Mission Statement

Mission Statement: This blog is dedicated to both political philosophy and application to current issues based on the ideas of limited government, free markets, and individual liberty. Additionally, this blog strives to create an atmosphere where intelligent discussions based on the principles of logic, no matter the viewpoints expressed in their conclusions, are not only welcome, but also thrive.

To learn more, feel free to read the introduction and subsequent posts which explain the aforementioned philosophy and purpose of this blog in more detail.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Issues 14: Intervening in Libya

          The US Government recently was party to imposing a no-fly zone over Libya in addition to militarily striking and destroying several sites, facilities, or capabilities associated with being able to enforce the no-fly zone. This is a gross violation of national sovereignty and poor application of Constitutional powers by many members of the US Government.
          Libertarian belief holds that the government exists to protect people from the initiation of force from others. To do otherwise is to trample the liberties of some in favor of the comfort of others. On an international scale this principle applies in the form of treating each country as we would a person. They may do with themselves what they prefer, as long as they do not harm another. To use military force against a country with the excuse of protecting its people from their own government is akin to outlawing smoking to protect people from themselves, and is initiation of force at a national level. It is impossible to simultaneously support military intervention in a nation that has not attacked you and profess belief in the principle of non-initiation of force. The ideas are incompatible.
          What makes the situation even more frustrating is that many, from politicians to talking heads, do not truly understand how to undertake such an operation. By this I don’t mean which jets to send or what order in which to attack targets; that is a military decision best left to military commanders. The politicians job is to set policy and objectives, which has been done poorly since WWII.
          In WWII America was obviously attacked by a nation and defended herself by fighting back against that nation and its allies with the only object being unconditional surrender. There was no bullshit talk about an “exit strategy” because there was an engagement strategy from the beginning that included a clearly-defined objective. In Libya, as in Iraq before, the reason for force is not clearly stated and defined. This leaves the potential to change over time, frustrate those fighting and those supporting, and lead to a public who has no idea when we will no longer be at war. This was not due to a lack of “exit strategy,” but rather to a lack of good strategic objectives from the beginning.
          Which brings me to how the situation is being handled today. There is a system in place for a reason, which should be followed in part because it keeps on the right path those who do not understand the bigger picture. The system starts with the American military being needed in some conflict—in a perfect world it would be needed only to defend America. The President then wants to order the military to participate, and so asks Congress to declare war, allowing him to freely order the military within the scope of the war. Congress, as a body, tempers the President’s desire to exercise his VAST powers as Commander-in-Chief by declaring war in which military forces can be used and approving strategic objectives toward which the war will be fought. When the objectives are complete, the war is declared finished, forces are returned home, and life begins a trek toward normalcy.
          By not following this Constitutionally-based division of power our current government has given the executive a carte blanche to initiate force and use the military as his tool of personal enforcement throughout the lands outside of the United States. It is important that this change in order to curb the appetite of US foreign policy that continually sets its hungry eyes on intervention in countries throughout the world that “need” US help. No one seems to remember that the US got started without an outside agency to prop up our system of government.
          The political landscape that creates this constant intervention is disappointing to me, as it should be to all Americans, not the least of whom are those who suffer the loss of family members to the military-policy machine, temporarily or permanently. Much of the onus lies at the feet of those who hold the power: the politicians not properly performing their duties and the voters who wield ultimate power. There are, however, systemic changes that can and should be made in our military as well. I will address some of these specific changes in the next entry.

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