Hilary Clinton voted for the Iraq War. Does it Matter?

In October of 2002, right before off-year elections for Congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives passed an Authorization for the Use of Military Force against Iraq. Not a formal declaration of war as required by The Constitution, the AUMF was used as the legal basis for a massive WMD attack – 2700 Tomahawk missiles and 20,000 precision guided weapons – followed by an invasion by U.S. infantry and armored divisions.

President Bush, Vice-President Cheney and other Republican leaders pushed for war on Iraq, with claims that the Hussein regime provided support for Islamic terrorists, like those who carried out the attack on the World Trade Center. The Bush team also claimed that the Iraqi government possessed “weapons of mass destruction.” Administration spokesmen defined WMD to include atomic weapons, but also chemical and biological weapons. National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice, admitting uncertainty about whether Iraq had a nuclear weapons program, warned that “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”

The U.S. invasion of Iraq resulted in hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians losing their lives, more being wounded, and the destruction of many neighborhoods and public facilities. More than 4000 American soldiers and contractors lost their lives, and more than 40,000 Americans sustained life-changing injuries. The cost of the war to American taxpayers continues to mount, along with interest on the money borrowed to cover the costs that exceed the tax revenues collected.

In the lead-up to the vote on the AUMF, President Bush along with Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Sen. John McCain and others used the Republican Party to push for a pre-emptive attack on Iraq, a country which had not attacked the United States. When Congress passed the AUMF in October 2002, an overwhelming majority of Republicans voted in favor. Even so, Bush needed votes from Democrats to pass the bill.

At the time of the vote, the U.S. Senate included 50 Democrats, 49 Republicans and 1 Independent. 48 Republican Senators voted for the Authorization for the Use of Military Force; without Democrat votes, it would have failed. Democrats split, with 29 voting yes, and 21 voting against war; 1 Republican and 1 Independent voted no, so the result was 77 yes, 23 no.

Democrats who voted for war with Iraq included Joseph Lieberman, Joe Biden, John Kerry, John Edwards and Sen. Hilary Clinton. If Senate Democrats had voted solidly in opposition to the AUMF, it would have stopped the military intervention in Iraq. Unless, of course, President Bush had authorized intervention with an unconstitutional executive order. By voting “Yes” Senator Clinton, Sen. Kerry, Sen. Biden and other Democrats provided the margin of victory for Ameican’s first pre-emptive war.

Senator Clinton’s vote for the Iraq War does matter. Clinton and other Senate Democrats provided votes needed for Bush to get his authorization for a pre-emptive attack, for a war that we continue to pay for.

Hilary Clinton’s support for the second war in Iraq is in line with Bill Clinton’s support for the first war against Iraq, undertaken in 1991 under leadership of President George H W Bush. Then Governor Bill Clinton was so committed to the Iraq War that he picked Sen. Al Gore for Vice-President specifically because he had voted for the war. After taking office as President, Bill Clinton maintained the policy of bombing Iraq to punish it for violations of the 1991 cease-fire; observors noted that when the media reported on Monica Lewinsky, President Clinton would order a bombing run over Iraq or Yugoslavia to divert people’s attention from his ongoing scandal.

Sen. Gore was so committed to the Iraq War that in 2000, as the nominee for President, he picked Sen. Joe Liebermann as his running mate because he too supported the Iraq War.

A vote for Hilary Clinton for President is a vote to continue the Bush/Clinton policy of military intervention in the Middle East. A vote for Gary Johnson, Libertarian for President, is a vote against international interventionism, and for a foreign policy of peace and free trade.

Tooley:”When Soviet Totalitarians Became American Allies”

Three quarters of a century ago, on June 22, 1941, Nazi Germany launched Operation Barbarossa, an attack on the Soviet Union across a front 3,000 miles long. Barbarossa moved the war into its global stage. It prefigured the final alliance system. It moved the Final Solution to the industrial level of killing. It helped bring the United States into the war, and certainly opened the floodgates of “pre-Lend-Lease” from the United States to Stalin’s Russia. As Ralph Raico has pointed out, the presidential powers inherent in Lend-Lease amounted to one of the great expansions of power in American history. On this aspect, see Raico’s review essay on Justus Doenecke’s Storm on the Horizon, as well as Raico’s rethinking of FDR, in which addresses the character of Hopkins.

