Five Lessons from 9/11

The sixteenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks has brought forth the expected conservative “never forget” nonsense in defense of a perpetual war on terror.

Typical is Ben Shapiro, editor of The Daily Wire and host of the Ben Shapiro Show. On September 11, he wrote an article, “NEVER FORGET: The 5 Lessons We Should Have Learned From 9/11,” and spoke in a video about the five lessons America should have learned from the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

He insists that the lessons of 9/11 “have been largely forgotten.” Here are his five “lessons we should have learned,” each with quotes from his article and video.

1. Global Retreat Is Not A Strategy.

“The Clinton Administration foreign policy of quasi-isolationism, combined with occasional human rights-driven interventionism, was a formula for failure.”

Time to buy old US gold coins

“Unless we are willing to consider measures to stamp out terrorist groups across the planet, we are setting ourselves up for a fall.”

2. Money Doesn’t Buy Off Islamists. Neither Does Friendliness. Gun Control and the Se... Laurence M. Vance Buy New $5.95 (as of 11:36 UTC - Details)

“Friendliness toward the Muslim world does not matter to Islamists, who seek only the domination of a religious caliphate.”

“There’s this weird idea from both the Ron Paul right and from the Barack Obama left that if we just give enough money, if we just show the Muslim world that we are caring and wonderful and we’ll be left alone by terrorists.”

3. Immigration Matters.

“The government ought to be deeply concerned about those who enter the country from Islamist-rich regions.”

“We also should be careful about people who are already here. We should be checking up on them.”

4. Major Terrorist Attacks Require Sponsor States.

“Major attacks require planning, coordination and resources that demand a home base.”

“Major terrorist attacks were forestalled because we were fighting terrorists over there [Iraq] and we weren’t fighting them over here.”

5. America Has Real Enemies.

“When it comes to threats to American citizens, the first duty of the government is to prevent those threats and stop those who would perpetrate them.”

“It’s not just the government’s job to protect you from existential threats, it is also the government’s job to protect you from being murdered in your bed.”

That’s it? This is what we are supposed to learn from 9/11?

1. The foreign policy of the Clinton administration was just as interventionist as his predecessor and successor. Just ask the recipients of U.S. bombs in Serbia. Did Clinton close any foreign bases and bring home any U.S. troops? Of course he didn’t. The idea that the United States should “stamp out terrorist groups across the planet” is absolutely ludicrous. This would entail perpetual war until the end of time or the United States ran out of money, whichever came first. Wasn’t it John Qunicy Adams who said that America goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy? Nothing wrong with that foreign policy. And if the United States would quit creating monsters, then no U.S. troops would have to go anywhere to destroy them.

2. I much prefer Thomas Jefferson’s foreign policy to Shaprio’s: “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations—entangling alliances with none.” On the idea of a religious caliphate, see my article “Some Caliphate.” When has Ron Paul or any of his libertarian followers ever advocated that the United States give money taken from American taxpayers to any country or group? Never.

3. The government ought to be deeply concerned about doing things around the world with its military and intelligence services that foment hatred against the United States and create terrorists. Then we wouldn’t have to be so careful about people who visit the United States. They wouldn’t have a reason to want to do us harm other than “hating us for our freedoms.” King James, His Bible,... Laurence M. Vance Buy New $19.95 (as of 11:36 UTC - Details)

4. Major terrorist attacks only occur because the United States is “over there”; that is, everywhere it shouldn’t be. The Iraq War was sheer folly. Every U.S. soldier who came home in a body bag died in vain and for a lie. Major attacks would never be planned, coordinated, and funded if the United States just minded its own business and quit trying to be the policeman of the world.

5. Even with the belligerent and meddling foreign policy that the United States has, the threat to Americans from terrorists is relatively miniscule. America has real enemies because of the decades of terrible U.S. foreign policy. Even with all of its resources and military might, the U.S. government failed miserably to protect Americans on 9/11. How is the government then going to protect Americans from being murdered in their beds? And if you look at all the cases of Americans in the last year who were murdered in their homes, I am certain that all of the murderers were friends, neighbors, family members, cops, or armed robbers, not foreign terrorists.

Here are my five lessons from 9/11.

Lesson number 1: Never trust the government. Ever. And especially when it has anything to do with terrorism, foreign policy, war, or the military. The government is a giant lie-making machine. Never trust what the government says about the events leading up to 9/11, the causes of the 9/11 attacks, or what actually happened on 9/11.

Lesson number 2: Blowback is to be expected. You reap what you sow. This is true of both individuals and nations. The United States can’t bomb, invade, occupy, and intervene around the world and not expect any payback or negative consequences to result. We were not just minding our own business on 9/11, just like we were not minding our own business on 1/11, 2/11, 3/11, 4/11, 5/11, 6/11, 7/11, or 8/11 of any year. Here is a list of all the foreign leaders whom the United States has attempted to assassinate and the nations bombed by the United States.

Lesson number 3: Give the government an inch, and it will take a mile. Initially, it was just Afghanistan, and it still is. Then it was Iraq, but that was not enough. Then Americans lost more of their liberties at home. Then the United States bombed Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, and Syria. The war on terrorism is never ending. The U.S. government should never have been trusted with just going into Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban.

Lesson number 4: Government can’t keep us safe. The government couldn’t even protect its Pentagon. Every gun control law makes Americans less safe. If the government were concerned about our safety, it would repeal them. And the government wouldn’t need to be concerned about keeping us safe if it would stop creating terrorists and fomenting hatred against the United States because of its evil foreign policy and military interventions.

Lesson number 5: Government is a greater threat to life, liberty, and property than terrorists. Americans live in a police state. Just pick out any five articles by John Whitehead and read them. And here is James Madison, the father of the Constitution and our fourth president:

A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence agst. foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home.

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.

Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged against provisions against danger, real or pretended from abroad.

These are the lessons America should have learned from the 9/11 terrorist attacks.