Hornberger's Blog

Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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Hornberger’s Blog, January 2007

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Why Bush Wants War with Iran
by Jacob G. Hornberger

First of all, please don’t fail to read Chalmers Johnson’s terrific new article that we link to in today’s FFF Email Update: “Why Nemesis Is at the U.S.’s Door.” No one has a better handle on U.S. foreign policy and the damage it is causing our country than Chalmers Johnson. I highly recommend purchasing his newest book Nemesis,along with his two previous books Blowback and The Sorrows of Empire.

As most everyone knows, President Bush — who refers to himself as the Decider — might attack Iran on his own initiative or, better yet, induce Iran to attack first in response to the ever-tightening noose and growing U.S. provocations against Iran, just as Japan did in response to the noose that FDR tightened around Japan prior to Pearl Harbor.

Why is the president looking for a war with Iran? In my opinion, there are two reasons: first, to try to ameliorate the president’s failure in Iraq and, second, to try a last-ditch effort to convert himself into a great and acclaimed president before he leaves office, as compared to a failed and disgraced president, such as Lyndon Johnson or Richard Nixon.

The president’s war on Iraq has failed. No matter how many insurgents and “terrorists” are killed — no matter if the president’s troops were to finally pacify the country with massive killings and torture, such as what U.S. troops did to pacify the Philippines during the Spanish American War — the result will remain the same — an anti-American, pro-Iran Islamic Shiite regime in power in Iraq.

That wasn’t what President Bush had in mind when he invaded Iraq. He had in mind “regime change” but not just any regime change. His goal was not only to oust Saddam Hussein from power but also to install a pro-U.S. regime in Iraq. To achieve that goal, U.S. officials had Iyad Allawi and convicted bank fraud Ahmed Chalabi waiting in the wings to serve as the new ruler of Iraq, both of whom would have served the purpose of becoming U.S. puppets who would have placed Iraq squarely within the U.S. Empire.

But Iraqi Shiite Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani outmaneuvered Bush by demanding full “democratic” elections in Iraq, knowing that the Shiites far outnumbered the Sunnis. The elections, not surprisingly, delivered control of Iraq to the Shiites.

But there was one big problem: Sistani and the Shiites were closely aligned with Iran, not the U.S. Some of them had even taken shelter in Iran during the Iraq-Iran War, when U.S. officials were helping Saddam to kill Iranians, including by delivering those infamous WMDs to Iraq which President Bush later used as the false excuse for invading Iraq.

That means that President Bush’s invasion of Iraq unwittingly expanded the influence of Iran over Iraq. The only reason that the Shiite regime encourages U.S. troops to stay in Iraq is so that they will continue killing Sunnis under the guise of “fighting the terrorists.” As soon as the Iraqi Shiite regime consolidates its power, it’s going to say bye-bye to President Bush and U.S. troops and continue fortifying its relationship with Iran.

President Bush, no doubt, has finally figured this out. He obviously can’t oust his “democratically installed” Shiite regime in Iraq. How would he explain that one to the world? His only practical option, from his perspective, then is to destroy or weaken the Iran regime in the hope that the Iraqi regime would then permanently become a grateful, dependent ward of the U.S. Empire. In which case the president could exclaim prior to leaving office, “Voila! Mission accomplished, again! History will remember me as a great Decider!”

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Restore a Free Market to Health Care
by Jacob G. Hornberger

Amidst continued perversions and distortions in the healthcare arena, Democrats and Republicans are now starting to compete in recommending the latest healthcare reform plan. Yawn! The process is no different, in principle, than the standard, customary call for reform of the drug war, the war on poverty, the war on illiteracy, etc., etc. Think of it as “stay the course with reforms,” which has been the standard Democratic-Republican mantra to deal their beloved welfare-state programs for the last several decades.

Here is how the process works: Enact a federal program to deal with some perceived “crisis” supposedly produced by the free market. Call it a “reform of free enterprise.” When the inevitable distortions appear, call for new reforms. When those reforms produce new distortions, call for new reforms. Finally, after decades of distortions and perversions, call for a federal takeover of the entire activity, claiming that the free market has failed.

American once had the finest healthcare system in the world. Doctors loved their work, made lots of money, and treated the poor for free. In the 1960s, the federal government went on the attack by enacting Medicare and Medicaid as part of its “war on poverty.” That massive federal intervention into healthcare produced massive distortions, not the least of which was soaring healthcare costs. That, in turn, produced a perpetual series of reforms, which inevitably produced new distortions and perversions, which produced calls for new reforms. Many doctors now hate their profession, especially since they now have to deal with armies of ever-growing regulations and obnoxious regulators who threaten them with jail sentences for violating the regulations. Today, there are now calls for a federal takeover of healthcare because, Democrats and Republicans claim, “free enterprise” has failed.

There is one — and only one — solution to the healthcare debacle, and it lies not with reform. It entails rooting out — the eradication — all government involvement in health care. That entails the repeal, not the reform, of Medicare and Medicaid (and all the income taxes that fund them). It also entails, as the late Milton Friedman pointed out in his book Capitalism and Freedom, the repeal of medical-licensure laws.

That simple yet profound solution would restore a free market to healthcare, which would once again produce the finest healthcare system in the world. It would also restore a sense of genuine voluntary charity to the healthcare field, where physicians provide assistance to the poor and needy because they want to, not because they’re forced to.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Love Your Country: Oppose Federal Wrongdoing
by Jacob G. Hornberger

One of the fascinating claims made by both conservatives and liberals is that if a citizen opposes wrongdoing by his government, that means that he hates his country.

