Ben Carson

Ben Carson Gets Asked Core Philosophical Question of American Power: Are You Willing to "Kill Innocent Children by Not the Scores, But the Hundreds and The Thousands?"

|

As Robby Soave reported, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) did a bang-up job as the only guy on stage at the GOP presidential debate tonight with consistent sense on foreign policy.

He did not advocate pointless punching of Russia in the nose for not doing everything we'd prefer they do, or sending more massive troop deployments to knock over more Middle Eastern governments and clean up some of the bloody messes that resulted from the last time we knocked over some Middle Eastern governments, repeat forever.

But the most radical libertarianism expressed during the CNN show tonight came from questioner Hugh Hewitt.

One of Hewitt's questions to Dr. Ben Carson contained some intensely morally serious thinking about foreign policy and the heart of government, from a perspective that Americans are almost never required to confront in normal political coverage.

Hewitt asked Carson:

We're talking about ruthless things tonight—carpet bombing, toughness, war. And people wonder, could you do that? Could you order air strikes that would kill innocent children by not the scores, but the hundreds and the thousands? Could you wage war as a commander-in-chief?

That's the heart of the matter. It's a perspective mostly libertarians have on government: calling out its essential nature as the power to kill for goals chosen by the people running it, sometimes constrained in certain ways by the wishes of citizens.

In modern American foreign policy particularly, Hewitt got to the nub of the question. What we are asking of these potential presidents, especially given the narrow range of their incredibly fearful beliefs about the world, is: are you ready to gruesomely murder thousands of innocent children, out of that fear? That's the story. That's what's going on.

Pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson, as he knew he must, said yes, he would, he would kill those thousands of innocent children across the ocean because many people in this country seems very, very afraid of what some of the adults surrounding those children might do to harm Americans. (Another key question was unasked: do you think killing thousands of children will end the supposed problem of people overseas yearning to kill Americans?) 

"The job of the president of the United States is to protect the people of this country," said Dr. Carson, "and to do what is necessary in order to get it done."

NEXT: Reason Tweets the GOP Debates

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. More to the point, are you willing to kill those children knowing that doing so will have no positive effect on the actual safety of Americans, and indeed may make them less safe in the future, simply because the electorate is composed of dumb, panicky apes who desperately want to believe that something is being done to protect them?

    1. Yes, we are still fighting off Germans and Japanese as we speak.

      I agree that blowback may exist.

      And that also “more rubble means less trouble” might be true as well.

      But at some point, there must be some calculus: bombing locals will rile them up…while not bombing them allows local kids to go to ISIS indoctrination camps…which riles them up.

      Bombing the oil trucks after leafletting…I doubt there’s much blow back there.

      1. “Yes, we are still fighting off Germans and Japanese as we speak.”

        Yeah – I don’t think we are any less safe from Japan today because General Curtis LeMay fire bombed Japanese cities in 1945.

      2. We’ve been bombing and occupying the Middle East for decades. What has it achieved for us, other than pissing people off?

        1. No major wars. AQ run out of Afghanistan and Somalia and (for a while) Yemen. AQ also ran out of Mali. Free Kurdistan.

          Those are some awesome achievements.

      3. I realize that World War 2 remains a major event in the history of the world in the 20th Century. That doesn’t mean that every foreign policy situation is a replay of that war. It is not always 1938 and every foreign leader we don’t like isn’t Hitler.

        Of course World War 2 has a huge attraction for many people: the U.S. “won” that war (at least in the sense of reducing Germany and Japan to rubble). But I suspect that there is a difference between the nation-states of Germany and Japan, and Islamic terrorist movement.

        1. Japan and Germany (eventually) more or less became us following that war. Hence, they share our same goals and do not present a threat. The Middle East is a different animal in that there is a demonstrated lack of desire to become like us. Even some of our allies don’t really like what we are.

        2. and it seems like it was much clearer morally, but maybe (probably) not at the time. at least in retrospect the idea of killing nazis sounds alright

    2. Hugh, do you have the slightest bit of common sense?

      1. No. He is one of many examples on here of an otherwise smart person allowing their ideology to make them stupid.

      2. Common sense? Common sense would dictate that bombing wedding parties tends to piss people off.

        1. Common sense would indicate that hate groups can just make up bullshit reasons to justify revenge if you don’t give them actual ones, so it doesn’t matter too much.

          1. The hatreds of the inhabitants of the Middle East are peculiar anyway.

            They still rage about the what the Crusaders did in the middle ages but there’s no comparable hatred of the Mongols who did far worse damage to the Middle East on an absolute basis than the Crusaders ever did.

            1. The Mongol invaders converted to Islam?

        2. Common sense dictates that basing foreign policy on the feelings of people half-way around the world does not work.

    3. That would have been the derpiest question asked, which is saying something.

    4. those children won’t grow up to be jihadists.

      1. Their brothers will.

  2. OK, I’m gonna poke some real-politik in here; these folks are pandering to the public for primary votes, so I’m not sure the answers in the ‘debate’ (vaudeville act?) were intended to be taken seriously, other than Paul’s.
    But, yeah, someone needs to ask the question even in the play-acting that is the pre-primary politicking; Are you serious? Do you have any idea what harm results from what you propose? And (Per HA, above) what in hell do you hope to gain?

    1. Republican candidate answer: I will carpet bomb Iran with Putin’s severed dicks.

      1. Pedant: a single severed dick falling from 30000 has neither the mass or terminal velocity to inflict much damage upon the enemy. And no patriotic american can admit than anybody has more dicks than Gen.Washington.

        1. You say this cat Shaft is one bad muthafu.. Shut yo mouth.

  3. He can personally fix them up afterwards, so what’s the problem?

  4. I like Hugh Hewitt’s question, but I have to wonder, how many people saw it as merely a partisan leading statement which begged the question.

    I guess what I’m asking is, it seems that there are plenty of people out there who won’t see an act of war against ISIS as specifically killing children, but a necessary action against the craziest of the crazy death-to-America movements?

    Let me give you an example, if Diane Reynolds were asking candidates questions– be they Democrat or Republican, I might ask if the president will continue to accept a monetary policy which debases the currency, destroys the savings and futures of America’s children and instills moral hazard in the financial sector.

    I can think of a whole lot of people that would roll their eyes and not even accept the premise, but get plenty of nods and agreement from people who already do.

    1. But thing is that civilian casualties are an unavoidable consequence of warfare, particularly from air strikes in a war where you aren’t sure who the enemy even is. The estimates of civilian casualties are already in the hundreds to thousands, and that number will only grow as America loosens its bowels in preparation for escalated aggression. It’s not really a premise that you can ignore.

      1. No, civilian casualties are not unavoidable. That’s what you’ve been taught by people who killed civilians and then had to create some sort of justification for it. They’ve never been unavoidable, going all the way back to ancient times. Armies chose to kill civilians to get revenge, or to plunder, or rape, or due to frustration during a year long siege. But civilian casualties were a lot less back then due to warfare being fought on a field more often, rather than next to a school or a hospital. During the Napoleonic era, civilian casualties were a lot less too because warfare was again still fought primarily out in the open. World War II was the first war, if you don’t count the Spanish Civil War, where aerial bombardments were used on civilian populations to affect the outcome of the war. Anyone who tells you they were dropped on military targets is a complete liar. They were not dropped on any military targets. They were dropped en masse with no idea where they were going to land. That’s not unavoidable. That’s avoidable.

        So I don’t buy this civilian casualties are unavoidable BS. Of course they are, but it takes time and effort to ensure that civilians are not going to die because of a bombing, or a drone strike, and the American government/military/some of the people don’t feel that’s time well spent.

