The Biden Way of Ending the War in Afghanistan--Cut and Run

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Biden has been popular with at least one major person re the Middle East.

Osama bin Laden liked him.


Osama bin Laden banned al-Qaeda from trying to assassinate Joe Biden because – even over a decade ago – it was obvious he would be a completely incompetent president that would ‘lead the US into a...

From the article:


The comments were discovered in a message that bin Laden wrote to an aide identified as ‘Brother Shaykh Mahmud’ (real name Atiyah Abd al-Rahman) in 2010. The 48-page letter was found with a massive amount of other documents by US special forces in Pakistan when the terrorist leader was killed in 2011.

In it, he explains al-Qaeda’s plans to shift resources away from operations in other Muslim countries so they can coordinate more terror attacks against the United States.

Bin Laden wanted to use the freed up manpower to create two hit squads that would be tasked with planning and carrying out attacks on high ranking American officials if they were to make a trip to the middle east. Obama and the former head of the CIA, David Petraeus, were the jihadist’s two prime targets.

The express goal was to take out the then-current president and key figureheads around him so that the “totally unprepared” Biden would become the new commander in chief. 

Excerpts from the bin Laden letter:

‘Obama is the head of infidelity and killing him automatically will make Biden take over the presidency for the remainder of the term, as it is the norm over there. 

‘Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the US into a crisis.’

Bin Laden was evil, but he was not stupid.

If Biden doesn't watch out, he'll have a new nickname before long: The Bin Laden Curse.


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A “Hospital Pass?” What an interesting metaphor. Is there any truth to the concept of a Hospital Pass given to Biden FROM Trump?   

‘Hospital Pass' on Afghanistan, Says Tony Blair's Defense Secretary David Brennan 16 hrs ago . . . Geoff Hoon, the British defense secretary who oversaw the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq under then prime minister Tony Blair, has defended President Joe Biden over the disastrous allied exit from Afghanistan. Hoon, who served as U.K. defense secretary from October 1999 to May 2005, suggested that former President Donald Trump bears much of the blame for the chaotic scenes under Biden that have humiliated the U.S. and its allies.  "I really think President Biden was given a hospital pass by his predecessor—he could hardly turn that policy on its head...I think it was an impossible situation for him to inherit," Hoon said.

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Biden finds a way to make the worst even worse.


The US military has started withdrawing from Afghanistan. Thousands of Americans are now trapped in a potential hostage situation because of Joe Biden. According to Fox News Pentagon reporter Lucas...

Total caving to the Taliban and fuck the non-military and non-insider American citizens and support people left behind.

I wonder if China is telling Biden to do that to make China's entry into Afghanistan easier. After all, China owns Biden and has for years.

The good news is that Biden is pissing off so many Americans, he's throwing many people in the corrupt ruling class in disarray.


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7 hours ago, Peter said:

We have until the end of the month. And once again I stress: We know where these sons of a bitch live . . . and we can deal with them and their families.   

You're talking French Revolution my man!!!!!!!!

Love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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You just can't make this shit up.

Nobody would believe it if you did.


The Department of Defense released photos of Afghan citizens boarding a “US Air Force C-17 Globemaster” at the Kabul Airport this week. The US Department of Defense posted the photos online...

Summary: The Department of Defense publicized how it was rescuing citizens and getting them aboard an airplane at Kabul Airport. It released pictures showing the mighty DoD in action.

Then someone noticed that the plane in the pictures the DoD spread around was a United Arab Emirates (UAE) Air Force plane.

Good God...



EDIT: I'm with Scott:


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Now the real fun starts.


There was an explosion reported outside the Kabul Airport on Thursday. The Pentagon says there was an explosion outside the Kabul airport. Spokesman John Kirby said there was no immediate word on...

Fuck Biden and the fraud he rode in on.

I have nothing but contempt for this asshole.

That goes for his team.


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It was reported that four U.S. marines were killed along with civilian casualties, by a suicide bomber. Horrible. Aug. 26 (today,) 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 is still our timetable but now the government is saying we will not be out until all the Americans and Afghan allies are out. I hope the 31st is the final day. If not there could be rocket attacks, suicide bombers, and more mayhem. 

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Here is breaking news about all this from Steve Bannon's War Room.


We discuss the coordinated terror attack that is mounting on the ground in Kabul. Our guests are: Sam Faddis, Jason Jones, Col. John Mills, Erik Prince Stay ahead of the censors - Join us

Right at the beginning, Steve said all new evacuations are halted. He is not sure about people already in the Kabul airport, but nobody else is being admitted to the airport starting today. Gates are being welded shut.



EDIT: The second hour just went up. I, myself, am watching it right now.


We discuss the coordinated terror attack that is mounting on the ground in Kabul. Our guests are: Sam Faddis, Jason Jones, Col. John Mills, Brian Kennedy, Beatrix Von Storch, Joe Kent Stay ahead of th


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I looked for “Just War Theory” and found a mention of Afghanistan in one of the entries. Most of the thread appears to be from Ghs. I hope this isn’t too much clutter, but I found it interesting.

From: "George H. Smith" To: "*Atlantis" Subject: ATL: Re: George Smith and Just War... Date: Sun, 4 Nov 2001 11:45:57 -0600 Ross Levatter addressed a lot of questions to me, and it is virtually impossible to give each the attention it deserves. Instead, I will outline my general views of a "just war" and then elaborate on a few other points.

Ross wrote: "If the military in your homeland is killing civilians, are you allowed to get their government's attention by killing their civilians in return, or are only military targets morally acceptable? Some Objectivist scholars, including Ms. Rand's intellectual heir, believe there are no innocents in war. So on that logic the whole of the American public could be attacked by those who have been victims of America's initiation of force...or is this wrong? I believe George is not a defender of any morality that demands the turning of one's cheek, which claims that one's actions are limited to those that harm no innocents."

(1) It is possible to frame a libertarian theory of war in such a way that it is *never* legitimate to engage in (or support) *any* war, even if it is obviously motivated by legitimate self-defense. For any war will invariably result in civilian casualties, and if we do not morally distinguish between inadvertent casualties versus the *deliberate* targeting of civilians, then we will end up with one of two positions: Either (1) war is always and everywhere unjust and may *never* be fought, even if abstention results in one's own death; or (2) anything goes in war, including the mass killing of innocent civilians.

Position (1) is logically implied by the arguments of some libertarians (especially anarchists), though rarely will they admit this consequence. Position (2) is the sort of thing we find advocated by Peikoff & Co. I reject both extremes.

This problem of killing innocent civilians (i.e., non-combatants) would remain even in an ideal anarchist society. For self-defense agencies, even those voluntarily commissioned, would face the same moral problems responding to 9-11 as we face today.

A state of war, including one declared for just reasons, is a public acknowledgment of a serious conflict of interests. (This relates to my earlier insistence that the U.S. should formally declare war against the individuals responsible for 9-11.) If -- or more precisely, *when* -- those who pursue a just war (i.e., one waged the legitimate purpose of self-defense) are responsible for the unintentional killing of innocents, then they have indeed violated the rights of those victims. As I argued at some length previously an exchange with Bill Dwyer, the rights of innocent people do not vanish because it may be in our rational self-interest to violate them -- so we are under a moral imperative to *minimize* civilian casualties as much as is humanly possible. (A moral theory that demands the impossible is useless.)

Nevertheless, despite the inevitable violation of rights, a just war renders such violations morally justifiable in the name of legitimate self-defense.. This is what a *just* of war is all about. A state of war differs fundamentally from a state of peace, primarily because in a legitimate state of war the immediate issue of *survival* is paramount over all other concerns. This clearly distinguishes U.S. intervention in Vietnam from current actions against the Taliban and al-Qaida.

