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L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 549, December 20, 2009

"The United Nations must be destroyed."

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Do Antiwar Libertarians Hate the Military?
by Laurence M. Vance
lmvance@juno.com

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

Americans love the U.S. military—and especially American conservatives. Even among those who treasure the Constitution, oppose an interventionist foreign policy, and no longer support the war in Iraq, the U.S. military is still held in high esteem.

Support for the military among conservative Christians is just as bad—and perhaps even worse. Many Christians have a military fetish. Support for the military has been elevated to an article of faith by many evangelicals.

It doesn't seem to matter where U.S. troops go, why they go, how long they stay, how much it costs to keep them there, how many foreigners die at their hands, and what they do when they are there—stanch support for the military is inherent in any conservative platform, secular or religious.

Conservatives get indignant when you question the institution of the military. To question the military in any way means that one is unpatriotic, unappreciative, and un-American.

I have written about these things many times over the years. So then, why another article on the U.S. military? On Saturday, December 12, I posted the following picture on the LRC blog with the comment: "Hey Marines, how about some toys for this tot in Afghanistan."

Toys for this tot?

The picture of this Afghan child was taken at the International Red Cross Orthopedic rehabilitation center on December 10 in Herat, Afghanistan. According to the UN mine information network, an average of sixty-two people are killed or injured by mines each month in Afghanistan.

Well, the "Conservative, Pro-military" blogger at politicalbyline.com went ballistic. In a post titled: "Why I left the libertarian ranks: Exhibit A—Hatred of the United States Military," Patrick (he doesn't give his last name), who blogs from "the southern suburbs of Detroit," opines:

I present this as "Exhibit A", to the fact that the libertarian movement has been infiltrated by Anti-War leftists who hate America, our Military and why they should be stripped of their citizenship and deported out of our fine Country and into another country; like say, North Korea, Venezuela or maybe even Communist China. Not to be rude about this, but it just so happens, that if that dumb kids fellow Countrymen had not giving refuge and comfort to those who would seek to destroy America—Namely Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda; the damned kid would still possibly have his damned leg. Not to mention the fact that on September 11, 2001, our Country was attacked by Islamic terrorists who did more than just destroy a leg. It killed 2,996 of our people.

However, of course, you cannot tell this to the likes of Lew Rockwell and his bastard gang of leftists who hate this damn Country; they still believe that George W. Bush ordered those planes into the trade center towers. What really troubles me, is that the author of this posting is none other than Dr. Lawrence Vance, who is supposedly a Born-Again Christian. How anyone can harbor such hatred for this Country and our Nation's Military and still claim to be ANY kind of a Christian is beyond me.

In an update, Patrick adds that "libertarian leftists, their Paleo-Conservative counterparts, and their cousins the Anti-War socialist left" are all in bed together because of their views on foreign policy and their "inbred hatred of war and of anything military."

I normally don't pay too much attention to gnats, and especially when they take the form of bloggers that no one has ever heard of. My interest in this "Conservative, Pro-military" blogger lies solely in the fact that he is not alone. There are millions of disciples of Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, and O'Reilly who feel the same way he does. I would therefore like to reply to his post, clarify some things, and make some recommendations.

In addition to the incorrect spelling of my name, there are a number of fallacies evident in the screed by Patrick the "Conservative, Pro-military" blogger.

First and foremost is the claim that antiwar libertarians hate the military. I don't recall ever writing anywhere that I hated the military. And neither do I remember reading where some other antiwar libertarian said that he hated the military. I hate many things that the military does, and think I have good reasons for doing so, as I mention below. I certainly don't hate any individual members of the military or any other organization. I can't speak for all antiwar libertarians, but here are some things I hate about the military:

