Ron Paul

Today In Letters of Marque & Reprisal News

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"Say hello to my letter of marque and reprisal, Bambi!"

"Ron Paul strikes us as nothing like Ezra Pound," is today's unlikeliest nut sentence, from a New York Sun editorial acquitting Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) of the charge of anti-Semitism. The Sun acknowledges that Paul is an enemy of neoconservatives and that "his views on foreign policy are at odds with those of this newspaper." But the Sun finds a lot to like in Paul's campaign for honest money:

He is a libertarian and believes that war is a friend of the state, meaning that war invariably empowers the state over the individual. We don't disagree about that, only about whether the costs of war are justified in the current conflict. Dr. Paul is opposed to foreign aid on constitutional grounds; we're not so sure he's wrong about that. His aversion to both war and foreign aid have put him at odds with those of us who support the expeditions in Iraq and Afghanistan and also robust American backing of the Jewish state.

No doubt Dr. Paul's views have won him hosannas from some who oppose Israel for base reasons, but it is well to mark that the congressman is no friend of Osama bin Laden and his ilk. He is the leading advocate of using against Mr. Bin Laden one of the bedrock war powers of the Constitution, the letter of marque and reprisal. That constitutional instrument — which authorizes private parties to commit acts of war — was used against the Barbary Pirates. Letters of marque have issued only rarely since, but were advanced for use against terrorists back in the 1990s by the Jewish Forward.

Dr. Paul unsheathed the constitutional sword within days of Al Qaeda's attacks on New York and Washington, introducing the September 11 Marque and Reprisal Act of 2001 to authorize private parties to go after Osama bin Laden. He has pressed continually since then for legislation authorizing the granting of such letters, delivering an eloquent exposition to anyone who will listen. Say what one will about that strategy, but after so many hundreds of billions of dollars of outlays on conventional war, letters of marque and reprisal seem less chimerical than when Dr. Paul first proposed them.

So now you know.

This does leave open the question of which High Modernist Ron Paul actually is. Wyndham Lewis, the lonely old volcano of the Right? T.S. Eliot, a heartbroken traditionalist and gentleman in heart and habit? I'm going with William Carlos Williams, the most amiable literary giant of the Pound era.

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  1. This is just to say

    I have issued
    a letter
    of marque against
    you bin Laden

    For planning and
    funding the
    9/11 attacks

    Forgive me
    but you’re really
    not worth starting
    a war over

    1. I got this!

      1. something about grapes, right?

  2. Oh man, if they start using these again, is there any chance one could be issued against Michael Bay? And his “conspirators” (I’m looking at you Jerry!)?

      1. Think of who else could go on the list: Will Smith, Roland Emmerich, Breck Eisner, Brett Ratner, Antoine Fuqua; Hollywood could be cleaned out cheaply and efficiently!

        1. Uwe Boll

          1. I am somehow comforted in the fact that I don’t recognize any of the names that you listed, except Will Smith.

        2. I can’t bring myself to hate on Emmerich. I mean, I know he makes shit, but Stargate atones for a multitude of sins.

          Oh, and RAAAAACIST for calling out Fuqua.

          1. Stargate is crap.

            1. Take that back.

          2. Did I mention Spike Lee?

    1. You can take my director’s cut of Con Air from my cold, dead hands.

      1. That movie had a director?

        1. Yeah, me.

        2. Yeah, me.

        3. Yeah, me.

          1. And him, too.

            (sorry ’bout that…)

              1. Yeah, what the fuck?

  3. Letters of marque sound good to me, but if hair-trigger PMCs are the ones who take up the cause, will there be more or less accountability then there already is(n’t) when they get out of hand. I suppose we could always issue more to apprehend the former if it happens.

    1. If the mercenaries/privateers (I’m sorry, are we calling them “private military contractors” now?) act within the guidelines of the letter of marque, then it can’t be any worse than the accountability we have now, plus, it will be cheaper than posting 50,000+ US soldiers in the godforsaken wasteland called Afghanistan or wherever else Elvis Bin Laden has been spotted this month.

      Have we caught him yet, BTW?

      1. as you say, letters of marque are not necessarily open ended permission to use force. There can be conditions on them, and if they are broken byt he private parties they can be prosecuted.