(2) I think the traditional libertarian policy of non-intervention (as found in some of the founding fathers) is sometimes misunderstood. After all, American revolutionaries gladly accepted foreign aid and even direct military assistance (especially from France) in their fight against the British. More important than French naval assistance (e.g., at Yorktown) was the fact that that Americans, by persuading France and Spain to declare war against England, caused the British to fear losing their West India colonies, which were economically more important than the mainland colonies. As a result the British decided it was more important to protect their earlier acquisitions from the Seven Years' War, so they withdrew many of their troops from America and eventually abandoned the fight,  unwilling to spend more blood and treasure for a relatively small prize. If Americans had insisted on pure non-interventionism in regard to their own struggle for independence, it is quite possible that they would have lost that war.

Ironically, the massive debt incurred by France was a principal cause of the later French Revolution. This was why the libertarian Turgot, though very sympathetic to the American cause, opposed the intervention of his own country on the American side. He feared French intervention would lead to massive problems at home -- and so it did.

As I argued many years ago in "Justice Entrepreneurship in a Free Market," a well-intentioned Third Party is quite justified in forcibly intervening to stop an aggressor from violating the rights of a victim. I therefore oppose foreign interventionism, not because I think this would somehow violate the rights of a foreign tyrannical government, but because such intervention (normally) is *not* directly related to the survival of those in the United States. Yet such "intervention" (as in the case of the American Revolution, which saw many volunteers from other countries) might be perfectly legitimate if undertaken by *private* citizens in behalf of a just cause. A government, in contrast, does not have this freedom; rather, it should be concerned only with immediate threats to the survival of its citizens. And the current campaign clearly has this as its *purpose* -- which is not to say that I agree with every aspect of it..

Ross wrote: "Question: If suicide bombers destroyed several buildings in Italy, killing thousands, and the Italian government claimed it was done by the American Mafia, demanding the American government hand over the head of the Gambezzi family, with the American government responding they want to help but a) first they need some juridical proof of his guilt, and b) they don't keep tabs on everyone in the country and may need some time to find such a situation is it appropriate for the Italian government to bomb Washington, as long as the bombs are aimed only at strategic targets and every reasonable effort is made to minimize civilian casualties?"

Yes, if such bombings were *necessary* for the apprehension of the guilty parties (e.g., if the U.S. government were to forcibly oppose any attempt by the Italians to come into America and apprehend the criminals themselves) -- and especially if those criminals constituted a clear and present danger of committing similar atrocities in the *future.* In this case, the U.S. government, like the Taliban government, would be aiding and abetting mass murderers, and a formal declaration of war would be morally justifiable (if rather stupid, given the military power of the U.S).

Ross wrote: "Question: George has made much of bin Laden's statements, goals, etc., and those of the Taliban, arguing that these people are motivated by religious fervor such that they would still hate America (and have eager followers willing to commit suicide?) even if US foreign policy were changed to non-intervention in the middle east. George is a commanding scholar, so perhaps he has in this case, as in so much of his other scholarship, gone to primary sources, but if this is not the case--if he does not read Farsi or whatever language bin Laden's writings appear in--is he not concerned that what he hears about bin Laden's desires, demands, goals, etc., has been filtered by the US government and the American press?"

This is a disingenuous objection, in my judgment, since we must all rely on more or less the same sources of information -- and I don't see a similar concern among those who presume to *know* that U.S. foreign policy is the only reason why so many Muslims hate Americans. I have watched quite a view interviews with bin Laden and read many other statements by him, such as his declaration of a Holy War against ALL Americans, made just weeks before 9-11, not to mention his claiming credit for previous acts of terrorism. (In his public "cave" statement released shortly after U.S. military actions, bin Laden did everything all but expressly admit his involvement in 9-11.)

Moreover, a lot of information is available about the links of the 9-11 thugs to the al-Qaida network, as a quick internet search will reveal. I have simply reached the best judgment I can. Does Ross believe that Timothy McVeigh was involved in the Oklahoma City bombing? If so, why? Because he was found legally guilty? Well, even so, I doubt if Ross personally knows enough details to justify this verdict for himself. Because McVeigh openly and publicly confessed his crime? Well, how does Ross know this wasn't elicited under torture or the threat thereof? This kind of epistemological skepticism, if employed consistently, would destroy most every claim to knowledge that we make, since we can justify very little of our knowledge personally and directly, without relying on the "testimony" of others. This is even true in the hard sciences.

Ross wrote: "He is aware, I'm sure, of the role that government propaganda has played in past wars...from the butchering of Belgian babies in W.W.I to the Tonkin Gulf in Vietnam. And we already know the Bush administration has told the TV networks not to replay bin Laden speeches unedited. While I certainly agree religion can be a source of war (just look at the Crusades), I'm not sure what aspect of Islam and/or international trade has changed so dramatically in the last 30 years so as to instill such hatred of America in a part of the world we have traveled and traded in for centuries."

Yes, I am aware of the role of government propaganda, especially during wartime. That's why we shouldn't accept anything at face value, but should read as widely as we can and think for ourselves. (See, for example, the article at, which points out that the Delta Force was badly mangled during its supposedly surgical raid (Nov. 12) on Mullah Omar's complex. The official government version of this raid -- or at least the one reported in the media -- made no mention of the 12 -- and 3 badly -- wounded American soldiers and about the widespread discontent within the Special Forces about the incompetence of U.S. military planners.)

Ross wrote: "Question: George comments that President Bush's latest war, on terror, comes as close as reasonably possible to meeting the demands of just war theory. I don't have the half-dozen or so requirements for a just war in front of me, but I seem to recall a principle of proportionality somewhere. Is this correct? One day, 4 airplanes, 3 act of horror committed by a dozen or so private citizens from several countries. In return, billions of dollars of weaponry aimed at devastating the infrastructure of a poor country (think about what that means for future deaths...roads gone, transportation of food and medicine impossible, electricity and power out, telephone system destroyed, airports destroyed, hospitals destroyed...if all that happened in your city, what would life be like, even if no civilians were killed in the initial destruction"

You neglect to mention a relevant fact, namely, that this is *not* just a war of retaliation. Various Mullahs, as well as leaders of the al-Qaida network, have publicly announced that there should be *no* limit whatever to the weapons that may be used against Americans, including nuclear weapons and germ warfare. Do you not take these threats seriously? Do you not believe that we are in imminent danger of additional terrorist strikes that could make 9-11 look like a picnic?

I personally didn't take these threats very seriously before 9-11, but I do *now.* And it would be irrational to suppose that this was a one-time "lesson" inflicted by disgruntled Muslims. (Remember, the WTC typically had around 50,000 people in it, and the terrorists would have been more than pleased with this higher body count.) I am as certain as one can be about future events that more mass killings lie in our immediate future. Thus, given the inevitable conflict of interests between myself (and millions of other *innocent* Americans) versus some innocent Afghan causalities, I am not about to call for massive and idiotic self-sacrifice by the former. Although I would like to see the current war conducted along somewhat different lines, I am not about to lose track of the fact that the basic issue here is *self-defense,* pure and simple.

Since so much has been said about the virtues of "non-intervention," I would like to ask Ross a question. Bin Laden is a Saudi, is he not? Then, even supposing he is motivated by a love of justice, what is a Saudi doing "intervening" in Palestinian and Afghan affairs? Indeed, many of the Taliban are Arabs and not Afghans at all, and this is why they are viewed by many native Afghans as foreign conquerors. Or does being a Muslim render the members of al-Qaida exempt from our libertarian policy of non-interventionism? Indeed, if U.S. interventionism had some role to play in the current mess, it may be also said that similar interventionism on the other side (e.g., the Iranian financing of Palestinian resistance) of is also responsible. No double standards, please. Ghs 

From: "George H. Smith" To: "*Atlantis" Subject: ATL: Re: Dwyer, Smith, and the Onus of Force Projection Date: Wed, 7 Nov 2001 23:09:56 -0600

Ross Levatter wrote: "George Smith, I must presume, feels a theoretical pinch. He's an anarchist calling for the State to protect him. Why? Because around 5,000 people in a country of upwards of 300 million died in the first attack on U. S. soil since the mid-1800s. One's risk of dying from terrorist attack this year increased from 0 to 0.0000167. For this, George argues that projecting military power half way around the world to rain death on foreign cities constitutes the makings of a just war, a historical concept George has thoroughly studied, which describes several requirements for a war to be just, one being that the response is proportional."

