Previously I mentioned Leonard Peikoff’s position that we shouldn’t be in Iraq to liberate it–he mentioned that those people had never been through the Enlightenment and if given a democracy would just vote themselves into Islamic fundamentalism. I mentioned I was not entirely convinced, though I have read elsewhere that Iraq’s literacy rate is 58%. Then yesterday came this message from Sylvia Bokor, who gave me her permission to post it:

On “60 Minutes” last night I listened to part of a discussion on rebuilding Iraq after the war. It was mentioned that a new kind of government would be set up. It was not said what kind of government. How much will rebuilding cost? Billions.

I do not like the idea of our spending huge sums of taxpayer money on rebuilding other countries. If we were going to install a constitutional, representative republic that protected and enforced individual rights, that promoted and ensured laissez-faire capitalism, that would be great. It would be a step toward Pax Americana.

But given what’s been said and done already in the conduct of this war, I shudder to think what a lot of that hard-earned money will go for–even though the world’s two best countries will run the show. There will be rake-offs, graft and corruption. Less, surely, than if the UN runs the rebuilding. But still there will be a tremendous waste of money. Plus, the kind of government installed will be based on a moral code as collectivist as its past–no matter whether it’s run by Muslims or Christians, no matter what its form.

It does not make sense to spend money and manpower rebuilding a country that never reached a level of civilization that leads toward the possibilities indicated by Ancient Greece. I can see rebuilding Germany and Japan. Culturally, both of those nations had a good understanding of the importance of productivity if not of the individual, despite each country’s descent into fascism. But the Iraqis? The ones who really care about creating values and making money have emigrated.

If any such are still in Iraq, then they can rebuild what they want, and pay for it themselves. They have oil fields and there are many men who want to become involved in the country’s politics. Some opine that terrorism will return if we just walk away. It will anyway so long as collectivism is operative. It’s far better to use our money on us. Reduce taxes, raise military pay and have a strong defense policy. Stomp down hard and swiftly on terrorism the minute it appears. This approach would maintain our peace and security. Present plans will not.

Fair enough. And Blair and Bush are even going all wobbly on the United Nations:

George W. Bush and Tony Blair on Tuesday endorsed a “vital role” for the United Nations when fighting ends, but their plans may fall short of European desires…[Bush] added: “Rebuilding of Iraq will require the support and expertise of the international community. We are committed to working with international institutions, including the United Nations, which will have a vital role to play in this task.” Pressed on what precisely the U.N. role would be, however, Bush mentioned only humanitarian work, “suggesting” people to staff the interim authority and helping Iraq “progress.” He did not spell out how much power the United Nations would have…In a joint written statement, Bush and Blair pledged to seek U.N. Security Council resolutions to affirm Iraq’s territorial integrity, ensure aid delivery and endorse an appropriate post- conflict administration for Iraq. [Reuters, 4/8/03]
Given that the US provides a quarter of the UN budget, it’s still largely our money going to these “humanitarian” projects. If there’s one thing Americans should be absolutely militant about, it’s keeping the UN out of Iraq and getting America out of the UN.

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