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Americans have done a good bit of that over the years, so their stopping this proposed war with Syria is a breath of fresh air, or perhaps it is a small spark of libertarianism that can be fanned into a blaze. It’s worth a try. (See my “Subjugating Ourselves.” Also see Edward Stringham and Jeffrey Rogers Hummel’s “If a Pure Market Economy Is So Good, Why Doesn’t It Exist?”)
Yes, war with Syria is still possible. Obama could decide that Putin’s idea was a ploy (maybe it is) and proceed to scare Americans into changing their minds about war. We’ll have to be on guard against that. For the time being, the people say no.
The pundits blame “war-weariness” for the public’s opposition. I regard that as an insult. What they mean is that because of our fatigue, we don’t know what we’re saying when we say we don’t want another war. We’re talking nonsense because we aren’t thinking straight. So we should be ignored by the people who, unlike us, are thinking clearly. Apparently, favoring war is a sign of thinking clearly.
I don’t believe people are war-weary. Instead, as someone has said (I can’t remember who), they are war-wary. They’ve been burned too many times by their (mis)leaders and (mis)representatives. Ten years ago they were assured with “slam dunk” intelligence that Iraq was a threat because of its WMD. (A few noble reporters debunked these claims.) No WMD were found. Twelve years ago we were told we had to go to war against Afghanistan to protect ourselves from al-Qaeda. The war rages on, and al-Qaeda or its like has spread to Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Mali, Somalia, and other places. Many people have been killed, maimed, and psychologically scarred; over a trillion dollars has been squandered with no end in sight — for what? The military-industrial complex grows fat, and the economy sputters.
Americans have had enough, and it’s about time. Their “no” to war is the best news we’ve had in a long time.
This column originally appeared at the Future of Freedom Foundation.