LP Demands Answers Before Iraq War
[Following the press release, Kent McNaughton replies to one of its points.]
Libertarians challenge Bush to answer
WASHINGTON, DC -- The Libertarian Party is challenging President Bush to answer 10 simple, but important, questions about his policy of waging war against Iraq.
"Although President Bush has made several attempts to explain why deposing Saddam Hussein is worth risking U.S. lives, millions of Americans remain unconvinced," said Geoffrey Neale, Libertarian Party national chair. "That's why Libertarians are respectfully asking the president to answer these obvious but overlooked questions about his Iraq policy."
(1) Isn't it possible that invading Iraq will cause more terrorism than it prevents?
"The al-Qaeda network has explicitly threatened to murder innocent Americans in retaliation for a U.S. raid on Iraq," Neale said. "Why hasn't Mr. Bush addressed this possibility?
"Even General Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander of Europe, says: 'Attacking Iraq will detract from our primary mission against al-Qaeda, supercharge anti-American sentiment in the Arab street and boost al-Qaeda's recruiting.' Is Gen. Clark wrong?"
(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?
"None of the countries bordering Iraq have been clamoring for the United States to protect them from Saddam," Neale noted. "So how can Bush argue that Saddam poses a threat to a nation halfway around the globe?"
(3) Why do you maintain that Iraq poses a more immediate threat than North Korea?
"North Korean leader Kim Jong-il admits that he has nuclear weapons capable of hitting U.S. targets, and brags that he can 'win' a nuclear war with the United States," Neale said. "Please explain why Americans should fear Iraq more than this belligerent, and apparently unstable, communist dictator."
(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?
"Like previous presidents, the Bush administration promises to topple a tyrant and liberate the nation," Neale observed. "But if the history of U.S. intervention is any guide, Bush will merely replace one dictator with another."
(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 one should be surprised if this notoriously anti-American agency decrees that it's our turn to submit to a weapons inspection, or demands that U.S. troops be sent into a bloody, pointless battle overseas," Neale said.
"Yet how could Mr. Bush refuse such requests without being denounced as a hypocrite? And how could he comply without betraying U.S. sovereignty?"
(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?
"Bombing Iraq because of what it 'might' do would set a frightening precedent," Neale said. "Imagine the global chaos that would result if every nation followed Bush's example, and you'll understand how reckless a first-strike policy is."
(7) Won't attacking Iraq make Saddam more likely to launch a biological or chemical attack?
"During the Gulf War, the Iraqi leader apparently decided that unleashing such devastating weapons was not in his self-interest," Neale observed. "But this time Saddam knows he is targeted personally – which means he has nothing to lose. If Bush really wants to avoid such a catastrophe, he can prove it by keeping U.S. troops out of Iraq."
(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?
"Bush has struggled mightily to produce a link between Iraq and the 9/11 terrorists, while refusing to address allegations of Saudi complicity," Neale said. "The grieving families of the 9/11 victims have a right to know why."
(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?
"Bush's interest in the world's most-wanted terrorist seems to have vanished mysteriously into the caves of Tora Bora," Neale said. "So it's understandable for Americans to wonder if invading Iraq is Bush's way of punishing Saddam Hussein for the crimes of bin Laden."
(10) Finally, Mr. President, if your Iraq policy is so successful, why are Americans more afraid than ever?
"As the attack against Iraq draws near, the Homeland Security Department has raised the terrorist threat level to orange; started to educate the nation about how to cope with dirty bombs and chemical attacks; and warned panicky Americans to stockpile food, water and medical supplies," Neale said.
"If this policy is a success, how would we measure failure?"
[Kent McNaughton is a former member of the board of directors for the Libertarian Party of Colorado. He forwarded the following reply February 21.]
Regarding today's Press Release:
On #4 regarding Panama, though an opponent of US foreign adventurism, I'd suggest you do more homework before including this country in the list of failures of US intervention.
You imply that the "regime change" the US imposed in 1989 was succeeded by yet another dictator. It wasn't. Though the country doesn't yet have the constitutional infrastructure I'd like it to have, it still is a very free country, where people live their lives without the type of interference far more common in the mythically free countries of North America and Europe.
The banking system is private, without a central bank. Cops seem to be doing their duty as peace officers, not overly concerned about law, but more than in the US about justice. There are no "blue laws" that I've determined. Those in the central gov't seem more concerned with "cashing in" than depriving the people of their rights, while the American federal gov't seems intent on both. I think I more prefer the former.
I was concerned about how American expats might be received here, knowing something of the Noriega--and this counrty's dictatorial history from 1969. Talking with people here has convinced me that the Noriega (a paid CIA operative) takeout was, if not pure in an altruistic sense, was, at least something that "needed to be done."
From here, Panamanians seem thankful for this intervention.