by R. Lee Wrights
BURNET, Texas (March 19) – After weeks of vacillation, uttering veiled threats that Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi must go while his key advisers made contradictory statements, President Obama has followed the example of his recent predecessors and decided that it is okay for the United States to attack another sovereign nation so long as the United Nations approves it. For an American president to initiate an attack on a nation that does not threaten us is despicable enough, but to justify such aggression by citing a United Nations resolution sets a dangerous precedent that threatens our very sovereignty.
Now the president has made an incredibly duplicitous statement on Libya, claiming that American leadership is essential in this situation and vowing that the United States would not stand “idly by while global peace and security is undermined.” In other words, we need some war so we can have peace. George Orwell, author of 1984, seems more like a prophet every day.
What hubris! A tyrant, who just a few weeks ago wasn’t even on the State Department’s radar, is now suddenly a threat to the world? Tyrants in other Middle East nations are shooting citizens who protest their oppression, but the United States says and does nothing. Why? Because the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based in the area and we need the support of those tyrants in order to flex our muscles against another tyrant.
As President Obama spoke, you could almost hear echoes of the high-sounding, pretentious, but dishonest and false arguments expounded by his predecessors to justify American military action anywhere and everywhere. We’re not imposing our will, the president claims, we are just intervening to protect innocent civilians so they can decide their own fate. We will not use any force beyond that well-defined goal, and there will be no American troops on the ground.
The arguments are illogical, irrational and false to say the least. You cannot stop violence by committing violence. You don’t teach people it is wrong to kill people by killing people. A no fly-zone imposed using “all necessary measures” is an act of war and aggression, plain and simple.
Democrats and Republicans used to agree that any partisan debate over foreign policy should end at the nation’s shores. Now they seem to agree that any debate over foreign policy shouldn’t involve discussion of the U.S. Constitution. From the moment the people in Libya said they’ve had enough and rebelled against the tyrant whom the United States has either ignored or tolerated for 40 years, voices on both sides of the aisle were heard urging the president to send American troops to fight and die on yet another foreign shore.
Sen. John McCain, who should know about the dangers of flying over a hostile nation before fully suppressing its air defenses, was one of the leading voices calling for the United States to impose a no-fly zone over Libya. He was joined by Sen. John Kerry, who voted for the Iraq war before he voted against it (or was it the other way around).
All the while President Obama bobbed and weaved around the issue, even to the point of ignoring it completely in one of his weekly radio addresses. Finally, when Gadhafi was on the verge of destroying the rebels, the clumsy and inept United Nations Security Council stirred from its slumber to “authorize” members “to take all necessary measure” to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, enforce an arms embargo and freeze Libyan assets.
There are two things glaringly wrong with this view, as anyone who has even the remotest familiarity with the U.S. Constitution and American history could figure out, but which escapes most members of Congress and the president. First, the United States has no business initiating an attack on any other nation unless there is a declaration of war by the Congress. Second, Libya has not attacked us, nor does it threaten U.S. security or sovereignty. The conflict in Libya is a civil war, and anyone, especially anyone from the South, knows that civil wars are especially terrible and awful.
No resolution of the U.N. justifies violating the U.S. Constitution. Doing so sets the stage for U.N. sovereignty over the U.S. Any attack on Libya by U.S. forces, even those acting under the guise of this bogus document, would be a war of aggression since Libya has not threatened us. The Nuremberg Trials condemned such attacks as war crimes. We already have one ex-president fearful of traveling overseas afraid of being charged with war crimes; do we really want another such blot on our nation?
If the president orders U.S. forces to take such action he will be in clear violation of his oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” The Founders of our nation gave the war-making power to Congress for a very specific and real reason. They were all too familiar with a ruler who used claimed omnipotent powers to engage in endless military adventures overseas, bankrupting the nation and destroying the lives of its people.
As Jacob Hornberger, founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation wrote: “Our ancestors brought into existence a nation with no standing army, no militarism, and no empire, no Federal Reserve, no federal torture, no federal kidnapping, no war on terrorism, no CIA, no war on drugs, no foreign wars, no public schooling, no paper money, and no wars of aggression.
“They brought into existence a government based on limited powers expressly enumerated in the U.S Constitution, an economic system based on free-market principles, and a society deeply committed to the preservation of civil liberties and fundamental rights.
“The time has arrived for Americans to return to first principles.”
We must stop all war … and stop this war before it starts.
R. Lee Wrights is a longtime libertarian writer, political activist, a lifetime member of the Libertarian Party, and a past vice chair of the Libertarian National Committee. He is considering seeking the presidential nomination because he is determined that the Libertarian message in 2012 be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war. Wrights has pledged that 10 percent of all donations to his campaign will go toward ballot access so that the stop all war message can be heard in all 50 states. Wrights, 52, is the co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All. He was born in Winston Salem, N.C. and now lives in Texas.