But apart from Raico, Doenecke, and other historians in the libertarian and Old Right revisionist tradition, and in spite of the enormous impact this single event has had on world history, what a bundle of historical misinformation and misunderstandings surround it! In essence, two totalitarians agreed to divide Europe. After nearly two years of relatively close cooperation in invasion, mass killing, deportations, and forced labor, the two great apostles of the state parted ways, largely because their long range territorial, strategic, and economic plans were mutually exclusive. They were both still totalitarians, both still mass murderers.

Yet this whole issue of Hitler and Stalin as two roads to the same total state had to wait, really, until the 1980s and early 1990s before any hint of historical comparisons reached the mainstream, meaning college textbooks, academe, popular history, etc. Even all those years later, even when specialists among mainstream historians knew very well that the research on Stalin portrayed a horrifying record, treatment of the Man of Steel in textbooks, in the news media almost always pulled punches.

The amazing thing is that during the Cold War, educated Americans could hold both images in their minds: “Uncle Joe” on the one hand, and the evil Cold War Stalin on the other. A truly Orwellian feat.
Full Commentary by T. Hunt Tooley on the Anniversary of the German invasion of Russia in 1941, @ The Mises Institute https://mises.org/blog/when-soviet-totalitarians-became-american-allies

Maas:”Former Associates of Rand Paul and Charles Koch Launch Non-interventionist Think Tank”

A team of libertarian and constitutionalist foreign policy experts have joined a team led by political activist Edward King in forming the Defense Priorities Foundation — a non-interventionist foreign policy think tank. King was the former national youth director for former Representative Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) 2012 presidential campaign and the COO of Concerned American Voters, a PAC that supported Senator Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) failed 2016 Republican presidential campaign.

“We are just getting started,” King was quoted by Politico. “But one of the main things we want to accomplish is to expand the debate on foreign policy, which we think has been sorely lacking, especially for the last 10 or 15 years.”

“We are seeking support,” King continued, signaling out William P. Ruger, the new group’s senior advisor and foreign policy scholar, as “a tremendous asset.” Ruger, who is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, is the vice president of research and policy at the Charles Koch Institute.

Visitors to the Defense Priorities Foundation’s website are greeted by a bold headline that summarizes the new group’s goals: “A Strong Military to Ensure Security, Stability, and Peace.” The foundation’s mission statement reads:

To inform citizens, thought leaders, and policy makers of the importance of a strong, dynamic military — used more judiciously to protect America’s narrowly defined national interests — and promote a realistic grand strategy prioritizing restraint, diplomacy, and free trade to ensure American security.

Full article by Warren Maas @ The New American http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/foreign-policy/item/23395-former-rand-paul-and-charles-koch-associates-launch-non-interventionist-think-tank

Shikha Dalmia:”Trump Is a Bellicose Fool Who’ll Make War, Not Love”

The world expected President Obama to bring peace. Instead, he made war. When this Nobel Peace Prize recipient leaves the Oval Office, he will have the dubious distinction of having served as the longest wartime president in the history of the United States.

Is it possible that the reverse would happen with Donald Trump if he gets elected? Would he bring peace when the world expects him to make war?

Some anti-war activists on both the right and the left hope so. They are kidding themselves.

Make no mistake: Trump’s bellicosity, hair-trigger temperament, disturbing tendency to see the world as “us versus them,” and, above all, his militant protectionism will mean more war, not less.

Full commentary by Shikha Dalmia @ Reason http://reason.com/archives/2016/06/07/trump-is-a-bellicose-fool-wholl-make-war

SPOILER ALERT: Gary Johnson & Bill Weld Don’t Plan to Throw the Election

People are unhappy. Many feel insecure and are unsatisfied with their options in life. Many are worried about their future and their children’s future, and they are dissatisfied with the country’s leaders, and those who want to be leaders.

