Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! We only ask one time of year, but when we do, we mean it. Without your support we can’t continue to bring you the very best material, day-in and day-out. CounterPunch is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. Help make sure it stays that way.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

There’s Nothing Patriotic About It

by HARVEY WASSERMAN

George W. Bush says he wants to attack Iraq to install democracy. But as he explained on December 18, 2002: “If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.”

Under Bush the Constitutional guarantees that have made America a beacon to the world for two centuries have been shredded in two short years.

In terms of basic legal rights and sanctuary from government spying, Americans may be less free under George W. Bush than as British subjects under George III in 1776.

Though the trappings of free speech remain on the surface of American society, the Homeland Security Act, Patriot I, Patriot II and other massively repressive legislation, plus Republican control of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches, plus GOP dominance of the mass media, have laid the legal and political framework for a totalitarian infrastructure which, when combined with the capabilities of modern computer technology, may be unsurpassed.

The Administration has used the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, as pretext for this centralization of power. But most of it was in the works long before September 11 as part of the war on drugs and Bush’s modus operandi as the most secretive and authoritarian president in US history.

So with today’s US as a model, what would be in store for Iraqis should Bush kill hundreds of thousands of them to replace Saddam Hussein?

President Bush has asserted the right to execute “suspected terrorists” without trial or public notice; The Administration claims the right to torture “suspected terrorists,” and by many accounts has already done so; Attorney-General John Ashcroft has asserted the right to brand “a terrorist” anyone he wishes without evidence or public hearing or legal recourse; The Administration has arrested and held without trial hundreds of “suspected terrorists” while denying them access to legal counsel or even public notification that they have been arrested; The Administration has asserted the right to inspect the records of bookstores and public libraries to determine what American citizens are reading; The Administration has asserted the right to break into private homes and tap the phones of US citizens without warrants; The Administration has attempted to install a neighbors-spying-on-neighbors network that would have been the envy of Joe Stalin; The Administration has effectively negated the Freedom of Information Act and runs by all accounts the most secretive regime in US history; When the General Accounting Office, one of the few reliably independent federal agencies, planned to sue Vice President Dick Cheney to reveal who he met to formulate the Bush Energy Bill, Bush threatened to slash GAO funding, and the lawsuit was dropped; After losing the 2000 election by more than 500,000 popular votes (but winning a 5-4 majority of the US Supreme Court), the Administration plans to control all voting through computers operated by just three companies, with code that can be easily manipulated, as may have been done in Georgia in 2002, winning seats for a Republican governor and US senator, and in Nebraska to elect and re-elect US Senator Chuck Hagel, an owner of the voting machine company there; FCC Chair Michael Powell (son of Colin) is enforcing the Administration’s demand that regulation be ended so nearly all mass media can be monopolized by a tiny handful of huge corporations; Attorney-General Ashcroft has assaulted states rights, a traditional Republican mainstay, using federal troops to trash public referenda legalizing medical marijuana in nine states; Ashcroft has overridden his own federal prosecutors and assaulted local de facto prohibitions against the death penalty, which has been renounced by every other industrial nation and is now used only by a handful of dictatorships, including Iraq.

Overseas, the US record is infamous. Among those it has put in power are Saddam Hussein, the Taliban and Manuel Noriega, not to mention Somoza, Pinochet, Marcos, Mobutu, the Shah, the Greek Junta and too many other murderous dictators to mention in a single article.

Afghanistan, leveled in the name of democracy and the hunt for Osama bin Laden, now stands ruined and abandoned. In sequel, Bush is gathering Iraq attackers with the promise of cash bribes, oil spoils and conquered land.

Turkey, Bulgaria and Bush’s manufactured Iraqi opposition are already squabbling over the booty. Bush says rebuilding will be funded by Iraqi oil revenues, probably administered through the same core regime now in place, but with a different figurehead.

In other words: the media hype about bringing democracy to Iraq is just that. There is absolutely no reason to believe a US military conquest would bring to Iraq the beloved freedoms George W. Bush is so aggressively destroying here in America.

A regime that so clearly hates democracy at home is not about to wage war for one abroad.

HARVEY WASSERMAN is author of “The Last Energy War: The Battle Over Utility Deregulation” (Seven Stories Press, 2000).

Copyright (C) 2003 by HARVEY WASSERMAN

 

Harvey Wasserman wrote SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth. His Green Power & Wellness Show is at www.prn.fm

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Paul Street
The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
James McEnteer
Eugene, Oregon and the Rising Cost of Cool
Norman Pollack
The Great Debate: Proto-Fascism vs. the Real Thing
Michael Winship
The Tracks of John Boehner’s Tears
John Steppling
Fear Level Trump
Lawrence Wittner
Where Is That Wasteful Government Spending?
James Russell
Beyond Debate: Interview Styles of the Rich and Famous
September 26, 2016
Diana Johnstone
The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Against Russia
Dave Lindorff
Parking While Black: When Police Shoot as First Resort
Robert Crawford
The Political Rhetoric of Perpetual War
Howard Lisnoff
The Case of One Homeless Person
Michael Howard
The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World
Russell Mokhiber
Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival
Chad Nelson
The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis
Colin Todhunter
A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
Brian Cloughley
The United States Wants to Put Russia in a Corner
Guillermo R. Gil
The Clevenger Effect: Exposing Racism in Pro Sports
David Swanson
Turn the Pentagon into a Hospital
Ralph Nader
Are You Ready for Democracy?
Chris Martenson
Hell to Pay
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Debate Night: Undecided is Everything, Advantage Trump
Frank X Murphy
Power & Struggle: the Detroit Literacy Case
Chris Knight
The Tom and Noam Show: a Review of Tom Wolfe’s “The Kingdom of Speech”
Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail