ON THE HOME FRONT
Parties weigh in on Iraq war
Libertarians, Greens, others take dim view of U.S. action
Posted: April 9, 2003
1:00 a.m. Eastern
Most Americans know where Republicans and Democrats stand on the war in Iraq, but few have heard views on the war expressed by the plethora of other, smaller political parties.
Accepted as the nation's third-largest organized political party, the Libertarian Party generally advocates a military policy of non-interventionism unless such intervention is directly tied to American security.
"Any U.S. military policy should have the objective of providing security for the lives, liberty and property of the American people in the U.S. against the risk of attack by a foreign power. This objective should be achieved as inexpensively as possible and without undermining the liberties it is designed to protect," says the party's platform on "Military Policy."
Ted Galen Carpenter, vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the libertarian CATO Institute in Washington, D.C., says of the Iraq war, "The only pertinent issue is whether Iraq poses a serious, imminent threat to the United States, thereby justifying pre-emptive war. The pro-war camp has utterly failed to make the case that Iraq poses such a threat."
"There is no doubt that Saddam is a murderous tyrant. But that characteristic does not distinguish him from several dozen other rulers around the world," Carpenter said. "If overthrowing a dictator is sufficient reason for the United States to go to war, one must ask how many other holy crusades are in our future?"
Harry Browne, the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee in 1996 and 2000, writes, "Our government's attempts to fight communism or spread democracy around the world have caused millions of innocent people to die in Iran, Indonesia, Iraq, Panama, Guatemala, Zimbabwe, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Grenada, Cambodia and many other countries. All the good intentions in the world are little comfort to the people buried prematurely all over the globe.
"What I want is for our government … to quit pretending it knows what's best for other countries; to quit inciting terrorists by backing coups and dictatorial regimes; to quit generating hostility by bribing foreign governments to allow American troops to be stationed in a hundred countries; to quit giving our money to foreign countries – no matter whose side they're on," Browne says.
Some libertarian-minded pundits wholeheartedly support the war against Iraq. Author and syndicated radio host Neal Bootz says, "The real pity is that the United States and Great Britain, with some help from a group of willing allies, have to go this alone against Saddam Hussein. … Here is a man who idolizes Stalin. He murders tens of thousands with poison gas. He gouges the eyes out of children to teach lessons to their parents. He builds weapons of mass destruction and secrets them for some future purpose. He defies demands from the international community to disarm and behave. Then, when push finally comes to shove, much of the world takes a powder. Pathetic."
The America First Party, meanwhile, is supportive of U.S. troops but last week adopted a policy condemning the war.
"Since its founding nearly one year ago, the America First Party has been the leading voice against this war, on the right," said national Chairman Dan Charles. "We have held to a consistent and principled position. By passing this resolution, the national committee has reaffirmed the party's strong stand that this war against Iraq is not in the best interests of the United States.
"We have reaffirmed our commitment to ensure that the Constitution is followed. We have reaffirmed our commitment to the sovereignty and security of our beloved nation," Charles continued. "We have reaffirmed our love, support and respect for our brave sons and daughters who are being misused by President Bush to fight a war that violates our Constitution and the principles so many have fought and died to protect."
Jerry Baxley, chairman of the Southern Party National Committee, told WorldNetDaily he wonders what happened to the war on terror.
"It is the position of the Southern Party to ask why would the president of the United States not go after the people who masterminded the attacks on Virginia and New York as he had stated in the beginning," he said. "We also ask why the president would, with the support of both the Republicans and the Democrats, stage a war with a sovereign nation without proof that the nation had the weapons of mass destruction or that it was involved in the attacks of Virginia or New York.
"The actions of President Bush are the same actions of President Lincoln 140 years ago, and that is to invade a sovereign nation without legal reason," Baxley added. "Yes, the Republican Party is still the party of Lincoln and the Democrats no better."
James Clymer, chairman of the Constitution Party National Committee, said there was "not unanimity among our members" regarding the war in Iraq. But generally, he told WND, "the war is undertaken in an unconstitutional manner, i.e., there has been no declaration of war and Congress has abdicated its responsibility by granting general powers of aggression to the president."
"If the cause be just, let Congress debate the issues and make a declaration of war and engage the enemy with a firm resolve to win, regardless of what the U.N. or any other international body may say," Clymer said.
"There are serious concerns that this war may be the indication of a new imperialism on which the U.S. is embarking, flexing our muscles and asserting our authority as the world's only superpower, in areas of the world where we as a nation do not have a direct vital interest," said Clymer. "This is contrary to our heritage and our constitutional form of government."
The Radical Women Freedom Socialist Party advocates outright defeat of the U.S. by Baghdad.
"The hope that a U.S.-led war of mass destruction against Iraq could be averted has evaporated like a water droplet in the Saudi desert," says a statement released by the party entitled, "Victory to the Iraqis over U.S. imperialism!"
The Green Party wants the United Nations to act to stop U.S. "aggression." According to the party's statement, "U.S. Greens have adopted a proposal to urge the United Nations to invoke Resolution 377 ('Uniting for Peace') in response to the invasion of Iraq by the United States. … 'Uniting for Peace' allows the U.N. General Assembly to circumvent the veto of the Security Council and take action when a permanent member of the Security Council, in this case the U.S., commits an unprovoked act of military aggression."
"Under international law, it is a war crime to attack, or threaten to attack, another country that has not first attacked us. Iraq has not attacked us," says a statement released by the Socialist Party U.S.A. "The men who gave the orders to attack Iraq are war criminals, as surely as the war criminals who have stood trial in The Hague for genocide."
The Communist Party U.S.A. also believes the war against Iraq is illegal.
"With layer upon layer of misrepresentation, exaggeration, and outright lies, George W. Bush and his war cabinet have recklessly flung our nation into an illegitimate, illegal and unnecessary war," says a statement issued by CPUSA.
"The costs and consequences of this will be enormous, for our country and the world. Many lives will be lost. Political instability and right-wing religious fundamentalism will grow," the CPUSA statement continued. "The Korean Peninsula will become more inflamed. The spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons will gain momentum. The chances of terrorist 'blowback' will increase."
The Reform Party, founded by billionaire Ross Perot in 1992, does not have an Iraq war position published on its website and did not respond to a request for comment. In terms of foreign policy, the party's platform – adopted in 1999 – says members are "committed to a foreign policy based on the principles of consistency, decisiveness and accountability."
"We insist on a foreign policy that is proactive rather than reactive,
and whose primary purpose is to enhance our country's national security,"
the platform said.
Jon E. Dougherty is a staff reporter and columnist for WorldNetDaily.
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