War Abroad; Austerity at Home


The US government is so full of self-righteousness that it has become a caricature of hypocrisy.  Leon Panetta, a former congressman who Obama appointed CIA director and now head of the Pentagon, just told the sailors on the USS Enterprise, an aircraft carrier, that the US is maintaining a fleet of 11 aircraft carriers in order to project sea power against Iran and to convince Iran that “it’s better for them to try to deal with us through diplomacy.”

If it requires 11 aircraft carriers to deal with Iran, how many will Panetta need to project power against Russia and China?  But to get on with the main point, Iran has been trying “to deal with us through diplomacy.”  The response from Washington has been belligerent threats of military attack, unfounded and irresponsible accusations that Iran is making a nuclear weapon, sanctions and an oil embargo. Washington’s accusations echo Israel’s and are contradicted by Washington’s own intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency.  Why doesn’t Washington respond to Iran in a civilized manner with diplomacy?  Really, which of the two countries is the greatest threat to peace?

Washington sends the FBI to raid the homes of peace activists and puts a grand jury to work to create a case against them for aiding a nebulous enemy by protesting Washington’s wars. The Department of Homeland Security unleashes goon cop thugs to brutalize peaceful Occupy Wall Street demonstrators. Washington fabricates cases against Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, and Tarek Mehanna that negate the First Amendment by equating free speech with terrorism and spying. Chicago mayor and former Obama White House chief-of-staff, Rahm Israel Emanuel, pushes an ordinance that outlaws public protests in the City of Chicago. The list goes on.  And in the midst of it all Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other Washington hypocrites accuse Russia and China of stifling dissent.

Washington’s grotesque hypocrisy goes unremarked by the American “media” and in the debates for the Republican presidential  nomination. The corrupt Obama “Justice” Department turns a blind eye while goon cop thugs commit gratuitous violence against the citizens who pay the goon cop thugs’ undeserved salaries.

But it is in the War Crimes Arena where Washington shows the greatest hypocrisy. The self-righteous bigots in Washington are forever rounding up heads of weak states whose countries were afflicted by civil wars and sending them off to be tried as war criminals. All the while Washington indiscriminately kills large numbers of civilians in six or more countries, dismissing its own war crimes as “collateral damage.” Washington violates its own law and international law by torturing people.

On January 13, 2012, Carol Rosenberg of McClatchy Newspapers reported that Spanish judge Pablo Rafael Ruz Gutierrez re-launched an investigation into Washington’s torture of prisoners in Guantanamo Prison. The previous day British authorities opened an investigation into CIA renditions of kidnapped persons to Libya for torture.

Rosenberg reports that although the Obama regime has refused to investigate the obvious crimes of the Bush regime, and one might add its own obvious crimes, “other countries are still interested in determining whether Bush-era anti-terror practices violated international law.”

There is no question that Bush/Cheney/Obama have trashed the US Constitution, US statutory law, and international law.  But Washington, having overthrown justice, has established that might is right. No foreign government is going to send its forces into the US to drag the war criminals out and place them on trial.

The War Criminal Court at the Hague is reserved for Washington’s show trials.  No foreign government is going to pay Washington several hundred millions of dollars to turn Bush, Cheney, Obama and their minions over to them in the way the US bought Milosevic from Serbia in order to create the necessary spectacle at the War Crimes Tribunal  to justify Washington’s naked aggression against Serbia.

No government can be perfect, because all governments are composed of humans, especially those humans most attracted by power and profit.  Nevertheless, in my lifetime I have witnessed an extraordinary deterioration in the integrity of government in the United States.  We have reached the point where nothing that our government says is believable. Not even the unemployment rate, the inflation rate, the GDP growth rate, much less Washington’s reasons for its wars, its police state, and its foreign and domestic policies.

Washington has kept America at war for ten years while millions of Americans lost their jobs and their homes. War and a faltering economy have exploded the national debt, and a looming bankruptcy is being blamed on Social Security and Medicare.

The pursuit of war continues. On January 23 Washington’s servile puppets–the EU member states–did Washington’s bidding and imposed an oil embargo on Iran, despite the pleas of Greece, a member of the EU. Greece’s final ruin will come from the higher oil prices from the embargo, as the Greek government realizes.

The embargo is a reckless act. If the US navy tries to intercept oil tankers carrying Iranian oil, large scale war could break out. This, many believe, is Washington’s aim.

It is easy for an embargo to become a blockade, which is an act of war. Remember how easily the UN Security Council’s “no-fly zone” over Libya was turned by the US and its NATO puppets into a military attack on Libya’s armed forces and population centers supportive of Gaddafi.

As the western “democracies” become increasingly lawless, the mask of law that imperialism wears is stripped away and with it the sheen of morality that has been used to cloak hegemonic ambitions. With Iran surrounded and with two of Washington’s fleets in the Persian Gulf, another war of aggression seems inevitable.

Experts say that an attack on Iran by the US and NATO will disrupt the flow of oil that the world needs.  The crazed drive for hegemony is so compelling that Washington and its EU puppets show no hesitation in putting their own struggling economies at risk of sharply rising energy costs.

War abroad and austerity at home is the policy that is being imposed on the western “democracies.”

PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS was an editor of the Wall Street Journal and an Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.  His latest book, HOW THE ECONOMY WAS LOST, has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Press. He can be reached through his website 


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 How America Was Lost.

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