FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Grave Threat of the Bush Administration

by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

 

According to news reports, at a US Naval Academy speech on Wednesday, President Bush will announce plans for withdrawing US troops from Iraq. It will be diverting to watch the propagandists at Fox “news” flip-flop with the White House line and explain that now is the time to cut and run after all.

A month ago the administration’s line was that cutting and running was the dastardly act of cowards and traitors who would abandon our troops and all they have fought for. A month ago senior US commanders in Iraq said that the US-trained new Iraqi army only had 700 troops who could operate independently of US support.

Now suddenly the new Iraq has the troops to do the job and America’s soldiers can come home. What this means is that Republican pollsters have made it clear that the Republicans cannot win next year’s congressional elections if the US is still mired in Iraq. The war is unpopular. A large majority of Americans do not believe the war was justified, and they no longer support it. Republicans have no prospect of rehabilitating Bush if he keeps the country bogged down in a pointless war.

The war, in other words, no longer serves the Republicans’ political interest and must be got rid of. So much for “staying the course.”

What will happen to Iraq and the Middle East no one knows. Our concerns need to be directed at what happens here in the US. Bush’s war against Iraq might be over, but the police state Bush built at home is still in place.

On November 27 Walter Pincus reported in the Washington Post that the Pentagon is expanding its domestic surveillance activity and that all sorts of proposals are afoot to allow military agencies to spy on law-abiding Americans and to build secret dossiers on citizens. The demand for police state powers is said to be necessary in order to fight the “war on terror.”

Considering the drastic gestapo-type activities for which Washington is clamoring, a person would think that America is being overwhelmed by terrorist attacks. Yet, despite an aggressive and brutal war that Bush has been waging in Iraq for going on three years, terrorist attacks in America are even more rare than a honest politician. There has not been a terror attack since September 11, 2001, more than four years ago!

The Bush administration’s hype about terrorism serves no purpose other than to build a police state that is far more dangerous to Americans than terrorists.

Ever since the “war on terror” was initiated by the Bush administration, the US has been holding large numbers of “detainees.” By chance or the laws of probability, a few of these people might fit some definition of “terrorist.” The vast majority, however, are innocents picked up in the equivalent of Stalin-era KGB street sweeps. Many are hapless people sold by warlords to the US in order to receive cash awards for turning in “terrorists.”

Despite the large number of alleged “terrorists” or “enemy combatants” that are being held, the Bush administration simply hasn’t a shred of evidence with which to bring “detainees” to trial.

If truth be known, the “detainees” are merely props for Bush’s hype about the “terrorist threat.” The “detainees” were arrested in order to make Americans feel safe and at ease with the police state.

Perhaps the most famous of the alleged terrorists, a man held for more than three years, is the “dirty bomber” Jose Padilla. Padilla was the “grave threat” who was going to set off a radioactive dirty bomb in a US city.

The charge never made any sense. If al Qaeda had a dirty bomb, they certainly would not entrust it to the loud-mouthed Padilla, who was being followed around by FBI agents. Such a weapon would be kept secret and entrusted only to the most competent and proven hands.
Who could possibly believe that top al Qaeda operatives would meet and plot with Jose Padilla?

The Bush administration has itself given up its Padilla fantasy. After three years of hype about this most dangerous of terrorists who allegedly intended to kill large numbers of Americans, the government’s indictment doesn’t mention dirty bombs or the murder of Americans. Instead, Padilla is indicted for conspiring “to commit at any place outside the United States acts that would constitute murder” for the purpose of advancing “violent jihad.” Padilla is also charged with “conspiracy to provide material support for terrorists.”

In other words, the government has no case against Padilla and is putting him on trial in the US for conspiring to kill unidentified foreigners in an effort to overthrow an unidentified foreign country. His case is lumped in with a case against four other persons, one or more of whom may have committed an actual crime that can be used to tar them all.

Both the Attorney General and President of the United States branded Padilla a “grave threat” to the lives of Americans. After three years of this propaganda, all the US government can come up with is the trumped up charge of conspiracy to kill foreigners and to provide support for terrorists.

A police state has to catch enemies in order to keep the people frightened and appreciative of the watchful eye of the police state.
Now that the Padilla case has evaporated, the Bush administration has come up with a replacement. An American student of Arab descent, who was studying at a Saudi Arabian university, has been indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiracy to assassinate President Bush. The indictment rests on the confession wrung out of the young man by torture in a Saudi prison.

Does anyone really believe that al Qaeda leaders would conspire with an American college student to assassinate President Bush? Indeed, President Bush has been Osama bin Laden’s greatest benefactor. Why would al Qaeda want to kill the man who is doing them so much good?
Before Bush launched his war on terror and invaded Iraq, the vast majority of Muslims thought bin Laden was a nut case and supported the US. Today Muslims think Bush is a nut case and support bin Laden.

What kind of a country have we become when we put a citizen on trial on the basis of a confession obtained under torture by a foreign government? Is the case against this student anything other than an attempt to enlist the sympathy factor for Bush in order to repair his standing in the polls?

Americans need to understand that a police state has to produce results in order to justify its budget and its powers. It doesn’t really care who it catches. Stalin’s police state caught the wife of Stalin’s foreign minister in one of its street sweeps.

The Bush administration justifies torture and threatens to veto congressional attempts to restrain its use. The Bush administration justifies indefinite detention of American citizens without charges.
It asserts the power of indefinite detention based on its subjective judgment about who is a threat. An American government that preaches “freedom and democracy” to the world claims the powers of tyrants as its own.

Americans need to wake up. The only danger to Americans in Iraq is the one Bush created by invading the country. The grave threat that Americans face is the Bush administration’s police state mentality.

PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS has held a number of academic appointments and has contributed to numerous scholarly publications. He served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. His graduate economics education was at the University of Virginia, the University of California at Berkeley, and Oxford University. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. He can be reached at: paulcraigroberts@yahoo.com

 

Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format. His latest book is The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

More articles by:
May 30, 2016
Ron Jacobs
The State of the Left: Many Movements, Too Many Goals?
James Abourezk
The Intricacies of Language
Porfirio Quintano
Hillary, Honduras, and My Late Friend Berta
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes on ISIS are Reducing Their Cities to Ruins
Uri Avnery
The Center Doesn’t Hold
Rodrigue Tremblay
Barack Obama’s Legacy: What happened?
Matt Peppe
Just the Facts: The Speech Obama Should Have Given at Hiroshima
Deborah James
Trade Pacts and Deregulation: Latest Leaks Reveal Core Problem with TISA
Michael Donnelly
Still Wavy after All These Years: Flower Geezer Turns 80
Ralph Nader
The Funny Business of Farm Credit
Paul Craig Roberts
Memorial Day and the Glorification of Past Wars
Colin Todhunter
From Albrecht to Monsanto: A System Not Run for the Public Good Can Never Serve the Public Good
Rivera Sun
White Rose Begins Leaflet Campaigns June 1942
Tom H. Hastings
Field Report from the Dick Cheney Hunting Instruction Manual
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
Stratos Ramoglou
Why the Greek Economic Crisis Won’t be Ending Anytime Soon
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail