Voting for Brutality

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More
and more news is surfacing of prisoners being tortured by U.S. interrogators
– in
Afghanistan
, throughout Iraq,
at Guantanamo,
of "renditions"
wherein the U.S. military or the CIA flies prisoners to countries
like Syria or Egypt (countries with less democracy than Iraq had
under Hussein) to be tortured without Americans getting their hands
dirty.

Of
course, each such revelation is countered by the claim that such
abuse is an aberration – a great exception to the general rule,
which presumably is that prisoners are treated humanely.

But
two points must be noticed. First, what we've heard so far is only
what we've heard so far. We should never assume that today is the
end of history. The revelations most likely are just the beginning
of the scandals.

Second,
those who supported going to war – against Afghanistan, against
Iraq, against "terrorism" – should understand that they
asked for the torturing, the renditions, the shocking brutality.
He who calls for war calls for the torture of prisoners, for the
killing of civilians, for the destruction of the Bill of Rights,
for much bigger government, and for other atrocities. Once war begins,
all these things are unavoidable. That’s why war should be considered
as an option only when America is actually attacked – not when a
President thinks it would be a keen idea to rearrange some other
country.

Apparently,

at least 100,000 Iraqis have died in this war
. And at a minimum,
half those who died must be civilians – men, women, and children
killed by cluster
bombs
, missile
attacks
, the
flattening of Fallujah
, misguided
attacks
, misunderstandings
at check points
, and all the other ways that civilians inevitably
die for no reason other than that they were in the wrong place at
the wrong time.

To
bring "democracy" to Iraq, how many people must die, how
many prisoners must be tortured, how many freedoms must Americans
give up, how much bigger must government be?

February
24, 2005

Harry Browne [send
him mail
], the author of Why
Government Doesn’t Work

and many other books, was the Libertarian presidential candidate
in 1996 and 2000. See his website.

Harry
Browne Archives

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