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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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The Time for Soul-Searching Has Arrived


How ironic. Countless American Christians supported the U.S. government’s war of aggression on Iraq, and now consider this headline from last Sunday’sNew York Times: “Exodus from North Signals Iraqi Christians’ Slow Decline.”

And now we learn that an American soldier went on a killing rampage in Afghanistan, walking into people’s homes in a brutal shoot-up that ended up killing 16 people, including women and children.

How come so many Americans still can’t recognize that the U.S. invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan have been disasters? Why must they feel compelled to support some type of mythical, delusionary picture that has nothing to do with reality?

Look at Iraq. At first U.S. officials convinced Americans to support an invasion of the country under a principle of preventive self-defense. Recall that U.S. officials said the same thing about Iraq that they’re now saying about Iran. Saddam Hussein is on the verge of producing a nuclear weapon. He intends to attack the United States. We have to attack now. The smoking gun might be a mushroom cloud rising over American cities.

All too many Americans simply deferred to authority, as they had been taught to do in the government-approved schools they were forced to attend. U.S. officials have access to information that we don’t have, they said. They would never lie to us. They don’t want to go to war against Iraq. They’re just protecting national security.

How many Americans even considered the possibility that this was all a charade, one designed to oust Saddam Hussein from power and replace him with a pro-U.S. dictator? It wasn’t that difficult to see. Don’t forget that that’s what those 11 years of brutal sanctions were all about—the sanctions that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children. The invasion of Iraq was intended to achieve what the sanctions had not achieved. It wasn’t difficult to frighten Americans into falling for anything after 9/11.

Indeed, what happened after it was determined that there were no WMDs in Iraq? Did Americans feel bad about having supported a war in which countless people had been killed and maimed, given that the U.S. government was wrong in its WMD assessment? Did soldiers have crises of conscience for having killed and maimed innocent people — that is, people whose government never intended to attack the United States with WMDs — people who were entirely innocent of the 9/11 attacks. Wouldn’t that have been the time for a massive congressional investigation into whether U.S. officials had intentionally deceived the American people regarding those WMDs?

Nope. Instead, people simply deferred to authority when U.S. officials shifted to the alternative justification for invading Iraq — that U.S. officials actually loved the Iraqi people so much that they wanted to bring them freedom and democracy through a deadly military invasion and occupation. And to prove their love of the Iraqi people, U.S. officials made it clear that they were willing to kill and maim as many Iraqis as necessary to bring freedom and democracy to Iraq.

What a crock. If they loved the Iraqi people so much, how come there was never an upward limit on the number of Iraqis they were willing to kill and maim to achieve regime change? How come they treated Iraqis in Abu Ghraib prison the way that Saddam Hussein treated them? Is that the way you treat people whom you love?

And look at the result in Iraq. U.S. officials, along with their loyal interventionist supporters, continue to tell the American people that Iraq is now a paradise of freedom, democracy, and prosperity.

Oh? If Iraq is now such a paradise, then why is there an exodus of Christians from Iraq?

The reality is that Iraq is not a paradise. It is an absolute disaster. It is a wasteland of death, destruction, depression, and impoverishment. And it is headed by a dictatorial regime that is doing all the things that the Saddam Hussein regime was doing — killing people who resist the dictatorship, incarcerating people without trial, torturing them, and executing them. Worst of all, from the standpoint of the interventionists, the regime is more pro-Iran than it is pro-U.S.

It’s no different in Afghanistan. That country is another wasteland of death, destruction, impoverishment, and depression. The Karzai regime is nothing but a crooked, corrupt, brutal pro-U.S. dictatorship.

Sure, it’s horrible that that U.S. soldier killed those 16 people, but that’s what U.S. forces have been doing ever since they invaded the country. Just think about all the wedding parties they’ve bombed and killed. Think about that Wikileaks video showing that helicopter gunship firing at people who were doing nothing more than rescuing people who had been injured from a U.S. attack. Think of all the people who have been killed, maimed, tortured, and incarcerated — that is, people who had nothing to do with 9/11 and whose worst crime wastrying to rid their nation of an unlawful invader and occupier. Think about all the people who have been languishing in Bagram prison for years without trial.

Oh, but we’re not supposed to think about such things. We’re supposed to blindly accept the government’s pronouncements. We’re supposed to support the troops. We’re supposed to turn a blind eye to the reality of U.S. foreign policy. We’re supposed to suppress our consciences and simply look down, remaining silent or, better yet, supportive of whatever the government is doing.

Speaking of the law, where are the congressional declarations of war against Iraq and Afghanistan that the U.S. Constitution requires? Interventionists can rail against that requirement all they want, but the law is the law. If they don’t like the law, they have a remedy — get it changed through constitutional amendment. As long as it’s the law, it is supposed to be followed. If it’s now, that makes the U.S. government the law-breaker.

The law wasn’t followed, not in Iraq and not in Afghanistan. That makes both wars illegal under our form of government. The U.S. government is a lawbreaker in both instances. The invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, which have killed and maimed so many people and destroyed both countries, have both been conducted in violation of the highest law of our land, the Constitution, the law that we the people have imposed on our public officials.

And look at what these illegal wars, together with U.S. foreign policy before 9/11, have done to freedom in our country. We now live under the iron umbrella of a massive national security state, one that resembles that of the Soviet Union. The U.S. government now wields the authority to monitor and spy on Americans, in the name of national security and the war on terrorism. That’s what the KGB and, for that matter, the Gestapo did too.

The government also now wields the authority to round up Americans, incarcerate them for life without trial, torture them, and even execute them. The Gestapo and the KGB had the same authority.

Indeed, the government now wields the omnipotent power to assassinate Americans and everyone else in the world. Did the KGB and Gestapo have that authority? I would assume so but I’m not sure.

Meanwhile, Americans continue singing about how free they are. They continue praising the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan for “defending our freedoms.” No people in history better exemplify the words of Johann Goethe than the American people of our time: None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.

The endless question for “national security” has destroyed all sense of morality and freedom in America. While the national security state continues to plunge our nation into moral debauchery through its antics overseas — in the name of “national security” — it continues to tighten the noose here at home with respect to our freedom. The tighter the noose is drawn, the more Americans sing about how free they are.

Meanwhile, the Empire is bankrupting us. Most Americans are struggling to make ends meet. At the same time, federal spending and debt continue to soar, with the Federal Reserve doing what it’s done since its founding in 1913 — printing the money to pay off the government’s ever-increasing debt — the decades-long process of monetary debasement. Nonetheless, while Americans lament the spending and debt, they continue celebrating the warfare state, which is in large part responsible for America’s fiscal problems.

How long will the American people permit this to go on without finally putting a stop to it? How many more Afghans must be killed before Americans say enough is enough? How many more infringements on our freedom at home must be implemented before Americans say enough is enough? How many angry, murderous rampages by U.S. troops must U.S. soldiers undertake before Americans say enough is enough? How many more suicides of U.S. troops before American say enough is enough. How many Christians must exit Iraq before American say enough is enough.

It’s time for Americans to do some serious soul-searching. It’s time they look deep within themselves for answers rather than to the supercilious pronouncements of their government officials. It’s time for Americans to challenge what their government is doing to people over there and what it’s doing to Americans here at home. It’s what genuine patriotism is all about. It’s what genuine morality is all about. It’s what individual responsibility is all about. It’s what conscience is all about. It’s what a free society is all about.

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.