L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 220, April 21, 2003

DECADE

Bush's Political Ends Always Justify The Means
by Todd Andrew Barnett
libertarianman@comcast.net

Special to TLE

With the American Empire's war with Iraq culminating to a pivotal point, the Bush Administration is pleased with its handiwork in the process, given the fact that a majority of Americans has pledged its support for the war and for our GIs. Let's also not forget that the U.S. Marines have just stormed into Baghdad in force from the east, joining with the Army division that controlled both the southern and western approaches, including the city center. While many Americans are cheering for the Iraqis who have been pillaging the city by tearing down Hussein's portrait and knocking down his pedestal, one can't help but notice that, as of late, the Bush Administration has been very critical of the euphoria over the downfall of the Hussein regime.

Let's take Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's comments that he gave to reporters at a news conference in Washington on April 11th. According to a New York Times article dated April 12th, when asked about the looting in Baghdad, Rumsfeld sharply responded, "Well, I think the way to think about that is that if you go from a repressive regime that has — it's a police state, where people are murdered and imprisoned by the tens of thousands, and then you go to something other than that, a liberated Iraq, that you go through a transition period. And in every country, in my adult lifetime, that's had the wonderful opportunity to do that, to move from a repressed dictatorial regime to something that's freer. We've seen in that transition period there is untidiness. And there's no question but that that's not anyone's choice."

Let's back up here for a minute. Untidiness? Isn't that what Bush, Powell, Rumsfeld, and their fellow hawks within the Cabinet asked for when Bush sent his military forces onto Iraqi soil after Hussein refused to flee the country, especially when he was demanded by the administration to do it? After all, if the main objective is to "liberate the people of Iraq," won't the unintended consequence of people pillaging Baghdad come about due to our interventionist actions in Iraq and the needless deaths and injuries of American GIs, the Iraqi soldiers, and Iraqi civilians? It's certainly bad enough that the government refuses to take personal responsibility for its actions in Iraq, especially when Bush, Powell, Rumsfeld, and their fellow hawk colleagues have the gall to imply that Iraqi citizens have the moral obligation to take personal responsibility for their "untidiness." It's certainly hypocritical that the Bush Administration, in front of the news cameras, has to take the moral high ground when it comes to this issue, but refuses to walk the walk when said ground is directed back at it. Talking the talk is one thing, but refusing to walk the walk, simply when it's convenient for one official such as Rumsfeld to say those words, is obviously another.

Isn't it also a fact that conservative collectivists, under the guise of limited government, individual liberty, free enterprise, and personal responsibility, just don't simply and truly believe in those tenets, even though those pro-freedom concepts always end up on their campaign literature, stationary, commentaries, and even their web sites? One can rightfully imagine this to be. After all, when it comes to the issue of personal responsibility, how many conservatives in the GOP actually practice what they preach? In the real scheme of things, there aren't that many who do.

Let's not also forget that, in the eyes of Bush and the hawks in his administration, the moral high ground doesn't include the economic and moral costs of the war. Many Americans unfortunately just don't seem to care about the economic and moral ramifications that follow when one nation is at war with another. Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas), who has been an ardent critic of the war, had just published a commentary with regard to the war spending. In his latest piece entitled "War Profiteers," Congressman Paul, in detailing Congress' latest war spending schemes, wrote the following:

"Congress could not resist the opportunity to put its hands in taxpayers' pockets by adding 20 billion dollars in completely unrelated spending to the final bill. In essence, Congress is so addicted to spending that it will use any opportunity, even a war, to spend money for every conceivable reason — however unrelated to the war in Iraq.

"We must understand that America is in a financial crisis. Tax revenues are down due to the faltering economy, but congressional spending has exploded by more than 22% in just two years. As a result, annual deficits have risen rapidly, and the national debt now approaches 6.5 trillion dollars. Almost all of this new spending has been completely unrelated to homeland defense or national security concerns. The same old failed domestic agencies and special-interest pork programs have received the bulk of the dollars. While Congress should fund constitutional federal functions like national defense, our very solvency as a nation is being threatened by unconstitutional spending."

