By Jacob G. Hornberger
The official enemy de jour that has everyone all riled up and scared is ISIS. If U.S. forces don’t bomb ISIS, the argument goes, ISIS will take over Iraq, and Syria, and Lebanon, and Europe, and Asia, and Latin America, and then the United States. If the bombs don’t fall on ISIS, before long Americans will be speaking Arabic and their children will be studying the Koran in America’s government schools.
It’s all just one great big racket — a racket based on “national security,” a term that isn’t even found in the Constitution and that doesn’t even have an objective meaning. The only way that the U.S. national-security state apparatus — i.e., the vast military establishment and military empire, the CIA, and the NSA — can justify its continued existence is by ginning up crisis after crisis with the aim of keeping the citizenry filled with fear, anxiety, and depression. The apparatus then becomes people’s sedative, assuring them that everything is going to be okay because the apparatus is the only thing keeping them safe.
Never mind that the national-security apparatus produces the very threats it then uses to scare people with. After all, did anyone hear of ISIS before the U.S. invaded and occupied Iraq, a country that had never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so?
No. That’s because there was no ISIS before the apparatus invaded and occupied Iraq. It was the invasion and occupation, along with other interventions by the apparatus, such as in Syria and Libya, that has produced ISIS, the new, scary enemy of the day.
But of course, no statist wants to hear that. The national-security state is akin to a god, one that is keeping them safe from all those scary creatures thousands of miles away from American shores, creatures that are brought into existence by the very policies of the apparatus itself.
With its ongoing, perpetual crises and wars, the apparatus is also serving as a fount of taxpayer-funded largess for the vast armies of “defense” contractors who are feeding at the public trough on a permanent basis.
As an aside, have you noticed that while some young people are traveling to the Middle East to join ISIS, hardly any Americans are traveling to Iraq to join up with the Iraqi army to fight ISIS. I suppose one possibility is that most everyone is a coward and won’t fight to protect our “national security.” Another possibility, the more likely one in my opinion, is that deep down everyone knows that this is all a crock.
The perpetual crises and fear-mongering are not a new phenomenon. We saw it throughout the Cold War, when the same fear-mongering was being done about communists that is now being done about ISIS, terrorists, and Muslims.
If we don’t stop the communists from infiltrating Latin America, we were told, it won’t be long before Americans are speaking communist. Cuba is a communist beachhead, they repeatedly said, one that was determined to turn the rest of Latin America and then the United States Red.
That’s why the national-security state installed and supported brutal military dictatorships in Guatemala and Chile, entered into a partnership with the Mafia to assassinate Cuba’s president Fidel Castro, participated as a partner in the international torture and assassination ring based in Latin America known as DINA, and much more — all to ensure that the communist-socialist infection didn’t spread to Latin American countries, especially by democratic means. Democracy had to be destroyed, we were told, in order to save democracy.
The tens of thousands of people who were rounded up, tortured, raped, disappeared, executed, and assassinated, were considered an societal inoculation — like a vaccine — to ensure that Latin American regimes and then the United States didn’t go Red.
That’s what arming the Contras and starting an extremely brutal, deadly, and destructive civil war in Nicaragua was all about — to oust the communist-socialist regime of Daniel Ortega. It was also what the invasion of Grenada was all about.
The idea was that if the radical leftists were to gain the reins of power in Latin American countries, especially through democratic elections, the United States as we know it would cease to exist.
It was all a Cold War, national-security state, fear-mongering racket, one that was keeping the national-security state apparatus in existence and, equally important, keeping all those “defense” looters and plunderers in high cotton.
The fact is that it wouldn’t have made any difference at all, insofar as the United States was concerned, if every Latin American country went Red.
How do we know that? Because after the national-security state lost communism as its official enemy, many of those Latin American regimes have ended up with socialist presidents, many of them duly elected by their citizenry. Consider: Cuba, Nicaragua, Chile, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, and more.
In fact, check out this Wikipedia entry entitled “Pink Tide.” It states “In 2005, the BBC reported that out of 350 million people in South America, three out of four of them lived in countries ruled by ‘left-leaning presidents’ elected during the preceding six years.”
Yet, as everyone knows, the United States is still standing. The United States wasn’t the final domino that fell to the communists. Oh sure, we’ve got our own welfare state, which is no different in principle from the socialism that all those Latin American socialist regimes believe in, but that’s just because Americans believe in socialism as much as Latin Americans do, not because Latin American regimes have gone socialist.
It won’t make any difference to the freedom and well-being of the American people if ISIS takes over Iraq, Syria, Libya, or any other area of the Middle East, any more than it has made a difference that socialists and communists have taken over countries in Latin America. It’s all just a fear-mongering racket, one designed to keep the cancerous tumor known as the national-security state, along with its vast army of “defense” plunderers and looters, attached to the body politic, where it is sucking the lifeblood out of the American people.
What a racket. It’s amazing that so many Americans continue to fall for it.
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