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 occupations 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 conscience.
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 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 Constitution.
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 as 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 caliber, but America has fallen so low that people who stand on
principle today are marginalized. They cannot become speaker of the House or
majority 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 House 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 torture.
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 six 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
Osama 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,
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
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, and his 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 made.
"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 world.
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; Alienation
and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown:
Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton
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