mind your business

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hi Tumblr! Some background on my quote about the message America sent with the Global War on Terror and Osama's death

Hey Tumblr! Thanks for linking and visiting The Humble Libertarian! Readers, I made some remarks on Facebook recently that my good friend and colleague, Bonnie Kristian posted to her Tumblr blog, The Hipster Libertarian, which then went mini-viral in the left and libertarian Tumblr-sphere...

Viral on Tumblr

And the list of links, comments, likes, and re-blogs goes on and on. You can check it out at Bonnie's Tumblr. Thanks so much Bonnie! Honestly I had no expectation that my remarks would go anywhere outside of the Facebook comment thread on which I left them, so please allow me to give you the full context by re-posting the conversation here...

My good friend and colleague with whom I interned last summer at Young Americans for Liberty, Mikayla Hall, wrote in a status update the night Osama bin Laden's death was confirmed:

"10 years, 2 wars, 919,967 deaths, and $1,188,263,000,000 later, we managed to kill one person. Was it Worth it?"

One of her friends named Ken responded:

"What would you propose we do instead? Just let him sit over there in a cave because it's too expensive. Hell yes it was worth it!!! It send a loud message to the world: Don't mess with the U.S."

To which I had to rebut:

"Ken- it sent a loud message to the world: Mess with the U.S. and we'll bankrupt ourselves trying to find a few dozen men. So if you're the kind of terrorist comfortable with suicide missions and want to bring down the U.S. economy, please come on over and attack us again. As an added bonus, we'll trample on our own citizens' civil liberties, humiliate and sexually assault them in airports, and completely ignore our own Constitution, so you'll have effectively destroyed our freedoms AND our prosperity."

This comment ended up getting re-posted in Facebook status updates all over, as well as to Young Americans for Liberty's blog, and Bonnie Kristian's Tumblr where it went viral. Thanks again, Bonnie!

Ken responded:

'Okay Wesley, how would you have handled it differently? Do you even think he should have been targeted to begin with? I agree with you about the extremes of the TSA and the Patriot Act, and I question how effective this extra security really is. Those who trade liberty for security, have neither. But, putting aside all the hardcore libertarian rhetoric... my response was addressing what Mikayla originally posted about the cost/expense of the war If our civil liberties were not being tramped on at home, would you then support going after him? At what point do you think it becomes "too expensive" to continue to hunt and kill our enemies?'

And my final word on the matter is:

'I don't think Mikayla was criticizing the operation to kill bin Laden (we got to know each other's views pretty well while living in rooms next door to each other and sharing a bathroom last summer while interning at Young Americans for Liberty), but this expensive "global war on terror." Note that precision and a small spec ops team, not overwhelming force, nor nation building took down bin Laden. Was killing him worth all the GWOT? Nope. Was the GWOT necessary to kill him? Nope. Did the GWOT effectively neuter "the message we sent" by killing him yesterday? Absolutely. How would I have handled it? History didn't start on 9-11, Ken. Back in the 1980s I'd have handled it by NOT encouraging radical Islamic terrorism and training and funding bin Laden as a proxy against the USSR. I'd have handled it by not supporting Iraq in its war against Iran. I'd have handled it by not getting involved in the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. I'd have handled it by not supporting the secular nation state of Israel. I'd have handled it by not setting up multiple secular puppet governments in Middle Eastern and North African countries. I'd have done (or rather, NOT done) all these things, and then 9-11 would not have happened.'

Well... that's my final word on the thread anyways. I'm working right now on some more commentary and analysis regarding bin Laden's death, the Global War on Terror, and U.S. foreign policy. Keep in touch throughout the day here at for more, and please do scroll down the right sidebar and subscribe to my updates if you're interested in an independent, libertarian, anti-war perspective on U.S. foreign policy.

Thanks so much for the outpouring of interest and link love everybody! I'm chuffed!

Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page