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, December 2011


Friday, December 30, 2011

Dorothy Rabinowitzs Attack on Ron Paul, Part 4

Dorothy Rabinowitzs Attack on Ron Paul, Part 1

Dorothy Rabinowitzs Attack on Ron Paul, Part 2

Dorothy Rabinowitzs Attack on Ron Paul, Part 3

The most disgraceful but, at the same time, the most revealing and, also, the most ominous aspect of Wall Street Journal editorial board member Dorothy Rabinowitz’s attack on Ron Paul was when she accused Paul of being the best-known of our homegrown propagandists for our chief enemies in the world.

That is one fascinating and honest revelation of the interventionist mindset.

After all, lets not forget two important things about the country in which we now live:

(1) We now live in a country in which the president, operating through his military forces and the CIA, now wields the power to assassinate both foreigners and Americans; and

(2) We now live in a country in which the military wields the authority to round up both foreigners and Americans and incarcerate them indefinitely in military facilities without trial and treat them as terrorists.

Whats the standard by which these powers are exercised? We don’t know. Its classified. Were not permitted to know because to reveal the standard would, they tell us, threaten national security.

But what we do know is that one of the Americans they’ve assassinated was alleged to be precisely what Rabinowitz has accused Ron Paul of being: a homegrown propagandist for our chief enemies of the world.

That’s why President Obama, the Pentagon, and the CIA assassinated American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki for being a homegrown propagandist for our chief enemies of the world.

And therein lies one of the chief threats to a free society posed by interventionism.

And let me tell you something: Rabinowitz is not some interventionist aberration. Shes a model for the interventionist mindset. She is the epitome of the paradigm of foreign interventionism.

In that one sentence, Rabinowitz revealed the true essence of the interventionist mind one that conflates criticism of government policy with those who are violently resisting the U.S. governments actions overseas. For her, they are obviously one and the same thing.

After all, no one seriously believes that Ron Paul has formally joined al Qaeda or the insurgency in Afghanistan or the people resisting U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere. Not even Rabinowitz believes that.

Then why would she say that? Why would she accuse Paul of the precise thing that al-Awlaki was assassinated for?

Because her mindset is obviously such that when a person criticizes what the government is doing to people overseas, the critic automatically has joined the other side.

Rabinowitz accused Ron Paul of being a homegrown propagandist for our chief enemies of the world because she honestly believes it. And the reason she believes it is based on nothing more than Paul’s criticism of the U.S. governments policies abroad.

This is one of the big reasons that we libertarians have been opposing the enemy-combatant doctrine ever since it was adopted immediately after 9/11. We have consistently maintained that you cant trust the president, the military, and the CIA with the decision as to who is guilty of terrorism and who isn’t. That’s what a criminal trial is for to determine who is guilty of a crime and who isn’t. And if anyone doubts whether terrorism is in fact a federal criminal offense, all he need do is go look at the U.S. Code or visit any number of federal courts across the land in which people have been indicted and are being prosecuted for terrorism.

Equally important, we have repeatedly emphasized that whenever a country’s ruler, along with his military and intelligence forces, wields these types of omnipotent powers, officials inevitably begin perceiving critics of the regime as part of the enemy forces. Thus, the round-ups, the detention, the torture, and the executions inevitably expand to encompass critics of the regime, especially during crises or emergencies, when the citizenry is frightened.

Look at Egypt, where the U.S.-supported military dictatorship absolutely refuses to give up the same powers that are now wielded by Obama, the Pentagon, and the CIA. Those are the same powers that angered the Egyptian people to such an extent that they violently revolted against the tyranny of their own government. For 30 years, Egypts military dictatorship has used those powers to round up and incarcerate critics and dissidents, torture them, and execute them.

And all in the name of national security, order and stability, and keeping the people safe.

Oh, and don’t forget these 30-year-old emergency powers were supposed to be only temporary. To this day, Egypt’s military dictatorship, said to be the friend of the people, has bared its fangs by absolutely refusing to give up its power to round up people as terrorists (and as drug dealers), incarcerate them without trial, torture them, and execute them the same power now wielded by the president and the Pentagon here in the United States as part of their war on terrorism.

And, hey, the mindset of the Egyptian military is the same as the interventionist mindset in America. A critic of the regime is an enemy of the regime. By criticizing the regime, he has joined the other side. He has become a propagandist for the nations enemies. He needs to be treated accordingly. How else can national security be preserved? How else can order and stability be maintained? How else can the people be kept safe?

And make no mistake about it: Deep down, the people in the Pentagon and the CIA share the Rabinowitz mindset. After all, lets not forget who’s been supporting, cooperating, training, funding, and cozying up to Egypt’s totalitarian military regime for the last 30 years.

Yes, the Pentagon and the CIA. That’s because they’ve believed in the Egyptian military dictatorship. They’ve favored what that dictatorship has been doing for the past 30 years. After all, what better way to protect national security and establish order and stability and keep people safe than by silencing people who are objecting to the totalitarian policies under which they are living?

And its not as though the Pentagon and the CIA were unaware of the Egypt’s military dictatorships excellent system for torturing people. They were fully aware of it given that they have chosen Egypt’s military dictatorship to be one of their foreign torture partners, a partnerships in which Egyptian military goons torture people who U.S. officials send to them for that purpose.

No American should have any pretensions on whether the Pentagon and the CIA will follow whatever orders the president issues, especially in the midst of an emergency or crisis. They loyally followed orders to round up Americans and cart them away to concentration camps in World War II. They loyally followed orders to arrest, incarcerate, and torture American citizen Jose Padilla, after his removal from the jurisdiction of the federal courts. They loyally followed orders to assassinate American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki. They have loyally followed orders to incarcerate indefinitely without trial, torture, and execute a large number of foreign citizens. They have loyally followed orders to sanction, invade, and occupy countries that have never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so, killing and maiming countless people in the process.

Make no mistake about it: To protect our national security and to maintain order and stability and to keep us safe especially in an emergency or crisis the military and the CIA will follow whatever orders the president issues to them. In their mind, by doing so they will be supporting and defending the Constitution and the rights and freedoms we all enjoy as Americans.

The Rabinowitz mindset, as manifested in her piece that the Wall Street Journal knowingly, deliberately, and intentionally chose to publish, constitutes a perfect revelation of the grave danger to freedom that Americans now face under the governments omnipotent power to round up Americans and to assassinate Americans. It is the same threat that the Egyptian people face. And the Chinese people. And the North Korean people. And the Cuban people. It is the threat that people living under totalitarian regimes throughout history have had to face.

It is the very real danger in which critics of government policy are viewed as enemies of the state people who have joined the other side fifth columnists people who have crossed the line and become propagandists for the nations enemies people who need to be dealt with accordingly by the nations military and intelligence forces, whose mission is to protect national security, maintain order and stability, and keep the people safe.

What follows the round-ups, incarceration, torture, and execution is oftentimes silence a deafening silence as the rest of the citizenry realize what lies in store for them if they protest the treatment of those who have already been forced into the concentration camps, the military dungeons, the torture chambers, and the execution rooms.

It is tremendously encouraging that interventionists are openly attacking Ron Paul for his foreign policy views views that mirror those of Americas Founding Fathers and, in the process, revealing their interventionist mindsets. It shows that the interventionists are getting nervous about the fact that increasing numbers of Americans are finally recognizing that the interventionists have brought us nothing but moral debauchery, economic depression, financial bankruptcy, and ever-increasing loss of our rights and freedoms and who are now wishing to restore a free, peaceful, harmonious, and prosperous society and a constitutional republic to our land.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dorothy Rabinowitz’s Attack on Ron Paul, Part 3

Dorothy Rabinowitzs Attack on Ron Paul, Part 1

Dorothy Rabinowitzs Attack on Ron Paul, Part 2

One of the most disappointing aspects of Wall Street Journal editorial member Dorothy Rabinowitz’s attack on Ron Paul for his foreign-policy views pertains to the motives of those who are driven to commit terrorist attacks on the United States. While repeatedly pooh-poohing Paul’s emphasis on U.S. foreign policy for being the motive behind the 9/11 attacks, Rabinowitz failed to reveal her own thinking on the subject. That’s truly a shame because she passed up an opportunity to give people a glimpse into the interventionist mind on this important subject.

Does Rabinowitz take the same line that many U.S. officials took immediately after the 9/11 attacks: that the terrorists were motivated by hatred for Americas freedom and values? Was it their disdain for rock and roll, religious liberty, gun rights, and freedom of speech that drove them to commit those suicide attacks?

Alas, we dont know because Rabinowitz didnt reveal her thinking on the issue. Instead, she simply mocked what libertarians, including Paul, have been saying ever since the 9/11 attacks that what the U.S. government had been doing to people in the Middle East produced so much anger and rage that it ultimately manifested itself in acts of terrorism.

Lets examine some of those aspects of U.S. foreign policy and ask ourselves what Rabinowitz would say about their possible effect on people in the Middle East.

Lets consider, for example, the brutal sanctions that the U.S. government and the UN (at the behest of the U.S. government) imposed and enforced against Iraq for more than 10 years, which contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children.

What would Rabinowitz say about that? Would she say that the sanctions didn’t really do that? Would she say that the brunt of the sanctions fell only on Saddam Hussein and his inner circle? Would she deny that people in the Middle East attributed the deaths of the children to the sanctions? What would she say about the two high UN officials Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponek who resigned in protest against what they called genocide?

