Bush`s Defeated Foe: US Civil Liberty
George Orwell warned us, but what American would
have expected that in the opening years of the 21st
century the United States would become a country in
which lies and deception by the President and Vice
President were the basis for a foreign policy of war and
aggression, and in which indefinite detention without
charges, torture, and spying on citizens without
warrants have displaced the Bill of Rights and the US
If anyone had predicted that the
election of George W. Bush to the presidency would
result in an American police state and illegal wars of
aggression, he would have been dismissed as a lunatic.
What American ever would have
thought that any US president and attorney general would
defend torture or that a Republican Congress would pass
a bill legalizing torture by the executive branch and
exempting the executive branch from the Geneva
What American ever would have
expected the US Congress to accept the president`s claim
that he is above the law?
What American could have imagined
that if such crimes and travesties occurred, nothing
would be done about them and that the media and
opposition party would be largely silent?
Except for a few columnists, who
are denounced by "conservatives" as traitors for
defending the Bill of Rights, the defense of US civil
liberty has been limited to the American Civil Liberties
Union, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch.
The few federal judges who have refused to genuflect
before the Bush police state are denounced by attorney
general Alberto Gonzales as a
"grave threat" to US security. Vice president
Richard Cheney called a federal judge`s ruling against
the Bush regime`s illegal and unconstitutional
warrantless surveillance program
"an indefensible act of judicial overreaching."
are so accustomed to denouncing federal judges for
"judicial activism" that Cheney`s charge of
overreach goes down smoothly. Vast percentages of the
American public are simply unconcerned that their
liberty can be revoked at the discretion of a police or
military officer and that they can be held without
evidence, trial or access to attorney and tortured until
they confess to whatever charge their torturers wish to
Americans believe that such things
can only happen to "real terrorists," despite the
overwhelming evidence that most of the Bush regime`s
detainees have no connections to terrorism.
When these points are made to
fellow citizens, the reply is usually that "I`m doing
nothing wrong. I have nothing to fear."
Why, then, did the Founding Fathers
write the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?
American liberties are the result
of an 800 year struggle by the English people to make
law a shield of the people instead of a weapon in the
hands of government. For centuries English speaking
peoples have understood that governments cannot be
trusted with unaccountable power. If the
Founding Fathers believed it was necessary to tie
down a very weak and limited central government with the
Constitution and Bill of Rights, these protections are
certainly more necessary now that our government has
grown in size, scope and power beyond the imagination of
the Founding Fathers.
But, alas, "law and order
conservatives" have been brainwashed for decades
that civil liberties are
unnecessary interferences with the ability of police
to protect us from criminals. Americans have forgot that
need protection from government more than we need
protection from criminals. Once we cut down civil
liberty so that police may better pursue criminals and
terrorists, where do we stand when government turns on
This is the
famous question asked by Sir Thomas More in the
play, A Man for All Seasons.
answer is that we stand naked, unprotected by law. It is
an act of the utmost ignorance and stupidity to assume
that only criminals and terrorists will stand
Americans should be roused to fury
that attorney general Alberto Gonzales and vice
president Cheney have condemned the defense of American
civil liberty as "a grave threat to US security." This
blatant use of an orchestrated and propagandistic fear
to crate a "national security" wedge against the Bill of
Rights is an impeachable offense.
Mark my words, the future of civil
liberty in the US depends on the impeachment and
conviction of Bush, Cheney, and Gonzales.
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
Paul Craig Roberts
him] was Assistant
Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration.
He is the author of
Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider`s Account of
Policymaking in Washington;
and the Soviet Economy and
Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy,
and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of
The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and
Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name
of Justice. Click
here for Peter
Brimelow`s Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts
about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.