Terrorism Comes With Empire

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Question: Why didn’t the terrorists strike Switzerland instead of England? After all, the two countries share the same “freedom and values,” don’t they?

Answer: The Swiss government didn’t attack Iraq. It doesn’t meddle in the Middle East. It didn’t participate in the brutal sanctions against the Iraqi people. It doesn’t maintain an empire of overseas bases. It doesn’t go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. The Swiss government minds its own business.

That’s why the terrorists did not strike Switzerland.

Of course, the same cannot be said of England, whose foreign policy in the Middle East can be summed up as follows: Whatever the U.S. government does, the British government supports and joins. Thus, the British government participated in President Bush’s recent war on Iraq — a war against a sovereign and independent country that never attacked the United States or England or even threatened to do so. It is a war that has produced the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people — not just American and British soldiers, but also Iraqi soldiers and civilians — none of whom had anything to do with the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the United States.

That’s why the terrorists struck in London instead of Bern.

That’s also why the terrorists struck in New York, both in 1993 and 2001, and at the Pentagon.

The terrorist retaliations are rooted in anger and hatred not for American and English “freedom and values,” as President Bush and Prime Minister Blair maintain, but instead in anger and hatred for U.S. and British foreign policy.

Why would it be otherwise? Why should foreigners — especially radical, violent ones — react any differently to the killings and maiming of their family, friends, and countrymen than Westerners do when their family, friends, and countrymen are killed or maimed by foreigners?

Consider the torture, rape, sex abuse, and murder scandal at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Why wouldn’t Middle Easterners react in much the same way that Americans would react if American men were treated in a similar manner in some foreign prison?

What will be the response of government officials to the terrorist strikes in London? You guessed it: more severe government crackdowns on civil liberties to protect us from the terrorists, which not surprisingly was the same position that they were taking before the terrorist strikes in London.

Americans must make a choice — a choice between freedom and peace, on the one hand, and the continuation of the U.S. military empire, on the other hand. They cannot have freedom and peace and the empire. They must choose which is more important to them.

If people choose to continue the empire — and the diplomatic and military glory that comes with being the world’s sole remaining empire — then they must resign themselves to the fact that their lives and freedom will be under perpetual assault by both terrorists and government officials.

For those who want lives of freedom, normality, peace, prosperity, and harmony, there is but one solution: Dismantle the empire; bring the troops home and discharge them into the private sector; stop meddling in the affairs of other nations; stop trying to dominate and control the world; stop going abroad in search of monsters to destroy; stop trying to be the world’s policeman.

July 9, 2005

Jacob Hornberger [send him mail] is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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