The National Security Establishment vs. Defense
by Jacob G. Hornberger
I have a simple proposal: Why not bring all the troops home from Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and elsewhere in the Middle East. I mean all of them. Bring them all home and let them defend the United States. After all, it’s called the Department of Defense, right? Well, what would be wrong with applying the principle of defense to our country by bringing all the troops home and having them defend the United States?
U.S. officials say that that would be horrible idea because the troops are over there killing terrorists before they come to the United States. Better that the battlefield is over there rather than here at home, U.S. officials say.
But foreigners are not iron filings and U.S. troops are not magnets. If foreigners wish to come to the United States and commit terrorist acts, they don’t have to overcome the troops over there first. The troops have not erected some sort of well-guarded giant wall that terrorists must overcome in order to get to the United States. If terrorists want to come to the United States, there are ways to circumvent the troops who are stationed in foreign countries and make their way to the United States.
If the troops were to be brought home, the fact is that they would be bored to no end. There would be nothing for them to do except practice mindless skills, like doing left face and right face in formation.
One reason they would be bored is that U.S. law prohibits the troops from enforcing domestic criminal laws. Under U.S. law, that’s what terrorism is — a federal criminal offense.
But the big reason they would be bored is that there would be no more terrorists attacking the United States. That’s because the troops would no longer be in Afghanistan and the Middle East killing, torturing, and abusing people.
That’s right: I am saying that this entire “war on terrorism” has nothing to do with Islam and the Koran. After all, let’s not forget that the troops have been killing and dying to protect official Islamic regimes that they have helped to install in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Google the constitutions of both countries.)
Moreover, foreign anger against the United States has nothing to do with hating America for its “freedom and values.” The only reason terrorists want to come to the United States to commit terrorist acts is that the troops are over there killing, maiming, torturing, and abusing people. Once the troops are brought home, there will be no reason for the terrorists to come here to do bad things to Americans.
I might add though that it would also be a good thing to terminate all foreign aid, including to the governments of Israel and Egypt. That sort of thing makes the victims of foreign regimes angry at the government that is funding their programs.
Once it’s clear that the terrorists are not coming to get us and that the troops are totally bored out of their minds, the government can begin discharging them. Think how much tax money that would save. Moreover, the troops would now become productive citizens, producing a doubly positive economic effect.
Equally good, the NSA could stop the surveillance schemes that it says are necessary to protect us from the terrorists. If there are no terrorists coming to get us, why would we need such surveillance schemes? Indeed, why would we need the NSA? If we were to dismantle the NSA and lay off every single NSA employee, think how much tax money that would save. And like discharged troops, those countless NSA employees would become productive citizens in the private sector.
Of course, the biggest opponent of limiting the troops to defense is the entire national-security establishment — the apparatus that was grafted onto our constitutional order after World War II to wage the Cold War against the Soviet Union and communism. The continued existence of the national-security apparatus necessarily depends on an endless supply of terrorists, perpetual crises, and ongoing fear within the American people.
The national-security establishment knows that the only way to achieve all that is by keeping the troops in Afghanistan, the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere, thereby producing an endless supply of terrorists, and also by continuing a constant flow of U.S. taxpayer money into foreign regimes that are generating anger and hatred with their oppressive policies.
That’s why the national-security establishment hates the concept of defense. It knows that defense would put it out of business.