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End U.S. Intervention in Iraq

by the Cal Libertarians

Guess who's back? It's Saddam Hussein! We didn't finish him off the first time, so now we stand ready to blow up Iraq again. In this latest installment Saddam has been naughty and kept out the weapons inspectors, so our troops are mobilized in case he does it again. We're ready to spend billions of dollars to bomb a whole bunch of buildings.... And while we're at it, we'll probably kill lots of people, too. But hey, that's the price to pay for messing with the United States of America!

The Democrats and Republicans have both jumped on the militarist bandwagon. There's even been talk of breaking out the tactical nukes. For Libertarians, this is cause for much concern. We would expect the government to have a very good reason before considering such overwhelming force; unfortunately, it has not presented one.

Last time, at least, some misguided conservatives claimed we had to protect U.S. oil supplies. However, this time even that excuse was inapplicable. For years we've enforced sanctions and deliberately limited our oil intake, crushing the Iraqi economy in the process.

Now we've claimed the noble purpose of preventing Iraq from developing weapons of mass destruction, but it would not be the first country with such weapons. Iran, Syria, Israel, Great Britain, France, Russia, and the United States probably all have biological weapons, yet none of these countries has been threatened with airstrikes.

So why are we prepared to go to war? We have almost no international support, and not even Iraq's neighbors felt threatened enough to call for the use of force. Iraq is certainly not a danger to our national security; if it weren't for our extensive interventionism, countries like Iraq wouldn't even be hostile to us in the first place.

Our policies have failed to spread freedom and democracy, but they have made our citizens the targets of terrorism. A far better approach would be hands-off militarily and open to free trade. In the absence of military pressure, Saddam Hussein would have little reason to attack the people who bought his oil. And while airstrikes and sanctions have done little to endear us to the Iraqis, a positive trade relationship just might make them look to our example.

However, they won't see freedom until we adopt it as a policy. As long as we force our own people to pay for a giant military, we'll be sending out the wrong messages.

The most destructive yet longest-lasting assaults on our freedom have always come in wartime. As long as we seem to have the common purpose of fighting an evil enemy, people will tolerate higher taxes, conscription, censorship, and even civil rights violations such as the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

Such crimes are not a thing of the past; they are part of a regular pattern. The courts have been all too willing to pardon domestic acts of wartime oppression as necessary responses to an "emergency." When the war is finally over, our politicians are always riding high, and it is all too easy for them to forget that such measures were "temporary."

Bill Clinton seems to be looking for a war to improve his public image at any cost. But we say: let's stop wars, with their destruction and oppression, before they start.

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Last modified: Saturday, 26-Aug-2000 11:28:06 PDT