The source of terrorism is blowback (retaliation) for our foreign policy of interventionism. Many think that statement is purely speculative, but it has been proven both statistically and from the statements of the terrorists and terrorist organizations themselves. Robert Pape in his books Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism and Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop It have demonstrated that interventionism is the primary source of terrorism (suicide terrorism in particular) by looking at every instance of suicide terrorism and the circumstances that surround each one from 1982 to 2009. We don’t have to rely on casual relationships alone, though. al-Qaeda has been very open about the motivation for 9/11. In Osama bin Laden’s Letter to America he states explicitly that the US military’s wars, sanctions, and interventions are the cause of 9/11. A recording of a July 7th 2005 London bomber says that “Your democratically elected governments continuously perpetuate atrocities against my people all over the world. And your support of them makes you directly responsible, just as I am directly responsible for protecting and avenging my Muslim brothers and sisters.
Until we feel security, you will be our targets. And until you stop the bombing, gassing, imprisonment and torture of my people we will not stop this fight.
We are at war and I am a soldier. Now you too will taste the reality of this situation.”
The Islamic State, when claiming responsibility for the November Paris attacks writes “Let France and all nations following its path know that they will continue to be at the top of the target list for the Islamic State and that the scent of death will not leave their nostrils as long as they partake in the crusader campaign, as long as they dare to curse our Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him), and as long as they boast about their war against Islam in France and their strikes against Muslims in the lands of the Caliphate with their jets, which were of no avail to them in the filthy streets and alleys of Paris. Indeed, this is just the beginning. It is also a warning for any who wish to take heed.”
According to a New York Times article on the November Paris attacks, “At nearly midnight, two hours after they took over the Bataclan, the gunmen began negotiating in earnest with the police.
‘We want to talk to someone!’ one gunman demanded, then turned to his demands for France to stop military strikes in Syria: ‘I want you to leave the country. I want you to remove your military. I want a piece of paper signed that proves it!’ If not, he threatened, ‘I’m killing a hostage and throwing him out the window!’”
ISIS’s statement on the Belgium attacks said “By Allah’s grace, a security team of the Khilafah, may Allah grant it glory and victory, set out to target the crusader Belgium, which has not ceased to wage war against Islam and its people,” “a country participating in the international coalition against the Islamic State” and “We promise the crusader allies against the Islamic State, there will be dark days in response to their aggression against our state.“And what awaits you will be harder and more bitter, with the permission of Allah.”
The Boston Marathon bombers were what are called “homegrown terrorists”, meaning that they identified with the victims of the US’s interventions through common ties, like religion, heritage, and home country, and were motivated by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dzokhar Tsarnaev, one of the brothers who perpetrated the attacks, wrote a note in the boat that he was hiding in that said “The US Government is killing our innocent civilians but most of you already know that” and “Stop killing our innocent people and we will stop.”
One of ISIS’s leaders stated in 2014 “Hinder those who want to harm your brothers,” “The best thing you can do is to strive to your best and kill any disbeliever, whether he be French, American or from any of their allies,” “Do not ask for anyone’s advice and do not seek anyone’s verdict. Kill the disbeliever whether he is civilian or military, for they have the same ruling. Both of them are disbelievers. Both of them are considered to be waging war,” “Oh Americans, and oh Europeans, the Islamic State did not initiate a war against you, as your governments and media try to make you believe,” and “It is you who started the transgression against us, and thus you deserve blame and you will pay a great price.”
Then there is the strange case of the recent Orlando shooting, the perpetrator of which was a mentally ill gay American who murdered forty-nine people while voicing support for ISIS. It is not fully clear what the exact motivation for the shooting was, but on Facebook the shooter, Omar Mateen, posted “America and Russia stop bombing the Islamic state,” and “The real muslims will never accept the filthy ways of the west … You kill innocent women and children by doing us airstrikes..now taste the Islamic state vengeance.” Ron Paul offers an excellent analysis on this attack in this Ron Paul Liberty Report:
All this is not to say that terrorist violence, or any violence for that matter, is justified against an innocent civilian population because its government has committed atrocities, but that launching a “War on Terror” (and all foreign intervention) is counterproductive and makes Americans less safe instead of defending them. Also, the financial cost of war is the heaviest burden foisted on the people of America by the US government. The endless wars in the Middle East are funded primarily by currency debasement through interest rate manipulation, which is both the cause of the business cycle and is a hidden tax that decreases (non-government) people’s real wages/earnings, making everyone poorer. The War on Terror has also created a vast sea of government bureaucracies intent on spying on and convicting in secret courts the American populace: the Department of Homeland Security, the TSA, and the NSA. The US military has also committed numerous war crimes (which they instantly acquit themselves of) and murdered millions of innocent people in the Middle East – something that is sure to recruit terrorists.
If these wars and interventions are so immoral and counterproductive, why are they done? The military-industrial complex gets very rich off these wars, and those in the government can increase their power (both in other countries and domestically) by engaging in and provoking warfare. The US military budget in 2015 was well over half a trillion dollars, with a very large portion of that money going to a handful of military contractors. Those in government are more than willing to increase that budget and engage in even more wars because of the lobbyists that take them on expensive vacations free of charge and promise “advisory” jobs and lavish “speaking fees” when they retire. Military contractors do the same for news reporters, with most journalists readily propagandizing for them, creating a culture where no one wants to speak out against these wars that rob the American people and make them targets for the victims of the interventions. Eventually, there won’t be enough money for the government to steal to fund these wars, and the US Empire will collapse – but the people of America will have to be impoverished in order for that to happen, which is why we need to do everything we can to put an end to our government’s foreign policy of interventionism before that happens. Besides exposing the Empire’s lies like this article, we need to spread the message of the need to take a principled stance in favor of an anti-war foreign policy of non-interventionism by introducing people to one of Murray Rothbard’s greatest essays: War, Peace, and the State. Another method of stopping military interventionism is by sending e-mails, letters, and/or phone calls to congressmen. Perhaps tax resistance and other forms of civil disobedience will be what is necessary to put an end to our current foreign policy before it is too late.
Sources and Further Reading