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Foreign Policy Blowback in Germany

Breitscheid square in Berlin

Ever since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, one of the things that has fascinated me most is the response of the mainstream media. Supporting the retaliatory invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, ever-increasing budgets for the national-security establishment, and constantly expanding infringements on civil liberties and privacy, mainstream reporters, commentators, and pundits have steadfastly resisted focusing on the root cause of anti-American terrorism: deadly foreign interventionism on the part of the United States and other Western countries in the Middle East.

In fact, woe to those who have focused attention on U.S death and destruction in the Middle East as the motivating factor in the 9/11 attacks and the anti-American terrorist attacks that have come after 9/11. Whenever a libertarian has focused on terrorist blowback that comes with foreign interventionism, the response among the supporters of interventionism has been quick and fierce: “Are you blaming America for the terrorist attacks? Are you saying we are responsible for those attacks?”

Americans witnessed this phenomenon in the first Republican presidential debate in the 2008 presidential race. Referring to the blowback produced by U.S. interventionism in the Middle East, Paul said something to the effect of “They came here to kill us because we were over there killing them.” By “we” Paul was referring to the U.S. government.

As Paul immediately learned, he had committed the grave sin of focusing people’s attention on U.S. foreign interventionism as the root cause of anti-American terrorism. His opponents, the mainstream press, and liberals and conservatives alike went on the attack with variations of “Oh, so you’re blaming us for the attacks? You think America is responsible for the attacks?”

Interestingly enough, that was the day Paul’s campaign took off, primarily because a sufficient number of people, especially young people, knew instinctively that he had told the truth about U.S. foreign policy.

The dominant mindset of interventionists is: Don’t ever question or challenge anything the U.S. national-security establishment does because whatever it does is good and noble. Focus only on the evil acts of the terrorists because they are motivated only by hatred for America’s freedom and values. And then support whatever measures, no matter how tyrannical and oppressive, to keep America safe from those evil people who just want to do us harm.

In other words, U.S. interventionism — indeed, the existence of the entire Cold War national-security state — is simply a given. The Pentagon and the CIA have the right to kill people in the Middle East and elsewhere. They have earned that right by their mission to protect “national security.” Such things must never be questioned by anyone.

Consider the terrorist attack in Berlin on December 19. A man named Anis Amri intentionally drove a giant truck into a crowded Christmas market in the hopes of killing as many people as possible. He succeeded, killing at least 86 people.

What does that terrorist attack have to do with U.S. interventionism in the Middle East and Afghanistan? Consider the following excerpt from an article about Germany’s partnership with the U.S. national-security establishment’s interventionism in the Middle East:

The Bundeswehr has flown hundreds of reconnaissance missions in Syria and Iraq since January as part of its contribution to the international efforts against the so-called “Islamic State” (IS), according to figures from its operational command center circulated on Wednesday by news agency DPA.

Beginning early last year, Germany had supported coalition airstrikes against IS in the two countries, operating six Tornado reconnaissance jets and a tanker aircraft used for aerial refueling.

New figures showed the Tornados flew 692 reconnaissance missions and the tanker flew 315. Together the aircraft flew 3,651 hours out of Incirlik Air Base in Turkey.

Bundeswehr soldiers also helped crew airborne early warning and control (AWAC) aircraft during 10 reconnaissance flights for NATO.

How do we know that the man who drove the truck into those people was motivated by U.S. (and Western) interventionism in the Middle East and Afghanistan? Because he left a short video stating his motivations. As long as the West continues to kill Muslims, he said, he would continue to do everything he could to retaliate. And he called on other Muslims to retaliate as well.

Notice something important: The terrorist attack took place in Germany, not Switzerland. The Swiss government does not partner with the U.S. national-security establishment. It does not intervene in the Middle East and Afghanistan. It minds its own business and limits itself to self-defense.

The German response to the Berlin attack was predictable. It has copied the U.S. response to the 9/11 attacks. German officials, supported by the German mainstream press, called for stepped up infringements on civil liberties to keep Germans safe from the terrorists. And they stepped up bombing attacks on ISIS in the Middle East.

Of course, the increased interventionism is just going to fuel more retaliatory terrorist strikes, which will produce more oppression and more interventionism. As I have long pointed out, U.S. interventionism in the Middle East and Afghanistan is the greatest terrorist producing machine in history. The same applies to German interventionism.

There is something else to keep in mind about all this. Despite all the hoopla about keeping people safe from terrorism, there is no way that the authorities can keep everyone safe from every possible terrorist attack.

The Berlin truck attack is particularly pointed for be because just two weeks earlier I had written an article in which I pointed out the danger of a terrorist truck attack on pedestrians. I cited the crowded streets of Las Vegas as a particularly inviting target. Two weeks later comes the Berlin truck attack.

It’s no different all across America. What’s surprising to me is that there have been no retaliatory bombing attacks in crowded malls or office buildings. The cops can’t patrol every place in America. Most malls and office buildings don’t have metal detectors, as an increasing number of sports venues now have.

The big point is this: Why do so many Americans continue to support foreign interventionism? Why is it worth so much continued death and destruction? Why is it worth the destruction of American liberty, privacy, and prosperity?

Everyone should keep in mind that there is an alternative: Bring the troops home now. No more U.S death and destruction. Leave the Middle East to the people in the Middle East. No more U.S. fuel on the fire. And then no more retaliatory blowback from U.S. interventionism, which means no more infringements on civil liberties and privacy.

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


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