We’ve seen this phenomenon, of course, with respect to President Bush’s invasion and occupation of Iraq. Conservatives (and neo-conservatives) say that those people who have opposed the war and occupation are “America-haters.”

The liberals are no different. When people opposed the federal government’s massacre of the Branch Davidians at Waco, for example — and the resulting lies and cover-up — President Clinton suggested that those who criticized the massacre hated their country.

The reason that both conservatives and liberals hold this mindset is that they both conflate the federal government and the country. In their minds, the federal government and the country are one and the same. Thus, given that mindset, both conservatives and liberals, upon hearing criticism of the government, leap to the conclusion that the critic actually hates his country.

The matter is aggravated by the fact that both conservatives and liberals have come to view the federal government as their great provider and protector, providing them such vital essentials as retirement, health care, housing, food, and education and protecting them from such dangers as drug dealers, speculators, profiteers, illegal aliens, terrorists, oil companies, and big business.

Thus, given that both conservatives and liberals have come to view the federal government as a daddy or even a god, it’s not surprising that they would recoil against any criticism of him.

Actually, the reality is completely different. The federal government consists of one group of people and the country consists of another group of people. Moreover, the federal group often does things that harm the country, not only with respect to foreign policy but also with respect to tax-and-spend socialist welfare schemes.

Our American ancestors understood this point well, which is why they demanded passage of the Bill of Rights soon after the Constitution was enacted. The Bill of Rights expressly protects the country from the federal government. Did the passage of the Bill of Rights mean that our ancestors hated America? On the contrary, they loved the country but feared the government — and knew that unless restrained, federal officials would do very bad things to the country.

In fact, contrary to popular opinion the people who signed the Declaration of Independence were not great Americans. They were great Englishmen. They were English citizens who opposed the wrongdoing of their own government. They opposed their government because they loved their country.

Loving your government is not the same as loving your country. As our ancestors taught us, those who have the independence of thought, conscience, and courage to stand against government wrongdoing are the ones who genuinely love their country.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Gun Control in Iraq
by Jacob G. Hornberger

As part of the military crackdown in Baghdad, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki intends to disarm all armed groups in the city. In other words, gun confiscation. Maliki wants to leave weapons only in the hands of the Iraqi government. “Trust us,” is the underlying message of Maliki’s gun control policy.

It goes without saying that the U.S. military will be carrying out Maliki’s gun control policy.

Question for Mr. Maliki and the U.S. military: If the Iraqi people are disarmed and if the Iraqi government is the only entity that remains armed, how do the Iraqi people protect themselves from the Iraqi government? You know, the death squads, the kidnapping squads, and the torture squads. Ironically, not even Saddam Hussein disarmed the Iraqi citizenry. Isn’t disarming the citizenry the hallmark of a tyrannical regime?

As America’s Founding Fathers understood so well, history has shown that a disarmed citizenry is a submissive, passive, obedient citizenry—and all too often an enslaved citizenry. That’s why it’s not a coincidence that the right to keep and bear arms was enshrined in the Second Amendment.

What a shame that as part of its brutal and deadly occupation of Iraq, the U.S military is not only engaging in such things as unreasonable searches and seizures, denial of due process and jury trials, indefinite detentions of detainees, censorship, and cruel and unusual punishments, the U.S. military is now being used to disarm the citizenry of Iraq.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Conservatives Are Right to Fear Hillary
by Jacob G. Hornberger

With Hillary Clinton now having announced her candidacy for president, I wonder if conservatives are now reevaluating their perspectives on presidential power and patriotism.

Let’s keep in mind, first, the libertarian perspective: Don’t ever vest any person, not even your best friend and person you trust the most, with omnipotent political power.

There are two reasons for this libertarian principle: First, no one, not even the biggest saint, can be trusted with omnipotent power. Recall Lord Acton’s dictum: Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This libertarian principle, in fact, was the underlying philosophy of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which expressly limited the powers of the president, even if the president was George Washington.

The second reason for this libertarian principle is that there can never be any guarantee as to who the next president will be. That’s, in fact, why conservatives are getting very nervous right now. They know that Bush’s debacle in Iraq is increasing the chances that the Democrats will not only retain control over Congress in 2008 but that they will also win the White House. That obviously means that whoever wins the Democratic presidential nomination will very possibly be the next president. And right now, Hillary has a commanding lead for the Democratic nomination.

So, if Hillary were to win the presidency, thanks to conservatives she will be a ruler vested with the power to send the entire nation into war without a congressional declaration of war, the power to spy on the American people, including by monitoring their email and telephone calls, the power to establish concentration camps for Americans, the power to arrest Americans and declare them to be “enemy combatants,” denying them due process of law and jury trials, the power to torture Americans and foreigners or send them to brutal foreign regimes for torture, the power to try suspected terrorists by military tribunal, the power to execute “signing statements” ignoring congressional laws, and the power to suspend habeas corpus and other parts of the Constitution . Even worse, from the standpoint of conservatives, there won’t be anything to prevent President Clinton from advising with former President Clinton in exercising these powers as “commander in chief” in the perpetual “war on terror.”

