Naomi Wolf / AlterNet – 2008-10-20 00:38:50
(October 18, 2008) — Dear Conservative America:
I am reaching out with a warning to you that is as heartfelt as the one I have been bringing my fellow citizens for months. But you are the most important audience of all for this, because you hold the key to whether or not we can save our republic in time.
I have been arguing that we are seeing the classic building blocks being laid for a police state: My thesis in The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot is that we are seeing the classic 10 steps being set in place that always underlie a violent police state. My argument in its sequel, Give Me Liberty, is that we must rise up as tactically and effectively as patriots to stop this suppression of freedom.
I hope to persuade you of the profound moral repugnance a true conservative should feel for the plans that are afoot in this nation.
What is the newest news? The Army Times declared that “beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the (1st Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division) will be under the day-to-day control of US Army North” … “the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.”
They are tasked to help with “civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack …”
What this means is that US citizens can now be “controlled” by the military on our streets through technologies — such as Tasers and rubber bullets — that terrify and torment and stun but do not usually kill citizens the way that citizens in Iraq are terrified, tormented and stunned by US military forces.
Who will be “subdued,” according to the blueprint, if and when this military unit takes to our streets? The first group of Americans to be subdued is likely to be protesters; then, going by the blueprint, you will see the military using Tasers to subdue people who ask whether there is a warrant permitting agents to burst into their home, as happened at the RNC.
People could be Tasered while protesting when voters are turned away by the wholesale purges of quarter-millions of voters from the rolls that Robert Kennedy Jr. has been documenting; or, there is likely to be Tasering and other kinds of subjugation of people protesting corrupted voting machines.
Why does this undermine American freedom? Federal laws, most notably the Posse Comitatus Act, have prohibited the military from being deployed within the United States for 200 years. Yet the Army Times reports that “expectations are that another, as yet unnamed, active-duty brigade will take over and that the mission will be a permanent one.”
The founders sought to keep soldiers off our streets because they knew how easily a standing army could subdue a population. That’s why the National Guard is answerable primarily to the governors of states and hence to the people of the United States. But the military is answerable to the commander in chief. These are the president’s troops. The president now has a personal army. One definition of a police state is when the leader has seized control of the military to police citizens domestically.
Why listen to me? Not because I am a genius, but because this blueprint is so very predictive. Listen to me because everything that I warned would happen, according to the historical record, has happened, and I have documented the borne-out evidence of the crisis in Give Me Liberty.
I warned that the executive would soon simply start to subvert the rule of law. See what the administration has done in response to congressional subpoenas.
I warned that the torture we saw in US-held prisons was certainly directed from the top — a fact that Jane Mayer and others have fully documented since.
I warned that within six months we would see the definition of “terrorist” expanded so that the “terrorists” in the news would soon look like heartland, mainstream Americans. We now hear that mere protesters at the RNC in Minnesota have been charged as terrorists.
Another definition of a police state is when the leader seeks to seize control of big chunks of the national economy — with no oversight or accountability. Sound familiar?
Consider this, conservative business leaders: What matters to a would-be dictator — look at Latin America — is that the leader is able to intervene in the economy and essentially use his clout and his cronies to intimidate competitors or manipulate the economic playing field. Dictators do not care if there is no middle class anymore in their countries, or no upper-middle class. Indeed, they are well served by the kinds of economies you see all over Latin America in which the cronies of the regime vacuum up wealth and intimidate their less-connected peers, in which the middle and upper-middle classes sink into misery while the poor simply suffer with little infrastructure to support them.
The coup has already taken place in terms of the laws that have been passed. With wiretapping, the mass arrests of protesters and the directive that allows the executive to seize control of all systems of government in the event of an emergency, the coup is in place, ready only for activation.
Is the Bush team seeking to calm or whip up fear in the face of the economic meltdown? Look at how many times Bush, McCain and Palin use the phrase “We’re in crisis mode.” Then think of FDR, with nothing to fear but fear itself.
The only way to stop the Rove-Cheney cabal from moving ahead with this coup without the headlines will be a principled and patriotic Republican revolution against this plan. That is why resistance from Republicans to the Paulson “rescue” was so very heartening.
It will take Republicans to understand that criminals have seized control of the White House — and I don’t use that term rhetorically: There are distinct crimes this regime has already committed, and deploying our military to police us is yet one more.
It will take Republicans across America to consider the lessons of history: In a police state, your politics do not protect you.
How will commerce proceed in such an America? How will capital flow? How will elections unfold? How will liberty be anything more than an echo of a fair and valiant recent past? This is not a liberal nightmare. This is the nightmare of any true conservative patriot.
Please speak to one another about this crisis. Please see it for what it is. And please join our transpartisan rebellion against the paper coup which is all too soon to materialize as boots hit the ground in the United States for the first time in a century. Please stand up for true conservatism, and stand up for a free America.
Naomi Wolf is the author of Give Me Liberty (Simon and Schuster, 2008), the sequel to the New York Times best-seller The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot (Chelsea Green, 2007).
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.