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george w. bush lies


List of George W. Bush Lies


1) Bush Exaggerates, Misinforms and Misleads 24 Times in One Debate!

2) Bush Exaggerates, Misinforms, Lies 15 Times in One Debate

3) Bush Comes Through With Bushisms

4) 25 Bush Flubs in the Second Debate

5) Gore Wins Debate on Coherence and Facts

6) Bush Watchers Report In ...

7) Bush and Cheney self-made men? They've got to be kidding

8) Smear of Gore can't hide Bush's fuzzy numbers

9) That's three arrests for Bush

10) Gore Went to 'Nam; Bush Went AWOL

11) Election 2000 Dissent

12) Top 10 Lies of Election 2000

13) The dishonest case for war on Iraq

14) Questions That Won't Be Asked About IRAQ

15) 20 Lies About the Iraq War

16) Bush's New War Lies

17) Top Ten Bush Lies

18) The Two Most Essential, Abhorrent, Intolerable
Lies Of George W. Bush's Memoir

19) The True Lies of George W. Bush

20) The Twenty Lies of George W. Bush

21) The 935 lies of George W. Bush

22) The Other Lies of George Bush

23) The Two Biggest Lies of George W. Bush

24) The Lies of George W. Bush :
Mastering the Politics of Deception

25) Yes He Would

26) Facing Tough Questions, Bush Defends War

27) Five Questions Bush Must Answer

28) Bush administration on Iraq 9/11

29) Bush rejects Saddam 9/11 link

30) Bush Lies, Media Swallows

31) Did Bush lie under oath in funeral home case?

32) Key Bush Intelligence Briefing Kept From Hill Panel

33) Iraq had no WMD: the final verdict

34) Bush Misled America about the Threat from Iraq

35) Bush Lies - Richard's Reflections

36) Lies, Fraud and Deception to Promote War in Iraq

37) Bush Lied to the American People about 9/11 Terrorists' Motives

38) Motives for 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

39) Did Bush Lie Us into War?


On The Lighter Side

Take the Bush Loyalty Quiz



Who's Exaggerating Now?

Bush Exaggerates, Misinforms, Misleads and Waffles 24 Times in One Debate!

JERRY POLITEX

Bush Watch


1. Bush: "We went into Russia, we said, 'Here's some IMF money,' and it ended up in Viktor Chernomyrdin's pocket and others."

Fact: "Bush appears to have tangled up whispers about possible wrongdoing by Chernomyrdin -- who co-chaired a commission with Gore on U.S.-Russian relations -- with other unrelated allegations concerning the diversion of International Monetary Fund money. While there has been speculation that Chernomyrdin profited from his relationship with Gazprom, a big Russian energy concern, there have been no allegations that he stole IMF money." Washingon Post, 10/12/00

2. Bush: "We got one [a hate crime law] in Texas, and guess what? The three men who murdered James Byrd, guess what's going to happen to them? They're going to be put to death ... It's going to be hard to punish them any worse after they get put to death....We're happy with our laws on our books."

Fact: "The three were convicted under Texas' capital murder statute...The state has a hate crime statute, but it is vague." LA Times, 10/12/00.
"The original Texas hate-crimes bill, signed into law by Democrat Ann Richards, boosted penalties for crimes motivated by bigotry. As Gore correctly noted, Bush maneuvered to make sure a new hate-crimes law related to the Byrd killing did not make it to his desk. The new bill would have included homosexuals among the groups covered, which would have been anathema to social conservatives in the state." Washington Post, 10/12/00

3. Bush: bragged that in Texas he was signing up children for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as "fast as any other state."

Fact: "As governor he fought to unsuccessfully to limit access to the program. He would have limited its coverage to children with family incomes up to 150 percent of the poverty level, though federal law permitted up to 200 percent. The practical effect of Bush's efforts would have been to exclude 200,000 of the 500,000 possible enrollees." Washington Post, 10/12/00

4. Bush: "He [Gore] is for registration of guns."

Fact: "Gore actually favors licensing for new handgun purchasers but nothing as vast as registering all guns." Salon, 10/12/00

5. Bush: Said he found Gore's tendency to exaggerate "an issue in trying to defend my tax relief package. There was some exaggeration about the numbers" in the first debate.

Fact: "No, there wasn't, and Bush himself acknowledged that the next day on ABC's Good Morning America when Charlie Gibson pinned him on it." Salon, 10/12/00

6. Bush: "I felt during his debate with Senator [Bill] Bradley saying he [Gore] authored the EITC [earned-income tax credit] when it didn't happen."

Fact: "Actually, Gore had claimed to have authored an 'expansion of the earned-income tax credit,' which he did in 1991." Salon, 10/12/00

7. Fact: Gore noted that Texas "ranks 49th out of the 50 states in healthcare in children with healthcare, 49th for women with healthcare and 50th for families with healthcare"

Bush: "You can quote all the numbers you want but I'm telling you we care about our people in Texas. We spent a lot of money to make sure people get healthcare in the state of Texas."

8. Fact: Gore said, "I'm no expert on the Texas procedures, but what my friends there tell me is that the governor opposed a measure put forward by Democrats in the Legislature to expand the number of children that would be covered ... And instead [he] directed the money toward a tax cut, a significant part of which went to wealthy interests."

Bush: "If he's trying to allege I'm a hardhearted person and don't care about children, he's absolutely wrong."

9. Bush: "The three men who murdered James Byrd, guess what's going to happen to them? They'll be put to death. A jury found them guilty."

Fact: Two of the three are being put to death. The other was given life. Bush Watch, 10/12/00

10. Bush: said he favored "equal" rights for gays and lesbians, but not "special" rights.

Fact: "Bush has supported a Texas law that allows the state to take adopted children from gay and lesbian couples to place the kids with straight couples." Salon, 10/12/00.
"Bush supports hate crime protections for other minorities! So Bush doesn't believe that gays should have the same 'special' rights in this regard as blacks, Jews, Wiccans and others. Employment discrimination? Again, Bush supports those rights for other Americans, but not gays. Military service? Bush again supports the right to military service for all qualified people--as long as they don't tell anyone they're gay. Marriage? How on earth is that a special right when every heterosexual in America already has it? But again, Bush thinks it should be out-of-bounds for gays. What else is there? The right to privacy? Nuh-huh. Bush supports a gays-only sodomy law in his own state that criminalizes consensual sex in private between two homosexuals." New Republic, 10/13/00

11. Bush. "We ought to do everything we can to end racial profiling."

Fact: The Texas Department of Public Safety has just this year begun keeping detailed information about the race and sex of all people stopped by its troopers, the sixth year Bush has been in office. Salon, 10/12/00

12. Bush got caught not giving the full story on Texas air pollution laws. He was correct in saying the 1999 utility deregulation bill he signed into law had mandatory emissions standards.

Fact: "What was missing, as Gore's campaign pointed out, was that many more non-utility industrial plants are not mandated to reduce air quality. The issue is an important one because Texas ranks near the bottom in air-quality standards. Bush instead approved a voluntary program allowing grandfathered oil, coal, and other industrial plants to cut down on pollution." Boston Globe, 10/12/00

13. Bush: About the Balkans, "I think it ought to be one of our priorities to work with our European friends to convince them to put troops on the ground."

Fact: "European forces already make up a large majority of the peacekeeping forces in Bosnia and Kosovo." Washington Post, 10/12/00

14. Bush: "One of the problems we have in the military is we're in a lot of places around the world" and cited Haiti as an example. 

Fact: "Though approximately 20,000 U.S. troops went to Haiti in 1994, as of late August this year, there were only 109 U.S. troops in Haiti and most were rotating through as part of an exercise." Washington Post, 10/12/00

15. Bush: "I don't think we ought to be selling guns to people who shouldn't have them. That's why I support instant background checks at gun shows. One of the reasons we have an instant background check is so that we instantly know whether or not someone should have a gun or not."

Fact: "Bush overstates the effectiveness of instant background checks for people trying to buy guns ... The Los Angeles Times reported on Oct. 3 that during Bush's term as governor, Texas granted licenses for carrying concealed guns to hundreds of people with criminal records and histories of drug problems, violence or psychological disorders." Washington Post, 10/12/00
"He didn't mention that Texas failed to perform full background checks on 407 people who had prior criminal convictions but were granted concealed handgun licenses under a law he signed in 1995. Of those, 71 had convictions that should have excluded them from having a concealed gun permit, the Texas Department of Public Safety acknowledged." AP, 10/12/00

16. Bush:"Said the number of Texans without health insurance had declined while the number in the United States had risen."

Fact: " A new Census Bureau report says the number of uninsured Americans declined last year for the first time since statistics were kept in 1987. About 42.5 million people, or 15.5 percent of the population, lacked insurance in 1999, compared with 44.2 million, or 16.3 percent, in 1998, the agency reported. Texas ranked next-to-last in the nation last year with 23.3 percent of its residents uninsured. But that was an improvement from 1998, when it ranked 50th at 24.5 percent." AP, 10/12/00

17. Bush: "Some of the scientists, I believe, Mr. Vice President, haven't they been changing their opinion a little bit on global warming?"

Fact: "Bush's dismissive comments about global warming could bolster the charge that he and fellow oilman Dick Cheney are in the pocket of the oil industry, which likewise pooh-poohs the issue. [While] there is no consensus about the impact of global warming, ... most scientists agree that humans are contributing to the rising global temperature. 'Most climate experts are certain that global warming is real and that it threatens ecology and human prosperity, and a growing number say it is well under way,' wrote New York Times science writer Andrew Revkin." Salon, 10/13/00

18. Bush: When Jim Lehrer asked Bush if he approved of the U.S. intervention in Lebanon during the Reagan years, Bush answered a quick "yes" and moved on.

Fact: "Lebanon was a disaster in the history of American foreign affairs. Next to Iran-Contra, it was the Reagan administration's greatest overseas fiasco. Quoting from the Encyclopedia of the American Presidency: '[In 1983] Reagan stumbled into a disastrous intervention in the Middle East when he sent U.S. Marines into Lebanon on an ill-defined mission as part of an international peacekeeping force.' In December, according to Reagan biographer Edmund Morris, 'two days before Christmas, a Pentagon commission of inquiry into the Beirut barracks bombing humiliated [Secretary of State] Shultz [who had backed the intervention], and embarrassed Reagan, by concluding that the dead Marines had been victims of a myopic Middle Eastern policy.'" tompaine.com, 10/11/00

19. Bush: "I thought the president made the right decision in joining NATO and bombing Serbia. I supported him when they did so."

Fact: The bombing of Serbia began on March 24, 1999, and Bush did not express even measured support until April 8, 1999 -- nearly two weeks later. Prior to April 8, 1999, every comment by Bush about the bombing was non-committal. Finally, he offered a measured endorsement: "It's important for the United States to be slow to engage the military, but once the military is engaged, it must be engaged with one thing in mind, and that is victory," he said after being pressed by reporters. A Houston Chronicle story documented the Governor's statements on the crisis and reported that "Bush has been widely criticized for being slow to adopt a position on Kosovo and then for making vague statements on the subject." Houston Chronicle, 4/9/99

20. Bush: Discussing International Loans: "And there's some pretty egregious examples recently, one being Russia where we had IMF loans that ended up in the pockets of a lot of powerful people and didn't help the nation."

Fact: Bush's own vice presidential candidate, Dick Cheney, lobbied for U.S.-backed loan to Russia that helped his own company. "Halliburton Co. lobbied for and received $ 292 million in loan guarantees to develop one of the world's largest oil fields in Russia. Cheney said: 'This is exactly the type of project we should be encouraging if Russia is to succeed in reforming its economy ... We at Halliburton appreciate the support of the Export-Import Bank and look forward to beginning work on this important project.." PR Newswire 4/6/2000.
The State Department, armed with a CIA report detailing corruption by Halliburton's Russian partner, invoked a seldom-used prerogative and ordered suspension of the loan. The loan guarantee "ran counter to America's 'national interest," the State Department ruled. New Republic, 8/7/00

21. Bush "There's a lot of talk about trigger locks being on guns sold in the future. I support that."

Fact: When asked in 1999, if he was in support of mandatory safety locks, Bush said, " No, I'm not, I'm for voluntary safety locks on guns." In March of 2000, Bush said he would not push for trigger lock legislation, but would sign it if it passed [Washington Post, 3/3/00;ABC, Good Morning America, 5/10/99]. When Bush was asked, "when two bills were introduced in the Texas legislature to require the sale of child safety locks with newly purchased handguns, and you never addressed the issue with the legislature, and both bills died. If you support it, why did that happen?" Bush said, "Because those bills had no votes in committee." When asked again if he supported the bills, Bush said, "I wasn't even aware of those bills because they never even got out of committee." NBC, Today Show, 5/12/00

22. Bush: "Africa is important and we've got to do a lot of work in Africa to promote democracy and trade." Fact "While Africa may be important, it doesn't fit into the national strategic interests, as far as I can see them," Bush said earlier. When he was asked for his vision of the U.S. national interests, he named every continent except Africa. According to Time magazine, "[Bush] focused exclusively on big ticket issues ... Huge chunks of the globe -- Africa and Latin America, for example -- were not addressed at all." Time, 12/6/99; PBS News Hour, 2/16/00; Toronto Star, 2/16/00

23. Bush: "There's only been one governor ever elected to back-to-back four year terms and that was me."

Fact: The governors who served two consecutive four-year terms (meeting Bush's statement criteria are): Coke R. Stevenson (2 consecutive 4-year terms) August 4, 1941-January 21, 1947. Allan Shivers (2 consecutive four-year terms) July 11, 1949-January 15, 1957. Price Daniel (2 consecutive four-year terms) January 15, 1957-January 15, 1963. John Connally (2 consecutive four-year terms) January 15, 1963-January 21, 1969. Dolph Briscoe (2 consecutive four-year terms) January 16, 1973-January 16, 1979. George W. Bush (2 consecutive four-year terms) January 17, 1995 to present. Source: Texas State Libraries and Archives Commission.

24. Bush: "We spend $4.7 billion a year on the uninsured in the state of Texas."

Fact: The state of Texas came up with less than $1B for this purpose. $3.5 came from local governments, private providers, and charities, $198M from the federal government, and just less than $1B from Texas state agencies. Source: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

Jerry Politex is the editor of Bush Watch

Top


Bush Exaggerates, Misinforms, Lies 15 Times in One Debate

Bush Watch


1.
Bush: "We went into Russia, we said, 'Here's some IMF money,' and it ended up in Viktor Chernomyrdin's pocket and others."

Fact: "Bush appears to have tangled up whispers about possible wrongdoing by Chernomyrdin--who co-chaired a commission with Gore on U.S.-Russian relations--with other unrelated allegations concerning the diversion of International Monetary Fund money. While there has been speculation that Chernomyrdin profited from his relationship with Gazprom, a big Russian energy concern, there have been no allegations that he stole IMF money." Washingon Post, 10/12/00

2.
Bush:"We got one [a hate crime law] in Texas, and guess what? The three men who murdered James Byrd, guess what's going to happen to them? They're going to be put to death... It's going to be hard to punish them any worse after they get put to death....We're happy with our laws on our books."

Fact: "The three were convicted under Texas' capital murder statute...The state has a hate crime statute, but it is vague." LA Times, 10/12/00. "The original Texas hate-crimes bill, signed into law by Democrat Ann Richards, boosted penalties for crimes motivated by bigotry. As Gore correctly noted, Bush maneuvered to make sure a new hate-crimes law related to the Byrd killing did not make it to his desk. The new bill would have included homosexuals among the groups covered, which would have been anathema to social conservatives in the state." Washington Post, 10/12/00 3.
Bush: "Bragged that in Texas he was signing up children for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as "fast as any other state."

Fact: "As governor he fought to unsuccessfully to limit access to the program. He would have limited its coverage to children with family incomes up to 150 percent of the poverty level, though federal law permitted up to 200 percent. The practical effect of Bush's efforts would have been to exclude 200,000 of the 500,000 possible enrollees." Washington Post, 1012/00

4.
Bush: "He [Gore] is for registration of guns."

Fact: "Gore actually favors licensing for new handgun purchasers but nothing as vast as registering all guns." Salon, 10/12/00

5.
Bush: Said he found Gore's tendency to exaggerate "an issue in trying to defend my tax relief package. There was some exaggeration about the numbers" in the first debate.

Fact: "No, there wasn't, and Bush himself acknowledged that the next day on ABC's "Good Morning America" when Charlie Gibson pinned him on it." Salon, 10/12/00

6.
Bush: "I felt during his debate with Senator [Bill] Bradley saying he authored the EITC [earned-income tax credit] when it didn't happen."

Fact: "Actually, Gore had claimed to have authored an "expansion of the earned-income tax credit," which he did in 1991." Salon, 10/12/00

7.
Fact: Gore noted that "Texas "ranks 49th out of the 50 states in healthcare in children with healthcare, 49th for women with healthcare and 50th for families with healthcare"

Bush: "You can quote all the numbers you want but I'm telling you we care about our people in Texas. We spent a lot of money to make sure people get healthcare in the state of Texas."

8.
Fact: Gore said, ""I'm no expert on the Texas procedures, but what my friends there tell me is that the governor opposed a measure put forward by Democrats in the Legislature to expand the number of children that would be covered....And instead [he] directed the money toward a tax cut, a significant part of which went to wealthy interests. He declared the need for a new tax cut for the oil companies in Texas, an emergency need, and so the money was taken away from the [Children's Health Insurance Program]."

Bush: "If he's trying to allege I'm a hardhearted person and don't care about children, he's absolutely wrong." 9.
Bush: "The three men who murdered James Byrd, guess what's going to happen to them? They'll be put to death. A jury found them guilty."

Fact: Two of the three are being put to death. The other was given life.

10.
Bush: said he favored "equal" rights for gays and lesbians, bu not "special" rights.

Fact: "Bush has supported a Texas law that allows the state to take adopted children from gay and lesbian couples to place the kids with straight couples." Salon, 10/12/00

11.
Bush. "We ought to do everything we can to end racial profiling."

Fact: The Texas Department of Public Safety has just this year begun keeping detailed information about the race and sex of all people stopped by its troopers, the sixth year Bush has been in office. Salon, 10/12/00

12.
Bush: "Got caught not giving the full story on Texas air pollution laws. He was correct in saying the 1999 utility deregulation bill he signed into law had mandatory emissions standards.

Fact: "What was missing, as Gore's campaign pointed out, was that many more non-utility industrial plants are not mandated to reduce air quality. The issue is an important one because Texas ranks near the bottom in air-quality standards. Bush instead approved a voluntary program allowing grandfathered oil, coal, and other industrial plants to cut down on pollution." Boston Globe, 10/12/00

13.
Bush: About the Balkans, "I think it ought to be one of our priorities to work with our European friends to convince them to put troops on the ground."

Fact: "European forces already make up a large majority of the peacekeeping forces in Bosnia and Kosovo." Washington Post, 10/12/00

14.
Bush: "One of the problems we have in the military is we're in a lot of places around the world" and cited Haiti as an example.

"Though approximately 20,000 U.S. troops went to Haiti in 1994, as of late August this year, there were only 109 U.S. troops in Haiti and most were rotating through as part of an exercise." Washington Post, 10/12/00

15.
Bush: "I don't think we ought to be selling guns to people who shouldn't have them. That's why I support instant background checks at gun shows. One of the reasons we have an instant background check is so that we instantly know whether or not someone should have a gun or not."

Fact: "Bush overstates the effectiveness of instant background checks for people trying to buy guns.... The Los Angeles Times reported on Oct. 3 that during Bush's term as governor, Texas granted licenses for carrying concealed guns to hundreds of people with criminal records and histories of drug problems, violence or psychological disorders." Washington Post, 10/12/00

"And How Do You Like Your Blue-Eyed Boy Now, Mr. Death?"

A smile crept across George W. Bush's lips as he talked about yet another set of executions. He looked positively delighted as he shared his good news with all of America: He will preside over the deaths of the white men who murdered James Byrd, a 49-year-old black man, in 1998."Guess what's going to happen to these men?" he grinned at the camera during last night's debate with Vice President Gore. "They're going to be put to death."Bush beamed in happiness. He was so enthusiastic at the prospect of new executions that he said he would execute all three of Byrd's killers.

The death penalty was a topic both candidates agreed on in last night's debate.Texas does not need anti-hate-crime laws, Bush said. "We cannot enhance the penalty any more than putting those three thugs to death," he said. He grinned again.There is a problem here: Only two of Byrd's killers have been sentenced to death. The third was sentenced to life in prison. Most of America supports the death penalty for murder, and so does Gore, and so do I. But that hangman's grin gives me the willies. It brings back Bush's mockery of killer Karla Faye Tucker, whose appeals for life he rejected and whom he mimicked as saying, "Please don't kill me," shortly before Texas executed her.

Bush's death-penalty smirk marred a presidential debate that was about as combative as a game of pat-a-cake for most of its 90 minutes....Gore was on his best behavior last night. He looked both solid and knowledgeable and made none of the body-language mistakes that cost him victory in the first outing. Bush, too, was error-free — except for that eerie smile when he talked about the executions. Such morbid mirth may not hurt him with most of America. But even supporters of the death penalty are probably scratching their heads, wondering if Bush really enjoys putting people to death. He certainly seemed delighted with death last night. --Lars Erik Nelson, 10/12/00

Note. Bush's head spins on our comedy page

Top


Bush Comes Through With Bushisms


What's a Bush debate without Bushisms, right? Here's what Time's James Posniewozik wrote. Bush "did manage a couple of Bushisms, including "There has to be a wholesale effort against racial profiling, which is illiterate children." Perhaps the most interesting line of the debate, in fact, came when Bush decried how the killers at Columbine could "have their hearts turned dark as a result of being on the Internet." One could say that ascribing a mass medium with the power literally to make people evil is a rather silly and disturbing argument to be put forth by a candidate for the leadership of a democracy. But I digress. Now, go forth, my readers, and kill! Kill! Kill! Rise up, my vast army, and do the sacred bidding of your dark master!" 10/12/00

Top


25 Bush Flubs in the Second Debate

JERRY POLITEX

Bush Watch


1.
Bush: "We went into Russia, we said, 'Here's some IMF money,' and it ended up in Viktor Chernomyrdin's pocket and others."

Fact: "Bush appears to have tangled up whispers about possible wrongdoing by Chernomyrdin--who co-chaired a commission with Gore on U.S.-Russian relations--with other unrelated allegations concerning the diversion of International Monetary Fund money. While there has been speculation that Chernomyrdin profited from his relationship with Gazprom, a big Russian energy concern, there have been no allegations that he stole IMF money." Washingon Post, 10/12/00

2.
Bush:"We got one [a hate crime law] in Texas, and guess what? The three men who murdered James Byrd, guess what's going to happen to them? They're going to be put to death ... It's going to be hard to punish them any worse after they get put to death ... We're happy with our laws on our books."

Fact: "The three were convicted under Texas' capital murder statute...The state has a hate crime statute, but it is vague." LA Times, 10/12/00. "The original Texas hate-crimes bill, signed into law by Democrat Ann Richards, boosted penalties for crimes motivated by bigotry. As Gore correctly noted, Bush maneuvered to make sure a new hate-crimes law related to the Byrd killing did not make it to his desk. The new bill would have included homosexuals among the groups covered, which would have been anathema to social conservatives in the state." Washington Post, 10/12/00

3.
Bush: "Bragged that in Texas he was signing up children for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as "fast as any other state ."

Fact: "As governor he fought to unsuccessfully to limit access to the program. He would have limited its coverage to children with family incomes up to 150 percent of the poverty level, though federal law permitted up to 200 percent. The practical effect of Bush's efforts would have been to exclude 200,000 of the 500,000 possible enrollees." Washington Post, 1012/00

4.
Bush: "He [Gore] is for registration of guns."

Fact: "Gore actually favors licensing for new handgun purchasers but nothing as vast as registering all guns." Salon, 10/12/00

5.
Bush: Said he found Gore's tendency to exaggerate "an issue in trying to defend my tax relief package. There was some exaggeration about the numbers" in the first debate.

Fact: "No, there wasn't, and Bush himself acknowledged that the next day on ABC's "Good Morning America" when Charlie Gibson pinned him on it." Salon, 10/12/00

6.
Bush: "I felt during his debate with Senator [Bill] Bradley saying he [Gore] authored the EITC [earned-income tax credit] when it didn't happen."

Fact: "Actually, Gore had claimed to have authored an "expansion of the earned-income tax credit," which he did in 1991." Salon, 10/12/00

7.
Fact: Gore noted that "Texas "ranks 49th out of the 50 states in healthcare in children with healthcare, 49th for women with healthcare and 50th for families with healthcare"

Bush: "You can quote all the numbers you want but I'm telling you we care about our people in Texas. We spent a lot of money to make sure people get healthcare in the state of Texas."

8.
Fact: Gore said, "I'm no expert on the Texas procedures, but what my friends there tell me is that the governor opposed a measure put forward by Democrats in the Legislature to expand the number of children that would be covered ... And instead [he] directed the money toward a tax cut, a significant part of which went to wealthy interests."

Bush: "If he's trying to allege I'm a hardhearted person and don't care about children, he's absolutely wrong."

9.
Bush: "The three men who murdered James Byrd, guess what's going to happen to them? They'll be put to death. A jury found them guilty."

Fact: Two of the three are being put to death. The other was given life. Bush Watch, 10/12/00

10.
Bush: said he favored "equal" rights for gays and lesbians, bu not "special" rights.

Fact: "Bush has supported a Texas law that allows the state to take adopted children from gay and lesbian couples to place the kids with straight couples." Salon, 10/12/00. "Bush supports hate crime protections for other minorities! So Bush doesn't believe that gays should have the same "special" rights in this regard as blacks, Jews, Wiccans and others. Employment discrimination? Again, Bush supports those rights for other Americans, but not gays. Military service? Bush again supports the right to military service for all qualified people -- as long as they don't tell anyone they're gay. Marriage? How on earth is that a special right when every heterosexual in America already has it? But again, Bush thinks it should be out-of-bounds for gays. What else is there? The right to privacy? Nuh-huh. Bush supports a gays-only sodomy law in his own state that criminalizes consensual sex in private between two homosexuals. New Republic, 10/13/00

11.
Bush. "We ought to do everything we can to end racial profiling."

Fact: The Texas Department of Public Safety has just this year begun keeping detailed information about the race and sex of all people stopped by its troopers, the sixth year Bush has been in office. Salon, 10/12/00

12.
Bush: "Got caught not giving the full story on Texas air pollution laws. He was correct in saying the 1999 utility deregulation bill he signed into law had mandatory emissions standards.

Fact: "What was missing, as Gore's campaign pointed out, was that many more non-utility industrial plants are not mandated to reduce air quality. The issue is an important one because Texas ranks near the bottom in air-quality standards. Bush instead approved a voluntary program allowing grandfathered oil, coal, and other industrial plants to cut down on pollution." Boston Globe, 10/12/00

13.
Bush: About the Balkans, "I think it ought to be one of our priorities to work with our European friends to convince them to put troops on the ground."

Fact: "European forces already make up a large majority of the peacekeeping forces in Bosnia and Kosovo." Washington Post, 10/12/00

14.
Bush: "One of the problems we have in the military is we're in a lot of places around the world" and cited Haiti as an example.

"Though approximately 20,000 U.S. troops went to Haiti in 1994, as of late August this year, there were only 109 U.S. troops in Haiti and most were rotating through as part of an exercise." Washington Post, 10/12/00

15.
Bush: "I don't think we ought to be selling guns to people who shouldn't have them. That's why I support instant background checks at gun shows. One of the reasons we have an instant background check is so that we instantly know whether or not someone should have a gun or not."

Fact: "Bush overstates the effectiveness of instant background checks for people trying to buy guns ... The Los Angeles Times reported on Oct. 3 that during Bush's term as governor, Texas granted licenses for carrying concealed guns to hundreds of people with criminal records and histories of drug problems, violence or psychological disorders." Washington Post, 10/12/00 "He didn't mention that Texas failed to perform full background checks on 407 people who had prior criminal convictions but were granted concealed handgun licenses under a law he signed in 1995. Of those, 71 had convictions that should have excluded them from having a concealed gun permit, the Texas Department of Public Safety acknowledged." AP, 10/12/00

16.
Bush: "Said the number of Texans without health insurance had declined while the number in the United States had risen."

Fact: " A new Census Bureau report says the number of uninsured Americans declined last year for the first time since statistics were kept in 1987. About 42.5 million people, or 15.5 percent of the population, lacked insurance in 1999, compared with 44.2 million, or 16.3 percent, in 1998, the agency reported. Texas ranked next-to-last in the nation last year with 23.3 percent of its residents uninsured. But that was an improvement from 1998, when it ranked 50th at 24.5 percent." AP, 10/12/00

17.
Bush:"Some of the scientists, I believe, Mr. Vice President, haven't they been changing their opinion a little bit on global warming?"

Fact: "Bush's dismissive comments about global warming could bolster the charge that he and fellow oilman Dick Cheney are in the pocket of the oil industry, which likewise pooh-poohs the issue. [While] there is no consensus about the impact of global warming,...most scientists agree that humans are contributing to the rising global temperature. "Most climate experts are certain that global warming is real and that it threatens ecology and human prosperity, and a growing number say it is well under way," wrote New York Times science writer Andrew Revkin." Salon, 10/13/00

18.
Bush: When Jim Lehrer asked Bush if he approved of the U.S. intervention in Lebanon during the Reagan years, Bush answered a quick "yes" and moved on.

Fact: "Lebanon was a disaster in the history of American foreign affairs. Next to Iran-Contra, it was the Reagan administration's greatest overseas fiasco. Quoting from the Encyclopedia of the American Presidency: '[In 1983] Reagan stumbled into a disastrous intervention in the Middle East when he sent U.S. Marines into Lebanon on an ill-defined mission as part of an international peacekeeping force.' In December, according to Reagan biographer Edmund Morris, 'two days before Christmas, a Pentagon commission of inquiry into the Beirut barracks bombing humiliated [Secretary of State] Shultz [who had backed the intervention], and embarrassed Reagan, by concluding that the dead Marines had been victims of a myopic Middle Eastern policy.'" Tom Paine, 10/11/00

19.
Bush: "I thought the president made the right decision in joining NATO and bombing Serbia. I supported him when they did so."

