Iraqi War And americans: Who Were The Patriots Now?
19 June 2014
By Jacob G. Hornberger
Prior to the U.S. government's invasion
of Iraq in 2003, longtime supporters of The Future of
Freedom Foundation will recall that we stood squarely
against the operation.
We emphasized that the excuse given for the operation
— that Saddam Hussein was supposedly about to unleash
nuclear weapons and other WMDs against the United
States — was entirely bogus and was simply a clever
device to garner support from the American people.
We pointed out that the U.S. government had no
constitutional authority to invade Iraq because there
was no congressional declaration of war, as the
Constitution requires. If President Bush had tried to
secure a congressional declaration of war, the
likelihood is that some members of Congress would have
exposed the WMD scare as bogus.
We emphasized that the operation was entirely based on
Bush's wish — and the wish of other interventionists
—to get rid of Saddam, who was a former partner of the
U.S. government during the 1980s when he was killing
Iranians, and replace him with a pro-U.S. dictator. We
pointed out that even if Congress had declared war on
Iraq, the operation would still have been in violation
of the principles of the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal
and the charter of the United Nations, which prohibit
nation-states from initiating wars against other
nation states, including those ruled by dictatorships.
We also pointed out that this intervention would
ultimately turn out to be like all other U.S.
interventions — an absolute and total debacle.
During that period of time, we were inundated with
hate mail. I've never seen so much hate mail in all my
life. The principal accusation was that we weren't
"patriots." We were told that once the "national
debate" over whether the United States should go to
war with Iraq was over and the president had made the
decision to invade, it was the "patriotic" duty of the
citizen to rally to the president and support the
operation and the troops.
One of the most popular bromides we were hit with was:
"The president, the Pentagon, and the CIA have access
to secret information that we don't have, information
that they can't share with us based on ‘national
security.' We need to place our trust in them. They
would never lie to us on something this important."
What a crock, we stated. Of course they will lie. They
lied about the so-called attack at the Gulf of Tonkin
in Vietnam, didn't they?
We stood fast. Our position on patriotism was totally
different from that of the statists. The genuine
patriot, we held, is the citizen who hews to
principle. When his government violates those
principles, it is the duty of the citizen, we said, to
take a firm stand his own government, with the aim of
getting the government back on the right track.
After all, that's what the American Revolution was all
about. Those colonists who signed the Declaration of
Independence weren't Americans. They were English
citizens, ones who had the courage to stand up against
the wrongdoing of their own government. For us at FFF,
they were the genuine patriots, not the people who
were steadfastly supporting the British troops, who
were the means by which the British government was
enforcing its wrongdoing.
And let's face the uncomfortable truth: the statist
version of patriotism is obviously the same one held
by the German government during World War II. Once the
war broke out, the German regime expected German
citizens to set aside whatever differences they had
with their government and to rally to the support of
the government and the German troops. Ironically, even
while having that same mindset with respect to
"patriotism," many American statists still criticize
German citizens who unconditionally came to the
support of their government during World War II.
How were we so certain that the Iraq intervention was
going to be a disaster?
One, all other U.S. interventions had turned into
And two, evil means beget evil results.
In the short term, U.S. interventions often appear to
be big successes. Consider the Iran intervention in
1953. The U.S. government, operating through its
secretive agency the CIA, knowingly destroyed Iran's
experiment with democracy by ousting Mohammad
Mosaddegh as prime minister and replacing him with the
brutal, unelected dictator, the Shah of Iran.
It was an illegal operation under the U.S.
Constitution given the fact that the Constitution
doesn't authorize that sort of operation. But in the
short term, the CIA celebrated. How fantastic, the CIA
held, that the CIA could alter the governmental system
of another country and install an unelected, loyal,
pro-U.S. dictator into power, one who would remain in
power for the next 25 years.
In 1979, however, the chickens came home to roost.
After 25 years of suffering under one of the most
brutal tyrannies in history, one fully supported by
the U.S. government, the Iranian people revolted
against their own government — the government that the
CIA had installed, supported, trained, and sustained.
During the Iranian Revolution, U.S. officials, not
surprisingly, played the innocent, acting as though
the Iranian people had no reason to be angry at the
United States. U.S. officials told the American people
that the Iranian revolutionaries just hated America
for its freedom and values — the same bromide they
would use many years later after the 9/11 attacks.
Today, relations between Iran and the United States
are horrendous, with many officials in the U.S.
national security state champing at the bit for the
chance to bomb Iran and install another pro-U.S.
dictatorship into power.
In other words, the Iranian intervention turned out to
be a debacle for the American people. It's the same
with every other U.S. intervention.
After the Iraq invasion, the popular mantra was
"Mission Accomplished." The U.S. government, which
wielded the most powerful military in history, had
defeated a Third-World nation in a war. Saddam Hussein
was captured and executed. It all looked like a
glorious success for American interventionists.
We libertarians knew differently. We knew that it was
just a matter of time that the operation would reveal
itself as one more interventionist debacle.
And what a spectacular debacle it has turned out to
The U.S.-installed government in Iraq is just as
tyrannical and oppressive as the Saddam Hussein
regime. Incarcerations, killings, torture chambers,
suppression of speech and press, warrantless raids,
massive standing army, government surveillance
schemes. In other words, everything Saddam Hussein was
Oh, did I mention that the Maliki regime has closer
relations to Iran than it does to the United States?
And now we have the country thrown into civil war. Not
exactly the paradise of freedom, prosperity, and
harmony that interventionists were saying would come
into existence with "mission accomplished."
Let's not forget the constant threat of anti-American
terrorism generated by the invasion of Iraq. Why would
that be surprising? When U.S. forces are killing
people in a war of aggression, why wouldn't the
surviving family members be angry about that?
Let's also not forget that that threat of
anti-American terrorism, generated by U.S. foreign
policy, is the excuse the NSA provides for its massive
surveillance schemes to keep us "safe" from the
threats that the invasion of Iraq and other
interventions have produced.
And we now have the spectacle of watching the
interventionists come up with all sorts of excuses as
to why their Iraq intervention has turned into a
debacle. Among the most popular bromides are "If they
had followed my plan, everything would have been
perfect" or "We made such enormous sacrifices for the
Iraqi people and they just lacked the competence to
convert themselves into a model of freedom,
prosperity, and harmony."
The last thing that interventionists are going to do
is take personal responsibility for the debacle, even
though they employ the "personal responsibility"
bromide on their websites, in the speeches, and in
their articles and books.
Even worse, interventionists are saying, "Let's do it
again. Let's bomb, bomb, bomb again. Let's kill even
more people so that we can finally convert Iraq into a
paradise of freedom, prosperity, and harmony. This
time our bombing and killing campaign will really
Enough is enough. Haven't the interventionists killed,
maimed, tortured, and destroyed enough people in Iraq?
I say: No more. No more interventions. No more
overseas military empire. No more wars of aggression.
Support the troops by bringing them home and
Let's face reality: We can now see clearly that the
U.S. troops who died in Iraq died for nothing. They
didn't die protecting our freedom because our freedom
was never threatened by the Iraqi people or their
government. They didn't die to bring a paradise to
Iraq because they produced a hell-hole instead. Their
deaths are as meaningless as the 58,000 plus deaths in
And they killed for nothing too. They killed all those
Iraqis for nothing. They killed people who they had no
moral or legal right to kill. Remember: the war on
Iraq was an unconstitutional, illegal, immoral war of
aggression, one in which the United States was the
aggressor nation, the nation that initiated the war.
Who were the patriots back in 2003, the libertarians
or the interventionists?
The answer sure seems clear today.