8.10.05

EEUU en Irak

Muchas veces estuve tentado de escribir algo sobre la guerra de Irak y como la
politica exterior de EEUU en este caso se contradice con una fuerte tradicion no
intervencionista inspirada en el liberalismo clasico. Ayer lei una carta abierta
de Don Boudreaux, profesor de George Mason University, que resume en forma
muy clara lo que pienso. Por eso la copia aqui:

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An Open Letter to My Libertarian Friends Who Don't Understand My
Opposition to the War in Iraq
Don Boudreaux

Dear Friends:

The issue today on which libertarians are most divided is the war in
Iraq. I am decidedly in the anti-Iraq-war camp; others - many of whom
are people whose opinions and judgment I respect enormously - are in the
pro-Iraq-war camp. Quite a few of these friends take issue with me for
opposing the war. "Don't you understand," they ask, "the unseen costs of
not going to war? Didn't Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler teach you
anything?"

I'm well aware that failure to take action when it should be taken can
cause ill consequences just as much as can taking action when action
should not be taken. I am also aware that being weak and irresolute
invites bullying. Nevertheless, the truth of these general principles is
insufficient to justify this war.

Before I spell out my reasons for believing the war in Iraq to be
unjustified, I emphasize that I am no pacifist. That is, I don't believe
that love (or negotiation) can conquer all; I don't believe that
violence used in self-defense is inappropriate; I don't believe that
proclaiming a commitment to peace is sufficient to prevent others from
aggressing against you; and I do not believe that the fist used by
Saddam Hussein to crush the Iraqi people was anything other than iron.
Hussein is a beast who deserves no mercy.

Still, the war in Iraq is unjustified. By this I mean that the
justifications offered for the war by the Bush administration have
proven to be mistaken or empty. Most obviously, Hussein had no weapons
of mass destruction. Nor is there any credible evidence that the 9/11
attackers were in any material way aided by Saddam Hussein. And while
it's true that Hussein was an evil tyrant, this fact is neither among
the chief reasons first offered by the administration for going to war
in Iraq, nor is it a sufficient reason for going to war.

The world is full of evil tyrants. But given the nature of government,
it's not the role of government A to sit in judgment of government B.
The most legitimate role for any government is to protect its own people
from violence. Whenever Uncle Sam unleashes his mighty military in
foreign countries for the purpose of protecting foreign citizens from
their own governments, he weakens his ability to protect Americans.

This weakening takes place on three fronts. One is that troops,
munitions, and other resources are diverted away from the task of
protecting Americans. Even a country as wealthy as the United States
does not have unlimited resources to devote to military excursions.

The second (and I think more serious) reason that such interventions
imperil Americans is that no one - often including the intended
beneficiaries of our intervention - likes a powerful entity unilaterally
throwing its weight around. The reasons for resenting even
well-intentioned foreign interventions by powerful militaries are
complex, likely involving a suspicion that the intervening military
really has a hidden motive, or that despite its good intentions, a
foreign power has too little understanding of the nuances of the
situation to do anything beyond kill today's bad guys.

Who among us trusts a powerful and heavily armed foreign behemoth - an
alien giant capable of killing millions in short order - merely because
the behemoth assures us that it means well? Who among us would not be
inspired to do all that we can to terrorize that behemoth if we feared
(accurately or not) that it really intends to harm our homeland and
loved ones?

The third and related way in which even 'benevolent' foreign
interventions put Americans in deeper peril is that our interventions
are too likely to backfire. Even if everyone from the President down to
the junior janitor at Lockheed Martin intends only to help foreigners
escape the grips of their home-grown tyrants, political and cultural
situations are always more complex than politicians imagine them to be.
Why was Saddam Hussein ruling Iraq? Were Iraqis just incredibly unlucky
that such a vile dictator somehow grabbed power and ruled ruthlessly for
so long? Or was Hussein's tyranny at least as much a consequence as a
cause of a dysfunctional cultural, political, and economic situation? If
so, then removing the dictator does not remove the complex underlying
causes that fueled his tyranny.

Removing a dictator is child's play for a military as awesome as that of
the United States. So Hussein is now history. But because the underlying
causes that put him in power to begin with are still in place in Iraq,
that country likely will soon revert to another dictator - one different
in name and different in style, but a brute nevertheless. He will
oppress, kill, and impoverish. (The notion that a poweful military can
uproot dysfunctional cultural, political, and economic root causes of
tyranny strikes me as naive in the extreme. Just as your local
policeman can protect Ms. Jones from her husband's physical abuse but
can't hope to counsel their marriage into a happy one, so, too can a
military remove a tyrannt like Hussein but can't hope to cure that
society of what really ails it.)


And Americans will be blamed for this tragedy. The fact that our
President meant well will matter little to people tyrannized by the
government that replaced the one we abolished. Americans will be hated
more intensely, and suffer greater danger of terrorist attacks.

Of course, the Bush administration insists that removing Hussein from
power was done not just to help ordinary Iraqis but also to help protect
Americans - that this war is in America's self-interest.

Perhaps. Those of us not privy to the intelligence that the President
receives cannot say for certain that, in early 2003, it was unreasonable
to suppose that Hussein posed a serious-enough threat to Americans to
justify a military invasion. The fact that weapons of mass destruction
were not found in Iraq doesn't prove that the risk that was then
perceived wasn't high enough to justify the invasion.

But surely in matters of war we must hold leaders to a super-high
standard of accuracy. Because military intelligence is secret (meaning
that ordinary people have no knowledge of its details), it's simply too
easy for politicians to lie about it or to misrepresent it -- to use it
for political purposes. This reason alone counsels that we insist that
those who exercise power in a free society be especially cautious before
launching military invasions.


But when combined with the fact that even many people who distrust the
government to deliver mail and regulate factory safety lose their
reservations of that same government when it is off on military
adventures, the case for heightened skepticism of military adventures
grows even stronger.

Why should we believe George Bush that Saddam Hussein's regime posed a
significant threat to Americans? Because he says so? He also says that
'price-gougers' are a real villains who should be punished. Why should
we believe him when he assures us that U.S. troops and guns will
eventually bring freedom and prosperity to Iraq? Because he says so? He
also said that steel tariffs will help the American economy.

What reason is there - beyond the mere will to trust leaders who send
troops into harm's way in foreign lands - to believe that these
politicians are acting wisely and non-politically?

Without very hard evidence that American lives were at real risk of
violent attack by Saddam Hussein, I cannot help but suspect that those
in power in the U.S. have abused the vast trust that Americans give them
in military matters. Libertarians properly don't trust government to run
our pension plans, to deliver health care, to educate our children, or
to provide disaster relief. Why be so trusting of government to wage
war?

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Bartolome Alberdi

3 Comentarios:

A las 7:41 a. m., Anonymous Anónimo dijo...

Really interesting Blog. Will certainly come back.

Adam H.

 
A las 11:20 p. m., Blogger Cogito Argentum dijo...

mis 2 centavos

 
A las 1:49 p. m., Blogger Louis Cyphre dijo...

Perdón, debe ser la edad, pero este comentario era para este post:

Muy buen comentario, comparto mucho de lo que dice esta persona. Creo que hace falta que existan estos puntos de vista, en defensa de los principios libertarios (o no).

De todos modos, en lo personal detesto la guerra, me parece de lo peor que generó la humanidad. Pero estoy convencido que muchas veces no queda otra alternativa. O las que quedan son todas peores que el costo de ir a la guerra.

 

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