  41. MP: I'm sure some of them do agree with that. I'm not saying they don't. However, it's not what you sign up for, and many soldiers would not agree. (Again the agreement doesn't matter - it's not part of the deal for one to have to go defend interests that have nothing to do with the US.)

    In that last comment, I meant what I said. There are people helping the Sudanese Christians (though nobody gives them much print.), but these people volunteered. Big, difference there, chief.
    By dirty work, I mean getting sent in harm's way for something that is not in the interest of your country, hence not something you took on when you joined the US armed forces.

    Let's see, how many other ways can I say the things that I have just said 8 times? I'm sure I'll think of something ...

  42. Well, heck, Jason, just change the paperwork and the oath at the recruiting centers. I don't think it would be Constitutional, but we disagree there. That'd be being honest about it.

    I'm kinda wondering whether we learned anything from Vietnam besides the military/leadership lessons. I'm speaking of whether it was right to be there. Our country was very strongly divided about it, yet we had way more reason to be there (not in hindsight, but at the time), then we do in a place like Bosnia. Was it because it the army was made mostly of draftees, then?

    Hey, Jason, thanks for the intelligent comment. What a difference it makes!

  43. "However, it's not what you sign up for, and many soldiers would not agree." Are you basing this on some document, or some oath? Because otherwise, "what you sign up for" is inherently a personal decision. As I'm not a member of the military, I'll concede that I don't know the details of the contractual arangements signed by volunteers.

    Assuming that the contract states "you will do whatever we tell you to do", then all of your arguments are irrelevant.

  44. Jimmy -

    This is getting tedious. I refer you back to what you quoted me saying:

    "Second, I've already explained above that interventions can easily be justified as being in US strategic interests. Kosovo was (and still is) officially designated a US strategic interest"

    Reread those two sentences very carefully. When you do, you'll notice that they're separate sentences containing separate thoughts. The first sentence states that I've already explained that interventions can be justified as being in US interests. The second sentence merely gives Kosovo as an example of that. Nowhere do I say that I previously mentioned Kosovo, and I can't imagine what gave you that impression.

    This is an argument about nothing. You no longer dispute that the US may constitutionally intervene in other countries (although you DID dispute it earlier in the thread). You simply dispute that Sudan meets the threshhold of "strategic interest."

    While it would be tempting to ask you, Jimmy, to explain what international conflicts do and do not constitute strategic interests, I have to admit to not being very interested in your answer.

    You don't strike me as a strategic thinker, or as somebody who has spent a great deal of time giving serious thought to the state of the world. Your purpose here seems to be to regurgitate libertarian doctrine, rather than to contemplate its shortcomings or paradoxes (which is now Nick Gillespie kicked this conversation off).

    As for the ownership/control conundrum: Imagine that you "own" a car, but I control it. I can drive it when I want. I can part it out. I can sell it. I can drive it into a tree in attempt to kill myself so I no longer have to debate idiocies with strangers on the internet. In that case, what does ownership even mean?

    Nothing. Ownership is possession is control. A lien is limited control, which removes a limited amount of ownership. A piece of property with liens covering every aspect of its use is not private property anymore, but state property, because the state exercises total control over it. This is not a difficult concept.

  45. Yeah, us libertarians are looney because many of us believe we should not intervene in foreign countries' problems, spending our money and our lives. Please. Our founding fathers (people other than libertarians do believe in the Constitution, don't they?) have rolled over in their graves so many times due to our interventionist policies (not to mention the other gutting of the Constitution that's gone on over the past 200 years), it's not even funny.

  46. In fact, let me remind you of one of the great important libertarian causes of the past 20 years: Unrecompensed takings. Example: The government tells a rancher that the endangered Lesser Freckled Dustmite has been discovered on his property. The government lets the rancher keep his land, of course. It just puts conditions on it: He can't farm it. He can't build on it. He can't drain it or change its ecology at all. The libertarian position is, rather obviously, that this is a taking, and government takings must constitutionally be compensated. The government's position is - hey, we didn't take anything from anybody. He still has title!

    In fact, strict regulation (which is, by definition, control) prevents owners from exercising any control over their land, which renders it valueless. They can't sell it - who would buy it?

