Libertarian Foreign Policy: A Dialogue on Imperialism

As I said in a response you may have missed, our discussion is probably useful. At its heart lie the issues of credibility and criticality.

Congressman Paul volunteered in a debate that the armed forces spent “30″ billions on air conditioning in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Mr Paul as a congressman and as a presidential candidate is responsible for anything he choses to say. It matters not if the thinks he got this info from a reliable source. You and I equally do not care much about the substantive meaning of the figure. However, if it’s absurd on its face is absurd on its face, his repeating it speaks to his criticality or to his intellectual honesty. Both qualities are important in a presidential candidate, I think. And, of course, I am leery of the dogmatism of Libertarians. Sometimes or often, it makes them unable to spot absurdity. Thus, the discussion of this Paul affirmation is not absurd.

The $30 figure for air conditioning needs to be applied to operational costs of the DOD, not to the total budget. The latter includes research and development and big obligations to military personnel not connected to any campaign, veterans’ benefits, for example. Operational costs properly defined constitute about 60% of total budget. Applying these figures to 2010, a high budget year, I find that the alleged air conditioning expenses cited by Ron Paul amount to 6% to 7 % of military expenditures in Iraq and in Afghanistan, not the 3% you state. That is absurd.

I note that if the US armed forces spend 6 or 7 % of the money I give them for military operations on air conditioning, they might have some explaining to do. That fact in itself sure wouldn’t be an argument for pulling out of either country.

Congressman Paul’s carelessness in this matter he chose to discuss however is enough of a reason to mistrust his judgment. And, of course,there is always the option of saying quickly, “I misspoke in the heat of the discussion.” This kind of admission usually endears candidates to the general public doing them more good than harm. However, Paul has no doubt. I suspect he has no doubts about anything.

I suspect that Congressman Paul’s enthusiastic rigidity accounts for the fairly high poll figures he regularly enjoys. I am guessing that it is also responsible for the fact that his numbers have not moved in months of campaigning. There are zealots and there are others. Again, I regret this situation because we have so much in common in about every other area.

Your rebuttal of my answer to the constitutional issue about who can start a war makes no sense. If two joint resolutions of Congress embodied in two public laws are not constitutional measures, I don’t know what is and I am not equipped to pursue the topic.

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