By Jacob Hornberger
Repeating myself sometimes gets tired and tiresome, but when it comes to the endless stream of innocent people who continue to be killed in terrorist attacks, it’s important to do so. Until enough people realize the root cause of the ongoing and never-ending death and destruction and decide to do something about it, the death and destruction will continue indefinitely into the future.
As I have written so many times in the past, especially since the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. national-security state has been the greatest terrorist producing machine in history. It is impossible to come up with a bigger one, no matter how far you go back into history.
When the Cold War was going on, Americans weren’t concerned about terrorism. Oh sure, there might have been domestic terrorism inside certain countries, especially ones in which there were tyrannical regimes or internal grievances, but there certainly wasn’t the international, cross-border terrorism that we see today.
That’s because the national-security state had a different official enemy — communism and the Soviet Union. Every American — indeed, every citizen of every Western country — was exhorted to be afraid that communism and the Soviets were coming to get them. Everyone’s mindset was expected to orient itself toward the anti-communist crusade.
So, not surprisingly, the Pentagon’s budget soared. So did the CIA’s. They were the only things standing, we were told, between freedom and a communist takeover of the United States. That’s how tens of thousands of Americans ended up dying in Korea and Vietnam. That’s how we ended up with a U.S. sponsored invasion, embargo, assassination, terrorism, and sabotage against Cuba. That’s how we ended up with coups and other regime-change operations in Iran, Guatemala, Chile, Indonesia, Congo, and many others.
The communists. The communists. The communists. That’s what gripped the hearts and minds of the American people for 45 years.
At no time during this entire process were Americans scared of terrorism and Muslims. They were scared only of communists, the official enemy of the U.S. national-security state, which is a type of governmental apparatus that is inherent to totalitarian, dictatorial regimes.
How did Americans end up with a national-security state? They were told that it was necessary for America to embrace this totalitarian structure — on a “temporary” basis only, of course — in order to defeat the national-security state totalitarian structure of the Soviet Union.
In fact, when the U.S. national-security state partnered with extremist Muslims in Afghanistan during the Cold War, when it was the Soviet Union doing the occupying of Afghanistan, Americans cheered. They liked that. There was certainly no fear of Osama bin Laden and others of his ilk at that time. He was on our side.
It was only after the Cold War suddenly and unexpectedly ended that the Pentagon and the CIA were forced with the challenge of finding a new official enemy. With no official enemy, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to explain why the entire national-security establishment was needed. After all, don’t forget: this totalitarian apparatus came into existence after World War II, with the Cold War as its sole justification. No more Cold War naturally meant no more national-security establishment.
At first the Pentagon and the CIA said: Please leave us be. We can fight the drug war. We can fight for American business interests overseas. We’re still important even with no Cold War.
But they knew that wasn’t enough. After 45 years of ever-increasing military spending (and taxation), too many people were talking about a “peace dividend.”
So, in a brilliant ploy, the national-security state went into the Middle East and began killing people. And continued killing people. It turned into one of the most massive killing sprees in history. We don’t know the exact number of people they’ve killed but it’s got to range well over a million.
There were the thousands of Iraqis killed in the Persian Gulf War. There were the hundreds of thousands of children — yes, children! — killed by the brutal U.S. sanctions against Iraq. There were the countless Iraqis killed in the enforcement of the no-fly zones over Iraq.
On top of those deaths were the stationing of troops near Islamic holy lands, the partnerships with brutal and oppressive Middle East dictatorships, and the unconditional financial and military support given the Israeli government.
U.S. officials had to know that all of this was going to produce blowback. In fact, Blowback was the title of the pre-9/11 book by Chalmers Johnson, the former consultant for the CIA. He said that if the U.S. government did not stop its death machine in the Middle East, there would ultimately be terrorist attacks on American soil.
Johnson wasn’t the only one. Here at FFF, we were publishing articles before 9/11 saying the same thing.
It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. There had already been terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993, on the USS Cole, and on the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. When Ramzi Yousef, one of the WTC terrorists in 1993 was arrested and brought to the United States, he angrily cited the U.S. government’s death machine as the motivating factor in his act of terrorism.
