U.S. Has No Moral Obligation to Send Troops to Liberia
By Peter Schwartz (Daily Iowan, July 30, 2003; Columbia Star, July 28, 2003)
Those who claim that the United States has a moral obligation to send troops to stop the civil war in Liberia have it exactly wrong: our government has a moral obligation not to place its soldiers at risk except to defend the interests of Americans.
America went to war against Iraq to protect Americans. But there is no justification for embarking on an altruistic "peacekeeping" mission in Liberia. Such a mission is not simply impractical--it is immoral. Why should we be urged to sacrifice our money, our energies and our lives on a campaign that does not uphold our interests? What validates asking Americans to suffer more, so that the Liberians may (perhaps) suffer less?
America is based on the recognition of the individual's right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This principle of freedom means that the government may not treat the citizen as a serf; it may not regard him as someone who exists to serve the needs of others. A foreign policy of self-sacrifice denies that principle. Our foreign policy should be based on the moral premise that a free nation has a right to uphold its own interests, which fundamentally means: to defend its citizens by military force when their freedom is threatened. To send our soldiers into a battle in which they have no personal interest--to make them risk their lives solely for the sake of warring tribes in Liberia (or Rwanda, or Somalia, or Kosovo)--is to negate the underpinnings of liberty.