Hornberger's Blog

Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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Hornberger’s Blog, October, 2003


Friday, October 31, 2003

Dear Friends of FFF,

Last week I traveled to St. Louis, Missouri, to deliver a speech entitled “The Moral Bankruptcy of U.S. Foreign Policy” to about 60 students at Washington University. What a great time that was! The talk was sponsored by the Libertarian Club at WU, one of most impressive college libertarian groups I’ve ever seen.

I spoke for about 40 minutes about U.S. foreign policy, specifically about the U.S. government’s policy of supporting cruel and brutal dictators, the horrific things that U.S. officials did to the Iraqi people for the past 12 years, including the intentional destruction of Iraq’s sewage and water treatment plants followed by the 12-year embargo that contributed widespread death and impoverishment, the stationing of American troops on Islamic holy lands, and the unconditional financial and military support for whatever the Israeli government does, right or wrong. In other words, that the U.S. government could not have been surprised that terrorists would ultimately retaliate against the United States. I then placed the so-called war on terrorism in the context of an empire-building foreign policy that stretched all the way back to the U.S. government’s occupation of the Philippines, which ended up costing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos. I also talked about the massive assault on civil liberties and the threat to our economic well-being posed by the uncontrolled federal spending binge. I wrapped it up by contending that by restoring our Founders’ vision of freedom, free markets, and a non-interventionist republic, we could restore a nation of prosperity, peace, and harmony that would once again hold the admiration and respect of the world.

The discussion session lasted about 30 minutes, and since most of the students attending the talk were not libertarians, it was stimulating and lively. For example, there was a discussion over whether the U.S. government should intervene when a foreign government is “exploiting” its workers by paying them low wages. (Answer: No, and the only way to raise wages is through the accumulation of productive capital, not through laws and government regulations.)

After the talk, the students from the Libertarian Club took me to a nice little Italian restaurant in an authentically Italian part of St. Louis. There, we engaged in such provocative (and enjoyable) discussions as religion, atheism, and libertarianism.

Then, for intellectual dessert we then returned to the school for the weekly meeting of the Libertarian Club. Yes, I said “weekly.” The reason that these students were so impressive was not only their deep knowledge of libertarianism and Austrian economics but especially their ability to express their beliefs and defend their positions. One big reason for this is meeting every week to discuss a different libertarian topic. Well, was that meeting a fun intellectual free-for-all! It was great! We argued and debated for about an hour and a half. Finally, after they had worn me down in the classic, late-night libertarian debate topic—limited government (my position) vs. absence of government (the predominate position), we called it a night. The next evening after classes, virtually the entire club was making an all-night drive to attend a conference at the Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama.

My special thanks go to the members of the Libertarian Club at Washington University. Thanks again for the invitation — it was a real honor and pleasure to have the opportunity to exchange ideas on liberty with you all!


P.S. In my blog yesterday regarding how Americans might react to a foreign occupation of our country, I realized that I had forgotten to mention the television miniseries “Amerika” (yes, with a “k”) that ABC presented many years ago. It portrayed a Soviet takeover of the United States. (The Soviets had acted through the United Nations of course.) I’ll never forget the public high-school principal who gleefully cooperated with the occupiers. I’ve added a link to “Amerika” and actually a couple other links to “V” and “Red Dawn” in my blog.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Have you ever wondered what would happen if the United States were ever invaded and occupied by a foreign nation? I’m willing to bet that quite a few Americans, especially bureaucratic types, would fully cooperate with the occupiers once the realization set in that this was the “new order of things.” Recall the two different television miniseries “V” and “Amerika” and the movie “Red Dawn,” in which some Americans willingly cooperated with the alien occupiers and the Soviet occupiers and Soviet invaders of America. As for me, I’d be in the resistance, even if our group consisted of a minority of Americans. And I’d be resisting violently, even if the occupier was treating us kindly and benevolently and liberating us with curfews, warrantless searches of persons and homes, confiscation of guns and summary executions of violators, arbitrary seizures and incarcerations of people for indefinite terms, the unceasing promise of elections at sometime in the future, and the never-ending assurance that the occupation would only be temporary.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

In economics there is a principle attributed to the classical economist Jean Baptiste Say that says, “Supply creates its own demand.” The same might be said of the U.S. occupation of Iraq albeit in a varied form, “The supply of U.S. troops in Iraq creates its own demand for terrorism.” After all, it is the U.S. government’s interventionist policies in the Middle East that have produced terrorism against the United States in the first place, including

(1) the U.S. government’s intentional destruction of sewage and water treatment plants in Iraq and its brutal 12-year embargo against the Iraqi people, which contributed to widespread death and impoverishment among the Iraqi people;

(2) the stationing of U.S. troops, who are oftentimes overly preoccupied with sex and booze, on Islamic holy lands in Saudi Arabia;

(3) unconditional financial and military support of the Israel government regardless of right or wrong; and

(4) most recently, the illegal and immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq which have killed and maimed thousands of Iraqi people.