Or would she say that even though hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children died as a result of the sanctions, people in the Middle East didn’t really get angry about it? Would she say the same thing that U.S. officials said about Asians during the Vietnam War that people in the Middle East simply don’t place the same value on human life as Americans do? Would she say that friends and relatives of the deceased children would have been okay with the deaths given that the sanctions were meant for a good purpose regime change in Iraq?

Alas, we just don’t know what Rabinowitz would say about that because, for whatever reason, she chose not address the issue in her attack on Ron Paul.

In 1996 five years before the sanctions were finally lifted U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright was asked by Sixty Minutes: We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that is more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?

Albright responded: I think that is a very hard choice, but the price, we think, the price is worth it.

Did any U.S. official, including President Clinton, condemn Albright or correct her? Nope. Presumably their mindset was the same as hers.

So, what would Rabinowitz say about that? Would she say that Sixty Minutes misquoted Albright or took her words out of context? Would she say that Albright forgot to deny that half-a-million children had died as a result of the sanctions? Or would she say that people in the Middle East, including the parents of the children, would not actually get too upset over such a statement by the U.S. governments official spokesman before the UN?

Again, we don’t know what Rabinowitz would say because she remained silent on the issue in her attack on Ron Paul. What a shame because it would have been fascinating to gain a glimpse of the interventionist mindset on this important issue.

Or consider the unconditional foreign aid, both cash and weaponry, that the U.S. government has long provided the Israeli government. No matter where one falls on the divide between Israel and the Palestinians, everyone agrees that there is tremendous anger and hatred among many Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims over the existence of the Israeli state and what they consider has been horrible mistreatment of the Palestinians by the Israeli government. Therefore, doesn’t it stand to reason that such anger and hatred would apply to the foreign regime that unconditionally provides cash and armaments to the regime that such people hate?

What would Rabinowitz say about that? Again, we just don’t know.

What about the U.S. governments stationing of troops near Mecca and Medina? Everyone knows that those are the holiest lands in the Muslim religion. Most everyone also knows that many Muslims hold that non-Muslims are infidels. Thus, wouldn’t it stand to reason that such Muslims might get angry over the stationing of people whom they consider infidels near lands that they consider sacred?

What would Rabinowitz say about that? Again, we just don’t know.

Do you recall the sex-abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison? There was a batch of videos that the U.S. government ordered to be kept secret from the American people and the people of the world. Apparently the videos contained things so horrific that U.S. military officials felt that disclosing them would incite people in the Middle East to attack U.S. troops.

Doesn’t that imply that people in the Middle East can get full of rage over U.S. government misconduct in that part of the world?

What would Rabinowitz say about that? Would she say that the U.S. government was behaving in a silly manner in keeping those videos under wraps because it is inconceivable that people in the Middle East might get angry over the misconduct of U.S. troops in the region?

Again, we just don’t know because Rabinowitz failed to tell us.

Indeed, I cant help but wonder how Rabinowitz would respond to the fact that the anti-American terrorists themselves, time after time, have pointed to the bad things the U.S. government has done in the Middle East as the root of their anger.

Go back, for example, to Ramzi Yousef’s angry tirade to the federal judge at his sentencing hearing for his role in the 1993 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Or Osama bin Ladens fatwah against the United States. Or the Ft. Hood bomber. Or the Detroit bomber. They all point to U.S. foreign policy as the source of their rage, not hatred for rock and roll, religious liberty, freedom of speech, or any other of Americas freedom and values.

What would Rabinowitz say about that? We just dont know.

Or maybe Rabinowitz would say that motive just doesnt matter. Maybe she would say that once the terrorists attacked on 9/11, all that mattered was the wreaking of vengeance.

But wouldnt that be a short-sighted view? Establishing why someone did something might be important in establishing policy that avoids such conduct in the future, which might go a long way in avoiding any more loss of innocent life.

Consider a real-life example of where establishing motive was important. After Timothy McVeighs terrorist attack on the federal building in Oklahoma City, libertarians pointed to what had motivated McVeigh to commit his act of terrorism the federal massacre of the Branch Davidians at Waco.

Statists, who wanted no examination into what the feds had done at Waco (or at Ruby Ridge), leveled the same type of nasty attack on libertarians that Rabinowitz has leveled on Ron Paul. Trying to shut down any public discussion of the federal wrongdoing at Waco, the statists accused libertarians of being justifiers. You people are justifiers, they cried. By pointing to McVeighs motive, you’re justifying his conduct and you’re sympathizing with him.

But notice something important about Waco and Oklahoma City. Thanks to the spotlight that libertarians shone on Waco (and Ruby Ridge), there have been no more Waco-type massacres of American citizens by U.S. officials and, consequently, no more Oklahoma City type of retaliatory terrorist attacks.

The principle is no different with U.S. foreign policy and anti-American terrorism. Dismantle the empire and end the interventionism, and the anger and rage that motivates foreigners to retaliate with terrorism disintegrates, which, by the way, would also eliminate the excuse for taking away our rights and freedoms here at home in the name of keeping us safe.

While were on the subject of motive, is it possible that Rabinowitzs motive in leveling her superficial attack on Ron Paul was to dissuade Americans from examining and questioning U.S. foreign policy, including such things as sanctions, foreign aid, invasions, coups, occupations, kidnappings, support of dictatorships, torture, secret prison camps, indefinite detention, kangaroo military tribunals, out of control spending and debt, TSA porn scans and body groping, the PATRIOT Act, telecom immunity, sneak and peek searches, and all of the other deadly and destructive anti-freedom things that interventionists hold dear?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dorothy Rabinowitz’s Attack on Ron Paul, Part 2

Dorothy Rabinowitzs Attack on Ron Paul, Part 1

Given the ongoing tensions between the U.S. government and the Iranian regime, it is not surprising that Wall Street Journal editorial board member Dorothy Rabinowitz brought up Iran in her attack on Ron Paul’s libertarian views on foreign policy.

What was disappointing, again, was the superficial level of her attack. Here was an excellent opportunity to show people the nature of the interventionist mindset, how it applies specifically to Iran, and how it differs from that of libertarians.

Instead, Rabinowitz limited her remarks to mocking Ron Paul over a statement that Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made long ago about wiping Israel off the map and Ahmadinejad’s denial of the Holocaust.

What a shame because Rabinowitz missed the opportunity to discuss Iran in the context of a central issue of her op-ed whether U.S. foreign policy ever engenders so much anger and hatred for the United States that the victims are motivated to retaliate with acts of terrorism.

Consider, for example, the CIA-instigated coup in Iran in 1953, which ousted the democratically elected prime minister of the country from office and replaced him with a brutal unelected dictator, one who continued oppressing the Iranian people for the next 25 years.

It would have been fascinating to read Rabinowitz’s take on the CIA coup. Does she believe that the U.S. government was justified in destroying Iran’s experiment with democracy and installing a brutal U.S.-supported dictatorship in its stead? Does she consider the CIA’s coup an act of war against a sovereign and independent regime? Does she consider it an act of goodness for the benefit of the Iranian people? Does she justify the coup by resorting to the old time-honored mantra of the national-security state, national security?

Equally important, how does she perceive the reaction of the Iranian people upon learning what the CIA had done to their country? Does she feel that Iranians became angry over the coup? Or does she take the position that it is inconceivable the coup would generate anger among Iranians given that a friend of the United States was installed into power?

When the Iranian revolution occurred in 1979, after 25 years of brutal and oppressive U.S. government-supported dictatorship, some of the revolutionaries took U.S. diplomats hostage, which was clearly an act of terrorism. What would Rabinowitz say about that? Would she say that the terrorist retaliation had nothing to do with what the CIA had done 25 years before and nothing to do with the U.S. governments support of the Iranian dictatorship for the previous 25 years? Would she say that the terrorism was instead motivated by hatred for Americas freedom and values? Indeed, would she argue that Americas freedom and values encompass the authority of the U.S. government to engage in regime-change operations in countries whose regimes are headed by officials who don’t kowtow to the U.S. government?

Again, we don’t know the answer to those questions because, unfortunately, Rabinowitz’s attack on Ron Paul, while long on superficialities, was short on substance.

Consider the recent alleged assassination plot on American soil that U.S. officials claimed was orchestrated by the Iranian government. Weren’t interventionists angry and outraged over it? Didn’t they consider it to be an act of aggression? Weren’t they calling for military retaliation against Iran?

Yet, at the same time, such interventionists cannot understand why Iranians would get angry over a successful CIA-instigated coup in their country that destroyed their experiment with democracy and subjected them to a brutal unelected dictatorship for the next 25 years.

Indeed, there is significant evidence that the U.S. military and the CIA are currently engaged in covert assassinations of atomic scientists in Iran. What do U.S. interventionists say about that? They think its inconceivable that Iranians would get angry over such a thing and, in any event, that such anger would be unjustified.

And what about the deadly and destructive effects of the U.S. sanctions against Iran? Does Rabinowitz concede that they might engender anger and hatred for the United States among the Iranian people? Alas, we don’t know because she chose not to address that critically important issue.

In her article, Rabinowitz mocked the assertion that Iran might want to acquire a nuclear bomb for defensive purposes.

Yet, consider the fact that there are no regime-change operations directed at North Korea, which U.S. officials placed in the same axis of evil in which they placed Iran. Why the difference in treatment? North Korea has acquired a nuclear weapon, one that is clearly not being fired at the United States but instead has succeeded in deterring a U.S. regime-change operation in North Korea, unlike, say, the situation in Iraq, where the regime had no nuclear weapons and where the U.S. government did succeed in effecting regime change with a brutal military invasion and a deadly nine-year military occupation.