      2. Bombing ISIS is not ‘aggression’.

    2. the other candidates don’t have the soft-spoken kind-hearted demeanor that Carson has. Wondering whether he has the stomach to do wage war that results in killing, unfortunately, civilians, is a legitimate question of him as much as asking other candidates, save Rand, whether they’re too eager for war is a legitimate question.

      what is not a question is whether we’re in a war.

  5. libertarianism means muslims don’t have human rights, just ask certain Reason commenters

    1. Bad hyperbolic straw man there.

    2. foreign Muslims don’t have a right to come to this country and we have no obligation to accept them.

      1. Yes they do and yes you do.

  6. Beyond the blast radius, sure, why not?

  7. Hewitt was blatantly accusing Carson of killing children by the scores. Which may be true, who knows. Carson was the only guy onstage who bragged about ‘removing half a brain’. As for being libertarian, I think Hewitt would love to see a war. He’s a big Trump defender.

    1. Hewitt was wondering if Carson was bloodthirsty enough. If he wasn’t, Hewitt wouldn’t vote for him.

      1. That sums up Hewit’s question. As Commander-in-Chief the President may face a situation where s/he will be forced to make a decision that will take the lives of many innocent people. But Hewit asked the question in a way that one could think he wants to see such a killing of innocents and the President better be willing to satisfy his blood lust.

  8. to some jerk

  9. “Pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson, as he knew he must, said yes, he would, he would kill those thousands of innocent children across the ocean ?..”

    This is Brian Doherty’s interpretation of what he thinks he heard Dr. Carson say. I listened to the debate from beginning to end and Carson’s answer was more nuanced than “Yes, I’ll kill thousands of children.” Briefly, this is a dishonest recap of what occurred in the debate.

    1. This was the only question I had a beef with. “You’re ok with killing thousands of children,” was a loaded and unnecessary addendum. Otherwise, I think CNN ran a pretty solid debate.

      1. It was a bullshit question.

        1. Not to be that guy, but it seems like the kind of question they’d only ask a Republican. Hillary would get a slightly different version, “Exactly how safe will you keep us as president, Senator Clinton, really safe or super duper safe?”

          1. Exactly

            1. You have alcohol-induced insomnia too?

              1. Unfortunately without the alcohol:)

      2. Yeah, good call. I’m beyond out on Carson, but at that question all I could think was “REALLY? That’s the loaded question you’re going with.”

      3. You guys are missing the point. The question was to check if Carson was as mean as the other candidates, not to call him a child butcher. It was to make sure he’d sign up for the butchery too.

    2. This is Brian Doherty’s interpretation of what he thinks he heard Dr. Carson say. I listened to the debate from beginning to end and Carson’s answer was more nuanced than “Yes, I’ll kill thousands of children.” Briefly, this is a dishonest recap of what occurred in the debate.

      Remember a couple of debates ago when Scott Walker passed a popular bill in WI, thereby killing Megyn Kelly via a rare birth condition caused by her unborn baby?

      The best part was when Reason’s science correspondent factually proved the murder of the hypothetical baby was generally unpopular.

  10. Oh god, another Abortion thread.

    1. I’ve had a long day and this made me laugh. Thanks

      1. Why did the dead baby cross the road?

        Because it was stapled to the chicken.

        1. A couple were having their first baby, but there were complications during the birth, and the doctor took the child to another part of the hospital for emergency care. He returned after several hours, cradling the child. As the young mother reached out to take the baby, the doctor suddenly slammed The baby’s head against the table several times. The parents, outraged, demanded that the doctor explain himself. The doctor smiled and said, “Don’t worry; it was already dead.”

          So they all had a good chuckle and went out for pancakes.

    2. Gil.

      Do you ever sleep?

  11. Let’s back up and ask a fundamental question:

    Why does the United States have any fundamental obligation to take in any refugees from anywhere in the Middle East at all?

