Why the Shock Over Paris?
by Jacob G. Hornberger
I can understand why people are horrified over the terrorist attacks in Paris but, for the life of me, I just cannot understand why they are shocked by it. People who are shocked by the attacks are definitely suffering from a severe case of obtuseness and denial.
Ever since 9/11, we libertarians have been saying that terrorism is one of the prices that people pay for living under an empire, one that engages in foreign interventions. Have all those shocked people not been listening?
For example, six years ago I wrote an article entitled “Terrorism Is a Cost of Empire,” in which I pointed out that no one should be surprised when terrorism strikes because that’s just part and parcel of living under an empire. I wrote:
But as I’ve pointed out for years, the U.S. Empire has become the world’s biggest terrorist-producing machine. The more people it kills over there, the more the ranks of those who wish to retaliate against Americans are swelled.
In other words, the pro-empire advocates say, “We’re over there to kill them before they come over here and kill us.” But what’s actually happening is this: They’re coming over here to kill us because the Empire is over there killing them….
What the American people need to finally realize is that with Empire comes costs, including: The constant threat of terrorist retaliation.”
We have actually been pointing this out since the 9/11 attacks. No, correct that, we were also saying it before the 9/11 attacks.
Yet look at the editorial pages and op-ed pages of the mainstream press. All you see are angry denunciations of ISIS, terrorists, and radical Muslims and reasons why we need to keep bombing, assassinating, and killing them. You won’t find anything about terrorist blowback from U.S., French, and British imperialism and interventionism in the Middle East within the pages of the mainstream press.
Take a wild guess what the editorialists and op-ed writers are saying should be done about the Paris attacks. You guessed — bomb ISIS, kill more terrorists, support foreign regimes, and refortify the U.S. national-security state, both military-wise and with respect to intelligence-gathering machinery (i.e., more secret surveillance schemes to keep us safe from the enemies the Empire produces). In other words, double down and keep doing what you’ve been doing and expect a different result.
What does it take for these people to finally be able to confront the evil and immoral interventionist policies of their own government, policies that have brought into existence (as I pointed out in that article six years ago), the greatest terrorist producing machine in history? After all, for every person they kill in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, ten more people hate the United States as well as its partners in the “coalition of the willing.” As the French are discovering, some of those angry people are even willing to commit suicide in revenge for the people that France, Great Britain, and the United States have killed in the Middle East, including countries that once suffered as British and French colonies (e.g., Iraq and Syria).
We see this mindset of denial and obtuseness in Christian churches all across America. Christian ministers exhort their congregation to pray for peace in the Middle East and an end to terrorism in that part of the world. At the same time, they exhort them to pray for the troops for “defending our freedoms” here at home.
In other words, they’re praying that people in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, etc. stop resisting the United States, France, and Great Britain. If all those terrorists would just stop opposing what these three colonial powers want to accomplish in the Middle East, there would be peace.
Of course, it never occurs to such ministers to exhort people to pray for the troops to be brought home and for the U.S. Empire to finally leave the people of the Middle East alone. They also never exhort their congregations to pray for the victims of the U.S. Empire in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Instead, the Empire has been erected into one great big idol, one that can do no wrong.
Well, the interventionists can dream and fantasize all they want but we are still left with reality and one undeniable fact: As long as the United States, Britain, and France are meddling in the Middle East, there is going to be terrorist retaliation. Terrorism is what comes with empire and intervention (along with out-of-control federal spending and borrowing, destruction of civil liberties, torture, assassination, and secret national surveillance programs).
We can condemn terrorism until we are blue in the face. It won’t change a thing. Terrorism will continue to be the weapon for third-world people seeking to exact revenge on an all-powerful first-world military.
There is but one solution to all this: Leave the people of the Middle East and Afghanistan alone. Bring all the foreign troops home and discharge them. Stop the regime-change operations. Terminate foreign aid to foreign regimes, especially the dictatorships (e.g., Egypt). Dismantle the U.S. national-security state, including the military-industrial complex, CIA, and NSA. No more invasions, occupations, and assassinations. That’s the only way to begin the shift toward peace, prosperity, harmony, and liberty. Otherwise, don’t be shocked when the next terrorist attack comes.