LIBERTARIAN PARTY SEEKS NEOCON RESPECT -- PEACE
by Thomas M. Sipos, managing editor.
[August 18, 2005]
While Bushie bloggers are livid over the Libertarian
Party's recently released Iraq
Exit Strategy (IES) -- which calls for an American pullout from
Iraq -- the LP's hardcore peace faction say the IES doesn't go far enough!
Libertarian peace activists
many affiliated with Libertarians
for Peace -- also accuse the LP of betraying its own bylaws in passing IES,
and in publishing misleading and one-sided propaganda in its party organ,
the LP News.
Explaining his misgivings
with the LP's IES, libertarian
peace activist David Tomlin told the Hollywood Investigator, "IES states that the U.S. is 'obligated' to create a certain political outcome
in Iraq, and that it is 'mandatory' to have a 'strategy for success' at
doing so. This conflicts with the principle of not interfering with
the affairs of other countries (IV.A.1 in the LP
keep U.S. troops in Iraq longer than necessary for their safety, and send
troops to Afghanistan for 'peacekeeping' and to other countries for no
stated reason. All of this conflicts with 'Any U.S. military policy
should have the objective of providing security for the lives, liberty
and property of the American people in the U.S. against the risk of attack
by a foreign power' (IV.B.1 in the platform). IES implicitly endorses Bush's 'War on Terror', which Bush has defined as against
'every terrorist group of global reach'. This conflicts with IV.B.1
in the platform. IES advocates foreign aid, in conflict with IV.C.1."
peace activists speculate that the LP's Washington-based officers are embarrassed
by the LP's "too radical" image and long for inside-the-beltway respect
from pundits, politicos, and party-goers on the D.C. wine & cheese
activists have accused LP staffers of stifling internal dissent on IES,
they also wonder if staffers railroaded the IES without approval from the Libertarian
National Committee (LNC), whose members are elected at the national
libertarian peace activist Jeff A. Smith, "The latest issue of LP
News contains a blatantly one-sided and misleading account of the LP's IES,
disparaging the IES's pro-peace
critics without detailing their arguments. LP
News also failed to report that the LP's bylaws likely require LNC approval on major policy statements -- which was not done. The article
suggests the issue is open to interpretation, and that it was only raised
by party members, and even some non-members, and not by LNC members or other party big wheels.
the bylaws don't baldly state that all major policy statements must have LNC approval. But I believe only someone with a pre-existing agenda could
read them -- particularly Article 6, which deals with LNC control of the party program -- and think it appropriate that a major statement
such as IES be issued without LNC approval. An objective observer would assume this policy statement,
that will likely tower above all others for some time to come, should have
had prior or concurrent explicit LNC approval as to its basic content.
stated, in the 5th item of Article 6, that no program proposal (at least
tacitly this should govern major policy statements) shall conflict with
the LP Platform even with LNC approval.
make a case on precedent, which I do not think has seen a statement of
this magnitude -- let alone a controversial one -- released without LNC approval."
expressed his concerns to an LNC
Representative who is "one of those [LP leaders] thought to be 'practical'
rather than 'ideological. He was upset with [recently resigned LP
executive director] Joe
Seehusen over the IES because it was released without LNC
approval. He said the matter would be addressed at the next meeting."
asked the LNC representative it he thought the IES conflicted with the LP's non-interventionist platform. "He would only say he was angry about being put in the position of having
to consider that question," said Smith. "He seemed convinced the IES was conceived and released by the staff, without even National Chair Michael
Smith also accuses the LP
News of mischaracterizing the IES's
level of support in libertarian peace circles.
Said Smith, "LP
News quoted a minor figure from Antiwar.com as somewhat favoring IES,
even though publisher Eric Garris thinks IES is a disaster and talked to the LP staff about it." [see sidebar].
News is a shameless apologist for somebody," Smith continued. "I suppose one could assume that even after the flak over IES's
release, the staff still has balls enough to voice its own controversial
views through the party newspaper.
"One could assume
that, but I'm not.
Garris wrote of the LP's Iraq Exit Strategy:
and talked to the new [Libertarian Party] Communications Director, Shane
Cory, about the plan. He brought up the Marshall
Plan as a good example to emulate in Iraq, since it 'worked so well
for Europe.' I mentioned that Nixon had a similar plan in 1971 in
Vietnam, and Cory said that [Nixon] would have been successful had it not
been for the public interference (i.e., the antiwar movement).
said that this was 'just the beginning,' since the LP is perceived as way
too radical and we needed to go after the Bush people. He said other
stuff, but I started to go into shock and can't remember it all right now."
'hired guns' have tried to show how IES aligns with the platform,"
said Smith, "yet they can't be taken seriously. Even Dixon, with
his long and varied LP experience, including chairing the platform committee, publicly acknowledged the discrepancy early on. LP
News itself only made non-specific references to platform-related arguments, perhaps sensing that a detailed look would expose pro-IES arguments to the ridicule they deserve.
the LP leadership's desire to curry favor with mainstream thinking, Smith
said, "It's saddened me to realize how some within the party are capable
of arguing any side of an issue; I wonder if the only factor determining which side one picks is how doing so will enhance or diminish their power within
seen much 'means justifies the ends' utilitarianism in the LP over the
last few years, even among people I had respected. It's taken a toll
on my interest in the party. What a person does cannot be
separated from what they are. The LP on the way to losing
the LNC meeting Smith's contact spoke of, Smith reported, "It appears some action resulting from IES was taken at the last LNC meeting -- the reinstatement of a committee to
oversee advertising and publications. Not enough, since there is
repudiation of the objectionable elements in IES,
but it's a positive sign nevertheless.
Copyright © 2005
Tell Us What YOU Think! -- On Our Message