Sara Robinson at Orcinus gives us a glimpse of what could be coming as the unrestrained executive tyranny rolls on in Are We There Yet? She examines the new Executive Order quietly signed by Bush this week, in which he bestows upon himself -- and designated minions -- the arbitrary power to seize the assets of anyone whom he decides "poses a significant risk" of commiting violence aimed at "undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people." As Robinson notes:
"Undermining the efforts" is a term that can be defined very, very broadly. And since those of us opposing this war have been told repeatedly, from the beginning, that our efforts to change our fellow citizens' minds were in fact treasonous acts that undermined the war effort, emboldened America's enemies, and harmed our troops, it's not unreasonable to believe that those warnings are now being backed up by official action. "At risk of committing significant acts of violence" is more overbroad weasel-speak: How many of us have said things that could be construed (at least by the certifiable paranoids in the White House) as a threat of violence against the Bush Administration?
Indeed, a simple barroom cry of "throw the bastards out" could be seen a call for violent revolution in the kind of Leader-state that Bush and Cheney are constructing. (Anyone who grew up in Stalin's Russia or Hitler's Germany would be all too cognizant of where such "loose talk" could lead.) And because, like all authoritarian regimes, the Bush-Cheney gang use violence and conspiracy to achieve their political goals (as in the inception and execution of the Iraq War), they believe that anyone who opposes them is likewise bent on nefarious means to reach a political end: in this case, their removal from power. For the Bushists, it would not be a stretch or even a cynical ploy to use this new Executive Order -- and the many other authoritarian measures they have already promulgated -- against their opponents; they already sincerely believe that anyone who dissents from the Bushist line is an enemy, worthy of destruction. For these barbarians, these Neanderthal throwbacks, it's always "kill or be killed" in the political jungle -- metaphorically speaking, or otherwise.
Remember this: terror -- and the constant evocation and manufacture of "enemies" aiming at "the violent destruction of our sacred way of life" -- are the only tools the Bushists have for remaining in power. As their popularity plummets, as the bloodsoaked ruin of their policies rises like a mountainous slagheap around them, they will wield these instruments of terror and fear all the more wildly, more crudely and brutally. There is every likelihood that they will be bringing the "War on Terror" back to the "Homeland" in ways once considered unimaginable.
For more, see Sara's post in full here, especially her takeout from Milton Mayer's "They Thought They Were Free." And Sean O'Neill has more here. ***