Even worse for conservatives, given the way their warped concept of patriotism — i.e., unswerving devotion to their “commander in chief” in time of war — how are they going to switch gears and oppose their “commander in chief” just because she happens to be Hillary instead of George? Haven’t they repeatedly claimed that the war on terror is perpetual and that it’s the patriotic duty of every citizen to support their commander in chief during time of war? If they switch gears, won’t they once again be accused of hypocrisy?

All this is simply to show that the future of our nation lies with libertarianism — the political philosophy of America’s Founding Fathers that recognizes that the biggest threat to people’s freedom and well-being lies with their very own government, which is why no government official should ever be trusted with omnipotent power, and which is why our ancestors bequeathed to us The Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Failure of “Democracy” in Iraq
by Jacob G. Hornberger

U.S. officials are lamenting the fact that the Iraqi government is not performing as well as it should in establishing “order” in Iraq. In other words, they’re blaming the failures of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq on the Iraqi government.

But wait a minute! Isn’t the Iraqi government the result of “democracy,” the much-ballyhooed principle for which U.S. troops invaded and occupied Iraq?

So, what do have we here? We have an invasion and occupation of a country that never attacked the United States, which has killed and maimed scores of innocent people, both Iraqi and American, all supposedly for the sake of establishing “democracy” (which isn’t freedom), which in turn has produced a brutal, tortuous, vengeful, inept, corrupt, and inefficient regime that is unable to establish “order” on its own without the continued occupation of the U.S. military. And to top it off, it’s a regime that has aligned itself with Iran, which U.S. officials are now threatening to attack too.

And now U.S. officials are blaming the results of “democracy” for their failure to establish “order” in Iraq even though democracy was the supposed reason for their invasion. Since the U.S. government invaded Iraq supposedly to establish “democracy,” doesn’t that make the U.S. government, not the Iraqi government, ultimately responsible for the perverse results of their invasion and occupation?

Let’s not forget that this isn’t the first time that a U.S. foreign war for democracy has produced perverse results. Recall U.S. intervention into World War I, which also supposedly was for the purpose of spreading democracy. It helped produced the conditions in Germany that ultimately gave rise to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime, which then produced the conditions for World War II. Didn’t U.S. officials know this before they invaded Iraq?

More important, as we have long pointed out here at FFF, the real reason for invading and occupying Iraq was not the bogus rationales of mushroom-cloud threats or establishing democracy but simply the long-established U.S. foreign policy of “regime change” — that is, getting rid of Saddam with the intention of replacing him with a U.S.-approved surrogate who would follow “our benchmarks” and “our orders.” That’s what U.S. troops have really killed and died for, that’s what hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed and maimed for, and that’s what an entire nation has been destroyed for.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The U.S. Produced the Terrorists in Iraq
by Jacob G. Hornberger

Iraq provides a good example of the adverse effects of a pro-empire, interventionist foreign policy.

Neither the people of Iraq nor their government had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks on the United States. Also, neither the Iraqi people nor their government ever attacked the United States or even threatened to do so.

The U.S. invades Iraq with the intention of effecting regime change — that is, ousting Saddam Hussein from power and replacing him with a ruler who is more palatable to U.S. officials. In the process of achieving that goal, however, U.S. troops kill, maim, torture, and humiliate tens of thousands of Iraqi people (none of whom had ever attacked the United States) and destroy Iraq.

The result of all this death, injury, and destruction is that some Iraqis have been converted into people who either wish to rid their nation of a foreign occupier or who hate the United States for the death, damage, and destruction that the U.S. has wrought in Iraq.

Voila! Terrorists! Iraqi terrorists!

Notice something important here: None of the Iraqi people who are today considered terrorists were terrorists before the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Thus, the reason that U.S. officials now consider Iraq to be a “central front in the war on terror” is because the U.S. government invaded and occupied Iraq. That is, the Iraqis who are today considered terrorists would not be terrorists had the U.S. government never invaded or occupied Iraq in the first place.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Perpetual War on Drugs
by Jacob G. Hornberger

Amidst significant fanfare, Mexico is extraditing suspected drug lords to the United States. Wow, does this mean that the war on drugs has finally been won? No, all it means is that the drug war is waged with one primary result in mind — to keep drug agents employed in perpetuity even though they are accomplishing nothing.

Think about it: Amidst tremendous fanfare, they’ve been busting drug lords and drug cartels for some 30 years. Every time they do so, there are press conferences and press releases and mug shots distributed to the press.

“Victory is right around the corner,” is the subtle inference behind each new drug bust. It’s supposed to inspire hope in the American people that despite 30 years of manifest failure, death, and destruction, the drug war can be “won” in the years ahead. “Stay the course” is the unspoken mantra of the drug war.

Yet, victory never comes, no matter how many drug lords or drug cartels are busted. And it won’t come no matter how many suspected drug dealers Mexico extradites to the United States.

The reason is simple: Every time they bust one drug dealer, he’s immediately replaced by another. It’s called the law of supply and demand, a law that cannot be repealed by Congress.

Everybody, including drug agents, knows by now that the drug-war process has become perpetual. Drug dealers deal drugs, consumers consume drugs, and law-enforcement officers get paid to bust them both. And the mainstream media continues to play the game that’s gone on for three decades — reporting the latest record drug bust, amidst lots of fanfare. But from a substantive standpoint, nothing ever changes.

The Mexican extraditions will accomplish nothing more than making people feel positive about a deadly and destructive war that has been waged without success for some 30 years. All that the drug war has accomplished is the same thing that Prohibition accomplished — a federal program that provides continued employment to an army of federal agents who waste their entire professional lives away in a Sisyphus-like, deadly, and destructive endeavor.

