Mises’ “Human Action” Explains Lies About Libya.
The way last month’s attack in Libya, resulting in the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans including two former SEALs, has been used by politicians and the media is why I loathe politics. I linked to articles on SOFREP.com which were written one day after the attack which said this was a “planned and coordinated para-military attack”. They are in a post from this site on September 14. As I stated in that post SOFREP stands for Special Operations Forces Situational Report and is run by former SEAL Brandon Webb. One of the contributors was former SEAL Glen Doherty who was killed in the Benghazi attack read more here. This site has insight and information about military operations, rules of engagement, foreign policy, and much more. It should be the first place you go to get the unvarnished truth. Their allegiance is to their brothers in the military, not to any politicians. Read October 31 2012 post Mind-Melting Breakdown of the Benghazei Attack Build Up.
Here is how “Human Action” by Ludwig von Mises helps us analyze the Libyan situation. Human action is purposeful behavior. Action is not simply verbal preference, it is the individual choosing and acting to reach a particular end. Action is a tangible thing and cannot be confused with wishes or hopes or after the fact quarterbacking. Men act to substitute what they think will be a more satisfactory state of affairs for a less satisfactory state. We wouldn’t want to change our existing state of affairs if we didn’t think the result would be better. Our action reveals the correctness of our thinking. When a baseball manager makes a decision during a game he does it because he thinks it will help his team win the game, which is the better state of affairs. After the fact we can judge if his decision was correct or incorrect in attaining his goal, but that doesn’t mean we would have made a different or better decision than he did, because we cannot recreate that point in history exactly as it was. The science of human action is called praxeology it studies the action itself. Psychology studies the internal events that result in action. It studies the forces pushing a man toward a particular action. Psychology is where Monday morning quarterbacking takes place. Praxeology is where we can analyze success and failure. Lets look at Libya through these lenses.
Every Administration has the right to make their own policy about how heavy of a security footprint they will have at any one embassy. You can argue about which policy will achieve the particular goal an administration wants to achieve. What that particular goal is may be misunderstood. For some the goal is the safety of the people in the Embassy. For others it is what the people in the particular country will think of us if we show too much power. There are obviously many degrees of security between locking down an embassy with every asset you can bring to bear, and allowing the people at the embassy to carry a concealed sidearm. There are many other foreign policy goals each administration is trying to attain, and security for their people may be sacrificed for these goals. The choice the administration makes is up for discussion and debate before anything happens. After the decision proves to be incorrect we can say it didn’t work to achieve the end sought, assuming we knew the true goal of the administration. The end sought may not have been the security of the people. We can say the Obama Administration’s decision in Benghazi didn’t work from a security standpoint, just as we can say the Reagan Administration’s decision in Beirut didn’t work from a security standpoint, but we don’t really know if security was the primary goal in either situation.
We all know that politicians are self-interested individuals, and remaining in power is their main goal. This is the over-riding goal of every decision they make. They hire advisers to specifically look at everything they do and determine how it will affect them politically. If it is not the over-riding factor in decision-making, it certainly has a major influence in all decisions. This is my problem with the deaths in Libya. From the standpoint of security it was a failure, fine admit it and adjust. When you know what was going on within an hour of the start of the attack, and you put forth a story that’s untrue, and stick with it for weeks even as the truth starts to leak out, it tells me you have no other interests above yourself. You denigrate the lives of the fallen, you insult our intelligence, and you erode whatever trust remains, which is probably a good thing for liberty.
Every action that has been taken since the attacks began, is purposeful action toward the attainment of a more satisfactory state of affairs. Every lie told and photo-op taken was an attempt to reach a particular end, this is the science of human action. Since the situation was and is constantly changing, each day’s purposeful actions seemingly contradict the previous day’s purposeful actions.This contradiction only makes sense if we know the true ends sought. The end sought is to hold on to power through any means necessary. The administration believes their purposeful actions will result in them holding on to their power. We will find out in two weeks if their purposeful actions are correct or incorrect. They also act because they think the end sought, reelection, will be a more satisfactory state of affairs than the alternative. We won’t know if they are correct or incorrect about this until a couple of years down the road. Lets hope we find out in two weeks that they were incorrect about the first point so we don’t have to find out about the correctness of the second point.
Read more about Libya in this article titled, “Could The U.S. Have Sent a Rescue Force” by Mark Miller at SOFREP.com. and watch this video of Brandon Webb on Andrew Wilkow’s show also at SOFREP.com. Read this most recent article, “State Department Email on Benghazi Attack Released” by Mark Miller. This most recent article, 10/26/12, “New Intel on the Benghazi Consulate Attack” by Iassen Donov.