The irony of all this is that while U.S. soldiers and the American people are paying a high price for this morally bankrupt foreign policy in terms of death, loss of liberty, and economic well-being, the big winners from a foreign policy that creates an infinite supply of terrorists are those within the federal government who have yet to quench their insatiable thirst for more power over the lives and fortunes of more human beings.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Some of you might recall my 3-part series, “Obedience to Orders,” which I wrote last spring. The series produced a firestorm of controversy — among West Point officers and cadets, a Pentagon officer, and even the president of the VMI Alumni Association. The series showed how VMI, by producing graduates who do not blindly follow authority and blindly obey orders, produces superior officers to those of the professional military academies.

Yesterday, in an article entitled “Of Mice and Men,” posted on LewRockwell.com, Karen Kwiatkowski, a retired USAF colonel who spent the four and a half years prior to her retirement working at the Pentagon, detailed a personal experience she had at Air Force summer camp involving a power-hungry captain and four VMI cadets. As you read the pertinent excerpt from her article, ask yourself: If you had to be in the military, who would you rather have as a superior officer — the jerky, authoritarian, power-hungry, “follow-my-orders” captain or a VMI grad? Here’s the excerpt from Kwiatkowski’s article:

One needs training and practice to reliably and consistently suborn to others. I attended Air Force ROTC summer camp in 1980, and it was one of my first real experiences with the phenomenon of power mad authoritarianism. It was really quite incredible fun. At the camp, we were divided into flights, each with a training officer. Another flight’s training officer, a Captain, became obsessed with a group of four Virginia Military Institute cadets from our flight. This man would come over frequently to help ‘train’ us.

The Capitan wore a dark mustache squared off at the sides of the upper lip. While this was the only authorized presentation of a mustache in the Air Force at the time, we came to believe it signified a Fascistic id struggling for expression.

Being from Virginia Military Institute and having spent their entire college careers in far more restrictive and authoritarian climes, the four musketeers had the idea that ROTC summer camp really was a summer camp. The Capitan wanted instant obedience from them, but even more, he wanted to see fear and trembling in the eyes of these cadets. It was one of those situations where someone wasn’t going to get what they wanted.

Now, in a designed utopian world – the unhappy ones should have been the VMI cadets, but as you can imagine, they had a wonderful time. One day the Capitan lectured them on the rules of the uniform, of bearing, and the seriousness of the training camp. A day later all four showed up in formation wearing plastic Mickey Mouse sunglasses. Standing tall, in formation, pressed uniforms, straight faces, eyes forward, and Mickey.

The instructor was infuriated.

For their many transgressions, the Capitan would assign penalty marches, at his command. The four always obeyed instantly, marching as instructed, including at one point into a tall hedge where they dutifully stomped and slogged, if I may borrow a word from the distinguished Mr. Rumsfeld, for several minutes until Capitan looked back and noticed. Alas and alack, the challenge of central planning!

Capitan went after them, apoplectic and screaming. The rest of us enjoyed the spectacle. At the time, I didn’t realize we were getting a lesson on combating intellectual terrorism.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Shouldn’t President Bush order U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to remain in Iraq indefinitely, despite the terrorist attack on his hotel over the weekend? Wouldn’t Wolfowitz’s remaining in Iraq help to inspire the troops, especially since they’re stuck there indefinitely, like it or not? Given that Wolfowitz played a key role in plunging our country into the Iraqi mess, why wouldn’t the honorable thing be for him to refuse to permit the terrorists to run him out of the country and instead bravely remain in Iraq, in support of the troops, until the war on terror is finally won?

