The Private Acquisition of Osama Bin Laden

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I
have listened to the major news outlets with rapt attention since
the infamous 9-11 strike (my nephews ages 12 and 11 were in the
WTC the day before the attack). This is the longest sustained viewing
period of my adult life. Outside of an occasional sporting event
or a pay per view movie the boob tube holds very little attraction
for me. With the lack of any real substantive information on the
attacks and the near ceaseless war propaganda..err.. I mean coverage
my attention has once again been lost. Yet such a dramatic and evil
event showed very clearly the power of television and its ability
to indelibly affect our psyches with images many of us will not
soon forget. As a youngster I remember watching the Space Shuttle
blow up before my very eyes. It was riveting to say the least but
it wasn't a deliberate attack (or so we are told). The loss was
tragic but nothing of the magnitude of what we witnessed that fateful
Tuesday morning.

Even
now, several months later, the WTC attacks appear as something almost
beyond comprehension in its planning and precision. TV was at its
glorious and tragic best, capturing an event that needed, at least
after the second plane hit, nary an editorial comment. Only the
most obtuse amongst us didn't realize some terrorist thugs had finally
won a battle in a heinously spectacular way. I knew instantly that
my life and those of most other Americans would never be the same
again. I also knew the lines would be drawn in the days ahead and
I would be a minority voice of non-hawkish dissent in a sea of sometimes
mindless patriotic enthusiasm. Time has not proven me wrong.

Fox
news, heretofore my "favorite" news channel, has been
positively depressing since day one and now, nearly five months
later. I imagine the other networks aren't much better. Understandably,
in light of such a brutal attack, I have never seen so much blood
lust per square inch in a very long time. Fox News is ostensibly
"fair and balanced" yet the anti-hawk view gets little
if any air time. One guest suggested that we needed to ask why
such an event would happen
and he was roundly shouted down by
all three "newsmen". Fox's serial cable shows aren't much
better. I'm sure Sean Hannity (of Hannity and Colmes) is
a wonderful guy and judging by his latest radio contract has a talent
for holding an audience. But why such hawks, such purveyors of the
oxymoronic position of heralding federalized action in the name
of liberty, think they are standing in the footsteps of the Founding
Fathers is beyond me.

The
next time I hear Alan Colmes (Sean Hannity's rhetorical "adversary")
suggest that because the airlines are out to make a profit therefore
they aren't interested in security; as a defense for the federalization
of airport security personnel, I think I'm going to cancel my satellite
TV description and swear off television forever. He has been offering
this palp as a line of argumentation for months. Yet this is the
majority report among the American public and now has become a reality.
Isn't it precisely because the airlines profitability is largely
based on the perception they are safe and secure that they have
the most interest in keeping their product and the people who use
that product well…safe and secure?

Imagine
Mr. Colmes announcing that because Fox News is paying him a salary
he no longer has to be informative and entertaining (I don't think
he is either but that is beside the point). Au contraire; isn't
it precisely because he is considered such (informative and entertaining)
that he is earning a profit (salary)? Isn't it precisely why he
will remain such (informative and entertaining) if he wants to continue
to earn a profit? It clearly would be against his self interest
to do otherwise.

The
same goes for the airlines. A lax and unsafe airway is a bankrupt
airway. When people have security concerns they are afraid to fly
and no amount of federal bailout money will change that fact. The
security lapses as we currently know them are government, not market,
induced. It was the FAA, the FBI, CIA, ad infinitum ad nauseum
that allowed this tragic fiasco to happen. This simple and thoroughly
demonstrable reality seems to be lost on the chattering class and
most of the American public. Any private firm spending as much money
with as poor results as our government intelligence agencies would
quickly be out of business. The lawsuits alone would put them under
and rightfully so. But what do we do? We give them even more
money and then put them directly in charge of airport security!
The depth of such utter nonsense is breathtaking.

Then
there is Bill O'Reilly and his "no spin zone." Alas critiquing
the O'Reilly Factor would take a whole book. O'Reilly seems to be
well intentioned and I do enjoy his show when I am able to watch
it. I bet Jesse Jackson wishes that O'Reilly wasn't quite so popular,
as his crusade to expose the truth about this racial demagogue is
surely giving Mr. Jackson many a sleepless night. Nevertheless he
and the rest of the folks at Fox News are statists to the core,
selling out the American people for a mess of "secured"
government pottage.

The
inability of our government to capture Osama Bin Laden has created
a great opportunity for those of us who are enemies of Leviathan
to win a stunning and spectacular victory for liberty in spite of
the prevailing atmosphere. It will take courage and guts and yes
a whole lot of money. It will meet with resistance even from those
who claim to be one of us. It may mean a serious backlash while
in the midst of execution, but at the end of the day we can demystify
and delegitimize our government in one fell swoop. The issue of
government "security" has been conjoined, and while you
would never know it from listening to the "captured" media,
there are many voices of liberty (from across the political spectrum)
sounding the horn to turn back the tentacles of Leviathan as it
seeks to expand during this latest crisis. In such an atmosphere
I offer a few thoughts as to a way out of this horrible mess.

