The Terrorist Haven Fallacy on Afghanistan

Interventionists are saying that U.S. forces need to stay in Afghanistan because otherwise that country will, once again, become a “haven” for anti-American terrorists.

They still just don’t get it. It never ceases to amaze me how blind and obtuse interventionists can be.

Anti-American terrorism is not like the flu or like Covid-19. It doesn’t just spread around the world like an infection or a virus.

Moreover, the 9/11 attacks didn’t occur because the terrorists hated America for its “freedom and values.” They weren’t motivated by anger and rage over Elvis Presley or any other rock and roller. They weren’t motivated by hatred for Billy Graham or any other Christian evangelist.

The 9/11 attacks and all the other anti-American terrorist attacks were rooted in anger and hatred over U.S. interventionism abroad, specifically in the Middle East. Interventionism is the cause of anti-American terrorism. That’s what interventionists still just don’t get.

There were terrorist attacks on American targets before 9/11. There was the attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, which was no different in principle than the 9/11 attacks eight years later. There was also the attack on the USS Cole, an imperial warship refueling in Yemen’s Aden harbor when it was attacked. There were the attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

All of these terrorist attacks, including the 9/11 attacks, had one thing in common: They were motivated by anger and hatred for the U.S. government’s interventionist foreign policy. For that matter, so were other instances of anti-American terrorism, such as the Fort Hood killing and the Detroit would-be bomber.

For more than 30 years, the U.S. national-security establishment had relied on Russia and the rest of the Soviet Union, along with Red China, North Korea, North Vietnam, Cuba, and the threat of “godless communism,” to justify its existence. The last thing the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA ever expected was that the Cold War would end and that it would lose its official communist enemies.

Then the Soviet Union suddenly and unexpected declared an end to the Cold War, exited West Germany and Eastern Europe, and dismantled. Suddenly, the justification for having converted the federal government from a limited-government republic to a national-national-security state in 1947 disintegrated.

That’s when U.S. officials decided to go into the Middle East with its interventionist foreign policy. They intervened in the Persian Gulf War, killing countless Iraqis. They intentionally destroyed Iraq’s water and sewage treatment plants with the intent to spread infections and illnesses among the Iraqi populace. They imposed one of the most brutal systems of sanctions in history on the Iraqi people. The sanctions killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children. The U.S. ambassador to the UN, Madeleine Albright, declared that the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children from the sanctions were “worth it.” U.S. troops were stationed near Islamic holy lands, knowing full well how that would be received my Muslims. There was also the unconditional support given to the Israeli government.

All that is what produced the deep anger and rage against the United States that manifested itself in anti-American terrorist attacks. It was interventionism, not hatred for America’s “freedom and values,” that motivated the 9/11 attacks as well as the anti-American terrorist attacks before and after the 9/11 attacks.

Thus, there is a simple solution for anti-American terrorism: Simply end U.S. foreign interventionism. Then the supposed threat of Afghanistan serving as a “haven” for anti-American terrorism disappears.

This is what interventionists just don’t get. They want the U.S. to continue intervening in Afghanistan and elsewhere (e.g., Iraq and Syria) to stop anti-American terrorism. They don’t understand that it is the interventionism that they are advocating that produces the anti-American terrorism. They don’t understand that that is what makes their “war on terrorism” a perpetual war, one that continues to expand the power of the national-security establishment and to enrich the pockets of its ever-growing army of contractors and sub-contractors.

Ending American interventionism would bring an end to anti-American terrorism, which would bring an end to the perpetual “war on terrorism.” But even that’s not enough because it is clear that for the national-security establishment, its Cold War against Russia and China never ended. To finally, once and for all, end the Cold War, it is necessary to dismantle America’s disastrous experiment as a national-security state and restore a limited-government republic to our land. That’s a key to getting our nation back on the right road — the road to liberty, peace, prosperity, and harmony with the people of the world.

Reprinted with permission from The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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