Last week US columnist Paul Craig Roberts issued a public warning that the Bush administration is making plans to stage a major “false flag” terrorist attack on American soil, and then to declare martial law, and make war — probably nuclear war — on Iran.
Discovering this prediction on the internet and having no idea who Roberts was, I assumed it to be a piece of left-wing fear mongering. Quite possibly accurate, but still recognizably anti-Republican, and equally possibly a paranoid delusion.
Just to be sure, I skipped down the page to the author’s bio. Turns out Roberts is about as eminent a right-wing thinker as you can find.
An award-winning journalist and a distinguished professor of economics, Roberts is widely credited with having been the author of Reaganomics. He has been at different times a distinguished fellow at the Cato Institute, senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution, the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, and Ronald Reagan’s Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy.
Having been an old Reagan aparatchik isn’t the most impressive possible qualification, but there’s no denying the credibility it adds when it comes to criticizing the Bush administration.
The constant refrain from the White House — that its critics are weak-kneed liberals whose inaction would encourage renewed terrorists attacks against America — falls flat in the face of criticism from a respected conservative like Roberts.
Having established the credibility of the columnist, at least relative to Bush, I returned to the column. In another two paragraphs I was bug-eyed with surprise.
Of all the credibility-destroying conspiracy theories, the most scoff-attracting has to be that the Trade Towers were demolished with explosives, that the (conveniently Jewish) landlord Larry Silverstein conspired with the CIA (or the White House or somebody) to blow up the buildings, his motivation being to collect the insurance.
This is exactly what Roberts seems to suggest in this and earlier columns posted on his webpage. He ridicules the notion “that powerfully constructed steel buildings could suddenly turn to dust because they were struck by two flimsy aluminum airliners and experienced small fires on a few floors that burned for a short time.”
He claims that “Larry Silverstein, who received billions of dollars in insurance payments for the destroyed buildings, talked. He said on public television that the order was given ‘to pull’ building 7.”
These are the kinds of claims that get the ordinary commentator banished to the flake circuit. A recent two-part story in the Yukon News making similar claims only ran to one part, presumably because no newspaper wants to be associated with crazed conspiracy theories.
What is it about the Bush gang that has even conservative Republicans willing to believe their own government conspired in the murder of 3,000 of its own citizens?
In the case of an old Reaganite like Roberts, the answer may be that he knows too much to believe that anything is impossible.
He has seen secret actions taken in defiance of Congress, US hostages in Iran bought off with illegal arms sales, the hidden profits used to stage an illegal war against Nicaragua.
When Congress cut off funding to the Contra terrorists, the Reagan bunch sold cocaine to cover expenses.
He has witnessed destruction of evidence, massive cover-up, and the successfully kept secret of who knew what, when.
He’s seen one poor fool, Ollie North, made to fall on his sword, and a host of war criminals go scot-free.
He’s watched a puppet press dutifully put the White House spin on story after story, and knows how easily the taint of conspiracy theory can be used to stifle comment.
All that said, the insurance-money/false flag attack 9/11 theory remains a hard sell. In the aftermath of America’s most emotional moment, where are the techs who set these explosives?
What is there in Larry Silverstein’s past to support the notion that he is a monster of such proportions?
But whoever perpetrated the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration has not failed to capitalize on them. They became an excuse for wars that were already planned, and for a sharp increase in the powers of the president.
It’s odd that we find it so hard to imagine the US government committing a crime like 9/11 when they’ve killed so many more people since.
The number of New York’s dead shrinks to incognizance compared to the dead of Afghanistan and Iraq. After so much blood has flowed, why are we still even talking about 3,000 dead Americans?
Roberts is still talking about it because he believes it will happen again. “Bush has the Republican Party in such a mess,” he says, “that it cannot survive without another 9/11.
“Whether authentic or orchestrated, an attack will activate Bush’s new executive orders, which create a dictatorial police state in event of ‘national emergency.’”
Even if Roberts is talking through his hat, there’s every chance he’ll come out looking like a soothsayer.
With their illegal detentions, their torture, their invasions and bombings, their white phosphorous and napalm, the Bush gang is pushing all the right buttons to trigger a genuine terror attack.
Should that happen they will behave exactly as Roberts predicts, and so long as Canada has Bush Lite at the helm, we will follow suit.
In the long run, who will perpetrate the next terror attack on American soil is as moot a point as what really happened on 9/11.
What matters is that, just like the Trade Tower attacks, any new act of terror will become an excuse for more war abroad and more repression at home.