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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/6825/blood-on-their-hands/

Blood on Their Hands

July 9, 2007 by

Every time Bush stands up to speak about the war, how we have to stick it out, how we have to stand up against evil, how our nation is being called to do its historic duty, I have the same thought: and what are you doing besides making this stupid speech? Presidents speak as if they somehow embody the will of the nation, and so the courage shown by the troops is their courage, the determination of the commanders on the ground is their determination too, and the strong will of the people to fork over to fund this ghastly war is their strong will too. They might even believe it. But this has nothing to do with reality. FULL ARTICLE

{ 7 comments }

TLWP Sam July 9, 2007 at 9:11 am

One wonders then how much loyalty did leaders such as Alexander the Great have because he personally fought alongside his troops.

Brainpolice July 10, 2007 at 2:36 am

Mr. Bush enjoys the privilege of being able to externalize the costs onto us. If he didn’t possess that privilege, I’m sure he wouldn’t be advocating the things that he does. If Mr. Bush had to do the fighting himself, or if he had to fund his military adventures out of his own pocketbook, he would quickly change his tune.
Politicians are the ultimate cowards in that it is always everyone else who has to carry out their plans for them.

TokyoTom July 17, 2007 at 7:45 am

Lew, perhaps you and others care to note Randy Barnett’s arguments in today’s Wall Street Journal that:

(1) support for the war in Iraq is perfectly consistent with libertarianism, and

(2) a possible “misinterpretation” that opposition to the war in Iraq by Ron Paul and others is dictated by “libertarianism itself” might “inhibit[] a wider acceptance of the libertarian principles that would promote the general welfare of the American people”.

http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110010344

Am I wrong to find Prof. Barnett’s arguments rather hard to stomach?

RogerM July 17, 2007 at 8:53 am

TokyoTom: “Am I wrong to find Prof. Barnett’s arguments rather hard to stomach?”

Anarchists, such as Lew, will find anything the state does disgusting. But it seems that libertarians who are not anarchists have reasonable disagreements over the war.

John Quincy Adams wrote “She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond
the power of extrication in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy and ambition, which assume the colors and
usurp the standards of freedom.”

Many libertarians love to quote this. But Adams seems to have forgotten that his own revolution would have failed miserably and quickly without the financial and military aid of the French and the financial aid of the Dutch. Thank God that the Dutch and French failed to heed Mr. Adam’s advice.

TokyoTom July 17, 2007 at 9:33 am

Roger, gratefulness for the support of other enemies of Britain at the time of the Revolutionary War does not at all constitute a reason for ignoring all of the other advice of our founding fathers, much less a justification for the incredibly costly, counterproductive and cynically conceived and intentionally deceptively mismarketed misadventure that the war in Iraq has proven to be.

My own favorite quotes on war are from James Madison and Hermann Goering:

Madison:

- “A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence agst. foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.”
James Madison, Constitutional Convention [June 29, 1787]

- “In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people …. [There is also an] inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and … degeneracy of manners and of morals…. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

Goering:
- “Why, of course, the people don’t want war …. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.”

“There is one difference,” I pointed out. “In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.”

“Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”
Gustave Gilbert, Nuremberg Diary.

Roger, surely you recognize the costs to our lives, treasury, civil liberties, honor and lost opprtunities that the invasion of Iraq has brought us, and no longer defend this war, right?

RogerM July 17, 2007 at 1:39 pm

TokyoTom: “…surely you recognize the costs to our lives, treasury, civil liberties, honor and lost opprtunities that the invasion of Iraq has brought us, and no longer defend this war, right?”

Sounds like you’ve bought the socialist bill of goods. The cost in lives and money is very real, but those to civil liberties, honor, and lost opportunities are grossly exaggerated. I happen to agree with Barnett that I expected the normal miscalculations that are natural to war, but not the arrogant bumbling that has taken place. The current mess in Iraq was totally unnecessary, but that doesn’t make the invasion illegit. At this point, Bush has messed up the victory over Hussein so badly that we should just cut and run. I certainly don’t support continuing in the mess.

TokyoTom July 17, 2007 at 8:43 pm

Roger, I’m happy to see that you have found sufficient reasons to now oppose the Iraq war.

No, post-invasion bungling doesn’t necessarily make the invasion itself illegitimate, but other factors clearly do and the post-invasion problems were eminently anticipable and weighed against staarting this foolhardy adventure to begin with.

And I find it sad that you minimize how much this war (and Administration) has cost us in terms of our civil liberties, honor and lost opportunities. Government secrecy, spying and intrusion into our lives at home contintues apace, our behavior shames us and gives comfort to tyrants abroad, and we have squandered precious time in addressing many important problems – including how to ease modernization in Islamic societies.

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