Ben Carson

Ben Carson's Disqualifying Foreign Policy Incoherence

Debate answer exposes a revealing problem not just for the inexperienced candidate, but for the bellicose GOP


In the six national GOP presidential polls conducted over the past two weeks, Ben Carson has received the highest average support, nudging out Donald Trump 24.7 percent to 24.3 percent. He's averaged 20 percent for two months solid, and has been in at least second place in all but one poll since mid-August.

So this is how the Republican Party's current co-frontrunner in the race for the White House answered a debate question Tuesday night about the U.S. leaving 50 special-ops forces and 10,000 troops in Afghanistan:

If you think that sounded incoherent, read the word-salad as transcribed:

Q: […] Dr. Carson, you were against putting troops on the ground in Iraq and against a large military force in Afghanistan. Do you support the president's decision to now put 50 special ops forces in Syria and leave 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan?

CARSON: Well, putting the special ops people in there is better than not having them there, because they that's why they're called special ops, they're actually able to guide some of the other things that we're doing there. And what we have to recognize is that Putin is trying to really spread his influence throughout the Middle East. This is going to be his base. And we have to oppose him there in an effective way. We also must recognize that it's a very complex place. You know, the Chinese are there, as well as the Russians, and you have all kinds of factions there. What we've been doing so far is very ineffective, but we can't give up ground right there. But we have to look at this on a much more global scale. We're talking about global jihadists. And their desire is to destroy us and to destroy our way of life. So we have to be saying, how do we make them look like losers? Because that's the way that they're able to gather a lot of influence. And I think in order to make them look like losers, we have to destroy their caliphate. And you look for the easiest place to do that? It would be in Iraq. And if ­­outside of Anbar in Iraq there's a big energy field, take that from them. Take all of that land from them. We could do that, I believe, fairly easily, I've learned from talking to several generals, and then you move on from there. But you have to continue to face them, because our goal is not to contain them, but to destroy them before they destroy us.

There have been some game attempts at deconstruction of that paragraph on the sentence level, but the most useful and revealing exercise is to go macro. As Allahpundit points out over at Hot Air,

The weirdest thing about this answer is that it starts off as a giant dodge by someone who's clearly not comfortable getting into the weeds of Syria policy and somehow ends up with a casual de facto call for a second invasion of Iraq.  

Put bluntly, this paragraph should be disqualifying for any potential commander in chief.

This is a map of the Middle East. ||| Wikipedia

Carson was asked a question about leaving troops in Afghanistan—a not-insignificant issue, given the 2,200-plus American servicemen and women who have died in a war that solid majorities of Americans have long since concluded was not worth fighting—and instead burbled for a moment about special ops before changing the subject abruptly to Russian President Vladimir Putin's activities in the Middle East, a geographic area that traditionally does not include Afghanistan. Even if you grant Carson a "Greater Middle East" rhetorical waiver, orienting U.S. foreign policy and troop deployment in that region as a kind of balance-of-power Great Game designed to blunt the influence of Russia and China—the latter of whose current activity inside of the Middle East can best be described as embryonic—is shadow-chasing madness. As the Washington Post's Ishaan Tharoor put it, "Russian military resources in the region are dwarfed by that of the United States, let alone NATO, an alliance whose second-biggest military — Turkey — sits on the Syrian border."    

This was a hospital in Kunduz, where U.S. special ops didn't want to give up ground. ||| NBC News
NBC News

"We can't give up ground right there," Carson says. Well, let's think about what that means, much in the same way that Rand Paul during the debate successfully forced the audience (if not quite his bellicose competitors) to think practically about what the phrase "no-fly zone" means in the context of Syria. In Afghanistan, the Taliban has systematically retaken ground that the U.S.-backed forces took from it back in 2001, most alarmingly in Kunduz. That name may ring a bell, as it's the place where U.S. special ops, worried about giving up ground, guided air strikes to a hospital last month, killing more than 30 noncombatants. Just to stop giving up more ground in Afghanistan would likely require a redoubling or re-tripling of the human and financial effort coming from the United States.

And keep in mind that this is the same Ben Carson who—as referenced in the very question he was being asked Tuesday!—has been skeptical of the Afghan war, writing in a 2012 book that "Whether America's ensuing steps into war in Afghanistan and Iraq will be seen as positive remains to be seen, but I can't help thinking there may have been a better way to react that would not have cost us so many lives and financial capital." The phrase We can't give up ground right there is an empty schoolyard taunt, devoid of any think-through about what it would require, and designed to flatter the foreign-policy belligerence of Republican primary voters.

"We're talking about global jihadists," Carson says 30 words after talking instead about the Russians and Chinese. "So we have to be saying, how do we make them look like losers?" This juvenile phrasing suggests a certain reliance on optics, or symbolism: If we can just make ISIS et al look foolish, then they will be less attractive to new adherents and allies. OK, I'm listening, albeit skeptically. "And I think in order to make them look like losers, we have to destroy their caliphate." Wait, what?

