With the recent passing of Veterans Day, social media, TV shows, and commercials were singing the praises of the brave men and women who defend America. Reading or listening to some of the praises heaped upon them, one would think that America would long ago have been overrun by barbaric hordes intent on enslaving and pillaging the entire country. Yet, such statements betray a lack of critical thinking on the part of those from whose lips such profuse praise pours forth.
When people thank soldiers for their service, does anyone stop and ask what the service being rendered is? Are the soldiers stopping hosts of invaders from sweeping in and destroying life as we know it? Are they repelling seaborne invaders making landfall on the East Coast? Clearly not.
Rather these soldiers are either on garrison duty domestically, deployed internationally to maintain the United States’ so-called strategic interests in places like Germany, Japan, Korea, Bahrain, and Italy, or they are fighting insurgencies in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen, in order to spread American global hegemony.
The story goes that the troops are hunting down dangerous terrorists and enemies of the United States, who would attack us here at home. Yet, why would people want to attack us? If confronted with this question, many people would simply reply that terrorists (communists, fascists, and whoever else needs to be fought) hate us for our freedoms and our ways of life.
Look, even authoritarian and totalitarian states can’t prevent domestic terrorism. What hope do relatively open societies have? Open societies abound with “soft targets,” that is, noncombatants going about their everyday lives. They are easy hits for those determined to inflict harm, especially if the assailants seek to die in the process.
We also know, as U.S. officials acknowledge, that NATO bombing of jihadis boosts recruitment.
So if Americans and Europeans want safer societies, they must discard the old, failed playbook, which has only one play – more violence – and adopt a new policy: nonintervention.
But how are we to pursue this saner policy in the face of a determined refusal to understand what happened in Paris?
All too typical was a recent discussion on CNN in which an American-Muslim leader and an English former jihadi debated whether the attacks in Paris are best explained by the marginalization of France’s Muslim population or by an “ideology.”
Social justice protests have been roiling American universities, even causing administrative heads to roll. To a significant degree, these campus uprisings have been characterized by an impulse to restrict speech and expression for the sake of creating “safe spaces” for marginalized groups. However, speech restriction is a double-edged sword that can just as easily injure the very people campus activists seek to help.
The turmoil at the University of Missouri (Mizzou) in particular was sparked by racial incidents. And the protesters are closely aligned with the Black Lives Matter movement, which combats police brutality against black Americans. However, cops themselves have recently sought to restrict speech and expression in order to insulate that very brutality from criticism.
As William N. Grigg wrote last year:
“The NYPD has now added its name to the roster of Officially Protected Victims by filing ‘hate crimes’ charges against 36-year-old Rosella Best, who had tagged police vehicles and a public school with anti-NYPD graffiti. Among the entirely defensible sentiments inscribed by Best are ‘NYPD pick on the harmless,’ ‘NYPD pick on the innocent,’ and?—?in a display of familiar but increasingly justified hyperbole?—?‘NAZIS=NYPD.’ (Assuming that Ms. Best used only ‘public’ property as her canvas, it’s difficult to identify an actual victim in this case.)”
And earlier this year, the Fraternal Order of Police demanded that Congress extend such special protection to the federal level.
Wars are expensive. The recruitment and sustainment of fighters in the field, the ongoing purchases of weapons and munitions, as well as the myriad other costs of struggle, add up.
So why isn’t the United States going after Islamic State’s funding sources as a way of lessening or eliminating their strength at making war? Follow the money back, cut it off, and you strike a blow much more devastating than an airstrike. But that has not happened. Why?
Many have long held that Sunni terror groups, ISIS now and al Qaeda before them, are funded via Gulf States, such as Saudi Arabia, who are also longtime American allies. Direct links are difficult to prove, particularly if the United States chooses not to prove them. The issue is exacerbated by suggestions that the money comes from “donors,” not directly from national treasuries, and may be routed through legitimate charitable organizations or front companies.
In fact, one person concerned about Saudi funding was then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who warned in a 2009 message on WikiLeaks that donors in Saudi Arabia were the “most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”
Justin Raimondo, editorial director of Antiwar.com, will be giving the keynote speech at the Students for Liberty Northern California Regional Conference in Cupertino, California this Saturday, November 21st. The conference which begins at 10am will be held at De Anza College. Please register here.
Casey Given, Students for Liberty Director of Communication, writes “Justin has a long history in the liberty movement as an early member of both the Libertarian Party and Young Americans for Freedom. A personal friend of Murray Rothbard before his death, Justin wrote the first biography of the libertarian giant in 2000. Justin rarely speaks at public events nowadays, so his confirmation is very generous. We hope you’ll seize this opportunity to hear first-hand from one of the West Coast’s preeminent libertarians.”
Justin Raimondo’s speech will be at 7pm. For details, please contact Kevin Suarez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Terrorism is great for business if you’re in the business of growing the government leviathan. The bodies in Paris are not yet buried, while the vultures with dollar signs (and pounds and Euros, etc) in their eyes have already swooped down for a feast.
Terrorism, what is it good for?
1) The military-industrial-Congressional complex: Thanks to Glenn Greenwald for bringing to light the enormous profits that are already rolling in for the merchants of death as Paris still smolders. As Greenwald points out, the markets could hardly wait to start buying from these military suppliers:
And France’s largest arms manufacturer:
2) The surveillance/spy state: This morning UK prime minister David Cameron announced that, in light of the Paris attacks, an additional 2,000 spies will be hired in Britain’s MI5, MI6, and GCHQ. The British are among the most spied-upon people on the planet, and with a 15 percent increase in spy hires they can look forward to having even more of their private lives in view of government snoops, as well as their civil liberties further clipped in the name of freedom. Cameron calls ramping up the surveillance state “invest[ing] more in our national security,” but does anyone believe an even larger spy bureaucracy will keep Britain safe?