Steve G.

Susan Hogarth: “An Inch Too Far: Barr on Iraq, Patriot Act, MM”

In Libertarian on July 2, 2008 at 11:34 pm

The following is posted with permission of the author, Susan Hogarth. Susan is of course a longtime libertarian activist. Her website is at http://colliething.com

I think that our candidates – especially at the highest level – need to be watched and analyzed carefully and critically. Such analysis can be support for the campaign if accepted in the right spirit – as support.

A transcript allows us to look carefully at what Barr said – bearing in mind that he is talking live, and anyone is liable to some slips under those conditions. The Wallace interview (link below for transcript)

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,373450,00.html

grabbed a lot of Lib attention because of Barr’s self-praise on DOMA; rather astonishing to those who thought they’d heard him promise to work to repeal the Act.

However, there are a few other points of note, and frankly, some deeper concerns for me regarding Barr’s foreign policy – and area he has always been fairly cagey on with Libertarians – calling for ‘no rush to war with Iran’, for instance, while not repudiating his former support for the warfare of embargoes.

Two domestic concerns first: Twice he is asked about the Barr Amendment (med marijuana) and never does he address it. In fairness, it was slipped into a multi-part question both times. Barr seems to indicate that he doesn’t think the PATRIOT Act itself was a bad idea, as long as it was not ‘used and abused’ (legislation is OK as long as it’s never used; I guess I can maybe get behind that premise, but it does seem hopelessly utopian). Barr says:

“The powers in the Patriot Act have been used and abused by the Bush administration far in excess of what the Congress intended for it, and it’s those abuses that have led I and a lot of other folks who voted for it under false pretenses essentially to work against it.”

He should consider the Libertarian implications there: that ANY piece of legislation is quite liable to ‘use and abuse’, and that must be factored in when considering it. Once this insight sinks in – if it ever does – he should consider sharing it with the electorate when he has a chance to speak to them.

It’s the Iraq quotes that are bothering me most in the long run, I think: First he repeats Hillary’s feeble and whining excuse “Bush lied!”:

“With regard to the vote for hostilities in Iraq, that was a vote that was based on what we now know to be inappropriate and erroneously analyzed intelligence.”

Somehow Ron Paul wasn’t fooled. Oh, wait, Ron Paul wouldn’t have voted FOR it even if he had believed the ass George Bush. There is the lesson Barr seems to have missed. The war was wrong even granting the false premises. He continues:

“That vote certainly was not intended — was not presented to the Congress or myself in the Congress at the time as a vote for a multiyear, perhaps multidecade, occupation of Iraq.”

Umm, so the invasion itself was OK; it’s just occupation that’s not? That certainly seems to be the implication here, bolstered by the very next comment:

“Here again, the administration has taken an inch and gone a mile, sometimes in very clear contravention of what Congress intended.”

So he did agree with the ‘inch’ of invasion – just not the ‘mile’ of occupation? That seems to be the only clear interpretation of what he says here.

This is pretty disturbing stuff for the LP’s presidential candidate. He doesn’t – as far as I can tell – at all here repudiate his vote on the Iraq War – he simply laments that it, like the PATRIOT Act, was ‘used and abused’; that the Administration took his ‘inch’ and made it a ‘mile’ – with no indication that the Libertarian Party position is that the inch was already an inch too far.

  1. It’s a wonderful thing to see Susan say something positive about Ron Paul. Maybe she has before, but it was a happy first that I’ve noticed.

  2. Fred,

    I owe Ron Paul a great debt (he was the proximate cause of my joining the LP), and I don’t beleive I have said much about him at all during this campaign cycle (early on, I did note on my blog that his run would be good for the movement and probably the Party in the long run). This is because he was running as a Republican, and as an officer in my local Party, I didn’t think it appropriate to support him as a Republican candidate.

  3. My recollection of the Denver “debate” answer that Barr gave r3egarding DOMA was that he would work to repeal “provisions” of DOMA. Unless I am missing the greater context here, Barr indicated to the C-SPAN audience and the delegates in the room, was that DOMA is fine, except for specific provisions.

