Who’s a Traitor?

“Casey knew that the war was wrong from the beginning. But he felt it was his duty to go, that his buddies were going, and that he had no choice. The people who send our young, honorable, brave soldiers to die in this war, have no skin in the game. They don’t have any loved ones in harm’s way. As for people like O’Reilly and Hannity and Michelle Malkin and Rush Limbaugh and all the others who are attacking me and parroting the administration line that we must complete the mission there – they don’t have one thing at stake. They don’t suffer through sleepless nights worrying about their loved ones.”
Cindy Sheehan

International blowhard Bill O’Reilly has decided it’s his duty to smear as a traitor the mother of a dead American soldier for standing up to the “public servant” who sent the young man off to die for lies. Cindy Sheehan is demanding a chance to speak to Bush outside of the Crawford, Texas, pig farm chosen for Bush by his PR men during his presidential run. O’Reilly hides his accusations behind the presumed feelings of unnamed others. In an exchange with the pro-concentration camp Michelle Malkin on the Fox News Channel, he said:

“[S]he’s the lead story on Michael Moore’s Web site on an almost daily basis. And she knows – I mean, Michael Moore isn’t a subtle guy. Everybody knows where he stands. I think Mrs. Sheehan bears some responsibility for this and also for the responsibility of other American families who have lost sons and daughters in Iraq who feel that this kind of behavior borders on treasonous.”

Besides the ridiculous guilt by association (Did you hear she’s friends with a gal who once wrote nice things about Castro and that she obviously hates Jews since she uses the word “neocon”?), what exactly is it that she’s responsible for? The deaths of the kids whose families he invokes? Their sadness?

Treason is the only crime defined in the U.S. Constitution, and the definition is specific, “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.” They did this specifically to prevent the state from being able to label dissent against their policy as treason.

There is nothing that “borders” on treason.

As Lysander Spooner famously explained in 1867:

This is the only definition of treason given by the Constitution, and it is to be interpreted, like all other criminal laws, in the sense most favorable to liberty and justice. Consequently the treason here spoken of, must be held to be treason in fact, and not merely something that may have been falsely called by that name.

“To determine, then, what is treason in fact, we are not to look to the codes of Kings, and Czars, and Kaisers, who maintain their power by force and fraud; who contemptuously call mankind their ‘subjects;’ who claim to have a special license from heaven to rule on earth; who teach that it is a religious duty of mankind to obey them; who bribe a servile and corrupt priest-hood to impress these ideas upon the ignorant and superstitious; who spurn the idea that their authority is derived from, or dependent at all upon, the consent of their people; and who attempt to defame, by the false epithet of traitors, all who assert their own rights, and the rights of their fellow men, against such usurpations.

“Instead of regarding this false and calumnious meaning of the word treason, we are to look at its true and legitimate meaning in our mother tongue; at its use in common life; and at what would necessarily be its true meaning in any other contracts, or articles of association, which men might voluntarily enter into with each other.

“The true and legitimate meaning of the word treason, then, necessarily implies treachery, deceit, breach of faith. Without these, there can be no treason. A traitor is a betrayer – one who practices injury, while professing friendship. Benedict Arnold was a traitor, solely because, while professing friendship for the American cause, he attempted to injure it.”

Here Spooner, a Boston Yankee, is defending those who had, in fact, renounced their allegiance to the state and waged war against it. All Cindy Sheehan, self-described “true patriot,” is doing is demanding to know the answer to her question, “Why did my son die in Iraq?” She has not committed any “overt acts” on behalf of The Terrorists™, she just opposes this war.

The reason of a man like Spooner is no match for the feelings of a man like O’Reilly, who never misses the opportunity to take the side of the state against an individual, so let’s go ahead and accept his definition of treason for the sake of argument. Since Bill can’t bring himself to speak directly when leveling such accusations, let’s go with the idea that those who argue for policies that supposedly help our enemies are traitors, e.g., Michael Moore and his co-conspirator Cindy Sheehan.