Saturday, October 25, 2003

We have recently updated our list of articles that deal with the U.S. government’s and UN’s 12-year embargo on the Iraqi people. Every single American owes it to himself to examine closely into this issue. A good place to start is Joy Gordon’s Harper’s Magazine article, “Cool War: Economic Sanctions as a Weapon of Mass Destruction.” (Ms. Gordon, professor of philosophy at Fairfield University, is the author of “A Peaceful, Silent, Deadly Remedy: The Ethics of Economic Sanctions,” forthcoming from Harvard University Press.)

The issue is important not only because of the widespread death and destruction that the sanctions produced among the Iraqi people, not only because the sanctions may have played a pivotal role in motivating the September 11 suicide bombers to do their dirty deed, but also because economic sanctions continue to be an important tool in the foreign-policy arsenal of the U.S. government.

In fact, just recently, and despite all the death and destruction that was wreaked upon the Iraqi people, President Bush’s decided to strengthen the U.S. government’s 30-year embargo against Cuban people — an embargo that has strengthened the Fidel Castro’s control over Cubans, provided Fidel with an excuse to rally Cubans “around the Cuban flag,” contributed to the desperate economic plight of the Cuban people, and infringed on the fundamental rights of freedom of travel and economic liberty of the American people.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Have you noticed how upset U.S. officials have been with the Germans for their opposition to the invasion of Iraq? Suppose that the German people elected a leader who openly proclaimed the following: “The U.S. government is right — Germany must become more militaristic to protect against terrorism and to liberate oppressed people in other countries. Therefore, as the new German leader, I am announcing a major increase in German military spending and in the size of Germany’s military forces. Germany’s foreign policy will now be based on that of the United States — to preemptively invade any nation that poses a potential long-term threat to our freedom and values and to invade independent and sovereign nations to liberate their people from tyranny.”

What would be the response of President Bush and the Pentagon to such an announcement? Would it not be: “We are hereby announcing a doubling of the Pentagon’s budget to protect America from new threats forming abroad”?

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Shiite Muslim leaders in Iraq are demanding that the drafters of the new Iraqi constitution be elected. Whoops! Now what does the pro-democracy U.S. government do? After all, don’t forget that “establishing democracy” became a primary post-invasion rationale for invading Iraq, especially after those much-vaunted and much-feared weapons of mass destruction failed to appear. According to the Washington Post

“We can’t wait that long,” a U.S. official involved in the process said. “It’s not practical.” Sunni leaders and U.S. officials also argue that Iraq is not stable enough to hold elections. Polling places could be targets of attacks by insurgents, the leaders and officials said, and the process could be open to manipulation by religious extremists and former members of ousted president Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party. Secular Iraqis and members of religious minorities, particularly the country’s small Christian community, are worried that Shiites who support a theocracy could dominate the election.

So there you have it. Unlike regimes that are appointed by U.S. government officials, democratic elections are just so messy and complicated. Even worse, elections could result in a non-U.S. government-approved regime — one that might even demand the ouster of all foreign occupation troops from Iraq.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

More than 30 U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq have missed their return flights after spending two weeks of R&R here in the United States. One soldier told CBS News, “I definitely don’t want to go back there. I think most people—if not all people who are there—don’t want to be there.” Hey, maybe those soldiers just haven’t been listening to all those sunny reports emanating from the White House or those fake military letters describing how swimmingly things are going in Iraq. I say: What’s wrong with “supporting the troops,” including those 30 soldiers, by opposing the president’s decision to keep them mired in the one-a-day Iraqi death trap?

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

The Washington Post is lamenting the decision of Virginia prosecutors to prosecute accused sniper John Allen Muhammad for “terrorism.” The paper is suggesting that the “war on terrorism” should never have been extended to traditional criminal offenses. How innocent … and how naïve! How could anyone reasonably think that that the authorities would not ultimately apply the war on terrorism against the civilian population? Haven’t the feds already done that with U.S. citizens who are locked away in military dungeons for what could be the rest of their lives without a trial or due process of law? Aren’t they already integrating the “war on terrorism” with their decades-long “war on drugs”? But maybe we should count our blessings: When the snipers were killing people, at least state and federal officials didn’t round up and incarcerate everyone driving a white van, smash into everyone’s home to conduct warrantless searches and seizures, go on a violent gun-confiscation spree, and conduct other such “war-on-terrorism” operations against the citizenry of Maryland and Virginia.

