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Anti-war conference unites against militarism, mobilizes young adults

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The Texas Millennial Institute held an anti-war conference Saturday on the Texas Christian University campus with speakers and panellists rebuking the prevailing militarist foreign policy of the United States government.

Noelle Mandell, co-founder of the non-partisan TMI, said at the closing of the conference, “We’re not threatened by the world around us, and we don’t feel a need to cower in fear behind a war machine.”

Approximately 100 attendees met for the day-long event, according to Mandell, which featured an opening speech from Ghada Mukdad, who immigrated from Syria in 2012. She spoke from personal experience about the breakdown of civil society that takes place during wartime and the difficulty it causes distinguishing friend from foe. The attendance consisted mostly of millennials, young adults born between 1980 and 2000.

The keynote speech from the Future of Freedom Foundation president Jacob Hornberger called for dismantling the national security establishment, saying it is “a perpetual terrorist-producing machine.” He cautioned that agencies of a government even with limited powers acting in secret effectively make “a government of unlimited powers.”

Nationally syndicated radio host Scott Horton, antiwar.com director Angela Keaton, and CATO Institute scholar Ted Galen Carpenter recounted episodes of foreign intervention during their speeches.

Horton argued that empire exerts itself through a sense of omnipotence, “making this seem inevitable, seem like the consensus of everybody who knows anything.”

During a question-and-answer session, Keaton offered a preliminary class analysis that the imperial ruling class maintains the power of elites by splitting the solidarity of workers. She added, “It’s really, really important that the poor in the United States never, ever discuss their plight or discuss the economic system or discuss the empire or discuss why their children get recruited for the military.”

TMI has other single-issue conferences scheduled this year addressing immigration and public choice theory.

Notable quotes

I know you all heard a million times that the reason they [the Bush administration] did the [second Iraq] war was that they wanted to bring democracy to the people of Iraq. Well, that’s just a lie, and here’s the simple proof of it. They only wanted to bring democracy to countries where they don’t own the dictator: Iran, Iraq and Syria. — Scott Horton

You guys must be sick to death to hear about how Hillary [Clinton, the United States secretary of state] didn’t provide good enough security for the American ambassador in Benghazi on the attack of Sept. 11, 2012. Well what the hell was he doing in Benghazi? Why was he stationed in the hornet’s nest of al-Qaeda fighters? Because high treason, that’s why. He was there because America took the side of our enemies, and they put our ambassador in the middle of his enemies. … We’re supposed to say the scandal was he didn’t have enough security and not the scandal was he and the CIA were running an operation funnelling al-Qaeda fighters and weapons to go to overthrow another secular dictator. — Scott Horton

The entire time America has been so-called backing the rebels, all they have really been doing is funnelling guns and money to our enemies, to al-Qaeda. It’s not even plausible deniability. … If you watch TV news or listen to NPR in the last week, you’ve heard them crying their eyes out that the Russians are bombing more than just ISIS. They promised to just bomb ISIS, but they are bombing others too. Like, al-Qaeda, you mean? They are mad [the Russians] are bombing al-Qaeda, because al-Qaeda works for America right now. — Scott Horton

The military-industrial complex, the media, and think tanks do such an outstanding job of making this seem inevitable, seem like the consensus of everybody who knows anything. … There are 300 million of the rest of us who don’t have a vested interest in this empire. And even though TV makes it seem like we have everything to lose if the empire were forced to come home, it’s just not true. — Scott Horton

Where I come from a particular background, the empire to me is a symbol of sexism and homophobia and racism and some of the most horrible -isms, collectivism basically, about the ways we think about people. It perpetuates ugliness. — Angela Keaton

I tried avoid discussion over the Confederate flag because when I saw that, I saw the police, the church of the great state, between poor white people and poor black people. It’s really, really important that the poor in the United States never, ever discuss their plight or discuss the economic system or discuss the empire or discuss why their children get recruited for the military. Because if anyone starts to ask those questions, there is enough of a critical mass, and there is going to be problems for the elite. — Angela Keaton

The essence of privilege when you live under the empire, no matter what your condition, is that you are not the one being droned, not yet anyway. — Angela Keaton

You can’t have a free society when your government operates in secret. — Jacob Hornberger

A government that operates in secret is an unlimited government. — Jacob Hornberger

Just like Smedley Butler said, “War is a racket.” The whole national security establishment is one big racket. — Jacob Hornberger

Event: Foreign policy conference at TCU on Saturday

The Texas Millennial Institute is hosting a foreign policy conference Saturday, Oct. 10, on the Texas Christian University campus.

“Make Conversation, Not War” is a free day-long event that begins at 10 a.m. and runs until 6 p.m. in the Brown-Lupton University Union Ballroom. The speakers list includes Angela Keaton, Jacob Hornberger and Scott Horton. The schedule should be available later in the week.

Offical registration for the event is available here. Updates are available on the Facebook event page.