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Paralyzing Silence Among the Neo-Cons


One of the amusing aspects to the Musharraf crackdown in Pakistan is the air of silence it is producing among American neo-cons. The crackdown is an absolutely perfect model of dictatorship and tyranny. And the resistance being led by Pakistani lawyers and judges in the name of the rule of law and an independent judiciary is an absolutely perfect model of justifiable resistance to dictatorship and tyranny.

So, why are the neo-cons frozen into silence? Why are they not able to passionately take the side of those who are resisting tyranny? Well, think about it: Ever since 9/11 the neo-cons have said that patriotism means blind allegiance among the citizenry to the president (or to their commander in chief, as some of them put it). Neo-cons wholeheartedly embraced President Bush’s dictum, “In the war on terrorism, you’re either with us or against us.” Therefore, anyone who criticized President Bush, his “war on terrorism,” his invasion and war of aggression against Iraq, his torture, or his cancellation of civil liberties has been labeled “unpatriotic” by the neo-cons.

So, applying their reason to Pakistan, the neo-cons cannot help but feel sympathy toward Musharraf and antipathy toward the protestors. After all, the justification that Musharraf has used for his crackdown is no different from the justification that Bush has used for his actions: the terrorists! And don’t forget—In the mind of a neo-con, Musharraf is standing for “law and order” while the resisters are breaking the “law” by going out on the streets and protesting.

Since it never occurs to the standard neo-con that Bush’s justification for his actions is nothing but a crock, why should it occur to him it’s a crock insofar as Musharraf’s actions are concerned? And don’t forget that Musharraf is a close partner and ally of Bush in the “war on terrorism.” Would President Bush even consider cavorting with a known tyrant or dictator? “Not on your life! Not our president!” the standard neo-con would answer. Thus, because he is aligned with President Bush, the neo-con would reason, he must be the good guy and his opponents the bad guys. That’s in fact why neo-cons remained silent with respect to the shah of Iran, Saddam Hussein, and other tyrants and dictators who have partnered with U.S. presidents.

Moreover, the fact that the resistance to Musharraf’s crackdown is being led by the country’s lawyers and judges is the worst nightmare of the neo-cons, not to mention that the resistance is citing the principles of an independent judiciary and the rule of law as their cause. In the mind of a neocon, what could be worse than that? Haven’t the neo-cons done everything they can to undermine the power of the U.S. federal judiciary to interfere with Bush’s “war on terrorism”? Haven’t the condemned federal interference with Bush’s torture and sex-abuse camp at Gitmo? Didn’t they remove the power of the federal courts to grant habeas corpus to foreigners held as “enemy combatants” in the “war on terrorism”? Haven’t they mocked and ridiculed the very notion of judicial interference with Bush’s “commander-in-chief” powers?

Thus, the neo-con temptation is to side with President Bush’s partner, Pervez Musharraf, and to give him the benefit of the doubt.

But on the flip side, the neo-con knows that siding with dictators and tyrants might not be a good idea during a presidential campaign season.

Thus, the paralyzing silence.

And you haven’t seen anything yet. Because if Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul breaks into the ranks of the major contenders, I predict that you’re going to see some major quivering and quaking within the neo-con community.

Suppose that Ron Paul and Hillary Clinton win their party’s presidential nominations. What would neo-cons do (besides have a heart attack)? President Paul would dismantle the U.S. overseas empire and end the federal government’s role as international policeman — anathema for the neocons!

Yet, on the other hand, even though President Clinton would be pro-empire, pro-intervention, and pro-war, all of which is standard neo-con philosophy, among the worst nightmares of the neo-cons is the prospect of having to salute President Clinton and support and obey her commands. Again, don’t forget that for the last 7 years, the neo-cons have maintained that that’s the duty of the “patriotic” citizen, especially in time of “war.”

My prediction: If it’s Ron Paul vs. Hillary Clinton — there will be more paralyzing silence among the neo-cons.

The neo-cons have brought nothing but death, destruction, and damage to our country and to the world. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they took a vow of permanent silence?

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.