“Liberating” Iran, Enslaving America

Will Grigg, the editor of  Pro Libertate, has a new e-zine.   Will ran a piece of mine in his initial issue.  Will does great work – I hope people check out his hot new ‘Net publication here.

“Liberating” Iran, Enslaving the USA
The price of “regime change” in Iran might be the loss of what remains of our constitutional republic.

By James Bovard, Contributing Writer

The Bush administration is reportedly considering the use of tactical nuclear weapons against suspected Iranian nuclear facilities. Many people have commented on how the U.S. military is already overstretched and cannot afford another major war. But little attention has been focused on how the American political system is also at the breaking point.

If the U.S. attacks Iran, experts predict that Hezbollah and other terrorist groups will launch counterattacks against American targets here and abroad. Hezbollah is widely perceived as being far better organized than was Al Qaeda in 2001. Hezbollah’s attacks drove the U.S. military out of Beirut in the early 1980s and helped drive the Israeli Defense Force out of Lebanon in 2000 and again in 2006. Can the federal government defend Americans against a competent, determined terrorist opponent? Unfortunately, numerous reports by the Government Accountability Office and other federal auditors reveal that U.S. antiterrorism defenses continue to be little more than bureaucratic papier mache:

*In late 2005, undercover federal investigators smuggled enough radioactive material through U.S. checkpoints on the Canadian and Mexican borders to build two “dirty” bombs.

* Transportation Security Administration airport screeners are as incompetent at detecting weapons and other threat objects as were the private screeners on the job in 2001, according to an Inspector General report last year.

*The Homeland Security Department is one of the worst managed conglomerations in the history of modern Washington. The department’s response to Hurricane Katrina mixed equal parts farce and fraud. And a major terrorist attack will not be show up on radar screens and lumber along at 35 miles per hour for days prior to impact.

Attacking Iran will put American civilians in the terrorist crosshairs, with little or no federal Kevlar to protect them. The key question is not whether terrorists will attack but how the American people will likely respond and how politicians could exploit the situation.

There is no reason to expect the American people to be less docile than they were after 9/11. The percentage of Americans who trusted the government to do the right thing most of the time doubled in the week after 9/11. It became fashionable to accuse critics of Bush administration policies of being traitors or terrorist sympathizers. Each time the feds issued a new warning of a terrorist threat after 9/11, the president’s approval rating rose by an average of almost 3 percent, according to a Cornell University study. The craving for a protector dropped an Iron Curtain around many people’s minds, preventing them from accepting evidence that would shred his political security blanket.

The Bush administration has a record of exploiting terrorist attacks to seize nearly boundless power. After the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration effectively temporarily suspended habeas corpus, railroaded the Patriot Act through Congress, authorized warrantless domestic wiretaps, and nullified restrictions on torture by the CIA and U.S. Military. The Bush administration now claims that the Authorization to Use Military Force resolution passed by Congress in September 2001 raised the president’s power above the Bill of Rights.

If there are new terror attacks at home, how much more latent presidential power will administration lawyers claim to discover within the penumbra of the Constitution? How broad would the roundup of suspects be? How many years would it be until Americans learned of how much power the government had seized? Is there any reason to expect that a series of attacks would not quickly result in attempts to proclaim de facto martial law?

While the Bush administration is seeking to create a sense of urgency regarding the Iranian nuclear program, a U.S. National Intelligence Estimate estimated that Iran is 10 years away from manufacturing a nuclear bomb. But Bush is seeking to stir up a crisis regardless.

If Bush does bomb Iran, the chain reaction could wreck American democracy. The Bush administration shows no signs of developing either an allergy to power or an addiction to truth. The American republic cannot afford to permit a president to remain above the law and the Constitution indefinitely. Anything that raises the odds of a terror attack reduces the odds of reining in the government.

James Bovard is the author of Attention Deficit Democracy and 8 other books.
(Copyright James Bovard 2007)

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14 Responses to “Liberating” Iran, Enslaving America

  1. Orville H. Larson February 25, 2007 at 2:03 am #

    Hell, what else can you expect from a neofascist thug (Bush, not Ahmadinejad) who’s controlled by a coterie of neocon liars and thugs?

    Bush and his controllers rely on lies and shameless fearmongering to keep the (unthinking) people cowed.

  2. Kirk A. Hayes February 25, 2007 at 5:22 am #

    Good Morning, James -

    Your piece featured by Grigg includes the following:

    “Attacking Iran will put American civilians in the terrorist crosshairs, with little or no federal Kevlar to protect them. The key question is not whether terrorists will attack but how the American people will likely respond and how politicians could exploit the situation.”

    We already have the answers.

    The American public will demand something – anything – be done. It will not matter if the recipients are guilty or not (witness Iraq today) as long as the blood lust of the ignorant public is stoked and then satiated.

    The politicians will, as always, enhance the power of leviathan over us, for our own good, of course.

    Witnessing the events of 9/11 and what has taken place since gives me no hope of freedom being maintained when another such event takes place. The really damnable aspect of the whole scenario is that the freedom lost will be with the blessing of the people who are being enslaved.

  3. Tom Blanton February 25, 2007 at 9:00 am #

    The war on Iran has essentially already begun with economic sanctions and likely covert activities. I would have to argue that the enslavement of Americans already exists. A full blown military conflict with Iran will just shorten our chains or increase the weight of our balls (I’m not referring to testicles here).

    The evidence of our slavery becomes apparent when one attempts to break the chains of slavery. The new concept of freedom within a totalitarian system consists of the freedom to do what we are told and the freedom to refrain from what we are told not to do.

