Libertarians in blinkers 7

Where we part company with Libertarians is over the hugely important matter of defense.

Like them, we want a free market economy, small government and low taxes. And we too hold liberty to be a supreme value.

The article we quote below is by John Mueller and Mark G. Stewart of the libertarian Cato Institute in America. It was published by The Guardian in Britain on February 24, 2015.

Libertarians and The Guardian are not on the same side. Libertarians are for the freedom of the individual. The Guardian is for socialism, statism, big controlling government interfering in every individual life.

But The Guardian is also pro-Islam. And that is what brings these Libertarians and the collectivists of The Guardian together. Not that the Libertarians are pro-Islam. We have observed that, as a group, they know nothing about Islam and don’t want to. They obstinately refuse to learn what’s going on politically in the wider world, believe Americans have no need to take notice of foreign affairs, and should never go to war unless America itself is attacked. To them, the aggression of 9/11 did not qualify as a war-provoking attack. That’s why they want the (badly named but ever more urgently needed) “War on Terror” to be stopped. And that’s what got these two into the columns of The Guardian.

Terrorism Poses No Existential Threat to America. We Must Stop Pretending Otherwise

One of the most unchallenged, zany assertions during the war on terror has been that terrorists present an existential threat to the United States, the modern state and civilization itself. This is important because the overwrought expression, if accepted as valid, could close off evaluation of security efforts. For example, no defense of civil liberties is likely to be terribly effective if people believe the threat from terrorism to be existential.

At long last, President Barack Obama and other top officials are beginning to back away from this absurd position. This much overdue development may not last, however. Extravagant alarmism about the pathological but self-destructiveIslamic State (ISIS) in areas of Syria and Iraq may cause us to backslide.

The notion that international terrorism presents an existential threat was spawned by the traumatized in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Rudy Giuliani, mayor of New York at the time, recalls that all “security experts” expected “dozens and dozens and multiyears of attacks like this” and, in her book The Dark Side, Jane Mayer observed that “the only certainty shared by virtually the entire American intelligence community” was that “a second wave of even more devastating terrorist attacks on America was imminent”. Duly terrified, US intelligence services were soon imaginatively calculating the number of trained al-Qaida operatives in the United States to be between 2,000 and 5,000.

Also compelling was the extrapolation that, because the 9/11 terrorists were successful with box-cutters, they might well be able to turn out nuclear weapons.

Who on earth said such a silly thing? What was said is that jihadists might become nuclear armed. And in fact the Islamic theocracy of Iran is becoming a nuclear-armed power, and repetitively threatens Israel, America and Europe with destruction. Why don’t these writers know that? Or do they know it and choose to ignore it?

Soon it was being authoritatively proclaimed that atomic terrorists could “destroy civilization as we know it” and that it was likely that a nuclear terrorist attack on the United States would transpire by 2014.

Many a terrorist attack that could have been devastating (how devastating it’s impossible to know) has been averted because sensible people – which category does not include Obama – have worked hard to prevent them, and so far have largely succeeded.

But no, okay, it is not “terrorism” that threatens Western civilization, it is Islam, using the method of terrorism to an unprecedented extent.

“Atomic  terrorists” –  namely Iran – could destroy civilization as we know it. Especially as atomic war against us will be accompanied by the Islamization of Europe – which these authors are above noticing.

The sneering scorn they pour on the menace makes their arguments all the more inapposite.

No atomic terrorists have yet appeared (al-Qaida’s entire budget in 2001 for research on all weapons of mass destruction totaled less than $4,000), and intelligence has been far better at counting al-Qaida operatives in the country than at finding them.

But the notion that terrorism presents an existential threat has played on. By 2008, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff declared it to be a “significant existential” one – carefully differentiating it, apparently, from all those insignificant existential threats Americans have faced in the past. The bizarre formulation survived into the Obama years. In October 2009, Bruce Riedel, an advisor to the new administration, publicly maintained the al-Qaida threat to the country to be existential.

In 2014, however, things began to change.

