It Can't Happen Here? It Has Happened Here

by Michael Nolan by Michael Nolan


Our fellow citizens have been led hoodwinked from their principles by a most extraordinary combination of circumstances. But the band is removed, and they now see for themselves.”

~ Thomas Jefferson

Today's citizens, lately aware of the crimes of those who rule them from the White House, have removed the band (the blindfold) from their eyes. The huge majority of average Americans are dead set against "the surge" in Iraq, seeing it for what it is: the senseless slaughter of American sons and daughters on a mission which has nothing to do with US security.

The question is, what are the people going to do about it?

It should be noted that the US Congress, charged by the US Constitution with deciding when and if the nation goes to war, has been neutered. In the alternate universe of the Republican noise machine, anyone standing in the way of the mindless dispatch of US troops to the slaughterhouse doesn't – somehow – "support the troops," and no media-obsessed congressman wants to get hung with that accusation. Given a choice between securing their own careers or truly serving God and country (to put it in Red State terms), today's US lawmakers overwhelmingly choose the former. To be sure, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley appeared on Meet the Press a few weeks ago to celebrate a neocon alchemy by which justifications for war funding can be conjured up forever whence none exists: “I think once they get in harm’s way, congress’s tradition is to support those troops,” Mr. Hadley said with fatherly pride, fitting at the birth of the Perpetual War Machine.

The next country in the neocon gunsights is, of course, Iran. That Iran is somehow a nuclear threat to the American people surpasses in bunk and risibility the whopper that Saddam Hussein had something to do with bringing down the Twin Towers. The latter lie (with others) was good enough to start the war in Iraq and it's a virtual certainty that the former lie will serve to start the war in Iran despite the fact that experts, including those at our own CIA, put Iran several years away from the development of a nuclear weapon. And, as former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski reminded Congress recently, "[t]o argue that America is already at war in the region with a wider Islamic threat, of which Iran is the epicenter, is to promote a self-fulfilling prophecy." That America needs to attack Iran is a conceit seen sensible by few – save neocons, the White House and opportunists like former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Pulitzer Prize Winner Seymour Hersh has predicted that retaliatory Iranian disruptions to the oil flow in the Middle East could push prices up over one a hundred dollars a barrel. It's well known, and well predicted, that in the event of an American attack, Shiite Iran will send its 650,000 strong army into Iraq to wreak vengeance on US troops. With a pre-emptive attack, America will be begging Iran or Iranian sympathizers to launch a terrorist attack on US soil. And, as Pentagon Papers author Daniel Ellsberg pointed out recently, "[i]f there's another 9/11 or a major war in the Middle-East involving a U.S. attack on Iran there will be, the day after or within days an equivalent of a Reichstag fire decree that will involve massive detentions in this country, detention camps for middle-easterners and their…sympathizers, critics of the President's policy and essentially the wiping-out of the Bill of Rights."

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has dictated to those voters who put her in power that impeachment is "off the table." Three days after the November elections, John Conyers, the new House Judiciary Chairman and, until then, hero of the pro-impeachment movement, betrayed (as did Pelosi) his constituents and the spirit of the Constitution when he said, “I am in total agreement with her [Pelosi] on this issue: Impeachment is off the table.”

Pelosi is given to sweeping, dismissive statements, judged by a speech she made at the 2005 AIPAC convention in Washington, DC. "[T]he history of the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict is not over occupation, and never has been: it is over the fundamental right of Israel to exist." A congressional leader who says with a straight face that Israel is wholly without blame for the bloodshed in Palestine (and the resultant anti-American bias in the Middle East) is a sure bet to ignore the sage counsel of the Baker-Hamilton Report, which prescribes, as an imperative for Mideast peace, adherence to UN Security Council Resolution 242, which mandates a return of Palestinian land held illegally by Israel since 1967.

Expect nothing from the United States Congress to make the Bush Administration even mildly uncomfortable in its role as knee-jerk defender, enabler and funder of all things Likud, despite the threat that such support carries for US prestige, sovereignty and security.