Fact: The bombing of Serbia began on March 24, 1999, and Bush did not express even measured support until April 8, 1999 - nearly two weeks later. Prior to April 8, 1999, every comment by Bush about the bombing was non-committal. Finally, he offered a measured endorsement : "It's important for the United States to be slow to engage the military, but once the military is engaged, it must be engaged with one thing in mind, and that is victory," he said after being pressed by reporters. A Houston Chronicle story documented the Governor’s statements on the crisis and reported that "Bush has been widely criticized for being slow to adopt a position on Kosovo and then for making vague statements on the subject." Houston Chronicle, 4/9/99

20.
Bush: Discussing International Loans: "And there's some pretty egregious examples recently, one being Russia where we had IMF loans that ended up in the pockets of a lot of powerful people and didn't help the nation."

Fact: Bush’s own vice presidential candidate, Dick Cheney, lobbied for U.S.-backed loan to Russia that helped his own company. "Halliburton Co. lobbied for and received $ 292 million in loan guarantees to develop one of the world's largest oil fields in Russia. Cheney said : 'This is exactly the type of project we should be encouraging if Russia is to succeed in reforming its economy ... We at Halliburton appreciate the support of the Export-Import Bank and look forward to beginning work on this important project.’" PR Newswire 4/6/2000. The State Department, armed with a CIA report detailing corruption by Halliburton’s Russian partner, invoked a seldom-used prerogative and ordered suspension of the loan. The loan guarantee "ran counter to America's ‘national interest,’" the State Department ruled. New Republic, 8/7/00

21.
Bush "There's a lot of talk about trigger locks being on guns sold in the future. I support that."

Fact: When asked in 1999, if he was in support of mandatory safety locks, Bush said, "No, I'm not, I'm for voluntary safety locks on guns." In March of 2000, Bush said he would not push for trigger lock legislation, but would sign it if it passed. [Washington Post, 3/3/00;ABC, "Good Morning America," 5/10/99] Bush Let Trigger Locks Bill Die in Texas. When Bush was asked, "when two bills were introduced in the Texas legislature to require the sale of child safety locks with newly purchased handguns, and you never addressed the issue with the legislature, and both bills died. If you support it, why did that happen?" Bush said, "Because those bills had no votes in committee." When asked again if he supported the bills, Bush said, "I wasn't even aware of those bills because they never even got out of committee." NBC, "Today Show," 5/12/00

22.
Bush: "Africa is important and we've got to do a lot of work in Africa to promote democracy and trade."

Fact "While Africa may be important, it doesn't fit into the national strategic interests, as far as I can see them," Bush said earlier. When he was asked for his vision of the U.S. national interests, he named every continent except Africa. According to Time magazine, "[Bush] focused exclusively on big ticket issues ... Huge chunks of the globe -- Africa and Latin America, for example -- were not addressed at all." Time, 12/6/99; PBS "News Hour," 2/16/00; Toronto Star, 2/16/00

23.
Bush: "There's only been one governor ever elected to back-to-back four year terms and that was me."

Fact:Prior to Bill Clements, governors of Texas served, by law, 2 year terms, not four year terms. Alan Shivers, for example, served four two-year terms, or 2 consecutive 4-year terms. The governors who served consecutive two-year terms adding up to 2 consecutive 4-year terms follows. While Bush was elected twice, each of the others were elected four times : Coke R. Stevenson (2 consecutive 4-year terms) August 4, 1941-January 21, 1947. Allan Shivers (2 consecutive four-year terms) July 11, 1949-January 15, 1957. Price Daniel (2 consecutive four-year terms) January 15, 1957-January 15, 1963. John Connally (2 consecutive four-year terms) January 15, 1963-January 21, 1969. Dolph Briscoe (2 consecutive four-year terms) January 16, 1973-January 16, 1979. George W. Bush (2 consecutive four-year terms) January 17, 1995 to present. Texas State Libraries and Archives Commission.

24.
Bush: "We spend $4.7 billion a year on the uninsured in the state of Texas."

Fact: The state of Texas came up with less than $1B for this purpose. $3.5 came from local governments, private providers, and charities, $198M from the federal government, and just less than $1B from Texas state agencies. Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

25.
Bush: ""Our CHIPS (children's health insurance) program got a late start because our government meets only four months out of every two years, Mr.Vice President. May come for a shock for somebody's been in Washington for so long, but actually limited government can work in the second largest state in the Union, and therefore Congress passes the bill after our session in 1970 --'97 ended. We passed the enabling legislation in '99."

Fact: Texas governors can call special sessions of the legislature to pass specific legislation at any time. Bush could have done so with CHIPS. "But more important is that Bush could have gotten CHIP sign-ups under way without the Legislature.

As governor, Bush could have drawn up plans for enrolling kids, lined up providers and filed an amendment to Texas' Medicaid Plan with the Health Care Finance Administration, which handles Medicaid and CHIP nationally. With HCFA's approval, he could have started enrollment at once.Instead he waited for the Legislature to convene in January 1999. Then, Bush failed to exercise another gubernatorial option to speed things up. CHIP would have been among the first things considered by the Legislature had he declared it "an emergency," as he did with his tax cut for oil producers. Instead, Bush sparred with legislators about how much a family could earn for their kids to qualify for the program. His first proposal was to make CHIP available to families whose earnings are between 100 percent and 133 percent of the poverty level. Those whose earnings are at or below the poverty level supposedly qualify for Medicaid, but Texas' record in enrolling those eligible has been so bad federal courts have twice ordered the state to clean up its act.

When even the Republican legislators balked at Bush's miserly eligibility proposal, he raised it to 150 percent, which would have made about 280,000 kids CHIP-eligible. It was well into the 1999 Legislature that the 200 percent of the poverty level eligibility was approved, which expanded the number of eligible kids to 500,000.Now that it is a national embarrassment, state officials are rushing to sign them up, but at last count, only 100,000 kids have CHIP.Bush could have started signing up poor kids 15 months earlier." San Antonio Express News, 10/15/00

Note : Thanks go out to the many Bush Watchers who contributed to this report.

Politex, Bush Watch

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Gore Wins Debate on Coherence and Facts

DORIS

Washington Post


The upshot of the second presidential debate, it appears, is that we have good news and bad news: the good news is that this was a better debate than the last one, suggesting that these guys are a lot less annoying when they're sitting down. The bad news is that it isn't going to make a damn bit of difference to the tenor of the rest of the campaign. What we saw tonight was two candidates struggling to define any particular differences between their positions on most issues, and failing to take up what Lehrer was obviously suggesting, that they give up on the "exaggerator vs. bumbler" sniping. They won't. Bush will continue to offer his odd combination of lists and slogans that never actually form into declarative sentences, and Gore will continue to speak in crisp, detailed policy statements that never actually commit him to upsetting the swing voters. Gore still obviously wins on sheer coherence and command of facts. Otherwise, they didn't exactly prove Nader wrong most of the evening.

The first third of the debate was spent on foreign policy issues. The first question was directed to Bush, asking what his "guiding principles" would be for establishing foreign policy in a new administration. Bush's answer was a rather astonishing list of phrases. After making the bold statement that the question should always be "what is in the best interest of the United States?" (all opposed, raise your hands), Bush lurched from peace in the Middle East to free trade to naming his advisors to his Texas record to schools, Medicare, Social Security and "bringing people together." Apparently all those things are related to each other, and to foreign policy, because they are in the best interest of the United States.

Gore made a somewhat more coherent if equally bland start, suggesting that his "guiding principles" are the values of Constitutional freedoms, free markets, "political freedom," protecting human rights and civil rights, both at home as well as in the rest of the world. Not an earth-shattering answer, but the question was about guiding principles and Gore talked about (very general) principles.

After that, it got just plain weird. Bush opined that the rest of the world "ought to look at us as a country that understands freedom," and that we should be humble but project strength in our foreign policy. Gore said that he agreed with that, but that there was a lot of resentment of American power out there, and so we needed a sense of mission and a strong economy so that we wouldn't scare world leaders. Bush replied that economic issues are indeed important, and suggested a program of third-world debt "forgiveness" in which we might wipe out debt in exchange for "valuable rainforest lands." I certainly think this is a very original idea; unfortunately, Lehrer did not follow up by asking what it might mean, or why it would be a case of "debt forgiveness."

There followed a series of exchanges on Israeli and Palestinian diplomacy in which no one, including the moderator, was able to find much in the way of a significant difference between the two candidates' responses. Bush was alternately complimentary of the Clinton administration's handling of Serbia and careful to define his specific approach to diplomacy: "a timetable must be agreed on by all sides." You can imagine those undecided voters thinking, "thank heavens he believes that timetables should be agreed on. I could not possibly vote for someone who thinks that timetables should be disagreed on." Gore tried to initiate a discussion of values, saying that he'd had the impression that Bush would intervene militarily in the world only for self-interested reasons, not because genocide or ethnic cleansing is simply wrong and must be stopped. Bush in essence conceded the point, repeating that his concerns in Europe are American strategic interests and a strong NATO. Gore argued that while he agreed that we should not have sent a military force to Rwanda, we were too late with humanitarian aid and should have done more faster. In response to a question from Lehrer, Bush conceded that neither Africa nor Haiti were high priorities for him beause "we don't have allies there." Whatever nascent differences in values might have been implied, there was almost no disagreement on specific questions of troop deployment or sanctions or the use of IMF/World Bank funds to aid political reform. Bush kept insisting we should be "humble, yet proud and confident"; Gore said we needed to "step up to the plate and be a leader in the world." What this titanic clash of cliches might mean in more concrete terms is still a mystery.

As usual, the debate became more animated and specific on domestic issues. Gore attempted repeatedly to nail Bush to his Texas record on hate crimes, child health insurance, and tax cuts; Bush generally avoided the bait. On the subject of hate crimes, Bush declared that Texas has a hate crimes law, without addressing Gore's accusation that Bush tried to kill it in the legislature. On the subject of child health insurance, Bush tried the old "Sacred Heart" retort--"If he's trying to allege that I'm a hard-hearted person, I'm not." Gore shot back with one of his characteristically detailed arguments: "I'm not talking about his heart, I'm talking about his priorities," followed by an accounting of Bush's spending on tax cuts, both in Texas and as a campaign proposal, compared to his spending on health and other domestic programs. We have, of course, already heard them both talk a lot about tax cuts and domestic spending, and so while this subject might have highlighted their most significant differences, it didn't exactly take us further than we've been.

In the final moments of the debate Lehrer asked Bush whether he thought Gore's "embellishments" were really a serious issue. This lead to the only real barking of the evening, as Gore tried to defend himself for having called Bush a "bumbler": Gore: "Anybody would have a hard time explaining his tax cut."Bush: "There's another exaggeration."Gore: "I wasn't the one trying to explain it."

We are all left with the impression that the next month will be spent on the exaggerator versus the bumbler, since things seem to get so murky when we try to talk about anything else.

There were certainly a few Bushisms in evidence--"You've got to love your neighbor like you like to be loved yourself" is certainly an offbeat rendition of the golden rule--but mostly Bush was the genial generalizer, Gore a less shrill version of the policy wonk. I didn't find this particularly surprising, and I doubt that many voters will, either. But it will give the pundits and cranks something to obssess about for the next week, so it can't be a complete waste of time. Doris in Washington, 10/11/00

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Bush Watchers Report In ...


Steve says, "Gore Won. Gore said Texas is dead last for family health, and Gov. Bush simply could not defend his record. Gore said the Gov. spent the money on tax cuts for the wealthy and Oil Companies. I dont know who won the debate but I sure know who will win Florida and any other state with a majority of senior citizens. Even a mild manored Gore was more presidentail and took the leadership away from the moderator. "I'm not the one having trouble explaining" will probably go down in history along with the famous: "I knes JFK, JFK was my friend, you are no JFK" The Bush strategy of agreeing with a expert to make himself look like a expert could backfire. I dont think Reich wing rednecks want Bush to agree with CIC Clinton policies...

Jennifer says, "Pundit Puke. Overall, I thought both did fairly well. I thought Gore gave many more details than Bush, while Bush gave really good sound bite rhetoricalanswers. I find it extremely funny that after the last debate Gore was reamed for being too aggressive, tonight he is being reamed for being too"sedate" and presidential. Unless people are actually given some accurate information and the TV media quits focusing in on whether or not Gore is too aggressive or too sedate, Bush will win this election.

Kyle says, Gore-Tex Won. "W was a lot more polished this time around. He still seemed flustered whenever Al nailed him on the issues (i.e. healthcare in Texas). Gore played it too safe and was lulled into mediocrity by two assumptions, one that W didn't know jack about foreign policy and two that the VP debates set the tone for this debate. W was given free reign to be Mr. Compassionate Conservative and if I didn't realize it was George W up there, I might have believed it. W does his worst when under attack. That was evident by the few jabs that Al got in. Tonight's style debate has to go to Bush. He was polished, tutored, and sounded like a Carter liberal. As far as the issue debate, Gore once again wins out. Now prepare for the media blitz pounding Al's "average" performance and applauding Bush's pander and dodge.

Vance says, Bush Won. Unless larry flynt has something VERY BIG, RIGHT NOW, get ready for 4 years of president smirk. Gore was a completely different person from debate 1, very sedate, almost sneering sometimes, and unsmiling most of the time, as well as slouching forward a lot. he came off as very tentative, and lerher spent tooooo much time on foriegn policy. it's too confusing an issue for most of the electorate, who wanted to hear about domestic issues, where Gore would have been ready and able to SMOKE the smirk. how do you plan to spend your tax cut? ps- i was at the nader SUPER-rally in chicago on tuesday. it was a great time, with LOTS of people, who all paid $10 to hear him speak...if he were allowed in the debates, it'd be a 3-way race, -if gore-tex were lucky.

Bonnie says, Gore Won. "I could not believe the people I heard on PBS after the debate who seemed to think W. looked somewhat "presidential." Good God, what is their definition of presidential appearance? Speaking as a former high school teacher, I thought Bush looked as he nearly always does: uneasy, even frightened, about any in-depth discussion of public affairs. When he tries to answer questions, he is the classic unprepared student trying to snow the teacher with attempts at grand expressions and gestures that don't work. He repeats and repeats himself and gathers pounds of wool, desperately trying to fill up the blue book. What we saw on television over and over was bug-eyes above pursed lips twisted to one side, trying to look professorial as he evaluated arguments, all antics of high school sophomores. W. is a second class phony and I don't understand why he ever gets a pass from any thoughtful person."

James says, Gore Won "At least from where I was sitting, Gore slam-dunked Bush. As other Bushwatchers have noted, Gore was particularly effective when criticizing Bush on Texas's abysmal record in getting health insurance for poor children. Bush never responded to the numbers Gore cited -- because they're correct -- but instead, Bush whined about Gore not understanding Bush's "heart." Speaking of Bush's heart -- I thought Gore's careful cross-examination of Bush concerning hate crimes laws was also terrific. Having followed the aftermath of the James Byrd lynching closely, I was appalled at Governor Bush's cruel rebuff of Byrd's daughter Renee when she asked for his support for a tough hate-crimes law. Bush, having not even bothered to attend James Byrd's funeral, was shown by Gore tonight to be, at the very least, misleading in his statements concerning hate crimes laws. I don't know what debate the pundits who claim Bush won were watching -- it sure wasn't what I saw."

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Bush and Cheney self-made men?
They've got to be kidding!


In these self-proclaimed conservative candidates, we see two of the nation's prime beneficiaries of a government practice widely known as corporate welfare, or socialism for the rich. Both owe virtually every dime they have earned to the help of government.

Bush, who derides Vice President Gore as the candidate of big government, made his own killing from one of government's most abusive powers, the ability to seize private land from its owners at below market rates. When actually in private business for himself, Bush was a perennial loser. His profits came chiefly from investors who gave him money because of government tax breaks for the oil industry. His real fortune was made when he became a 2% owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team. The city of Arlington, Tex., was persuaded to build a new stadium for the team. When one family refused to sell a 13-acre plot at half its appraised value, Arlington condemned the land for the stadium project. As Joe Conason wrote in Harper's Magazine in February, "Never before had a municipal authority in Texas been given license to seize the property of a private citizen for the benefit of other private citizens." Bonds to build the stadium were financed by another abusive government practice, a sales tax. Then the Rangers got the stadium for a song, in a rent-to-buy agreement. They paid $60 million — the equivalent of 12 years' rent — for a facility that had cost an estimated $190 million. With this state-of-the-art ballpark, the value of the Rangers tripled. When the team was sold in 1998, Bush's initial $600,000 investment (all borrowed) had turned into $15 million. Yes, Bush performed work for the Rangers as the public face of the team's owners and chief cheerleader. But his spectacular fortune was the direct result of government intervention on his behalf.

Cheney, as we have also seen, made his killing after a career in government service when he was hired to run Halliburton Inc. — in large part because of the foreign contacts he had made as secretary of defense. He made $20 million, not counting $18 million in stock options, when he left Halliburton. Though he told Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) that government had nothing to do with his sudden wealth, he was hired purely on the basis of his government experience. In addition, a Halliburton subsidiary, Brown & Root, received nearly $2 billion in Pentagon contracts and ranks as No. 17 on the Pentagon's list of prime contractors. This is not just ancient history. Bush and Cheney are a new kind of conservative. Traditional conservatives wanted to reduce, even eliminate, government and cut taxes. These new conservatives want the government to continue to collect taxes — but turn the proceeds over to private industry.

Here is the common thread of Bush's major proposals: Government collects Social Security taxes — but gives a chunk of the money to Wall Street. Government collects school taxes — but gives the money out in vouchers that can be used in private schools. Government collects Medicare taxes — but gives the money to private insurers who will provide health coverage. This is not old-style conservatism. It is a strategy to use the government's coercive powers of taxation and legislation to funnel public wealth to the private sector. That's what made Bush and Cheney rich. --Lars Erik Nelson, 10/11/00

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Smear of Gore can't hide Bush's fuzzy numbers

GENE LYONS

arkdemgaz.com


"Following Gore's one-sided win over the poorly informed, inarticulate George W. Bush in last week's debate--if it'd been a prize fight, they'd have stopped it--the assault began. By the weekend, both The New York Times and The Washington Post had run tendentious dispatches about Gore's alleged tendency to embellish. It was Whitewater all over again, this time with psychologists instead of anonymous "federal investigators" as sources. Bush's incoherent performance was air-brushed out of the picture. So were well-documented articles showing that every charge Gore made against his save-the-rich tax schemes was on target. Bush's claims fail to pass the basic arithmetic test.

Bush's $1.6 trillion tax cut would consume not "one-quarter" of the projected $4.6 trillion budget surplus as he claimed, but 35 percent. So was Bush lying, or can't he do eighth-grade math? Your choice. Gore also charged that "under Gov. Bush's tax cut, he would spend more money on tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent than all of the new spending that he proposes for education, health care, prescription drugs and national defense all combined." Bush derided Gore's "fuzzy Washington math," a phrase his supporters have been chanting all week.

But the Citizens for Tax Justice, whose figures the Gore campaign uses, calculates that 42.6 percent of the Bush tax cut, including the estate tax repeal, would go to the wealthiest 1 percent of taxpayers by income--those making $319,000 or more. GOP spinners convinced certain gullible journalists that Gore's claim was false by omitting Bush's repeal of estate taxes affecting only millionaires' heirs. But Gore had it right. Readers who think the George W. Bushes of the world need additional yachts, private jets and country estates more than the nation needs classrooms, hospitals, medicine and military pay raises should vote Republican. (Gore didn't say so, but Dubya's own taxes would decrease about $60,000 a year.)

Bush's surprising admission that he intends to pay for "privatizing" Social Security out of the (possibly imaginary) budget surplus hasn't yet sunk in. Gore should hit it hard in tonight's debate. For months, Bush has been talking about letting taxpayers invest a portion of their Social Security taxes in the stock market. Like Democrat-Gazette editorial writers, he sometimes pretends he's talking about 2 percent of tax revenues, a comparatively trifling sum.

But as Gore made clear, Bush is really talking about one-sixth of the 12 percent SSI tax--potentially as much as 16 percent of what the government takes into the Social Security Trust Fund. This, while also claiming that the system's going broke and pledging not to cut benefits. So where's the missing $1 trillion (a thousand billion) over 10 years supposed to come from? For months, Bush wasn't saying, and the supposedly liberal press, with the admirable exception of MIT economist and Times columnist Paul Krugman, wasn't asking. During the debate, however, Bush casually allowed as how "the trillion dollars comes from the surplus." In effect, Bush wants taxpayers to send $1 trillion to his pals in the investment firms while paying Social Security obligations out of general revenues.

Encouraging saving may be a good thing, but check the basic arithmetic. After the richest 1 percent get theirs, he'd dip into the remaining $2.5 trillion of the projected surplus, funds both parties have agreed to set aside in a "lock box," protecting Social Security, Medicare and paying down the debt. So what if there's a recession? Would Republicans call for increased taxes? No, decreased benefits. This is no "reform." It's a sneak attack on the fiscal integrity of the nation's social safety net.

But to a well-heeled celebrity press corps preoccupied with trivia and pop psychology, this is tedious stuff. Directly opposite its understated analysis of the candidates' tax-and-spending ideas, the Times ran Richard L. Berke's novelized treatise headlined, "Tendency to Embellish Fact Snags Gore." Guess which one got all the radio and TV airtime?"

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20 Lies About the Iraq War

Glen Rangwala and Raymond Whitaker

Independenet.co.uk


July 13, 2003

Falsehoods ranging from exaggeration to plain untruth were used to make the case for war. More lies are being used in the aftermath.

  1. Iraq was responsible for the 11 September attacks

    A supposed meeting in Prague between Mohammed Atta, leader of the 11 September hijackers, and an Iraqi intelligence official was the main basis for this claim, but Czech intelligence later conceded that the Iraqi's contact could not have been Atta. This did not stop the constant stream of assertions that Iraq was involved in 9/11, which was so successful that at one stage opinion polls showed that two-thirds of Americans believed the hand of Saddam Hussein was behind the attacks. Almost as many believed Iraqi hijackers were aboard the crashed airliners; in fact there were none.

  2. Iraq and al-Qa'ida were working together

    Persistent claims by US and British leaders that Saddam and Osama bin Laden were in league with each other were contradicted by a leaked British Defence Intelligence Staff report, which said there were no current links between them. Mr Bin Laden's "aims are in ideological conflict with present-day Iraq", it added.

    Another strand to the claims was that al-Qa'ida members were being sheltered in Iraq, and had set up a poisons training camp. When US troops reached the camp, they found no chemical or biological traces.

  3. Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa for a "reconstituted" nuclear weapons programme

    The head of the CIA has now admitted that documents purporting to show that Iraq tried to import uranium from Niger in west Africa were forged, and that the claim should never have been in President Bush's State of the Union address. Britain sticks by the claim, insisting it has "separate intelligence". The Foreign Office conceded last week that this information is now "under review".

  4. Iraq was trying to import aluminium tubes to develop nuclear weapons

    The US persistently alleged that Baghdad tried to buy high-strength aluminum tubes whose only use could be in gas centrifuges, needed to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons. Equally persistently, the International Atomic Energy Agency said the tubes were being used for artillery rockets. The head of the IAEA, Mohamed El Baradei, told the UN Security Council in January that the tubes were not even suitable for centrifuges.

  5. Iraq still had vast stocks of chemical and biological weapons from the first Gulf War

    Iraq possessed enough dangerous substances to kill the whole world, it was alleged more than once. It had pilotless aircraft which could be smuggled into the US and used to spray chemical and biological toxins. Experts pointed out that apart from mustard gas, Iraq never had the technology to produce materials with a shelf-life of 12 years, the time between the two wars. All such agents would have deteriorated to the point of uselessness years ago.

  6. Iraq retained up to 20 missiles which could carry chemical or biological warheads, with a range which would threaten British forces in Cyprus

    Apart from the fact that there has been no sign of these missiles since the invasion, Britain downplayed the risk of there being any such weapons in Iraq once the fighting began. It was also revealed that chemical protection equipment was removed from British bases in Cyprus last year, indicating that the Government did not take its own claims seriously.

  7. Saddam Hussein had the wherewithal to develop smallpox

    This allegation was made by the Secretary of State, Colin Powell, in his address to the UN Security Council in February. The following month the UN said there was nothing to support it.

  8. US and British claims were supported by the inspectors

    According to Jack Straw, chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix "pointed out" that Iraq had 10,000 litres of anthrax. Tony Blair said Iraq's chemical, biological and "indeed the nuclear weapons programme" had been well documented by the UN. Mr Blix's reply? "This is not the same as saying there are weapons of mass destruction," he said last September. "If I had solid evidence that Iraq retained weapons of mass destruction or were constructing such weapons, I would take it to the Security Council." In May this year he added: "I am obviously very interested in the question of whether or not there were weapons of mass destruction, and I am beginning to suspect there possibly were not."

  9. Previous weapons inspections had failed

    Tony Blair told this newspaper in March that the UN had "tried unsuccessfully for 12 years to get Saddam to disarm peacefully". But in 1999 a Security Council panel concluded: "Although important elements still have to be resolved, the bulk of Iraq's proscribed weapons programmes has been eliminated." Mr Blair also claimed UN inspectors "found no trace at all of Saddam's offensive biological weapons programme" until his son-in-law defected. In fact the UN got the regime to admit to its biological weapons programme more than a month before the defection.

  10. Iraq was obstructing the inspectors

    Britain's February "dodgy dossier" claimed inspectors' escorts were "trained to start long arguments" with other Iraqi officials while evidence was being hidden, and inspectors' journeys were monitored and notified ahead to remove surprise. Dr Blix said in February that the UN had conducted more than 400 inspections, all without notice, covering more than 300 sites. "We note that access to sites has so far been without problems," he said. : "In no case have we seen convincing evidence that the Iraqi side knew that the inspectors were coming."

  11. Iraq could deploy its weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes

    This now-notorious claim was based on a single source, said to be a serving Iraqi military officer. This individual has not been produced since the war, but in any case Tony Blair contradicted the claim in April. He said Iraq had begun to conceal its weapons in May 2002, which meant that they could not have been used within 45 minutes.

  12. The "dodgy dossier"

    Mr Blair told the Commons in February, when the dossier was issued : "We issued further intelligence over the weekend about the infrastructure of concealment. It is obviously difficult when we publish intelligence reports." It soon emerged that most of it was cribbed without attribution from three articles on the internet. Last month Alastair Campbell took responsibility for the plagiarism committed by his staff, but stood by the dossier's accuracy, even though it confused two Iraqi intelligence organisations, and said one moved to new headquarters in 1990, two years before it was created.

  13. War would be easy

    Public fears of war in the US and Britain were assuaged by assurances that oppressed Iraqis would welcome the invading forces; that "demolishing Saddam Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk", in the words of Kenneth Adelman, a senior Pentagon official in two previous Republican administrations. Resistance was patchy, but stiffer than expected, mainly from irregular forces fighting in civilian clothes. "This wasn't the enemy we war-gamed against," one general complained.

  14. Umm Qasr

    The fall of Iraq's southernmost city and only port was announced several times before Anglo-American forces gained full control - by Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, among others, and by Admiral Michael Boyce, chief of Britain's defence staff. "Umm Qasr has been overwhelmed by the US Marines and is now in coalition hands," the Admiral announced, somewhat prematurely.

  15. Basra rebellion

    Claims that the Shia Muslim population of Basra, Iraq's second city, had risen against their oppressors were repeated for days, long after it became clear to those there that this was little more than wishful thinking. The defeat of a supposed breakout by Iraqi armour was also announced by military spokesman in no position to know the truth.

  16. The "rescue" of Private Jessica Lynch

    Private Jessica Lynch's "rescue" from a hospital in Nasiriya by American special forces was presented as the major "feel-good" story of the war. She was said to have fired back at Iraqi troops until her ammunition ran out, and was taken to hospital suffering bullet and stab wounds. It has since emerged that all her injuries were sustained in a vehicle crash, which left her incapable of firing any shot. Local medical staff had tried to return her to the Americans after Iraqi forces pulled out of the hospital, but the doctors had to turn back when US troops opened fire on them. The special forces encountered no resistance, but made sure the whole episode was filmed.

  17. Troops would face chemical and biological weapons

    As US forces approached Baghdad, there was a rash of reports that they would cross a "red line", within which Republican Guard units were authorised to use chemical weapons. But Lieutenant General James Conway, the leading US marine general in Iraq, conceded afterwards that intelligence reports that chemical weapons had been deployed around Baghdad before the war were wrong.

    "It was a surprise to me ... that we have not uncovered weapons ... in some of the forward dispersal sites," he said. "We've been to virtually every ammunition supply point between the Kuwaiti border and Baghdad, but they're simply not there. We were simply wrong. Whether or not we're wrong at the national level, I think still very much remains to be seen."

  18. Interrogation of scientists would yield the location of WMD

    "I have got absolutely no doubt that those weapons are there ... once we have the co-operation of the scientists and the experts, I have got no doubt that we will find them," Tony Blair said in April. Numerous similar assurances were issued by other leading figures, who said interrogations would provide the WMD discoveries that searches had failed to supply. But almost all Iraq's leading scientists are in custody, and claims that lingering fears of Saddam Hussein are stilling their tongues are beginning to wear thin.

  19. Iraq's oil money would go to Iraqis

    Tony Blair complained in Parliament that "people falsely claim that we want to seize" Iraq's oil revenues, adding that they should be put in a trust fund for the Iraqi people administered through the UN. Britain should seek a Security Council resolution that would affirm "the use of all oil revenues for the benefit of the Iraqi people".

    Instead Britain co-sponsored a Security Council resolution that gave the US and UK control over Iraq's oil revenues. There is no UN-administered trust fund.

    Far from "all oil revenues" being used for the Iraqi people, the resolution continues to make deductions from Iraq's oil earnings to pay in compensation for the invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

  20. WMD were found

    After repeated false sightings, both Tony Blair and George Bush proclaimed on 30 May that two trailers found in Iraq were mobile biological laboratories. "We have already found two trailers, both of which we believe were used for the production of biological weapons," said Mr Blair. Mr Bush went further : "Those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons - they're wrong. We found them." It is now almost certain that the vehicles were for the production of hydrogen for weather balloons, just as the Iraqis claimed - and that they were exported by Britain.