It's a smallish point, but it makes anti-sense to dwell on making an enemy "look like" something when in fact what you intend to do is "destroy" them. We didn't make the Axis "look like losers," we destroyed them. We didn't destroy the Soviets, we made them look like losers, after which their empire receded. There's kind of an important difference here, and it affects the way you approach policy.

The "easiest place" to engage in this caliphate-destruction, Carson claims, is "in Iraq." Yes, the same Iraq that he has lamented cost too much in American lives and money already. There is a history of American armchair generals talking about easy military solutions in Iraq, and it's not a happy one. Then, as noted by Allahpundit, we get on to the invasion/occupation/colonialism stuff: "And if ­­outside of Anbar in Iraq there's a big energy field, take that from them. Take all of that land from them."

The United States has spent scores of billions of dollars taking land away from bad guys in the Greater Middle East over the past 15 years, only to continuously re-discover that people who live in said land—which, importantly, is not arranged in tidy nation-states—have different ideas and longer time-horizons than American taxpayers do. Forget Carson's West Point "scholarship," or his tracing of Islamic radicalism to the Book of Genesis, or even not doing basic research on U.S.-Cuba policy before going to see the Miami Herald—it's his lack of intellectual engagement with the most crucial of recent international developments that should terrify prospective voters.

The truly embarrassing thing here is not Ben Carson's incoherent rhetoric, but that that rhetoric is enduringly popular in the modern Republican Party, even after seven years of constant complaint about a president being too inexperienced to handle the international stage. It's as if you can just mumble "Mamoo-dockface in the banana patch" over and over again, as long as you can say "destroy them before they destroy us" often enough. And that's true for far more 2016 candidates than just Ben Carson. You don't have to be a libertarian, or a realist (or even a libertarian realist!) to find that troubling.

NEXT: Obama, Unsurprisingly, Endorses Expanding Federal Protections for LGBT Folks

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  1. So maybe our Team Red colleagues could pick a war with an actual military solution?

    Or do we get to watch the slow-motion train wreck of armed social work again and again?

    1. Good point. We need to get back to the notion that military action is for laying waste to your enemies. Decidedly not social work or infrastructure building.

      1. Exactly. Because that is the part of Hillary’s foreign policy incoherence that makes it so double plus qualifying.

        1. To clarify:

          I did NOT mean to imply that Team Blue was better.

  2. Well you see, if we mashed some of the potatoes, and put them in the eggs, it would look far better than putting ketchup on them, cause that would look like the potatoes were loosing to the ketchup. With the potatoes in there, it would look more uniform, and less like a loosing plate.

    So if we sneak in there like the mashed potatoes, and nestle in with the eggs, we might be able to overtake them, and look all winning while doing it.

    1. +1 blue plate special foreign policy.

  3. Looking at that polling average it seems a good possibility that Rand will get bumped enough from the debate to surpass Bush and get into the top 5. Should ensure him reaching the next debate and probably Iowa.

  4. When is tReason going to stop giving the Democrats a pass?

    1. Well the Democrats would be anti-war, but then that George Bush guy stopped being the president, and so it’s really all his fault.

      1. According to your link, forever? How does some nice articles about Rand amount to not giving the Dems a pass?

        1. How Partisanship Killed the Anti-War Movement

          Rand Paul: ‘Idiots in the Republican Party’ Want War in Syria and So Does Hillary Clinton

          President Obama Wishes The Libya Intervention Had Been More Full-Throttled

          What the Hell Are We Doing in Yemen?

          Jim Webb Prepares for 2016 Presidential Run

          That’s just the first page (excluding morning links and some other irrelevancies).

    2. @RBS you must be new here. if you want to engage in partisan hackery, this is the wrong website for it.

      1. I thought the author engaged in it first with a line like ‘and designed to flatter the foreign-policy belligerence of Republican primary voters’.

        Dats waciss.

  5. I think we can expect President Carson to go into the Greater Middle East with the precision of a surgeon rather than the hamfistedness of a drunken fratboy. I’m sure if Dr. Carson tried to talk you through his plan to perform a hemispherectomy you would by just as perplexed.

    1. Nice one, Eugene.

      1. This should absolutely be a thing.

        1. I noticed your middle name, like FoE, is spelled “of.” Is it also pronounced “Eugene”?

    2. Calm down, Hitler. You think Ron Howard just *wished* Willow was great? No…and yet it was.

    3. His entire foreign policy will be based on capturing the Egyptian pyramids and doing some research on them. He’ll disappear into the pyramids for the entire 4 years and… hey wait a minute, I’m starting to really like this guy.

