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 them going.”
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 then.
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