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Bush's New War Lies

ROBERT PARRY

Consortium News


September 10, 2003

In a healthy democracy, the grave act of going to war wouldn’t be justified under false pretenses and false impressions. Plus, government officials responsible for spreading false rationales wouldn’t be allowed to slide away from the first batch of lies and distortions to begin offering a new set of slippery excuses.

But the United States is not a healthy democracy at this time. It is dominated by a politician who chooses to manipulate rather than lead; who would rather trick the people into following him than engage them in a meaningful debate; who has demonstrated such a shallow regard for democracy that he took office despite losing the national popular vote and then only by blocking a full counting of ballots in one key state.

A healthy democracy wouldn’t put up with this trifling of the people’s will. But in today’s United States, there appears to be little shame in gullibility. Indeed, for some, it is a mark of patriotism. Others just act oblivious to their duties as citizens to be informed about even basic facts, even when the consequences are as severe as those of wartime.

This sad state of affairs was highlighted in a new Washington Post poll, which found that seven in 10 Americans still believe that Iraq’s ousted leader Saddam Hussein was involved in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks although U.S. investigators have found no evidence of a connection.

As the Post notes, this widely held public misperception explains why many Americans continue to support the U.S. occupation of Iraq even as the other principal casus belli – trigger-ready weapons of mass destruction – has collapsed. [For more details on the poll, see the Washington Post, Sept. 6, 2003.]

Bush's Speech

The search for Iraq's WMD apparently has become such a farce that George W. Bush barely mentioned it during his nationally televised speech on Sunday.

He slipped into the past tense in saying the former regime "possessed and used weapons of mass destruction," without attaching a year or a decade to his statement. Iraq's alleged use of chemical weapons dates back to the 1980s and its possession of effective WMD may have ended in the 1990s, according to some information that U.S. intelligence has received from former senior Iraqi officials.

While downplaying the WMD case, however, Bush continued to work the subliminal connection between the Sept. 11th murders and Iraq.

Indeed, after listening to Bush on Sunday juxtapose references to the Sept. 11th murders, their al-Qaeda perpetrators and Iraq, it shouldn’t be surprising how seven out of 10 Americans got the wrong idea. It’s pretty clear that Bush intended them to get the wrong idea.

In speech after speech, Bush has sought to create public confusion over these connections. Though no Iraqis were involved in the terror attacks two years ago – and though Osama bin Laden and most of the attackers were Saudis – Bush and his top aides routinely have inserted references about Iraq and the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the same paragraphs. They often used unsubstantiated assertions that Iraq was sharing or planning to share WMD with Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda as the connection.

That practice of blending Sept. 11 with Iraq continued into Bush’s speech Sunday night defending the U.S. occupation of Iraq and asking for $87 billion more to pay for it. “Since America put out the fires of September the 11th, and mourned our dead, and went to war, history has taken a different turn,” Bush said. “We have carried the fight to the enemy.”

Given that Iraq was the context of the speech, a casual listener would assume that Iraq attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, and the United States was simply hitting back. An average American, who wasn’t steeped in the facts of the Middle East, would be left with the impression that Saddam Hussein’s government and Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda were allies.

The reality is that Hussein and bin Laden were bitter rivals. Hussein ran a secular state that brutally suppressed the Islamic fundamentalism that drives al-Qaeda. Indeed, many of the atrocities committed by Hussein’s government were done to suppress Islamic fundamentalists, particularly from Iraq’s large Shia population. Bin Laden despised Hussein as an “infidel” who was repressing bin Laden's supporters and corrupting the Islamic world with Western ways.

Bush History

Other inconvenient facts that Bush has left out of all his speeches about Iraq include that his father, George H.W. Bush, was one of the U.S. officials in the 1980s who was assisting and encouraging Hussein in his bloody war with Iran to contain the spread of Islamic fundamentalism.

The younger Bush also doesn’t mention that the CIA and its allies in Pakistani intelligence – not Iraqis – were involved in training al-Qaeda fundamentalists in the arts of explosives and other skills useful to terrorists. That was part of the U.S. covert operation against Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Bush also trusts that the American people will have forgotten that other little embarrassment of the Iran-Contra Affair, when the elder Bush and President Reagan were involved in a secret policy of shipping missiles to Iran’s government. At the time, Iran's Islamic fundamentalist regime was designated a terrorist state by the U.S. government.

Nor does the public hear much about how the U.S. government taught the dictators of Saudi Arabia techniques of suppressing political dissent to keep that oil-rich kingdom in pro-U.S. hands. Saudi leaders also financed Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East as part of the Saudi strategy for buying protection for their dictatorial powers. Out of this mix of repression and corruption emerged an embittered Osama bin Laden, a scion of a leading Saudi family who turned against his former patrons.

If Americans knew more about this convoluted history, they might draw a very different conclusion than the one George W. Bush wants them to draw. Rather than seeing black-hatted villains who need a taste of Bush’s Western-style justice, the American people might conclude that Bush’s father and other top U.S. officials were at least as implicated in supporting Osama bin Laden and other international terrorists as Saddam Hussein was.

Indeed, if the full history were known, Hussein might appear less like a rogue leader than a U.S. client who was useful during his violent rise to power but then went awry. Not only did the CIA collaborate with Hussein’s Baathist Party as a bulwark against communism in the 1960s and 1970s, but Hussein personally sought U.S. advice at key moments from the 1980s to as late as 1990.

In ordering invasions of two neighboring countries – Iran in 1980 and Kuwait in 1990 – Hussein may well have believed he had received “green lights” from the United States. [For details, see Consortiumnews.com’s "Missing U.S.-Iraq History

U.S. intelligence also understood the implausibility of Hussein sharing WMD with his arch Islamic fundamentalist rivals. A year ago, a CIA assessment was released acknowledging this reality. The CIA told Congress that Hussein would not share weapons of mass destruction with Islamic terrorists unless he saw a U.S. invasion as inevitable. [For details, see Consortiumnews.com’s Misleading the Nation to War

In seeking to manipulate U.S. public opinion now, however, the Bush administration has done all it can to “lose” this history and these nuances. With a few exceptions, the U.S. news media has gone along, as journalists appear more interested in proving their “patriotism” – and keeping their high-paying jobs – than telling the full story. The American people have been fed a steady diet of false impressions and misleading arguments.

New Half Truths

Now, as the bloody reality of conquering Iraq intrudes on the pre-war fantasies of happy Iraqis showering U.S. troops with rose petals, the administration’s misleading rhetoric has switched from exaggerating the danger posed by Saddam Hussein’s government to exaggerating the gains attributable to the invasion.

New half-truths and lies are quickly replacing the old ones, lest Americans begin to wonder how they got fooled by the earlier bogus rationales. In Bush’s speech Sunday night, he highlighted two of these new arguments for a long-term military occupation of Iraq.

One of the new reasons is that the resistance to the U.S. occupation can be attributed to two groups – die-hard Hussein loyalists and foreign terrorists slipping into Iraq. “Some of the attackers are members of the old Saddam regime who fled the battlefield and now fight in the shadows,” Bush said. “Some of the attackers are foreign terrorists who have come to Iraq to pursue their war on America and other free nations.”

But what Bush leaves out is that there is a third force in Iraq: nationalist Iraqis who resent foreign occupation of their country. Many of them had no fondness for Hussein and may have welcomed the overthrow of the brutal dictator.

Some of these nationalists may have served in Iraq’s army while others appear to be young Iraqis who have begun fighting the U.S. occupation of Iraq much as young Palestinians have battled the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Other Iraqi fighters may be driven by revenge for the thousands of Iraqis killed in the U.S. invasion.

This likelihood of widespread resistance was known by Bush and his advisers before the war. “U.S. intelligence agencies warned Bush administration policymakers before the war in Iraq that there would be significant armed opposition to a U.S.-led occupation, according to administration and congressional sources familiar with the reports,” the Washington Post reported on Sept. 9, 2003.

But this information shared the fate of other facts that didn't support Bush's propaganda themes. It disappeared. The American people now are supposed to believe that the resistance is only a mixture of Saddam “dead-enders” and “foreign terrorists.”

The second new myth is that by killing “terrorists” in Iraq and elsewhere, the U.S. homeland will be made safer. “The surest way to avoid attacks on our own people is to engage the enemy where he lives and plans,” Bush said Sunday night. “We are fighting that enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan today so that we do not meet him again on our own streets, in our own cities.”

While this argument is another not-so-subtle appeal to the residual fears from Sept. 11, 2001, and America’s hunger for revenge, it is not a logical formulation. Indeed, there is no reason to believe that killing Iraqis and other Middle Easterners in Iraq won’t incite other people to attack Americans in the United States or elsewhere. Indeed, many savvy U.S. military analysts expect just such a response as revenge for the deaths inflicted by Bush’s invasion of Iraq.

It also is clear that Bush still is resisting the time-tested lessons of counterinsurgency -- that blunt force is no more likely to achieve peace than is abject cowardice, that peace and security are achieved through a combination of factors: a measured application of force combined with a sensible strategy for achieving political justice and economic improvements.

History also teaches that there are limits of national power no matter how noble a cause might be, that in geopolitics as in personal lives, the road to hell is often paved with good intentions.

In Bush's televised speech, however, he presented the ongoing war as a choice of weakness or strength, good or evil, with no sense of the subtleties of history or the gray areas of past diplomacy. “We have learned that terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength; they are invited by the perception of weakness,” Bush said.

P.R. Tricks

Beyond the speech, the Bush administration has issued reports that engage in such obvious P.R. tricks that they must assume the American people have the sophistication of pre-schoolers.

For instance, to commemorate Aug. 8, the 100th day since Bush donned his flight suit and declared “mission accomplished,” the White House released a report entitled “Results in Iraq : 100 Days Toward Security and Freedom.” The paper, which offered 10 reasons in 10 categories to support the thesis, declared “substantial progress is being made on all fronts.”

The artificial construct, requiring 10 reasons in each of the 10 categories, led to much stretching of facts and some repetition of examples. For instance, Reason No. 9 under “signs of cultural rebirth” used a quote from a member of Baghdad’s city council declaring that “if you want to civilize society, you must care about education.” The same trite-and-true quote crops up again three pages later as another example in another category.

But more significantly, the report repeats much of the elliptical reasoning and selective intelligence used before the war to exaggerate Iraq’s WMD threat and to connect Iraq with al-Qaeda.

“Saddam Hussein’s regime posed a threat to the security of the United States and the world,” the report asserts. “The old Iraqi regime defied the international community and 17 U.N. resolutions for 12 years and gave every indication that it would never disarm and never comply with the just demands of the world.”

There is no acknowledgment in the report that U.S. troops have failed to find any WMD. Nor is there any reference to the fact that U.N. weapons inspectors, such as Hans Blix, believed that Iraq was demonstrating greater compliance in the weeks before the U.S. invasion or that the invasion was carried out in defiance of a majority on the U.N. Security Council.

The White House report also continues to use selective information to support the administration’s case, while leaving out contrary facts or a fuller context.

For instance, the report states that “a senior al-Qaeda terrorist, now detained, who had been responsible for al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan, reports that al-Qaeda was intent on obtaining WMD assistance from Iraq.” The report leaves out the fact that nothing resulted from this overture.

The report also repeats the story that an al-Qaeda associate, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, went to Baghdad in May 2002 for medical treatment, but leaves out that no evidence has surfaced that the Iraqi government was aware of his presence or cooperated with him.

Similarly, the report notes that “a safe haven in Iraq belonging to Ansar al-Islam – a terrorist group closely associated with Zarqawi and al-Qaeda – was destroyed during Operation Iraqi Freedom.” Left out is that the Ansar al-Islam base was in a northern section of Iraq that was outside the control of the Baghdad government and under the protection of a U.S. no-fly zone.

But the report, like Bush’s Sunday speech, is just another indication that the administration never wanted a real debate about its war policy in Iraq. The goal has always been to tilt the evidence – often with a dose of public abuse for anyone who asks too many questions – so the American people can be herded like sheep into Bush’s desired direction.

Weakened Democracy

As the nation plunges deeper into a costly and bloody war, there is little about this process that resembles a healthy – or even meaningful – democracy. Though Bush claims that his goal is to bring democracy to Iraq, he apparently thinks very little of the process at home. Rather than invite a full debate, he tries to rig the process to manufacture consent.

Bush’s contempt for an informed electorate on the issue of war in the Middle East also doesn’t stand alone. In December 2000, his respect for democracy didn’t even extend to the basic principle that in a democracy, the candidate with the most votes wins.

Not only did Bush lose the popular vote to Al Gore by more than a half million ballots, Bush blocked a full and fair counting of votes in Florida for the simple reason that he was afraid of losing. Instead, he ran to his father’s powerful friends on the U.S. Supreme Court and got them to shut down the troublesome recount, which had been ordered by the state supreme court. [For details, see Consortiumnews.com's So Bush Did Steal the White House.

But Bush is only partly to blame for this steep decline in American democratic traditions and for the nation's stumble into the dangerous quicksand of a Middle East occupation.

As in any democracy – even a troubled one – it remains the ultimate responsibility of the people to shoulder the burden of citizenship, which includes getting the facts and acting on them. That responsibility also demands that the people hold politicians accountable when they lead the country to war with lies and distortions.

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The Dishonest Case For War On Iraq

Traprock Peace Center


Alan Simpson, MP - Chair of Labour Against the War and
Dr.Glen Rangwala - Lecturer in politics at Cambridge University, UK.

September 20, 2002

There is no case for a war on Iraq. It has not threatened to attack the US or Europe. It is not connected to al-Qa'ida. There is no evidence that it has new weapons of mass destruction, or that it possesses the means of delivering them.

This pamphlet separates the evidence for what we know about Iraq from the wild suppositions used as the pretext for a war.

  1. THREAT

    For there to be a threat to the wider world from Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, there need to be two distinct components : the capability (the presence of weapons of mass destruction or their precursor elements, together with a delivery system) and the intention to use weapons of mass destruction.

    Most of the discussion on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction from British and American governmental sources has focused on Iraq's capabilities. However, a more fundamental question is why the Iraqi regime would ever use weapons of mass destruction. There are three aspects to this :

    a. External military use

    The US administration has repeatedly stated that Iraq is a "clear and present danger" to the safety and security of ordinary Americans. Yet the Iraqi leadership have never used weapons of mass destruction against the US or Europe, nor threatened to. Plans or proposals for the use of weapons of mass destruction by Iraq against these countries have never been discovered, and in their absence can only be presumed to be non-existent.

    Iraq would face with massive reprisals if its leadership ever ordered the use of weapons of mass destruction on the US or Europe. It is difficult to imagine circumstances in which the Iraqi regime would use these weapons directly against any western country. The only conceivable exception would be if the Iraqi leaders felt they had nothing left to lose : that is, if they were convinced of their own imminent demise as a result of an invasion. Weapons of mass destruction were not used by Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War, despite having both a much more developed capacity than it holds at present (see below) and the routing of its army. The best way to avoid prompting Iraqi leaders to use any non-conventional capacity would be to refrain from invading Iraq or attempting to assassinate or depose its rulers.

    The only occasion on which the Iraqi government used weapons of mass destruction against another country was against Iran from 1981/82 to 1988. The use of mustard agents had a devastating impact on Iranian troops in the first years of the war and the civilian death toll from the use of sarin and tabun numbers in the thousands. However, it should be noted that the use of chemical weapons was undertaken with the compliance of the rest of the world. The US Secretary of State acknowledged that he was aware of reports of Iraqi use of chemical weapons from 1983, and a United Nations team confirmed Iraqi use in a report of 16 March 1984. Nevertheless, the US administration provided "crop-spraying" helicopters to Iraq (subsequently used in chemical attacks on the Kurds in 1988), gave Iraq access to intelligence information that allowed Iraq to "calibrate" its mustard attacks on Iranian troops (1984), seconded its air force officers to work with their Iraqi counterparts (from 1986), approved technological exports to Iraq's missile procurement agency to extend the missiles' range (1988), and blocked bills condemning Iraq in the House of Representatives (1985) and Senate (1988).

    Most crucially, the US and UK blocked condemnation of Iraq's known chemical weapons attacks at the UN Security Council. No resolution was passed during the war that specifically criticised Iraq's use of chemical weapons, despite the wishes of the majority to condemn this use. The only criticism of Iraq from the Security Council came in the form of non-binding Presidential statements (over which no country has a veto). The 21 March 1986 statement recognised that "chemical weapons on many occasions have been used by Iraqi forces against Iranian forces"; this statement was opposed by the United States, the sole country to vote against it in the Security Council (the UK abstained).

    In summary, Iraq has never used chemical weapons against an external enemy without the acquiescence of the most powerful states. It has done so only in the knowledge that it would be protected from condemnation and countermeasures by a superpower. There is no reason to suspect that the Iraqi leadership now places any military gains it might achieve through the use of chemical weapons above its desire to form international alliances with major powers.

    Further reading : "U.S. Diplomatic and Commercial Relationships with Iraq, 1980 - 2 August 1990"

    b. Arming terrorists

    One prospect raised by President Bush in his State of the Union address of 29 January was that hostile countries such as Iraq could supply non-state organisations with weapons of mass destruction, to use against the US :

    "By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States."

    The State Department's annual report on terrorism, released on 30 April 2001, stated that the Iraqi regime "has not attempted an anti-Western terrorist attack" since 1993. The small paramilitary groups that Iraq supports, such as the Arab Liberation Front (in Palestine) and the Mujahidin e-Khalq (for Iran), have no access to Iraq's more advanced weaponry, let along weapons of mass destruction. Furthermore, these groups have never carried out attacks on the US or Europe, and have little if any supporting infrastructure in those countries. The Iraqi regime has no credible links to al-Qa'ida, either in the perpetration of the 11 September attack, or in the presence in eastern Iraqi Kurdistan (controlled by the US-backed Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, not the Iraqi government, since 1991) of Ansar al-Islam. This group is an off-shoot of the US-backed Islamic Movement of Iraqi Kurdistan which has taken funds and arms from Iran and (reportedly) from al-Qa'ida.

    The Iraqi regime has not been shown to have any intention of attacking the Western world, and it knows that it would be subject to massive reprisals if it did so. In summary, Iraq has shown no indication that it would be willing to use terrorists to threaten the outside world with weapons of mass destruction.

    Further reading : "Did Mohamed Atta Meet an Iraqi Spy in Prague?"

    c. Internal repression by the Iraqi military

    As part of the Anfal campaign against the Kurds (February to September 1988), the Iraqi regime used chemical weapons extensively against its own civilian population. Between 50,000 and 186,000 Kurds were killed in these attacks, over 1,200 Kurdish villages were destroyed, and 300,000 Kurds were displaced . The most infamous chemical assault was on the town of Halabja in March 1988, which killed 5,000 people. Human Rights Watch regards the Anfal campaign as an act of genocide.

    The Anfal campaign was carried out with the acquiescence of the West.

    Rather than condemn the massacres of Kurds, the US escalated its support for Iraq. It joined in Iraq's attacks on Iranian facilities, blowing up two Iranian oil rigs and destroying an Iranian frigate a month after the Halabja attack. Within two months , senior US officials were encouraging corporate coordination through an Iraqi state-sponsored forum. The US administration opposed, and eventually blocked, a US Senate bill that cut off loans to Iraq. The US approved exports to Iraq of items with dual civilian and military use at double the rate in the aftermath of Halabja as it did before 1988. Iraqi written guarantees about civilian use were accepted by the US commerce department, which did not request licenses and reviews (as it did for many other countries). The Bush Administration approved $695,000 worth of advanced data transmission devices the day before Iraq invaded Kuwait.

    As for the UK, ten days after the Foreign Office verbally condemned the Halabja massacre, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry rewarded Iraq by extending Ł400 million worth of credits to trade with Iraq.

    The Iraqi regime has never used chemical weapons in the face of formal international opposition. The most effective way of preventing any future use against Iraqi civilians is to put this at the top of the human rights agenda between Iraq and the UN. The Iraqi regime's intentions to use chemical weapons against the Kurds will not be terminated by provoking a further conflict between the Iraqi state and its Kurdish population in which the Kurds are recruited as proxy forces. The original repression of the Kurds escalated into genocide in response to Iran's procurement of the support of the two main Kurdish parties for its military efforts from 1986. This is essentially the same role that the US sees for the Kurds in its current war preparations.

    Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction are a false focus if the concern is with regional security. Chemical weapons were not used for Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. A peaceful Gulf region can be achieved only through building political links between Iraq and its neighbours. This is why the Arab states of the Middle East have started to reintegrate Iraq into regional networks and purposeful dialogue. Their interests are ill-served by attempts to turn the countries of the Gulf against each other once again.

    Further reading : Dilip Hiro, "When US turned a blind eye to poison gas"

  2. NUCLEAR

    In 1998, when the US ordered UN weapons inspectors to leave Iraq, it was widely accepted the Iraq's nuclear capacity had been wholly dismantled. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), charged with monitoring Iraq's nuclear facilities after the Gulf War, reported to the Security Council from 8 October 1997 that Iraq had compiled a "full, final and complete" account of its previous nuclear projects, and there was no indication of any prohibited activity. The IAEA's fact sheet from 25 April 2002, entitled "Iraq's Nuclear Weapons Programme" , recorded that "There were no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the production of amounts of weapons-usable nuclear material of any practical significance."

    In recent months, however, the UK government has put primary emphasis on Iraq's alleged nuclear programme. UK ministers have made three major claims :

    a. That Iraq was within three years of developing a nuclear bomb in 1991.

    This could be true. Uranium was imported from Portugal, France, Italy and other countries; uranium enrichment facilities operated at Tuwaitha, Tarmiya, and Rashidiya, and centrifuge enrichment facilities were being built at al-Furat, largely with German assistance. Theoretical studies were underway into the design of reactors to produce plutonium, and laboratory trials were carried out at Tuwaitha. The main centre for the development of nuclear weapons was al-Atheer, where experiments with high explosives were carried out. However, IAEA experts maintain that Iraq has never had the capacity to enrich uranium sufficiently for a bomb and was extremely dependent on imports to create centrifuge facilities (report of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, 28 June 2002). If this is so, Iraq may have only been close to developing a bomb if US and European assistance had continued to the same extent as before.

    In the Gulf War, all Iraq's facilities capable of producing material for a nuclear programme and for enriching uranium were destroyed. The IAEA inspected and completed the destruction of these facilities, with the compliance of the Iraqi government. From 1991, the IAEA removed all known weapon usable materials from Iraq, including 22.4kg of highly enriched uranium. The IAEA left 1.8 tonnes of low-grade uranium in heavyweight sealed barrels at the Tuwaitha facilities. This uranium has remained untouched by the Iraqis, and is inspected annually by experts from the IAEA, who have confirmed that the seals had never been tampered with. The remaining facilities at Tuwaitha and buildings at al-Atheer were destroyed by the IAEA by 1992.

    b. That Iraq could make a nuclear device "within three years" without foreign assistance

    This claim, repeated by a UK Foreign Office minister, derives from a statement from the head of Germany's Federal Intelligence Service (BND) in February 2001 that Iraq could enrich its own uranium and construct its own nuclear device in three to six years. This claim was backed up by a statement from the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control that Iraq's only uranium extraction facility at al-Qaim has been rebuilt (it had been destroyed in 1991). If Iraq was again extracting uranium, then it could reasonably be presumed that it was intending to enrich and weaponise it. The allegation about Iraq's extraction of uranium, however, seems to be wrong.

    Since the emergence of these claims, a number of journalists have visited al-Qaim and have found it in a state of disrepair. Paul McGeough, the much-respected Middle East correspondent of the Sydney Morning Herald, wrote on 4 September 2002 that the site appeared to be a "near-vacant lot ... as the result of a clean-up supervised by the [IAEA]". Reuters reporters have confirmed the same impression. If Iraq was hiding its nuclear extraction facilities every time a journalist visits, this would beg the question of when any extraction could actually take place.

    If Iraq has no operating facilities to extract uranium, and if it continues to refrain from accessing the low-grade uranium sealed at Tuwaitha, then there is no way it could produce a nuclear device without foreign assistance.

    Furthermore, enriching uranium requires substantial infrastructure and a power supply that could be easily spotted by US satellites. No such information has been provided. Over the past year, US and UK sources have made much of the fact that Iraq has attempted to import specialized steel and aluminium tubes that could be used in gas centrifuges that enrich uranium. According to the Washington Post (10 September 2002), such tubes are also used in making conventional artillery rockets, which Iraq is not prohibited from developing or possessing under UN resolutions. As David Albright, former IAEA inspector in Iraq and director of the Institute for Science and International Security, told the Washington Post, "This is actually a weak indicator for suggesting centrifuges -- it just doesn't build a case. I don't yet see evidence that says Iraq is close."

    c.That Iraq could have a nuclear bomb "within months" if fissile material is acquired from abroad

    Even the US Department of Defense recognises that claims about Iraq's imminent production of a nuclear bomb are not credible: "Iraq would need five or more years and key foreign assistance to rebuild the infrastructure to enrich enough material for a nuclear weapon" (January 2001 intelligence estimate). However, the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) managed to hit the headlines in September 2002 by claiming that Iraq "could assemble nuclear weapons within months if fissile material from foreign sources were obtained." This claim is no more than a tautology.

    If Iraq could import the core material for a bomb, then it would have a bomb. Obtaining the fissile material is the most difficult part of constructing any nuclear device, and there are no signs that Iraq has attempted to obtain any such material from abroad. According to the Nuclear Control Institute (nci.org/heu.htm), "With bomb-grade, high-enriched uranium (HEU), a student could make a bomb powerful enough to destroy a city". Unless we are to stop any students of physics from entering Iraq, the best control on the circulation of fissile material would be to invest resources into safeguarding Russia's nuclear material. We would then need to complete a fissile-material cut-off treaty as agreed by the UN General Assembly in 1993.

    On 7 September 2002, Tony Blair and George Bush proclaimed that commercial satellite photographs showing new buildings near a facility that had been part of Iraq's nuclear programme before 1991 were "proof" of Iraqi intentions. By contrast, a spokesperson from the IAEA - which had provided the pictures months earlier - said : "We have no idea whether it means anything. Construction of a building is one thing. Restarting a nuclear program is another."

    Further reading :

    "Iraq's Nuclear Weapons Programme"

    Garry Dillon (IAEA Action Team in Iraq : Director of Operations from January 1994, head from June 1997), "The IAEA Iraq Action Team Record: Activities and Findings ", in Iraq: A New Approach (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, August 2002) [PDF format]

  3. CHEMICAL and BIOLOGICAL

    Allegations about Iraq's chemical and biological weapons fall into three categories :

    * that Iraq has retained weapons that were produced before 1991.

    * that Iraq has kept or rebuilt facilities since 1998, which are allegedly producing or able to produce new chemical or biological agents that can subsequently be weaponised

    * that Iraq could threaten other countries by delivering these agents, by missile or through other means.

    (a) Retained stocks? Up to 1998, a substantial part of the work of the weapons inspectors in Iraq was to track down chemical and biological agents that Iraq produced before their entry in 1991, and to check the documentation that showed how much of each agent Iraq had manufactured. However, the amount Iraq is thought to have produced in the 1980s was found to be greater than the quantity that Iraq or the inspectors verified as having destroyed. The discrepancy between the two levels is the amount that remains - in the inspectors' language - "unaccounted for".

    The levels of agents that are unaccounted for in this way is large: 600 metric tonnes of chemical agents, such as mustard gas, VX and sarin; and extensive amounts of biological agents, including thousands of litres of anthrax as well as quantities of botulinum toxin, aflatoxin, and gas gangrene, all of which had been weaponised before 1991. But the fact that these quantities are unaccounted for does not mean that they still exist. Iraq has never provided a full declaration of its use of chemical and biological weapons against Iran in the 1980-88 war, and destroyed large quantities of its own stocks of these weapons in 1991 without keeping sufficient proof of its actions.

    In some cases, it is quite clear that the stocks no longer exist in usable form. Most chemical and biological agents are subject to processes of deterioration. A working paper by the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (Unscom) from January 1998 noted that : "Taking into consideration the conditions and the quality of CW-agents and munitions produced by Iraq at that time, there is no possibility of weapons remaining from the mid-1980's" (quoted in Ritter, Arms Control Today, June 2000). Many other chemical or biological warfare agents have a shorter shelf life. The sarin produced by Iraq in the 1980s was found to have up to 40% impurities, entailing that it would deteriorate within two years. With regard to biological weapons, the assessment by Professor Anthony H. Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies should be taken seriously: "The shelf-life and lethality of Iraq's weapons is unknown, but it seems likely that the shelf-life was limited. In balance, it seems probable that any agents Iraq retained after the Gulf War now have very limited lethality, if any" (Iraq's Past and Future Biological Weapons Capabilities, 1998, p.13).

    There are two potential exceptions for materials that would not be expected to have deteriorated if produced before 1991. Mustard gas has been found to persist over time, as shown when Unscom discovered four intact mustard-filled artillery shells that would still have constituted a viable weapon. Unscom oversaw the destruction of 12,747 of Iraq's 13,500 mustard shells. The Iraqi regime claimed that the remaining shells had been destroyed by US/UK bombardment. This claim has not been verified or disproved. However, as former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter notes, "A few hundred 155 mm mustard shells have little military value on the modern battlefield. A meaningful CW attack using artillery requires thousands of rounds. Retention of such a limited number of shells makes no sense and cannot be viewed as a serious threat."

    The other potential exception is VX nerve agent. It became clear to Unscom during the 1990s that Iraq had succeeded before 1991 in producing stabilised VX in its laboratories - that is, VX agents that would not deteriorate over time. However, to produce significant stocks of VX requires advanced technology that Iraq did not have. Iraq did have some elements of the production equipment for developing VX on a large scale. Unscom tested this equipment before destroying it in 1996, and found that it had never been used. This would indicate that Iraq, despite its attempts before 1991, had never succeeded in producing VX on a significant scale.

