Don Boudreaux posted a Blog that was the impetus for my opinion piece. He outlined his objections to the war, for those libertarians who support the war in Iraq. It caused me to think about libertarians and those who call themselves libertarians.
I have heard some libertarians, or at least those proclaiming themselves libertarian, support and justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq by the United States. Reasons I have heard include:
1) Some Objectivists have argued that a property owner is that whom can hang onto the property. Brutally honest, but rather immoral IMHO, when the thought is seizing someone’s land to acquire their natural resources. But Objectivists, while frequently in tune with libertarian philosophy, are unambiguous in their classification that they are NOT libertarians. So while I may have a problem with some of the philosophy, they are not claiming to be libertarians.
2) Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Somehow, only the USA and some select others can be allowed to have WMDs. All others must be invaded by force and have their WMD capacity stripped, and presumably monitored forever. Of course, why the benevolent USA deserves to be the guardian of all that is hideous? Or why a sovereign group of people should not be allowed to create whatever protections they deem relevant with their own energies invested, I cannot fathom? Of course, the bottom line was that the American people were lied into this war by the Bush Administration, who deliberately, and premeditatedly lied about Iraq's WMD program.
3) The War on Terror. In order to combat terrorism, we must bomb and kill tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of people. Somehow the surviving family members are not expected to rise up from the rubble of their dwellings and seek vengeance upon those doing the killing. Further, with respect to Iraq, the President’s own 9/11 commission report stated they found NO direct connection with Hussein and al Qiada.
4) 9/11 Ah, revenge, sweet revenge. A bunch of mostly Saudi nationals took over our airliners and smashed them full of people into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. There were no Iraqis amongst the hijackers. The President’s own 9/11 commission report stated they found NO direct connection with Hussein and 9/11. Somehow bombing, invading and occupying Iraq will assuage this attack.
5) The UN directives and treaties were violated by Iraq. Even the UN says this is not true for some of the treaties and sanction provisions outlined by the U.S. On other matters the UN states the U.S. was explicitly not authorized by the sanctions to invade Iraq. I have a problem with treaties being claimed against a government that deposed the previous government that signed the treaty. Once a government falls, its treaties are null and void.
6) The U.S. must be a stabilizing world influence as the only remaining superpower. Why? And do you call what your government has been doing stabilizing? More nations are furiously trying to develop WMDs, than ever before after seeing the U.S. invade a sovereign nation that posed no immediate threat to the U.S.
7) Saddam Hussein is evil, and he is our man. The fact that he is evil is irrelevant. Most of the world leaders are evil, including our own leaders. We cannot go around squandering the lives of those who volunteered to defend this nation in some fools quest to rid the world of evil, when we have not removed the plank from our own eye.
However, that Saddam Hussein was our man, installed by the CIA in a bloody coup in Iraq IS A justification for us riding that nation of that man. But it is not a justification for killing the conservatively 30,000 civilians to do it. Assassination. The haughty reply is that “we don’t do that sort of thing.” [Unless it is Hugo Chavez.] No, we only promote dictators who do. We don’t do that sort of thing because our pussy leaders rightly surmise that if that is their policy, they may equally get their head removed like JFK did by Castro [among the other suspects;-)]. Well if our leaders want to play the game, they should be willing to accept the possible price of admission.
Our founding fathers were quite clear. The gravest threat to our lives, liberties and property is our own government. That avoiding foreign entanglements greatly reduced the consequences of invasion and ill will. Further, from a logistics standpoint, the USA is fairly invasion proof. The only threat of war can come from Mexico and Canada. They and two huge oceans separate us from other nations. Sure a few nations can nuke us. And terrorists can kill a few thousand of us. But only two can invade us.
People don’t wake up and decide they want to kill Americans. Contrary to the White House, they don’t hate us for our freedoms (what little the government has allowed us to keep). They are not out bombing Canada, a nation extremely similar to our own. They hate us because our government meddles in their business (unlike Canada). Nobody gives up their life lightly. They have to have a pretty good reason. They are usually quite forthright in stating their reasons. They have no reason to lie, and every reason to give their strait honest reasons for risking their lives. And safely killing their family members from 40,000 feet or off shore in a missile boat are pretty good reasons.
So I am left to ask, if you call yourself a libertarian, how can you justify the bombing, invasion and occupation of a people who represented no credible threat to us?
If you have a strongly disagreeable reaction to those libertarians who run around spouting their credo of “no initiation of force,” you had better be able to justify your love of war. Because there is no libertarian justification for starting a fight. Finishing a fight, yes. Starting one, no. If you can’t support your position, please stop referring to yourself as a libertarian. It makes us look bad.