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Iraq Shows the Failure of Militarism and Socialism

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With the 10-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq upon us, there are three things that I find particularly fascinating.

First, the people who favored the invasion have different rationales for why they favored the invasion. Some of them say it’s because Saddam Hussein conspired with al-Qaeda to commit the 9/11 attacks. Others say it’s because there were terrorists inside Iraq. Others say that it was to bring democracy to Iraq. Others say it was to find WMDs, including those that the United States furnished Iraq to help Saddam with his war against Iran. Still others say that it was to enforce UN resolutions.

It’s as if the U.S. government placed a smorgasbord of rationales for invading the country before the American people and said, “To enable you to feel better about the massive death and destruction that U.S. forces are about to wreak on the country, we are providing you with a range of rationales on which you can base your support. You are free to take your pick.”

Second, except for libertarians and a few liberals there has never been any big push for an official investigation to determine whether every one of those that rationales for invading Iraq was bogus, as a way to cover up what was nothing more than a classic U.S. regime-change operation.

Were the American people intentionally misled into supporting the invasion of Iraq? Was it a classic regime-change operation the entire time? Was the deep fear of terrorism generated by the 9/11 attacks misused to garner support for the operation? Alas, all too many Americans just don’t want to know.

But that’s not to say that the passage of time won’t change that sentiment. For example, right now there is a criminal trial taking place in Argentina for crimes committed during the 1970s and 1980s. The criminal defendants are former government officials, including military officials, from various South American countries who are charged with participating in a coordinated killing campaign known as Operation Condor, an operation in which officials of the U.S. national-security state, especially the CIA, actively participated. While it has taken more than 30 years to bring the defendants to trial, at least it shows that officials who purportedly commit such crimes can never sleep easy no matter how much time has elapsed.

Third, while there are undoubtedly a few die-hards who claim that the invasion and multi-year occupation of Iraq converted the country into a paradise of freedom, prosperity, and harmony, I think it’s safe to say that most Americans have arrived at the realization that Iraq is no different a place than when Saddam Hussein was in charge. Different faces but the same authoritarianism, torture, killing, violence, executions, and indefinite incarcerations without trial.

In fact, a strong piece of circumstantial evidence of how bad things are in Iraq is that not one single American neo-con and not one single American congressmen has taken his family on vacation to Iraq since the date of the U.S. invasion back in 2003. Indeed, not even President Obama dared to spend even one night in Iraq when he made one of his periodic unannounced visits to the country to see the troops.

Why are things such a mess in Iraq? Possibly because God has created a consistent universe, one in which immoral means beget bad results.

But there’s another factor to consider, one that was detailed in an article entitled “Report Details Mistakes Made by U.S. in Improvement Projects for Iraq” in yesterday’s New York Times. The article points out that the $60 billion in foreign aid to Iraq has essentially gone down a rat hole.

U.S. officials blame the failure of their “rebuilding” projects on poor planning and supervision. They just don’t get it. The projects are nothing more than socialist public-works projects, no different from those in socialist countries. As such, they are inherently defective. Therefore, it’s not a question of incompetency or inefficiency. Instead, the problem is that the Pentagon embraces socialism as the way to rebuild the countries it destroys. It fails to realize that socialism has never worked and will never work.

A fascinating insight into the military mindset was provided by former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who stated in that NYT article that the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq prevented the United States from dissuading Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki from making “bad decisions” and “going off a cliff.” I can’t help but wonder how exactly Panetta would have used those U.S. military forces to convince Maliki to do things differently. Of course though, what Panetta fails to recognize is that nothing, not even the threat of deadly force, can make socialism succeed.

The federal government is facing a perfect storm of messes arising from its domestic and foreign programs, including Social Security, healthcare, welfare, spending, debt, the dollar, the drug war, the war on terrorism, Afghanistan, and, of course, Iraq. Americans would be wise to question the welfare-warfare system itself rather than hope that U.S. officials will keep trying to make it work.

 

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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.