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Jacob G. Hornberger

Republic Not Empire

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On the Fourth of July in 1821, John Quincy Adams delivered one of the most remarkable speeches in American history. The speech is entitled, “In Search of Monsters to Destroy.” In his speech, Adams described America’s founding principles on foreign policy. He pointed out that there are lots of bad, monstrous things that go on in the world — dictatorships, tyranny, famines, starvation, wars, discord, corruption, and the like. America, however, does not go abroad in search of such monsters and attempt to save people from them. Instead, Adams said, Americans would strive to build a model society of freedom, peace, prosperity, and harmony here at home for the world to emulate and also to serve as a sanctuary for people who flee such monsters.

Adams was building on the ideas and the philosophy of people like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who had spoken against America’s ever entering into alliances with other countries or being part of blocs to serve as counterweights to other blocs and against bearing enmity against particular nations.

America’s founding governmental structure did not permit it to go abroad and intervene in the affairs of other nations. The Constitution had called into existence a limited-government republic, one that had a basic military force but nothing like the enormous military-intelligence establishment that we have today. That’s because of the deep antipathy that our American ancestors had toward standing armies, which, they believed, posed a giant threat to the citizens of a nation, directly as well as indirectly through the incessant wars in which standing armies inevitably embroil a nation. As James Madison, the father of the Constitution had pointed out, of all the enemies to liberty, war is the biggest because it encompasses all the other ones, including centralization of power and ever-increasing debts and taxes.

Adams added an admonition in his speech. He said that if America were ever to abandon its non-interventionism foreign policy, she would become like a “dictatress” — that is, a government that would wield and exercise dictatorial powers, both at home and abroad, and that would begin behaving like a dictator. The point was clear: To remain free, America would have to keep a constitutionally limited-government republic. Abandoning that governmental structure would mean abandoning a free society.
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Do You Want a Peaceful and Prosperous Society or Not?

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Every Sunday at my church, we are exhorted to pray, among other things, for peace in the world and for the men and women who serve our nation — i.e., the military and the CIA . Naturally, the priests who craft the prayer, along with most of the congregation, fail to see the irony of those two prayers. That is, they fail to see that it is the Pentagon and the CIA whose activities around the world, especially in the Middle East and Afghanistan, are a major reason that Americans live without peace and prosperity.

Suppose some federal agency was conducting tours in which they regularly guided people to walk through a bed of rattlesnakes. Every day, some people are bit by rattlesnakes and die. Imagine American churches, seeing this ongoing death toll, exhorted their parishioners every Sunday (1) to pray that people stop being bitten by rattlesnakes; and (2) to also pray for the bureaucrats who are guiding people through the rattlesnake beds.

Do you see the problem with that scenario? Yes, it’s true, God could work a miracle and make it so that people would continue to walk through the rattlesnake bed without getting bit. But there is obviously another solution, one that doesn’t involve asking God to deliver a miracle: Simply shut down the rattlesnake operation, dismantle the federal agency that is in charge of the rattlesnake tours, and lay off the federal bureaucrats who are running the program. That would put a stop to the daily death toll from rattlesnake bites. And it would save taxpayer money.
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America's Communist Program

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Throughout the Cold War, the US national-security state told the American people that it was necessary for America to go over to the dark side in order to combat the threat of communism and the Soviet Union. By that, they meant adopting policies and practices employed by the communists. It was a mindset akin to fighting fire with fire.

That’s how America ended up with a formal program of assassination, whereby US agents wielded the power to assassinate people around the world who were suspected of being communists, despite the fact that the victims had never initiated any force against the United States. It was essentially a system of legalized murder or, as President Lyndon Johnson termed the program, “Murder, Inc.”

It’s also how the national-security state ended up with the authority to oust democratically elected regimes in which people had elected the “wrong” people (i.e., communists or communist sympathizers) to be their president or prime minister.
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The Ron Paul Conference

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If you haven’t already registered for the Ron Paul Institute’s Peace and Prosperity Conference, now would be a great time to do so. When I spoke to RPI’s executive director Daniel McAdams about the conference a few weeks ago, he said that tickets were going fast and that space was limited. The date is Saturday, September 10, 2016. The time: 10:00a.m. to 3:00p.m. The place is the Washington Dulles Marriott. Only $65, including lunch.

Ron Paul has long been one of my real-life libertarian heroes. It is a big honor for me to be included among the speakers at this conference. Other speakers include Lew Rockwell, Brian McGlinchey, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Philip Giraldi, and, of course, Ron himself.
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The Military Base Dole

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During my recent visit to my hometown of Laredo, Texas, as I was heading out of town toward Corpus Christi, I passed by the former site of Laredo Air Force Base. Serving as a training base for new pilots, the base was a prominent part of Laredo life when I was growing up.

During that time, public officials and much of the citizenry were scared to death that the base might close. Like many people on the dole and like many other American communities with military bases, Laredoans were convinced that without LAFB, the city would die.

Then, in 1973 the unthinkable happened. US officials announced that the base was being closed. The official explanation was that the base was no longer needed given the withdrawal of US troops from Vietnam. The unofficial reason was that President Nixon had decided to retaliate against Laredo for supporting Nixon’s Democratic Party opponent in the 1972 presidential election, Sen. George McGovern.

