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Friday, November 20, 2009

Rand Paul on Guantanamo Bay

***Call in Radio Show on this issue tonight at 8 pm! Details below***

The Controversy

Many of Rand Paul's more libertarian supporters are concerned about his recent statements regarding the Guantanamo Bay detention center, though many of his more conservative supporters might be very pleased:

For Immediate Release
November 19, 2009

BOWLING GREEN, KENTUCKY – Leading United States Senate candidate Rand Paul today criticized the Obama administration’s decision to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center and try terrorism suspects in United States Civil Courts.

"Foreign terrorists do not deserve the protections of our Constitution," said Dr. Paul. "These thugs should stand before military tribunals and be kept off American soil. I will always fight to keep Kentucky safe and that starts with cracking down on our enemies."

This release yesterday has raised the ire of many of Rand Paul's supporters who align themselves closely with his father, Ron Paul's strict opposition to the continuing existence of the prison.

Reading through the comments at The Daily Paul or Mises Institute, it becomes apparent that Rand may have lost a large number of die-hard supporters over this controversy.

The Radio Show Tonight

Tonight I will be hosting a one hour, call-in radio show to get your thoughts about Rand's recent statements. The point of the show will be to have a real dialogue about this and to gather a representative sample of everyone's different thoughts- in part simply for Rand's benefit.

I will be e-mailing the recording of the show to Rand Paul's people so that they can put their finger to the pulse of what supporters think, from traditional "red-meat" conservatives to people in the Ron Paul R3volution camp.


You can listen to the show live here, or here:

It will be tonight (Fri, 11/20) at 8:00 PM Central Time

Call-in Number: (646) 929-2657

Depending on the volume of calls, I may not be able to get everyone on the show, but I will do my best to let as many people speak as possible while allowing each caller to have ample time to fully articulate their position. All thoughts and positions on this issue are welcome.


I am a strong Rand Paul supporter. I have worked actively to support and promote his campaign. I have donated a lot of money to his campaign.

I am a little shocked and worried about this development, but I also want to give Rand some time to fully explain and defend his position before making a judgment about it.

This whole situation carries a lot of nuance, so there's a lot of ground to be covered and questions to be asked.

Other info

Here are two great resources on this issue that offer two good arguments for closing down Guantanamo Bay, one Constitutional and one strategic.


  1. "Reading through the comments at The Daily Paul, it becomes apparent that Rand may have lost a large number of die-hard supporters over this controversy."

    I'm not so sure about that. Most of them seem to be the same five or six people who've said they're no longing support Rand Paul a half dozen times in the past.

  2. Well you sound like you keep closer tabs on all the commentators there than I, so I will defer to your thoughts on the matter- you should totally call in tonight and let everyone including Rand know what you think! Thanks for the comment.

  3. This has definitely piqued my interest. I would describe myself as surprised and alarmed, but will give it some time, investigation, and thoughtful reflection before passing over into disappointment.

  4. Actually, many of us LIBERTARIANS!! are quite pleased with Rand's position here. It's a huge mistake to assum that the Libertarian position is Pro-Wimpiness, Isolationist and Pro-Surrender.

    The more correct Libertarian position is to fight Islamo-Fascism. And many of us principled Libertarians are extremely happy that he has separated himself from his Father's non-libertarian foreign policy positions.

  5. Let me know if you want to call in tonight- e-mail me the number you'll be calling from and I'll make sure you get on the show. I'd love for you to be able to share your thoughts.

  6. Is there an online archive of this show somewhere? I didn't hear about it until it was too late, but I'd like to hear what the callers had to say.

  7. Absolutely- at the same link where you could have listened to it live, you can now listen to the archived version:

    *I only had two callers, and the rest of the time it was a monologue :(

  8. I linked to your post here.
    Clarifying Rand's Position on Guantanamo

    I'm also putting this blog in my blog roll, would you mind putting me on yours?

    Here are some of my comments.

    The problem then, seems to be the lack of any official declaration of war, like I've blogged about before. Had Rand been in the US Senate at the time, he would have forced an official declaration and there wouldn't be any question about whether or not these are prisoners of war and what their rights are vs regular citizens or "enemy combatants" (which seems to mean whatever Bush wanted it to mean).

    But the fact is the Afghanistan war wasn't done properly and constitutionally, and now we have to figure out the best way to unscramble an omelet. I will state for the record that I disagree with Rand on the issue, but I do think it's possible for libertarians and anti-war people to disagree on the best way to unscramble the evils of the state. Murray Rothbard and Frederick Hayek disagreed on the best way to unscramble the central bank, but they were both classified as solid Libertarians.


  9. Yeah no problem. I just added you. Thanks for the exposure and for taking the time to articulate your thoughts in defense of Dr. Paul's bid.

  10. Hi, I'm sorry that I missed your show last night (didn't find out about it until just now). I'll listen to the recording later. Perhaps you can try to get Rand Paul on your show to talk about this? I read your post on Daily Paul, but I am not entirely convinced that Rand Paul's position is that he supports closing Gitmo. As you pointed out, Mr. Hightower skirted around the issue. I think that if Rand Paul actually supported closing down Gitmo, the would have said so.

    Moreover, I can't say that I agree with Rand about trying Guantanamo prisoners before military tribunals because of the lack of transparency.

    Also, what's up with him calling for a declaration of war on Afghanistan? A declaration of war cannot make an unjust war just. It will make the war constitutional, but that's only a technicality. Why would anyone call on Congress to declare an unjust war?

  11. Anonymous- I think the goal there would be to end the war as soon as possible. The wars that Congress actually declares have always come to a clearly defined and prompt ending.

    Skyorbit- no problem!

  12. Anyone who attributes Rand Paul's statement that these terrorist should not be given rights under the constitution as Paul being pro GITMO is ignorant, and an idiot. He is against terrorist being tried as protected by the constitution. He is for military tribunal. How in the world does his statement as being opposed to trying these terrorist on American soil have anything to do with closing GITMO. He criticized Obama for bringing them to America, no for closing GITMO. Get your assumptions right, and read the statement.

  13. Declaring war is the first step in having a plan to ending a war. If you never declare war, you can carry on your police action with no results (Korea).


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