The NSA Won’t Be Stopped

While technology and communication has been great for the cause of liberty, there is also a downside to it all.  While free acting individuals use it voluntarily for beneficial reasons, the government uses new technology to enhance power.
With Edward Snowden’s leaks last year confirming that the federal government is spying on us, civil liberty advocates have been pressing hard against the National Security Agency (NSA), while a large number of Americans seem to not care.
Unfortunately, our battle for privacy is not just with the federal government.  It is with government at every level, including many local governments.
There are devices now known as “stingrays” that can be used to track cellphones nearby.  They can track the movement of phones, as well as information about communications such as the phone numbers being called.  The devices basically mimic a cellphone tower in order to trick cellphones into reporting their information.
There is one Florida case where a police officer explained how he could stand in front of people’s houses and track the movements and information from their phones.
Of course, in following in the footsteps of the federal government, local law enforcement agencies are not obtaining the proper warrants for probable cause.  And even if they are, these stingray devices will pick up cellphone information over a broad area.  They are not just picking up the information from the one cellphone for which the warrant is issued, if any warrant is issued at all.
The NSA Won’t Be Stopped Until This is Stopped
This ruins almost any hope of getting rid of the NSA anytime in the near future.  The only thing that is going to stop the NSA is a bankrupt federal government.
The ACLU has done a good job of fighting some of these abuses by local governments in the use of these stingrays.  And there are certainly many other groups that have done a great job of fighting the NSA at the federal level.
But most Americans just can’t seem to get too excited over this issue.  They don’t seem to care.  In some ways, this is rational.  In other ways, they are setting themselves up for tyranny.
If there are widespread violations of civil liberties at local levels, then there is no way they will be stopped at a federal level.  If you can’t stop the use of stingrays by the local police, there is no way you are going to stop the NSA.
I know that many people don’t care because they trust their elected officials a bit too much.  They are the people who will say, “If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to worry about.”
I’m sure the Jewish people living in Germany in the late 1930’s were being told the same thing.  “Now come with me.  This is for your own protection.  If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to worry about.”
This isn’t to say that concentration camps are coming to America.  It is to say that the government is spying to enhance its own power over you.  It isn’t to protect you.  How far this tyranny goes, nobody really knows.  It is really a question of how far Americans will let it go.  Fortunately, we do have a minority (hopefully a growing minority) who are raising their voices and speaking out against government spying.  In some ways, it is really this group of people that separates America today from Nazi Germany or so many other tyrannies through world history.
I still remain hopeful for the future.  My hope is that technology in the free market outpaces the technology being used by the bureaucracies.  I am hopeful that inexpensive technology will enable the American people to essentially spy on their elected (and unelected) officials.  I am also hopeful that more Americans will begin to realize that government spying is a threat to them, even if they have nothing to hide.
But before we get rid of the NSA, we need to get rid of the spying at the state and local levels.  If we can’t change things at the local level, there is no way we can abolish the NSA.

