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We are all familiar with the argument: Make war dreadful enough, and there will be no war. And we none of us believe it.
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November 6, 2004

The American Century Is Over


by Paul Craig Roberts

On Nov. 2, Americans blew their only chance to redeem themselves in the eyes of the world.

The entire world is stunned by the Bush administration's abandonment of a half century of U.S. diplomacy in favor of misguided, unilateralist, "preemptive" naked aggression on totally false pretenses against Iraq. America's allies are amazed at the ignorance manifested by the Bush administration. They are resentful of Bush's "in-your-eye" attitude toward friends who warned Bush against leading America into a quagmire and giving Osama bin Laden the war he wanted.

The world was waiting hopefully for the sensible American people to rectify the ill-advised actions of a rogue neoconservative administration. Instead, Americans placed the stamp of approval on the least justifiable military action since Hitler invaded Poland.

In the eyes of the world, Bush's reelection is proof that Ariel Sharon's neoconservative allies in the Bush administration speak for America after all.

The world's sympathy for America that followed the Sept. 11 attacks has been squandered. If the U.S. suffers terrorist attacks in the future, the world will say that America invited the attacks and got what it asked for.

Europeans and Asians will never be able to comprehend that Bush was reelected because Americans were voting against homosexual marriage and abortion.

The world is simply unable to believe that Americans, so enamored of family values, would vote to send their sons, fathers, husbands, and brothers to unprovoked war unless Americans valued empire and control over oil as more important than their family members.

The crude propagandistic Republican campaign against John Kerry is shocking to Europeans. The childishness of American conservatives scares them.

America's French friends, seeking to save America from making the same mistakes that France made in the past, advised Bush not to rush into an Iraqi invasion. American conservatives instantly and blindly perceived French words of wisdom as proof that France was in the "against us" camp. Conservatives announced a boycott of French fries. Everything French was denigrated for no other reason than the French tried to warn us.

Conservatives quickly produced a "revisionist" book, Our Oldest Enemy: A History of America's Disastrous Relationship with France, "proving" that France has always been America's worst enemy.

America's European allies cannot differentiate the immaturity of American conservatives from the ignorance of the National Socialists.

As hearts harden and minds close against America, Americans will have to go it alone.

The U.S. invasion of Iraq has proved to be a disaster – exactly as the French and everyone with a mere modicum of sense said in advance. Eight of ten U.S. divisions are tied down by a few thousand insurgents.

U.S. troops do not control towns, cities, roads, or even the fortified Green Zone.

The American impulse is to smash cities, thus killing women and children and destroying the homes and livelihoods of noncombatants, while the insurgents regroup elsewhere. The top American generals, who were ridiculed by the Secretary of Defense and his deluded neoconservative deputy for forthrightly stating that occupation of Iraq would require a larger army than was available, stand vindicated.

The price of the Bush administration's delusion is 10,000 dead and maimed American troops – more than three times the casualties caused by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Bush's declared policy of "continuing to the end" will swell this number and bring back the draft.

The world is amazed that Americans do not care that they have been deceived, lied to, and incompetently led and that Americans have chosen to continue along this path.

Bush's reelection has ended forever respect for America. New and unflattering sobriquets for Americans are emerging. The American century is over.


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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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