After 30 years of failure, death, and destruction, Americans would be wise to end the drug war now. Like other nonessential federal personnel, drug-war agents would find constructive employment in the private sector.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

More Apologies Needed
by Jacob G. Hornberger

In my January 15 blog, I described the antics of Pentagon official Charles “Cully” Simpson, who actually had the audacity to condemn law firms representing Guantanamo detainees and suggesting that clients of the firms should threaten to take their business elsewhere.

Since then, there have been a spate of articles condemning Simpson’s misconduct, two of which we link to in today’s FFF Email Update.

The result is that the Washington Post today published a letter from Simpson in which he apologizes for his admitted misconduct.

Now, if the Pentagon would only apologize for having set up its torture and sex-abuse camp in Cuba and then close it down, promising never again to torture or sexually abuse detainees, that would go a long way to getting our country back on the right track. Keep in mind that the reason that the Pentagon set up the camp in Cuba rather than the U.S. was to avoid the constraints of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, including right to counsel, due process of law, trial by jury, and prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments. Despite his apology, Simpson’s condemnation of the defense attorneys representing the Guantanamo detainees is just part and parcel of a much bigger problem — the Pentagon’s loathing of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and the principles underlying those documents and its obvious attempt to avoid them by setting up its torture and sex-abuse camp in Cuba.

Yesterday, I blogged about how the Iraqi government has aligned itself with the Iranian government, — a point that we have made here at FFF for the past couple of years. Well, lo and behold, the Los Angeles Times carried a story yesterday entitled, “Iraq Edges Closer to Iran, With or Without the U.S.” which made much the same point.

While neo-cons continue to support the continued occupation of Iraq in the hope of finally achieving “success” some 4 years after their invasion, their best-case scenario is a radical Islamic Shiite regime that has established “order” in Iraq. But they’re also hoping that amidst all the celebrations of “democracy” in Iraq that the American people don’t notice the obvious: that what President Bush’s invasion and occupation have wrought is a regime that has aligned itself with Iran, not the U.S., and that that’s what U.S. soldiers have been — and are — killing and dying for in Iraq.

Ask yourself: Would you be willing to give your life for the sake of a radical, brutal, Islamic regime, especially one that has aligned itself with the radical, brutal Islamic regime that President Bush is now thinking about attacking?

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Undoing Iraq by Attacking Iran
by Jacob G. Hornberger

President Bush is complaining, without irony, that Iran is interfering with the internal affairs of Iraq.

Perhaps it is finally dawning on the president what the regime change his invasion has wrought for Iraq — the ouster of an anti-Iran regime and the installation of a pro-Iran regime.

After all, keep in mind that this was the precise reason that President Bush I did not order U.S. troops to go all the way to Baghdad during the Persian Gulf War and why U.S. forces stood aside as Saddam massacred Shiite and Kurdish insurgents after the U.S. encouraged them to rebel against Saddam: President Bush I did not want to install an Islamic Shiite regime in Iraq that would align itself with Iran and, thus, will willing to accept the continuation of Saddam’s regime.

Yet, that is exactly what his son’s invasion has accomplished — the installation of a radical, brutal, Islamic Shiite regime that has aligned itself with Iran. Moreover, like Saddam’s regime, the new regime is torturing and killing insurgents, only this time the victims are Sunnis instead of Shiites and Kurds.

As I pointed out in a July 15, 2005, article entitled “The Pentagon: Islam’s Newest Department of Defense,” that means that U.S. troops have been and are killing and dying for Islam and for a regime that has aligned itself with a nation that President Bush is now contemplating attacking. If President Bush does in fact invade Iran, it might well surprise lots of Americans to learn that Iraq sides with Iran in the conflict.

So, why would the Islamic regime in Iraq continue to want U.S. forces to remain in Iraq? To continue killing their enemy — the Sunnis, who are now the insurgents who refuse to accept the legitimacy of a regime that was installed compliments of a foreign invasion. Here’s just the most recent example of the cozy relationship that now exists between Iran and Iraq, even while President Bush continues to rattle the sabers at Iran. At the very end of a recent article on CNN.com entitled “White House: Can’t Rule Out an Attack on Iran” is the following revealing blurb regarding the Pentagon’s arrest of five Iranians after a recent U.S. attack on an Iranian diplomatic facility in northern Iraq: “Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said he phoned his Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, on Friday to assure him that steps were being taken to free the five. In a written statement, Zebari said he told Mottaki that he hoped the incident ‘would not affect the brotherly relations between the two peoples and the two neighbor countries.’”

And don’t forget this July 12, 2005, Washington Post article in which Iraqi Defense Minister Defense Minister Sadoun Dulaimi “hailed the military agreement with Iran as a crucial step toward repairing relations between two countries that were at war from 1980 to 1988.”

Neo-cons are advocating war with Iran in part because of the increasing influence and power that Iran has in the Middle East. Isn’t it ironic that the neo-cons are now advocating a new war, this time on Iran, in order to undo the results of their war on Iraq? Just another day in the life of the U.S. government’s pro-empire, pro-interventionist foreign policy.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Eisenhower Was Right about the MIC
by Jacob G. Hornberger

The Pentagon was in the news over the weekend on two counts, both of which bring to mind President Eisenhower’s warnings to the American people about the dangers of the U.S. military-industrial complex.

