By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
October 27, 2007
Americans had best rethink the “war on terror” while they still have
the liberty to do so. For all of President Bush’s blah-blah talk about bringing
democracy to the world, the Bush administration has proved that it is no friend
of liberty at home.
The Bush administration has violated constitutional principles, US law, and
the Geneva Conventions as no previous administration has done. Here is a short
list of the Bush administration’s crimes:
Spying without court warrants on Americans in violation of both the US Constitution
and the FISA statute.
The denial of habeas corpus, attorney-client privilege, due process, and Geneva
Conventions protections to those, American or foreign, designated without evidence
as terrorists or enemy combatants.
The justification and use of torture to coerce confessions and the kidnapping
of foreign nationals who are sent to be tortured in foreign prisons.
The initiation of military aggression against states based on intentional deception
by the Bush administration of the US public and the United Nations, and the
intentional fabrication of “evidence” to justify unprovoked aggression
against sovereign states, which is a war crime under the Nuremberg standard
established by the US.
Violation of the oath of office to defend the US Constitution by practically
every member of the Bush administration and Congress.
Bush has assaulted the separation of powers and the rule of law with “signing
statements” and “executive orders” that President Nixon’s White
House Counsel John Dean says are commands that treat the co-equal branches of
government and the electorate as subservient to executive authority. In April
2006, Boston Globe reporter Charlie Savage listed 750 laws “challenged”
by the Bush administration. Not even the demonized president of Iran claims
to be above the law.
Genocide against the people of Iraq where one million Iraqis have died as a
result of Bush’s invasion and several million Iraqis are displaced persons.
Massive civilian casualties in Afghanistan, which is a form of genocide in
which military force is routinely applied to unarmed noncombatants.
Massive corruption in which no-bid contracts are issued to Republican corporations
in exchange for kickbacks to political campaigns.
The theft of two national elections as documented in books by Mark Crispin
Miller and Greg Palast.
The Bush administration has even conducted Stalinist show trials against innocent
Muslim charities as part of its propaganda to make the American people fearful
that they are surrounded by hostile terrorists. In December 2001 President Bush
declared the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development to be a “terrorist
organization” and seized the charity’s assets. Bush put the charities’
officials on trial as terrorists. Six years later on October 22, 2007, after
years of investigations and two months of testimony by who but “Israeli
intelligence agents” (according to the New York Times), the US government’s
case fell apart in the courtroom.
One of the jurors said that the case ” was strung together with macaroni
noodles. There was so little evidence.”
Georgetown University professor of constitutional law David D. Cole said the
case “suggests the government is really pushing beyond where the law justifies
While committing these unprecedented crimes, President Bush has claimed the
moral high ground despite having lied to the American people and despite devastating
two countries in the name of “making the world safe from terrorists.”
When people in Iraq and Afghanistan are asked who are the terrorists, they answer
that it is the Americans.
The Bush administration has not been held accountable for any of its crimes.
By failing to hold government accountable to law, the Constitution, and the
American people. the opposition party and the corporate media have abandoned
their responsibility to protect freedom and democracy in the United States.
There can be no democracy where there is no government accountability, and
there is no government accountability in the United States–except, of course,
to the Israel Lobby.
Now the Bush administration wants to take away the American people’s freedom
to travel within their own country by airplane. Not content with an 80,000 “no
fly” list, a subset of a 500,000-750,000 “watch list,” the Bush
administration’s Transport Security Administration has proposed new rules that
will require Americans to get government permission 72 hours in advance prior
to being allowed to board a domestic flight.
The TSA justifies this extraordinary violation of our constitutional rights
on the grounds that 90 to 93 percent of all travel reservations are final by
And what of the 7 to 10 percent of flights that the TSA estimates are not on
the books 72 hours in advance? These are family emergencies and critical business
deals. What does the TSA care if a member of your family dies while you await
the government’s permission to fly?
Any agency of the government that can propose such a tyrannical regulation
should be abolished. The TSA’s mentality shows it to be a far greater threat
to Americans than are terrorists.
Even without the “permission to fly” rule, the TSA’s practices are
ridiculous and unjustified. The confiscation of tooth paste and unopened bottles
of perfume, the harassment of US military officers in uniform, the harassment
of old people struggling with their walkers, of mothers struggling with small
children–none of this makes any sense except in terms of getting Americans
accustomed to harassment as a citizen’s duty to government and to train a cadre
to conduct warrantless searches of fellow citizens.
The no-fly list itself is absurd. If a known terrorist were to show up at an
airport, he would be arrested, not refused permission to fly. Anyone else who
can clear security like other passengers has every right to fly.
Set aside the violation of the Constitution and the Soviet-style tyranny of
the loss of the freedom to travel and consider merely the practical aspect of
the proposal. What American wants his travel plans dependent on a government
bureaucracy capable of putting US Senator Ted Kennedy on the “no fly”
list and capable of issuing US visas to two of the alleged 9/11 hijackers six
months after they allegedly died in the 9/11 events?
If we believe the official story, 9/11 itself reveals a government totally
devoid of any competence whatsoever.
The “war on terror” is fraudulent. The cruel war and the deceptive
vocabulary that protects it are a cover for expanding US and Israeli hegemony
in the MIddle East and for constructing a functioning police state at home.
A country in which people cannot make airline reservations without the government’s
permission is not a free country.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration.
He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing
Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. He
can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com