Failed States: The US and Israel

Growing references by the US and Israel to the Muslim
Middle East as a collection of failed states are part of
the propaganda campaign to strip legitimacy from Muslim
states and set them up for attack. These accusations
spring from the hubris of many Israelis, who see
themselves as "God`s Chosen People," a guarantee
of immunity instead of a call to responsibility, and
many Americans, who regard their country as

"a city upon a hill"
that is "the light of
the world."


But do the US and Israel fit the profile of successful
states – or are they failed states themselves?


A compelling case can be made that the US and Israel are
failed states. Israel allegedly is a democracy, but it
is controlled by a minority of Zionist zealots who
commit atrocities against Palestinians in order to
provoke terrorist acts that are then used to perpetuate
the right-wing`s hold on political power. Israel has
perfected blowback as a tool of political control. The
Israeli state relies entirely on coercion and has no
diplomacy. It stands isolated in the world except for
the US, which sustains Israel`s existence with money,
military weapons, and the US veto in the United Nations.


Israel survives on life support from the US. A state
that cannot exist without outside support is a failed

What about the United States?


The US is an even greater failure. Its existence is not
dependent on life support from outside. The US has
failed in another way. Not only has the state failed,
but the society as well.


The past six years have seen the rise of dictatorial
power in the executive and the collapse of the
separation of powers mandated by the US Constitution.
The president has declared himself to be

"The Decider."
 The power to decide includes the
meaning and intent of laws passed by Congress and
whether the laws apply to the executive. President Bush
has openly acknowledged that he disobeyed the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act and unlawfully spied on
Americans without warrants. Bush and his Attorney
General could not make it more clear that their position
is that Bush is above the law.


It is also Bush`s position that he is above the
Constitution. Bush and his Attorney General maintain
that as commander-in-chief in "the war on terror,"
the executive has the power to decide the applicability
of civil liberties guaranteed in the Constitution. The
US Department of Justice (sic) has taken the position
that this decision is an executive decision alone beyond
the authority of the judiciary and the legislature.


An enfeebled and eviscerated Congress has acquiesced in
the growth of executive power, even legislating
unconstitutional executive powers into law. The Decider
has grabbed the power to arrest people on accusation
alone and to detain them indefinitely without charges or
evidence. He has obtained the right to torture those
whom he arrests. The Geneva Conventions do not apply to
the US president, declares the Regime. Bush has obtained
the right to commit people to death in military
tribunals on the basis of hearsay and secret evidence


The Bush Regime has succeeded in moving the American
state off the basis on which the Founding Fathers set


The Bush Regime led the American people to war in Iraq
based entirely on lies and deception. This is a known
and undisputed fact. Congress has done nothing
whatsoever about this monstrous crime and impeachable


Under the Nuremberg standard, unprovoked aggression is a
war crime. The US established this standard. Bush has
violated it with impunity.


Bush and his Attorney General assert Bush`s power to
attack Iran independently of a Congressional declaration
of war or any form of congressional approval. Bush
claims that his power to attack Iran is merely an
extension of his present power to conduct war in Iraq, a
power seized on the basis of lies and deception.


Congress has taken no action to disabuse Bush of his


Bush`s preparations for attacking Iran are highly
visible. The entire world can see the preparations and
expects the attack. Congress is mute in the face of a
catastrophic widening of a war to which a large majority
of the American people are now opposed.


In national elections three months ago, the American
people used democracy in an unsuccessful attempt to
restrain the Bush Regime from its warmongering ways by
defeating the Republican Party and giving control of
both houses of Congress to Democrats.


Instead of acting, the Democrats have postured.


Indeed, some have joined Bush in his warmongering.
Hillary Clinton, regarded as the frontrunner for the
Democratic Presidential nomination, recently
at an affair hosted by the American Israel
Public Affairs Committee, a leading instigator of war
with Iran, that Iran is a danger to the US and a great
threat to Israel.


Hillary`s claims are preposterous. Israel has large
numbers of nuclear weapons and delivery systems. Iran
has none. Iran has no ability to harm the US and would
have no motive except for the Bush Regime`s gratuitous


A state in which a leading contender for the
presidential nomination can make utterly absurd claims
and suffer no consequence is a failed state.


The United States is a failed state, because in the US
it is not possible for leadership to emerge. Politics is
controlled by powerful interest groups, such as AIPAC,
the military-industrial complex, transnational
corporations, and "security" agencies that are
accumulating vast amounts of unaccountable power. The
American people spoke in November and it means nothing


The people are enfeebled because the media no longer has
independence. The US media serves as propagandist for
the state. It cannot be otherwise in a highly
concentrated media run not by journalists but by
advertising executives protecting stock values that
derive from federal broadcast licenses granted by the


Like the three monkeys, Congress sees no evil, the media
speaks no evil, and the people hear no evil. In the US
"news" consists of the government`s propaganda.
"News" in America is exactly like the "news"
in George Orwell`s 1984.


The US is a failed state, because it is not true to any
of the principles upon which it was established. All
over the world today, America is seen as a rogue state,
a hegemonic evil, and as the greatest threat to peace
and stability. In its new identify, America is the total
opposite of the Founding Fathers intention. There is no
greater failure than that.


Academics differentiate between failed states and rogue
states. The US and Israel meet both criteria. The US and
Israel lead the world in aggressive military actions and
in killings of civilian populations. Both countries meet
the main indicators of failed states as published in

Foreign Policy`s 2005
Failed States Index.


The leading indicators of failed states are inequality
(not merely poverty), "criminalization or
delegitimization of the state, which occurs when state
institutions are regarded as corrupt, illegal, or
and "demographic factors,
especially population pressures stemming from refugees"

and "internally displaced populations."


