This was originally one massive omnibus essay; that was a bit of mission creep on my own part, I suppose. I set out at the end of January to check in with the progress of the issues I'd touched on before, to highlight a few disturbing things I'd heard. I'd planned a separate weblog about Enron, maybe something about the legislative effort to destroy the railroads; one by one new topics arose, with a hail of stunning twists, from the dumbfounding swagger of the "axis" declaration to the Office of Strategic Lying to You and the reinvention of nuclear war. The desperately important issues were mounting much faster than I could write them up, and strangely, they were growing only more and more inseparable as I learned about them. Inevitably, it seemed, they became one story, divided somewhat arbitrarily into what came to be fourteen different topics--and it was such a huge, ungainly load of writing that several of my not many readers have told me they gave up on it.
Well, that won't do, because the end was the most important part. So now it's the beginning. And I'll tell you where it's going, because dramatic suspense is only worth so much.
In all my reading I found a few people making a strident case for the most viscerally horrifying proposition of all: that the fundamental starting point for all the madness of the last six months, the September 11th attack itself, was known in advance to Bush and some of his closest advisors. Or, maybe, carried out with their blessing. Or, at rock bottom, conceived and carried out entirely by them and their agents, precisely in order to serve as a moral mandate for all the diabolical policies they've unleashed in its wake.
I'm not saying this happened! I don't know what to think. What I am saying is that there's enough of a case there to warrant a real investigation--which, you might note, was never conducted in the first place, and should have been.
Before you roll your eyes and mutter those words "conspiracy theory," read the damn essay. If you know anything about me, you should know I wouldn't bother bringing this stuff up without some kind of case. If you have a lot of time on your hands, you might read everything in the order I set it out originally, or just pick the interesting parts, before coming back here to discuss the big hairy theory itself. Or if you really want nothing but nothing to do with the idea, read these other essays and don't bother with the rest of this page. The material listed below is simple commentary on undisputed facts; but the main content of this page is speculative in large part. It draws heavily on the facts discussed in the other essays though. Here are the subsidiary essays:
So, here's what became the centerpiece of all of this writing: the discussion of whether, and how, Bush himself could have engineered the attack on our own soil. Do I believe it? Yikes. I don't know. I'm not any less well disposed to it than I was on March 18th when I first posted this. In fact I might venture to say it's the only specific theory I've heard yet with which everything I've read since September, and since I wrote this up, lines up quite sensibly. Am I closer to believing the theory now than when I wrote about it? I don't know. Maybe. Maybe.
BE WARNED: I've been reading news for hours each day, now, for months. (Which is rather out of character, and quite an experience.) If you read every article I link to in this essay [mostly in the supporting essays], you'll have read a hefty book's worth of material. If you don't have that much time, I'd rather you just read what I'm saying and ignore the links except for when you really think I must be making stuff up--then go looking for validation.
What's the worst thing I could say now?
I've said that the man in the White House is not the president; that he is entirely a corporate flunky; that he works mainly to fatten corporations at taxpayers' expense and against their interests, as do many in Congress. I've said that his war is wrongful and wrong-headed, that it does nothing even to aid his stated goals, because his stated goals were lies anyway. I've said his administration is conducting a steady assault on democracy and all the most basic of American freedoms. I've said that he's willing to throw away American citizens and armies of other people's citizens, summarily discard every obligation and agreement to which he is beholden, and in our name intitiate as many wars as he possibly can, consulting no one, using the most sweepingly destructive weapons he can use--all to make himself popular at home and generate more piles of dirty money for his rich friends. Isn't all this misconduct bad enough? What can top it? What could be so bad that I'd save it for last and bill it as worse than all the rest combined?
I'm not certain that there is anything more. I want to make clear that this last section is speculative. It daunts me; in a way I'd really rather not get into it. But it keeps cropping up.
