Libertarian Rebuttal – A Preemptive Strike Should Be Launched Against Iran

When I tune in to talk radio or turn on the TV, I hear pundits on both sides of the aisle angling for a preemptive attack against Iran. This is an unconscionable and unjust idea. It must be stringently argued against by any lovers of peace. If you are a libertarian, that should include you.

So, what’s the argument for attacking Iran? It goes something like this: Iran is led by a mad man, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He a crazy Islamo-fascist who is trying to build a nuclear weapon so that he can wipe Israel off of the map. Israel is our ally and we should come to her defense. We must act now before its too late. Ahmadinejad is a new Hitler and we all know what happens when you appease crazy dictators. If you wait for too long, they accumulate power and then the mass murder begins. Let’s not make the same mistakes that we’ve made in the past by appeasing this arch villain. We must attack Iran now before they have a nuclear weapon.

How can a libertarian demolish this position with a brief rebuttal?

1) Tell a quick history of how Hitler came to power. After World War One, the Allies, France and England, imposed the heinous Treaty of Versailles on Germany. The treaty placed all of the blame on Germany and forced them to pay for all of the costs of the war. At the same time, England imposed a blockade on the German coast that starved hundreds of thousands of civilians. The treaty broke up Germany and gave important German territories to countries that had sided with the Allies during the war. This was a national humiliation for Germany.  Hitler came to power under these circumstances. He gave a speech called “Treaty of Versailles” thousands of times. Dictators are able to come to power during times of extreme hardship. Had the Germans not been suffering under such grievous poverty and oppression, it would have been extremely difficult for an evil man like Hitler to come to power. The lesson to be learned from history is that it isn’t prudent to oppress people in foreign countries, it makes it much more likely that a bellicose leader will rise to power.

2) Point out that Ahmadinejad isn’t all that popular in Iran. Barack Obama is the president of the United States, but a lot of tea party members would deny that he represents them. A similar situation exist in Iran. In a highly controversial election in 2009, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected with 64.22% of the vote. His opponent Mir-Hossein Mousavi received 33.86% of the vote. Ahmadinejad was immediately accused of fraud, showing that he is probably even less popular than the numbers would indicate. The point is this: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does not speak for all Iranians. Launching a preemptive strike is likely to have two negative outcomes. One, it will rally those who aren’t currently supportive of Ahmadinejad behind him as the national leader during a time of war. Two, it will exact incredibly unjust punishment on innocents who have no control over their country’s politicians. The same arguments can be made against imposing sanctions.

3) Explain that a nuclear strike by Iran would ensure their own destruction. Israel has hundreds of nuclear weapons. Iran may be trying to develop one (even though there isn’t definitive evidence that Iran is even trying to build nuclear weapons). It is certain that Israel has their weapons aimed at Iran as I write. Not to mention, Israel has one of the most powerful air forces not just in the Middle East, but in the world. As soon as any attack by Iran occurs, it would spell death for an unspeakable amount of Iranian citizans. The counter argument is “Yeah, but Iranians are just crazy Muslims, they don’t care about dying as long as they kill infidels. They’ll do anything for their jihad.” Calmly reply that according to professor Robert Pape of the University of Chicago, the man who has built the largest and most comprehensive database of suicide terrorist attacks, there has NEVER been a single Iranian suicide terrorist attack. If these people care so little for their lives why haven’t they been killing themselves en masse trying to to rid the world of Israel? The claim that the Iranian people as a whole are insane jihadists is absurd given the evidence. Going back to point two, above, it is even less likely that people will want to die for a leader that they don’t even necessarily care for.

4) Show that Iran is not a threat to the U.S.. According to the World Factbook on cia.gov, Iran spends 2.5% of its $818.7 billion GDP on military expenditures. That’s roughly $20.5 billion per year. By comparison, the United States spends 4.5% of its $14.7 trillion GDP, or roughly $660 billion per year on military outlays. To put that in proper perspective, the United States spends  32 times more per year on its military than does Iran. The United States could easily bomb Iran out of existence and the Iranians know that. Any Iranian attack against the US would ensure their own destruction and as explained in point three above, the Iranian people are not crazed Islamic fundamentalists with a death wish. Furthermore, Iran is 8,000 miles away. It would be literally impossible for them to carry out an offensive military strike against our country.

There you have it. I have already trounced a number of would be warmongers with this line of argumentation. Do not veer from these points and I promise you that you’ll have success persuading people.

To recap, when you hear a person compare Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Hitler, call him a crazy Islamo-fascist who is trying to build a nuclear weapon so that he can wipe Israel off of the map, and demanding that we act now before its too late because not doing so would be ignoring the lessons learned from history, follow these steps:

1) Tell a quick history of how Hitler came to power.
2) Point out that Ahmadinejad isn’t all that popular in Iran.
3) Explain that a nuclear strike by Iran would ensure their own destruction.
4) Show that Iran is not a threat to the U.S..

Follow these steps and you might just change somebody’s mind today. Now get out there and give ’em hell.

Adam Pearson

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