What Do We Stand For?
Americans traditionally thought of their country as a
"city upon a hill," a "light unto the world."
Today only the deluded think that.
Polls show that the
rest of the world regards the
US and Israel as
the two greatest threats to peace.
This is not surprising. In the words of
Arthur Silber: "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
" [these horrors]?
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
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 US, the
institutions have failed across the board.
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 federal judges
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 know.
Silber reminds us that America once had leaders, such
Speaker of the House Thomas B. Reed and
Senator 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 February 13 the US Senate
barely passed a bill banning torture, and the White
promptly announced that President Bush would veto it.
Torture is now the American way. The US Senate was
only able to muster 51 votes against torture, an
indication that almost a majority of US Senators support
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 torturer.
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 6 of its victims to trial. The vast majority
of the 774 detainees have been quietly released. The US
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 US government
dropped leaflets in Afghanistan offering $25,000 a head
for "terrorists." Kidnappings ensued until the US
government had purchased enough "terrorists" to
validate the "terrorist threat."
The six that the US 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 US. The child soldiers
were fighting in an Afghan civil war. The US 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
US? 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 US 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 following
AP News report, February 14, 2008, should suffice:
"The Bush administration asked the Supreme Court on
Thursday to limit judges` authority to scrutinize
evidence against detainees at Guantanamo Bay."
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 US Constitution.
Andy Worthington`s book, The Guantanamo Files,
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 non-partisan 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 Advisor, Condi Rice, was asked
by Rep. Robert Wexler about the 56 false statements she
replied: "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
Paul Craig Roberts [email
him] 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. 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.