You’d think being anti-war and being libertarian, someone who subscribes to the NAP, would go hand in hand. At the least, one might be less than inclined to admire the U.S. government’s wars of aggression and occupation.
Apparently I was asleep when this policy got altered.
Over the last several days I have come across numerous “libertarian” publications with movie reviews of American Sniper that, while trying to throw a bone to those who find the war to be a horrendous, unnecessary conflict, still cast him in a sympathetic light. They handle his savage behavior with kid gloves.
In Reason magazine’s review, the author writes:
“We’re introduced to Kyle on a rooftop in Fallujah, sighting his rifle on the street below, alert for targets. He sees an Iraqi woman stepping into the street with a boy who could be her son. She hands the boy a weapon she has brought out from beneath her chador as they both watch an American convoy that’s making its way toward them through the rubble of the city. Kyle’s duty is alarmingly clear, but his soul is torn.”
His soul wouldn’t have been torn if he hadn’t participated in an undeclared, unconstitutional war against another country without provocation. He had no “duty” to join, no duty to ship overseas, and no duty to become a sniper. They were all one hundred percent choices he made of his own volition.
The review implies that we should feel sorry for him because he “had” to shoot that woman. Of course, he didn’t, but that is another issue.
Why should we feel sorry for him and not the woman who felt desperate enough to engage in what had to be an act of suicide? The woman did not choose to have the U.S. military invade, or having the U.S. government intentionally starve half a million of her people through sanctions. Kyle, on the other hand, voluntarily chose to invade her country. Kyle always had the opportunity to go back home and leave it behind. The woman did not. She also wasn’t paid to do what she did; Kyle was.
The Libertarian Republic‘s review was also sympathetic and intentionally avoided discussing the fact that Kyle had no business being in Iraq.
It’s difficult to imagine yourself in a situation where you might be required to kill someone for the greater good. Most ethical scenarios where this might occur often have extenuating factors which can change the moral playing field dramatically. Ignore for a moment,whether you are of the opinion that the invasion of Iraq was right or wrong. From a purely morally neutral, non-nationalist or ideological standpoint, what would you do if a child ran at you or your friends carrying a grenade and you had the power to stop them? The answer to that question may define one’s own personal character, but it doesn’t define our nation, and perhaps it shouldn’t.
How can any intellectually honest publication put the word “libertarian” in its title and then infer or suggest that what Kyle did over there was for the “greater good”? This is the sort of nonsense we’d expect from some mainstream conservative site that glories anyone who puts on a uniform – provided it is an American one.
This is yet another example of where “libertarians” fail to pass the litmus test of even constitutionalists, which is for the federal government to follow the Constitution. Libertarians don’t believe there should be a
federal government at all. Has the bar really been lowered this far?
The libertarian stance on the matter is clear. Kyle traveled thousands of miles to a country to fight its people, who posed no threat to him or his family. There was no justifiable reason for him to go other than to engage in a paid profession. Thus any moral dilemmas Kyle faced during the conflict were solely due not only to his willingness to fight over there but his insistence on going back again and again (even, as the film shows, against the wishes of his wife). Unless he killed someone who was attempting to harm innocent civilians, there was nothing honorable about what he did.
If this is what passes for libertarianism nowadays in American media, when even they defend the brutal actions of men like Chris Kyle, then the word “libertarian” has lost any relevant meaning.