Widespread dissatisfaction with much of the record of the last two Presidents has driven Donald Trump into first place in the Republican contest. Trump benefited from his celebrity status and unequaled name recognition. He benefited more from the failure of his opponents to break out of their narrow ideological factions.

Despite his recognized status as presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump has very high negative ratings among the population at large, and many Republicans are uncomfortable with his views, his character, and many of his past actions.

THE CONTENT OF HIS CHARACTER

Prominent conservatives have called for the defeat of Donald Trump, so that that the conservative movement is not tainted by the actions of a President Trump.

George Will hopes that Trump will lose every state. P.J. O’Rourke has written that he will vote for Hilary Clinton, who is evil in an ordinary way, rather than Trump, who is evil in new and unpredictable ways.

Despite the fact that he has never held government office, Donald Trump has presided over four bankruptcies.

Trump calls Mitt Romney a loser, but he shares the Romney tendency to take more than one side on any given issue, often in a serial manner.

Donald Trump supported the Iraq War in 2004. Now, 12 years later, he calls it a disaster. Good. He has learned, as millions of Americans have learned – including John Kerry, Bill Weld and, maybe, Hilary Clinton, that the war they backed has made America less secure, less free and less prosperous.

More recently, Trump criticized President Obama for being slow to intervene in Libya. Now, we have seen what a fiasco our Libya policy has become, and Trump is blasting Obama for going into Libya.

Trump was for gun control, now he is against it. He was pro-choice, now he has said that woman who gets an abortion must be punished. He has probably changed his view on that as well.

Donald Trump is against Obamacare. Trump has proposed, instead, that America adopt a “single-payer” form of socialized medicine. OK, Mitt Romney did not go that far. He has never advocated for single-payer socialized medicine. On principle he stops with the state level forerunner of Obamacare that he implemented in Massachusetts – Romneycare.

Donald Trump has remained steadfast in his support for eminent domain – the compulsory sale of private property, ostensibly for public benefit. Often, only part of the public benefits. As a developer, Donald Trump has benefited from the use of eminent domain. Sometimes a Trump development was the “public benefit” used to justify an eminent domain taking. In late May, he restated his belief in the importance of eminent domain, noting that the Keystone Pipeline could not be built without it.

Donald Trump has denounced Edward Snowden, who exposed the federal government spying on millions of Americans. Trump called for “executing the traitor.”

Aside from his consistent advocacy of eminent domain, Trump’s many policy shifts add to a perception of instability, highlighting concerns about his character. For many conservatives and independents, even if he moves, in his constant shifts, toward acceptable policy positions, the character issue will remain.

AN HONORABLE ALTERNATIVE FOR REPUBLICANS

As RNC Chair Reince Priebus calls for unity behind Donald Trump as the presumptive nominee, an unusual number of prominent Republicans, including office-holders and donors, have refused to commit to supporting The Donald.

The Libertarian Party has nominated two former Governors with records of balancing budgets, cutting taxes, and speaking out in support of personal freedom. As America faces a growing burden of government debt – on track to reach 20 trillion dollars- Gary Johnson and Bill Weld have more experience dealing with fiscal issues than Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton.

The Wall Street Journal has called the Libertarian ticket an “Honorable Alternative for Republicans.”

Gary Johnson was elected Governor of New Mexico as a Republican in 1994, winning in a state where Democrats constitute the majority of voters. He balanced the budget every year, pushed through and signed 14 tax cuts, and left a billion dollar surplus in the state treasury. His successor, Governor Bill Richardson, a Democrat, gives credit to Johnson for leaving the state government in good financial health, and making possible the massive tax cut that Richardson pushed through in 2003, when every other Governor in the US was promoting a tax hike or facing a deficit.

Bill Richardson signed up David Harris as his top fiscal adviser, after Harris had served as head of the Finance and Administration Department under Governor Johnson. Richardson notes that “Harris and Johnson had tried unsuccessfully to cut personal income taxes over two terms in office.” Richardson, as a Democrat, was able to get the Democrat majority in the legislature to support the tax cuts that Gary Johnson’s fiscal responsibility had made possible. (Between Worlds, 2005, page 293)

Gary Johnson had also promoted school choice through a voucher system, but was unsuccessful in getting the legislature to go along with this.