    (b) Re-built facilities? If the stocks that Iraq had produced before 1991 are no longer a credible threat, then what of the facilities that Iraq may still have to produce more weapons of mass destruction? The major facilities that Iraq had prior to 1991 have all been destroyed. The Muthanna State Establishment, Iraq's main plant for the production of chemical warfare agents, was destroyed partially through aerial bombardment and partly under Unscom supervision. Al-Hakam, Iraq’s main biological weapons facility that was designed to make up to 50,000 litres of anthrax, botulinum toxin and other agents a year, was destroyed in May-June 1996.

    However, US and UK officials have claimed that new plants have been built since 1998. Among the allegations are that two chemical plants that were used to produce weapons before 1991 have been rebuilt at Fallujah; further chemical and biological weapons sites have been partially constructed at Daura and Taji; and that "mobile biological production laboratories" have been deployed that would be able to circumvent any inspectors who are re-admitted into Iraq. It has also been claimed that other existing civilian facilities have been partially converted so as to be able to produce agents for weapons of mass destruction.

    These allegations are difficult to assess. Even the IISS study of September 2002 - edited by Gary Samore who had been a senior member of President Clinton's staff and thus involved two years before in the making of the allegations - concluded that the claims about mobile laboratories were "hard to confirm". Much of the information comes from individuals who claim to have been scientists employed by the Iraqi government but who have now "defected" to Europe or the US. The US has offered financial rewards to scientists who defect, as well as guarantees of asylum. As a result, many of the claims may be exaggerated, highly speculative or simply concocted . US State Department officials have often mentioned that they do not take verbal information obtained from defectors seriously; it may be more plausible to assume that their information is publicised more as part of attempts to win support for a war than to make a realistic assessment of Iraqi weapons development.

    The Iraqi government has invited journalists to visit some of the sites that the UK and US have mentioned. For example, journalists who visited the Taji warehouse in mid-August - which the US claimed days before was a major biological weapons facility - found only "boxes of powdered milk from Yemen, Vietnam, Tunisia and Indonesia and sacks of sugar imported from Egypt and India", according to the Reuters correspondent. The visiting journalists are not weapons inspectors, and do not have the resources to monitor facilities for chemical agents or radiation; but they are able to ascertain if major new production facilities have been constructed. Now that the Iraqi Foreign Minister has made an unconditional offer to the UN to readmit weapons inspectors (on 16 September), allegations about the production of new facilities can be checked. However, the British Foreign Secretary and the White House have both disparaged the Iraqi offer, even though it could lead to the verified disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

    (c) Delivering an attack? Possession of chemical or biological agents is not enough to threaten another country, even if the Iraqi regime desired to. British and American claims about possession have therefore been linked to allegations that Iraq could fire these agents on missiles, which could even reach Europe.

    The first problem with this claim is the very low number of longer range missiles that Iraq might have. According to Unscom, by 1997, 817 out of Iraq's known 819 ballistic missiles had been certifiably destroyed. On the worst-case assumption that Iraq has salvaged some of the parts for these missiles and has reconstructed them since 1998, even Charles Duelfer - former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State , deputy head of Unscom and strong proponent of an invasion of Iraq - has provided an estimate of only 12 to 14 missiles held by Iraq. Even under this scenario, it is difficult to see Iraq posing a threat to the rest of the world through its missiles. Furthermore, biological weapons cannot be effectively disbursed through ballistic missiles. According to the IISS, much of the biological agent would be destroyed on impact and the area of dispersal would be small. For example, if anthrax is filled into missile warheads, up to 95% of the content is not dispersed according to the Director of Intelligence of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff [PDF format].

    British ministers have made much of the claim that Iraq has experimented with using small Czech-built L-29 training jets as remote-controlled drones, which could deliver chemical and biological weapons. Such drones were apparently spotted at Iraq's Talil airbase in 1998. A British defence official invoked the possibility that if these drones were flown at low altitudes under the right conditions, a single drone could unleash a toxic cloud engulfing several city blocks. He labelled them "drones of death". The hyperbole is misleading: even if Iraq has designed such planes, they would not serve their purpose, as drones are easy to shoot down. A simple air defence system would be enough to prevent the drones from causing damage to neighbouring countries. The L-29 has a total range of less than 400 miles : it would be all but impossible to use it in an attack on Israel. The only possibility for their use against western targets would be their potential deployment against invading troops.

    Further reading : Scott Ritter (former head of Unscom's Concealment Unit), " The Case for Iraq's Qualitative Disarmament", from Arms Control Today (June 2000)

  4. CONCLUSION

    Many of the assessments of Iraq's development of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons are based largely on a hypothetical analysis of what could be done by the Iraqi regime if it was determined to produce these weapons. Using worst-case scenarios, they present Iraq's potential activities - such as importing fissile material or producing anthrax spores - as an immediate threat. Whilst such assessments may be valuable in order to understand the range of possibilities, they do not provide any evidence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction or the Iraqi regime's intention to use them. As Hans Blix, executive chairman of Unmovic - the new UN weapons inspection body - said on 10 September, there is much that is unknown about Iraq's programmes, "but this is not the same as saying there are weapons of mass destruction. If I had solid evidence that Iraq retained weapons of mass destruction or were constructing such weapons I would take it to the Security Council."

    You cannot launch a war on the basis of unconfirmed suspicions of both weapons and intentions. It would be better to take up Iraq's unconditional offer of 16 September to allow inspectors to return, and to reject the plans for an invasion to achieve "regime change".

    The US and UK policy has been to provide disincentives to Iraqi compliance rather than incentives. The UK has refused to rule out its support for "regime change" even if a full weapons inspections system is in place : Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has only said that the possibility of an invasion "recedes" in such circumstances. Senior members of the present US administration have been more forthright: Vice-President Cheney labelled the return of weapons inspectors to Iraq as counterproductive in his Nashville speech of 26 August. Inspections would be counterproductive to US war plans, but would also serve to discover - and if necessary, constrain - Iraq's weapons programmes.

    If the Iraqi regime is led to believe that the US has made an invasion inevitable, it will have no reason to cooperate with weapons inspectors. As Hans Blix said on 18 August, "If the Iraqis conclude that an invasion by someone is inevitable then they might conclude that it's not very meaningful to have inspections."

    The Iraqi regime also has a clear disincentive if it believes that the weapons inspectors will - like their predecessors in Unscom - collect information that the US government would use to plot its overthrow. That Unscom was engaged in such actions is now beyond doubt. Its executive director from 1991 to 1997, Rolf Ekéus, said on 28 July that the US tried to gather information about Iraq's security services, its conventional military capacity and even the location of Saddam Hussein through the supposedly impartial weapons inspections programme. It is not hard to guess why the US wanted such information.

    Iraq has repeatedly asked for a clear timetable for the lifting of economic sanctions to be coupled with the weapons inspections system. This is not an unreasonable demand: in fact, it was the agreement made in the ceasefire that ended the Gulf War, and which the US in particular has done so much since 1991 to obscure. The ceasefire agreement - Security Council Resolution 687 - lays out the elements of a political solution : an independent weapons inspectorate, an end to the threat of war, a clear timetable to lifting economic sanctions, and the creation of a weapons of mass destruction free zone in the Middle East (entailing the need for the end of Israel's nuclear arsenal).

On each of these four points, the US in particular stands in clear violation of the terms of the agreement.

The consequences of that violation have been apparent in the deterioration of the weapons inspections system. Garry B. Dillon, the Director of Operations of the IAEA Action Team in Iraq from January 1994, and its head from June 1997, characterised Iraq's compliance with the nuclear inspectorate from late 1991 to mid-1998 as "essentially adequate" (in the paper cited above). Dillon concludes that "Iraq’s motivation to cooperate was shattered by the statement [by the then-US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright] that, regardless of Iraq’s compliance, the embargo and the sanctions would not be lifted as long as President Saddam Hussein remained in power". Backing a "carrot and stick" approach to Iraq, Dillon argues that "the carrot should represent a tangible benefit, not merely the withholding of the stick. Indeed, during 1998, Iraq repeatedly claimed that 'the light at the end of the tunnel had gone out.'"

If the US and UK re-engage with the political process that was laid out in the ceasefire resolution, Iraq will once again be provided with reasons to cooperate with the weapons inspectorate. That possibility, which will remove the need for instigating a humanitarian crisis inside Iraq and instability in the region, should not be dismissed lightly.

Important Link : Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq - a must see website that has lead the campaign against sanctions in the UK. CASI aims to raise awareness of the effects of sanctions on Iraq, and campaigns on humanitarian grounds for the lifting of non-military sanctions. The site includes an excellent lising of links to campaign groups.

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Questions That Won't Be Asked About IRAQ

Congressman Ron Paul (R - TX (14th district)

U.S.House of Representatives


September 10, 2002

Soon we hope to have hearings on the pending war with Iraq. I am concerned there are some questions that won’t be asked- and maybe will not even be allowed to be asked. Here are some questions I would like answered by those who are urging us to start this war.

  1. Is it not true that the reason we did not bomb the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War was because we knew they could retaliate?
  2. Is it not also true that we are willing to bomb Iraq now because we know it cannot retaliate- which just confirms that there is no real threat?
  3. Is it not true that those who argue that even with inspections we cannot be sure that Hussein might be hiding weapons, at the same time imply that we can be more sure that weapons exist in the absence of inspections?
  4. Is it not true that the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency was able to complete its yearly verification mission to Iraq just this year with Iraqi cooperation?
  5. Is it not true that the intelligence community has been unable to develop a case tying Iraq to global terrorism at all, much less the attacks on the United States last year? Does anyone remember that 15 of the 19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia and that none came from Iraq?
  6. Was former CIA counter-terrorism chief Vincent Cannistraro wrong when he recently said there is no confirmed evidence of Iraq’s links to terrorism?
  7. Is it not true that the CIA has concluded there is no evidence that a Prague meeting between 9/11 hijacker Atta and Iraqi intelligence took place?
  8. Is it not true that northern Iraq, where the administration claimed al-Qaeda were hiding out, is in the control of our "allies," the Kurds?
  9. Is it not true that the vast majority of al-Qaeda leaders who escaped appear to have safely made their way to Pakistan, another of our so-called allies?
  10. Has anyone noticed that Afghanistan is rapidly sinking into total chaos, with bombings and assassinations becoming daily occurrences; and that according to a recent UN report the al-Qaeda "is, by all accounts, alive and well and poised to strike again, how, when and where it chooses"
  11. Why are we taking precious military and intelligence resources away from tracking down those who did attack the United States- and who may again attack the United States- and using them to invade countries that have not attacked the United States?
  12. Would an attack on Iraq not just confirm the Arab world's worst suspicions about the US- and isn't this what bin Laden wanted?
  13. How can Hussein be compared to Hitler when he has no navy or air force, and now has an army 1/5 the size of twelve years ago, which even then proved totally inept at defending the country?
  14. Is it not true that the constitutional power to declare war is exclusively that of the Congress? Should presidents, contrary to the Constitution, allow Congress to concur only when pressured by public opinion? Are presidents permitted to rely on the UN for permission to go to war?
  15. Are you aware of a Pentagon report studying charges that thousands of Kurds in one village were gassed by the Iraqis, which found no conclusive evidence that Iraq was responsible, that Iran occupied the very city involved, and that evidence indicated the type of gas used was more likely controlled by Iran not Iraq?
  16. Is it not true that anywhere between 100,000 and 300,000 US soldiers have suffered from Persian Gulf War syndrome from the first Gulf War, and that thousands may have died?
  17. Are we prepared for possibly thousands of American casualties in a war against a country that does not have the capacity to attack the United States?
  18. Are we willing to bear the economic burden of a 100 billion dollar war against Iraq, with oil prices expected to skyrocket and further rattle an already shaky American economy? How about an estimated 30 years occupation of Iraq that some have deemed necessary to "build democracy" there?
  19. Iraq’s alleged violations of UN resolutions are given as reason to initiate an attack, yet is it not true that hundreds of UN Resolutions have been ignored by various countries without penalty?
  20. Did former President Bush not cite the UN Resolution of 1990 as the reason he could not march into Baghdad, while supporters of a new attack assert that it is the very reason we can march into Baghdad?
  21. Is it not true that, contrary to current claims, the no-fly zones were set up by Britain and the United States without specific approval from the United Nations?
  22. If we claim membership in the international community and conform to its rules only when it pleases us, does this not serve to undermine our position, directing animosity toward us by both friend and foe?
  23. How can our declared goal of bringing democracy to Iraq be believable when we prop up dictators throughout the Middle East and support military tyrants like Musharaf in Pakistan, who overthrew a democratically-elected president?
  24. Are you familiar with the 1994 Senate Hearings that revealed the U.S. knowingly supplied chemical and biological materials to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war and as late as 1992- including after the alleged Iraqi gas attack on a Kurdish village?
  25. Did we not assist Saddam Hussein’s rise to power by supporting and encouraging his invasion of Iran? Is it honest to criticize Saddam now for his invasion of Iran, which at the time we actively supported?
  26. Is it not true that preventive war is synonymous with an act of aggression, and has never been considered a moral or legitimate US policy?
  27. Why do the oil company executives strongly support this war if oil is not the real reason we plan to take over Iraq?
  28. Why is it that those who never wore a uniform and are confident that they won’t have to personally fight this war are more anxious for this war than our generals?
  29. What is the moral argument for attacking a nation that has not initiated aggression against us and could not if it wanted?
  30. Where does the Constitution grant us permission to wage war for any reason other than self-defense?
  31. Is it not true that a war against Iraq rejects the sentiments of the time-honored Treaty of Westphalia, nearly 400 years ago, that countries should never go into another for the purpose of regime change?
  32. Is it not true that the more civilized a society is, the less likely disagreements will be settled by war?
  33. Is it not true that since World War II Congress has not declared war and- not coincidentally- we have not since then had a clear-cut victory?
  34. Is it not true that Pakistan, especially through its intelligence services, was an active supporter and key organizer of the Taliban?
  35. Why don't those who want war bring a formal declaration of war resolution to the floor of Congress?

Ron Paul's Site

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Top 10 Lies of Election 2000

I Know What You Did Last Election


  1. The US Supreme Court manual recount ruling was a just decision by impartial judges.
    Is it justice to say, in essence, "you can recount if you change Florida law and complete the count in an hour and a half? Is it justice to cite “equal protection” as the basis for your ruling but disregard the fact that Florida would have already violated that law by, among other things, using balloting machines in some counties that produced a far greater error rate than in other counties? And what about states that violated the law by using different machines and methods than other states? Can a judge be impartial if his son stands to gain from his decision? Or is it a case of Supreme Injustice?

  2. The press conference conducted by Bush's Press Secretary and a GOP Governor detailing the conspiracy going on in the recount rooms.
    The shameless claims included Bush chads being scotch-taped to keep them attached to the ballot, and chads being eaten as a cover up. THE HORROR! In actuality, an absentee/overseas ballot or two was mailed in with tape on it and dislodged chads (on the floor or anywhere else) could only come from a chad that had already been penetrated which should count as a vote anyway, so I say -- let the overworked canvassing board members “have their chad and eat it too”.

  3. Al Gore tried to disenfranchise military voters
    (or as someone asserted, the votes of our men on the USS Cole!). Democratic lawyers did initially ask that overseas ballots adhere to law, but the Gore team later suggested that the ballots be re-evaluated and they never challenged any subsequent additions even though, at the request of Bush lawyers, selective counties recounted military ballots using different standards. Can you say, “Equal protection violation”?

  4. Counting indented chads is “mind reading” and “manufacturing” votes.
    The lawful term is “ascertaining the will of the voter”. The truth is, that if a chad has an indentation from a stylus (which can be easily discerned from a fingernail mark) it can only come from a person who intended to vote for a candidate or a person who was seriously inclined to vote for a candidate but was indecisive. Isn’t it better to ere on the side of counting intended votes rather than rejecting them all because a small percentage of them weren’t committed? You know, like being a “compassionate conservative” and showing leniency with the overseas ballots of military voters. I say count every vote and salute EVERY voter when you do it!

  5. Manual counts procedure is too flawed, especially in selected counties.
    What the Bush team was really saying amongst themselves was – WE DO NOT WANT ANY ADDITIONAL COUNTING TO BE DONE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES! Sure selective recounts under varying standards isn’t the best option, but it happens as part of law in elections all over the country and is a part of Florida law that Bush repeatedly waived access to for fear of a change in the results. It is worth noting that Florida’s certification does contain hundreds of votes for Bush acquired from manual counts in selective counties. Can you say, “Equal protection violation”?

  6. Palm Beach’s “butterfly ballot” was legal.
    The truth is that the butterfly ballot did not follow legal guidelines but was deemed not illegal enough for a judge to have the courage to rightfully call for a Palm Beach revote. It is a shame when justice can’t be served because the remedy is just too damn much trouble!

  7. The tampering of Republican ballot applications in Seminol and Martin county was not illegal.
    The underhanded activities involved were not legal or moral, however, they were deemed not illegal enough for a judge to have the courage to rightfully subtract Republican votes.

  8. Bush called the winner on election night.
    This lie was initiated by George W’s cousin who worked at Fox and the rest of the networks jumped in. The exit polls called Florida right the first time -- for Gore, but that result was easier said then done because of the debacle of Florida’s voting execution and counting procedures. Instead of the country being punished 4 years for Florida’s mistakes, both Florida and Texas should have been sentenced to 4 more years with a Bush governor.

  9. Calling Florida for Gore an hour before polls closed disenfranchised Bush voters.
    The truth is that both Gore voters and Bush voters would be equally discouraged from wasting their time after the election is called. Countless studies have shown that exit polling does not effect the outcome of an election.

  10. The media is predominantly liberal.
    Not anymore. Under the bright lights of the 36 day “in-decision 2000” the bushees could not help but out themselves. People like Chris Mathews of MSNBC helped us remember that the MS stands for Microsoft which stands for less regulation of big business. Even the most stealthy of news conservatives could not help but get a little too much satisfaction out of demeaning helpless chads with terms like dimpled and pimpled. And, ultimately, we were all reminded that the high profile media people are fat cats working for huge corporations and they all want a piece of that fat tax cut that George W promised them.

BONUS

Top Hypocrisy.
Bush fighting the count of indented chads in Florida despite the fact that he made the counting of indented chads the standard in Texas.

Top Irony.
Bush was making preparations to fight the election results in anticipation that he might win the popular vote and lose the electoral vote. "We'd have ads too," said a Bush aide. [NY Daily News]

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Election 2000 Dissent


  • Justice John Paul Steven
    "Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year's Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation's confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law."

  • Justice David Souter
    "Before this Court stayed the effort to [manually recount the ballots] the courts of Florida were ready to do their best to get that job done. There is no justification for denying the State the opportunity to try to count all the disputed ballots now.

  • Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    Chief Justice Rehnquist would "disrupt" Florida's "republican regime." [In other words, democracy in Florida is imperiled.] The court should not let its "untested prophecy" that counting votes is "impractical" "decide the presidency of the United States."

  • Justice Steven Breyer
    "There is no justification for the majority's remedy ... We risk a self-inflicted wound -- a wound that may harm not just the court, but the nation."

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Top Ten Bush Lies

GeorgeWalkerBush.net

by David Corn, BushLies.com


All presidents have lied, but George W. Bush has relentlessly abused the truth. In "The Lies Of George W. Bush: Mastering The Politics Of Deception" (Crown Publishers, October 2003)—a steely and scathing indictment of the president and his advisers—David Corn, the Washington editor of The Nation and a Fox News Channel contributor, reveals and examines the deceptions at the heart of the Bush presidency. In a stunning piece of journalism, he details and substantiates the all-too many times Bush and his aides have knowingly misled the American public to advance their own interests and agenda.

After I finished writing a 300-page book detailing a wide assortment of George W. Bush lies—scores of deceptions, if not many more (I haven’t counted)—my publisher requested that I produce a top-ten list of Bush lies. It would be good for marketing, I was told. In my mind, the "top" lies numbered far more than ten. And after all, the book has fourteen chapters. A list of ten would have to leave out entire swaths of this work, including sections on such important subjects as global warming, missile defense, environmental standards, Bush’s failed energy plan, and Afghanistan reconstruction. It also would have to rely upon a false equivalency in order to provide a full flavor of the book. One could easily argue that the ten most significant lies of the Bush presidency all related to his campaign for war in Iraq. But such a list would not be much good from a sales perspective, for the point of The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception is to show that Bush has lied his way through most serious policy matters (as well as through his bid for the presidency). Thus, I’m forced, as I brutally boil down 120,000 words to ten bullet items, to rely upon lies that represent larger body of lies. So here is a painfully constructed list—arranged in quasi-chronological order--that demonstrates the severity and range of Bush’s serial lying but that only skims the surface. For the complete picture—as well as for all the details that support the below accusations—please read the book.

10. "I have been very candid about my past." Bush said this during a press conference a few days before Election Day 2000. He was then in the middle of media firestorm that followed the revelation that he had once been arrested for drunken driving. Of course, this statement was untrue. He uttered it while he was trying to explain why he had not been "candid" about his arrest record. And during the campaign, he had not been "candid" about other significant matters, including what seemed to be a missing year in his National Guard service (which did not jibe with what he wrote about his service in his autobiography) and his apparent (though unacknowledged) shift from supporting abortion rights in the late-1970s to opposing them in the 1990s. He also was not "candid" about the tax plans he had pushed while governor of Texas. He always referred to them as "tax cuts" and did not mention that his major tax proposal included both tax cuts for property owners and an increase in the sales tax and the creation of a new business tax.

9. "I’m a uniter not a divider." This was a Bush catchphrase, a mantra. It was shorthand for his claim that he engaged in positive, not negative, politics and could heal a political culture ripped apart by the bitter ideological and partisan combat of the Clinton years. Yet during the 2000 presidential campaign and the Florida fracas, Bush and his lieutenants engaged in down-and-dirty and divisive political maneuvers. Just ask Senator John McCain, Bush’s main Republican opponent, whose record on veterans affairs was falsely attacked by a Bush surrogate and who was accused falsely by the Bush campaign of opposing research for breast cancer. As president-elect, Bush nominated one of the most divisive ideologues in Washington, former Senator John Ashcroft, to be attorney general. During a pre-inauguration interview, Bush acknowledged that he expected Ashcroft to be a lightning rod. But would-be uniters-not-dividers do not shove lightning rods up the backsides of their opponents. Another example: during the 2002 congressional campaign, Bush accused Democrats—who differed with him on employment rules for the new Department of Homeland Security—of sacrificing national security for their own petty purposes. He did this to help elect Republicans to office. Such a move was well within his rights as a political player, but not the action of a fellow who cares more about uniting than dividing.

8. "My plan unlocks the door to the middle class of millions of hard-working Americans." All the available slots of this top-ten list could be filled by statements Bush made to sell his tax cuts at various points—on the campaign trail, in 2001 (for the first major tax-cuts battle), and in 2003 (for the second major tax-cuts battle). But I chose an assertion from 2001 that echoed statements from the campaign trail, that would be reprised in 2003, and that represented the best-sounding argument for his tax cuts. Bush frequently claimed his tax cuts would help low- and middle-income Americans, and in 2000 and 2001 he often spoke of a mythical single-mom waitress, making $22,000 or so, who would be guided into the middle-class by his tax cuts. The point was to make it seem as if he truly cared for hard-pressed Americans and that his tax cuts did indeed embody his promise of "compassionate conservatism." (By the way, I am not placing on this list Bush’s claim that he is a "compassionate conservative." That’s a rather relative term more suitable for judgment than truth-based evaluation.) But when the accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche reviewed his tax plan for Time magazine during the 2000 campaign, it found that his beloved waitress would receive no reduction in her taxes. Zippo. In 2001, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that this waitress might gain $200 from Bush’s tax cuts if she managed to pull in $25,000 a year. But such a sum would not place her on the highway to the middle class. In fact, about 12 million low- and moderate-income families received no tax relief from Bush’s 2001 tax cuts (and millions of families were left out of his 2003 package). His plan unlocked few doors. Instead, about 45 percent of the 2001 package was slated to go to the top 1 percent of income earners. In 2003, Citizens for Tax Justice calculated that individuals earning between $16,000 and $29,000 would net about $99 from Bush’s proposed tax cuts. Again, not an amount that would cover the entrance fee for a middle-class life.

7. "This allows us to explore the promise and potential of stem cell research." That was what Bush said during an August 9, 2001, speech, announcing his decision to permit the federal funding of stem cell research that only used stem cells lines that existed before his speech. Bush was presenting his policy as a Solomon-like compromise. Religious right leaders and the Catholic Church were opposed to all stem cell research because it uses cells extracted from five-day old blastocysts (or embryos) in a process that destroys the embryos. (These embryos usually are leftovers created by in vitro fertilization at fertility clinics and no longer needed by the couples for which they were produced). But many prominent Republican donors and patient advocacy groups supported stem cell research, noting that scientists believed that studying stem cells (which have the potential to grow into any one of the more than 200 different types of human cells) could lead to treatments for Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other terrible diseases. In his speech, Bush said that 60 stem cell lines already existed—"where the life and death decision has already been made"--and that these lines could support a vital and vibrant research effort. Consequently, he said, federally funding could be limited to underwriting research that employed only these lines. Bush was trying to have it both ways. He could appease his social conservative supporters by saying no to any federal support for new stem cell lines, and he could claim to support research that might potentially help millions of people. There was one problem. The 60 pre-existing lines did not exist. The number was closer to a dozen—if that—an amount that experts in the field did not consider sufficient for research purposes. And when scientists and media reports convincingly discredited Bush’s count—which Bush might have initially assumed to be correct—the Bush administration kept repeating its untruthful position. Sticking to the 60-lines fantasy (or lie) permitted Bush to avoid making an explicit decision to curtail stem cell research. But in effect that was what he had done without admitting it.

6. "We must uncover every detail and learn every lesson of September the 11th." Bush said this in November 2002, as he appointed Henry Kissinger to be chairman of an independent 9/11 commission that Bush had orignially opposed. (Kissinger lasted two weeks in the job.) But Bush has not encouraged the uncovering of every detail. His administration did not turn over information to the congressional 9/11 inquiry about intelligence warnings the White House reviewed before 9/11. The administration also refused to say whether certain pre-9/11 intelligence warnings—including a July 2001 report noting that Osama bin Laden was poised to launch a "spectacular" attack "designed to inflict mass casualties against U.S. facilities or interests"—were shared with Bush and what he did in response, if he had received them. Moreover, the administration claimed that Bush’s awareness of these warnings (not the warnings themselves) was classified information—an argument unprecedented in the modern history of national security secrets. Bush also refused to let the congressional inquiry release the portion of its final report that concerned connections between the 9/11 hijackers and Saudi citizens or officials. By resorting to such secrecy—which happened to keep hidden information that might be embarrassing or inconvenient for the Bush administration--Bush made it impossible for investigators to "uncover every detail" and for the nation to "learn every lesson."

5. "[We are] taking every possible step to protect our country from danger." Bush said that a month after 9/11, and he has repeated that vow several times since then, including at the start of his recent month-long vacation at his Texas ranch. Every possible step? A reassuring line, but it is not true. Two years after the attacks, there still is no plan for enhanced security at the nation’s thousands of chemical plants. (Over a hundred of them handle chemicals that if released could threaten a million or so Americans.) According to the General Accounting Office, the Bush administration has not even "comprehensively assessed the chemical industry’s vulnerabilities to terrorist attacks." In October 2002, Tom Ridge, Bush’s chief homeland security official, said that voluntary regulations for the chemical industry would not suffice, but that is the policy the administration has been slowly pursuing. And less-than-everything has been the approach in other critical areas. A recent report from a Council on Foreign Relations task force—headed up by former Republican Senator Warren Rudman—says that not enough has been done to improve the abilities of first responders and that their basic needs will be underfunded by $100 billion over the next five years. The nation’s ports have asked for $1 billion to beef up security; the Bush administration has announced grants of $300 million. Various reports note that the federal government has not done all that is necessary to improve its biodefense capabilities. The administration has opposed efforts to mandate the screening of commercial cargo carried by passenger aircraft. (Most of this sort of cargo is not currently screened—creating one large security loophole.) So "every possible step" has not been taken.

4. "I first got to know Ken [Lay in 1994]." As the Enron scandal reached the White House in early 2002, Bush uttered this remark, claiming he had nothing to do with Lay until after winning the 1994 Texas gubernatorial election. It was an apparent and clumsy effort to diminish his relationship with the now-disgraced Enron chief. But in1994, Lay and Enron had been leading contributors to Bush’s campaign. And Lay—long a patron of Bush’s father—had worked with Bush in political settings prior to 1994. In a pre-scandal interview, Lay noted he had been "very close to George W." for years before1994. (In the mid-1980s, Bush’s oil venture was in a partnership with Enron.) Bush also claimed that his administration had been of absolutely no help to Enron. That might have been true during the scam-based company’s final days. But in the months preceding that, the Bush administration had assisted Enron in a variety of ways. This included appointing individuals recommended by Lay as top energy regulators and opposing wholesale price caps on electricity during the California energy crisis, a move that came after Lay (whose electricity-selling company was using manipulative tactics to gouge California) urged the White House to block price caps.

3. "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised." And, "[Saddam Hussein is] a threat because he is dealing with al Qaeda." These two Bush remarks go hand in hand, even though the first was said on March 17, 2003, two days before Bush launched the invasion of Iraq, and the other came during a November 7, 2002, press conference. Together they represented his argument for war: Hussein possessed actual weapons of mass destruction and at any moment could hand them to his supposed partners in al Qaeda. That is why Hussein was an immediate threat to the United States and had to be taken out quickly. But neither of these assertions were truthful. There has been much media debate over all this. But the postwar statements of Richard Kerr, a former deputy director of the CIA, provide the most compelling proof. He has been conducting a review of the prewar intelligence, and he has told reporters that the intelligence on Hussein’s WMDs was full of caveats and qualifiers and based mostly on inferential or circumstantial evidence. In other words, it was not no-doubt material. He also has said that prewar intelligence reports did not contain evidence of links between Hussein and al Qaeda. The best information to date indicates that the prewar intelligence did not leave "no doubt" about WMDs and did not support Bush’s claim that Hussein was in cahoots with al Qaeda. Bush’s primary reason for war was founded on falsehoods

2. "We found the weapons of mass destruction." Bush issued this triumphant remark in late May 2003, while being interviewed by a Polish television reporter. He was referring to two tractor-trailers obtained by U.S. forces in Iraq. The CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency had concluded these vehicles were mobile bio-weapons plants. Yet they had found not a trace of biological agents on either. (And no bio-weapon facility could be scrubbed completely clean.) In subsequent weeks, it turned out that State Department analysts and even DIA engineering experts—as well as outside experts—did not accept the CIA and DIA conclusion, and some of these doubters believed the explanation of Iraqis who claimed the trucks were built to produce hydrogen for weather balloons. Whichever side might be ultimately right about the trailers, this all-important piece of evidence was hotly contested. It was hardly solid enough to support Bush’s we-found-them declaration or to justify a war.