Ross is also an anarchist who believes the police should ideally be privatized. Does this mean that he would never, under any circumstances, call his neighborhood police if he felt his life were in danger from a burglar? Would he call the municipal fire department if his house were burning down -- or would he roast marshmallows while reciting his anarchist credo? Similarly, does he ever use the USPS? Public roads? Being an anarchist is not a prescription for living in a shack in the country and remaining philosophically pure by refusing all contact with anything tainted by government.

The main -- indeed, the only relevant -- issue here is whether the response of the U.S. is theoretically justifiable as a just war, whether that war be prosecuted by private *or* governmental means. Ross seems to understand this when he raises the issue of proportionality, but he then engages in a numbers game. The terrorists may have actually killed around 5000 innocent  people, but we may reasonably assume that 50,000 (or more) was their goal. And, as I previously emphasized, we are talking about immediate self-defense here, not retaliation for past actions, since there is overwhelming evidence that the same organizations would gladly kill millions more, given the means and opportunity. As for raining "death on foreign cities," there is probably no war in the history of mankind in which one side had gone to greater lengths to avoid civilian casualties than has the U.S. military in the present conflict. This stands in stark contrast to the policy of the enemy, wherein no such distinction is made or observed. So yes, the present war does meet the criterion of proportionality, given every indication that the enemy would use nuclear weapons, germ warfare, etc., to kill every American they possibly could. Nothing in just war theory demands that we must wait for hundreds of thousands more to be killed before taking defensive actions.

Ross wrote: "Another is that the war must be necessary, which is to say that all lesser measures have been tried and found wanting. Yet we have not issued letters of marques and reprisal to allow individuals to bring bin Laden to justice for us."

Since when should an anarchist require private individuals to receive the sanction of government before being authorized to conduct defensive military actions? I am all for private agencies (such as soldiers of fortune hired by American corporations) doing what they can, but it is by no means evident that such agencies, if they had the military hardware,  would act any differently than the U.S. government. Indeed, mercenaries (such as the Hessians during the American Revolution) have historically displayed a good deal of brutality in warfare, sometimes far more than conventional military forces.

And what *exactly* are the "lesser measures" of which Ross speaks? Negotiations? With whom? Not with bin Laden, certainly, since Ross doesn't seem to think that bin Laden is even responsible.

Ross wrote: "We have not sent in secret troops to capture bin Laden and ferret him out of country, as we attempted during the Iranian hostage crisis of the late 1970s."

How does Ross know this? I have heard information to the contrary.

Ross wrote: "We have not concentrated our bombs on mountain targets where he is said to be hiding."

Much of the current bombing is focused precisely on those targets, but it is highly unlikely that bombing alone can destroy the elaborately constructed and fortified tunnel systems, any more than they did in Vietnam. Moreover, of the earlier bombing was focused on Taliban air defenses and other military installations. The Russians lost thousands of soldiers in their attempt to penetrate these bunkers, and should it prove necessary to use U.S. ground troops in a similar endeavor, it is entirely justifiable to make reasonable efforts to minimize U.S. casualties.

Ross wrote: "If George wants to call this a just war, he needs to make a much stronger effort in demonstrating how the many necessary requirements of just war theory apply."

Just war theory does not require that a philosopher must approve of, or attempt to micromanage, every aspect of a military campaign. I have said before that I disagree with some aspects of the current war, but it nevertheless a purely *defensive* war. It does not, for example, have territorial conquest as its object, nor is it an effort to dictate the internal policies of other governments. Ross's demand is sophistical in the sense that it could *never* be satisfied, since there will always remain some *theoretical* alternative to *any* decision about when a war is justified. Many colonial loyalists, for example, insisted that the American revolutionaries had other options, that the effort to further negotiate with the British might still yield positive results, so the use of military violence was unjustified. Does Ross believe that there has *ever* been a just war in the history of mankind? If so, I would like to know what it was, for I wager that I can mount a persuasive case, using Ross's standards, that *all* other options had not been exhausted. Moreover, according to the theory enunciated in the Declaration of Independence -- which Jefferson penned to justify that kind of internal war known as a "revolution" -- we may reasonably infer the intentions of people from their actions (since we are unable to read people's minds). And the intentions revealed by the actions of 9-11 speak volumes.

Ross wrote: "George faced a logical dilemma on answering my hypothetical question about a Mafia attack on Italy, leading to Italian military bombs dropping on D. C..... But this leads to the view that citizens of a free society are property of the government. They must own us if they can so easily hand us over to other governments, not even requiring proof of our crimes, as the US government was not willing to supply proof of bin Laden's crimes before demanding the Afghan government turn him over."

Ross's first assertion doesn't follow at all. If a mass murderer has sought refuge in my house, others may demand that I surrender him – but this doesn't mean that the criminal is viewed as my property. And should I refuse, or should I resist efforts to capture the murderer, then others may invade my house in an effort to capture him. The historian James J. Martin once remarked that pro-FDR historians would never accept the claim that Roosevelt had foreknowledge of a Japanese attack unless there were pictures of him piloting the lead plane that was bombing Pearl Harbor. The U.S. did in fact circulate a good deal of evidence implicating bin Laden and al-Qaida, but Ross fails to specify what would constitute adequate "proof" in this case. And, remember, the Taliban insisted that under no circumstances could bin-Laden be tried in a United States court, even though the crime was committed on U.S. soil.

Ross wrote: "I would have thought a government in this situation might say (as the Taliban did, in part, say) "We share your horror in this event. We want to help. But we don't know where bin Laden is. Give us some time and we'll work with you, but we can't produce people on demand." (The United States might add in that situation "We are a free society, after all; people don't check in with us. We don't have ID cards allowing us to locate any citizen at will. At least, they could say this now.)

I really think Ross is being extremely naive about the Taliban and its supposed concern for justice. These people are totalitarian thugs of the worst order, and bin Laden has contributed over one-hundred million dollars to their cause. There was at least enough presumptive evidence to try bin-Laden, such as his the past acts of terrorism for which he has claimed credit, his terrorist training films and other material, his financing of training camps, the testimony of those who participated in the earlier bombing of the WTC, bin Laden's phone call to his mother the day before 9-11 (stating that it would be necessary for him to go into hiding), his statement weeks before 9-11 that American civilians were now legitimate targets in his Holy War  and much more.

Ross wrote: "George suggests my question as to his actual knowledge of bin Laden's motivations is disingenuous. My apologies for any seeming dis-ingenuity. However, I believe George is mistaking my question as an epistemological one, when it is really simply a practical question. Bin Laden doesn't speak English. I assume Smith doesn't speak Arabic. We needn't posit any malevolence on the part of translators to know that such subtleties as society vs. government might not translate well."

I presume that Ross speaks neither German or Japanese. Does this absolutely disqualify him from rendering any judgments about WWII? This kind of argument will bring us perilously close to the absurd.

Ross wrote: "Tim McVeigh spoke English, and yet Gore Vidal indicated that most Americans didn't understand his true motivations for the Oklahoma City bombing, and not for McVeigh's lack of trying. The media simply didn't want to give time to someone who said his actions were morally justified by the murderous former actions of the U. S. government (in Waco)."

How does Ross presume to know the "true" motivations of McVeigh? Moreover, his supposed motive were widely discussed in the mass media, including television.

Ross wrote: "And already the Bush administration has indicated bin Laden is to get no more unedited prime TV time."

I suppose this might be a problem for those who rely entirely on television for information. And the government did not threaten censorship in this case. As I indicated in an earlier post, I disagree with the decision not to air bin Laden's speeches, primarily because I think it is important to know the propaganda that much of the Islamic world is hearing. Nevertheless, his statements are widely available from other sources, such as the Internet. There has in fact been a lot of media coverage (mainly print) that has discussed bin Laden's beliefs and motivations, including some that agree with my previous analysis

Ross wrote: "So I really question the strength of George's conviction that bin Laden's stated motivations (U. S. out of Saudi Arabia, end to Iraq embargo, Palestinian State) are not his true motivations. This conviction, which George bases on the correct insight that political figures routinely lie, faces not only the difficulty in knowing what bin Laden is really trying to communicate to us; it also faces the logical problem of the lack of any serious terrorist problem in many other western quasi-free market liberal democracies. No one is bombing buildings in New Zealand or Hong Kong. Yet they rank higher than the U. S. in the ranking list of economically free countries. So bin Laden doesn't hate us merely for our freedom. My question about bin Laden's motivations rests not so much on the epistemology of skepticism ("how can we really ever know anyone's motivation?") as on a political Occam's razor: what is the simplest explanation of why the United States but not other similar countries were attacked?"