In 1999, after winning re-election with 55% of the vote, Governor Johnson came out for ending marijuana prohibition. He was the highest ranking elected official to support legalization of marijuana, soon joined by Jesse Ventura, Independent Governor of Minnesota. Gary Johnson has remained a high-profile supporter of legalizing marijuana, and he has campaigned in several states in support of marijuana initiatives.

William Weld was elected Governor of Massachusetts in 1990, defeating John Silber, a neoconservative Democrat close to drug czar William Bennett.

Governor Weld balanced the budget every year without borrowing, and pushed through and signed 9 tax cuts. Weld signed the first state-level Medical Marijuana law in the United States. In 1994 Governor Weld was re-elected with 71% of the vote, defeating Mark Roosevelt, great-grandson of Theodore Roosevelt.

Governor Johnson and Governor Weld showed in practice a commitment to fiscal conservatism, tax relief and free market economics. In New Mexico and Massachusetts this record of fiscal conservatism attracted votes from independents and Democrats as well as the small Republican bloc in each state.

LIBERTARIANS OFFER A CHOICE FOR ALL AMERICANS

The Libertarian commitment to fiscal responsibility and free market economy should appeal to conservatives fed up with the big government legacy of George W Bush, and to Republicans worried about Donald Trump’s character and policies.

Libertarians back personal freedom as well, in contrast to the social conservative politicians who dominate the Republican Party. Yet there are conservative intellectuals and Republican voters who agree with libertarians on issues of personal freedom.

Libertarians support the legalization of marijuana and an end to the War on Drugs. National Review has long supported this position. In 1996 Sen. Barry Goldwater (ret) endorsed Arizona’s Medical Marijuana initiative.

Gary Johnson and Bill Weld support a woman’s right to control her life, her health and medical decisions; both support a woman’s right to choose an abortion, as did Sen. Barry Goldwater. Millions of Republican voters are pro-choice, and have often voted for anti-choice candidates in order to oppose Democrat tax & spend policies. Now, pro-choice Republicans can vote Libertarian and support freedom across the board.

Gary Johnson and Bill Weld oppose the Bush-Clinton policy of military intervention in the Middle East. They also oppose the Bush policy, backed by Trump, of using torture in the interrogation of suspected terrorists.

Libertarian views on marijuana, woman’s right to choose, and peace should appeal to many Democrats and independents – some who have voted for Bernie Sanders, who is pro-choice, supports legal marijuana, and opposed the Iraq War. Others agree with Sanders on these issues, but can’t support his extremist calls for more government spending and higher taxes. These Democrats will have a choice in November – Gary Johnson on 50 state ballots.

GARY JOHNSON & BILL WELD DON’T PLAN TO THROW THE ELECTION

As the election approaches, Trump supporters and professional Republican operatives will charge that the Libertarian ticket will be “spoilers” – taking votes from Republicans and “throwing the election.”

Do Libertarians want Donald Trump to lose? For the sake of America, yes! That is why we are running Gary Johnson for President against Trump. We are also running Gary Johnson against Hilary Clinton. In 50 states Libertarians will give voters a chance to simultaneously reject Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. Republicans who vote for Johnson & Weld will be joined by independents and Democrats, much like the coalitions in New Mexico and Massachusetts that overcame dominance by the Democratic Party to elect Gary Johnson and Bill Weld as Governors.

The election is more than 5 months away – plenty of time for Donald Trump to embarrass himself and drive away voters. Gary Johnson on the ballot in 50 states means that you can reject Donald Trump without supporting big government Democrats. If the Trump campaign collapses under the weight of his dangerous incoherence, his race-baiting and his reliance on insult as his main form of argument, Gary Johnson will provide a real alternative to the Democrats in 2016.

