Jacob Hornberger: ‘Terrorism Is a Cost of Empire’

by Jacob G. Hornberger
IPR note: Jacob Hornberger ran for the Libertarian presidential nomination in 2000

To justify the federal government’s massive post-9/11 infringements on civil liberties, the proponents of Big Government have sometimes said, “There hasn’t been another major terrorist attack on the United States since 9/11. ”

I have responded with the following: “But if there had been another major terrorist attack, you Big Government advocates would be using that as a justification for even more severe infringements on civil liberties. So, either way you go, doesn’t Big Government win? ”

No one can deny that if the guy on that international flight to Detroit had succeeded in blowing up the plane, the Big Government advocates would be using that as an argument for having the federal government crack down even more on civil liberties.

And isn’t it interesting that the massive post-9/11 crackdown on civil liberties didn’t prevent the guy from apparently almost bringing down the plane. The fact that he failed doesn’t seem to have had anything to do with any security measures taken after 9/11. U.S. terrorism agents apparently even ignored or disregarded a personal warning from the guy’s father about his son’s extremist proclivities.

Even the anti-immigrant crowd is left empty-handed. It turns out that the guy apparently was entering the country legally, confirming what I’ve been saying ever since 9/11: That if people really want to keep out terrorists, they’ve got to put a total ban on foreign tourism to the United States. They’ve got to hermetically seal the United States, just like North Korea does.

Not surprisingly, the pro-empire crowd is using the incident to show why it is more urgent than ever to continue the brutal occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and to expand killing the “bad guys” to Pakistan, Yemen, and who knows where else. The idea is that the government needs to keep killing those “bad guys” over there before they come here and kill us.

But as I’ve pointed out for years, the U.S. Empire has become the world’s biggest terrorist-producing machine. The more people it kills over there, the more the ranks of those who wish to retaliate against Americans are swelled.

In other words, the pro-empire advocates say, “We’re over there to kill them before they come over here and kill us. ” But what’s actually happening is this: They’re coming over here to kill us because the Empire is over there killing them.

What this is all about is the maintenance of the U.S. Empire — the “right” of the U.S. government to impose its will on countries around the world. Those regimes that cooperate receive U.S. taxpayer money. Those who refuse to cooperate receive bombs and missiles, or sanctions, embargoes, coups, assassinations, invasions, or occupations.

What the American people need to finally realize is that with Empire comes costs, including:

1. The meaningless deaths of U.S. soldiers. (No, they’re not dying to protect our rights and freedoms here at home but rather to maintain the hegemony of the Empire.)

2. The out-of-control federal spending that is sending our nation down the road to bankruptcy through debt, taxes, and inflation.

3. The constant threat of terrorist retaliation.

4. Ever-growing infringements on civil liberties.

The only way to avoid such costs is to dismantle the Empire, end the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, close all the overseas bases, and bring all the troops home and discharge them. There is no other way. Either keep the Empire and accept the costs, or restore a republic and get peace, prosperity, harmony, normalcy, and freedom.

Hornberger’s Blog Archives

7 thoughts on “Jacob Hornberger: ‘Terrorism Is a Cost of Empire’

  1. Tom Blanton

    Hornberger posts a piece nearly every day on his blog at FFF and they are always exceptionally good. For my money, FFF is one of the best things going in the libertarian movement. Check out fff.org often.

  2. Aroundtheblockafewtimes

    Right on, Bumper. A letter writer in today’s paper urges us to give up “privacy and petty rights” if that is what it takes to make this country safe. How about we just give up pushing other folks around and telling them how to run their affairs?

  3. paulie Post author

    @3 what was that quote again…something like, those who give up liberty to get safety lose both?

    Hornberger is exactly correct here, of course.

  4. Libervention Price Club

    Most excellent column!

    There’s also this, posted at On The Wilder Side…

    Review by Kim Scipes of Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism

    Yet he makes an incredibly important point, trying to put things into perspective and to focus our attention: “… here’s the awful truth: even if every person, every automobile, and every factory suddenly emitted zero emissions, the Earth would still be headed head first and at full speed toward total disaster for one major reason. The [US] military—that voracious vampire—produces enough greenhouse gases, by itself, to place the entire globe, with all its inhabitants large and small, in the most immanent danger of extinction” (p, 22). To put it plain language, that social institution that is said to protect Americans is, in fact, hastening our very extermination along with all the other people of the planet.

  5. paulie Post author

    Also see


    The Costs of War: America’s Pyrrhic Victories (Paperback)
    ~ John Denson (Editor)

    and (if you can get past the predictable state-socialist propaganda that the money should be used on social programs rather than never extorted by the government to begin with)


    (hit next to keep reading). Then if you have time, check out the linked references for yourself!

    “ADDICTED TO WAR takes on the most active, powerful and destructive military in the world. It tells the history of U.S. foreign wars – from the Indian Wars to the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – in a comic book format.

    With 77 hard-hitting pages, this book reveals why the U.S. has been involved in more wars in recent years than any other country.

    Packed with historical photographs and quotes from people in the military, the government, and big business, Addicted to War explains who benefits from these military adventures, who pays, and who dies.

    Addicted to War is being used as a history textbook in hundreds of high schools and colleges. It is carefully documented with 161 reference notes. “

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