|Dr. Machan, thank you for your clear explanation of why the government of a free people should not engage in military actions against states that do not threaten the citizens that government is sworn to protect. Reading your article was like inhaling pure oxygen.|
Government derives any legitimate power from the consent of its citizens, who cannot assign powers or rights that they themselves do not possess. It is OK for me to rescue another who is being assaulted on the street, if I choose to risk my life to render assistance. However, it is not OK for me to destroy the houses and murder the residents of the neighborhood in my campaign to collar the villain engaged in aggressing against an innocent.
For clearly, those residents themselves have rights that must be respected.
When the American State (it's not a government) engages in non-defensive military crusades abroad, it violates rights on a massive scale. It murders thousands of helpless foreign people like so many lemmings--people who have committed no crime against any American, but who who happen to live in a foreign zone that American politicians feel must be "rescued" or "re-created". The American War State destroys property that these poor people depend upon to maintain their survival, thereby imposing on them much suffering and hastened death. At home, our State oppresses its own subjects through the poverty-inducing effects of taxation, through the draft, and through additional restrictions on American freedom.
Far from defending individual rights, the War State assaults those rights wholesale.
In addition, the political slogans hoisted aloft by the War State's cheerleaders are every bit as inaccurate and dishonest as the promises and slogans created by politicans to advance their domestic programs. In both cases, the classic pattern is: a crises is invented by the political class to justify another, new rights-violating extension of government power. When it becomes obvious that the crises was fictitious, politicians invent new justifications for their program, and downplay talk about the original fiction. Still later, when the program inexorably fails to meet its new, revised purpose, politicians again rewrite history. I did not originate this observation. Thomas Sowell did, except he discerns this pattern of fraud as concerns domestic programs, although it applies to all cases of illegitimate extensions of government power. Of course, many defenders of both the War on Poverty and The War on Terrorism are sincerely convinced of the merits of their own, favorite government program. But their understanding is in error.
Saddam Hussein is a bad man. That he was a dictator who deserves appropriate punishment is clear: he dragged his subjects into a non-defensive war, financed in part by our beloved American State, that caused the wrongful deaths of some 2 million people, plus an assortment of other oppressions. Bringing this dictator to justice, however, is not an American responsibility. If some Americans want to donate money or risk their own lives to try to secure some higher level of freedom for Iraqi's, they should be free to do so.
However, we face a nearly overwhelming intellectual and political struggle to regain our own freedom, right here in the United States.