TCS Daily


A Classical Liberal View of the Iraq War

By S.T. Karnick - May 31, 2007 12:00 AM

 
Citing public opinion polls and Congress's vote to require a timetable for the United States to leave Iraq, conservative stalwart commentator William F. Buckley recently suggested that the very existence of the Republican Party is at state.

 

This seems something of an unnecessary panic attack, given that the Democratic Party not only survived Vietnam but in fact routed the Republicans just one presidency later. But the situation for the Republicans is indeed dire, as Buckley argued in referring to the chances of a positive outcome for the United States in Iraq:

 

"General Petraeus is a wonderfully commanding figure. But if the enemy is in the nature of a disease, he cannot win against it. Students of politics ask then the derivative question: How can the Republican party, headed by a president determined on a war he can't see an end to, attract the support of a majority of the voters? General Petraeus, in his Pentagon briefing on April 26, reported persuasively that there has been progress, but cautioned, 'I want to be very clear that there is vastly more work to be done across the board and in many areas, and again I note that we are really just getting started with the new effort.'


"The general makes it a point to steer away from the political implications of the struggle, but this cannot be done in the wider arena. There are grounds for wondering whether the Republican party will survive this dilemma."

 

The problem for the Republicans is simple, actually. The appeal of their party is mainly to classical liberals, and their conduct in Iraq has entirely contradicted the classical liberal worldview. Nation-building is simply not a proper function for government, according to classical liberal thinking.

 

Classical liberalism is the political philosophy descended from English Whigs such as Edmund Burke and Adam Smith and typified by Ronald Reagan. It is the political position to which Buckley has largely adhered over the years. Classical liberalism holds that government should not intervene in voluntary agreements, and that its proper role is in fact to help enforce them. A government should intervene in human actions only when they harm others. Then, and only then, does government have a reason for action.

 

Thus the classical liberal position on international affairs would be as follows:

 

  • Every nation is sovereign over its own affairs.
  • Every nation is entitled to conduct its affairs as it chooses unless its actions affect other nations.
  • When actions affect other nations, those nations have a right and indeed a responsibility to their own citizens to remedy the situation. The obligation on the part of the reacting nation is to formulate a response that redresses the offense and ensures that there will be no imminent repetition of it.
  • An affected nation responding to a wrong has no right to impose additional consequences on an offending nation, even if the intended effect is to ensure that the offender will not resume the offending activities beyond the foreseeable future.

 

That is clearly a principled position that provides a definite guide for action against foreign aggressors while upholding the idea of national sovereignty that is crucial to the protection of any people and their government.

 

Just as obviously, this is not what the United States has done in Iraq. Changing Iraq's government and overseeing their writing of a constitution certainly stepped well over that line. Assisting the new Iraqi government in pacifying the nation and policing it were thoroughly unjustified on classical liberal principles and remain so.

 

Certainly a case could be made that toppling Saddam was justified by his offenses against the United States, although I cannot see it as very convincing according to classical liberal principles. Some well-placed bombs in Libya caused the formerly bellicose Col. Qaddafi to stop supporting terrorism, and although Saddam Hussein seems to have had greater ambitions, a few well-placed bombs would probably have accomplished the same in Iraq. That would have satisfied principles three and four outlined above.


Moreover, even if we concede that the U.S. ejection of Saddam Hussein from power was justified, limitations on our engagement would have been clear under a classical liberal approach. After a decent period of staying on to help a new government take power and on its feet, any possibly justifiable military involvement for us there was surely finished.

 

Our government's job is to protect the American people from imminent or at least truly plausible threats. That means nothing more nor less than destroying our real opponents or at least intimidating them into inaction. Toppling Saddam surely accomplished that, if he was truly a threat to us.

 

Once that was accomplished, classical liberal principles suggest that we should have packed up and said, "Good luck." That is all that we could rightly do. And that is clearly what the American people expected the Bush administration to do, which is why his poll ratings fell so swiftly and stubbornly as the U.S. presence in Iraq dragged on without any clear purpose. The original idea was that we would get rid of Saddam Hussein, hand the keys to a new government, and then let the country work out its future according to its own desires. We would help them set things in place, but then we would go. It would be their country and their problems, not ours.

