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March 20, 2006

A Collapsing Presidency


Will it take the country down with it?

by Paul Craig Roberts

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center finds that President Bush's support among the American people has fallen to 33 percent. Even more devastatingly, the survey finds that people's most frequently used one-word description of President Bush is "incompetent."

The chief chaplain for the New York City Corrections Department told a Tucson audience that "the greatest terrorists in the world occupy the White House." Two years ago when New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was suppressing demonstrations at the Republican National Convention, the chief chaplain would have been fired for his remarks, but not today.

Abroad among peoples who formerly looked to America for leadership, American atrocities in Iraq have created sympathy and support for the Iraqi resistance.

When the Bush administration gets in trouble, it turns to war, which has worked for it in the past. Thus, this past week there was live coverage of "Operation Swarmer," which occupied a solid day on CNN and Fox "News." The venerable Washington Monthly reports that the hyped "assault on Samarra" was nothing but a Potemkin operation a set propaganda piece to demonstrate U.S. military prowess and the battle-ready "new Iraqi army," only there were no insurgents in Samarra to battle. The much-hyped "Operation Swarmer" was a photo op for TV cameras as troops fired into empty desert.

One can imagine the thoughts in Bush's mind: "Thank goodness I didn't capture bin Laden. Maybe he will strike again and bail me out."

What is going to rescue Bush? Not the Republican Party. A few Republican congressmen, such as Walter Jones, are trying to get a debate going, but Republicans believe that they are stuck to the fate of their man. There is no one within the administration to turn Bush toward diplomacy and away from coercion.

Created on the principle that "you are with us or against us," Bush's administration is all of one mind. They are all neocons. There are no real conservatives or traditional Republicans in the Bush administration. This is the first administration in my lifetime in which there is no debate. The absence of debate means there is no check on reckless and ill-advised policies and corrupt schemes.

Neocons don't believe in debate. They specialize in slandering critics and stamping out debate. Dissent is not possible within the Bush administration, because dissent is equated with treason and anti-Americanism. "You are with us or against us." Increasingly, Republicans demonize their critics as "abettors of terrorism." The Republicans' intolerance for debate makes many Americans uneasy about the real purpose of the $385 million detention camp that Halliburton is building in the U.S. for the Bush administration.

Neocons don't believe in diplomacy. They believe in coercion. Neocons denigrate diplomacy as the epitome of weakness. Neocons slap down diplomacy before it can rise. The Iranians offered talks, and neocon National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley immediately slapped down the offer as "simply a device by the Iranians to try to divert pressure that they are feeling." The Bush neocons are bent on war with Iran. They don't want any talks. In their books, neocons have demonized Muslims in the same way that the Nazis demonized Jews. Demonization makes talks impossible.

On March 17, William Rivers Pitt declared Bush to be "deranged, disconnected, and dangerous." But what else to expect from a neocon administration that declares that it creates its own reality and mocks its critics for being "reality-based"? Neocons insanely believe that American power can be used to recreate the world in America's image. Neocons are dangerous because they really believe that the U.S. can invade the Middle East, deracinate Islam, and install puppet governments.

These disconnected neocons are not shaken by facts or by results. Their evil eye falls on U.S. field commanders and CIA analysts who declare that the U.S. military is creating insurgents faster than it can kill them.

Creating your own reality means that when you cannot put down a resistance based in 5 million Iraqi Sunnis, you attack 70 million Iranians, who are allied with 15 million Shia in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in Palestine.

The Bush administration is sending every signal that it is determined to go to war with Iran. Will the rest of the world block the American aggression, or will the rest of the world decide that it is in the world's best interest for the hubris-driven hegemon to exhaust itself in conflict in the Middle East?

A thank you to readers: I appreciate the support demonstrated by your anger at the neocon Web site, FrontPageMag, for slandering me. But to put a different light on the matter, let me ask you, what would you think of me if I were praised by FrontPageMag? Isn't it preferable to be denounced by the neocon brownshirts? What better secures my reputation?

Neocons are incapable of debate, because they don't believe in it. Neocons rely on disinformation and deceit to impose their agenda.

Neocons do not believe in the U.S. Constitution, civil liberties, the separation of powers, or the Geneva Conventions. According to published reports, President Bush described the Constitution as "a scrap of paper." Bush's attorney general, vice president, and secretary of defense have openly defended the Bush administration's practice of torture, violations of habeas corpus, and illegal spying. These high officials, in violation of their oath of office, have openly declared that Bush, as commander in chief, is above the law.

What American ever expected to see the safeguards against tyranny put in place by the Founding Fathers removed in the name of providing security against terrorists by a president who purports to believe in original intent?

Neocons are Jacobins. They are a foreign import and do not share our American values. Neocons are a grave danger to the United States and to the world. Neocons have led America into two gratuitous ongoing wars that cannot be won, and they are determined to lead us into more wars. It is our duty to defend our country and to oppose these evil people.


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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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