1. "It’s time to restore honor and dignity to the White House." Bush said that many a time during the 2000 presidential campaign, and in at least one ad pledged to "return honor and integrity" to the Oval Office. See above--and read the book.

All presidents have lied, but George W. Bush has relentlessly abused the truth. In THE LIES OF GEORGE W. BUSH: MASTERING THE POLITICS OF DECEPTION (Crown Publishers, October 2003)—a steely and scathing indictment of the president and his advisers—David Corn, the Washington editor of The Nation and a Fox News Channel contributor, reveals and examines the deceptions at the heart of the Bush presidency. In a stunning piece of journalism, he details and substantiates the all-too many times Bush and his aides have knowingly misled the American public to advance their own interests and agenda.

When campaigning for the presidency, Bush vowed to “restore” honor and integrity to the Oval Office, but Corn uses the president’s own words and deeds to prove beyond a doubt that this claim was the first lie of many. In other instances of presidential prevarication, Bush has:

• Brazenly misrepresented intelligence data and relied on dishonest arguments to whip up support for war with Iraq;
• Made numerous false statements about the provisions and effects of his super-sized tax cuts;
• Offered disingenuous and misleading explanations about the 9/11 attacks, the war on terrorism, and homeland security;
• Lied about his connections—and those of his administration—to corporate crooks;
• Presented deceptive claims to sell controversial policies on the environment, stem cell research, missile defense, abortion, energy, Social Security, health care, education, and other crucial issues;
• Dishonestly claimed to be a positive campaigner while engaging in deceitful and down-and-dirty tactics during the 2000 presidential campaign and recount drama.

The Lies Of George W. Bush is no partisan whine. It is a carefully constructed, well-developed, and convincing fact-driven account that shows how Bush has consistently relied upon duplicity to wage political and policy battles. The book covers lies Bush told as a presidential candidate (“I have been very candid about my past”); in his first days in office (“We pulled back [the arsenic standard] so that we could make a decision based upon sound science”); while selling a war to the American people (“Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapon ever devised”); and as a crusader for tax cuts (“Tax relief for everybody . . . while still reducing our national debt and funding important priorities”). Corn explains with wit and style how Bush managed to get away with it, and he explores the dangerous consequences of White House deceit in a perilous age.

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That's three arrests for Bush

MICHAEL MOORE

Online Journal


Dear Friends,

With the revelation last night of the drunk driving arrest and conviction in 1976 of George W. Bush, this marks the THIRD arrest -- that we know of -- involving this man who would be president.

Let me ask you, the readers of this letter : How many times have YOU been arrested? Me, none. Most of you -- once? twice? This guy has been arrested AT LEAST THREE TIMES! How many people do you know have been arrested three times? Go ahead, do a quick count on your fingers. The answer? NONE!

Yet, we are being asked on Tuesday to vote for a man who has been arrested THREE TIMES. For President of the United States! Are they kidding? The Republicans must take us all for idiots.

  • The first arrest of George W. Bush was for theft at a hotel.
  • The second arrest was for disorderly conduct at a football game.
  • The third arrest, we've now learned, is for a very serious crime -- drunk driving.

What's the next crime committed by George W. Bush that we will learn of? When will we learn it? It is time for everyone to demand the truth from Governor Bush. I'm telling you, we haven't heard the last of his criminal behavior.

But next Wednesday will be too late to find out.

The press should be ashamed of itself for its laziness. I cannot believe it took a young woman, Erin Fehlau -- at a FOX affiliate, no less -- up in Maine to stumble onto this story and do the necessary work to uncover it. Where have the big networks' investigative reporters been?

I'll tell you where : ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL!

After seeing this local Maine reporter on "Nightline" last night explain how a policewoman told her she overheard a conversation between a lawyer and a judge, and then the reporter started digging around and found out the facts, it was clear the story was not planted by the Gore campaign, as Bush and his people have been insinuating.

The real story here is how did this conviction get covered up for so many years? I spoke to a lawyer last night familiar with these kinds of cases. She said that a D.U.I. in and of itself, is not something worth covering up. Had Bush revealed this himself, he would have found the public forgiving of his infraction.

No, my lawyer friend continued, the only reason to cover it up would be that there was something ELSE connected to the arrest that night e.g., drugs or resisting arrest. This other potential charge could have been dropped and expunged. The reporter was shown only the court docket which listed Bush's name, address, and the charge to which he pleaded guilty. What we need to see is the actual POLICE REPORT from that night. Assuming it hasn't been doctored, that will tell us the truth.

The Bush people have already lied about the nature of the D.U.I. arrest (they said the cop pulled Bush over because he was "driving too slowly" the arresting officer last night said it was because Bush had "swerved off on the shoulder of the road". Bush himself lied last night when asked about the night he spent in jail. "I didn't spend time in jail" he insisted. The officer told the local reporter that Bush, in fact, was handcuffed, taken to the station, and held in custody for at least an hour and a half.

This is not just some simple traffic ticket. I don't want to hear one word comparing this drunk driving conviction to Clinton's transgressions. Lying about consensual sex you had with another adult is NOT the same as getting behind the wheel of a car when you are drunk and endangering the lives of others (including the life of your own sister, Mr. Bush, who was in the car with you that night).

It is NOT the same as Gore volunteering he smoked pot in his youth. That act endangered no one's life and he did not try to cover it up.

And don't tell us that the drunk driving and the "drinking problem" was just a "youthful indiscretion" You were NOT a "youth" when you were in your THIRTIES on the night you were arrested while careening off the road. The fact is, according to your own admission (if not in these words), you were a drunk and a bum 'til the age of 40, living off your rich daddy who spent his time bailing you out of trouble.

For crying out loud -- if any Republican is reading this, I implore you : this man does not deserve to be placed in the highest and most respected office in the land!

Bush voters, come to your senses! If you can't bring yourself to vote for Nader or Gore, then show your love for your country and just stay home next Tuesday.

Please, save our nation this incredible, unfolding, never-ending embarrassment.

Yours,

Michael Moore

michaelmoore.com

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Gore Went to 'Nam; Bush Went AWOL

American Politics Journal


Boston Globe Story Confirms Allegation Made in Jim Hatfield's 'Fortunate Son' -
Concerning Dubya's Less-Than-Exemplary Air Guard Service

Today has been good for me, a Clinton-Gore fan.

Yes, it has been a good day, despite the ruling handed down by four members of a six-person committee (which, thanks to a recusal-pressure campaign led by the Republican-owned-and-operated Arkansas 'Democrat'-Gazette, was pared down from its original fourteen members to a six-person group composed mostly of GOP operatives) that recommended the disbarring of the President, in spite of all precedent and common sense.

For one thing, the disbarment case now goes to the Pulaski Country Circuit Court, and that group is going to be far less susceptible to pressure than was the Little Rock outfit.

For another thing, the intense media play given this story gives the lie to the media's constant excuses, when asked why they don't mention things like Joe Conason's and Gene Lyons' The Hunting of the President hitting #12 on the New York Times book list, or the strong censure given by Judge Susan Webber Wright to Ken Starr ( so when is the Scaife Legal Foundation going to try to disbar Kenny? ), that "nobody cares about that anymore, it's old news."

They must think somebody cares, if they're going to make front-page news out of it. But something has happened that puts all of that in the shade.

Remember Jim Hatfield's book Fortunate Son? That's the book that got pulled from the shelves when Dubya and his powerful family threw a hissy fit, even as Regnery lie-fests like Gary Aldrich's Unlimited Access pollute the remainder tables.

The book, granted, is rather uneven, and many of the claims made are lacking in factual basis, but one of the most controversial claims in the book has now been documented by The Boston Globe.

In a 05/23/00 Page 01A story credited to Walter V. Robinson and the Globe Staff, the following is stated :

After George W. Bush became governor in 1995, the Houston Air National Guard unit he had served with during the Vietnam War years honored him for his work, noting that he flew an F-102 fighter-interceptor until his discharge in October 1973.

And Bush himself, in his 1999 autobiography, 'A Charge to Keep,' recounts the thrills of his pilot training, which he completed in June 1970." I continued flying with my unit for the next several years," the governor wrote.

But both accounts are contradicted by copies of Bush's military records, obtained by the Globe.

In his final 18 months of military service in 1972 and 1973, Bush did not fly at all. And for much of that time, Bush was all but unaccounted for :

For a full year, there is no record that he showed up for the periodic drills required of part-time guardsmen.

-----You read that right, ladies and gentlemen : Bush was AWOL for a WHOLE YEAR.

-----Bush, who declined to be interviewed on the issue, said through a spokesman that he has ''some recollection'' of attending drills that year, but maybe not consistently.

-----"Some recollection." Suuuure you do, Dubya. Hah. So why wasn't Dubya attending drills and performing his Texas Guard duties during this time? He was too busy playing politics -- literally :

-----From May to November 1972, Bush was in Alabama working in a US Senate campaign, and was required to attend drills at an Air National Guard unit in Montgomery. But there is no evidence in his record that he did so. And William Turnipseed, the retired general who commanded the Alabama unit back then, said in an interview last week that Bush never appeared for duty there.

-----In his first four years in the Texas Air National Guard, according to his military records, Dubya had a busy schedule of full-time training and drills. But during his fifth year as a guardsman, after April 1972, Bush's records show no sign that he ever appeared for duty at all.

In a word, he was AWOL : Absent Without Leave.

The Globe's timeline of Dubya's post-April-1972 military career is as follows :

-----May 24, 1972 : Bush, who has moved to Alabama to work on a US Senate race, gets permission to serve with a reserve unit in Alabama. But headquarters decided Bush must serve with a more active unit.

Sept. 5, 1972 : Bush is granted permission to do his Guard duty at the 187th Tactical Recon Group in Montgomery. But Bush's record shows no evidence he did the duty, and the unit commander says he never showed up.

November 1972 to April 30, 1973 : Bush returns to Houston, but apparently not to his Air Force unit.

May 2, 1973 : The two lieutenant colonels in charge of Bush's unit in Houston cannot rate him for the prior 12 months, saying he has not been at the unit in that period.

May to July 1973 : Bush, after special orders are issued for him to report for duty, logs 36 days of duty.

July 30, 1973 : His last day in uniform, according to his records.

Oct. 1, 1973 : A month after Bush starts at Harvard Business School, he is formally discharged from the Texas Air National Guard -- eight months before his six-year term expires.

-----Ladies and gentlemen, this stinks to high heaven. As has been documented long ago, Dubya had all manner of strings pulled merely to get him into the Air Guard and away from actual combat -- even though he did horribly on the pilot's exams -- yet still be able to claim "military service" on his political resume later on in the future. Then, once he gets into the Air Guard and does four years, he suddenly decides "That's enough, time to work on my REAL career, the Bush Political Dynasty", and goes AWOL for a year.

All while we still were fighting the Vietnam War.

Meanwhile, the young Al Gore wasn't sure how he felt about the war.

On the one hand, he wasn't sure that fighting North Vietnam was particularly wise. On the other, he wanted to see first-hand whether it was a good or bad idea. He solved his dilemma by become a reporter for Stars and Stripes, and went to Vietnam, where he was putting his butt on the line covering the war. The journalism bug bit him hard enough that he later spent five years with the Nashville Tennessean.

Dubya, on the other hand, wanted to have a military career just long enough to give him lots of neat photos of himself in uniform to use in his campaign literature, but he didn't want to actually risk getting his hands dirty, much less risk his gold-plated hiney that was being so carefully groomed for higher office.

But I digress.

Here's the Globe again :

----When the Globe first raised questions about this period earlier this month, Bartlett, Bush's spokesman, referred a reporter to Albert Lloyd Jr., a retired colonel who was the Texas Air Guard's personnel director from 1969 to 1995. Lloyd, who a year ago helped the Bush campaign make sense of the governor's military records, said Bush's aides were concerned about the gap in his records back then.

----- Uh-huh. Make that "terrified".

-----On May 24, 1972, after he moved to Alabama, Bush made a formal request to do his equivalent training at the 9921st Air Reserve Squadron at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. Two days later, that unit's commander, Lieutenant Colonel Reese H. Bricken, agreed to have Bush join his unit temporarily. In Houston, Bush's superiors approved. But a higher headquarters disapproved, noting that Bricken's unit did not have regular drills. "We met just one weeknight a month. We were only a postal unit. We had no airplanes. We had no pilots. We had no nothing,'' Bricken said in an interview. Last week, Lloyd said he is mystified why Bush's superiors at the time approved duty at such a unit.

-----I'll tell you why: so George could spend all his time playing politics.

----- Inexplicably, months went by with no resolution to Bush's status -- and no Guard duty. Bush's evident disconnection from his Guard duties was underscored in August, when he was removed from flight status for failing to take his annual flight physical.

-----Remember that? He wanted to have his own personal physician do the physical. I wonder why? Would it be because the family's own doc would be less likely to rat out Dubya if he tested positive for drugs or booze?

----- Finally, on Sept. 5, 1972, Bush requested permission to do duty for September, October, and November at the 187th Tactical Recon Group in Montgomery. Permission was granted, and Bush was directed to report to Turnipseed, the unit's commander. In interviews last week, Turnipseed and his administrative officer at the time, Kenneth K. Lott, said they had no memory of Bush ever reporting.

-----Oops!

-----Lloyd, the retired Texas Air Guard official, said he does not know whether Bush performed duty in Alabama. ''If he did, his drill attendance should have been certified and sent to Ellington, and there would have been a record. We cannot find the records to show he fulfilled the requirements in Alabama,'' he said. Indeed, Bush's discharge papers list his service and duty station for each of his first four years in the Air Guard. But there is no record of training listed after May 1972, and no mention of any service in Alabama. On that discharge form, Lloyd said, ''there should have been an entry for the period between May 1972 and May 1973.''...

... In an effort last year to solve the puzzle, Lloyd said he scoured Guard records, where he found two ''special orders'' commanding Bush to appear for active duty on nine days in May 1973. That is the same month that Lieutenant Colonel William D. Harris Jr. and Lieutenant Colonel Jerry B. Killian effectively declared Bush missing from duty.

In Bush's annual efficiency report, dated May 2, 1973, the two supervising pilots did not rate Bush for the prior year, writing, ''Lt. Bush has not been observed at this unit during the period of report. A civilian occupation made it necessary for him to move to Montgomery, Alabama. He cleared this base on 15 May 1972 and has been performing equivalent training in a non-flying status with the 187 Tac Recon Gp, Dannelly ANG Base, Alabama."

Asked about that declaration, campaign spokesman Bartlett said Bush told him that since he was no longer flying, he was doing ''odds and ends'' under different supervisors whose names he could not recall. But retired colonel Martin, the unit's former administrative officer, said he too thought Bush had been in Alabama for that entire year. Harris and Killian, he said, would have known if Bush returned to duty at Ellington.

And Bush, in his autobiography, identifies the late colonel Killian as a friend, making it even more likely that Killian knew where Bush was. Lieutenant Bush, to be sure, had gone off flying status when he went to Alabama. But had he returned to his unit in November 1972, there would have been no barrier to him flying again, except passing a flight physical.

Although the F-102 was being phased out, his unit's records show that Guard pilots logged thousands of hours in the F-102 in 1973. During his search, Lloyd said, the only other paperwork he discovered was a single torn page bearing Bush's social security number and numbers awarding some points for Guard duty. But the partial page is undated. If it represents the year in question, it leaves unexplained why Bush's two superior officers would have declared him absent for the full year.

----Double Oops!

----- There is no doubt that Bush was in Houston in late 1972 and early 1973. During that period, according to Bush's autobiography, he held a civilian job working for an inner-city, antipoverty program in the city ... ... Bush's last day in uniform before he moved to Cambridge was July 30, 1973.

His official release from active duty was dated Oct. 1, 1973, eight months before his six-year commitment was scheduled to end. Officially, the period between May 1972 and May 1973 remains unaccounted for.

In November 1973, responding to a request from the headquarters of the Air National Guard for Bush's annual evaluation for that year, Martin, the Ellington administrative officer, wrote, ''Report for this period not available for administrative reasons."

-----Uh-huh. Surrrrre it was.

----After the election, Bush returned to Houston. But seven months later, in May 1973, his two superior officers at Ellington Air Force Base could not perform his annual evaluation covering the year from May 1, 1972 to April 30, 1973 because, they wrote, ''Lt. Bush has not been observed at this unit during the period of this report."

Bush, they mistakenly concluded, had been training with the Alabama unit for the previous 12 months. Both men have since died. But Ellington's top personnel officer at the time, retired Colonel Rufus G. Martin, said he had believed that First Lieutenant Bush completed his final year of service in Alabama.

And there you have it :
Gore went to Vietnam. Bush went AWOL.

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The Two Most Essential, Abhorrent, Intolerable
Lies Of George W. Bush's Memoir

huffingtonpost.com


First Posted: 11/22/10 09:53 AM ET Updated: 03/23/11 09:09 AM ET

froomkin@huffingtonpost.com

WASHINGTON -- These days, when we think of George W. Bush, we think mostly of what a horrible mess he made of the economy. But his even more tragic legacy is the loss of our moral authority, and the transformation of the United States of America from global champion of human rights into an outlaw nation.

History is likely to judge Bush most harshly for two things in particular: Launching a war against a country that had not attacked us, and approving the use of cruel and inhumane interrogation techniques.

And that's why the two most essential lies -- among the many -- in his new memoir are that he had a legitimate reason to invade Iraq, and that he had a legitimate reason to torture detainees.

Neither is remotely true. But Bush must figure that if he keeps making the case for himself -- particularly if it goes largely unrebutted by the traditional media, as it has thus far -- then perhaps he can blunt history's verdict.

It may even be working. Extrapolating from the response to the book, former vice president Dick Cheney on Tuesday told a crowd gathered for Bush's presidential library groundbreaking in Dallas that "judgments are a little more measured than they were" and that "history is coming around."

The 'Decision' to Go to War

In "Decision Points," Bush describes the invasion of Iraq as something he came to support only reluctantly and after a long period of reflection. This is a flat-out lie. Anyone who paid any attention to the news at the time knew Bush was dead-set on war long before he sent in the troops in March 2003. And there is now an abundant amount of documentation, in the form of leaks, unclassified memos, witness interviews and other people's memoirs to prove it.

The historical record clearly shows that Bush had long harbored a desire to strike out at Saddam Hussein, was trying to link Iraq to 9/11 within a day of the terrorist attacks, and finally found the excuse he was looking for in skewed intelligence about alleged Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

The only real question is whether he actively deceived the American public and the world -- or whether he was so passionate about selling the public on the war that he intentionally blinded himself to how brazenly Vice President Cheney had politicized and abused the intelligence process.

Bush repeatedly insists in his memoir that he tried to avoid war. He describes his preferred approach to Iraq as "coercive diplomacy" and tries to explain away the military planning, the troop movements and the constant saber-rattling as being intended primarily to scare Saddam into "disarming". He even tries to retroactively justify one of his notoriously long vacations by suggesting that he needed the time to think. "I spent much of August 2002 in Crawford, a good place to reflect on the next decision I faced: how to move forward on the diplomatic track," he writes.

In an interview with NBC's Matt Lauer aired on Nov. 8, Bush declared, "I gave diplomacy every chance to work." But as David Corn put it ever so succinctly on Politics Daily, that is a "super-sized whopper." U.N. weapons inspectors had found nothing and were getting more cooperation from the Iraqi government just prior to the invasion. And Corn offered up one particularly telling anecdote from the book he co-authored, "Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War": On May 1, 2002 -- almost a year prior to the invasion -- Bush told press secretary Ari Fleischer of Saddam, "I'm going to kick his sorry motherfucking ass all over the Mideast."

Bush writes in his memoir that the idea of attacking Iraq came up at a meeting of his national security team at Camp David, four days after the 9/11 attacks. By his account, it was then Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz who "suggested that we consider confronting Iraq as well as the Taliban." Bush writes that he eventually decided that "[u]nless I received definitive evidence tying Saddam Hussein to the 9/11 plot I would work to resolve the Iraq problem diplomatically."

But that's a hugely disingenuous version of events. It didn't take Wolfowitz and four days after 9/11 for the idea of attacking Iraq to occur to Bush. As the 9/11 Commission report documented: "President Bush had wondered immediately after the attack whether Saddam Hussein's regime might have had a hand in it."

In the first tell-all book from inside Bush's national security team, Richard A. Clarke wrote in 2004 of a meeting he had with Bush the day after 9/11:

The president in a very intimidating way left us, me and my staff, with the clear indication that he wanted us to come back with the word there was an Iraqi hand behind 9/11 because they had been planning to do something about Iraq from before the time they came into office....

I think they had a plan from day one they wanted to do something about Iraq. While the World Trade Center was still smoldering, while they were still digging bodies out, people in the White House were thinking: 'Ah! This gives us the opportunity we have been looking for to go after Iraq.'

Clarke notes that the following day, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld complained in a meeting that there were no decent targets for bombing in Afghanistan and that the U.S. should consider bombing Iraq, which had better targets.

At first I thought Rumsfeld was joking. But he was serious and the President did not reject out of hand the idea of attacking Iraq. Instead, he noted that what we needed to do with Iraq was to change the government, not just hit it with more cruise missiles, as Rumsfeld had implied.

Just over two months later, on Nov. 21, 2001, Bush formally instructed Rumsfeld that he wanted to develop a plan for war in Iraq. Sixteen months after that, in March 2003, the invasion began.

In the period during which Bush claims he was wringing his hands about whether or not to attack, he and his aides were instead intensely focused on building the public case for what was, in their minds, an inevitability.

The first concrete bits of evidence to that effect were the Downing Street Memos, first published in May 1, 2005, which documented the conclusions of British officials after high-level talks in Washington in July 2002:

Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.

And just recently, the independent National Security Archives completed a major analysis of the historical record, including a new trove of formerly secret records of both the Bush administration and the British cabinet of Tony Blair. John Prados, co-director of the archives' Iraq Documentation Project, summed up their findings this way: "The more we learn about how the Iraq War began the worse the story gets."

Prados wrote that the cumulative record clearly "demonstrates that the Bush administration swiftly abandoned plans for diplomacy to curb fancied Iraqi adventurism by means of sanctions, never had a plan subsequent to that except for a military solution, and enmeshed British allies in a manipulation of public opinion on both sides of the Atlantic designed to generate support for a war."

That's right: There never was another plan. And therefore -- ironically enough, considering the title of Bush's book -- there never was an actual "decision point" either. There were some debates about how to invade Iraq, and when, but not if.

Prados writes:

In contrast to an extensive record of planning for actual military operations, there is no record that President George W. Bush ever made a considered decision for war. All of the numerous White House and Pentagon meetings concerned moving the project forward, not whether a march into conflict was a proper course for the United States and its allies. Deliberations were instrumental to furthering the war project, not considerations of the basic course.

Former CIA director George Tenet admitted as much in his own memoir, in 2007. "There was never a serious debate that I know of within the administration about the imminence of the Iraqi threat," he wrote, nor "was there ever a significant discussion" about the possibility of containing Iraq without an invasion.

And in June 2008, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller described the conclusions of his committee's exhaustive report on the Bush administration's public statements regarding Iraq:

Before taking the country to war, this Administration owed it to the American people to give them a 100 percent accurate picture of the threat we faced. Unfortunately, our Committee has concluded that the Administration made significant claims that were not supported by the intelligence. In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent. As a result, the American people were led to believe that the threat from Iraq was much greater than actually existed.

It is my belief that the Bush Administration was fixated on Iraq, and used the 9/11 attacks by al Qaeda as justification for overthrowing Saddam Hussein. To accomplish this, top Administration officials made repeated statements that falsely linked Iraq and al Qaeda as a single threat and insinuated that Iraq played a role in 9/11. Sadly, the Bush Administration led the nation into war under false pretenses.

There is no question we all relied on flawed intelligence. But, there is a fundamental difference between relying on incorrect intelligence and deliberately painting a picture to the American people that you know is not fully accurate.

It was, in short, a propaganda campaign. As former Press Secretary Scott McClellan wrote in his revelatory 2008 memoir, Bush's advisors "decided to pursue a political propaganda campaign to sell the war to the American people.... A pro-war campaign might have been more acceptable had it been accompanied by a high level of candor and honesty, but it was not."

And as Jonathan Landay wrote for Knight Ridder in 2005, the materials that had become public to date demonstrated "that the White House followed a pattern of using questionable intelligence, even documents that turned out to be forgeries, to support its case -- often leaking classified information to receptive journalists -- and dismissing information that undermined the case for war."

That's what made Patrick Fitzgerald's prosecution of the Valerie Plame case so essential. It promised a public view into the heart of the administration's dirty tricks department -- and a chance to find out once and for all who the mastermind was. But Cheney aide Scooter Libby's lies stymied Fitzgerald, and we never found out for sure -- even though the signs pointed pretty clearly to Libby's boss.

Even if Cheney was the driving force behind the war campaign's deceptions, however, Bush was undeniably the chief cheerleader.

Precisely to what extent pressure from the White House was responsible for the intelligence community's totally inaccurate assessment of Iraq's WMDs remains unclear. Bush's own WMD commission, not surprisingly, gave him a pass in their final report. But there was no doubt the community knew what its chief customers wanted to hear, and gave it to them.

Even so, the intelligence did not support Bush's insistence at the time that those weapons posed an imminent threat.

Paul R. Pillar, the intelligence community's former senior analyst for the Middle East, wrote in 2006 that it was only through the overt, intentional misreading, cherry-picking and politicization of intelligence findings that the case could be made for war:

If the entire body of official intelligence analysis on Iraq had a policy implication, it was to avoid war - or, if war was going to be launched, to prepare for a messy aftermath. What is most remarkable about prewar US intelligence on Iraq is not that it got things wrong and thereby misled policymakers; it is that it played so small a role in one of the most important US policy decisions in recent decades.

Intelligence on Iraqi weapons programs did not drive Bush's decision to go to war, Pillar continued:

A view broadly held in the United States and even more so overseas was that deterrence of Iraq was working, that Saddam was being kept "in his box," and that the best way to deal with the weapons problem was through an aggressive inspections program to supplement the sanctions already in place. That the administration arrived at so different a policy solution indicates that its decision to topple Saddam was driven by other factors.

For Bush, the intelligence findings Cheney and others were feeding him -- and the media -- were not factors that needed to be weighed carefully as part of a decision-making process. There was no decision-making process. The intelligence findings were simply elements of a sales campaign.

The one time Bush is recorded as having pushed back at the intelligence at all was in the famous late 2002 Oval Office scene with Tenet. However, contrary to popular mythology, Bush's concern was manifestly not about the intelligence itself, but about its marketing potential.

When Tenet exclaimed "It's a slam dunk case!" it was in the context of the case to be made to the public.

In the memoir, Bush himself recalls having declared: "Surely we can do a better job of explaining the evidence against Saddam."

Bush writes in the memoir: "No one was more shocked or angry than I was when we didn't find weapons of mass destruction. I had a sickening feeling every time I thought about it. I still do."

But as David Corn also points out Bush famously treated the missing WMDs like a big joke at a March 2004 press dinner. "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere," he said as he narrated a slideshow of pictures of him looking out his window and under his furniture.

And Bush of course never actually tells us who he's angry at, or what exactly sickened him. He's certainly not willing to say that he was angry at himself, or that going to war was a sickening mistake.

LAUER: Was there ever any consideration of apologizing to the American people?
BUSH: I mean, apologizing would basically say the decision was a wrong decision, and I don't believe it was a wrong decision.

In fact, despite everything, Bush continues to indulge in the same unfounded rhetoric to this day "For all the difficulties that followed, America is safer without a homicidal dictator pursuing WMD and supporting terror at the heart of the Middle East," he writes.

And the cherry-picking of the intelligence continues, as well. As Walter Pincus wrote on Monday (in a story the Washington Post buried on page A29), the book "makes selective use" of a Jan. 27, 2003, report to the U.N. Security Council by chief inspector Hans Blix, "citing elements that support the idea that Hussein was not cooperating and leaving out parts that indicate his government was. More to the point, however, Bush fails to mention two subsequent Blix pre-invasion reports in February and early March, weeks before U.S. bombs struck Baghdad. Those show Iraq cooperating with inspectors and the inspectors finding no significant evidence that Hussein was hiding WMD programs."

George W. Bush was no reluctant warrior. The U.S. went to war in Iraq because he wanted to. The war he launched was arguably an illegal act of aggression. And the costs have been enormous.

The United States has spent $750 billion and counting on the war in Iraq. More than 4,400 members of the U.S. armed forces have perished, with nearly 32,000 wounded in action, and somewhere in the ballpark of 500,000 more suffering from brain injuries, mental health problems, hearing damage and disease. Iraqi civilian deaths are estimated to number at least 100,000 and more than a million Iraqis have been displaced from their homes.

Bush told Lauer it was worth it: "I will say, definitely, the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power, as are 25 million people who now have a chance to live in freedom."

But author Nir Rosen recently addressed Bush's claim:

Certainly the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis are not better off. Their families aren't better off. The tens of thousands of Iraqi men who languished in American and subsequently Iraqi gulags are not better off. The children who lost their fathers aren't better off. The millions of Iraqis who lost their homes, hundreds of thousands of refugees in the region, are not better off. So there's no mathematical calculation you can make to determine who's better off and who's not.....