    The point: Ownership is control. You're the putative libertarian here, yet your position is indistinguishable from the EPA's.

  47. Lowdog:

    Yes, it is loony to refuse to intervene when a genocide is underway, especially when that intervention would be relatively easy and inexpensive. Very, very loony. I thought we had learned this lesson after the Holocaust, and again after Rwanda, but apparently not. God save you if you ever find yourself on the receiving end of an ethnic pogrom. Have you any idea what genocide looks like, big man?

  48. I didn't resort to name calling, so can we keep it civil?

    I don't know what you mean when you ask if I know what genocide looks like. If you mean up close and personal, no. But I have seen plenty of disturbing photos of emaciated bodies piled up during the Holocaust as well as photos of mass graves from Bosnia and other spots around the world. And I agree that it's a terrible thing. But I have to agree with Jimmy in that if you really want to help, help the Sundanese that are being murdered help themselves. I'm sick of everyone in this world expecting someone to do their work for them. No one wants to take responsibility for themselves (and I'm not talking about you, Pete, but just the world in general).

    And I'm not too worried about an ethnic pogrom. For one, I'm a white male. Second, I live in a country that still lets me keep some guns, so at least I can go out fighting. But I will not expect the French, for instance, to come help me, although if they did so by choice, I would accept their help.

  49. Lowdog,

    In the Holocaust case, if not us, then who else? And why them? In a libertarian ideal, the only people who should be helping themselves are the people being victimized. But there are times when, for a variety of reasons, the victims are truly helpless. Any expectation that the Jews would be able to somehow rise up and defeat their Nazi oppressors is completely unrealistic. For the situation to be stopped, someone has to step in. Saying "not me" does not instantly transfer the moral obligation (if you believe one exists) to another party.

  50. My stomach literally turned at the "Sudanese people who never frickin defend themselves" comment. We're talking here about a group of African Christians who have historically been peaceful and minded their own business. Arab Muslims, funded by some of the same sources that fund terrorism in our neck of the woods, decide that they want the Christians not to exist anymore, and so they begin systematically destroying and taking over the country's natural and infrastructural resources, cutting off the economic prospects for the Christians. Then, since the Christians have no resources with which to defend themselves, genocide is easy.

    As libertarians, I think we tend to see domestic problems as fairly simple: give individuals as much control as possible over their own lives, punish those who commit harm to others or their property, and leave everyone else the hell alone. International problems, however, are almost never that simple. Corruption, disease, and unceasing violent repression are the norm in many corners of the world. People simply have neither the means nor the opportunity to defend themselves when violent armies with greater financial means (usually due to backing by an outside party) decide to slaughter them.

    I, like many others here, have wrestled with the question of a moral libertarian foreign policy. While I can't support going in militarily and rooting out evil anywhere we may find it, it would be foolish not to recognize just how connected these "freakin wasteland" countries are to us. When the bad guys beat them, it makes the bad guys stronger, and that means that it will be harder for us to beat the bad guys the next time around. Moreover, I think that many of us became libertarians because we believe in individual rights and human dignity above all else. It is myopic and xenophobic to claim those rights as paramount for ourselves, but ignore the utter lack of freedom experienced by other human beings around the world. I don't know what we should do about it, but I think it is incumbent upon us to do a better job than we're doing right now, because we have the power to stop this, whereas the victims of it have no power at all.

  51. I hear what you're saying...it is a difficult ethical position. But at least in the Holocaust case, we had other reasons to go kick Germany's ass. That *was* for our defence. Granted, we would have stayed out even longer, which may have been too late, had Japan not attacked, but there would have been no question about whether we should have or not.

    I do wonder, though, what America would have done if Japan hadn't attacked us. For one, we didn't know the extent of the genocide. Second, even if we did, America was still fairly isolationist at the time, especially with WWI still somewhat fresh in our minds. And again, had we waited too long, it might have been too late. Luckily we'll never know.

    But I am not so blind as to realise the difficulty of just what a person's or country's moral obligation is. I just think that, in general, we shouldn't be so quick to jump up and solve the world's problems. I like the 'Air America' idea...send them guns, ammo, grenades, explosives, etc, but please try to avoid casulaties. Put economic and political pressure on the offending nation. But Christ, do we really need to be the world's (morality) police?

