Criminal in the Living Room
By Paul Craig Roberts
-- -- The media is silent, Congress is absent, and
Americans are distracted as George W. Bush openly prepares
aggression against Iran.
US Navy aircraft carrier strike forces are deployed off
US Air Force jets and missile systems are deployed in bases
in countries bordering or near to Iran.
US B-2 stealth bombers have been refitted to carry 30,000
pound “bunker buster” bombs.
The US government is financing terrorist and separatist
groups within Iran.
US Special Forces teams are conducting terrorist operations
US war doctrine has been altered to permit first strike
nuclear attack on Iran and other non-nuclear countries.
Bush’s war threats against Iran have intensified during the
course of this year. The American people are being fed a
repeat of the lies used to justify naked aggression against
Bush is too self-righteous to see the dark humor in his
denunciations of Iran for threatening “the security of
nations everywhere” and of the Iraqi resistance for “a
vision that rejects tolerance, crushes all dissent, and
justifies the murder of innocent men, women, and children in
the pursuit of political power.” Those are precisely the
words that most of the world applies to Bush and his
Brownshirt administration. The Pew Foundation’s world polls
show that despite all the American and Israeli propaganda
against Iran, the US and Israel are regarded as no less
threats to world stability than demonized Iran.
Bush has discarded habeas corpus and the Geneva Conventions,
justified torture and secret trials, damned critics as
anti-American, and is responsible, according to Information
Clearing House, for over one million deaths of Iraqi
civilians, which puts Bush high on the list of mass
murderers of all time. The vast majority of “kills” by the
US military in Iraq and Afghanistan are civilians.
Now Bush wants to murder more. We have to kill Iranians
“over there,” Bush says, “before they come over here.” There
is no possibility that Iranians or any Muslims who have no
air force, no navy, no modern military technology are going
to “come over here,” and no indication that they plan to do
so. The Muslims are disunited and have been for centuries.
That is what makes them vulnerable to colonial rule. If
Muslims were united, the US would already have lost its army
in Iraq. Indeed, it would not have been able to put an army
Meanwhile the US media focuses on whether Republican Senator
Larry Craig is a homosexual or has offended gays by denying
to be one of them. The run-up for the public’s attention is
why a South Carolina beauty queen cannot answer a simple
question about why her generation is unable to find the
United States on a map.
The war criminal is in the living room, and no official
notice is taken of the fact.
Lacking US troops with which to invade Iran, the Bush
administration has decided to bomb Iran “back into the stone
age.” Punishing air and missile attacks have been designed
not merely to destroy Iran’s nuclear energy projects, but
also to destroy the public infrastructure, the economy, and
the ability of the government to function.
Encouraged by the indifference of both the American media
and Christian churches to the massive casualties inflicted
on Iraqi civilians, the Bush administration will not be
deterred by the prospect of its air attacks inflicting
massive casualties on Iranian civilians. Last summer the
Bush administration demonstrated to the entire world its
total disdain for Muslim life when Bush supported Israel’s
month-long air attack on Lebanese civilian infrastructure
and civilian residences. President Bush blocked the attempt
by the rest of the world to halt the gratuitous murder of
Lebanese civilians and infrastructure destruction. Clearly,
turning the Muslim Middle East into a wasteland is the Bush
policy. For Bush, civilian casualties are a non-issue.
Hegemony uber alles.
The Bush administration has made its war plans for attacking
Iraq and positioned its forces without any prior approval
from Congress. The “unitary executive” obviously doesn’t
believe that an attack on Iran requires the approval of
Congress. By its absence and quietude, Congress seems to
agree that it has no role in the decision.
In the improbable event that Congress were to make any fuss
about Bush’s decision to attack yet another country, the
State Department has devised legalistic cover: simply
declare Iran’s military to be a “terrorist organization” and
go to war under the cover of the existing resolution.
The “Iran issue” has been created by the Bush
administration, not by Iran. Iran, like many other
countries, has a nuclear energy program to which it is
entitled as a signatory to the Nuclear Non- Proliferation
Treaty. Inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency
have found no evidence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran.
The Bush administration has brushed away this fact, which
should be determining, just as the Bush administration
brushed away the fact that weapons inspectors reported,
prior to Bush’s invasion of Iraq, that there were no weapons
of mass destruction in Iraq.
The Bush administration managed to disrupt the work of the
pesky IAEA weapons inspectors in Iran. Iran has been working
successfully with the IAEA and has achieved what a senior
IAEA official recently described as a milestone agreement.
The Bush administration instantly went to work to discredit
the agreement and unleashed its new lapdog, French President
Nicolas Sarkozy, to threaten “the bombing of Iran.”
The Bush administration’s position is legally untenable and
is really nothing but a contrived excuse to start another
war. Bush claims that Iran, alone among all the signatories
of the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty, must be denied its
right under the pact to develop nuclear energy, because
Iran, along among all the other signatories, will be the
only country able to deceive the IAEA inspectors and develop
nuclear weapons. Therefore, Iran must be denied its rights
under the agreement.
Bush’s position on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is
as legally untenable as his position on every other
issue--the Geneva Conventions, the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act, habeas corpus, the constitutional
separation of powers, and presidential signing statements
that he cavalierly attaches to new laws in order to override
the legislative power of Congress. Bush’s position is that
the meaning of laws and treaties varies with his needs of
Bush has declared himself to be the “decider.” The “decider”
decides whether Americans have any rights under the
Constitution and whether Iran has any rights under the
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. As the “decider” has
decided that Iran has no such rights, the “decider” decides
whether to attack Iran. No one else has any say about it.
The people’s representatives are just so much chaff in the
Whatever form of government Bush is operating under, it is
far outside an accountable constitutional democratic
government. Bush has transitioned America to caesarism, and
even if Bush leaves office in January 2009, the powers he
has accumulated in the executive will remain. Unless Bush
and Cheney are impeached and convicted, there is no prospect
of the US Congress and federal judiciary ever again being
co-equal branches of government.
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.
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