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Cancel U.S. Aid to Egypt’s Military Dictatorship


Take a look at these two articles, one from the Washington Times and the other from the Los Angeles Times:

Egypt’s Real Ruler: Military Leader Tantawi

Will Egypt’s Generals Yield?

What’s the significance of those two articles? They describe the true nature of Egypt’s governmental system, notwithstanding the recent election of Islamic leader Mohamed Morsi to the presidency. Both articles explain that Egypt continues to be governed by a military dictatorship, the same type of military dictatorship that has been governing the country for decades.

Why is that important to Americans? Because the U.S. government continues to send foreign aid to the Egyptian military to the tune of $1.3 billion a year. That’s billion, with a “b.”

Let’s remind ourselves where the U.S. government gets that $1.3 billion. With the help of the IRS, it extracts it from the income of the American people. That is, U.S. officials require Americans, by law, to send to the federal government a certain portion of their incomes in the form of income taxes.

It doesn’t matter how hard-pressed a family might be financially. It doesn’t matter whether the family can’t make its mortgage payment or take a vacation. It still must send to the IRS (or have the money extracted in employer withholding) the percentage of his income established by Congress.

So, where does that money go that Americans send to the IRS? It goes to all sorts of welfare-warfare schemes, including foreign aid to Egypt’s military dictatorship. That’s considered more important to U.S. officials than what Americans could be doing with their own money, such as make their mortgage payments or go on vacation.

Now, you might ask: Now that Egypt has a new president, how are the monthly payments to the military dictatorship being handled? Are they now being sent to Egypt’s new president?

Well, actually, no. You see, the money continues to be sent to the generals — to the Egyptian military. The new Egyptian president is given no control over the money at all.

What about the Egyptian Parliament, the legislative body of the country? Do U.S. officials now send the foreign aid to the Parliament, given that budgeting and spending usually fall within the legislative powers of a government.

Well, actually, no because Egypt’s military-controlled judiciary ordered that the Parliament be dissolved.

In fact, Morsi has virtually no powers at all. All the powers of the state belong to the generals, who have made it very clear to everyone that they will have final say over what the country’s new constitution will say. And they have also made it very clear that ultimate power will permanently lie with the military. It will decide the powers of everyone else within the government.

In other words, the military will continue to be omnipotent. It will continue to have the dictatorial power to review the actions of everyone else in the government. It will have final say over financial matters. No one else in the government will have the power to review what the military does, how much money it receives, or what it spends its money on.

It would be difficult to find a better example of a classic military dictatorship. Chile under Pinochet comes to mind. So does Burma.

So, why does the U.S. government continue to send U.S. taxpayer money to the Egyptian military?

Because contrary to what everyone is taught in those American public (i.e., government) schools and government-licensed private schools that American children are required by law to attend, U.S. officials believe in military dictatorships — they love them, so long as the dictatorships are pro-U.S. Military dictatorships bring “order and stability” to a nation, which is precisely why U.S. officials love them, so long as they are pro-U.S.

That’s why U.S. officials loved Pinochet’s military dictatorship. It was pro-U.S. That’s why they don’t like Syria’s dictatorship. It isn’t pro-U.S.

The Egyptian military has made it very clear that it will not surrender power to civilian authority. In fact, just before the recent presidential election, the generals not only enforced their military-controlled court order to dissolve Parliament. They also issued a decree establishing martial law.

What does that mean? It means soldiers can pick up any civilian and cart him away to be incarcerated, tortured, or executed without due process of law. And who do you think they’ll be arresting and doing those things to? You got it — people who are opposing, either peacefully or violently, military dictatorship for their country.

At this point in Egypt’s history, Americans should be asking themselves some discomforting questions: In a time when annual federal expenditures exceed tax revenues by more than a trillion dollars — when the U.S. government continues to spend and incur mountains of debt as if there were no tomorrow — when Americans are struggling to make ends meet, why should the U.S. government be sending U.S. taxpayer money to a military dictatorship, even if it’s a pro-U.S. dictatorship? What kind of message does that send the world? Where is the morality in that sort of thing?

After all, let’s not forget that the stronger the U.S. government makes the Egyptian military, the better able and better equipped it is to intimidate, cow, and suppress opposition to its dictatorial power.

It’s time to cancel all U.S. foreign aid, but especially to one of the most brutal military dictatorships in history, one that has used its power and armaments to suppress, incarcerate, torture, and execute innocent people — people who have done nothing more than oppose their country’s military dictatorship. Americans have better, more moral uses for their own money.

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.