Adam Kokesh Convicted for Opposing Government

Adam Kokesh, a veteran of the Iraq War, was recently convicted in a Virginia court for possessing drugs and guns.  Kokesh has been an activist in the liberty movement, speaking out against war and speaking in favor of gun rights and other libertarian issues.
On July 4, 2013, Kokesh was videotaped with a gun in public in Washington DC.  He posted the video online.  He was purposely engaging in an act of civil disobedience.  Ironically, he underestimated the power of the government.  Days later, his house was raided for guns and drugs.
Originally, Kokesh was planning on getting a large group of people to walk from Virginia into Washington DC, openly carrying guns against the law on July 4, 2013.  While he described it as a nonviolent demonstration, I think his followers found their better sense and decided not to participate.
I think Kokesh is a good guy.  He has come strongly to believe in libertarian principles.  Some people outside of pro-liberty circles will see stories about Kokesh and think he is some crazy guy who wants to commit violence.  He may be a little crazy in the sense of being willing to take a stand, but his purpose is to take a stand against an out-of-control government.  The thing that many people don’t realize is that it is the government initiating force.  If you are minding your own business and not threatening to initiate force on anyone, then Kokesh is no threat to you.  He stated in front of a judge, “the only time I was violent was when I was a Marine”, referring to his time in Iraq.
Where He Went Wrong
Kokesh is being convicted because of his well-known views against government.  They really are trying to teach him a lesson.  He faces a maximum of 15 years in prison, which is absolutely insane for someone who did not hurt or threaten to hurt anyone.
Kokesh’s conviction reminds me in a lot of ways of tax protesters who refuse to file a tax return.  They come up with supposed legal reasons on why they are not legally required to pay income taxes to the federal government.  Sometimes their logic is great in terms of dissecting the laws.  The problem arrives when the judge and jury don’t see it the same way.
If I were sitting on a jury and someone was being prosecuted for tax avoidance, I would not vote to convict.  It is a victimless crime.  I know that everyone else is paying income taxes (although not really).  Everyone else is following the law.  But it still doesn’t make the law just.
I also understand that most other people do not see things the same way that I do.  And for that reason, I would never recommend that someone avoid paying taxes, unless it is legal.  Most judges and juries will convict someone if they violated the law.  Most will not consider whether the law is just.
Adam Kokesh underestimated the power of the government in the same way that tax avoiders do.  I think Kokesh understands this now, but unfortunately it is too late now.
I am all in favor of being an activist for liberty.  But you really have to be careful when you resort to civil disobedience.  When it comes to guns, you really have to be careful.  The government likes its monopoly on guns and will come down especially hard on those who challenge it.
The answer to advancing liberty is almost never to challenge violence with any insinuation of violence of your own.  It is through education.
There are over 300 million people living in the United States.  There are only 535 people in Congress.  The only way they can have power over the rest of us is if we consent to it.  When a sizeable portion of the American population no longer grants its consent to big government, then that will be enough to stop big government.  Civil disobedience can work when millions of people are doing it.  It tends not to work as well with just one person.
Kokesh actually hosted a show on the internet and also recently wrote a book.  He is very knowledgeable.  He is a principled advocate of liberty.  His interviews have been effective in helping others get educated about the benefits of liberty.  Kokesh was doing a great deal for the cause of liberty, but he went astray in underestimating the power and ruthlessness of the government.
I hope for his sake that his prison sentence is not too long.  I hope he learns from his mistakes.  I hope he gets back into society at some point and makes a great contribution to the cause of liberty.  It will be in the form of educating others.

