Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Americans don’t live here any longer

What’s Become of Americans?

By Paul Craig Roberts

03/22/06 "LewRockwell" -- -- Imagine knocking on America’s door and being told, "Americans don’t live here any longer. They have gone away."

But isn’t that what we are hearing, that Americans have gone away? Alan Shore told us so on ABC’s Boston Legal on March 14:

When the weapons of mass destruction thing turned out not to be true, I expected the American people to rise up. They didn't.

Then, when the Abu Ghraib torture thing surfaced and it was revealed that our government participated in rendition, a practice where we kidnap people and turn them over to régimes who specialize in torture, I was sure then the American people would be heard from. We stood mute.

Then came the news that we jailed thousands of so-called terrorist suspects, locked them up without the right to a trial or even the right to confront their accusers. Certainly, we would never stand for that. We did.

And now, it's been discovered the executive branch has been conducting massive, illegal, domestic surveillance on its own citizens. You and me. And I at least consoled myself that finally, finally the American people will have had enough. Evidently, we haven't.

In fact, if the people of this country have spoken, the message is we're okay with it all. Torture, warrantless search and seizure, illegal wiretappings, prison without a fair trial or any trial, war on false pretenses. We, as a citizenry, are apparently not offended.

There are no demonstrations on college campuses. In fact, there's no clear indication that young people even seem to notice. . . .

The Secret Service can now declare free speech zones to contain, control and, in effect, criminalize protest. Stop for a second and try to fathom that. At a presidential rally, parade or appearance, if you have on a supportive t-shirt, you can be there. If you’re wearing or carrying something in protest, you can be removed.

This! In the United States of America.

Readers tell me that Americans don’t live here any more. They ask what responsible American citizenry would put up with the trashing of the Bill of Rights and the separation of powers, with wars based on deception, and with pathological liars in control of their government? One reader recently wrote that he believes that "no element of the U.S. government has been left untainted" by the lies and manipulations that have driven away accountability. So-called leaders, he wrote, "talk a great story of American pride and patriotism," but in their hands patriotism is merely a device for "cynical manipulation and fraud."

The Bush regime acknowledges that 30,000 Iraqi civilians, largely women and children, have been killed as a result of Bush’s invasion. Others who have looked at civilian casualties with greater attention have come up with numbers three to six times as large. The Johns Hopkins study accounted for 98,000 civilian deaths. Patrick Cockburn, using more sophisticated statistical analysis, concluded that 180,000 Iraqis died as a result of Bush’s invasion. The former prime minister Iyad Allawi says that Iraqi sectarian violence alone is claiming 50–60 deaths per day, or 18,000–22,000 annually, a figure that could quickly worsen.

Some were killed by “smart bombs” that weren’t very smart and dropped on hospitals, schools, and weddings. Others were mistaken for resistance fighters and killed. Still others were killed by spooked, trigger-happy U.S. troops. And many died due to the breakdown of the Iraqi health system.

Now comes a report in the online edition of Time magazine that U.S. Marines went on a rampage in the village of Haditha and deliberately slaughtered 15 unarmed Iraqis in their homes. The Iraqis were still in their bed clothes, and 10 of the 15 were women and children.

The Marines turned in a false report that the civilians were killed by an insurgent bomb. But the evidence of wanton carnage was too powerful. Pressed by Time’s collection of evidence, U.S. military officials in Baghdad opened an investigation. Time reports that "according to military officials, the inquiry acknowledged that, contrary to the military’s initial report, the 15 civilians killed on Nov. 19 died at the hands of the Marines, not the insurgents. The military announced last week that the matter has been handed over to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which will conduct a criminal investigation."

If this story is true, under Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush’s leadership, proud and honorable U.S. Marines have degenerated into the Waffen SS. Those of us raised on John Wayne war movies find this very hard to take.

A fish rots from the head. Clearly, deception in the Oval Office is corrupting the U.S. military. One reader reported that on March 19 his local PBS station aired a program which discussed the deaths of two young American soldiers in friendly fire incidents similar to Pat Tillman’s death. In each case, he reports, "elements within the military falsified reports and attempted to shift blame to either enemy combatants or allied (Polish) forces."

The neocons have yet to tell us the real reason for their assault on Iraq, which has so far produced 20,000 dead, maimed, and wounded U.S. soldiers, between 30,000 and 180,000 (and rising) dead Iraqis, and demoralized U.S. Marines to the point that they commit atrocities on women and children.