First
let us lay some ground rules. We must understand that as things
currently stand the United States government is going to do everything
wrong, and I mean everything. Their frustration and ineptitude
searching for Bin Laden is now a matter of public record. We are
not going to preach to them or ask them for anything. This effort
will be privately funded and run. We will ignore our own government
every step of the way. And with all due respect to Ron Paul, the
only sane man in Congress, we won't ask for or accept letters of
marque and
reprisal
either, for with our success it would appear as a victory
for Leviathan and grant legitimacy to a government that we are trying
to delegitimize.

Second
what I'm about to suggest is not for the faint of heart. Someone
might die, be threatened, spit on, lose a job. It may even be from
the hands of our own government and their bombs. So, as it once
was in the Old Testament Israeli militia, if you are scared, go
home.

  1. Raise
    the financial stakes to a nearly irresistible level.
    Let
    us create, privately, such an environment that the perpetrators,
    whoever they might be, will be hounded to the very ends of the
    earth. Now this might be a little tough since the direct protagonists
    are dead. But we are presuming that there is a network of sorts
    that plans such things and so our aim is to take it out.

To
that end place a $2 billion dollar privately raised ransom on the
head of Osama Bin Laden and the top 5 suspected terrorists in the
world
. Now others have suggested this before but no one has
talked seriously in terms of a free market action to my knowledge.
Oh I could see the scramble now on groups wanting to get in on this
potential windfall. After reading Brad
Edmonds article
I realized my initial idea of $5 million dollars
(or the $30 million the government is now offering) would not be
enough to entice any takers. On the other hand, I would be willing
to bet $2 billion dollars would ensure Bin Laden's and company arrival
on our shores rather swiftly.

The
money would be set aside in a private foreign account, out of the
reach of our own government, held by a neutral third party trustee,
and paid only if these men are brought back alive. Then we
can conduct a public trial with full evidence for the entire world
to witness. The execution should be public as well.

Let
us reject out of hand the doctrine of collateral damage that until
the time of Lincoln was largely unthinkable in the West. The need
for surgical precision in such an operation is paramount in order
to avoid such damage, something a US made missile cannot do. Ahem…where
is the "little general" when you need him?

I
don't think it would be impossible to raise funds privately (difficult
yes, impossible no) and it certainly would be preferable to extracting
more life energy (i.e. taxes) from the American people. Finding
the people for the task wouldn't be that tough either. Hey the drug
cartels and the Mafia got rich because of the immoral drug war and
other illegitimate government incursions; the least they could do
is return the favor by helping bring some terrorist thugs to justice.
None of this would be overseen by any government bureaucrat, for
the lure of profits and glory would send the private market, such
as it is, into dizzying action. Some of the hardened and grizzled
men who run with these terrorists, given human nature, would probably
attempt to cash in as well.

Where
would the money come from? Let us take some articulate and erudite
anarcho-capitalists and travel the country to present our case.
We could start with those executives who put up a million dollars
for the capture of Bin Laden. We could visit the "Little General"
as well. We certainly would promise anonymity to all who contribute
to the cause if that is their desire. There is plenty of history
along this line and groups with a much better track record than
our CIA at this kind of work. Besides, we have a long Afghan winter
in which to get the job done.

With
a stunning victory on this front, we would have the ear of the American
people and ruin forever the credibility of our own government. Then
we will have an obvious platform to proclaim our message beginning
with:

  1. Calling
    for the renouncing of our own state sponsored terrorism
    .
    How? By not playing God and empire builder and thereby removing
    our troops from foreign soil. Now this would never fly in our
    current political climate, but having a group of freedom loving
    mercenaries bring Bin Laden to our soil with private funding;
    that will command attention. Then immediately call for the reduction
    of our standing army to a very small professional unit (arguably)
    along something of the lines the Founding Fathers envisioned.
    Better yet reestablish our constitutionally authorized militia.
    Even better make defense a private
    production
    . Let the president pay for his own defense if
    he deems it necessary. Take our message to the highways and
    byways, anywhere people will listen. Debate, write, and argue
    with a heretofore unknown relentlessness. With this acquisitional
    coup, we will have earned our time in the sun, it may be short
    but we will get it. Say this now and we will be jeered at best,
    say it after Bin laden is brought to our shores and the whole
    world will be listening.

We
should then further call for the admitting of our mistakes to the
world. We should apologize for the lives we have taken through our
immoral
economic sanctions
. We should cease taking sides in any foreign
entanglement. We should stop dropping bombs on nations because they
refuse to do our will. We should acknowledge as a nation that we
are not going to solve conflicts that have raged since the days
of Esau and Jacob. Only a public school education would lead someone
to think they could seriously affect what is going on in the East
through military belligerence.

