Another terrorist attack in London, and more predictable responses from President Trump, British Prime Minister May, other public officials, and the mainstream press. We have to crack down on terrorism. The problem is with extremist Muslims. They hate us for our freedom and values. Don’t be afraid. Go about your daily lives as if nothing has happened.
And, of course, not one single word of the US government’s interventionist foreign policy in the Middle East and Afghanistan, which has entailed killing Muslims and other for at least 25 years and which continues unabated to this day, a policy with which the British government has partnered and supported since its inception.
Why not even a peep about more terrorist retaliation from US foreign interventionism?
Isn’t the answer obvious? If they mentioned that, that would cause people to ask a very basic question: Is the interventionism worth the death and destruction that comes as “blowback,” the term that the noted scholar Chalmers Johnson used to title his excellent and profound book: Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire?
That’s the last question that US officials and British officials want Americans or British citizens to ask. They don’t want their citizens to be questioning or challenging the massive, ongoing death and destruction that the US military and CIA have been wreaking and continue to wreak in that part of the world, with the full support of the British (and French and other) governments.
The Swiss share many of the same freedoms and values that Americans, British, and French share. How come the extreme Muslim terrorists aren’t attacking the Swiss? Is that just a coincidence?
Nope. There is nothing coincidental about it. It’s because Switzerland hasn’t been killing Muslims and others in the Middle East and Afghanistan for 25 years, as the US government (and its partners) has. Unlike England and France, Switzerland has steadfastly refused to partner with the US government and its 25-year campaign to wreak death and destruction across the Middle East and Afghanistan.
Britain, in contrast, has partnered with the US military machine. It still does. So has France. It still does too.
Thus, while US and British officials continue to exclaim against “extremist Muslims,” they conveniently ignore that there is a common denominator among the nations that such extremist Muslims are targeting: the nations whose military forces continue wreaking death and destruction in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
The basic problem is that US and British officials, along with the mainstream press, view US interventionism as a given. The American and British citizenry are not supposed to question that. They’re just supposed to accept it as a permanent condition in life.
But question and challenge is precisely what Americans, British, French, and every other citizen whose government continues to partner with the US death machine in the Middle East and Afghanistan need to do. The time for ending deference to the authority and expertise of the Pentagon, CIA, and other national-security state officials has arrived, especially with more innocent people, including children, regularly losing their lives as a consequence of US (and allied) interventionism in that part of the world.
What would happen if US troops and the CIA (and their willing partners) were to suddenly withdraw their forces from that part of the world?
Government officials would say, “That would mean a loss of face for the US government and its partners.” My response: Who cares? What’s worth more — the lives of innocent victims of terrorist retaliation or saving face for government officials?
They say: But ISIS might take over Iraq and the Taliban might again take over Afghanistan. If they do, then does that mean that they are then coming to get us and force us to study the Koran? Or does it mean that they are going to cross the Atlantic with millions of Afghan and Iraqi troops, hundreds of thousands of transport ships and planes, and trillions of dollars in supplies, and then conquer and occupy the United States?
That’s ridiculous. Such fears are totally irrational. The terrorists are not coming to get us. Neither are the Muslims, communists, illegal aliens, drug dealers, and other scary things. All that it would mean is that there might be two more regimes in the world that hate the U.S. government. They would be added to North Korea, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and other regimes that hate the US government. Hatred for the US government doesn’t equate to invasion and conquest of the United States. It’s only imperialist regimes that concern themselves with installing the “right” regimes in foreign countries.
It’s time for the US government (and the British and the French governments) to leave that part of the world alone. Don’t forget, after all, that it was the US interventions, invasions, and occupations of both Afghanistan and Iraq that caused, fueled, or expanded the strife, civil wars, chaos, crises, anti-US terrorism (including ISIS), death, destruction, and massive refugee crisis in Europe.
Ever since 1990, the mindset in the US national-security bureaucracy has been: “We will keep killing people until we get it right, no matter how many people die as a result of terrorist retaliation. And we will keep infringing on the freedom and privacy of own own citizens in the hopes of keeping them safe from the enemies we are producing.”
But they haven’t gotten it right, notwithstanding 25 years of continuous death, destruction, and chaos. And they are never going to get it right because interventionism is an inherently defective paradigm.
It’s time for US troops to be ordered home from that part of the world, just US troops were ordered home from Lebanon in 1983 after 241 US soldiers were killed in a terrorist bombing in Beirut. It is to the credit of President Reagan, who ordered the withdrawal, that he placed a higher value on the lives of the remaining troops than on the need of US officials to “save face.”
Bring them home, Mr. President. The deaths of more people over there and at home is not worth even one more day of intervention.
Reprinted with permission from Future of Freedom Foundation.