By Philip Giraldi
hat tip: Campaign for Liberty
Why Real Conservatives Oppose the War on Terror
[This speech was part of a panel sponsored by the Future of Freedom Foundation, Campaign for Liberty and the Ladies of Liberty Alliance (LOLA) held on February 20th at the 2010 CPAC. The panel presentation was titled "Why Real Conservatives Are Against the War on Terror."]
Benjamin Franklin once observed that those who would trade their liberties for security will wind up losing both. James Madison stated that no nation can preserve freedom in the midst of perpetual warfare. Few can question that America’s Founding Fathers epitomize true conservatism. There is something seriously wrong in America today precisely because the elites from both political parties have forgotten about Franklin and Madison and ignored their wise counsel.
No one should doubt that ill-conceived security measures and the greatly exaggerated fear of terrorism have driven much of both foreign and domestic policy since 9/11 — it was undeniably a horrific experience for this nation, but it did not threaten the survival of the American Republic. Its perpetrators and their heirs do not do so today. Only we Americans can do that and we are doing so by overreacting to the danger and compromising our own liberties.
Conservatives should be the voice of reason. They should demand commensurate and realistic responses to genuine foreign and domestic threats rather than overkill, more bureaucracy, and lots of unneeded government pork. The government’s creation of a no-fly list with one million names and a terrorist suspects list with nearly half a million entries exemplify that damage that has already been done. If there were even one per cent that many people in the US actually threatening terrorist acts there would be waves of bombings in the streets. That that has not taken place tells you that both the lists and the process used to compile them are essentially bogus.
The expression war on terror is meaningless. Terror is a tactic, it is not a foreign government or political movement. To use the expression a “terrorist group” is equally misleading as the groups which come in all shapes sizes and colors are essentially political and have frequently clearly defined political objectives even if they use terrorism to advance their agenda. In most cases, the groups we call terrorists seek to take over the government of the countries where they operate, replacing groups not dissimilar to themselves who are currently in charge.