Friday, June 26, 2020

Don’t rename those military bases. Close them instead.

  A controversy has erupted over the naming of U.S. military bases here in the United States. The bases are named after Confederate generals and there are people who want to change that. They want the bases to be named for more politically correct military figures.

  I’ve got a better idea: Let’s not rename the bases. Let’s close them instead.

  When people are born and raised under a particular form of governmental structure, it is extremely difficult for them to mentally or psychologically challenge the structure itself. The natural tendency is to want to work within the structure by coming up with ways to modify or improve it rather than to contemplate arguments for dismantling it.

  That’s the situation we have with the national-security state structure that characterizes the United States. We have all been born and raised under a massive military-intelligence system that consists of the Pentagon, the vast military-industrial complex (as President Eisenhower termed it), the CIA, and the NSA. We’ve all been taught that “national security” is everything — that the national-security state protects our “freedom” and our, well, our “national security.” We are told that it does this through thousands of military bases both here at home and abroad. We’re taught that interventionism in foreign countries is essential to keep us safe here at home.

  Thus, the natural tendency of people is to simply accept the permanence of this way of life and try to come up with ways to make it better. That’s what the impulse to rename all those military bases is all about. The bases are considered to be a permanent part of American life. So, the idea is, let’s just make them better by renaming them!

An important question

  Notice that in this renaming debate, the debaters never ask a critically important question: What do we need those bases for? For people who are embroiled within the paradigm, it’s just obvious. We need them because … well … just because.

  After all, it’s not as though the United States is under the threat of an invasion by some foreign power. No nation-state in the world, including Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, or any other nation-state that has been labeled an adversary, rival, or enemy of the United States, has the remotest military capability to invade the United States. All of them lack the troops, equipment, supplies, transports, ammunition, armaments, and money to undertake such an enormous task.

  So, if there is no threat of a foreign invasion of the United States, what do we need all those bases for, old names or new names?

  One might assert that the bases protect us from “the terrorists”. But “the terrorists” are a direct result of U.S. military interventionism abroad. Given that the U.S. military and CIA have been killing people in the Middle East and Afghanistan for decades, it stands to reason that there are going to be people who wish to retaliate against Americans.

  There is an easy fix for anti-American terrorism: Bring all the troops home from everywhere and discharge them. Their interventionism produces nothing positive and lots of negatives, including anti-American terrorism and the resulting destruction of our liberty here at home to protect us from “the terrorists” that their interventionism produces.

  Even given anti-American terrorism, the notion that domestic military bases protect us from terrorism is ludicrous. Terrorists strike at civilians and civilian targets. When they do so, they are engaged in a federal criminal offense. Under U.S. law, the military is precluded from enforcing criminal laws. So, what good are those military bases when it comes to protecting us from terrorism?

America’s founding system

  The U.S. government wasn’t always a national-security state. The nation’s founding governmental system was a limited-government republic, which is an opposite type of governmental system, one whose powers are limited.

  For the first 150 years of our nation’s history, there was a basic military force, but it was relatively small. Its principal purpose was to protect Americans from attacks by native Americans. That’s why in the 1800s, it might have made sense to have a fort near a community.

  But why do American cities and towns today need military bases near them? There is no longer a threat of attack from Apaches, Comanches, or any other Native American tribe. And, as I previously observed, there is no real threat of a foreign invasion.

  The U.S. government was converted from a limited-government republic into a national-security state after World War II. The justification given was that America faced a gigantic worldwide communist conspiracy to take over the United States and the rest of the world, one whose base was in Moscow, Russia (yes, that Russia), with tentacles stretching to China, North Korea, North Vietnam, Cuba, Chile, Guatemala, and other parts of the world.

  That conversion fundamentally transformed not only America’s governmental structure but also American life in general. Now Americans were living under a totalitarian form of governmental structure, one that wielded omnipotent, dark-side powers, such as state-sponsored assassinations, kidnappings, executions, torture, coups, and regime-change operations.

Largess, dependency, and danger

  I would be remiss, of course, if I failed to mention the trillions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer money that have been spent over the decades to sustain and maintain this vast military empire. The national-security state has played a principal role in the massive taxation, spending, debt, and monetary debasement that has plundered the American people since the end of World War II.

  Of course, there is also the mindset of dependency on all this military largess that has come to characterize thousands of American communities, where people live in desperate fear of losing their military base, convinced that they will die if it happens.

  Finally, we must never forget President Eisenhower’s profound warning to the American people, one that echoed the sentiments of our American ancestors—that the national-security state poses a grave threat to the liberties and democratic processes of the American people.

  Regardless of what one might think about the original post-World War II conversion to a national-security state, everyone agrees on one thing: With the demise of the alleged worldwide communist conspiracy in 1989 with the end of the Cold War, the original justification for America’s conversion to a national-security state disintegrated more than 30 years ago.

  We have the right to restore our limited-government republic. We have the right to restore our rights and liberties. Forget about renaming those useless and destructive military bases. Close them instead.

  About the author: Jacob G. Hornberger is the founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

  This article was published by The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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