Hornberger's Blog

Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
Here's the RSS feed or subscribe to our FFF Email Update to receive Hornberger’s Blog daily.

Blame the Pentagon and CIA for Trump’s Immigration Ban


President Trump tells us that his newly modified travel ban, just his original travel ban, is intended to keep us safe.

Safe from whom?

From the terrorists. Or, if you wish, the Muslims, or the “radicalized Muslims.”

But the important question must still be asked: Why is it that terrorists, Muslims, or “radicalized Muslims” wish to commit acts of terrorism against the United States?

Some people still maintain that it’s because they hate us for “our freedom and values” or because of our religions. But that’s just palpable nonsense. If that were the case, they’d be attacking Switzerland, whose “freedom and values” and religions are similar to those of the United States. Instead, they leave Switzerland alone.

The motivating factor for anti-American terrorism is the death and destruction that the Pentagon and the CIA continue to wreak in Afghanistan and the Middle East, including Iraq, Yemen, Syria, and Libya. The more people they kill and the more homes and businesses they destroy, the more anti-American anger and hatred they produce, which ultimately manifests itself in terrorist attacks.

It really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out. When people are getting bombed, assassinated, executed, tortured, and incarcerated by a foreign aggressor — indeed, when their wedding parties, hospital patients, and others are getting bombed and shot up — they tend to get depressed and angry. Naturally, some of them want revenge.

That’s why they leave Switzerland alone and focus on attacking the United States. The Swiss government isn’t bombing their lands and killing their people. It minds its own business. It limits itself to national defense — i.e., the defense of the country.

Not so with the United States. It sends its troops and CIA agents into foreign lands thousands of miles away from American shores to effect regime changes and bomb, torture, execute, incarcerate, and assassinate people and property.

You can add to that logic the actual statements of the terrorists and would-be terrorists who have committed terrorist attacks in the United States. Beginning with the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, they all have said that U.S. interventionism abroad has been the motivating factor behind their attacks.

That’s what every American needs to keep in mind: that Trump’s travel ban is intended to keep us safe from the enemies that the Pentagon and the CIA produce with their deadly and destructive interventionism in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

What everyone also needs to recognize is that there is another choice here: Just bring the troops and the CIA home. No more killing, torture, assassination, bombing, incarcerating, or executing at the hands of U.S. officials. Just come home.

What would that accomplish? It would mean no more threat of anti-American attacks from the terrorists, Muslims, or “radicalized Muslims.”

Which would mean no more need for travel bans and other police-state measures to protect us from the enemies that the Pentagon and the CIA have been producing and continue to produce with their interventionist activities abroad.

Obviously, the national-security establishment fiercely opposes a withdrawal of U.S. troops and CIA agents from the Middle East and Afghanistan. They know that their ever-increasing amount of taxpayer-funded largess necessarily depends on having a continuous and never-ending supply of enemies.

That’s in fact why the Pentagon and the CIA went into the Middle East and began killing people beginning in 1990. Having lost their Cold War enemy, the Soviet Union, in 1989 — an enemy that they had been convinced would last forever — they knew that they now needed a new perpetual enemy — the terrorists (or the Muslims or the “radicalized Muslims”). But they also knew that to ensure that terrorism became a legitimate threat against the United States, they would have to first begin wreaking death and destruction among the people of the Middle East, including Muslims.

It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book: Destroy the liberties of the people in the name of keeping them safe from the enemies the government is producing with its policies. (As an interesting aside, after the Reichstag Fire, Nazi officials cited two threats to justify totalitarian-like powers that were supposedly intended to keep the German people safe: terrorism and Russia. Sound familiar?)

What many Americans still don’t realize is that prior to the 9/11 attacks, the Pentagon and CIA had already killed hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq, including children, and had destroyed Iraq with bombs and missiles. All that death and destruction was, not surprisingly, a principal motivating factor behind the 9/11 attacks, not some general hatred for America’s “freedom and values.”

Thus no one should be surprised that the Pentagon and the CIA want to remain in the Middle East and Afghanistan. They know that their continued largess depends on having a perpetual enemy so that they can say that they are saving the country from the enemy (that their policies are producing). I have called their racket the greatest terrorist-producing machine in history.

What amazes me is that so many American citizens continue to support this senseless and destructive interventionism, especially when it produces enemies that are used to destroy the freedom and privacy of the American people at the hands of their own government. Where are the anti-war protesters of the 1960s — the people who forced the Pentagon and the CIA to withdraw from Vietnam? Why aren’t they demanding an immediate withdrawal of all troops from the Middle East and Afghanistan and an immediate cessation of CIA regime change operations?

I’ll tell you why. It’s because they have grown up to be just like their parents — weak, submissive, passive, and deferential acolytes of the Pentagon and the CIA, especially their troops and agents.

That’s what big government inevitably produces — weak, passive, submissive, and deferential people, many of whom are scared to death that the government is going to do something bad to them if they dare protest.

Seniors, many of whom demonstrated against the Vietnam War, are scared to death that the government will reduce their Social Security or Medicare benefits if they publicly protest against foreign interventionism. Corporate CEOs are scared to death that U.S. officials will prosecute them for violating economic rules and regulations, including income-tax violations or insider-trading laws. Drug users are scared to death to protest for fear of being prosecuted for drug-law violations.

That’s the basic problem we are facing — an all-powerful government and an extremely weak citizenry. Our hope lies not with the Pentagon and the CIA to do the right thing and come home. That’s not going to happen. Our only hope is that Americans can overcome their fear, passivity, submissiveness, dependence, and deferential attitude and acquire the spirit of independence, self-reliance, and liberty that characterized our American ancestors, and then that they put the federal government in its rightful place, like they did with the Vietnam War.

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.