      1. He’s going for the grain.

  6. It’s amazing how much modern, “top-level” politics is coming to resemble a run for student body president in junior high (other than the fact that the winner can do shit like dronemurder people and launch nuclear weapons). I mean, it makes perfect sense if you think about it, but I don’t think it means anything good.

    Which one is Tracy Flick?

    1. It’s the continual concentration of power in the hands of the Executive.

    2. I don’t know where you went to school, but I seem to recall the candidates for student council in my junior high actually actually sounding more coherent and well-informed than the current crop of repub and dem candidates for President. I wish I was only joking.

      I think we need to update the old adage that starts off, “Those who can’t do, teach. And those who can’t teach, teach gym.” We need to add a third sentence: “Those intellectually incapable of teaching gym become the front runners in presidential elections.”

      1. Wait a couple more terms until all the candidates on both sides are recent graduates of Yale and Oberlin.

    3. “Her pussy gets so wet, you can’t believe it.”

      I am going with Trump.

      1. Wait, you’re saying Trump’s pussy gets so wet, you can’t believe it?


        1. That is exactly what I am saying.

          1. I can’t believe you’ve actually managed to make such a thing unpalatable for me. Thanks a lot for that unwelcome mental image.

        2. Well, you see, one of The Donald’s hobbies is throwing other people’s cats into the ocean…

      2. You had me at P…….

  7. What would be the downside to not having a president for the next 4 years? How about we agree that any bill that passes congress is just automatically vetoed unless it passes with enough votes to override?

    I don’t know about executive enforcement and administration, maybe we just don’t full any vacancies for the next 4 years.

    Grumble, grumble, grumble…

    1. What would be the downside to not having a president for the next 4 years?

      The Simulcra

  8. Is there any topic that Carson is not seemingly incoherent on? Maybe it’s hard to concentrate on this trivial stuff when you sit around all day wondering how you can sneak into a pyramid to search for some petrified wheat germ. I dunno, the guy is very strange.

    Then again, we have a guy who makes sense on foreign policy and the SoTards don’t want no part of none of that. He ain’t no patriot, he’s soft on them turrurists, Murika Fuck Yeah!

    1. Yeah, he’s not a lawyer and in addition to that he’s unpolished.

      It may help him in some ways. People hear what they want to hear.

    2. I keep forgetting that there are actually people who did not understand that Team America: World Police was satirical.

      “Them puppets knowed what to do! Howcum the pres-A-dent can’t be more like them puppets who’d took care of them turrorists, the Hollywood F.A.G.s, and the Norks all at once?”

      1. And the pothead hippies, we can nuke them too!


  9. There are lots of things not to like about Carson.

    All of them need to be weighed against what’s not to like about Hillary Clinton. Hillary criticized George W. Bush from his right. Her complaint was that Bush wasn’t going far enough.

    You also have to measure Carson against Hillary on domestic policy. I see Hillary as being beholden to social justice warriors and people who are actively trying to rehabilitate the word “socialism”.

    Ultimately, no one but Rand Paul will constrain their military activities on principle; for the rest of them, the ultimate restraint on their military activities will be public opinion. Who besides Rand Paul will be constrained by anything more?

    1. Paul’s the only decent candidate period. He’s too sane for the people, so I think I’m just going to get on the BERN train, let’s get this party started and BERN it all down, down to the ground!

    2. There are lots of things not to like about Carson.

      All of them need to be weighed against what’s not to like about Hillary Clinton.


      1. Lesser of two evuls, gotta vote for the GOP candidate, most important election ever! This time, really.

      2. Seriously. Can’t they both suck?

      3. Perhaps he means this type of weighing:

        She’s a witch!

    3. Now, I hate Hillary, and would even rather have Trump as Prez than her, but she did basically tell the BLM peeps to pound sand when they tried to fuck with her. So while she’ll vomit some pro SJW words while campaigning, I actually think she has nothing but contempt for them, and wouldn’t bow to them as Prez.

      Carson is really creeping me out. I can see him declaring a religious war against Islam that would make anything W or Obama did look like minor hijinx.

      Didn’t watch the show, but glad to hear Paul finally did well. Hopefully he can make up enough ground to be in the running when Carson and Trump implode.

    4. “There are lots of things not to like about Carson.


      I think you seriously misjudge Ted Cruz if you think his only constraints against militarism will be public policy.

      1. public opinion

  10. incoherent maybe but no different then the rubbish we get from anybody on either side. in other words we are screwed by dems who claim to be anti war but fight anyway while claiming not to or repubs who start fights but then back down after starting due to media castigations. Screwed Maybe we need Rand if he will stick to his guns, pun intended

    1. Or unapologetic war mongers, like Hillary.

  11. I have been reading Relentless Strike, a book about JSOC, the United States’ special operations force that was at the forefront of hunting high-level terrorists in Iraq.

