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The International Terror-and-Drug Cop Is On the Beat


Those who favor the U.S. government’s role as international policeman must be ecstatic that the feds are now expanding their jurisdiction in their decades-long war on drugs to include the entire world. How so? Well, despite the fact that U.S. drug laws apply only in the United States, U.S. military forces are now using their “war on terror” and their invasion and occupation of Iraq to search and seize ships in the Persian Gulf and the North Arabian Sea alleged to be carrying illicit drugs and to remove the crew members to the Pentagon’s prison camp in Afghanistan for interrogation and punishment.

What? Have the suspects fired on U.S. military vessels? Have they laid mines in the ocean to blow up U.S. ships? Have they fired torpedoes?

No; all they’ve been accused of doing is what smugglers always do in response to such political interventions as drug laws — smuggle.

So how does the international cop claim jurisdiction to arrest people for drug violations in waters thousands of miles away from American shores? By claiming that the drug smugglers are probably working for al-Qaeda, thereby making them “illegal combatants” in the federal government’s worldwide war on terror.

Neat trick, huh? Talk about mission morph! The cop’s role as international destroyer of terrorists and preemptive invader of countries has now morphed into international destroyer of drug dealers!

Do U.S. military officials accord the accused drug smugglers due process of law, as the U.S. Constitution requires drug cops to do here in the United States? Are you kidding? We’re dealing with the Pentagon, which, don’t forget, set up its prison camp in Cuba with the specific hope that the Constitution wouldn’t apply to its operations there and which has also steadfastly refused to set up any system of due process of law for accused criminals as part of its military occupation of Iraq.

Here in the United States, the government is required to accord people who are accused of drug possession due process, including the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, the right to bail, the right to the presumption of innocence, and the right to a jury trial.

But with the U.S. military serving as the world’s international terrorist cop, the Pentagon doesn’t have to bother with such silly constitutional concepts. Thus, unlike domestic drug cops here in the United States, U.S. military officials are simply stopping and searching ships on the high seas without warrants, arresting drug suspects without warrants who they “know” are guilty, and removing the suspects to a U.S. military base in Afghanistan, where prisoners under Pentagon control are sometimes tortured and even killed during interrogation, and where they will be punished, possibly even executed, for being terrorist drug dealers.

Never mind that people possessing drugs thousands of miles from U.S. shores are unlikely to be violating U.S. drug laws. Never mind that the seizures of their ships have been conducted without probable cause or judicially issued warrants. Never mind that the people taken into custody are not granted bail, an attorney, or the rudimentary procedures of due process of law. Never mind that their custody and interrogation are not subject to judicial oversight. And never mind even that the seizures will do nothing to alter the decades-long failure of the U.S. government’s war on drugs.

Never mind all that. What does it matter? As long as the international cop has been charged with the dual mission of destroying terrorism and terrorists worldwide and preemptively invading countries all over the world to bring “freedom and democracy” to their citizenry, why should we let such silly notions as due process of law get in the way of the cop? Anyway, as Vladimir Lenin observed, you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.

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    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.