Saddam Hussein is gone, that's true. The regime we've put in place is certainly more representative, but it's brutal and authoritarian. Torture is routine and systematic. Corruption is also routine and systematic. There are no services to speak of, no real electricity or water. Violence remains very high. So, there's nothing to be proud of in this. The Iraqi people deserve much better, and they're the real victims of Bush's war.

In what was perhaps the single most preposterous assertion of his book tour, Bush seemed to suggest to Lauer that he was actually against going to war:

LAUER: So by the time you gave the order to start military operations in Iraq, did you personally have any doubt, any shred of doubt, about that intelligence?
BUSH: No, I didn't. I really didn't.
LAUER: Not everybody thought you should go to war, though. There were dissenters.
BUSH: Of course there were.
LAUER: Did you filter them out?
BUSH: I was -- I was a dissenting voice. I didn't wanna use force.

For the nation's journalists to allow this outrageous lie to go uncontested is particularly galling. During the run-up to war, one of the elite media's most common excuses for marginalizing or ignoring the true voices of dissension and doubt was that everyone knew an invasion was a foregone conclusion.

The result back then was that instead of watchdog journalism, what we got was credulous, stenographic recitation of the administration's deeply flawed arguments for war. Or, as former Washington Post executive editor Len Downie told Howard Kurtz in 2004: In retrospect, "we were so focused on trying to figure out what the administration was doing that we were not giving the same play to people who said it wouldn't be a good idea to go to war and were questioning the administration's rationale."

Today's journalists would like to think they have learned some lessons from their poor pre-war conduct. But letting Bush get away now with saying the exact opposite of what they knew to be true even at the time -- and what has since been amply confirmed by the historical record -- would be yet another major victory of stenography over accountability.

The Embrace Of Torture

That torture is even a subject of debate today is a testament to the devastating effect the Bush administration has had on our concept of morality.

And in his book and on his book tour, far from hanging his head in shame, Bush is more explicit and enthusiastic than ever before endorsing one of torture's iconic forms. "Damn right," he quotes himself as saying in response to a CIA request to waterboard Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. "Had we captured more al Qaeda operatives with significant intelligence value, I would have used the program for them as well."

Bush's two-part argument is simple; That waterboarding was legal (i.e., that it was not really torture); and that it worked.

But neither assertion is remotely true.

Waterboarding -- essentially controlled drowning -- involves immobilizing someone and pouring water over their mouth and nose in a way that makes them choke. It causes great physical and mental suffering, but leaves no marks.

It's not new; villains and despots have been using it extract confessions for something like 700 years. The CIA just perfected it.

It is self-evidently, almost definitionally, torture. The U.S. government had always considered it torture. In 1947, the U.S. charged a Japanese officer who waterboarded an American with war crimes. It is flatly a violation of international torture conventions.

And as far as I know, no American government official had ever even suggested it wasn't torture until a small handful of lawyers in Bush's supine Justice Department, working under orders from the vice president, claimed otherwise.

These lawyers drafted a series of memos so lacking in legal merit -- and so cruel and inhuman -- that they were retracted and repudiated even by a later wave of Bush appointees.

The original "torture memo" from August 1, 2002, for instance, argued that to "rise to the level of torture" an act had to cause pain "equivalent to intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death." Anything short of that, according to the memo, was OK.

Lauer asked Bush in their interview why he thought waterboarding was legal.

"Because the lawyer said it was legal," Bush replied. "He said it did not fall within the Anti-Torture Act. I'm not a lawyer, but you gotta trust the judgment of people around you and I do."

When Lauer raised the possibility that Bush's lawyers had simply told him what they knew he wanted to hear, Bush vaguely denied it and suggested that his book might shed more light on the topic. But it doesn't, at least not much. In it, Bush writes:

Department of Justice and CIA lawyers conducted a careful legal review. They concluded that the enhanced interrogation program complied with the Constitution an all applicable laws, including those that ban torture.

I took a look at the list of techniques. There were two that I felt went too far, even if they were legal. I directed the CIA not to use them. Another technique was waterboarding, a process of simulated drowning. No doubt the procedure was tough, but medical experts assured the CIA that it did not lasting harm.

I knew that an interrogation program this sensitive and controversial would one day become public. When it did, we would open ourselves up to criticism that America had compromised our moral values. I would have preferred that we get the information another way. But the choice between security and values was real. Had I not authorized waterboarding on senior al Qaeda leaders, I would have had to accept a greater risk that the country would be attacked. In the wake of 9/11, that was a risk I was unwilling to take. My most solemn responsibility as president was to protect the country. I approved the use of the interrogation techniques.

But the choice between security and values was not real. And this is exactly the reason we have laws: To prevent people from doing what they may for some reason think at the moment is a good idea, but which society has determined is wrong. No man is above the law. And "the lawyer said it was legal" is not a sufficient excuse.

As for the claim that torture worked, Bush writes in the book:

Of the thousands of terrorists we captured in the years after 9/11, about a hundred were placed into the CIA program. About a third of those were questioned using enhanced techniques. Three were waterboarded. The information the detainees revealed constituted more than half of what the CIA knew about al-Qaeda. Their interrogations helped break up plots to attack American military and diplomatic facilities abroad, Heathrow Airport and Canary Wharf in London, and multiple targets in the United States.

But the only thing we know for sure is that detainees who were tortured made elaborate confessions. That, after all, is what torture is good for. We don't know how much valuable information they really provided. We don't know how much of that information came before they were tortured, rather than after. We certainly don't know how much information they would have shared under proven, standard interrogation techniques.

And under close inspection by investigative journalists, every one of Bush's specific assertions about torture having saved lives has been thoroughly debunked.

The first detainee waterboarded directly on Bush's orders was Abu Zubaydah, in August 2002.

During his presidency, Bush repeatedly used Zubaydah as his Exhibit A for torture. In the book, Bush describes him as a "senior recruiter and operator" and "trusted associate of Osama bin Laden."

After CIA interrogators strapped Zubaydah to the waterboard and suffocated him 83 times in a month, he broke down. Bush writes:

Zubaydah revealed large amounts of information on al Qaeda's structure and operations. He also provided leads that helped reveal the location of Ramzi bin al Shibh, the logistical planner of the 9/11 attacks. The Pakistani police picked him upon the first anniversary of 9/11.

In the book, Bush did not, as he had on several occasions during his presidency, give Zubaydah credit for identifying bin al Shibh as a terror suspect in the first place. That particular claim was undercut by the fact that, some four months before Zubaydah was captured, an FBI indictment detailed bin al Shibh's alleged involvement in the 9/11 plot.

But what Bush did assert in his memoir was equally untrue. Investigative journalist Ron Suskind, in his breakthrough 2006 book, "The One Percent Doctrine," reported that the key information about bin al Shibh's location came not from Zubaydah but from an al-Jazeera reporter who had interviewed bin al Shibh at his apartment in Karachi.

And Zubaydah was not a major player. According to Suskind, he was a mentally ill travel booker who under CIA torture sent investigators chasing after false leads about al Qaeda plots on American nuclear plants, water systems, shopping malls, banks and supermarkets.

Almost three years after Suskind's book came out, the Washington Post confirmed what Suskind had reported: that "not a single significant plot was foiled" as a result of Zubaydah's brutal treatment -- and that his false confessions "triggered a series of alerts and sent hundreds of CIA and FBI investigators scurrying in pursuit of phantoms."

Another detainee waterboarded on Bush's say-so was Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who stands accused of plotting al Qaeda's bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000.

As far as I can tell, Bush has never actually made any claims about any intelligence whatsoever reaped from Nashiri's brutal treatment at the hands of CIA interrogators in Poland (who, among other things, used a power drill and a handgun to terrify him.)

The unclassified transcript of Nashiri's Combatant Status Review Tribunal hearing in 2007, while redacted to eliminate any mention of the specific ways in which he was tortured, indicates that his response was to tell interrogators whatever they wanted to hear.

Nashiri was asked about his statements about plans to bomb other American ships, about a plot to fly a plane and crash it into a ship, and about bin Laden having a nuclear bomb.

"I just said those things to make the people happy," he explained. "They were very happy when I told them those things."

And then there was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, who the CIA asphyxiated 183 times after Bush so enthusiastically approved his waterboarding. Bush writes:

He disclosed plans to attack American targets with anthrax and directed us to three people involved in the al Qaeda biological weapons program. .He provided information that led to the capture of Hambali, the chief of al Qaeda's most dangerous affiliate in Southeast Asia and the architect of the Bali terrorist attacks that killed 202 people. He provided further details that led agents to Hambali's brother, who had been grooming operatives to carry out another attack inside the United States, possibly a West Coast version of 9/11 in which terrorist flew a hijacked plane into the Library Tower in Los Angeles.

There seems to be little doubt that KSM provided intelligence of some value (along with a number of false confessions) -- although he might have done likewise (minus the false confessions) in the hands of a skilled interrogator using traditional methods.

But despite the lengths that the Bush White House, intelligence officials and various torture apologists have gone to over the past several years to help Bush make his case, there remains not the tiniest shred of evidence to support his assertion that KSM's torture -- or any other -- actually saved a single life.

As far as we know, none of the alleged plots that were allegedly disrupted was anything more than a fantasy. There is no evidence they presented an actual danger. There is not a single saved life they can point to. If they could, they would have.

The first time Bush disclosed what he alleged were thwarted terror plots was in a speech in October 2005. "Overall, the United States and our partners have disrupted at least ten serious al Qaeda terrorist plots since September the 11th, including three al Qaeda plots to attack inside the United States," he said. The White House then distributed what it called a fact sheet.

But a few days later, the Washington Post reported:

Intelligence officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the White House overstated the gravity of the plots by saying that they had been foiled, when most were far from ready to be executed....

The president made it 'sound like well-hatched plans,' said a former CIA official involved in counterterrorism during that period. 'I don't think they fall into that category.'

Similarly, in a February 2006 speech Bush offered more details about that alleged Library Tower plot. The Director of National Intelligence obligingly declassified a Summary of the High Value Terrorist Detainee Program to go along with that. But the Washington Post soon reported that "several U.S. intelligence officials played down the relative importance of the alleged plot and attributed the timing of Bush's speech to politics."

And even when the CIA last year released documents that Cheney had sworn would definitively prove that torture had "prevented the violent death of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent people," those documents turned out to include no such proof -- just a lot more cover-your-ass language from the CIA.

Senator Rockefeller concluded in March 2008:

As Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I have heard nothing to suggest that information obtained from enhanced interrogation techniques has prevented an imminent terrorist attack. And I have heard nothing that makes me think the information obtained from these techniques could not have been obtained through traditional interrogation methods used by military and law enforcement interrogators. On the other hand, I do know that coercive interrogations can lead detainees to provide false information in order to make the interrogation stop.

Bush's assertion that torture thwarted plots to attack Heathrow Airport and Canary Wharf got some renewed attention earlier this month after portions of his memoir were serialized in the Times of London. The journalists across the pond, at least, pushed back a bit.

The Guardian reported:

British officials said today there was no evidence to support claims by George Bush, the former US president, that information extracted by "waterboarding" saved British lives by foiling attacks on Heathrow airport and Canary Wharf....

British counter-terrorism officials distanced themselves from Bush's claims. They said Mohammed provided "extremely valuable" information which was passed on to security and intelligence agencies, but that it mainly related to al-Qaida's structure and was not known to have been extracted through torture.

The Daily Mail reported:

Lord MacDonald, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, said: 'These stories about waterboarding thwarting attacks on Canary Wharf and Heathrow -- I've never seen anything to substantiate these claims. These claims are to be treated with a great deal of scepticism.'

Now it's true that some British intelligence officials -- notoriously close to their American colleagues -- share Bush's views. The head of Britain's MI5, for instance, actually defended the use of torture on familiar grounds last year:

Al Qaeda had indeed made plans for further attacks after 9/11: details of some of these plans came to light through the interrogation of detainees by other countries, including the US, in the period after 9/11; subsequent investigation on the ground, including in the UK, substantiated these claims. Such intelligence was of the utmost importance to the safety and security of the UK. It has saved British lives. Many attacks have been stopped as a result of effective international intelligence co-operation since 9/11.

But he offered no verifiable details, of course.

Meanwhile, the new British Prime Minister, conservative David Cameron, told the Telegraph that torture was wrong and that Bush administration detainee policy had done harm, rather than good.

"Look, I think torture is wrong and I think we ought to be very clear about that," Mr Cameron said. "And I think we should also be clear that if actually you're getting information from torture, it's very likely to be unreliable information."

When pressed on whether torture saves lives, he added: "I think there is both a moral reason for being opposed to torture -- and Britain doesn't sanction torture -- but secondly I think there's also an effectiveness thing ... if you look at the effect of Guantánamo Bay and other things like that, long-term that has actually helped to radicalise people and make our country and our world less safe. So I don't agree."

There may be little point in speculating on what drove Cheney and Bush to cross such a clear and important ethical line. Was it that they were well and truly terrified? Did they succumb to the lures of the ticking time bomb-fallacy so popular on TV -- and among the supremely confident? Some social psychologists have speculated that the real motivation for torture is retribution.

It was the Senate Armed Services Committee, in April 2009, that actually suggested an even more nefarious possible motive: That the White House started pushing the use of torture not out of concern about an imminent threat, but when officials in 2002 were desperately casting about for ways to tie Iraq to the 9/11 attacks in order to strengthen their public case for invasion.

That becomes less incredible when you consider that it was a false confession extracted under torture by Egyptian authorities from Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, a terror suspect who had been rendered to Egypt by the CIA, that was the sole source for arguments Bush made in a key pre-Iraq war speech in October 2002.

"We've learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases," Bush said at the time -- with no caveats. The same false confession provided a critical part of then-secretary of state Colin Powell's famous presentation to the United Nations, a month before the invasion.

Finally, it's hugely important to remember that Bush's embrace of torture went far beyond the waterboard. For Bush, the best-case scenario is that the debate remains about his approval of the use of that one procedure on three top terror suspects.

But Bush's legacy is one of much more wanton and widespread cruelty -- a cruelty that was truly unimaginable before the unique combination of 9/11 and some particularly cold-blooded people occupying high office.

Bush and his helpers approved a wide range of other brutal interrogation practices, including severe beatings, painful stress positions, severe sleep deprivation, exposure to extreme cold and hot temperatures, forced nudity, threats, hooding, the use of dogs and sensory deprivation -- many of which, it turned out, were cribbed from techniques Chinese Communists perfected to extract confessions from captured U.S. servicemen.

Some of these tactics fall short of the legal definition of torture, some don't, but they are all, as former Navy general counsel Alberto Mora explained in 2008, morally indefensible:

Many Americans are unaware that there is a legal distinction between cruelty and torture, cruelty being the less severe level of abuse. This has tended to obscure important elements of the interrogation debate from the public's attention. For example, the public may be largely unaware that the government could evasively if truthfully claim (and did claim) that it was not "torturing" even as it was simultaneously interrogating detainees cruelly. Yet there is little or no moral distinction between cruelty and torture, for cruelty can be as effective as torture in savaging human flesh and spirit and in violating human dignity. Our efforts should be focused not merely on banning torture, but on banning cruelty.

Tactics that violated basic human dignity were not limited to three men, or even to the three dozen men subjected to "enhanced interrogation" at the CIA's black sites in Poland, Thailand, and Romania. They were employed as a matter of standard practice on countless detainees held in custody in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay.

And once cruelty was adopted as a weapon of war, that inevitably opened the door wide to abusive and degrading practices that weren't explicitly authorized.

Far from being limited to ostensibly "high value" detainees, state-sanctioned cruelty was applied willy-nilly to many of those unfortunate enough to get swept up into the system. We literally have no idea how many.

As a bipartisan Senate report in 2008 concluded:

The abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib in late 2003 was not simply the result of a few soldiers acting on their own. Interrogation techniques such as stripping detainees of their clothes, placing them in stress positions, and using military working dogs to intimidate them appeared in Iraq only after they had been approved for use in Afghanistan and at [Guantanamo]. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's December 2, 2002, authorization of aggressive interrogation techniques and subsequent interrogation policies and plans approved by senior military and civilian officials conveyed the message that physical pressures and degradation were appropriate treatment for detainees in U.S. military custody. What followed was an erosion in standards dictating that detainees be treated humanely.

The report laid out a clear line of responsibility for Abu Ghraib that started with Bush and his February 2002 memo exempting war-on-terror detainees from the Geneva Conventions.

Mora, one of the few voices of conscience inside the government during that dark period, summed up the damage this way:

Our Nation's policy decision to use so-called "harsh" interrogation techniques during the War on Terror was a mistake of massive proportions. It damaged and continues to damage our Nation in ways that appear never to have been considered or imagined by its architects and supporters, whose policy focus seems to have been narrowly confined to the four corners of the interrogation room. This interrogation policy -- which may aptly be labeled a "policy of cruelty" -- violated our founding values, our constitutional system and the fabric of our laws, our over-arching foreign policy interests, and our national security. The net effect of this policy of cruelty has been to weaken our defenses, not to strengthen them, and has been greatly contrary to our national interest.

George W. Bush has managed to duck the ignominy he deserves for launching this policy of cruelty. He has done so in part by framing the debate as one solely about waterboarding -- and counting on a lazy, amnesiac press corps to neither confront him on that count nor call him out for the wider moral breach for which he is responsible.

Back in 2004, as soon as the photos of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib went public, Bush and his collaborators launched a high-stakes disinformation campaign to prevent the American people from linking the White House to the pervasive, inhumane treatment of detainees -- many of whom were utterly innocent -- at prison facilities such as Abu Ghraib, Bagram, and Guantanamo. Being associated with the waterboarding of three top terrorists was at least a defensible position. Being responsible for widescale violations of the laws of war was not.

That disinformation campaign continues today, in "Decision Points." If we forget what really happened, it just might succeed.

Dan Froomkin is senior Washington correspondent for the Huffington Post. You can send him an e-mail, bookmark his page; subscribe to his RSS feed, follow him on Twitter, friend him on Facebook, and/or become a fan and get e-mail alerts when he writes.

Top


The True Lies of George W. Bush

Jeremy Warren

Buzzflash


February 23, 2004

A BUZZFLASH GUEST COMMENTARY
by Jeremy Warren

When Democrats accuse George W. Bush of being a liar, Republicans -- and until recently, the media -- have responded that Bush is a man of integrity whom you can trust at his word. It was the evil Bill Clinton who lied. Remember him wagging his finger at us? That bastard!

Well, yes, Bill Clinton did indeed lie to us. He lied to us about a blow-job. It sure is good that we spent nearly $100 million to find out how semen reacts on a cotton blue dress from the Gap. Of course, it turned out that he was telling the truth to us about Whitewater and filegate and travelgate and campaign finance-gate and gate-gate and more. I'm sure we could find better uses for that money today. But, Clinton certainly did lie about that hummer. Imagine that, a man lying about sex. In America no less.

Of course, unlike another president, Clinton's lies didn't kill anyone.

Anyway, I decided to put just a short list together of lies by George W. Bush. These are not banal lies about one's sex life, these are big lies, whoppers and tall tales about his own record, who he is, what he's done and what he stands for.

1. The Iraq War.

We could really start and end with this one, since this lie has killed and wounded thousands of American soldiers and countless Iraqi men women and children. But this one certainly does not stand alone.

Let's break this out into subcategories as well, such as:

a) "The smoking gun could be a mushroom cloud." Iraq didn't even have shitake mushrooms.

b) "Saddam would not let the inspectors in." Bush has now made this claim twice. It came as quite a surprise to the hundreds of U.N. inspectors that were in Iraq in 2003 and were told by the U.S. to get out or get bombed.

c) Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. All right, I cut them some slack on this one as EVERYONE thought that he still possessed some WMD capability. The difference is that no one else felt that Hussein was any sort of credible military threat to the rest of the region, much less the United States. And, by "no one" else, I mean C.I.A., the U.N. and anyone else not named Wolfowitz, Rice, Libby, Rumsfeld, Cheney or Pearle.

d) "We know exactly where they are." So said Rumsfeld shortly after the war ended. I wonder if he's shared that bit of information with his boss yet?

e) The laundry list. Both Bush in his 2003 State of the Union speech and Colin Powell at the United Nations read through a laundry list of horrors that was quantified down to the milliliter. Powell called these charges "facts" that were unassailable. Yet we have still not found a drop.

f) "We believe that, in fact, Saddam Hussein has reconstituted nuclear weapons." Dick Cheney said this on Meet the Press in 2003. Even as Bush and others were careful of going overboard, Dick "Goebbels" Cheney kept going for not just the Big Lie, but the Grandaddy of them all.

g) Drones that could attack the United States. True, if they were launched from Padre Island. The truth is that little Timmy down the block has a more sophisticated remote control airplane than Saddam did.

h) Yellow cake uranium. The Italian press thought those documents were fake. Let me repeat that: the ITALIAN PRESS thought they were forgeries!

i) We will be welcomed as liberators. Those are bullets, roadside bombs and RPGs, not roses fellas.

j) Imminent? Who said imminent? Well, Ari Fleischer, Donald Rumsfeld and others. But, apparently Bush never said the words himself. He just used every other phrase he could think of to scare the crap out of us. And, as a point of order, isn't it the Bush Administration? When someone is speaking for the administration, don't they speak for Bush?

k) Al Qaeda and Saddam had close ties. Well, both he and bin Laden are Sunni Muslims, they both have moustaches and, to quote Cliff Clavin, neither of them have ever been in my kitchen. They must be like brothers.

l) "We have found WMDs in Iraq."

Bush and others have made this claim regarding an ever so dangerous weather tracking truck.

m) "They could have been destroyed by Saddam. Or moved out of the country." I know Bush doesn't read the papers or watch the news, but does he even listen to his own staff? David Kay, his hand-picked inspector, said there obviously weren't any weapons in the first place. But, what if Bush is right and they were moved, shipped out of the country? Well, then the whole purpose of the war -- to keep Hussein from giving his WMDs to terrorists -- was a failure. Well, George, which one is it?

I could go on and on, but we've got even more real hardcore, honest to goodness, Grade A lies to address.

2. Taxes (part 1)

Bush has consistently claimed that he is against tax increases. Yet, as Governor, his 1997 tax plan would have forced tens of thousands of business to pay franchise taxes that previously did not have to pay. According to the GOP School of Taxes playbook, that's a tax increase, no if ands or buts about it.

3. Taxes (part 2)

Throughout the 2000 campaign and through 2001, Bush claimed that his mega tax cut for the mega rich was actually a tax cut for the working folks. In fact, he said "the vast majority" would go to "the bottom." As Al Franken has so ably pointed out, "by far the vast majority" usually means more than 14.7 percent that the bottom 60 percent received. Consider that "fuzzy math."

4. Taxes (part 3)

In 2003, Bush claimed his latest sop to the uber-wealthy would create jobs. In fact, the special interest, Rockefeller tax cut was -- in true Orwellian fashion -- named the Jobs and Growth Act of 2003. Someone wake me when those 2.6 million jobs Bush promised in 2004 start being created. He needs to create around 300,000 jobs a month through Election Day to reach his pledge.

5. Taxes (part 4)

Bush, who tried to extend taxes to thousands of businesses and not call it a tax increase, now claims that if his 2001 and 2003 tax cuts are not made permanent, that is a tax increase. Now, remember, the law as written says those taxes automatically phase out if nothing is changed. Bush now says if the law as written -- the law he signed -- is not changed, that is a tax increase.

6. "I fulfilled my duty."

"He didn't take his flight physical because his doctor was in Houston." The entire National Guard spin is falling apart before our eyes. The facts of the issue have remained the same, but the Bush Team's laughable responses become "inoperable" by the day. Despite their ever-angrier denials, the issue won't go away. Last Friday night's document dump and run still hasn't answered the key question: where were you during the war, George? At least 1972. You can say it's "trolling for trash" all you want, but you can't make the issue go away without some proof.

7. "I'm a uniter not a divider"

Bush's 2000 mantra -- bought hook, line and sinker by much of the media -- was that only he could come to Washington and end the partisan bickering. Within weeks, this proved to be completely untrue. His heavy-handed partisanship even cost him control of the U.S. Senate for a time, as Republican Jim Jeffords bolted the party.

In 2002, Bush showed his unifying skills by saying that Democrats who disagreed with his behemoth vision for the Department of Homeland Security -- a plan he had opposed for nearly a year -- "didn't care about the security of the country." You know, guys like Senator Tom Daschle, who was actually a terrorist target. He then thanked Max Cleland and Mary Landrieu for their steadfast support by targeting them and backing opponents who questioned their patriotism and, in Louisiana, sent out mailers to black neighborhoods with the wrong election date.

Well, Bush is a uniter in one way: He has united the Democratic Party like never before, and is driving independents back to the Democratic Party in droves. Please, keep uniting us.

8. The 2004 budget.

From front to back, the latest Bush budget is one of the most fraudulent documents ever created by the U.S. government. Well, at least since the last budget. Like 2003, Bush doesn't count the cost of Iraq or Afghanistan into his fantasy land accounting. He also counts in billions of spending cuts that are flat out pipe dreams that even the GOP won't support. According to the White House, the deficit -- which has gone from hundreds of billions in the black to $518 billon in the red in just three short years -- will be cut in half. This from an administration that has overestimated growth and underestimated projected deficits each year. But, according to George, prosperity truly is just around the corner.

9. "I won't run a deficit."

During the 2000 campaign, Bush responded to those who -- quite correctly -- said his voodoo economic plan would drive us right back into the gutter that he would not operate a deficit. He said that he was "a governor. I believe in balanced budgets." Yes, the same way kids believe in the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny.

10. "I hit the trifecta."

Following our steady plummet back into deficit land, Bush used the handy excuse of "the trifecta": war, national emergency and recession. He explained away his past statements that he wouldn't run a deficit by claiming he had made an exception for those three things. Of course, he never actually said that. Paul Begala, Al Franken, Paul Krugman, Joe Conason and others have all reviewed every statement printed during the 2000 campaign and Bush never made any such qualification. Of course, why should we hold them to what he actually said? As Larry Speakes, Ronald Reagan's press secretary once said, "No it wasn't true, but it sure sounded good."

11. "I released all my National Guard records in 2000."

On Meet the Press, Bush once again fell back to his standard behavior when confronted with an uncomfortable subject: he lied his ass off. Four years after reporters first asked him to release his records -- and a nearly a week after he promised to -- Bush finally followed in the footsteps of John F. Kennedy, John McCain, John Kerry, Bob Kerrey and Wes Clark and released his full military record.

12. "I'm spending less than Bill Clinton."

On Meet the Press, an interview that will go down in history as one of the stupidest decisions Karl Rove has ever made, Bush claimed that government spending has actually dropped under his tenure. Even GOP stalwarts ran away from this one faster than Rush Limbaugh runs to a bowlful of Oxycontins. The truth of the matter is that federal spending has exploded under George W., just as spending exploded in Texas while he was governor. This fella just ain't your daddy's fiscal conservative.

Here is a great quote on Bush's spending:

"His dramatic increase in the size and spending of the federal government with a record deficit. With his $2.23 trillion budget, his administration will complete the biggest increase in government spending since Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society." The budget deficit predicted by the House Budget Office will hit a record $306 billion. Spending on government programs increased 22% from 1999 to 2003. A Washington Post report said, "The era of big government, if it ever went away, has returned full-throttle under President Bush." Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey commented that under President Bush, the federal government is "out of control."" The source? Liberal media publication Intellectual Conservative in an article entitled "Why Christians Should Not Vote for George W. Bush", February 15, 2004.

13. Free Trade.

George W. Bush supports free trade. That's why he slapped tariffs on imported steel. Of course, had the potentially affected steel mills been located in New York instead of Pennsylvania -- a state he hopes to win in 2004 -- Bush would still be a pure free trader.

14. Outsourcing.

Last week, the Bush Administration claimed that the outsourcing of high-paying U.S. jobs to other countries "is a good thing." N. Gregory Mankiw, chairman of Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, wrote a report saying exactly that. He then reiterated his belief in the wonderful attributes of Americans losing their jobs at a press briefing on the report. Once again, Republicans are fleeing from this statement as fast as they can. So is George Bush, who immediately ran to Pennsylvania to promise 2.6 million jobs by the end of the year. Unfortunately, Mankiw is Bush's hand-picked employee -- and the president has already signed the report.

As Senator Tom Harkin said: "Under George Bush, America has a new #1 export: jobs."

15. "No one could have imagined them hijacking airplanes."

Of all the lies, this one might be the most annoying. National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice made this claim repeatedly during the summer of 2002. Nevermind that Ramsey Yousef, one of the masterminds of the original attack on the World Trade Center, had his plot to hijack and crash 12 airplanes foiled by U.S. and foreign intelligence agents...in 1995. It was big news then, but apparently didn't make it all the way out to Stanford University. Rice's deceit was completely exposed in 2002 when details of the President's Daily Intelligence Briefing in August 2001 revealed that CIA and other sources warned the administration of just such hijackings. But she is never called on this or other lies when she makes her media rounds.

16. Air Force One was a target.

While everyone remembers and praises Bush's appearance with firefighters in New York City, the White House -- and the press -- conveniently ignore the actual timeline of events. That meeting took place on September 14, 2001. Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, the entire New York congressional delegation and, of course, Rudy Gulliani, had been on the scene for days, Rudy and Bill since almost minute one. On September 11, 2001, after he was notified of both the first and second plane crashes, it took nearly an hour for Bush to depart Florida. But, he did not go to Washington, or even make a statement in Florida. No, first he flew to an Air Force Base in Louisiana; then, to the safety of a bunker in Nebraska. He told Americans it was safe, while he was entombed.

Many criticized his absence, most notably Peter Jennings who asked "Where is the President." To combat such criticism, the Bush White House claimed that they zig-zagged across the country because of a "credible threat" against Air Force One. Nearly a year later, they were forced to admit that they had, in fact, received no such threat.

Now, I am not necessarily criticizing Bush's flight itinerary on 9/11/01. Keeping the President safe was the top priority and they rightly took steps to ensure his safety. So why not just say that and be done with it? Why did the White House have to put out another lie to try to make themselves look heroic? Because that's what they do.

