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Jacob G. Hornberger

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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Was the White Rose Right or Wrong on Patriotism?

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One of the most dramatic movie scenes I have ever watched is the courtroom segment in Sophie Scholl: The Final Days, a German movie with English subtitles that I cannot recommend too highly. The movie revolves around Hans and Sophie Scholl, a brother and sister who were two of the principal members of a German organization called the White Rose.

I first wrote about the White Rose in 1996 in an article entitled “The White Rose: A Lesson in Dissent,” which was later published in an anthology on the Holocaust for high school students. The White Rose is one of the most remarkable stories of courage I have ever encountered. The fact that the organization was composed primarily of college students makes it even more amazing.
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Thank The Troops for Destroying Our Country

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While Americans are expected to thank the troops for their service all year long, today — Memorial Day — we are called upon to thank them even more profusely. The idea is that since the troops are defending our country and protecting our rights and freedoms, we should express our gratitude to them.

But there is just one big problem with that picture: In actuality, the troops are destroying our country and our fundamental rights and freedoms. That’s not something any American should be grateful for.

Consider the out-of-control spending and borrowing that are sure to bring on an economic and monetary crisis that could make the Great Depression look like child’s play. A big part of all that federal spending and borrowing is for the warfare state, where the troops play a major role.

Of course, the warfare-state people exclaim, “We’re not at fault. We’re protecting national security. The fault lies with the welfare state side of the federal government. Cut their dole instead of ours.”
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Ellen Brown Scripps Would Have Been Proud

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An interesting controversy has broken out at Scripps College in Claremont, California. Several students and professors are protesting the selection of former US Ambassador to the United Nations, Madeleine Albright, as the commencement speaker.

The controversy at the small liberal arts college in California has sent the Los Angeles Times into emotional hyper-drive, causing the paper to weigh in on the controversy with an editorial and an op-ed criticizing the students and faculty who are doing the protesting. (Also publishing an article on the controversy.)

The title of the Times editorial was “Students Need to Stop Being So Sensitive and Let Madeleine Albright Speak,” which was a bit misleading since the students are not threatening to prevent Albright from speaking or threatening to interrupt her talk with protests.

The students are simply expressing their objections to the selection of Albright as their commencement speaker and, at most, simply expressing a preference for someone else.
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Remember How We Got Out of Vietnam

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Do you remember what US national-security state officials were saying when millions of Americans were demanding that the US government withdraw its troops from Vietnam and bring them home?

They were saying that “national security” was at stake — i.e., the very survival of the United States. If the US government withdrew from Vietnam, they said, the dominoes would start falling to the communists, first in Southeast Asia and ultimately all over the world, with the United States being the final big domino. Vietnam was our line of defense against the entire world going red.

It was all false. As I point in my new ebook The CIA, Terrorism, and the Cold War: The Evil of the National Security State (which just hit #5 in Amazon’s top 100 bestselling ebooks in Political Freedom), in actuality it didn’t make a whit of difference whether Vietnam and other countries in the world went red, at least not insofar as the United States was concerned. That is, the existence of the United States was never threatened by the fact that other countries had communist regimes.
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Iraq: The Interventionist Hellhole

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When Vice President Joseph Biden traveled to Iraq a few days ago, he did it, as always, under a shroud of secrecy. The mainstream press was asked in advance to keep the trip secret and dutifully complied. Biden declined to spend the night in Iraq, staying only 10 hours before whisking away to Italy, where presumably he slept safe and sound.

Why all the secrecy? Why didn’t Biden stay in Baghdad a few days, walk the streets, do a little shopping, visit with the people, and tour the country? After all, isn’t this the country that the US government invaded and regime-changed under the military rubric “Operation Iraqi Freedom”? Isn’t this the country that the US military and the CIA occupied for more than 10 years, killing people with impunity and destroying homes, buildings, and infrastructure in the process, all with the aim of producing a showcase for interventionism to present to the world?

Oh, let’s not forget the regime they installed. After all, lest we forget, this was, in fact, a regime-change operation, one devoted to removing Saddam Hussein from power (who had been a partner and ally of the US government during the 1980s) and installing and establishing a government that would be, well, more pro-USA. and, therefore, more “free.”
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