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Why the Shock Over the Belgian Terrorism?


For the life of me, I just don’t get it. Why are so many Americans shocked over the terrorist attacks in Brussels? Horrified, I can understand, given the carnage and the loss of so much innocent life. But shocked? How in the world can people be shocked? They certainly wouldn’t be shocked if they had been reading FFF’s articles for the past couple of decades.

Ever since 9/11 and even before, we have been emphasizing that terrorism is a cost of empire and intervention. As just one example, among many, see my 2009 article entitled, “Terrorism Is a Cost of Empire.” It’s like lightning and thunder. Terrorism comes with imperialism and interventionism just as thunder comes with lightning. You can’t have imperialism and interventionism without terrorist retaliation.

An interventionist would respond, “But Jacob, they had no right to kill all those innocent people. The victims didn’t have anything to do with the imperialism and interventionism. It’s the military, not the civilians, who are doing the killing in the Middle East.”

Fair enough. I agree. The terrorists had no right, either moral or legal, to kill those innocent people. Of course though, we probably should acknowledge that even if the terrorists had limited their attack to military targets, they would still be considered terrorists.

But the fact that the terrorists had no right to inflict death on innocent people is quite irrelevant. What matters is that they’re going to do it whether they have a right to do it or not. That’s what people need to come to understand so that they stop being shocked whenever there is another terrorist attack, which there will be.

Let me restate the central point: There are going to be more terrorist attacks, including here in the United States, because the U.S. death machine, which is supported by such former colonialist powers as Great Britain, France, and Belgium, continue killing people in the Middle East.

That’s just a reality that everyone needs to get used to. It will eliminate the shock over the next terrorist attack. Indeed, what would shock me is if the U.S. killing spree continued in the Middle East and there were no more retaliatory terrorist strikes, including on the citizens of nations whose governments are participating in the killing spree.

I know what statists would say. They’re would say the same thing they’ve said since the 9/11 attacks. They would say that the U.S. death machine in the Middle East has nothing to do with the terrorist attacks. They would say that it’s all because the terrorists are Muslims and because they hate the United States, France, Belgium, and Great Britain for their freedom and values.

That’s certainly not what the terrorists say. Consider the headline of this article in The Independent soon after the attacks in Belgium: “Isis claims responsibility for Brussels attacks ‘in revenge for Belgian’s role fighting militants in Syria and Iraq.” That’s also what Ramzi Yousef, one of the terrorists who struck the World Trade Center in 1993, said—that it was in revenge for all the people, including Iraqi children, that the U.S. Empire was killing in the Middle East. That’s what the terrorists have been saying consistently before and after the 9/11 attacks.

What role does the U.S. death machine in the Middle East play in producing terrorism, according to U.S. interventionists? Apparently none.  The death machine can kill hundreds of thousands of people, including children, and people over there won’t mind it at all. After all, don’t forget what U.S. officials said when they were killing tens of thousands of Vietnamese people during the illegal war that the U.S. Empire was waging over there in the 1960s and ’70s: that the Vietnamese were nothing but “gooks” who didn’t really mind losing friends and family members to the U.S. death machine because (1) there were so many Asians anyway and (2) they didn’t put the same value on human life as Americans do.

So, the U.S. death machine can kill as many people as it wants in the Middle East and none of that will adversely affect people in the Middle East, according to the interventionists. It’s all because they’re Muslims and all because they hate America, France, Great Britain, and Belgium for their freedom and values.

But let’s take note of something interesting: The terrorists haven’t bombed anyone in Switzerland.

Why not? If it’s because of their Muslim beliefs that they are attacking innocent people in Belgium, France, Great Britain, and the United States, why not bomb airports and train stations in Switzerland? If the terrorists hate Americans, French, Brits, and Belgians for their freedom and values, why don’t they hate the Swiss too?

Could it be because Switzerland hasn’t participated and isn’t participating in the U.S. killing campaign that has been going on in the Middle East for some 25 years?

Instead, Switzerland has a non-interventionist foreign policy, one that is oriented solely to the defense of the country. No enormous standing army. No foreign military bases. No foreign interventionism. No killing spree in the Middle East. No partnerships with foreign dictatorships. No assassination program. No massive secret surveillance system. No system of torture and indefinite incarceration. No entangling alliances with other nations.

And no terrorism against Swiss citizens.

I’ll bet most Americans don’t realize that the American Founding Fathers used the Swiss anti-interventionist philosophy as their model when they called the United States into existence. After all, it wasn’t until after World War II — some 150 years after the nation was established — that the United States acquired the national-security establishment, a type of governmental apparatus that characterizes most totalitarian regimes and that has orchestrated and run the U.S. death machine in the Middle East since the end of Cold War some 25 years ago.

For Americans who would like a normally functioning society — that is, one based on freedom, peace, and prosperity — there is but one solution: Stop the U.S. government from killing even one more person in the Middle East. Leave that part of the world alone. The U.S. Empire has made a big enough mess for everyone over there, including the various civil wars that now ravage the region, all of which are a direct consequence of the various regime-change operations undertaken by the U.S. national-security establishment.

For Americans who would like a normally functioning society and also the continuation of U.S. imperialism, interventionism, and killing in the Middle East, forget it. It ain’t gonna happen. You might as well hope for lightning without thunder.

One thing is for sure: As long as the U.S. death machine continues to kill people in the Middle East, there will be more terrorism. Be horrified when it comes. But there is no reason to be shocked.

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.