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.
Once again, this time in Yemen, the Pentagon is playing the victim. It claims that it fired its missiles in self-defense after two incidents in which rebels in Yemen fired missiles at a US Navy ship in the area.
But the Pentagon is not a victim and it didn’t fire those missiles and kill those Yemeni radar operators in self-defense. Instead, like its other interventions in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and elsewhere in the Middle East, it is an illegal participant in the ongoing conflict in Yemen.
First, let’s point out the obvious: No one in Yemen has ever attacked the continental United States nor does anyone in Yemen have any interest in doing so. The conflict in that country is a civil war, one that isn’t any business of the United States but which the US national-security establishment has made its business, just like it did more than 50 years ago in Korea and Vietnam.
Second, if a poll were suddenly conducted of the American people as to who is fighting in Yemen and why they are fighting, my hunch is that 99 percent of the respondents would answer, “I have no idea.” Thus, it’s another classic example of how Americans just defer to the national-security establishment — i.e., the Pentagon and CIA — when it comes to foreign interventionism. “They’re the experts on national security,” the sentiment goes, “and so we should blindly defer to their wisdom and expertise.”
Third, Saudi Arabia, which has embroiled itself in the conflict by invading Yemen and killing countless people, has done so with weaponry that has been furnished by the US military-industrial complex.
Fourth, by firing its missiles into Yemen, the Pentagon committed an illegal act of war under our form of constitutional government. The US Constitution, which purports to control the actions of federal officials, requires a congressional declaration of war before the Pentagon is permitted to wage war. Of course, that has never mattered to the Pentagon, notwithstanding the fact that it requires its soldiers to take an oath to support and defend the Constitution.
Let’s not ignore the obvious: Rather than fire its missiles at those radar sites, the Pentagon could have just come home and limited its role to protecting the United States, just as the Swiss military does.
Indeed, at the risk of belaboring the obvious, the Pentagon has intentionally stationed its warships near the warzone, knowing full-well of the likelihood that Yemenis might strike at US warships in retaliation for the death and destruction that US partner and ally Saudi Arabia is wreaking on the country with US-provided weaponry.
The Pentagon is not a victim in Yemen and it’s not an innocent party to the conflict. By providing armaments to Saudi Arabia, it has knowingly embroiled the United States in the conflict and is now playing the innocent. It’s another classic example of how the US national-security establishment has operated ever since it lost its official enemies, the Soviet Union and communism, with the sudden and unexpected end of the Cold War.
As we have learned, time and time again, there are will be costs arising from the Pentagon’s intervention in Yemen.
First, there are the money costs. Those Tomahawk missiles have to be replaced, just as all those Saudi missiles and bullets that are being fired on Yemenis, have to be replaced. That means more booming business for the military-industrial complex. It also means higher taxes and more government debt for the American people.
Second, there is the likely terrorist blowback. When the Pentagon and CIA are killing people in the Middle East and Afghanistan, there is a high probability of terrorist retaliation. One can scream to the high heavens about how Muslims, terrorists, and communists hate America for its freedom and values, but it won’t change the truth: Anti-American terrorism is rooted in the fact that the Pentagon and CIA continue to kill people over there.
Third, there is the suppression of freedom here at home. That’s where emergency powers come into play.
James Madison pointed out that of all the enemies to liberty, war is the biggest. It inevitably entails emergency powers being wielded and exercised, centralization of power, and ever-increasing taxation and inflation to fund the war machine and all the bureaucratic measures that supposed to “keep us safe.”
Given that the Pentagon and CIA have kept America at war for some 25 years, it’s easy for Americans to recognize the truthfulness of Madison’s statement. Americans now live under a political regime whose democratically elected president, together with the army, CIA, and NSA, now wields some of the most extraordinary powers in history:
The power to assassinate people.
The power to kidnap people and incarcerate them for life in concentration camps and military dungeons.
The power to torture people.
The power to invade countries.
The power to initiate coups.
The power to spy on people, monitor their Internet activity, and record their telephone calls.
None of those powers are consistent with a free society. They are all consistent with totalitarian regimes. And everyone should take note: Whoever is elected president — Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton — will be wielding all those dictatorial powers in conjunction with a national-security establishment that is dead-set on keeping America embroiled in conflicts all over the world for the next 25 years.
It’s really the perfect racket. Too bad all too many Americans haven’t yet figured it out. Just wait for the next terrorist attack and you’ll see what I mean, when they start lamenting about how good we are and how the Muslims and terrorists just hate us for our freedom and values.
Reprinted with permission from the Future of Freedom Foundation.