International Herald Tribune columnist
William Pfaff recently reported
that the Bush administration's new Bureau of Reconstruction and Stabilization,
a State Department subgroup, has been tasked to prepare for a frighteningly
expansive future of warfare.
"The bureau has 25 countries under surveillance as possible candidates
for Defense Department deconstruction and State Department reconstruction,"
writes Pfaff. "The bureau's director is recruiting 'rapid-reaction forces'
of official, nongovernmental, and corporate business specialists. He hopes to
develop the capacity for three full-scale, simultaneous reconstruction operations
in different countries."
Pfaff notes that this ambitious undertaking "occurs at the same time American
military forces still are unable to pacify Iraq or Afghanistan, agricultural
societies of less than 25 million people each, both largely in ruins."
By the September end of the federal government's fiscal year, the U.S. will
have spent some $350
billion on the wars in those countries and on other "anti-terrorist"
activities around the globe since 9/11. But the massive spending hasn't ended
According to the Cato Institute's Veronique
de Rugy (2004):
"Total federal outlays will rise 29 percent between fiscal years 2001
and 2005 according to the president's fiscal year 2005 budget released in February.
Real discretionary spending increases in fiscal years 2002, 2003, and 2004 are
three of the five biggest annual increases in the last 40 years. Large spending
increases have been the principal cause of the government's return to massive
"Although defense spending has increased in response to the war on
terrorism, President Bush has made little attempt to restrain nondefense spending
to offset the higher Pentagon budget. … Congress has failed to contain the administration's
overspending and has added new spending of its own."
And this at a time when America is already burdened with a national debt of
In March, Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan took a look at the government's
spending habits in conjunction with its current and future financial obligations
and warned that
the "large deficits [will] result in rising interest rates and ever-growing
interest payments that augment deficits in future years." His startling conclusion?
"These projections make clear that the federal budget is on an unsustainable
Ron Paul of Texas puts it another way:
"Debt destroys U.S. sovereignty, because the American economy now depends
on the actions of foreign governments. While we brag about our role as world
superpower in international affairs, we are in truth the world's greatest debtor.
… Ultimately, debt is slavery."
When it comes to an appetite for demolishing the existing order, whether militarily
or economically, the Bush administration is clearly entering uncharted territory.
But most Americans have thus far assumed that the decimation is to be wrought
entirely abroad. They may, however, want to rethink those assumptions.
In his 2002 book The
War Against the Terror Masters, in a rare moment of unguarded intellectual
honesty, neocon guru Michael
Ledeen unwittingly let slip what is probably the best two-word description
of the underlying agenda that has been pursued by the neocons over the last
several years and is ongoing today: "Creative destruction."
is our middle name, both within our own society and abroad. We tear down the
old order every day, from business to science, literature, art, architecture,
and cinema to politics and the law. Our enemies have always hated this whirlwind
of energy and creativity, which menaces their traditions (whatever they may
be) and shames them for their inability to keep pace. … They must attack us
in order to survive, just as we must destroy them to advance our historic mission."
Given the Bush administration's astoundingly reckless spending habits, the
retrospective knowledge of its eagerness to lie the country into the Iraq quagmire,
and the neocons' enthusiasm for tearing down the old order – "both
within our own society and abroad" – is it possible that our current
bind is the deliberate result of a policy of destruction?
Is it possible that it is not just the Middle East that the Bush administration,
Ledeen, and the other neocons want to destroy in order to reconstruct, but America
as well? But why? Why would our own leadership want to deliberately put our
country into a position of vulnerability?
In an article
for popular libertarian Web site LewRockwell.com, Christopher Manion offers
a clue. And as so often in the past, it looks like it may be crackpot socialist
theory that is the driving force behind the neocons' harebrained, post-9/11
scheme to remake America and the world.
"In the view of the leftist conservatives, the free world – Christendom
– conjured up its historical contradiction (its negation), revolutionary totalitarianism
culminating in the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union has now disintegrated. To
the neocon leftist conservative, this is not sufficient. The 'thesis' – our
America of limited government, a thriving free market, and a virtuous, free
people, respectful of others in the world – must also be negated, destroyed,
just as the Soviet Union was, so that history can move forward – and inexorably
"[F]or Hegel and his Trotskyite progeny – the materialist secular leftists
who constitute the neocon leadership – history is 'the movement of the concept.'
The concept matures, conjures up its negation, and both are then annihilated
(the 'negation of the negation') by what Hegel called the 'Aufhebung,' which
means both destruction and lifting up."
Like many Americans, Manion entertains doubts about Bush's intellectual capacity
to comprehend the trap into which we are being led, let alone the inclination
to derail the neocon Master Plan:
"George Bush might be sitting at the table, but it is fair to say he
is not theoretically engaged in this enterprise. His habits of mind do not include
the independent prudential powers and analytical tools necessary to descry the
'second reality' that his chosen circle of ideologues have created, into which
they want to drag America and, eventually, the rest of the world, kicking and
screaming (and dying), if necessary."
The "second reality" Manion mentions is a historical reference to
the delusional fantasy often created by ideologues that their destructive ambitions
actually have transcendental qualities. They construct this fantasy so that
they can "settle in comfortably (to their) web of lies and never
have to live in, or even look at, reality again. This serves the purpose both
of self-deception and of mass deception and manipulation," says Manion.
