Libertarians Criticize Bush's 'Mission Leap' in War on Terrorism

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:28 PM EDT

( - While many people inside and outside of government ponder the next target in the war on terrorism, America's Libertarian Party says the Bush administration should end the war once the job in Afghanistan is completed.

Iraq, Sudan, Somalia and the Philippines are talked about as potential attack sites in the next phase of the war because of the existence of terrorist networks in those countries.

"What the president is considering isn't mission creep; it's mission leap. The U.S. government has an obligation to track down the terrorists who attacked our nation, but it does not have the right, nor the obligation, to launch an endless, worldwide war," said Steve Dasbach, the Libertarian Party's national director.

Dasbach also thinks that attacking dozens of nations with what he called "flimsy links to terrorism" will do little to bring justice to the victims of the September terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

It may only make the United States more susceptible to future acts of terrorism, Dasbach believes.

"There is a difference between justice and revenge. Justice was taking action against the terrorist criminals directly responsible for the 9-11 attacks, and the outlaw regime that sheltered them," he said.

Dasbach also thinks the president should seek permission from Congress if he wants to expand the war.

"If ... the president believes a foreign nation is harboring terrorists who killed Americans, as Afghanistan is, he should take his case before Congress and seek a declaration of war. Bush should resist the impulse to turn the war on terrorism into an endlessly expanding government program," said Dasbach.

Earlier this month, President Bush said on ABC's 20/20 program that American troops might be used to carry out strikes outside Afghanistan as part of the administration's expanding war against terrorism.

"Strikes will be incredibly important and there may be a need to use military troops elsewhere. And I just want the American people to know that we're keeping all options on the table," Bush said.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with the Financial Times that he expects the United States to consult Moscow before taking the war on terrorism beyond Afghanistan.

He was quoted in Monday's edition as saying the top priority should be blocking the financing of terrorism. He specifically warned against taking military action against Iraq.