 

That was what the great majority of Americans appear to have understood Bush to be suggesting in his initial justification of the Iraq venture. And if that is so, the Bush administration is responsible for either not being clear about its true aims or changing its plan after it got the people of the United States committed to intervention. Neither of those options reflects well on our government.

Of course, it is clear that leaving Iraq at this point could make the United States seem weak and appear to have suffered a defeat. However, we are going to have to leave at some time, and whenever we do, Iraq is probably going to descend into further violence and chaos. Our concern must be our own national interest, and our interest is surely best served by taking a principled approach to foreign affairs and tending to our own very significant problems.

After taking the wrong course, going farther in the wrong direction will not bring one closer to one's correct destination. Only a return to the right course will do that.

 

According to classical liberal principles, the only logical and justifiable course for the United States is to leave Iraq and to let the Iraqis work out their problems themselves. If that results in imminent or real harm to the United States and its citizens, appropriate intervention will then be justified—but only then. If a U.S. withdrawal results in violence within Iraq, that is unfortunately the nature of that place at this time, and will differ only as a matter of degree from what is now happening there and what was going on while the previous government, the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, was in power.

 

Will the United States bear some responsibility for any ensuing problems there after we leave? Certainly, because of our past failure to follow classical liberal principles. Will Iraq have some reason to call upon us for help? Yes. Should the United States respond with help? Yes, in the form of money and humanitarian aid, because of the obligation we incurred by our prior flouting of principles in the matter. But we should go no further than that. We have no right to impose a new government on Iraq, and any military activity would only be a means of doing so.

 

Leaving Iraq, however embarrassing it would temporarily be, would put the United States on a principled course in international affairs. That is far more important than any immediate political considerations, either national or international.

 

If we accept that the classical liberal position suggests that it is high time that the United States extricate its military troops from Iraq, the question then becomes, How? Ironically, one way could be the troop surge that President Bush proposes.

 

In principle, the proposed surge could fit a classical liberal approach, as a response to the situation at this particular time. If the point of a surge is to get out while leaving Iraq in the best shape possible—while recognizing that it is not going to be much like Utah any time soon—a surge could make sense. The danger, of course, is that the Bush administration will use it to push back the enemy, then remain to "keep the peace," and then watch helplessly as our enemies rearm and resume their counterattacks in a few weeks or months.

 

Surging, pacifying, and leaving, however, could be a reasonable classical liberal response to the present circumstances. The goal, after all, is to defend the U.S. population from attack. We have been safe from such attacks since 9/11, and the Iraq War may have had something to do with that, though I find the evidence far from convincing. In any case, classical liberal principles suggest that the discussion should be over whether a surge is the best way of getting out of the mess that the United States got into by ignoring these principles. We should keep in mind, however, that the goal of a surge would be to get out, not to get in even deeper.

 

Upon leaving Iraq, eradicating dangers from Al Qaeda and other such organizations is the international action on which the United States should concentrate. Doing so would mitigate any impression of weakness, and a strong and appropriate response against the next nation or extranational group that attempted to harm us would prove that we are willing to stand behind our principles and use our great power when we are wronged, while also showing that we respect other nations' sovereignty just as we expect and indeed require them to respect ours.

 

It is clear that our heavy presence in Iraq spreads our military very thin and hinders us from pursuing other imminent terrorist threats elsewhere. Noting that polls of Islamic populations show that a large minority of them around the world approve of the notion of terrorist attacks against the United States, Tony Blankley, writing in the Washington Times, observes that we simply do not have a plan for combating the global nature of this threat:

 

"[M]ost importantly, we have not had—even remotely—a national debate on what policies are best judged to reduce radical sentiment in the Muslim world, while also protecting us from potentially imminent terrorist attacks. Rather, we are still having a jolly old time deciding who among us to skin for our past mistakes."

 

It is evident that attacks against us are in the planning and set-up stages around the world, not just in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that countering such threats requires the potential for quick U.S. action to destroy the actual threat and allow a swift return home to prepare for the next problem. Although Tony Blankley is correct about the need for agreement on a plan for answering the challenge, reducing radical sentiment in the Muslim world is not a proper role for the U.S. government. The way for us to answer radical Islam is to do what Ronald Reagan did with the Soviet Union: show them that any aggression against us would be suicide.