Monday, October 20, 2003

During his trip to the Philippines, President Bush compared the occupation and “rebuilding” of Iraq to the U.S. takeover of the Philippines in 1898. Reporting on the story, the New York Times observed,

While Mr. Bush made elliptical references to the Spanish-American War, some of his critics have argued that the justification for invading Iraq bore a resemblance to the rationale the United States used to begin that war in 1898, citing evidence, discounted as flimsy, that the battleship Maine had been deliberately blown up in Cuba by Spanish forces. That began the first war in which the United States seized territory beyond its continental shores, and the first in which other nations accused Washington of imperialist and colonial ambitions. Now, Mr. Bush faces similar accusations from critics questioning whether Saddam Hussein possessed weapons that posed an urgent threat. He gave no ground today. Mr. Bush said the United States had “liberated the Philippines from colonial rule,” using the same verb he often uses to describe American action in Iraq, but he skipped past Washington’s own 48-year-long occupation of this archipelago of 7,000 islands.

Unfortunately, neither President Bush nor the Times pointed out what some Iraqis might find somewhat disconcerting about the president’s comparison: By the time the U.S. “liberated” the Philippines with its conquest and 48-year military occupation of the country, hundreds of thousands of Filipinos were dead, most of them civilians.


Saturday, October 18, 2003

With a rubber stamp that even Saddam Hussein would have envied, the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly approved President Bush’s request for $87 billion for military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The appropriation, of course, further concretizes the U.S. government’s continued and indefinite military occupation of Iraq, where another four U.S. soldiers were killed yesterday. Another $20 billion was appropriated to “rebuild Iraq” but in a sop to the U.S. taxpayer, whose money is being used to “rebuild Iraq,” they converted half the grant into a “loan” from the United States to Iraq.Question 1: When someone lends someone else money, doesn’t the borrower have to consent to the loan? Question 2: If Iraq defaults on the “loan,” what will the U.S. government do to enforce the loan agreement — impose another 12-year economic embargo on the Iraqi people or invade Iraq again or simply occupy the country indefinitely until the Iraqi people repay their “loan” and, if so, wouldn’t that entail more “rebuilding of Iraq”?

My prediction: Before the “loan” even comes due, the U.S. government will be back before Congress, asking for many more billions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer money to continue the “rebuilding of Iraq,” and arguing, “Well, we’ve got so many billions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer money already in the project that we can’t stop now!”

Friday, October 17, 2003

Let me see if I have this clear: The U.S. government invades Iraq, a nation that has never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so, in order to fight its “war on terrorism,” even though U.S. officials, by their own admission, have no evidence that Iraq is involved in terrorism. The invasion kills and maims thousands of Iraqis, which in turn produces more anger and animosity among the Arab community, which in turn swells the ranks of al-Qaeda, which in turn produces terrorism in Iraq in the form of resistance to the U.S. occupation. U.S. officials then proclaim, “These terrorist attacks against our occupation forces in Iraq proves that we were right to invade Iraq to fight the war on terrorism,” while giving short shrift to the extremely low morale and the high rate of suicide among U.S. troops in Iraq, which shouldn’t be too surprising given that they are being forced to die for nothing. Do you ever wonder how much of their own nonsense U.S. officials really believe and how much is just blowing smoke to cover up their errors and wrongdoing?

Thursday, October 16, 2003

As Congress continues to debate whether to fund the $87 billion to pay for the U.S. military’s occupation of Iraq, is anyone asking an important question: What right does the U.S. government have occupying Iraq? Okay, let’s assume that the president and his associates are telling the truth and that they just made an “honest mistake” in believing that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. How does such an “honest mistake” justify the resulting occupation of the country? It seems to me that what they’re saying is, “Whoops, we’ve obviously invaded this country by mistake, and we know that we’ve killed and maimed thousands of people in the process, but, hey, no one’s perfect, right? Oh, but while we’re here, we might as well stay for the indefinite future and, anyway, Congress will approve the billions of dollars in expenditures to fund the occupation because it has to support the troops that invaded as a result of our mistake.”

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

If democracy is the test of a free society, as U.S. officials constantly maintain, then how can they claim that the Iraqi people are liberated, given that the U.S. military authorities are running Iraq and are not permitting elections, even at the local level? Or is U.S. freedom now defined by whether one form of non-democratic rule is more benign than another form?

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal editorialized yesterday that “Iraqis are free to think and speak as they wish.” Oh? Maybe the Journal’s editorial board isn’t familiar with Iraqi Proconsul Paul Bremer’s edict establishing the rules under which the Iraqi press is permitted to publish. For example, as Robert Fisk pointed out in his article “Occupation and Censorship,” Bremer has threatened to shut down newspapers that “advocate the return of the Baath party or issue any statements that represent the Baath either directly or indirectly.” Of course, the scarier possibility is that the Journal is fully aware of Bremer’s rules and considers them — and the dictatorial power to establish them — as proof that “Iraqis are free to think and speak as they wish.”

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Conservatives are having fits over what to do about the Rush Limbaugh scandal. After decades of ardently and enthusiastically endorsing the war on drugs and supporting the state’s punishing of people for engaging in self-destructive behavior, all of a sudden these “law-and-order” conservatives are “feeling Rush’s pain” and not rushing to send him to the hoosegow.

No libertarian wants to see anyone punished by the state for engaging in self-destructive conduct but let’s not ignore that there’s an important legal principle involved here too: equal application of the law. If we’re going to let the people off the hook for drug crimes simply because they’re rich, white, and politically influential (Does the name Noelle Bush come to mind?), while letting the heavy weight of the law continue falling on racial minorities, the poor, and politically weak, how fair is that? And if a bad law is not going to be applied to the elite in society, then what incentive do the elite ever have to repeal the law?

Regardless of what happens to Rush on the criminal level, let’s just hope that as he rehabilitates himself from drug addiction, he has a crisis of conscience that enables him to lead conservatives to abandon their embrace of the most immoral, destructive, hypocritical, and racist domestic war in our lifetime and to join up with us libertarians in our quest to restore liberty, morality, peace, harmony, and compassion to our society.

Monday, October 13, 2003

The Washington Post reports that after the publication of Robert Novak’s column in which he disclosed the name of Joseph Wilson’s wife as a CIA operative, President Bush’s senior adviser, Karl Rove, telephoned a reporter who, according to the Post, Newsweek has now identified as MSNBC television host Chris Matthews and told him that Wilson’s wife was “fair game.” What was Wilson’s “crime”? Nothing more than telling the truth about those 16 deceptive words in President Bush’s State of the Union address.

One issue, of course, is: Who disclosed the name of Wilson’s wife to Novak in the first place?

A second issue is: Why would anyone want to make a person’s spouse “fair game” for telling the truth, especially one whose life might be placed in danger by making her “fair game”?

A third issue is: Did Bush know that Rove made that call to Matthews and, if so, when did he know it and what, if anything, did he do about it?

Saturday, October 11, 2003

President Bush has announced a renewed campaign against Cuba’s dictator Fidel Castro, which unfortunately does nothing more than renew the tired, old U.S. foreign policies of the past. The president intends to:

(1) Continue strengthening the decades-long U.S. embargo against Cuba, which will cause even more misery for the Cuban people;

(2) Continue to attack and punish U.S. citizens who travel to Cuba without U.S. government permission for exercising a right – freedom of travel – that some people would consider to be fundamental, inherent, and unalienable; and

(3) Continue to forcibly repatriate Cuban refugees into communist tyranny – that is, those who are captured on the high seas before they’re able to set foot on “dry” U.S. land.

Excuse me, but wasn’t it these types of policies that strengthened the control of Saddam Hussein while at the same time producing death and destruction for the Iraqi people, which in turn ended up producing terrorist attacks against the United States, which in turn produced a massive consolidation of federal power and massive oppression of civil liberties here at home? Why in the world would federal officials want to renew such a failed policy against Cuba?

Friday, October 10, 2003

Although all the facts have yet to come out on the kidnapping and robbery case involving Kathleen Gregg, the wife of N.H. Senator Judd Gregg, preliminary indications are that it’s just another normal, perverse consequence of the U.S. government’s war on drugs.

Here are the facts: Two men break into the senator’s home and threaten Ms. Gregg at knifepoint. They rob her of jewelry, golf clubs (!), and $50 (!) from her wallet. Then, they take her to her bank, where she withdraws a few thousand dollars, which she gives to the robbers.A day or so later, the two suspects are arrested in New Jersey in an undercover drug-surveillance operation in a known drug trafficking area. One suspect is 26 years old and the other is 31.