        1. So, basically, “Kill or apprehend bin Laden, but if you kill a civilian we’re not paying you full price”?

          1. “Kill or apprehend bin Laden, but if you kill a civilian we’re not paying you full price”

            There are no civilians. Outdated concept.

        2. Read the bill. The recipients of the letter must post a bond to be forfeited if they break the rules. Plus if they are caught in a foreign land they have no protection.

  4. Ironically, issuing Letters of Marque and Reprisal is one of the few actual enumerated powers (Art. 1, Section 8). Also, the Seventh Hague Convention (1907), which bans privateering, only applies as between signatories, so I’m not sure if letters of marque against terrorists violate international law.

    1. kiwi dave|11.23.10 @ 8:55PM|#
      “…Also, the Seventh Hague Convention (1907), which bans privateering, only applies as between signatories, so I’m not sure if letters of marque against terrorists violate international law.”
      May not matter to some; lefties have a habit of inventing new definitions of ‘laws’ if they don’t like the results.

      1. Like that big left-wing wacko who said that torturing terror suspects is a-ok because they don’t all wear the same undies.

        1. Could be, but I was referring to those who claimed ‘violations of international law’ when the Israeli’s stopped the blockade runners.

    2. Oh, and I’m not sure it’s “ironic”; Paul seems to be one of the few congress-critters who have read the damn thing and tried to find ways of doing what we’d wish consistent with what it says.

  5. Empowering private parties to kill America’s enemies and take their stuff….

    It’s cost efficient.
    It’s enterprising.
    It protects the nation’s interests.
    It undercuts one of the federal government’s biggest redistributionist/jobs program expenses: the military.
    It pisses off the Europeans.
    It’s Constitutional.
    In true privateering spirit, you could wear an awesome tricone hat and a captain’s coat.

    I’m really not seeing a downside to this.

    1. Historically, privateers often became pirates after the end of a war.

      1. Yeah, and service folk returning from war become sociopaths.
        At least one or two do….

        1. Bite me.

      2. And? There behavior during the war is what matters. If they turn criminal, you deal with that later.

      3. Re: Tulpa,

        Historically, privateers often became pirates after the end of a war.

        “Historically,” ravaging armies massacred whole populations of invested cities. I mean, what is your point, Mr. Medieval Times?

      4. Easy to answer; the GWOT will never end. Therefore, the privateers will be available forever for use against the bad guys.

    2. The Europeans, being leftists, are always and permanently pissed off.

  6. Caption: “Dammit lady, I’m an obstetrician, not a veterinarian!”

    1. Excellent.

  7. How exactly to letters of marque work on land?

    That’s a real question. Do we just say, “Hey, it’s OK to go kill bin Laden.” Was there any reason we would stop someone from going after him without such a letter?

    1. Without actually knowing the history, I would guess that possessing and acting within a Letter of Marque was a defense against a charge of piracy, which was essentially the only extant international law in the eighteenth century.

      Which is to say it was meant to protect you against retaliation by third parties to the conflict.

      ‘Cause it sure wasn’t going to do you much good vis a vis the enemy…

  8. Drudge: Ron Paul: Crotch Groped by TSA, Calls for Boycott of Airline…

    http://www.infowars.com/ron-pa…..-airlines/

    What the hell is he doing on that show?

    1. Ron Paul is a frequent guest on Alex Jones’s crazy show. He was on all the time during the Bush years.

      While Paul may not be an anti-Semite, he is a neo-Confederate and a 9/11 Troofer.

      1. Got a link to him espousing that truther stuff?

      2. Ron Paul has explicitly disavowed “trooferism” so you are just flat out wrong there. He has said that we need to examine the events leading up to 9/11 and the way it was handled after – intelligence that was disregarded and so on. So, you know, it’s easy to lump everyone in together and call them all conspiracy whackos.

        1. False. Ron Paul only “disavows” 9/11 conspiracy theories in public, when questioned about it. Why? Because he knows it’s political cancer. The guy regularly associates with Truthers (including the totally insane Alex Jones), many of his fans are Truthers, and he promotes Trutherism.

          @OldMexican: Neo-Confederatism is an ideology; many of its proponents weren’t born in the south. A Google search for “Ron Paul neo-Confederate” should provide enough material to satisfy your curiosity. And there’s always that 2008 Reason article about the infamous newsletters.