 

That is the way of things in a world of diversified threats, and the classical liberal approach provides a sound guideline for determining when and how to intervene in response to actual or imminent attacks. There will always, of course, be empirical questions regarding what is and is not a real threat, but the point of a principle is to give us a way to figure out what to do once we have the necessary information. The classical liberal position provides that.

 

S. T. Karnick writes on politics and culture at http://stkarnick.com.

 

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24 Comments

A classical liberal view of the USA
"Property

Thus Mises's most famous line from his book, the one that both alarmed and inspired intellectuals the world over: "The program of liberalism," if "condensed into a single word, would have to read: property." By property, Mises meant not only its private ownership at all levels of society, but also its control by those same owners.

With that one demand, that property and its control be kept in private hands, we can see how the state must necessarily be radically limited. If the government can only work with resources it takes from others, and if all resources are owned and controlled by private parties, the government is restricted.

If private property is secure, we can count on all other aspects of society to be free and prosperous. Society cannot manages itself unless its members own and control property; or, conversely, if property is in the hands of the state, it will manage society with the catastrophic results we know so well.

If property rights are strictly guarded, the state cannot take advantage of social crisis to seize power, as it has during wars, depressions, and natural disasters. The limits on government apply regardless. There are no exceptions. Thus a classical liberal society would not have built the TVA, it would not bail out Texas farmers in a drought, it would not send men on space missions, and it would not have taxed Americans six trillion dollars and poured it into a failed war on poverty.
Freedom

The second pillar of the liberal society, Mises says, is freedom. This means that people are not slaves of each other or of the government, but are self owners who are at liberty to pursue their interests so long as they do not violate the property rights of others. Most importantly, all workers are free to work in the profession of their choice, establishing free contracts with employers or becoming employers themselves.

Combining liberty and property, people are able to exercise the all-important right of exclusion. I can keep you off my property. You can keep me off yours. You do not have to trade with me. I do not have to trade with you. This right of exclusion, along with the right to trade generally, is a key to social peace. If we cannot choose the form and manner of our associations, we are not free in any authentic sense.

The breakdown of the freedom of association, especially in the form of anti-discrimination law, is a main reason why social acrimony has so increased in our time. Although hardly ever questioned, anti-discrimination law cannot be reconciled with the classical liberal view of society. No association that is forced can ever be good for the parties involved or society at large.

Any discussion of this subject invariably raises the issue of equality. And here we find yet another improvement that Mises made over earlier models of liberalism. They were too much in love with the idea of equality, not only as a legal construct, but also in hoping and working for a society without classes, which is nonsensical.

As Mises said, "all human power would be insufficient to make men really equal. Men are and will always remain unequal." He argued that people cannot be given equal wealth or even equal opportunity to become wealthy. The best society can do for its members is to establish rules that apply across the board. These rules do not exempt anyone, including the rulers in government.

The very rich will always be with us, thank goodness, and so will the very poor. These concepts are bound up with particular societies and settings, of course, but from the standpoint of policy, they are best ignored. It is the job of charity, not government, to care for the poor, and to protect them from being drafted into demagogic political campaigns that threaten essential liberties.

Government in a liberal society does not protect individuals from themselves, strive for a particular distribution of wealth, promote any particular region or technology or group, or delineate the distinction between peaceful vices and virtues. The central government does not manage society or economy in any respect.
Peace

The third pillar of classical liberalism is peace. This means that there can be no love of war, and, when it occurs, it cannot be seen as heroic, but only as tragic for everyone. Yet we continue to hear how war is good for the economy, even though it always and everywhere misdirects resources and destroys them. Even the victor, Mises pointed out, loses. For "war," said Randolph Bourne, "is the health of the state."

So is empire. Americans opposed an alien Soviet presence in our hemisphere. Yet we never consider how people in Japan, to take just one example, may feel about large numbers of American troops in their country. By far the largest cause of crime in Okinawa and the rest of Japan is American troops. But do our troops and planes and ships and nuclear weapons "defend" Japan? From whom? No, we continue to occupy the country 51 years after the end of World War II for purposes of control."

http://www.mises.org/etexts/classical.asp

Do you think our foreign policy is a result of the socialist tendencies of the past few decades?

If republicans would start with restoring classical liberalism at home, the world will will follow.