17. Bill Clinton pillaged the White House as he walked out the door.

Well, according to the General Accounting Office in yet another investigation that spent our tax dollars, the allegations of looting just weren't true. Was there some damage and pranks? Of course, just as there are in every transition. But widespread damage? No, it wasn't true, but it sure sounded good.

18. Leave No Child Behind.

The president's key education initiative is a well-intentioned attempt to change education in the United States. It could lead to real changes, if Bush had actually funded the plan rather than treat it as a nice photo op to show he really cared.

According to Senator Edward Kennedy, the author of the legislation and Bush's main prop in 2001, "in the two years since the No Child Left Behind Act was passed, the Bush Administration has cut its funding, reneged on promised resources for better teachers and smaller classes, and worked to divert millions of dollars to private school vouchers... President Bush's new budget for 2005 will leave over 4.6 million children behind. Still pending before Congress is President Bush's 2004 budget which provides schools with over $7.5 billion less than promised in the No Child Left Behind Act. And there is every expectation that the President will propose again not only to cut resources for public school reform, but to divert scarce public education dollars to private schools."

Enough said.

19. Cost of the Medicare Bill.

Oops! They must have forgot to carry the one...or they are just liars. In fall 2003, Bush sold his Medicare budget with some interesting numbers: it would only cost $400 billion over 10 years. Now keep in mind that passage of this plan was in extreme doubt, as Democrats opposed the plan as a joke that would cost too much and do too little, while Republicans complained that, well, it cost way too much. The Bush Team assured everyone that it would cost no more than $400 million and the plan passed the House by a razor thin margin.

Lo and behold, they snookered us again. Just a few months later, the plan now costs $540 billion, with more sure to be added as the plan actually begins the implementation process.

20. Ken Lay.

After the Enron scandal hit full force, Bush tried to downplay his relationship with Ken Lay by saying "he gave money to my opponent" Ann Richards. Suddenly Lay, whom Bush had previously called "Kenny Boy," didn't' ring a bell. Despite the fact that Enron was Bush's #1 contributor from 94-00, the fact that Bush was flown around the campaign trail in 1998 on Lay's private plane, and Lay's status as a Pioneer (and serious contender for Commerce Secretary) Bush and he really weren't that close. Maybe that's why Martha Stewart is on trial and not Ken Lay.

(By the way, does it strike anyone as odd that Martha is being tried for almost exactly what George W. Bush did when he left Harken Energy?)

21. I'm against Nation Building.

Throughout the 2000 campaign, Bush assailed Clinton's successful military forays in Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo, saying he opposed "nation building." Today, see Afghanistan; see Iraq. In fairness, when you look at the deteriorating situations in both countries, it is clear that Bush is not really doing any nation "building" right now. He has ignored the reconstruction of Afghanistan (famously forgetting to fund it in his 2003 budget. Sorry about that Mr. Karzai!) and he has, to put it diplomatically, completely screwed the pooch in Iraq by ignoring the possible resistance to a U.S. occupation, handing over the reconstruction to corporate cronies like Halliburton and the reigns of power to unpopular sycophants like Ahmed Chalabi. Disaster looms where we can least afford to fail.

22. "I remember that sign from the Old West: Wanted Dead or Alive."

Following the 2001 terrorist attacks, Cowboy Bush repeatedly strapped on his star and gave us his best John Wayne impersonation, essentially guaranteeing that we would take out Osama bin Laden. Now, Bush says of capturing bin Laden: "I have no idea" (Meet the Press, February 8, 2004). What would John Wayne say?

23. We're safer now that Saddam is caught.

Howard Dean was ridiculed for questioning this platitude, but he is right. Hopefully we will be safer, but that outcome is certainly not assured. Not if Iran is stronger in the region and Iraq splits apart, divided into three warring factions, any of which could destabilize Turkey, Syria or Saudi Arabia. In the meantime, scores of Al Qaeda fighters have streamed into Iraq since the war began, an outcome we had sought to avoid by taking Hussein out.

For the present, I think we should ask the boys and girls being shot at if they feel more or less safe since December.

24. I was never arrested after 1972 -- unless you count that DWI. Err, those two DWIs.

Bush reportedly told the Dallas Morning News in 1999 that he was never arrested after 1972. Of course, as we all learned, he was arrested for drunk driving in 1978, with his younger sister and Australian tennis star John Newcombe, in the car. According to NBC News, Bush was also arrested for another DWI in Midland after 1972. Are his arrests the big deal? No, but his constant lying about them sure goes to character, don't you think?

25. I supported the Patient Protection Act.

During the 2000 presidential debates, Bush claimed he supported the Patient Protection Act and the Patient's Bill of Rights. I almost fell on the floor, especially since Al Gore, standing mere feet away, did not call him on one of the most obvious lies in campaign history. This one was actually well-explored by the media, but Gore let this meatball glide harmlessly over the plate without taking the bat off of his shoulder.

The truth is Bush vetoed the Patient Protection Act in 1995 and let the Patient's Bill of Rights -- landmark legislation that became the model for other states and the federal government --become law without his signature. So, if by support you mean "opposed and tried to kill", then yes, you supported them.

26. "I signed the hate crimes bill".

Another juicy whopper. Now Bush had won re-election mere months before with nearly 70 of the vote. If he wanted a bill passed, he got it. But, Bush ordered his legislative minions to kill the James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act, less than one year after the most gruesome hate murder of the post-Civil Rights era. The guy who was the leader in killing the bill? State Senator David Sibley (R-Waco), a man who had supported the same legislation just a few years earlier. You might recognize Sibley; he's the guy you see driving Bush's golf cart whenever Bush is back in Crawford playing golf.

27. I want to get to the bottom of the Plame leak.

Following the sliming of Ambassador Joseph Wilson for exposing the Nigerian "yellow cake" lie, and the outing of his wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA agent, Bush said it was "a very serious matter" and that he wanted to get to the bottom of it. But he never ordered his staff to do anything about it. Since very few members of the White House would have had the clearance to even know that Plame was an operative, and even fewer are even allowed to make eye contact with, much less to talk to the media, it shouldn't take Sherlock Holmes to find the culprit here. Instead, he actually lamented that "we may never know" who did it because Washington is full of leakers. Thankfully, after cajoling from Democrats forced Attorney General John "Inspector Clouseau" Ashcroft to recuse himself from the investigation, it appears that we may actually discover who is behind this act of treason. Scooter Libby, your lawyer is on the line.

28. "I will fight the war on terror."

This claim, unfortunately, is also debatable. Just when we had "smoked them out of their holes and got them on the run" our intelligence services and our military were forced to change their focus from fighting Al Qaeda to invading Iraq, letting bin Laden off the hook. In addition, despite numerous reports on the vulnerability of our ports, little has been done to make them more secure from terrorism. Also, despite a serious congressional study, media scrutiny and an on-going non-partisan investigation, little has changed regarding how our intelligence is gathered and analyzed to avoid making the same mistakes. In fact, little has changed beyond making several bureaucracies into one huge bureaucracy under the banner of the Department of Homeland Security. And, in perhaps the most bizarre example of sleeping at the wheel, the 2004 Bush budget offers no funding for biothreat detection at Post Offices. This after the White House said they foiled a mail attack to the White House last year and days before Ricin was mailed to Senator Bill "Cat Murderer" Frist's office.

Well, that's my list. Please add to it, as it is far from all-inclusive.

Articles in the BuzzFlash Contributor section are posted as-is. Given the timeliness of some Contributor articles, BuzzFlash cannot verify or guarantee the accuracy of every word. We strive to correct inaccuracies when they are brought to our attention.

Top


The Twenty Lies of George W. Bush

Patrick Martin

World Socialist Website


20 March 2003

Monday night’s 15-minute speech by President Bush, setting a 48-hour deadline for war against Iraq, went beyond the usual distortions, half-truths, and appeals to fear and backwardness to include a remarkable number of barefaced, easily refuted lies.

The enormous scale of the lying suggests two political conclusions: the Bush administration is going to war against Iraq with utter contempt for democracy and public opinion, and its war propaganda counts heavily on the support of the American media, which not only fails to challenge the lies, but repeats and reinforces them endlessly.

Without attempting to be exhaustive, it is worthwhile listing some of the most important lies and contrasting Bush’s assertions with the public record. All of the false statements listed below are directly quoted from the verbatim transcript of Bush’s remarks published on the Internet.

Lie No. 1: “My fellow citizens, events in Iraq have now reached the final days of decision.”

The decision for war with Iraq was made long ago, the intervening time having been spent in an attempt to create the political climate in which US troops could be deployed for an attack. According to press reports, most recently March 16 in the Baltimore Sun, at one of the first National Security Council meetings of his presidency, months before the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Bush expressed his determination to overthrow Saddam Hussein and his willingness to commit US ground troops to an attack on Iraq for that purpose. All that was required was the appropriate pretext—supplied by September 11, 2001.

Lie No. 2: “For more than a decade, the United States and other nations have pursued patient and honorable efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime without war.”

The US-led United Nations regime of sanctions against Iraq, combined with “no-fly” zones and provocative weapons inspections, is one of brutal oppression. The deliberate withholding of food, medical supplies and other vital necessities is responsible for the death of more than a million Iraqis, half of them children. Two UN officials who headed the oil-for-food program resigned in protest over the conditions created in Iraq by the sanctions. The CIA used the inspectors as a front, infiltrating agents into UNSCOM, the original inspections program. The CIA’s aim was to spy on Iraq’s top officials and target Saddam Hussein for assassination.

Lie No. 3: “The Iraqi regime has used diplomacy as a ploy to gain time and advantage. It has uniformly defied Security Council resolutions demanding full disarmament...”

Iraq has never “defied” a Security Council resolution since the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991. It has generally cooperated with the dictates of the UN body, although frequently under protest or with reservations, because many of the resolutions involve gross violations of Iraqi sovereignty. From 1991 to 1998, UN inspectors supervised the destruction of the vast bulk of the chemical and biological weapons, as well as delivery systems, which Iraq accumulated (with the assistance of the US) during the Iran-Iraq war, and they also destroyed all of Iraq’s facilities for making new weapons.

Lie No. 4: “Peaceful efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime have failed again and again because we are not dealing with peaceful men.”

According to the Washington Post of March 16, referring to the 1991-1998 inspection period: “[U]nder UN supervision, Iraq destroyed 817 of 819 proscribed medium-range missiles, 14 launchers, 9 trailers and 56 fixed missile-launch sites. It also destroyed 73 of 75 chemical or biological warheads and 163 warheads for conventional explosives. UN inspectors also supervised destruction of 88,000 filled and unfilled chemical munitions, more than 600 tons of weaponized and bulk chemical weapons agents, 4,000 tons of precursor chemicals and 980 pieces of equipment considered key to production of such weapons.”

Lie No. 5: “The Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.”

The Washington Post article cited above noted that CIA officials were concerned “about whether administration officials have exaggerated intelligence in a desire to convince the American public and foreign governments that Iraq is violating United Nations prohibitions against chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons and long-range missile systems.” The article quoted “a senior intelligence analyst” who said the inspectors could not locate weapons caches “because there may not be much of a stockpile.”

Former British Foreign Minister Robin Cook, who resigned from the Blair government Monday in protest over the decision to go to war without UN authorization, declared, “Iraq probably has no weapons of mass destruction in the commonly understood sense of the term.” Even if Iraq is concealing some remnants of its 1980s arsenal, these would hardly deserve Bush’s lurid description, since they are primitive and relatively ineffective. “Some of the most lethal weapons ever devised” are those being unleashed by the United States on Iraq: cruise missiles, smart bombs, fuel-air explosives, the 10,000-pound “daisy-cutter” bomb, the 20,000-pound MOAB just tested in Florida. In addition, the US has explicitly refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons.

Lie No. 6: “[Iraq] has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of Al Qaeda.”

No one, not even US government, seriously believes there is a significant connection between the Islamic fundamentalists and the secular nationalist Ba’athist regime in Iraq, which have been mortal enemies for decades. The continued assertion of an Al Qaeda-Iraq alliance is a desperate attempt to link Saddam Hussein to the September 11 attacks.

It also serves to cover up the responsibility of American imperialism for sponsoring Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. The forces that now comprise Al Qaeda were largely recruited, trained, armed and set in motion by the CIA itself, as part of a long-term policy of using Islamic fundamentalists as a weapon against left-wing movements in the Muslim countries. This policy was pursued from the 1950s and was escalated prior to and during the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, which ended in 1989. Osama bin Laden himself was part of the CIA-backed mujaheddin forces in Afghanistan before he turned against Washington in the 1990s.

Lie No. 7: “America tried to work with the United Nations to address this threat because we wanted to resolve the issue peacefully.”

The Bush administration went to the United Nations because it wanted UN sanction for military action and it wanted UN member states to cough up funds for postwar operations, along the lines of its financial shakedown operation for the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Bush’s most hawkish advisors, such as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Cheney, initially opposed going to the UN because they did not want diplomacy to slow down the drive to war. They only agreed after Secretary of State Colin Powell argued that the pace of the US military buildup in the Persian Gulf gave enough time to get the UN to rubber-stamp the war.

Lie No. 8: “These governments [the Security Council majority] share our assessment of the danger, but not our resolve to meet it.”

This is belied by virtually every statement on Iraq issued by the governments of France, Russia, China, Germany and other countries opposed to military action, which have repeatedly declared that they see no imminent threat from Iraq. Bush brands his opponents on the Security Council as cowards, as though they were afraid to take action against Saddam Hussein. These countries were, in fact, increasingly alarmed—by the United States, not Iraq. Insofar as they summoned up resolve, to the shock of the Bush administration, it was to deny UN support for the war that Washington had already decided to wage.

Lie No. 9: “Many nations, however, do have the resolve and fortitude to act against this threat to peace, and a broad coalition is now gathering to enforce the just demands of the world.”

Only three nations are contributing military forces to the war: 250,000 from the US, 40,000 from Britain, and 2,000 from Australia. The other members of the “broad coalition” are those which have been bribed or browbeaten to allow the US to fly over their countries to bomb Iraq, to station troops, ships or warplanes on their territory, or provide technical assistance or other material aid to the war. None will do any fighting. All are acting against the expressed desire of their own population.

Lie No. 10: “The United Nations Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities, so we will rise to ours.”

Bush defines the UN body’s responsibility as serving as a rubber stamp for whatever action the United States government demands. In relation to the UN, however, the United States does have definite responsibilities, including refraining from waging war without Security Council authorization, except in the case of immediate self-defense. Under Article 42 of the UN Charter, it is for the Security Council, not the US or Britain, to decide how Security Council resolutions such as 1441 are to be enforced. The US decision to “enforce” its interpretation of 1441 regardless of the will of the Security Council is a violation of international law.

Lie No. 11: “If we must begin a military campaign, it will be directed against the lawless men who rule your country and not against you.”

The widely reported US military strategy is to conduct an aerial bombardment of Iraq so devastating that it will “shock and awe” the Iraqi people and compel the Iraqi armed forces to surrender en masse. According to one press preview, US and British forces “plan to launch the deadliest first night of air strikes on a single country in the history of air power. Hundreds of targets in every region of Iraq will be hit simultaneously.” Estimates of likely Iraqi civilian casualties from the immediate impact of bombs and missiles range from thousands to hundreds of thousands, and even higher when the long-term effects are included.

Lie No. 12: “As our coalition takes their power, we will deliver the food and medicine you need.”

This is particularly cynical, since the immediate consequence of Bush’s 48-hour ultimatum was the withdrawal of all UN humanitarian aid workers and the shutdown of the oil-for-food program, which underwrites the feeding of 60 percent of Iraq’s population. As for medicine, the US has systematically deprived the Iraqi people of needed medicine for the past 12 years, insisting that even the most basic medical supplies, like antibiotics and syringes, be banned as “dual-use” items that could be used in a program of biological warfare.

Lie No. 13: “We will tear down the apparatus of terror and we will help you to build a new Iraq that is prosperous and free.”

The goal of the Bush administration is to install a US puppet regime in Baghdad, initially taking the form of an American military dictatorship. It is no exaggeration to say that the US government has been the leading promoter of dictatorships around the world, from Pinochet of Chile to Suharto of Indonesia to Saddam Hussein himself, who, according to one recent report, got his political start as an anti-communist hit-man working in a CIA-backed plot to assassinate Iraq’s left-nationalist President Qasem in 1959.

A classified State Department report described by the Los Angeles Times of March 14 not only concluded that a democratic Iraq was unlikely to arise from the devastation of war, it suggested that this was not even desirable from the standpoint of American interests, because “anti-American sentiment is so pervasive that elections in the short term could lead to the rise of Islamic-controlled governments hostile to the United States.”

Lie No. 14: “Should Saddam Hussein choose confrontation, the American people can know that every measure has been taken to avoid war and every measure will be taken to win it.”

This combines a lie and a brutal truth. The Bush administration has taken every possible measure to insure that war takes place, viewing the resumption of UN weapons inspections with barely disguised hostility and directing its venom against those countries that have suggested a diplomatic settlement with Iraq is achievable. In prosecuting the war, the Bush administration is indeed prepared to use “every measure,” up to an including nuclear weapons, in order to win it.

Lie No. 15: “War has no certainty except the certainty of sacrifice.”

There will be colossal sacrifices for the Iraqi people, and sacrifices in blood and economic well-being for the American people as well. But for Bush’s real constituency, the wealthiest layer at the top of American society, there will be no sacrifices at all. Instead, the administration is seeking a tax cut package of over $700 billion, including the abolition of taxation on corporate dividends. Major US corporations are in line to reap hundreds of millions of dollars in profits from the rebuilding of Iraqi infrastructure shattered by the coming US assault. These include the oil construction firm Halliburton, which Vice President Cheney headed prior to joining the Bush administration, and which continues to include Cheney on its payroll.

Lie No. 16: “[T]he only way to reduce the harm and duration of war is to apply the full force and might of our military, and we are prepared to do so.”

Every aggressor claims to deplore the suffering of war and seeks to blame the victim for resisting, and thus prolonging the agony. Bush is no different. His hypocritical statements of “concern” for the Iraqi people cannot disguise the fact that, as many administration apologists freely admit, this is “a war of choice”—deliberately sought by the US government to pursue its strategic agenda in the Middle East.

Lie No. 17: “The terrorist threat to America and the world will be diminished the moment that Saddam Hussein is disarmed.”

No one, even in the American military-intelligence complex, seriously believes this. US counter-terrorism officials have repeatedly said that a US conquest and occupation of Iraq, by killing untold thousands of Arabs and Muslims and inflaming public opinion in the Arab world and beyond, will spark more terrorism, not less.

Lie No. 18: “We are now acting because the risks of inaction would be far greater. In one year, or five years, the power of Iraq to inflict harm on all free nations would be multiplied many times over.”

This is belied by the record of the past twelve years, which has seen a steady decline in Iraqi military power. Saddam Hussein has never been a threat to any “free nation,” if that term has any meaning, only to the reactionary oil sheikdoms of the Persian Gulf and to neighboring Iran, all ruled by regimes that are as repressive as his.

Lie No. 19: “As we enforce the just demands of the world, we will also honor the deepest commitments of our country.”

The demands of the world were expressed by the millions who marched in cities throughout the world on February 15 and March 15 to oppose a unilateral US attack on Iraq. Bush seeks to have it both ways—claiming to enforce previous Security Council resolutions against Iraq (“the just demands of the world”), while flagrantly defying the will of the majority of the Security Council, the majority of the world’s governments, and the vast majority of the world’s people.

Lie No. 20: “Unlike Saddam Hussein, we believe the Iraqi people are deserving and capable of human liberty... The United States with other countries will work to advance liberty and peace in that region.”

For “the Iraqi people,” substitute “the Egyptian people,” “the people of the Arabian peninsula,” “the Pakistani people” or those of other US-backed dictatorships, not to mention the Palestinians who live under a brutal Israeli occupation that is supported by Washington. Does the US government believe that any of them are “deserving and capable of human liberty?” When the parliament of Turkey, under the pressure of popular opposition, voted to bar the US from using Turkish territory to invade Iraq, the Bush administration appealed to the Turkish military to pressure the government into overturning this democratic decision.

Top


The 935 lies of George W. Bush

Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith

projects.publicintegrity.org


January 23, 2008

False Pretenses

Following 9/11, President Bush and seven top officials of his administration waged a carefully orchestrated campaign of misinformation about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

President George W. Bush and seven of his administration's top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Nearly five years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, an exhaustive examination of the record shows that the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.

On at least 532 separate occasions (in speeches, briefings, interviews, testimony, and the like), Bush and these three key officials, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan, stated unequivocally that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (or was trying to produce or obtain them), links to Al Qaeda, or both. This concerted effort was the underpinning of the Bush administration's case for war.

It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to Al Qaeda. This was the conclusion of numerous bipartisan government investigations, including those by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (2004 and 2006), the 9/11 Commission, and the multinational Iraq Survey Group, whose "Duelfer Report" established that Saddam Hussein had terminated Iraq's nuclear program in 1991 and made little effort to restart it.

In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003. Not surprisingly, the officials with the most opportunities to make speeches, grant media interviews, and otherwise frame the public debate also made the most false statements, according to this first-ever analysis of the entire body of prewar rhetoric.

President Bush, for example, made 232 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and another 28 false statements about Iraq's links to Al Qaeda. Secretary of State Powell had the second-highest total in the two-year period, with 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq's links to Al Qaeda. Rumsfeld and Fleischer each made 109 false statements, followed by Wolfowitz (with 85), Rice (with 56), Cheney (with 48), and McClellan (with 14).

The massive database at the heart of this project juxtaposes what President Bush and these seven top officials were saying for public consumption against what was known, or should have been known, on a day-to-day basis. This fully searchable database includes the public statements, drawn from both primary sources (such as official transcripts) and secondary sources (chiefly major news organizations) over the two years beginning on September 11, 2001. It also interlaces relevant information from more than 25 government reports, books, articles, speeches, and interviews.

Consider, for example, these false public statements made in the run-up to war:

On August 26, 2002, in an address to the national convention of the Veteran of Foreign Wars, Cheney flatly declared: "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us." In fact, former CIA Director George Tenet later recalled, Cheney's assertions went well beyond his agency's assessments at the time. Another CIA official, referring to the same speech, told journalist Ron Suskind, "Our reaction was, 'Where is he getting this stuff from?' "

In the closing days of September 2002, with a congressional vote fast approaching on authorizing the use of military force in Iraq, Bush told the nation in his weekly radio address: "The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons, is rebuilding the facilities to make more and, according to the British government, could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes after the order is given. . . . This regime is seeking a nuclear bomb, and with fissile material could build one within a year." A few days later, similar findings were also included in a much-hurried National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction — an analysis that hadn't been done in years, as the intelligence community had deemed it unnecessary and the White House hadn't requested it.

In July 2002, Rumsfeld had a one-word answer for reporters who asked whether Iraq had relationships with Al Qaeda terrorists: "Sure." In fact, an assessment issued that same month by the Defense Intelligence Agency (and confirmed weeks later by CIA Director Tenet) found an absence of "compelling evidence demonstrating direct cooperation between the government of Iraq and Al Qaeda." What's more, an earlier DIA assessment said that "the nature of the regime's relationship with Al Qaeda is unclear."

On May 29, 2003, in an interview with Polish TV, President Bush declared: "We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories." But as journalist Bob Woodward reported in State of Denial, days earlier a team of civilian experts dispatched to examine the two mobile labs found in Iraq had concluded in a field report that the labs were not for biological weapons. The team's final report, completed the following month, concluded that the labs had probably been used to manufacture hydrogen for weather balloons.

On January 28, 2003, in his annual State of the Union address, Bush asserted: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production." Two weeks earlier, an analyst with the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research sent an email to colleagues in the intelligence community laying out why he believed the uranium-purchase agreement "probably is a hoax."

On February 5, 2003, in an address to the United Nations Security Council, Powell said: "What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence. I will cite some examples, and these are from human sources." As it turned out, however, two of the main human sources to which Powell referred had provided false information. One was an Iraqi con artist, code-named "Curveball," whom American intelligence officials were dubious about and in fact had never even spoken to. The other was an Al Qaeda detainee, Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, who had reportedly been sent to Eqypt by the CIA and tortured and who later recanted the information he had provided. Libi told the CIA in January 2004 that he had "decided he would fabricate any information interrogators wanted in order to gain better treatment and avoid being handed over to [a foreign government]."

The false statements dramatically increased in August 2002, with congressional consideration of a war resolution, then escalated through the mid-term elections and spiked even higher from January 2003 to the eve of the invasion.

It was during those critical weeks in early 2003 that the president delivered his State of the Union address and Powell delivered his memorable U.N. presentation. For all 935 false statements, including when and where they occurred, go to the search page for this project; the methodology used for this analysis is explained here.

In addition to their patently false pronouncements, Bush and these seven top officials also made hundreds of other statements in the two years after 9/11 in which they implied that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or links to Al Qaeda. Other administration higher-ups, joined by Pentagon officials and Republican leaders in Congress, also routinely sounded false war alarms in the Washington echo chamber.

The cumulative effect of these false statements — amplified by thousands of news stories and broadcasts — was massive, with the media coverage creating an almost impenetrable din for several critical months in the run-up to war. Some journalists — indeed, even some entire news organizations — have since acknowledged that their coverage during those prewar months was far too deferential and uncritical. These mea culpas notwithstanding, much of the wall-to-wall media coverage provided additional, "independent" validation of the Bush administration's false statements about Iraq.

The "ground truth" of the Iraq war itself eventually forced the president to backpedal, albeit grudgingly. In a 2004 appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, for example, Bush acknowledged that no weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq. And on December 18, 2005, with his approval ratings on the decline, Bush told the nation in a Sunday-night address from the Oval Office: "It is true that Saddam Hussein had a history of pursuing and using weapons of mass destruction. It is true that he systematically concealed those programs, and blocked the work of U.N. weapons inspectors. It is true that many nations believed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. But much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. As your president, I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq. Yet it was right to remove Saddam Hussein from power."

Bush stopped short, however, of admitting error or poor judgment; instead, his administration repeatedly attributed the stark disparity between its prewar public statements and the actual "ground truth" regarding the threat posed by Iraq to poor intelligence from a Who's Who of domestic agencies.

On the other hand, a growing number of critics, including a parade of former government officials, have publicly — and in some cases vociferously — accused the president and his inner circle of ignoring or distorting the available intelligence. In the end, these critics say, it was the calculated drumbeat of false information and public pronouncements that ultimately misled the American people and this nation's allies on their way to war.

Bush and the top officials of his administration have so far largely avoided the harsh, sustained glare of formal scrutiny about their personal responsibility for the litany of repeated, false statements in the run-up to the war in Iraq. There has been no congressional investigation, for example, into what exactly was going on inside the Bush White House in that period. Congressional oversight has focused almost entirely on the quality of the U.S. government's pre-war intelligence — not the judgment, public statements, or public accountability of its highest officials. And, of course, only four of the officials — Powell, Rice, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz — have testified before Congress about Iraq.

Short of such review, this project provides a heretofore unavailable framework for examining how the U.S. war in Iraq came to pass. Clearly, it calls into question the repeated assertions of Bush administration officials that they were the unwitting victims of bad intelligence.

Above all, the 935 false statements painstakingly presented here finally help to answer two all-too-familiar questions as they apply to Bush and his top advisers: What did they know, and when did they know it?

Top


The Other Lies of George Bush

David Corn

thenation.com


October 13, 2003

George W. Bush is a liar. He has lied large and small, directly and by omission. His Iraq lies have loomed largest. In the run-up to the invasion, Bush based his case for war on a variety of unfounded claims that extended far beyond his controversial uranium-from-Niger assertion. He maintained that Saddam Hussein possessed "a massive stockpile" of unconventional weapons and was directly "dealing" with Al Qaeda--two suppositions unsupported then (or now) by the available evidence. He said the International Atomic Energy Agency had produced a report in 1998 noting that Iraq was six months from developing a nuclear weapon; no such report existed (and the IAEA had actually reported then that there was no indication Iraq had the ability to produce weapons-grade material). Bush asserted that Iraq was "harboring a terrorist network, headed by a senior Al Qaeda terrorist planner"; US intelligence officials told reporters this terrorist was operating ouside of Al Qaeda control. And two days before launching the war, Bush said, "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised." Yet former deputy CIA director Richard Kerr, who is conducting a review of the prewar intelligence, has said that intelligence was full of qualifiers and caveats, and based on circumstantial and inferential evidence. That is, it was not no-doubt stuff. And after the major fighting was done, Bush declared, "We found the weapons of mass destruction." But he could only point to two tractor-trailers that the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency had concluded were mobile bioweapons labs. Other experts--including the DIA's own engineering experts--disagreed with this finding.

But Bush's truth-defying crusade for war did not mark a shift for him. Throughout his campaign for the presidency and his years in the White House, Bush has mugged the truth in many other areas to advance his agenda. Lying has been one of the essential tools of his presidency. To call the forty-third President of the United States a prevaricator is not an exercise of opinion, not an inflammatory talk-radio device. Rather, it is backed up by an all-too-extensive record of self-serving falsifications. While politicians are often derided as liars, this charge should be particularly stinging for Bush. During the campaign of 2000, he pitched himself as a candidate who could "restore" honor and integrity to an Oval Office stained by the misdeeds and falsehoods of his predecessor. To brand Bush a liar is to negate what he and his supporters declared was his most basic and most important qualification for the job.

His claims about the war in Iraq have led more of his foes and more pundits to accuse him of lying to the public. The list of his misrepresentations, though, is far longer than the lengthy list of dubious statements Bush employed--and keeps on employing--to justify his invasion and occupation of Iraq. Here then is a partial--a quite partial--account of the other lies of George W. Bush.

Tax Cuts

Bush's crusade for tax cuts is the domestic policy matter that has spawned the most misrepresentations from his camp. On the 2000 campaign trail, he sold his success as a "tax-cutting person" by hailing cuts he passed in Texas while governor. But Bush did not tell the full story of his 1997 tax plan. His proposal called for cutting property taxes. But what he didn't mention is that it also included an attempt to boost the sales tax and to implement a new business tax. Nor did he note that his full package had not been accepted by the state legislature. Instead, the lawmakers passed a $1 billion reduction in property taxes. And these tax cuts turned out to be a sham. After they kicked in, school districts across the state boosted local tax rates to compensate for the loss of revenue. A 1999 Dallas Morning News analysis found that "many [taxpayers] are still paying as much as they did in 1997, or more." Republican Lieutenant Governor Rick Perry called the cuts "rather illusory."

