John Stossel's annual show from the International Students for Liberty Conference features not only the usual friendly libertarians, but a handful of liberals and conservatives who willfully engage a potentially hostile crowd of 1,000+ libertarian students.
As our readers are likely aware by now, Ann Coulter happened to be one of the two conservatives brought on to debate the students. And it was, shall we say, tense.
The other conservative featured in the program was John Bolton, former Bush official and he of the "neocon" variety. Last year, Bolton's appearance on Stossel's show (full disclosure, again: Stossel is my former boss) resulted in a bit of controversy. But despite the not-so-warm reception last year, Bolton returned again to discuss why he believes a neoconservative foreign policy is best; and continue his defense of President Obama's "sensible" targeted assassination program.
"It doesn't seem morally right to just take the word of some government officials that this guy's a terrorist and send a machine to kill him, and kill civilians along with him," Stossel said to Bolton.
"The commander-in-chief authority vested by the Constitution in the president gives him the direction over the war capabilities of the United States," Bolton replied. "And his efforts, both in the Bush and the Obama administration, to go after the terrorists, I think is entirely justified."
"So America can kill anybody anywhere?" Stossel asked.
"Of course not," Bolton shot back, "listen to what I just said." He re-asserted that the Constitution authorizes, "subject to congressional checks," the power for the executive to take out enemy combatants.
Stossel then asked the $64,000 question about blowback: "Don't you think that makes us new enemies? When the drone sends something down that kills a group of people, they kill children and cousins. Doesn't that make new terrorists who will try to kill us?"
"I believe that our military does everything that it can to avoid civilian casualties," Bolton said. "That is not avoidable sometimes because of the way the terrorists conduct themselves, living among civilians."
At one point, John Bolton says that during the Civil War hundreds of thousands of citizens were killed without due process, and it WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO.
I'd really like to punch him for saying that...