The Reluctant Warriors: How Libertarians See the War on Terror

Camille Wead

Camille Wead, editor of Law & History

While Americans are horrified by the beheading of innocent civilians by Islamic Terrorist groups in the Middle East they have remained surprisingly consistent about not wanting to send American troops back into the region. This trend showed dramatically last year when a Public Policy poll revealed that 74% of Americans did not want to send American troops back into Iraq.  (http://www.thenation.com/blog/180297/americans-really-do-not-want-be-part-another-war-iraq#)  This feeling is primarily driven by “war fatigue.”  And it may change abruptly as the atrocities escalate.  But this sentiment is also driven by an emerging political force in American politics, the Libertarians. Who are the Libertarians and what are their views of the war on terror?

For this blog post I interviewed my father, Doug Wead, who is a friend of Senator Rand Paul and on the staff of the Senator’s political action committee, RandPac.  Rand Paul is often referred to as a Libertarian and is one of the front-runners for the GOP nomination for president in 2016.

libertariansLibertarians are a political movement that emphasizes personal liberty and freedom of choice. They favor less government control and regulation and intrusion into the private lives of citizens, and yet they are strong proponents of the American Constitution which they see as the ultimate law for American society.

The Libertarian Movement attracts followers from across the socio-cultural-political spectrum, groups that might not otherwise have things in common. Doug says, “For example, Gays are attracted to Libertarianism because of its emphasis on personal privacy. Liberal Democrats like its emphasis on civil liberties and freedom from government surveillance. People who advocate legalizing marijuana are drawn to the Liberty Movement in hopes of changing local laws. African Americans see the movement as helping them redress the criminal justice system. They see their youth disproportionately sentenced to longer sentences as young whites for the same crime. And finally, a very large Christian Liberty Movement has emerged.” These are Christians who believe that because of a hostile national media they will continually lose efforts to legally federalize their beliefs on marriage and abortion and that the greater danger is now a threat to religious freedom itself.  By joining with other Libertarians they are fighting for religious freedom and more local, statewide, autonomy where in some states religious groups may predominate.

To make matters more complicated there are different types of Libertarians. Senator Rand Paul represents a new trend in what are called “practical Libertarians.”  These are people who lean toward the Liberty Movement but recognize, that at times, there are wider issues for the community that make compromise necessary. For example, Senator Paul does not favor legalizing marijuana.

So what are the Libertarian views about American foreign policy?

Libertarians believe that America should mind its own business.  That it should be friendly with other nations and trade with other nations but not dictate to their governments nor assume responsibility for their problems. Doug comments, “They believe that American should export its ideas by example not at the end of the bayonet.” Libertarians believe that war should be the last resort. They oppose foreign aid. On February 28, 2015, Senator Rand Paul asked the audience at CPAC, “Why should we borrow money from China and give it to Pakistan?” Senator Paul has introduced legislation that would make it illegal for the USA to give foreign aid to governments who execute Christians simply because of their faith. He opposes foreign aid that is “passed through” to terrorist organizations, such as U.S. foreign aid to the Palestinian government which is passed onto the terrorist organization Hamas.

L1Libertarians oppose wars that do not threaten the security of the United States. For example, Libertarians publicly opposed the war in Iraq warning of blowback or unintended consequences. When told of the atrocities of the Saddam Hussein government, Libertarians pointed to the Ronald Reagan years. Doug says, “President Reagan saw the Soviet Union and its version of communism as a threat to the security of the United States. Reagan’s wars were almost always proxy wars against the Soviet Union. Reagan never sought to bring Pol Pot of Cambodia to justice, even thought Pol Pot was responsible for murdering almost half of his own people.” When Reagan came to the White House Idi Amin, the evil, African dictator had just been toppled from power. Reagan did not bring Amin to justice.

Sometimes Libertarians can favor war. Former Congressman Ron Paul, the father of the Senator and a former presidential candidate himself, favored war against Afghanistan because it was harboring Osama Bin Laden and he was considered a threat to the United States.  He did not favor the war in Iraq, saying that they had not been part of 9-11 and our involvement would cause blowback.  Likewise in 1981, Ron Paul was one of the few American leaders who defended the Israeli attacks against the Iraqi nuclear facility. Doug comments, “Paul said that America should not dictate Israeli policy and she had a right to defend herself.”

