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What’s the Standard for Foreign Meddling

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If President Bush decides to wage another undeclared war, this time against Iran, he will have at least two possible rationales by which to market the war to the American people — Iranian WMDs and Iranian meddling in Iraq. Given that many people have realized what a crock the WMD rationale was for invading and occupying Iraq, Bush’s more likely rationale will be, “Iran is meddling in Iraq by supplying weaponry that has killed U.S. troops.”

Unfortunately, as the world’s international policeman the U.S. government hasn’t yet clarified the standard by which countries can and cannot meddle in the affairs of other countries.

For example, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan for much the same reason that the U.S. invaded Iraq — to install a friendly regime into power. Yet, apparently the Soviet meddling in Afghanistan was not considered okay while the U.S. meddling in Iraq is considered okay. After all, let’s not forget that the U.S. government furnished sophisticated weaponry to Islamic extremists (e.g., Osama bin Laden), including Stinger missiles that are still unaccounted for, which the extremists used to kill Soviet soldiers.

Yet, in Iraq the U.S. considers its invasion and occupation to be okay, despite the fact that Iraq never attacked the U.S., despite the fact that the constitutionally required congressional declaration of war was not attained, and despite the fact that the UN never authorized the invasion. And it condemns Iran for doing the same thing that the U.S. did in Afghanistan.

U.S. officials now claim that the invasion and occupation of Iraq were justified in order to bring freedom to the Iraqi people. Yet, most everyone will now concede that the Iraqi people are not free. After all, they are living under a brutal military regime that has killed many more people than, say, the brutal military regime that rules Burma. In fact, there are virtually no restraints on U.S. government power in Iraq, especially among the U.S. mercenaries who can kill people with impunity and immunity. Iraqis are subject to unreasonable searches and seizures, indefinite detentions, cruel and unusual punishments, torture, extrajudicial execution, curfews, and gun control. They are denied indictments, speedy trials, due process, attorneys, free speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion. They live under a socialist economic and educational system.

So, given that there is no freedom in Iraq under U.S. military rule, it would seem incumbent on U.S. officials to explain why it is that other countries do not have the same “right” that the U.S. claims — the right to meddle in other countries in an attempt to bring freedom and regime change to that country.

In other words, U.S. officials should explain why the U.S. government has the authority to meddle in Iraq and why other countries don’t have the same authority. Or is it simply a matter of military might? Does the standard for meddling boil down to this: “We can do it because our military is bigger and stronger. Might makes right.”

Increasingly concerned about his legacy as his tenure approaches its end, we shouldn’t be surprised if Bush claims that U.S. meddling in Iran is necessary to prevent Iran from meddling in Iraq and interfering with U.S. meddling in Iraq. What more grand and noble cause to go to war for than that?

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.