Remember that the bulk of this stuff has happened all at once. The world has gone nuts in the last six months--or rather we have, the US has. Some of what I'm talking about, particularly the legislative parts, have been going on all along, but the rest--permanent war, open disregard for national and international law, a military buildup emphasizing weapons we've been slowly trying to decommission for decades, carte blanche for law enforcement to the point of putting enforcement before law, regular public rebukes from the highest government figures for people who dare to speak openly against them, a string of undisguised, unrepentant initiatives to herd public opinion at home and abroad--all of this Orwellian grotesquerie has happened in a few short months.
Six months have sufficed to transform an unpopular, widely ridiculed, notoriously illegitimate administration into a nightmare phalanx of robber barons and warlords. How? It could be that these extraordinary actions have been demanded in response to the extraordinary circumstances of a bloody attack on American soil. That's the official story. Or it could be that this is the climate that suits this administration's preferences, and the second they had an excuse they seized it and have mined it for all it's worth, rubbing the world's noses in our national distress, extending the fear and fervor of it as far as possible to cover for their own dreadful agenda.
Either way, Bush has done exceedingly well out of it all. An outbreak of deep and widespread fear has lifted him from a poor position to a powerful position in a very short time, and he's used that power to turn the world on its head, always generating more fear. Fear has been a reliable winning combination for him; he should know that, since after all it was the attack of September 11 that rallied the country uncritically behind him. For his term, for his agenda, the attack was a godsend; it's worked like a charm.
In fact, it's done nothing but good for him and his cronies, and done no good at all for anyone else on Earth.
It was inevitable that people would start to ask whether the attack itself fit in a little too neatly. People have begun to nose around, and have in fact collected a powerful weight of evidence indicating that Bush and his top advisors were either complicit or entirely responsible for the attack in the first place.
It's laughably improbable. It's a barbaric thing to suggest, the kind of just-for-the-hell-of-it attack on one's own people worthy of Pol Pot, of Stalin; one ought to be respectful enough not to toss such allegations around lightly at a time like this.
So, I'm not. I stop short of making the monumental accusation I'm talking about. I'm not really convinced it's true. I'm not convinced it's not. I don't honestly know what to think about it. I'm only asking the questions--not lightly at all, but reluctantly. The first few times I ran across an essay suggesting it, I shrugged it off, thinking--come on, that's taking it too far.
The problem is that it's a naggingly plausible scenario. Could corruption run that deep? The claim needs to be examined if only because there's specific evidence supporting it, and virtually no evidence has ever been advanced (or even sought, as far as I can see) to support any other theory at all. Even the theory that bin Laden is responsible (which, by the way, I believe to be true) is supported only by his remorseless statements of intent on earlier occasions, his evident satisfaction with the attack, and his subsequent warmongering speeches. Much more, and more damning, evidence supports naming George W. Bush as chief suspect in the attack. Nothing I've read of constitutes proof; but there are clear, glaring faults in the official story, and that is evidence of something afoot. The evidence is specific. It is suspicious. I am not ready to accuse, but I am ready to seek an accounting, ready to demand an investigation.
I realize this is a long essay, and if you were to read all the articles linked from here it would amount to a book. Naturally so; I've been reading the news for a couple hours every day, weeks and weeks now, and much of what I found is here now. However! Even if you haven't followed a single link here--or conversely, even if your eyes are already sizzling from following too many--I hope you will follow one of the links in the last few paragraphs. They're as important as anything in here. Much of my analysis for the next little while will be simply a compilation of points made there. So if you don't bother to read them, I'll hit some of the key points now anyway--but if I seem to be pulling wild fantasies out of nowhere, it's because you didn't follow any of those links.
First and foremost, the problem I want to highlight is that there has never been an investigation of the attack. Why is this not simply being treated like any other whodunit? It's a crime. It's big, it's as big as an act of war, but nothing has been shown to prove that it is one--no country took credit, or showed any sign of following up with further aggression--and in fact even our own government is assigning blame to a criminal, not a government (although the new elasticity of the word "terrorist" seems custom-designed to transcend that disctinction, leading to our despicable sophistries in disregarding human rights in Cuba as well as domestic due process). The attack was a murder, a multiple murder; why don't we simply investigate it in terms of means and motives, as we would any individual murder? Who are the suspects? What detective would ever pick one suspect immediately--to the tune of ten minutes after the second plane, as one of those articles points out--and ignore all the others?
