Sunday, August 31, 2008

A letter to Bob Barr about "Good and Evil"

This is a letter that I wrote to Bob Barr yesterday. I decided to post it although I still very much support his campaign. If you agree with me and want to send this same message to Bob you can copy it and paste it into Word, print it and mail it to the address below, or copy the letter and send it to him on his website, although you have to register to do so. Register here

Click HERE to see the interview with GlennBeck where Bob got off track. He is asked about "good and evil" and in my opinion he answers very badly. It happens at 2:50 from the beginning

Barr 2008 Presidential Committee
P.O. Box 725007
Atlanta, GA 31139

Dear Bob,

I have just watched the first fifteen or twenty minutes of the interview that you filmed with Glenn Beck yesterday, the 29th of August. As I watched you banter with the self-avowed warmonger, the hope that I had allowed myself to feel drained out of me like the life drains out of a motor when a rock punctures its oil pan. At the beginning of the interview, when you abandoned the libertarian notion that our state needs to act only in the interests of the citizens, and instead accepted the OneParty idea that the USA should be the global judge and executioner, the motor that has driven me to promote your candidacy with great fervor seized up. Instead of looking out for our self-interest you advocate searching out “evil”. Shame on you.

Bob, I believe in freedom, I believe in individual liberty and I am certain that those goals are not possible in a state that is dominated by a large government which judges itself capable of identifying “evil” and combating it around the world. Who is going to identify “evil”? What do we do when the search for evil reveals ourselves? Let me give you an example. If you ask Americans that tune in regularly to TV if there is evil in the world that must be eliminated, most will answer, yes. If asked for an example, the most common answer will be Osama Bin Laden and the suicide hijacking attack on the World Trade Center. Was that the result of “evil”? Was it “evil” that motivated those men, or something else?

Was the attack on the Twin Towers any more evil than the firebombing of Dresden and Tokyo or the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima? The Japanese had attacked us at Pearl Harbor and the Germans had overrun Europe. We entered into the war with a clear goal and we let the enemy, Germany and Japan, know what that goal was. That goal was the surrender of Germany and Japan, the disarming of both and regime change in both countries. Our justification for the mass killing of civilians was that the sooner we ended the war, the fewer people would die. So the Pentagon and the White House decided that killing thouands of civilians all at once might break the will of the enemy and make him accede to our demands, thereby shortening the war.

So was that different than what the Islamic radicals did on September 11th, 2001?

Who were the attackers and what was their goal? Most of the nineteen suicide hijackers were Saudis. They were led by a Saudi: bin Laden, and an Egyptian: al Zawahiri. Bin Laden and al Zawahiri had complained for years that the US military base in Saudi Arabia violated the Koranic dictate against military occupation of the Dar Al Islam. They had also complained for years that the Saudi royalty and the Egyptian President were maintained in power by the US government, thanks to American intelligence, money and weapons. They demanded that the United States stop arming and abetting Israel who has murdered and removed Palestinians from their homes. Bin Laden and al Zawahiri demanded that the United States stop the embargo and bombing of Iraq. So, just as we told the Germans and the Japanese how to avoid our retribution, so did Bin Laden also warn us. Our Bin Laden unit in the CIA, run by Michael Scheuer reported this information in detail, but the intelligence never got to decision makers. As the Islamic radicals were limited to alternative weapons, they decided to steal some jetliners and kill a mass of civilians all at once in order to break the will of the enemy and make him accede to their demands.

Now as you reflect upon the case of 911 and mass civilian bombing in WWII from a moral standpoint, please explain why one is “evil” and the other is not. That same moral problem presents itself in our behavior regards Georgia, South Osettia and Russia. Why is Russia evil to advocate the secession of South Osettia, but Serbia was evil when it opposed the secession of Kosovo? Our foreign policy should have NO considerations or judgments of “good and evil”. That is George Bush’s trademark; you should be wiser than that.

The government has no business labeling anyone or any organizations as evil. When we do we seed the problems that later come back to haunt us. Our actions need to be calculated solely on the possible risks and benefits to the USA. And as libertarians we should understand that the first and most important rule of security is to mind our own business. If we hadn’t meddled in Iran and Iraq and Israel and Palestine and Egypt and Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, etc., then 911 wouldn’t have happened. We would not be involved in two wars and the Twin Towers would be peacefully looking across the water at New Jersey. Our self-interest is served by having dialogue with everyone, by making friends, and not by the hubris of thinking that we can identify “evil”.

As our government’s eyes look beyond our borders they should be blind to “good and evil”, just as they should be blind to “good and evil” here at home. Our government should simply adhere to the law. When the government makes judgments of good and evil, those judgments will always lead us away from strictly legal actions in the belief that we can bend the rules because what we are doing is “good”. That situational legality will always work against some group of people that are not harming anyone.

You also said that we need a strong intelligence establishment. That stance is antithetical to individual liberty. An intelligence operation requires secrecy to function. If we are to have a government that serves the people and not special interests we need to end the secrecy with which our government now operates. Intelligence organizations regularly break American law and always break international law. Intelligence organizations evolve into covert operations, where they do not only collect information, but actively try to affect other countries through illegal means, which include murder. The most startling reason to abandon our faith in secret intelligence gathering is that it is usually wrong. Look at Iraq for instance. There was some good intelligence, but there was so much bad intelligence that the good intelligence was drowned out. Who was right about Iraq? Historians, journalists with experience in Iraq, weapons inspectors who had spent years in Iraq. Who was wrong? The CIA and the NSA. Billions of dollars does not produce accurate intelligence because the historians and State Department are usually right. In order to justify their very expensive existence the CIA and NSA has to disagree with the State Department and historians, and that is when they start to decide on what they WANT TO find before they find it.

Bob, your answers alienated me from your campaign a bit. I am still going to support your campaign. I am still going to vote for you, but it will be with considerably less enthusiasm than it was last week.

Best regards,

C A Ferrell


Anonymous said...

Truly disappointing. A snippet from my own letter:

I am simply tired of my tax dollars being spent in ways that directly contradict my values. I don't believe our government should have that right. As a Libertarian, I'm shocked you do. Please reconsider your view and what you advocate as the Libertarian candidate in future television appearances. I may not feel represented by our government, but at least then I'd be represented by my own party.

Chris Ferrell said...

Good comment. I think that the Libertarian party is the only hope to bring some sense to American government. I hope that Mr. Barr feels the responsibility to be faithful to his new party's principles.