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The campaign received a letter from someone who identified himself as a soldier. We have posted a redacted version of our response below (as a discussion on military issues): Dear [Soldier], First, let me take a moment to thank you and all soldiers for your efforts and sacrifice. Second, I would like to answer your questions honestly and directly but like many political inquiries, the premise of your questions doesn't align directly with my positions. With that in mind, I will answer your points as best I can. You said, "First, over the last several years I have seen the push of the Obama administration cutting the size of our force and have seen many good soldiers and some of the best leaders I have ever had loose their place in our Army to these cuts. Does he plan to continue these cuts, stabilize our force at it's current state, or increase our size?" I am running on a platform of principles not promises so I will not address specific plans for force size. Instead I will outline my interpretation of some Libertarian principles that apply: 1. People perform better with less government interference so I will shrink the size of government where possible. 2. Aggression is incompatible with peace and prosperity so the role of the U.S. as a global policeman should be reduced. 3. We have an absolute duty/right of self-defense and our military is vital to our national security.. 4. We are responsible for the consequences of our actions therefore our unsustainable debt must be addressed. Under these principles, there is no incentive to attack/slash military specifically (and definitely not under a public timetable) but there is also a practical long-term need to reduce the size of government as a whole. You said, "Second, will he push his political ideations on the troops like many Commander in Chiefs have, or allow the military to do our job and do what it takes to defend this nation and bring all of our fellow service members back to the states alive?" With respect to your first inquiry, we have been in a perpetual state of war since 9-11-01 (and arguably since the first Gulf War), but I have not seen evidence of a Commander in Chief with a reasonable grasp of warfare, tactics, or strategy. Unfortunately or not, I will absolutely push my "political ideations" on the military as that is how our system is designed. Your second question implies that the military would perform better without its [political] Commander in Chief and I reject that premise. You cannot assume that I will not do my job because of the failures of others. Now, my Libertarian "political ideations" should comfort rather than concern you. I am a Natural Law Libertarian which means that I view all legitimate actions as needing to comply with the following formula: in nature every man is entitled to live and to build a life => for social man to have peace and prosperity, he may not use aggression against others however he must correct (or crush) aggression against himself (and others). This means that there is a strong duty not to start or cause wars but there is also a mandate to self-defense and effective use of force. To join the Libertarian Party, you must pledge that "I certify that I oppose the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals". I extend that concept to opposing the continuation of force for political or social goals (which should not be confused with the duty of a President to have a plan for military and political victory). For example, the last two Presidents have enjoyed domestic political benefits due low-intensity military actions which is horrific for our military and those we fight. As a Libertarian, I understand that once force is initiated, Commander in Chief is the primary job and responsibility of the President (with a duty to sacrifice political and social goals personally and on behalf of the nation in support of the military). Many Libertarians recognize that long-term low-intensity warfare (with no political plan for victory) creates extremism and they have a gut reaction of supporting withdrawal from fighting as the "solution" with an implication that the aggression was ours. While clearly, our actions since 9-11 have not allowed many people "to live and to build a life", there is clearly still an element of self-defense (but that is currently coupled with a long-term political "strategy" that, to borrow your phrase, does not allow the military to do its job). As Commander in Chief my job would be both military victory and political victory. Perpetual war is unacceptable. Violence without purpose is unacceptable. Surrender in the face of aggression is unacceptable. I have confidence in our military's ability to achieve military goals and I have confidence in my ability to understand the social, political, and religious issues required to have the political victory that is needed for a long-term return to peace and prosperity for all areas. Unlike our most recent two Presidents, I will state flatly that Islam is a core issue that must be addressed (and as a Libertarian, the challenge is obviously religious freedom not repression). *For clarity, the military can't achieve the political end of war without the Commander in Chief (or our wars would have ended long ago). **You might want to read The War on Terror (for the Common Man) which I wrote shortly after 9-11 under the obvious pen name T.C. Mann. You said, "Last, what is his plan for the pay rates of the military and the DOD budget?" I believe that gradual across the board cuts are the only realistic means of developing a sane fiscal policy but Congress should allow executive discretion to avoid individual hardships. In short, I have no plan to specifically exempt or target DOD related to general cuts. Common sense says that Libertarian views on national defense as a primary role of government could benefit DOD in the short-term but the clear long-term goal of our party is less government including a need for less defense. I hope this gives you a better idea of some of my guiding principles. Sincerely, Joey Berry

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