Like most Americans, Libertarians are appalled by the actions of the terrorists on 9/11. However, it is important that we ask ourselves whether Osama bin Laden or the Iraqi people are our enemy.

There has been a great deal of controversy about so-called facts presented by the White House about the initial cause for military action in Iraq; it is time we look at some real facts. We are indeed nation building. We are playing policeman in a civil war. We have attacked and killed thousands of people in Iraq because of the actions of a terrorist from Saudi Arabia. We have chased non-existent weapons of mass destruction instead of the terrorists who killed nearly three thousand Americans on 9/11. We are creating more terrorists on a daily basis because of our intervention in Iraq. In short, we went after the wrong bad guys and are now stuck in the middle of someone else’s civil war.

While American public opinion has radically changed about our continued occupation in Iraq, the President wants to send a "surge" of troops to Iraq, while adding nearly 100,000 new members of our armed forces to the ranks. The Democrats don’t seem poised to do anything which will substantially change our presence in Iraq. It is time for U.S. forces to withdraw from Iraq as quickly as possible in a manner consistent with the safety of our troops.

Though the Libertarian Party has been a consistent voice against reckless foreign interventionism by the U.S. government, we support action against perpetrators responsible for terrorist attacks. A fundamental role of the United States government, as defined in the U.S. Constitution, is to protect American citizens against foreign attack. Therefore, it is proper for the government to take forceful action against terrorists who have already killed thousands of Americans, and who have threatened to kill more.

If military action is indeed appropriate, then the U.S. Congress should establish this by debating and passing an official declaration of war to make the action constitutionally legitimate, and protect the vital separation of powers upon which this nation's government was founded.

The United States government should also announce clear, measurable, and finite goals for this "War on Terror". Any military action must not be allowed to turn into an endless, global war against numberless, shadowy targets. America's best interests will be served by decisive action that targets the guilty, spares the innocent, and ends as quickly as possible.

Finally, the United States has an obligation to consider a new, positive approach to foreign policy for the future.

Years ago, President Thomas Jefferson articulated a foreign policy that consisted of "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none." Such a foreign policy — deeply rooted in American tradition and principle — would reduce the chance that terrorists will ever again want to strike a bloody blow at America.

As our nation embarks on this new war, the words of Thomas Jefferson echo down the centuries, and point in the direction of an America that can be at peace with the world — and have less to fear from foreign enemies.

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