All economic indicators show that income and wealth
inequality is rapidly increasing in the US. The growth
in inequality is the result of the state`s policy that
favors shareholders and corporate executives at the
expense of American workers.


The income differences between Israelis and ghettoized
Palestinians are huge.


Trials and investigations of leading political figures
in the US and Israel are an ongoing occurrence.
Currently, the former chief-of-staff of the vice
president of the US is on trial for lying to the FBI in
an attempt to obstruct an investigation into the Bush
Regime`s illegal disclosure of an undercover CIA
operative. The accused claims he is the fall guy for
higher ups.


In Israel the president of the country is accused of
rape and faces indictment.


Both the US and Israel routinely ignore international
law and are accused of committing war crimes by human
rights organizations. The US Congress stands revealed as
totally ineffective and unwilling to constrain the
executive. The American people have learned that they
cannot change the government`s policies through
elections. By fomenting the demise of the civil
liberties that they are sworn to uphold, President Bush
and Attorney General Gonzales have delegitimized the
American state, turning it into an instrument of


Israel`s policies in the West Bank have displaced a
million Palestinians, forcing them to be refugees from
their own land. Jordan is filled with Palestinian
refugees, and Palestinian existence in the West Bank is
being increasingly confined to ghettos cut off from farm
land, schools, medical care and from other Palestinians.
President Jimmy Carter has described Israeli-occupied
Palestine as



For decades in the

face of public opposition
the US government has
encouraged massive legal and illegal immigration of
diverse peoples

whose failure to assimilate
is balkanizing the US

Economic refugees from Mexico
are changing the
culture and allegiance of entire sections of the
American southwest, and

racial animosities
are on the rise.


In a

recent interview,
Noam Chomsky defined one
characteristic of a failed state as a "democratic
deficit, that is, a substantial gap between public
policy and public opinion."
We see this gap in
Bush`s decision to escalate the war in Iraq despite the
opposition of 70% of the American public. What does
democracy mean if elected leaders ignore public opinion?


Another characteristic of failed states is the failure
to protect their own citizens. Israel`s aggressive
policies against Palestinians provoke terror attacks on
Israeli citizens. These attacks are then used to justify
more oppression of Palestinians, which leads to more
terror. Bush`s military aggression in the Middle East is
the main cause of any terror threats that Americans now


Another characteristic of a failed state is the
departure of citizens. Many Israelis, seeing no future
for Israel in the government`s hostility to Arabs, are
leaving Israel. Among Israelis themselves, the
legitimacy of the Israeli state is so endangered that
the Knesset has just passed a law to revoke the
citizenship of "unpatriotic" Israelis.


In the US a large percentage of the population has lost
confidence in the government`s veracity. Polls show that
40% of Americans do not believe the government`s story
that the 9/11 attacks were the work of Arab terrorists.
Many believe the attack was a "false flag"
operation carried out by elements in the Bush Regime in
order to create public acceptance for its planned
invasions in the Middle East.


A state that cannot tolerate moral conscience in its
soldiers is a failed state. The failure of the American
state can be seen it its prosecution of Lt. Ehren Watada.
Watada comes from a family with a military heritage. His
response to the 9/11 attack was to join the military.
Diagnosed with asthma, he failed his physical, but
persevered and ended up with an officer`s commission.


Watada`s problem is that he can recognize a war crime
even when it is committed by a might-makes-right state.
The Abu Ghraib prison tortures and the evidence that
Bush deceived Americans about weapons of mass

caused Watada
to realize that he was on the wrong
side of the Nuremberg Principles, the UN Charter, and
the US military code, which says American soldiers have
an obligation to disobey unlawful orders. He signed up
to serve his country, not to kill people for illegal and
immoral reasons.


Watada refused to deploy to Iraq. He is being tried for
refusing deployment and for suggesting that President
Bush deceived Americans.

By now every attentive American knows that Bush deceived
them, and our greatest patriots have said so. Watada is
on trial for suggesting what everyone knows to be true.
He is not being tried for veracity. He is being tried
for speaking the truth.


Failure to deploy is a more understandable charge. There
is no army if soldiers do not follow orders. However, as
the US established at the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal,
following orders is not an excuse for participating in
war crimes. At the Nazi war crimes trials, it was the US
that insisted that soldiers were responsible for using
judgment about the legality of their orders.


That is what Lt. Watada did. His trial will not broach
the subject of whether his judgment was correct. The
evidence against him will merely be that he did not


By trying Lt. Watada the US government is insisting that
American troops are not responsible for judging the
legality of their orders, only for following them. The
standard applied to WW II Germans is too high to be
applied to Americans.


In a draft army, Watada`s refusal to accept illegal
orders could be used by conscripted cannon fodder to
derail the state`s intended aggression. However, in a
voluntary army in which soldiers seek to serve,
permitting Lt. Watada to have his conscience does not
imperil the command structure. Others less thoughtful
and less aware will carry forth the state`s enterprise.


The case against Israel and the US does not preclude
some Muslim states from also meeting the criteria for
failure. However, Iraq, an artificial creation of
Western colonial powers, was driven into failure and
civil war by American aggression. Iran, a nation with a
5,000 year history, is certainly not a failed state. The
main failed states in the Middle East are those that are
US puppets. They represent American hegemony, not the
interests of their people.


What the US and Israel are attempting to do is to turn
the entire Muslim Middle East into failed states, that
is, into puppet regimes. By extending their hegemony in
the Middle East, the US and Israel hope to prolong their
own failed existence.



Paul Craig Roberts

] 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

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

for Peter
Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts
about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.