Lincoln And The War On Terror: A Conservative Reappraisal
The war on terror is creating
media attention and fundraising opportunities for
conservative organizations. It is also creating
confusion of thought among conservatives and,
thereby, opportunities for more centralized government
power and a
Too many Americans are coming to accept that a
successful war on terror requires a police state in
whole or part.
For example, the
Model State Emergency Health Powers Act would give
state governors the
power to order people from their homes and force
them into quarantines, separate parents from children,
impose price controls and rationing, and confiscate guns
and other property.
Supposedly, this is to protect us from germ warfare,
but herding people into confined spaces is the best way
to spread disease.
The Emergency Health Powers Act is sponsored by the
federal agency, Centers for Disease Control.
According to Phyllis Schlafly (www.eagleforum.org),
the bill, conveying
dictatorial powers upon governors, is already moving
through state legislatures.
We are in far more danger from the belief that the
ends justify the means than we are from terrorists.
Fortunately, in our time of need Loyola College
Professor Thomas J. DiLorenzo has stepped forward with a
blockbuster of a book,
“The Real Lincoln,“ just released by Prima
Publishing. Read it and regain perspective.
Lincoln believed that his ends justified his means.
He used war to destroy the U.S. Constitution in order to
establish a powerful central government.
dictatorial military powers. He used them to
suppress all Northern opposition to his illegal and
Lincoln violated every constitutionally guaranteed
civil right. He ignored rulings hand-delivered to him by
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney ordering Lincoln
to respect and faithfully execute the laws of the United
States and to protect civil rights.
Lincoln replied by
suspending habeas corpus, by instituting a
secret police, and by arbitrarily arresting without
warrants or due process thousands of leading citizens of
Northern cities, state legislators, U.S. Congressmen,
newspaper owners and editors, ministers, bankers,
policemen–literally everyone who expressed the
slightest reservation about Lincoln`s aims and means or
who was anonymously denounced by a rival or envious
In the thoroughness with which Lincoln suppressed
dissent, he prefigured 20th century totalitarians.
Lincoln`s “train of abuses” far exceeded those that
provoked our Founding Fathers to declare independence
In conducting the war, Lincoln encouraged his
generals to violate international law, the U.S. Military
Code, and the moral prohibition against waging war on
civilians. Lincoln urged his generals to conduct total
war against the Southern civilian population, to
slaughter them with bombardments, to burn their homes,
barns and towns, to use rape as a weapon of war, to
destroy foodstuffs, and to leave women, children and the
elderly in the cold of winter without shelter or a scrap
In order to carry out Lincoln`s wishes, a new kind of
soldier was needed. General Sherman filled his regiments
big city criminals and
foreigners fresh from the jails of Europe. The war
against the Southern civilian population was fought with
the immigrant soldier.
Professor DiLorenzo writes that had the South won the
war, there is no doubt that Lincoln and his generals,
Grant, Sherman and Sheridan, would have been hung as
war criminals under the Geneva Convention of 1863.
Lincoln was an American Pol Pot, except worse. Pol
Pot`s barbarism was justified by the Marxian doctrine of
class genocide to which he adhered. Lincoln`s barbarism
was prohibited by the morality of his time and the U.S.
Constitution, yet neither deterred him.
Professor DiLorenzo`s greatest contribution is to
show the real reasons for which Lincoln went to war.
Abolishing slavery was not one of them. Lincoln was
determined to destroy the Southern states in order to
remove the constraints that Southern senators and
congressmen, standing in the Jeffersonian tradition,
placed in the way of centralized federal power, high
tariffs, and subsidies to Northern industries.
Lincoln lusted after Empire. The juggernaut he put in
exterminated the Plains Indians with the same
ferocity with which Southern towns and cities were
sacked and pillaged. Far from “saving the union,”
Lincoln utterly destroyed the union achieved by the
Founding Fathers and the U.S. Constitution.
So little is left of accountable government that the
war on terror could very easily bring down the remaining
timbers of a once great house. Conservatives should
rethink their enthusiasm for the police state methods of
the war on terror while there is still time.
Paul Craig Roberts is the author of
The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and
Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name