Might that not explain why Iran might try to acquire a nuclear weapon? Why cant interventionists see that?

And therein lies a big part of the problem with the interventionist mindset: Interventionists simply cannot place themselves in the shoes of foreigners who are the victims of U.S. foreign policy. All they can think about is being in the shoes of the U.S. Empire, as it treads across the globe, killing, maiming, kidnapping, renditioning, incarcerating, torturing, and abusing people in the process of trying to install pro-U.S. regimes into power, which interventionists say must all be good because it is being done by the U.S. Empire.

Alas, Rabinowitz fails to discuss any of this. Instead, she limits her superficial attack on Ron Paul to some statement that Ahmadinejad made years ago about wiping Israel off the map and his denial that the Holocaust took place.

Yet, throughout the Cold War conservatives were saying the same thing about the Soviet Union that Ahmadinejad said about Israel how they wanted to see the Soviet Union wiped off the map. While it is true that many officials in the Pentagon favored a first-strike nuclear attack on the Soviet Union during the Cold War, most conservatives were simply hoping that the Soviet Union would collapse and disintegrate i.e., be wiped off the map of its own accord, which it ultimately was.

What about Rabinowitz’s complaint that Ahmadinejad has denied the Holocaust? Libertarians hold that the God-given rights of freedom of thought and freedom of speech entail the right to believe and say whatever people want, no matter how despicable. But I suppose that’s just one more difference between libertarians and conservatives.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dorothy Rabinowitz’s Attack on Ron Paul, Part 1

One of the more fascinating attacks on Ron Paul comes from Dorothy Rabinowitz in the December 22, 2012, issue of the Wall Street Journal.

Not surprisingly, given that Rabinowitz serves on the Journals editorial board, she goes after Paul for his foreign-policy views. What I found interesting about the article, which is entitled What Ron Paul Thinks of America, is the superficial nature of the attack. Rabinowitz’s article, quite simply, lacks any depth of analysis on the critical points she makes about Paul.

Rabinowitz begins her attack by repeating the standard canard that interventionists love to level at libertarians who point to the role that U.S. foreign policy played in motivating the 9/11 attacks. She says that Paul is blaming America for the attacks and even accuses Paul of being the best-known American propagandist for our enemies.

But contrary to Rabinowitz’s assertion, neither Paul nor any other libertarian has ever blamed America for the 9/11 attacks. Libertarians point to what the federal government has done to people overseas that has incited them to anger and rage, which ultimately has motivated some of them to engage in terrorist retaliation.

Did you catch that? Libertarians point to the role of the U.S. governments foreign policy is generating the anger and hatred that many foreigners have for the United States, which ultimately culminated in the 9/11 attacks? Do you see anything in the previous paragraph about blaming America or the American people for anti-American terrorism?

Like so many other interventionists, Rabinowitz makes the standard mistake of conflating the federal government and the country. For her, they are obviously one and the same thing. For the interventionist, the federal government is America. Condemn what the U.S. government has done to people overseas and you’re condemning America. You’ve become a propagandist for Americas enemies.

Its a shame that Rabinowitz didn’t take the time to delve into and carefully analyze this point of her attack. It would have been fascinating to see her confront how she herself jumps from a critique made of the U.S. governments foreign policy to one of blaming America or even becoming a propagandist for Americas enemies.

In fact, given the Journals devotion to the Constitution, it would have been fascinating to see how Rabinowitz reconciles her mindset, in which she conflates the federal government and the country, with the Bill of Rights. Since the Bill of Rights expressly protects America from the federal government, that is fairly persuasive proof that the federal government and the country are two separate and distinct entities. How would Rabinowitz deal with that?

Actually, however, the problem goes deeper than that. I wish Rabinowitz had carefully explained her reasoning regarding libertarian critique of U.S. foreign policy. Here are some questions that would have made for a much more interesting article:

1. Is Rabinowitz saying that the federal government/America is incapable of doing bad things to people overseas?

2. Or is she saying that when the federal government/America does bad things to people overseas, foreigners are incapable of getting angry over such things?

3. Or is she saying that when foreigners do get angry over bad things that the federal government/America does to them, it is inconceivable that such anger could ever manifest itself in terrorist retaliation?

4. Or is she saying that the evidence with respect to 9/11 suggests that the terrorists were motivated by hatred for Americas freedom and values rather than by anger arising from U.S. foreign policy?

Alas, in her haste to attack Ron Paul for his non-interventionism, Rabinowitz failed to confront any of those questions. That’s a shame because she could have really enlightened people as to the nature of the interventionist mindset and it truly differs from that of libertarians.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Silly Attack on Ron Paul

As Ron Paul continues to surge in Iowa, the attacks on him and on libertarianism are increasing. That’s, of course, not surprising, especially since Paul is now in the top position in the Iowa polls. But at the very least, you would expect the attacks to have some substance to them. Unfortunately, such is not the case with conservative pundit Jonah Goldberg, who has just published one of the silliest attacks on Paul that one could ever imagine.

Goldberg’s article, entitled Ron Paul’s Naive Promises, appears in today’s issue of the Los Angeles Times. In his article, Goldberg actually goes out of his way to say that he agrees with much of what Paul stands for.

So, whats Goldberg’s attack?

He says that Ron Paul wont be able to persuade the members of Congress to embrace his positions and, therefore, it would make no sense to elect Paul to the presidency.

Why, if that’s the worst attack on Ron Paul, he can count himself a very lucky man.

That’s just downright silly!

Here’s what Goldberg’s argument boils down to: Congress is filled with statists, both conservatives and liberals. They all love big government. They all love the warfare-welfare state. They are incorrigible. They love Americas vast military empire, the invasions and occupations and endless war, torture, infringements on civil liberties, military detention, socialism, interventionism, the drug war, and so forth.

Therefore, Goldberg’s argument apparently goes, the only thing American voters can do is elect a statist to the presidency that is, a person who can work with Congress which, it seems to me, guarantees even more statism!

So, if people are realizing that the big-government direction in which conservatives and liberals have taken our nation is wrong and destructive, they’re apparently supposed to reject the candidate who reflects their views and instead vote for a candidate that does not reflect their views.

That’s ridiculous. Maybe even whacko or loony.

What Goldberg fails to recognize is that most members of Congress are not ideologues. They are instead chameleons. If the color of their environment changes, their positions change. Their primary objective is to get reelected, and if that means flip-flopping, then they’re going to be doing lots and lots of flip-flopping as public opinion shifts.

Take the drug war, for instance, perhaps the most failed, immoral, and destructive domestic program in U.S. history, a war that Paul and other libertarians have long opposed. Most members of Congress continue to support it, but only because they think it would be political suicide to call for drug legalization. If public opinion were all of a sudden to embrace the libertarian position, the members of Congress would be doing so as well.

Yesterday, I was at the Fox News studio to appear on Freedom Watch to comment on the Ron Paul surge in Iowa. After I had done the segment and was preparing to leave, a man in the waiting room told me that Ron Paul needed to water down his foreign policy views if he expected to get elected. It wasn’t exactly the same argument as Goldberg’s but it was a variation.

Like Goldberg, that guy just doesn’t get it. As a libertarian, Ron Paul has a certain set of beliefs and convictions. If he changed them or watered them down in order to get elected, he’d be no different from any other politician. What makes Paul different indeed, what makes libertarians different from statists is that libertarians wont abandon their principles for the sake of expediency.

Moreover, what that guy fails to realize is such integrity is one of the reasons that people are surging to Paul’s campaign. They’re sick and tired of politicians who change their positions in accordance with how the political winds are blowing. Equally important, if Ron Paul were to become like other politicians, he knows that he would very quickly lose his base of passionate and committed supporters.

Its clear that statists from both the left and right are getting more and more nervous about the Ron Paul phenomenon. You can see them walking with their heads down, mumbling repeatedly, He cant win. He cant win.

But whats really making them nervous is that an increasing number of people are now moving toward libertarian ideas, rejecting the big-government statism that has taken our nation down the road to moral debauchery and financial bankruptcy.

The statists just don’t know what to do about. Ignore it? Ridicule it? Nash their teeth? Or level silly attacks on it? Whatever they do, the libertarian tide just seems to grow.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Why Ron Paul’s Surge Is Making Them Nervous

While big government statists in both the Republican and Democrat parties remain mystified over Ron Paul’s surge in the polls in Iowa, the ones who seem most confounded by this phenomenon are the members of the mainstream media, who themselves are statist to the core. They just cant figure out how its possible that increasing numbers of people are gravitating to the Paul campaign, especially when the mainstream media has either ignored Paul’s campaign or done its best to ridicule Paul’s libertarian positions.

One of the most amusing aspects to this phenomenon is when the mainstream media statists do their best to bring Paul’s views to the general public, with the expectation that when people learn what he really stands for, they’ll rush into the waiting embrace of big-government statists like, well, like Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.

Yet, what actually ends up happening is that when people hear what Ron Paul stands for, instead of running for the big-government types, many of them say to themselves, You mean, there is a candidate that stands for that? Well, that’s the way I feel. I’m going over to the Ron Paul campaign.

Thus, the mainstream media effort to advertise Paul’s libertarian views boomerangs on the statist press, and it confounds them to no end. So, many of the mainstream media statists return to simply ignoring the Paul campaign and acting as though Gingrich and Romney are the only two frontrunners.

