�It is the absolute responsibility of
everybody in uniform to disobey an order that is either illegal or
immoral.� --General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, National
Press Club, February 17, 2006.
�They will be held accountable for the
decisions they make. So they should in fact not obey the illegal and
immoral orders to use weapons of mass destruction.� --General Peter Pace, CNN With Wolf
Blitzer, April 6, 2003
The surprise decision by the Bush regime to replace General
Peter Pace as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has been explained as a
necessary step to avoid contentious confirmation hearings in the US Senate.
Gen. Pace�s reappointment would have to be confirmed, and as the general has
served as vice chairman and chairman of the Joint Chiefs for the past six
years, the Republicans feared that hearings would give war critics an
opportunity to focus, in Defense Secretary Gates words, �on
the past, rather than the future.�
This is a plausible explanation. Whether one takes it on
face value depends on how much trust one still has in a regime that has
consistently lied about everything for six years.
General Pace himself says he was forced out when he refused
to �take the issue off the table� by voluntarily retiring. Pace himself was
sufficiently disturbed by his removal to strain his relations with the powers
that be by not going quietly.
The Wall Street Journal editorial page interpreted
Pace�s removal as indication that �the man running the Pentagon is Democratic
Senator Carl Levin of Michigan. For that matter, is George W. Bush still
Retreat, June 11, 2007]
The Wall Street Journal editorial writers� attempt to
portray Pace�s departure as evidence of a weak and appeasing administration
does not ring true. An administration that escalates the war in Iraq in the
face of public opposition and pushes ahead with its plan to attack Iran is not
an appeasing administration. Whether it is the war or Attorney General
Gonzales or the immigration
bill or anything else, President Bush and his Republican stalwarts have
told Congress and the American people that they don�t care what Congress and
the public think. Bush�s signing statements
make it clear that he doesn�t even care about the laws that Congress writes.
A president audacious enough to continue an unpopular and
pointless war in the face of public opinion and a lost election is a president
who is not too frightened to reappoint a general. Why does Bush run from
General Pace when he fervently supports embattled Attorney General Gonzales?
What troops does Bush support? He supports
There are, of course, other explanations for General Pace�s
departure. The most disturbing of these explanations can be found in General
Pace�s two statements at the beginning of this article.
In the first statement General Pace says that every member
of the US military has the absolute responsibility to disobey illegal and
immoral orders. In the second statement, General Pace says that an order to use
weapons of mass destruction is an illegal and immoral order.
The context of General Pace�s second statement above
(actually, the first statement in historical time) is his response to Blitzer�s
question whether the invading US troops could be attacked with Iraqi weapons of
mass destruction. But Pace�s answer does not restrict illegal and immoral only
to Iraqi use of WMD. It is a general statement. It applies to their use period.
On March 10, 2006, Jorge Hirsch made a case that use of
nuclear weapons is both illegal and immoral. [Gen. Pace to Troops: Don't
Nuke Iran, Antiwar.com] Despite the illegality and immorality of
first-use of nuclear weapons, the Bush Pentagon rewrote US war doctrine to
permit their use regardless of their illegality and immorality. For a regime
that not only believes that might is right but also that they have the might,
law is what the regime says.
The revised war doctrine permits US first strike use of
nuclear weapons against non-nuclear countries. We need to ask ourselves why the
Bush administration would blacken America�s reputation and rekindle the nuclear
arms race unless the administration had plans to apply its new war doctrine.
Senator Joseph Lieberman, a number of neoconservatives,
prominent Jewish leaders such as Norman
Podhoretz, and members of the Israeli government have called for a US attack on Iran.
Most Republican presidential candidates have said that they would not rule out
the use of nuclear
weapons against Iran.
Allegedly, the US Department of State is pursuing diplomacy
with Iran, not war, but Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns gives the lie to
that claim. On June 12 Burns claimed that Iran was not only arming insurgents
in Iraq but also the Taliban in Afghanistan. Burns� claims are, to put it
mildly, controversial in the US intelligence community, and they are denied not
only by Iran but also by our puppet government in Afghanistan. On June 14,
Afghan Defense Minister
Abdul Rahim Wardak told the Associated Press that Burns� claim has no credibility.
