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Robert Pastor Called for a NAFTA Superhighway System in 2005

JBS | August 23, 2007
Larry Greenley

In the context of the rapidly escalating national debate over the Security and Prosperity Partnership and the North American Union, The Nation chose the closely-related topic of the NAFTA Superhighway for the cover story of its August 27 issue. Superimposed on a full-bleed graphic of a mega-highway against a background of blue sky and white clouds are the words: "The NAFTA Superhighway -- It's Big. It's Scary. But Is It Real?" According to the article's summary, "The NAFTA Superhighway is a total myth." The author, Christopher Hayes, then goes on in the article to refer to the John Birch Society (JBS) as "one of the leading purveyors of the highway myth."

While Hayes is correct that the JBS is one of the leading organizations warning Americans about the plans for a NAFTA Superhighway system, he is wrong about the NAFTA Superhighway being a "total myth." For an example of what the Society has been saying about the planned North American highway system, see "'SuperSlab' Paves the Way," which includes a two-page graphic of the proposed NAFTA Superhighway system, by Kelly Taylor on pages 21-24 of The New American, October 2, 2006 (5 MB pdf).

Interestingly, Hayes recently weakened his case against the JBS by setting up a straw man scenario never promoted by the Society. Writing in his personal blog, Hayes stated on August 16: "When people at townhalls in Iowa ask about the 'NAFTA Superhighway,' it's clear they're conceiving of an actual plan that is in the works and expect to see a bulldozer in their cornfield any day now. That's the mythology I was trying to debunk." So, apparently Hayes is now saying that the NAFTA Superhighway myth he charges the JBS with spreading, and which he was trying to debunk in his Nation article, consists of giving people in Iowa (and many other states, of course) the idea that they can expect to see NAFTA Superhighway bulldozers in their states sometime soon.

As the colorful old saying has it, "That dog won't hunt." That is to say, the John Birch Society has never given people the idea that they're about to see NAFTA Superhighway bulldozers in their backyards. Actually, according to Society literature virtually the entire NAFTA Superhighway system is in the planning stage, so it's way too early for bulldozers to show up in Iowa cornfields. As the subtitle of the article "'SuperSlab' Paves the Way" in the Society's newsmagazine The New American for October 2, 2006 (5 MB pdf) put it: "The NAFTA Super Highway, nicknamed 'SuperSlab' by some, is a planned system of roads, rail lines, and more that will speed up the unification of North America." (emphasis added)

Even Robert "I never proposed a North American Union" Pastor, who has been routinely interviewed for the recent spate of articles debunking concerns about a North American Union and a NAFTA Superhighway system, called for such a superhighway system plan in testimony before a subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2005:

The North American Council should develop an integrated continental plan for transportation and infrastructure that includes new North American highways and high-speed rail corridors. (Robert Pastor, Senate Foreign Relations Committee testimony, June 9, 2005.)

You can quibble about terms, but Pastor was clearly calling for the development of an integrated, continental plan for North American highways and high speed rail corridors, which is just about as close to a definition of the NAFTA Superhighway system as you can get.

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