Anyone have any faith any democrat would support classical liberal policies as described above?

both seem to be lost
There was a war for classical liberalism, fought by the founding fathers, but it was lost. Had it not been lost, it would still just be called 'freedom' instead. Statism won, and now the current war against islamo-facism seems to be lost too because Americans no longer have the will to fight.

LOL-libs
Fascinating, Marjon. Thank you for posting. To your question: "Anyone have any faith any democrat would support classical liberal policies as described above?"
My first thought is -- surely, you jest. Contemporary U.S. democrats have moved so far left of classical liberalism that they bear no resemblance to the liberal democrats of our Greatest Generation -- FDR, Truman, and Kennedy. This is why they are so vicious to the neo-conservative philosophy of 'no more tyranny and pre-emptive liberty.' The neo-cons are classical liberals who became disillusioned by the policy and moral failure of growing liberal appeasement to the CCCP and now, the Islamic Revolution. The neo-cons remind the LOL-libs of who they could have been if only they had the courage to be. Hard to take them seriously when they are contstantly LMAO-ing. Statements made on this board by resident left-wing scolds are glaring examples of how off-track, self-indulgent, and ultimately un-American contemporary liberals have become. They sacrifice nothing (personally) and expect everything (collectively). LOL-libs have morphed into the modern equivalent of 1930's German Club or more recent America Firsters. A simple perusal of their leaders, membership, and media show that the only argument offered by the LOL-libs is ball-less, cartoonish mockery.

I would beg to differ on the author you quote re: occupation of Japan. This was originally a containment effort (of Imperial Japan), which evolved into a bulwark against communist influences (primarily from RCP in 50's and CCCP sympathizers in early 60's through 70's - Viet Nam era), and resulting in very strong economic interdependency. The occupation has been very good for Japan and the U.S., but perhaps its time to re-mobe the U.S. Armed Expeditionary and Occupation Forces to the Middle East and North Africa, where the fight is. We should never be afraid to confront the most horrible forms of tyranny and knock them down.

Declaration of Independence for all: "The future of the world will be determined by free people." Never sway, never falter, never, never, never, give up.

YES!
>"Anyone have any faith any democrat would support classical liberal policies as described above?"

And his name is Obama. He is the best shot anyway.

I would add that Republican presidential hopefuls are on the same par as Democrats, likely worse, to support classical liberal policies as you described marjon. Giuliani seems to be the best shot from Republicans.


Those are some good comments marjon. I'm impressed. I agree with almost all of what you said.

I diverge a bit on the part about anti-discrimination laws.

>"The breakdown of the freedom of association, especially in the form of anti-discrimination law, is a main reason why social acrimony has so increased in our time."

I'm conflicted on the points you made around this idea. Its tough to swallow, but I agree with what you say about equality. My compassionate side does yearn for equality for all, but its idealistic, not realistic. Freedom indeed dictates that not all people are equal, whether its mentally, physically, financially, etc. But, as its stated in the Constitution, as I interpret the idea that all men are created equal, all people deserve respect(at least until they've squandered it), its wise for each of us to control our ego and view all humans as equal and the same, interdependent. As such, I think anti-discrimination laws are a protection for disadvantaged people, who reside in a culture of freedom that, without that protection, would necessarily be defined as less than human and not deserving of opportunity. A person in a wheelchair would have to be 3 times more productive, or intelligent, or whatever, than an average person, because he/she would have to overcome his/her disability, overcome the bias intrinsic and fortified in potential employers, loaners, etc. and still prove he/she is valuable and worthy to utilize opportunity. While an average person need only do the final part to succeed. In essence, a free market society would chew up and spit out disadvantaged people without some kind of protection to change that intrinsic culture. Perhaps you support that, it really is survival of the fittest. I've certainly seen plenty of heartless arguments like that from conservatives. I can see how you would take such a position, but its wrong and short-sighted in my opinion. Unless you can accept that you or someone you know or love will get a disease or have an accident in your lifetime and you must accept that you or they become unfit in that case, therefore have no use to remain living, you're just a tough-guy hypocrite to make such an argument.


>"If republicans would start with restoring classical liberalism at home, the world will will follow."

