Washington Libertarian Review

Political commentary from the State of Washington with a libertarian perspective.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Somewhere a band is playing the Star Spangled Banner

Here we are in yet another Memorial Day weekend originated to commemorate the Civil War dead. But all is not peaceful in the world.

According to Andrew Bernstein of the Ayn Rand Institute "the United States is engaged in a war against fanatics who represent the extreme of intellectual, religious and political suppression. Freedom is unknown and utterly alien in the countries that support terrorists. They feel threatened by our most cherished principles and institutions, and so they seek to destroy us."

Berenstein even goes so far as to suggest that this "war" is a war of defense, as if the United States is really under threat of destruction. Yet, very curiously, he implicitly acknowledges the US has the power to prevail in such a war, "if President Bush has the moral conviction to permit our soldiers to fully wage war." So, the questions must be: How serious can this threat be? And if the threat is serious, how much force is appropriate to combat it?

I don't mean to belittle the horror of the September 11, 2001 attack on the New York World Trade Center, or the fact that there are indeed fanatics in the world who hate the US. But the fact is that the destruction of the WTC was orchestrated by Osama bin Laden, not Saddam Hussein. And all of President Bush's highminded efforts to capture the former have yielded to torture tactics, and not merely against the people, but also against their fundamental beliefs, all under cover of willful ignorance.

This is not a war of defense. It is a war of hegemony, designed to implement what has become known as the Bush Doctrine. The Bush Doctrine represents a radical departure from prior foreign policy, and may even be loosely described as a return to the days of the British Empire of the Nineteenth Century.

The Bush Doctrine, laid out formally as The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, explicitly acknowledges that the United States is the most powerful country in the world, and allegedly sets Democracy, Liberty, and Security throughout the world as its goal. To accomplish this end the doctrine authorizes such tactics as pre-emptive strikes against countries suspected of harboring terrorists, unilateral action when no other country will act and, perhaps most ominously, "strength beyond challenge." In short, the United States will henceforth beat uncooperative countries into submission, all the while claiming to support democracy and liberty.

On previous Memorial Days our leaders have remembered fallen soldiers who had fought for freedom for the US and its friends. In the future our leaders will remember soldiers who have fallen in the process of enforcing the new Pax Americana upon the world. Lord, have mercy on us!


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