Press release via email blast and LP.org:
It is easy to feel outrage, anger, and fear in response to the terrorist attacks in France and elsewhere. But in order to preserve life and liberty, keep America safe, and restore peace, the U.S. response must strictly honor the Bill of Rights and reverse failed policies in the Middle East.
Republican presidential candidates are drawing upon the rhetoric of hate. They call for shutting out refugees, ominous border walls, stepped-up military action, and dragnet profiling of Muslims in the United States.
Donald Trump called for creating a database of US Muslims and suggests government actions to shut down mosques — an unprecedented encroachment upon religion in the U.S. Ben Carson wants a database for all American citizens.
But such frenzied, reckless proclamations are exactly what have made Americans abroad and at home a target for Islamic extremists. They play into the ISIS strategy of recruiting more terrorists and put all Americans at greater risk.
“When your enemy wants you to do something, you may want to think twice before doing it,” said Nicholas Sarwark, Chair of the Libertarian National Committee.
“Libertarians condemn, in the strongest of terms, terrorist acts of violence against innocent civilians,” he added. “But we will not condemn people of an entire religion based on the actions of a few. Nor will we deny them the freedom to escape from tyranny and horror.”
Libertarians call for maintaining the U.S. ethos of open borders for peaceful people. Protecting the United States from threats of terrorism should not come at the cost of the First and Fourth Amendment rights of all Americans.
“More domestic government surveillance is not the answer, especially for peaceful people who have harmed no one,” Sarwark said. “Libertarians vehemently oppose any infringement of religious liberty and of government data-gathering of citizens, Muslim or otherwise, without probable cause as required by the Fourth Amendment.”
Since the Moroccan-American Friendship Treaty of 1786 through the middle of the twentieth century, America enjoyed generally friendly relations with Islamic countries across the Middle East. But after the discovery of oil in the region, the U.S. government began a string of destructive, terrorism-inciting interventions in the region:
- The U.S. government sent the CIA to overthrow the democratically-elected government of Iran in 1953, setting off an escalating chain of events that reverberates to this day.
- The CIA installed the Shah of Iran, a brutal dictator, who kept the oil supplies flowing. This outraged the Iranian people, building up to the Shah’s overthrow by the Ayatollah Khomeini and the Iranian Hostage Crisis of 1979.
- The U.S. supported Saddam Hussein of Iraq against Iran, eventually leading to Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990.
- The U.S. permanently based troops on Saudi Arabian soil, a decision that Osama Bin Laden viewed as religious sacrilege and which partially motivated his 9/11 attacks of 2001 on the World Trade Center.
- The U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003 under the false pretext of Saddam’s alleged “weapons of mass destruction.” The resulting chain of events culminated in the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria today.
“Just as creative destruction in a free market replaces less desirable products with ones that work,” said Sarwark, “we must replace foreign policies that provoke war and terrorism with ones that foster peace.”
“Ending U.S. meddling in the region is the only way to unwind the centuries-old blood feuds into which lawmakers have entangled the American people,” he continued. “America and Middle Eastern countries can then, once again, have a chance at peace.”