    It seems to me that the other countries in that region such as Saudi Arabia should be the ones to obligated to take in refugees – not the United States – or Europe for that matter.

    1. Oops – wrong thread.

  12. What we are asking of these potential presidents, especially given the narrow range of their incredibly fearful beliefs about the world, is: are you ready to gruesomely murder thousands of innocent children, out of that fear? That’s the story. That’s what’s going on.

    This is a very important question–and the childish way it’s been presented undermines us–and any coherent foreign or defense policy.

    A good CinC has to be able to make this decision–not just to kill children but to be able to see when that is the course that will result in the shortest conflict, the least loss of life over all, and be prepared to do it.

    Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama are all unable to do this. That is why we have this endless pissing action–where innocents are killed for nothing. Where their deaths are so meaningless to those who cause them that they become viable weapons to be used after death to demoralize us.

    A horrible bombing that kills hundreds of thousands–and causes surrender is better than this.

    We need a president who can make that calculation.

  13. How will Hillary answer this question?

    1. Good one

  14. I saw this ST:TNG episode. Deana decided that yes, she could do it.

  15. “We’re talking about ruthless things tonight — carpet bombing, toughness, war. And people wonder, could you do that? Could you order air strikes that would kill innocent children by not the scores, but the hundreds and the thousands? Could you wage war as a commander-in-chief?”

    This question speaks directly to Ben Carson’s Adventism.

    When Adventists are drafted, they typically go in as conscientious objectors.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Whitecoat

    It is not clear to a lot of Adventists how an Adventist could wage war as Commander-in-Chief.

    1. Incidentally, from my link above:

      “Operation Whitecoat came to an end in 1973 when the draft for the U.S. military ended and thus no more conscientious objectors were to be conscripted.”

      Conscripted volunteers?

      How does that work?

  16. “What we are asking of these potential presidents, especially given the narrow range of their incredibly fearful beliefs about the world, is: are you ready to gruesomely murder thousands of innocent children, out of that fear? That’s the story. That’s what’s going on.”

    This is why I love you guys. Couldn’t have said it any better. The fact that we ask future leaders of our country if our policy of “carpet bombing” is a good idea simply adds value to the concept that our leaders and media are incapable of leadership–they’re only capable of thuggery.

  17. In modern American foreign policy particularly, Hewitt got to the nub of the question. What we are asking of these potential presidents, especially given the narrow range of their incredibly fearful beliefs about the world, is: are you ready to gruesomely murder thousands of innocent children, out of that fear?

    Except Hewitt is no libertarian — he would disqualify any candidate who isn’t ready to slaughter innocents.

  18. Apparently he missed “Thou Shalt not murder”.

    Maybe also ” For everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child?both alike belong to me. The one who sins is the one who will die…. But suppose this son has a son who sees all the sins his father commits, and though he sees them, he does not do such things….He will not die for his father’s sin; he will surely live.” And “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear, you Israelites: Is my way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust?” (Excepts from Ezekiel 18)

    Maybe he takes his guidance from Caiaphas? “nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish” (John 11:50)

    I’m not sure how God could have been more clear than that.

    1. It’s not murder when it’s justified.

      1. No, that’s true. So what did those innocent* children do to deserve death? Be too close to (potentially) evil men?

        *Remember, the question was if you’d be willing to order the death of innocent children.

  19. No Robby that’s not the heart of the matter. That’s your bleeding heart getting in the way of real thought.

    “We’re talking about ruthless things tonight — carpet bombing, toughness, war. And people wonder, could you do that? Could you order air strikes that would kill innocent children by not the scores, but the hundreds and the thousands? Could you wage war as a commander-in-chief?”

    We’d better if necessary. It was in 1945. Probably not now but it can’t be ruled out. Israel should probably do it in Gaza.

    1. We’d better if necessary.

      It’s almost like I replied to you above even before you posted.

      Except, it wasn’t me who said it, but God.

      So… how about ‘dem Packers?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.