Say Good-bye to Democratic Outcomes
The Reign of Tyrants Is at Hand
By Paul Craig Roberts
“It is the absolute responsibility of everybody in uniform to
disobey an order that is either illegal or immoral.”
General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
National Press Club, February 17, 2006.
“They will be held accountable for the decisions they make.
So they should in fact not obey the illegal and immoral orders
to use weapons of mass destruction.” General Peter Pace,
CNN With Wolf Blitzer, April 6, 2003
-- - The surprise decision by the Bush regime to replace
General Peter Pace as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has
been explained as a necessary step to avoid contentious
confirmation hearings in the US Senate. Gen. Pace’s
reappointment would have to be confirmed, and as the general has
served as vice chairman and chairman of the Joint Chiefs for the
past 6 years, the Republicans feared that hearings would give
war critics an opportunity to focus, in Defense Secretary Gates
words, “on the past, rather than the future.”
This is a plausible explanation. Whether one takes it on face
value depends on how much trust one still has in a regime that
has consistently lied about everything for six years.
General Pace himself says he was forced out when he refused to
“take the issue off the table” by voluntarily retiring. Pace
himself was sufficiently disturbed by his removal to strain his
relations with the powers that be by not going quietly.
The Wall Street Journal editorial page interpreted Pace’s
removal as indication that “the man running the Pentagon is
Democratic Senator Carl Levin of Michigan. For that matter, is
George W. Bush still President?”
The Wall Street Journal editorial writers’ attempt to portray
Pace’s departure as evidence of a weak and appeasing
administration does not ring true. An administration that
escalates the war in Iraq in the face of public opposition and
pushes ahead with its plan to attack Iran is not an appeasing
administration. Whether it is the war or Attorney General
Gonzales or the immigration bill or anything else, President
Bush and his Republican stalwarts have told Congress and the
American people that they don’t care what Congress and the
public think. Bush’s signing statements make it clear that he
doesn’t even care about the laws that Congress writes.
A president audacious enough to continue an unpopular and
pointless war in the face of public opinion and a lost election
is a president who is not too frightened to reappoint a general.
Why does Bush run from General Pace when he fervently supports
embattled Attorney General Gonzales? What troops does Bush
support? He supports his toadies.
There are, of course, other explanations for General Pace’s
departure. The most disturbing of these explanations can be
found in General Pace’s two statements at the beginning of this
In the first statement General Pace says that every member of
the US military has the absolute responsibility to disobey
illegal and immoral orders. In the second statement, General
Pace says that an order to use weapons of mass destruction is an
illegal and immoral order.
The context of General Pace’s second statement above (actually,
the first statement in historical time) is his response to
Blitzer’s question whether the invading US troops could be
attacked with Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. But Pace’s
answer does not restrict illegal and immoral only to Iraqi use
of WMD. It is a general statement. It applies to their use
On March 10, 2006, Jorge Hirsch (http://www.antiwar.com/hirsch/?articleid=8678)
made a case that use of nuclear weapons is both illegal and
immoral. Despite the illegality and immorality of first-use of
nuclear weapons, the Bush Pentagon rewrote US war doctrine to
permit their use regardless of their illegality and immorality.
For a regime that not only believes that might is right abut
also that they have the might, law is what the regime says.
The revised war doctrine permits US first strike use of nuclear
weapons against non-nuclear countries. We need to ask ourselves
why the Bush administration would blacken America’s reputation
and rekindle the nuclear arms race unless the administration had
plans to apply its new war doctrine.
Senator Joseph Lieberman, a number of neoconservatives,
prominent Jewish leaders such as Norman Podhoretz, and members
of the Israeli government have called for a US attack on Iran.
Most Republican presidential candidates have said that they
would not rule out the use of nuclear weapons against Iran.
Allegedly, the US Department of State is pursuing diplomacy with
Iran, not war, but Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns gives
the lie to that claim. On June 12 Burns claimed that Iran was
not only arming insurgents in Iraq but also the Taliban in
Afghanistan. Burns’ claims are, to put it mildly, controversial
in the US intelligence community, and they are denied not only
by Iran but also by our puppet government in Afghanistan. On
June 14, Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak told the
Associated Press that Burns’ claim has no credibility.