A good example of this phenomenon involves Iran. During the GOP presidential debates, the mainstream media statists say something that could be interpreted like this:

Mr. Paul, you don’t want to bomb Iran, like the other candidates do. This is shocking . How can you expect people to take you seriously if you’re not willing to bomb Iran? Don’t you know that they’re producing a nuclear weapon? Our government officials say so. What do you think our military is for?

Paul responds with something along these lines:

No, I do not believe that we should bomb Iran. That would involve killing and maiming several hundred thousand more innocent people, which would be added to the hundreds of thousands of innocent killed and maimed in Iraq.

No, I don’t believe that they’re producing a nuclear bomb because the actual evidence doesn’t support that assertion, and government officials often lie about such things in order to garner support for regime-change operations. Look at Iraq, a war which the mainstream media supported because it never doubted that government officials were telling the truth about those bogus WMDs.

But even if Iraq was producing a nuclear weapon, it wouldn’t affect anything anyway because they’re not going to go out and start a nuclear war that would result in the obliteration of their country.

And lets not forget that the Iranians might just be concerned with another U.S. regime-change operation, like when the CIA ousted their democratically elected prime minister in 1953 and installed a brutal unelected dictator in his stead. After all, its not Iran that has the United States surrounded by military forces. Its the other way around.

We’ve killed enough people around the world. Its time to end the wars and bring our troops home.

At this point, those in mainstream media are ecstatic. In their minds, Paul’s libertarian position on Iran is just whacko and so loony that they’re certain that the American people are going to say, Oh my gosh, I cant believe that Ron Paul doesn’t want to go bomb Iran. That’s horrible. If we don’t bomb Iran, then who should we bomb?

But there are obviously many Americans in growing numbers who are achieving a breakthrough on foreign policy the same breakthrough that libertarians achieved a long time ago. They’re seeing the fundamental wrongfulness, in terms of both morality and religion, of attacking and bombing countries that haven’t attacked the United States.

They’re seeing how this type of thing produces anger and hatred for the United States, which then manifests itself in retaliatory terrorist attacks, attacks that are then used to take away our civil liberties here at home and that are also then used to go and bomb more countries, thereby ensuring this cycle of death, destruction, and loss of liberty continues into perpetuity.

They’re also seeing what Paul and libertarians have long emphasized that all this imperialistic military aggression is expensive, to the point that it is hurtling us down the road to bankruptcy.

Moreover, the phenomenon starts to feed on itself. As more people gravitate to libertarian positions, it causes others to say, Maybe I should check into libertarianism and see why people are so excited and passionate about it.

Whenever asked about the Ron Paul surge, statists always respond, Well, he cant win. Since they’ve convinced themselves that he cant win, why are they so nervous? Because they see more and more people moving toward libertarianism and getting excited and passionate about it. And they just cant figure out what to do about it. Ignoring the phenomenon hasn’t worked and neither has ridicule.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Back in the USSA

With congressional passage of the new military-detention bill, and President Obama’s unsurprising flip-flop decision to sign it into law, perhaps this would be a good time to review where we are as a country.

We now live in a country in which the military has the legal authority to arrest or round up Americans (and non-Americans), place them into military dungeons or concentration camps, torture them, and keep them incarcerated for life without a trial. All they have to do is label people as terrorists.

By the way, that’s the same legal authority that the U.S.-supported military dictatorship in Egypt has. In fact, its that authority that the Egyptian demonstrators have been trying to get lifted ever since the demonstrations began. The Egyptian military refuses to lift this extraordinary emergency authority on the same basis that U.S. officials insist on such authority that its necessary to keep the people safe.

That’s not to say that the U.S. Constitution permits such extraordinary power. In fact, it expressly prohibits it in the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. But U.S. officials claim that the president is not bound by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights because, they say, he is at war against the terrorists of the world.

Lets face it: the war on terrorism is a much bigger bonanza than the war on communism and the war on drugs perpetual, more power, more money, less freedom, and ever-growing budgets for the military-industrial complex and CIA.

Of course, they tell us that as soon as the war on terrorism is over, the emergency authority will be lifted. Unfortunately, however, they also tell us that it will be several generations before that will happen. In other words, those of us living under such authority will all be dead by the time the emergency will be over.

We also live in a country in which the president wields the authority to take the entire nation into war on his own initiative. He does not need a declaration of war from Congress. If he decides he wants to go to war, he just orders his military forces to attack, and his forces will loyally follow his orders.

That’s not to say, of course, that the law permits the president to do so. In fact, it doesn’t. The Constitution, which is the highest law of the land, delegates to Congress the power to declare war. Thus, the law prohibits the president from waging war without a declaration of war from Congress.

But U.S. officials say that the president is no longer required to comply with that section of the Constitution. They say that the reason is that past presidents haven’t complied with that section of the Constitution and, therefore, no presidents have to comply with that section of the Constitution.

But if the president doesn’t have to comply with one constitutional restriction, why does he have to comply with any constitutional restrictions? And if the president now has the authority to ignore constitutional restrictions on power, whats the difference between that and dictatorship?

On the domestic side, we have long lived in a country in which the government wields the authority to jail people for ingesting substances that the government hasn’t approved. And, hey, were not just talking 30 days or so in the slammer. Were talking about the authority to send people away for 30 years or more.

We also live in a country in which the government wields the authority to take money from us in order to give it to other people. They say that its in our best interests because it makes us good, caring, and compassionate. Otherwise, if we weren’t forced to share our money with others, they say, we would be no-good, worthless, selfish, self-centered people.

We also live in a country in which government officials have the authority to go into any country in the world and kidnap people and deliver them into the hands of brutal dictatorships to be tortured. They say that this is necessary to keep us safe.

Indeed, that’s where much of the money goes to that they take from us and give to others to brutal dictatorships. They say that its necessary to maintain order and stability, which are supposed to keep us safe.

Of course, this was not the type of country our American ancestors lived in. Its certainly not the type of country the Framers had in mind when the Constitution brought the federal government into existence.

Meanwhile, American statists, deluded that this is all just part of living in a free society, just keep singing to themselves, Thank God I’m an American because at least I know I’m free or Back in the USSA.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Don’t Reinvade Iraq

After those bogus WMDs failed to materialize in Iraq, the U.S. government changed its rational for invading and occupying the country to one purportedly intended to bring freedom and democracy to Iraq. Countless Iraqis have been killed, maimed, tortured, and incarcerated without trial during the past 9 years of occupation, and the entire country has been destroyed, but U.S. officials say that its all worth it because freedom and democracy have been brought to Iraq.

Catch the following headline at CNN.com:

Iraqs Leader Becoming a New Dictator, Deputy Warns.

Uh, oh.

No, the article is not an old one referring to Saddam Hussein. Its dated December 13, 2011, and is referring to Iraq’s current prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki.

According to the article, Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq said that Washington is leaving Iraq with a dictator who has ignored a power-sharing agreement, kept control of the country’s security forces and rounded up hundreds of people in recent weeks.

Even worse, from the standpoint of U.S. officials who consider Iran to be an arch-enemy of the U.S. Empire, Neighboring Iran views al-Maliki as its man in Baghdad and has dictated the shape of the current government, al-Mutlaq said.

Al-Mutlaq concluded that U.S. officials don’t know anything in Iraq and they don’t know what is happening in Iraq, or because they don’t want to admit the reality in Iraq, the failure in Iraq, the failure of this political process that they set in Iraq.

Meanwhile, on December 12, the New York Times reported that al-Malaki is rounding up hundreds of former Baath Party members and evicting Western companies from the heavily fortified Green Zone.

Evicting Western companies? Aren’t those companies from the nation that brought freedom and democracy to Iraq? Isn’t that an odd way to express gratitude?

The Times also says of al-Maliki: And as a Shiite leader who some say owes his position to Iran’s backing, he has not made clear if Washington, or Tehran, will wield more influence.

Moreover, it seems that al-Maliki is taking a page out of the standard war-on-terrorism playbook: The scale and secrecy of the arrests in October and November, of 600 former Baathists, have raised new tensions in Iraq’s suspicious political atmosphere. They have fanned fears that Mr. Maliki will use the threat of terrorism and unrest as a pretext to strike political foes.

One Western official stated, Baathism here is a symbol that Maliki uses as a bogeyman. It gives them the leeway to go around arresting people. Its about a climate of fear.

Indeed, given the round-ups, the killing of his own people, the torture, the indefinite detentions, the climate of fear, and the exercise of dictatorial powers, its difficult to ascertain the difference between Saddam Hussein and Nuri al-Maliki, except that the classes of victims are different.

Of course, U.S. officials and interventionists might respond, Well, at least Maliki is democratically elected.

But big deal. So was the Nazi Party in Germany. A democratically elected dictatorship is certainly not freedom.

Is all this any reason for the U.S. government to re-invade Iraq, in order to bring freedom to the Iraqi people?

No! Leave the Iraqi people alone to resolve their own problems. The U.S. government has made a big enough mess in Iraq. Its time for the Empire to come home from everywhere, terminate foreign aid to everyone, including dictatorships, and leave people alone.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Faith in Coercion or Faith in Freedom?

Why not immediately repeal Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education grants, food stamps, foreign aid, and all other welfare-state programs?

While welfare-statists wont state this directly, the following describes their attitude toward the American people:

You are a bad people. You are selfish, self-centered, and greedy. You hate the poor generally and you hate people who are in need. If someone needed assistance to survive, you would ignore them and let them die. You cannot be trusted with freedom. You must be forced to be good, caring, and compassionate. One of these days, maybe just maybe you will be a sufficiently good people that we can free you to make your own charitable decisions. But we are a long way from there. If you were freed right now to make your own decisions with respect to charity, the fact is that you would never help your parents, the sick, pro-U.S. dictators around the world, the needy, and others who depend on U.S. government welfare. If the welfare state were repealed, I would be good but none of the rest of you would be.

