When I saw that the neoconservative response to 9/11 was to turn a stateless war against 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 United States that, in the end, would destroy Bush, the Republican Party and the conservative movement."
I agree with that, but I didn't write it. No liberal did.
The author is Paul Craig Roberts, one of the creators and champions of "supply-side economics," the great conservative cause of the early 1980s. As a Wall Street Journal editorial writer and then assistant secretary of the treasury under President Reagan, Roberts was a true believer and an effective advocate. His political stance is pretty well summed up in the title of his newest book: "The Tyranny of Good Intentions: How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice."
Roberts is a syndicated columnist now, an honorable profession, and a fellow at the Hoover Institution, a temple of talented political thinkers devoted to all the Right things, beginning with Reaganism. His essay, "My Epiphany: From Reaganaut to Anti-War Radical," is, as they say these days, sweeping the Internet.
Roberts begins by emphasizing that he does not believe he is betraying old friends or old causes, saying that he never considered himself a slave to party or ideology. Apparently not. He has been writing strong stuff:
"Americans have forgotten what it takes to remain free. Instead, every ideology, every group is determined to use government to advance its agenda. ... The United States is undergoing a coup against the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and democracy itself. The 'liberal press' has been co-opted. ... Media concentration permitted in the 1990s has put news and opinion in the hands of a few corporate executives who do not dare risk their broadcasting licenses by getting on the wrong side of government, or their advertising revenues by becoming 'controversial.'"
He talks of "years of illegal spying" giving the White House the power of "blackmail" over media and political opposition. I might not use the same words, but I do believe that we, the people, are in jeopardy: New spying and eavesdropping technologies and their delighted abuse by intelligence-gathering organizations and their political masters are turning the United States into an emerging police state.
"Homeland Security and the Patriot Act are not our protectors," he adds. "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 neoconservatives are using the war to achieve their agenda of Israeli hegemony in the Middle East. Police agencies are using the war to make themselves less accountable. Republicans are using the war to achieve one-party rule ..."
"Debate is dead," Roberts concludes. "One certainty prevails. Bush is committing America to a path of violence and coercion, and he is getting away with it."
I asked Roberts what has been the reaction since these words were published 10 days ago.
"I have had thousands of e-mails, about 99.9 percent favorable, full of praise from Democrats and Republicans alike," he answered. "They say the country is desperate for a straight talker. ... People want to hear more. People want me to run for the Senate or for president."
I, for one, would consider voting for him, though I would hope he will finally give up on supply-side theory.
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