    JSOC eventually consisted of the best soldiers and helicopter pilots in the world, an intelligence apparatus that worked in unison to find targets, leadership that got many different agencies to be diligent and work together, as well as being an organization that had unlimited funds.

    And look how that turned out.

    1. The entire war on terror is idiocy. First of all, we created the damn terrorists, and just recently we were giving the ‘moderate’ ones, US weaponry. We’re not trying to win any damn war on terror. We’re using it as an excuse to expand the government, expand surveillance of every day Americans, and keep the peasants scared and in need of saving.

      And on top of that, there’s not any winning this war. You’re always going to just create more terrorists or you have to kill them all. I’m not even sure exactly who all it is that we have to kill, and neither is anyone else, and no one cares. It’s like the WOD, it’s not winnable, and it’s not meant to be.

      1. The War on Terror, as has been constructed over the past fourteen years, is futile.

      2. You all clearly are terrist lovers! Why do you want the terrists to win? Why?

        1. Because we hate the children, duh!

          1. Oh, yeah. I get it now. (In Beavis voice)

      3. Who says we can’t win? We kill an Al-Queda number 2 commander like every other week.

        Oh, wait…

      4. Oh there’s a way to stop Islamist terrorism. First, you have to convince them that you’re batshit crazy; nuke Syria maybe. Then, tell the world that we have aimed an ICBM with a nuclear warhead at Mecca, and the next act of terrorism by any Muslim, any where in the world will result in the destruction of Mecca and the end of the Hajj.
        And of they call your bluff, then go ahead and nuke Mecca. That would be a mortal blow to the religion of peace.
        If that doesn’t do it, the next step is thousands of square miles of glass.
        Not saying it would be morally defensible, but I bet it works.

  12. Although I don’t agree with Carson and don’t want him as President, I understood everything he said and understand what he wants. To me, he answered the question completely and beyond.

    If I were President and Commander and Chief of Military, I’d bring all of our troops back to mainland USA or within International waters. I’d definitely would keep and eye on these people. I’d even take in some Refugees.
    But I would take us completely out of the Middle East. I would tell all American Commercial Interest that they are on their FUCKING OWN. And, as for Israel, if you choose the Bad neighborhood to live in, don’t come crying to me that they keep breaking into your car, pissing in the hallways, and cat-calling your daughter.

    I would continue to advance our military and space technology so that we maintain and even obtain more air/space superiority,

    I would also probably piss off the conservatives because I would apologies to the Middle-eastern people for what my prior Americans did to them.

    1. That’s great, sockpuppet. Tell us more about nothing. Or don’t. I don’t think anyone will notice either way.

      1. Alice also understands the words to “A Horse With No Name.”

        1. Didn’t you understand that detailed explanation of what Carson wants? You baggers are all alike.

          1. I understood. He’s for a heavy presence.

        2. And “Louie Louie,” but when he tries to write them down the pen invariably turns into a squid and flies away. Drugs are almost certainly involved.

        3. Didn’t anyone remember Night Court? Sheesh.

          1. My AA sponsor was an actor on Night Court. It’s not Bull or Harry. And he’s white.

            1. John Astin?!

              1. Gomez is my copilot.

            2. Your AA sponsor was John Larrouquette?!

      2. I would pay for the roads and all the usual liberal stuff.

        I would repeal ObamaCare and give Medicare for ALL. I would make one change to Medicare though, I would significantly increase the payout to Doctors. Given the fact that I don’t want to deal with Risk Pools (not for life and death situations…It’s ok for Auto/Home/Business/etc.). This is why I feel that the Chronic/Catastrophic Health Insurance in America should be publicly run.

        If everyone has the same plan via SS number, matters of eligibility and stuff would go away and that would reduce some cost and streamline stuff.

        I say Medicare for all that includes all chronic/catastrophic matters and all providers. No in/out network.

        1. I would pay for the roads and all the usual liberal stuff

          Tell us how you would prevent your corruptocrats from stealing all of the money, like always happens?

          The only way to bring down healthcare costs is to get the government more out of healthcare then they’ve ever been and let technology do it’s thing. Only technology combined with a true free market is going to reduce the costs and improve overall healthcare. Anyone who says anything else is completely full of shit.

          1. There you go again, thinking economically. You know, scarcity and all that stuff. Don’t you understand that government is magic? It can fix scarcity with magical incantations called legislation.

            1. With the exception of the Penthouse, the beach house, premium locations, practically everything that is scarce is made scarce to maintain the classes and it is maintained that way by the upper classes and their stooges.

              I do think economically. I understand scarcity and a few other things. But there’s absolutely no reason Chronic/Catastrophic healthcare has to be scarce.

              1. “The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”

                ? Thomas Sowell

                I see you have mastered the first lesson of politics.

                1. Is food scarce in general?

                  I understand that perhaps we don’t have a lobster for everyone. But I’m not demanding everything in existence for everyone AMEN. Healthcare baby. Healthcare.