Congress could defund the Iraq war but as Senator Russell Feingold points out, it "doesn't have the will." It could, for that matter, threaten, in the clearest of terms, impeachment, removal from office and – if it comes to it – war crimes trials for those who would lead us into a war in Iran (with consequent conflagration through the whole Middle East), that could bring down the US economy and the US Constitution and lead to violent civil disorder and repression at home. But, unruffled, US Congressional Quislings seem willing to let the whole thing go with a couple of non-binding resolutions.

Rather than listen to Congress, the Administration prefers the bellicose, anti-American counsel of neocon think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute (where, Bush avers, he gets his "finest minds"). In 2005, I wrote a piece, "Martial Law," expanding on General Tommy Franks' worry that, in the event of a terrorist attack on our shores democracy might well not survive. In that piece I wrote:

Michael Ledeen, a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute, and close and trusted White House adviser, has this to say on p. 173 of his book Machiavelli on Modern Leadership: Why Machiavelli's Iron Rules Are As Timely and Important Today As Five Centuries Ago: "Paradoxically, preserving liberty may require the rule of a single leader – a dictator – willing to use those dreaded ‘extraordinary measures,’ which few know how, or are willing, to employ.”

Don't wonder if "it" (a fascist takeover of the United States government) can happen here. It has happened here. This administration can wage war when, where and how it pleases, for as long as it pleases, for whatever reason it wants and – under current conditions – there is nobody in America, within or without the government, who can stop it. The US Government is effectively a dictatorship in all matters of war and peace.

If, at any point, this dictatorship felt itself in real, impending danger from Congress or the people, it might react like a wounded animal. What if, despite the best efforts of the Republican and Democratic establishment, talk of a real impeachment movement (even a credible whisper thereof) were heard in the halls of congress? Considering the character of those in the White House, and their history of desperate and murderous political solutions (the "surge" comes to mind), the notion that the US Government could attack its own citizens in a false-flag terrorist operation (to force lockstep, "wartime" obedience) is no longer a fringe conspiracy theory.

If waves of Americans eventually show up on the streets in sustained, don't-take-no-for-an-answer demonstrations, so forceful as to cause civil disruptions and an actual threat to the existence of the Administration, it will draw government troops, whether those troops be police, National Guard, the US Army (posse comitatus be damned) or contractors like those from Blackwater Security, dispatched fresh from their war crimes against the people of Iraq to deal as they see fit with the people of the United States.

There's an iconic photo from the 1960's: at an antiwar protest outside the Pentagon, a flower child places her eponymous flower into the barrel of the bayoneted rifle of one of the soldiers lined up to contain the demonstration. Sixties protests had an element of theater to them and the flower child knew that the bayonets were for show. Americans were aware, in those days, of their right to free speech and peaceable assembly and, despite the aberration at Kent State, those who massed together to forcefully and effectively demand an end to the war, were secure in doing so. But if bayonets are drawn this time around, resultant photos will likely lack that whimsical sixties theatricality, and American parents will shudder to think of a daughter standing up to troops acting under the orders of a weakened, wounded Dick Cheney

Cheney personifies the Dictatorship, morally, legally – hell, even physiognomically. His favorability ratings are disastrously low, but it's unlikely to bother him. Cheney is a coward and a dictator, with no regard for human life, American or foreign. A dictator lives to inspire fear and obeisance and if he thrills with the stranglehold he exerts on the (currently) impotent eighty percent or so of Americans who hate his guts, think how much bigger the thrill might be at ninety or ninety-five percent. Dick Cheney said our troops would be welcomed as liberators in Iraq. Well, it turns out they weren't and to that vast majority of citizens who recognize the war in Iraq (and the next one in Iran) for the constitutional, military and national security disaster that it is, Mr. Cheney might likely ask, "what are you going to do about it?"

Interesting question.