  52. "As for whether we have the right to tell you how to spend your money: Wrong. You are obligated by law to pay your taxes, buddy boy. You may not like it, but them's the rules. We (broadly) DO have that right. Sorry about your luck. We vote for representatives and executives who get to decide how to spend YOUR (now their) money.

    I understand that your skin crawls at the injustice of it all. In that case, I invite you to move to Somalia and pay protection to some drugged-up machete-wielding warlord instead. Or, closer to home, Haiti, whose central government no longer collects taxes (libertarian paradise!). Put up or shut up, tough guy. Talk is cheap. Your ethical education, apparently, was even cheaper."

    I just love this kind of argument: "Hey don't like the government stealing from you, move to (insert third world country here)." Funny, I don't remember ever agreeing to have my money forcibly taken from me by the government to fund its adventures overseas. (I don't ever remember agreeing to the constituiton either but that's a whole other argument I guess). Are you arguing that by simply being born in a certain geographical area you are morally bound by "the rules" that the government of that territory establishes?

  53. Slippery, Jimmy, etc., you are all juvenile.

    Slippery Pete,

    "...it is loony to refuse to intervene when a genocide is underway, especially when that intervention would be relatively easy and inexpensive."

    These are apparently your two criteria. But then one must ask, would intervention into the Sudan be relatively easy and inexpensive? I think those issues are slightly more complex than you make them out to be - especially in light of the fact that if the U.S. were to go there, we would expect to stay there for a significant period of time. No ease and cheapness are not the first things that come to mind when one considers an intervention into another country.

    "I thought we had learned this lesson after the Holocaust, and again after Rwanda, but apparently not."

    Well, the U.S. didn't enter WWII to end the holocaust; indeed, I'm fairly certain that if the Germans had merely slaughtered Jews in Germany and invaded Soviet Russia and slaughtered some more there, that the "lesson" of the period would be different.

    As to Rwanda, well Rwandans slaughtered each other in great numbers, yet geo-politically it has meant little aside from a lot of handwringing - indeed, one could say the same thing about most genocides in the 20th century.

    Also, when people start talking about intervention in the Congo, I might take you seriously about Sudan; otherwise what will happen is what happened when the Sublime Porte decided to slaughter some Armenians from time to time - Western governments will make grand speeches and then let the issue slip into obscurity.

  54. matt,

    Randy Barnett's lastest book has an incredibly thought provoking section on the reasons why a citizen would be bound to the laws of their land, particularly the Constitution. Essentially, the argument boils down to "one is morally bound if the law is just", which still leaves buko room for interpretation. But I would still strongly recommend this book.

  55. Gary -

    Yes, I absolutely believe an effective intervention in Sudan would be relatively easy and, as these things go, very cheap. Absolutely. You seem to be under the impression that we would have to invade and occupy Sudan. Nonsense. Something a little larger than the Liberia intervention (remember that, Gary?) would scare the holy living hell out of the Sudanese, and they would cease. As happened in Liberia. As the French expected (and delivered) in Cote D'Ivoire. As the international force (initially led by the Americans) accomplished in Haiti. I could go on and on, Gary. It's no big mystery. It's not like we haven't done it many times before.

    You point out that we didn't enter WWII to stop the Holocaust. Gee, really, Mr. Schlesinger? I never said we did.

    Finally, your last two paragraphs have to set some sort of record for complete inconsistency. You state, with wild disregard for the facts, that the Rwanda genocide had little geopolitical impact. Not true. The Rwanda genocide has destablized countries all over central Africa. In fact, there's one in particular that has been hugely destabilized, greatly exacerbating an existing civil war. Now, what's the name of that country...?

    Oh, yeah. Congo. Which you then use to piously state that until somebody talks about it, you won't take their Sudan talk seriously.

    You clearly have a weak command of the facts. Rwanda led to Congo, Gary, for chrissake.

    Your generalized comment that genocides have had little geopolitical impact is almost comical. The Holocaust led directly to the creation of the state of Israel three short years after the conclusion of WWII. I imagine you've heard of Israel. And the Israeli-Palestinian issue. And the earth-shattering geopolitical consequences of it.

