War Party Myths About Lincoln, Terrorism, and Saddam

In this month's Esquire, Tom Junod argues "The Case for George W. Bush." Junod bases part of his argument on the question "What if he's right?" He should not be losing sleep over that question. Junod's article gives several arguments that, unfortunately, many Americans accept as truth. In reality, they serve as mere War Party propaganda.

Junod's article glorifies Abraham Lincoln, defending his tyrannical, unconstitutional actions because they saved the Union. He even reprints one of Lincoln's incredibly stupid bits of constitutional interpretation. When the Supreme Court challenged one of his thousands of unconstitutional arrests, Lincoln admitted the illegality of his action but defended it, saying that, since the South had violated the entire Constitution by seceding, he could violate one clause. This reasoning, accepted by most Americans, is patently false. Lincoln lied when he said the South had violated the Constitution by seceding; no part of it forbids secession. Moreover, since the Southern states entered the Union freely and independently, they had every right to leave it as well. These Lincolnian myths allow statists to justify our oversized, unconstitutional federal government. If the majority of Americans knew that our current warfare-welfare state, which originated with Lincoln, is unconstitutional, they might call for a rollback: an absolute no-no.

The article argues that there must be a war on terrorism. "The issue is not whether the United States should be involved in a war on terrorism but rather whether the war on terrorism is best served by war in Iraq," Junod writes. However, a war on terrorism accomplishes nothing, aside from guaranteeing more terrorism. Arabs join terrorist organizations because of America's Middle Eastern policies, such as support for brutal dictatorships and imperialist military actions. If terrorists hate us because of our constant meddling in the Middle East, how can invading and occupying Middle Eastern countries stop terrorism? Following a more extreme version of policies that caused hatred in the first place will never stop terrorism.

Junod repeats another War Party myth when he writes "The world is a better place without Saddam Hussein, and we got rid of him." But the world is not a safer place. The war has increased the threat of terrorism. If the world is not safer, how can it be better?

These three myths, prevalent in the media, serve the War Party agenda. The deification of Lincoln prevents Americans from looking favorably upon the days of state's rights and constitutional government. The myth that we have no choice but to fight a war on terrorism helps keep us from wondering if we really need to send our young people off to fight and die, and the belief that the world is a better place without Saddam gives desperate warmongers, now lacking any other rationales, one last defense for their useless war. The warfare-welfare state thrives on these myths and others like it; only with truth will we ever achieve peace and liberty.

August 16, 2004