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The Bush Doctrine

Democracy in Iraq, Tyranny at Home?

by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

The Washington, DC, think-tank, The American Enterprise Institute, camouflages its purpose with its name. There is nothing American about AEI, and the organization’s enterprise is fomenting war in the Middle East against Israel’s enemies. Its real name should be The Likud Center for Middle East War.

AEI has the largest collection of warmongers in America. AEI "scholars" have agitated for war in the Middle East for years. A moronic president and 9/11 gave them their opportunity.

Now that the US invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan have failed, the AEI warmongers are conspiring with Vice President Cheney to foment war with Iran.

Writing in The Washington Note, Steven C. Clemons reports that Cheney is working with the AEI warmongers to short-circuit the efforts of Bush’s secretaries of defense and state to find a diplomatic solution. Clemons reports that one former high level national security official describes the Cheney-AEI conspiracy as possibly an act of "criminal insubordination" against President Bush.

Now that the Democrats have betrayed their mandate of last November to end Bush’s war against Iraq and given Bush carte blanche to continue the gratuitous bloodshed, the neoconservative plan, spearheaded by Vice President Cheney, to initiate aggression against Iran is back on the front burner.

Disinformation is being fed to the media that Iran is responsible for attacks on US troops in Iraq. This disinformation is routinely reported without skepticism by the American media in the face of challenges from experts. For example, a recent British report concludes: "few independent analysts believe Tehran is playing a decisive role in the sectarian warfare and insurgency."

While the Cheney/AEI conspirators strive to whip up American anger at Iran with lies and disinformation, they are doing everything possible to provoke Iran. The warmongers have planted the story in the media that the US is conducting covert operations against Iran. The US Navy is conducting "exercises" off Iran’s coast. The US military in Iraq has violated diplomatic privilege and kidnapped Iranian officials in Iraq despite protests from the Iraqi and Iranian governments. The US government is stirring up more trouble in Lebanon by setting extremists Sunnis against Iran’s Hezbollah ally. In short, the US government is doing everything possible to start a war with Iran. Bombing Iran, perhaps after a contrived "false flag" operation, is the next step.

Bush continues to tell his favorite lies that he is bringing "freedom and democracy to Iraq" and that Muslims hate us because of our "freedom and democracy." He continues to make these inane assertions even as he ignores the will of the American people and destroys habeas corpus, the foundation of civil liberty.

Bush ignores the will of the people as expressed in last November’s congressional elections and as expressed in opinion polls. The New York Times/CBS News poll released May 24 shows another sharp drop in public support for Bush and his war. America is "seriously off on the wrong track" was the response of 72 percent of the public.

President Bush, the Republican Party, and the Democratic Party have proved to the entire world that the American people have no voice.
The American people have no more ability to affect their government’s policy than inmates in a gulag would have.

What do people in other countries think when they hear Bush prattle on about "freedom and democracy" while he ignores opinion polls and election results and detains people without warrants, tortures them, and puts them before military tribunals in which they are denied even knowing the evidence against them? Bush has contrived a situation for defendants in which no defense is possible. In Bush’s America, people can be executed on the basis of hearsay and secret evidence.

If this is "freedom and democracy," what is tyranny?

Recent polls show that the majority of the American people are no longer fooled, no matter what politicians say and media report. The election last November demonstrated the electorate’s lack of support for continuing the war.

The problem is in implementing the will of the people. Democrats in Congress are not only recipients of AIPAC, oil industry, and military-security complex payoffs just as the Republicans are, Democrats are also behaving very cynically. They believe that it is Bush’s policy that gave them control of Congress in November and that by continuing to let Bush prevail, they will clean up on a larger scale in 2008.

They believe that their antiwar base has nowhere else to go.

Their cynical logic is probably correct as far as it goes. Bush is being blamed for the war and its failure. The longer this goes on, the worse the situation for the Republicans. Prior to Bush’s invasion of Iraq, I wrote in a column that the unintended consequences of an invasion would be the destruction of Bush, the Republican Party, and the conservative movement. It has taken longer than I thought, largely because of Americans’ blind desire for revenge for 9/11, but the prediction is on track.

The problem with the Democrats’ cynical logic is that allowing Bush to prolong the war in Iraq increases the chances that Cheney, Israel, and the neoconservatives can contrive a war with Iran. Most experts, and many in our own military, think that a war
with Iran would go very badly for us, endangering our troops in Iraq by exposing them to more intense attacks from the more numerous Shiites, who would be armed with Iranian weapons that can neutralize our tanks and helicopters, leaving our fragmented and divided troops isolated and cut off from supplies and retreat routes.

The pending disaster would play into Cheney’s hands. With America faced with the loss of an army, Cheney and the neoconservatives would likely succeed in convincing Bush to nuke Iran. Cheney and Rumsfeld have already changed US war doctrine to permit preemptive nuclear attack against non-nuclear powers. Surprised by the inability of the US military to prevail in Iraq and by Israel’s military failure against Hezbollah, the neocons concluded that the only way to establish US/Israeli hegemony over the entire Middle East is to nuke Iran. The neocons believe that using nuclear weapons against Iran will demonstrate to the Muslim world that they have no alternative but to submit to US hegemony.

The Democrats are far from being alone in lacking the vision to see the abyss into which their cynicism is leading us. With the corporate media serving as propaganda ministry for the administration, Cheney will be able to whip up enough fear and anger to convince the American people that the use of nuclear weapons was imperative.

Bush’s popularity will return as he prevails over the enemy and tells Americans how he saved them from Iran’s nuclear weapons. The Democrats’ cynicism will have destroyed them and opened new avenues to destruction and violence.

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