Mission Accomplished – 11 Years Later

On May 1, 2003, George W. Bush landed on an aircraft carrier and gave a televised speech with a big banner behind him that read “Mission Accomplished”.  That was over 11 years ago.
If his mission was to raise oil prices, it was accomplished.  If his mission was to kill hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, it was accomplished.  If his mission was to drain trillions of dollars from American taxpayers and holders of U.S. dollars, it was accomplished.  If his mission was to completely upend a country into chaos, it was accomplished.  If his mission was to virtually eliminate Christianity in Iraq, it was accomplished.
I have seen signs with Bush’s face saying “Miss me yet?”.  Sorry, but I really don’t.  As much of a disaster as Obama is, Bush’s wars are a legacy of death and destruction.  Obama has also reigned down death and destruction, but to a much lesser degree.
Bush, the supposed Christian, managed to create something of an Islamic state inside Iraq, with Christians being forced to leave or go underground or die.  Christians lived in Iraq and were tolerated under Saddam Hussein.
I remember listening to all of the war apologists, even years after the Iraq war had started.  The place was in total chaos, but I listened to many conservatives defend Bush and his policies to no end.  Anyone who opposed the Iraq war was labeled “unpatriotic”, “not supporting the troops”, or an “appeaser”.  People like Sean Hannity would ask callers, “so you believe that Iraq was better off under Saddam Hussein?”
Of course, this is a false question.  It doesn’t matter if Iraq was better off under Saddam Hussein.  The question is whether the price was worth it.  That is not just a price in dollars, but a price in lives.  It is not just a price in American lives, but also for the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis who have died.  And the millions of Iraqis that saw their homes and businesses destroyed.
Ironically, the question about whether Iraq is better off without Saddam is quite obvious now.  Saddam Hussein was probably about the best that Iraq could hope for.  He was made out to be a tyrant.  He was a tyrant in so far as most politicians are tyrants.  The people that Saddam supposedly killed were people who were trying to overthrow him.  Are there any politicians in this world who wouldn’t kill a bunch of people who were trying to overthrow them?
This is no defense of Saddam, but Iraq was a relatively thriving place before.  There is not a lot of libertarian philosophy going on in Iraq.  In a choice between a little bit of tyranny and total chaos, most people would rather a little tyranny.  That’s what life was like under Saddam.
Chaos Today
Total chaos has now descended upon Iraq.  It was inevitable.  It is incredible that many Bush backers still defend this.  They blame Obama for this chaos, for a war that was started over 11 years ago.
It’s true that there probably wouldn’t be as much chaos if Obama had left tens of thousands of troops in Iraq.  But that would have just delayed the inevitable.
The Bush apologists must believe that the U.S. government should keep troops in Iraq for hundreds of years.
To be clear, Obama did not completely abandon Iraq.  There are still U.S. personnel there.  There is a massive American Embassy in Iraq.  The latest news is that Obama is deploying a few hundred troops to Iraq to provide support and security for American personnel.  I suppose Obama does not want to be seen as weak or doing nothing.  Obama is weak, but not for this reason.
The pro-war Republicans will defend Bush and his foolish wars forever, no matter how bad things get and no matter how obvious it is that the whole thing is a disaster.  They will always blame someone else.
It is actually similar to how many Democrats will never admit that Obamacare is already a failure.  They will blame Republicans or whoever else for it not working the way it should.
At least many Democrats at least try to avoid the subject of Obamacare.  It seems that some Republicans are bringing attention to Iraq in an attempt to criticize Obama.  I suppose the so-called mainstream news will forget about Iraq in a few weeks, even if the chaos is still raging.  Maybe the Republicans who reminisce for Bush will stay quiet about Iraq once it drops off from the headlines.
The only thing the U.S. government should do now is to completely leave Iraq and apologize for the past.  Anything beyond that can only cause more problems.
It is ironic that the U.S. government is now considering backing Iran.  Meanwhile, it is having to oppose some of the same people that it supported in Syria.
The U.S. government supported Iraq and Saddam Hussein in the 1980’s and then later turned him into an enemy.  The U.S. also supported Osama bin Laden, who later became an enemy.  This time, the U.S. is supporting and opposing the same groups of people simultaneously.  This is complete madness.  Before you know it, we may see U.S. troops fighting each other.  We’ll have one group for Syrian freedom, one group for Iraqi freedom, and another group for Iranian freedom.  Will this madness ever end?
There are some people who believe war is the answer to almost every problem in the world.  Violence cannot bring peace.  Violence usually leads to more violence.  More Americans are beginning to understand this.  I hope it is enough to prevent another full-scale war in Iraq.

The DEA Clashes with Doctors

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has been quietly bullying doctors in Massachusetts.  Since the state legalized the use of medical marijuana a couple of years ago, some physicians are associated with medical marijuana dispensaries, such as serving on a board.
The DEA has been quietly paying visits to the homes and offices of doctors associated with medical marijuana companies.  They are giving an ultimatum to doctors that they must choose between working with these companies or giving up their DEA license.
Physicians and dentists who prescribe drugs and other controlled substances are mandated to register with the DEA.  This in itself is an abomination.
So doctors are now faced with a choice of giving up their positions with medical marijuana companies or giving up their DEA license and be prevented from legally prescribing medications.
Ironically, the U.S. House of Representatives recently approved legislation that would stop DEA agents from raiding medical marijuana dispensaries where states have legalized medical marijuana.  If it gets to Obama’s desk, I wonder if he’ll sign it.
What Constitution?
We know that the federal government doesn’t follow the Constitution, but this is really a blatant violation.  The politicians in DC pretend to pay allegiance to the Constitution, but their actions and policies usually violate it.
If the Constitution were followed, there would be no federal drug laws.  There are no enumerated powers that give the federal government such power.  According to the 10th Amendment, this should be left to the people or the states.
But the worst thing here is that states are explicitly stating that medical marijuana is legal.  Yet, the federal government is still interfering with state law.  This still continues with the pro-civil liberties Obama (note the sarcasm) who promised in his initial campaign not to interfere with states that legalize the drug for medicinal purposes.
Yes, Obama broke a campaign promise.
Big Government vs. Individual Liberty
Medical marijuana has been legalized in 22 states since 2010.  Marijuana itself has now been legalized in two states.  These are steps towards liberty.  It is a slight loosening of the grip of big government.
Don’t for a minute think that this has happened because of the generosity of politicians or because some of them all of a sudden saw the light.  This is all a result of popular opinion.
Ideas have consequences and, in this case, it is a good idea.  More and more people are realizing the absurdity of the drug war.  It is particularly obvious with marijuana, a drug that does far less harm than alcohol.  It is especially absurd when the government prevents sick and dying people from seeking relief.  Medical marijuana actually does help people without all of the bad side effects of other drugs.
The DEA is still trying to control and bully people, but it has to be more discreet now.  Popular opinion is slowly shifting away from big government and more towards individual liberty, at least for this issue.
The next step is to abolish the DEA.  I’m sure many of the doctors in Massachusetts would appreciate that.

