Have you ever wondered what people mean when they praise the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan for defending our rights and freedoms here at home? This is one of the most popular and important bromides of our time. Given that we hear it all the time, especially in church and at sporting events, wouldn’t it be good to contemplate what people mean by it?
I think everyone by now will agree that the 9/11 attacks were not the first stage of a giant terrorist invasion of the United States. It’s been 12 years since those attacks. That’s plenty of time for tens of thousands of transport ships carrying hundreds of thousands of terrorists to appear on the horizon on the eastern shore of the United States. Not even one transport ship carrying a few terrorists, much less tens of thousands that would be necessary for a successful conquest of the United States, has even departed from the Middle East on its way to the United States.
Yet, as a practical matter, the only way for Americans to lose their rights and freedoms would be for an army of terrorists to take control of the U.S. government and the levers of power, thereby being able to subjugate the entire nation to the will of the terrorists.
Oh sure, it’s entirely possible that a few terrorists can blow up a building or kill some people, but that, of course, is a far cry from conquering an entire nation and enslaving its citizenry.
Thus, the reality, notwithstanding all the hype and fear, is that the rights and freedoms of the American people are not in any danger whatsoever of being lost to the terrorists. That is, there is no army of hundreds of thousands of terrorists crossing the ocean in transport ships seeking to invade and conquer the United States.
As a matter of fact, such an endeavor would be so utterly difficult from a military standpoint that one can say with certainty that the chances of success would be virtually nil. After all, don’t forget that Hitler’s massive and powerful army couldn’t even cross the English Channel to invade and conquer England. Don’t forget also that the Allied invasion at Normandy involved around 150,000 troops and, even then, success was not guaranteed. Needless to say, there is no evidence whatsoever that 150,000 terrorists are planning the much more difficult operation of successfully launching a military crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.
So, the fact is that American rights and freedoms are not in danger, at least not from the terrorists.
Thus, if American troops are not over there defending our rights and freedoms, what are they defending?
They’re defending the “right” and “freedom” of the U.S. government to be over there. That’s what the fighting is all about.
On the one side, you have people over there saying to the U.S. government: “Get out of our part of the world. Deal with your own problems. Go home. Leave us alone. Take your soldiers and your CIA agents away. Stop funding our dictators. Don’t come back.”
On the other side, you have the U.S. government saying: “Not on your life. We have the ‘right’ to be over here, thousands of miles away from American shores. It’s our ‘right’ as Americans. We have the ‘right’ to impose sanctions and embargoes on you, to oust recalcitrant dictators and install pro-U.S. dictators, to support pro-U.S. dictators with foreign aid, to invade and occupy your countries when necessary, to influence your elections with money paid to domestic groups, to kidnap, rendition, torture, and incarcerate people within your countries, and to do whatever else we want to you, your nation, and your government. Our right to do these things is part of our heritage of ‘freedom’ as Americans. You must submit to our will. It is for your own good. Otherwise, we will kill you, bomb you, and destroy your country until you do submit to our will.”
Thus, if Americans truly contemplated one of their favorite bromides — praising the troops for defending our rights and freedoms, they would realize that what they’re really referring to is the “right” and “freedom” of the president, the Pentagon, and the CIA to intervene in the affairs of other nations, not the rights and freedoms of the American people.
In fact, if Americans were to carefully contemplate that bromide, they would realize that the real danger to their rights and freedoms comes not from the terrorists but rather from the U.S. government itself. Our American ancestors understood this principle, which is precisely why they insisted on the passage of the Bill of Rights soon after the Constitution called the federal government into existence. Contrary to what many Americans think, the Bill of Rights doesn’t grant any rights to Americans. Instead, it protects the people’s preexisting rights from the federal government, which our ancestors viewed as the biggest threat to our rights and freedoms.
So, the next time you hear some church minister, sports commentator, or anyone else praising the troops for defending our “rights” and “freedoms,” ponder the fact that in reality they are actually referring to the “right” and “freedom” of the U.S. government to continue engaging in imperialism and interventionism and, in the process, infringing on the genuine rights and freedoms of the American people.