By Daryl Luna, Editor at:
*In Defense of the Constitution*
Can you be opposed to our current wars as well as the influence of the military-industrial complex and still be pro-troops and strong on national defense? Of course, you can! But you wouldn't know it, listening to many of the talking heads who claim to carry the mantel of conservatism but are really just neocons or neocon-influenced.
Opposition to preventable, unconstitutional war is nothing new to libertarians and conservatives who made up the Old Right. In the past, adherence to a strict non-interventionist foreign policy was a distinguishing mark of the Old Right, and any self-respecting libertarian/conservative was quick to be weary of war and what Murray Rothbard labeled "the warfare state."
Moreover, war was only to be fought according to a strict set of principles. Just War Theory conditions, constitutional parameters, and true defensive needs had to be met in order for those past champions of human freedom to endorse the United States taking military action.
Needless to say, much has changed in recent decades. Neoconservative influence and a general lack of consistently applied principles have led so-called libertarians and conservatives to abandon their non-interventionist heritage and endorse unconstitutional and unnecessary wars.
To make things worse, those who hold to traditional principles as small government advocates are called unpatriotic, anti-military, and anti-strong national defense by many who claim to be on the side of liberty. This deception has gone on for far too long, and it is time to set the record straight.
In no way is it unpatriotic to believe that your country is great. In fact, it is so great that it should not lower itself to a level that neglects the seriousness of war, the preciousness of human life, and the morality and justice of its actions. My opposition to hawkish behavior and unconstitutional warfare stems not from a lack of patriotism, but rather, from an abundance of it.
Likewise, a belief in non-interventionist foreign policy in no way makes one anti-military. I have friends and family currently serving in the military. In fact, my uncle is serving in Iraq as we speak. I support them wholeheartedly and pray for their safety.
In no way am I anti-military. I respect our men and women in uniform, and I believe their service is both vital and honorable. Because of this care and respect I have for our military, I believe that we should never be hasty to send our troops into harm's way.
How does wanting to keep the military men and women from sacrificing their lives unnecessarily make one anti-military? Only a neoconservative would say something so illogical! Moreover, in no way does non-interventionism run counter to a strong national defense. In fact, it is the only foreign policy position that can achieve this goal.
By refusing to engage in war for the sake of war, a non-interventionist foreign policy provides for better troop morale, responsible defense spending, and a safeguard against overextending our military might. Rather than weakening our military by forcing it to become policemen of the world, non-interventionism seeks to keep the focus solely on national defense and our own interests. Moreover, in not creating enemies around the world by picking sides in international disputes, non-interventionism adds to our security and removes us from a host of enemy lists.
Lastly, we should note that opposition to the military-industrial complex's unchecked influence and the call for responsible defense spending does not run counter to a strong national defense. General Dwight D. Eisenhower first sounded the alarm against unwarranted influence by the military-industrial complex, and the great hero of WWII can hardly be called anti-military or anti-national defense.
Conservative organizations like The Heritage Foundation often equate a desire for a more responsible level of defense spending with a desire to strip America of its strength and safety. Nothing could be farther from the truth. At least for those constitutionalists who cry out against bloated defense budgets, the desire is to balance security with fiscal responsibility--something that can and must be done if we are to remain safe and free.
There are those out there who refuse war at all cost and in all cases; I am not one of them. I believe that a just war can exist and a constitutional war is permissible. There are also those against war who are also against the troops; I am not one of them, nor are most non-interventionists. Then there are admittedly those in the liberty movement who use reckless language when referring to issues involving the military and defense, but we must not allow this to mar the image of the movement as a whole.
I am proud of our military men and women, and I am ashamed of our leaders for putting so many of them in harm's way for unconstitutional and unjust reasons. But I love America and see the importance of a strong national defense, which I support fervently. I know however that a strong national defense is not achieved through our current reckless interventionist policies. Does this make me unpatriotic or anti-military? By no means!
As for me, I will continue to fight for a truly strong national defense and truly support all of our troops. To achieve this we must follow the advice of our nation's Founders and support "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none."
In Defense of the Constitution