  • I hate the military fighting without a constitutional congressional declaration of war.
  • I hate the military garrisoning the planet with bases.
  • I hate the military targeting impressionable high school students (thanks to the NCLB act).
  • I hate military recruiters lying to potential recruits.
  • I hate the military fighting foreign wars.
  • I hate the military fighting unjust wars of aggression.
  • I hate the military invading and unleashing violence and civil unrest in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • I hate the military bombing and destroying Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • I hate the military killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans.
  • I hate the military maintaining troops in Germany, Italy, and Japan when World War II ended in 1945.
  • I hate the military stationing troops in 150 different regions of the world.
  • I hate the military recruiting terrorists and feeding insurgencies by its foreign occupations.
  • I hate military chaplains praying with troops before they unleash death and destruction.
  • I hate the military doing anything other than actually defending the country.
  • I hate the military perpetuating the myth that they are defending our freedoms when the more the troops defend our freedoms the more our freedoms are taken away.
  • I hate the military perpetuating the myth that I couldn't write the things I do if it weren't for the U.S. military when the truth is I wouldn't need to write the things I do if it weren't for the actions of the U.S. military.

(To their credit, some members of the military don't practice these last two points. They know they enlisted because they needed a job or wanted money for college. They are not stupid enough to think that they are defending anyone's freedom to do anything. Oftentimes, it is chickenhawks and armchair warriors who talk the loudest about the troops defending our freedoms.)

I would love it if the functions of the U.S. military were limited to defending the United States, securing U.S. borders, guarding U.S. shores, patrolling U.S. coasts, and enforcing no-fly zones over U.S. skies instead of serving as the president's personal attack force to bomb, invade, occupy, and otherwise bring death and destruction to any country he deems necessary.

I would be thrilled to death if all the troops stationed overseas came home, all foreign bases were closed, and no more American soldiers died fighting foreign wars.

In addition to his statements about the military, Patrick the "Conservative, Pro-military" blogger is guilty of the following.

He equates the U.S. government and military with the country. If one disapproves of the warfare state then he must hate America. But why is it that a conservative can disapprove of the welfare state and not be considered anti-American? What is so sacrosanct about the military?

He refers to Lew Rockwell and myself and other antiwar libertarians as leftists when we are anti-leftists who despise FDR and his New Deal, LBJ and his Great Society, and every other liberal program and left-wing income redistribution scheme.

He thinks that to be antiwar is to be left wing. This is absurd. See the article by Gary Benoit of the John Birch Society (certainly not a leftist organization) titled: "Anti-war Stance Is Right, Not Left."

He sees everything in terms of a left/right paradigm. I recommend that he read Murray Rothbard's "Left and Right: The Prospects for Liberty" and Lew Rockwell's The Left, the Right, and the State.

He refers to the anti-war socialist left like it is alive and well when the reality is that it is hardly in existence anymore since the inauguration of their leader to the presidency and his escalation of the war in Afghanistan.

He makes the ridiculous statement that we believe Bush ordered the planes into the trade center towers. I think Bush was too stupid to know what was happening on September 11. And if he is subtly implying that I am a 9/11 Truther, then he is mistaken, although I don't believe much of what the government says about what happened on 9/11—or any other day for that matter.

He wonders how anyone can be a Christian and harbor such hate for the country and its military. Here he is ascribing things to me that are simply not true, as I explain above. Actually, the wonder of wonders is how Christians can be so enamored with the military. See my Christianity and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State and my LRC article archive for the articles I have written since the publication of the book.

The most disturbing statement by Patrick the "Conservative, Pro-military" blogger is that antiwar libertarians should be "stripped of their citizenship and deported out of our fine Country and into another country; like say, North Korea, Venezuela or maybe even Communist China." This exposes him as the red-state fascist that he is. As bad as genuine leftists are, I don't recall any of them ever calling for conservatives or libertarians to be stripped of their citizenship and deported. But apparently our blogger doesn't think that deportation is punishment enough. In a note to someone in the military who wrote to him in defense of my "Toys for Tots" post, Patrick says: "Pat Tillman, another Anti-War twirp [twerp] that got what was coming to him."

I took a lot of heat for this statement I made in a recent article: "The very heart and soul of conservatism is war. Patriotism, Americanism, and being a real conservative are now equated with support for war, torture, and militarism." Patrick, the "Conservative, Pro-military" blogger at politicalbyline.com, is exhibit A of why this is true.


Laurence M. Vance writes from Pensacola, FL. He is the author of Christianity and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State and The Revolution that Wasn't. His newest book is Rethinking the Good War. Visit his website.

Copyright © 2009 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given. First published at LewRockwell.comn The Best of Laurence M. Vance


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