L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 216, March 24, 2003
Shucks and Aw!
Let's Bring The Troops Home
by Todd Andrew Barnett
Special to TLE
I'm going to be very blunt: I don't support our troops. Indeed, I am aware of the fact that my statement comes across as being cold and callous, but considering that the United States has just launched its war with Iraq, I don't support sending our troops into harm's way. As a matter of fact it sickens me when I hear liberal and conservative collectivists - including the American people - urging everyone to "support the troops" when it is nothing but a calculated attempt to foster their own brands of collectivism upon those who dissent from that popular view.
I don't support them because I know that this war will only exacerbate Europe and the Arab World's vitriolic and hateful sentiments towards us, and that our troops have already been met with immense hostility. Imagine what the horrific and perverse consequences will be after the war is over! Innocent Iraqi lives murdered, all in the name of "liberating the people of Iraq." That also includes a significant number of casualties of troops on both sides, without a ceasefire in sight.
There's just one problem: this is a repeat of what we've done before in the 1980s and during Gulf War I in 1991. Our then-President George H. Bush, in an effort to score points with his special interest groups - mainly the big oil corporations who were then in vast support of that war (and are now in support of this war) - and with the American voters, sent in our troops to attack Baghdad, all in the name of "liberating the people of Iraq." Despite the fact that our government gave Saddam Hussein and his regime chemical and biological agents to produce and manufacture their weapons of mass destruction, which would be used against the Iranian troops and civilians, President Bush I turned his back on Saddam, who alerted our government by informing officials that he would be invading Kuwait. Why was Saddam invading Kuwait? Because he accused the Kuwaiti government of swiping Iraqi oil via slant drilling and breaching its contractual agreement in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Just prior to then-President Bush's decision to side against Saddam, when Saddam carried out his plan to attack Kuwait, then-U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie, with authorization from the U.S., met with Hussein, voicing approval of his action by stating, "We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary [of State James] Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction ... that Kuwait is not associated with America."
Of course, when Saddam invaded Kuwait to resolve the dispute, Bush declared war on Iraq by calling Hussein the new "Hitler," thus eviscerating the long-lasting partnership between the U.S. and Iraq. Never mind the fact that Gulf War I resulted in Hussein's forces pulling out of Iran, exhaling a breath of defeat. Because of Iraq's utter defeat, Bush I left Hussein in power but ordered him to dismantle his weapons program and nuclear facilities.
Now, 12 years after the events in the First Gulf War, President Bush II - with the support of the American people and his Allies - has ignited his first strike on Iraq while pushing his claims of Iraq's "possession of weapons of mass destruction" and that Iraq has continuously violated U.N. resolutions. Never mind the fact that Israel has racked up 32 U.N. resolution violations since 1968, which are nearly twice as many as Iraq's violations. This is all on account of the fact that Israel established illegal settlements on the occupied West Bank, which the U.N. had reserved for the Palestinians. This resulted in the violent, warring confrontations between Israel and Palestine, eradicating any possibility of peace.
With collateral damage being increasingly imminent on both sides, it will be quite clear that many of our U.S. forces will be among the first of a long line of casualties. Our troops will be the first to suffer this fate.
It should sicken anyone who hears those who believe that we must send our troops into harm's way, in order to implement Bush's "regime change" (a long-lasting, insidious euphemism which shrouds the administration's true intention, which is to obliterate Iraq's civilian infrastructure and to decimate the Iraqi people). Anything that the media, the American people, and the Bush Administration say should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Let's be absolutely clear about one thing: this war will not "liberate the people of Iraq." It will annihilate them. History has proven it consistently throughout the centuries. Innocent men, women, and children who are citizens of Iraq will die needlessly. A handful of our troops will be among the dead, and deep down inside the American people and our government know it. Saddam Hussein may be an evil statist, and there is no doubt that he is, but he will survive this war. He may get wounded, but he will survive it. He will not be ousted from power. He will use his people as a shield to protect him from any harm directed at him. If we couldn't oust him in our last war with him, what makes Bush and his hawks think that we can do it now?
Our forces have just bombed the Iraqi Republican Guard. It is now estimated that more than 40 Tomahawk cruise missiles have been fired upon Baghdad, with Iraqi sirens and explosions being heard in all directions. If our first strikes are just as terrible, these second strikes will be worse.
But the real pathetic aspect of all of this is that liberal and conservative collectivists in Washington, who will be debating about the degree and strategy of the war, will never concede to the fact that their discussion is just rigged. It is done so with the support and endorsement from the American people, the special interest groups, and the supporters of the administration. Obviously, we Americans don't want to acknowledge that many American troops have been stationed in the Gulf for 12 years, immediately after the First Gulf War. We also don't want to acknowledge that the administration had already sent in the troops on Iraqi shores weeks prior to the beginning of this war. Therefore, the debates between liberal and conservative collectivists are moot.
If I refuse to allow our troops fight a war that will get them killed, it means I don't support our troops. Now I sympathize with them and I wish them no harm. On top of that, I support them as a part of our military, because they are supposed to defend our shores. But I don't support them when they are forced to go off into combat that will get them slaughtered.
If I refuse to allow our troops to kill innocent men, women, and children who had nothing to do with Saddam's tyrannical regime, it means I don't support our troops. I am NOT against them. If I were, I would be in favor of keeping them on the battlefield. I wish them well, but I do NOT want them fighting innocent Iraqi civilians and POWS.
If I refuse to support Bush, especially when his actions are politically motivated and not serving in our interests, it means I don't support the troops. The troops are not at fault for following orders, as they are, in the eyes of the administration, legal. Hopefully they will realize that the orders they are following are anything but legal.
If I speak out against unconstitutional abuses of power by the president and the government, it means I don't support our troops. The troops have my sympathies, but they don't have my support for them to go out and fight this war. If I am branded "anti-American" and "unpatriotic" because I refuse to support the war and the government, even if the collectivists believe it is done for the "moral good" of our society and Iraqi society, then I don't support our troops.
The Gulf War II and Bush's actions are good enough reasons why I refuse to support the troops. Instead, I support bringing them home, replacing our current foreign policy with one of non-intervention, restoring all the ten amendments to the Bill of Rights, restoring our long-forgotten federal republic, and re-establishing our Founders' directive of free enterprise, limited government, individual liberty, rule of law, and federalism.
Todd Andrew Barnett is a member of the national, state, and local affiliates of the Libertarian Party. He is also the founder and creator of the Libertarians for Peace, the non-interventionist anti-war wing of the LP. He is also a practicing Aridian Wiccan. His articles have been published on the Internet, including the libertarian webzine Rational Review and Themestream.com. He is currently the contributing editor of LibertyForAll.Net, a libertarian e-zine where his bi-weekly column "The Liberty Cap" is available to Libertarian and non-Libertarian readers.
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