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Article posted Apr 09 2013, 2:13 AM Category: Commentary Source: Jacob G. Hornberger Print

The National-Security State, Not North Korea, Is the Root of Our Woes

by Jacob G. Hornberger

In the current crisis with North Korea, what you see coming out of the mainstream media is the same mindset that characterizes the Pentagon and the CIA. The communists are engaging in provocation and threats of aggression and the U.S. national-security state, just minding its own business, now has to take the time and trouble to respond.

Of course, when the U.S. national-security state, through the UN, imposes one more in a long series of sanctions against North Korea, it's considered to be no big deal, notwithstanding the fact that it's inevitably going to lead to the deaths of more North Korean citizens, especially those barely on the margin between starvation and survival. North Korean officials are expected to simply accept this new round of deaths, much as Saddam Hussein and his regime were expected to meekly accept the deaths of tens of thousands of deaths of Iraqi children every year from the brutal sanctions that the U.S. national-security state enforced against Iraq for some 12 years.

If North Korea were to retaliate for the killing of its citizens by sanctions, it's not difficult to predict the response of the president, the Pentagon, the CIA, and the major media, "We've been attacked! We were just minding our own business! We're innocent! The communists have attacked us for no reason at all and they're now coming to get us! Rally to your national-security state! Support more militarization, war, spending, debt, taxation, regulation, regimentation, and conformity! Support conscription of your sons and daughters! The war will soon be over, even if China enters the fray."

Statists say that new rounds of sanctions against North Korea are necessary to discourage North Korea from carrying out any more nuclear tests.

Oh? How's that been working out? Not too successful, it seems. In fact, I don't know of any regime, including that of Iran, that likes to succumb to that sort of political pressure, even when their citizens are being killed as part of it.

Notice, also, that no one in the mainstream press focuses too closely on why it is that North Korea wants nuclear weapons. They automatically accept the national-security state's explanation -- that North Korea wants to engage in aggression.

But there is another possible reason: to deter a U.S. invasion and occupation of North Korea with the intent of effecting a regime-change operation, much as the U.S. national-security state did with Iraq.

After all, North Korea hasn't attacked anyone in the last 60 years. As we all know, such cannot be said of the U.S. national-security state.

Consider this paragraph from a recent article on the Korean crisis in the New York Times:
It was not the first time that North Korea had disrupted the park's operation. It blocked cross-border traffic three times in 2009, once for three days, out of anger over joint military drills by South Korean and American troops. That blockade was lifted when the military exercises ended.
So, what does the U.S. national-security state do in 2012? It does the same thing it did three years ago -- it engages in military exercises with South Korea. Why would it do that, knowing the reaction such exercises provoked the last time they were conducted? Why would they engage in conduct that they are certain is going to provoke another crisis? And how can they be surprised when the crisis comes about, just like it did three years ago?

On the subject of nuclear testing, perhaps U.S. officials have forgotten what they were doing throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Yes, engaging in nuclear testing, on land, in the sea, and underground. Why, my recollection is that they were even using islands in the Pacific to test their nuclear bombs. Indeed, according to Wikipedia, the U.S. government conducted "around 1,054 nuclear tests (by official count) between 1945 and 1992."

In fact, let's not forget the reaction of the Pentagon and the CIA to President Kennedy's proposal to the Soviets for a nuclear test-ban treaty. They hated his guts for it, even more than they already did for his promise to the Soviet Union to never invade Cuba, another long-time regime-change obsession of the Pentagon and the CIA, one whose long-suffering citizenry has borne the brunt of U.S. sanctions for decades.

For one thing, at the time that Kennedy made his proposal, Pentagon officials and CIA officials still were dreaming of a first-strike nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, one that would take out every major Soviet city, before the Soviets could achieve nuclear parity. For another, they were absolutely convinced that the communists were coming to get us and that Kennedy's nuclear test-ban proposal (and his promise not to invade Cuba) was effectively a surrender to the communists.

Unfortunately, that Cold War mindset has never really been abandoned by either the Pentagon or the CIA. They're still convinced that the North Koreans are just sitting at their desks figuring out how to invade, occupy, and conquer the United States, or at least how to get the dominoes to start falling. The notion that the North Koreans are instead figuring out how to defend against U.S. aggression never enters the minds of Pentagon officials, CIA officials, and mainstream media reporters and commentators who serve as their mouthpieces because they never view themselves as the aggressors, not even when they invade such countries as Cuba, Iraq, Grenada, Panama, and Afghanistan, and others that never attacked the United States or effect regime-change operations through coups or assassinations, like they did in Iran, Guatemala, Chile, and others that never attacked the United States.

Ever since the end of World War II, the United States has been embroiled in a constant series of crises and war, all of which have served to send our nation down the road to financial and economic bankruptcy and, even worse, have served to send our nation into the dark side that characterizes totalitarian regimes, a dark side consisting of, regime-change operations, coups, foreign aid to dictators, invasions, occupations, wars of aggression, death squads, torture, secret prisons, kangaroo tribunals, indefinite detention, and the like.

The Pentagon, the CIA, and the mainstream press have sold it all to us as a necessary part of living in a "free" society and an "unsafe" world. The truth is that it's all because America has permitted the national-security state apparatus, including its vast overseas empire of military bases, such as those in Korea, to become a permanent fixture onto our constitutional order. That's the root of America's foreign-policy woes, crises, and wars.
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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