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Article posted Mar 18 2013, 2:56 AM Category: Commentary Source: Jacob G. Hornberger Print

Praising the Troops for Defending Our "Rights"¯ and "Freedoms"

by Jacob G. Hornberger

Have you ever wondered what people mean when they praise the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan for defending our rights and freedoms here at home? This is one of the most popular and important bromides of our time. Given that we hear it all the time, especially in church and at sporting events, wouldn't it be good to contemplate what people mean by it?

I think everyone by now will agree that the 9/11 attacks were not the first stage of a giant terrorist invasion of the United States. It's been 12 years since those attacks. That's plenty of time for tens of thousands of transport ships carrying hundreds of thousands of terrorists to appear on the horizon on the eastern shore of the United States. Not even one transport ship carrying a few terrorists, much less tens of thousands that would be necessary for a successful conquest of the United States, has even departed from the Middle East on its way to the United States.

Yet, as a practical matter, the only way for Americans to lose their rights and freedoms would be for an army of terrorists to take control of the U.S. government and the levers of power, thereby being able to subjugate the entire nation to the will of the terrorists.

Oh sure, it's entirely possible that a few terrorists can blow up a building or kill some people, but that, of course, is a far cry from conquering an entire nation and enslaving its citizenry.

Thus, the reality, notwithstanding all the hype and fear, is that the rights and freedoms of the American people are not in any danger whatsoever of being lost to the terrorists. That is, there is no army of hundreds of thousands of terrorists crossing the ocean in transport ships seeking to invade and conquer the United States.

As a matter of fact, such an endeavor would be so utterly difficult from a military standpoint that one can say with certainty that the chances of success would be virtually nil. After all, don't forget that Hitler's massive and powerful army couldn't even cross the English Channel to invade and conquer England. Don't forget also that the Allied invasion at Normandy involved around 150,000 troops and, even then, success was not guaranteed. Needless to say, there is no evidence whatsoever that 150,000 terrorists are planning the much more difficult operation of successfully launching a military crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.

So, the fact is that American rights and freedoms are not in danger, at least not from the terrorists.

Thus, if American troops are not over there defending our rights and freedoms, what are they defending?

They're defending the "right" and "freedom" of the U.S. government to be over there.  That's what the fighting is all about.

On the one side, you have people over there saying to the U.S. government: "Get out of our part of the world. Deal with your own problems. Go home. Leave us alone. Take your soldiers and your CIA agents away. Stop funding our dictators. Don't come back."

On the other side, you have the U.S. government saying: "Not on your life. We have the 'right' to be over here, thousands of miles away from American shores. It's our 'right' as Americans. We have the 'right' to impose sanctions and embargoes on you, to oust recalcitrant  dictators and install pro-U.S. dictators, to support pro-U.S. dictators with foreign aid, to invade and occupy your countries when necessary, to influence your elections with money paid to domestic groups, to kidnap, rendition, torture, and incarcerate people within your countries, and to do whatever else we want to you, your nation, and your government. Our right to do these things is part of our heritage of 'freedom' as Americans. You must submit to our will. It is for your own good. Otherwise, we will kill you, bomb you, and destroy your country until you do submit to our will."

Thus, if Americans truly contemplated one of their favorite bromides -- praising the troops for defending our rights and freedoms, they would realize that what they're really referring to is the "right" and "freedom" of the president, the Pentagon, and the CIA to intervene in the affairs of other nations, not the rights and freedoms of the American people.

In fact, if Americans were to carefully contemplate that bromide, they would realize that the real danger to their rights and freedoms comes not from the terrorists but rather from the U.S. government itself. Our American ancestors understood this principle, which is precisely why they insisted on the passage of the Bill of Rights soon after the Constitution called the federal government into existence. Contrary to what many Americans think, the Bill of Rights doesn't grant any rights to Americans. Instead, it protects the people's preexisting rights from the federal government, which our ancestors viewed as the biggest threat to our rights and freedoms.

So, the next time you hear some church minister, sports commentator, or anyone else praising the troops for defending our "rights" and "freedoms," ponder the fact that in reality they are actually referring to the "right" and "freedom" of the U.S. government to continue engaging in imperialism and interventionism and, in the process, infringing on the genuine rights and freedoms of the American people.
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 and from Full Context. Send him email.

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Comments Add Comment Page 1 of 1

Posted: Mar 18 2013, 6:23 PM

76193 "Last night my husband, a two time combat veteran, asked me if I knew what we were fighting for over there. Of course I know why we continue to sacrifice daily in Iraq and Afghanistan and the world throughout, but I was curious to know what his response would be.

“What?” I asked.

He looked me straight in the eye and said, “we fight [terrorists] over there, so we don’t have to fight them here, period.”

It’s been 10 years, and I have never heard it so simply put. It brought tears to my eyes because it’s true.

“The American people did not choose this fight,” said the President. “It came to our shores, and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens. After nearly 10 years of service, struggle, and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war.”

The next time someone challenges why we continue this fight against terror or has the audacity to say that service members continue to die in vain, remind them that our children sleep soundly at night because we are taking the fight to terror.

Bin Laden’s death will not be the end of the war on terror, in fact the State Department issued a worldwide travel alert to Americans shortly after the presidential address. And a strong Taliban offensive isn’t far off in the minds of many service members.

“As a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed,” said the President. “We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are.”

Memorial Day is four weeks away. Let’s honor the American’s lost against the War on Terror at home and abroad in the last decade. May we never forget their sacrifices. And let us band together as we did in 2001 to support the men and women that continue to take the fight to the enemy."

(From "The Official Blog of the United States Marine Corps" )

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