(1) My analysis of bin Laden's motives was a demand that libertarians be consistent, which they manifestly are not when attributing much of the blame for 9-11 on U.S. foreign policy. I was merely applying the same method of analysis that American libertarians have traditionally applied to their own political figures.

(2) There have in fact been terrorist acts in other Western countries, though not on the magnitude of 9-11. Many of the attacks on Americans have been on our embassies abroad (which are technically American soil).

(3) I *never* said that Islamic fundamentalists hate us "merely for our freedom." I never denied that U.S. foreign policy has played a role. I have merely insisted that there is more to the story.

(4) I mentioned before that bin Laden has recently appealed to the Palestinian cause as justification. But this is something new for him. His primary campaign in the past has been directed against the Saudi government, and his leading political objectives were to install Islamic regimes in both Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The Palestinian cause is a convenient rationalization.

(5) Let's turn Ross's question around. If *Israel* is the principal grievance of bin Laden & Co., then why weren't his actions directed against that country instead of the U.S.? I suggest two reasons: (1) by provoking an attack by the U.S., bin Laden stood a better chance of intensifying an Islamic overthrow of the Saudi, Egyptian, and possibly other mideastern regimes. (2) A massive attack like 9-11 may have provoked Israel to retaliate with nuclear weapons.

(6) Granted, to speculate about motives is always problematic. But many libertarians presume to *know* the *sole* motives of millions of Islamic fundamentalists, namely, their resentment of U.S. foreign policy. So how do *they* know this? We are all speculating, but at least my speculations employ a consistent libertarian method.

(7) I mentioned this before, but I'll repeat it. There are many kinds of "interventionism" going on the Middle East, and not just by Americans. Syria, Iraq, and other countries have "intervened" in the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians -- and, if we are to be consistent, we must entertain the possibility that such intervention has created a good deal of "resentment" and fear among Israeli citizens, which in turn has motivated U.S. aid. If, as it the case, interventionism often leads to unintended consequences and complex foreign entanglements, then we should impartially examine not just the effects of U.S. interventionism, but similar intervention by Islamic countries as well.

This post is already too long, so I will take up the remainder of Ross's objections at a later time. But since he has more or less lumped my defense of the current war with Bill Dwyer's defense of the embargo on Iran, let me state for the record that I am unequivocally opposed to this policy on both moral and practical grounds.

Meanwhile, perhaps Ross will deal with some of the issues I raised, such as whether war is *ever* justifiable, if we know that some innocent civilians are bound to be killed?

Debbie Clark wrote: "I read an article today on CounterPunch by Brian J. Foley entitled, "US Campaign Against Afghanistan Not Self-Defense Under International Law", which addressed this matter of immediate self-defense.  Below are some excerpts from this article, which can be found in its entirety at

All of my references have been to the *18th century* concept of a just war, according to which (per my argument) the reasonable expectation of a future attack constitutes a legitimate justification. Indeed, as explained in the excerpts  below, the acceptable level of probability increases as the stakes become higher.

This following excerpts are from Vattel's *Law of Nations,* which perhaps the most influential treatise on a "just war" written in the 18th century. As one historian has noted, "This 1758 work by Swiss legal philosopher Emmerich de Vattel is of special importance to scholars of constitutional history and law, for it was read by many of the Founders of the United States of America, and informed their understanding of the principles of law which became established in the Constitution of 1787."

I have placed some phrases in caps to highlight their opposition to Debbie's account.

§ 26. What is in general a just cause of war.

The right of employing force, or making war, belongs to nations no farther than is necessary for their own defense, and for the maintenance of their rights (§ 3). Now, if any one attacks a nation, or violates her perfect rights, he does her an injury. Then, and not till then, that nation has a right to repel the aggressor, and reduce him to reason. Further, she has a right to PREVENT THE INTENDED INJURY, when she sees herself threatened with it (Book II. § 50). Let us then say in general, that the foundation, or cause of every just war is injury, either already done OR THREATENED. The justificatory reasons for war show that an injury has been received, or SO FAR THREATENED as to authorize a PREVENTION of it by arms

We must either have actually suffered an injury OR BE VISIBLY THREATENED WITH ONE, before we are authorized to take up arms, or have just grounds for making war (§§ 26, 27).

No injury has been received from that power (so the question supposes); we must, therefore, HAVE GOOD REASONS TO THINK OURSELVES THREATENED BY HIM, before we can lawfully have recourse to arms. Now power alone does not threaten an injury: - it must be accompanied by the will. [And this "will," as Vattel explains elsewhere, can be demonstrated by past actions.] It is, indeed, very unfortunate for mankind, that the will and inclination to oppress may be almost always supposed, where there is a power of oppressing with impunity. But these two things are not necessarily inseparable: and the only right which we derive from the circumstance of their being generally or frequently united, is, that of taking the first appearances for a sufficient indication. When once a state has given proofs of injustice, rapacity, pride, ambition, or an imperious thirst of rule, she becomes an object of suspicion to her neighbours, whose duty it is to stand on their guard against her. They may come upon her at the moment when she is on the point of acquiring a formidable accession of power, - may demand securities, - and if she hesitates to give them, may prevent her designs by force of arms. The interests of nations are, in point of importance, widely different from those of individuals: the sovereign must not be remiss in his attention to them, nor suffer his generosity and greatness of soul to supersede his suspicions. A nation that has a neighbour at once powerful and ambitious has her all at stake. As men are under a necessity of regulating their conduct in most cases by probabilities, those probabilities claim their attention in proportion to the importance of the subject: and (to make use of a geometrical expression) THEIR RIGHT TO OBVIATE A DANGER IS IN A COMPOUND RATIO OF THE DEGREE OF PROBABILITY AND THE GREATNESS OF THE EVIL THREATENED. If the evil in question be of a supportable nature, - if it be only some slight loss, - matters are not to be precipitated: there is no great danger in delaying our opposition to it till there be a certainty of our being threatened. But if the safety of the state lies at stake, our precaution and foresight cannot be extended too far. MUST WE DELAY TO AVERT OUR RUIN TILL IT IS BECOME INEVITABLE?

And, on occasions where it is impossible or too dangerous to wait for an absolute certainty, WE MAY JUSTLY ACT ON A REASONABLE PRESUMPTION. If a stranger levels a musket at me in the middle of a forest, I am not yet certain that he intends to kill me; but shall I, in order to be convinced of his design, allow him time to fire? WHAT REASONABLE CASUIST WILL DENY ME THE RIGHT TO ANTICIPATE HIM?  But presumption becomes NEARLY EQUIVALENT TO CERTAINTY, if the prince who is on the point of rising to an enormous power has already given proofs of imperious pride and insatiable ambition.

For an injury gives us a right to PROVIDE FOR OUR FUTURE SAFETY, by depriving the unjust aggressor of THE MEANS OF INJURING US; and it is lawful and even praiseworthy to assist those who are oppressed, or unjustly attacked.

§ 6. How far war may be continued. The love of peace should equally prevent us from embarking in a war without necessity, and from persevering in it after the necessity has ceased to exist. When a sovereign has been compelled to take up arms for just and important reasons, he may carry on the operations of war till he has attained its lawful end, which is, to PROCURE JUSTICE AND SAFETY (Book III § 28.) Ghs

From: "George H. Smith" To: "*Atlantis" Subject: ATL: Re: Dwyer, Smith, and the Onus of Force Projection Date: Thu, 8 Nov 2001 03:56:40 -0600 Ross Levatter wrote: "I want to thank Debbie for an excellent website reference in her last post."

