Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Gene Lyons: Prize Winning REAL Journalist--'BUSH FINALLY OWNS UP' (?)

Gene Lyons

Posted on Wednesday, August 6, 2003

Back in 2000, George W. Bush made "personal responsibility" one of
his campaign themes. Everybody understood that the phrase had two
meanings: first, the traditional Republican one of disciplining unruly
children, whiny minorities, complaining women, indolent workers and
lesser breeds outside the country club; second, an implied vow to keep
his pants on in the Oval Office. Only in the third year of President
Junior’s court-appointed term do we learn that it has another meaning
as well: When Bush says he takes "personal responsibility" for something,
it means he’s run out of phony alibis, so sit down and shut up.
Dutifully headlined "Bush Takes Responsibility for Iraq Claims" by The
Washington Post, here’s the entire exchange from the White House
transcript of the president’s press conference: "Q. Mr. President, you
often speak about the need for accountability in many areas. I wonder
then, why is Dr. Condoleezza Rice not being held accountable for the
statement that your own White House has acknowledged was a mistake in
your State of the Union address regarding Iraq’s attempts to purchase
uranium? And also, do you take personal responsibility for that

" THE PRESIDENT: I take personal responsibility for everything I say,
of course. Absolutely. I also take responsibility for making decisions on
war and peace. And I analyzed a thorough body of intelligence—good,
solid, sound intelligence—that led me to come to the conclusion that it
was necessary to remove Saddam Hussein from power. "We gave the world a
chance to do it. We had—remember there’s—again, I don’t want to get
repetitive here, but it’s important to remind everybody that there was
12 resolutions that came out of the United Nations because others
recognized the threat of Saddam Hussein. Twelve times the United
Nations Security Council passed resolutions in recognition of the threat that
he posed. And the difference was, is that some were not willing to act on
those resolutions. We were—along with a lot of other countries—because
he posed a threat.

" Dr. Condoleezza Rice is an honest, fabulous person. And America is
lucky to have her service. Period. "

Even a legendary shirker like Junior could hardly avoid taking
responsibility for what came out of his own mouth. But he could barely
hide his annoyance at the reporter’s impertinence. Imagine if the
question had been put to him as sharply as Bob Somerby suggested on his
Daily Howler Web site:

"Mr. President, we have been told that Dr. Condoleezza Rice did not
read last October’s National Intelligence Estimate and therefore did
not know that the State Department doubted the claim that Iraq sought
uranium in Africa. We’re also told that she didn’t read CIA memos on
this subject. Are you concerned when your national security adviser is
so poorly informed on such a subject? And do you now believe what you
said in your State of the Union—that Saddam Hussein ‘recently sought
significant quantities of uranium from Africa'?

Of course, nobody believes the good doctor failed to do her homework.
The White House simply enlisted the smaller falsehood in service of the
larger one. In a courtroom, Bush’s answers would be called
non-responsive. He trotted out the same "12 resolutions" and "sound
intelligence" over and over, as if they trumped the facts on the

There were, of course, no U. N. resolutions calling for "regime

If we had a press corps instead of a band of celebrity courtiers,
somebody would have asked him how he could send American soldiers to
kill and die in Iraq without reading, as the White House says he did
not, the 90-page National Intelligence Estimate. Exactly what, then,
did he study before parroting Tony Blair’s hysterical warning that Saddam
could strike within 45 minutes?

Bush told us that not to invade and occupy Iraq would be tantamount to
"national suicide." Now he says he’s confident documents will prove
that Saddam had "weapons programs." Hardly the same thing. He has faith that
documents will also prove the Iraqi dictator’s "links" to al-Qa’ida,
another inflammatory charge that The Washington Post reports the
National Intelligence Estimate he failed to read contradicted.

From a purely psychological point of view, the most fascinating aspect
of a Bush press conference is watching this under-qualified aristocrat
veer from mild panic to smug arrogance within a few sentences. Here’s
another example of Bush-style "personal responsibility."

Why aren’t his economic policies producing jobs? Try to believe your
president said this: "Remember on our TV screens—I’m not suggesting
which network did this—but it said, ‘ March to War,’ every day from
last summer until the spring —‘ March to War, ’ ‘March to War.’ That’s not a
very conducive environment for people to take risk, when they hear,
‘March to War’ all the time." And whose fault was that? Anybody but

• Free-lance columnist Gene Lyons is a Little Rock author and recipient
of the National Magazine Award.


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