Anybody who hates Americans unconditionally can be assumed to have a motive; Osama bin Laden has stridently made it known that he hates Americans. So far so good. But here, at the end of this essay, a plausible motive for George Bush is also plainly evident; his ratings were lagging, and the attack made everyone think he could do no wrong. There's a further motive: he was already deep in plans to attack Afghanistan (they knew this in India and in Pakistan) and he didn't have any very plausible excuse for doing it. The real reason he wanted to do it was oil.
This, I can have no doubt of. This article makes it pretty explicit. This one adds an important detail: all those new and newly strengthened military bases in central Asia make a beeline from the ocean to the oilfields--which until now have been pretty squarely in Russia's domain. The Russians were quick to take note of that. So there's oil in Uzbekistan, and Enron wanted the oil, and had in fact bet everything on it, since as we now know its finances were tottering at the brink of exposure; Afghanistan was annoyingly interposed between Enron and the oil, so they bought an administration and bought a war. The Afghanis cooperated at least as far as having the execrable Taliban regime in place as a potential excuse--though note the Taliban is largely our own doing as well. But the interests were still pretty much in the open, and Bush was uneasy in his illegitimate seat, so a better excuse would have served them all very well. Remember we already knew the war in Afghanistan had been planned for months, already scheduled for mid-October. So there's your motive.
So Bush and bin Laden both had motive. On to means. This is the easy part; all it took to carry this attack out was a smallish crew of fanatically devoted volunteers, a bunch of cheap knives and box cutters, a couple of empty red boxes labeled "bomb," a lot of planning and a whole lot of chutzpah. The hardest to come by on that list is the suicidal volunteers--in that department bin Laden has the edge, being steeped in a religion which under some circumstances confers eternal reward on its adherents for dying in the act of battling infidels (unlike Bush's religion which more often confers the same in payment for battling oneself). The rest of it--it was just knives! They carried it out with knives. Anybody could have done it. A frat house could probably pull it off if they wanted to badly enough. No problem. Right? Right.
Think back to that Learjet with the golfer in it, last year. An airport tower checked in with them, got a response, all's well; ten minutes later a tower radioed them again, and this time no response, because in the intervening minutes the plane had depressurized and everyone on board was dead. Within about five minutes the Air Force had been notified--every airport control tower has a direct line to the Air Force for this reason-- and within some fifteen minutes after that, there was a fighter flying alongside the Lear and examining it.
This is all standard procedure. Clockwork. No problem. So how come nothing of the sort happened on 9/11 until the action was all over? The first jet hit forty minutes before the second. Why was not every airborne jet in the country checked by radio and radar during those forty minutes? The other hijacked ones were well off course by then. Could we possibly not have seen them coming? The jet that hit the Pentagon passed directly over the White House--could easily have chosen it instead. Ten minutes from there are fighters on permanent ready, expressly to guard against an attack. They remained stubbornly on the ground; they didn't budge. This is over an hour after the first impact here in Manhattan. How could we still be asleep at the wheel even then? It beggars belief.
So means become a thony question. Osama bin Laden most certainly did not have any power to make the US military inexplicably sluggish on the day of his attack. Unless, of course, he was aided by an extremely well-placed military officer. So how did it happen?
One might well argue that though motives for hurting the US are commonplace, the means to accomplish the attack--the way it actually happened, owing not only to the attackers but to the total inaction of all our well-laid defenses--were available to nobody on Earth except George Bush. Or more precisely, Bush and bin Laden in concert; bin Laden provides the zealots, Bush holds off the dogs.