More recently, Senator Rand Paul was the first public figure to call for a declaration of war against ISIS which he sees as a threat to American security.

But not all Libertarians agree.L2 Trying to get Libertarians, who cherish the rights of personal, individual freedom, to unite on anything has been compared to herding cats.

Libertarians say that America’s second war in Iraq was the cause of the current chaos across the region and is an example of the unintended consequences of an unnecessary war. They oppose American torture and point to Soviet long term studies in the Gulags that show it didn’t work. Many of them believe that 9-11 was caused by American bases in Saudi Arabia near Islamic Holy Sites which provoked Islamic anger. Many of them, represented by “practical Libertarian” Rand Paul, understand that we must now fight ISIS but also, they believe, we must eventually leave the region and try to mind our own business or the wars will never end.

W2W3

Advertisements

Immigration And Terror In France: Reflections Of A Frenchman

 

Camille Wead

Camille Wead, editor of Law & History

Exactly two months from today a man ran over eleven pedestrians with his car yelling “Allahu Akbar!” in Paris France. Last month twenty men were killed in Paris by the mass shooting at Charlie Hebdo magazine headquarters. Less than three weeks ago, a brutal stabbing injured three men guarding a Jewish center in Nice. While these acts of terror shock the world, they are not the first glimpses of terrorism in France and certainly will not be the last. Known to be the worst terrorist attack in modern French history was the 1961 train-bombing that killed twenty-eight, and injured more than a hundred. The 1995 train bombings in Paris, included eight bomb attacks in all, and was known to have injured more than 140 people. Looking at the records from 2000 to 2015, one will find numerous bombings, shootings, and stabbings, but these actions are nothing new. Acts of terror in France can be traced back to the 1960’s.

With all these events occurring, one might question what do the citizens of France think? Why are such events happening? And finally, what is the French government doing to stop these acts of terror on innocent people? Throughout this feature story you will hear the viewpoint of an army veteran, and French citizen. This topic is extremely controversial in French politics and may be found offensive. Due to the protection of my interviewee, we will call him André.

awwwAndré served as a driver to a Colonel in the French military for the Algerian Civil War. Recently a French colony, and known to be a Muslim country, Algeria was fighting to obtain their independence from the French in 1954. André remembers, “We were sent to defend the wealth of the rich French farmers in Algeria.” He would drive the Colonel down the same road five to six times a day, but on one specific occasion the breaks on the car broke. The car flipped, throwing André out of the car, and sending him straight to the hospital. His femur was broken and sticking out for all to see. He was at that hospital for a month in Algeria, then switched to a local hospital in France near his hometown.

awAfter the injury he went back to school to become a mechanic. Soon the army called for him to be sent back to Algeria for fifteen more months. André recalls, “I should’ve been sent back to the front lines, but I used my education as an excuse.” In France at that time if you were getting an education, the military would take you off the list. So once the French army knew André was getting an education and studying for his exams coming up, they let him be.

André remembers his time in Algeria well. “I remember how fascinated the children were with us French soldiers. I remember noticing a lot of lazy Algerian men. They made their wives work really hard as the men did nothing. Most importantly I remember how pointless the war was. The only thing my friends and me knew about the war was that we were defending the rich. It seemed like a pointless reason for men to die. The French army had over 100,000 deaths, as well as over a million dead Algerians on the opposing side.” After the war a large portion of French settlers, and pro-French Algerians moved to France. So much that Algeria was left with a huge lack of laborers. It was through this war that Algeria did in fact become an independent nation, and it is through these events in history that the terrorism attacks in France today unfold.

The immigration laws in France were very loose, and as the French government tried to tighten them during the 1990’s through the “Pasqua Laws” there was a growing amount of protest from their now many immigrants. In 2005 surveys reported that Algeria was considered the number one country sending immigrants to France. This made France the European nation with the highest number of Muslims. In 2030 it is said that the percent of Muslims living in France will grow more and more due to demographic reasons, and lower birth rates of non-Muslim Europeans. André comments, “It’s our government’s own fault that these acts of terror occur in France. We have always known, since immigration was opened to pro-Muslim countries, that the government should have never let those people in. We have seen that aggressive Muslims are born fighters. It comes as no surprise when we see Islamic terrorism and extremists. It is in their blood to fight. It is justified by their Koran, more than that, these acts of terror are instructed by their religion.”