In a speech at Harvard in October, Vice President Joseph Biden …

Of all people! A man no one in their right mind would look to for insight, accurate analysis, or the most basic comprehension of what’s happening even if it’s going on under his own nose …

… offered the thought that “we face no existential threat — none — to our way of life or our ultimate security”. After a decent interval of three months, President Barack Obama reiterated this point at a press conference, and then expanded in an interview a few weeks later, adding that the US should not “provide a victory to these terrorist networks by over-inflating their importance and suggesting in some fashion that they are an existential threat to the United States or the world order”. Later, his national security advisor, Susan Rice, echoed the point in a formal speech.

Obama also said that al-Qaida was defeated, when in truth it has grown bigger and has spread further. Obama constantly signals that he loves Islam, so he would say those things. Libertarians ought not to be unaware of that.

And for them to quote Susan Rice, the notorious lie-retailer of the Obama administration, is absurdly ingenuous.

It is astounding that these utterances … appear to mark the first time any officials in the United States have had the notion and the courage to say so in public.

Whether that development, at once remarkable and absurdly belated, will have some consequence, or even continue, remains to be seen. Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham have insisted for months that ISIS  presents an existential threat to the United States. …

And General Michael Flynn, recently retired as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has been insisting that the terrorist enemy is “committed to the destruction of freedom and the American way of life” while seeking “world domination, achieved through violence and bloodshed”.  It was reported that his remarks provoked nods of approval, cheers and “ultimately a standing ovation” from the audience.

Thus even the most modest imaginable effort to rein in the war on terror hyperbole may fail to gel.

“Rein in the war on terror hyperbole”? They mean, of course, do nothing about the jihad.

What is most remarkable about the article is that these two believers in the value of individual freedom ignore the tragedy of individuals who have been captured, tortured, and killed by terrorists inside America and in the Middle East – and we are speaking specifically of Islamic terrorists, Islam being the ideology that is posing a serious threat to the Western world and its civilization. They seem to have neither an instinctive nor a rational desire for justice. They consider only the collective of the nation in their assessment of existential danger. Of course the USA is not immediately threatened with destruction as a nation by Islam with its favored method of terrorism.

It is, however, being slowly destroyed by Leftist, statist, collectivist, redistributionist government which puts no value on civil liberties. And jihadis iterate often enough that America is their target, that they will replace the Constitution with sharia law, and that Americans will be given the choice of conversion, subservience, or death. So when Europe, much of Africa, all the Middle East, and a very large part of the Far East are Islamic; and when the US has abandoned its own Constitution, disarmed its citizenry, and allowed the population to be cowed by threats and demonstrations of horrific murders, how long will it take for the jihadis’ aim to be achieved?  

Perhaps Mueller and Stewart seem to feel that they themselves are somehow immune from terrorist attacks, such as the one people experienced in Boston when bombs exploded in their midst as they watched a marathon race.

And perhaps an unwillingness to consider such a possibility can explain why they are not concerned about the deaths by terrorist violence of thousands of individuals.    

No wonder The Guardian liked their article.

Wanted: an entirely new political party of the right? 10

At PJ Media, Andrew C. McCarthy makes a well-reasoned, well-substantiated case that it is “time to move on from the GOP”. He argues that the Republican Party “is not remotely serious about implementing limited government policies or dealing with the two central challenges of our age, existentially threatening deficit spending and Islamic supremacism.” The Republicans, since they dominate the House of Representatives, have the power to solve the debt crisis but lack the will. And when it comes to opposing Obama’s pro-Islam policies, “the current crop of Republican leaders has shown no stomach for the fight”. (The whole article needs to be read.)

His description of what is happening in the Middle East and why is admirably robust. He holds the Republicans co-responsible for the disasters.

The Middle East … is aflame. A heavy contributing factor is the American policy of embracing and empowering the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamists allies, very much including al Qaeda. The Brotherhood is a committed enemy of the United States. … It considers the destruction of Western civilization from within to be its principal mission in the United States.