Next question, which I and others were asking at the time, but which had since become forgettable--where the hell was Bush? Well, it turns out that he was in a grade-school classroom, for a shockingly long time after he certainly knew the attack was underway. His story and those of other officials have varied unaccountably as to when exactly he was informed--the vacillations include his own provably false statement that he saw the first plane hit on television at abut the time it actually happened. Let alone why the jets didn't scramble--why didn't he skedaddle? First, he should have been considered a potential target himself; moving him would be an elementary precaution. Second, any president who gave a damn about his constituents would have been bending his whole attention on the attack right about then. Instead he sat in school--and then spent hours on his own plane, zigzagging across the sky, saying nothing--supposedly in order to make him a hard target, as if anybody would be able to knock Air Force One out of the air with a passenger jet, despite its escort of fighters. As if he had nothing better to do just then.
Other details come up that beg explanation. A Saudi jet was allowed to fly in and out of Boston to carry away a great handful of bin Laden's close relatives--who had not yet been questioned--at a time when all of the US was a no-fly zone. Only specific, high-level authorization could have permitted that. The CIA and FBI turn out to have been astoundingly lax in letting the terrorists into the country--not to mention, quite a handful of the terrorists supposedly on the planes turned up safe and sound in the middle east days after the attacks, and the stewardess on the phone from the plane over Pennsylvania gave the numbers of seats other than those on the tickets of the presumed hijackers. Some of the details of reported terrorist conduct, leading up to the attack, seem dubious. There was a peculiar frenzy of insider trading the day before the attack. A CIA man imprisoned in Canada seems to have claimed it was all known about. There are a bunch of little things; again, read the articles. The point is, the official story is distinctly not the result of any careful inquiry, and it doesn't add up quite right.
It's crazy. I know. I hate it. But in a grim way, you get used to the idea. The scary thing is that the people pointing at this stuff have a much clearer and more precise story, with more supporting evidence, than anybody else going. In fact, they seem to be the only people in the world who've actually bothered to ask any questions about the attack. Consider that the official government explanation is a preposterous bunch of sententious bombast about "evil" countries and terrorists who "hate us for our freedom." This is the theory of someone who isn't even bothering to think about what his assailant's motivations were. "Money-grubbing politicians" seems a great deal more plausible than that, frankly.
Again: I am not making an accusation. I am asking a question, and suggesting that the whole country needs to ask some questions. Let's be clear about it: we're talking about the greatest mass murder in American history. We're talking about high treason. Committed not by a nuclear physicist or some Californian dimwit but the top military brass, and the very man purporting to lead the country. And why? As a simple public-opinion operation, the manufacturing of an excuse to send the military into somebody else's country to secure a foreign oil supply for the habitually fraudulent corporation that purchased the White House. Just something to make the people approve of a decision the executive branch had already made behind closed doors. Maybe this is what the Office of Strategic Influence would call the "blackest of black" operations.
So let's see how it all falls in. Some highlights of the last six months:
If this was a plan--if 9/11 was a maneuver by Bush and his close advisors to gain public and congressional approval for their pre-existing designs--it could hardly have worked better. Bang, the joke presidency became a war presidency, and never was heard a discouraging word. Fear began with the attack; the baton was neatly passed to the threat of anthrax. The anthrax carried us through to the fat satisfaction of victory, even as Bush urged us to look ahead to years, a lifetime, of more war and more threats and more fear, waving his guns at every foreign nation, until finally we graduated to the old reliable fear of his youth: a nuclear arms race. Except now nobody's racing; we're stockpiling with the express aim of being able to obliterate anybody who dares to do the same. Nuclear war is a fear that will last Bush forever--or at least, he figures, for another three years. After that his mess will be somebody else's problem.
And under that smooth, continuous cover of fear, he has succeeded to a breathtaking extent, reinstituting the Cold War, the arms race, McCarthyism and Manifest Destiny all at a stroke. His underlying agenda of executive secrecy, corporate subsidy, military expansion and public silence has rolled forward like the juggernaut. Perfect.
