Thursday, June 21, 2007

Iraq Withdrawal - Proposed LNC Resolution for Pittsburgh Meeting

Libertarian National Committee (LNC) Representatives Angela Keaton and I (Wes Benedict) will co-sponsor a motion at the July 21, 2007 LNC meeting in Pittsburgh asking the LNC to adopt the following resolution requesting withdrawal of United States armed forces from Iraq.

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WHEREAS the Platform of the Libertarian Party calls for the government of the United States to return to its historical libertarian tradition of avoiding entangling alliances, foreign quarrels, and military adventures; and

WHEREAS the armed forces of the United States have invaded Iraq, a foreign nation that neither directly attacked nor imminently threatened to attack the United States; and

WHEREAS this invasion was unjust and imprudent; and

WHEREAS the injustice and imprudence of this invasion cannot be undone by the continued presence of the armed forces of the United States in Iraq; and

WHEREAS the stability and security of Iraq lie outside the jurisdiction of the government of the United States;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Libertarian Party calls on the government of the United States to withdraw the armed forces of the United States from Iraq, without delay or preconditions.
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If you are a Libertarian Party activist, I urge you to contact your LNC Representatives and express your opinions on this matter. Your LNC Representatives can be found here: http://www.lp.org/organization/lncdirectory2.shtml

Please post your opinions on this blog as well. Let us know who you are. Feel free to list campaigns you've run or any officer positions you hold at the county or state level (recognizing that listing those positions does not imply that your personal opinion represents the official position of the organization in which you hold office), and tell us why you do or do not support this resolution.

I do not know whether or not this resolution will pass. I'll maintain an up-to-date listing on this blog of any LNC members who publicly offer their positions in advance of consideration of this issue.

LNC Members:

Bill Redpath, Chair
Chuck Moulton, Vice Chair
Bob Sullentrup, Secretary
Aaron Starr, Treasurer

Angela Keaton, At-Large - FOR
Patrick Dixon, At-Large
Michael C. Colley, At-Large
Jeremy Keil, At-Large
Dan Karlan, At-Large

Tony Ryan, Region 1
M Carling, Region 2
Emily Salvette, Region 3
Bob Barr, Region 4
Jim Lark, Region 5
Wes Benedict, Region 6 - FOR
Hardy Machia, Region 7


While I believe this resolution clearly reflects the position implied by our platform, I don't think this position has been consistently communicated by various actions of the National Libertarian Party over the past few years.

Below are some arguments against adopting this resolution that you might come across.

1) This resolution is unnecessary because the platform is clear on this issue.

Rebuttal: The June 29, 2005 Iraq Exit Strategy (IES) posted on the LNC website called for a "complete withdrawal in one year's time" and that time has long since passed. Additionally, the IES recommended some steps many members felt were in violation of the platform.

Regardless of the merits of points made in that June 29, 2005 IES, the current LNC needs to make clear its position on this issue now.

2) The Libertarian Party should not adopt positions that some of its members may disagree with or find divisive. Our party needs to grow, even if that includes recruiting and retaining members who support the Unites States' continued military presence in Iraq.

Rebuttal: I support growing the Libertarian Party. I welcome people who predominantly support the platform of the Libertarian Party even if they may disagree on some issues, including the Iraq War. That doesn't mean our party shouldn't take a bold stand on issues that aren't unanimously supported by its members. Democrats disagree amongst themselves on the War in Iraq. Republicans disagree on immigration policies. Mature political parties should expect and welcome internal debate and disagreement on important issues.

I recently proposed this same resolution to the Libertarian Part of Texas (LPT) Executive Committee. The LPT Executive Committee voted it down. Some members supported it, while others opposed it for various reasons. Some opposed it because they supported the continued occupation of Iraq, while others opposed it because they preferred avoiding a divisive issue.

While I was disappointed that the Libertarian Party of Texas failed to adopt this resolution, I continue to work with the opponents on other issues and support their willingness to serve the Libertarian Party of Texas in their various roles.

While I support growing the Libertarian Party, I recognize the risk that some people may decide to quit the Libertarian Party based on the outcome of the vote on this resolution.