But, of course, none of the administration’s propagandistic
claims that set the stage for the invasion of Iraq had any
credibility either, and the lack of credibility did not prevent
the claims from deceiving the Congress and the American people.
As the US media now functions as the administration’s Ministry
of Propaganda, the Bush regime believes that it can stampede
Americans with lies into another war.
The Bush regime has concluded that a conventional attack on Iran
would do no more than stir up a hornet’s nest and release
retaliatory actions that the US could not manage. The Bush
regime is convinced that only nuclear weapons can bring the
mullahs to heel.
The Bush regime’s plan to attack Iran with nuclear weapons puts
General Pace’s departure in a different light. How can President
Bush succeed with an order to attack with nuclear weapons when
America’s highest ranking military officer says that such an
order is “illegal and immoral” and that everyone in the military
has an “absolute responsibility” to disobey it?
An alternative explanation for Pace’s departure is that Pace had
to go so that malleable toadies can be installed in his place.
Pace’s departure removes a known obstacle to a nuclear attack on
Iran, thus advancing that possible course of action. A plan to
attack Iran with nuclear weapons might also explain the
otherwise inexplicable “National Security and Homeland Security
Presidential Directive” (NSPD-51 AND HSPD-20) that Bush issued
on May 9. Bush’s directive allows him to declare a “national
emergency” on his authority alone without ratification by
Congress. Once Bush declares a national emergency, he can take
over all functions of government at every level, as well as
private organizations and businesses, and remain in total
control until he declares the emergency to be over.
Who among us would trust Bush, or any president, with this
What is the necessity of such a sweeping directive subject to no
check or ratification?
What catastrophic emergency short of a massive attack on the US
with nuclear ICBMs can possibly justify such a directive?
There is no obvious answer to the question. The federal
government’s inability to respond to Hurricane Katrina is hard
evidence that centralizing power in one office is not the way to
deal with catastrophes.
A speculative answer is that, with appropriate propaganda, the
directive could be triggered by a US nuclear attack on Iran. The
use of nuclear weapons arouses the ultimate fear. A US nuclear
attack would send Russian and Chinese ICBMs into high alert.
False flag operations could be staged in the US. The
propagandistic US media would hype such developments to the
hilt, portraying danger everywhere. Fear of the regime’s new
detention centers would silence most voices of protest as the
regime declares its “national emergency.”
This might sound like a far-out fiction novel, but it is a
scenario that would explain the Bush regime’s disinterest in the
shrinking Republican vote that foretells a massive Republican
wipeout in the 2008 election. In a declared national emergency,
there would be no election.
As implausible as this might sound to people who trust the
government, be aware that despite his rhetoric, Bush has no
respect for democracy. His neoconservative advisors have all
been taught that it is their duty to circumvent democracy, as
democracy does not produce the right decisions. Neoconservatives
believe in rule by elites, and they regard themselves as the
elite. The Bush regime decided that Americans would not agree to
an invasion of Iraq unless they were deceived and tricked into
it, and so we were.
Indeed, democracy is out of favor throughout the Western world.
In the UK and Europe, peoples are being forced, despite their
expressed opposition, into an EU identity that they reject.
British PM Tony Blair and his European counterparts have decided
on their own that the people do not know best and that the
people will be ignored. As former French PM Valery Giscard
d’Estaing told the French newspaper, Le Monde, “Public opinion
will be led to adopt, without knowing it, the proposals that we
dare not present to them directly.” Giscard d’Estaing is
referring to the resurrection of the rejected EU constitution
camouflaged as a treaty. Giscard d’Estaing acknowledges that 450
million Europeans are being hoodwinked. Why should Americans be
surprised that they have been and are being hoodwinked?
Americans might have more awareness of their peril if they
realized that their leaders no longer believe in democratic
Dr. Roberts is an economist who has held numerous university
appointments and served as Assistant Secretary of the US
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