While it is certainly possible that the suspects were selling drugs in that area, the bigger probability is that they were buying drugs, which would be supported by their desperate need to secure money through their burglary, theft, robbery, and kidnapping.

Why go to all that trouble to buy drugs? Because the black-market price created by the government’s war on drugs has become so exorbitant that drug addicts often resort to crimes of violence in order to feed their habits. After all, when was the last time you saw an alcoholic wino robbing, burglarizing, stealing, or kidnapping to buy a bottle of wine?

Let’s be grateful that Ms. Gregg escaped her ordeal alive. Let’s also keep in mind the federal government’s probable role in it.

Thursday, October 9, 2003

Just when you thought things can’t get worse as a result of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, they do. The New York Times reports that untold numbers of shoulder-fired, heat-seeking missiles from Saddam Hussein’s arsenal are unaccounted for.

More ominously, several portable missiles have been fired at incoming planes at Baghdad International Airport, which is why the airport still isn’t opened. According to the Times, “Most those incidents have not been reported to the public.” (Why scare people even more than they already are?)

Moreover, the black market includes American-made Stinger missiles that U.S. officials furnished Islamic guerrillas during the Afghan resistance to Soviet occupation in the 1980s. (Does the name Osama bin Laden come to mind?) In fact, two such Stinger missiles were recently found on a North Korean ship smuggling drugs into Japan.

U.S. officials in Iraq are trying to alleviate the problem by offering $500 per missile, which has produced some turn-ins, but unfortunately the black-market price for the missiles is $5,000.

The missiles are just one more example of the perverse consequences of the U.S. government’s morally bankrupt foreign policy, a policy which unfortunately will continue to redound to the detriment of the American people.

Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Imagine that — it seems that California voters were able to handle a statewide election with 135 candidates after all and without a terrible amount of confusion. We can fairly assume that most everyone voted for the person he wanted to be governor and that no one was overly traumatized over having too many choices from which to select. Voter turnout appears to have been higher than usual.

So much for the rationale behind ballot-barrier laws, including the one here in Virginia, which requires 10,000 certified signatures of registered voters from every congressional district across the state before a person can run for statewide office. I’m referring, of course, to the rationale that holds that regular people are too dumb or stupid to be able to handle more than 2 or 3 candidates on the ballot and, thus, ballot-barrier laws are needed to ensure that the people are not presented with too many choices.

Let’s face it—there’s one and only one reason that Republicans and Democrats have enacted ballot-barrier laws—to protect themselves from the virtues of political competition, especially from those who oppose their socialist and interventionist ideas and policies. And that’s one big reason why political campaigns are usually so darned boring, unlike the one in California.

Tuesday, October 7, 2003

The New York Times reports that a panel chosen by the Bush administration has reaching the conclusion that “hostility toward America has reached shocking levels” among Arabs and Muslims and that President Bush’s invasion and occupation of Iraq have increased anger against the United States. (Well, duh!) According to the Times, “The advisory panel said that it recognized that American policies might well be the root of the problem, but that Washington could do far more to present its side of the issues and rebut widespread misinformation among Muslims overseas.”

So, what do the feds conclude from this? No, not a reevaluation of the U.S. government’s morally bankrupt foreign policy, including federal support of cruel and brutal dictators who tyrannize, torture, brutalize, and kill their own people, invasions and wars of aggression against countries that haven’t attacked the United States, and sticking their noses in longtime disputes and animosities. Instead, the feds are calling for (surprise, surprise) spending even more U.S. taxpayer money explaining to Arabs and Muslims why the U.S. government’s morally bankrupt foreign policy should make them happy rather than angry and hostile.

The interventionists just don’t get it. Let’s hope the American people do, before it’s too late.

Monday, October 6, 2003

Imagine that — former Iraqi soldiers are protesting because the U.S. government isn’t giving them money for doing nothing. Did you ever think that Iraqis would so quickly adopt the socialist welfare-state thinking that unfortunately now characterizes our country — the thinking that has produced the notion that people have the right to the wealth and savings of others and that the government owes them a living? Of course, perhaps it’s not too surprising that the Iraqi soldiers believe they have a right to government welfare loot, given that Saddam and his Baath Party embraced the socialist economic philosophy too.

Saturday, October 4, 2003

By and large, foreigners love Americans in the private sector — tourists, cultural groups, businessmen, and the like. Even when the occasional tourist gets drunk or commits some act of misconduct, foreigners ordinarily ascribe it to individual wrongdoing rather than hold it against all Americans.