With that being the case, no wonder Americans are being fleeced left and right in order to finance the war. Don't the statists truly get it? Don't they understand that the more we borrow and the more we spend, the less tax revenues we get because out-of-control inflation kills the economy and marginal tax cuts aren't simply enough to move us out of the sea of congressional red ink? If taxes aren't cut as much as they should be, then why should businesses be more inclined to be more profitable and more willing to save, invest, and engage in research and development when there aren't enough incentives for them to save on their tax costs? Don't they also suffer from the regulatory burden as well? What about overburdened middle-class taxpayers who find themselves paying high taxes and are subjected to the enormous tax burden from which they suffer?

Since Congress is intoxicated with spending like there is no tomorrow, it's most unfortunate that Americans don't consider the congressional spending orgy as obscene, immoral, and perverse, considering that Congress wants to spend money (money that it doesn't have) on bailing out the airline industry, which was the first to be affected by the events of 9/11. (Interestingly enough, after 9/11 the news media and the American people responded to the airlines' industry bailout with a collective yawn.) To any American, it's not important to point out that Bush approved of the bailout by handing over $15 billion to the airlines industry, within days after intense lobbying efforts by representatives from the airlines corporations. Even $5 billion went to direct payments for stabilizing the nation's air traffic control system. Of course it was Delta Airlines CEO Leo Mullin, who at the time, said that none of the airlines were "strong enough to survive for long, facing the upcoming challenges."

Specifically the latest bailout scheme that Congress is willing to pull totals $3.2 billion. But that's not the only thing that seems to be the case.

Incidentally, the latest "war funding" bill shows that $125 million will go to congressional members for the purpose of "congressional security." It's basically another pathetic boondoggle to protect those members, even if the country is not safe from any terrorist attacks or threats.

And if that doesn't infuriate you, perhaps these other schemes will. Other provisions in the bill include $11 million to hike congressional pay raises for the U.S. House of Representatives who approved of a new pay raise last fall, $250 million for Department of Agriculture grants, and $69 million for the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust (named after the late Missouri congressman).

Here's the rest of the provisions that the bill calls for in the following:

  • $6.8 million for the Congressional Research Service and General Accounting Office and $100,000 for the U.S. Court of International Trade

  • $8 billion in foreign aid

  • $1 billion in "economic assistance" for Turkey

  • $700 million for Jordan

  • $500 million for Egypt

  • $127 million for Afghanistan

  • $1 billion in for Israel

  • $175 million for Pakistan

  • $170 million to train the "Afghan National Army"

  • $406 million for Jordan

And let's not forget the moral costs of the war as well. What kind of government will the people of Iraq have, now that they have been supposedly "liberated?" How can we justify murdering innocent Iraqi citizens, troops, and our American GIs, all in the name of "liberating the people of Iraq?" Hasn't this war already inflamed more anger and hatred, more opposition to our government's foreign and military policies, and more bitterness and resentment from many of the Iraqi people, Europe, the Middle East, and abroad?

Do we, as American citizens, have the moral, ethical, legal, and constitutional right to invade any country, "liberate" the people from the vestiges of slavery and tyranny, and place them under a different system of slavery and tyranny — all propped up by our own government?

Is it not morally and ethically wrong to sacrifice a few people for the benefit of the many? On what grounds do we have to impose our values, our ideals, and our way of life upon a group of people who have chosen not to oust a brutal and evil regime by force? Under what moral and legal authority do the President and his administration have in violating the supreme law of our land and placing our troops and citizens in harm's way, even if the action is done for the benefit of the noncitizens thousands of miles away?

President Bush and his hawks in the Cabinet may think that Hussein's actions give them plenty of justifications to take out him and his armies, and to take control of Iraq. But they do not. They may think that they are permitted by legal and moral decree that they can "liberate" the people there, but they are not. This is all just hype and spin to protect our president and our government from any legal, moral, and ethical liability.

But in the eyes of the law, Bush's political ends always justify the means. They do this while hiding behind the concept of "personal responsibility," when they don't have the gall and the decency to admit that, more often than not, they fail to live up to their principles.

But that's the conservative collectivists for you. p>


©2003 by Todd Andrew Barnett. Permission to reprint any portion of or the entire article is hereby granted, provided that the author's name and credentials are included.


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