January 2003 marked one of the darker periods in American history, as the Bush White House assembled a pack of lies to support its bogus rationale for invading Iraq. Despite the revisionist history, the signs were already present:
Friday, January 24, 2003
Nothing stirs the spirit of liberty more than hearing your President is a liar. The Washington Post reports today on the old White House embellishment about the aluminum (aluminium to you Britons) rods that Condi Rice called "only really suited for nuclear weapons programs." Well, turns out that might have been more than an embellishment."Iraq imported the same aluminum tubes for rockets in the 1980s. The new tubes it tried to purchase actually bear an inscription that includes the word "rocket," according to one official who examined them."We must bear in mind that this information was what Bush offered to the UN when he made the US's case against Iraq. And also, that this isn't the first time the white house has "embellished."
posted by Jeff | 10:12 AM
January also saw Bush's State of the Union speech, and I started what became a tradition on the blog, the SotU by the numbers:
Wednesday, January 29, 2003
The State of the Union by the Numbers10:19 AM |
Total length of speech: 5,400 words*
Percent devoted to tax cuts: 10
On legislation to combat African AIDS: 6**
On the war on terror: 5
On hydrogen cars: 3
On race and affirmative action: 0
Axis of Evil
Percent devoted to Iraq: 25
Number of times "Saddam Hussein" was uttered: 19
"Osama bin Laden": 0
*New York Times transcript
**Initiative as a percent of projected 2003 budget: .1%
As the month progressed, so did the accusations that Bush was lying. I think this is one of the key points on which bloggers have especial credibility. There was, in fact, ample evidence to suggest that the case for invading Iraq was cooked. As a country, we have all agreed on a narrative that lays blame with the deceiver, not the suckers. Well, we weren't all suckers. I like to point out that if a blogger in Oregon knew the invasion was a crock, there's no way a Senator in Washington can claim ignorance.
Friday, January 31, 2003
The question arises: when is it appropriate for the President to lie to the public?
Lie (v.i.): To utter falsehood with an intention to deceive; to say or do that which is intended to deceive another, when he has a right to know the truth, or when morality requires a just representation.
--Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Why does it arise? Because we have so many recent examples. In today's news alone, I've seen two articles that finger the President for outright lies and misuse of information; a third for stifling speech. And of course, there are the aluminum tubes, the tax cuts benefiting the "average citizen," lies about labor unions and more.
Today's reports involve--predictably--Iraq. In the first, Hans Blix calls Bush a liar. Follow the link to read the specific lies--there are three--but the upshot is this: he doesn't think a war is warranted and he's peeved that Bush is using his report to justify one.
The second report is far more disturbing. I haven't had a chance to roam the blogosphere today, but I'll be amazed if it isn't buzzing with news from the Times editorial asserting that Saddam didn't gas the Kurds. According to the author, Stephen C. Pelletiere (no random peacenik--a professor at the Army War College with access to classified material), the Kurds were caught in the crossfire between Iranian and Iraqi fighters and, based on analysis done of the dead, it appears more likely that Iranian gas killed the Kurds. In any case, the gas was employed during war. This is a very different story from the old "Saddam gassed his own people" saw. Furthermore, Pelletiere elaborates on the ulterior motive argument, adding water to the oil mix. It's absolutely shocking news.
Bush has never made a strong case for going to war against Iraq. He's argued two points--that Saddam's a very bad man and that Iraq's a "gathering danger." Most of the arguments he's made about the "gathering danger" have been questioned or proved to be lies. And so he was left with the moral argument, which no one has seen the need to refute. But this evidence (if true, always if true) throws even that into question.
It's always been the case that presidents lie. Sometimes it's necessary to protect the republic. In these cases, no one would argue the truth-at-any-cost line. Sometimes it's to cover up health problems or a seedy rendezvous. After eight years of blue dresses, I'm willing to let these go by, as well. But if the lies are to advance a secret agenda and subvert the intent of the constitution and undermine the republic, they are clearly the most dangerous threat to the US. One doesn't want to go too far on this, but even reasonable people are beginning to wonder about the constant stream of lies. I think it's time to start demanding answers about the President's intentions.
(On a more amusing note, Laura Bush's love affair with books may have hit a bump in the road. After inviting a group of poets to a White House symposium, she learned that they--shockingly--were not high on the whole dead Iraqi kids scenario. Turns out they were even going to use the event to voice their displeasure. Thus was the event scuttled.)
11:02 AM |