      3. “Neo-Confederate”? You mean Paul, who is a Pennsylvania Yankee, is a neo-Confederate?

        Did somebody move up the Mason-Dixon line sometime and didn’t tell me???

        1. Pennsylvanians are most definitely not Yankees. At least you don’t refer to all Americans as Yankees.

          1. Re: Zeb,

            Pennsylvanians are most definitely not Yankees.

            If they’re not, then – who is???

            At least you don’t refer to all Americans as Yankees.

            No, I call them gringos.

            1. Pinche gabachos is what I call them.

          2. Pennsylvanians are most definitely not Yankees.

            Yes they are.

            1. Yes, the distinctions that North-Easterners make between themselves are totally lost on everyone else.

              Kinda like the way folks from LA and Orange county can’t stand to be mistaken for one another but the rest of us know they’re cut from the same clothe.

    2. Seems like Paul will go on any show that will have him.

      He’s got something to say that resonates with practically everybody. Why not go on wherever he’s asked to?

      1. He’s even said as much, that he’ll talk to anyone whether he agrees with them or not.

  9. Ladies and gentleman, I give you the stupidest fucking post ever to be submitted on the internet, and Angry Hillbilly God knows I’ve put considerable effort to obtain that goal myself, but, damn, alas, it is clear that even I have failed. Without further adieu, or ? col?re montagnard dieu (can’t blame me for still trying), I present to you the stupidest post ever submitted on the internet.

    http://www.frumforum.com/why-t…..1#comments

    balconesfault // Nov 22, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    1) where did the government get the resources to spend?
    a) tax seizure

    Where does the authority for government to sieze taxes come from?
    a) We, the People.

    7) what if the government miscalculate its outlays and loses money? who ultimately foots the bill?
    a) We, the People.

    why do we assume government knows how to spend our money than the chiefs of industry, than millions upon millions of consumers?
    a) We, the People know that the chiefs of industry do not have our long term societal prosperity as their first priority when making spending decisions, nor do millions upon millions of individual consumers. And We, the People believe that some level of governmental spending to provide for long term societal prosperity is beneficial ? and we are willing to tax ourselves to provide for that spending.

    9) why can they not fulfill this role during regular times? what makes their powers at evaluating trade-offs especial during recessions?
    Are you claiming that government doesn’t spend our money during regular times? That seems pretty ignorant.

    Enjoy your glory now, balconesfault. One day, mark my words, I shall beat you.

    1. I love that. I’ve mentioned it before, but how do people actually conceive of a society being anything more than a bunch of individuals? Whom do we round down or up?

      And if we consider people even capable as acting against their interests — I’d disagree, as a person’s interests do not preclude poor judgment — the scope should be extremely narrow. Most of the time when we say someone is irrational, we mean they employ heuristics that generate poor results. But those heuristics are still “in their interests” and rational: there is a finite capacity to learn, and people thus approach decisions they deem as less important using more simplistic processes.

      So the argument amounts to saying people don’t know what’s good for them and need to be protected from themselves, and further that no one can do it better than government, an institution whose key feature is its monopoly on certain forms of force. If you don’t believe that provides a very narrow scope for government, you’re incorrigible.

      1. INDIVIDUAL: I’m a masochist…
        GUBERMINT: we must prevent you from ‘hurting’ yourself, even though you perceive that it brings you pleaseure in the short term.
        INDIVIDUALL I’m a masochist because I eat brocoli, and I hate brocoli…
        GUBERMINT: Oh, well than by all means be a masochist, cause eating brocoli is good for you – 5 fruits and vegetables a day and so on…
        INDIVIDUAL: I hate brocoli because I am allergic to it…but I love it because I am a masochist…
        GUBERMINT: …OK, we give up – you can do what you want to – just so long as it doesn’t hurt someone else….
        if only.

      2. but how do people actually conceive of a society being anything more than a bunch of individuals?

        It’s called “Corporatism”.

    2. Unfortunately, The Big Lie (that there is a “We” who can collectively make decisions) is uncritically accepted by an astonishing number of people. Even people who I confront with this fact, and who agree with me when I do, continue on with this “we” bullshit as if “we” actually make collective decisions.