Charles “Cully” Stimson, the Pentagon’s deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, complained on the radio about major American law firms that are representing detainees at Guantanamo Bay, many of which are representing their clients for free. He named many of the firms on the radio and even suggested that their corporate clients should fire them as their attorneys.

Wow! Talk about shades of Red China, where for all practical purposes it’s considered a crime for a criminal defense attorney to ardently defend their clients against accusations by the government. Apparently Stimson wants the Pentagon to be free to run its torture-and-sex-abuse camp and kangaroo courts at Gitmo unmolested.

After all, let’s not forget that the reason that President Bush and the Pentagon set up their operation in Cuba was to avoid the constraints of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as well as federal-court interference. Apparently Stimson has never heard of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which obligates American lawyers to defend their clients to the best of their ability, no matter how unpopular their clients might be and no matter how despicable the crime that they are accused of.

Interestingly, when USA Today asked Stimson to respond to an editorial condemning his conduct, he ran for cover, failing to respond.

We also learned over the weekend that the Pentagon has been gathering intelligence on Americans — yes, on Americans — through the use of “national security letters” issued to financial institutions to gain banking and credit information. It’s what the New York Times reports as part of “an aggressive expansion by the military into domestic intelligence gathering.”

The more the federals meddle overseas, especially with the military, the more the federals see the need to place the military in charge of domestic affairs. Don’t forget that the Pentagon now wields the power to arrest Americans as “enemy combatants,” isolate them in a brig with psychological torture, and detain them forever, without due process of law or a jury trial. Add to that the power to spy on Americans, including securing all their private banking and credit information.

It’s just further confirmation that U.S. foreign policy cannot be divorced from federal infringements on liberty at home. In order to protect our freedom at home, it is necessary for the American people to confront what their government is doing overseas.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Bush Is Responsible for the Entire Iraq Debacle
by Jacob G. Hornberger

In his speech to the nation about Iraq this week, President Bush said, “Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me.”

The president needs to be reminded that he is responsible not only for “mistakes” that have been made in the invasion and occupation of Iraq, he is personally responsible for the entire Iraq debacle from start to finish.

Don’t forget: When it came to invading and occupying Iraq, President Bush, by his own admission, was the Decider (along with Vice President Cheney). He decided to invade Iraq without the constitutionally required congressional declaration of war. He decided to aggress against a country that had not attacked the United States, a type of action that was prosecuted as a war crime at Nuremberg. He decided to cherry pick the intelligence to fit his decision to attack Iraq. He decided not to rely on the UN inspectors. He decided to ignore the worldwide antiwar protests prior to the invasion. He decided to invade Iraq to “get Saddam.” He decided to open the torture floodgates that led to Abu Ghraib.

As the Decider, Bush (along with Cheney) is personally responsible for the 3,000 U.S. deaths, the 650,000 Iraqi deaths, the countless Americans and Iraqis who are permanently maimed, and the chaos, violence, and civil war that his invasion and occupation have unleashed in Iraq.

If Bush’s plan to continue occupying Iraq until he leaves office fails, and if he is forced to withdraw from Iraq, he, as the Decider, will be personally responsible for the aftermath in Iraq. As the Decider, he will lack standing to blame the withdrawal and aftermath on the liberal press, the antiwar protestors, the hippies, or the peaceniks because he is the Decider who can decide to ignore everybody and do whatever he wants.

However, we shouldn’t forget Congress’s important and cowardly role in this deadly and destructive debacle. When the president proposed invading Iraq, Republican members of Congress (with the notable exception of Ron Paul) hopped to, clicked their heels, saluted, and effectively said—“Issue your orders, Mr. President, because we are here to serve you.” And cowardly Democratic members of Congress, fearful that Bush, Cheney, and Bush’s assistant Karl Rove would call them terrorist-loving traitors effectively said the same thing.

Ultimately, however, the problem facing our nation is a systemic one, not a personal one. Given the existence of a military Empire with an interventionist philosophy that has infected our nation for decades, an Iraq-type debacle was bound to happen at some point or another. As the Iraq disaster continues to head toward a denouement, the American people should be reflecting on the idea of restoring to our land the limited-government, non-interventionist philosophy of our nation’s Founding Fathers.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Trapped into More Killing and Dying in Iraq
by Jacob G. Hornberger

As I stated in my November 20 article “Trapped in Lies and Delusions,” President Bush, by his own actions, has trapped himself—or actually trapped U.S. soldiers—in Iraq until he gets out of office.

Bush has repeatedly stated that anyone who advocates withdrawing from Iraq is a cut-and-run coward who would place the national security of the United States into jeopardy from terrorists. Therefore, having staked out that position, Bush has no effective political choice. If he were order the withdrawal of U.S. troops, he would be placing himself into the ranks of the cut-and-run cowards who would place America into the hands of the terrorists.

Bush no doubt now realizes that in Iraq’s civil war that the U.S. invasion has unleashed, he must now take sides in order to “win.” That means taking the Shiite side because they’re the ones in charge of the Iraqi government, which means massacring Sunnis, especially in Baghdad, in order to bring order and stability to Iraq.

So, what began as a mission to purportedly protect the U.S. from an imminent WMD attack by Saddam Hussein, which morphed into a mission to capture or kill Saddam, which morphed into a mission to bring democracy to Iraq, has now morphed into a mission to help Shiites cleanse Iraq of Sunnis.

