May 29 2007
by Michael Boldin
10. The U.S. military has absolutely no right, whether legal or moral, to be killing people who live in Iraq. It has no right to even be in Iraq. Why is this? Because neither the Iraqi government nor the Iraqi people ever attacked the United States. This fact makes the war in Iraq an optional one, not a necessary one.
Mr. Boldin, I think your #10, "no right, whether legal or moral, to be killing people who live in Iraq" should be the number ONE reason" Humanity and life must ALWAYS be the first priority. But I think you mean to say this with the rest of your essay.
To reiterate what should be obvious, the fact that the U.S. was attacked in 2001 does not give this country the right to attack and kill people who had nothing to do with those crimes. It is morally acceptable to go after criminals, but it is a crime to kill their families, their friends, their neighbors, or anyone else not criminally complicit.
9. Both political parties have pursued a foreign policy of aggression for decades, and where has that gotten us?
Our military is based in over 120 countries around the world. The U.S. government has spent billions and billions of dollars of our tax money to prop up dictators and despotic regimes. It has armed people such as Osama bin Laden and the "freedom fighters" in Afghanistan, Saddam Hussein, and Manuel Noriega, only to use military force to oust them later on. This type of foreign policy has driven people all over the world to hate us. Don't we have enough enemies yet? Isn't it time to say enough is enough?
8. Since this war began back in 1991, millions of people have been driven from their homes, injured, or killed. Considering this fact, I cannot be convinced that the Iraqi people are better off in any way.
7. In a free country, aggressive war should never be used as a tool of foreign policy. Using force to impose what American politicians consider to be a proper government for Iraq violates every principle of freedom which this country is supposed to stand for. This is not freedom for Iraqis
6. No one can convince me that kindness and charity are the primary motives in a war where hundreds of billions of dollars are forcibly redistributed from American citizens to the military-industrial complex; especially the weapons-manufacturers. Maybe something else motivates the war-makers. Could it be greed?
5. Like virtually every war, this war is being funded through the coercive method of taxation. The wealth of the American people is being forcibly transferred to the government and their corporate partners; the merchants of death. Just considering this one point, the war in Iraq is just as immoral and illegal as stealing from one person to give to another.
On top of this, taxation, deficit-spending, and the printing of money gives the government an almost unlimited source of funding. Thus, there is no incentive for the government to spend the money wisely, because it can always get more - from us. Conversely, the access to such vast wealth is actually an incentive to continue the war perpetually. The ability to grow in wealth and power is something that not many politicians have had the strength to resist throughout history. American politicians are no different.
4. The Iraq War is the polar opposite of any proper concept of self-defense. The United States is the aggressor and Iraq is the defender; plain and simple. This fact brings up some very difficult moral and legal issues for everyone involved. Thomas Paine may have summed it up best:
"Not all the treasures of the world, so far as I believe, could have induced me to support an offensive war, for I think it murder."
3. We fought in Vietnam to stop the "domino effect" of communism, but when the communists took over, the world didn't come to an end. We "saved" Kuwait from an evil dictator, but it's still run by a family dynasty that has no interest in liberty for the people. We waged war on Afghanistan to capture Osama bin Laden. Oddly, rights violations are still rampant and Afghani opium production has soared since the invasion. And then, of course, we have all the "good" done in Iraq.
This foreign policy of aggression and intervention, which we have seen grow in preeminence over the last century, just doesn't work. The politicians promise us peace; they promise us security; they promise us anything to get us to go along with their policies, but what happens? In virtually every situation, the intervention totally fails, or the "enemy" is replaced by another despotic regime. The U.S. government has caused chaos in Iraq, and the time for that to come to an end is now.
2. You don't bring freedom to people by waging war on their cities and towns, and you don't protect innocent people by killing innocent people. It is a crime to aggressively take the life of another person. There is no murder of innocent people that can be justified by claiming that it was necessary for the "greater good."
If you consider that to be the right way of handling the problems in Iraq, you more closely resemble Joseph Stalin's way of thinking than that of liberty-lovers like Patrick Henry and Thomas Paine.
And the No. 1 reason to get the U.S. out of Iraq...
1. The warfare state is, hands down, the greatest threat to liberty. In war, the government always claims the need for massive power, and it uses war as an excuse to expand its control over our lives in every way possible.