  1. Call
    for the abolition of public education immediately
    . The only
    way we can have a group of people who know nothing of St.
    Augustine's just war doctrine
    and yet claim to be moral
    and conservative is because they have been brainwashed by government's
    purveyor of secular religiosity: the public schools, and the
    market purveyor of unwashed paganism: the establishment media.
    Who in their right mind would believe there is ever a justification
    for killing non-combatants or lightly dismissing such as collateral
    damage? Only someone whose conscious has been systematically
    deadened over the years by embracing what the Pope has called
    "the culture of death" could seriously entertain such
    thoughts.
  1. Call
    for the immediate dismantling of all gun control laws
    . In
    light of 9/11
    gun control is dead
    anyway, so why not press our advantage?
    No more taking away our freedom in the name of safety and security,
    but rather let us be freer to defend ourselves. Only a government
    paid moron doesn't understand that the reason those planes were
    successfully hijacked is that the perps had bigger weapons than
    everyone else. Let the second amendment reign supreme. If nothing
    else this would bring the idea of turning an airborne iron tube
    into a missile style projectile immediately to a halt. You say
    "what about some crazy who goes wild on a flight?"
    Well there are already crazies going wild on flights, which
    is precisely what we saw on 9/11. This way we can keep those
    crazies in check and not be at their mercy because we have been
    unilaterally disarmed by our own government. If there is a demand
    for weapon free flights then the market will provide such. For
    my money, after a little careful consideration, I think most
    of the public would avoid such an airline.
  1. Call
    for the privatization of the airlines.
    What? I thought they
    were private. Not hardly. With a government run FAA and now
    a government extorted bailout the airlines strike me as quasi-governmental
    businesses. Abolish
    the FAA
    . Remove all government controls. Imagine the
    resultant free for all. Airlines would be forced to compete
    for customers on the basis of safety and security, not on the
    basis of governmental certification. One ominous fall from the
    sky might mean the end of an airline. I can't think of a greater
    motivation for the airlines to ensure both their own property
    and the people who use it are adequately protected.

I
refused to fly Alaska Airlines after flight 261 fell from the sky.
I made that decision after reading a series of articles pointing
out the carelessness of both the airline and the maker of the planes.
Don't blame them
however as they had met "government standards"
. But
because of government certification, which provides people with
a false sense of security (again 9/11 is a witness), Alaska Airlines
is still in business when by all rights the market may have forced
them out long ago (unless of course they cleaned up their act and
could weather the inevitable downturn of business that would have
occurred in a truly free market).

Imagine
(again) nearly crash proof planes, clean cabin air, food that tastes
good, on board chefs (okay this might be a stretch) and economy
class that actually had leg room. Imagine airports that were not
artificially oversupplied with passengers because the ticket prices
more accurately reflect costs (i.e. business class would not be
subsidizing the folks in economy class) and airports could charge
peak hour rates for landing planes, thus better regulating traffic.
Imagine some idiot attempting to hijack a plane and finding several
passengers pointing guns at his head saying "go ahead, make
my day" (whoops that was the previous point). All this might
be a reality if the regulations didn't force the airlines to simply
put as many buns in the seats as possible.

  1. Anyone
    say racial profiling?
    Uh oh. Now it gets a little sticky.
    I'm touching on the holy grail of politics but it must be said
    — deport all aliens whose origins are from suspect countries.
    They have no constitutional right to be on our shores. Let them
    stay away until we implement the above mentioned items. At least
    it will give us time to sort this whole mess out. And before
    we let them back in (assuming we do) let us call for a national
    debate on the whole issue of immigration and open borders, after
    we get our children out of public schools.
  1. Finally,
    let us call for the establishment of genuine free trade
    .
    Mises
    argued this was the avenue to peace among nations
    . At the
    very least it might have prevented the deaths of hundreds of
    thousands of women and children in Iraq due to our bombs and
    continued economic sanctions. It may well have spared us some
    of the implacable hatred by which we are viewed by so many in
    that part of the world, radical Islamic theology notwithstanding.
    It would open the door once again to the vast Christian missionary
    enterprise which is largely shut off from that part of the world
    and which laid the foundation and provided the framework for
    much of classical liberal and libertarian thought. As
    Rabbi Daniel Lapin points out
    , you need not be a Christian
    to appreciate this fact and the enormous resultant blessing.
    Maybe at some future point the descendents of Esau will be sending
    missionaries our way to remind us of what we seem to
    have forgotten as the best of our own Western tradition. Perhaps,
    but unfortunately I doubt it will be my generation which receives
    such a blessing.

Sounds
utopian? Maybe it is. But if anarcho-capitalist activity were to
capture Bin Laden and friends without any state intervention,
the emotional swing in this country would be so palpable you could
cut it with a knife. Our service to the American people will have
advanced our message in a way that no amount of words could ever
do. Donations anyone?

February
8, 2001

Michael
Miles [send him mail]
writes from Seattle, WA.

LRC
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