Of course, that doesn’t address the problem of Muqtada al-Sadr’s faction within the Shiites who are killing not only Sunnis but also doing everything they can to oust the U.S. occupiers from their country, especially by killing U.S. soldiers.

What we must constantly bear in mind is that it is the U.S. government itself that is responsible for all this chaos and civil war (just as it was responsible for the devastating 20-year civil war “in Guatemala after the CIA ousted that country’s democratically elected president). Had it not been for the U.S. invasion, the radical Islamic Shiite regime in Iraq would not in be in power. Moreover, the U.S. government has no more right to be occupying Iraq than China, Russia, Iran, or any other nation.

By the way, amidst all the talk of needing a U.S. troop surge to bring “order” in Iraq, I wonder how many people remember what Bush said in July 2003, when he challenged those tempted to attack U.S. forces with the taunt, “Bring them on. We’ve got the force necessary to deal with the security situation.”

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Empire Should Leave Venezuela Alone
by Jacob G. Hornberger

The Venezuelan people might be among the biggest beneficiaries of the U.S. government’s occupation of Iraq.

Venezuela’s President Hugh Chavez, a socialist who is a good comrade of Cuba’s communist dictator Fidel Castro, has announced the nationalization of the country’s electricity and telecommunications companies, which American companies have large ownership interests in.

Things like that ordinarily cause U.S. officials to go apoplectic, and in the pre-Iraq days would cause them to order an invasion, coup, sanctions, or assassination. Iran, Chile, and Guatemala come immediately to mind.

With the Empire bogged down in Iraq, and given the President Bush’s “surge” plan for Iraq, the Empire’s military resources are under enormous strain, effectively removing a U.S. invasion as a viable way to address the Venezuelan situation.

There is a lesson here. Not invading Venezuela is how U.S. foreign policy should operate because what is happening in Venezuela is up to the Venezuelan people, not U.S. officials, to resolve.

But notice something else here: Notice that few, if any Americans, including the neo-cons, are calling for an invasion of Venezuela. Yet, if President Bush all of a sudden did order his military to invade Venezuela, at least some Americans would immediately mold their mindsets to the new official line of how “we needed to invade to protect our national security and supply of oil and to liberate the Venezuelan people from socialism and communism.” They would be explaining to us how we needed to “support the troops” in their attempts to kill countless innocent Venezuelan people, none of whom would have ever attacked the United States.

What’s the difference, in principle, between Chavez’s nationalization of electricity and telecommunications and President Franklin Roosevelt’s nationalization of gold, or the U.S. Postal Service, or Amtrak, or Social Security? Would Americans support a Venezuelan military invasion of the United States to save our country from the horrors of socialism? Aren’t these are things for Americans to resolve, not Venezuelans?

The Iraqi people are paying an enormous price, in terms of death, destruction, and chaos, for the U.S. invasion and occupation of their country. Hopefully, the Venezuelan people will not have to pay that same price, despite the bad things that their ruler is doing in their country.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

More Hypocrisy in U.S. Foreign Policy
by Jacob G. Hornberger

Amidst low fanfare, U.S. military forces attacked and killed people in Somalia yesterday alleging that they were members of al-Qaeda. No declaration of war from Congress. Just the Decider making the unilateral decision to level an attack under the U.S. government’s role as international policeman, judge, and executioner in the war on terrorism.

But hey, isn’t that what Chilean Decider and military strongman Augusto Pinochet did when he purportedly ordered the attack on alleged Chilean terrorist Orlando Letelier in Washington, D.C. as part of his war on terrorism (and communism)? Yes, it’s true that Letelier’s assistant Ronnie Moffit was also killed in the bomb blast that extinguished the life of her boss, but as any good military man would tell you, Moffit’s death is just unfortunate “collateral damage” in a war on terrorism.

Perhaps that’s why the Bush regime is still fervently protecting the secrecy of the U.S. federal files concerning Pinochet’s involvement in the Letelier killing. Maybe there’s more sympathy and understanding for the Argentine Decider’s actions in his war on terrorism (and communism) than meets the eye.

Question: If governments now have the right to level military attacks on people in foreign countries who are alleged to be terrorists, then does that mean that the Cuban and Venezuelan governments have the right to level a military attack on the United States in an attempt to kill Luis Posada Carriles? After all, don’t forget that the Bush administration has been harboring and protecting this suspected terrorist who allegedly bombed a Cuban civilian airliner departing Venezuela, which killed 73 innocent people, many of them young people. In fact, the Bush people have refused an extradition request from Venezuela based on the claim — please don’t die laughing — that the alleged terrorist might be tortured by Venezuelan officials.

Wasn’t it the refusal of the Afghan government to extradite Osama bin Laden to the United States that U.S. officials used to justify their attack on Afghanistan, which has killed and maimed countless Afghanis who never had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks and which failed to capture bin Laden? Why wouldn’t the refusal of the U.S. government to extradite Carriles to Venezuela (which, unlike Afghanistan, has a formal extradition treaty with the U.S.) warrant a Venezuelan attack on the United States? Or does might, not the rule of law, make right in post-9/11 America?

