The question, “Now what?” seems appropriate today.
First of all, R.I.P. Justin Raimondo. As Tom Woods said, Justin was the soul of this site. Despite popular misunderstanding, he was not the editor or webmaster (that’s me, Jason Ditz and Eric Garris, all of whom remain on the job for you here), but was very much the editorial director as well as head columnist of Antiwar.com. By the example of Justin’s Behind the Headlines pieces the standard was set for what we (the libertarian movement, the antiwar movement, the site itself) knew, what we opposed and in what order.
He wrote the true history of American foreign policy in the first two decades of the 21st century: Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel-Palestine, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Yemen, the new Cold War with Russia, the naval "pivot" to Asia. He debunked the lies behind it all, large and small, throwing cold water on the spin of global democratization at gunpoint, and specialized in cracking the case on the smaller lies that make up the war party’s larger narratives: the assassinations of Rafik Hariri and Alexander Litvinenko, the bogus case for war against Gaddafi, al Qaeda’s false flag sarin attacks in Syria, the "poisoning" of Viktor Yushchenko and the FBI-CIA Russiagate plot against Trump as a few of many examples.
There is no question in my mind that in the Bush years especially, Justin was the most important writer in America. I’m far from the only one who was impatiently waiting around for midnight to hit refresh and devour the latest Behind the Headlines piece three times a week like it was a watermelon in the Sahel. What other writer can you say that about?
And Justin gets the credit for teaching the masses – including myself – the truth about that mysterious and troublesome sect, the neoconservatives, in the W. Bush years. Jim Lobe and many other experts knew the story, of course, but it was Justin who finally popularized the term "neocon" for the people, and accurately too. This unique species of Republican were not just hawks, but a bunch of ex-communist revolutionary nutballs with a particular affinity for Israel’s Likud Party, and an agenda all their own. From his book Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, through his thousands of columns for Antiwar.com, Justin had those bastards clear in his sights from the very get go; the "Axis of Kristol," had to be stopped if America was to ever have peace, he wrote.
Justin Raimondo was a patriot. Through his many different political phases and mood swings, he never lost site of what truly mattered most: the attempt to preserve America as a limited constitutional republic with the freedom of its own its only political priority. Nuts to these Trotskyites! We want revolution in one country; the American Revolution, with its dedication to the rights of man and the principle that government exists only to serve the people, not the military-industrial-complex and partisans of foreign nations with vastly divergent interests from our own.
This is the founding creed of this website. We cannot be free as long as our government is a world empire slaughtering innocent people overseas. Permanent U.S. "primacy," "dominance" or "hegemony" over the Old World and the rest of the Americas does not in fact protect our freedom. It necessarily requires the transformation of our society here at home into a corrupt, authoritarian police state – and a bankrupt one at that.
That’s how I ended up here at Antiwar.com, though I’ve come to regard the tragic American mass-suicide aspect of the process as the lesser part of the evil of our wars. The pain and the grief suffered by millions of innocent foreign people at the hands of the United States of America in the last two decades of this phony war on terrorism makes our self-inflicted problems pale in comparison.
For example, take the ongoing genocide that America, Saudi Arabia, UAE and their other allies have been perpetrating against the people of Yemen for the last four years. Early estimates of the dead are already in the hundreds of thousands, but are guaranteed to rise into the millions by the time the "excess deaths" from this time period are all accounted for.
Though unremarked upon on American TV, the war is every bit as real and horrific as Iraq War II or the "civil" war in Syria, and is every bit as much the U.S.’s responsibility, despite all the hype you hear about the "Saudi-led" coalition. America is the empire, Saudi is our satellite, and "leading from behind" is still genocide when it’s a deliberate campaign of starvation against desperately poor and defenseless people. This is the true history of the world. It can never be reversed. This is a thing about us now; a thing the U.S.A. has done, and to people who never attacked us or threatened us in any way.
That is why this libertarian-run site has always prioritized allying with and publishing writers from a very broad range of political opinions as long as we’re all working to debunk the lies of the war party and bring the era of American attempted-global dominance to an end. We can all argue about everything else later once we’ve put a stop to the genocide. Nothing else matters. Comparatively.
So Antiwar.com will remain. Our fearless leader Eric Garris and diligent news director Jason Ditz will continue to bring you a page every day with everything you need to know and in order of importance, as always. And Eric Garris and I will continue to collect and review all the opinion pieces in the world (or so) in order to bring you the best anti-interventionist views we can find.
I will try my best to write a regular column and step into the role of editorial director, though, as thankfully you all know already, I’m no born talented writer the way Raimondo was, and I don’t know nearly as much. Besides, I have my own ways about things. So I will never try to step into Justin’s shoes so much as just try to make sure that someone is holding down the role of our head writer declaring this is who we libertarians are, this is what we believe in, these are the lies that we don’t believe in, this is what we care about and in what order.
It’s seems like a whole new era is really just beginning, marked in many ways, the passing of Justin not least among them. We are living far in the future now. The Bush and Obama eras are long gone. The 2020s loom. There’s a presidential election next year, and something tells me it won’t be an Obama-Romney snoozer either. There may even be a libertarian for a Libertarian Party candidate this time around, who knows?
It’s a hell of a responsibility. I’ll try do my best for you-all. I’m certain that Antiwar.com is the most important project in the world that I could ever be a part of. So if we need a head writer I guess I’ll have to be it. I did have a whole rant about Bizarro World I used to do on my show on Free Radio Austin back in the Clinton years before I ever read Raimondo. So either it’s just that obvious, or maybe the key to foreign policy genius? I guess we’ll see. Break out the popcorn.
Over at the Libertarian Institute we just published the heroic Will Grigg’s book, No Quarter: The Ravings of William Norman Grigg, and are hard at work on The Great Ron Paul: The Scott Horton Show Interviews 2004-2019, which should be done in just a few weeks. Then my partner at the Institute, and Antiwar.com contributor, the wonderful Sheldon Richman, is publishing a collection of essays entitled Why Palestine Matters, featuring pieces he’s written going back 30 years, and including the great series he did for the Institute and Antiwar.com last year. I am now also at work on another book of my own, tentatively titled Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism, which is sure to take me another few months at least. So my articles here will probably be quite irregular at best, but I will do what I can. After that I anticipate making this column my highest priority, or among them at least.
On behalf of all of us here, thank you to everyone for their kind words regarding the loss of Justin this week. You should know that we appreciate it very much.
Now let’s end these damned wars.
Scott Horton is editorial director of Antiwar.com, director of the Libertarian Institute, host of Antiwar Radio on Pacifica, 90.7 FM KPFK in Los Angeles, California and podcasts the Scott Horton Show from ScottHorton.org. He’s the author of the 2017 book, Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan. He’s conducted more than 5,000 interviews since 2003.