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Blame the Empire, Not Muslims


Yesterday, I appeared on the Glenn Beck Show (at 27:40), with Judge Andrew Napolitano as substitute host, to discuss U.S. Rep. Peter King’s upcoming congressional hearings on the “radicalization of Muslims.”

Let me tell you what’s going on here.

If U.S. statists can convince Americans that the terrorist problem lies with Muslims and Islam — in other words, a religious problem, then that will provide the justification for continuing all the bad things that the U.S. government has been doing to people in the Middle East (and elsewhere around the world, such as in Latin America with its deadly and destructive war on drugs).

Even better, from the standpoint of government officials such as Peter King, who serves as chairman of House Homeland Security Committee, it will enable the U.S. government to continue maintaining and expanding its massive and ever-growing anti-terrorist powers over the American people, such as the Patriot Act, warrantless searches, indefinite detention, NSA spying, torture, TSA porn-scanning, terrorism color codes, and other such anti-freedom nonsense.

Isn’t it interesting that Rep. King is scheduling his much-hyped hearings on Muslims and Islam at the same time that some mainstream commentators are finally focusing on the U.S. government’s longtime support of and partnership with the brutal dictators of the Middle East as well as the rendition-torture agreements that were entered into between the U.S. government and such dictatorships?

Focusing on Muslims and Islam provides a convenient smokescreen to cover up what the U.S. government has been doing to people in the Middle East, including Muslims. Of course, that’s the motivation behind the sudden “we love the Middle East protestors” attitude among President Obama and other U.S. statists. The last thing they want Americans to focus on is the U.S. government support of — with cash, weaponry, guidance, and training — the Middle East dictators that the protestors are now risking their lives to oust from power.

The fact is that the radicalization-of-Muslims issue is nothing more than a red herring, one that American statists are using to justify the continuation of the U.S. government’s imperialist activities in the Middle East (and around the world), along with the ever-increasing control over the American people with anti-terrorist powers that also happen to be the hallmark of the Middle East dictatorships.

Think about it: How many times did you ever hear statists complaining about the Muslim threat during the Cold War? None! Back then, it was the “communist threat” that was used to continue the ever-increasing expansion of the garrison state. In fact, statists like to forget that the U.S. government was actually partnering with radical Muslims when it was U.S. government trying to bring an end to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

Then, when the Berlin Wall fell, and the U.S. military and military-industrial complex went into a panic over the possibility that Americans might end their dominant and privileged position in society, how many times did statists decry Islam as a problem? None! Throughout the 1990s, the official enemy was Saddam Hussein, who had previously been a partner of the U.S. government during the 1980s.

During the 1990s, the U.S. government was also killing Iraqis almost non-stop, with the Persian Gulf War, the brutal sanctions, and the deadly no-fly zones. It was stationing troops near Islamic holy lands. The U.S. government’s attitude was that the value of Iraqi life was essentially worthless, given U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright’s declaration that the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children from the sanctions were “worth it.” The U.S. government was providing unconditional financial and military aid to the Israeli government while, at the same time, supporting, partnering, and helping the brutal Middle East dictators who were terrorizing, torturing, and killing their own people — the same regimes that the demonstrators are now trying to oust.

What do statists say about all this? They imply that the people of the Middle East either loved it or were indifferent to it. Oh, sure, people were being arrested, tortured, raped, starved, and killed, but their love for the U.S. government, which was funding and guiding their oppressors, say the statists, was boundless.

But it wasn’t. Throughout it all, the anger and rage against the United States was simmering and then boiling. It erupted in terrorist retaliation in the WTC bombing in 1993, the attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the attack on the USS Cole, and the 9/11 attacks.

The retaliators have always made it clear as to what motivated them to retaliate with terrorist attacks: U.S. foreign policy — that is, the horrific things the U.S. Empire was doing to people in the Middle East.

As Ron Paul put it in that famous presidential debate, the terrorists came over here to kill Americans because the U.S. government was over in the Middle East killing people.

Not so, said the statists. They claimed that the terrorists are lying. The truth, the statist claimed, is that people in the Middle East love the U.S. government’s foreign policy but that a small group of “radicalized” Muslims just hate the United States for its “freedom and values.”

That position enabled the U.S. government to continue its imperialist activities after 9/11, including the undeclared wars against Iraq and Afghanistan, which simply poured more fuel on the fire that had already engendered so much anti-American anger and rage. As each new torture, imprisonment, and killing in those countries produced 10 more potential terrorists, American statists steadfastly maintained, “The fact that our government is killing their families and friends has nothing to do with their anger; they just hate us for our freedom and values.”

Equally important, the U.S. government used the 9/11 attacks to level an enormous and ever-growing attack on the civil liberties of the American people. That’s what the enemy-combatant doctrine, the Patriot Act, the torture, the indefinite detention, the denial of due process, the denial of trial by jury, and the denial of speedy trial were all about.

U.S. statists know that if the American people decide to stop the evil in which the U.S. government has engaged in the Middle East, including the ardent support of the dictators that people are now ousting, then the threat of terrorist retaliation evaporates, which means no more “war on terrorism” and no more excuses for such things as TSA porn-scanning machines, lawless Patriot Act searches, financial privacy intrusions, Gitmo, torture, kangaroo tribunals, and suspension of constitutional guarantees.

In other words, if the American people finally recognize the truth about what our nation has become with a government as empire, they just might decide to dismantle the U.S. government’s entire imperialist and militarist apparatus, along with the ever-growing taxes, spending, and debt needed to fund it.

That’s what scares government officials like Peter King to death.

That’s why it’s so important for statists to create a distraction, which is precisely what Congressman King is going with his ridiculous hearings. “It’s Islam. It’s the Muslims,” the statists will cry during those hearings. “Don’t even think about looking at what your government has been doing to people in the Middle East for decades. Continue to defer to the authority of your public officials. They would never mislead you. They would never lie to you. They are here to help you.”

If enough Americans can finally break through the lies and deception, then we can put our nation back on the right road — the road envisioned by the Founding Fathers — the road to peace, prosperity, freedom, and a constitutional republic.

This post was written by:

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.