It’s totally different, however, with respect to the U.S. government sector, which is not a beloved institution among foreigners. When U.S. diplomats or military personnel do something bad to foreigners, it inevitably engenders anger and hatred toward our country generally. There is, of course, the arrogant attitude for which U.S. diplomats are widely known among foreigners, especially in Third World countries. But there’s also the behavior of military personnel stationed overseas. How many times have we heard of sex or alcohol incidents by U.S. troops that have engendered animosity toward America — in, for example, Japan, Korea, and Germany?

One of the major problems with Iraq is that the occupation — and the danger that comes with resistance to the occupation — only magnifies the propensity of soldiers to do things that might otherwise be considered bizarre. See, for example, “Bogged Down in Iraq,” which appeared in the September 28 issue of the Toronto Sun.

One of these days, there will be untold numbers of military personnel having to deal with the psychological consequences of acts committed as a result of having been placed in a position in which their lives were in constant danger from people resisting an occupation that was based on a deceptive and immoral invasion. By the same token, the American people will have to live with the consequences of the anger and animosity that the invasion and occupation of Iraq have produced among foreigners, especially if that anger and animosity lead to acts of terrorism against the United States, which would seem likely.

The only long-term solution to all of this is the libertarian one: bring all the troops home, prevent the U.S. government from serving as the world’s international policeman and intervener, and free the American people (i.e., the private sector) to do what they do best — freely interact with the people of the world, establishing harmonious business and personal relationships with people everywhere. Interventionists call that “isolationism.” Our founders and ancestors called it a republic.

Friday, October 3, 2003

President Bush is asking Congress to appropriate $600 million more to help him continue searching for Saddam Hussein’s infamous “weapons of mass destruction.” Is this because he feels that Saddam and his WMD still pose an imminent threat to the United States? Given the hundreds of billions of dollars to invade, occupy, and “rebuild” Iraq and the related thousands of deaths and widespread destruction, wouldn’t it have been cheaper to simply have accepted Saddam’s prewar invitation to permit CIA agents into Iraq to guide the UN inspectors to wherever they wanted? Why did the president rebuff the offer? Maybe it’s because he took Saddam’s invitation, along with Saddam’s denial that he possessed WMD, as conclusive proof of his guilt.

Thursday, October 2, 2003

If the Iraqi people end up enacting a constitution and bill of rights modeled on that of the United States, will the U.S. occupational authority be subject to it or superior to it? The issue will be of importance to the 10,000 inmates (and growing) being held by U.S officials in Iraq without charges, arrest warrants, indictments, trials, convictions, and any judicial supervision whatsoever. It will also be of importance to the families of the inmates, who are currently powerless to do anything about it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2003

Attempting to deflect calls for an independent counsel in the Joseph Wilson scandal, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft responded that “career attorneys” in the Justice Department would be handling the investigation. That’s supposed to assure us? Excuse me, but wasn’t it “career attorneys” in the Justice Department who handled the Ruby Ridge case, which became notorious for the perjury and obstruction of justice committed by Justice Department officials? And wasn’t it “career attorneys” in the Justice Department who were involved in the issuance of lies in the Waco massacre? (Also, see Revisiting Waco, which delves into some of the important lies emitted from career Justice Department officials regarding the Waco killings.)

While we’re on the subject of the Wilson scandal, doesn’t it seem rather strange that Karl Rove would content himself with simply a mild denial to Wilson’s accusation that Rove was one of the leakers? Wouldn’t you think that Rove and the Bush people would instead be coming out with all guns blazing, blasting Wilson as hard and as publicly as he could, doing their best to embarrass him as a person who makes false accusations against others? Isn’t that what the Nixon White House did when Woodward and Bernstein and the Washington Post made a false assertion during the Watergate scandal?

Further, some of the government’s propaganda mouthpieces on cable television networks are suggesting that the leakers’ intent was simply to punish Wilson for not steadfastly hewing to the official version of events regarding Saddam’s so-called weapons of mass destruction. (“You’re either with us or against us.”) Unfortunately, the propaganda mouthpieces miss the important point made by Wilson, which is the ruthless message that the leak was designed to send to all other high federal officials: “Cross us, and we’ll not only come after you but also your wife and maybe even your children.”

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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.