WASHINGTON – After President Barack Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan over the weekend, Libertarian Party Executive Director Wes Benedict issued the following statement today:
President Obama just called the Afghanistan War ‘absolutely essential.’ Nothing could be further from the truth. The U.S. armed forces are being used for nation-building. The president, as commander-in-chief, has the power to end this war, and he should begin doing so immediately.
The cost of this war, in both lives and money, is staggering, and it will become more so if the president maintains his current course. Forcing current and future American taxpayers to turn over hundreds of billions of dollars for this counterproductive effort is deeply unjust.
Even worse, the American effort in Afghanistan is propping up a hopelessly corrupt government, which is alienating the Afghan people and causing them to blame the United States even more for their problems.
There is zero chance that American military power will create a stable and honest government in Afghanistan. But even if that were possible, it would still lie completely outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. government.
The Libertarian Party recognizes that United States faces some threat of terrorism, but we think that fighting foreign wars is one of the worst possible ways to deal with that threat.
Disturbingly, President Obama is demonstrating a complete faith in government power in almost every aspect of American policy. From foreign wars, to the economy, to health care, the president thinks that government power is always the solution. Libertarians disagree: we believe that government power, which is always coercively enforced, is usually the problem.
War supporters often say that if we leave Afghanistan without ‘winning,’ it would be a slap in the face of the soldiers who have fought and died there. But there’s nothing in Afghanistan to win. The only winning move is for our military to come back to America. American soldiers have been brave enough to fight and die in Afghanistan, but cowardly politicians want to send more to their deaths just so they can save face at home. I hope American citizens and politicians have the guts to admit it’s time for a new strategy: bring our soldiers home from Afghanistan without delay.
Sooner or later, politicians will be forced to admit that Afghanistan is a mistake. They’re already admitting that Iraq was a mistake. At a recent event sponsored by the Cato Institute, Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher said, ‘In retrospect, almost all of us think [Iraq] was a horrible mistake…Now that we know that it cost a trillion dollars, and all of these years, and all of these lives, and all of this blood…all I can say is everyone I know thinks it was a mistake to go in now.’ Republican Congressman Tom McClintock agreed, saying, ‘I think everyone [in Congress] would agree that Iraq was a mistake.’
It’s too bad they didn’t listen to the Libertarian Party before they started that disastrous war. Maybe they’ll listen to us now.
In September 2008, the Libertarian National Committee adopted the following resolution opposing the war in Afghanistan:
WHEREAS the government of the United States should return to its historical libertarian tradition of avoiding entangling alliances, foreign quarrels, and military adventures; and
WHEREAS the stability and security of Afghanistan lie outside the jurisdiction of the government of the United States; and
WHEREAS the Libertarian Party recognizes that the only legitimate role of the military is to defend America against direct attack or the imminent threat of attack;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Libertarian National Committee calls on the government of the United States to withdraw the armed forces of the United States from Afghanistan, without undue delay.
For more information, or to arrange an interview, call LP Executive Director Wes Benedict at 202-333-0008 ext. 222.
The LP is America’s third-largest political party, founded in 1971. The Libertarian Party stands for free markets and civil liberties. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party at www.lp.org.