Would real Americans accept these blows for the sake of an undeclared agenda? Perhaps it is true that Americans don’t live here any longer.

Dr. Roberts is Chairman of the Institute for Political Economy and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. He is a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, former contributing editor for National Review, and a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

4 comments:

Ascendantlive said...

I think the premise of his article is wrong, people are not standing for it. There have been numerous protests, people are demanding answers. It's just the media that won't report the protests unless somebody sets themselves on fire or blows a car up.
At a presidential rally, parade or appearance, if you have on a supportive t-shirt, you can be there. If you’re wearing or carrying something in protest, you can be removed.

Not entirely true, the t-shirt incident was inside the Capital Building where campaigning is forbidden(at least overt campaigning). It was no different than someone making a rucus in a fine restaurant, there was no arrest, no secret interrogation, two people were simply asked to leave.

but in their hands patriotism is merely a device for "cynical manipulation and fraud."
Of this I have no doubt, patriotism is the means to manipulate a people into action, although that's been true since civililation began. Everyone with a motive flashes the flag in our face, usually it's just because they want us to buy something though.

Some were killed by “smart bombs” that weren’t very smart and dropped on hospitals, schools, and weddings.
Having heard first hand accounts from Iraq(my father), Hussein used hospitals and schools for ammo storage. Many schools were destroyed because of this, but the United States military is not in the habbit of murdering 2nd graders, the schools were either already empty or quickly evacuated when ammunition was discovered. The 'wedding' incident was questionable at best.

A fish rots from the head. Not necesarily true, there's always tail rot. It is definatly a tradedy that some soldiers have been undeniably criminal. And that's what court martials are for.

"elements within the military falsified reports and attempted to shift blame to either enemy combatants or allied (Polish) forces."
'elements within the military' is about the vaugest statement that could possibly be made here. That could mean anyone. And it wouldn't be the first time that those directly involved attempted to cover up friendly fire incidents.

Would real Americans accept these blows for the sake of an undeclared agenda?
Total hypocrisy, just a few paragraphs ago the writer is complaining about the evil 'government', the ominous 'they' using patriotism to manipulate people and then goes and makes a statement like this?


American media is getting further and further from real reporting and trying to make everything like a Vin Diesel movie. Nothing against Vin Diesel, at least everyone who goes to the theatre knows it's fiction. More and more reporters are playing the blame game, they are obsessed with villianizing the President and making a martyr of the Iraqi people. Maybe he has done some questionable things, at this point I don't think I have any reliable way to determine that however. I don't have absolute faith in the White House Press Secretary, but I have even less faith in NBC, CNN, Time, and especially FOX.
All they do is complain that Bush doesn't have an objective because no WMDs have been found. They slam Bush for the war and then bitch about gas prices as they fill up their Ford Expedition for a third of the price most other countries pay.
Oh, Americans definatly still live here and are getting even greedier, more self-serving, more individualistic, and still happily believing that America is isolated and protected from the rest of the world despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Whetam Knauckweirst said...

It's heartening that you see discrepancies with this article in places around you. But hitting the "zoom out" button one or two times on Empire Amerika, the article certainly sums up the questions I have about how BushCo could do so much damage, wreak so much havoc, and not have Kenneth Star going through their underwear drawers.

Ascendantlive said...

You're right that BushCo does have the support of the elite, the money, and the power that it brings. He has the ability to do all sorts of questionable things with little or no oversight.
It just seems to me that the article is a little Michael Moorish in citing unrelated events and blaming everything on Bush as if he were determined to crown himself King of America. America definatly has an imperialist agenda. Which up until recently was more about McDonald's and Walmart than it was about war and invasion.
But no, there will never be any Kenneth Star investigating Bush's high school rampages. Bush makes people money, and more importantly he makes money for the right people. Despite so many failed businesses he does understand how greed and staying in power go together. I think plunging the world into chaos has far more to do with economics than weapons of mass destruction.
There are many good and logical reasons to dislike or even hate Bush. But the pretense of the 'humanitarian' reporter calling Bush a baby killer doesn't help the logical argument part.

but thanks for posting the article anyway, it's good to get fired up now and then.

Kathleen Callon said...

Nice post. Every fifty years or so it seems America goes through a progressive or revolutionary phase. Ours is coming, and I hope we make good with ours.