February 23, 2003


Libertarians challenge Bush to answer 10 questions before going to war with Iraq (Libertarian Party Online, February 20, 2003)
The Libertarian Party is challenging President Bush to answer 10 simple, but important, questions about his policy of waging war against Iraq.

From what we hear, the President is too busy these days to answer every quarrelsome interrogatory from every marginal group in America, so we'll give it a shot (the LP's questions are indented):
(1) Isn't it possible that invading Iraq will cause more terrorism than it prevents?

Of course, it's possible. But here's what we know for sure: al Qaeda considers Saddam's retention of power after the 19991 war too have been a victory for Islam over the West and one in a series of such triumphs that they use as a recruiting tool because it shows their jihad is "winning".
(2) If Saddam is really a threat to the Middle East, why do his neighbors seem to fear him less than the U.S. government does?

We don't fear him, his own people do. Soon they won't have to.
(3) Why do you maintain that Iraq poses a more immediate threat than North Korea?

It's not--we'll deal with N. Korea next, but we happen to have already moved our forces to the Gulf. Presumably, having acknowledged the North Korean threat, you'll be on board for the pre-emptive strikes there?
(4) Why do you believe a U.S.-led "regime change" will do any more good in Iraq than it did in Panama, Haiti, or Bosnia?

Do any of those nations sponsor terrorism?
(5) You say Saddam has refused to comply with U.N. weapons inspectors. Does that mean that you intend to subject Americans to U.N. mandates in the future?

No, only our enemies.
(6) You point out that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction that "could" be turned over to terrorists. But couldn't the same be said of Pakistan, North Korea, and dozens of other nations? And do you intend to launch pre-emptive strikes against them as well?

Yes, if necessary to protect American security.
(7) Won't attacking Iraq make Saddam more likely to launch a biological or chemical attack?

Yes, if he can and I'm glad you acknowledge that inspections have done nothing to deprive him of WMD. However, the universal mantra of those who oppose the war, that Saddam will launch WMD if he has nothing left to lose, suggests that he might do so if he were diagnosed with cancer--are you willing to risk our safety on the health status of an aging crackpot?
(8) Considering that many of the September 11 hijackers were Saudi nationals - not Iraqis - why haven't you publicly accused the Saudi government of sponsoring terrorism?

Because they weren't sponsored by the Saudi government?
(9) Why have you stopped mentioning the name of the one individual who has been most closely linked to the 9/11 attacks: Osama bin Laden?

He's dead.
(10) Finally, Mr. President, if your Iraq policy is so successful, why are Americans more afraid than ever?

Because we're going to be vulnerable to anti-Western terrorism until those regimes and terrorist organizations that perpetrate it are annihilated. Posted by Orrin Judd at February 23, 2003 9:47 AM

Very adroit.

Posted by: Christopher Badeaux at February 23, 2003 11:30 AM

19th Century capitalism is much more pleasing than 19th century foreign policy. Orrin, I hope you've forwarded this gem on to them.

Posted by: Tom at February 23, 2003 1:22 PM

Some other answers/comments--

1) What do you mean by "more?" In the sort term, of course there will be attempts, and some will succeed, because there will be a "use it or lose it" attitude among those who believe they have something to gain. The alternative may be "less" terrorist actions, but that threat of bringing down some more buildings will not go away.

2) One way to handle such a bully is by appeasement-- on the surface it can be confused by the naive as not "fearing" an opponent.

3) One principle of problem solving is that when faced with a really big problem, solve the parts that are easy or well defined first. Often you find that the problem is no longer big, and large parts may even have fixed themselves. In this case, demonstrating that force is an option may provide the incentive for North Korea to change it's behavior without having to use force.

4) Since none of those countries have been in the news much since the interventions, perhaps a detailed list of how horrid things are there would be appropriate. Because as far as I can tell, while some, like Haiti, may not be any better, there's no indication that things are worse. If nothing else, the killing in the Balkans has stopped, and if that isn't better, than what the hell is?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at February 23, 2003 1:22 PM

5) The legalists have been insisting that international institutions can handle the problem. By showing their ineffectiveness, the Bush administration is in effect sending those institutions into irrelevancy. That's something that would have been applauded by Libertarians in the past.

7) One of the bad assumptions being made by the appeasers a confusion between Iraq and Saddam when it suits their purpose-- we are going to war against "Iraq" as if we want to defeat and kill every one of them, while it's "Saddam" who will "launch a biological or chemical attack." Sorry, but Saddam can't do it alone, but has to rely on colonels and sergeant to carry out those orders. If we fight the war correctly, only the true believers will follow those orders.l

8) Some people don't believe we can take on N.Korea and al-Queda and Iraq at the same time, yet insist we add the Saudis to the list. What would be gained by announcing now that the House of Saud was complicit? Once we've demonstrated that we mean business, the Saudis, the Libyans, Syrians and others will be much more receptive to changing their behavior.

10) One reason is that the appeasement movement has been whipping up these fears to support their goals.

Stuff like this makes me ashamed to admit I used to actually sent these "Losertarian" morons financial support.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at February 23, 2003 1:23 PM

In fact, it's insane of anyone antiwar to bring up Panama. Panama is indisputably better off since US intervention-- they have a functioning multiparty democracy, and much better respect for human rights than under Noriega.

Posted by: John Thacker at February 23, 2003 1:48 PM

And, here's a question for the Libertarian party. Would your policies of open borders and reducing our defense forces by 30 per cent, increase or decrease our security?

Posted by: Jim Miller at February 23, 2003 8:20 PM