July 04, 2006

A Land of Evil

[Update added at the end.]

Many people may find it sickeningly immoral of me to highlight the following column on the Fourth of July. At the very least, I'm certain that some of my critics will find me guilty of the great crime of "anti-Americanism." After all, shouldn't we be celebrating the undeniably admirable and philosophically radical principles upon which our nation was founded?

In response to such charges, I offer two thoughts. First, we have strayed so far from our founding principles that the American revolutionists would not even recognize this country today in terms of the issues of liberty and individual rights for which they fought. [See an essay from June 2005, The Waiting Game, for much more on this topic.] Second, if there is any chance at all to reclaim our birthright and change our current disastrous course -- one which is headed straight into full authoritarian dictatorship -- we need the courage to identify exactly and with intellectual precision where we are now. What better time to do that than on the day we celebrate our nation's birth?

I offered some excerpts from another Paul Craig Roberts column just the other day. Here is Mr. Roberts once more:
Americans who get their propaganda from Fox "News" or are told what to think by right-wing talk radio hosts are outraged at news reports that U.S. troops planned and carried out the rape and murder of a young Iraqi woman. They are not outraged that the troops committed the deed; they are outraged that the media reported it. These "conservatives," who proudly wear their patriotism on their sleeves, dismiss the reports of the incident as a Big Lie floated by "the anti-American liberal media" in order to demoralize Americans and reduce public support for the war.


Many Bush supporters believe that truth is not on our side and must be suppressed. Yet, they support a war that is too shameful to report.

I have made it clear in my columns that Bush supporters are not true conservatives. They are brownshirts with the same low intelligence and morals as Hitler's enthusiastic supporters. And they are just as resistant to facts.


Many Americans are so unsophisticated that they refuse to believe anything bad about their country. They regard acceptance of unpalatable truths as disloyalty. This failure of American character is why Bush has been able to get away with transgressions that scream out for his impeachment and trial as a war criminal.

The premeditated rape and murders are just the latest in the long line of horrific war crimes from Abu Ghraib to Haditha. Bush supporters are still in denial about each incident.


To this day, the Bush regime and the neocon Nazis have not told us the reason for their invasion of Iraq, the destruction of its towns and infrastructure, and the slaughter of its citizens. Every reason Bush has given has proved to be a lie.

There is no more reason for U.S. troops to be shooting up Iraq than to be shooting up Canada, Scotland, Holland, Spain, Taiwan, Florida, Virginia, or California. We are killing Iraqis for no other reason than that they resist our invasion and occupation of their country.

It is proof of the collapse of American morals and the fallen character of the American people that the American public and its elected representatives in Congress refuse to rein in the Bush regime and hold it responsible for its monstrous crimes.

America has become a land of evil. The rest of the world hates and despises us. And we are going to pay a terrible price for it. Bush's belief that our superpower status makes us immune to the opinion of others goes beyond hubris into insanity.
The full truth about our crimes in Iraq is even worse than set out above, as I recently discussed here: Countless My Lais, Hadithas Beyond Number, and Atrocities Without End.

And given that we appear to be on an inevitable course to Our Date with Armageddon -- a course against which not one nationally prominent figure stands in opposition -- I think "evil" is now the only appropriate word.

UPDATE: I referenced an earlier essay of mine, The Waiting Game, above. I just reread that piece for the first time in many months. Because I know people often don't follow links, and because these thoughts have even more relevance today, I take the liberty of reprinting the concluding paragraphs here:
For these reasons, and as I have detailed in many other essays here, I do think that we live in a uniquely and profoundly dangerous time in historic terms. This particular combination of factors has never existed in America before. When an administration is known to assault individual rights on a continuing basis, when our government seeks to place itself and all its actions beyond the reach of all law and all restraints, when the United States engages in abuse and torture across the world, when we attack another country on the basis of lies when that other nation never threatened us -- when all of this is known and is out in the open, and when the American public utters barely one word of protest and doesn't object to a degree which need concern the administration at all -- then the stage is set for the ultimate catastrophe.

If and when there is another 9/11 or worse on our own soil, that may well be the end of our remaining liberty for our lifetimes. The cultural atmosphere established in the wake of the first 9/11 has still not dissipated -- and a second series of attacks would probably finish us off as a people. Congress would rush through another, much worse Patriot Act -- one which would give the government control over everyone and everything, since "safety" will again be demanded above all. People will not stop to reflect that the government failed to protect us from the second attacks, just as it failed to protect us on 9/11, but they will be ready to believe once again that giving the government still more power will finally solve the problem. And our officials will be only too happy to take advantage of this fear-driven demand for "safety" to the fullest extent they can. At that point, the government will undoubtedly demand control of the "war news" -- that is, it will demand censorship.

And in the current cultural context, that will truly be the end. As I have emphasized, this is not the same country that existed during World War I or World War II. Censorship was widely enforced during those conflicts, and we survived. (I note, however, that many people were unjustly imprisoned and otherwise penalized and the after-effects were deeply negative, and that the entire enterprise was utterly unjustified and unnecessary in the first place. Moreover, some of those after-effects extend down to today -- including the massive growth of an increasingly oppressive regulatory-authoritarian central government.) But those conflicts were limited in time, and limited by the identity of the enemies we faced. But now, the Bush administration has deliberately created an endless war against a faceless enemy -- against "terrorism." This is the kind of war that intentionally can never be won, and that will never be over. By these means, government power can be extended and consolidated in perpetuity.

I have no solution to this terrible dilemma, except to state the obvious: those of us who see what is happening must continue to speak and write about these issues on every possible occasion, and we must try to convince those who disagree with us that they are very badly mistaken in their views. Perhaps, as the war in Iraq continues on its awful, pointless, bloody path, enough people will finally begin to question those "truths" they have accepted, and begin to seek for another way to deal with the genuine enemies we face. Perhaps a sufficient number of people will change their minds in time.

But do we have enough time before another crisis, real or manufactured, overtakes us? I don't know. Nobody knows. That is what we now wait to find out.