by Ron Paul
The interventionists will do anything to prevent Americans from seeing that their foreign policies are perpetuating terrorism and inspiring others to seek to harm us. The neocons know that when it is understood that blowback is real – that people seek to attack us not because we are good and free but because we bomb and occupy their countries – their stranglehold over foreign policy will begin to slip.
That is why each time there is an event like the killings in Paris earlier this month, they rush to the television stations to terrify Americans into agreeing to even more bombing, more occupation, more surveillance at home, and more curtailment of our civil liberties. They tell us we have to do it in order to fight terrorism, but their policies actually increase terrorism.
If that sounds harsh, consider the recently-released 2015 Global Terrorism Index report. The report shows that deaths from terrorism have increased dramatically over the last 15 years – a period coinciding with the “war on terrorism” that was supposed to end terrorism.
According to the latest report:
Terrorist activity increased by 80 per cent in 2014 to its highest recorded level. …The number of people who have died from terrorist activity has increased nine-fold since the year 2000.
The world’s two most deadly terrorist organizations, ISIS and Boko Haram, have achieved their prominence as a direct consequence of US interventions.
Former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Michael Flynn was asked last week whether in light of the rise of ISIS he regrets the invasion of Iraq. He replied, “absolutely. …The historic lesson is that it was a strategic failure to go into Iraq.” He added, “instead of asking why they attacked us, we asked where they came from.”
Flynn is no non-interventionist. But he does make the connection between the US invasion of Iraq and the creation of ISIS and other terrorist organizations, and he at least urges us to consider why they seek to attack us.
Likewise, the rise of Boko Haram in Africa is a direct result of a US intervention. Before the US-led “regime change” in Libya, they just were a poorly-armed gang. Once Gaddafi was overthrown by the US and its NATO allies, leaving the country in chaos, they helped themselves to all the advanced weaponry they could get their hands on. Instead of just a few rifles they found themselves armed with rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns with anti-aircraft visors, advanced explosives, and vehicle-mounted light anti-aircraft artillery. Then they started killing on a massive scale. Now, according to the Global Terrorism Index, Boko Haram has overtaken ISIS as the world’s most deadly terrorist organization.
The interventionists are desperate to draw attention from the fact that their policies contribute to terrorism. After the Paris attacks, neocons like former CIA director James Woolsey actually pinned the blame on NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden! He claimed that because of Snowden’s revelations about NSA surveillance the terrorists were using sophisticated encryption. He even called for Snowden to be hanged because of it. But it was untrue: the Paris attackers did not use encryption, and other groups had used encryption long before the Snowden revelations.
Terrorism is increasing worldwide because of US and western interventionism. That does not mean that if we suddenly followed a policy of non-interventionism the world would become a peaceful utopia. But does anyone really believe that continuing to do what increases terrorism will lead to a decrease in terrorism?
This column was published by the Ron Paul Institute.