But, of course, none of the administration�s propagandistic
claims that set the stage for the invasion of Iraq had any credibility either,
and the lack of credibility did not prevent the claims from deceiving the
Congress and the American people. As the US media now functions as the
administration�s Ministry of Propaganda, the Bush regime believes that it can
stampede Americans with lies into another war.
The Bush regime has concluded that a conventional attack on
Iran would do no more than stir up a hornet�s nest and release retaliatory
actions that the US could not manage. The Bush regime is convinced that only
nuclear weapons can bring the mullahs to heel.
The Bush regime�s plan to attack Iran with nuclear weapons
puts General Pace�s departure in a different light. How can President Bush
succeed with an order to attack with nuclear weapons when America�s highest
ranking military officer says that such an order is �illegal and immoral� and
that everyone in the military has an �absolute responsibility� to
An alternative explanation for Pace�s departure is that Pace
had to go so that malleable toadies can be installed in his place.
Pace�s departure removes a known obstacle to a nuclear
attack on Iran, thus advancing that possible course of action. A plan to attack
Iran with nuclear weapons might also explain the otherwise inexplicable
�National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive� (NSPD-51
AND HSPD-20) that Bush issued on May 9. Bush�s directive allows him to
declare a �national emergency� on his authority alone without ratification by
Congress. Once Bush declares a national emergency, he can take over all
functions of government at every level, as well as private organizations and
businesses, and remain in total control until he declares the emergency to be
Who among us would trust Bush, or any president, with this
What is the necessity of such a sweeping directive subject to
no check or ratification?
What catastrophic emergency short of a massive attack on the
US with nuclear ICBMs can possibly justify such a directive?
There is no obvious answer to the question. The federal
government�s inability to respond to Hurricane Katrina is hard evidence that centralizing
power in one office is not the way to deal with catastrophes.
A speculative answer is that, with appropriate propaganda,
the directive could be triggered by a US nuclear attack on Iran. The use of
nuclear weapons arouses the ultimate fear. A US nuclear attack would send
Russian and Chinese ICBMs into high alert. False flag operations could be
staged in the US. The propagandistic US media would hype such developments to
the hilt, portraying danger everywhere. Fear of the regime�s new detention
centers would silence most voices of protest as the regime declares its
This might sound like a far-out fiction novel, but it is a scenario
that would explain the Bush regime�s disinterest in the shrinking Republican
vote that foretells a massive Republican wipeout in the 2008 election. In a
declared national emergency, there would be no election.
As implausible as this might sound to people who trust the
government, be aware that despite his rhetoric, Bush has no respect for
democracy. His neoconservative advisors have all been taught that it is their
duty to circumvent democracy, as democracy does not produce the right
decisions. Neoconservatives believe in rule by elites, and they regard
themselves as the elite. The Bush regime decided that Americans would not agree
to an invasion of Iraq unless they were deceived and tricked into it, and so we
Indeed, democracy is out of favor throughout the Western
world. In the UK and Europe, peoples are being forced, despite their expressed
opposition, into an EU
identity that they reject. British PM Tony Blair and his European counterparts
have decided on their own that the people do not know best and that the people
will be ignored.
As former French PM Valery Giscard d�Estaing told the
French newspaper, Le Monde, �Public opinion will be led to adopt,
without knowing it, the proposals that we dare not present to them directly.�
Giscard d�Estaing is referring to the resurrection of the rejected
EU constitution camouflaged as a treaty.
Giscard d�Estaing acknowledges that 450 million Europeans
are being hoodwinked. Why should Americans be surprised that they have been and
are being hoodwinked?
Americans might have more awareness of their peril if they
realized that their leaders no longer believe in democratic outcomes.
Craig Roberts [email 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; Alienation
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