U.S. War on Iraq is Morally Legitimate

by | Mar 20, 2003

CAP MAG EXCLUSIVE: As the U.S. military stands poised (finally) to wage war against the Iraqi regime — merely one spoke in the “Axis of Evil” — critics of the Bush Administration and apologists for terror regimes claim that there’s been a “failure of diplomacy.” The U.S., they assert, should have persisted in seeking yet […]

CAP MAG EXCLUSIVE: As the U.S. military stands poised (finally) to wage war against the Iraqi regime — merely one spoke in the “Axis of Evil” — critics of the Bush Administration and apologists for terror regimes claim that there’s been a “failure of diplomacy.” The U.S., they assert, should have persisted in seeking yet another (18th) U.N. resolution on Iraq, to gain the approval of “world opinion.” Without doing so, the critics charge, the U.S. war effort lacks moral legitimacy. The view has been expressed not only by the U.N.’s Cofi Annan but also by U.S. Senate minority leader Tom Daschle and, of course, by those who march in the streets against war.

It should be clear that these are not, in fact, “anti-war” protestors — despite the misinformation spread by the media sheep. For these protesters have never taken to the streets in opposition to the hundreds of nonU.S. wars that have taken place in the world over the past decades. Certainly none of them protested when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990 — and none ever protests the perpetual war being imposed on Israel by the PLO savages. They only oppose war when the U.S. fights it.

Since history shows that the U.S. always fights in self-defense — or in defense of its allies — since the U.S. does not initiate wars — a “war protester” today is, in fact, an anti-America protestor. Why do they hate America? For the same reasons Arab terrorists (and their sympathizers) hate America: they despise its freedom, individualism, materialism and modern way of life.

A failure of “diplomacy?” Hardly. The spectacle we’ve seen in the eighteen months since September 11th is that of the U.S. government begging the rest of the world to defend itself.

In the process of doing this, the U.S. government not only has chosen to ally with dictatorships — like the ones in China and Pakistan — but also has harangued the one country in the world that has been trying to defend itself: Israel.

At the same time, while pledging to fight states that sponsor terrorism, Washington has pushed for yet another one: a Palestinian state. U.S. officials have, so far, failed utterly in their Constitutional duty to provide for America’s national defense.

Worst of all has been Washington’s insistence — until recently, thankfully — on conducting its foreign policy through the U.N. The U.N. is a moral abomination. We all know of individual terrorists — like bin Laden. We also know of terrorist gangs — like Al Qaeda — which harbor terrorists like bin Laden. We know, further, that there are national regimes — like those in Iran, Iraq and Syria — which harbor terrorist gangs. But what also is true — and completely ignored by nearly every commentator — is that the U.N. is an international agency that harbors terrorist nations. Every single one of the seven nations that have been identified by the U.S. State Department as a sponsor of terrorism still exists today — and exists, as well, as a member of the U.N.

The only criterion for membership in the U.N. is that a member be a nation.

Not a free nation.

Not a nation that respects individual rights.

Not a nation that holds free elections and protects free speech.

Not a nation with open borders that allows emigration.

Not a nation that refuses to terrorize its own people or its neighbors.

The only “criterion” is nationhood — and you’re in. All are welcomed at the U.N., regardless of standards or morality. A regime can be a dictatorship, a fascist empire, a theocratic dungeon, or a plot where savages rape, rob and mutilate and can obstruct free ones. Immoral regimes can debate, decide, vote — and subjugate moral ones. For this reason alone the U.N. — especially because it allows evil regimes to hold sway over good ones — is a despicable institution. But even more despicable are U.S. officials who insist on “working” with the U.N.

“Diplomacy” is defined in my dictionary as “the art or practice of conducting international relations, as in negotiating alliances, treaties, and agreements.” A secondary meaning also is provided: “Tact and skill in dealing with people.” It should be obvious that one negotiates or comes to agreements with people by means of reason and persuasion. Thus there can only be diplomacy among people (or regimes) that share basic, civilized virtues. There can be no “diplomacy” between a man (or a nation) using reason and a man (or a nation) threatening force.