In 2011, President Obama launched an unprovoked war in Libya against the Qaddafi regime, which Republicans had been telling us for eight years had mended its ways and become an American ally – such that Republicans in Congress supported transfers of U.S. taxpayer dollars to Tripoli. Obama’s Libya war was guaranteed to put Islamists in power and put Qaddafi’s arsenal at the disposal of violent jihadists. By refusing to foot the bill, congressional Republicans could have aborted this counter-productive aggression – in the conduct of which the administration consulted the U.N. and the Arab League but not the branch of the U.S. government vested by the Constitution with the power to declare and pay for war. Instead, Republicans lined up behind their transnational progressive wing, led by Senator John McCain, which champions the chimera of sharia-democracy – McCain called the Islamists of Benghazi his “heroes.”

That pro-Islamist policy is directly responsible for the heedlessness of establishing an American consulate in Benghazi. It led to the attacks on our consulate and the British consulate, and ultimately to the terrorist murder of four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya (weeks after British diplomats had the good sense to leave town).

The scandal brings into sharp relief an alarming fact that has long been obvious: notwithstanding their abhorrence of America and the West, Islamists are exerting profound influence on our government. Known Islamists and officials with undeniable Islamist connections have infiltrated the government’s policy councils; simultaneously, American policy has moved steadily in favor of Islamists – such that the government supports and funds Muslim Brotherhood affiliates that are hostile to us; colludes with these Islamists in purging from agent-training materials information demonstrating the undeniable nexus between Islamic doctrine and jihadist terror; collaborates with these Islamists in the effort to impose repressive sharia blasphemy restrictions on our free speech rights; and, we now learn, knowingly misleads the American people on the cause of murderous Islamist tirades, of which the atrocity in Benghazi is only the most recent example.

A few months back, long before these policies resulted in the killing of our American officials in Libya, and even before these policies abetted the Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt … five conservative Republicans called for an investigation of Islamist influence on our government. Five members of the House – i.e., less than one percent of the Congress – was willing to stand up and confront a profound threat to American national security. The Republican establishment had the opportunity to back them, to prove that the GOP could at least be serious about a profound threat to our national security. Instead, senior Republicans – the Islamist-friendly transnational progressives to whom the party disastrously looks for foreign policy leadership – castigated the five. Speaker Boehner followed suit.

As the weeks went on, and event after event proved the five conservatives right and the apologists for Islamists wrong, the Republican establishment went mum. When the Islamist empowerment strategy coupled with the Obama administration’s shocking failure to defend Americans under siege resulted in the Benghazi massacre, the Republican establishment was given a rare gift: an opportunity, in the decisive stretch-run of a close presidential contest, to exhibit national security seriousness and distinguish themselves from Obama’s dereliction of duty. To the contrary, Gov. Romney and his top advisors decided to go mum on Benghazi; and congressional Republicans essentially delegated their response to Senators McCain and Lindsey Graham – the very “Islamic democracy” enthusiasts who had championed U.S. intervention on the side of Libyan jihadists in the first place (only after having championed the American embrace of Qaddafi).

This has to stop. The current crop of Republican leaders has shown no stomach for the fight. In fact, notwithstanding that President Obama lost a remarkable ten million votes from 2008 in his narrow reelection last week (i.e., 13 percent of his support), House Speaker John Boehner is treating him as if he has a mandate to continue his failed policies – as if the country and its representatives have no choice but to roll over on the immensely unpopular Obamacare law and concede on feeding Leviathan even more revenue and borrowing authority without deep cuts in spending … ; as if the country shares Boehner’s insouciance about the Islamist threat.

By reappointing Boehner and his leadership colleagues today, Republicans are telling us that their answer to failure is more of the same. They have a right to make that choice, but there is no reason why Americans who are serious about our challenges should follow along. The Republican establishment is content with more government, more debt, and more entanglement with our enemies. When called on it, they tell us they are powerless to stem the tide. But the problem is the lack of will and a sense of urgency, not lack of power. It is time to find a new vehicle to lead the cause of limited, fiscally responsible, constitutional government. The Republicans are telling us they are unwilling to be that vehicle. If that is the case, it is time to move on.

Can the “new vehicle” be anything but a new political party? And what could be its nucleus? The Tea Party? Not if it includes the same enfeebling component of Christians as the Republican Party does. We, of course, would like it to be secular constitutionalist, as dedicated to the cause of individual freedom as the Republican Party was dedicated at its foundation to the cause of freeing the slaves, and as willing to fight for it.