My message to potential quitters is: "There's some chance that by ceremoniously quitting you'll send a small message to other Libertarians how you feel about this issue and perhaps that will affect a change in direction. However, I believe it's more likely that by quitting, you'll be removing one more voice and one more vote that may be needed to tip the balance in the future on issues you feel are important. Rather than quitting the Libertarian Party and giving up your one vote, how about recruiting five or ten or one hundred other like-minded people to help guide the future direction of the Libertarian Party?"

I appreciate the time and energy that so many people have invested in working for the success of the Libertarian Party and for the cause of freedom in general, even though at times we may disagree on some issues. This might be one of those issues where we disagree.

Please contact your LNC Representatives and voice your opinion on this resolution. And of course, I hope that when you do, you'll be sending the message that you support this bold resolution demanding withdrawal of United States armed forces from Iraq without delay or preconditions.

--Wes Benedict
LNC Region 6 Representative

6/29/07 ***UPDATE***

The Iraq Exit Strategy has been removed from the lp.org website and I no longer plan to submit this resolution.

21 comments:

Brian said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Wes Benedict said...

Brian posted the following links which I deleted thinking they were spam but later checked and noticed the comment wasn't spam.

http://blog.360.yahoo.com/knowinghumans?p=428
http://blog.360.yahoo.com/knowinghumans?p=456

--Wes Benedict

ESun67 said...

Wes,

I support the resolution in principle and have no problem with the LNC doing so. While I'm only a Regional Alternate, you have my support in the matter.

I find Mr. Holtz's Liberventionism stance absurd and will not waste any time with a detailed rebuttal to his stance.

Yamaha Mo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Morey said...

Good on ya, Wes. It's about time we made our position clear. I'll ask my rep to support it.

GregD said...

Until the LNC repudiates the 2005 Iraq Exit Strategy which contradicted the LP platform at the time, they are still in violation of their fiduciary responsibility to the members of the organization. They have defrauded the donors by claiming they oppose foreign aid and then advocating it. It is unsafe and unwise to donate to the Libertarian Party as long as this state of affairs exists. Any further resolutions cannot be taken seriously so long as the LNC does not take responsibility for their past deceptive actions.

GregD said...

Ok, so the Iraq Exit Strategy has been removed from the LP web site. Big deal. Explain what that means. Is that an admission by the LNC that they violated their fiduciary responsibility? How do we know that next time the LP will not publish a plan advocating an income tax increase, gun confiscation, or warrantless wiretaps? Just hiding this stuff and hoping it goes away is not a solution. I contributed thousands of dollars and countless hours to the LP to promote a set of ideas and now the LP promotes contrary ideas -- I have been defrauded.

Wes Benedict said...

Greg Dirasin,

I personally repudiate that Iraq Exit Strategy.

You ask:
"How do we know that next time the LP will not publish a plan advocating an income tax increase, gun confiscation, or warrantless wiretaps?"

Such things will be decided by the people who show up to our conventions and elect our LNC representatives who hire and fire our staff.

Expressed opinions like yours may also have an effect. How you go about expressing them will probably also have an effect.

Wes Benedict said...

Greg,

I'd also add that some wrongs just can't be undone. Exploded bombs that killed people can't be un-exploded to bring those people back to life. Some bad decisions taken by an organization can't be undone.

I think sometimes forgiveness and moving on is the best solution.

What "moving on" means will be decided by those who carry on.

GregD said...

Wes:

I'm not asking for the bell to be unrung. But sweeping the dirt under the rug is not a solution either.

Those of us who pointed out that the Iraq Exit Strategy violated our own platform were called names, publicly humiliated, and censored from the LP blog.

You might be able to convince me that it is OK to sweep Joe Seehusen's fraud under the rug since he is no longer an employee.

You might be able to convince me that it is OK to sweep Stephen Gordon's fraud under the rug since he is no longer an employee.

But the Iraq Exit Strategy was more than just a failed plan. It was a statement that the LP/LNC has changed their policy and will no longer support their own platform. Until the LNC does something to indicate that they have changed the policy back to adhering to the party platform, we can only assume that they will defraud their members again in the future.

