What was the
greatest failure of 2007? President Bush's "surge" in Iraq? The
decline in the value of the US dollar? Subprime mortgages? No. The greatest
failure of 2007 was the newly sworn in Democratic Congress.
The American people's attempt in November 2006 to rein in a
rogue government, which has committed the US to costly military adventures
while running roughshod over the US Constitution, failed. Replacing Republicans
with Democrats in the House and Senate has made no difference.
The assault on the US Constitution by the Democratic Party
is as determined as the assault by the Republicans. On October 23, 2007, the
House passed a bill sponsored by California Democratic Congresswoman Jane
Harman, chairwoman of a Homeland Security subcommittee, which overturns the
constitutionally guaranteed rights to free expression, association, and
The bill passed the House on a vote of 404-6. In the Senate
the bill is sponsored by Maine Republican Susan Collins and apparently faces no
Harman's bill is called the "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism
Prevention Act." When HR 1955 becomes law, it will create a
commission tasked with identifying extremist people, groups, and ideas. The
commission will hold hearings around the country, taking testimony and
compiling a list of dangerous people and beliefs. The bill will, in short,
create massive terrorism in the United States. But the perpetrators of
terrorism will not be Muslim terrorists; they will be government agents and
We are beginning to see who will be the inmates of the
detention centers being built in the US by Halliburton under government
Who will be on the "extremist beliefs" list? The
answer is: civil libertarians, critics of Israel, 9/11 skeptics, critics of the
administration's wars and foreign policies, critics of the administration's use
of kidnapping, rendition, torture and violation of the Geneva Conventions, and
critics of the administration's spying on Americans. Anyone in the way of a
powerful interest group -- such as environmentalists opposing politically
connected developers -- is also a candidate for the list.
The "Extremist Beliefs Commission" is the
mechanism for identifying Americans who pose "a threat to domestic
security" and a threat of "homegrown terrorism" that
"cannot be easily prevented through traditional federal intelligence or
law enforcement efforts."
This bill is a boon for nasty people. That SOB who stole
your girlfriend, that hussy who stole your boyfriend, the gun owner next door
-- just report them to Homeland Security as holders of extreme beliefs.
Homeland Security needs suspects, so they are not going to check. Under the new
regime, accusation is evidence. Moreover, "our" elected
representatives will never admit that they voted for a bill and created an
"Extremist Belief Commission" for which there is neither need nor
That boss who harasses you for coming late to work -- he's a
good candidate to be reported; so is that minority employee that you can't fire
for any normal reason. So is the husband of that good-looking woman you have
been unable to seduce. Every kind of quarrel and jealousy can now be settled
with a phone call to Homeland Security.
Soon Halliburton will be building more detention centers.
Americans are so far removed from the roots of their liberty
that they just don't get it. Most Americans don't know what habeas corpus
is or why it is important to them. But they know what they want, and Jane
Harman has given them a new way to settle scores and to advance their own
Even educated liberals believe that the US Constitution is a
"living document" that can be changed to mean whatever it needs to
mean in order to accommodate some new important cause, such as abortion and
legal privileges for minorities and the handicapped. Today it is the "war
on terror" that the Constitution must accommodate. Tomorrow it can be the
war on whomever or whatever.
Think about it. More than six years ago the World Trade
Center and Pentagon were attacked. The US government blamed it on al Qaeda. The
9/11 Commission Report has been subjected to criticism by a large number of
qualified people -- including the commission's chairman and co-chairman.
Since 9/11 there have been no terrorist attacks in the US.
The FBI has tried to orchestrate a few, but the "terrorist plots"
never got beyond talk organized and led by FBI agents. There are no visible
extremist groups other than the neoconservatives that control the government in
Washington. But somehow the House of Representatives overwhelmingly sees a need
to create a commission to take testimony and search out extremist views
(outside of Washington, of course).
This search for extremist views comes after President Bush
and the Justice [sic] Department declared that the president can ignore
habeas corpus, ignore the Geneva
Conventions, seize people without evidence, hold them indefinitely without
presenting charges, torture them until they confess to some made up crime, and
take over the government by declaring an emergency. Of course, none of these
"patriotic" views are extremist.
The search for extremist views follows also the granting of
contracts to Halliburton to build detention centers in the US. No member of
Congress or the executive branch ever explained the need for the detention
centers or who the detainees would be. Of course, there is nothing extremist
about building detention centers in the US for undisclosed inmates.
Clearly the detention centers are not meant to just stand
there empty. Thanks to 2007's greatest failure -- the Democratic Congress --
there is to be an "Extremist Beliefs Commission" to secure inmates
for Bush's detention centers.
President Bush promises us that the wars he has launched
will cause the "untamed fire of freedom" to "reach the darkest
corners of our world." Meanwhile in America the fire of freedom has not
only been tamed but also is being extinguished.
The light of liberty has gone out in the United States.
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