by Jacob G. Hornberger
Actually the killings in Norway by accused murderer Anders Behring Breivik are logical from the standpoint of those who have been claiming that the West is in a war against Islam. If we’re really at war, as these people have been claiming ever since 9/11, then what’s wrong with killing the enemy? Isn’t that what war is all about? In war, doesn’t one kill the enemy in order to win the war?
Ever since the 9/11 attacks, The Future of Freedom Foundation has periodically received letters from people fearfully exclaiming that the Muslims are coming to get us and invade, conquer, and occupy the United States as part of their war on Western civilization and Christianity. They have told us that the Koran requires Muslims to wage war on the Christian West and that the ultimate goal of the Muslims, including through immigration, is the conquest of the United States, Europe, and the rest of the Western world.
I have responded to these people by advising them not to go out and start shooting Muslims in their neighborhood. I have counseled them that if they did that, the state would arrest them and charge them with murder. Moreover, the judge would not permit them to defend against the murder charge by claiming that they were simply killing the enemy during wartime. They would be viewed simply as murderers, not as enemy combatants in war.
Fortunately, those who have long made this claim here in the United States have not followed through with their convictions by going out and defending the country during “wartime” by killing Muslims.
In fact, as I have long pointed out, the entire “we’re at war against Islam” screed has really been nothing more than a means by which such claimants can avoid confronting the wrongdoing of their own government — the U.S. government — in the Middle East, wrongdoing that has given rise to the anger and rage that has resulted in the threat of terrorist retaliation from that part of the world.
Indeed, one or the most amusing aspects to this controversy is that the “we’re at war with Islam” people never acknowledge that it is their government — the U.S. government — that is itself a strong supporter of Islamic regimes. Consider Iraq, where the U.S. invasion succeeded in installing a government that is required by Iraqi constitutional law to operate under Islamic principles. For some 10 years, U.S. troops have been killing and dying to protect this U.S.-supported Islamic regime from being overthrown, while the “we’re at war with Islam” crowd has never ceased exhorting us to support the troops in Iraq who are “defending our rights and freedoms.”
Or consider Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan, and other predominantly Muslim countries whose (non-democratic) governments are recipients of billions of dollars in U.S. foreign aid. Isn’t it ironic that the “we’re at war with Islam” crowd never criticizes their own government for “aiding and abetting the enemy during wartime”?
In fact, the new official Islamic threat didn’t really materialize until the advocates of big government needed a new official enemy to justify the ever-growing expenditures and worldwide domination of the U.S. military and military-industrial complex at the end of the Cold War.
After all, throughout the Cold War was the “we’re at war against Islam” crowd making the same claims about Islam that they’ve been making for the past 10 years? Nope. During that time, the official big-government boogeyman was the communists, who were coming to get us, invade the United States, occupy our country, and take over the IRS, the public schools, and the Interstate Highway System.
In fact, when the U.S. government was openly supporting Islamic extremists when it was the Soviet Union, rather than the United States, occupying Afghanistan, the “we’re at war against Islam” crowd was fully supportive.
But once the Soviet Union disappeared, a new official boogeyman obviously became necessary. After all, how could we justify the enormous, ever-growing Cold War budget for the military and the military-industrial complex if we didn’t have a new official enemy?
Throughout the 1990s, Saddam Hussein served that function. While he had been a partner and ally of the U.S. government during the 1980s, U.S. officials quickly turned on him and converted him into the “new Hitler” who was bent on nuking and invading the United States. Thus, throughout the 1990s, Saddam, not Islam, was the official boogeyman.
But then came 9/11. That event provided the advocates of big government with a new official boogeyman -- terrorism, which actually was even better than communism given that U.S. interventions, support of dictatorships, foreign aid, sanctions, embargoes, coups, bases, no-fly zones, invasions, and occupations in the Middle East and elsewhere would ensure a perpetual supply of anti-American terrorists. The Cold War lasted only 45 years. But the war on terrorism has the potential to last forever, thereby ensuring the continuation of big government into perpetuity.
Of course, it’s all a means to avoid confronting the role of U.S. foreign policy in producing the anger and rage that results in the threat of terrorist retaliation, which U.S. officials then use to expand their power and domination over the American people. If people can convince themselves that the problem is that the Muslims are coming to get us, then they’re able to reconcile in their minds that everything the U.S. Empire has done to people in the Middle East is okay — because it’s all done to “defend us,” as in “Let us pray for the troops who are in Iraq and Afghanistan defending our rights and freedoms.”
Recall the famous debate exchange between Ron Paul and Rudy Guliani. Paul pointed out that the terrorists came here to kill us on 9/11 because our government had been over there killing them prior to 9/11. Guliani was outraged that anyone could possibly criticize the U.S. government and its foreign policy.
For all too many Americans, the U.S. government is their god, their parent, their provider, their sustainer, their protector. In their minds, the government is incapable of wrongdoing. Thus, they come up with wild-eyed rationalizations to justify the wrongdoing, such as “the Muslims are waging war against us and are coming to get us and so anything our government does to them is okay.”
If the U.S. Empire withdrew from the Middle East by immediately withdrawing all U.S. troops and bringing them home, by immediately closing all U.S. military bases, and by immediately terminating all U.S. foreign aid, anti-American terrorism emanating from that part of the world would dissipate.
That of course would leave the advocates of big government without an official enemy once again, including communism, terrorism, and Islam. But hey, there’s always the drug war, which has succeeded in providing boogeymen for some 40 years.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.
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