It has been no different with all the other anti-American terrorist attacks — 9/11, Fort Hood, Detroit, and all the rest. The terrorists all consistently cite the U.S. death machine in the Middle East as the motivating factor.
So, what do U.S. officials do after 9/11? They do more of the same! They go on an even bigger killing spree! They invade Iraq, a country that never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so. They torture and abuse people who did nothing against the United States. They kill people for more than 10 years. They destroy their country. And they don’t even keep count of the dead.
The same for Afghanistan. They kill wedding parties. They drop bombs everywhere. They kill and kill and kill. Ninety nine percent of the people they’ve killed had nothing to do with 9/11.
Throughout the death and destruction, whenever someone retaliated with terrorism, the response has always been the same: “They just hate us for our freedom and values. This has nothing to do with our 25-year killing spree in the Middle East and Afghanistan.”
And they’ve then used the terrorist attacks to justify an expansion of the killing spree, which then brings more acts of terrorism, which brings a greater expansion of the killing spree, which then brings more acts of terrorism.
It’s the greatest racket in history. It guarantees ever-growing budgets for the military and the CIA. It guarantees a perpetual cycle of killing and terrorism. It is much better than the Cold War, which the Pentagon and the CIA have, interestingly enough, now succeeded in reviving with their provocations in Ukraine, the South China Sea, and Korea.
Notice how the racket works: They effect a regime change in Iraq, which kills untold numbers of people. That incites a civil war involving ISIS, which is composed largely of former members of Saddam Hussein’s regime, the regime that an outside imperialist power ousted in an invasion against a country that never attacked the United States.
ISIS now becomes a new official enemy, replacing al Qaeda, the organization consisting of former extremist Muslims who the U.S. national-security state was partnering with in Afghanistan when it was the Soviets doing the occupying of that country.
We’re now told that ISIS is the greatest threat to “national security” ever. If the U.S. doesn’t kill ISIS, it will come to the United States and take over the federal government and the IRS. It’s a bigger threat than communism, we’re told.
So, they keep killing and killing and killing, this time in the name of killing ISIS, the latest new official enemy.
ISIS then responds with a terrorist attack on people in France, another colonialist power who won’t leave people in the Middle East alone, especially in the former French colony of Syria.
Belgium arrests one of the terrorists who committed the attacks in France.
ISIS bombs innocent people in Belgium.
Belgian, French, and U.S. officials exclaim, “They just hate us all for our freedom and values,” acting as though the ongoing U.S. death machine in the Middle East has nothing to do with this never-ending, perpetual cycle of death and destruction.
Meanwhile, we have the predictable response: Destroy the civil liberties of the citizenry. Use the terrorist attacks as the excuse for more oppression at home. Assassination. Torture. Secret Surveillance. Indefinite incarceration. Secret prison camps. Rendition. The U.S. has led the way in the destruction of civil liberties and personal and financial privacy. All to keep us “safe” from the enemies its death machine has produced.
I repeat what I have stated for 25 years: If Americans want to restore a peaceful, harmonious, and prosperous society to our land, there is but one solution: Stop the death machine. Stop it and dismantle it.
“But Jacob, what about ISIS? What if it takes over Iraq or Syria?”
So what? Is one more regime that hates the U.S. government going to mean an invasion and conquest of the United States? North Korea’s government hates the U.S government. Does that mean it’s going to invade and conquer the United States? So does Venezuela’s government. And Bolivia’s government. And many others. It doesn’t mean anything insofar as the existence of the United States is concerned.
Sure, those tyrannical regimes are not good for the people who live under them, but that’s no business of the U.S. government. That’s the business of people who live in those countries. As we have seen time and time again, the U.S. government’s crusade against evil regimes only produces more death, suffering, destruction, and loss of liberty for everyone.
After all, just look at what their crusade against Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein has produced. What better evidence than that?
The U.S. government’s death machine caused enough death, damage, and destruction. When does it stop? It stops when the U.S. government stops killing people in the Middle East. It stops when it brings its troops home and discharges them. It stops when enough Americans demand that it stop.
This article was originally published at The Future of Freedom Foundation.