Support Our Boys in Uniform

by Harry Browne

March 18, 2003    

Now that George Bush has quit pretending to weigh the pros and cons of war, and has issued an unacceptable ultimatum to Saddam Hussein, we can expect the war to begin before the week is out.

Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman voiced the slogans of many when he said, "It's time to come together to support our great American men and women in uniform and their commander-in-chief." And Senator Bob Graham (who must have the same speech-writer) pronounced, "At a time like this, all Americans must come together to support our commander-in-chief and our men and women in uniform."

I, too, support our boys in uniform but in a different way. I don't want to see a single one of them die in a useless war that will leave the world no better than before, and that will probably make America much less safe rather than more secure.

As well, the Iraqi people have been starved and hurt and deprived enough. George Bush likes to talk about how Saddam Hussein has stalled for twelve years. But during those twelve years, three American Presidents have stalled on ending the cruel and brutal sanctions that have left Iraqis without the food, medicine, and income they need to live even at third-world levels. Everytime Hussein has complied with a demand from an American President, the Americans have upped the ante or called the compliance a "cynical ploy."

Now our "boys" are going to go over there to kill thousands of those poor Iraqis. They will kill with bombs or missiles or mortars or rifles. However they do it, they will leave a lot of dead bodies on the ground when they come home.

Long-Term Effects

And when they come home, they will have learned that life is cheap, that collateral damage is inevitable, that killing people that had nothing against you is sometimes necessary. Our boys will never be the same again. Is this how we want our children to turn out?

Some of them won't even come home, since collateral damage works both ways.

Of those who do come home, some will suffer for years perhaps for the rest of their lives from guilt, or with unexplained symptoms arising from the firing of weapons armed with depleted uranium. Is this what you want for your children.

If your child is one of the casualties, what will you think ten years from now when Iraq is no more a democratic, friendly nation than it is now? What will you think when it becomes obvious that this wasn't a war against Saddam Hussein, it was a war against reason the first in a series of empire-building adventures against the likes of Iran, Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and who-knows-who-else?

Is this why you had children to send them off to kill and to risk their lives in a meaningless war for the benefit of a handful of politicians?

I'm sorry Senator Lieberman and Senator Graham, but I not only think you're mealy-mouthed, I think you're disgraceful. If the country really should "come together" now, it should be united against the idea of attacking a virtually defenseless nation on the unverified say-so of a known liar.

To "come together" to support insanity is not patriotic, it is not reason, it is not moral. It simply makes you as guilty as the people perpetrating this war.

If you really want to support our boys over there, do the honorable thing:

Demand that they be brought home now.

Harry Browne was the Libertarian Party presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000, and is now the Director of Public Policy for the American Liberty Foundation. You can read more of his articles at