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May 22, 2006

The Administration That Won't Stop Lying


by Paul Craig Roberts

The Bush regime has killed tens of thousands of people in Iraq and Afghanistan, mainly women and children. The deaths are excused as unintended "collateral damage" of the ongoing war, but the deaths are nonetheless important to the tens of thousands of relatives and friends. An equally important casualty of the Bush regime is truth.

The American public has been trained to obediently accept their government's lies fed to them by their government's handmaiden, the U.S. Media. No statement or claim by a Bush regime official is too outlandish to be received with acceptance. Consider the claim by Donald Rumsfeld, the U.S. secretary for war and aggression, made to the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee on May 17, that Iran was to blame for the instability in Iraq.

Did the senators laugh Rumsfeld out of the room? No.

Did the media remind the "informed public" that it was actually the U.S. invasion and unsuccessful occupation, together with mass detentions, torture, slaughter of citizens and invasions of their homes, destruction of infrastructure and entire cities, such as Fallujah, and removal of Saddam Hussein's government, which kept the three Iraqi factions from each other's throats, that destabilized Iraq? Needless to say, no.

The only person in the Senate committee room who spoke the truth called Rumsfeld a liar and was hauled off by the police.

Freedom of expression still exists in America, but only on behalf of lies. Truth is forbidden, except on the Internet. The Internet is still free, because Americans are accustomed to believing what they hear on TV and read in the news columns of newspapers, whereas the Internet is new and iffy to most Americans and of less concern to the government. The mainstream media, which serves as a government propaganda organ, and the Internet are two parallel universes.

The influence of neocon propaganda now extends to National Public Radio. Prior to the Bush regime and total Republican control of our government, NPR offered in-depth reporting and alternative views. This important service has diminished under Republican control. On May 18, NPR reported on a controversy at Yale University. A former spokesman for the Taliban government in Afghanistan is now a student at Yale. Conservative students and alumni are up in arms.

A spokesman for the concerned Yale students said that the Taliban had killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11. The NPR reporters and commentators took for granted that the Taliban had attacked America and were a dangerous enemy of our country.

We have reached the point where the media that brainwashes the public is itself brainwashed. The Taliban had nothing to do with 9/11 and was not a declared enemy of the U.S. The Taliban was fully absorbed in a struggle to unify Afghanistan. Their opponent, the Northern Alliance, was comprised of Tajiks, some ethnic minorities, and the remnants of the Soviet puppet government. As Afghanistan has never been unified and consists of a collection of tribes and warlords, the only basis for Afghan unity is Islam, the emblem for the Taliban.

The Taliban became an enemy only after Bush attacked them and took the side of the Northern Alliance. Bush claims that he attacked the Taliban because they refused to deliver Osama bin Laden to U.S. custody.

The Bush regime blames bin Laden for 9/11, although the evidence is sketchy and inconclusive. Take a moment to consider the chances of bin Laden, who was fully occupied in his involvement in civil war in Afghanistan, being able to organize a successful attack on high-tech America from a primitive country half a world away. A man in a cave operating on a shoestring somehow defeats the myriad intelligence agencies of the U.S.

Regardless of bin Laden's responsibility for 9/11, the Taliban could not turn over bin Laden, and the Bush regime knew that. Bush made a demand that could not be met in order to have the excuse to attack the Taliban.

Why couldn't the Taliban turn over bin Laden? Osama, of course, had his own armed fighters, but this is not the reason. Bin Laden helped to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan and is an Afghan national hero. He was helping the Taliban to finish off their opponents, including the remains of the Soviet puppets. The Taliban could not possibly claim to be unifying Afghanistan in the name of Islam and turn over an Islamic hero to the Great Satan.

At that time, Americans were told that bin Laden was the target of the invasion of Afghanistan. In retrospect, we know that that was just another lie. The target was Iraq (and Iran and Syria). Bin Laden was the excuse for getting the camel's nose under the tent.

Iraq has nothing whatsoever to do with bin Laden or 9/11. Yet, war in Iraq has completely absorbed the Bush regime. The regime sticks with its war despite its sinking polls, which even Karl Rove attributes to the fruitless war.

The war in Iraq has multiplied terrorism, not reduced it. The war has destroyed America's reputation. The war has served as an excuse for concentrating unconstitutional powers in the executive for removing the institutional protections against a police state. The war has already cost 20,000 American casualties (dead and wounded) and hundreds of billions of dollars, which have had to be borrowed from foreigners, and is projected to have a total cost in excess of one trillion dollars.

This is a horrendous commitment. What is its purpose?

We have never been told. Everything the Bush regime has said has been a lie. There were no weapons of mass destruction, and this was known prior to the orchestrated invasion. As the leaked, top-secret British Cabinet memo, the "Downing Street memo," makes completely clear, the Bush regime falsified the intelligence to justify its invasion of Iraq.

There was no Iraqi connection to al-Qaeda, a sworn enemy of the secular Hussein regime.

The most recent excuse building democracy is also a lie. It is perfectly clear that what the Bush regime has done is to bring the three Iraqi factions to the brink of civil war, while constructing a massive U.S. fortification in the guise of an embassy and permanent military bases.

The Republican Party has been reduced to one principle its own power. It protects the Bush regime from accountability and covers up its lies and misdeeds. Under the myths and lies that enshroud 9/11, the Democrats have collapsed as an opposition party.

The Bush regime has destroyed Iraq without being able to defeat the resistance. Its greater casualties, however, are the American people, voiceless with no political representation, defenseless in the face of police-state depredations such as illegal warrantless surveillance, the possibility of property seizures, and indefinite detention without charges.

The Bush regime's war on terror has defeated truth and the constitutional protections of liberty in the United States. No conceivable number of Muslim terrorists could inflict comparable damage on America.


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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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