A Wake-up Call
By Paul Craig Roberts
-- -- This is a wake-up call that we are about to
have another 9/11-WMD experience.
The wake-up call is unlikely to
be effective, because the American attitude toward
government changed fundamentally seventy-odd years ago.
Prior to the 1930s, Americans were suspicious of government,
but with the arrival of the Great Depression, Tojo, and
Hitler, President Franklin D. Roosevelt convinced Americans
that government existed to protect them from rapacious
private interests and foreign threats. Today, Americans are
more likely to give the benefit of the doubt to government
than they are to family members, friends, and those who
would warn them about the government’s protection.
Intelligent observers are
puzzled that President Bush is persisting in a futile and
unpopular war at the obvious expense of his party’s
electoral chances in 2008.
In the July 18 Los Angeles
Times (“Bush the Albatross”), Ronald Brownstein reminds us
that Bush’s behavior is disastrous for his political party.
Unpopular presidents “have consistently undercut their party
in the next election.” Brownstein reports that “88% of
voters who disapproved of the retiring president’s job
performance voted against his party’s nominee in past
elections. . . . On average, 80% of voters who disapproved
of a president’s performance have voted against his party’s
candidates even in House races since 1986.”
Brownstein notes that with
Bush’s dismal approval rating, this implies a total wipeout
of the Republicans in 2008.
A number of pundits have
concluded that the reason the Democrats have not brought a
halt to Bush’s follies is that they expect Bush’s unpopular
policies to provide them with a landslide victory next year.
There is a problem with this
reasoning. It assumes that Cheney, Rove,and the Republicans
are ignorant of these facts or are content for the
Republican Party to be destroyed after Bush has his
warmonger-police state fling. “After me, the deluge.”
Isn’t it more likely that
Cheney and Rove have in mind events that will, once again,
rally the people behind President Bush and the Republican
Party that is fighting the “war on terror” that the
Democrats “want to lose”?
Such events could take a number
of forms. As even diehard Republican Patrick J. Buchanan
observed on July 17, with three US aircraft carrier battle
groups in congested waters off Iran, another Tonkin Gulf
incident could easily be engineered to set us at war with
Iran. If Bush’s intentions were merely to bomb a nuclear
reactor, he would not need three carrier strike forces.
Lately, the administration has
switched to blaming Iran for the war in Iraq. The US Senate
has already lined up behind the latest lie with a 97-0 vote
to condemn Iran.
Alternatively, false flag
“terrorist” strikes could be orchestrated in the US. The
Bush administration has already infiltrated some dissident
groups and encouraged them to participate in terrorist talk,
for which they were arrested. It is possible that the
administration could provoke some groups to actual acts of
Many Americans dismiss
suspicion of their government as treasonous, and most
believe conspiracy to be impossible “because someone would
There is no basis in any known
fact for this opinion.
According to polls, 36% of the
American people disbelieve the 9/11 Commission Report.
Despite this lack of confidence, and despite the numerous
omissions and errors in the report, it has proven impossible
to have an independent investigation of 9/11 or to examine
the official explanation in public debate. Even experts and
people with a lifetime of distinguished public service are
dismissed as “conspiracy theorists,” “kooks,” and “traitors”
if they question the official explanation of 9/11. This
despite the fact that war in the Middle East, a long-planned
goal of Bush’s neoconservative administration, could not
have been initiated without a “new Pearl Harbor.”
That powerfully constructed
steel buildings could suddenly turn to dust because they
were struck by two flimsy aluminum airliners and experienced
small fires on a few floors that burned for a short time
appears unexceptionable to a majority of Americans.
Moreover, people have
talked. Hundreds of them. Firefighters, police, janitors,
and others report hearing and experiencing a series of
explosions in upper floors and massive explosions in the
underground basements. This eyewitness testimony was kept
under wraps for three or more years until the official
explanation had taken root. The oral histories were finally
forced loose by freedom of information act suits. The
eyewitness reports of explosion after explosion had no
Larry Silverstein, who received
billions of dollars in insurance payments for the destroyed
buildings, talked. He said on public television that the
order was given “to pull” building 7. His stunning
admission had no effect.
The Bush administration is
preparing us for more terrorist attacks. The latest
intelligence report says that Al Qaeda has regrouped,
rebuilt, and has the ability to come after us again. “Al
Qaeda will intensify its efforts to put operatives here,”
says the report.
Security operatives, such as
Michael Chertoff, and various instruments of administration
propaganda have warned that we will be attacked before next
year’s election. Chertoff is not a person who wants to be
known as Chicken Little for telling us that the sky is
Bush has the Republican Party
in such a mess that it cannot survive without another 9/11.
Whether authentic or orchestrated, an attack will activate
Bush’s new executive orders, which create a dictatorial
police state in event of “national emergency.” [See
The UK government is
hand-in-glove with the Bush administration and will provide
cover or verification for whatever claim the Bush
administration advances. So will the right-wing governments
in Canada and Australia. That takes care of the
English-speaking world from which contrary explanations
might reach the American people.
It is possible that Bush is now
too weak, that suspicion is too great, and that there is too
much internal resistance in the federal bureaucracy and
military for any such scenario. If so, then my prediction
prior to the invasion that the US invasion of Iraq will
destroy Bush, the Republican Party, and the conservative
movement will be proven true. The Democrats’ strategy of
doing nothing except making sure Bush gets his way will
produce the landslide that they expect.
However, this assumes that
Cheney, Rove, and their neoconservative allies have lost
their cunning and their manipulative skills. It is
difficult to imagine a more dangerous assumption for
Democrats and the American people to make.
Once the US experiences new
attacks, Bush will be vindicated. His voice will be
confident as he speaks to the nation: “My administration
knew that there would be more attacks from these terrorists
who hate us and our way of life and are determined to
destroy every one of us. If only more of you had believed
me and supported my war on terror these new attacks would
not have happened. Our security efforts were impaired by
the Democrats’ determined attempts to surrender to the
terrorists by forcing our withdrawal from Iraq and by civil
libertarian assaults on our necessary security measures. If
only more Americans had trusted their government, this would
not have happened.” And so on. Anyone should be able to
write the script.
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: