The New World Order is Unimpeachable

Sinclair Lewis once wrote that if fascism ever comes to the United States it will be wrapped in the American flag and carrying a cross. Lewis might have been describing our contemporary “political Christians,” the mostly evangelicals who believe that Washington has a manifest destiny to make the world behave while simultaneously expunging the constitution of all those troubling un-Biblical bits that were pulled together into the Bill of Rights. Well, it hasn’t quite happened that way. The “Moral Majority” remains influential in the Republican Party, but it has been replaced by the “moral hypocrisy” crowd that came in with change we could believe in in 2008. Who would have thought that a Democrat preaching inclusion and talking to one’s enemies would have gone on to complete the job begun by George W. Bush in transforming our republic into a full blown national security state? Well, someone should have thought of it if history is anything to go by. Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, promised peace when he was elected in 1916 even as he was conniving to enter the First World War. Franklin D. Roosevelt, another Democrat, ran on a platform asserting that he had kept the nation out of war while he was colluding with Winston Churchill fight the Germans. The lesson that was apparently not learned well enough was to beware of politicians falsely proclaiming themselves to be peace candidates.

The Founding Fathers included impeachment in the constitution for a reason. Andrew Johnson was impeached for firing his Secretary of War, surviving the process by one vote. Richard Nixon would have been impeached because of Watergate and Bill Clinton might have suffered the same fate over perjury connected with his inability to keep his trousers on. As much as I would like to see George W. Bush in jail for starting a war of aggression, he is more likely to be indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes than he is to face any retribution in the United States as he is now out of office. But we still have Obama.

As suggested above, President Obama was elected in 2008 almost certainly because of the perception, in spite of significant warning signs, that he was the antiwar candidate. Relative to John McCain and Sarah Palin he certainly looked to be the better option. But instead of making the United States a more normal country again post 9/11 Obama has instead done much to expand and institutionalize the deplorable aspects of the insecure and paranoid state that he inherited. He is the only president known to have ordered the extrajudicial assassination of American citizens, he has greatly expanding the killing by drone program initiated by his predecessor, and he has far exceed the record of Bush in using the government secrets privilege to cover up official malfeasance and to block any attempt at redress or rollback through the judiciary.

More than that, as if that were not bad enough, he is also looking for innovative ways to expand the federal government’s power. The recent revelations about the White House using the tax system to punish critics and the secret investigation of the Associated Press news service to find leaks from among the ranks of Obama’s own administration should deeply disturb every American. Nixon, who had his enemies list, behaved similarly using the IRS and it was one of the issues that would have told against him if he had been impeached. Abusing a government agency that has its legitimacy derived from the impression that it operates impartially has devastating consequences as it completely undermines any sense that the citizen is being treated fairly. The Obama response that he did not know that the selective screening of non-profits was taking place is pathetic on several levels. First of all the “buck stops” at his desk in terms of what the government agencies under his control are doing and second, the IRS action reeks of politicization. The president has pretended to be angry and has vowed that there will be accountability for what has occurred, announcing that the acting chief of IRS has been forced to resign. He knows as well as anyone that there has been no accountability in the federal government since 9/11 and almost certainly before that. Those he is forced to fire will leave with their pensions intact and another job waiting, while the real scoundrels in the White House will walk, as they always do.

The Associated Press (AP) incident is equally disconcerting. If President Obama is concerned about leaks relating to his illegal drone program in Yemen he should look first at the self-serving and sycophantic barracudas that he has surrounded himself with. If his Attorney General Eric Holder decided that an investigation of the Associated Press was in order to control leaks of information that the White House would prefer the public not to be made aware of, he should have sought the information directly from AP before obtaining a “secret” subpoena and demanding the information from the phone company. Taking legal action against press sources is reminiscent of the actions of several authoritarian regimes that were active in the twentieth century and which are frequently cited for the horrors they inflicted on their people, it should be. If Obama were serious about accountability and not just doing damage control, the AP and IRS scandals together should have impelled him to fire Holder and to consider the possibility of himself resigning to avoid impeachment as Nixon did.

And there are plenty of other indications that we are witnessing a transformation of government, and not for the better, including a warning that the war on terror will go on for at least twenty more years and the president can take whatever military action he deems appropriate during that time period. Remember the Pentagon’s Total Information Awareness program in 2002 that was intended to compile detailed dossiers on every American? Well, its back only the FBI and White House are now calling it “total internet surveillance” in an attempt to forestall “going dark” on the information transmitted by new technologies. It will provide real time access to all the data that moves or is accessible through over the web, which is nearly everything these days. Combine that with the NSA capability to tap all phones all the time and there is not a whole lot of room for privacy left, which is precisely the intention. A small percentage of investigations that are actually carried out with respect to the fourth amendment ban on illegal searches go through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), which always accepts the government argument that national security is involved and approves the search.

It would be hard to explain how the shenanigans engaged in by Bush and Obama have made us any safer. Perhaps something can be done before Obama sets up a FISC-like acquiescent drone court that will decide on the modalities for assassinating American citizens because they represent an “imminent threat.” Let’s face it, in the minds of many in Washington national security is perpetually at risk so there is always a completely plausible justification to zap someone. Even Senator Rand Paul seems to go along with the idea if one is detected exiting a liquor store, so it will likely be another bipartisan demonstration of how government vs. the people works. A secret court set up to do something that is manifestly illegal and unconstitutional will be a triumph for the current version of the New World Order originally envisioned by President George H. W. Bush in 1990. Always remember that the government knows best.

Author: Philip Giraldi

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is a contributing editor to The American Conservative and executive director of the Council for the National Interest.