libertarian criticism of President Obama’s policies

Libertarians, like the Tea Party Republicans, are unhappy with Barack Obama, but their criticism takes a very different tone. Here is an example, from a libertarian critique of the way Obama is waging ‘war on terror’.

Think about the terrible ordeal Sen. John McCain went through as a prisoner of war. Ditto for Rep. Sam Johnson and other Americans who were tortured by their Vietnamese captors. Awful as all that was, does anyone think the world would be better off if McCain, Johnson and the others were killed rather than tortured?

Well, that is how Barack Obama thinks. He criticized George [W] Bush for allowing three captives to be water boarded. He called it “torture” and apologized to the world. But Obama has no problem at all with killing people. As I previously reported, that is what our drones are doing day in and day out and the number of drone kills has spiked radically during the Obama years. In the president’s first five years in office, the C.I.A. made 330 drone strikes in Pakistan alone (a country we are not even at war with!), compared with 51 total drone strikes in four years of George W. Bush’s presidency.

Remember: Our drones are killing people who are not wearing uniforms. They are not shooting back at us. They are not in any traditional sense “combatants.” I’m sure that a lot of the people the Obama administration has killed deserved to die. But we don’t always know who we are killing. And we admit that bystanders, including children, are victims as well.

Is that really more humane than water boarding?

John C. Goodman, “How the Left Thinks about the War on Terror“, Newsroom (Independent Institute), 28 November 2015.

Economist John Goodman is a senior fellow at the Independent Institute, a libertarian think tank based in Oakland, California.

For another example, in the same publication, of libertarian views that differ markedly from those of Tea Party Republicans, see the column written by Independent Institute research fellow Abigail R. Hall, who expresses her gratitude for migrants “who come here legally and for those who come here illegally“.


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