Here is part of what Brian J. Foley ( has to say: "...bin Laden has called for the destruction of the U.S. and its citizens, wherever they may be. His tactics are stealth and surprise, and he intends to use and develop weapons of mass destruction."

Foley expresses no doubt about bin Laden's intentions. (Do Ross and Debbie agree with him?) Instead Foley argues that intentions are not enough. He writes: "For example, you can use force to fend off someone coming at you with a knife or gun, but you can't seek out and kill someone who is plotting to kill you."

This latter would be an example of "anticipatory self-defense, according to Foley. But this analogy isn't really to the point in the case of 9-11, since we are here dealing with a murderous actions that have *already* occurred and have been *followed up* with threats of similar actions in the future. Thus it would be more exact to speak of a person who, having shot you several times, promises to return later, after acquiring more ammunition to finish the job. In this case you would be entirely justified in hunting your assailant down and killing him in self-defense; you would be under no obligation to wait for him to renew his previous assault. (How many times must he shoot you before "anticipatory self-defense" is justified?)

Suppose a man threatens to burn blow up your house. This threat alone would not constitute sufficient cause for "anticipatory" self-defense. But suppose you catch him trying to plant dynamite under your house, and he escapes while threatening to return later to finish the job. Would you be justified in hunting him down in an effort to prevent this from happening? Yes, of course you would, for this is not just "anticipatory" self-defense in the sense that Foley uses the term; the anticipation of future harm, in this case, is not merely predicated on an assumption on your part. Rather, his threat has been verified in practice, concretely and not merely as a supposition. The aggressor has demonstrated through his *actions* that he intends to carry out his threat, so you have a right to defend yourself. What libertarian would claim that you must actually wait for your house to be blown up before you can exercise your right of self-defense?

Our case involves more than simple anticipation, since the threat has already been actualized through mass murder. If Canada had bombed New York City, killing thousands of people, it would be ludicrous to say that a U.S. response would constitute nothing more than "anticipatory" self-defense, since the aggressive action has *already* been undertaken, with an indication that more is to follow. This is why 9-11 does not fit the model used repeatedly by Foley, to wit: "An example of "anticipatory self-defense" is Israel's strike against an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981, to keep Iraq from developing a nuclear arsenal. The U.N. Security Council condemned the attack, because the threat to Israel, though foreseeable, was not "imminent": there was time to try other measures...."

To say that an attack is not "imminent" when the attack has *already* begun (as with 9-11) is absurd. Some of Foley's other arguments are also peculiar. For instance:


"There are no airliners flying from Afghani airports toward American targets, which the U.S. could legally intercept and destroy as an immediate danger. Do the terrorist training camps and Taliban government constitute an immediate threat? Although it appears they do not – the recent anthrax attacks have been coming from New Jersey -- we should not be too quick to say so."


Apparently an Afghan postmark must appear on any anthrax-letter before we can speak of an "immediate danger" from Al-Qaeda.  Again, however, what about the events of 9-11? If we were facing nothing more than verbal threats, as was the case before 9-11, then Foley might have a point. But to leave those events out of the picture altogether, as if 9-11 shouldn't figure into our estimation of an "immediate" threat, is to omit the most important feature of this conflict and of the U.S. response.


Moreover, since when do libertarians believe that the UN Security Council should act as a final arbiter in matters pertaining to rights? This, after all, is the essence of Foley's argument -- but any organization that includes nations like China, while laying claim to any moral or legal authority, is a joke.


Ross Levatter wrote: "I have rethought my position. I am still convinced George is wrong; what is more, though it pains me to even suggest this, I see at least some evidence that George is unwilling to face the tough theoretical and practical issues relating to America's latest war, the only one in history that I am aware George supports."


This last statement is incorrect. Ross fails to distinguish between just wars per se versus foreign wars, however just, in which I think America should not have become involved, for prudential reasons. (For example, Poland, France and other countries were certainly engaged in "just wars" in attempting to repel the Nazi invasions.) Moreover, it is not even true that I condemn all previous wars in which Americans have been involved. I think the American Revolution was an essentially just war, for example, as was the Southern attempt to repel  invasion by the North during the Civil War. Moreover, given the Japanese and German declarations of war against the United States, we had little choice -- at that point -- but to become involved in WWII. (Non-interventionist criticisms of WWII typically focus on imprudent actions that led up to the actual outbreak of hostilities, but such actions are typically taken by all sides, and at a certain point these simply become irrelevant owing to their irreversibility.)


Ross wrote: "I will however (details below) point out he has yet again, in his last post, dodged answering a fundamental question that I've put to him again and again. If he doesn't answer it in his next post, the only reasonable conclusion is that there is a major flaw in his ethical theory that he refuses to face."


"I asked, not for the first time: "GEORGE: WHAT *CAN* YOU MORALLY AND LEGITIMATELY DO TO THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT WHEN IT HAS AGGRESSED UPON YOU? Libertarian theory focuses on the moral distinction between initiatory and retaliatory violence."


"And George responded: "I have a right to defend myself against the U.S. government (though this may not often be prudent), just as I have a right to defend myself against the clear threats of bin-Laden and others in Al-Qaida. And, in supporting the current military actions, I am exercising that right.


"As anyone can see, George has again cleverly step-sided answering my question. It is not a difficult question, though it might be an uncomfortable one (I might even say it pinches, but wouldn't want to anger George, who has already threatened to start trading insults should I persist).


"I have asked George to imagine he is a libertarian in a foreign land that has been aggressed on by the US government. This should not be difficult, there are so many to choose from. He could be from Iraq, or Iran, parts of Africa, Kosivo, countries in South and Central America, Vietnam, Laos, the list goes on. In any one of these countries, as the bombs drop on him, or the US supports dictators who torture outspoken friends of George, the question comes up: what can George legitimately do? When I ask him (above), George responds that he (the American George) has the right to defend himself against the US government, but also against bin Laden. This avoids the question I am asking. George: Can the libertarian Vietnamese or Iraqi, seeing the many civilian deaths brought about in his country by the US government, ever morally attack the US mainland? If so, must he restrict his attack to US government officials, or may he, as has the US government in his homeland, attack and kill civilians as well? Why or why not? You have said it is NOT POSSIBLE that the 9/11 attack may be a just war (not seen that way by bin Laden, obviously, but by third party observers familiar with all the facts) response to what America has done in the past. Is that merely because of bin Laden's justifying rhetoric, or is there something in the nature of the act itself that differs fundamentally from the actions taken by the US government that also kill civilians abroad by the thousands?"


If I personally have the right to defend myself against unjust actions against the U.S. government, then so does every other person in the world. I thought this would be obvious to Ross. And if someone threatens me in the course of conducting a war against the United States government, then I have a right to defend myself. As I explained in my first reply to Ross, a state of war unfortunately generates serious conflicts of interest among innocent people. If innocent victims of the U.S. blockade of Iraq feel they have a right to use nukes against the U.S., then I and many other innocent Americans have a right to defend ourselves against those people, however "just" they may view their cause.


I cannot possibly answer every scenario proposed by Ross, but I don't think he has given sufficient consideration to my earlier point about a conflict of interests, which is an inevitable consequence of a state of war. And if I must choose between the death of myself, family and friends (who have committed no injustices against Muslims) versus the death of some innocent Afghans (who have committed no injustices against Americans), then I will choose to defend myself and those I care for.


I have never denied that bin Laden and other Islamic fundamentalists view their actions as undertaken in self-defense, and therefore as justified. Bin Laden has said this repeatedly. Indeed, in a 1998 interview with John Miller, bin Laden used precisely the same reasoning as Ross. When asked whether he sanctioned the killing of American women, children, and other innocents, bin Laden argued that since America doesn't observe this restriction, he wasn't obliged to observe it either.


Bin Laden said: "American history does not distinguish between civilians and military, and not even women and children. They are the ones who used the bombs against Nagasaki. Can these bombs distinguish between infants and military? America does not have a religion that will prevent it from destroying all people....We believe that the biggest thieves in the world and the terrorists are the Americans. The only way for us to fend off these assaults is to use similar means....We do not differentiate between those dressed in military uniforms and civilians; they are all targets in this fatwa."


