Ron Paul On War - It's About the Draftees


  Here's what I'm getting at, and sorry if I wasn't clear. Part of taking a non-nationalist view, imho, is looking at the situation in Iraq *before* as well as *after* the United States became involved. Before the United States became involved is when most of the Iraqis killed there during the past few decades have died -- at the hands of Saddam Hussein, not George Bush.

  In the American nationalist view, Iraq only really came onto the map and started to matter in 1990-1991 when U.S. troops were sent to repel the invasion of Kuwait. Anything that happened before that is "somebody else's history" or "somebody else's business" and of no particular concern to anyone who happens to live in the United States. "We," the party line goes, should only worry about "our" government. Let "them" worry about "theirs."

  This view understandably sees the war in Iraq as bad, because the vastly greater amount of killing that took place in the years prior to 1990 (and which arguably has been curtailed by U.S. government involvement via the removal of Saddam from power), isn't "our" concern. Only what has happened since the U.S. became involved counts. So unless one views the recent war in Iraq as "unfinished business" from the Gulf War, Bush is clearly (to American nationalists) responsible for provoking bloodshed in the current situation.

  I should mention here that I'm talking about some of the more intelligent nationalists. The most ignorant faction of American nationalism actually *supported* the war. In their murky view of the world, "those Arabs" (Saddam, Osama, the Taliban et. al.) bombed the World Trade Center, and everything that's followed (civilian casualties or military, Afghanistan or Iraq, doesn't matter) is simply legitimate payback. Not that most of these folks worry much about legitimacy -- "America kicks ass, dude!" "We've got to show 'em who's boss" and "America is Number One!" are typically about all the rationalization or justification needed. There's enough of this ugly nationalism around that I suspect a lot of other folks simply don't realize that their own opposing views are also colored by nationalism.

  While I still believe that Saddam probably had "weapons of mass destruction" and that evidence of this will turn up sooner or later, I do agree that the description of Iraq being an imminent threat to the U.S. seems to have been trumped up, as well as the connections between Saddam Hussein's regime and Al Qaeda.

  One can compare Bush's actions in this respect to FDR's scheming to get into World War II -- another war that I'd argue the U.S. military was *right* to have fought. Although at least Bush (as far as we presently know!) didn't deliberately allow Americans to be bombed in order to engineer U.S. involvement in a war.

  Regarding the draft, I believe you are thinking in nationalist terms again, by focusing only on the draft *in the United States*. Iraq under Saddam Hussein had, IIRC, something like the fifth largest military force in the world, and I believe that most of those Iraqi soldiers were conscripts. Proponents of a draft in the U.S., on the other hand, are still a long way from success. If as your subject line indicates "It's about the draftees," then by this measure too, deposing Saddam was a big step in the right direction.

Yours in liberty,
            <<< Starchild >>>

Dear Starchild;

The Ron Paul article was on conscription and the effect it would have on US civilians drafted into the military. The response I wrote was not from a nationalistic,ethnic or racist viewpoint. But what it meant to be a draftee in the US vs. a voluntary military and the Bush need for more troopers in Iraq.

If you want the Iraq casualties, from a global viewpoint, then there have been by some estimates 7,000 Iraqis killed and some 20,000 wounded. At no time was I placing a higher value on US casualties over Iraq casualties. I am not nationalistic, racist and ethnic-phobe who ignores other people in other countries simple because they are not red-blooded Americans. And because of this I ignore the dead and wounded on the other side.

Since I believe the US went there on trumped up charges from the Bush administration any casualties on either side are totally unacceptable regardless of race, creed, color, religion or sexual orientation. I also believe the US Congress is also totally responsible for allowing Bush to stampede them into Bush unilaterally declaring war on Iraq without a declaration of war approved by the US Congress. I also believe Bush should be impeached for this action.

So the casualties on both sides are just as much the fault of Congress as Bush and his neo-cons who want to re-structure the Middle East and its geography for their own self serving purposes. Mere civilians who get in the way are nothing more than road-kill to them.

Ron Getty
SF Libertarian

P.S. I was involved in the Vietnam war and am extremely familiar of the effect of war on civilians. Civilians who were in the wrong place at the wrong time and were involved in a conflict over which they had no choice. Mainly because of the stupidity of three governments - North Vietnam, South Vietnam and the USA and their self-serving geo-politics.

On Wednesday, November 26, 2003, at 08:00 PM, Ronald Getty wrote (in

> P.PS. The most shameful aspect of the Iraq War is not the 400 dead
> GI's and the lack of coverage of their arrival and funerals. Or
> the deliberatively shameful lack of attendance or even a token
> appearance by any Bush administration official at the funerals. It is
> the total lack of coverage of the 1300 or so wounded.


  There were far more than 1300 people wounded during the war in Iraq

and its aftermath. You have noted only the American casualties. This is
of course in keeping with nationalist sentiments in the United States,
which place a higher value on the lives of Americans than on the lives
of other people, sometimes to the point of failing to acknowledge the
lives (or deaths) of non-Americans at all.

  Not to come down on you personally, since I assume you did not

personally kill or authorize the killing of any innocent Iraqis, but
I'd say it is the practice of treating some human lives as worth less
than others simply on the basis of nationality that is the most
shameful part of the war in Iraq. People have no more say over where
they are born than they do over their ethnicity, so discriminating on
this basis is little better than racism.

  It is this nationalist attitude that allows American commanders to

consider dropping bombs on civilian areas an acceptable way to minimize
the number of U.S. military personnel killed and wounded. It is a
nationalism which is the moral equivalent of racism that leads directly
to the practice that results in the bulk of lives lost and property
destroyed in war -- dealing death and destruction from afar rather than
directly targeting enemy combatants.

  If one counts only American casualties, it&#39;s easy to see why the war

was bad. If one counts only American casualties, no one was being
killed and wounded in Iraq before the war.
It was only when the war started that the loss of life and limb began.

  But of course this nationalist view is a distortion of reality\. In

reality, the number of Iraqis murdered, gassed, drafted and killed on
the battlefield in the wars against Iran and the war over Kuwait, etc.,
by the Baathist regime numbers in at least the hundreds of thousands --
far more than the 1700 or so Americans killed and wounded. Saddam
Hussein and his thugs never to my knowledge showed any remorse for this
slaughter or gave any credible sign that they intended to do things
differently henceforward. Thus by getting rid of the agency responsible
for those deaths, the war arguably *saved* lives, however unlibertarian
it may have been in its methods and funding.

  Again, don&#39;t get me wrong \-\- I&#39;m not saying you deliberately devalued

the Iraqi lives that have been lost. Living in the United States, one
easily falls into these patterns of speech and the outlook that goes
with them. Even the Ron Paul essay which started this thread, despite
being written by a libertarian and presumably worldly member of
Congress, indiscriminately used personal pronouns such as "we" and
"our" to refer to both Americans and the U.S. government -- as if
people living in a country and the government ruling that country were

  I believe Libertarians in general ought to think more about

nationalism and its consequences, which is why I post messages like
this one.

Yours in liberty,
<<< Starchild >>>

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