War, the politicians claim, "changes everything." They tap our phones, read our emails, monitor our bank accounts, and give us "free speech zones." They consider torture acceptable and imprison people indefinitely. They take our property, waste our resources, and threaten to spend our economy into oblivion.
Throughout history, even kings and queens have often failed to survive such disastrous governance.
And, just in case that's not enough, here's one more "bonus" reason to get out Iraq now:
The Constitution does not give the president the power to wage war without first getting a declaration of war from Congress. Although some try to claim that the 2002 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) fulfilled this requirement, it did not. All it did was transfer a Constitutional power - the power to declare war - from congress to the president. This transfer of power is a violation of the Constitution in and of itself.
Thus, the president violated the Constitution by waging war on Iraq without a declaration of war from congress. And, possibly even more important, everyone in congress who voted for the AUMF in 2002 violated the Constitution as well by illegally transferring their power to declare war to the president.
This is how the U.S. government has handled every war since World War II. By allowing the government to wage undeclared wars, politicians from both political parties have violated their Constitutional oaths repeatedly.
Whether you like it or not, the Constitution is not just a set of loose guidelines, it's the law. Now is the time to demand that our representatives in government abide by the law. We must stop allowing Presidents to drag us into wars, which they later claim we have to continue for years and years until the "job is done."
National Defense, Not Offense
If government should be playing any role at all in foreign affairs, it should be only to keep us out of wars. Their sole job is to ensure that this country will not be attacked so you and your family can live in peace.
I'd actually like to see some national defense for once in this country; all we have now is a national offense. Such things as staging coups, backing dictators with billions in foreign aid, basing our military in over 120 nations, and attacking other countries does nothing to keep this country safe. In fact, it does just the opposite, and almost guarantees more war in the future.
To make this country safer, we don't need to increase the power of the politicians, and we definitely don't need more national offense. We don't need more weapons, a larger military, or wars in more countries.
We need the exact opposite of this. We need to focus on defending the country rather than aggressing against the rest of the world.
The only reason to have a military force at all is to deter and discourage potential invaders; it's not to be used as a pre-emptive strike force. If the attackers come anyway, it's the military's job to repel them at our borders. Nothing more, nothing less. If they're unable to do that job, maybe we should consider something different.
The path this country is on right now, the path of empire and militarism, will only guarantee us more violence, death, and loss of liberty.
This state of affairs is intolerable.
The right plan, in the short term, is the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq. Now. Not when the violence "subsides." Not when Iraq has a stable government. Not when more Iraqi forces are trained. Not when the Democrats tell us the war is over, not when the Republicans tell us the war is over, and not when we have a new president.
The time to leave Iraq is now. Not in the fall. Not next year. Not next month or next week. Today, not tomorrow - right now.
Could the entire U.S. Military machine and its associated contractors leave Iraq this very moment? Obviously not. But, we could easily announce an immediate cessation of aggressive hostilities, and start mobilizing all of our resources to transport the troops out right away. It didn't take all that long to march into Iraq, and it won't take that long to march right on out.
For The Future
A long-term solution requires a return to our nation's founding principles of individual liberty. This is quite contrary to America's current policies of militarism, endless foreign aid, massive standing armies, assassinations, coups, deadly sanctions, and wars.
As a nation, we cannot solve all the problems of the world. We cannot bring peace to the world. And, as the historical record shows, we cannot trust our politicians to do so either. Such has been the arrogance of many of the most murderous tyrants in world history, and such has been the path to their destruction.
We may not be able to stop war and bloodshed in places like Darfur, and we may not be able to bring liberty to places like North Korea. But, by standing up for what we believe in, our voices can make a real difference in what our own government is allowed to do.
When a government that rules in our name engages in torture, killing, and war, the number one question that will be asked of us someday is this: did you rise in opposition to it? Did you speak out against it? Or, did you approve of it by remaining silent?
I, for one, rise in opposition, and will continue to speak out.
Michael Boldin is a gun-toting, thirty-something technology-inclined city-dweller, who is an avid hiker of the San Gabriel Mountains. Raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin by a politically active family, he developed a distaste for big government early on. Michael welcomes feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.