    Or perhaps you haven't.

  56. The Holocause led to the formation of the state of Israel? What, are you an anti-semite? Don't let Dan hear you say that, he'll start screaming about how stupid you are and that the Israelis had been buying land for years and that it was actually some sort of free-market takeover.

    (Sorry, I guess I'm still sore from him yelling at me the other day...and if it wasn't Dan, I apologise to him and curse whoever it really was. 🙂

  57. This is a fruitful and enlightening thread; kudos to Nick Gillespie for launching it with his salient, balanced analysis of the paradoxes and moral quandry that arises for libertarians when: hordes of innocent human beings are being tortured and murdered, AND it is probable that only the U.S. has the means to stop it. Doctrinaire libertarian spewings that do not concede any moral problems with leaving millions of innocents to some pretty severe initiation of force -- just cuz it ain't force initiated against us -- are not in a place I can absolutely go. I do not necessarily know when it is wise and right to intervene, but I do know that "never at all" is wrong. Strict non-interventionists must not be allowed to define what is to be "the" libertarian foreign policy.

    Amy Phillips at 6:09 -- superb. I ratify her entire post. As she puts it so concisely:

    "I, like many others here, have wrestled with the question of a moral libertarian foreign policy. While I can't support going in militarily and rooting out evil anywhere we may find it, it would be foolish not to recognize just how connected these "freakin wasteland" countries are to us. When the bad guys beat them, it makes the bad guys stronger, and that means that it will be harder for us to beat the bad guys the next time around. Moreover, I think that many of us became libertarians because we believe in individual rights and human dignity above all else. It is myopic and xenophobic to claim those rights as paramount for ourselves, but ignore the utter lack of freedom experienced by other human beings around the world. I don't know what we should do about it, but I think it is incumbent upon us to do a better job than we're doing right now, because we have the power to stop this, whereas the victims of it have no power at all."

    I wish I had written that.

    --Mona--

  58. I'll have to check it out MP. But it'll have to be really good to convince me that I'm morally bound to both a document and government formed almost 200 years before I was born (and to which I did not voluntarily consent). Anyway, thanks for the reccomendation.

  59. I have no problem with the proposition of preventing barbarians fom killing innocent people. It's in keeping with the concept of democratic globalism that the US has a moral obligation to prevent this magnitude of slaughter.

    But here we feel a lasting legacy of Clinton: His admin's large military reductions have hamstrung the US everywhere in the world. Can we reinvest that "peace dividend?" Oops, apparently it takes at least 7-10 years to build 50% of the military capacity slashed during our 10 year lollapaloozan "vacation from history."
    But at least we have Seinfeld reruns.

  60. The tragic impacts of the existence of the state continue.
    How sad that the alternatives are presented as "either the US government [or some government] does something OR nobody does anything".
    While it may well be difficult to determine how private efforts could ameliorte the misery, what option do we have other than to explore whether and how non-state actions can address these situations? And how are we to even begin to do that when the discussion is couched exclusively in statist terms?

    regards,
    Shirley Knott

  61. Following up Shirley Knott's:
    Amen.
    What US laws stand in the way of individuals doing something?
    First, priority seems to be making it easier for folks to seek refuge.

  62. Refuge is a bandaid that allows the infection to worsen. Assuming we do anything, the first priority is destruction of the people behind this atrocity. The only question is how best to achieve this goal.

  63. "What US laws stand in the way of individuals doing something?"

    Seems there are laws against individuals owning assault weapons. Surely there are laws against individuals owning tanks or warplanes or aircraft carriers.
    So, if something is to be done, it bust be done with the means we have entrusted our governments with.

  64. "Janjaweed?" Sounds like some new brand of cannabis.

  65. Refuge is absolutely not a band-aid. Allowing people to vote with their feet (when their government denies them the opportunity to do so otherwise) directly disempowers those regimes who don't allow their people liberty, and we (after some initial investment) benefit. Witness the brain-drain from arab states, africa, india, china, southeast asia, etc. to the US and europe.