(It should be noted that bin Laden has been wildly inconsistent on the issue of targeting innocents. At times he says that Islam expressly forbids the deliberate targeting of women and children -- unless women are directly involved in combat -- while at other times he calls for extermination of *all* Americans and Jews in the name of defending Islam.)


Ross seems to suggest that the actions of 9-11 were the legitimate response of an oppressed people. (If this isn't his point, then I simply don't understand what he is getting at.) I have stated on several occasions why I don't believe this to be the case. But suppose this were the case, what then? The terrorists, whatever their grievances, have deliberately targeted innocent Americans who are not responsible for U.S. foreign policy. Those innocent American therefore have a right to defend themselves. Ross says that we should call for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Middle East. Fine, but I and many other libertarians have been calling for precisely this for many years now, and I still advocate it. So what? In bin Laden's view we are as guilty as any other American and therefore deserve to be killed.


Note that bin Laden is not willing to accept responsibility for the actions of his *own* government. When Bin Laden was asked about the fact that the Saudi Government -- and bin Laden is a Saudi -- gave its permission for the presence of U.S. military forces in Saudi Arabia (and this has always been his chief complaint), he replied: "[S]ome regimes in the Arab and Muslim worlds have joined that [Crusader-Jewish] alliance, preventing us Muslims from defending the holy Ka'Aba. Our hostility is in the first place, and to the greatest extent, leveled against these world infidels, and by necessity the regimes which have turned themselves into tools for this occupation of the greatest House in the Universe and the first House of Worship appointed for men" [Dec., 1998]


Note that, for bin Laden, the mere presence of American forces on Saudi soil, even with the permission of its government, constitutes an "occupation" of Saudi Arabia and transforms those Saudis who welcome the American presence (owing to the threat from Iraq) as "world infidels." Bin Laden wants to install a fundamentalist, theocratic regime in Saudi Arabia, and he knows that the U.S. presence makes this difficult. This is what he means in saying that Arab regimes are "preventing us Muslims from defending the holy Ka'Aba [the most holy shrine in Mecca]." And these infidel Arab regimes -- or so he claimed in 1998 -- is where bin Laden focused his hostility "to the greatest extent."


Ross wrote: "Would you have argued on September 1 that we must "immediately" make war against bin Laden and whatever country harbors him because "bin Laden and his associates have long regarded themselves as in a state of war with every American." Even after the USS Kohl episode, you would presumably have opposed President Bush calling for the bombing of Afghanistan on September 1. Since then, the 9/11 tragedy has certainly called for an increased response. I'm merely arguing it need not be immediate, which is to say there is time for reflection, time to consider the consequences of our various options for action, time to look at long-range in addition to short-range responses to whatever we choose to do.


Ross seems to believe that there is some kind of inflexible rule that will determine exactly when a declaration of war is justified and when it is not. Unfortunately perhaps, there is no such rule that will save us the trouble of exercising our judgment in particular cases. As Vattel (the 18th Century philosopher I quoted in a previous post) explained, the fact that a war may be technically justifiable is not a sufficient reason to engage in it; this depends on the nature and extent of the grievance and on the immediate danger. I think the previous attacks on the USS Kohl and American embassies abroad left us with more options than we have at present; and I agree with Ross that "the 9/11 tragedy has certainly called for an increased response."


As for having time for "reflection," why does Ross think I arrived at my present views without reflection? After all, in my many years of opposing U.S. interventionism, I have argued that a military response by the U.S. would be appropriate *only* if there was a direct attack or immediate and serious threat against United States itself. And that is EXACTLY what 9-11 was. The events of 9-11, coupled with the assurance that we can expect more of the same, were precisely those conditions that I have long maintained would constitute a "just war" by the United States.


Ross wrote: "I took you to be arguing that we have to do something NOW, that our lives are all in danger every moment unless we do. It reminds me that Garet Garrett, in "The Revolution Was" spoke of the several characteristics of empire, one of them being "a combination of fear and vaunting."


I find it nothing short of incredible that Ross would maintain that our lives are *not* in immediate danger. Doesn't he believe *anything* that bin Laden & Co. have said? If not, then why does he accept bin Laden's explanation as to the reasons for killing Americans? (And, btw, does Ross now believe that bin Laden is in fact responsible for 9-11? His remarks would indicate precisely this, for what difference would it make what bin Laden says if he was not involved in 9-11?)


In 1998 interview with ABC News, bin Laden called the acquisition of nuclear weapons "a religious duty," and he went on to say that "how we could use these weapons if we possess them is up to us." (This if-then style of answering questions is typical of bin-Laden, who rarely gives a direct answer to such inquiries.)


We therefore face the following situation: (a) terrorists declared war against all Americans, pledging, as a religious duty,  to kill as many Americans as they can, whenever and wherever possible; (b) these terrorists show they were serious about these threats by the events of 9-11; (c) these terrorists state that such acts of mass murder will continue in the future, whenever possible, and possibly with nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. .


Yet, in spite of all this, Ross insists that we are in no immediate danger, because (as he stated in his last post), two months have passed since the last attack. I contend, in contrast, that if these circumstances don't constitute an immediate danger, then nothing could possibly qualify. Indeed, even to be concerned about future attacks, possibly on a much more massive scale than 9-11, is so much "fear and vaunting," according to Ross (quoting Garet Garret). Re-read your Garet Garret, Ross. As a member of the "Old Right" and advocate of American isolationism, Garret believed that U.S. military action was appropriate *only* if the United States was directly attacked  or in imminent danger of such attack. So what was 9-11? Are New York and Washington, D.C. not a part of the United States?


Ross wrote: "George quotes bin Laden to support his position, but I see it actually as weakening his position; let's consider...


"George quotes OBL as saying: "The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies -- civilians and military -- is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque [Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. (Feb., 1998)


"and quotes a spokesman for OBL as saying 10/9/01: "America must know that the battle will not leave its land, God willing, until America leaves our land, until it stops supporting Israel, until it stops the blockade against Iraq.


"So, despite George's reading bin Laden as hating America for it's secularism, its modernity, its freedom ...despite George's claim that America's foreign policy has little to do with this attack on our shores, we see him quoting OBL NOT saying "the war will continue until America becomes an Islamic State"


Again, when have I ever denied that the points raised here constitute at least *part* of the grievances cited by bin Laden and other terrorists? But there is far more to the story, as is evident to anyone who has bothered to read more than excerpts from bin Laden's statements.


I previously claimed that bin Laden's agenda includes more than ridding the Mideast of a U.S. military presence, and that he is opposed to peaceful cooperation (e.g., free trade) as well. This was the basis for my suspicion that even a withdrawal of the U.S. military would not satisfy him, that he would continue to blame the woes of Islamic countries on the U.S.


I based this supposition on remarks made by Bin Laden in a number of interviews. For example, during an interview with John Miller in May, 1998, bin Laden stated:


"As we mentioned before, Allah ordered us in this religion to purify Muslim land of all non-believers, and especially the Arabian Peninsula where the Ke'ba [a holy shrine] is....I worship Allah, which includes carrying out the jihad to raise Allah's word and evict the Americans from all Muslim land.....We pray to God, Praise and Glory be to him, to help Muslims expel the Americans and Jews from Islamic countries."


This call "to purify Muslim land of all non-believers" is the language of a religious zealot who believes in religious, social, and economic -- not merely political -- isolationism. And bin Laden believes that trade with the West is responsible for the poverty of Islamic countries, as he made clear in the same interview, when he stated: "[N]on-believers....steal the wealth of Muslims then give back some crumbs to certain Islamic states or mini-states...."