The Decider’s undeclared war in Somalia, his undeclared war in Afghanistan, his undeclared war in Iraq, his protection of the Pinochet files on the Letelier killing, and his harboring and protection of accused terrorist Luis Posada Carriles is just part and parcel of the hypocrisy that has long infected U.S. interventionist and imperial foreign policy.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Callous Indifference Toward Iraqi Suffering
by Jacob G. Hornberger

One of the things that has fascinated me during the Iraq War and occupation has been the callous indifference that some Americans have felt toward the suffering of the Iraqi people. Yes, there has been the anger and outrage over U.S. troops killed in Iraq but the attitude toward Iraqi suffering has been more in the nature of “People always die in war. War is in the Bible. They’re Muslims. They hate us for our freedom and values. They’re all terrorists and bad guys. They’re different. They ought be grateful for the invasion. They’re now free. The price has been worth it.”

Try telling 39-year-old Iraqi Qais Ataiwee Yaseen that the price has been worth it and that he should be grateful for the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. His two sons, Abbas, 11, and Ali, 8, along with 32 other children, were killed when a suicide bomber targeted an American Humvee whose occupants were handing out candy to the children. In that one single blast, 29 Iraqi families lost children.

Here’s what Yaseen told the New York Times:

“I pray to God that no one in this world will ever have to face such a scene. As if they had been scattered on the ground. Legs. Arms. Heads. Bodies still burning.”

When he found his youngest son, he was still alive, minus his two feet and badly burned. Yaseen said, “I said to myself — two feet, it is nothing.” But the boy died shortly thereafter.

“I’m like a dead man,” said Yaseen, whose wife and daughter have left him since the blast. “I have no ambitions. I have no goals in life. I have lost everything. I live in this room. I eat in this room. This is my whole life. As if I’m in prison.”

Keep in mind one important thing: Neither Yaseen nor any of those other 29 families that lost children in that blast nor any other Iraqi, including Saddam Hussein, ever attacked the United States or even threatened to do so.

Can’t you just hear it now: If Yaseen (or the friends or relatives on the 650,000 other Iraqis who have died in the war and occupation), in the depths of his despair and despondency, himself becomes a terrorist, U.S. officials will respond: “As we have repeatedly told you since 9/11, the terrorists hate us for our freedom and values, not because we have killed and maimed their children, brothers, sisters, parents, and friends.”

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Sanctioning, Invading, and Occupying Out of Love
by Jacob G. Hornberger

One of the many alternative rationales for President Bush’s invasion of Iraq and continued occupation of Iraq is that U.S. officials just wanted to help out the Iraqi people who were suffering from tyranny. Under this rationale, the invasion and occupation have had nothing to do with power politics and regime change in which U.S. officials desired to replace the recalcitrant Saddam Hussein with someone who would be more likely to do the bidding of U.S. officials.

Never mind that throughout the 1990s U.S. officials enforced what might be the most brutal sanctions in history against Iraq, which contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children. How do U.S. officials reconcile that with their purported love and concern for the Iraqi people? Indeed, how do they reconcile it with the statement by U.S. official Madeleine Albright that such deaths were “worth it”?

Now, take a look at this article by Bert Sachs from Seattle, who was fined $10,000 for committing the heinous federal crime of delivering medicines to the Iraq people in 1997, in violation of the brutal sanctions. How do the feds reconcile their purported love for the Iraqi people with prosecuting a man for delivering medicines to the Iraqi people? After all, didn’t they always tell people that the sanctions were directed at Saddam, not at the Iraqi people?

President Bush is apparently planning to send in 20,000-40,000 new troops into Iraq. For what purpose? To kill Sunni insurgents, who are resisting the authority of the Iran-aligned Shiite regime that the president’s invasion succeeded in installing into power in Iraq.

So, under Saddam the world was treated to the spectacle of Saddam forces killing countless Shiites and Kurds because they resisted his authority and were trying to oust him from power. Today, the world is treated to the spectacle of U.S. forces killing countless Sunnis because they are resisting the authority of a foreign occupier and a regime installed by a foreign invader.

And mark my words: If Middle East terrorists strike again on American soil, we’ll be treated to the official refrain: “It’s not because the U.S. government has killed and maimed Iraqis, none of whom ever attacked the United States. We love the Iraqi people and have shown them nothing but love and concern, including through our invasion and occupation that has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of them and driven them from their homes and communities. It’s just that the terrorists hate us for our freedom and values, which means that we must remain in Iraq indefinitely and continue killing Sunnis.”

And, sadly, there will undoubtedly still be Americans who buy this nonsense and even call for more fierce infringements on the liberties of the American people.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Killing and Dying for a Corrupt and Vengeful Iraqi Regime
by Jacob G. Hornberger

When even the U.S. military distances itself from the hanging of a brutal dictator, especially after killing hundreds of thousands of other Iraqis who never attacked the United States, it’s a safe bet that the execution was conducted in a shameful manner, in fact just as shameful as the trial itself.

What all too many Americans have yet to realize — or won’t let themselves realize — is that all this is just part and parcel of a brutal, corrupt, vengeful regime that has replaced the Saddam Hussein regime — a regime that U.S. soldiers are killing and dying to preserve and protect.

Keep in mind that the reason that President Bush I did not oust Saddam Hussein from power in 1990 was because he felt that the alternative — a radical Islamic Shiite regime that would be aligned with Iran — would be worse than Saddam’s regime.

Yet, that’s precisely the regime that his son’s invasion has put into power. And that regime has in fact aligned itself with Iran, the country that Bush II is now threatening to attack.

My hunch is that when people learn the truth 25 years from now, they’re going to discover that most people in the newly installed “democratic” government of Iraq were assisting the insurgents to kill the occupiers.