                  1. EVERYTHING is scarce. Even air if you go to most cities in China.

                    That includes health care. There are only so many doctors. There is only so much medicine. There are only so many operating rooms. None of those things are infinite, so there simply isn’t enough for everyone who wants it. That’s what scarcity means.
                    And if you, through government, try to decrease that scarcity, then you will increase the scarcity of other things as those people and resources are diverted.
                    Government isn’t magic.

                  2. And yes, food is scarce. There is less lobster in Maine than in Colorado, so it cost more in Colorado. There is less beef in Maine than in Colorado, so it costs less in Colorado. Scarcity is both absolute and relative, and market prices are how it is communicated.

                  3. Is food scarce in general?


                    Yes, there’s plenty of food laying around. If you like leaves and grass and bugs. You want the kind of food like what you find on a grocery store shelf? That takes farmers to grow it, truckers to truck it, processors to process and package it, distributors to distribute it, merchants to sell it. Not to mention lumberjacks to cut down the trees used to make the pallets the food is shipped on, miners to get the iron ore to make the steel the bumpers on the trucks are made of, electricians to keep the electricity flowing to the warehouse where they store the paint they use to paint the grocery store signs so they can have lights, chemists to create the herbicides used on the cotton fields where they grow the cotton used to make the pants worn by the guy in the factory where they make the ink they use to stamp the cardboard boxes they use to package the food when they ship it, and on and on and on. When you get right down to it, it takes millions of people to make a goddamn box of macaroni and cheese. And all of them expect to get paid out of the measly 79 cents you pay for that box of macaroni and cheese. And you know what’s astounding? THEY DO all get paid out of that measly fucking 79 cents! Try that shit with central planning!

                    1. When you get right down to it, it takes millions of people to make a goddamn box of macaroni and cheese.

                      +1 “You didn’t build that…”

              2. But there’s absolutely no reason Chronic/Catastrophic healthcare has to be scarce.

                Yes there is! And I just told you why. Government interference in markets, that’s why!

                1. Even without government interference it would be scarce. But at least it would be driven by supply and demand instead of government diktat. Prices would reflect actual scarcity, instead of being distorted by third-party payer systems, by legislation, by regulation, by import and immigration restrictions…

              3. everything that is scarce is made scarce to maintain the classes and it is maintained that way by the upper classes and their stooges.

                ……No. Just. No.

                I understand scarcity

                The previously quoted sentence completely disproves this assertion.

            2. I’d feel better if they all wore wizard hats and sprinkled some magical fairy dust on their 900,000 page omnicrap bills that no one has ever read. At least that would be entertaining.

          2. You need to get rid of Cash and have all commercial transactions (public/private) tracked electronically via Social Security Number and a single account. And, make fraud and corruption serious felonies that carry 20 year sentences along with seizing assets to make restitution. Strictly compensatory not not punitive.

            Corruption needs to be addressed and as long as it is ignored, it will be a problem. And not just in healthcare but everywhere in government.

            1. You need to get rid of Cash and have all commercial transactions (public/private) tracked electronically via Social Security Number and a single account

              Oh yeah. That would never be abused. Ever.

              1. He’s going after waste, fraud and abuse. He’ll pass a law outlawing that stuff and that will be the end of it. And then he’ll pass laws to create things he likes and get rid of stuff he doesn’t like.

                And, that’s how you make America Great again.

            2. You need to get rid of Cash and have all commercial transactions (public/private) tracked electronically via Social Security Number and a single account.

              OK, now (now?) you’re just trolling.

              1. OK, now (now?) you’re just trolling.

                I used to believe that once. Until I thought about who would have the information and what they could do with it.

              2. No. I’ve been posting that for years.

                If you get rid of cash, that Carnival Barker in the Republican Clown Car would not have to build a fence. An illegal alien would not be able to buy a hotdog, pay rent, take the bus, get gas, etc. etc. etc. without an account.

                There’s a few other pluses and costs savings too.

                1. There’s a few other pluses and costs savings too.

                  Because the immediate establishment of a black market will once again prove how free association and an open market can advance humanity.

                2. “If you get rid of cash, that Carnival Barker in the Republican Clown Car would not have to build a fence. An illegal alien would not be able to buy a hotdog, pay rent, take the bus, get gas, etc. etc. etc. without an account.”

                  Yes Alice and when you have a heart attack Obamacare will look at your spending habits to see if you have followed Government Approved Dietary Guidelines before agreeing to pay the bill..

                3. An illegal alien would not be able to buy a hotdog, pay rent, take the bus, get gas, etc. etc. etc. without an account.

                  FFS, have you never heard of prepaid debit cards?

                  FWIW, my local Chase branch is swimming in Central Americans that don’t speak English.

            3. You need to get rid of Cash

              Holy shit, it’s not Alice Bowie, it’s Alice Totalitarian Rockefeller.

