Afghanistan war is not essential, president should end it now

The war in Afghanistan is not essential, the president has the power to end it, and he should do so immediately, a Libertarian Party official said following President’s Obama’s surprise visit to that country.

“President Obama just called the Afghanistan War ‘absolutely essential.’ Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Wes Benedict, LP executive director. “The U.S. armed forces are being used for nation-building. The president, as commander-in-chief, has the power to end this war, and he should begin doing so immediately.”

Benedict said the war’s cost is staggering in both lives and money. He said forcing American taxpayers to pay hundreds of billions of dollars for the “counterproductive effort” is deeply unjust.

“Even worse, the American effort in Afghanistan is propping up a hopelessly corrupt government, which is alienating the Afghan people and causing them to blame the United States even more for their problems,” he said. “There is zero chance that American military power will create a stable and honest government in Afghanistan.”

Even if that were possible, it would still lie completely outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. government, Benedict said.

While the Libertarian Party recognizes that the United States faces some threat of terrorism, they contend that fighting foreign wars is one of the worst possible ways to deal with the threat.

“Terrorism in the United States is a significant threat to our citizens, but we do not stop terrorists overseas by invading their sovereign homeland,” said Lon Cecil, Libertarian candidate for U.S. Congress in District 12. He said the United States should withdraw it military forces from overseas and use them to secure our borders, using the same techniques perfected by Israel to screen travelers.

“Disturbingly, President Obama is demonstrating a complete faith in government power in almost every aspect of American policy. From foreign wars, to the economy, to health care, the president thinks that government power is always the solution,” said Benedict.

Libertarians contend that government power, which is always enforced by coercion, is usually the problem.

“War supporters often say that if we leave Afghanistan without ‘winning’ it would be a slap in the face of the soldiers who have fought and died there. But there’s nothing in Afghanistan to win,” Benedict said. “American soldiers have been brave enough to fight and die in Afghanistan, but cowardly politicians want to send more to their deaths just so they can save face at home.”

Cecil said that since 1946 few of the many U.S. military interventions overseas, even those under the auspices of the U.N., “have been no more of a ‘win’ than the ‘drug war.’” While he honors the sacrifice made by all those who have fought and died, he said that it is more important for the “mothers and fathers of those soldiers to see their living faces.”

Libertarians believe in a non-interventionist foreign policy, as practiced by George Washington, John Adams,Thomas Jefferson and most of our early presidents. They want the United States to return to its historical libertarian tradition of avoiding entangling alliances, foreign quarrels, and military adventures. The only legitimate role of the military is to defend America against direct attack or the imminent threat of attack.

“Terrorist conflicts are inherently guerrilla battles, not uniformed wars,” Cecil said. “Only local armies can tell which persons are combatants and which are truly civilians, not the sort of war where foreign troops are appropriate.”