Agreed. But I'd say thats even less likely to happen than with Democrats. Not as long as the extremes control the parties. I'm sure you notice the moderate-ness, even the conservative nature (if you believe the press), of newly elected Democrats in the House and Senate. You may also notice the continual chastising of moderate Republicans by conservatives and party loyalists. Both parties are experiencing a civil war in their ranks, but it sure looks like Democrats are moving center, while Republican move further right.

>"Do you think our foreign policy is a result of the socialist tendencies of the past few decades?"

Today its the result of an idiot figurehead and power drunk executives and appointees that think they could fix things if they only had more control over everything. You might be right. So antagonistic these people are. Socialist dictators except with economic issues. But they still keep some socialist tendencies in economics because they give so many handouts to coporations and business.

Obaman
What evidence do you have he is not a socialist?

He has stated he wants to nationalize medicine. Not very free market or classical liberal.

Also, any president must appoint hundreds of lackies to fill too many offices. They will be democrats, of course.

So, give me any example in recent history of any democrat on par with the freshman Republican Congress of 1994 in terms of classical liberalism.

Obamasan

>"What evidence do you have he is not a socialist?"

Read or listen to his speeches. Thats all we have so far to judge him. A few Senate votes too. I like what I've heard from him, and the way he talks, it indicates to me he is not a socialist.

I view his potential as greatest because he is not a typical politician like all the other Dem candidates. They've all been groomed to be politicians, we need someone outside of that. Bill Richardson is groomed to the hilt, but he is my second choice, he seems pragmatic, I could vote for him. Conversely, Giuliani is the only Republican candidate not totally groomed for politics. Thats debatable because he has been around so long, but he also is pragmatic and a bit of a maverick. I could vote for Rudy as well.

I'm not opposed to nationalized medicine. Its hard to imagine its possible, but our current system is unsustainable and we need something new to try.


>"Also, any president must appoint hundreds of lackies to fill too many offices. They will be democrats, of course."

Actually, if he is good, there will be some Republican appointees too. At the very least he will improve our government just by hiring people who are qualified for their jobs and not based primarily on their political loyalty. Thats the least I expect, and just that will improve how things operate from today.

I agree with you too- too many offices, too many lackies. But, it would hurt our economy to fire a bunch of those lackies. Higher unemployment, less money in the hands of citizens to fuel consumerism. What are your thought on that?

>"So, give me any example in recent history of any democrat on par with the freshman Republican Congress of 1994 in terms of classical liberalism."

Ah, yes, of course, refer to the highlight of Republican existence instead of dealing with the reality of today. 13 years ago? Why should I care? Its a new world. Republicans today are not the Republicans of 1994. A hopeful seed planted that year, now its grown to a poisonous thorn Bush of corruption and power greed. Good Republicans still exist, but they're not the leadership, and they've joined Congress more recently than 1994. I'll look up some names later, I can't think of more than 1 or 2 off the top of my head right now. Coleman from MN. Guy from AZ, can't think of his name...

Besides, I was talking generally, not specific personalities. Should I take that as a confirmation that you agree with me, since you didn't dispute the notion? That Republicans are moving more right and Democrats are moving more center. The country is in the center. But ya know, I'm still not satisfied with how fast the Dems are moving center. I mean, Pelosi and Reid? Its disappointing they can't do better than that.

I don't agree with you...
if you think Obama is not a socialist.

Maybe Pelosi and Reid misread the election. They haven't change their socialist ways, but their constituents aren't as far left as they are.

Obama's bigger problem. his apostasy
Imagine how all the what, 200 million or so muslims will feel about an apostate as president. If he tries to deny he was a muslim, then hate him even more, if he admits it, there's an automatic death sentence against him. So far his handlers are managing to spin it, or keep journalists from putting him on the spot. Eventually it will have to come up though.

You forgot the punchline Dietmar
You've told this joke multiple times now, but it still doesn't make sense without a punchline.

But maybe you're right, maybe Americans should base their voting decisions on what Muslims of the world think.

In truth, I see what you're doing. You're just trying to sow dissent against a candidate. Its no wonder your views are increasingly irrelevant, when this is all you have to say.