            4. Maybe we could just tattoo a number on everyone’s forehead and track it that way Alice.

          3. The government hasn’t always been involved in the healthcare market, just since last century.
            Interesting side note: One of the girls making accusations during the Salem witch trials was the daughter of a doctor. One of his patients was also a family member of another accuser. The best theory I’ve read is that the girls were tripping on LSD, which comes from a fungus that grows on rye. The author found old weather records that show that season was extra wet, and that said patient’s family had their farm in a low laying area.
            So, the doctor trades his skill for some grain, and the rest is history.

      3. I think Alice is Tony’s mother.

    2. Well, Obama already did that apology thing. It didn’t really work.

      1. I would offer a sincere apology. Those have no expectations other than hoping for forgiveness, understanding, healing, and friendship. In a sincere apology after you really fucked up, one must expect non-forgiveness and anger at first or perhaps forever.

        1. Oh, well in that case, I mean that’s totally going to work.


        2. Apology accepted, Alice. Now GTFO.

        3. Yeah, Obama really had his fingers crossed when he apologized, so it didn’t count.

    3. If you think military spending is expensive just see how much is costs us to cut the military!


      /GoP debates

      1. That’s what Ted Cruz said.
        You know, I’m a big liberal. I’d bring our boys home and keep paying them.

        1. And everyone on stage except Rand agreed with him. So does Hillary and the Bern. Nobody has provided a meaningful message to stop military intervention that hasn’t fallen on deaf ears.

          1. It’s no accident. Libertarians are the only ones that cherish fiscal conservatism.

            Us liberals or left-leaners want spending one way.
            Conservatives want spending in another way.

            1. Us liberals or left-leaners want spending to spend other peoples money one way.
              Conservatives want spending to spend other peoples money in another way.

              And yes, libertarians don’t want to spend other peoples money. I guess that makes us weird.

              1. Try thinking of taxes like the association fee in a Condo and stop thinking about it like an armed robbery.

                1. The association fee in a condo is armed robbery if I was forced into the association to begin with.

                2. Ok that one was just brilliant. Because nothing says ‘paying to suffer under petty tyranny’ quite like condo dues.


                3. The association fee can be avoided by living somewhere else. Can’t easily relocate to someplace where I’m not forced to pay some government(s) for things I neither want nor need.

                  1. Practically anywhere I live will charge me rent.

                    Think of taxes JUST LIKE RENT.

                    1. Oh, I do think of my property taxes like rent. I own the land and everything on it, yet I must pay the government for the privilege. Not only that, but I must ask them for permission if I am going to do anything with the land that I supposedly own. Bull. Fucking. Shit.

                    2. I’m sorry. But your land sits surrounded by other land and probably the road that leads to your land requires maintenance and communal participation in doing so (property tax).

                      If you ask me (and I know you are not asking), the only option not to pay taxes is to become homeless and live in the Port-Authority Bus terminal. Here you can be territorial with a Box and a few benches. You don’t pay taxes and you are truly free.

                      You can give hand-jobs to the older fellows in the toilet, get a bite to eat. And, the best part, the only taxes you’ll pay are the taxes libertarians support (sales tax).

                    3. People are too dumb and/or selfish to figure out how to pool their resources in order to have things like roads, unless the benevolent hand of Government forces them to. Got it.

                    4. Until about a few years ago Mr Citizen X, I had faith in the American voting public and in the humans in general. No more.

                      Look at the Republican Clown Car and their constituents? Those are some profoundly dumb people. My neighbor, for example, is a Jew that lost $100k public job over a fight with the principal. Now he does odd jobs at $40k. I drove him over to by Donald Trump’s new book for $20 Dollars. The reason I say he is Jewish is because he owns and is proud of his confederate flag.

                      His foreign affairs proposal is that we murder everyone else in the entire world except Israel.
                      This is the 40+ angry white guy. I actually know him. And we’re friends and I’ve learned a lot about his perspective, stupidity. He recently voted in our local town elections. He voted for people that are going to take care of our schools and lower taxes….reallly?

                      So Mr. Citizen, I’ve lost faith. I think the Country and even the world needs to be run by oligarchs that are made up of smart people and not allow my neighbor to vote. I just hope that the oligarch is not one of the following:
                      – The Carnival Barker
                      – The uncle Tom
                      – The Reasonable Cuban (although I find Mark ok)
                      – The unReasonable Cuban
                      – The ex-Bush
                      – Ms Lay-offs that ran a company to the ground and then got laid off for $20mm.

                      The only reasonable candidate is John Kasich…I really like him.

                    5. Damn. I’d thought you were just kind of stupid and addled, but it turns out you’re overall shitty and evil, too. My condolences to the people who have to be around you.