Should the Government Ease Student Loans?

It has been a rough few weeks for Obama and his administration, so what better time is there to sign an executive order to curry favor with a segment of the population?  Obama’s latest action is to sign an executive order to make it easier for some people with student loan debt.
Just like most things coming out of Washington DC, this is not something that is straightforward.  While federal law already caps loan payments at 10 percent of monthly income for most, this new order will apply to people who borrowed prior to October 2007 or those who have not borrowed anything since October 2011.
While this is expected to help millions of people with student loan debt, it won’t become available until late 2015.
Once again, Obama is taking it upon himself to make the law what he wants it to be.  He is probably purposely not going through Congress, not because he can’t get something through there, but because he wants the credit for this.
Obama has not been all that popular these days outside of Democratic circles.  There is also a good chance that Democrats will lose congressional seats with the November elections drawing closer.  What better way to gain some support for himself and his party than by buying off a segment of the population?  (In fairness, it is done in both major parties.)
Of course, the massive amount of student loan debt is a bubble that has been subsidized and promoted by the government, long before Obama ever became president.  The government issues loans that would not necessarily be issued by others in a free market.  The government encourages people to go to college and to take on debt.  This also helps to raise the tuition costs.
What is the Pro-Liberty Position?
So what is the proper position to take for someone who wants to promote liberty and free, voluntary markets?
At first, it is easy to jump to the conclusion that Obama should not be doing this, as he is letting people off the hook and promoting an idea of less responsibility.  While this may be true, I think we also have to step back and look at the big picture.
If someone asks me whether there should be prayer in schools, I respond that it should be up to each school.  I am not a supporter of government-funded schooling, so I can’t really take a position with regards to government schools.
The same situation applies here.  Why is the government in the student loan business at all?  It is not only unconstitutional, but it is a complete distortion of markets and it requires putting taxpayers on the hook for any loans that go bad.
So while I think Obama is simply trying to buy votes and gain favor with a portion of the American people, I can’t really say whether this particular executive order is right or wrong, given the circumstances, aside from the fact that it is being done through executive order.
Obama is wrong because he supports government-subsidized student loans.  He supports this regardless of his latest executive order.  He is not someone who supports the free market.  He does not believe, at least with any consistency, in voluntary agreements.  He does not believe that the market can function on its own without government help.
If there were no government student loan programs, then we wouldn’t have a lot of the problems we have with higher education.  College would likely be far cheaper.  Some students would still obtain loans, but they would likely be far smaller in size.  Loan companies would be cautious in lending too much money in fear of not being repaid.
When the government is heavily involved in these things, it distorts markets.  Unfortunately, it also gives politicians a chance to buy more votes and have some people cheer.
Let us remember that there is no such thing as a free lunch.  I am guessing that Congress will not reduce spending to offset the decrease in student loan payments.  Instead, the Fed can create more money out of thin air and the deficits can get bigger.  We can trade a little student loan debt for a little more inflation and government debt.

