An Anthology of American Exceptionalism

“Today no American is safe from his own government”, writes Paul Craig Roberts in his introduction to his new book on How America was Lost: From 9/11 to the Police/Warfare State (Clarity Press, 2014). To anticipate the essence of the book: The greatest threat to the freedom of the American people comes from their own government and not from an imaginary terrorist threat. This alarmist rhetoric serves as a pretext for America’s wars of aggression.

In his anthology, Roberts provides convincing arguments that the US has become a rogue state. According to him, “America’s fate was sealed when the public and the anti-war movement bought the government’s 9/11 conspiracy theory. The government’s account of 9/11 is contradicted by much evidence. Nevertheless, this defining event of our time, which has launched the US on interminable wars of aggression and a domestic police state, is a taboo topic for investigation in the media.” Without the willful collaboration not only of the US media but also by its international outlets the fabricated 9/11 narrative could have never become so widely believed, despite its obvious flaws and innumerable contradictions. According to Roberts, this could only happen because “there is no free press in America (except for Internet sites)”.

There is only a difference in gender between the neoconservative Bush-warriors and Obama’s interventionist and warlike Amazons. Roberts, who was a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury, has become one of the most outspoken and distinctive critics of the dark machinations of the US government, starting with the George W. Bush administration and its follow-up Obama presidency. Roberts’ conclusions might appear shrill for journalists and pundits of the US Empire and its client states in Europe when he states: “Americans are ruled by usurpers who claim that the executive branch is above the law and that the US Constitution is a mere ‘scrap of paper’.” Or: “The American people have suffered a coup d’état, but they are hesitant to acknowledge it.”

PCRThis anthology contains numerous articles on a variety of different political issues starting from 2009 until the end of 2013. In his essay, “How America was lost”, which serves as the title of the book, Roberts quotes from a speech by Dean Acheson, which he delivered at the “American Society of International Law” in 1962. Acheson pointed out that “power, position, and prestige are the ingredients of national security and that national security trumps law”. Roberts concludes from Acheson’s speech that democracy in the US takes a “back seat” to national security. The term “national security” doesn’t actually mean anything but justifies everything. Roberts lists a number of criminal actions by the last two US governments. The Bush and Obama administrations have not been held accountable for their criminal actions. The author calls them “regimes” because “lawlessness is the hallmark of tyranny enforced by the police state”, and according to him, the US is a police state where the constitution is only regarded by the governments as a “scrap of paper”, like the young Bush once apparently called it. “Doubtless, the Obama regime, should it obey the law and prosecute the Bush regime’s crimes, would have to worry about being prosecuted for its own crimes, which are just as terrible.” Concluding this essay, Roberts writes: “Washington is the enemy of all humanity.” And the world should recognize: “Washington is not merely the most complete police state since Stalinism, but also a threat to the entire world.”

Some essays deal with 9/11 and its consequences for the US and the world. Since that day, the law in the US is no longer a shield for ordinary people but “had been turned into a weapon in the hands of the government”. Since 9/11 the executive branch of government has risen above the law. On September 30, 2011, was the day “America was assassinated”, writes the author in “The Day America died”. On that day, Obama used his absolute power by having “two American citizens, Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, murdered”. Few days later, al-Awlaki’s son was also murdered with a drone in Yemen. “Having murdered its critic, the Obama Regime is working hard to posthumously promote al-Awlaki to a leadership position in Al-Qaeda.” It is historically unique, that the President of the flagship democracy [sic — DV Ed] maintains a personal killing list. Obama has been so far the first US President who “asserted the power to murder citizens”. What is striking, however, that all the Western democratic leaders keep mum. The quintessence of Roberts’ essays could be: Such as the Thirty Years’ War led to the starting point for the resolution of conflict through negotiations and the emergence of international law, the period of the Thirty Years’ War on Terror appears to lead to the erosion of international law and to the reign of the naked might.

In his essay “Washington drives the World toward War”. Roberts presents a gloomy outlook. “The fatal war for humanity is the war with Russia and China toward which Washington is driving the US and Washington’s NATO and Asian puppet states.” The bigotry of the US power elite is rooted in its self-righteous doctrine that stipulates America as the “indispensable country”. This means, according to the author, that “the US has been chosen by history to establish the hegemony of secular ‘democratic capitalism’ over the world. The primacy of this goal places the US government above traditional morality and above all law, both its own and international”. Alarming, however, is the fact that with few exceptions “the American people including the Christian churches have accepted their government’s criminality and immorality with scant protest”, not to speak of the European US vassal states.

That the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, better known as NATO, should go down the drain is a foregone conclusion for the author, because NATO “has resurrected as America’s imperial army”. According to Roberts, the neoconservatives are frustrated that the Cold War ended without a US military triumph over Russia. It is a triumph that the dangerous warmongers still hope to achieve. Nonetheless, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has saved the US from a final showdown through his skilful diplomacy. But for the US warmongering political class there will be no peace until Russia is defeated. Its first step is an attempt to engineer a coup d’état in Ukraine and the establishment of a puppet regime in Kiev.

In his wrap-up, Roberts highlights the work of the US Justice Department that had nothing better to do than to provide legal justifications enabling US Presidents to disregard the law and the Constitution. In the light of these lawyers’ sophistry, George Orwell may appear as an amateur.

This anthology compiles a great number of valuable essays by one of America’s strident critics. It is unfortunate that the fawning US media do not print such excellent contributions.

Dr. Ludwig Watzal works as a journalist and editor in Bonn, Germany. He runs the bilingual blog Between the lines. He can be reached at: Read other articles by Ludwig.