The Bush regime has killed the constitutional links that made the US a republic, said Gore Vidal, renowned US historian, novelist and social critic in an interview with Tehran-based Press TV. President Bush has rid the country of the Bill of Rights, habeas corpus and the entire legacy of the Magna Carta in the name of “war on terror,” Vidal charged.
Press TV is the first Iranian international news network to broadcast in English on a round-the-clock basis. Speaking over the phone with Afshin Rattansi, Vidal also criticized the US House of Representatives for not impeaching President Bush for many high crimes, such as the disclosure of CIA agent Valerie Plame's covert status. But he praised Rep. Dennis Kuchinich for at least drawing up articles of impeachment against the president.
Vidal has long said the administration has both an explicit and covert expansionist agenda. Bush and his associates are magnets in the oil and gas industry, he says, and have had clear aims to control the oil of Central Asia – after gaining effective control of the oil of the Persian Gulf, a project that took a new twist with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1991.
Regarding 9/11, Vidal has written the US intelligence community clearly warned that it was coming but the event provided political cover and a pretext for plans that the administration already had in place for invading Iraq – plans that can be traced to the waning days of the first Bush family presidency.
Here is a transcript of that June 28, 2008 interview:
Press TV: We hear that Michael Mukasey is going to become the latest of the President's Attorney-Generals to be subpoenaed, this time over his conversations with Bush and Cheney. Does this show that Congress is serious about calling the executive to account?
Gore Vidal: No, Congress has never been more cowardly, nor more corrupt. All Bush has do is to make sure certain amounts of money go in the direction of certain important congressmen and that's end of any serious investigation. After all, one of the bravest members of Congress is Dennis Kucinich, who brought the article of impeachment into the well of the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives must then try the president, and then after that it goes to the Senate for judgment. However, none of these things will happen because there's nobody there except for Mr. Kucinich, who has the courage to take on a sitting president who is kind of a Mafioso.
Press TV: How can it just be one person among so many hundreds of Congressmen who wants the impeachment of George W. Bush in these circumstances?
Vidal: Well it's because we no longer have a country. We don't have a republic any more. During the last 7 or 8 years of the Bush regime, they've got rid of the Bill of Rights, they've got rid of habeas corpus. They have got rid of one of the nicest gifts that England ever left us when they went away and we ceased to be colonies - the Magna Carta - from the 12th century. All of our law and due process of law is based on that. And the Bush people got rid of it. The president and little Mr. Gonzales, who for a few minutes was his Attorney General. They managed to get rid of all of the constitutional links that made us literally a republic.
Press TV: You have often written about the US's superpower status in terms of the history of previous superpowers. Do you think we're witnessing the end of US power, as some suggest. Will the White House be seen like Persepolis?
Vidal: Well it won't make such good ruins, no. It'll be more like the tomb of Cyrus nearby. They managed to destroy the United States. Why? Because they're oil and gas people and they're essentially criminals. I repeat that this is a criminal group that's seized control of the country through what looked like an ordinary election. But there's some very nice films and documentaries about what happened in the year 2000 when Albert Gore won the election for president and they saw to it that he couldn't serve. They got the Supreme Court – which is the Holy of Holies ordinarily in our system – to investigate and then accuse the thieves of being absolutely correct and the winners and Mr. Gore and the Democrats of being the cheaters.
It's the first law of Machiavelli, whatever your opponent's faults are, you pick his virtues and you deny he has them. That's what they did when Senator Kerry ran a few years ago for president. He's a famous hero from the Vietnam War. They said he was a coward and not a hero. That's how it's done. When you have a bunch of liars in charge of your government you can't expect to get much history out of that. But later on we'll dig and dig… and we will dig up Persepolis.
Press TV: Senator Obama talks about change but of course he has courting Wall Street as well as the Israeli lobby. Do you see any prospect of change with him as president?
Vidal: Not really. I don't doubt his good faith, just as I do not doubt the bad faith of Cheney and Bush. They are such dreadful people that we've never had in government before. They would never have risen unless they were buying elections as they did in Florida in 2000, as they did in the State of Ohio in 2004. These are two open thefts of the Presidency.
When I discovered that this did not interest the New York Times or Washington Post or any of the press of the country I realized our day was done. We are no longer a country, we are a framework for crooks to go in and steal money – knowing that they'll never be caught and they'll be admired for it. Americans always take everybody on his own evaluation. You say I'm a state and they say, "Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, he's a state, isn't that great." And you accuse the other people of your crimes before you commit them. It's an old trick which was known to Machiavelli who wrote about it in his handbook, The Prince.
Press TV: Finally, that issue which is exercising so many minds in the Middle East and beyond. You, yourself have written about so many Imperial wars of the United States. Do you think Bush and Cheney would risk another war in what Mohammad El Baradei of the IAEA calls a fireball?
Vidal: They are longing to but they have spent all of the money. They have got it in their own private companies like the Vice President and a company called Halliburton which is stealing more money and should be on trial sooner or later before Congress. But perhaps not, who knows? But it's well known in Washington, these people are leaking away the money of the country. Well, there's no more money. They are longing for a war with Iran. Iran is no more a harm to us than was Iraq or Afghanistan. They invented an enemy, they tell lies, lies, lies. The New York Times goes along with their lies, lies, lies. And they don't stop. When the public is lied to 30 times a day it's apt to believe the lies, is not it?