The acceptance of reality has long been a staple of conservatism. Remember
Ronald Reagan's famous quote:
"Facts are stubborn things." But not for the Bush administration.
Former Wall Street Journal reporter Ron Suskind found out as much in
a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. Recalling
the incident in the Oct. 17, 2004, issue of The New York Times magazine,
"The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based
community,' which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge
from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something
about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not
the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now,
and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality
– judiciously, as you will – we'll act again, creating other new realities,
which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's
actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'"
In effect, the neocons are saying to their duped supporters and anyone else
foolish enough to listen: Don't worry about the reckless spending, the bloody
wars, the imperial overreach and the mounting burden on Americans. It's all
part of the plan. We create history. We create reality. And we can create a
new historical reality where none of that matters.
Back to Manion: "Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, and Mao made it clear that bloodthirsty,
violent revolutionary conquest could alter the truth whenever the 'correlation
of forces' required." But "the construction of an 'alternate
reality' with a different logic and different content is required for the successful
ideology. Why? Because reality poses a problem for the power-hungry politician."
The idea that the Bush administration can "create its own reality"
should thus be seen for what it is: pseudo-intellectual cover for what is obviously
a naked power grab in the service of a deeply anti-conservative cause – the advancement
of a "historical imperative" wherein the country and the world are
decimated in order to fulfill socialist theory and "advance history."
In his article on America's vast new bureaucracies and huge warfare ambitions,
William Pfaff noted:
"One of the most significant aspects of the totalitarian regimes of
the 20th century was that they 'made reality' out of fictions. They were based
on ideological fantasies that were false, but these fantasies were made into
the reality upon which national policy was based. They thus came catastrophically
true – until their inner falsehood brought disaster."
Those who believe it is a stretch to link neocons with Marx-inspired revolutionary
ambitions should read Michael Lind's excellent assessment
of neoconservatism that appeared in the Feb. 23, 2004 issue of The Nation
– a magazine that, given its deep liberal roots, recognizes leftist thought
patterns when it sees them:
"The idea that the United States and similar societies are dominated
by a decadent, postbourgeois 'new class' was developed by thinkers in the Trotskyist
tradition like James Burnham and Max Schachtman, who influenced an older generation
of neocons," says Lind.
"The concept of the 'global democratic revolution' has its origins
in the Trotskyist Fourth International's vision of permanent revolution. The
economic determinist idea that liberal democracy is an epiphenomenon of capitalism,
promoted by neocons like Michael Novak, is simply Marxism with entrepreneurs
substituted for proletarians as the heroic subjects of history."
Paul Gottfried, professor of humanities at Elizabethtown College, recognizes
the overlapping interests as well. In an article examining those who most regularly
hurl the epithet "Islamofascist," Gottfried notes that in addition
to the neocon Right, some of the most prosaic offenders reside on the Left.
"Clearly, some who rail against Islamofascism, like (Christopher) Hitchens
and Peter Beinart and Andrew Sullivan of The New Republic, have domestic
fish to fry. They all see the possibility of tying together the war against
Islamic theocratic fascists abroad with one against the hated Religious Right
at home," wrote Gottfried in the July 4, 2005, issue of The American
"[P]lunging one's country into foreign crusades has often been a means
for changing things at home," Gottfried adds. "The enemies of Islamofascism
are not the first to play this game."
No wonder so many in the Democrat establishment continue to support the internationalist
"democracy" project being undertaken hand-in-hand with (or under the
guise of) the "War on Terror" long after the Iraq war has been exposed
as having been built on a foundation of half-truths and outright lies.
Envisioning a future in which the Republican machine collapses under its own
weight (and the weight of the Bush administration's incompetence), they understand
they will be the heirs to the shiny new police state the administration has
constructed. This explains why they go along with so many foreign and domestic
neocon initiatives, feign opposition to a few others, and only dig in their
heels when the ability of the state to exercise power is independently threatened – for
instance, over the confirmation of potentially conservative federal judges who
might be inclined to limit the power and prerogative of the federal government
in the future.
In retrospect, doesn't it make perfect sense that those inclined toward totalitarianism
would seek to infiltrate the opposition conservative/libertarian Right in order
to co-opt its weak links (the half-baked conservatives) and destroy the rest?
After all, when highly centralized, big-government policies designed for purposes
of social-engineering (both at home and abroad) are instigated by unreconstructed
leftists, they can be easily identified by traditionalists for what they are
through linkage alone – and summarily rejected. But when they are advocated
from the right, and ushered in through a Trojan horse like the "War on
Terror," they can be passed off as essential to national security and even
"conservative." Many of those who would normally be opposed are thus
enlisted; the rest are dismissed as paranoid or "unpatriotic."
And instead of burning the seeds of socialism, former skeptics become enthusiastic
Johnny Appleseeds and go about spreading them to the winds with a naive gaiety.
And so we have come full circle. The sacrifices made by millions of Americans
in both blood and treasure over the course of generations to defeat messianic
totalitarian ideologies may well have been in vain. "History's actors"
– who are in reality hyper-ambitious, totalitarian-minded ideologues – couldn't
destroy America from without, and so they have found a way to worm themselves
into the American leadership to do it from within – and for our own good, no