While Americans are expected to thank the troops for their service all year long, today — Memorial Day — we are called upon to thank them even more profusely. The idea is that since the troops are defending our country and protecting our rights and freedoms, we should express our gratitude to them.

But there is just one big problem with that picture: In actuality, the troops are destroying our country and our fundamental rights and freedoms. That’s not something any American should be grateful for.

Consider the out-of-control spending and borrowing that are sure to bring on an economic and monetary crisis that could make the Great Depression look like child’s play. A big part of all that federal spending and borrowing is for the warfare state, where the troops play a major role.

Of course, the warfare-state people exclaim, “We’re not at fault. We’re protecting national security. The fault lies with the welfare state side of the federal government. Cut their dole instead of ours.”

But the welfare-state recipients say the same thing — that we can’t touch their Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education grants, and subsidies because they’ve become dependent on the dole and cannot live without it. “Cut the military budget, not our dole,” they cry.

So, are we supposed to thank the troops for the economic and monetary damage they are doing to the country? “Thank you, troops, for contributing to the giant economic and financial crisis that looms on the horizon, which is sure to bring untold misery and suffering to the American people, especially the middle class and the poor.”

Consider all the death and destruction that the troops have been performing in the Middle East for the last 25 years as part of US regime-change operations. The overall death and injury toll is undoubtedly well over a million people. Think of all the homes and business that the troops have destroyed.

What does all that death, destruction, and mayhem have to do with defending our country? Answer: Nothing. That’s because none of the people they killed and maimed were invading the United States or even attempting to invade the United States.

Keep in mind that the troops are over there, not here at home. If they were here at home and some foreign regime invaded the United States, the troops would be defending our country. Over there in the Middle East, the people living there are defending their countries from US troops, who are the invaders.

All that foreign interventionism comes with costs — not just the economic and financial costs of running massive regime-change operations but also in terms of sacrificing our security and our freedom.

Yes, you read that right — the troops are costing us our safety and our freedom. Are we supposed to thank them for that?

Ever since the Persian Gulf War in 1991 against their former partner and ally, Saddam Hussein, the troops have been killing people in Iraq and elsewhere. All those dead people have had friends, family, countrymen, and people who shared their religious convictions. Every time the troops have killed a “terrorist” who has been trying to rid the Middle East of a foreign interloper, ten more terrorists join up to fight the United States.

The American people now live in constant state of fear that the terrorists (or the Muslims) are going to come and get them, take them from their homes, behead them or force them to study the Koran.

What am we supposed to say? “Thank you, troops, for making us a country whose citizens are scared to death that a terrorist (or a Muslim) is hiding under their beds and who are willing to surrender any and all aspects of their liberty for the pretense of security.”

The so-called terrorist threat has been used to take away our freedoms here at home, in the name of keeping us safe from the terrorist threat that US troops have engendered with their ongoing 25-year death machine in the Middle East. The president and his military establishment now wield the power to assassinate any American anywhere in the world, simply by labeling him a terrorist. It’s a power that is non-reviewable by any federal court. It’s also a power that is not enumerated in the Constitution.

The same holds true with indefinite detention, torture, and secret surveillance of American citizens. The military, CIA, and NSA — three major components of the national-security state — can do all of it and the federal courts will not interfere.

What are we supposed to say? “Thank you, troops, for costing the American people their freedom. We are so grateful for your service.”

There are two major steps that Americans need to do to end the destruction of our freedom and economic well-being:

Step One: End all the US interventionism, not only in the Middle East but also all over the world. Stop the killing in Iraq and Afghanistan immediately, bring all the troops home (including those involved in the drug war), and discharge them. This would put an end to anti-American terrorism.

Step Two: Dismantle the entire Cold War era national-security establishment, which primarily consists of the Pentagon, the vast military-industrial complex, the CIA, and the NSA. After all, the Cold War has been over for more than 25 years. Yet, the national-security state, a type of governmental structure that is inherent to totalitarian regimes, is still grafted onto our federal governmental structure. To achieve a free society and to restore a constitutional republic to our land, it needs to go.

Is it possible to bring an end to foreign interventionism and still retain the national-security establishment? Theoretically, yes. But the problem is that as a practical matter, it is the national-security establishment that is the driving force behind the interventionism. It knows that in order to justify its existence, it has to produce crises, which then make people afraid and willing to accept anything to be kept safe, including out of control federal spending and debt and emergency totalitarian powers that destroy freedom here at home.

Unfortunately, the Middle East isn’t the only place where the troops are provoking crises. The national-security establishment is doing the same to Russia in Ukraine and to China in the South China Sea. Provoking crises with nation-states that have the potential of waging nuclear wars against the United States inevitably keeps people on edge and afraid and causes them to defer to whatever the national-security establishment wants.

There is one and only one solution to the warfare-state’s destruction of our economy, our monetary system, and our freedom — to end all the foreign interventionism, bring all the troops home, and dismantle the Cold War era national-security establishment. That’s the key to restoring a peaceful, harmonious, prosperous, secure, and free society to our land.

When that day comes, the troops should thank us for limiting their responsibility to defending our country rather than killing and dying overseas for nothing.

Reprinted with permission from the Future of Freedom Foundation.

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