It all looks great for him, except for one little thing. The only event on this page that wouldn't have been part of the plan: Enron's collapse. The corporation so deeply involved in setting this stage couldn't survive its own accounting hijinks long enough to collect on its investment. The Uzbek oil would come too late to save Enron, or at least Kenneth Lay's Enron. (I'm not suggesting that Lay knew about 9/11 in advance, by the way--I've heard no reason to suppose he might have. Not that he has a moral bone in his body, just that it isn't functionally necessary for him to have been involved in those specifics.) The fall was big and loud and public, and it woke us up, a little. Bush scrambled to dissociate himself from his lifelong fairy godfather Kenny Boy, and Cheney is still scolding us for asking him so many questions, and the Republican-dominated congressional committee in charge of investigating is doggedly choosing to investigate by means that have never caused a sitting president any trouble before (congressional intelligence committees), avoiding any methods that have been known to bring about impeachments or resignations (independent commissions or special congressional committees). Bush and his club might skate through this yet, if we don't ask more questions and louder. They might even resuscitate Enron and reinstate Kenny Boy after a year or two pass and we're not paying attention any more. But the Enron crash remains our best hope for getting the American people into a properly ornery mood--it sticks out of the side of this war like a bright red string labeled "pull me."
Nutty. I know. And it's true, of course, that some people will see a conspiracy in anything, and the big bad guvmint is the perennial favorite villain for conspiracy theorists. David Corn goes to some length to debunk the theories I'm talking about, not only because he doesn't believe them but because they distract from the real and immediate questions of our conduct since the attacks. His grounds for dismissing the theories--apart from what seems like a basic impatience with the very idea of a conspiracy--is a theme I've long spouted myself: how can we believe the government has its act together enough to execute a grand deception of the masses, when they're so deeply at loggerheads about every other damn thing they can hardly pass a decisive law most of the time? The government, Corn says, is too incompetent to conspire.
This is a fair point as far as it goes. But nobody's talking about the whole government--at least the people I've been reading aren't, and I'm not. What I'm talking about required a smallish cadre of high-level military and intelligence figures, and the White House--fewer people, in all, than the terrorists themselves, on the planes. And we know they were conspirators. Corn says nothing to refute what I regard as the greatest argument implicating Bush--the baffling total inertia of the military while the attacks were going on, and on, and on.
That last is important to remember when people get dismissive about the very idea of a conspiracy theory. As Barrie Zwicker says, what is the official story about bin Laden, if not a conspiracy theory? More to the point: there can be no reasonable doubt that there was a conspiracy. The attack happened; I don't need to ask, I saw it. Everybody knows there was a goddamned conspiracy. It's improbable, hard to believe, yes. But it happened anyway. Any theory not involving a conspiracy would have a lot of explaining to do.
The only remaining question is who it was. And frankly I don't see why somebody else's rich-born, bigoted oilman is much more likely a suspect than our own.
There are certainly bad theories floated, by the way. One of the repositories of evidence I'm drawing on, this one, is also on some whole other trip about Israeli agents, and I want nothing to do with that. Not without some solid demonstration of motive. After being surprised by it so many times, I know too well--as our recent reacquaintance with President Nixon reminds us--that antisemitism can run shockingly deep in some people's heads. Another of the sources has good information, but seems to be apologist for Milosevic--I want even less to do with that! Read with care. And whoever said there was no plane at the Pentagon was a crank--or else a government plant intended to discredit conspiracy theories in general, as some would have it. And then there's this wise guy, Ian Mulgrew, who hints broadly at the end of his article that he's planted false stories in his interesting discussion, just to see if we check our sources, and to show us what a clever little booger he is. Looking over his article, though, I found his most interesting points are all legit--the only thing I couldn't confirm was his opening remark about the substitute teacher.
