The Neocon Threat to American Freedom


The Bush/Cheney White House, which told the American people in 2003 that the Iraqi invasion would be a three to six week affair, now tells us that the US occupation is permanent. Forever.

Attentive Americans of which, alas, there are so few, had already concluded that the occupation was permanent. Permanence is the obvious message from the massive and fortified US embassy under construction in Iraq and from the large permanent military bases that the Bush regime is building in Iraq.

Bush regime propagandists have created a false analogy with “the Korean model” in their effort to sell the permanent occupation of Iraq as necessary for Iraq’s security. More than one half century after the close of the Korean war, US troops continue to be based in Korea, as they are in Germany more than six decades after the end of World War II.

The rationale for the US troops in S. Korea is to remind N. Korea that an attack on S. Korea is an attack on the US itself. The rationale for US troops in Germany disappeared when Reagan and Gorbachev brought the cold war to an end.

There is, of course, no similarity between Iraq and Korea. There was no insurgency in Korea and no attacks on US troops based in S. Korea once the fighting stopped. The presence of US troops in S. Korea has produced many protest demonstrations by South Koreans, but the US troops in S. Korea have had no exposure to combat since the war ended in 1953.

In contrast, the insurgency in Iraq continues to rage and could expand dramatically if Shi’ites were to join the Sunnis in attacks on US forces. Most American military leaders no longer believe the insurgency can be defeated. Permanent occupation means permanent insurgency. Indeed, an attempt at permanent occupation could possibly unify the Arabs in a joint effort to expel the Americans.

The absurd analogy with Korea is so far-fetched that it raises the question whether the Bush/Cheney regime has entered a new, higher level of delusion. Bush cannot keep troops in Iraq permanently unless he intends to remain permanently in the White House. Even some Republicans in Congress are talking about beginning withdrawals of US troops in September. Republicans believe that if withdrawals do not begin, their party will be wiped out in the 2008 election.

The wild card is the neoconservatives and their long-standing alliance with Israeli Zionists. The neoconservatives still have a death grip on the discredited Bush regime. Jim Lobe describes the extensive international organization that the neoconservatives have put into place for the purpose of orchestrating an attack on Iran.

A sane reader might wonder why neoconservatives would want to expand a conflict in which the US has failed. Surely, even delusional “cakewalk” neoconservatives must realize that attacking Iran would greatly increase the threat to US troops in Iraq and perhaps bring missile attacks on oil facilities and US bases throughout the Middle East. An attack on Iran would further radicalize Muslims and further undermine US puppets in the Middle East. It could bring war to the entire region.

The point is that the neoconservatives do realize this. Their defeat in Iraq and Israel’s defeat in Lebanon has taught the neoconservatives that the US cannot prevail in the Middle East by conventional military means. As I have previously explained, the neoconservatives’ plan is to escape the failure of their Iraq plan by orchestrating a war with Iran in which the US can prevail only by using nuclear weapons. As previously reported, the neoconservatives believe that the use of nuclear weapons against Iran will convince Muslims that they must accept US hegemony.

The neoconservatives have put the elements of their plan in place. They have powerful naval forces on station off Iran’s coast. They have convinced President Bush that only by attacking Iran can he prevail in Iraq.

The neoconservatives have rewritten US war doctrine to permit preemptive US nuclear attack on non-nuclear countries . They have demonized Iran as the greatest threat since Hitler. Neoconservatives have invented “Islamofascism,” something that exists only in the neoconservative propaganda used to instill in Americans hatred of Muslims. The neoconservatives have dehumanized Muslims as monsters who must be destroyed at all costs. Recent statements by neoconservative leaders such as Norman Podhoretz read like the ravings of ignorant lunatics. Podhoretz has written Muslims out of the human race. He demands that their culture be deracinated.

Neoconservatives, convinced that a nuclear attack will bring Muslims to heel, are ignoring the likely blowback and unintended consequences of an attack on Iran, just as they ignored the likely consequences of their attack on Iraq. If the neoconservatives are mistaken in their assumption that nuclear weapons will cause Muslims to submit to the US, the consequences will be unmanageable.

The neoconservative Bush regime has got away with more than I thought possible, perhaps because most of Congress and the American public cannot imagine the degree of insanity that lies behind the Bush administration. Most Americans who have turned against the regime think that the administration is incompetent, that it jumped to wrong conclusions about Iraq, and that it mismanaged the war and will not admit its mistakes. As every reason Bush gave for the war has proven to be false, people see no point in continuing the struggle.

If Americans understood the enormity of the deception behind the invasion of Iraq (and Afghanistan) and the pending attack on Iran, Bush and Cheney would be impeached and turned over to the War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague, and AIPAC would be forced to register as a foreign agent.

Just as Goebbels said, some lies are too big to be disbelieved. It is this disbelief that is so dangerous. The inability of Americans to see through the Big LIe to the secret agenda allows the neoconservatives to escape accountability and to continue with their plot.

The neoconservatives also believe that nuclear attack on Iran will isolate America in the world and, thereby, give the government control over the American people. The denunciations that will be hurled at Americans from every quarter will force the country to wrap itself in the flag and to treat domestic critics as foreign enemies. Not only free speech but also truth itself will disappear along with every civil liberty.

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:




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.