The mainstream media is publishing the standard, predictable explanations for the latest shooting rampage, this one against Republicans playing baseball in a park in Alexandria, Virginia. The two most popular are the right of people to own guns and political rage.
As with every other act of random killings here in the United States, the media misses the big one: The culture of ongoing violence that the national-security establishment has made a permanent part of America’s governmental structure.
For 27 continuous years, the Pentagon and the CIA have been killing people in the Middle East and Afghanistan. That is a long time to be killing people. And not just a few people. When we include the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children who were killed by the 11 years of sanctions on Iraq, the number of people killed by U.S. forces surely exceed a million. Granted, not the 6 million killed in the Holocaust, but nonetheless, a very large number of people killed.
Add to the death toll the countless people injured and maimed. Add to that the many who have had their homes or businesses destroyed. Add to that the number of people who have fled to Europe to escape the violence. Add to that the many who have been killed by the civil wars that U.S. interventionism has unleashed. The number of people who have suffered from the ravages of U.S. governmental violence almost certainly is in the millions.
Through it all, the attitude here has been that as long as the killing is taking place over there, it wouldn’t have any effect on people here at home. Life here would go on as normal, especially since people here, protected by the U.S. media, wouldn’t have to see photographs of the dead and injured over there.
Through it all, Americans have effusively thanked the troops for their “service,” which has consisted of killing people in the process of purportedly defending our country and protecting our freedom.
The fact that it has been a lie from the very beginning has been deemed irrelevant and immaterial, especially because many people, reinforced by the media and their public officials, have convinced themselves that it’s not a lie. But the fact is: Neither Iraq nor Afghanistan ever attacked the United States or tried to take away our freedom. The same applies to Libya and Syria and every other regime in the Middle East. The notion has been: Just let the Pentagon and the CIA do whatever they think is necessary, killing as many people as they want, and just keep thanking the troops for their service.
Whenever there has been terrorist retaliation during the past 27 years of foreign interventionism, the life of the lie has continued. Each time there has been a terrorist attack, U.S. officials have immediately proclaimed that it had nothing to do with their 27-year killing spree. It’s all been because foreigners hate America for its “freedom and values.” In the process, many Americans lapped it up and just kept thanking the troops for their service.
But that’s not the only impact of the death and destruction produced by foreign interventionism. As I have long pointed out, the culture of constant killing and violence that the U.S. government has unleashed in that part of the world inevitably affects the temperament of people here at home. How can it be otherwise? When one’s government is constantly killing people, especially without any remorse or regret, how can that ongoing violence not seep into the subconscious of people here at home?
Every person has his dark side. For most people, it is deeply submerged and controlled. When things go wrong, they might get angry and lose their temper but they don’t manifest their anger through violence.
But there are other people whose rage is just beneath the surface, read to explode. When society is normal, you never hear about those people. They just go on with their lives without initiating violence against anyone.
But American society is not normal. It is a society in which its government has been killing people on a massive scale on a regular basis for 27 years. It’s that culture of violence that the Pentagon and the CIA have made a permanent part of America’s governmental structure that sets off those people whose rage is just beneath the surface.
I have long pointed to Switzerland as a counter-example of this phenomenon.
The Swiss have many of the same values as the American people.
Yet, notice something about Switzerland: No terrorist attacks, and rarely any acts of political gun violence, like what happened in Alexandria yesterday.
It’s important to point out a big similarity between the United States and Switzerland: widespread gun ownership among the populace. Thus, if that were the root cause of violence in America, it would stand to reason that it would be the root cause of violence in Switzerland. There has to be another explanation.
The explanation for widespread violence in America and its absence in Switzerland lies in the big differences between Switzerland and the United States: the Swiss government has not been killing people in the Middle East and Afghanistan for 27 consecutive years and the U.S. government has. The Swiss military is limited to protecting Switzerland. The U.S. military isn’t limited to protecting the United States. The Swiss government doesn’t intervene in the affairs of other nations. The U.S. government does.
That’s why the Swiss live fairly functional lives. That’s why Americans live very dysfunctional lives.
As long as the U.S. government’s killing spree in the Middle East and Afghanistan continues, Americans will continue to live in a society characterized by violence. Get used to it. Living the life of the lie will not change that. The only thing that will help restore a healthy, functional society to our land is to bring the troops home without permitting them to kill, injure, maim, or destroy even one more person.
Jacob Hornberger [send him mail] is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
Copyright © 2017 The Future of Freedom Foundation
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