                    6. Oh I’m not evil. I want the best for people.

                      Look. Like I said, I think John Kasich is the most reasonable candidate in my opinion.
                      I like him much much much better than Hilary and even better than Gary Johnson (who I voted for last time). I would only hope that he appoints reasonable conservative justices like himself (Sandra Day O’Connor, Kennedy, etc.)

                      He seems smart, compassionate, experienced, practical. And that’s coming from a liberal.

                    7. You want the best for people, so you’ll have Top Men telling them what that is, and making them comply at the point of a gun. That’s not compassion, or goodness, or even liberalism.

                      You know what? Next time your colostomy bag gets full, don’t empty it onto this forum.

                    8. I don’t really want this, I just think that this is actually how it is now everywhere.

                      As far as gun-point. America is as ready for Anarchy as Russia is ready for Money-Free Communism.

                    9. “Look at the Republican Clown Car and their constituents? Those are some profoundly dumb people.”

                      Alice I sincerely believe that there is not one topic on Earth that you could win a debate with Ted Cruz on even if you have advance notice of the topic and time to study and he did not.

                      Whether you like his politics or not is immaterial.

                      Several notable people have called him one os the smartest people they have ever met including one of his very liberal law professors.

                      You’re not smart enough to call Ted Cruz dumb.

                    10. Middle aged Jewish guys vote Democratic.

                    11. Ever read Little House on the Prairie? The people who colonized the west seemed to have roads, and got together voluntarily to provide material and labor to build the schoolhouse/church. They even had a teacher without paying taxes for her.
                      People can organize in many ways besides at the point of a gun.

                4. Is that lie a Polite Fiction or a Higher Truth?

                5. But taxes ARE armed robbery, and are NOT like an association fee in a condo (unless you’ve got some kind of panarchist polycentrism going on).

              2. Well, we are weird — if you define weird as being outside the stupid/greedy norm.

                I say embrace our weirdness. Own it.

          2. Yes because military interventions have such a track record of success. Why, just look at Vietnam, Bay of Pigs, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya.

            1. Well, yes except for the invasion of Normandy, Northern Africa, Italy, the Solomons, the Philippines, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, the reclamation of Attu island from the Japanese in the Aleutian Islands, Okinawa, Kuwait, and many others that liberated hundreds of millions from totalitarian regimes. Enabling people who publish “Reason” without regard to the history of the human race in killing hundreds of millions until people stood up and said “enough” . Evil will prevail unless good men of good principle stand up to tyranny.
              We have to learn this lesson time after time, and thus you have WWII, the Korean War, and now ISIS and millions of jihadists ready to slit the throats of all free thinkers, including Libertarians all over the world.
              You can avoid the fight, until it shows up on your door, as it did at Pearl Harbor or the US on 9/11.
              But it will be fought until you submit ( which is what Islam means in Arabic) or fight back.

              1. Sure, because a bunch of people with a 14th century mindset and 40 year old military hardware are totally the same kind of existential threat that Germany and Japan, the two most advanced militaries of the time, were.

      2. ^ Pours some syrup on Waffle’s neck.

        1. Mmm..das nice.

      3. So…

        More than $1.05?

  13. How is Carson’s solution any different than Trump’s “just go in there and take all their oil”? Other than that Carson seems to understand if you’re going in there and seizing the oilfields it’s going to take some military presence whereas I’m not entirely sure Trump doesn’t think ISIS just has a big cruet of oil sitting there you can just walk in and take. (Does oil that comes out of the ground come in a cruet like the olive oil the maid puts on my table or does it come in a jar or a box or something? Can’t we just get a yuge truck in there and haul off the oil? Somebody check on that and get back to me.)

    1. We must be exhausted on Trump. He said something to the effect of if he were president during the Iraq war he would have taken all the oil and then given it to every soldier. People cheered. Effectively his policy is to use military force to loot the world and MAKE AMERICA GREAT.

      1. America has been doing this for years.

        This is effectively what happened with Cuba and Delmonte Fruit/Best Foods/Tropicanna.

      2. …if he were president during the Iraq war he would have taken all the oil and then given it to every soldier. People cheered. Effectively his policy is to use military force to loot the world and MAKE AMERICA GREAT.

        Worked for every military empire before the US. Maybe the British.

    2. I think China/Russia and perhaps even a few other countries will gang together to assure that the USA doesn’t just go a rob the natural resources of another country.

      That’s why Rubio and other say we need to be the most powerful and the only people armed. You can’t steal from armed people as easily.

      Look at North Korea for example. That young fellow loves to slap his dick in everyone’s face. We do nothing because he has gun.

      1. …the fuck are you talking about? The Percocet must be kicking the hell in right now.

  14. Whatever gets us to total nuclear war by 2077, so be it.

    1. +1 Vault Secure!

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  17. Do brain surgeons practice lobotomies on each other?

    Hence, Carson.