    This double-speak reminds me of when Barr came to Tampa, specifically to the University of South Florida campus for an ACLU event (April 2005) concerning privacy and the USA Patriot Act. During that talk, Barr talked about the “bad” provisions (there’s that word again!) of the Act that he would remove.

    Susan is absolutely right . . . as she says “Barr seems to indicate that he doesn’t think the PATRIOT Act itself was a bad idea, as long as it was not ‘used and abused’ “.

    The problem here is not only that Barr has way too much trust in government, but that in fact, in the three years since he spoke at USF, Barr has not changed one bit!

    So much for the idea that Barr has come around to the libertarian perspective. 323 (the # of votes for Barr on the 6th ballot, excluding Barr himself) Denver convention delegates had been duped.

    My conscience is clear . . . I voted for Mary Ruwart on 6 ballots, and Steve Kubby on all the VP nominating ballots.

  4. Very interesting. I must have mistook that partisanship for outright hostility at some point; that’s the impression I’ve had in my head for months. My bad!

  5. I must have mistook that partisanship for outright hostility at some point; that’s the impression I’ve had in my head for months.

    Sigh. You weren’t the only one. But thanks for taking note when I finally conveyed it in a the right way🙂

  6. Barr and the Patriot Act: I think the Patriot Act was rushed through, without giving senators enough time to thoroughly go through the whole thick and extensive law.
    If you listen to judge Andrew Napolitano’s speech at the FFF at youtube last year, you will know this. Ron Paul also did not even had enought time for the original vote, so he voted on his instincts no, and once again his instrncts have proven correct. I thin Barr (and Paul) means one should differentiate, there are a few good things in the Patriot Act like “Foreign intelligence information” – which has nothing to do with wireless tappings without court order etc. which are good and has been used good. This is probably just a continuation of previous practise, but the big problem is with the additional and new and unconstitutional powers. Some provisions are good, but many are bad. I have also heard Ron Paul saying he would first work with congress to repeal many offensive sections of the Patriot Act or – if possible – the whole Patriot Act, and then a separate Act only for the necessary military intelligence, where a judge approval is needed etc. The president has to work with congress and convince them, he cannot just alone scrap the Patriot Act. It is in this background that Barr’s statements should be seen.

  7. Susan: I love your expression “the ass George Bush”!🙂
    If you listen to the 40 minute interview on June 6th of Barr with Glenn Beck (who is also an ass like Bush), listen to minute 30 onwards where he talks about the Patriot Act, for about 2,3 minutes. Barr went into the reasons why he voted for it and especially why he rejects it later. He would seek to repeal the whole act and then look at provisions, based on the current situation, that can be implemented. Ron Paul said essentially the same.

    On Iraq, Barr has said several times in interviews it is an “unacceptable occupation” of Iraq and nationbuilding. Some “conservatives” have criticized him for this expression, just as they have criticized Paul on this (saying Paul is far left). Barr said he would as president on day one instruct (not consult) with the military leaders to come up with a withdrawal plan within 48 hours.

    Generally I think it is difficult to answer a question in short, one cannot provide the reasons why you are of the specific opinion or answer it is a differentiated way. So with a short answer, there is some “distortion” and some can make the wrong conclusions. Remember also he should convince many people that the Iraq war was a good idea and still think so, that it is not a good idea to stay.
    I have heard Murray Sabrin – he was against the war – in a debate using the argument, for some it was about the removal of Saddam Hussein, and that that mission was accomplished and should return. Barr’s focus should be on the war and that people were misguided by the administration and that the right thing should be done now (and not in a self lamentation and exclaim to all, oh I have been so wrong excuse me that I live…the administration had nothing to do with my bad vote, it is all my own mistake…please forgive me etc. His focus should be on what is to be done now in the light of the mistakes, and not to go into detail about his past vote).

  8. hello it is test. WinRAR provides the full RAR and ZIP file support, can decompress CAB, GZIP, ACE and other archive formats.

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