This isn't even a matter of purism vs. pragmatism, it is a matter of being honest with the members and donors. (And, BTW, the Iraq Exit Strategy was neither "pure" nor pragmatic -- in the matter of foreign aid, the pure libertarian position is the pragmatic one because it reflects the beliefs of the majority of the American public).

GregD said...

Perhaps a big part of the problem is that LNC members don't realize that they are the directors of a non-profit corporation organized under the laws of the District of Columbia and that they have a legal responsibility to uphold the corporation's bylaws.

LNC members are not free to do whatever they want. They have a "duty of obedience." (See http://www.t-tlaw.com/np-02a.htm).

The LNC's recent actions leave them open to legal action. They can be held PERSONALLY liable for the results of their breach of their fiduciary responsibility.

Wes: It sounds to me like you do not understand your duties under the law as a director of this non-profit corporation.

Wes Benedict said...

Greg, I think it's safe to assume any political party is at risk of defrauding its members. Look at the Republicans and Democrats.

As far as you personally being called names and publicly humiliated, I feel your pain. I've been called names too. I guess one of my strengths is that I don't mind being called names when I'm right, and often enjoy it even when I'm wrong. That quality probably helped me to become a Libertarian Party member--admittedly of the smart ass variety.

Greg, I don't think you will ever by happy again with the Libertarian Party. I can see you writing about the same old things in the year 2027. Think that's crazy? Melinda Pillsbury-Foster's writing about 1984 right now:
http://www.libertyforall.net/?p=736

GregD said...

Wes: You fooled me. For a brief time there, I actually thought you were interested in growing the Libertarian Party.

The part that you fail to grasp is that much of the failure of the LP is due to an LNC that does not understand it's fiduciary responsibility. Thus, they are constantly doing things that are contrary to the goal of the organization.

The Iraq Exit Strategy is just one example. The LP keeps going in circles because the LNC doesn't feel obliged to honor their own rules. Everytime they change direction, they lost participation.

It's not about making me happy, it's about professionalism.

I really have only one question for you: Do you understand your fiduciary responsibility as a director of the non-profit corporation Libertarian National Committee, Inc.?

Wes Benedict said...

Greg, for the most part I understand my fiduciary duty although I do sometimes learn new things with time and experience. I suspect you'll be willing to teach me a thing or two yourself.

GregD said...

Wes: So now explain to me how Congress' Iraq Exit Strategy is unsafe, but the Libertarian Party's Iraq Exit Strategy is good. Please explain to my how Shane Cory can say in a press release that Congress' plan is unsafe while a careful search of the Internet shows that he signed/endorsed the LP's Iraq Exit Strategy. One of the worst things in politics is getting caught in a lie.

Wes Benedict said...

Greg,

You may be right about some inconstancies. Are you interested in the success of the Libertarian Party? If so, I hope you'll use your charm and influence to get out the vote at the next convention to elect good people to leadership positions in the Libertarian Party.

If you're hell-bent on seeing the Libertarian Party decline, or if you don't think the Libertarian Party is worthy of your inclusion, then you should do the honorable thing and renounce your membership.

Either way, you're welcome to share your opinions on this blog. I welcome whining and/or constructive criticism.

GregD said...

Wes: I will always be a libertarian. But it is clear to me that serious and professional people are in the minority in the Libertarian Party. The party is now being run by semi-literate, semi-principled people who have no clue how to run an organization.

At this point, I believe I can do more to help liberty by being a critic of the Libertarian Party.

Let's see. After the next LNC meeting will you folks still be spending $1,400 for Sean Haugh to do nothing? Will you still be spending $900 per month for Sam New to run the Libertarian Leadership School? Why does the LP have about $10,000 in charges on its American Express every month?

Were you aware that prior to Shane Cory becoming the LP's Communications Director, Mike Dixon was considering firing him as the LP's webmaster because he wasn't getting the job done?

Somebody needs to be asking what's going on, because right now, it looks like the Libertarian Party has no direction and no plan for success. That wasn't the case when Dasbach et. al. were running it.