But is it true?
Do you think it's just some kind of coincidence that he has two muslim names? Both Barak and Obama are. Is it not true that his father was muslim? Not true that muslim fathers mostly make their kids muslims too? Not true that he went to a muslim school in Indonesia? Not true that if he was, and now claims to be Christian, that makes him a muslim? Not true that the sharia punishment for apostasy is death? Or is the joke that as usual Americans are abysmally unaware of such sensitivities amongst muslims in the rest of the world. Maybe you could do some research of what the usual attitute of muslims towards apostates is. What will he says if some foreign journalists put him on the spot regarding this issue?

But why does it matter?
Its true and who cares? As I asked you in the last message, do you really think Americans should base their voting actions on the opintions of Muslims around the world?

>"What will he says if some foreign journalists put him on the spot regarding this issue?"

Thats hardly putting him "on the spot". Thats my point, it doesn't matter. At least not to anyone but you. You need to take this argument to the next level and explain why it matters, if you really want anyone to agree with you.

I'm sure sharia Muslims would love to kill George W as well. Did that stop you from voting for him?

Why is the opinion of international Muslims so important to YOU to impact who you would vote for?

Thats my second point, I don't think its important to you. I think you make this point just because you want to bash a Democrat. Or maybe you have some other questionable motive. Bottom line: accept your point is meaningless, or do a better job explaining why its meaningful.

why Obama's apostasy matters
It's important because the US president must deal with many other countries in the world, many of them muslim. Important re Saudi, pakistan even, all those places, even indonesian and malaysia. All those places will loathe him as an apostate, they think that it is worse than blasphemy, and that already warrants a death sentence. So anyway, the US has many dealing with other countries, and the muslim ones will try to screw him up. He probably couldn't even make a trip to many of those places. Apostasy doesn't matter to american liberals, but it does in the rest of the world. It's often said that americans are abysmally unaware, and navie about the rest of the world, and here's another example of it.

The will to fight...
Fighting a war against an idea or set of ideas is like trying to put out a fire with gasoline. I also submit to you that Islamo-facism is simply not that important. It is evil, is is criminal, however the threat is overblown...

Americans should be fighting more than they do... however not because our way of life is threatened by Islamo-facism (because it isn't) but because there are dozens of very real threats against our way of life. Threats like suspension of Habeus Corpus, government sanctioned torture, restrictions on free speach, declining economic and social justice within our society, not to mention threats to the environment...

Last year over 40,000 people in the United States were killed in traffic fatalities.. why not a war on traffic accidents or even gang violence?

Why don't you explain why you believe Obama was ever a Muslim?
...

OK, why he's a muslim apostate
See, I told you people think that it's just some coincidence that he has two muslim names; barak(means blessed in Arabic, and used in the Koran) and hussein. But it's not, he was born to a muslim father, a black guy fro Kenya, and a white atheist mother from Kansas. The real father was a bum who deserted the family. Muslim fathers always want their sons to be muslims too, if his didn't it would be some sort of one in a million thing. Then, his mother married ANOTHER muslim, Lolo Soetoro from Indonesia. In Jakarka obama attended a muslim madrassa, and they don't let christians study in those places. But of course obama doesn't mention that in his book; he activily tries to hide it, and now claims to be a christian. Even if he actually is a christian, that he was once a muslim makes him an apostate, even worse than a blasphemer in the eyes of other muslims, and it carries a death sentence. So it's not that he's a closed muslim, even if a real christian now, he's an apostate. If obama denies he was a muslim, that's a big problem. So is he afraid of even more assasination attempts than are normal? Maybe that's why he already has secret service coverage which is not normal that this stage. Will he be willing to publicly call upon all muslim in the world to renounce the death sentence for apostasy? And that muslims should be free to convert to christianity has he claims he has done? This would mean that an american president is again trying to interfere with an important part of islamic law. So they might say that he too, like Bush is on some crusade again, so hate him more. He could probably never even visit any islamic country.