Bin Laden left no doubt about his opposition to even voluntary interaction between Muslims and "infidels" in his interview with ABC News (Dec., 1998), where he emphasizes that no Muslim should interact with any Christian or Jew for *any* reason, even on a "friendly" (i.e., voluntary) basis:


"Muslims should consider with care the verses on loyalty, faith and jihad. They should sever ANY RELATIONS with the Jews and the Christians. That is of God, Praise and Glory be to him, in his holy Koran. God almighty says "Ye who believe, take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors; They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them for friendship is of them, verily God guideth not a people unjust" and "Those in whose hearts is a disease thou seest how eagerly they run about amongst them saying, 'We do fear lest a change of fortune bring us disaster.' Ah, perhaps God will give (Thee) victory, or a decision according to his will. Then will they repent of the thoughts which they secretly harbored in their hearts."


"This text shows that whoever befriends Jews and Christians becomes like them, and becomes one of them in their religion and in their infidelity. God, Praise and Glory be to him, indicated in many verses that whoever befriends the infidels becomes one of them. God, Praise and Glory be to him "To the hypocrites give the glad tidings that there is for them but a gracious penalty." [My caps.]


As I have argued before, bin Laden wants far more than a withdrawal of American forces from the Mideast. He wants to establish Islamic regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other countries. Moreover, he does not call for peace between Israel and her neighbors, but for the expulsion or utter extermination of *every* Jew living in "Muslim land," i.e., Israel.


This is the language of someone who desires, not peace, but political hegemony, theocracy, and religious uniformity in "Muslim land." These primary objectives should cause us to be skeptical, to say the least, of the stated rationales for 9-11. As a means of bringing peace to the Mideast, the actions of 9-11 could not have been more counter-productive, and I cannot believe that Bin Laden was so stupid as not to understand this. I therefore think it is very reasonable to assume that bin Laden wanted an all-out war with the West, as a means of rousing the Islamic masses to overthrow "puppet" Arab regimes, primarily those in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.


Bin Laden & Co. clearly wanted a military response, and, unfortunately, he left the U.S. no reasonable alternative but to oblige him. Did bin Laden think he could win such a war? Yes, for as he has stated repeatedly, America is a "paper tiger" that will cut and run when casualties become too great. He has often referred to the U.S. withdrawal from Somalia -- while claiming what may be underserved credit for what happened there -- to prove this point. The causes of war are never simple, and it takes but little searching to reveal past injustices on all sides. But when people I don't even know and did nothing to harm expressly declare war against me and other innocents, and when they demonstrate both the will and means to carry out their threats, then the past becomes irrelevant, and we have a right to defend ourselves.


Could the U.S. have taken different actions in the past that might have prevented 9-11 from occurring. Possibly, but the same is true of Islamic countries. (Why Arafat didn't accept the peace proposal put to him in the latter days of the Clinton administration continues to baffle me, since the Israeli offer, judged by customary political standards, was quite extraordinary, and such an agreement might have done much to prevent subsequent hostilities from breaking out.) I don't contend that the U.S. and Israel are free of blame for the current troubles in the Mideast -- far from it -- but there is more than enough blame to go around. On several occasions Ross Levatter has mentioned the theoretical "pinch" that I must surely feel in supporting the current military actions in Afghanistan. I don't think I have addressed this adequately in previous posts, so I wish to say some more about this.


(1) I would hope that any rational person, and especially libertarians, would feel a "pinch" in advocating or supporting any war. For we all know that wars, however just by theoretical standards, will inevitably involve some highly undesirable (if often unintentional) consequences, including (a) the killing of innocents; (b) the loss of civil liberties at home; and (c) additional foreign entanglements that we may be unable to foresee at present.


2) An additional problem arises from the fact that neither I nor any other libertarian will be able to exercise much (if any) influence on how this war will be fought. I have repeatedly stated that I don't agree with some aspects of the current campaign. Specifically, I think the U.S. should have issued an express declaration of war against bin Laden, Al-Qaida, and other individuals and/or groups for which there exists sufficient evidence to implicate in the events of 9-11.


I manifestly do *not* agree with an open-ended and non-specific "war against terrorism," primarily since this promises to be a kind of prolonged "perpetual war for perpetual peace" -- a new version of the Cold War, in effect -- that will serve to justify an array governmental intrusions on individual liberty.


So how does a libertarian manage to live and make decisions in a statist world? As Ross pleaded in his own defense, he is not king of the world; he is not in a position to make sweeping changes in the status quo. Well, neither am I, and this realization means that, in taking sides, we must sometimes accept the bad with the good, while attempting to minimize the bad as much as possible.


(3) I try to stay abreast as much as possible with the current military situation in Afghanistan, and I remain convinced that the U.S. is trying, as much as is humanly possible, to minimize civilian casualties. (If for no other reason, this is necessary so as not to alienate the anti-Taliban factions in Afghanistan.) I am also convinced that the U.S. is concerned only with ferreting out bin Laden and other elements of the Al-Qaida network. Indeed, even midway through the bombing, Bush announced that he would cease all military actions against the Taliban if they would surrender the leaders of Al-Qaida.


Unfortunately, as the war has proceeded, the U.S. has shown more interest in the "nation building" that will follow the conclusion of this war. This is clearly a response to the desire of Pakistan (and possibly other members of the alliance) not to have Afghanistan ruled by the minority Northern Alliance to the exclusion of the majority Pashtuns (many of whom have supported the Taliban). Hence, just yesterday the U.S. expressed its wish to have the Northern Alliance bypass Kabul until more support could be gained from the Southern Pashtuns, in the hope of forming a coalition government.


I think this involvement in the internal politics of Afghanistan is a serious mistake, but I am not in a position to play "king" in regard to this war. So long as I think America is principally focused on getting to the Al-Qaida network, then I will support the current actions.


(3) I am by no means blind or insensitive to the legitimate grievances of Muslims, such as Palestinians and Iraqi victims of the American blockade. There are many Americans (and not just libertarians) who have protested in behalf of these victims, and in many ways we are the best hope these people have, since we are in a better position to sway American opinion than people from other countries.


This is one reason why I am so outraged by the events of 9-11. If I were a Iraqi citizen, one who hates Saddam Hussein but am nonetheless a victim of the American blockade, I would be cursing bin Laden to the skies, since he and his cohorts have destroyed, for the foreseeable future, any chance of a gaining a fair hearing in the American court of public opinion. And I would feel that bin Laden was using my legitimate grievances as a pretext to fulfill his own political ambitions, most notably his desire to foment fundamentalist Islamic revolutions in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and elsewhere. (I have heard a number of Muslims express precisely this opinion.)


(4) No one who cares for the safety and welfare of his people would ever think of engaging in a war with the greatest military power an earth. And no rational person would imagine that terrorists attacks on the United States would lead to less, rather than more, U.S. intervention in the Mideast. So either bin Laden is a hopeless fool, or he has a different agenda in mind. I have already stated what I believe that agenda to be.


(5) One thing that makes the current war different from traditional wars (in recent times) is that we cannot rely on normal self-interested calculations by the enemy. If, as bin Laden has claimed, there are literally thousands of Islamic warriors who are eager for martyrdom, then it is very difficult to know how to proceed, short of finding and killing the enemy before he kills you (and himself in the process).


(6) This war will proceed on its course whether I, or any other libertarian, happens to agree with it. But I think it is a serious mistake for libertarians -- or at least those who are not outright pacifists -- to oppose it by appealing to theoretical generalities alone. And I especially think it is a grievous error to glamorize the terrorists, by attributing to them nothing but just motives, as if 9-11 were somehow a logical and inevitable reaction to American interventionism abroad. Ditto with the complaints about Israel. Bin laden and his cohorts have made it abundantly clear that they wish to expel every Jew from Muslim lands. In practical terms, this means the eradication of the state of Israel. (Bin Laden has roundly condemned those moderates within the PLO who have attempted to reach some kind of accord with Israel.) Is this a reasonable demand? Would Americans similarly applaud bin Laden's desire to fragment the U.S. into a variety of "mini-states," none of which would possess very much power – for this is exactly what he has called for on at least one occasion.


