Our Veterans Never Protected Our Freedoms

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One of the trite lines that is repeated over and over again on Veteran’s Day is that veterans should be honored, praised, glorified, and thanked for protecting our freedoms. The big problem is that it’s simply not true. 

It’s one thing to honor people who work or have worked for the federal government, including those in the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA, and to thank them for “their service.” It’s quite another thing to say something about them that simply isn’t true. 

How about the veterans who “served” in Iraq? Didn’t they defend our freedoms?

Actually, not. The U.S. invasion of Iraq was a pure “war of aggression,” a type of offensive war that was condemned as a war crime at Nuremberg. Iraq never invaded the United States and tried to take away our freedoms. In the war against Iraq, the U.S. government, operating through the Pentagon and its troops, was the aggressor. 

Given such, how in the world can it be said that veterans who “served” in Iraq were defending our freedoms? Our freedoms were never threatened by Iraq. In fact, it was Iraq that was defending itself from U.S. aggression.

There is something else to note about the U.S. war on Iraq: It was illegal under our form of government. The U.S. Constitution, which is the highest law in the land, requires a congressional declaration of war before the president can wage war against another nation. It is undisputed that President George W. Bush never secured a congressional declaration of war against Iraq. That means that all of the death and destruction that veterans unleashed on the
Iraqi people was part of an illegal U.S. invasion and occupation.

Afghanistan? It was no different. Congress never declared war on Afghanistan, which made Bush’s and the Pentagon’s deadly and destructive invasion and occupation illegal under our form of government. 

Moreover, the reason that Bush ordered his army to invade Afghanistan was because the Afghan government had refused his unconditional extradition demand for Osama bin Laden. But there was never an extradition treaty between the U.S. and Afghanistan and, therefore, Afghanistan had the legal authority to refuse to comply with Bush’s unconditional extradition demand. Bush’s decision to invade Afghanistan and unleash massive death and destruction in an attempt to get bin Laden was never morally or legally justified. 

I would estimate that around 99 percent of the Afghan people who our veterans killed or who had their homes or businesses bombed or otherwise destroyed in Afghanistan had absolutely nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. 

Equally important, the Afghan government never invaded the United States or even threatened to do so. Thus, the U.S. invasion 20-year-long deadly and destructive occupation was never about defending our freedoms.

Even the 9/11 terrorists were not attempting to take away our freedoms. They were retaliating for the killing spree that U.S. officials were inflicting on people in the Middle East, especially Iraqis. Recall U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright’s infamous declaration that the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children from U.S. and UN sanctions were “worth it.” By “it” she meant regime change in Iraq. Since when are the deaths of innocent children worth any political goal? How could anyone be surprised when people who committed a heinous act were retaliating for the U.S. killings of mass numbers of innocent children, especially by doing what U.S. officials were doing — killing innocent people as a way to achieve a political goal?

Undoubtedly, there are still interventionist dead-enders who embrace the official line, which is that the 9/11 terrorists were motivated by hatred for our freedom and values. But that’s just a lie, and it’s been a lie from the beginning. In fact, the terrorists on 9/11 and before (e.g., the terrorist attacks outside CIA headquarters, on the WTC in 1993, on the USS Cole, and on the U.S. embassies in East Africa)  were motivated by the killing spree that the Pentagon and the CIA had launched in the Middle East after they lost their official Cold War enemy, the Soviet Union (especially Russia — yes, that Russia).

Syria? The Syrian regime has never invaded the United States. Under no rational thinking can it be said that veterans who “served” in Syria were defending our freedoms.

What about Vietnam, where 58,000-plus American men, many of whom had been forced to “serve,” were sacrificed for nothing. Once again, North Vietnam never invaded the United States and, therefore, it cannot be said that U.S. soldiers who unleashed massive death and destruction in that faraway land were defending our freedoms. Moreover, once again we have a war in which there was no congressional declaration of war, making the U.S. war in Vietnam illegal under our form of government. 

At the risk of being blunt, no foreign regime has ever attempted to take away my freedoms. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the U.S. national-security state. It is the U.S. government that has taken away my freedoms through such freedom-destroying policies as the USA PATRIOT Act, the kangaroo FISA court, the war on terrorism, mass surveillance, and the omnipotent, non-reviewable power to assassinate, torture, indefinitely detain American citizens. 

It’s one thing to thank the troops for serving the Pentagon and faithfully following the orders of the president. But are we really supposed to thank them for participating in a warfare machine that has destroyed our freedoms and made our country less safe throughout the U.S. government’s deadly and destructive interventionist antics abroad?

The post Our Veterans Never Protected Our Freedoms appeared first on The Future of Freedom Foundation.

* This article was originally published here


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