What Do We Stand For?
By Paul Craig Roberts
--- - Americans traditionally thought
of their country as a "city upon a hill," a "light unto the
world." Today only the deluded think that.
show that the rest of the world regards the
Israel as the two
greatest threats to peace.
This is not surprising. In the
"The Bush administration has
announced to the world, and to all Americans, that this is what
the United States now stands for: a vicious determination to
dominate the world, criminal, genocidal wars of aggression,
torture, and an increasingly brutal and brutalizing
authoritarian state at home. That is what we stand for."
Addressing his fellow Americans,
Silber asks the paramount question: "why do you support"
His question goes to the heart
of the matter. Do we Americans have any honor, any humanity, any
integrity, any awareness of the crimes our government is
committing in our name? Do we have a moral conscience?
How can a moral conscience be
reconciled with our continuing to tolerate our government which
has invaded two countries on the basis of lies and deception,
destroyed their civilian infrastructures and murdered hundreds
of thousands of men, women, and children?
The killing and occupation
continue even though we now know that the invasions were based
on lies and fabricated "evidence." The entire world knows this.
Yet Americans continue to act as if the gratuitous invasions,
the gratuitous killing, and the gratuitous destruction are
justified. There is no end of it in sight.
If Americans have any honor, how
can they betray their Founding Fathers, who gave them liberty,
by tolerating a government that claims immunity to law and the
Constitution and is erecting a police state in their midst?
Answers to these questions vary.
Some reply that a fearful and deceived American public seeks
safety from terrorists in government power.
Others answer that a majority of
Americans finally understand the evil that Bush has set loose
and tried to stop him by voting out the Republicans in November
2006 and putting the Democrats in control of Congress – all to
no effect – and are now demoralized as neither party gives a
hoot for public opinion or has a moral conscience.
The people ask over and over,
"What can we do?"
Very little when the
institutions put in place to protect the people from tyranny
fail. In the U.S., the institutions have failed across the
The freedom and independence of
the watchdog press was destroyed by the media concentration that
was permitted by the Clinton administration and Congress.
Americans who rely on traditional print and TV media simply have
no idea what is afoot.
Political competition failed
when the opposition party became a "me-too" party. The Democrats
even confirmed as attorney general Michael Mukasey, an
authoritarian who refuses to condemn torture and whose rulings
as a federal judge undermined habeas corpus. Such a person is
now the highest law enforcement officer in the United States.
The judicial system failed when
ruled that "state secrets" and "national security" are more
important than government accountability and the rule of law.
The separation of powers failed
when Congress acquiesced to the executive branch's claims of
primary power and independence from statutory law and the
It failed again when the
Democrats refused to impeach Bush and Cheney, the two greatest
criminals in American political history.
Without the impeachment of Bush
and Cheney, America can never recover. The precedents for
unaccountable government established by the Bush administration
are too great, their damage too lasting. Without impeachment,
America will continue to sink into dictatorship in which
criticism of the government and appeals to the Constitution are
criminalized. We are closer to executive rule than many people
Silber reminds us that America
once had leaders, such as Speaker of the House Thomas B. Reed
and Sen. Robert M. LaFollette Sr., who valued the principles
upon which America was based more than they valued their
political careers. Perhaps Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich are of
this ilk, but America has fallen so low that people who stand on
principle today are marginalized. They cannot become speaker of
the House or a leader in the Senate.
Today Congress is almost as
superfluous as the Roman Senate under the caesars. On Feb. 13
the U.S. Senate barely passed a bill banning torture, and the
White House promptly announced that
President Bush would veto it. Torture is now the American
way. The U.S. Senate was only able to muster 51 votes against
torture, an indication that almost a majority of U.S. senators
Bush says that his
administration does not torture. So why veto a bill prohibiting
torture? Bush seems proud to present America to the world as a
After years of lying to
Americans and the rest of the world that Guantanamo prison
contained 774 of "the world's most dangerous terrorists," the
Bush regime is bringing six of its victims to trial. The vast
majority of the 774 detainees have been quietly released. The
U.S. government stole years of life from hundreds of ordinary
people who had the misfortune to be in the wrong place at the
wrong time and were captured by warlords and sold to the stupid
Americans as "terrorists." Needing terrorists to keep the farce
going, the U.S. government dropped leaflets in Afghanistan
offering $25,000 a head for "terrorists." Kidnappings ensued
until the U.S. government had purchased enough "terrorists" to
validate the "terrorist threat."
