- What was the greatest failure of 2007? President Bush's
"surge" in Iraq? The decline in the value of the US dollar? Subprime
mortgages? No. The greatest failure of 2007 was the newly sworn in Democratic
- The American people's attempt in November 2006 to rein
in a rogue government, which has committed the US to costly military adventures
while running roughshod over the US Constitution, failed. Replacing Republicans
with Democrats in the House and Senate has made no difference.
- The assault on the US Constitution by the Democratic
Party is as determined as the assault by the Republicans. On October 23,
2007, the House passed a bill sponsored by California Democratic congresswoman
Jane Harman, chairwoman of a Homeland Security subcommittee, that overturns
the constitutionally guaranteed rights to free expression, association,
- The bill passed the House on a vote of 404-6. In the
Senate the bill is sponsored by Maine Republican Susan Collins and apparently
faces no meaningful opposition.
- Harman's bill is called the "<http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-1955>Violent
Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act."When HR 1955
becomes law, it will create a commission tasked with identifying extremist
people, groups, and ideas. The commission will hold hearings around the
country, taking testimony and compiling a list of dangerous people and
beliefs. The bill will, in short, create massive terrorism in the United
States. But the perpetrators of terrorism will not be Muslim terrorists;
they will be government agents and fellow citizens.
- We are beginning to see who will be the inmates of the
detention centers being built in the US by Halliburton under government
- Who will be on the "extremist beliefs" list?
The answer is: civil libertarians, critics of Israel, 9/11 skeptics, critics
of the administration's wars and foreign policies, critics of the administration's
use of kidnapping, rendition, torture and violation of the Geneva Conventions,
and critics of the administration's spying on Americans. Anyone in the
way of a powerful interest group--such as environmentalists opposing politically
connected developers--is also a candidate for the list.
- The "Extremist Beliefs Commission" is the mechanism
for identifying Americans who pose "a threat to domestic security"
and a threat of "homegrown terrorism" that "cannot be easily
prevented through traditional federal intelligence or law enforcement efforts."
- This bill is a boon for nasty people. That SOB who stole
your girlfriend, that hussy who stole your boyfriend, the gun owner next
door--just report them to Homeland Security as holders of extreme beliefs.
Homeland Security needs suspects, so they are not going to check. Under
the new regime, accusation is evidence. Moreover, "our" elected
representatives will never admit that they voted for a bill and created
an "Extremist Belief Commission" for which there is neither need
nor constitutional basis.
- That boss who harasses you for coming late to work--he's
a good candidate to be reported; so is that minority employee that you
can't fire for any normal reason. So is the husband of that good-looking
woman you have been unable to seduce. Every kind of quarrel and jealousy
can now be settled with a phone call to Homeland Security.
- Soon Halliburton will be building more detention centers.
- Americans are so far removed from the roots of their
liberty that they just don't get it. Most Americans don't know what habeas
corpus is or why it is important to them. But they know what they want,
and Jane Harman has given them a new way to settle scores and to advance
their own interests.
- Even educated liberals believe that the US Constitution
is a "living document" that can be changed to mean whatever it
needs to mean in order to accommodate some new important cause, such as
abortion and legal privileges for minorities and the handicapped. Today
it is the "war on terror" that the Constitution must accommodate.
Tomorrow it can be the war on whomever or whatever.
- Think about it. More than six years ago the World Trade
Center and Pentagon were attacked. The US government blamed it on al Qaeda.
The 9/11 Commission Report has been subjected to criticism by a large number
of qualified people--including the commission's chairman and co-chairman.
- Since 9/11 there have been no terrorist attacks in the
US. The FBI has tried to orchestrate a few, but the "terrorist plots"
never got beyond talk organized and led by FBI agents. There are no visible
extremist groups other than the neoconservatives that control the government
in Washington. But somehow the House of Representatives overwhelmingly
sees a need to create a commission to take testimony and search out extremist
views (outside of Washington, of course).
- This search for extremist views comes after President
Bush and the Justice (sic) Department declared that the President can ignore
habeas corpus, ignore the Geneva Conventions, seize people without evidence,
hold them indefinitely without presenting charges, torture them until they
confess to some made up crime, and take over the government by declaring
an emergency. Of course, none of these "patriotic" views are
- The search for extremist views follows also the granting
of contracts to Halliburton to build detention centers in the US. No member
of Congress or the executive branch ever explained the need for the detention
centers or who the detainees would be. Of course, there is nothing extremist
about building detention centers in the US for undisclosed inmates.
- Clearly the detention centers are not meant to just stand
there empty. Thanks to 2007's greatest failure--the Democratic Congress--there
is to be an "Extremist Beliefs Commission" to secure inmates
for Bush's detention centers.
- President Bush promises us that the wars he has launched
will cause the "untamed fire of freedom" to "reach the darkest
corners of our world." Meanwhile in America the fire of freedom has
not only been tamed but also is being extinguished.
- The light of liberty has gone out in the United States.
- Paul Craig Roberts 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
coauthor of http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/076152553X/counterpunchmaga
- The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: