Perhaps the most ridiculous statement to have emerged from the neoconservative regime that runs the Republican Party is that bin Laden and his gang of terrorists murdered thousands of innocent Americans because "they hate our freedoms." If you are a Fox News Channel viewer or a Rush Limbaugh/Sean Hannity/Michael Savage/Michael Medved radio show listener you have probably heard this refrain at least 10,000 times.
But Americans were much freer decades ago, before the governmental Leviathan became as gargantuan as it is now. Why didn’t Muslim terrorists attack us then, if they hate our freedom so much? Whey did they wait until 2001? The obvious answer, which is discussed in the U.S. government’s own 9/11 Commission Report, is that in their minds the terrorists were retaliating for U.S. government interventions in "their" region, the Middle East. It had nothing to do with the freedoms of American citizens but with the desire of the American government to use its military muscle to dominate the entire world, especially the Middle East. Unfortunately for us, murderous thugs like bin Laden apparently believe all the tripe about democracy being "the will of the people," and so they equate us with the government.
In reality, as opposed to neocon propaganda, it is the neoconservatives who hate American freedom and have waged political war on it since the moment they gained power. Indeed, after 9/11 they immediately used the attack as an excuse to do what they had been planning on doing for a long time, and move the country further in the direction of what the original neocon, William F. Buckley, Jr., called "a totalitarian bureaucracy within our shores."
Buckley believed that such a bureaucracy, with a gigantic military/industrial/CIA/FBI/domestic spying network, was necessary to fight the Cold War. Neocons, who were all very, very depressed when the Cold War ended, have spent their time since then trying to instigate what Newt Gingrich and Norman Podhoretz, among other neoconmen, call "World War IV" (The Cold War was their "World War III").
Consider just a short list of the neocon attacks on the liberties of the American people. There’s the law passed by the Republican Congress that would give a moron like George W. Bush the ability to declare martial law. Bush himself claims to have the power of "the unitary executive," a term the founding fathers were certainly unfamiliar with, that supposedly gives him the right to essentially act as a dictator and ignore the Constitution because of the "war on terra," which he says will last forever.
The so-called PATRIOT Act allows the government to declare that almost anyone who protests government actions is an "enemy combatant" and deprive them of all constitutional rights. The neocons also desire to suspend habeas corpus whenever they want to, a constitutional right that former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez claimed in a statement to a congressional committee is not even a constitutional right.
Warrantless wiretapping is par for the Bush administration course — not that wiretapping with a "warrant" is much better from a civil liberties perspective. The Republican Congress claimed that Bush is exempted from the Geneva Convention and is essentially above the law. He obviously believes that he is.
The war in Iraq was started without a formal declaration of war by Congress, as required by the Constitution, and the U.S. military has been committing war crimes left and right, the most infamous of which occurred in Saddam Hussein’s torture chambers where the torturers were American soldiers instead of Saddam’s henchmen.
The PATRIOT Act allows the government to order individuals and institutions to turn over to it private financial information, travel itineraries, email and phone records, and more, and imposes a gag order that prohibits anyone from revealing that they have been treated in such a way. The Act also abolishes the traditional lawyer-client privilege for anyone declared an "enemy combatant."
The neocons are calling for a Hitlerian national ID card, which might as well be branded onto everyone’s inner arm once the legislation is passed. Neocon pundit Michelle Malkin has written an entire book urging that Muslim-Americans be rounded up and thrown into concentration camps, just as FDR did with Japanese Americans during World War II. Like all neocons, she cites the abolition of all civil liberties in the Northern states by the Lincoln regime as "justification" for such acts of tyranny.
The odious Ken Masugi of the Claremont Institute, who recently took a leave of absence to write speeches for the even more odious and disgraced former attorney general Alberto Gonzalez, has supported Malkin’s recommendations by approving of the illegal imprisonment of his own people — Japanese Americans — by FDR. (Apparently, Masugi’s insertion of Lincolnite clichés into Gonzalez’ speeches did little to save him).
Bush is an even bigger domestic spender than LBJ was; taxes and government spending have skyrocketed; and he has yet to veto a single spending program in a way that would reduce spending and governmental power. (He did veto one bill because it did not propose spending enough on one of his pet programs).
This is a very brief list of just a few of the attacks on the liberties of the American people that the neocons have gleefully administered in the past six years. All of the neocon pundits, from Limbaugh to Hannity to Liddy, Savage, Medved, and dozens of others, have devoted their careers to spewing propaganda on behalf of the neocon effort to deprive Americans of their constitutional liberties by cementing in place Buckley’s totalitarian bureaucracy within our shores. They hate the free society and always have.
Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War, (Three Rivers Press/Random House). His latest book is Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe (Crown Forum/Random House).