(7) Bin Laden favors hegemonic rule, Taliban style, in a pan-Islamic theocracy. (He ridiculed,  for example, the desire of oppressed Kurds to form a separate state within Iraq as a means of protecting themselves against the murderous policies of Saddam Hussein). It's difficult to find a concern for justice in any of this. So let us debate the pros and cons of the present war, by all means, but please, let's don't glamorize this murderous thug. This guy is a religious lunatic who can justify any atrocity in the name of Allah. Just read some of his interviews where he quotes the Koran incessantly. What would you think of similar tactics by Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell, who appear as secularists by comparison? Ghs


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I just saw this.

Jeffrey Prather is quirky, but he's the real deal in everything I have seen. He is hopping mad, too. I haven't seen him that mad before.

The title of his video is a bit hyperbolic. When Prather starts talking, he says "bomb or cause to be bombed." What he's talking about is a lot of data points that don't add up and he's clear about that.

But he doesn't buy the suicide vest theory for the Kabul airport bombing. And frankly, there doesn't seem to be much evidence of that. It actually does look more like a planned bombing from stealth airplanes.


Beware, though. The opening of the video shows 30 seconds of a group execution Taliban-style. Prather even tells you to turn it off if you don't want to look.

But I think we all need to look. This is reality, not some fucking narrative that needs controlling as General Milley worries about how to introduce the Taliban to gender studies and critical race theory.

Join Jeffrey live at 1pm today... Americans & troops bombed & shot! State Department told Americans LEAVE airport! US B-52 bomber in route turned off transponder! CIA pretends Taliban good ISIS-K bad!


In Prather's opinion, the bombing was a false flag staged by the people who control Biden in order to get him out and get Harris in. He talks about bombers turning off their transponders over there and so on.

This is fog of war, so nobody giving information in public can be trusted to be accurate (including Prather). That means I can't endorse any theory like his with certainty. But as conjecture, I certainly can endorse it. His view is plausible. And it should be considered. The uncertainty is unsettling, but it is far preferable to taking Fearless Leader at face value and watch the world burn.

The US government lies.

That statement is more than just a gripe. It's a fact.

Prather also blasts Trump and others. I disagree with those parts, but I'll take his passion and knowledge in the service of restoring America. 


A lady named Mel K, who is one of those the mainstream fake news calls a "conspiracy theorist," says it's OK to be wrong. I agree with her. Right now, nobody knows anything for certain. If we don't brainstorm what the high and mighty are doing in the backrooms, they certainly are not going to tell us. And brainstorming always comes with errors. 

But brainstorming and crowdsourcing information and communicating outside the mainstream uncovers a lot of things that are spot on. And those things then become targets for more effective action measures. 

So when I watch this video by Prather, I discard the things I disagree with, attribute some of the hyperbole to anger, look at the things that make sense to me, and feel a little more knowledgeable about this mess the Biden junta has involved America in. At least I have informational things to process in my brain than the "controlled narrative."


One of those things is that this Afghanistan mess might be intentional by the people behind the scenes, not due to incompetence by Biden. Nobody knows for certain, but this is something we all need to look out for. After all, these assholes stole a presidential election right in front of the whole world using the flimsiest of lies to sell it. What won't they do?

And if a theory or speculation is wrong, who cares? At least when we talk about it, we are looking. Most people have good brains, so the truth will emerge over time. It always does. But it will take a lot longer to emerge if we don't look. That means I, for one, look.

This is why I am glad Jeffrey Prather exists. And I am glad he is on the same side as I am.


Fighting a war is not playing gotcha with syllogisms behind a computer screen and posturing. It's messy and it's violent (which is the reason to look at the Taliban executions--to get a conceptual referent) and it's full of deception.

I only have a small voice right now, but the OL audience includes many prominent people. Silent, but they're here. So I can pound at the "controlled narrative" and call for people to identify before judging, to make their best speculations when they don't know for sure, to keep their eyes open and distrust liars who seek power. Which means, use their reason.

That's one thing, at least, I can do. I am sure there will be other things before too long.

For all the intellectual depths and research and arguments and so on, it boils down to this. I intend to do my part to make sure we win and the bad guys lose.

It's that simple.

I hope you do, too.


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One of the hallmarks of Tim Pool is that he always tries to see both sides of an issue. This often infuriates both sides against him, but he doesn't budge.

He finally budged.

Biden lost him.


Watch The FULL Podcast Show - Become a Member - Tune in randomly...

When the US government gave a list of Americans and collaborators to the Taliban, ostensively to inform them of who to let through to the airport, but effectively giving the Taliban a kill list, Tim lost it.

He thinks Biden's war machine is trying to find a pretext to invade Afghanistan again. That's why they need atrocities and are actively promoting them.

That's a very interesting proposition in addition to the others. I find this entirely plausible. It would be an attempt at a neocon rally with more endless war for profit.

Well, we all know Biden is the Democrat version of a neocon...


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I did not look at the video of executions because hearing about them was sufficiently gross. Countdown to an Afghan pull out. August 27, 28, 29, 30, 31. I think Biden should keep his options open to be sure all who want out are rescued. But we need to get the hell out of areas where the people in charge are worse than the Nazi’s. Then we should have nothing to do with them, and I don’t even want the news reporting what goes on in their self-made hell.

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I don't watch Fox anymore, but I do like Tucker.

So here is what Tucker had to say last night.


Apologies, missing about 8 mins due to technical issues

Frankly, I don't know how Fox allows Tucker to stay on air.

Probably the worst thing he talked about was in his interview with Glenn Beck.

Glenn managed to get his audience to put together $30 million to help rescue Christians in Afghanistan. So far, he has gotten out 5,100.

But, as he said, his biggest obstacle is the US government.

What the State Department is doing is trying to figure out where he is taking these refugees (nearby countries), then going to each country and threatening it with this and that if they take in the refugees from the aid provided by Glenn and presumably other private actors.

This is unbelievable.

This is pure evil.


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More Bannon with lots of military guys.


We discuss the aftermath of the coordinated terror attack in Kabul, and break down Biden's address to the nation. Our guests are: Patrick K. O'Donnell, BG Don Bolduc, John Bennett, Erik Prince Stay ah



We discuss the aftermath of the coordinated terror attack in Kabul, and Aaron Babbitt joins us for an in depth discussion. Our guests are: Patrick K. O'Donnell, Gen. Michael Flynn, Aaron Babbitt, Darr



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This guy was in one of the Bannon videos, not him per se, but the video he made of his complaints about the current ineptitude of the military brass and put online.


A sitting Marine battalion commander on Thursday blasted the “ineptitude” of U.S. military leadership over the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal, saying he was willing to risk losing his 17-year career and...



A sitting Marine battalion commander was fired Friday after he slammed the "ineptitude" of U.S. military leadership over the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal, saying he was willing to risk losing his 17-year career and future retirement pension in order to "demand accountability" from top military brass.

Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller said in a Facebook post that he was relieved for cause after he posted a video Thursday saying military leadership let service members down during the bungled Afghanistan withdrawal. His video post came after a terrorist attack at Hamid Karzai International Airport on Thursday that killed 13 U.S. service members, including someone with whom Scheller had a close relationship.

"I have been relieved for caused based on a lack of trust and confidence," Scheller wrote.

In his Thursday video post, Scheller said that military leadership should take responsibility for the situation in Afghanistan.

"The reason people are so upset on social media right now is not because the Marine on the battlefield let someone down. That service member always rose to the occasion and done extraordinary things," Scheller said. "People are upset because their senior leaders let them down and none of them are raising their hands and accepting accountability or saying, ‘We messed this up.'"

The scathing public rebuke is a sign of the growing anger among U.S. service members over the pullout and evacuation effort, which has led to a Taliban takeover of the country, left departing Americans vulnerable to deadly terrorist attacks, and stranded thousands of at-risk Afghan military allies.

"I want to say this very strongly. I have been fighting for 17 years. I am willing to throw it all away to say to my senior leaders: I demand accountability," said Scheller.


Well, he did get fired. But Erik Prince was on the show with Bannon. Prince said if anything bad happens professionally to Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller, he need not worry. Prince would find him a high-paying job in the private security industry (read mercenary :) ).

So Scheller will not be hurting. But I bet the military brass's butts are hurting.

They better get used to it. They don't even know what butt-hurt feels like yet.


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