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From the Libertarians for Peace Yahoo Group.  [October 2, 2005]





[]  John Clifton, a Navy submarine veteran and Chair of the Libertarian Party of New York (LPNY), has called for an end to martial law occupation of Iraq, and a no-timetable withdrawal of military forces from the region. He rejects the compromise idea of a timetable proposed by his own party's national organization.

He has also issued an 'open invitation' to activist Cindy Sheehan, a mother whose son died in the war last year, to consider running as a peace candidate against Hillary Clinton in the 2006 U.S. Senate race.

"The invasion remains unjustified, so the subsequent occupation has no underlying moral basis," said Clifton. "Thus, neither does a phased withdrawal. If no one can answer Sheehan's question, then there's no 'noble cause' for which American troops or Iraqi civilians should be dying right now, period."

Sheehan has openly challenged Senator Clinton to plainly speak out against the war or "lose her job."

Mr. Clifton has invited Sheehan to join others vying for the Libertarian nomination when the party holds its state convention next April. He discounts the "we broke it, we must fix it" rationale offered in support of occupation, pointing to the construction of over a dozen permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq, which he says clearly shows the deployment is anything but temporary.

"It's about empire-building, plain and simple," said Clifton. "The US-led invasion and occupation of the sovereign nation of Iraq was and remains unconstitutional, is contrary to the non-aggression and non-interventionist position of Libertarians, and to the principles of just war."

He argues that evidence such as the forged Niger document and the Downing Street memos prove the Bush and Blair administrations knew the case for Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction was non-existent, and not merely a mistake or "intelligence failure ' in the run up to the war.

Clifton adds: "An exit plan recently commissioned by National LP does not conform to the platform position authorized by the party membership, as it has the appearance of accepting the legitimacy of the intervention and current occupation. Many New York Libertarians instead support the party's and Founding Fathers' non-interventionist principles, as well as the will of the sovereign people of Iraq, most of whom desire the military presence there to end without a timetable."



Clifton's appeal comes in the wake of a longer formal statement recently considered by LPNY that also called for an immediate withdrawal of occupying forces from Iraq. The statement was nearly identical to a resolution passed by the Libertarian Party of California this August.

Recent polls echo this sentiment, such as one showing 52% now in favor of ending U.S. intervention of the country,"with or without a timetable." Given the near 2,000 U.S. troops now dead and over 100,000 civilians estimated killed in Iraq since 2003, a recent Zogby poll has even indicated 42% agree that President Bush should be impeached, if it could be shown that he misled Americans into war.

Still, the New York resolution was not approved, with half of the state committee declining to vote on the measure. Mr. Clifton laments the equivocation or 'pragmatism' of some members of his party, and notes it is lagging behind the public. "At this point, the majority of Americans are more 'radical' in their position than many Libertarians are."

Mr. Clifton is a black conservative Libertarian who voted for Reagan in '84, and he himself ran against Hillary Clinton in 2000 as the LPNY candidate for U.S. Senate. He admires Reagan's decision to pullout of Lebanon following the suicide bombing of the Marine barracks in 1983, saying "the episode teaches us there are responsible methods to respond to terrorism without escalating intervention. Then as now, 'support our troops -- send them home' is a sound strategy."

Clifton agrees fully with columnist and former Reagan Assistant Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts, who has written: "Dead and wounded Americans are too high a price to pay for a war based on deception. This alone is reason to end the war, if necessary by impeaching Bush and Cheney and arresting the neoconservatives for treason. Naked aggression is a war crime under the Nuremberg standard, and neoconservatives have brought this shame to America."

Citing the example of China, Clifton points to the use of trade and diplomacy to induce un-free regimes into becoming freer, as a more productive basis for international policy.

"Libertarians are not pacifists" he says, "we're opposed to introducing aggression as a means to solve problems, including bad dictator problems. We're pro-JUST war, pro-Constitution and opposed to fraud. The current Gulf conflict fails to make muster on all three fronts. So I say, no more no-win wars based on lies. Let the globalists and militarists who backed this carnage and want it to continue, send their own sons and daughters, and their own dollars to build up their Empires. Americans should fight no one else's war, anymore."

John Clifton may be contacted at:


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