The U.N. provides the appearance of reason, persuasion and discussion; but that certainly is not its essence, since it includes — as legitimate members — irrational and brutal regimes. When the U.S. “negotiates” at the U.N. with the rulers of China, North Korea, Libya, or Iraq, it is “dealing with” savages — with animals, not people. It is no different, in principle, from a U.S. “negotiation” with bin Laden or Al Qaeda.

When a moral regime “deals with,” “talks to,” “negotiates with — or does anything other than vanquish — an evil regime, the moral regime necessarily provides a moral sanction (support) to the evil one. The mere suggestion that an evil regime is morally equivalent to a good regime is, in itself, the depth of immorality.

My dictionary defines appeasement as “The policy of granting concessions to potential enemies to maintain peace.” That is what the U.S. has been doing for the past eighteen months. It has not been diplomatic — but appeasing. And for what end? To maintain the “peace?” What “peace?” The “peace,” perhaps, of September 11th? The “peace” that’s allegedly enjoyed by the millions of victims of dictatorship and religious barbarism?

It’s not diplomacy, but appeasement that has failed. And appeasement has failed because the civilized can never gain anything by dealing with savages — just as a businessman can never gain by “dealing with” a burglar. Diplomacy is not a term that can ever apply to “negotiations” between the civilized and the savage. The only accurate, objective description of such “negotiation” is appeasement — or suicide (for the civilized). Of course, from one perspective, appeasement certainly does “work” — to the harm of good people and good nations.

Regarding the U.N., it is not the case, despite the superficial complaints voiced by conservatives, that it is “irrelevant” — or a mere “debating society.” The U.N. is much more powerful than that. The United Nations is an evil agency which harbors terrorist nations and prevents good regimes from vanquishing evil ones. The U.N. does have an effect on world peace — an extraordinarily destructive effect. It is no coincidence that every world conflict that has ever involved the U.N. — whether the Korean War, the Gulf War or the PLO-Israeli war — has left the perpetrators in place. The initiators of war may have been pushed back into their original spaces, but they were left to exist, left to inflict still more harm and launch still more threats in the future. This is the so-called “peace” — really, the perpetual state of war — that the U.N. (and U.S. involvement in the U.N.) — always engenders.

While the U.S. military is in the process of eradicating the Iraqi regime — and then, at the least, the evil regimes in North Korea and Iran — the U.S. government should be preparing to leave the U.N. The reason for doing so should be named and explained explicitly: just as the U.S. will not sanction terrorists — or the gangs that harbor terrorists — or the regimes that harbor the gangs — it also will not sanction international agencies that harbor terrorist regimes. It is not the U.S. war effort but its irrational appeasement effort that lacks moral legitimacy. The U.N. building should be emptied at once and filled with office space for rational business activity. For once, in its entire history, let that building be filled with productive — not destructive — activity.

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Dr. Salsman is president of InterMarket Forecasting, Inc., an assistant professor of political economy at Duke University and a senior fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research. Previously he was an economist at Wainwright Economics, Inc. and a banker at the Bank of New York and Citibank. Dr. Salsman has authored three books: Breaking the Banks: Central Banking Problems and Free Banking Solutions (AIER, 1990), Gold and Liberty (AIER, 1995), and The Political Economy of Public Debt: Three Centuries of Theory and Evidence (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2017). In 2021 his fourth book – Where Have all the Capitalist Gone? – will be published by the American Institute for Economic Research. He is also author of a dozen chapters and scores of articles. His work has appeared in the Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy, Reason Papers, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Forbes, the Economist, the Financial Post, the Intellectual Activist, and The Objective Standard. Dr. Salsman earned his B.A. in economics from Bowdoin College (1981), his M.A. in economics from New York University (1988), and his Ph.D. in political economy from Duke University (2012). His personal website is richardsalsman.com.

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