America, meet your leaders

By Harry Browne

Poor President Bush.

He apparently wants to invade Iraq more than anything else in the world. And just when he thought he had sufficient support to do so, foreign leaders started backing out.

So he went to the U.N. and gave a stirring speech – saying Saddam Hussein must allow weapons inspections or the U.S. will invade – only to have Hussein agree to allow the inspectors in.

What is the point?

In his quest to go to war, the president is supported by writers and commentators who never saw a war they didn’t like. That may be because they never have to go to war themselves – they just send others to their deaths.

To these people, the object isn’t a democratic Iraq or U.S. security. The object is war.

The goal isn’t peace in the Middle East or removing dangerous weapons. The goal is war.

The warmongers demonstrate that war is the purpose of it all by the way they promote it.

If you try to deal with any of their claims, they change the subject.

  • If you point out that Pakistan (a military dictatorship), India, Russia, China, France, Britain, Israel and the United States all have “weapons of mass destruction” (including chemical and biological weapons), the war-mongers say, “But Hussein gassed his own people.”

  • If you point out that Bill Clinton gassed the Branch Davidians at Waco, the warmongers say, “But Hussein invaded Kuwait.”

  • If you point out that the U.S. invaded Panama and Grenada – and has bombed numerous countries that didn’t attack the U.S. – the war-mongers say, “But Hussein operates a brutal dictatorship.”

  • If you ask if this means we must invade several dozen other countries in the world who are suffering under brutal dictatorships, the war-mongers say, “But Hussein has violated a dozen U.N. resolutions” (this is usually claimed by someone who doesn’t think the U.N. should even exist).

  • If you point out that the U.S. also violates U.N. resolutions – and didn’t even pay its dues for many years – the war-mongers say, “But Hussein has weapons of mass destruction,” and we’ve come full circle and can start all over again.

If any of these claims were a truly serious concern, the war-mongers wouldn’t be jumping around from one contention to another.

Lies and damned lies

After every war, the historians dig through the archives and discover that a great deal of what our government claimed as the reason for going to war was untrue.

  • After World War II, we found out that the Pearl Harbor attack was neither “unprovoked” nor a “surprise.”

  • After the Vietnam War, we discovered that the Vietnamese didn’t really fire on American ships in the Gulf of Tonkin, and so the Senate resolution escalating the war was based on a fraud.

  • After the Gulf War, it turned out that the Kuwaiti woman who told Congress that she witnessed Iraqi atrocities in Kuwait – and thereby incited several senators to vote for war – wasn’t even in Kuwait at the time she “saw” the atrocities.

And so it goes. The politicians get us all whipped up, and only later do we discover that what we knew about the war and the enemy was a lie.

These are our leaders

But, of course, it isn’t just war that politicians lie about. They lie about their loyalty to the Constitution, they lie about their voting records, they lie about the contents of the bills they pass, they lie about the non-existent “budget surpluses.”

And as though that weren’t enough, they vote for bills they haven’t read and don’t understand. They browbeat committee witnesses on subjects the politicians know nothing about. They seize on any imaginable event as an excuse to arrogate more power to themselves and to take more liberty away from us.

And they expect us to go to war on their say-so.

You believe what you want. But as for me, until George Bush lays out specific, credible, verifiable, understandable evidence that Saddam Hussein poses an immediate threat to the security of the United States of America (not just to the “interests” of the U.S., as defined by power-hungry politicians), I prefer to keep my self-respect and oppose any thought of going to war.

I love America, not its government.

I am loyal to the Constitution, not to the politicians.

I love the traditional American way of life, not the 1984 version we’re living today.

And I don’t understand why it is so great to live in a country that’s constantly at war with someone somewhere in the world.