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Neocons Attack CPAC War on Terror Panel

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The rabidly pro-war, pro-intervention folks over at Frontpagemagazine.com are shocked and dismayed about our recent CPAC panel “You’ve Been Lied To: Why Real Conservatives Should Reject the War on Terror,” in which I had the good fortune of participating as a panelist. The panel was co-sponsored by the Campaign for Liberty, the Ladies of Liberty Alliance, and The Future of Freedom Foundation. The video of the panel is: here.

In an article entitled “CPAC Shills for Islamic Terrorists,” Frontpagemagazine.com interviewed a woman named Pamela Geller, who is the editor of a website that is, ironically, named AtlasShrugs.com. During the interview, Geller expressed her chagrin over the fact that a pro-war event that she sponsored was not part of CPAC and that our panel was part of the conference.

Claiming that our panel was an “exercise in misinformation,” Geller went on the attack. The part I’ll respond to in this blog post is the part that relates to me. Here’s what she says:

“At the event Jacob Hornberger said that there were four reasons why real conservatives should be against the war on terror: because it is too costly, because it makes us less safe (he said Americans were less secure because American troops kill children and mothers and people who are simply defending their country against invaders, and have even, he said, killed a bride at her wedding), because it violates Constitutional principles, and because it is a threat to liberty.”

“Nothing was said about the Islamic doctrine that shows that jihadists would be waging war against the U.S. even if we did end all actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. The panel agreed with Obama, that Muslims are angry with us because of our actions, and will stop being angry with us if we change our foreign policy. This view is naïve and reflects ignorance of Islamic doctrine.”

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Geller obviously decided not to confront my arguments directly. The reason that this is not surprising is because Geller must know that she cannot dispute the accuracy or the truthfulness of what I stated: that by supporting the war on terror, conservatives violate their very own principles.

I pointed out that the U.S. Empire, by its actions overseas, had become the world’s greatest terrorist-producing machine. The reason for this should not be difficult to comprehend: Every time the Empire kills or maims people or destroys their homes or businesses, there are friends, relatives, and countrymen of the deceased who tend to become angry and want to wreak vengeance on the United States. Human nature is human nature, I pointed out. It’s not any different all over the world. If foreigners came to the United States and killed Americans, there are plenty of Americans who would become angry and want vengeance. It’s no different with people living in foreign countries.

Thus, I said that when a U.S. bomb kills a bride at a wedding party, for example, the groom is quite likely to get angry and want vengeance. I can only assume though that Geller is familiar with the periodic U.S. bombings of wedding parties in Afghanistan. Here are a few examples:

June 2002: 20 people killed and 60 injured.

May 2007: 47 people killed.

July 2008: 23 people killed, including the bride.

November 2008: 40 people killed, mainly women and children.

But of course the principle applies not just to people killed at wedding parties but to everyone else the Empire kills in Iraq and Afghanistan, including people who are simply defending the country against a foreign invasion and occupation.

In my talk, I observed that it’s entirely possible that there will still be people who are angry about the people killed by the U.S. Empire during the past several years or decades. Yes, they might still be bent on killing Americans in revenge. But the big advantage of immediate withdrawal is that the U.S. Empire will no longer be killing new people over there and, therefore, will no longer be adding an endless stream of new recruits to the jihadists.

After all, surely Geller isn’t claiming that all Muslims are trying to kill Americans under Islamic doctrine. If that were the case, she would be out shooting Muslims here in the United States (and claiming that “we’re at war” at her criminal prosecution for murder). Or she would be out protesting against U.S. foreign aid to the Islamic regimes that govern Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and others.

No, Geller would have to admit that it’s only a certain percentage of Muslims who are the jihadists. Thus, even if Geller were correct in her claim that the jihad is based on Islamic doctrine and not a reaction to U.S. foreign policy, surely she has to concede that U.S. foreign policy (e.g., the periodic bombing of wedding parties) only serves to fuel the ranks of the jihadists. Wouldn’t it make more sense to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, which would thereby stop the Empire’s killing of new people, which would put a damper on recruitment for the jihadists?

After all, as I pointed out in my talk, conservatives have long stood for “a strong national defense” as one of their principles. So, why not bring all the troops home … and defend?

But surely Geller knows that her claim that the jihadists are waging war because Islamic doctrine requires them to, rather than as “blowback” from U.S. foreign policy, is riddled with fallacies. After all, we don’t see the jihadists attacking Switzerland or Sweden, do we?

No, they just happen to be attacking an empire that has killed, maimed, or exiled millions of people in the Middle East, destroyed countless homes and businesses, openly declared that the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children from the sanctions were “worth it,” insulted Muslim sensitivities by stationing U.S. troops near Islamic holy lands, provided unconditional financial and military support to the Israeli government for decades, and invaded and occupied two Muslim countries.

As I pointed out in my talk, the best thing to do is to bring all the troops home immediately and dismantle the Empire. That is the only way to make America safer, it also is the only way to fulfill the conservative principles of fiscal responsibility, security, the Constitution, and individual liberty, all of which the war on terrorism is destroying.

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.