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How Can Anyone Still Be an Interventionist?

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Given the ongoing disasters in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and the rest of the Middle East, how can anyone in his right mind still be an interventionist?

Look at Iraq. The U.S. invasion and multi-year occupation of that country was supposed to bring a paradise of peace, prosperity, and harmony to the country. That’s what killing all those Iraqis was about — sacrificing them for the greater good of a beautiful society. Wasn’t it called Operation Iraqi Freedom?

Yet, what do we have now? We have a country with a regime that exercises such totalitarian powers as arbitrary arrests, unreasonable searches, indefinite incarceration, torture, suppression of speech, state-established religion, and assassination.

Of course, as most everyone knows, Iraq is also a country that is filled with ongoing death, destruction, chaos, and crisis.

That’s what Operation Iraqi Freedom has brought to Iraq. Remind me again: What did killing all those Iraqis accomplish? What did all those U.S. soldiers die for or get maimed for?

But that’s not all.

The totalitarian-like regime that the U.S. invasion and occupation brought to Iraq is closely aligned with Iran, which the U.S. government considers to be one of its official enemies. Isn’t that ironic? I thought the purpose of U.S. regime-change operations was to bring into existence regimes that are aligned with the U.S. national-security state, i.e., the Pentagon and the CIA.

The U.S invasion and occupation of Iraq also brought a massive civil war to the country, one involving a brand new entity called the Islamic State. Not surprisingly, it consists in large part of people who were in Saddam Hussein’s government — the government that the U.S. government ousted in its regime-change operation.

Rather than acknowledging that foreign interventionism is a disaster and getting out of Iraq, the advocates of this disastrous philosophy instead insist on doubling down. They tell us how important it is that the U.S. national-security state now combat the Islamic State, the entity their regime-change operation in Iraq brought into existence.

Consider Afghanistan, another major disaster, where, once again, the U.S. government’s regime-change operation has succeeded in bringing a crooked and corrupt totalitarian-like regime into power to preside over a country that is riddled with civil war, death, destruction, chaos, and crisis. Despite more than 10 years of U.S. occupation, Afghanistan is the opposite of a free, prosperous, harmonious society. Wasn’t the Afghanistan regime-change operation called Operation Enduring Freedom?

Look at Syria. The Syrian dictatorship, which, by the way, is also a national security state, used its military and intelligence forces to suppress dissent within the Syrian citizenship, which precipitated a civil war or revolution. Rather than leave Syria to the Syrians, the U.S. national-security state decided that that would be an opportune moment for another regime-change operation — you know, one to follow the great successes of the regime-change operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So, in the hope of establishing a pro-U.S. dictatorship in place of the Assad dictatorship, the CIA, one of the principal components of America’s national-security state, began supporting the Syrian rebels who were trying to oust the Assad dictatorship.

Enter the Islamic State, the entity that the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq brought into existence. It moved some of its forces into Syria to assist in the ouster of the Assad dictatorship, thereby placing itself on the same side as the CIA and the rest of the U.S. national security state.

But since the Islamic State is one of the U.S. government’s many official enemies, that did not meet with the approval of U.S. officials. So the U.S. government began attacking the Islamic State in Syria even though the Islamic State and the U.S. government are on the same page with respect to regime change in Syria.

Enter Russia. It sends forces and weaponry into Syria to attack the Islamic State but in the process also attacks the rebels who the CIA is supporting. Russia’s rationale? Russia says that the best way to defeat terrorism is by supporting dictatorship in Syria.

The U.S. government objects, saying that the best way to defeat terrorism is by supporting people who are trying to overthrow dictatorship. Well, except in Egypt, where the U.S. government is flooding the Egyptian military dictatorship with weaponry to help it suppress the rebels there, who the Egyptian national-security state and the U.S. national-security state say are terrorists.

Meanwhile, Libya, where the U.S. government conducted another regime-change operation, continues to be another land of death, destruction, tyranny, chaos, crisis, and oppression.

Yemen, of course, is where the U.S. national-security state continues to murder people in an official state-sponsored program of assassination.

Perhaps I should at least just mention Ukraine, where another U.S.-supported regime-change operation, combined with NATO’s absorption of former Warsaw Pact countries, has produced another civil war and an ongoing crisis with Russia, bringing to mind the old Cold War, which was the original justification for converting the U.S. government into a national-security state.

All this reminds me of Guatemala, where the U.S. national-security state instigated a regime-change operation in 1953, which ousted the democratically elected president of the country, thereby precipitating a horrific civil war that lasted 30 years and killed more than a million people. And it also reminds me of the U.S. regime-change operation in Chile, which again ousted the democratically elected president of the country from office and brought a brutal military dictatorship in his stead, one that proceeded to torture, rape, and murder some 3,000 people and incarcerate, rape, and torture some 30,000 more.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the massive immigration crisis in Europe, which consists of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the lands that the U.S. foreign interventionism has turned into hellholes on earth rather than paradises of freedom, peace, prosperity, and harmony.

What do interventionists say about all these disasters? They say: Don’t forget the “good war.” They’re referring to World War II, which brought (1) Eastern Europe and East Germany under communist control, (2) the Cold War against America’s World War II partner and ally, the Soviet Union, (3) a national-security establishment to the U.S. government, (4) the Korean War and the Vietnam War, (5) NATO, (6) the anti-communist crusade, (7) regime-change operations, (8) partnerships with brutal dictatorships, (9) state-sponsored assassinations, (10) the war on terrorism (11) totalitarian-like surveillance schemes, (12) sanctions and embargoes, (13) military torture of Americans and foreigners, and (14) assassination of Americans and others.

I repeat: How can any person in his right mind still be an interventionist? After this sordid record, why isn’t everyone demanding a restoration of a limited-government republic to our land?

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.


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