Wes Benedict said...

Greg,

Sam New no longer runs the LLS and so I expect he won't be paid for that service in the future. He moved on to a new job. Can you recommend someone ready and willing to replace him?

In addition to managing the candidate tracker, Sean Haugh painstakingly prepared a reasonably accurate list of elected libertarians:
http://www.lp.org/organization/elected_officials.shtml
I'm glad that we've come clean on the number of elected officials.

Sean Haugh also prepared a comprehensive report detailing the results from the November 2006 elections.

If you're willing to do this work in the future or know someone who is, please send me yours or their resume.

Greg, your bombastic and ill-informed critiques are destroying your credibility. I know their are many valid critiques of the LP, but you appear to no longer be in a position to know what is going right or wrong.

You claim "Mike Dixon was considering firing him [Shane Cory] as the LP's webmaster. . ."

I believe both you and I called for the resignation or defeat of Mike Dixon in the past. Now you trust his judgment?

You apparently are a fan of Dasbach. I don't know much about him personally, but I'd guess that if I knew more about him I'd appreciate his efforts because by many measures, the LP was stronger during his tenure.

Additionally, I'd bet that Dasbach wasn't perfect. Coupling his imperfection with the tendency for many Libertarians to focus on infighting, I believe Dasbach was driven out of his roles.

You are focused on driving willing people out of the LP now. Again, if you know of someone better who is willing and able to serve in any position in the LP, please send me their resume. I might support their hiring or nomination.

Additionally, I'm planning on leaving my role as Executive Director of the LP Texas after the November 2008 elections, so if you know someone who'd make a good fit for that position, please let me or someone else in Texas know. If they're really good, I'll hire them right away for a good transition period.

Cheers,
--Wes

GregD said...

Wes: You fooled me again. I thought you were serious about your position, but instead of telling me that Sean Haugh actually does more than than candidate tracker you moved into personal attacks.

Please bear in mind that I emailed you directly about this issue when I posted it to my blog and you never responded. I read the minutes of the LNC meetings, I read the FEC reports, and I try to figure out what's going on -- when I ask questions, I don't get answers, so I am left to draw one conclusion, somebody is doing something wrong and trying to hide it. Quite frankly, you've done nothing to disprove that conclusion.

This latest FEC report still shows Sam New getting $900 per month. Do you really think the Libertarian Leadership School is a wise investment? We were told that Sam New quit last year, yet he has continued to be paid.

Likewise with Sean Haugh, the latest FEC report shows him receiving $1200. He may be doing more than candidate tracker, but even from what you described, it doesn't sound like he is doing anything near the amount of work he is getting paid for.

And there are so many other questions I have that you still haven't answered. Like why is there around $10,000 worth of charges on the LP credit card every month? They could be legitimate charges -- but how do I find out? Why are we spending $5,000 every month to "major donor" consultant? How much is this "major donor" program bringing in?

Why did we spend $17,400 on an "LNC Renewal Phone Bank Program" in June? It sure makes it sound like our fundraising cost is above the norm.

It actually makes it sound like the LP just raises enough money to continue raising money.

These are legitimate questions. Why won't anybody answer them?

BTW, even though I am a life member, Shane Cory seems to have made certain that I have been removed from the LP's email list and I no longer receive LP News because I do not trust Shane Cory with my address because of the numerous veiled threats he has made against me and others.

Wes Benedict said...

Greg,

I don't know the answers to all of your questions. Not that you need it, but you have my permission to assume the worst and to share your opinions with everyone who will listen to you.

In any case, based on your knowledge, how much do you think Sean Haugh, Sam New, and the major donor consultant should be paid?

I'm sorry you've felt the need to withhold your address so that you no longer receive LP News.

Do you have any friends remaining in the LP who might let you borrow their copy?

GregD said...

Wes: Everytime I go to the LP web site and sign up for the email list, it tells me I am already on there, but I haven't received Libertarian Party emails in a long long long time.

Let's do something constructive and find out why emails aren't reaching me. Is it a malicious act on the part of certain staff members or a computer glitch? In either case, how many other people are affected -- that's a good number to know.