Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Replies to Timothy Sandefur

Matt Welch started a 10 questions for pro-war libertarians, and was then answered by Timothy Sandefur who asked for other blogs to answer & reply. This is always a fun exercise, so here are my replies.

1) When, if ever, is preemptive war is justified?
Never. I'm using "Relating to or constituting a military strike made so as to gain the advantage when an enemy strike is believed to be imminent" as my definition and basing my answer on the knowledge that the last time we actually faced such a situation was WWII.

2) When, if ever, is the United States justified in removing a foreign dictator from power?
In the event of genocide, e.g. Saddam and the Kurds; Milosovec and the Muslims in Bosnia.

3) Do you agree with the position recently quoted approvingly on this blog by Dr. Kuznicki that Islamic terrorism is not a serious threat, but a hobgoblin used by the Bush Administration to increase its authority?
I believe it's both a serious threat and a hobgoblin used by the Bush Administration.

4) Precisely what (if anything) do you propose the United States do about the Iranian nuclear weapons program?
I have no proposals. Believe that Iran will engage in "strategic ambiguity" similar to what Israel now uses (we have them - we both know it, but we'll never admit it or use them). While I feel uneasy about Iran having nuclear weapons, I don't agree with going to war with them, or attempting surgical strike.

5) Do you believe that the United States should defend Israel, either militarily, by the sale of arms, or in other ways (please specify)?
I have no problem with selling Israel weapons. I am in favour of ending foreign aid though - Israel will survive the loss of our $4bn/annum, but will face some tough budget choices. Israel is fully capable of defending itself - they survived an attack by Jordanian, Egyptian, Syrian, Lebanese and Iraqi back in 1948 when the US was not helping them; and now they have a cold peace with Egypt and Jordan and no realistic expectation of being attacked by anyone besides the Palestinians, who do not pose a serious threat to Israel's existence.

6) Can you name a specific case in which an American dissenter, not actually affiliated with a terrorist organization, has been jailed or otherwise deprived of civil rights under the PATRIOT Act?

7) Do you believe that we ought to remove American troops from Iraq immediately, regardless of the consequences to Iraqis?
Yes. I believe the US is now more of a source of instability than stability. Arabs from other nations (for the most part) would not go to fight in Iraq were the US not there. To be honest, a 6-month withdrawal schedule would be better, so my true answer is closer to "No, but we should state a timeline immediately."

8) With regard to interrogation or incarceration: do you believe that infringements of religious sensitivities (e.g., mistreating the Koran) or personal sensibilities (e.g., making men wear women's underwear on their heads) ought to be regarded as comparable with physical torture?

9) What, if any, legal consequences do you believe flow from a declaration of war?
A broad question, but not sure of its relevance since there has not been a declaration of war since WWII. Believe that our nation would be better suited if we did not go to war without the declaration, and that Congress instead of authorizing force (e.g. Vietnam, Beirut, GWII), should declare war if the country does wish to go to war.

10) Do you believe that the Bush Administration purposely manipulated intelligence information in order to persuade the Congress to authorize military intervention in Iraq?

I guess this exercise can be repeated ad infinitum, but the immediate questions that I would pose back are:

1) Do you agree with Padilla denied the right to see a lawyer after his arrest?
2) Do you believe that he should be allowed bail now?
3) Do you believe that all prisoners in Guantanamo should have been vetted by now and either charged or released?
4) Do you agree with keeping bases in Uzbekistan?
5) Do you think that we should end foreign aid to Israel & Egypt?
6) If you were in favour of going to war with Iraq was it because you honestly thought that Saddam's NBC weaponry posed a threat to the US, or because of human rights reasons, or because the "Democratic Domino" belief - forcing Iraq to convert to a democracy would have a cascading effect on the region. Please choose 1 as being the most important to you.
7) Do you believe that the IRC should have the right to see any prisoner held by the US military or CIA?

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