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May 10, 2002

There's a Better Target than Iraq


by Harry Browne

The Bush administration appears to be gearing up for an all-out attack on Iraq because George Bush has said "I made up my mind that Saddam needs to go."

The politicians justify this invasion of another nation with all sorts of reasons such as Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, his supposed possession of "weapons of mass destruction," and his support for the Palestine Liberation Organization. And if all else fails to convince, the coup de grâce is always "He even gassed his own people!" (as though that provides constitutional authority for our politicians to attack another country).

Let's Go for the Big Game

But if these are reasons to invade someone, there's a government that's done all these things on a much larger scale which would seem to justify having an international military force attack it to make things right.

In just the past two decades, that government has conducted unprovoked military invasions of three other countries and attacked at least four others. It possesses several times as many nuclear weapons as Iraq might have. And it has supported terrorist operations and military dictators in many countries.

And to top it off, the government was caught red-handed gassing its own citizens!

Name That Country

What government has done all these things?

Obviously, the U.S. government.

It has:

·           Invaded Grenada, Iraq, and Panama not one of which attacked the U.S. in any way.

·           Attacked Libya, Serbia, Afghanistan, and the Sudan not one of which attacked the U.S. (No one has suggested that the government of Afghanistan or its people were behind the September 11 attacks.)

·           An enormous stockpile of "weapons of mass destruction" nuclear, chemical, and biological. (How safe do you think foreigners feel, knowing our government has such a stockpile and is so eager to attack other countries?)

·           Supported such vile characters as Manuel Noriega, the Taliban, Ferdinand Marcos, and others (all of which the U.S. government itself labeled as evil people), not to mention dozens of dictators in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.

And the pièce de résistance is the U.S. government's use of poisonous CS gas (banned by international convention) to kill 80 Branch Davidians at Waco in 1993.

Is there a difference between what our government and Saddam Hussein have done? Only in degree, not in kind.

Those who try to explain this away usually fall back on a simple principle: whatever our government has done was for good reason, whatever our enemies do is bad.

But killing innocent people, invading foreign countries, bullying the world are wrong no matter who does them.

Who's at Fault?

Does this make America bad?

Of course not. "America" stands for peace and friendship, and was once the beacon of liberty providing light and hope and inspiration to the entire world.

But over the past century its politicians have run amok ignoring all constitutional limits, dictating to U.S. citizens how they must live their lives, pretending to be the world's policemen, and telling foreigners who must run their governments.

Not surprisingly, the politicians do a horrendous job with everything they attempt not just foreign policy. Their schools are a mess, they've made a shambles of what was once the best health-care system in the world, they've created criminal gangs with their Drug War, and they've bled us white with their taxes.

And even though they can't bring peace to the streets of Washington, D.C., they arrogantly claim they will "rid the world of evil-doers."

No One Is Impervious

Yes, America is the most powerful country in the world. So no one can stop George Bush from pushing around any country he sets his sights on.

But that doesn't mean we're safe from the consequences of such bullying. September 11 showed that foreigners can be pushed only so far. It also demonstrated that when you give other people a reason to hate you, it is the most brutal elements of their society who will take the lead in retaliating. Thus we were attacked by people who had no qualms about killing the innocent even as they were supported by people who had real grievances against our government.

Let's Get America Back

In his first inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson said, "Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none."

He was right then. He is right today.

Every American citizen has the right to finance or join any cause he believes in anywhere in the world. But our government has no business using your tax money and risking your life to support any foreign cause.

Any President who thinks he can decide who should rule a foreign country is a danger to the American people. He's a megalomaniac putting you and your family at extreme risk to satisfy his own delusions of grandeur.

If we want to prevent further attacks on America, we have to start by stopping the man in the White House.

 

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Harry Browne is a best-selling author and two-time Libertarian Party nominee for president.

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