So far the war in Iraq has cost 1,846 American lives with more than 14,000 wounded. More than $300 billion has been wasted as Congress raises the debt ceiling to $9 trillion, the value of the money is being destroyed through inflation, and prices have soared – including oil, which is now over $65 per barrel. Bond-holders, bomb-makers [.pdf], and base-builders are making a killing off the taxpayers, while the economy suffers. Some fear economic catastrophe; some actually hope an economic collapse will hurry up and destroy the U.S. before we start World War III.

The experts at the CIA, the Royal Institute for International Affairs [.pdf], as well as an Israeli think tank and the Saudi government, along with about everyone on earth who doesn’t work for Fox News, can see that the war in Iraq has greatly expanded the number of jihadists bent on killing Americans. It is exactly what bin Laden wanted.

The Iranian mullahs have a large new province, having long ago won the loyalty of the SCIRI and Da’wa parties’ leadership. Hopefully this will not be just one more excuse to invade them. The U.S. is well on the way to becoming the international “rogue state” that we’re always invading others for being (China is now more popular in worldwide polls). The PATRIOT Act, the Department of Homeland Security, and so-called “enemy combatant” status for Americans are destroying the rights and separations of power that made America a great place to live in the first place.

The really interesting part is who did the lying: a cabal of ex-Trotskyite egghead civilian appointees to the Pentagon (none of whom were ever in the military, and one of whom has been indicted [.pdf] for spying), who had planned to invade Iraq for years as part of their “Clean Break” strategy for Israel. They funneled the lies of Ahmed Chalabi, who, it turns out, was working for Iran all along, to the administration via their “stovepipe” to the vice president‘s office, who fed them to us.

Two weeks ago, Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari went to Iran to lay a wreath at the grave of the Ayatollah Khomenei. The majority of Iraq’s elected officials want to enshrine sharia law in the new constitution. Barbers are being murdered by the “police” in Basra, once the freest city in Iraq, for giving a man a shave and a haircut. That is the freedom the U.S. has brought to Iraq. The mission is complete: Majority rule is taking hold in Iraq, and if you think this is failure, just wait until the full-blown civil war breaks out.

George Bush says that to “just pull out,” (not a very manly thing to do) would “send a terrible message to the terrorists.” Never mind the local insurgents who want us out. No, must stay for at least a decade to advance the “Global Democratic Revolution” across the Middle East – and to create a million more terrorists to kill later. Never mind that Bush has at this late date, besides repeating the foolish refrain “he refused to disarm,” reduced his pathetic excuses for invading Iraq in the first place to Abu Nidal, who had been dead since 2002, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, whose “terrorist base” was up in Kurdistan, which, beneath the “no-fly zones,” was basically an autonomous region controlled by our friends Barzani and Talabani. It has been revealed that the U.S. military had wanted to go in and kill Zarqawi, but Bush would not let them attack for fear it would undercut their fake excuse for war.

Bill O’Reilly keepsmouthing this far left position” that the U.S. should tax and spend around the world, smashing societies and then socially engineering them back to wonderful “democratic” health for the greater good. Add to this his national-socialist “populist” brownshirt mentality – “you’re either with me, or you’re my enemy” – and you have two positions that couldn’t be more destructive to the future of this country if they were designed by agents of the old KGB.

So, Bill, who is the traitor?

Author: Scott Horton

Scott Horton is editorial director of Antiwar.com, director of the Libertarian Institute, host of Antiwar Radio on Pacifica, 90.7 FM KPFK in Los Angeles, California and podcasts the Scott Horton Show from ScottHorton.org. He’s the author of the 2021 book Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism, the 2017 book, Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan, and the editor of the 2019 book, The Great Ron Paul: The Scott Horton Show Interviews 2004–2019. He’s conducted more than 5,500 interviews since 2003. Scott’s articles have appeared at Antiwar.com, The American Conservative magazine, the History News Network, The Future of Freedom, The National Interest and the Christian Science Monitor. He also contributed a chapter to the 2019 book, The Impact of War. Scott lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, investigative reporter Larisa Alexandrovna Horton. He is a fan of, but no relation to the lawyer from Harper’s. Scott’s Twitter, YouTube, Patreon.