    Who now doubts the contributions of the 20th century Jewish exodus from eastern europe to the US?

  66. Matt -

    Would you consider yourself morally bound by a new document drafted by currently living people, and affirmed by a democratic majority - if you were against it? In other words, is it age or is it democracy that you object to?

  67. By 'private efforts', are you guys suggesting something along the line of the Lincoln Brigade. You could pick up quite a few recruits with the slogan, "Kill Barbarians and Smoke Janjaweed."

  68. "What US laws stand in the way of individuals doing something?"

    It's not the US laws, so much as the Sudanese military.

  69. "Grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference."

    With this in mind, I would prefer that we return to the principles of the Powell Doctrine and apply them when the best, non-partisan minds in the business say we can make a positive difference at an acceptable risk.

    Right now, though, Bush has gotten us so confused and divided that another adventure, no matter how justified, is almost out of the question.

  70. Seems like this is what the UN is supposed to be about. The UN might be more effective at dealing with international aggression and intranational governmental criminality if it wasn't so involved in socializing the world.

  71. Along the lines of what Shirley said, the problem with these situations isn't that there isn't moral justification in trying to stop the slaughter, it's that there isn't moral justification in making it a larger operation than that.

    In the Iraq situation, the moral justification of going in and wiping out the Ba'athist killing machine doesn't give any moral justification in trying to re-organize the surviving population into a society the outsider heroes want to see.

  72. Probably the first law one would have to contend with is the "Neutrality Act," passed in 1794.

  73. Sam Grove,

    Well, the U.N. is has been hobbled by the start because no nation(s) have been willing to create Article 43 armies. Rather than me explain this, I just suggest that you read Chapter VII of the Charter, with particular attention paid to Articles 39 through 43.

  74. Perfectly valid question Pete, but no I would not consider myself morally bound to a new document affirmed by a majority. Like I alluded to in the post above, I would not voluntarily consent to any government. I was just pointing out that I nor anyone else alive today was even around to give (or not give) their consent back when the constitution was initially ratified.

    I don't believe the majority (or minority as the case may be) has the right to form a government and force me, against my will, to fund it. So, yeah, I'm against democracy. If given the choice now I would gladly sever ties with the government as much as possible, paying only for what government services I'm forced to use like roads, the fire department, and perhaps a few other services that the government currently prevents an acceptable private subsititute for.

  75. It's folly to believe that the U.S. can drop in and fix longstanding problems anywhere in the world. But it's not a particularly comforting thought to be a spectator to the worst sort of atrocity, either.

    It may not be a "particularly comforting thought", Nick, but I'd venture to say that it's a smidgen more comforting than watching your child or spouse or parent come home in a casket, having given their life for people you'd never meet, and have no interest in, and who would probably not return the favor if they had the opportunity. Sacrificing American lives to end "atrocities" elsewhere on the globe that have little or not effect on us, is an atrocity itself. That may sound a bit nationalistic, but who among us would honestly sacrifice the life of their loved one to save the life of some peasant a world away?

  76. C -
    "Allowing people to vote with their feet" - that's how you describe this situation? Really?

    I suppose it's accurate, so long as the "voting" portion of the metaphor can be stretched enough to seem comparable to "running screaming from Antonov bombers and hate-filled Arab gun-men, to a certain death of starvation."

    On the other side of the coin, I 'm waiting for Rick to point out that it's our duty as libertarians to condemn any government action to stop this genocide - after all, it would be expensive, and just another example of government meddling in the affairs of another nation...

  77. Folks, the UN is not gonna do didly, as their blue-helmeted "army" is not set up to fight, nor should it be, in my opinion.

    The American armed forces has no business at all in places like Sudan, Rwanda, Bosnia, where the US itself is in no way being threatened (I'm not trying to start a big discussion on Iraq - been there before).

    Sorry, that sounds heartless, but people do bring on their own problems. Why did the Christians in southern Sudan not arm themselves, or why did they let themselves be disarmed? Don't give me that "turn-the-other-cheek" business, either. We've seen this before in where, Germany, Cambodia, Rwanda? You don't need those guns, you've got 911 to protect you from criminals (yeah!), and the govermnent is there to help right injustice and equalize the wealth (make everyone equally poor). If they say we don't need guns, then who's to argue - they're all smart people with degrees in sociology and shit.

