by Jacob G. Hornberger
Good for Ron Paul. He’s asking for a public vote by every member of the U.S. House of Representatives on an amendment to the fiscal 2011 funding bill that would cut off all foreign aid to Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Pakistan. My hunch is that his Republican colleagues are going to resent him to no end for flushing them out into the open with a public vote on such an issue.
After all, don’t Republicans express deep concern over out-of-control federal spending? Don’t they loudly exclaim against the budget deficit — the fact that they are spending $1.6 trillion more than what the IRS is collecting from the taxpayers? Don’t they tell us how wrong it is to continue making the Chinese communist regime one of America’s principal creditors? Don’t they constantly wring their hands over the ever-growing national debt?
Well, what better place to save money than to end foreign aid to foreign regimes? In fact, why limit the termination of foreign aid to Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Pakistan? Why not end it to every single regime in the world?
Isn’t it time for Americans to be asking themselves some fundamental questions, such as, “What is the role of government in a free society?” Should the federal government be collecting taxes from the American people in order to transfer the money to foreign regimes? Is that a legitimate role for the U.S. government? Is it a constitutional role? Is it a beneficial role?
Consider all the foreign aid that has been given to foreign dictatorships during the past several decades. The Shah of Iran’s brutal regime in Iran. The brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. The brutal dictatorships in Pakistan, Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Jordan, and others. The brutal dictatorships in Latin America. The list goes on and on.
Think about it: The money that the IRS has been taking from the American people has been transferred to regimes that have tortured, raped, jailed, executed ,and otherwise oppressed their own people. By having funded the operations, year after year, not to mention the training of the dictatorships’ military forces, the U.S. government has been a co-partner, co-torturer, and co-tyrant in these operations.
“But Jacob, don’t you know that ‘our interests’ require that our government periodically engage in evil conduct.”
Well, if “our interests” necessitate the commission of evil conduct, that’s the time to question such interests or to question whether God has given us a universe in which evil means are required to achieve good ends.
Terrorism? Terrorism against Americans is motivated by the U.S. government’s support of the regimes that are torturing, raping, brutalizing, and oppressing their own people, along with other meddlesome and interventionist acts on the part of the Empire. End the foreign aid, close the overseas bases, and stop the meddling, and the anger and hatred that drives the terrorism dissipates.
Israel? The Israeli government has the responsibility of defending its own nation. If American citizens wish to donate their own money to the Israeli government or join the Israeli forces in the event of war, they should be free to do so. But sending U.S. taxpayer money or materiel to or defending the Israeli government (or any other government) is not a rightful or constitutional role of the U.S. government.
Oil? The oil belongs to those who own it, not to the U.S. government. The owner has the right to sell it or not sell it, as he wishes. Owners of natural resources usually try to maximize their profits by selling, not hoarding, their commodity. Venezuelan officials hate the U.S. government and nonetheless sell oil to the United States. The U.S. government has no legitimate authority to forcibly take oil (or anything else) that doesn’t belong to it or to force someone else to sell his own property.
Since most Americans have been born and raised under an Empire, they have come to believe that life could not exist without it. Their mindset is no different from, say, the Russian people, who were born and raised under socialism and who thought that life could not exist without it.
Nonsense! It is the U.S. Empire itself that is the root cause of the crises and chaos that infects American life. Through its ardent support of dictatorships and other foreign regimes, and its other meddling (e.g., coups, assassinations, invasions, occupations, sanctions, embargoes, and foreign bases), the Empire engenders anger and hatred toward the United States among the victims of the brutality and oppression.
When that anger and hatred ultimately erupts in terrorist retaliation against the United States, the statists cry, “They hate us for our freedom and values,” as if our “freedom and values” included the support of dictatorship, brutality, rape, torture, and other oppressive actions against people. And then, the terrorist retaliation is used as the excuse for such anti-freedom idiocy as the Patriot Act, the war on terrorism, torture, and other anti-terrorist measures that are inherent to the dictatorships the Empire is supporting.
In his column this week, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof talks about how the Middle East protests have expanded to Bahrain, which is ruled by another authoritarian regime:
“At first the protesters just wanted the release of political prisoners, an end to torture and less concentration of power in the al-Khalifa family that controls the country. But, now, after the violence against peaceful protesters, the crowds increasingly are calling for the overthrow of the Khalifa family…. All of this puts the United States in a bind. Bahrain is a critical United States ally because it is home to the American Navy’s Fifth Fleet, and Washington has close relations with the Khalifa family.”
So, there you have it — more U.S. government support of horrible authoritarian dictatorships that torture and brutalize their own people. Not just Tunisia. Not just Egypt. Not just Jordan. Not just Pakistan. Not just Iraq. Not just Iran. Not just Saudi Arabia. Not just Latin America.
Everywhere! The U.S. government is one of the world’s principal enablers of dictatorship, torture, oppression, and brutality, especially with its foreign aid to dictatorships—money that the IRS has forcibly extracted from the American people and given to Congress and the president, for transfer to foreign regimes as “foreign aid.”
It’s great that Ron Paul is placing his Republican colleagues on the spot by making them take a public vote on foreign aid, especially given that bankruptcy looms on the horizon for the federal government.
But hasn’t the time come for the American people to do some serious soul-searching on the issue, especially when they’re having a difficult time making ends meet and especially when their government is sending our nation into financial bankruptcy? Wouldn’t this also be an opportune time for soul-searching because of the widespread opposition among people in the Middle East to dictatorial regimes that the U.S. government has been partnering with and supporting with foreign aid?
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
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|William A. Cook|