This presidential election is the most disturbing of the post World War II era. The two candidates are vying on the basis of who best can capture Osama bin Laden and kill the most terrorists.
Unless they resort to nuclear genocide against the Muslim world, neither candidate has any hope of killing as many terrorists as their policy would create.
On Tuesday November 2 the US electorate will decide whether the US policy of breeding terrorists and isolating the US from the rest of the world will continue or, possibly, end.
If Bush is reelected, the small handful of neoconservatives, firmly allied with Israel’s right-wing Likud Party, would not be held accountable for their extraordinary incompetence or deception, which has placed the US in a gratuitous war that cannot be won.
Bush would see vindication and would follow the neoconservative impulse to escalate what neoconservatives regard as World War IV.
Escalation means the return of the draft and the internal turmoil and divisiveness that the draft would bring.
For the Iraqi Shi’ites and for Muslims worldwide, escalation would indicate that the US has no intention of turning Iraq over to the majority Shi’ites in democratic elections. The 15 million Iraqi Shi’ites would be likely to join the insurgency and destroy our forces in Iraq before the US can draft, train and equip the huge US force necessary to successfully occupy the country.
Muslim rage can easily outpace US war preparations. Middle Eastern experts, as opposed to Fox "news" war propagandists, understand that US puppet regimes in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan could easily topple and that their replacement governments would not be democracies allied with the US.
These countries, together with Iran, would represent a large area and several hundred millions of hostiles. The US would be in the difficult position of trying to hold on in Iraq and to preserve Israel against a Middle East insurgency that would not confront the US in World War II style battle formations.
The neoconservatives and their puppet in the Oval Office believe that Muslims can be beaten into submission by the exercise of US confidence, will, and military force.
This has not proved to be the case in Iraq. Instead of learning the lesson, the US is repeating its mistakes with a second full scale assault on Fallujah. Most of the insurgents will have left and be actively killing US troops in other locations, while US troops destroy a city and what remains of its civilian population.
Hatred of, and disdain for, the US will grow exponentially.
War escalation on top of the current annual trillion dollar twin deficits could be the straw that breaks the back of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Flight from a vastly overextended dollar would result in sharply rising US interest rates and the most serious economic turmoil since the Great Depression. Oil flows could cease.
The Great Delusion that is the Bush administration would resort to imprisoning "enemies," which would include all critics. The US would be locked into a Hitlerian fight to the end regardless of the costs.
Deluded patriots demanding blood can destroy any country. If Kerry is elected, the chances of escalation are lower. Kerry’s supporters do not believe that the US can overthrow Islam. Kerry’s supporters are not allied with Christian fundamentalists, who look forward to war in the Middle East as the "end times" when they will be wafted up to heaven. Kerry’s supporters want an end to the war, not its expansion. For Kerry to restore the draft and expand the war, he would have to desert his party and become Republican.
The dynamics propelling Kerry to continue the war are far less certain than those propelling Bush.
Considering the extraordinary ignorance and blind emotion at large in the US electorate, the election could easily turn on the libertarian vote. Principled men and women who are too pure to vote for either unworthy candidate can, by failing to hold Bush accountable, bring the experiment with liberty to an end.
Dr. Roberts [send him mail] is John M. Olin Fellow at the Institute for Political Economy and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. He is a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal and a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury. He is the co-author of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.