What’s Become of Americans?
By Paul Craig Roberts
-- -- Imagine knocking on America’s door
and being told, "Americans don’t live here any longer. They have
But isn’t that what we are hearing, that Americans have gone
away? Alan Shore told us so on ABC’s Boston Legal on March 14:
When the weapons of mass destruction thing turned out not to be
true, I expected the American people to rise up. They didn't.
Then, when the Abu Ghraib torture thing surfaced and it was
revealed that our government participated in rendition, a
practice where we kidnap people and turn them over to régimes
who specialize in torture, I was sure then the American people
would be heard from. We stood mute.
Then came the news that we jailed thousands of so-called
terrorist suspects, locked them up without the right to a trial
or even the right to confront their accusers. Certainly, we
would never stand for that. We did.
And now, it's been discovered the executive branch has been
conducting massive, illegal, domestic surveillance on its own
citizens. You and me. And I at least consoled myself that
finally, finally the American people will have had enough.
Evidently, we haven't.
In fact, if the people of this country have spoken, the message
is we're okay with it all. Torture, warrantless search and
seizure, illegal wiretappings, prison without a fair trial or
any trial, war on false pretenses. We, as a citizenry, are
apparently not offended.
There are no demonstrations on college campuses. In fact,
there's no clear indication that young people even seem to
notice. . . .
The Secret Service can now declare free speech zones to contain,
control and, in effect, criminalize protest. Stop for a second
and try to fathom that. At a presidential rally, parade or
appearance, if you have on a supportive t-shirt, you can be
there. If you’re wearing or carrying something in protest, you
can be removed.
This! In the United States of America.
Readers tell me that Americans don’t live here any more. They
ask what responsible American citizenry would put up with the
trashing of the Bill of Rights and the separation of powers,
with wars based on deception, and with pathological liars in
control of their government? One reader recently wrote that he
believes that "no element of the U.S. government has been left
untainted" by the lies and manipulations that have driven away
accountability. So-called leaders, he wrote, "talk a great story
of American pride and patriotism," but in their hands patriotism
is merely a device for "cynical manipulation and fraud."
The Bush regime acknowledges that 30,000 Iraqi civilians,
largely women and children, have been killed as a result of
Bush’s invasion. Others who have looked at civilian casualties
with greater attention have come up with numbers three to six
times as large. The Johns Hopkins study accounted for 98,000
civilian deaths. Patrick Cockburn, using more sophisticated
statistical analysis, concluded that 180,000 Iraqis died as a
result of Bush’s invasion. The former prime minister Iyad Allawi
says that Iraqi sectarian violence alone is claiming 50–60
deaths per day, or 18,000–22,000 annually, a figure that could
Some were killed by “smart bombs” that weren’t very smart and
dropped on hospitals, schools, and weddings. Others were
mistaken for resistance fighters and killed. Still others were
killed by spooked, trigger-happy U.S. troops. And many died due
to the breakdown of the Iraqi health system.
Now comes a report in the online edition of Time magazine that
U.S. Marines went on a rampage in the village of Haditha and
deliberately slaughtered 15 unarmed Iraqis in their homes. The
Iraqis were still in their bed clothes, and 10 of the 15 were
women and children.
The Marines turned in a false report that the civilians were
killed by an insurgent bomb. But the evidence of wanton carnage
was too powerful. Pressed by Time’s collection of evidence, U.S.
military officials in Baghdad opened an investigation. Time
reports that "according to military officials, the inquiry
acknowledged that, contrary to the military’s initial report,
the 15 civilians killed on Nov. 19 died at the hands of the
Marines, not the insurgents. The military announced last week
that the matter has been handed over to the Naval Criminal
Investigative Service, which will conduct a criminal
If this story is true, under Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush’s
leadership, proud and honorable U.S. Marines have degenerated
into the Waffen SS. Those of us raised on John Wayne war movies
find this very hard to take.
A fish rots from the head. Clearly, deception in the Oval Office
is corrupting the U.S. military. One reader reported that on
March 19 his local PBS station aired a program which discussed
the deaths of two young American soldiers in friendly fire
incidents similar to Pat Tillman’s death. In each case, he
reports, "elements within the military falsified reports and
attempted to shift blame to either enemy combatants or allied
The neocons have yet to tell us the real reason for their
assault on Iraq, which has so far produced 20,000 dead, maimed,
and wounded U.S. soldiers, between 30,000 and 180,000 (and
rising) dead Iraqis, and demoralized U.S. Marines to the point
that they commit atrocities on women and children.
Would real Americans accept these blows for the sake of an
undeclared agenda? Perhaps it is true that Americans don’t live
here any longer.
Dr. Roberts [send
is Chairman of the
Institute for Political Economy and Research Fellow at the
Independent Institute. He is a former associate editor of
the Wall Street Journal, former contributing editor for
National Review, and a former assistant secretary of the
Copyright © 2006 LewRockwell.com