Amidst all the furor over President Trump’s immigration edicts, there is one important thing that every American should keep in mind: There is a much easier and simpler solution to the threat of anti-American terrorism, which is the excuse that Trump is using for his immigration edicts: Just bring the troops home from the Middle East and Afghanistan and stop shooting, bombing, and firing missiles at anyone in those parts of the world, including ISIS, al-Qaeda, and everyone else. Just come home and leave everyone over there alone.
One of the most disappointing aspects of Trump’s immigration edicts is that he is clearly signaling that he intends to follow the same direction as his two predecessors, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. What Trump is essentially saying is this: “Under my administration, the Pentagon and the CIA will continue killing people, dropping bombs, and firing missiles in Middle East and Afghanistan, as they have been doing (obviously without success) for the past 25 years. But I promise to do my try to keep you safe from terrorist retaliation by banning anybody in or near those areas from coming to the United States and possibly doing harm to you.”
In other words, four more years of Bush-Obama. Four more years of killing, bombing, and assassinating, Four more years of increasing infringements on civil liberties. Four more years of out-of-control federal spending and debt.
That’s incredible. You would expect it from the Pentagon, the CIA, and the rest of old Cold War-era military-industrial complex. Their warfare largess necessarily depends on perpetual conflict, discord, crises, chaos, and war. That’s why the Pentagon and the CIA are enthusiastic supporters of anyone who is able and willing to gin up crises with Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and others. It’s good for military-industrial-complex business.
Trump has obviously bought into the Bush-Obama, Pentagon-CIA “war on terrorism” paradigm. During his campaign, he presented himself as the premier anti-establishment, drain-the-swamp presidential candidate, and he was reviled by the mainstream press and all of his mainstream political opponents.
And yet, here he is turning out to be just like them, even appointing a bunch of standard military types with standard military mindsets to high positions in the federal government.
Sure, he’s been in office only a few weeks. Nonetheless, he has clearly signaled what he’s going to do in several important areas, and it all falls squarely within the standard Democrat-Republican, liberal-conservative paradigms.
Fight the drug war? Check.
Enforce immigration controls? Check.
Continue killing people in the Middle East and Afghanistan, including women and children? Check.
Demonize Iran? Check.
Continue the embargo against Cuba? Check.
Impose and enforce trade restrictions and sanctions? Check.
Maintain U.S. military bases in foreign countries? Check.
Continue the out-of-control federal spending and debts? Check.
Okay, it’s nice that Trump hasn’t (yet) ginned up a crisis with China, North Korea, Vietnam, and even with Russia, but give him time. He’s only been in office a few weeks.
But one thing is now crystal-clear: Trump intends to use the troops and the CIA to continue wreaking death and destruction in the Middle East and Afghanistan for the indefinite future. That’s why he’s closing the border to people from the Middle East — not because they are Muslims but because they are being bombed, assassinated, or shot at by U.S. forces, and they might just be angry about that and want to retaliate.
Even more disappointing, however, is the passive reaction among so many Americans to the ongoing death and destruction at the hands of U.S. forces. It’s great to see people protesting Trump’s immigration tyranny but where are the protests against the ongoing, never-ending interventionism that is producing the ongoing, never-ending threat of anti-American terrorism? Where are the massive protests that finally brought a withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Vietnam, where they were killing and dying for nothing? Perhaps people are too busy thanking the troops for their 25 years of service in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the rest of the Middle East to think about demanding that it’s long past time that they be brought home.
It’s as if people have simply accepted the notion that the Pentagon and the CIA have the right to kill whoever they want, even if it means ever-increasing destruction of liberty and economic well-being here at home. Or maybe they’ve bought into all the national-security state nonsense that American would cease to stand if ISIS or the Taliban or some other foreign group that hates the U.S. government might assume the reins of power in foreign countries. Or maybe they’re just too scared to protest anything the all-powerful, Cold War-era national-security establishment does.
Whatever the reason might be for so much silence in the face of more than 25 years of continuous killing by the U.S. military and the CIA in the Middle East and Afghanistan and the ongoing threat of terrorist retaliation, one thing everyone should reflect on is this: Bringing the troops home would solve a lot of problems.
Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
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