It still is so absolutely amazing to me that Americans are so willing to sacrifice their soldiers for such a worthless cause. Every American should ask himself this question: Am I willing to surrender my own life or kill an Iraqi citizen to preserve a radical, brutal, corrupt Islamic regime that is engaging in kidnappings, torture, murder, kangaroo trial and appellate proceedings, and shameful, despicable, and vengeful executions of former Iraqi officials?

If the answer is no, which is likely, then each American should also ask himself: Why I am willing to sacrifice the life of even one American soldier, including young women, or have them kill Iraqi citizens to preserve such a regime?

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

The Responsibility of the Con Men
by Jacob G. Hornberger

Not surprisingly, all too many promoters of the war on Iraq and subsequent occupation of Iraq are still refusing to take individual responsibility not only for the death and destruction their imperial adventure has wrought on Iraq but also for the out-of-control federal spending that has accompanied the adventure.

For the past few days, the Washington Post has carried moving stories of some of the U.S. soldiers who have lost their lives or been maimed in Iraq. One of the stories profiled some of the women who have been killed in the war, many of whom were younger than 25. Just the photos of the young women themselves, smiling in the prime of their lives, are enough to make a person grimace. Some of them had signed up in the Reserves or National Guard to earn a bit of extra money, never dreaming that they would be risking their lives for a meaningless cause in a country thousands of miles away.

One young woman, 19 years old, had fallen madly and passionately in love with a soldier who didn’t return, relegating her to spending time at his gravesite in Arlington National Cemetery every weekend. And there is the story of the young father, with a wife and two young kids, who suffered shrapnel lodging in his brain. His children can’t understand why their father, who is now at home, can’t throw a football with them anymore.

Of course, we’ll never hear about the same type of heart-rending stories among the Iraqis, who have paid a much bigger price than the Americans—an estimated 650,000 dead and countless more wounded. Hey, they’re just Iraqis and they ought to be proud to be dying for the opportunity to live in a country that the U.S. government has chosen to be a “magnet” for terrorists, right?

Of course, most Americans haven’t felt that type of direct contact with the war. But they must surely will as time goes on and federal spending on the war continues to increase in an out of control fashion. The New York Times reports today that countries are increasingly dumping the dollar in favor of the euro. Last month, the United Arab Emerates shifted its reserves away from the dollar, joining Russia, Venezuela, and other countries. China, which holds massive amounts of U.S. debt, is also signaling that it might do the same and Iran is announcing that it would prefer euros instead of dollars.

If there is a massive, panic-driven plunge in the dollar, it will affect Americans very adversely. But be prepared for the standard avoid-responsibility bromides — that it’s all the fault of the speculators, OPEC, Big Oil, illegal aliens, and capitalist swine.

But make no mistake about it: The con-men promoters of the war on Iraq and the out-of-control federal spending that has accompanied it are the ones responsible not only for the senseless death, maiming, and destruction they have wrought for both Americans and Iraqis but also for the monetary havoc they will have wrought on the American people.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Getting Saddam Hasn’t Been Worth It to the Dead
by Jacob G. Hornberger

As most everyone probably knows, the U.S. hit a milestone in Iraq over the weekend with the 3,000th U.S. soldier meeting his death. Meanwhile, Iraqi authorities are reporting that 16,273 Iraqis met with a violent death in 2006.

The New Year in Iraq was ushered in with six new Iraqi deaths when U.S. troops fired on the office of an Iraqi lawmaker while conducting a raid of a suspected al-Qaeda safe house.

The death and destruction in Iraq will undoubtedly continue into 2007 whether the U.S. escalates its occupation or not.

No doubt U.S. officials will maintain that “getting Saddam” has been “worth it” but of course, they’re not one of the dead who have paid the price to “get Saddam.”

The New York Times reports today that even as thousands of Iraqis are fleeing the country because of the chaos the U.S. invasion and occupation have unleashed in Iraq, U.S. government officials are holding tight on immigration controls, permitting only 500 Iraqis per year to settle in the United States. Meanwhile, U.S. officials, with straight faces, continue to maintain that one of the many alternative reasons they invaded Iraq was to help out the Iraqi people.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Mourning the Death of an Old Friend
by Jacob G. Hornberger

One can’t help but wonder if there are any former or current U.S. officials mourning the death of Saddam Hussein. After all, he was a close friend and ally of U.S. officials during the 1980s, when the U.S. was delivering him those infamous weapons of mass destruction so that he could use them against the Iranian people.

And make no mistake about it: U.S. officials knew full well that Saddam was a murderous dictator when they were partnering with him. That is, it’s not a case where a ruler was a saint being helped by U.S. officials and then unexpectedly became a murderous dictator. It’s a case in which U.S. officials entered into a partnership with a murderous dictator in order to help the murderous dictator kill more people.

My hunch is that that’s precisely why the Saddam case was tightly limited to killings that Saddam committed in 1982 and why he had to be quickly executed before he was tried on subsequent killings during the 1980s. Otherwise, if the charges against Saddam had encompassed the entire decade — and had there been independent prosecutors and an independent court — the world would have been treated to evidence, including from Saddam himself, of the extent to which U.S. government officials participated in the crimes of the Saddam Hussein regime during the 1980s, before this old U.S. friend and ally was suddenly converted into Big Official Enemy #1 after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

See:

He Takes His Secrets to the Grave. Our Complicity Does With Him

How Washington and London Helped to Create the Monster They Went to War to Destroy

Where Did Iraq Get Its Weapons of Mass Destruction?

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.