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July 13, 2007

A Reform to Restore the People's Power


by Paul Craig Roberts

The American political system has failed. The fabled checks and balances of American politics were no match for a neoconservative administration with a secret agenda. The American people were deceived and tricked into supporting two invasions that are war crimes under the Nuremberg standard.

US aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq and the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians have radicalized Muslims throughout the world and swelled the ranks of insurgents. Despite the "surge" and an additional 30,000 US troops in Baghdad, the US is unable to protect its own embassy. On July 10, the fortified Green Zone, which contains the US and British embassies and the puppet Iraqi government, came under intense mortar and rocket attack. Within the protected Green Zone, 18 people were wounded and 3 were killed.

The US military commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus said that the US is a decade away from victory in Iraq. Gen. Petraeus could have added another truth and acknowledged that the US military lacks sufficient fresh troops to remain in the conflict. Last year Colin Powell said the US Army is "about broken." The US military is exhausted by the insurgencies and will be driven out if not withdrawn.

Gen. Petraeus assumed command in January. Six months later, Petraeus says "the question is how can we gradually reduce our forces so we reduce the strain on the army."

In the US Senate, Republican support for Bush's wars is fading as senators face a hostile public that has had enough of Bush's pointless and lost wars based on lies and deception. The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq never had any valid reason. The US occupations of these countries have failed, and no purpose has been achieved except the enrichment of the military-security complex and the swelling of al-Qaeda's ranks and credibility.

One trillion dollars has been totally squandered. Moreover, Bush's wars have had to be financed by borrowing abroad. The result has been a reduction in the dollar's value and an erosion of the dollar's status as the world's reserve currency. The dollar has fallen to a new low against the Euro and has reached a 26-year low against the British pound.

The latest comprehensive worldwide Pew poll reveals the complete collapse of America's standing in the world.

This is a huge price to pay for Bush's childish ego, for the enrichment of Cheney's cronies at Halliburton and merchants of death, and for Congress' appeasement of AIPAC.

Bush's and Cheney's lies and assaults on the US Constitution and American civil liberty, their plans to attack Iran, and the war crimes for which they are responsible provide an open and shut case for their impeachments. The latest polls show that 54% of Americans support impeachment of Vice President Cheney, with only 40% opposed. Bush hangs on by a hair with 45% favoring his impeachment and 46% opposed. But Democrats, like Republicans, have failed the electorate and refuse to do their duty. Congress is a creature of special interests and no longer represents the American people.

Obviously, some new method is needed for removing incompetent or dictatorial presidents and vice presidents.

Constitutional reform might be next to impossible, but before dismissing the possibility consider that according to British news reports, Britain's new prime minister, Gordon Brown, intends a wide-ranging program of constitutional reform, including giving up the prime minister's power to declare war.

The London Telegraph says: "The measures are intended to restore trust in politics after the by-passing of Parliament and the Cabinet, as well as the culture of spin and media manipulation, that characterized the Blair decade."

If America is to remain a democracy, the people need refurbished powers to hold "government of the people, by the people, for the people" accountable. One way of doing this would be a vote of confidence by the people. The question can be put to a national referendum: "Shall the president remain in office?" "Shall the vice president remain in office?"

The state of Florida does this for judges, including Florida's Supreme Court, so there is precedent for allowing the people to decide whether officials may remain in office.

As the American people can no longer rely on elected officials to respond to public opinion, the people must do what they can to gather power back into their hands before they become the subjects of tyrants.


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    Paul Craig Roberts wrote the Kemp-Roth bill and was assistant secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was associate editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and contributing editor of National Review. He is author or co-author of eight books, including The Supply-Side Revolution (Harvard University Press). He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon chair in political economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and senior research fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has contributed to numerous scholarly journals and testified before Congress on 30 occasions. He has been awarded the U.S. Treasury's Meritorious Service Award and the French Legion of Honor. He was a reviewer for the Journal of Political Economy under editor Robert Mundell.

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