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The Smearing of Paul Craig Roberts

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It is questionable whether or not responding to the neocons' assault on sanity is worth the energy. They don't take well to reason and they certainly aren't capable of dealing with truth. In fact the reality in which they dwell is a manifestation of propaganda and isolated conspiracy theories.

Yeah, they think we are out to get them and that we'll destroy their comfortable way of life. And what seems to be driving their delusional tendencies is the teaming up of traditional conservatives, libertarians and lefties - all of whom oppose the neocon wars.

Take, which recently went after the conservative, yet rational, Paul Craig Roberts, former contributing editor to the National Review and the Wall Street Journal. As FrontPageMag editor Ben Johnson wrote in disgust of Roberts' common sense which ran in

"Roberts has declared the war in Iraq lost, not to mention criminal. Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay are 'torture centers,' and Bush would be 'prosecuted' " His pessimism about winning the War on Terror dates literally to its inception. Two days after 9/11, Roberts wrote, 'a guilt-ridden people are no match for fanatical opponents who believe in their cause' " His writings also seemingly justify terrorist attacks against innocent Americans, because, like Ward Churchill, he believes there are no innocent Americans. 'Americans are complicit in the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi women and children as 'collateral damage,' he writes. So what is difference between a military target and a 'complicit' family of four in Des Moines?"

As if being anti-neocon somehow implies that Roberts is also anti-American. Johnson also distorted a recent column written by Roberts in which he relayed several conspiracy theories passed along to him by readers which explained how Bush might start a war with Iran.

"One of the more extraordinary suggestions," wrote Roberts, "is that a low yield, perhaps tactical, nuclear weapon will be exploded some distance out from a US port. Death and destruction will be minimized, but fear and hysteria will be maximized. Americans will be told that the ship bearing the weapon was discovered and intercepted just in time, thanks to Bush's illegal spying program, and that Iran is to blame. A more powerful wave of fear and outrage will again bind the American people to Bush, and the US media will not report the rest of the world's doubts of the explanation."

Now, Roberts did not intimate that he too believed such a scenario was likely, only that the whacko neocons are capable of just about anything. But Ben Johnson responded:

"Even on the far-Left, such theories would be unwelcome. Although Kurt Nimmo (a critic of and others have claimed for years that Bush secretly plans to pre-emptively decimate Iran, none have publicly claimed he would kill Americans as a pretext. The only detail Roberts omitted was whether Bush was doing the bidding of the Freemasons, the Illuminati, the British royal family, or the Vatican."

Clearly such theories like the neocons' fear that Iran is out to nuke us, as only relayed by Roberts, not endorsed - also border on delusional. There is no doubt that the left has its fair share of nutcases, as anyone who has been to a Green Party outing will likely attest. But in this case, as it so often is with these folks, they'd rather mince Roberts' words than deal with the facts. Roberts never actually said he'd condone the killing of Americans as in the case of 9/11 (neither did Ward Churchill), nor did he claim he believed the Bush administration was likely to detonate a nuke off the US coast in order to spark a war with Iran. The neocons are delusional.

But now that Paul Craig Roberts has turned against the neoconservative agenda, folks like Johnson can't stomach the fact that they are at last a pitiable minority. The majority of the world hates Bush and now the majority of Americans do too. They know their liar-in-chief fibbed his way into Iraq and they don't believe he's telling the truth about Iran. And they shouldn't.

Libertarians like Lew Rockwell, Justin Raimondo and conservatives like Paul Craig Roberts have joined forces with radicals like Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair for a reason. They all oppose the Bush wars in the Middle East and his slaughtering of civil liberties at home. They aren't all in agreement about market capitalism or environmental concerns, but they do see eye-to-eye on the destructive nature of the warfare state.
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Joshua Frank is co-editor of Dissident Voice and author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush (Common Courage Press, 2005), and along with Jeffrey St. Clair, the editor of the brand new book Red State (more...)
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