    3. FrumForum?
      Seriously?

  10. Oh, and honorable mention goes to CD-Host for an ass pulling that must have caused a shit load of rippage:

    Money is not a sources for a society, it is a proxy within a society. Private entities have control over some of societies resources and money is an effective way of administering that. Where does the government get money to spend? Its all the governments money. Inflation/deflation, taxes, fees, regulations, laws are all various mechanism the government uses to deploy resources where they want them to go. Money is an effective mechanism for deploying resources, so its commonly used.

    Its like asking how does the referee get to the 2nd down. It confuses the role of the referee and one of the teams.

    Because government is large and complex we use the mechanisms within the government like “budgets” that we use in the broader society for the same reasons. But the government is the society. They are the source of money. They can’t create resources ex nihilo but they can deploy them at will.

    Oh, cd-host, if you see this, you are confusing money with currency. I know, easy mistake to make, but a mistake nonetheless recognized even outside the Austrian school.

    1. crap. Intended for the Bernanke – Stupid Like A Fox thread

  11. Looking back, it’s hard to argue this approach could have turned out WORSE than the current one.

    “Dr. Paul is opposed to foreign aid on constitutional grounds; we’re not so sure he’s wrong about that.” Is that a typo, or are they admitting that Israel comes before the Constitution in their priorities?

  12. introducing the September 11 Marque and Reprisal Act of 2001

    I never knew he did this. I like it!

    But I thought Bush put a bounty out on bin Laden? Which does about the same thing.

    Seems odd that $25 million isn’t enough to get the job done. Or did they up it even more?

    1. He did. Money doesn’t mean a hell when they slaughter your whole village. It isn’t like an assassin can travel with the head in a suitcase and show up on the WH doorstep.

      1. It isn’t like an assassin can travel with the head in a suitcase and show up on the WH doorstep.

        DAMN YOU, TSA!!!!!! *SHAKEN FIST*

    2. “We didnt declare war on Iraq but we authorized funds…that amounts to the same thing”

      NO THE FUCK IT DOESNT.

  13. “This does leave open the question of which High Modernist Ron Paul actually is. Wyndham Lewis, the lonely old volcano of the Right? T.S. Eliot, a heartbroken traditionalist and gentleman in heart and habit? I’m going with William Carlos Williams, the most amiable literary giant of the Pound era.”

    I have no friggin idea, I went to engineering school.

  14. (Apologies to the Beastie Boys)

    I hate all the terrorists with their designs so dark
    I’m a gonna get ’em with a Letter of Marque.
    Chasing Bin Laden through the Seven Seas
    I’ll waste his ass, don’t care if he says “please.”
    I’m a pir – a privateer with a parrot on his shoulder
    And I’ll kill more terrorists than Eric Holder.
    Fight for the USA and I’m never shrinking
    Defeat my countries foes and their plots so stinking
    Terrorist chasing, thug erasing – searching every village
    We Marque and Reprise, and we rob and pillage.

  15. William Carlos Williams was also an ardent socialist, even if he did have a profession in common with Dr. Paul.

    1. On second thought, Wallace Stevens is probably the Ron Paul of the modernists.

  16. I’d just like to know how that photo came about. Dr. Paul going veterinary?

    1. BATH, N.H. — It is the first day for deer hunting season in New Hampshire (for those not using arrows) and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul marked the day with a stop at a gun store in Whitefield.

      On the way to the next event in the North Country, he made an impromptu stop at a general store in Bath to get a closer look at a doe shot and killed this morning by his New Hampshire campaign manager’s wife .

      For the cameras, Dr. Paul checked for a pulse before declaring the deer officially dead.
      […]

      Paul campaign in better shape than deer

  17. a New York Sun editorial acquitting Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) of the charge of anti-Semitism.

    “And as long as he does not dare try run for the highest office again, Koch-topus owned Reason will not rehash hit pieces on him… we’re even being nice enough to run this inane editorial praising him . . . uh, kinda.”

    1. Years ago, The American Spectator did a piece on Paul entitled “A Principled Maverick”. It was almost devoid of criticism.

      Of course, that was about ten years ago or so, and since then Paul has plenty of hate – from the right, as well.

      Sad, really, A lot of people should kick themselves for it.

  18. But… but… Max says Ron Paul is racist! And Max is the smartest person he knows!

    1. He is a good pet yorkie, at least.

  19. Looking at the photo, I’m trying to tell if he’s talking about healing the deer or how to cook it.

    1. foreplay, libertarian style 😉

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