    1. They all practice lobotomies on Alice Bowie.

      1. Of course – that’s what she meant by having gone to med school!

  18. Ben was very on point. He’s been transitioning from a barely informed book tour speaker for many years, who spoke extemporaneously often, touching on personal views – as an example, his now famous pyramid grain silo theory. He now has had to do lots of reading of policy papers. He has to have tutorials with foriegn policy wonks. And so we get a “kinda” compromise between isolation and neocon invasion on a whim. That compromise is minimal use of military, but understanding that it will be needed, with the crucially correct point that the current “containment” of ISIS is wrong and that it must be killed with minimal use of our forces, and with all due speed (fast, but with thought and planning rather than teenaged enthusiasm). A good, not a bad plan.

  19. Bellicose? Interesting in a world where Arab loonies want to kill everyone in sight. Is Dr. Carson more incoherent than Joe Biden, Hillary, or the present occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania? I’d be surprised if you described them thusly.

    1. Why is it that whenever someone contradicts a member of Team Red, the team players have to come out screaming partisan bullshit? Yes, Ben Carson is incoherent in his answer. He rambles, he’s imprecise, and what he says has no substance. He doesn’t answer the question directly, but instead goes on a tangent about Putin and China. He advocates for more wars that America can’t afford. He says it makes sense to throw 50 guys into a war zone with too many different factions with dangerous ideological groups and individuals. He deserves every word of criticism he gets — as does every presidential candidate who says something so nonsensical.

      But, yes, let’s bitch that this non-partisan libertarian article about the GOP debate doesn’t castigate Team Blue enough. Because that’s the real issue.

      1. Shhh, you’ll make it cry 🙁

  20. Amazing analysis. The arguments Mr. Welch makes have some merit AND are, at best, tangential to Ben Carson’s answer or, more likely, an incoherent spin relevant to a despised candidate. But Mr. Welch should not blame his lack of reading comprehension skill on anything other than personal neglect of the skill set.

  21. The idea of a Carson presidency scares the SH*T out of me! But so does a Trump reign. As scary as those scenarios are, what is even more disconcerting is the support of the GOP base for these two “candidates.”

  22. How can a man with the ability to separate conjoined twins be so clueless? I’m with Trump: Let Putin put his tits in that wringer and sit back and watch. And I’m with Rand: Get the fuck out and let the games begin. Because until those crazy fucks decide who’s leading their religious parade – and good luck with that – the Middle East will remain the same shithole it’s been for over a thousand years. Islam is at war with itself, for fuck’s sake! And you know what they say when your enemies are fighting each other…

  23. I listened and his explanation is miles above the gibberish spouted by the current WH hack. None of the candidates from either party can “get into the weeds” of Syria without the advantage of the intelligence reports (as useful as they may be). Your analysis smacks of juvenile angst towards a candidate for personal reasons and not for political positions.

  24. Would you prefer the incoherence of the trump/Carson wing or the coherence of the bush/Rubio/fiorina/Cruz/kasich wing. I guess it depends on whether you enjoy known knows or unknown unknowns. I’m an existentialist so I prefer the musings of the man who blames The Adversary for the theory of evolution.

  25. Carson’s comments were far more coherent than this article. One of the reasons I found Libertarians to be as much out of touch with the realities of the world after attending a couple conventions and conferences is that they are usually just as elitist as Hillary and her followers. They also study history from afar, and have learned nothing from a world has lots of people who would dismiss Libertarian talking points with a knife severing their heads.
    You can stick your head in the sand all you want, but that exposes your vulnerabilities, which Islamists have taken advantage of for centuries. Killing scores of millions, and enslaving an equal number in the process in the name of the “religion of peace’ Are there any people at Reason who have been to the hellholes breeding millions of people who have hated anything Western, long before the USA came into existence?
    As Europe destroys itself , we should learn from them and not adopt similar ways to avoid conflict as the savages make 9/11 look like child’s play. And articles like this are really little more than adolescent self-gratification.

  26. Do you know why his answer is incoherent?

    Because its a very difficult problem.

    Obama’s been president for 7 years and his policy is incoherent, too!

    Obama was saying “See I knew arming the Syrians wouldn’t work!” and it was his own policy.

    The most coherent answer is the isolationist answer of Rand and others. Obama may even be edging there.

    But its not exactly without its risks, either.

    Also, part of the difficulty in answering coherently is that its not really an easy call because we can’t do something.

    Its hard to answer because we could do something, but at what level and is it s a good idea?

    The candidates are not being briefed by the generals, don’t expect good answers to that.

    Again, I’d prefer Rand’s plan, myself.

  27. Derp derp derp. Sometimes people are brilliant in some ways but incredibly stupid in others. Me, my father, my son.

  28. I supposed we could try nuking their capitals first, then see if we need to do anything else. I mean, how do we know we cannot win a nuclear war unless we try, right?

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