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Pacifist Isolationism II

November 18th, 2004 · No Comments

First, an emphatic nod to Radley Balko that it’s a bit odd to tar as “unserious” about foreign policy analysts who seem to have had a more accurate view of what the consequences of invading Iraq would be than their opponents. While that is, I think, more important than whether the view in question has been “rejected by the American people” (who are, every now and again, incorrect about things) it’s nonetheless worth noting that it has not, in fact, been rejected by a little less than half of the American people, not to mention the large majority of the rest of the world. It’s not as though this is some fringe minority position. Indeed, unless we see some dramatic improvement in Iraq—beyond the pageant of an election—it could easily enough become the “popular” view here.

Anyway, that said, let’s look at Ryan’s reply to my post below, which I think usefully shifts the debate to the question of what, constructively, libertarians have to say about the conduct on the war on terror, beyond “attempting to spread democracy by force of arms, and the Iraq intervention in particular, is a poor strategy.” Now, I don’t know how much libertarians per se do have to say that’s distinctive, though I’m not sure how much bite the observation has. Domestically, libertarians have plenty of views about what kinds of things shouldn’t be crimes, and about what steps (“unreasonable” search and seizure, interrogation without counsel, etc.) shouldn’t be taken in the name of fighting genuine crimes. But I don’t know that there’s anything specifically libertarian to say about which of the admissible methods police should employ. That’s a technical, instrumental question, not a political one.

So, I’m a little curious: Unless “serious” is perfectly coextensive with “in favor of invasions,” what would count as a “serious” alternative? I could echo the many intelligence experts, for instance, who say we need to rely less on technology to produce intercepts and focus on more agressive human intelligence, but that wouldn’t be memorable as an especially libertarian proposal, even if it were a libertarian advancing it. Still, it’s a topic that merits some more thought. More to come if I think of anythign especially juicy.

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