Who's Really Getting Punished?by Jacob G. Hornberger
Sep. 04, 2013
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I find it interesting how President Obama intends to punish Syria's dictator Bashar al-Assad for his purported use of chemical weapons against Syrian rebels. It provides a fascinating insight into the collectivist mindset.
To punish Assad, Obama says that he will use his military to "degrade" Assad's military. That inevitably means that Obama will bomb certain segments of Assad's military, such as artillery or armor units.
That means that inevitably there will be Syrian troops who are killed by Obama's forces, but not necessarily the troops who participated in the alleged chemical attacks. They will be other troops who serve in Assad's military forces.
So, the way that Obama's mind works, by killing and destroying a segment of Assad's military Obama will be punishing Assad himself. It's sort of like a bee hive -- kill some of the drones and you hurt the queen and the hive.
But keep in mind that every single one of those Syrian troops, most of whom are undoubtedly draftees, who Obama kills with his military is a human being, one that has family and friends -- parents, brothers, sisters, spouse, children, and neighbors.
How likely is it that those survivors are going to passively say, "Oh, it's okay. We understand. President Obama killed our loved one because President Assad needed to be punished. Time to move on."
My hunch? Not very likely at all. It is much more likely that every one of them will be filled with anger and rage over the fact that the U.S. government had no business killing their son, father, brother, or husband.
And that's precisely how anti-American terrorism comes into play. The U.S. government, specifically the military and the CIA, go abroad and do bad things to people, producing anger and rage. A percentage of the survivors decide to retaliate with terrorism. When they do, U.S. officials themselves go into a rage, arguing that it's now necessary that they wage a war on terrorism and temporarily suspend the liberties of the American people. Let's also not forget the big, ever-expanding budgets for the war contractors because that's a big part of this process too.
We often hear about how the U.S. national-security state is so concerned about killing civilians as part of its military interventions (even though it still ardently defends and justifies its atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki). But with the exception of libertarians, hardly anyone challenges the justifications and consequences of their killing foreign troops as part of their military incursions.
Obviously, the civil war in Syria is a nasty thing but then again civil wars are always nasty things. Who can forget, for example, the war crimes that Lincoln and Sherman committed in their infamous "March to the Sea" during America's Civil War, when they intentionally targeted women and children and other civilians for extermination? Would that have justified Syrian intervention into America's Civil War? I can't imagine anyone defending that principle, even if the Syrian regime said it was just punishing Lincoln by killing Sherman's troops.
Of course, however, it's not just the Syrian troops and "collateral-damage civilians" who will bear the cost of Obama's punishment of Assad. Also paying the price will be us -- the American people -- who will continue to suffer the consequences of military empire, a national-security state apparatus, and an interventionist foreign policy. Our punishment will come in the form of continued destruction of our freedom, inner peace, harmony, and economic well-being at the hands of our own government.
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.