The most obvious defense of all, the reflexive defense, is to ask whether I'm completely out of my mind. What, are we supposed to believe that anybody would kill so many people just for a shady deal, for an opinion poll, nothing better than that? Have I confused Bush with Geoffrey Dahmer?
Well, no. I might be apt to confuse him with Stalin, rather. If anything makes me doubt that he would have instigated 9/11 himself, it's the boldness of it, the risk involved. But his moral character? Come on. Leaving this aside, he's already a war criminal. Do you have any idea how many Afghani citizens have died in this war? No, you don't. Nobody knows because he won't tell. But we know it's more than they're saying--all the independent information points to numbers much higher than the thousands who died here in New York. That's not collateral damage, whatever that means (seems to mean something like "damage we don't give a damn about," which is chilling in itself). It's central. Remember that Rumsfeld was just as happy to poison the food supply for the whole country. Remember the prisoners in Guatanamo, and most of all, the ones being shipped off for torture. No wonder Bush wants the Hague shut down. He ought to be on trial there right now. He is not a moral being.
And if you think his total lack of respect for human rights only starts at the borders, or is reserved for brown people, remember the demolition of the Bill of Rights he's chairing here. Remember his endless crusade to tax the poor and cut taxes for the already rich. And remember the Enron crash, which impoverished a whole lot of fat white Americans--not his doing, but not so different, maybe, from the string of companies he ran into the ground, only to be bailed out time and again by his father and their oil-soaked family friends, Kenny Boy included. Remember the accusations that FDR knew about Pearl Harbor in advance; there are precedents for such a thing.
Bush is a tribalist, a believer in "us against them." And you must remember that "us" is "the richest elites in the USA" and "them" is everybody else, including non-rich Americans. To him, a few thousand assistant underwriters and office managers aren't real enough to care about--and they're certainly not real enough to warrant any sacrifices on his part. He's never met anybody like that himself. He was born rich, born to a political family, and to him it's self-evident that the world was made to pay him money, and to accept his supervision. Beyond that he doesn't give two figs what happens to it.
The one argument against conducting an inquiry that I reject utterly is the quietest one, and probably the most widespread: blank disbelief that so corny a melodrama would have taken place in the real world, or here in the US. If you think these things impossible it is because you don't follow the news; these things are commonplace. There are still many living who remember the Holocaust--it is not such remote history--and that was a far greater crime, orders of magnitude greater, and it too was committed against the countrymen of the perpetrators, in great part. And it too was kept secret from much of the populace, with astounding success. And it has kept us tearing our hair for sixty years, asking how, how could the people have sat by while this calamity went on? And Stalin, too, killed many more than this, and they were all his own people; remember the weeping in Russia, fifteen years ago, when this began to be admitted to the Russian populace at large. Remember Tianenmen square; I knew an American who was in a small town in China when the protests were happening, and he heard never a word of them til he was home. There is precedent. These things are real.
I think it's growing up in peacetime that makes us so ready to disbelieve the terrible--peacetime, and our partially deserved national sense of virtue, and less admirably, a deep dread of losing these things. We like living safe. We like feeling like despots only take power in unstable little countries far away--we can live with the idea of incompetent politicians at home, but we shrink from facing the idea of criminals--conscious, remorseless saboteurs to whom the rest of us are only obstacles to evade. We want such ideas to stay confined to overwrought spy novels, where they don't threaten our day jobs and our weekend vacations and our laptops.
Who can blame us? If somebody says "here is the spot where a crime is hidden, and the criminals control this country's guns, the law and the police and the courts and very nearly all of the money," why in God's name would we want to stir that place? Let them have that crime for a freebie--we escaped safe enough--and if we poke at them, what if we find that money, those guns, even the law itself fighting us to keep it secret?
