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by Roger Normand and Jan Goodwin 
A shorter version of this article is availabe online at 
http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0320-06.htm)       (01)

We are in the midst of a new American revolution. The task at hand according to 
the Pentagon's own official documents, is nothing less than establishing "full 
spectrum dominance" of a "unipolar world."     (02)

To accomplish this goal requires a radical transformation not just of American 
foreign policy but of domestic policy as well-by loosening the constraints of 
well-established laws at home and abroad. Dick Cheney has told us that "we can 
no longer operate under 20th century standards" given that the war against 
terrorism "may never end, at least not in our lifetime."    (03)

The revolution is already well underway. War in Iraq marks the next phase in 
this process of transformation.    (04)

Under the new Bush Doctrine, a bold military strategy of so-called preemptive 
attack-including the possibility of unilateral nuclear first strike- is 
intended to prevent any state or group of states from challenging our 
preeminent role in the world. As President Bush told the graduating class at 
West Point Military Academy last year: "America has, and intends to keep, 
military strengths beyond challenges."    (05)

Preemptive attack, however, is an Orwellian term for illegal invasion.  As far 
back as 1946, the Nuremberg Tribunal rejected Germany's argument of the 
necessity for preemptive war against Norway and Denmark, judging it: "the 
supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it 
contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."     (06)

This prohibition was incorporated into the United Nations Charter as the basis 
for a new system of collective security in which no state retained the 
unilateral right to attack another-with two specified exceptions: self defense 
and Security Council authorization.     (07)

In self-defense, states may retaliate against an armed attack or the imminent 
threat of one.  But only if, in the words of Daniel Webster, an earlier 
Secretary of State, the threat is "instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of 
means and no moment for deliberation." The Bush Administration never provided a 
shred of substantiated evidence that Iraq either participated in the attacks of 
9/11, or had the means and intention to launch an imminent attack against the 
U.S.     (08)

The Security Council may, as a last resort, authorize force outside of 
self-defense when necessary to maintain international peace and security. But 
only after all peaceful alternatives have been exhausted-clearly not the case 
in Iraq with the UNMOVIC weapons inspectors literally begging for more time.    (09)

U.S. double standards were exposed for the world to see during the bungled 
effort to squeeze a second resolution out of the Security Council.  Having 
first derided the U.N. as "irrelevant" and then failed to sway even Guinea and 
Angola to the cause of war, the White House has now been forced into the ironic 
position of justifying the legality of a war opposed by the Security Council as 
a whole by invoking a 12-year old Security Council resolution.    (010)

The untenable contradiction between U.S. policy and international law arises 
because the revolutionaries in Washington are more concerned with the 
unrestrained projection of American military power than with disarmament, 
democracy or human rights.      (011)

This agenda is often misunderstood as a direct response to 9/11. But Bush 
strategists have been writing for more than a decade about the need to remove 
Saddam Hussein-despite the U.S. having armed and supported him for years. Their 
openly articulated goal is to reshape the Middle East to better serve American 
geopolitical interests.      (012)

Even Americans unconcerned by naked imperialism should consider whether this 
radical new strategy is good for our country.  In a world bristling with 
fearsome weapons, what is the likely outcome of dismantling the legal framework 
designed half a century ago to protect humanity from the carnage of unlimited 
force? Can pure military might really defend us from evil and secure our 
freedom at the same time?    (013)

While loudly predicting swift military victory, our own leaders are also 
quietly preparing us to lose the peace.  We have been told by the White House 
and the CIA itself to prepare for increased anti-American terrorism at home and 
abroad, as war in Iraq incites extremist reactions around the globe, not just 
in the Arab world.  This can only mean one thing: we will be even less safe 
after the war than we are now.    (014)

Consider, too, how other countries will exploit the U.S. example. Repressive 
governments the world over have already increased human rights abuses against 
their own brand of home-grown "terrorists"-usually anyone opposing their 
policies. Simmering tensions in nuclear flashpoints like India-Pakistan, 
Israel-Palestine, and China-Taiwan could easily and quickly escalate beyond 
control. Taken to its logical-though never inevitable-conclusion, the absence 
of law will lead to the absence of peace and human rights altogether.    (015)

The revolution is underway at home as well.  In just two years the Bush 
Administration has turned a $400 billion plus surplus into a $300 billion plus 
deficit-without yet allocating a penny to war and occupation in Iraq or to 
reconstruction in Afghanistan (remember that country we were repeatedly told 
would never again be forgotten and abandoned?).  Americans are suffering 
through a painful recession, buffeted by waves of corporate crime and mass 
lay-offs, facing increased poverty and unemployment.  In the face of these dire 
economic conditions, the White House has rammed tax "reform" legislation and 
increased military-security budget allocations through a compliant Congress to 
achieve a massive upwards redistribution of wealth undreamed of even in the 
Reagan years.    (016)

Our Constitution is also under attack.  Since 9/11 our civil liberties have 
been significantly eroded in the name of protecting our freedom.  At some point 
after the invasion of Iraq, John Ashcroft's Justice Department will present to 
Congress secretly-drafted legislation, the Patriot Act II, which further limits 
fundamental and long-cherished American principles of free speech and due 
process. Mr. Ashcroft has even condemned lawful dissent as "aiding and abetting 
terrorism"-raising the specter of criminalizing opposition to government policy.    (017)

The practice of racial profiling-generally abhorred in American society-has 
become institutionalized through mass detentions and special registration 
procedures. American citizens can now be subject to indefinite detention 
without trial.  Our government has gone so far as to justify and even practice 
torture-for God and Democracy, or course.    (018)

The bottom line is this: we face a carefully planned preemptive attack against 
our most basic rights-Constitutional rights and human rights.  There is a 
pitiless logic at play that must at some point be confronted: imposing American 
Empire abroad requires building Fortress America at home.  The two cannot be 
separated.    (019)

What lies ahead in the unfolding revolution?  When and where will this "endless 
war" finally end?      (020)

With U.S. troops engaged in battle, Americans will pray for their safety 
and-for a time-also rally round the government. But before it is too late, we 
would do well to heed Sir Thomas More's advice to Will Roper, his protégé 
turned vigilante, in the play "A Man for All Seasons."    (021)

And when the last law was cut down and the devil turned around on you, 
where would you hide, the laws all being flat? Do you really think 
that you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?    (022)

Americans of all political opinion have the right to speak and act freely in 
opposition to Washington's revolutionary program-without being treated as 
terrorists by our own government.  This is, after all, still our country.  And 
if we truly love our homeland, we must take it back.    (023)