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Foreign Policy and Gun Control in Boston

BostonI wish to make two observations about the bombings in Boston, one relating to U.S. foreign policy and one relating to gun control.

Ever since the 9/11 attacks, many Americans simply have been unable to fathom that foreigners can get so angry over the U.S. government’s actions in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and elsewhere that they end up retaliating with terrorism against the United States.

I have never been able to understand that mindset.

The reaction to the Boston bombings provides a good way to analyze this phenomenon.

I’d venture to say that most Americans do not know any of the victims in the Boston bombings. Yet, there is an outpouring of sympathy for the victims. That’s not all. There is also deep anger and rage over the killings and maiming of the victims, including the children who were killed in the bombings.

As I write this, one of the suspected bombers has been killed and the other one is being hunted by thousands of law-enforcement officers. As we watch the mainstream media report on the manhunt, it is obvious that many people are overjoyed over the fact that one of the suspects has been killed. And there is indifference over whether the other suspect is killed. In fact, it seems that many people are hoping that he too is killed by the cops.

I say this not to cast any judgment but simply to make an observation. That reaction to the bombings is a normal human reaction. It is something that we would expect. It’s understandable.

Why is it then that many Americans simply cannot comprehend that foreigners get filled with the same anger and rage when the same thing happens to them, their families, or fellow countrymen?

Consider, for example, the sanctions that the U.S. government and the UN enforced against the Iraqi people for some 11 years. Year after year, those brutal sanctions were killing tens of thousands of Iraqi children. There was total indifference by U.S. officials to the deaths of those children. They just didn’t care. They wanted to get rid of Saddam Hussein and replace him with a pro-U.S. dictator, and they figured that either he’d resign to save the Iraqi children or that Iraqi citizens would revolt and oust Saddam to save the children.

The official mindset of callous indifference to the deaths of all those Iraqi children was reflected perfectly in the words of Madeleine Albright, who was the U.S. government’s official representative and spokesman at the United Nations. She declared that the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children from the sanctions were “worth it.” Not one single U.S. official, from the president on down, publicly disagreed with her assessment.

How can the deaths of all those Iraqi children, year after year, followed by indifference to the value of their lives, not produce anger and rage within people in that part of the world, even people who don’t know the victims personally? If one of the bombers in Boston were to declare publicly that the deaths and maiming of the Boston Marathon runners were “worth it,” what would be the reaction of the American people? Wouldn’t their reaction be uncontrollable anger and rage? How come Americans cannot see that foreigners react in the same way that Americans do to the deaths and injuries of innocent people?

It’s been the same thing with respect to the massive death toll from the invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Not one single person killed, maimed, tortured, or abused in Iraq had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks, and most of the people killed and maimed in Afghanistan were also innocent of the 9/11 attacks.

In both countries, there has been such a massive indifference to all that death and destruction that it shocks the conscience. Early on, the Pentagon announced that it didn’t even intend to keep count of Iraqi deaths. The number of Iraqis killed didn’t matter. Any number of deaths would be considered “worth it” in terms of achieving a good regime change in Iraq. It’s been the same in Afghanistan. Whenever an errant bomb has killed families or wedding parties and the like, the Pentagon offers a few hundred dollars in compensation and moves on.

How come so many Americans cannot understand why so many people who have survived these sanctions, invasions, and occupations have become filled with grief, despair, anger, and rage—the same feelings that characterize Americans in the wake of the Boston bombings?

The second point is about gun control. There is nothing that many statists would love more than to make gun ownership illegal in America.

Consider what is happening right now in Boston. As I write this, the cops have cordoned off a wide populated area, thinking that they have the other bombing suspect surrounded. They’re telling everyone to lock themselves in their homes and not to go outside.

Now, think about what the situation would be if everyone were disarmed (except the cops).

Would the suspected terrorist comply with the gun-control law? That’s ridiculous. Of course he wouldn’t. If he wouldn’t comply with a murder law, why would he comply with a gun-control law? Where would he get guns? Through the black market, of course, just like drug users do.

So, in the ideal world of the gun-controllers, people in the surrounded area of Boston would be cowering in their homes without any guns to protect themselves from a well-armed terrorist who would have no reluctance in killing them after breaking into their homes.

It’s time for Americans to do some serious soul-searching about where statists are taking our country. Their foreign policy produces the anger and rage that manifests itself in terrorist attacks. And then the statists want to disarm us from protecting ourselves from a threat that governmental policies produce and sometimes cannot prevent from occurring. That’s a bad direction for Americans who wish to live in a free, peaceful, normal, prosperous, safe, and harmonious society.

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

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