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Jacob G. Hornberger

Prepare Yourself for Blowback From Yemen

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If there is another terrorist attack on US soil, this time because of the death and destruction that the US government is wreaking in Yemen, I can already hear the laments and complaints of statist-Americans: “Oh my gosh, another terrorist attack against us! Why do the terrorists and the Muslims hate us for our freedom and values? Why can’t they see that we’re good people who just want to live our lives in peace? We must now give more power and more money to the Pentagon, CIA, and NSA so that they can keep us safe from those who hate us because we’re good.”

In other words, the last thing they’re going to acknowledge is that the Tomahawk missiles that the US military fired against radar sites in Yemen yesterday, killing whoever happened to be manning those radar sites, will have had anything to do with retaliatory terrorism against the United States.
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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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