We libertarians, on the other hand, believe in ourselves, in freedom, in free markets, and in others. We have no doubts that most people in society do care about themselves and about other people. You don’t need to force children to honor their mother and father through the payment of Social Security taxes. Most children will be there when their parents are sick or dying or just need help. And in those cases where they’re not, there are relatives, friends, neighbors, church groups, or private organizations ready to do so.

We libertarians have no doubts that if all welfare-state programs were repealed today, everything would not only turn out fine, it would be significantly better. People would now be retaining all that tax money, enabling them to have a larger pool of income and savings with which to help others when the need arose. Moreover, the entire welfare-state bureaucracy would be dismantled, relieving the country of that huge burden on the citizenry.

The biggest difference between libertarians and statists though is over the concept of freedom itself. We libertarians believe that freedom entails the right to so no to charitable giving. Choosing what to do with ones own money is essential to the concept of freedom. If a person isn’t free to say no to someones request for assistance, then that society cannot be considered free. Or to put it another way, if people are free only to make what society considers is the correct choice, that is not a free society.

Statists, on the other hand, believe that people should be free only to make the correct choices. Thus, they see no violation of freedom when the state forces people to give to the elderly, the poor, the needy, or some pro-U.S. foreign dictator because, for them, that’s the correct choice anyway. In the mind of the statists, being prevented from turning ones back on ones neighbor by the state is perfectly consistent with living in a free society.

Finally, statists believe that the state makes people more compassionate and caring through welfare-state programs. Libertarians believe that genuine compassion and concern for others can only come from the willing heart of the individual, not the coercive apparatus of the state. We libertarians believe that coercion stultifies conscience while freedom of choice strengthens it.

Who will win the battle between the statists and the libertarians? That depends on the American people. As long as Americans look upon themselves as the statists see them, statism will continue prevailing in America. But once the American people begin to see themselves as libertarians see them and, more important, realize that they have a God-given right to freedom libertarianism will reign triumphant.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Homelessness and the Minimum Wage

Like most everyone else, I periodically encounter people at some busy intersection with a cardboard sign saying something like, Homeless with three children. Please help. My immediate reaction is to feel sympathy, which is then followed by the thought that they should be working rather than standing at that intersection asking for money. But then I remind myself that statist intervention like the minimum wage oftentimes prevents people at the bottom of the economic ladder from getting a job.

The minimum wage is an artificially established minimum amount that employers are required to pay their employees. Lets say, hypothetically, that the minimum wage is $10 per hour. That means that the law prohibits an employer from paying an employee less than $10 per hour.

What if a person agrees to work for less than $10 per hour? It doesn’t matter. The law does not provide for an exception in that case. Even if the person is ready and willing to work for less than $10 per hour, the law says no.

What happens if an employer gets caught paying less than the minimum wage? The government imposes an extremely large fine on the employer. I haven’t checked the amount of the fine lately but many years ago it was equal to triple the amount of the wages that were paid to the employee. Obviously, not very many employers are going to take that chance, especially since it might be the employee who ends up turning them in.

Notice something important here: The law does not require employers to hire people at $10 an hour. It simply says that if an employer does hire someone, he must pay the employee at least $10 an hour.

Why is that important? Because value is always going to be subjective, including the value of a persons work. Inevitably there will be people whose labor is valued at less than the state-established minimum. For that matter, inevitably there will be people whose labor is valued at more than the state-established minimum, which is why many businesses pay their employees more than the minimum wage.

What happens to those people whose labor is valued in the marketplace at less than the state-established minimum wage? Do they get hired at the minimum wage? No, because, again, the law does not require employers to hire them. It only requires employers to pay employees the minimum wage if they are in fact hired. If they’re not hired, they obviously get nothing.

Thus, the effect of the minimum-wage law is to lock out of the labor market all those people whose labor is subjectively valued by employers at less than the artificially established minimum.

There is another factor to consider here. The minimum-wage law prevents people at the bottom of the economic ladder from opening new businesses in which they hire their friends and neighbors at wages that are below the legally established minimum. Thus, the effect of the minimum-wage law is to protect well-established businesses, which have plenty of money to pay their employees the minimum wage, from the competition of startup companies in which people are willing to work for less than the artificially established minimum.

Would people be willing to work for less than the minimum wage? Of course they would, especially because it helps them to learn a skill or a business and a work ethic. It gets their foot in the door. They learn the trade, and then at some point they ask for a raise or, alternatively, leave to start up their own business. The minimum-wage law prevents all too many of them from getting that foot into the door, relegating many of them to welfare or to begging on some busy street intersection.

Thus, the best thing that could ever be done to help the homeless and the poor is to repeal the minimum wage.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Modest Welfare-State Proposal

Ive got a modest welfare-state proposal that I’m sure every welfare-state advocate is certain to embrace. The fact that my idea comes at Christmas makes it doubly good.

I propose a new law that would mandate that every single American purchase a Christmas present for all of his family and friends during every Christmas season from now until he dies.

Isn’t that a great idea?

Think about it. This program would ensure that everyone would be good, caring, and compassionate when it most matters at Christmas time.

Presents for brothers, sisters, spouses, children, parents, cousins, uncles, aunts, and friends. What better way reflection of family values and religious values than that? And think how happy everyone would be!

Yes, I’m sure it already has occurred to you that there would be an added benefit to such a program: the economy! Everyone would have to go to the mall and spend money! Isn’t that the key to economic prosperity, according to U.S. officials? Aren’t they always exhorting people to do that to get the economy moving? Just think: 300 million people going to the mall to buy presents!

How much will people be required to spend under my proposal? We could have a progressive system. Those who make more would be required to spend more. Those who make less would be mandated to spend less.

What happens if someone fails to comply with the law? Well have the IRS impose a penalty on him, like, say, a $500 fine. What better way to ensure that people become caring, compassionate, and giving than that? And what better way to show how good, caring, and compassionate IRS officials are?

I’m already thinking about Easter. Why not a mandatory present-buying program for Easter too? Why, now that I’m thinking about it, why not mandate that everyone buy presents for family and friends every day of the year? Not only would that ensure that everyone would be good, caring, and compassion all the time, it would also mean that the economy would in be a perpetual state of boom.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Federal Drug-War Weirdness

The drug war just keeps getting weirder and weirder. First it was the feds selling assault rifles to the drug cartels. Now, it turns out that the feds have also been laundering large amounts of cash for the drug cartels.

Its harder to get weirder than that. Before long, well learn that the feds have been operating one of those big Mexican drug cartels and smuggling tons of dope into the United States.

One almost gets the sense that there is some desperation going on here. The feds undoubtedly know that an increasing number of people are gravitating toward libertarianism, whose philosophy dictates that drugs be legalized and the drug war ended. Maybe that’s whats causing them to engage in all that weirdness. Maybe they’re hoping to come up with quick-fix formula that shows that the 40-year-old drug war is finally being won. In that way, they’ll be able to keep their jobs, their money, and their power over the lives and fortunes of the citizenry.

None of the feds shenanigans will work, however. The drug war is a lost cause. Its time to admit it.

Forty years ago, the feds could say to people, Just give us four decades, and well win the war on drugs. But now the results are in. Forty years of drug warfare has produced nothing but death, destruction, corruption, and loss of liberty, along with such federal weirdness as the selling of guns to drug cartels and the federal laundering of drug money.

The good news is that lots of people are embracing the libertarian idea of ending the drug war. Its amazing the large number of commentaries calling for drug legalization that now appear in newspapers and on the Internet. And increasing numbers of people are supporting Ron Paul for president knowing that Paul openly calls for ending the drug war.

So, who are the most fervent supporters of the drug war? Not surprisingly, the two groups of people who are benefitting most from it: the drug cartels and the law-enforcement sector of the federal, state, and local governments.

Isn’t that ironic?

Both groups, of course, would immediately be put out of business with drug legalization. Thus, while federal, state, and local cops expend countless time and resources on bringing drug-law violators to justice, only to find them replaced by new gangs, there is a solution at hand that would put drug-law violators out of business immediately drug legalization. Of course, it would also put out of business all the cops, judges, and clerks whose jobs depend on the drug war.

The failure of the drug war to accomplish its purported end the eradication of drug usage is reason enough to end the war. Add to that the massive violations of liberty and privacy during the past 40 years. Add to that the enormous cost, not just in money but also in destroyed lives. Add to that the growing drug-war weirdness in which the feds are engaged.

The most powerful argument, however, for drug legalization is the freedom one: In a free society, people have the inherent, fundamental, God-given right to engage in any peaceful conduct, including ingesting anything they want. A society where the state has the authority to punish people for ingesting the wrong things is not a free society. Its not a coincidence that drug laws are a core feature of such totalitarian regimes as Egypt, Iran, Cuba, and North Korea.

Its time for Americans to take the feds out of their misery. Why let them come up with more weird antics in their endless quest to roll the Sisyphus drug-war boulder up the hill? Why continue with the drug war when we all know the results are going to be the same or worse? Why not put the drug cartels out of business immediately, along with the drug-war bureaucracies within the government? Why not end the death, destruction, infringements on liberty and privacy, corruption, and waste of tax money? Why not bring an end to the federal selling of guns to drug cartels and the federal laundering of drug money for the cartels?

Its time to end not just the federal drug-war weirdness. Its time to end the drug war itself.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The U.S. Government Loved the Iraqi People to Death

Now that the 9-year military occupation of Iraq is presumably coming to an end, it would be appropriate to reflect on the Iraqi people who died as a result of the U.S. invasion and occupation of the country.

How many Iraqis have died in the process? We don’t know. The reason we don’t know is that the U.S. government did not keep count. Unlike U.S. soldiers killed over there, the Iraqi people were not deemed sufficiently important to keep track of how many were dying.

That cavalier attitude toward the Iraqi dead reflects how U.S. officials have long viewed the Iraqi people as a substandard, inferior class of human beings whose value is considered secondary compared to, say, Americans or Englishmen.

Youll recall that after U.S. officials failed to find those infamous WMDs that were supposedly going to be launched by Saddam Hussein on the United States at any minute, the primary purpose of the Iraq invasion and occupation was converted from one of self-defense to one of altruism.

Thus, while the troops and the CIA were initially killing Iraqis (and torturing, sexually abusing, and executing them at Abu Ghraib) under the notion that they were protecting America from an imminent WMD attack, once the WMDs failed to materialize, the troops and the CIA remained in the country, killing countless Iraqis for years afterward under the notion that the United States was bringing democracy to the country.

What was revealing about the occupation of the country was there was never an upward limit on the number of Iraqi people whom U.S. officials were willing to kill in order to bring democracy to the country. It simply didn’t matter. What mattered, first and foremost, was bringing democracy to the country, and no price was too high to pay, in terms of Iraqis dying, to achieve that goal.

That obviously presented a fascinating situation. On the one hand, U.S. officials were effectively saying, We love the Iraqi people, which is why our troops are over here making tremendous sacrifices for their benefit.

Yet, on the other hand, U.S. officials were willing to sacrifice any number of Iraqis thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands in the process of achieving that political goal. The notion gave new meaning to the adage of loving people to death.

U.S. officials say that the entire operation has been successful because it has brought democracy to Iraq. What about the Iraqi dead, which are estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands? U.S. officials say that even if the Iraqi dead do number in the hundreds of thousands, such deaths have been worth it, given that Iraq is now a democracy.

What about the dead themselves though? Would they feel the same way? Of course, we cant ask them because they’re dead. But we can certainly wonder what their answer would have been prior to the invasion if asked, Are you willing to give up your life, or the lives of your spouse, children, relatives, or friends, for the sake of democracy in Iraq?

Of course, such a question was never asked of the Iraqi people. Their lives any number of lives were deemed expendable an adequate price to pay for the U.S. government to bring democracy to the country.

It wasn’t the first time that that cavalier mindset regarding the value of Iraqi life was manifested by U.S. officials. You’ll recall that during the 1990s, the U.S. government and the UN implemented one of the most brutal systems of sanctions against Iraq in history. The purpose of the sanctions was to bring about regime change in Iraq, one in which Saddam Hussein was ousted from power and replaced by a pro-U.S. regime.

During the 11 years of sanctions, thousands of Iraqi children were dying monthly as a result of illness, diseases, and malnutrition. We don’t know exactly how many died but the estimates range in the hundreds of thousands.

When U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright was asked by Sixty Minutes whether the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children from the sanctions had been worth it, Albright responded that the deaths had, in fact, been worth it. She was the official international spokesman for the U.S. government.

Interestingly, Albright didn’t deny the number of Iraqi children who had died because of the sanctions. There was never an upward limit placed on the number of children who could be killed as a result of the sanctions, after which the sanctions would be lifted. The number of deaths didn’t matter. What mattered was the political goal of regime change, and no price was too high in terms of the number of Iraqi children who could be sacrificed to achieve that end.

One of the most fascinating aspects to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq was the response of those American Christians who supported the operation. They didn’t see anything wrong with the invasion and occupation precisely because they felt that the United States was helping the Iraqi people to achieve democracy. Like U.S. officials, such Christians took the position that the sacrifice of Iraqis was an adequate price to pay to achieve that goal.

Yet, while I’m certainly no Biblical scholar, I just don’t see how that attitude can be squared with Christian principles. As I understand Gods laws, the life of each and every human being is equally sacred. That is, in the eyes of God, the lives of the Iraqi people are not of inferior or secondary value but instead as valuable as the lives of everyone else, including the Americans and the British.

Thus, under what Christian principle could even one person be killed for the sake of democracy? I don’t see it. I just cannot believe that God approves of the propriety of killing even one single person much less hundreds of thousands for the sake of democracy or regime change.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pearl Harbor Was FDR’s Back Door to War

Given that today is the anniversary date of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, well no doubt be treated to standard interventionist articles stating what a great thing World War II was.

The American people were overwhelmingly opposed to entry into World War II. That’s not surprising given the consequences of World War I. There was absolutely no reason for the United States to intervene in that war.

The Founding Fathers had warned against entry into the never-ending conflicts in Europe. They had also warned about how war is the greatest enemy of liberty, since it provides statists with the maximum opportunity to expand government power over the lives and fortunes of the citizenry.

But Wilson and the interventionists were hell-bent on getting involved in the conflict. They were sick and tired of those centuries-old European wars and were determined to use Americas military might and economic strength to bring them to an end, once and for all.

The aims of U.S. intervention in World War I were twofold: to make the world safe for democracy and to bring a final end to all war.

What a sick and deadly joke that turned out to be. Only 15 years later, Adolf Hitler and the Nazis had assumed power in Germany, and within only a few more years, World War II had broken out. And guess what the major factor was in the rise of Hitler and the Nazis. You guessed it: U.S. intervention in World War I, which led to the total defeat of Germany, rather than a negotiated peace, followed by the vindictive Treaty of Versailles.

Neither of the U.S. goals was achieved: the world was not made safe for democracy and World War I only led to World War II. It was a total waste of American life and money.

That’s why Americans wanted nothing to do with it when fighting broke out again some 20 years later. They wished to return to the founding principles of their country stay out of European wars and work to establish a model society of freedom and prosperity at home.

Roosevelt told people that he felt the same way. In his campaign for reelection in 1940, he stated, I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again; your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.

It was a smart political move. If he had told Americans the opposite, they might well have rejected his bid for reelection.

There was one big problem, however: Roosevelt was lying knowingly, deliberately, and intentionally lying. In actuality, he had every intention of sending Americas boys into foreign wars. He just had to figure out a way to do so.

In addition to public sentiment against the war, FDR had another enormous obstacle: the U.S. Constitution. This was a time when presidents, unlike today, were still complying with the constitutional requirement of a congressional declaration of war. Roosevelt knew that given the prevailing sentiment of staying out of the war, he would never be able to convince Congress to declare war on Germany.

So, FDR did the next best thing to get the United States into the war. He started goading and baiting the Germans into attacking the United States. In that way, he’d be able to say, We’ve been attacked! We’ve been attacked! Give me my declaration of war so that we can defend ourselves.

But the Germans refused to take the bait.

That didn’t stop FDR, however. He started focusing on Japan, in the hope that he could get the United States into the European conflict through the back door with a war in the Pacific. Of course, war with Japan didn’t automatically mean war with Germany, but FDR figured it was the best chance he had.

So, Roosevelt did everything he could to squeeze Japan into attacking the United States. Knowing that Japan was mired down in a vicious war in China, he froze Japanese bank accounts in the United States, placed an embargo on oil to Japan, authorized the Flying Tigers to attack Japanese troops (without a congressional declaration of war), and issued terms in negotiations that were intended to humiliate the Japanese.

Moreover, knowing war tensions were building and that the chances of a Japanese attack were growing, he deliberately left U.S. troops in the Philippines, Hawaii, and elsewhere in the Pacific, knowing that they would be sitting ducks for a surprise Japanese attack.

When secret Japanese diplomatic messages were intercepted and decoded that indicated that war was imminent, FDR chose one of the slowest routes possible to advise the U.S. military commanders at Pearl of what was occurring. They received FDR’s message after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor had begun.

Ever since Pearl Harbor, there have been debates over whether FDR had foreknowledge of the Pearl Harbor attack. The circumstantial evidence is damning, but few historians now dispute that Franklin Roosevelt wanted the United States to get involved in World War II, that he lied when he publicly claimed otherwise, and that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which was followed by Germany’s declaration of war against the United States, gave FDR what he wanted entry into World War II.

To this day, interventionists celebrate World War II because Hitlers Nazi control over Eastern Europe was replaced by Stalin’s communist control. Stalin, who had invaded Poland soon after Hitler did pursuant to the pact between them, was FDR’s World War II partner against Hitler.

How laughable is that! Go ask any Pole, Czech, or other Eastern European if he celebrates World War II as a victory, the way U.S. interventionists do, and they’ll laugh in your face. Replacing Nazism with communism was no victory for the Eastern Europeans, at least not from their perspective.

Moreover, look at what World War II did to us here at home: thanks to that great communist victory in World War II, we Americans got saddled with a permanent national security state, including the Pentagon, the CIA, the military-industrial complex, and a vast overseas military empire, none of which has no intention of ever disappearing despite the fact that World War II ended in 1945 and the Soviet Union ended in 1989.

Don’t forget China. World War II forced Japan to withdraw from China, which soon came under the control of the Mao and the communists. The Chinese people remain under brutal communist control to this day.

And then came the Cold War, Korea, and Vietnam.

With victories like that, who needs losses?

The next time you see a U.S. president imposing sanctions, embargoes, and other such actions, the probability is that he is modeling his actions after those of FDR, who succeeded in circumventing the will of the American people against entry into World War II by doing the same things to Japan.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Freedom in Iraq

According to the New York Times, The American Embassy in Baghdad has placed sharp new restrictions on how government workers can travel inside the walled-off International Zone, citing serious threats of kidnapping and terrorist attacks across Iraq and near the embassy’s own doorstep.

Wait a minute! Isn’t Iraq supposed to be the country that is now a paradise of freedom and tranquility? Haven’t the Pentagon and the CIA had nine years to bring into existence the model society of freedom, order, and stability in the world? Haven’t they had free rein to do so, with no interference from the Constitution, Congress, and the federal courts? Haven’t they had maximum latitude to employ their nation-building skills and show the world what they could accomplish with nine years of omnipotent power? Haven’t they had more than enough time to cleanse the country of everyone who resisted their invasion and occupation?

The fact is that Iraq is now the model for a supreme dysfunctional society, one run by a brutal dictatorial regime, albeit democratically elected, that has, with the help of the U.S. government, killed multitudes of its own people, arbitrarily arrests people without formal charges, incarcerates them indefinitely without trial, tortures them, and even executes them.

In other words, in principle there is no difference between the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein and the regime governing Iraq today. All that’s changed is the identity of the dictators and the victims.

Consider Vice-President Biden’s recent surprise one-day trip to Iraq. The operative terms are surprise and one-day. There is no way that President Obama or Biden would announce trips to Iraq in advance because it would be unsafe for them to do so. By the same token, neither of them would ever consider the possibility of spending even one night in Iraq for the same reason.

Think about that: Nine years of nation-building and the president and vice-president still don’t feel safe about traveling to Iraq. For that matter, neither do any members of Congress, none of whom have chosen Iraq for their vacation junkets. For that matter, Id be willing to bet that not one single American family has taken its summer vacation in Iraq for the past nine years and that none of them has any plans to do so in the foreseeable future.

Ironically, when Iranian officials travel to Iraq, they announce their plans in advance, travel openly, and are happy to stay in the country several days.

So, why do U.S. officials and the mainstream media consider the invasion and nine-year military occupation of Iraq to be such a big success? Because they perceive that Iraq is now governed by a pro-U.S. regime. That’s how the success of U.S. foreign policy is measured by the extent to which a foreign regime is pro-U.S.

It doesn’t matter how brutal the regime is to its own people. The only thing that matters is: Is the regime pro-U.S. or not? If it is pro-U.S., then that nation is considered to be free and Americans are expected to embrace it. If it is anti-U.S. or independent, it is considered to be an enemy and Americans are expected to oppose it.

If a regime is pro-U.S., it can be expected to receive largess from the U.S. government in the form of millions of dollars in cash or armaments. If a regime is anti-U.S. or independent, it becomes the potential target for punishment or, in the extreme case, of regime change. That’s where such things as sanctions, embargoes, coups, assassinations, invasions, and occupations come into play.

U.S. officials now consider Iraq to be free society, owing to the U.S. invasion and nine-year occupation of the country and the installation of what is perceived to be a pro-U.S. regime, notwithstanding the fact that the government and U.S. troops wield the omnipotent power to make arbitrary arrests, detain people indefinitely without trial, torture people, and even execute them after some sort of kangaroo judicial proceeding.

Perhaps that’s why the U.S. Congress is now considering permanently granting the same types of powers to the president, the Pentagon, and the CIA as part of their never-ending war on terrorism. The members of Congress apparently want to make the United States as free as the U.S. government has made Iraq.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Why Iranians Hate Us and Love Us

Stephen Kinzer’s excellent op-ed in Sundays New York Times provides another side of the story with respect to Iran. The title of the article is, Iran’s First Great Satan Was England. The article is an excellent starting point for understanding the background of the relationship between Iran and the United States.

Kinzer carefully documents why Iranians have long hated the British Empire and the U.S. Empire. Beginning in the 19th century, the British Empire treated Iran as one of its colonies. Then, according to Kinzer, In 1913, the British government maneuvered its way to a contract under which all Iranian oil became its property. Six years later it imposed an agreement that gave it control of Iran’s army and treasury. These actions set off a wave of anti-British outrage that has barely subsided.

During World War II British troops occupied Iran to ensure supply lines would remain open for their war partner, the Soviet communists. The occupation brought about famine and disease among the Iranian people.

After the war ended, Iran attempted to implement a democratic system, but England and the United States would have none of that. When the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohamed Mossadegh, decided to nationalize Iran’s oil, with the unanimous consent of the Iranian parliament, British officials were outraged. As far as the British were concerned, Iran’s oil belonged to the British Empire, not Iran.

Kinzer writes:

Desperate to regain control of Iran’s oil, the British sought to crush Mr. Mossadegh with measures that included harsh economic sanctions sanctions comparable to the ones they are now imposing. When that failed, they asked President Dwight D. Eisenhower to join in a plot to overthrow him. He agreed, not because he wished to help the British recover their oil but because he had been persuaded that otherwise, Iran might fall to Communism. Iran, after all, was on the southern flank of the Soviet Union, standing between it and the oil fields and warm-water ports of the Persian Gulf.

The CIA coup succeeded in ousting the democratically elected Mossadegh from power and installing the unelected dictator Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran, into power. It was the Shahs severe brutality, fully supported by the U.S. Empire, that ultimately led to the 1979 Iranian revolution, which ousted the Shah from power and installed the Islamic mullahs into power.

As Kinzer puts it, In Iran, the words anger and Britain fit easily together. Outside interference is a central fact of modern Iranian history. And for most of the 2oth century, Britain was at the center of it.

How many Americans know this side of the story? Id venture to say not very many. After all, this is not the type of thing that is going to be taught to American schoolchildren in Americas public (i.e., government) schools. Those institutions spend 12 years inculcating in American children that the U.S. Empire is a force for good around the world, and nothing can be permitted to interfere with that myth. Those schoolchildren then grow up to become adults, with weak and malleable minds that easily fall for every bit of propaganda issued by the federal government.

But there is reality: After World War II, which cost England its vast empire, the U.S. Empire took its place. Ever since, the U.S. Empire has treated independent and recalcitrant nations just as the British Empire treated Iran like a nation of an inferior race of people people who need to be lectured, hectored, controlled, and subjugated through a powerful militarily enforced imperialist foreign policy.

All we hear from U.S. officials is how aggressive Iran is how it is threatening the world with its aggression how its trying to get WMDs to initiate a nuclear war against the United States how necessary it is to spend billions of dollars on a missile defense system in Europe to protect against an Iranian attack.

Its all a bunch of propagandistic crock.

Is Iran surrounding the United States with troops in Mexico and Canada? Are Iranian naval vessels patrolling the coastlines along the eastern and western United States and in the Gulf of Mexico? Is Iran imposing sanctions on the United States, covertly assassinating American scientists, and covertly engaging in cyber attacks on American computer facilities? Is it Iran that is flying spy planes over the United States? Is it Iran that has invaded and occupied two countries in the last 10 years? Is it Iran that has embarked on an international program of kidnapping, torture, assassination, secret international prisons, torture partnerships with brutal dictatorships, and extra-judicial execution?

No, its the other way around. It is the U.S. Empire that has Iran surrounded, with imperial troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere around the region. It is the U.S. Empire whose foreign policy is committed to violent regime change operations in nations like Iran either covertly as the CIA did with Mossadegh or overtly like the Pentagon did with Saddam Hussein. It is the U.S. Empire that has invaded and occupied two countries in the past 10 years. It is the U.S. Empire that is undoubtedly engaged in covert operations in Iran. It is the U.S. Empire that has spy drones flying over Iranian air space. It is the U.S. Empire that is characterized by kidnapping, torture, assassination, secret prisons, torture partnerships with brutal dictatorships, and extra-judicial executions the things that would be considered state terrorism if they were being done by Iran or any other nation.

And, of course, its the British government, harkening back to its halcyon days as an empire, that tags along, doing whatever the U.S. Empire does in the hopes of basking in its imperial glory.

Don’t get me wrong. The Iranian people are suffering under a cruel dictatorship. No doubt about that. But the dictatorship is no more cruel than it was under the Shah, whom Britain and the United States installed into power, after violently ending Iran’s attempt at democracy.

But the fact that Iranians are governed by a cruel dictatorship doesn’t mean that the dictatorship is bent on worldwide conquest. That’s just the type of a cover story that is designed to get Americans to support another violent U.S. regime-change operation, one that might well succeed in killing and maiming another million people or so.

Unfortunately, all too many Americans simply cannot place themselves into the shoes of foreigners who have experienced the heavy boot of the British Empire and the U.S. Empire. That’s ironic, of course, given that our American ancestors hated the British Empire as much as the Iranians do.

Equally ironic is the fact that the Iranian people love both England and the United States. Why is that? The answer lies in what a taxi driver in Cuba, which also has suffered the heavy boot of the U.S. Empire with a brutal embargo, terrorism, and assassination, once said to me. I had asked him, Why are people in Cuba so nice to me given what my government has done to them for decades? His response: What responsibility do you have for what your government has done?

In other words, the Cuban people, like the Iranian people, are able to do what all too many Americans are unable to do: draw a distinction between the U.S. and British governments and the American and British people. Iranians, like Cubans, love Americans and Englishmen and the values we have long stood for. They simply hate the British and American Empires and what such empires have done to them.

