When a Reagan conservative slaps such an accusation on the table, you have to sit up and take notice. This time it can't be dismissed as simply more left wing paranoia. Roberts served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration, later as Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of the conservative, National Review.
By Paul Craig Roberts
A number of readers have asked me when did I undergo my epiphany, abandon right-wing Reaganism and become an apostle of truth and justice.
I appreciate the friendly sentiment, but there is a great deal of misconception in the question.
When I saw that the neoconservative response to 9/11 was to turn a war against stateless terrorism into military attacks on Muslim states, I realized that the Bush administration was committing a strategic blunder with open-ended disastrous consequences for the US that, in the end, would destroy Bush, the Republican Party, and the conservative movement.
My warning was not prompted by an effort to save Bush's bacon. I have never been any party's political or ideological servant. I used my positions in the congressional staff and the Reagan administration to change the economic policy of the United States. In my efforts, I found more allies among influential Democrats, such as Senate Finance Committee Chairman Russell Long, Joint Economic Committee Chairman Lloyd Bentsen and my Georgia Tech fraternity brother Sam Nunn, than I did among traditional Republicans who were only concerned about the budget deficit.
My goals were to reverse the Keynesian policy mix that caused worsening "Phillips curve" trade-offs between employment and inflation and to cure the stagflation that destroyed Jimmy Carter's presidency. No one has seen a "Phillips curve" trade-off or experienced stagflation since the supply-side policy was implemented.
In Reagan's time we did not recognize that neoconservatives had a Jacobin frame of mind.
Reagan was certainly no neoconservative.
Neoconservatives were disappointed with Reagan.
I have always objected to injustice. My writings about prosecutorial abuse have put me at odds with "law and order conservatives." I have written extensively about wrongful convictions, both of the rich and famous and the poor and unknown.
Americans have forgotten what it takes to remain free.
We have reached a point where the Bush administration is determined to totally eclipse the people.
Having eliminated internal opposition, the Bush administration is now using blackmail obtained through illegal spying on American citizens to silence the media and the opposition party.
Before flinching at my assertion of blackmail, ask yourself why President Bush refuses to obey the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The purpose of the FISA court is to ensure that administrations do not spy for partisan political reasons. The warrant requirement is to ensure that a panel of independent federal judges hears a legitimate reason for the spying, thus protecting a president from the temptation to abuse the powers of government.
The United States is undergoing a coup against the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, civil liberties, and democracy itself.
The TV networks mimic Fox News' faux patriotism. Anyone who depends on print, TV, or right-wing talk radio media is totally misinformed.
The years of illegal spying have given the Bush administration power over the media and the opposition. Journalists and Democratic politicians don't want to have their adulterous affairs broadcast over television or to see their favorite online porn sites revealed in headlines in the local press with their names attached. Only people willing to risk such disclosures can stand up for the country.
Homeland Security and the Patriot Act are not our protectors. They undermine our protection by trashing the Constitution and the civil liberties it guarantees. Those with a tyrannical turn of mind have always used fear and hysteria to overcome obstacles to their power and to gain new means of silencing opposition.
Consider the no-fly list.
If Senator Ted Kennedy, a famous senator with two martyred brothers, can be put on a no-fly list, as he was for several weeks, anyone can be put on the list. The list has no accountability. People on the list cannot even find out why they are on the list. There is no recourse, no procedure for correcting mistakes.
I am certain that there are more Bush critics on the list than there are terrorists. According to reports, the list now comprises 80,000 names! This number must greatly dwarf the total number of terrorists in the world and certainly the number of known terrorists.
How long before members of the opposition party, should there be one, find that they cannot return to Washington for important votes, because they have been placed on the no-fly list?
If the government can have a no-fly list, it can have a no-drive list. The Iraqi resistance has demonstrated the destructive potential of car bombs. If we are to believe the government's story about the Murrah Federal Office Building in Oklahoma City, Timothy McVeigh showed that a rental truck bomb could destroy a large office building. Indeed, what is to prevent the government from having a list of people who are not allowed to leave their homes?
Many readers have told me, some gleefully, that I will be placed on the no-fly list along with all other outspoken critics of the growth in unaccountable executive power and war based on lies and deception. It is just a matter of time. Unchecked, unaccountable power grows more audacious by the day.
Congress and the media have no fight in them, and neither, apparently, do the American people.
The sooner the Bush administration realizes its goals of attacking Iran, Syria, and the Shia militias in Lebanon, the more likely the administration will collapse in the maelstrom before it achieves a viable police state. Hamas' victory in the recent Palestinian elections indicates that Muslim outrage over further US aggression in the Middle East has the potential to produce uprisings in Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. Not even Karl Rove and Fox "News" could spin Bush out of the catastrophe.
Debate is dead in America for two reasons:
Americans need to understand that many interests are using the "war on terror" to achieve their agendas. The Federalist Society is using the "war on terror" to achieve its agenda of concentrating power in the executive and packing the Supreme Court to this effect. The neocons are using the war to achieve their agenda of Israeli hegemony in the Middle East. Police agencies are using the war to remove constraints on their powers and to make themselves less accountable. Republicans are using the war to achieve one-party rule--theirs. The Bush administration is using the war to avoid accountability and evade constraints on executive powers. Arms industries, or what President Eisenhower called the "military-industrial complex," are using the war to fatten profits. Terrorism experts are using the war to gain visibility. Security firms are using it to gain customers. Readers can add to this list at will. The lack of debate gives carte blanche to these agendas.
One certainty prevails. Bush is committing America to a path of violence and coercion, and he is getting away with it.