"We knew that there was no incident that night," McGovern says. "McGeorge Bundy [Johnson's National Security Advisor] knew that there was no incident that night. And yet LBJ, with his towering presence, his total power—corrupting totally—leaned over and said, 'McGeorge, are you going up to the Hill to sell this resolution?' Bundy [later] admitted on McNeil-Lehrer Newshour, one painful show: 'So I went. I went up, and I lied to Congress.'"
"So it's happened before," McGovern continues. "What's different this time is that we have a situation where, over a two-year period, an incredible, cleverly orchestrated campaign was waged to exploit the trauma of the American people, the trauma of Sept. 11, and to exploit it in such a way as to achieve the aims of the . . ."
McGovern stops to find the right word. "I don't call them neo-conservatives," he says, "because I'm conservative. I call them neo-fascists because that's what they are. And what these neo-fascists did was see Sept. 11 as a golden opportunity."
Neo-fascists? I ask McGovern if he's using Mussolini's definition of fascism. As Il Duce said, "Fascism should rightly be called corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power." Think Halliburton, USA.
McGovern agrees but adds more. "I'm also talking about the measures that were taken in Nazi Germany after the fire that burned down the Reichstag, Germany's parliament building, in 1933. It was that fire that allowed Hitler to institute his own legislation."
McGovern draws a parallel between Sept. 11 and the Reichstag fire. After claiming that communists committed arson, Hitler used the incident to declare a state of emergency and suspend some of the constitutionally protected personal freedoms of German citizens. These rights included freedom of speech and assembly. "Very much like post-Sept. 11 legislation instituted here in this country to curtail civil liberties," McGovern says, "to make people feel that if they speak out against what is happening, they are unpatriotic."
My briefing is almost over. One final question: How does the Arab world see us?
"It's really remarkable," McGovern says. "People like Donald Rumsfeld are intelligent, but it's embarrassing how they scratch their heads, and they say, 'I don't know what makes a suicide bomber. I don't know what makes people do that.'
"Well, if he watched Al Jazeera for a couple of nights, if he watched Israeli bulldozers knocking down Palestinians homes and he saw Israelis shooting up Palestinians in the occupied territories, then maybe he would get some sense as to why people of Palestinian or Arab or Islamic heritage—why they might look askance at the one country that they know makes this all possible. That's the United States of America."
Hear Nathan Callahan onWeekly Signals on KUCI-FM 89.9. Tues., 8-9 a.m. Or visit nathancallahan.com.