About that nifty little chart in yesterday’s Times Scott McConnell noted below, I have a serious bone to pick. In his list of libertarians’ motivating issues, Times editorialist Bill Marsh puts “fiercely isolationist.” I am no libertarian, but the isolationist canard is too common at the Times to let it pass.

Let me quote directly from Ron Paul’s website on his defense policy:

* Avoid long and expensive land wars that bankrupt our country by using constitutional means to capture or kill terrorist leaders who helped attack the U.S. and continue to plot further attacks.

* Guarantee our intelligence community’s efforts are directed toward legitimate threats and not spying on innocent Americans through unconstitutional power grabs like the Patriot Act.

* End the nation-building that is draining troop morale, increasing our debt, and sacrificing lives with no end in sight.

* Follow the Constitution by asking Congress to declare war before one is waged.

* Only send our military into conflict with a clear mission and all the tools they need to complete the job – and then bring them home.

I don’t see the isolationism. In fact, the last point comes directly from Colin Powell. As for the first and third points, let’s recall another GOP presidential contender who stated them more succinctly:

 I think one way to commemorate our ten-year anniversary of 9/11, remembering the 3,000-plus people who died in New York and in Pennsylvania and in Washington, is to say it’s time for this country to set a goal for ourselves: We’re going to get our core fixed. We’re going to do some nation-building right here at home.

That was Jon Huntsman on September 8, 2011. Isolationist? And if he’s not isolationist, neither is Paul. Mr. Marsh and his editors could make the distinction between a non-interventionist and an isolationist if they would merely give it two minutes worth of thought. One wants to engage the world but not impose our will on it with extravagant exercises in military force. The other, if there is one left, wants America to enjoy its own little cocoon. If this distinction is too taxing an exercise for the Times, I’m sure Daniel Larison would be willing to help.