The Troops Did Not Die for Our Country or Our Freedom
by Jacob G. Hornberger
Yesterday, I received an email from an independent candidate for U.S. Senate in Alaska, Margaret Stock, which pointed out that she is a retired Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and a former professor at West Point. In her email, Stock stated that she had served alongside and mentored soldiers “who have given their lives for our country.”
It would be difficult for me to find anything more nonsensical than that. Does she really mean what she says? Or is it just political pabulum?
Show me U.S. one soldier — just one — in the past 65 years who has died for his country or, as others assert, in the defense of our freedoms here at home. You can’t do it.
Most of those soldiers died because officials within the national-security branch of the federal government ordered to go to some foreign country thousands of miles away, where they were placed in a position of kill or be killed. In fact, many of them were first conscripted (i.e., seized) and then ordered to deploy.
Some soldiers volunteered to go and fight in order to improve their chances for promotion. During the Vietnam War I knew of an Air Force colonel who volunteered to go to Vietnam because he was convinced that that was the only way he could make general. I also knew of several officers who were trying to get to Vietnam in the waning stages of the war to pad their combat resumes.
One thing is for certain: Contrary to what Stock asserts, the deployment of U.S. troops in wars for the past 65 years have had nothing to do with defending America or the freedom of the American people for one simple reason: America and American freedom were never under attack.
Suppose that U.S. troops had not gotten involved in the Korean War in the early 1950s. Ask yourself: How many Americans would have voluntarily traveled to Korea and helped the South Koreans defeat the North Korean communists?
Answer: Zero! None! Not one single American would have done that, even if President Truman and his national-security establishment had pointed out the dangers that international communism posed to America.
Suppose the U.S. national-security establishment had never invaded Vietnam and simply decided to stay out of that country’s civil war. Suppose President Johnson, the Pentagon, and the CIA told Americans that a victory by North Vietnam would pose a grave threat to U.S. national security because the dominoes would begin falling to the communists, with the big domino (the United States) ultimately falling to the Reds.
How many Americans would have traveled to South Vietnam and joined up with South Vietnamese forces to help them prevent a communist victory?
Answer: Zero! None! Not one single American would have gone to fight the commies in Vietnam.
Suppose George H.W. Bush had refused to involve his army in his war against Iraq in 1991, but had exhorted Americans to travel to the Middle East and join up with forces that were attempting to reverse Iraq’s (i.e., Saddam Hussein’s) invasion of Kuwait. Suppose that Bush had told Americans that while the U.S. government had partnered with Saddam during the 1980s in his war on Iran, Saddam had since become a “new Hitler” who threatened the world.
How many Americans would have traveled to the Middle East to join up with forces attempting to liberate Kuwait from Saddam?
Answer: None! Zip!
Suppose George W. Bush had declined to invade Afghanistan and Iraq after the 9/11 attacks but instead simply put out an arrest warrant and bounty for Osama bin Laden.
How many Americans would have traveled to Afghanistan and Iraq to oust the Taliban and Saddam Hussein from power?
Answer: None. The only ones who would have gone over there would have been the ones looking for bin Laden in the hopes of collecting a large bounty.
If the U.S. government evacuated the Middle East and Afghanistan today, how many Americans would travel to Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Syria or the rest of the Middle East to fight ISIS and prevent it from taking over those countries?
Answer: Not one single one, including the infamous neocons who continue to tell us that “national security” is at stake. In fact, if all U.S. troops were ordered to withdraw from that part of the world today, not one single U.S. soldier, including officers and enlisted men, would seek to resign from the U.S. military and travel to Iraq and Afghanistan to prevent ISIS and the Taliban from winning and taking control in that part of the world.
So, does all that mean that the American people are cowards? That they are only courageous when it comes to sending the troops to do the fighting for them? That they’re not willing to put their lives on the line in the defense of their country? That they’re not willing to defend their own freedom and the freedom and security of their family members and countrymen?