Reflecting their disdain for a private-property system and their love of socialism, US officials decided to deed the land to the City of Laredo rather than auctioning it off to private owners. The base property land included not only the landing strips, which ultimately became the city-owned Laredo International Airport, but also all the surrounding buildings and properties that composed the entire military base. That put the Laredo government in the rental business, immediately making it the biggest landlord in town. My father used to remark that the area had become “Little Cuba.”
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Captain Khan Was Waging an Unconstitutional War

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Amidst the fury over the exchanges between Donald Trump and Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the couple who lost their son in Iraq, the mainstream media and mainstream political commentators are missing some important elements in the controversy.

In his speech at the Democratic national convention, Khizr Khan asked if Donald Trump had read the Constitution. That question raises a related question, one that arises within the context of the US government’s war on Iraq: What difference does it make whether Trump or anyone else has read the Constitution when the president and the national-security state branch of the federal government don’t comply with it anyway and the federal judiciary doesn’t enforce it against them?

The Constitution is the higher law that the American people have enacted that controls the actions of federal officials, including those in the Pentagon, the CIA, the NSA, and other parts of the national-security state branch of the federal government. When it called the federal government into existence, it set forth the powers it would be permitted to exercise. The Constitution tells the federal government what it can and cannot do.

The Constitution is clear on the matter of war: The president, the Pentagon, and the CIA are prohibited from waging war without a declaration of war from Congress.
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Connecting the Dots

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In the last few days, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have contained the following news stories:

1. “North Korea Cuts UN Line With US” The story showed how the US government’s latest round of sanctions against North Korea failed, once again, to bring North Korea to its knees. Instead, in retaliation for the sanctions, North Korea severed the last diplomatic link to the United States, thereby eliminating any possibility of communications between the two regimes. The North Korean regime called the sanctions “an open declaration of war.” It also announced that American citizens incarcerated in North Korea would be held under wartime conditions, which isn’t a positive development for American college student Otto Warmbier and Korean-American missionary Kim Dong-Chul, both of whom are jailed in North Korea.

Bottom line: Another crisis for the US national-security state.

2. “In Pattern, Iranian Boats Veer Close to US Warships.” This story detailed complaints by US national-security state officials that Iranian patrol boats were coming too close to American warships traveling in international waters near Iran, thereby increasing tensions between the two regimes.

Bottom line: Another crisis for the US national-security state.
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America Should Exit From NATO and the National Security State

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In its reporting on Brexit, the New York Times asks an interesting question: “Is the post-1945 order imposed on the world by the United States and its allies unraveling, too?”

Hopefully, it will mean the unraveling of two of the most powerful and destructive governmental apparatuses that came out of the postwar era: NATO and the US national-security state. In fact, although the mainstream media and the political establishment elites will never acknowledge it, the irony is that it is these two apparatuses that ultimately led to the Brexit vote:

The Times points out:

Refugees have poured out of Syria and Iraq. Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon have absorbed several million refugees. But it is the flow of people into the European Union that has had the greatest geopolitical impact, and helped to precipitate the British vote.

But what was it that gave rise to that massive refugee crisis?
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Orlando: Islam or Blowback?

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According to the Telegraph newspaper
, “Omar Mateen, the Orlando gunman, told his victims the attack was revenge for American bombing of Afghanistan, but allowed black Americans to be released because ‘they have suffered enough.’”

The person who recounted what Mateen said is 20-year-old Patience Carter. According to theTelegraph article, she heard Mateen telling police on the phone that he was pledging allegiance to Isil and saying the attacks were in retaliation for America’s bombing of Afghanistan.”

So, why do so many Americans, especially the US mainstream press, do everything they can to avoid confronting that simple fact — that Mateen killed those people in retaliation for America’s bombing of Afghanistan?

Indeed, why have they done the same thing with respect to every other anti-American terrorist attack since 1993?

Beginning with the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center and continuing with the attack on the USS Cole, the attack on the US Embassies in East Africa, the 9/11 attacks, the Boston Marathon attack, the Ft. Hood attack, the San Bernardino attack, and others, the terrorists have made it clear that they are retaliating for the death and destruction that the US government has wreaked on people in the Middle East or Afghanistan, including countless people of the Muslim faith.
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Interventionism is a Rotten Tree With Rotten Fruit

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Fifty-one State Department officials are calling on President Obama to expand US interventionism in Syria by initiating a bombing campaign against the Syrian government. Apparently they’re not satisfied with the great “success” that their philosophy of interventionism has brought to Iraq, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and the rest of the Middle East. They want the US national-security state’s death machine to bring even more death and destruction than it has already brought to that part of the world for the past 25 years.

It would be difficult to find anything more incredible and audacious than that. The Pentagon, the CIA, the NSA, and the rest of the military-industrial complex, whose financial well-being necessarily depend on making interventionism in the Middle East a permanent part of American society, must be ecstatic. The fact that the demand is coming from State Department officials, rather than assets of the CIA, makes it look even better.
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