    The only hope for the poor people in Sudan is at least some humanitarian aid from Christian groups here (and I'd be packing if I were with them - kill 2 birds with one stone).

    Course, it could never happen here, because we're keeping our guns. (Sarcasm has been off!)

  78. What exactly is our national interest in this? I ask this because democratic governments generally have to have fairly good, concrete reasons for military interventions on a large scale - if not the populace tends to lose interest and the desire to continue the mission.

    I also note that many cast this as a clash of religions - particularly between Muslims and Christians. Is that really the case? Or are there other factors at play here?

  79. OK, how about this one. "Come to Sudan. Smoke Janjaweed and Discover the Meaning of Double Entendre." Too wordy?

  80. Voting with their feet?

    This is different from "allowing the psychotic killers to have their way" how, exactly? In fact, by facilitating the ethnic cleansing of the region by facilitating "refuge", wouldn't we be helping the psychotic killers achieve their goal.

    I've got nothing against humanitarian aid, mind you, except that all too often it becomes a prop for despotic regimes. There is a history of this in the horn of Africa, too.

    This kind of activity will continue until the people responsible for it are driven from power. Period. No exceptions need apply.

    The only real question for US policy-makers is whether we get involved. Sadly, I vote for minimal involvement at most - arming the locals. Direct military involvement is not called for, as there is no direct threat to the US from the current regime.

  81. oh, stephen, you really got me.... I think you know (I hope you know) that when I was talking about "refuge" I wasn't talking about "finding something sturdy to stand under while the bombs are falling." I was talking about moving to another country, specifically to the US. And not only in cases of dire emergency, but also simply whenever you realize that your political future would be better off by doing so. I'm talking about liberalizing our immigration policies.

  82. Slippery Pete,

    "Something a little larger than the Liberia intervention (remember that, Gary?) would scare the holy living hell out of the Sudanese, and they would cease."

    Very little has changed in Liberia. Indeed, the same problems of human rights, militias killing and otherwise harrassing individuals, etc. continue there (in fact, the same groups of thugs who happened to be at odds with each other a few years ago are still at odds with each other). What has changed is that the country has dropped out of the news.

    "As the French expected (and delivered) in Cote D'Ivoire."

    Again, very little has changed there either (the warring factions still go at each other when they get a chance - and both sides attack the French mission there); and yes, it is quite expensive for the French government - which is exactly why they have been trying to put that occupation in the hands of other parties - particularly troops from coutries like Senegal.

    "As the international force (initially led by the Americans) accomplished in Haiti."

    Again, very little has changed in this country as well; dramatic levels of investment and energy would be required to turn that cesspool into something resembling a functioning nation.

    "I could go on and on, Gary. It's no big mystery. It's not like we haven't done it many times before."

    One wonders if these interventions are such a success why they have to occur over and over again in the same countries. How many times does the U.S. have to intervene in Haiti, for example, for them to get their shit together (the current intervention makes for at least the third in the last one-hundred years)? No, over the long haul these sorts of interventions prove to be rather difficult and expensive and ultimately futile.

    "You point out that we didn't enter WWII to stop the Holocaust. Gee, really, Mr. Schlesinger? I never said we did."

    Well, one must ask, if it wasn't to stop the holocaust, then pray reveal what is the "lesson" you wrote of?

    "The Rwanda genocide has destablized countries all over central Africa."

    And I would argue that geo-politically this is of little importance; furthermore, Rwanda did not de-stablize central Africa - its been de-stabilized since the 1960s. Rwanda is a clearly a sympton of central Africa's problems and not a cause of them.

    "Your generalized comment that genocides have had little geopolitical impact is almost comical."

    Thus the qualifier "most." You're being a little dishonest here in your criticism. *shrug*

    Quite honestly, what are the geo-political consequences for the United States of the Armenian genocide, the genocide in Timor, or the genocide in Cambodia? Certainly all were deplorable acts, but none of them appear to have threatened our national security.

  83. Mona,

    You appear to argue that I and other Americans have some moral obligation (because America is a powerful society) to be our brother's keeper. I disagree.