The six that the U.S. is
bringing to "trial" include two child soldiers for the Taliban
and a car-pool driver who allegedly drove bin Laden.
The Taliban did not attack the
U.S. The child soldiers were fighting in an Afghan civil war.
The U.S. attacked the Taliban. How does that make Taliban
soldiers terrorists who should be locked up and abused in Gitmo
and brought before a kangaroo military tribunal? If a terrorist
hires a driver or a taxi, does that make the driver a terrorist?
What about the pilots of the airliners who brought the alleged
9/11 terrorists to the U.S.? Are they guilty, too?
The Gitmo trials are show
trials. Their only purpose is to create the precedent that the
executive branch can ignore the U.S. court system and try people
in the same manner that innocent people were tried in Stalinist
Russia and Gestapo Germany. If the Bush regime had any real
evidence against the Gitmo detainees, it would have no need for
its kangaroo military tribunal.
If any more proof is needed that
Bush has no case against any of the Gitmo detainees, the
report, Feb. 14, 2008, should suffice: "The Bush
administration asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to limit
judges' authority to scrutinize evidence against detainees at
The reason Bush doesn't want
judges to see the evidence is that there is no evidence except a
few confessions obtained by torture. In the American system of
justice, confession obtained by torture is self-incrimination
and is impermissible evidence under the U.S. Constitution.
Andy Worthington's book,
The Guantanamo Files, and his online articles make it
perfectly clear that the "dangerous terrorists" claim of the
Bush administration is just
another hoax perpetrated on the inattentive American public.
Recently the nonpartisan Center
for Public Integrity issued a report that documents the fact
that Bush administration officials made
935 false statements about Iraq to the American people in
order to deceive them into going along with Bush's invasion. In
recent testimony before Congress, Bush's secretary of state and
former national security adviser, Condi Rice, was asked by Rep.
Robert Wexler about the 56 false statements she made.
"[I] take my integrity very seriously, and I did not at any time
make a statement that I knew to be false." Rice blamed "the
intelligence assessments" which "were wrong."
Another Rice lie, like those
mushroom clouds that were going to go up over American cities if
we didn't invade Iraq. The weapon inspectors told the Bush
administration that there were no weapons of mass destruction in
Iraq, as Scott Ritter has reminded us over and over. Every
knowledgeable person in the country knew there were no weapons.
As the leaked Downing Street memo confirms, the head of British
intelligence told the UK cabinet that the Bush administration
had already decided to invade Iraq and was making up the
intelligence to justify the invasion.
But let's assume that Rice was
fooled by faulty intelligence. If she had any integrity she
would have resigned. In the days when American government
officials had integrity, they would have resigned in shame from
such a disastrous war and terrible destruction based on their
mistake. But Condi Rice, like all the Bush (and Clinton)
operatives, is too full of American self-righteousness and
ambition to have any remorse about her mistake. Condi can still
look herself in the mirror despite one million Iraqis dying from
her mistake and several million more being homeless refugees,
just as Clinton's secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, can
still look herself in the mirror despite sharing responsibility
for 500,000 dead Iraqi children.
There is no one in the Bush
administration with enough integrity to resign. It is a
government devoid of truth, morality, decency, and honor. The
Bush administration is a blight upon America and upon the world.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant
Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term.
He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held
numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon
Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies,
Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover
Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded the Legion of
Honor by French President Francois Mitterrand.
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