In Support of Self-Determination

Libyans let their feelings known

Lately, there has been much talk about a U.S. response to Muammar Gaddafi and his indiscriminate killings of civilians, especially by John McCain and Joe Lieberman. But why? I can say it is most certainly not to help the people, but to promote our dominance overseas. The Libyan people can figure it out themselves; not to mention, if we are to put troops in, they will most certainly be caught in the cross-fire of what appears to be a civil war between the Libyan people who yearn for self-determination and Gaddafi, his few Libyan supporters, and the mercenaries he has hired. In a cross-fire, we would most likely be targeted by both sides.

We have also stationed an aircraft carrier off the coast of Libya and are talking about taking military action. That will be seen as a clear sign to Gaddafi and the world we have some intention to intervene in others’ affairs (and put our men and women at danger). Many other countries and even the U.N. have signaled their desire to intervene in Libya’s affairs.

While some Libyan opposition leaders have suggested they want foreign intervention, they are in the minority. On March 4th, a covert team of British special forces was arrested by the rebels as they are skeptical of Western involvement.

Are there other reasons we should not intervene? Certainly.  Does Gaddafi pose a threat to the United States? No, most definitely not. And as much as I hate to see innocent civilians be killed en masse or rebel armies get defeated, it is not our place to step in. Some, including Bill O’Reilly, Mary Katherine Ham, and other pundits, have suggested it is our duty to give aid to the Libyan people, to set up a No-Fly Zone, to send weapons to the rebels, and to bomb Gaddafi’s facilities. Why do we feel we have to be the one to step in? Any action taken in Libya would just involve us in a third war, most likely without end, and be another huge drain on money we don’t have.

One Libyan freedom fighter put it rather well in an interview I saw: “We die or we win.” His words are reminiscent of the Culpeper Minutemen flag which bears a simple statement: “Liberty or Death.”

I know that the Constitution says nothing about intervening in foreign countries. And if we do, there needs to be a clear declaration of war by congress and a clearly defined enemy and objective.

John Quincy Adams put it very eloquently in this excerpt of one of his addresses:

Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be.

But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.

She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.

She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.

She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.

She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom.

Adams suggests that America pray for those whom are seeking liberty from a cruel dictator, and that the spirit of the Founders is in those people.  America serves the interests of her own people, and will only fight if the sovereignty of the nation is threatened.  The American people will voice their support for liberty through words.

Indeed, Adams goes on to say, any foreign wars fought on behalf of others to help them will surely get us stuck in a quagmire, as well as provide a springboard for the evils of human nature that will “usurp the standard of freedom.” He foresaw wars like Iraq and Afghanistan, which have proved to be wars that we cannot bring to an end, as well as wars that have encouraged sweetheart deals for the military industrial complex. The usurpation of freedom could be seen as a foreshadowing of the PATRIOT Act.

As I end this piece, I have some questions to those of you reading this who may disagree with what I have written here: Do we need another war? Do we need another drain on lives and money which we either do not have, or have to devalue in order to fight the war? Do we need to violate our Constitution, once again? Do we need to ignore the warnings of John Quincy Adams again? Do we need to be the world policeman? Do we need to insert ourselves into another war which we do not belong? Do we need to step on the pride of those rebels who seem to be doing fine on their own, no matter how outgunned they are? In general, why do we feel we need to interfere in other countries who pose no threat to our sovereignty?

I certainly hope leaders here and around the world see the light of self-determination.

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