Yesterday I participated in a very interesting panel at another liberal forum. This one was part of an Occupy Washington event that attracted people from around the country. Just like the panel in which I participated at the Left Forum in New York City last month, the theme of yesterday’s panel was left-right cooperation to oppose the U.S. government’s foreign policy of empire and intervention.
The moderator of the panel was a physician from Boston named John Walsh. The panelists were a liberal named William Blum, the author of a great book on U.S. interventionism in Latin America named Killing Hope, Kelly Vlahos, who writes for Fox News and American Conservative magazine (and whose articles also are published by antiwar.com and The Future of Freedom Foundation), and me..
The audience consisted of a small group of 10 people. Each of the panelists and the moderator gave an introductory talk of 10 minutes, and then the rest of the 2-hour period was devoted to just an informal discussion of politics, foreign policy, and civil liberties. It was quite a fascinating discussion.
Of course, I pointed out that as a libertarian educational foundation, since 9/11 FFF has been in the forefront of bringing together liberals, conservatives, and libertarians to address foreign policy and civil liberties. I informed them that in 2008 and 2009 we had two major conferences on foreign policy and civil liberties that included such notable liberals as Daniel Ellsberg, Alexander Cockburn, Glenn Greenwald, Robert Scheer, Joanne Mariner, and Jesselyn Radack, along with such libertarians and conservatives as Ron Paul, Andrew Napolitano, Andrew Bacevich, and many more — and that the videos of all the talks from those conferences are on our website.
I also told them about out recent College Civil Liberties tour, which featured Glenn Greenwald, a liberal, Bruce Fein, a conservative, and me, a libertarian, with the moderator being Jack Hunter, a conservative who writes for the Daily Caller, with the event co-sponsored by the Young Americans for Liberty, a libertarian group.
Kelly Vlahos captivated the audience with how she went from being a liberal to conservatism. The audience seemed especially intrigued that a person could be so anti-empire, anti-interventionist, and pro-civil liberties while writing for Fox News and a magazine titled American Conservative, which was founded by Pat Buchanan.
John Walsh and Bill Blum gave great presentations on the horrible destructiveness of U.S. foreign policy and why this particular issue trumps all others. John pointed out that he’s even supporting Ron Paul notwithstanding his differences with him on domestic issues.
Everyone in the audience was in agreement on the urgency of moving our nation in a different direction with respect to foreign policy. One audience member asked whether it would be possible to have the panel appear at other forums across the country. Sounds like a great idea to me!