One of the most successful programs of U.S. indoctrination involves the Department of Defense. Most Americans honestly believe that the Department of Defense is really about the defense of the United States, when, in fact, the entire national-security state apparatus — e.g., the military establishment and the CIA — has absolutely nothing to do with defense.
Defense obviously means defense. If the United States were attacked and invaded by another nation, then Americans who would resist the invasion would be defending their country. That’s what national defense is genuinely all about — defending against an attack on one’s own country.
Obviously, when we think in terms of defense in a genuine sense, the Department of Defense has nothing to do with defense. After all, there is no nation attacking or invading the United States or even preparing to do so. Yet, U.S. troops are engaged in hostilities all over the world.
In fact, there is no nation on earth that has the military capability, the money, or even the interest in successfully invading and occupying the United States. Think of how many thousands of transport ships, airplanes, troops, and supplies would be necessary for a European, Asian, or African nation to cross the ocean and successfully invade and occupy the United States. It simply cannot be done. Moreover, neither Canada nor any Latin American nation has the military capability, resources, or interest in invading and conquering the United States.
So, if the Department of Defense has nothing to do with defense, what is there for?
The entire military-intelligence apparatus is for the purpose of invading and occupying other countries, interfering in the affairs of other countries, supporting pro-U.S. foreign regimes, including brutal dictatorships, and intervening in disputes between other nations.
That’s what passes for “defense.” Do you see how effective the indoctrination has been?
Consider, for example, the U.S. government’s invasion and occupation of Iraq. Everyone agrees that the Iraqi government never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so. That made the U.S. government the aggressor in that war. It was Iraq that was the defending nation. Yet, statists continued to convince themselves that when the Department of Defense invaded and occupied Iraq, the United States was the defender and Iraq was the aggressor.
Or consider Cuba. For more than half-a-century, the Department of Defense and the CIA have enforced a brutal embargo against that country, engaged in repeated assassination attempts on Fidel Castro, invaded the country, and committed various acts of terrorism in Cuba. Yet, neither the Cuban government has ever attacked or invaded the United States or committed acts of terrorism against the United States.
Thus, the Department and the CIA have always been the aggressors when it comes to Cuba. Yet, statists convince themselves that all this aggression is not really aggression because of their conviction that the United States is always just defending itself from foreign aggression.
The real question is: Why do we need the standing army, the military-industrial complex, and the CIA? The answer is: If we were willing to end the U.S. aggression against other countries and U.S. interference in the affairs of other countries, we wouldn’t need either the vast military establishment or the CIA, given that there is no realistic possibility of having to defend against an invasion or occupation by some other nation.
Consider Switzerland, for example, a nation whose military strategy is similar in large part to what America’s Founding Fathers intended for our nation. In Switzerland, there is no standing army to speak of. According to Wikipedia, Switzerland has about 135,000 people on active duty (compared to 1.5 million in the United States).
At the same time, all Swiss men in the age range of 19-34, plus older ages for officers, are members of the Swiss militia. Women can volunteer to serve in the militia. All these Swiss citizens are well-trained and ready to fight should the need arise. They maintain assault rifles and other weapons in their homes.
The members of the national militia are prepared to come to the defense of their country in the unlikely event another nation were to invade Switzerland. In fact, most of the older Swiss men, who previously served in the militia, would undoubtedly join up in the defense of their country in the event of an invasion.
But notice something important here: Switzerland isn’t invading other countries. It isn’t interfering in the affairs of other countries. It isn’t sending tax monies to foreign dictatorships. It’s not liberating people from tyranny. It’s not involving itself in disputes between other nations. A statist would say that Switzerland’s system is “isolationist” because its military is devoting to nothing more than defense.
In fact, Switzerland lacks the means to engage in imperialism and foreign interventionism because the its standing army of active-duty troops is so small.
When we talk about defense, that’s what the Swiss military system is genuinely all about. Notice how different its concept of defense is compared to the U.S. government’s concept of defense.
Obviously, the conscription aspect of Switzerland’s system cannot be reconciled with libertarian principles. But there is no reason why a nation can’t have a voluntary militia system that applies to both men and women. There is every reason to believe that a large percentage of well-armed and well-trained American men and women, including those who have previously served in the military, would be more than willing to come to the defense of their country should the need ever arise.
Thus, dismantling the standing army, the military-industrial complex, and the CIA would leave in place a basic military force aided by a volunteer national militia of well-armed and well-trained American men and women and essentially put us in the same position as Switzerland and, in fact, in the position that the Founding Fathers intended for America.
There would be no more U.S. invasions and occupations, wars of aggression, sanctions, embargoes, foreign aid, kidnappings, torture, or interference in the affairs of other nations. Foreign anger and hatred toward the United States would disintegrate. The U.S. government would be restored to a constitutional republic, one based on a genuine concept of national defense, rather than an imperial system that has a Department of Defense that has nothing to do with defense.
Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
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