Libertarians and Foreign Policy

A reader writes:

It makes me want to cry. Why do libertarians have to act like lunatics and crack pots? Paul misspoke about Iraq - it was not the cause of 9/11 (should we have let Saddam have Kuwait? We would be better off with that? When we realized that Saddam was then killing Kurds and Shiites we should not have imposed no fly zones?). I support many of Paul's positions, but he did give Rudy the softball about 9/11 (and Paul is wrong). Libertarians are so inflexible that they fall into this trap time and time again. This is basically the Michael Scheuer argument (although to Paul's credit he does not embrace torture like Scheuer does).

We have to engage the middle east in a competent manner. Whether Iraq was right or wrong - we are stuck with what is there. Historically that means learning from our mistakes. We have to respond aggressively and appropriately when ships and embassies are attacked (which did not happen under Clinton's watch).  If we are going to engage in war - doing so competently (which W failed miserably at). But we also have to realize no matter what we do - there will be bin Ladens and Zaraqawis out there.

I don't believe that Iraq was a cause of 9/11. I do take seriously bin Laden's claim that U.S. military bases in Saudi Arabia were part of his theological rationale for 9/11. And they were there as part of the first Gulf War. My point is that blowback is a real issue and we need to discuss it more frankly. The immeasurable benefit of Ron Paul is that he has injected it into the GOP debate.