    Recent examples of people who resist are Lt. Watada who is being recharged after a mistrial and Ed Brown who is holed up in his home awaiting the Feds. I suspect they are not feeling too free at this point.

  4. Ken February 25, 2007 at 11:30 am #

    The Europeans are presently moving to enact laws that enable the police to track all internet activity. http://www.washingtontimes.com/world/20070224-111035-3756r.htm

    This is the classic ” if you’re not doing anything wrong then you don’t have anythiing to worry about” rationale.

    Scott Horton reports on his blog “Stress” that an Egyptian blogger was just sentenced to 4 years in prison for criticizing the government and the state religion. Blogger sentenced to 4 years …

    If the West keeps moving in the present direction of unchecked executive power then it will not be long before they, too, are locking up their critics.

  5. Jim February 25, 2007 at 1:57 pm #

    Ken – I can’t imagine that happening here.

    It wouldn’t be the American Way.

  6. Jim February 25, 2007 at 3:29 pm #

    Tom – your comment about how freedom means “do what we are told” — brings to mind the piece National Review ran on my 1999 book, Freedom in Chains. The reviewer, after walking through some of my criticisms of Leviathan, tut-tutted:

    ” I agree with him that laws against marijuana are a massive waste of time and money. But you can still avoid all the legal traps Bovard describes by steering clear of marijuana and other illegal drugs, just as the folks at Waco could have avoided their grief by steering clear of stupid cults or as most of us avoid no-knock ATF raids by not turning our homes into arsenals.”

    The reviewer, Matt Scully, later became one of Bush’s speechwriters.

  7. Al Koppel February 25, 2007 at 4:02 pm #

    The American republic cannot afford to permit a president to remain above the law and the Constitution indefinitely.
    (May the Speaker of the House be strong enough to wield the power of the American people which she represents as the law of this country in Congress, and not only to put a crimp on this psychopathic scion of another Bush idiot, but to help us, the people, impeach him and his mentors and their ass-lickers out of our U.S. Federal government, so that we, the people, may hold them accountable to our U.S. Federal and State laws that mandate heavy penalties for ‘terrorist acts’ committed upon our U.S. citizens, legal residents and others, as these are crimes that can not be shielded by Executive Privileges! – Al Koppel.

  8. Nick Manley February 25, 2007 at 8:02 pm #

    Yikes!

    With “protectors” like this, who needs enemies?

    ) :

  9. Marc Swanson February 26, 2007 at 5:36 am #

    Not that it will make any difference to the lunatic fringe focused on “spreading democracy abroad”, but a few generals, apparently, plan to resign if Bush initiates war with Iran by ordering air strikes on its “nucular” facilities. They feel that the military is already stretched too thin and near the breaking point. The Air Force brass, however, is backing the Bush agenda.
    According to a recent poll, Americans generally feel that the tens of thousands of civilians killed, maimed, and displaced by the Iraq war is unfortunate but “what war is all about”. Substitute war with empire and it becomes clear why most of the world now views the United States as a callous and self-righteous thug.

  10. Jim February 26, 2007 at 6:43 pm #

    That poll is grim. I’m glad it is at least getting some print coverage…

    I hope there will be enough generals to avoid another Bush war..

  11. E in MD March 14, 2007 at 1:54 pm #

    I believe I’ll be immigrating to England soon. I’m sure they can use a competent programmer.

  12. ninraver December 21, 2007 at 2:09 pm #

    Comming soon to your wallett!
    Government-issed ID cards complete with RFID implant!
    Good for getting into national parks, airports, court houses, or just about anywhere you want to be securely and accurately tracked for your own saftey.

    In ’08 if i’m forced to have a card i’ll definately be putting it directly into my grounded foil baggie until i absolutely have to use it… its bad enough they can blanket all of north america with GWEN/HAARP ELF mayhem. heck, i think i’ll construct a good faraday cage. watch your brainwaves, folks… theres some very crazy cold-war technology out there and its definately awe-inspiring yet scary as all hell to think such a system could really be devised implemented and actively WORKING for as long as they’ve had fiber optics criss-crossed strug about the country linking up the Ground Wave Emergeny Network ELF communication towers that happen to broadcast in some very ‘interesting’ frequencies…

    basically, there is no hiding from these ELF frequencies. We’ve been sucessfully dulled and lulled into this by our own stupidity and blindness to a very REAL technology being used actively that one can MEASURE and MONITOR the harmful effects of. (anyone have a 50ft antenna and 100khz-3ghz wide-band receiver?)

    Think you’ll ever hear a mention of this on CNN, FOX, MSNBC? goodluck. our society is made up of weapons of mass distractions (especially one which is invisbible and always constantly bombarding you) and i doubt anything will change until somehow we collectively ‘learn’…

    if someone would PROVE that such a system is in place and actively dulling the american population or producing some sort of ‘harmful’ effect via this ELF radiation bombarding us 24/7 that would be plenty of an issue to raise enough alarms. i’d hope… or else they may end up revealing its existence (perfected since the 70′s) and announce their answer to terrorists and all opposing the American agenda.
    O_o
    >_

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Who needs a police state when the state polices itself? « Scholars and Rogues - August 25, 2007

    [...] libertarian author James Bovard writes: “If there are new terror attacks at home [is] there any reason to expect that [they] [...]

  2. Scholars & Rogues » Who needs a police state when the state polices itself? - October 28, 2007

    [...] libertarian author James Bovard writes: “If there are new terror attacks at home [is] there any reason to expect that [they] [...]

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