IRAQ AND THE ROOTS OF WAR
by L.K. Samuels, guest contributor.
[April 2, 2007]
[HollywoodInvestigator.com] March 19 marked the fourth anniversary of the invasion
of Iraq by U.S. forces. Across California and the United States,
thousands of demonstrators mourned this event with peace rallies, funeral
marches, and speeches.
Like many concerned citizens, I organized
and participated in several peace rallies in the Monterey area. These
rallies represented a wide coalition of groups and ideas, ranging from
labor activists, Democrats, Quakers, and United Nations associations to
libertarians. But when I delved deeper into why my fellow peace activists
were protesting, I discovered that they know little about the causes of
war in Iraq is no different from most wars, except that it has striking
similarities to the Napoleonic
wars. Fought across continental Europe in the early 1800s, these
series of wars were allegedly fought to liberate the people from their
oppressors. Napoleon repeatedly cited his intentions to replace kings
and the nobility with liberty, equality, and fraternity.
only one problem. The people in adjacent foreign lands did not want
to be liberated and referred to the invading Napoleon as the bogeyman. The only revolutionary idea that Napoleon gave to Europe was adding propaganda
to the arsenal of war.
Bush administration is chanting the same mantra in Iraq, arguing that American
troops are there to secure a stable democracy. Like Napoleon's forces,
American troops are involved in nation-building to "liberate" the Iraqis
and provide them with the tools of democracy, even though Iraq has never
had a democratic government in its 7,000-year history, or possessed any
grassroot movements advancing the concept of liberty.
what is the root cause of war?
Some sociologists point to the authoritarian
attitudes of those who believe they are right, everyone else is wrong,
and everyone must do as they command. This rigid mindset of one's
own moral superiority permits ruling systems to engage in armed conflicts
around the world and to commit all sorts of atrocities. Of course,
any resulting collateral damage is considered acceptable because the war
is being waged for a good cause.
wars are an affront to individual rights. When the few can command
the many to do their murderous bidding, small conflicts tend to magnify
into large ones. The concentration of power provides authorities
with the collective means to execute their do-good pet policies. That is because most world leaders have succumbed to the Machiavellian
notion that "the ends justify the means," contending that any violent act
-- murder, robbery, and so forth -- is permissible providing that the end
goal is a "greater good."
And under this greater-good nostrum, the
public often accepts the government's argument that war
is peace, that freedom
is slavery, and that invading a foreign nation with a preemptive strike
is a defense maneuver.
Randolph Bourne wrote in 1918, "War
is the health of the state." Government thrives off war and the
hysteria it spawns. Without such conflicts, the authorities could
not justify increased spying on citizens and suspension of citizens' rights.
Government needs war the way a heroin addict needs drugs. They need
it to justify increasing taxes and expanding debt and to inflame nationalistic
fervor. Governments need foreign devils and unstable conditions to
prop up sagging popularity and economic policies. Even Thomas Paine
recognized this truism in The
Rights of Man, writing that "taxes were not raised to carry on wars,
but that wars were raised to carry on taxes."
the true culprit for war is a staunch belief in the infallibility of governmental
power. To accept the legitimacy of the state is to embrace the necessity
for war. For thousands of years, governments have been the quintessential
war machine. If given the means, they tirelessly prepare for armed
conflict with foreign and domestic opponents. They seek to protect
their status, their authority, and their right to rule over others, creating
an US versus THEM environment.
and war are the greatest threat to human liberty, life, and property. And a policy of perpetual war and nation-building eventually turns peaceful
republics into violent empires.
best road to peace is to allow citizens to structure their own lives as
they see fit. When citizens are denied freedom, conflict flares and
war is not far behind. Only a small, unobtrusive government can reduce
intrasocietal and foreign conflict. Only an open society, in which
citizens freely choose their own personal and economic lifestyles, can
ensure a peaceful way of life.
Copyright © 2007 by L.K. Samuels.
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