Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Jacob G. Hornberger: Interventionism is a rotten tree with rotten fruit

  Fifty-one State Department officials are calling on President Obama to expand U.S. interventionism in Syria by initiating a bombing campaign against the Syrian government. Apparently they’re not satisfied with the great “success” that their philosophy of interventionism has brought to Iraq, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and the rest of the Middle East. They want the U.S. national-security state’s death machine to bring even more death and destruction than it has already brought to that part of the world for the past 25 years.

  It would be difficult to find anything more incredible and audacious than that. The Pentagon, the CIA, the NSA, and the rest of the military-industrial complex, whose financial well-being necessarily depend on making interventionism in the Middle East a permanent part of American society, must be ecstatic. The fact that the demand is coming from State Department officials, rather than assets of the CIA, makes it look even better.

  Now, let’s consider the following hypothetical. Let’s suppose that President Obama accedes to the interventionist demands of these people. Let’s assume then that the bombing campaign succeeds in killing multitudes of Syrian citizens. One day a Syrian-American whose sister and father have been killed in the bombing campaign retaliates with a suicide bomb that kills 150 people in a shopping mall in some American city.

  What will those 51 State Department diplomats say about that?

  I’ll tell you what they’ll say: “That Syrian terrorist hated America for its freedom and values. He was obviously a caliphater who was determined to lead a Muslim army in an invasion and conquest of the United States, with the aim of taking over the federal government and forcing everyone to study the Koran.”

  That pronouncement will be followed by others issued by fellow interventionists that proclaim something like this: “This terrorist attack only goes to show why the federal government needs to confiscate everyone’s weapons so that the American people can be kept safe. We also need to build higher walls around America to protect us from the Muslims who are hell-bent on establishing a worldwide caliphate. And we also need to begin populating our FEMA camps with American citizens who we suspect are planning more attacks.”

  One thing is for sure: The last thing those 51 State Department diplomats would ever do is to take individual responsibility for the deaths of those 150 people in that American shopping mall. The last thing they would do is acknowledge that the suicide bombing was a direct consequence of their bombing campaign in Syria. They would act like the killing of the suicide-bomber’s sister and father had nothing to do with their interventionist death and destruction in Syria.

  How do we know this? Because that is precisely the type of behavior that has characterized American interventionists for the past 25 years of U.S. interventionism in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Every single time there has been terrorist blowback from the U.S. death machine’s campaigns in the Middle East and Afghanistan, the interventionists have consciously chosen to ignore the motivation for killing Americans — the death and destruction that U.S. interventionism has wreaked in the Middle East and Afghanistan for the past 25 years.

  Even with the latest episode of deadly blowback in Orlando, interventionists were undoubtedly hoping for evidence that the killer was motivated not by the death and destruction that U.S. interventionism has brought to the Middle East and Afghanistan but instead for love of the violence in the Koran and hatred for America’s freedom and values. Alas, their hopes were dashed again, just as they have been dashed in every other anti-American terrorist attack for the past 25 years. It’s all blowback from U.S. interventionism in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

  Look at what U.S. interventionism has done to Iraq. The victims in Orlando, San Bernardino, Boston, and Ft. Hood, and others are not the only ones who have paid the price of U.S. interventionism. The Iraqi people have also been made to pay a high price for the U.S. invasion and occupation of their country.

  For example, just a few days before the attack in Orlando, ISIS suicide bombers killed multitudes of people in Baghdad. It was not an anomaly. Terrorist attacks happen there on a regular basis.

  Look at the rest of Iraq. A massive civil war in which people are being killed and which will continue to bring enormous death and destruction to the Iraqi people for the indefinite future.

  There is no light at the end of this interventionist tunnel.

  Keep in mind something important: Neither Iraq nor the Iraqi people ever attacked the United States or even threatened to do so. Nonetheless, they were made the target of a U.S. interventionist regime-change operation, one that not only has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of people but also has turned the entire country into one gigantic deadly and destructive hellhole.

  Keep in mind that every time an Iraqi was killed during the past 25 years by the U.S. interventionist death machine, interventionists cheered and thanked the troops for their “service,” notwithstanding the fact that the victims had never done anything to the United States.

  Keep in mind also that ISIS, which is the newest official enemy of the U.S. national security establishment and which is now being used as the latest excuse for permanent intervention in the Middle East, is a direct consequence of the U.S. intervention and regime-change operation in Iraq.

  To emphasize: If there had never been U.S. interventionism in Iraq (after the U.S. national security establishment lost its official enemy by the end of the Cold War), there never would have been an ISIS that today is used as the excuse for permanent and perpetual interventionism in the Middle East.

  For that matter, if there never been U.S. interventionism in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the rest of the Middle East, there never would have been terrorist blowback in Orlando, San Bernardino, Boston, Fort Hood, New York City, Virginia, and elsewhere in the United States. All those people would be alive today but for U.S. interventionism in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

  One more thing to keep in mind: If there had never been U.S. interventionism in the Middle East, there never would have been a massive refugee crisis in Europe.

  Interventionism is the gift that just keeps giving. And what it gives is death, destruction, mayhem, chaos, crisis, and financial and economic catastrophe.

  And yet, those 51 State Department officials want to water this rotten tree notwithstanding its rotten fruit.

  Why? What could possibly be motivating these people to call for the continuation of a policy that has brought nothing but death and destruction to people over there and people over here, not to mention the destruction of the liberty and privacy of the American people in the process of keeping us “safe” from the enemies that interventionism has produced?

  Only they know the reasons they are calling for more interventionism.  But one thing is for certain—something that 51 State Department officials have to be fully aware of: Continued and expanded interventionism in the Middle East means permanently growing budgets, influence, and power of the old Cold War-era dinosauric U.S. national-security establishment, whose financial well-being necessarily depends on a constant stream of terrorists and a never-ending threat of terrorist attacks against Americans. If that were to come to an end, people might start asking why we need an old Cold War-era dinosauric entity, one that is characteristic of totalitarian regimes and that was never meant by the Framers to be a part of America’s federal governmental system.

  Of course, those 51 State Department officials would undoubtedly defend their interventionism by exclaiming their popular refrain, “We can’t return to isolationism,” ignoring the fact that it is their interventionism that generates calls for travel bans into the United States, stricter immigration and travel controls, trade restrictions with foreign regimes, sanctions, embargoes, and, of course, a gigantic wall around the United States to keep us “safe.”

  Libertarians have a better idea: Stop the war on terrorism. Bring the U.S. death machine home. Order an immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from the Middle East and Afghanistan (and preferably the rest of the world). Bring them home and discharge them, which would save a lot of money for a government that is heading toward financial bankruptcy. Leave the Middle East and Afghanistan alone. Interventionism has caused enough damage already and any attempt to fix the damage it has caused only makes matters worse for people over there and people over here.

  Oh, and while we’re at it, let’s end all foreign aid to and partnerships with brutal, anti-democratic, authoritarian and totalitarian regimes, like Egypt and Bahrain (and foreign aid to every other regime in the world).

  In other words, there is only one thing to do with a rotten tree that produces rotten fruit. Pull it out by its root and throw it away.

  About the author: Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.

  This article was published by The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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