President Obama’s decision to attack on Libya is only surprising to those who actually think he deserved the Nobel Peace Prize and indicates a “disturbing trend” of attacking Muslim countries, the Libertarian Party national chair said yesterday.
“After dithering for two weeks, Obama has joined the list of presidents who chose to launch wars on their personal say-so in direct contravention of the Constitution,” said Mark Hinkle. The attacks on Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and now Libya have also eroded the goodwill Obama gained from the Arab world early in his administration. In the most recent Zogby survey, 85 percent of the respondents expressed an unfavorable opinion toward the United States, eclipsing the 83 percent negative opinion in the final year of the Bush administration.
“I’m deeply disappointed that the U.S. government has once again galloped into battle on foreign soil, in the grand tradition of Teddy and San Juan Hill,” said Lon Cecil, a 2010 Libertarian Congressional candidate. “Libertarians recognize that our standing armies are for the defense of our nation and our shores, not running around the world shoving gun barrels in the face of anyone who refuses to bow down or run away.”
Cecil said that every country should be free to make its own independent political decisions. “If they have a stable government that the people support willingly, then they will be interested in trade and commerce with America, not trying to come over here and kick in our door,” he said. “If they have an unstable government, they have hundreds of years of experience in how to work out a compromise suitable to their culture, without our interference.”
The American airstrikes could actually help Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, especially if he prevails in the civil war, Hinkle observed. “Gadhafi is no friend of liberty, but the military involvement of the United States in the rebellion against him threatens to undermine the credibility of the resistance to his rule and turn him into a hero,” he said. “As news of both actual and rumored killings of innocent civilians by American bombs spreads throughout the Arab world, the hatred which spawned the 9/11 murderers will continue to grow.”
“What if Gadaffi still manages to defeat the rebels,” Hinkle asked. “Faced with the choice of losing face or upping the ante with an escalation of military involvement, this could turn into yet another disastrous campaign.”
“I don’t know how many times we have to endure administrations, both Republican and Democratic, who shoot first and ask questions later,” Hinkle said. “Probably for as long as we continue to elect Republicans and Democrats to office.”
Libertarians advocate the foreign policy eloquently described by Thomas Jefferson at his inauguration: “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.”
“Just as the Founding Fathers expressed admiration for the Swiss Model of armed neutrality that has managed to keep Switzerland out of the vicious wars of Europe for hundreds of years, we should embrace the idea that the purpose of an American military is the defense of American soil, period,” Hinkle said.
Hinkle also noted that the president, a reputed constitutional scholar, has also forgotten that as a U.S. Senator criticizing the Bush Administration he said, “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”