  84. Slippery Pete,

    I should also not that most American interventions have largely been below-par affairs when it comes to measuring their long-term success (Haiti is a primary example of this); in part that's simply because its quite difficult, time consuming and expensive to re-arrange entire societies so that the sorts of atrocities we see happening in Sudan do not re-occur; and to blunt, that is exactly what one would have to do.

  85. Well, I second everything Gary said, and was about to write the same, about Haiti, Liberia, and other human wastelands. (Oh, except the part about my being juvenile - just trying to drive home a steel point into a head made of possibly solid granite)

    I would like to reply to Mona and Amy, though. That is the gist of this argument, whether the US military should be involved in fights in other countries in which we have no stake whatsoever in the outcome. I can't believe that's a Libertarian viewpoint, that we should be the police force for the world. If it is, that's where I get off the bus.

    "Moreover, I think that many of us became libertarians because we believe in individual rights and human dignity above all else. It is myopic and xenophobic to claim those rights as paramount for ourselves, but ignore the utter lack of freedom experienced by other human beings around the world"

    Umm, I believe our forefathers fought pretty hard for these rights when leaving the British Empire in the 1770's, Mona/Amy. That's why we claim them. Of course, it'd be great if other nations had the same freedoms that America used to have, but it's not something that can be forced upon them. Haiti really is a good example there. There is no way that country is gonna be anything but a hell-hole in the foreseeable future, no matter who is President, what kind of constitution we set up, how many people can vote.

    Xenophobic, my ass. Just as Americans were very glad when Eastern Europe was freed from Communism, we'd be very happy to see many more real democracy's and more free countries around the globe. So, how are we scared of Xenon, again?

    We just don't want to pay the price for these people's freedom with blood of Americans, when they usually piss away said freedoms within a few years anyway.

  86. Last one, gotta sleep sometime.

    MP wrote something that I missed before:

    "Any expectation that the Jews would be able to somehow rise up and defeat their Nazi oppressors is completely unrealistic."

    Have you heard of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, MP? Lots of Germans with guns were stumped by just a few armed Jews for quite a while - keep in mind that the Germans were well fed and supplied as opposed to the Jews in the area.

    Think of how thing would have gone down differently if the Jews and rest of the German population did not have their weapons registered/confiscated in the mid-30's. How many people can get taken from their homes in the middle of the night, when most are armed? I can not see that happening in the US right now, with some recent incidents (Waco, Ruby Ridge, etc.) proving my point.

    "My stomach literally turned at the "Sudanese people who never frickin defend themselves" comment." Well keep on churning baby, cause that's the truth of it. Yes they are in a terrible situation; yes they need to fight back; yes they should have found a way to get weapons before things got to where they are now. I'd have no problem supplying them with weapons. Jesus said to turn the other cheek 7 times 7 times. After that, it's time to lock and load.

  87. Jimmy -

    Blaming victims of genocide for "not arming" is possibly the most idiotic, ignorant, provincial, morally degenerate comment I've read so far in this thread. Don't imagine, for one second, that it's for lack of trying to defend themselves that the Sudanese victims are being slaughtered by the tens of thousands.

    It's one thing to have an honest disagreement over libertarian orthodoxy. It's another to blame Jews for the Holocaust and Sudanese genocide victims for their immense suffering. You seem to simply be a despicable human being who'd rather see a hundred thousand (or six million) souls destroyed than reconsider your orthodoxy.

    You are a preacher of libertarian orthodoxy. You admit no limits to it, no paradoxes, no difficult choices or questions. You are, in fact, a fundamentalist, just as fundamentalist as any religious fanatic who takes his orthodoxy and his received wisdom to absurd and inhuman extremes.

    People who merely preach orthodoxy, and do not engage in a genuine debate of ideas, are boring and perfectly predictable. Engaging in "discussions" with them is pointless. They speak propaganda, not ideas.

    You sound very young, and when I was your age (I'm guessing late high school, early college) I probably sounded a lot like you. My advice is to allow yourself and your ideas to be challenged a little. You'll learn something, I think.

