Empire vs. Peace, Freedom, Morality, and Prosperity
February 21, 2014
Jacob G. Hornberger / The Future of Freedom Foundation & Tim Craig / The Washington Post
Commentary: The justification that US officials use for their assassination of people overseas, including US citizens, is that the people they're killing are bent on killing US forces. Thus, the justification is sort of a modified self-defense concept -- they're trying to kill us and so we're assassinating them before they have a chance to kill us. But the fact is, people are trying to kill US forces because US forces are over there, destroying the countries, killing countless people and supporting dictators.
(February 17, 2014) -- The justification that US officials use for their assassination of people overseas, including American citizens, is that the people they're killing are bent on killing US forces. Thus, the justification is sort of a modified self-defense concept -- they're trying to kill us and so we're assassinating them before they have a chance to kill us.
Most mainstream commentators have come to passively accept this justification for the US assassination program. You can especially see this when they comment on people killed who are considered "collateral damage." They refer to those people as innocent civilians and to the targeted people as terrorists or insurgents. The notion is that the assassins were simply targeting the "bad guys" and, unfortunately, struck some innocent people in the process.
But the fact is that people over there are trying to kill US forces because US forces are over there. They're over there occupying Afghanistan. They're rearming Iraq, after destroying the country and killing countless people. They have military bases over there. They are supporting brutal dictators. They are bombing people. They are shooting people. They are assassinating people.
Ask yourself a simple question: If US forces, including both military and CIA, were all brought home and all foreign aid was terminated, would there be any need for US forces to assassinate people over there?
The answer is: No, because there would be no more US forces over there being killed by people who don't want US forces over there anymore. Their modified self-defense concept would disintegrate.
The truth is that the self-defense concept that US officials rely on to justify their assassination program is warped and perverted. They shouldn't be over there in the first place. The reason people over there are trying to kill them is simply because they want them out of their part of their part of the world. Go home, they're telling American forces. Go home, and we'll leave you alone. If you stay here, we will continue to resist you with violence.
Consider Switzerland. It doesn't have an assassination program. No one is trying to kill Swiss forces. That's because Swiss forces are not in Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Bahrain, or anywhere else in the Middle East and Africa. Swiss forces are back in Switzerland. Since they're not in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Africa, no one is killing them. So, Switzerland doesn't feel the need to go assassinating people.
America's assassination program is not about self-defense, protecting "national security," or "keeping us safe," as US officials and the mainstream press claim. It is about empire, pure and simple.
US officials say: As the world's sole remaining superpower and as the government of the world's exceptional nation, we have the right to do whatever we want in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Middle East, Africa, and the rest of the world. Anyone who resists us, including American citizens, will be killed, either with a bullet, a bomb, a drone assassination, or through some other means. Your sole choice is to submit to the will of the Empire.
But that's not the way the world works. People hate empires. They always have and they always will. Indeed, our American ancestors hated the British Empire. That's in fact why they took up arms and began killing the military forces of their very own government in 1776. Their message to the British government became no different from the message that foreigners are today delivering to the US government: Go home. Leave us alone.
So, what Americans must decide is: Is it time for US forces to come home? Is it time for our government to dismantle its military empire? Is it time to for our government to stop supporting foreign dictators? It is time for our government to stop interfering in the domestic affairs of other countries? Is it time for our government to stop its assassination program?
The big choice facing Americans isn't over whether their government's assassination program should continue. It's whether Americans will choose empire or peace, freedom, morality, and prosperity.
Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education.
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