politiciansí stirring phrases are meant to keep our eyes averted
from the reality of war to make us imagine heroic
young men marching in parades, winning glorious battles, and bringing
peace and democracy to the world.
war is something quite different from that.
is your children or your grandchildren dying before theyíre even
fully adults, or being maimed or mentally scarred for life. It
is your brothers and sisters being taught to kill other people
and to hate people who are just like themselves and who donít
want to kill anyone either. It is your children seeing their buddiesí
limbs blown off their bodies.
is hundreds of thousands of human beings dying years before their
time. It is millions of people separated forever from the ones
is the destruction of homes for which people worked for decades.
It is the end of careers that meant as much to others as your
career means to you.
is the imposition of heavy taxes on you and on other Americans
and on people in other countries taxes that remain long
after the war is over. It is the suppression of free speech and
the jailing of people who criticize the government.
is the imposition of slavery by forcing young men to serve in
is goading the public to hate foreign people and races
whether Arabs or Japanese or Cubans. It is numbing our sensibilities
to cruelties inflicted on foreigners.
is cheering at the news of foreign pilots killed in their planes,
of young men blown to bits while trapped inside tanks, of sailors
drowned at sea.
tragedies inevitably trail in the wake of war. Politicians lie
even more than usual. Secrecy and cover-ups become the rule rather
than the exception. The press becomes even less reliable.
is genocide, torture, cruelty, propaganda, dishonesty, and slavery.
is the worst obscenity government can inflict upon its subjects.
It makes every other political crime corruption, bribery,
favoritism, vote-buying, graft, dishonesty seem petty.
government has a role to play in foreign affairs, it isnít
to win wars, to assure that the right people run foreign countries,
to protect innocent foreigners from guilty aggressors, or to make
the world safe for democracy or even a safer place
government has a role, it can be only to keep us out of wars
to make sure no one will ever attack us, to make certain
you can live your life in peace, to assure you the freedom to
ignore who is right and who is wrong in foreign conflicts.
only reason for military power is to discourage attackers, and
if they come anyway to repel them at our borders. Such
things as stationing troops in far-off lands, meddling in foreign
disputes, and sending our children to foreign countries as "peacekeepers"
only encourage war.
make America safer and to assure that we stay at peace, we donít
need to put more weapons in the hands of government employees,
or to reform military purchasing methods, or to make more treaties
with other governments, or to increase the military budget.
fact, we need just the opposite of these things. We need to create
a defense system that relies as little as possible on the normal
workings of government.
we need to make it as hard as possible for politicians to involve
us in war. We must find a way to keep them away from loaded weapons
forever. Thatís the one kind of gun control that really will save
Browne is the 2000 Libertarian presidential candidate. This article
was adapted from his book Why
Government Doesnít Work. More of his articles can be found