Hell, even if we could find proof positive that all the worst of it is true, that Bush and all the generals and the head of the CIA and whoever else conspired to create our worst catastrophe, from scratch, in order to increase their own power? What if we could prove it, everyone knew it, Congress rallied with us, and we all cried out for these traitors to be locked away? Who would do it? All the men with guns still work for those people. Would we take to the streets? Could we really be forced to fight? Would we face being locked away by these men who have such enthusiasm for keeping prisoners secretly without cause? What could we do? The Constitution itself, strong as it is and carefully though it was made to guard against just such a turn of events, holds no provision for unseating a president except for impeachment. It has no provision for the people to cry out that a man never was president and that a killer cannot be left in office long enough to go through a Congressional deliberation--just as it holds no provision for the Supreme Court to intervene in a presidential election and override the votes with their own arbitrary and shamelessly partisan selection. What measure is there by which we might demand restitution?
None. Not because the Congressional Congress didn't think of the possibility, not at all; they designed our government to be proof against despots, as best they could manage--it was their very first priority. They had seen tyranny; they were the very same men who undertook a desperate gamble to throw that tyranny off, despite its overwhelming power. And that, in the end, is why they wrote no measure into the Constitution for unseating a despot: because no such measure would avail. You cannot turn the law against the one whose guns enforce the law.
All you can do is exactly what they did themselves, a decade before they framed the Constitution; they rose up militarily. And that's why Jefferson made sure to include the Constitution's final defense against internal tyranny: the Second Amendment. Forget hunting and self-defense in the home and all that. This is why the Second still makes sense.
But no, it's not safe. And we like our safety. We are fat and complacent and happy and we are deeply accustomed to personal security; our government and its strength, morally questionable though it has been for the length of our lives and longer, keeps us exceedingly happy and well-fed for the most part, and that breeds no revolutionary spirit. Why would we lazy, happy people rise up for some abstract matter of principle? Risk ourselves? Risk imprisonment, risk dying, for looking that old familiar governance in the eye and denying its authority? Even if the darkest rumors of all come true, and they have already burned thousands of us, as so many expendable resources, simply to deceive the rest of us--why would we dare to ask questions that can only lead to trouble and misery? We don't even stir our butts to vote and we're expected to take to the streets and shout?
Well, for my part I am a creature of principle, and I think all questions ought to be asked. I'm as frightened as anybody else by the idea of challenging the executive branch to account for itself--they've already been caught red-handed making dirty deals with Enron, and they're flatly denying it, refusing to cooperate, and who will go into their guarded offices and confiscate the papers against their well-armed will? It terrifies me to think of marching on the White House and finding the police in the way--I've heard all too much about how that game is played, and it's a dirty game. And it scares the bejeezus out of me to imagine FBI agents showing up at my door simply for daring to write this essay.
But I say, wake up. These fears are peanuts compared to what could happen a few years down the road if we let the government remain in the hands of the Constitution's saboteurs. Horrors are happening already, even at home, leaving alone what we're doing abroad. Nuclear proliferation is suicide. Enriching the rich at the expense of all other human values is suicide. Goading every other country in the world into active enmity is madness. We don't stay safer by letting these designs plunge forward unchecked. We will live to see calamity one way or the other.
And what's so strange about that? What's the surprise? Did somebody promise you a life left to your own devices, never needing to take part, leaving the boring work of politics to the drones who enjoy it? Just as Bush says he can defeat terrorism by ravaging the right nations, did you think despots were a breed born only on foreign soil? Did you imagine it was your birthright to live in a pleasantly dull country where nothing more important than yourself could ever happen?
Treason is the act of turning upon the country--not the government, but the country itself. The people. And patriotism isn't support for the government, it's support for the country. It is quite feasible for the government or a part of it to be treacherous; it is nothing more or less than mutiny, a revolt against its employers, its sovereigns. And in that direst event, a patriot will stand up and oppose that government, will dare to defend the country against the government. A patriot will say, no--your purpose is to work for us, not the other way round. When the government no longer serves the country, the patriot is the one who lays hands on the government to fix it.
The one who waves a flag with eyes closed is the traitor.
We, the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts--not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow men who pervert the Constitution.
- Abraham Lincoln