If you vote Libertarian in 2016 you will help to build a party committed to the free market, limited government and personal freedom. A party that can provide a choice for Americans if the Republicans and Democrats nominate candidates who are “dangerously incoherent” or just plain crooked politicians committed to everyday statism. And if the voters elect a “dangerously incoherent demogogue” or just a plain everyday statist, a big vote for the Libertarian ticket can ensure there will be a coherent opposition.

Muhammad Ali, Fighter for Peace

When you get to be my age, you notice that people you have known about all your life are dying on a regular basis. David Bowie, Prince, and now Muhammad Ali. This is not an obituary, but a brief tribute to someone who overcame obstacles that I have never had to face, made a life and career for himself, and was willing to put that life and that career in danger on behalf of a principle.

Born Cassius Clay, in 1964 he became a champ, and he became a Muslim, affiliated with America’s own Nation of Islam. Inspired by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, who taught Black Americans to love self and kind, over his life he showed his love for people of all races and colors. In the years after health problems ended his boxing career, he devoted himself to uplifting the poor and oppressed in America and the world through his own charitable activities.

In later years, health problems ended his fighting career. In his earlier life, a stand for principle put his career on hold, as he refused to be inducted into the U.S. Military. As a Muslim he did not feel an obligation to fight and die for a government that kept his own people from enjoying the benefits of freedom. As a human being he did not feel it to be right to go overseas and kill people that he did not know and could hardly have a grudge against.

In his most insightful monolog. comedian George Carlin noted that Muhammad Ali had sought a consciencious objector exemption from military service. Carlin said they denied his request because of his job – beating people up. But, he quoted Ali saying “I don’t kill people, that’s where I draw the line.”

Muhammad Ali was just as articulate about the issue. He noted that when he gets into the ring, he and his opponent hurt each other as a sport. But war is different. “In war the intention is to kill, kill, kill and keep on killing innocent people.”

In opposing war he undertook a humanitarian mission greater than the charity works that absorbed much of his later life. For refusing induction, he lost his title and was banned from boxing until the Supreme Court overturned his conviction for refusing to cooperate with the Selective Service System.

Before the draft became the issue, he was best known for his poetry, and what some considered egotistical blustering, when he proclaimed “I am the Greatest.” Those who met him in the ring often decided after the fact that he was “the Greatest.”

The Scots poet Robert Burns wrote many years ago “O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us,to see ourselves as others see us.” Muhammad Ali had a more powerful giftie; he got the world to see him as he saw himself. So I join with every other commenter today to say farewell to “The Greatest of All Time.”

Boaz:”A Libertarian Ticket Sane Republicans Can Get Behind”

Lots of Republicans are looking for a sane alternative to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and it looks like the Libertarian Party has just given it to them, now that former Massachusetts Governor William Weld has joined former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson’s ticket.

It’s the first time two governors have shared a presidential ticket since Republicans Thomas E. Dewey of New York and Earl Warren of California narrowly lost to incumbent President Harry Truman in 1948.

Many observers think experience as a governor is the best preparation for the job of president. Johnson and Weld would bring 14 years of gubernatorial experience to the White House, while neither Trump nor Clinton has ever served as governor or even mayor.

Johnson and Weld were both elected and re-elected in Democratic states, and dealt with heavily Democratic legislatures.

Neither Johnson nor Weld is a purist libertarian, and both have come under fire within the Libertarian Party, which will nominate its candidates in Orlando over Memorial Day weekend. Johnson displeased many libertarians (including me) by saying that government should ban discrimination on the basis of religion, including requiring a Christian baker to bake and decorate a cake for a same-sex wedding. Weld has supported some gun control measures.

But they will present a clear alternative to Trump and Clinton: strong and coherent fiscal conservatism, social liberalism, drug-policy reform, criminal-justice reform, reining in mass surveillance, ending executive abuse of power, and a prudent foreign policy that is neither promiscuously interventionist nor erratic and bombastic — all grounded in a philosophical commitment to liberty and limited government.

Full Commentary by David Boaz @ The Cato Institute http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/libertarian-ticket-sane-republicans-can-get-behind