Stephen Kinzer’s article provides Americans with a starting point to understanding the deeply seated resentment, anger, and concern over the U.S. Empires actions against Iran, which mirror those of its worldwide predecessor, the British Empire. Understanding why people around the world feel the way they do about the U.S. Empire is a necessary and important step toward putting our own nation on the right track away from empire and toward the principle of a constitutional republic on which our nation was founded.

P.S. I highly recommend watching Stephen Kinzer’s excellent speech at our conference Restoring the Republic 2008: Foreign Policy and Civil Liberties.

Friday, December 2, 2011

About Those Chicken-hawks

I find chicken-hawks to be an interesting group of people. They’re calling on the U.S. government to wage war on Iran, just as they did with Iraq. Yet, at the same time, they steadfastly refuse to join the U.S. Armed Forces to go fight against Iran, just as they were steadfastly unwilling to do so in the war on Iraq.

What gives?

Suppose the United States were suddenly attacked and invaded by the Chinese army. No one would have to conscript me to join the armed forces or some private militia group. I would volunteer to fight and it wouldn’t make any difference to me that I was 61 years old rather than 19. The way I figure it is that I would be defending my country, my relatives, my friends, and my countrymen from brutal communist aggressors, invaders, and occupiers who would be killing, maiming, torturing, raping, and executing Americans in their quest to conquer and subjugate our country.

If that were to happen, however, unfortunately the chicken-hawks wouldn’t be fighting alongside those of us who were resisting the communist invasion of our country. They would be staying at home with their laptops, writing op-eds exhorting the rest of us to fight hard and telling the world how tough America is.

How do we know that the chicken-hawks would be sitting on the sidelines in such a war? Because that’s precisely what they are doing with respect to a war with Iran and what they did with respect to the war on Iraq.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not willing to risk my life in a war on Iran, just as I wasn’t willing to do so in the war on Iraq. But I’m in a totally different position from the chicken-hawks. The way I see it, a war on Iran would be just another imperialist regime-change operation, just as the Iraq war was. For me, all the pronouncements about WMDs and mushroom clouds are nothing more than a device on the part of the Empire to frighten people into supporting another imperialist, undeclared war of aggression against a country that has never attacked the United States.

In my opinion, a person would have to be an idiot to risk his life (or his soul) in an imperialist regime-change operation. My hunch is that that’s the reason U.S. soldiers convince themselves that theyre killing and dying overseas to protect our rights and freedoms or to keep Americans safe from the terrorists. Its too difficult for them to confront the truth that theyre killing and injuring people and risking their lives and limbs for the sake of nothing more than empire and intervention.

But chicken-hawks are in a different position. In their mind, Iran definitely poses an existential threat to the United States, just as they say Iraq did. They say that if the United States doesn’t attack Iran, Iran will launch a sudden nuclear attack against the United States at some point in the near future. Mushroom clouds are going to rise over American cities. Tens of millions of Americans are going to be killed. The attack is coming, the chicken-hawks say. Its just a matter of time, and so weve got to strike first to prevent the attack.

In other words, in the mind of the chickenhawk, the situation with respect to Iran is no different than if the Chinese army was invading America. National security is at stake. The lives of the American people are at stake. The future of our way of life is at stake. If we don’t wage war on Iran now, the chicken-hawks say, all will be lost.

Such being the case, why arent the chicken-hawks taking up arms to defend our country and their families, friends, and countrymen? Why are they choosing to remain at home when our nation is in such deep peril? Why let the troops do all the fighting? Doesnt the nation need all of us?

There are only two possible explanations for the chicken-hawks refusal to fight to save their country and the American people: cowardice or deception deception in the sense that deep down they know that this is just another imperialist regime-change operation but feel that they have to couch it in terms of some dire national-security rationale to garner public support for the operation.

Which is it? Do the chicken-hawks suffer from cowardice or deception?

Only they really know for sure, but lets just hope, for the sake of both the Iranian people and the American people, that the chicken-hawks are less influential than they were with the Iraq War, where millions of innocent people have been killed, maimed, imprisoned, tortured, abused, executed, or exiled all while the chicken-hawks stayed at home and proclaimed to the world how tough we are.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Loving Egypt’s Military Dictatorship

The disingenuousness of the U.S. government clearly has no bounds. What better example than its recent, somewhat lackadaisical call on the Egyptian military to relinquish power to the civilian sector?

After all, guess whos been propping up and supporting Egypt’s military dictatorship for decades. Yes, the democracy-loving U.S. government. Billions and billions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer money have been sent to Egypt’s military dictators, year after year, decade after decade. The money went to build the vast military machine that has not only warped the Egyptian economy but also terrorized and tyrannized the Egyptian people for decades.

The fact is that the U.S. government likes democracy only when it brings about a U.S.-favored ruler. The preference of the U.S. government, especially the Pentagon and the CIA, has long been dictatorships, especially military dictatorships.

Example: The Shah of Iran. U.S. officials loved the Shah, and they loved his brutal dictatorship. Why? Because the Shah was loyal to the U.S. Empire. He was a friend and ally of the Empire. When the Shah was in power, Iran was considered to be a friend and ally of the United States.

And it didn’t matter how much the Shah brutalized and tyrannized the Iranian people. U.S. officials actually liked the Shahs tyranny because it ensured order and stability, one of the longtime goals of U.S. foreign policy.

Why, the CIA even helped train and support the Shahs much-feared intelligence force, the Savak, which tortured and terrorized the Iranian people during the entire time of the Shahs dictatorship.

The U.S. Empire didn’t like the Shahs predecessor, the democratically elected Mohamed Mossdegh. Unlike the Shah, he believed that Iran should be a sovereign and independent country rather than a vassal in the U.S. worldwide imperial fiefdom. So, the CIA simply ousted Mossadegh from power and installed the Shah in his stead.

Order and stability well, except for the Iranian Revolution in 1979, which resulted in a radical Islamic dictatorship, which means that Americans are now supposed to hate Iran and Iranians and support a imperial war against them.

The same with Guatemala. The CIA didn’t like the democratically elected president of the country, Jacobo Arbenz, because he was independent of the U.S. Empire. The CIA ousted him too and replaced him with a series of army generals. Order and stability well, except for a 30-year-civil war that killed around a million people.

The U.S. Empire loved the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet and supported his coup against the democratically elected Salvador Allende. In fact, Pinochets military dictatorship including his tyrannical regime of arbitrary arrest, indefinite detention, torture, and assassination may well have served as the model for the U.S. Empires post-9/11, 10-year-old war on terrorism.

More recently, the U.S. government supported the military dictatorship of Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan.

And don’t forget the billions of dollars in foreign aid that the debt-ridden U.S. Empire sends to dictatorships in the Middle East as well as dictatorships that used to be part of the Soviet bloc.

But among the best examples of the Empires love of dictatorships is Egypt. After all, don’t forget the torture partnership between Egypt and the Empire. Do you recall that case in Italy where several CIA officials were convicted of unlawfully kidnapping a Muslim cleric and whisking him out of the country?

Well, guess where the CIA took the guy? You guessed right! Egypt! Why Egypt? Because Egypt’s military dictatorship is renowned for torture. Its got some of the best torturers and torture facilities in the world, bought and paid for by U.S. taxpayer money (i.e., foreign aid).

Its not the only instance of close cooperation between the Empire and Egypt’s military dictatorship. For decades, the Pentagon and Egypt’s military officials have had a close working relationship, in large part because their military mindsets are the same.

Just as the Egyptian military plays an enormous role in the Egyptian economy, so does the U.S. military-industrial complex. Both militaries have countless citizens, communities, and businesses dependent on the military dole people who panic at the thought of drastically reducing the role of the military in economic life.

Like the Pentagon, the Egyptian military in convinced that its existence is necessary to national security. The belief is that without an enormous standing military force, the economy would crater and the nation would be taken over by communists, terrorists, or drug dealers.

Just as the U.S. government does, the Egyptian military loves to stir up crises and enemies, both external and internal, in order to convince people that an enormous military-industrial complex is necessary to keep them safe.

One of the best examples of the shared mindset between the U.S. Empire and the Egyptian military dictatorship is the enemy-combatant doctrine. Just like in the post-9/11 United States, the Egyptian military dictatorship has the omnipotent authority to take suspected terrorists into custody, incarcerate them indefinitely without trial, torture them, and execute them. In fact, the power in Egypt also extends to suspected drug dealers, a power that U.S. officials, especially within the Pentagon and CIA, undoubtedly envy and would love to see adopted here.

Such tyrannical authority on the part of the Egyptian military goes back 30 years, when the president of the country was assassinated. It was their 9/11. The Egyptian people have recently been demanding that the military dictatorship relinquish that 30-year-old emergency power, but the dictatorship has refused to do. Its necessary, the military says, to keep the people safe.

Ironically, the U.S. government, including the Pentagon and the CIA, rely on the same justification for continuing the same power as part of its war on terrorism. U.S. officials say that even though 9/11 occurred 10 years ago, the emergency powers that the federal government assumed the same powers exercised by the Egyptian military dictatorship because of an assassination 30 years ago are still necessary to keep us safe. In fact, the U.S. Senate is now in the process of passing a bill that would make such dictatorial powers a permanent, emergency feature of American life.

There is only one real solution if the Egyptian people want to achieve genuine freedom and economic prosperity, and its the libertarian solution, the solution advocated by Americas Founding Fathers. That solution is the dismantling of the nations enormous standing army and military-industrial complex and the adoption of a limited-government, constitutional republic.

The same solution applies to the American people.

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.