OK, why he's a muslim apostate
See, I told you people think that it's just some coincidence that he has two muslim names; barak(means blessed in Arabic, and used in the Koran) and hussein. But it's not, he was born to a muslim father, a black guy fro Kenya, and a white atheist mother from Kansas. The real father was a bum who deserted the family. Muslim fathers always want their sons to be muslims too, if his didn't it would be some sort of one in a million thing. Then, his mother married ANOTHER muslim, Lolo Soetoro from Indonesia. In Jakarka obama attended a muslim madrassa, and they don't let christians study in those places. But of course obama doesn't mention that in his book; he activily tries to hide it, and now claims to be a christian. Even if he actually is a christian, that he was once a muslim makes him an apostate, even worse than a blasphemer in the eyes of other muslims, and it carries a death sentence. So it's not that he's a closed muslim, even if a real christian now, he's an apostate. If obama denies he was a muslim, that's a big problem. So is he afraid of even more assasination attempts than are normal? Maybe that's why he already has secret service coverage which is not normal that this stage. Will he be willing to publicly call upon all muslim in the world to renounce the death sentence for apostasy? And that muslims should be free to convert to christianity has he claims he has done? This would mean that an american president is again trying to interfere with an important part of islamic law. So they might say that he too, like Bush is on some crusade again, so hate him more. He could probably never even visit any islamic country.

fighting
Will you still think it's overblown when they are successful again with something like the recent attempt to blown up the fuel lines to the JFK airport? Or maybe you also, just like the NY Times, doesn't think that was important either since the buried it on page 36 i think it was. And maybe all the others islamo-facist attacks like in england, Spain etc, plus all the ones that were stymied in the UK recently, are just pranks.

I still don't think it matters
If another country is going to refuse to talk to us because our President is an apostate, thats their loss. Do you really think another country would be that stupid?

Muslim countries don't like women either, but there is Condi, talking with Muslim nations and no one is attacking her with their sword. How could you vote for W knowing a woman held such a high position in his Cabinet and Muslim countries wouldn't like it?

Its really very interesting you find this to be such an important issue D. Assuming you're a conservative, and as such likely don't give much care for what other countries think of us, its unusual how sure of yourself and passionate you are about this. If Fred Thompson or Brownback were apostates, would you spout these comments about those guys as well?

>"Apostasy doesn't matter to american liberals, but it does in the rest of the world."

Apostasy doesn't matter to any Americans, is more accurate. You are the only person I've seen anywhere even bring it up. We don't know for sure how Muslim countries view apostasy, let alone the rest of the world. Quite frankly, I don't think it matters to the rest of the world or to Muslim countries. You're making assumptions. What makes you think Muslim countries will care? Is there any precedent for this sort of thing?

>"It's often said that americans are abysmally unaware, and navie about the rest of the world, and here's another example of it."

I agree with you on the fact Americans are unaware and naive about the rest of the world. And this is indeed an example of it, in a way. I'd say Americans are ignorant of what apostasy means, but I also doubt its something we need to worry about. Do you know something I don't? Please share. You took a baby step toward explaining why this matters, but still haven't explained. There are lots of old religious ideas in religious texts that aren't followed or considered antiquated today. Why is apostasy so important we should allow it to impact the way we vote? Who is more naive in this case: Dietmar or the rest of America? Why are YOU not the naive one, to assume apostasy will matter to others?

How many hypotheticals can you present?
Seriously, at what point does your conscience make you stop creating hypotheticals as argument and start to talk about something real?

>"In Jakarka obama attended a muslim madrassa, and they don't let christians study in those places."

So, does that mean he didn't attend a muslim madrassa? Because its been reported he attended school with kids of other religions too. That would mean it wasn't a muslim madrassa, or he wasn't a Muslim. Which is it profesor?


Just look at how your sentences start-
"Even if he actually..." "If obama denies he..." "So is he..." "Maybe that's why..." "Will he be..." "This would mean..." "So they might..." "He could probably never..."

Wow. That puts it in more perspective how silly your argument is. You can't even talk about real issues, you're just posing scary hypotheticals. Thats a good conservative. Seemingly important, but meaningless under the skin.

re: matter of Obama's apostasy
You said, "We don't know for sure how Muslim countries view apostasy". This proves my point that you and most americans are clueless about such things in the rest of the world. If you say it's just my assumption, then check out how they do treat apostates; they kill them everywhere they find them. Mostly they have to keep it secret if they give up their religion, like in the closet queers do. But even in america some religious things do matter. Like nowadays they're wondering whether canditate Romney could be prez because he's a MOrmon! And I remember some saying they wouldn't vote for Lieberman because he's a Jew. So even in the US these residual religious stuff goes on. But I've lived in several muslim countries and know that they think of these things all the time, thus think it is an important issue.

