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One of Brian’s Favorite Quotes

I have a strong will but a weak won’t.”

The Gingrich Doctrine: ‘Kill Them!’

His hands on his ample hips,
Newt Gingrich looked like Mussolini up there on the stage at the GOP
presidential debate as he bellowed “everybody knows” the Pakistanis
were hiding Osama bin Laden in plain sight, “a mile from a Pakistani
military academy.” Ron Paul, who knows more about monetary policy
than the intricacies of the US-Pakistani relationship, stood there looking
appalled as Gingrich let loose with his war cry: “Kill them!” The
yahoos went wild with joy. The Newtster was reacting to Paul’s point
about respecting Pakistani sovereignty – and the dangers of allowing
such cross-border raids to become routine. After all, that could work
both ways, as Paul tried – in vain – to point out.

The reality, though, is that
the Pakistanis in all likelihood did know about the raid well
in advance, and it is just as likely they had a hand in the entire
operation from the start. As the Guardian reported at the time:

“The US and Pakistan struck
a secret deal almost a decade ago permitting a US operation against
Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil similar
to last week’s raid that killed the al-Qaeda leader, the

Guardian has learned.

“The deal was struck between
the military leader General Pervez Musharraf and President George Bush
after Bin Laden escaped US forces in the mountains of Tora Bora in late
2001, according to serving and retired Pakistani and US officials.

“Under its terms, Pakistan
would allow US forces to conduct a unilateral raid inside Pakistan in
search of Bin Laden, his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the al-Qaeda
No3. Afterwards, both sides agreed, Pakistan would vociferously protest
the incursion.

“‘There was an agreement
between Bush and Musharraf that if we knew where Osama was, we were
going to come and get him,’ said a former senior US official with
knowledge of counterterrorism operations.
‘The Pakistanis would put up a hue and cry, but they wouldn’t stop

Good ol’ Musharraf, the one
loyal ally we had in the region – dumped by the US State Department
for his lack of “democratic” credentials. More real al-Qaeda operatives
were arrested in Pakistan during his tenure than all the efforts of
our FBI and CIA combined.

In any case, it’s just common
sense the Pakistanis were in on the Abbottabad raid: after all, the
Americans set up a safe house in what has been described as a “garrison
town” – a feat next to impossible without the Pakistanis knowing
about it. As one Pakistani senior officer pointed
to the Global
, the airspace over Abbottabad is a no fly zone: there’s no
way the US could have pulled off the operation without the full knowledge
and cooperation of the Pakistani military. The area around the bin Laden
compound was cordoned off by the authorities in the hours prior to the
raid, and residents were told to stay inside with their lights out.

I don’t know who’s giving
Rep. Paul his foreign policy talking points, but in discussions of foreign
policy specifics matter: you can deduce the basic principles
of economics from self-evident axioms, as students of Austrian economics [.pdf] know. However, you cannot do the same when making the case for a non-interventionist
foreign policy. This is where empirical evidence is key to understanding
what is really going on, as opposed to what our rulers want us to believe.

Here’s the kicker: the same
people in the government pushing for more strenuous and overt intervention
in Pakistan know all about Musharraf’s 2001 agreement with the US,
yet they cynically promote the idea that Pakistan was hiding bin Laden in
order to advance their own agenda. There are so many layers of deception
masking the truth about American foreign policy that peeling them all
back is the equivalent of the thirteenth labor of Hercules.

Speaking of Monday’s Republican
debate: if there is any limit to Rick Perry’s stupidity, then I suspect
we have yet to reach it. His statement that Turkey is ruled by “Islamic
” and ought to be kicked out of NATO was applauded vigorously
by the audience – the same audience that booed Paul when he invoked
the Golden Rule. The only problem for Perry and his fans is that Turkey
is a vital US ally, and is ruled not by “Islamic terrorists” but
by a moderate and staunchly pro-Western Muslim party democratically
elected: the country boasts a modern economy with innumerable economic and political ties to the West. Perry’s is a gaffe that would normally
disqualify its utterer from seeking office higher than alderman: not
in today’s GOP, however, where ignorance is an asset.

The impetus for Perry’s latest
embarrassing faux pas was a leading question from Bret Baier, who appears
to embody the lunkheaded viciousness that characterizes the “reporters”
at Fox News. He certainly looks and sounds the part: the vacuous
stare, the protruding ears like two little radar dishes scanning for
targets, the propaganda that pours
of his mouth
as if a button were being pushed somewhere:

“Governor Perry, since
the Islamist-oriented party took over in Turkey, the murder rate of
women has increased 1,400 percent there. Press freedom has declined
to the level of Russia. The prime minister of Turkey has embraced Hamas
and Turkey has threatened military force against both Israel and Cypress.
[sic] Given Turkey’s turn, do you believe Turkey still belongs in

To begin with, a grand total
of 953 Turkish women were murdered in the first seven months of 2009,
the last time period for which figures are available, up from 806 in 2008. The 1400
percent figure comes from a
the AKP justice minister
in which he measured the increase from
2002: if the “Islamist terrorists” who run the Turkish government
are encouraging the murder of women, why would their own Justice Minister
make this kind of statement?

Secondly, if Senators Joe Lieberman
and Lindsey Graham are trying
to convince
Turks that only they can bring Hamas to the negotiating table, is Turkey’s
relationship with the rulers of Gaza a plus or a minus for US diplomatic
efforts in the region? This is a question Gov. Perry is completely unprepared
to ask, let alone answer.

Perry is way out of his depth,
and for him to be presented as a credible candidate for the presidency
is a disgrace – and a minus for the GOP, which is hurting itself badly
by allowing him to make a fool of himself at each and every debate.
Of course, a Governor doesn’t have to be an expert on the internal
politics of Turkey: if only he’d stayed in Texas, he would have
saved himself and his party a lot of trouble.

Ignorance of such abstruse
topics is not a moral failing – unless, that is, one is charged with
making life-and-death decisions requiring this kind of specialized knowledge.
In that case, it is highly doubtful anyone not immersed in the country
one is concerned with could have sufficient understanding to even attempt
to make such a decision. Friedrich Hayek, the free market economist,
understood that central planning by governments is impossible because
the planners lack sufficient knowledge of the many factors taken into
account by the market: the same is true when it comes to planning the
fate of nations overseas – only more so. That conservatives fail to
understand this simple fact is a tribute to their thickheadedness. No
matter how many times that simple principle is demonstrated in real
life – Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. – the lesson forever eludes
them, transfixed as they are by demagogues of Gingrich’s ilk urging
them to “Kill! Kill!”

Read more by Justin Raimondo

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