I have been mulling over the recent foreign policy debate I had with Dr. Delacroix and have come to a couple of conclusions. The first conclusion is that conservatives have absolutely no evidence to support their foreign policy proposition of world hegemony, so they instead rely on that old faithful tactic of demagoguery.
Dr. Delacroix was once a prestigious scholar and an expert in international affairs, so his arguments are ones that we can use to ensure that no straw man is being built for the purpose of winning the fight. Libertarians maintain that the 9/11 terrorist attacks did not come out of anywhere and that the United States is not an innocent actor overseas. This causes many people on both the Left and Right to ruffle their feathers and denounce libertarians as unpatriotic or worse.
Yet just consider the two points that libertarians do make in regards to the 9/11 terrorist attacks (again, I wanted to pick out the strongest example so that no straw man may be built for the crass purpose of “winning” the argument):
- The 9/11 terrorist attacks did not come out of nowhere.
- The United States is not an innocent actor overseas.
I don’t see how any
sane, rational individual good skeptic can avoid these two arguments. Just look at the evidence in support of both. Al-Qaeda has been around since the Cold War and the CIA had actually worked with them in their operations against the Soviets in Afghanistan. When the first Bush administration (daddy) decided to keep troops in Saudi Arabia, bin Laden and Al Qaeda became an instant enemy of the republic. The bin Laden family is a rival of the Saudi family in the Arabian peninsula, and Osama bin Laden did not like the fact that Washington was now in bed with his hated enemies.
Policymakers in Washington knew that they had irked a potentially dangerous faction in the Muslim world, and the Clinton administration attacked Al Qaeda operations in both Sudan and Afghanistan with precision missile strikes during his presidency. Conservatives and liberals often pretend that the United States was an innocent bystander in the world up until the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and public ignorance is something that cannot be discounted, but intellectuals like Dr. Delacroix have resorted to demagoguery and myths instead of confronting the facts on this issue. They should be ashamed of themselves.
Imperialists cannot even acknowledge that the US had troops in Saudi Arabia at the time of the 9/11 attacks. They cannot admit this because it destroys almost every myth that the God of War depends upon to flourish in the minds of the hoi polloi. Just look at Dr. Delacroix’s images within the cave. On January 5th 2011, he writes:
By the way, no American troops in Saudi Arabia for ten years. When American soldiers were withdrawn from the holy soil of Saudi Arabia, terrorists attacks increased. Al Quaida and its buddies did not say, “Alright, we are all squared away now.” Your good reasoning seems to rely on misinformation.
I responded to this factually incorrect statement with the following response: “Ah, at first glimpse my reasoning may appear to rely on misinformation, but on second glance this appears not to be the case. The U.S. military did not withdraw from Saudi Arabia until 2003 – well after the World Trade bombing of 1998 and the September 11th terrorist attacks. Therefore, the facts appear to support my position that the American state’s military presence on Islamic holy land played a very significant part in the terrorist attacks on the Republic’s soil.”
Am I missing something?
On September 27th of the same year Dr. Delacroix again demagogues:
As I stated before when US troops were removed from Saudi Arabia, Al Quaida increased its attacks on Americans.
And I replied (calmly) with the following statement: “U.S. troops did indeed leave Saudi Arabia……so that they could occupy Iraq. There is that word ‘occupation’ again. Your assertion that Islamists just want to kill us for the hell of it seems to me to be the statement that has no empirical evidence.”
On December 5th of 2011 Dr. Delacroix again tries to present the same image on the wall of the cave:
Although the regretted Bin Laden had threatened the US in connection with American military presence in Saudi Arabia, the 9/11 attack took place after the US forces had vacated that country, not as a means to make them move.
I responded by pointing out the absurdity of claim: “This is absurd on its face, and I hope that Dr. [Delacroix]’s readers will take this statement into account when reading his critiques of libertarian policies regarding military action. The BBC reports on US troop withdrawal (in 2003) here. USA Today‘s report is here. The New York Times has something on it here. Fox News reports on the 2003 withdrawal here.”
I have not yet seen Dr. Delacroix make such absurd statement again, but the broader point I am trying to make in this post is that sometimes demagogic myths are persistent because of an obstinate ignorance on the part of other people. Remember, imperialists want the US to be a global hegemon, so sometimes a cognitive block may simply emerge in their thinking patterns.
The job of the libertarian is not to go about into the world winning converts for his church, but rather to sit back and point out the absurdities and falsehoods that are so often produced in the name of some well-intentioned government policy. We don’t have to do the same thing in the marketplace because consumers will decide who wins and who loses, but in matters of public policy everybody is affected so the libertarian has to be vocal.
In this sense I think I answered my own question about why Americans won’t give Gary Johnson or Ron Paul a fair shake in the electoral process. Our job is much too important to be left to the inanities of politics. We have to grapple with the most stubborn of prejudices. This is the libertarian’s task in the world.
Of course, if you wanted to cast your vote for Gary Johnson in this year’s election, I think you would be making a smart move :)