Polls Show Many Americans are Simply Dumber Than Bush
By Paul Craig Roberts
-- -- Two recent polls, a Los Angeles
Times/Bloomberg poll and a New York Times/CBS News poll,
indicate why Bush is getting away with impeachable offenses.
Half of the US population is incapable of acquiring, processing
and understanding information.
Much of the problem is the media itself, which serves as a
disinformation agency for the Bush administration. Fox "News"
and right-wing talk radio are the worst, but with propagandistic
outlets setting the standard for truth and patriotism, all of
the media is affected to some degree.
Despite the media's failure, about half the population has
managed to discern that the US invasion of Iraq has not made
them safer and that the Bush administration's assault on civil
liberties is not a necessary component of the war on terror. The
problem, thus, lies with the absence of due diligence on the
part of the other half of the population.
Consider the New York Times/CBS poll. Sixty-four percent of the
respondents have concerns about losing civil liberties as a
result of anti-terrorism measures put in place by President
Bush. Yet, 53
percent approve of spying without obtaining court warrants "in
order to reduce the threat of terrorism."
Why does any American think that spying without a warrant has
any more effect in reducing the threat of terrorism than spying
with a warrant? The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which
Bush is disobeying, requires the executive to obtain from a
secret panel of federal judges a warrant for spying on
Americans. The purpose of the law is to prevent a president from
spying for partisan political reasons. The law permits the
president to spy first (for 72 hours) and then come to the court
for permission. As the court meets in secret, spying without a
warrant is no more effective in reducing the threat of terrorism
than spying with a warrant.
Instead of explaining this basic truth, the media has played
along with the Bush administration and formulated the question
as a trade-off between civil liberties and protection from
terrorists. This formulation is false and nonsensical. Why does
the media enable the Bush administration to escape
accountability for illegal behavior by putting false and
misleading choices before the people?
The LA Times/Bloomberg poll has equally striking anomalies. Only
43 percent said they approved of Bush's performance as
president. But a majority believe Bush's policies have made the
US more secure.
It is extraordinary that anyone would think Americans are safer
as a result of Bush invading two Muslim countries and constantly
threatening two more with military attack. The invasions and
threats have caused a dramatic swing in Muslim sentiment away
from the US.
Prior to Bush's invasion of Iraq, a large majority of Muslims
had a favorable opinion of America. Now only about 5 percent do.
A number of US commanders in Iraq and many Middle East experts
have told the American public that the three year-old war in
Iraq is serving both to recruit and to train terrorists for al
Qaeda, which has grown many times its former size. Moreover, the
US military has concluded that al Qaeda has succeeded in having
its members elected to the new Iraqi government.
We have seen similar developments both in Egypt and in Pakistan.
In the recent Egyptian elections, the radical Muslim
Brotherhood, despite being suppressed by the Egyptian
government, won a large number of seats. In Pakistan elements
friendly or neutral toward al Qaeda control about half of the
government. In Iraq, Bush's invasion has replaced secular Sunnis
with Islamist Shia allied with Iran.
And now with the triumph of Hamas in the Palestinian election,
we see the total failure of Bush's Middle Eastern policy. Bush
has succeeded in displacing secular moderates from Middle
Eastern governments and replacing them with Islamic extremists.
It boggles the mind that this disastrous result makes Americans
What does it say for democracy that half of the American
population is unable to draw a rational conclusion from
Americans share this disability with the Bush administration.
According to news reports, the Bush administration is stunned by
the election victory of the radical Islamist Hamas Party, which
swept the US-financed Fatah Party from office. Why is the Bush
The Bush administration is astonished because it stupidly
believes that hundreds of millions of Muslims should be grateful
that the US has interfered in their internal affairs for 60
years, setting up colonies and puppet rulers to suppress their
aspirations and to achieve, instead, purposes of the US
Americans need desperately to understand that 95 percent of all
Muslim terrorists in the world were created in the past three
years by Bush's invasion of Iraq.
Americans need desperately to comprehend that if Bush attacks
Iran and Syria, as he intends, terrorism will explode, and
American civil liberties will disappear into a thirty year war
that will bankrupt the United States.
The total lack of rationality and competence in the White House
and the inability of half of the US population to acquire and
understand information are far larger threats to Americans than
America has become a rogue nation, flying blind, guided only by
ignorance and hubris. A terrible catastrophe awaits.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in
the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall
Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of
National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good
Intentions.He can be reached at:
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