by Jacob G. Hornberger

U.S. officials, U.S. interventionists, and U.S. proponents of the “global war on terror” are celebrating yet another state-sponsored assassination, this one of 71-year old al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was accused of helping to orchestrate the attacks on September 11 more than 20 years ago. The assassination took place by drone in Kabul, Afghanistan, without the consent of the Taliban government, which has ruled the country since its defeat of the U.S. government several months ago.

Here at home, we are experiencing Federal Reserve-induced inflation that is bankrupting people at the bottom of the economic ladder, facing a federal government debt of $30 trillion, using NATO to gin up a potential nuclear war with Russia, using Taiwan to gin up a potential nuclear war with China, enforcing a brutal and racist drug war even while lecturing Russia on its drug laws, engaging in out-of-control spending and debt on welfare and warfare, waging a deadly and destructive decades-long war on immigrants, and suffering periodic bouts of mass shootings.

But hey, amidst all this chaos, we can now take time to celebrate another state-sponsored assassination. Isn’t that great? Bring out the flags and the fireworks. Another victory in the “global war on terror.”

How pathetic. It only goes to show another way that the conversion to a national-security state has adversely impacted our nation. 

It’s important that we review how all this global-war-on-terror mayhem got established. 

America was established as a limited-government republic. That meant a federal government with extremely limited powers — limited to those enumerated in the Constitution. That document did not give the federal government the power to assassinate people. 

To make certain that U.S. officials got the point, the American people demanded the enactment of the Fifth Amendment, which expressly prohibited federal officials from depriving any person, foreign or domestic, of life without due process of law. Due process of law means a trial, usually a trial in which a jury determines guilt and innocence.

After World War II, federal officials converted the federal government from a limited-government republic to a national-security state, a form of governmental structure in which certain federal officials — e.g., the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA — would wield omnipotent powers, just like in totalitarian regimes. 

Significantly, the FIfth Amendment due-process clause was nullified, even though there was never a constitutional amendment to that effect. The Pentagon and the CIA now wielded the totalitarian power to snuff out people’s lives through assassination — that is, without due process. 

Recognizing this fundamental transformation of the federal government and realizing that it could never, as a practical matter, enforce its judicial orders against the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA, the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary upheld the constitutionality of the omnipotent, totalitarian, communist-like power of snuffing out people’s lives through state-sponsored assassinations.

The justification for all this was Russia and the Soviet Union. After World War II (during which the Soviet Union was a partner and ally of the U.S.), U.S. officials imbued the American people with an extreme anti-Russia animus by convincing them that there was an international communist conspiracy based in Moscow to take over the United States and the rest of the world. The Americans bought into this conspiracy theory and surrendered their rights and freedoms to the national-security establishment, which promised to keep them safe from the Reds. The result was ever-growing budgets and power for the national-security establishment. 

When the Cold War suddenly and unexpectedly ended, the national-security establishment desperately needed a new official enemy. That’s when they went into the Middle East on a campaign of death, destruction, and humiliation. People kept telling them that if they continued on this course, the result would be a major terrorist attack on American soil. 

There were warning signs: the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, the attacks on the U.S. embassies in East Africa, and the attack on the USS Cole — all in response to the Pentagon/CIA campaign of death and destruction. The Pentagon and the CIA knowingly and intentionally disregarded them all, knowing full-well that that likely result would be a big terrorist attack on American soil.

That came, of course, with the 9/11 attacks, which U.S. officials falsely blamed on hatred for America’s “freedom and values” rather than on the campaign of death and destruction that they had been knowing, intentionally, and deliberately waging in the Middle East.

Suddenly, U.S. officials had their new official enemy — terrorism — to replace Russia, the Soviet Union, and “godless communism.” They were off to the races again, with a new racket entailing ever-increasing budgets and power.

That’s when they invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, wreaking even more death and destruction. Their invasion of Iraq (based on those non-existent WMDs) produced ISIS, which consisted largely of Iraqis who had been ousted from power by the U.S. invasion of their country. Another official enemy to justify more money and more power for the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA.

The global war on terror worked beautifully for them but with their defeat in Afghanistan, it has lately been fizzling out. No problem. They have come full circle by making Russia and Red China renewed official enemies. But lest anyone forget, the global war on terror still continues too, as we see with the assassination of Ayman al-Zawahiri.

A great nation does not engage in assassination. A great nation follows the principles of due process of law, the principles on which our nation was founded. We need to restore the sound founding principles of our nation. A good place to begin would be restoring a limited-government republic to our land as well as the principles in the Bill of Rights.