No, it doesn’t mean any of those things. It simply means that the American people are not stupid. The reason they wouldn’t have traveled to South Korea or South Vietnam and helped them to defeat the communists is simply because giving their lives in a civil war thousands of miles away wasn’t worth it to them. If someone had told them that a communist victory in Korea or Vietnam could mean that the Reds would ultimately take over the federal government and run the IRS, they would have summarily rejected that notion as ridiculous.
The same holds true for the Middle East and Afghanistan today. Deep down, every American knows that it’s not going to make one whit of difference, insofar as the United States is concerned, if ISIS wins or if the Taliban wins. If they really believed that America’s existence and freedom were at stake, you’d see Americans traveling over there and volunteering to help the Iraqi and Afghan armies.
Oh, for sure, most (but certainly not all) Americans would have sympathized with the South Koreans and the South Vietnamese but they never would have gone over there to commit their lives fighting a communist unification of both countries.
Now, imagine that the United States were suddenly invaded by the troops of some foreign nation-state. How many Americans would come to the defense of their country, their families, and their freedom?
Answer: 98 percent.
Everything changes, however, when it comes to the U.S. national-security establishment, the totalitarian apparatus that came into existence with the Cold War. When the national-security establishment says that it’s imperative that U.S. military forces defeat North Korea or North Vietnam or Saddam Hussein or the Taliban or Iran or whoever, everyone hops to, clicks his heels, salutes, and automatically accepts it as gospel. People have converted the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA into their god — their idol — and heaven help anyone who dares to criticize what their warrior angels — the troops — do with respect to all those foreign interventions.
Suddenly, everyone’s mindset changes. “The troops in Korea are dying for our freedom!” “The troops are dying in Vietnam for their country.” “The troops are dying in Afghanistan and Iraq for their country and our freedom.”
It’s all a crock. They’re dying because the national-security state deemed it necessary to involve the United States in overseas conflicts whose participants never invaded the United States or threatened our nation or our freedom in any way.
It’s been a racket since the day the national-security establishment was grafted onto our original governmental system. It’s the national-security state that has gotten America into all these unnecessary wars and conflicts. And they’re not stopping. They’re now provoking two other major nuclear powers, Russia and China. If anyone thinks that nuclear war isn’t possible, he is naïve to the extreme.
Yesterday, the New York Times reported that suicides among soldiers who have experienced repeated deployments to the Middle East and Afghanistan are suffering record suicide rates. We all know about the family violence, the alcoholism, the drug addiction, and the depression that U.S. troops who have fought in that part of the world are experiencing.
And of course there are the dead — the soldiers who, we are told, made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and our freedom. It’s all one great big lie, one that people feel is necessary to keep intact at all costs, just like everyone was expected to admire the emperor’s new clothes. The naked truth is that U.S. soldiers who died in all those overseas military adventures died for nothing — that is, they died for something that no American would have been willing to die for if the U.S. national-security establishment had not gotten America embroiled in those (illegal and unconstitutional) wars.
As our ancestors understood so well, there will always be monsters in the world in the form of such things as tyrannical dictatorships, civil wars, and famines. (See John Quincy Adams’ July 4, 1821, address to Congress entitled “In Search of Monsters to Destroy.”) America, Adams said, would not send soldiers abroad to slay any of those dragons but instead would serve as a sanctuary for people fleeing those monsters. He also pointed out that if America ever abandoned this non-interventionist philosophy, it would inevitably change America in drastic ways, for the worse. Who can argue that he was wrong?
The Cold War national-security state apparatus overturned that non-interventionist philosophy, committing America to a perpetual crusade to slay monsters overseas. That’s what every U.S. soldier has died for and sacrificed for during the past 65 years — not for freedom, not for our country but instead for such things as regime-change operations, coups, partnerships with dictators, and other vital interests of the national-security establishment, all with the aim of keeping that old Cold War dinosaur, the national security state, in perpetual existence.
The sooner Americans, including the troops, acknowledge this truth, as discomforting as it might be, the better off America and the troops will be, because then we can restore a constitutional republic to our land and make America, once again, a peaceful, harmonious, prosperous, and free country.