Many French citizens are convinced that huge acts of terrorism, such as that of Charlie Hebdo, are a result of the immigration laws being open to such violent people entering the country of France. They know it is not the beginning of such acts of terror, and they also know it is certainly not the end. André ended the interview talking about what his government can do regarding terrorism in France, “I don’t know if there is anything the government can do about it. First they have to make the immigrants in France understand that terrorist attacks are wrong. Then they have to teach all the people of France that our country is founded on freedom, and respect towards one another. These acts of terror are horrible representations of my country.”

Officials join hundreds of thousands of people on a Je Suis Charlie march in Nice, FranceTerrorEiffelTower

 

 

Islamic Terrorism and the Battle Over Words

Camille Wead

Camille Wead, editor of Law & History

My source was a former computer programmer for NBC television. He asked that his identity be not revealed. He explained to me how the War on Terrorism is not only a war of guns and bombs, but also a war of words.

This is nothing new. Political and religious contests have always been fought over words and their meanings. My source says, “In the Middle Ages people in one country were burned at the stake for using words that were perfectly acceptable to others just across a nearby border.”  During the writing of the King James version of the Bible, theologians were executed for their “wrong” interpretations of Hebrew or Greek or Aramaic. In modern times, Hitler rose to power with the help of a Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels, who was given a cabinet position to work his trade. He had thousands of people laboring on the right words to promote their ideas.  Today, we no longer use the word “propaganda” but the science continues with the more acceptable title of “public relations.” In the United States, our presidents will sometimes have their pollsters seek out the perfect words to please the people. The White House employs hundreds of people who work in several different departments entitled, Press Office, Media Relations and Communications.  In addition, American presidents maintain between 10-20 full time speech writers, as well as outside contractors for special occasions.

Obama1My source comments, “Today, there are American politicians, including our own President Barack Obama, who insist that this is not really a ‘war’.  The President has not completely explained his reasons for this but it is often assumed that he is trying to ratchet down the level of hostility.  The fear is that by calling it a war it will offend more peaceful Muslims and they will be recruited into a never ending battle. Which brings up another issue. Most Americans believe that this is not just a war on Terrorism but a war on Islamic Terrorism. This, the president definitely rejects, saying that ‘Islam is a peaceful religion’. He believes that the terrorists are corrupting the beliefs of their faith and that they should not be dignified by calling them Islamic.”

koran1Those who see this as a war of Islamic Terrorism, which includes the majority of Americans, point out that the Terrorists quote from the Koran and carefully justify their acts with precedents from the Koran and the life of their prophet, Mohammed. The ritual be-headings, marriage to nine year old children, subjugation of women, including denying young ladies education, are all justified by them with verses from the Koran and examples from the life of their prophet.

Those who agree with President Obama’s interpretation of events point out that there are extremists in all religions.  His opponents reject this argument, saying that Christians are not killing others because of their religion.

Terroist1My source explains, “The Islamic Terrorists are using words and actions to recruit their followers. Their videos and Youtubes show their cruel handiwork, cutting off heads, burning people alive, and torturing children. How does this attract followers?  Muslims who feel that they have encountered God in their faith, look to everything else that is written in the Koran and accept it as holy.” When terrorists use the methods of the Koran, be-headings, for example, rather than hangings or firing squads, they are signaling to other Muslims that they are purists, true believers, doing exactly what the Koran dictates. Thus the Islamic terrorists use words and images to recruit and provoke their enemies who include all infidels or non-believers.  This bold, unabashed, literal embrace of the Koran and its dictates, is attractive to many who have seen their culture diluted by the materialism and secularism of the West.

Keep in mind: my source points out that, “One of America’s largest and most profitable exports is pornography.” No wonder America is called “the great Satan” by many in the Islamic world.

Americans who are outraged by the despicable acts which are committed, put them on television to show the world how outrageous and evil the terrorists are but the exposure also attracts Muslims, struggling with their faith, and inspired to see someone acting it out in literal fashion.

If the War on Terrorism is also a war of words and also ideas, it will continue long while the last innocent person is be-headed or the last bomb is dropped. It is a clash of ideas and cultures and religions. This will not go away easily.