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, November 16, 2005

Rewriting history

Rewriting history
Gene Lyons

Posted on Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Seemingly stung by polls showing that 57 percent of Americans now believe that he “deliberately misled” the nation into war with Iraq, President Bush did what a successful con man always does in a tight spot: He doubled his bet, resorting to falsehoods so brazen as to invite citizens almost to doubt the evidence of their senses. Who are you going to believe, your president or your lying eyes? On Veterans Day, Bush chose another of the handpicked audiences he likes best—soldiers at a Pennsylvania Army depot—to accuse Democratic critics of a “deeply irresponsible” effort “to rewrite the history of how [the Iraq ] war
began.” He alleged that Congress saw the same intelligence regarding Iraq’s mythical weapons of mass destruction that the White House saw; consequently, “when I made the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, Congress approved it with strong bipartisan support.” The president also claimed that a “bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community’s judgments.” None of these things is true.

Taking the last first, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has pointedly refused to probe White House arm-twisting and the selective use of evidence. Indeed, Democrats recently called a surprise closed session to demand answers, provoking GOP Majority Leader Sen. Bill Frist to pitch a hissy fit.

It’s also categorically false to say that Congress approved removing Saddam from power. “Regime change” never came to a vote. The White House strenuously insisted that its October 2002 Iraq resolution was not a de facto declaration of war.

Bush vowed to work through the U. N. Security Council and to exhaust every peaceful remedy for the alleged Iraqi threat. He portrayed himself as reluctant to fight.

“I am very firm in my desire to make sure that Saddam is disarmed,” he said two days after the vote. “Hopefully, we can do this peacefully. The use of the military is my last choice, is my last desire.”

In rationalizing his own vote, Sen. John Kerry echoed Bush, saying, “As the president made clear earlier this week, ‘Approving this resolution does not mean that military action is imminent or unavoidable.’ It means ‘America speaks with one voice.’”

Silly man. Kerry believed, or pretended to believe, like many politically timid Democrats, Bush’s deeply cynical assurances.

After U. N. weapons inspectors threatened to deprive Bush of his war in March 2003 by reporting that Iraq had no nuclear weapons program, he went back on his word. Bush warned the inspectors to leave Iraq, then invaded. The right-wing noise machine vilified Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, the U. N. inspectors who’d successfully disarmed Iraq during the 1990s, as spineless or worse. (They’ve since won the Nobel Peace Prize.) The “embedded” mainstream media treated the president’s bait-and-switch as a trifling matter and conquering Baghdad as a stirring adventure.

More than 2, 000 American dead, maybe 50 times that many Iraqis, a nightmarishly bungled occupation and hundreds of billions of wasted dollars later, Americans are like drunks waking up hung over from a lost weekend.

But did the Bush administration spike the punch? Absolutely, it did.

Recently, it was reported that one al-Qa’ida prisoner, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, was the source of bogus administration charges that Saddam and Osama bin Laden were working together. This “intelligence” was obtained by sending him to Egypt for what Newsweek described last year as “more fearsome” interrogation. The Defense Intelligence Agency concluded that his story made no sense; he’d made it up. The DIA conclusion was kept hidden. Al-Libi has since recanted.

But didn’t “everybody,” even Howard Dean and France, think Iraq had WMD? Yes and no. “Weapons of mass destruction” is a purposefully broad propaganda term. While nasty, the chemical munitions most observers suspected that Saddam kept hidden away posed no threat to the U. S.

Iraq’s nuclear threat, however, was largely a figment of the fevered imaginations of ideologues around Vice President Dick Cheney. Almost all
the intelligence was highly suspect, or worse. Take the famous aluminum tubes that Condi Rice insisted could only be used to manufacture centrifuges to enrich uranium for nuclear bombs. She said so on national TV after a nicely timed leak to Judith Miller put them on The New York Times front page. Cheney pronounced them “ irrefutable evidence, “ and Bush touted them, too. In reality, nuclear scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory had physically examined the tubes and pronounced them useless for centrifuges. State Department experts reached the same conclusion. That crucial evidence was omitted from the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate. It’s the same everywhere you look. With regard to nuclear weapons, the Bush administration promoted junk intelligence to the status of Holy Writ, hiding or stifling dissenting views. Everybody who’s ever been employed by a large bureaucracy knows how that works. The only real question is how successfully they hoaxed themselves before they began lying to the rest of us.

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

Lily Tomlin said it best. "No matter how cynical I get, I just can't
keep up."

Your free view of Gene’s column is supported by today's sponsor:
Is your computer freezing up or slowing down?
Repair corrupt files and harmful errors - protect your PC
Take a 2-minute PC health check-up at no charge! PowerScan


Post a Comment

<< Home