hypotheticals
It means he did attend a muslim madrasa, but of course he doesn't exactly want to advertise it because he himself, plus his handlers deem it to be harmful to his cause. So I'm not the only only who thinks his apostasy is important; he does too. When you say, 'it has been reported'. So you believe what publiscists say, right? Also, he confronted by someone in public he would have only a few options, deny he was muslim(in which case he would have to explain why two of his names are muslim), deny that his two fathers were muslims(everyone knows that muslim fathers make their kids muslims too)(except possibly naive americans), he would have to answer whether he thought death was an appropriate sentence for apostasy(as it is in the muslim world). Journalist could have a lot of fun putting him on the spot. ITMT, I'm not what americans call a conservative, I'm an austro-libertarian, that's because unlike conservatives and especially liberals, I believe in maximal freedom, rather than the control of people.

No Subject
Ok, you're right I'm clueless and most of America is clueless about how Muslim countries feel about apostasy, etc. A major reason is because I don't care, I'd venture to say most of America doesn't care either. Its like sharia law. Sensible people find it ridiculous, backwards even. Its good to know all we can about all we can, but you take it too far to think American voters should be concerned that foreign Muslims might get upset that we have a President that is formerly Muslim.

Your comments ARE just your own assumptions. No one has any idea how Muslim countries will react when Obama is elected. (Frankly, I think Muslim countries, like Americans, like the rest of the world, will just be happy Bush will be gone.) I think we know how a Muslim terrorist will feel about it, its logical a moderate Muslim wouldn't give it a second thought, and its logical the heads of state wouldn't give it a first thought, except to keep an eye on their own populations to see if the issue gains traction among the populace. There certainly is no need to be concerned that a foreign journalist would put Obama on the spot about it. Its not even a spot to worry about. Which raises a good question- why do YOU care? You're a fool to allow what foreign Muslims think to impact your perspective so much, especially when it comes to such a foolish idea as "death to apostates". Eight years of W and this is what your concerned about when a new Prez comes in? You're as sensitive and twisted as foreign Muslims rioting in the streets over a cartoon. I'm sorry, but your priorities are out of whack.

You're right religion still taints even America with its bigotry. Muslim countries are probably the worst in this regard. But you see, Obama is an American, thats what matters most to me. And if it pisses off Muslim countries that we would elect an apostate, well, I'm even more likely to vote for him for that reason.

madrassa smear
Wait a second, you can't just gloss over a factual question with fictional information.

>"It means he did attend a muslim madrasa, but of course he doesn't exactly want to advertise it because he himself, plus his handlers deem it to be harmful to his cause. So I'm not the only only who thinks his apostasy is important; he does too. When you say, 'it has been reported'. So you believe what publiscists say, right?"

Yeah, he doesn't want to advertise it because this is America. Apostasy has nothing to do with it. Its politics, its marketing, its being electable. You referred to the difficulties of a Mormon and Jew getting elected, imagine the difficulties of a Muslim!

Here, I did your homework for you. All you have to do is copy these links into your browser and read the articles. The second link is comments by Jonah Goldberg, just in case you only believe what the right wing says and not journalists. CNN doing an investigation is not the same as believing what Obama's publicists tell us.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/01/22/obama.madrassa/

http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=YjgwOWE1MDhlOTYwMGM0ZmM0Y2ZkYzdhZWRiODBmMDA=

It was pretty darn easy to find these links. And you impugn others for naivete as your own ignorance keeps you repeating an easily refuted falsehood. Apparently facts are impervious to your stubborn and false perception. Austro-libertarian, yeah right. Only a conservative can ignore truth to protect his/her preferred delusions of reality like this. Unless you recant your position on this madrassa thing, then you could restore some credibility to your perspective. Otherwise you're just another conservative hack posing as a libertarian. And I was right all along.

madrassa
I also saw those stories by such 'objective' sources as CNN(the outfit that made a deal with Sadam to suppress news from there in order to be allowed to stay). And some guy went to check out that madrassa when, 2005 or 6? But the apostate Obama attended 69-71; thinks schools don't or can't change. I think even Harvard had a ban on Jews before, then a quote on them later. But I do believe that his apostasy is not important to you, and many americans, and this just reemphasizes how naive americans really are re the rest of the world.

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