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September 11, 2004

Hate and Delusion Have the Bit in Their Teeth


by Paul Craig Roberts

Democrats should face it: they are incompetent and Bush will be reelected.

With less than two months to go before the election, John Kerry is yet to address a single important issue.

William Rivers Pitt, who runs the liberal web site Truthout, vented his frustration by declaring the election the dumbest ever. The entire election, thus far, Pitt says, has been about Republican and Democratic TV ads.

Pitt lists the real issues that remain unaddressed before the electorate: a war based on intelligence manipulation and deception, the loss of jobs, health care's rising cost and declining coverage, the intelligence failures that enabled the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, America's pariah standing in the world community.

Pitt is correct that the election is being fought over no important issue. However, even Pitt cannot avoid including in his list of weighty matters "the fact that military assault weapons will soon be making a perfectly legal return to a neighborhood near you." Pitt is referring to President George Bush's intention to permit the ban on "assault weapons" to expire.

It must be something in the water that Democrats drink. Kerry quickly picked up on this "important issue," and charged that Bush was helping terrorism by permitting Americans to own "assault weapons."

I certainly hope that Pitt and Kerry don't think Iraqis are being assaulted by our weapons and not by our troops and leaders. There is no such thing as a separate class of assault weapons. A vast array of items can be used as weapons by one person to assault another.

Only an aficionado can tell the difference between a rifle that is currently banned as an "assault" rifle and one that is not. I would bet that Pitt and not even Kerry, who served in action in Vietnam, would be able to identify which is which.

A political party that believes "assault weapons" are a serious issue on a level with job loss and war cannot win a presidential election.

With the massive fear and hysteria over terrorism that Republicans have whipped up, Americans probably believe that they need "assault weapons" to protect themselves from terrorists, who must be all around us judging by the number of alerts.

By failing to address the serious issues, Democrats are aiding and abetting a sinister revolution in the Republican Party.

The Republican Party is no longer an uneasy alliance of conservatives and moderates. The Republican Party has been revolutionized by neoconservatives. Its new spirit is Jacobin.

Jacobins have the confidence that comes from knowing that they alone possess truth and virtue. They have no ear for critics, or even for facts. Critics are enemies and are interfering with the imposition of virtue. You are with us or against us.

To get the full flavor of the neoconservatives' Jacobin spirit, read Claes Ryn's remarkable book, America the Virtuous.

The New Republicans believe that America has a monopoly on power as well as a monopoly on virtue. America's destiny is to use its power to impose its virtue on the world – especially the Islamic part.

This agenda has nothing to do with a "war on terror." However, it will create a lot of terrorists.

And a lot of casualties.

The New Republican Party is a party of delusion. Republicans are deluded not only about America's purpose, but also about America's power.

American casualties in Iraq have passed the 8,000 mark. Every day we blow up more houses and buildings and kill more women and children; the attacks on our troops increase by the day.

Delusion has such a powerful hold on the Bush administration that despite being stalemated in Iraq, high ranking administration officials are agitating to invade Iran and Syria.

No such undertaking is conceivable without reinstating the military draft. It would mean generalized war in the Middle East and, likely, a world war.

What has become of the bravery that John Kerry demonstrated in Vietnam? If Kerry fails in his duty to force a debate on real issues, Americans will reelect an administration that will squander our treasure and the blood of our sons in the Middle East.

The conservative movement in America is dead. There is no conservatism in Bush's budget and trade deficits, none in his domestic policies, and none in his diplomacy. There is no longer a conservative press; only a Jacobin one.

Hate and delusion have the bit in their teeth.


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    Paul Craig Roberts wrote the Kemp-Roth bill and 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 author or co-author of eight books, including The Supply-Side Revolution (Harvard University Press). He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon chair in political economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and senior research fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has contributed to numerous scholarly journals and testified before Congress on 30 occasions. He has been awarded the U.S. Treasury's Meritorious Service Award and the French Legion of Honor. He was a reviewer for the Journal of Political Economy under editor Robert Mundell.

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