  88. Slippery Pete,

    Can we please tone down the accusatory language? Let's not turn this into a futile flame war.

  89. "Blaming victims of genocide for "not arming"..." Not really blaming, I don't think, slip, it's just the underlying secondary reason that these atrocities happen after the primary cause of some government or group of people being pure evil. However, without the secondary reason, there'd have been no atrocity. Get it? Nah I didn't think so. So, another example follows:

    **********************************************
    START EXAMPLE:
    A single-engine Cherokee is lost in the Cascade mountains after a major engine failure. The pilot makes a decent forced landing on an old logging road, but didn't have time to put in a call on emergency freq. Though the pilot and 2 passengers aren't seriously hurt, it turns out they die of exposure after not finding their way to a paved road for 2 days. They tried to call on the radios from the ground, but the panel is smashed totally. Turns out their ELT (Emerg. Locating Transmitter) battery has been dead long before this day. Otherwise, it would have transmitted a siren sound on the emergency frequency for a few days. But, without it, the plane would have been very hard to find.

    OK, so the owner/operator should have kept the ELT battery up. That's the secondary reason they are all three dead. The primary reason is the bad cylinder that caused oil to gush out of the engine.

    So, the primary and only cause of the crash was the bad cylinder. But, the 3 people would be alive if the ELT battery had been checked and replaced properly.

    Hell yeah, I am saying they would be alive if they had had a good ELT battery, but that's not blaming their deaths on it, I don't think. They would not have needed it, if not for the damn bad cylinder.
    END EXAMPLE
    ********************************************
    The NTSB gives primary cause(s) of accidents, and then contributing factors. Though the cause occurred, injuries, fatalities, and substantial damage would likely not have occurred, but for the contributing factors.

    The blame for the Holocaust falls solely on the German Nazi's, in particular the SS. However, they would not have succeeded if the German people (Jews and everyone else) had not been disarmed by Hitler's government a few years prior (mid-1930's). So, the lack of firearms by the population could be called a "contributing factor" in the holocaust.

    Do you, or do you not, understand this?

    It might be helpful to you, slip, if you'd look up "Warsaw", "ghetto", and "uprising" on google and learn something, as this has been widely written about. You don't need to put "Poland" in, BTW, as you won't get any hits on the Wausau-Stevens Pt., Wisconsin ghetto uprising hah!, I do tend to crack myself up ;-}

  90. "Don't imagine, for one second, that it's for lack of trying to defend themselves that the Sudanese victims are being slaughtered by the tens of thousands."

    No, uhhhh, I didn't say "trying to defend themselves", I said "defending themselves". They obviously aren't cause they don't have the weaponry.

    Man, in Rwanda, lots of people were simply hacked up with machetes. It doesn't take a lot of firepower to stop someone with a machete - in fact a .38 special will do fine. Oh, but I guess they are probably dangerous, and therefore banned, by the, what, 1,000,000 Hutu/Tutsi Mom March or something?

    "You seem to simply be a despicable human being who'd rather see a hundred thousand (or six million) souls destroyed than reconsider your orthodoxy."

    No, not really. I just like to get to the real reasons that things happen. It takes a lot of thinking and studying (both of history and observations of current events).

    I don't want to see anyone destroyed who doesn't deserve to. However, rather then having things happen time and again through history, it's a good thing for humanity to learn some lessons - no, not the hard way, but the easy way, which is understanding ways of preventing the mere possibility of these kind of horrors inflicted by evil governments.

    Starting a country in which the citizens have enough armament to stop the government from evil goes a long way toward this goal. There are not many examples, though, possibly just one, the US of A.

    We're just not here to lose Americans in battle to help these people understand the concept when it's kind of just like drilling a point into slippery pete's thick-ass skull. They may learn, and I hope they do, and I'd truly be glad to hear that some of the Christians in Sudan are being supplied good weaponry. They, nor the Jews, nor the Bosnians (not sure about the Haitians) don't deserve what is happening/ has happened to them. However, it's good to prevent a next time. I think the Jews have learned this lesson well (not most of the American Jews, but those in Israel).

    Man, sorry for the long post. I gotta go and get to class ... Mrs. Crabapple's gonna have a cow....

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