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March 21, 2006

Twist and Hate

The smearing of Paul Craig Roberts

by Joshua Frank

It is questionable whether or not responding to the neocons' assault on sanity is worth the energy. They don't take well to reason, and they certainly aren't capable of dealing with truth. In fact, the reality in which they dwell is a manifestation of propaganda and isolated conspiracy theories.

Yeah, they think we are out to get them and that we'll destroy their comfortable way of life. And what seems to be driving their delusional tendencies is the teaming up of traditional conservatives, libertarians, and lefties – all of whom oppose the neocon wars.

Take FrontPageMag.com, which recently went after the conservative Paul Craig Roberts, former contributing editor at National Review and the Wall Street Journal. As FrontPageMag editor Ben Johnson wrote, disgusted with Roberts' common sense on LewRockwell.com:

"Roberts has declared the war in Iraq lost, not to mention criminal. Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay are 'torture centers,' and Bush would be 'prosecuted.' … His pessimism about winning the War on Terror dates literally to its inception. Two days after 9/11, Roberts wrote, 'a guilt-ridden people are no match for fanatical opponents who believe in their cause.' … His writings also seemingly justify terrorist attacks against innocent Americans, because, like Ward Churchill, he believes there are no innocent Americans. 'Americans are complicit in the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi women and children as "collateral damage,"' he writes. So what is the difference between a military target and a 'complicit' family of four in Des Moines?"

Johnson also distorted a recent column written by Roberts in which he relayed several theories passed along to him by readers explaining how Bush might start a war with Iran.

"One of the more extraordinary suggestions," wrote Roberts, "is that a low-yield, perhaps tactical, nuclear weapon will be exploded some distance out from a U.S. port. Death and destruction will be minimized, but fear and hysteria will be maximized. Americans will be told that the ship bearing the weapon was discovered and intercepted just in time, thanks to Bush's illegal spying program, and that Iran is to blame. A more powerful wave of fear and outrage will again bind the American people to Bush, and the U.S. media will not report the rest of the world's doubts of the explanation."

Now, Roberts did not intimate that he too believed such a scenario was likely, only that the wacko neocons are capable of just about anything. But Ben Johnson responded:

"Even on the far-Left, such theories would be unwelcome. Although Kurt Nimmo (a critic of DiscoverTheNetworks.org) and others have claimed for years that Bush secretly plans to preemptively decimate Iran, none have publicly claimed he would kill Americans as a pretext. The only detail Roberts omitted was whether Bush was doing the bidding of the Freemasons, the Illuminati, the British royal family, or the Vatican."

Conspiracy theories about the Freemasons et al., like the neocons' fear that Iran is out to nuke us, border on delusional. There is no doubt that the Left has its fair share of nutcases, as anyone who has been to a Green Party outing will likely attest. But in this case, as it so often is with these folks, they'd rather mince Roberts' words than deal with the facts. Roberts never said he condoned the killing of Americans (and neither did Ward Churchill), nor did he claim he believed the Bush administration was likely to detonate a nuke off the U.S. coast in order to spark a war with Iran. The neocons are delusional.

But now that Paul Craig Roberts has turned against the neoconservative agenda, folks like Johnson can't stomach the fact that they are at last a pitiable minority. The majority of the world hates Bush, and now the majority of Americans do too. They know their liar in chief fibbed his way into Iraq, and they don't believe he's telling the truth about Iran. And they shouldn't.

Libertarians like Lew Rockwell and Justin Raimondo and conservatives like Paul Craig Roberts have joined forces with radicals like Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair for a reason. They all oppose Bush's wars in the Middle East and the slaughter of civil liberties at home. They may not agree about capitalism or environmental concerns, but they do see eye-to-eye on the destructive nature of the warfare state.

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  • Joshua Frank is the author of Left Out!: How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, just published by Common Courage Press. You can order a copy at a discounted through Josh's blog at www.brickburner.org. He can be reached at brickburner@gmail.com.

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