The Independents

What War Is Good For


Friday night's theme episode of The Independents, titled "The War on War," delved into myriad applications (and mis-applications) of that murderful word. Cato Executive Vice President David Boaz, for example, spoke about the potency of war as an often deadly policy metaphor:

And former Reagan-administration deputy defense secretary K.T. McFarland and retired Col. David Hunt chewed on just what the phrase "War on Terror" can and should mean in 2014:

Speaking of war, I'm on a star-studded speakers list for an October 18 conference being held in New York by The Future of Freedom Foundation. Titled "Stop the Wars on Drugs and Terrorism," the confab will include presentations from the likes of Glenn Greenwald, Radley Balko, Jeremy Scahill, Eugene Jarecki, Ethan Nadelmann, and more. (All the hyperlinks on the speakers' names go to Reason TV interviews that are well worth your time.) More info at the conference website.

NEXT: Fears of Missing Jetliners in Libya

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  1. Titled “Stop the Wars on Drugs and Terrorism…

    Linking those two subjects in an ad did the anti-pot people very little if any good, so I’m not sure I’d follow suit. But it is an impressive list of speakers. Don’t fuck it up, Welch.

    1. Excellent pep talk.

  2. So the recent beheading (alleged beheading?…I don’t even know and care even less) got me thinking.

    What the hell are Western Journalists doing gambolling (British spelling? who knows firefox spellcheck is fun for the whole family) around the Syrian desert in the first place?

    They do not have access to western military intelligence and they rely on native reports for news. In other words they are targeted for danger offer nothing but perhaps good English speaking editing skills (which can be done in the US) and are at a disadvantage of knowing jack shit about the land, the people, the language etc.

    Why the hell are they there and why the hell do news corps pay for them to be there?

    1. Which is precisely why I refuse to be outraged. You travel into the territory of cannibals, don’t be surprised if you get eaten.

      They bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into, I say, let em crash.

      1. Which is precisely why I refuse to be outraged. You travel into the territory of cannibals, piss off a cop, don’t be surprised if you get eaten shot.

        1. That isn’t necessarily a situation you can easily avoid.

  3. god I had to stop watching that 2nd video halfway through. I’m embarrassed to wear the same uniform as Hunt. I’m sure he’s a great conventional war kinda guy, but he just doesn’t grasp the nature of the war on terror in the slightest. Although she fell short, K.T. even had a better grasp on it than the colonel.
    All one has to do is read what AQ wrote before 9/11 and why they did it, or read Pape’s work on the subject. They fight us because we are there; we are there because they fight us. They can’t fight conventionally so they fight asymmetrically w/ suicide attacks and beheadings. This region of the world would probably not only be more peaceful had we not spent decades there, but would be more secular at the same time. Our presence only feeds into the fundie’s narrative and gives them traction. We cannot win since we are fighting an idea. “Terrorism” is as much an idea as a tactic. An idea that has no borders and can’t give us any clue as to when we’ve won. Our Team America approach only makes the idea stronger.

    1. They fight us because we are there

      Of course, it should be noted that AQ include Spain in the “there.”

      Ultimately, they include the entire world in the “there” part as well.

      Would they have as many recruits if we weren’t meddling in Mid-East affairs? Probably, but you really need to reread what the Wahhabists are writing/saying if you think AQ’s only (or even primary) gripe is American bases in the Arabian Peninsula and that they’ll just stop once we give up and leave.

      We should still leave the Mid-East and let these animals murder each other, and just bomb-hammer the fuck out of them when they get more adventurous.

      1. One thing is for sure. Society and culture over there isn’t receptive to our style of government. So forcing it upon them is a lost cause.

    2. The problem being that, left unopposed, the kind of fundamentalist nitwit who becomes a terrorist visits his fundamentalism on his neighbors ad keeps expanding his gold until you have to do something about him.

      We did a lot of damage to the area by following a pattern of appeasing extremists and punishing people who we now recognize as moderates. Did the Shah of Iran have a brutal secret police regime? Yes. Turns out that he had good reason to.

      The way forward is to establish some basic rules of international behavior. Nothing too restrictive; keep your culture to yourselves if your neighbors don’t want it. Leave our people the hell alone. You can hate jews, but don’t kill jews. That sort of thing. Then land like ton of bricks on countries who don’t follow the rules, or who harbor movements that do and don’t deal with them. Then, and this is important, LEAVE.

      1. contd.

        You want to trade with us? Great! But if you break the rules, or your people break the rules then somebody else will be running your country in short order. And if he is to stupid to draw the inference, then we’ll eliminate him too, and so on until we either find somebody smart enough not to pick fights they can’t win or the lot of you are reduced to flint tipped arrows. Whichever comes first.

        How can I say things like this? Because the alternative is a war of conquest. If we allow this nonsense to continue, sooner or later the citizenry will get mad enough, and we won’t like the results. Neither will the people we conquer. Better we keep it simple and brutally effective.

        It’s called gunboat diplomacy. It’s nasty, it’s amoral, and it usually works. It’s trying to make people into little copies of ourselves that fails.

  4. Good God.

  5. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go? to tech tab for work detail


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