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L. Neil Smith's
Number 455, February 10, 2008

.455 Webley

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National Security Is Government Security
by Todd Andrew Barnett

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

Collectivistic government busybodies, whom we call "politicians," certainly think that, by keeping the United States mired in the Middle East, we will maintain our "national security." They also go on to say that the protection of "national security" is vital for the survival of our country. But what the collectivists refuse to acknowledge -- perhaps even to themselves -- is that national security is nothing more than a government construct for the purpose of covering up any political, militaristic, and illegal wrongdoings and defending the modern American Empire and its nation-state-building activities from its dissidents and critics during a time of war.

Presidential candidate Senator John McCain (R-AZ) epitomizes that mentality, especially given his comment on the national security issue during the CNN debate held at the Reagan Library on January 30. In his rejoinder to Anderson Cooper's question regarding his recent comment that U.S. forces would remain in Iraq for the next 100 years, he stated:

"[T]he point is that we need to protect America's national security interest. It's not a matter of presence. It's a matter of casualties.

"We are succeeding. We are succeeding. And I unequivocally put my career and my political fortunes on the line and unequivocally said we're going to support this surge. We're not going to talk about timetables or anything else; we're going to talk about winning and what's necessary to win."

"Protect America's national security interest"? Who is he kidding? What about Iraq's "national security interest," if there is indeed such a thing? Why should a politician like McCain be concerned about America's "national security interest," when the country does not have, nor has never had, a "national security interest"? After all, aren't we really talking about the U.S. federal government's "national security interest," not the United States' own "interest"?

The trouble with McCain's assertion is that it does not hold any political and militaristic water whatsoever. The fact of the matter is that national security is an invention concocted by the state for the means of advancing the interests and agendas of the political and military establishments. This is a concerted effort to just sweep any signs of political and military wrongdoings under the government rug. It is merely an instrument for the politicians to save face and to shield themselves from any embarrassment that can arise should any war or any other military conflict becomes a public disaster.

Furthermore, "national security" is non-existent. The reason for this is that national security is an age-old doctrine that predates nation-states themselves. A nation-state, by definition, is a form of state that is constructed to provide an existing sovereign territory within a nation, all the while securing its legitimacy for that function.

With the exception of presidential candidate Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), what McCain, Governors Mitt Romney (R-MA) and Mike Huckabee (R-AR), and their cronies refuse to acknowledge is that the Republicans and the Democrats cling to the national security issue like a security blanket on every foreign policy issue at their convenience. The term "national security," which is at the very heart of the issue, is even used to condone any political and militaristic crimes committed by the United States government, especially during wartime. The CIA, for instance, is historically known to have conspired to assist in the invasion of Cuba without so much even begging for a declaration of war. It is even responsible for the deposing of the Shah of Iran in 1953 with the backing of then-U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower, which would only result in the toppling of the regime in 1979, further resulting in the decades-old anti-American resentment that's alive and well in the country and throughout the remaining regions today. These types of blowback, along with the claims of national security, have culminated in the rise of the American Empire being the superpower that it is in modern times.

Additionally, the collectivists in both the Republican and Democratic camps treat national security as though it were a living, breathing entity. More than that, it's a great campaign issue, because "national security" and the other government term "national defense" are viable sound bites used to win elections. These terms have nothing to do with the principles of the candidate, but they certainly have everything to do with the candidate pulling out all the stops to dodge his opponent's attacks and score political points, just so that the average voter will secure his vote for the "winning candidate."

Libertarians, free marketers, and like-minded advocates of limited government need to expose "national security" for what it really is: national security is government security. It has nothing to do with protecting the country, although Americans are quite capable of defending themselves from the vile influences and controls of the state. However, it has everything to do with the protection of the health of the state. After all, war and a foreign policy of interventionism are nothing but government programs to strengthen the modern welfare-warfare state and to use "national security" as a way to rewrite history and spin it to propagandize and regiment our society.

As the early 20th century leftist writer Randolph Bourne famously noted, "War is the health of the state." How true that is in the times in which we live.

© 2008 by Todd Andrew Barnett. All Rights Reserved. Permission to reprint any portion of or the entire article is hereby granted, provided that the author's name and credentials are included.


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