Answering the Interventionists
by Michael R. Allen
Special to The Libertarian Enterprise
I do not think I would be entirely unjustified if I simply threw my
hands up in despair. But possessing a calm demeanor, I will take time
and patience to answer the arguments of those favoring intervention
into Yugoslavia. I have received lately a multitude of mail on the
subject, mainly from those sharing my noninterventionist belief in at
least this incident.
Those who write me to express support of the status quo in Serbia, or
to go further and recommend the use of ground troops, are also
writing. In an effort to respond to their concerns in brief, I have
prepared the following question-and-answer section.
Aren't you being hypocritical by opposing this war? After all,
Nixon wasted troops on the endless Vietnam War and Bush recommended
this same policy against Milosevic as early as 1989.
This is the most irksome thought that is being expressed by readers
of my articles as well as many liberal journalists. This allegation
presupposes that all noninterventionists are on the right wing, and
that all on the right have supported Nixon, Bush, and Reagan's
foreign adventures. First, numerous leftist critics of this policy
have emerged - the same critics who vocally opposed Republican
support of the military-industrial complex.
Second, libertarians and Old Right-style conservatives have always
opposed war, be it waged by Dwight Eisenhower or Bill Clinton.
Right-wing opposition to militarism goes back even farther than H.L.
Mencken's opposing the first and second World Wars. While Pat
Buchanan may have yet to recant his support for the Vietnam War,
others have consistently supported nonintervention based on
principles of natural rights and constitutional law: Rep. Ron Paul of
Texas, Lew Rockwell, Justin Raimondo, and Charley Reese are among
Isn't isolationism "cancer" as Madeleine Albright asserts?
Ms. Albright's "isolationism" is a dirty word; "noninterventionist"
is preferred by war opponents nowadays. Isolationism of the military
sort is totally consistent with a love of country and adherence to
non-aggression in affairs which are of no business to the would-be
aggressor. It is a humane policy, and one influenced by the failure
of foreign intervention in this century. Albright uses the term to
smear her opponents when debate would prove too rigorous for her.
Don't you have any compassion for the Kosovars who want
independence? Why don't you oppose the evil Serbian president
I support secession anytime it is tried, unlike those who only
support it for Kosovo. Of course, I will not necessarily support the
new entity created by secession. An independent Kosovo would likely
be as tragic for human rights as Yugoslavia has been; it would be an
ethnically pure state. I thought Milosevic is loathed for trying to
create the same thing.
I do not attempt to label Milosevic an admirable man, though I admit
I have sympathy for anyone being bombed into the ground. I see in the
NATO bombings of Serbia ruthless punishment of private citizens for
the actions of this tyrant. Many of the people in Serbia are not
enamored of their leader, and have fought for freedom. They surely
cannot be held accountable for the mass murders being committed by
Bombing "military targets" is a rather odd way to prevent killing.
The NATO policy has resulted in the deaths of another ethnic group
and has heightened Milosevic's reign of tyranny. This sort of policy
is the same one being pursued in Iraq, with similar results.
NATO and American leaders are not intentionally killing Serbians.
Why are they blamed directly for civilians killed by bombings?
I cannot believe anyone would bomb a nation repeatedly without
considering once that a single innocent person would die. Even if one
accepts the notion that a "clean" (i.e. free of civilian casualty)
bombing of a military facility is possible, that same person likely
could not accept that willful bombing of a television studio building
would be similarly "clean."
Isn't President Clinton the same man who blames Phillip Morris for
lung cancer? By that causal relationship, he can easily be held
accountable for the deaths of Serbian citizens. Even by a
reality-based cause and effect inquiry one must hold him accountable
for the killings when he still pressed for war after the
television studio and civilian convoy incidents. The British
reprobate Tony Blair is even more morally at fault, justifying the
deaths at the studio by declaring the third-rate channel broadcast
from there as part of the military effort of Milosevic.
Was not Nixon held accountable for his actions by Congressmen Robert
Drinan and John Conyers, both of whom wanted to impeach him for the
Cambodian invasion? The executive cannot escape moral fault for
allowing his army to kill the innocent.
Additional blame can be placed on NATO for the harm inflicted on the
environment by a huge cloud of poisonous gas developing from the bomb
blasts in Yugoslavia.
Isn't the President supposed to be in charge of foreign
Not according to the U.S. Constitution. Under Article One, Section
Eight can be found the direct power given to Congress to "declare
war" (clause eleven) and to "raise and support armies" (clause 12).
The President is Commander-in-Chief of the military that Congress
raises and directs. The historical precedent established after World
War II has all but erased the declared war, but the Constitution
remains as clear as ever.
Rep. Tom Campbell of California attempted to get Congress to vote
either to properly declare war or to remove forces from Yugoslavia. I
hope he succeeds in his follow-up effort, a lawsuit against the
We have to win this war now that we are in it. Can't you see
No, I really can't see that argument's logic. If something is
unjustified and immoral, such as physical rape, one does not have to
see it completed to stop it in progress. This war should be
immediately ended so that Serbs can sleep easier and rebuild their
nation and American can regain some of its tarnished reputation.
This isn't another Vietnam. How can one compare that war to
intervention into this civil war?
The situations are indeed different. However, as with the Vietnam
War, there has been no threat to American borders by the "enemy" as
well as no formal declaration of war. And, as soon as there are too
many body bags coming home to ignore, this war will likely be as
popular as the Vietnam War.
Why are you being un-American? It is your duty to support the
commander-in-chief of our military.
Ha! This implies the Germans had a moral duty to stand by Hitler. Any
leader who completely ignores the U.S. Constitution deserves no
confidence. It is very patriotic to defend the ideals of the Founders
against today's politicians who trample on them.
What are you going to do to oppose the war besides complain?
Michael R. Allen is Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of
SpinTech and an associate
editor of Right Magazine.