Government Guarantees Equals Taxpayer Expense

Perhaps one of the most famous landmarks in the U.S. is the site of the World Trade Center in New York City.  It may also become a major expense for taxpayers.
We all know about the old World Trade Center buildings.  The twin towers, along with Building 7, all came down on September 11, 2001.  Since then, One World Trade Center, now the tallest building in the U.S., has been built.  It is also more than 40 percent vacant.
But the developer of Three World Trade Center, another skyscraper, is requesting over one billion dollars in loan guarantees from the port authority of New York and New Jersey, the official owners of the site.
In other words, taxpayers will be on the hook for this building and will pay the tab, especially if rents are less than expected.
There could be any number of reasons for vacancies and the need to lower rent in One World Trade Center.  It could be that some people are afraid of another terrorist attack.  It could be that it is too expensive.  It could be that business is not booming as much as normal in New York City.  But regardless, there is obviously a problem with One World Trade Center and it will likely be the same with Three World Trade Center.
It would not be a problem if the owner and developer and lenders were all on the hook for it, if they were all private parties that did not involve taxpayers.  It should be like any other business, where it is only those who voluntarily involved themselves who suffer the losses.
Perhaps I shouldn’t say “any other business” because some industries in the U.S. today are more like a fascist society than a capitalistic one.  The businesses are not directly owned by the government (socialism), but rather controlled and directed by government (economic fascism).  Unfortunately, in favored industries that have friends in high places, we see scenarios where the free market is allowed to work when they are profitable, but then it is no longer a free market system when losses appear.  In other words, it isn’t a free market system at all.
We saw this in 2008 when car companies, banks, and other financial institutions were bailed out.  They were allowed to reap the rewards when they were highly profitable.  But then the taxpayers had to foot the bill when things went bad.
Of course, this is a case of moral hazard, where the companies are encouraged to take on more risk than they otherwise would, knowing that a bailout is likely if things go bad.
For this reason, government guarantees of any kind are harmful for multiple reasons.  It causes excessive risk taking in the first place and then taxpayers have to pay for the consequences when those high-risk ventures don’t work out.  It is a misallocation of resources that makes us poorer.
If a project is worth pursuing, it should be up to the entrepreneur/ business and the investors of the project who should pay for any losses.  It is not as if taxpayers will get paid if the project is profitable.  The free market system works so well because of profits and losses.  The loss portion is just as important, as it tells entrepreneurs what not to do.
The World Trade Center project is obviously a misallocation of resources at this point in time.  Unfortunately, it looks as if taxpayers might have to pay once again for the mistakes of others.  Or maybe they really aren’t mistakes.

Government Licensing is Protectionism

In Arkansas, Dr. Ben Burris is suing members of the Board of Dental Examiners in the state.  He is an orthodontist who is being prohibited from providing low-cost teeth cleaning to the general public.
The Dental Board threatened to revoke Burris’ license after he was offering his teeth cleaning services last year.  The board does not allow dental specialists to operate outside of their area of expertise.
While I’m not sure of his chances for success in the lawsuit, it is an interesting example of government interference and government protectionism.
This kind of protectionism happens at every level of government.  The government will say that someone needs a particular license to perform a particular service (such as teeth cleaning).  The politicians will do it in the name of public safety.
Some people who are skeptical of government will say that licensing is an additional tax.  And while I agree with this, I don’t think it is the main motivation.  The main reason is protectionism.
This is the same old story of concentrated benefits and dispersed costs.  Usually we think of government spending here.  A group of lobbyists will persuade politicians to spend money on a particular group.  Perhaps there will be big political donations involved.  The government spends taxpayer money on a particular group, such as farmers.  But it is hard to defeat this spending when the costs are dispersed.  If it costs each taxpayer 20 dollars each across the country, then most people are not going to fight it.
In the case of licensing, the same principles apply.  In a way, it is even harder to fight because the costs are often hidden.  For this example of teeth cleaning, the dentists in Arkansas who specialize in teeth cleaning are getting the concentrated benefits.  The protectionism from the Dental Board keeps out competition.  It means more business for the dentists and means they can charge higher prices.
Aside from Dr. Burris not being able to clean teeth, the dispersed costs are paid by the people of Arkansas.  These are not costs paid directly to the government, but they are still costs.  It means fewer options for teeth cleaning and it means overall higher prices.
Of course, government-mandated licensing occurs in a lot of different industries, whether it is for doing plumbing, construction, or cutting hair.  One of the major industries that requires licensing is in healthcare.
Most people will assume that we need government licensing in healthcare to keep us safe, but this is a mistake.  There can be licensing in healthcare, but it does not have to be administered by the government or required by the government.
While there are nurse practitioners and physician assistants, we don’t know what things would look like in a true free market.  But we know there is a problem when you have to go see a doctor to get a throat culture or have him look in your ear and then charge you over a hundred dollars.
I can envision a doctor’s office where people for minor ailments see some kind of technician.  If there turns out to be a bigger problem, then the doctor can step in at that point.  I can envision cheap clinics at Walmart where you walk in and get checked out quickly for something minor.
Actually, there are many possibilities of what could happen in a free market for healthcare (or dental care).  There would be far more competition and far more innovation.
Government licensing is protectionism.  In the case of medicine, it allows doctors to keep out competition that might be cheaper or more innovative.
While I wish Dr. Burris well in his lawsuit against the Dental Board in Arkansas, I am not sure how successful he will be.  A bigger success for liberty would be if this story gets traction and people start to realize that government protectionism is costing them in terms of money and quality care, along with their liberty.

