Defense

CPAC Swings Anti-War, Sort Of.

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Reason contributor Jon Basil Utley writes up the growing anti-war presence at CPAC, which represents a real shift over the years.

Most notable was a panel, "Why Real Conservatives Are Against the War on Terror." The panel was composed of Bruce Fein, former Reagan Justice Department Deputy Secretary, Phil Giraldi, a former CIA station chief in Turkey and a columnist at Antiwar.com, Jacob Hornberger, President of the Future of Freedom Foundation and Karen Kwiatkowski, retired Colonel and noted antiwar writer. It was chaired by the American Conservative literary Editor Kelly Jane Torrance. Over 300 people attended and the speakers were constantly interrupted with applause.

Hornberger described the war on terror as "the greatest terrorist producing engine in history" and argued that "dismantling the welfare state meant also dismantling the warfare state." Bruce Fein detailed the illegalities of our losses of liberty because of the war on Iraq and urged "millions for defense, not a cent for empire and preemptive wars." He said that the thrill of empire has made America less safe and less rich and argued that "due process" is vital for keeping our liberties. Karen Kwiatkowski decried the waste in the military budget and detailed how Washington violates Sun Tzu and von Clausewitz theories of warfare. Giraldi described how the war has made America "hated, feared and less safe" in the world.

Another significant panel with top conservative leaders was about the expanding police-prison state in America. Titled How Many Crimes Have You Committed Today,it included Grover Norquist and David Keene, two of the biggest names in conservative leadership as well at attorney Paul Rosenzweig. It was chaired by Pat Nolan of Justice Fellowship , a part of Chuck Colson's Prison Fellowship organization. The speakers decried how many American were in prison with long sentences, the largest number of any nation in the world.

They explained how the civil code was being interlaced with new criminal penalties, how long sentences allowed prosecutors to intimidate innocent suspects into pleading guilty to crimes they did not commit, the unnecessary use of SWAT teams to attack homes even of those growing orchids who had fallen afoul of some new regulation. They urged a major reform of criminal law. The title of the panel referred to the constant moving of the goal posts as government makes more and more civil crimes into criminal ones. Then in California prison guard unions raise donations for politicians who urge longer and more prison sentences. The speakers urged major reforms of criminal law because prisons are filled with persons who are not a threat to society.

More here.