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Friday, June 07, 2013

Griper Blade: Terrorism is Not the Greatest Threat to Liberty

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Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. -James Madison, fourth US president, known as "Father of the Constitution" for drafting the that document and authoring the Bill of Rights.
When the Bush administration declared a "Global War on Terror," Madison's words should've echoed from every corner of Washington and from every voice in the media. If there was ever a case of Madison's "continual warfare," the GWoT was it. Other Presidents had declared wars on concepts -- a war on crime, war on poverty, war on drugs, etc. -- and those wars did not go (or have not gone) well. When the goal is the complete eradication of a problem, failure becomes extremely easy. The goal should always be to mitigate the problem to as close to nonexistence as reality will allow. This is not the definition of war.

Of course, these other "wars" launched by other presidents were mostly metaphorical. They weren't actually launching a war, but announcing an increased focus on a problem and an increased effort to eliminate it. Bush's War on Terror was quite different. He meant it as a literal war. "Americans are asking, how will we fight and win this war?" Bush explained to a joint session of congress. "We will direct every resource at our command, every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war, to the disruption and to the defeat of the global terror network."

This wasn't "war" as a rhetorical device, this was actual, people-are-going-to-die war.

And Madison's warning has proven true through every stage of this thing. The forces of liberty don't torture, they don't build concentration camps. The debt and deficits created by this War on Terror have been tremendous and bog us down to this day. To make things worse, Bush decided to cut taxes during a time of increased wartime spending -- an unprecedented and tremendously irresponsible act of fiscal malpractice...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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