The U.S. Government and Wars

It is being reported in libertarian circles that since World War 2, there have been 248 armed conflicts on our planet, and 201 of them were started by the U.S. government.  This has led to the deaths of approximately 30 million people, most of whom are civilians.
To be fair, some of these conflicts could be highly debatable as to which side started it, but we can be sure that the U.S. government played at least some kind of role.
But it is interesting that this statistic is taken since World War 2, because that was the last time that the U.S. was attacked militarily on its own soil.  Of course, this was in Hawaii, which is a long way off from the mainland of the United States.  And we can also point out that Roosevelt provoked Japan in to attacking.  There is even a strong case to be made that Roosevelt knew an attack was coming but did nothing to stop it, in order to get the U.S. into the war.
Regardless of all that, there has been no war on U.S. soil since World War 2.  There have been some terror attacks, but these are single events and are not really conflicts in the terms being discussed here.  We are talking about conflicts initiated by governments or at least fought on one side by the state.
The point here is that all armed conflicts have been foreign conflicts.  None of this has taken place in the United States.  So if someone is going to argue that the U.S. didn’t initiate something, it is a hard argument to make.  If there is a conflict in a foreign land and the U.S. government is involved, it is almost impossible not to place blame on the U.S. government.  If it was on a foreign land, it was obviously not in self-defense.
Some could make the case for involvement in conflicts for humanitarian reasons.  But aside from the fact that an armed conflict for humanitarian relief sounds contradictory, it must also be acknowledged that the U.S. government is still using weapons against others in foreign lands who are not legitimately threatening U.S. land or the people who live there.
Making War Doesn’t Make Peace
Many conservatives like to say that they believe in “peace through strength”.  Strength is fine, but it doesn’t mean blowing things up and occupying other countries.  It also doesn’t mean overthrowing other governments.
It is ironic that almost everyone is saying that Putin invaded Ukraine.  But this is really a highly inaccurate description of the situation.  The people of Crimea voted to secede and join Russia.  It was an overwhelming vote in favor of it.  Putin did not invade Ukraine or Crimea.  He basically accepted Crimea.  It was not as if Russian troops were actually invading the area and forcing the people there to join.
Meanwhile, U.S. government agents have been present in Ukraine, a country thousands of miles away.  The U.S. government assisted in overthrowing the government there.  In all likelihood, it was the U.S. government that instigated the whole thing.
Again, whenever we see massive violence and conflict going on somewhere in the world, why do we always seem to find the U.S. government’s hand in it somehow?
I think a lot of people mean well (not including most politicians).  They just simply do not know what is going on and how much trouble their own government is stirring up.  Most foreigners will recognize the problems that the U.S. state is stirring up, but Americans do not get the same kind of news.  Americans are treated to the media touting the line of the politicians and forever invoking patriotism.
I think the pro-war Americans need a lesson in two things.  The first lesson is in history.  They need to open their eyes to the reality that it isn’t usually good vs. evil and that their side isn’t always good.  They need to be taught the total disregard for human life by the politicians they elected.  They need to learn that the military they have been taught to love is often engaged in the killing of innocent people.
After an accurate history lesson, the second thing that the pro-war Americans must learn is that making war does not make peace.  It is a ridiculous notion that you are going to bring about peace by continually fighting.  Violence will almost always lead to more violence.
If America wants peace, the best way to do it is by leading through example.  In situations of defense, violence should only be used against the individuals who have specifically already initiated the violence or threat of violence.
There should be no collectivism.  If someone from Iraq (or anywhere) commits a violent act on U.S. soil, then that person should be held responsible.  You don’t hold the whole country responsible.  You don’t start dropping bombs on random people.
When someone commits a crime in the U.S., it is not acceptable to kill innocent people in pursuit of the criminal.  If a criminal runs into a crowded building, the police can’t just start shooting inside the building because the criminal is in there somewhere.  The same set of ethics needs to be applied everywhere.
If the U.S. is ever to become a free country again, then the pro-war mentality must change.  We must start with a history lesson that shows most violent conflicts of the last 70 years have involved the U.S. government in some way.