As most of you are probably aware, today is the 22nd anniversary of the violent attack upon our country by Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda group – truly an act of war. What you may not be familiar with is the book Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan, by Scott Horton (The Libertarian Institute, 2017). In this book Mr. Horton states that our CIA lured the then Soviet Union into Afghanistan in an effort to destabilize the Soviet Union. And that effort eventually was quite successful! But Horton goes on to say that Osama bin Laden, who was from Saudi Arabia, learned that lesson and attempted to do the same thing to us by causing the attacks upon us on September 11, 2001 to come from Afghanistan. And bin Laden was later quoted as saying that he was successful beyond his wildest dreams.

But in addition to the deaths here and in Afghanistan, which only ceased a short while ago, we also have lost many of our Liberties as a result of that attack. As a direct result of 9/11, Congress passed the so-called “Patriot Act” which, as written in a September 10, 2023 editorial in the Orange County Register, “dramatically expanded the surveillance powers of the federal government. It empowered the federal government with indefinite detention powers, and it even gave the government excuses to poke around the library records of Americans.” (This concerned me so much that, with its passage, I withdrew my membership in the Republican Party and became a lifelong Libertarian.) It also resulted in the creation of our Guantanamo prison in Cuba, which remains as a deep blemish upon who we are as a Country based upon the Rule of Law. And, if you can take one more, it also resulted in the passage of the “Authorization for Use of Military Force” laws that have since enabled our Presidents on their own volition to send our fighting troops into Afghanistan, Djibouti, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.

Article I, Section 8 of our Constitution was brilliant in setting forth the requirement that we could only keep our fighting troops in combat for more than 30 days if and only if Congress (exclusively Congress!) passed a Declaration of War! And I fully believe that had Congress been forced to take responsibility for these foreign engagements, each time we would have had an open debate about what the threat to our country was, who was behind that threat and what our goals were if we declared war. That in itself would have probably resulted in our not being involved in any of those conflicts – except for Afghanistan. But in Afghanistan Congress would almost certainly have set our goals as being to search out Osama bin Laden and his cohorts, bring them to justice, and then withdraw our forces. But we would leave with the dire warning that if there were to be another attack upon us, we would be back! Yes there was a debate, but without Congress being forced to take responsibility for the results by issuing a Declaration of War, much of it was just posturing. So had we complied with this Constitutional mandate the world would truly be a better place, and hundreds of thousands of people all around the world would not have been killed or displaced! What do you think?

BTW: I submitted last week’s edition of 2 Paragraphs about the public employees unions to the Register, and they published it on September 10, 2023. Here is the link to that op-ed piece: 

Quote for the week: “Few men have the virtue to withstand the highest bidder.” George Washington

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.) Superior Court of Orange County, California 2012 Libertarian Candidate for Vice President

Please listen to our radio show entitled All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray as we discuss timely ssues and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches. The series has concluded, but you can still hear any edition On Demand at And, by the way, these 2 Paragraphs columns are now on my website at, Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, and wordpress at Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty. In addition, my new book with the same title as my radio show is now available at, as is my wife Grace’s and my new novel centered about School Choice entitled 2030 KIDS: We are the Rising Heroes of the Planet. Please read and discuss them with your friends, and send in a review.