One of Bush's biggest tax-cut whoppers came when he stated, during the presidential campaign, "The vast majority of my [proposed] tax cuts go to the bottom end of the spectrum." That estimate was wildly at odds with analyses of where the money would really go. A report by Citizens for Tax Justice, a liberal outfit that specializes in distribution analysis, figured that 42.6 percent of Bush's $1.6 trillion tax package would end up in the pockets of the top 1 percent of earners. The lowest 60 percent would net 12.6 percent. The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, ABC News and NBC News all reported that Bush's package produced the results CTJ calculated.

To deal with the criticism that his plan was a boon for millionaires, Bush devised an imaginary friend--a mythical single waitress who was supporting two children on an income of $22,000, and he talked about her often. He said he wanted to remove the tax-code barriers that kept this waitress from reaching the middle class, and he insisted that if his tax cuts were passed, "she will pay no income taxes at all." But when Time asked the accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche to analyze precisely how Bush's waitress-mom would be affected by his tax package, the firm reported that she would not see any benefit because she already had no income-tax liability.

As he sold his tax cuts from the White House, Bush maintained in 2001 that with his plan, "the greatest percentage of tax relief goes to the people at the bottom end of the ladder." This was trickery--technically true only because low-income earners pay so little income tax to begin with. As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities put it, "a two-parent family of four with income of $26,000 would indeed have its income taxes eliminated under the Bush plan, which is being portrayed as a 100 percent reduction in taxes." But here was the punch line: The family owed only $20 in income taxes under the existing law. Its overall tax bill (including payroll and excise taxes), though, was $2,500. So that twenty bucks represented less than 1 percent of its tax burden. Bush's "greatest percentage" line was meaningless in the real world, where people paid their bills with money, not percentages.

Bush also claimed his tax plan--by eliminating the estate tax, at a cost of $300 billion--would "keep family farms in the family." But, as the New York Times reported, farm-industry experts could not point to a single case of a family losing a farm because of estate taxes. Asked about this, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said, "If you abolish the death tax, people won't have to hire all those planners to help them keep the land that's rightfully theirs." Caught in a $300 billion lie, the White House was now saying the reason to abolish the tax--a move that would be a blessing to the richest 2 percent of Americans--was to spare farmers the pain in the ass of estate planning. Bush's lies did not hinder him. They helped him win the first tax-cut fight--and, then, the tax-cut battle of 2003. When his second set of supersized tax cuts was assailed for being tilted toward the rich, he claimed, "Ninety-two million Americans will keep an average of $1,083 more of their own money." The Tax Policy Center of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute found that, contrary to Bush's assertion, nearly 80 percent of tax filers would receive less than $1,083, and almost half would pocket less than $100. The truly average taxpayers--those in the middle of the income range--would receive $265. Bush was using the word "average" in a flimflam fashion. To concoct the misleading $1,083 figure, the Administration took the large dollar amounts high-income taxpayers would receive and added that to the modest, small or nonexistent reductions other taxpayers would get--and then used this total to calculate an average gain. His claim was akin to saying that if a street had nine households led by unemployed individuals but one with an earner making a million dollars, the average income of the families on the block would be $100,000. The radical Wall Street Journal reported, "Overall, the gains from the taxes are weighted toward upper-income taxpayers."

The Environment

One of Bush's first PR slip-ups as President came when his EPA announced that it would withdraw a new standard for arsenic in drinking water that had been developed during the Clinton years. Bush defended this move by claiming that the new standard had been irresponsibly rushed through: "At the very last minute my predecessor made a decision, and we pulled back his decision so that we can make a decision based upon sound science and what's realistic." And his EPA administrator, Christine Todd Whitman, said the standard had not been based on the "best available science." This was a harsh charge. And untrue.

The new arsenic standard was no quickie job unattached to reasonable scientific findings. The EPA had worked for a decade on establishing the new, 10-parts-per-billion standard. Congress had directed the agency to establish a new standard, and it had authorized $2.5 million a year for studies from 1997 through 2000. A 1999 study by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) had concluded that the existing 50-ppb standard "could easily" result in a 1-in-100 cancer risk and had recommended that acceptable levels be lowered "as promptly as possible." EPA policy-makers had thought that a 3-ppb standard would have been justified by the science, yet they took cost considerations into account and went for the less stringent 10 ppb.

Bush's arsenic move appeared to have been based upon a political calculation--even though Bush, as a candidate, had said he would not decide key policy matters on the basis of politics. But in his book The Right Man, David Frum, a former Bush economic speechwriter, reported that Karl Rove, Bush's chief political adviser, had "pressed for reversal" of the arsenic standard in an attempt to win votes in New Mexico, one of a few states that have high naturally occurring levels of arsenic and that would face higher costs in meeting the new standard.

Several months after the EPA suspended the standard, a new NAS study concluded that the 10-ppb standard was indeed scientifically justified and possibly not tight enough. After that, the Administration decided that the original 10 ppb was exactly the right level for a workable rule, even though the latest in "best available science" now suggested that the 10-ppb level might not adequately safeguard water drinkers.

The arsenic screw-up was one of the few lies for which Bush took a hit. On the matter of global warming, he managed to lie his way through a controversy more deftly. Months into his presidency, Bush declared that he was opposed to the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 global warming accord. To defend his retreat from the treaty, he cited "the incomplete state of scientific knowledge." This was a misleading argument, for the scientific consensus was rather firm. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an international body of thousands of scientists assembled by the UN and the World Meteorological Organization, held that global temperatures were dramatically on the rise and that this increase was, to an unspecified degree, a result of human-induced emissions.

In early June 2001 the NAS released a report Bush had requested, and it concluded global warming was under way and "most likely due to human activities." Rather than accept the analysis it had commissioned, the Bush White House countered with duplicity. Press secretary Fleischer maintained that the report "concludes that the Earth is warming. But it is inconclusive on why--whether it's man-made causes or whether it's natural causes." That was not spinning. That was prevaricating. The study blamed "human activities" while noting that "natural variability" might be a contributing factor too.

Still, the Bush White House wanted to make it seem as if Bush did take the issue seriously. So on June 11, he delivered a speech on global warming and pledged to craft an alternative to Kyoto that would "reduce" emissions. The following February he unveiled his plan. "Our immediate goal," Bush said, "is to reduce America's greenhouse-gas emissions relative to the size of our economy."

Relative to the size of our economy? This was a ruse. Since the US economy is generally growing, this meant emissions could continue to rise, as long as the rate of increase was below the rate of economic growth. The other industrialized nations, with the Kyoto accord, were calling for reductions below 1990 levels. Bush was pushing for slower increases above 2000 levels. Bush's promise to lower emissions had turned out to be no more than hot air.

September 11

As many Americans and others yearned to make sense of the evil attacks of September 11, Bush elected to share with the public a deceptively simplistic explanation of this catastrophe. Repeatedly, he said that the United States had been struck because of its love of freedom. "America was targeted for attack," he maintained, "because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world." This was shallow analysis, a comic-book interpretation of the event that covered up complexities and denied Americans information crucial for developing a full understanding of the attacks. In the view Bush furnished, Osama bin Laden was a would-be conqueror of the world, a man motivated solely by irrational evil, who killed for the purpose of destroying freedom.

But as the State Department's own terrorism experts--as well as nongovernment experts--noted, bin Laden was motivated by a specific geostrategic and theological aim: to chase the United States out of the Middle East in order to ease the way for a fundamentalist takeover of the region. Peter Bergen, a former CNN producer and the first journalist to arrange a television interview with bin Laden, observes in his book Holy War, Inc., "What [bin Laden] condemns the United States for is simple: its policies in the Middle East." Rather than acknowledge the realities of bin Laden's war on America, Bush attempted to create and perpetuate a war-on-freedom myth.

In the aftermath of 9/11, Bush was disingenuous on other fronts. Days after the attack, he asserted, "No one could have conceivably imagined suicide bombers burrowing into our society and then emerging all in the same day to fly their aircraft--fly US aircraft--into buildings full of innocent people." His aides echoed this sentiment for months. They were wrong. Such a scenario had been imagined and feared by terrorism experts. And plots of this sort had previously been uncovered and thwarted by security services in other nations--in operations known to US officials. According to the 9/11 inquiry conducted by the House and Senate intelligence committees, the US intelligence establishment had received numerous reports that bin Laden and other terrorists were interested in mounting 9/11-like strikes against the United States.

Fourteen months after the attack, Bush said, "We must uncover every detail and learn every lesson of September the 11th." But his actions belied this rhetoric. His White House refused to turn over information to the intelligence committees about a pre-9/11 intelligence briefing he had had seen, and the Bush Administration would not allow the committees to tell the public what intelligence warnings Bush had received before September 11. More famously, Bush would not declassify the twenty-seven-page portion of the committees' final report that concerned connections between the 9/11 hijackers and Saudi Arabia. And following September 11, Bush repeatedly maintained that his Administration was doing everything possible to secure the nation. But that was not true. The Administration did not move--and has not moved--quickly to address gaping security concerns, including vulnerabilities at chemical plants and ports and a huge shortfall in resources for first responders [see Corn, "Homeland Insecurity," September 22].

It did not start with Iraq. Bush has been lying throughout the presidency. He claimed he had not gotten to know disgraced Enron chief Ken Lay until after the 1994 Texas gubernatorial election. But Lay had been one of Bush's larger contributors during that election and had--according to Lay himself--been friends with Bush for years before it. In June 2001, Bush said, "We're not going to deploy a [missile defense] system that doesn't work." But then he ordered the deployment of a system that was not yet operational. (A June 2003 General Accounting Office study noted, "Testing to date has provided only limited data for determining whether the system will work as intended.") His White House claimed that it was necessary to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to "secure America's energy needs." But the US Geological Survey noted that the amount of oil that might be found there would cover up to slightly more than two years' worth of oil consumption. Such a supply would hardly "secure" the nation's needs.

Speaking for his boss, Fleischer in 2002 said, "the President does, of course, believe that younger workers...are going to receive no money for their Social Security taxes." No money? That was not so. A projected crunch will hit in four decades or so. But even when this happens, the system will be able to pay an estimated 70 percent of benefits--which is somewhat more than "no money." When Bush in August 2001 announced he would permit federal funding of stem-cell research only for projects that used existing stem-cell lines--in a move to placate social conservatives, who opposed this sort of research--he said that there were sixty existing lines, and he asserted that his decision "allows us to explore the promise and potential of stem-cell research." Yet at the time--according to scientific experts in the field and various media reports--there were closer to ten available lines, not nearly enough to support a promising research effort.

Does Bush believe his own untruths? Did he truly consider a WMD-loaded Saddam Hussein an imminent threat to the United States? Or was he knowingly employing dramatic license because he wanted war for other reasons? Did he really think the average middle-class taxpayer would receive $1,083 from his second tax-cut plan? Or did he realize this was a fuzzy number cooked up to make the package seem a better deal than it was for middle- and low-income workers? Did he believe there were enough stem-cell lines to support robust research? Or did he know he had exaggerated the number of lines in order to avoid a politically tough decision?

It's hard to tell. Bush's public statements do suggest he is a binary thinker who views the world in black-and-white terms. You're either for freedom or against it. With the United States or not. Tax cuts are good--always. The more tax cuts the better--always. He's impatient with nuances. Asked in 1999 to name something he wasn't good at, Bush replied, "Sitting down and reading a 500-page book on public policy or philosophy or something." Bush likes life to be clear-cut. And perhaps that causes him to either bend the truth or see (and promote) a bent version of reality. Observers can debate whether Bush considers his embellishments and misrepresentations to be the honest-to-God truth or whether he cynically hurls falsehoods to con the public. But believer or deceiver--the result is the same.

With his misrepresentations and false assertions, Bush has dramatically changed the nation and the world. Relying on deceptions, he turned the United States into an occupying power. Using lies, he pushed through tax cuts that will profoundly reshape the US budget for years to come, most likely insuring a long stretch of deficits that will make it difficult, perhaps impossible, for the federal government to fund existing programs or contemplate new ones.

Does Bush lie more than his predecessors, more than his political opponents? That's irrelevant. He's guiding the nation during difficult and perhaps perilous times, in which a credible President is much in need. Prosperity or economic decline? War or peace? Security or fear? This country has a lot to deal with. Lies from the White House poison the debates that must occur if Americans are going to confront and overcome the challenges of this century at home and abroad.

Presidential lying, in fact, threatens the country. To render informed and wise choices about the crucial and complicated controversies of the day, people need truthful information. The President is generally in a position to define and dominate a debate more than other political players. And a lie from the White House--or a fib or a misrepresentation or a fudged number--can go a long way toward distorting the national discussion.

Bush campaigned for the presidency as the fellow who would bring honesty back to the White House. During his first full day on the job, while swearing in his White House staff, he reminded his cadre, "On a mantelpiece in this great house is inscribed the prayer of John Adams, that only the wise and honest may rule under this roof." But Adams's prayer would once more go unanswered. There has been no restoration of integrity. Bush's promise was a lie. The future of the United States remains in the hands of a dishonest man.

David Corn is The Nation's Washington editor and also the "Loyal Opposition" columnist for www.TomPaine.com and www.Alternet.org. Corn's work has appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and Harper's Magazine. His books include Blond Ghost: Ted Shackley and the CIA's Crusade and the 1999 novel Deep Background.

Top


The Two Biggest Lies of George W. Bush

Dan Froomkin

http://delong.typepad.com/


November 23, 2010

The Two Most Essential, Abhorrent, Intolerable Lies Of George W. Bush's Memoir: [T]he two most essential lies -- among the many -- in his new memoir are that he had a legitimate reason to invade Iraq, and that he had a legitimate reason to torture detainees. Neither is remotely true. But Bush must figure that if he keeps making the case for himself -- particularly if it goes largely unrebutted by the traditional media, as it has thus far -- then perhaps he can blunt history's verdict....

In "Decision Points," Bush describes the invasion of Iraq as something he came to support only reluctantly and after a long period of reflection. This is a flat-out lie. Anyone who paid any attention to the news at the time knew Bush was dead-set on war long before he sent in the troops in March 2003. And there is now an abundant amount of documentation, in the form of leaks, unclassified memos, witness interviews and other people's memoirs to prove it.... The only real question is whether he actively deceived the American public and the world -- or whether he was so passionate about selling the public on the war that he intentionally blinded himself to how brazenly Vice President Cheney had politicized and abused the intelligence process....

Bush writes in his memoir that the idea of attacking Iraq came up at a meeting of his national security team at Camp David, four days after the 9/11 attacks. By his account, it was then Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz who "suggested that we consider confronting Iraq as well as the Taliban." Bush writes that he eventually decided that "[u]nless I received definitive evidence tying Saddam Hussein to the 9/11 plot I would work to resolve the Iraq problem diplomatically."... In the first tell-all book from inside Bush's national security team, Richard A. Clarke wrote in 2004 of a meeting he had with Bush the day after 9/11:

The president in a very intimidating way left us, me and my staff, with the clear indication that he wanted us to come back with the word there was an Iraqi hand behind 9/11 because they had been planning to do something about Iraq from before the time they came into office.... I think they had a plan from day one they wanted to do something about Iraq. While the World Trade Center was still smoldering, while they were still digging bodies out, people in the White House were thinking: 'Ah! This gives us the opportunity we have been looking for to go after Iraq.'

Clarke notes that the following day, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld complained in a meeting that there were no decent targets for bombing in Afghanistan and that the U.S. should consider bombing Iraq, which had better targets.

At first I thought Rumsfeld was joking. But he was serious and the President did not reject out of hand the idea of attacking Iraq. Instead, he noted that what we needed to do with Iraq was to change the government, not just hit it with more cruise missiles, as Rumsfeld had implied.

Just over two months later, on Nov. 21, 2001, Bush formally instructed Rumsfeld that he wanted to develop a plan for war in Iraq. Sixteen months after that, in March 2003, the invasion began....

That torture is even a subject of debate today is a testament to the devastating effect the Bush administration has had on our concept of morality. And in his book and on his book tour, far from hanging his head in shame, Bush is more explicit and enthusiastic than ever before endorsing one of torture's iconic forms. "Damn right," he quotes himself as saying in response to a CIA request to waterboard Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. "Had we captured more al Qaeda operatives with significant intelligence value, I would have used the program for them as well."

Bush's two-part argument is simple; That waterboarding was legal (i.e., that it was not really torture); and that it worked. But neither assertion is remotely true. Waterboarding -- essentially controlled drowning -- involves immobilizing someone and pouring water over their mouth and nose in a way that makes them choke. It causes great physical and mental suffering, but leaves no marks. It's not new; villains and despots have been using it extract confessions for something like 700 years. The CIA just perfected it. It is self-evidently, almost definitionally, torture. The U.S. government had always considered it torture. In 1947, the U.S. charged a Japanese officer who waterboarded an American with war crimes. It is flatly a violation of international torture conventions. And as far as I know, no American government official had ever even suggested it wasn't torture until a small handful of lawyers in Bush's supine Justice Department, working under orders from the vice president, claimed otherwise...

Top


The Lies of George W. Bush : Mastering the Politics of Deception

democracynow.org


October 31, 2003

TRANSCRIPT

AMY GOODMAN: Welcome to Democracy Now!, David.

DAVID CORN: Good to be with you, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s great to have you with us. David is the Washington editor of The Nation magazine. Can you talk about the latest on Joseph Wilson, again, who he was, what happened, and where this so-called investigation stands today?

DAVID CORN: Yes. Listeners might remember that Joe Wilson is a former Ambassador. He was actually the last acting ambassador in Iraq in 1991, and at that point was a supporter of the war, the first Persian Gulf war. Fast forward a decade in February of 2002 when the administration is trying to build a case for war in Iraq, not so publicly at that point. The administration gets wind of a report of allegations that Saddam Hussein has been trying to buy uranium in Niger, a country in Africa. This is important because if he’s doing so, it would be evidence that he was trying to rev up his nuclear weapons program, one of the three weapons of mass destruction development programs that they claimed he had. So, the CIA, knowing that Vice President Cheney was very much interested in this report, decided they would send somebody to Niger, and basically check it out. They asked Joe Wilson, who is now a private citizen to do so. He was well qualified to do this job. He had served in the region as a young FSO, Foreign Service Officer, and he had worked on the Clinton administration in the National Security Council handling African affairs. He had dealt with the leadership of Niger at that point in time. So, he went over there, and there — it wasn’t as if he was supposed to be James Bond or what’s her name in Alias and break into the office and find the secret papers. It was his job to talk to the government officials in charge and people who work in the city, others, business associates, business officials over there and get a sense of how possible it might be for Saddam Hussein to purchase uranium from Niger, on the sly. You know, what are the safeguards, what are the controls. What do they have to get around?

After spending eight days there and talking to people, he came back and said it was unlikely that such a transaction could occur. The ambassador there and a four-star general who had been sent there as well at a different time all reached the same conclusion: it’s unlikely this would happen. Again, he makes his report to the people he works with at the CIA it doesn’t become public. Then in the course of the following year, as Bush ramped up his campaign to get war in Iraq, Joe Wilson emerges as one of the really, I think, key and primary oppositions to that. He goes on the talk shows. He has establishment credentials. He’s really eloquent and blunt and smart former diplomat. He was out there really making a good case against the war. Then after the war, a couple of months afterwards, the controversy developed over the President’s use of this allegation of uranium shopping in Niger in his State of the Union speech in January of 2003, which he used it to say that Saddam Hussein was indeed trying to develop nuclear weapons very quickly. That was one of the reasons why we couldn’t wait and do further inspections and now there was a direct threat, now that there was a U.S. invasion that would turn into an occupation.

As this controversy in June develops, Joe Wilson tells reporters off the record that he had traveled to Niger and reported back to the administration that there was not much to this charge, at least not much reason to believe it was true, unless you had very compelling evidence. The administration keeps dodging the issue saying, you know, we didn’t know anything about any doubts within the bureaucracy of — about this allegation. And Joe got a little insulted, I think, because he put time into this. He said, well, they should have known about my report and there were others who did the same. On July 6, I believe it was, he wrote a piece in The New York Times op-ed page and he also spoke to the Washington Post in essence outing himself as the former diplomat who had gone to Niger and found there was nothing to the charge and accusing the White House of, you know, coming up with the false story, saying that — when they said there was no reason to doubt the allegations, the charge, in essence saying there was plenty of reasons to doubt the charge, including my report, my mission. That certainly did not endear him any further to the administration. But the next day after he did this — after he wrote his piece, the administration at the White House acknowledged that Bush should not have come out and used those 16 words about uranium shopping in Africa during the State of the Union speech. They in essence said, well, Joe Wilson was right, but they couldn’t leave it there.

A week later, July 14, a column appeared, Bob Novak column, in which he was writing about the Niger-gate and Joe Wilson’s role in it. In that column, he identified Joe’s wife, Valerie Plame, that’s her maiden name she actually goes by Valerie Wilson, as a CIA operative working on counter proliferation issues. He cited two senior administration officials as the apparent sources for that piece of information. In essence, the administration or two people within it, outed Joe Wilson’s wife as a CIA officer, and under — you know, destroyed or ruined her CIA career, undermined National Security because anything that she might have worked on would have been compromised, and put in danger maybe not so much her because she’s working here in the United States but anybody that might have had contact with her in other countries in the world would now be under suspicion for cooperating with the CIA as an undercover operative.

As it turns out, I don’t think — I’m not even sure they realized this at this time, the people in the White House or the administration that might have done this, this is against the law. It is against the law for government official with access to classified information to identify a covert officer. It’s called the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982. As soon as I called the article, the Novak piece, I called Joe Wilson, who I know somewhat and whom I have done stories about, I said, Joe — first jokingly, I didn’t know your wife was a CIA operative. You never told me that. He said, "I still can’t tell you." He was neither confirming nor denying at that point in time. We started talking. I said, you do know there’s this thing called the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. He was outraged. He didn’t realize it was a violation of the law.

It’s a serious crime, punishable by up to 50 years in jail or $50,000 fine. It’s a felony. Two days after this, I wrote a piece for The Nation web site, and the magazine. I said hey, this leak is the possible evidence of a crime at the White House. Two months after that, it got very little attention within Washington. Outside of Washington, hundreds of thousands of people read my piece and hundreds of them sent me email and they said it’s outrageous. How come no one’s talking about this? A couple of democratic senators raised the issue a couple of times, but the media didn’t jump on it until mid-September when the CIA finally asked the department of justice to investigate the White House to see if indeed a crime had been committed.

AMY GOODMAN: Now where does this investigation stand, the controversy over the Justice Department investigating because one of the people who Joe Wilson has said heed like to see frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs Karl Rove, and Chris Matthews of MSNBC said that it was Karl Rove who said to him that Valley Plame is fair game. And you have someone investigating car rove and now investigating is John Ashcroft who had Karl Rove working on his campaign and gave him close to three quarters of a million dollars for his Senatorial and Gubernatorial campaigns in Missouri.

DAVID CORN: What we have now is a situation where indeed the Justice Department is investigating. There were a lot of cries, a lot of calls for a special counsel. We can’t have independent counsels anymore, because those have expired. A special counsel would not be picked by a panel of judges but by Ashcroft himself. The point is to pick someone of significant stature whose independence would be obvious and would be distant from the Attorney General. That has not happened. But they insist at the Justice Department, the professionals, the career attorneys are going to conduct the inquiry. As far as we know. They have. They are doing so. They are interviewing people in the White House. They have asked for documents. They have made a few — taken a few steps that I think raise eyebrows, and that they gave the White House 12 hours to sort of prepare their — or — 12 hours extension or time delay in producing document. They signaled to the State Department and Defense Department they were going to make document requests.

Prosecutors usually knock on the door. They don’t tell you they’re coming. That’s cause people who are watching closely to wonder how independent and how good the investigation may be. And we could — well, on the situation down the road where they end up without a prosecution. It even could be for good reasons. They may not be able to make the case here and it will still be under a cloud because ultimately, it’s John Ashcroft who is overseeing, you know, in a general sense, the investigation. So, I think we’re going to be continuing to fight over this, or tussle over this in the weeks and months ahead, and I do know — I mean, I saw Joe Wilson yesterday. He keeps saying repeatedly, and I think it’s a good position for him to take, he expects the professionals, the FBI agents and the career lawyers at the Justice Department to do their job and he thinks they indeed might.

AMY GOODMAN: And you have Murray Wass writing in the Village Voice that the FBI and the Justice Department have broadened their investigation to say that they will investigate who leaked the identity of the CIA officer Valerie Plame to include subsequent Bush administration efforts to discredit her and her diplomat husband according to two administration officials familiar with the probe. Of particular interest, the two sources said, were contacts between White House officials and the Republican National Committee during the burgeoning scandal. Probers are interested in how the Bush administration and party officials strategized to stymie negative press and counter public criticism by former ambassador Joseph Wilson of the leak of his wife’s status as CIA officer.

DAVID CORN: Well, it’s quite clear. It’s quite clear that the White House and the RNC, which is one and the same as is usually the case with administrations. You can could say that about the Clinton administration and the DNC, got together when Joe Wilson was causing them trouble and decided, you know, we have to fight back. We have to have some political hit jobs here. And they came out with all sorts of things saying that he was a Democratic operative. He had given money to John Kerry. He also gave money to George Bush’s primary campaign in 2000. I think he regrets that now. He wanted to write a book. He was trying to cash in on this. They were throwing all sorts of junk at him to discredit him, when it was immaterial to the issue of whether the White House leaked anything about his wife.

AMY GOODMAN: And what about Sam Dash, the —

DAVID CORN: Well, that’s the first time that I have heard the argument made this might violate the Patriot Act. I’d have to go back and look at it as well. Sam’s a good lawyer. If the standard is that it’s done to intimidate the civilian population that may be sort of a high standard to prove when — when actually the intention might have been to just do in Joe Wilson. You might have a hard time equating that with intimidating the civilian population. May be able to make the case it was done to intimidate others from speaking out against the administration. But, you know, as you know, Amy, whenever you get into laws that rise or fall on the notion of intent, it’s very difficult to make such cases legally.

AMY GOODMAN: David, I want to get to the lies of the Bush Administration, but one last point I think you raised very interesting in the leak W.M.D.’s and the Dems is how the press works. That the press made a very big deal of this months after Novak outed — or got administration officials quoted saying that Valerie Plame was a CIA operative, but that the media looks for the debate between the Republicans and the Democrats, and without the Democrats going further on this now, the media has almost let it die.

DAVID CORN: The media needs something to cover in order to — in order to cover something. They’re most comfortable here in Washington covering conflict between the Republicans and Democrats. Sometimes it can be Republican on Republican violence or D on D violence, the Democrats. So, when word leaks out there’s an investigation, it’s a big deal. They cover it to a large degree. Then it sort of become as routine investigation in that you don’t have press conferences about what’s going on. The White House has done a very smart job of not looking worried about this. There have been no stories about people hiring lawyers or anxiety and paranoia at the White House.

AMY GOODMAN: Karl Rove goes along scott-free now?

DAVID CORN: Right now there’s an investigation, and, you know, I share Joe Wilson’s hope that the lawyers and the FBI agents are taking it seriously. I do know — I do know this is without a doubt that at the CIA, there is this tremendous level of anger that has not subsided. They are livid at this. They are looking for justice. They’re looking — you know, there’s a tremendous amount of pressure coming from that direction.

AMY GOODMAN: And the Boston Globe is saying that the White House, Bush, might invoke executive privilege in terms of handing information over to the Justice Department.

DAVID CORN: That would get covered. That would make it a story again. The White House is trying to keep this off the front pages. They do that, and that becomes the issue. What are you hiding, Mr. President. The press will have a field day with that, for at least a few days, and then it dies down and they need something else to cover.

AMY GOODMAN: We are talking David Corn. He has written a book, The Lies of George W. Bush. We’ll be back with him in a minute. . . [music] . . . Liar, Liar, here on this holiday edition of Democracy Now!. I’m Amy Goodman. As we talk to David Corn, his new book is The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception. He starts in his introduction of saying, "George w. Bush is a liar. He has lied large and small. He has lied directly and by omission. He has miss stated facts knowingly. He has broken promises, been unfaithful to political vows. In his campaign for the presidency and first years in the White House, he has mugged the truth. Not merely in honest error, but deliberately, consistently and repeatedly to advance his career and agenda." Can you quickly go through some of the most egregious lies that you think George Bush has uttered.

DAVID CORN: Now I’ll tell you how I really feel. I covered him from the campaign on into the war. I think probably the most serious lies, are deceptions or misleading statements concerning the war. You have covered that a lot on the show. But one that sort of has come, I think, into greater clarity in the last couple of weeks is on March 17 when he gave his famous "get out of Dodge" speech to Saddam Hussein, you have 48 hours to leave Iraq or I’m coming to get you. He said intelligence gathered by the government leaves no doubt, those are his words, leaves no doubt it that Saddam Hussein continues to possess and conceal weapons of mass destruction. At the time a lot of us argued that the — there was no good evidence to believe that.

It could well be true, but there was no evidence to back up such a claim, but he was referring to intelligence leaving no doubt. Since then, we have the House Intelligence Committee run by a Republican named Paul Degoss. He used to be in the CIA himself. We have the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Pat Roberts, a Republican, we have Richard Care, a former Deputy CIA Director who is doing an internal review of pre-war intelligence of the CIA and we have David Kay, the Chief Weapons Inspector working for the CIA and the Pentagon in Iraq. All have said that the pre-war intelligence on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction were circumstantial, fragmentary, inferential and full of doubt. David Kay’s exact quote was the pre-war intelligence on Iraq was bounded by large uncertainties, and had to be heavily caveated. Caveated is one of the bureaucratic words for saying it was full of doubt. So, how do you compare all of these statements after the fact, all of these assessments with Bush’s assertion to the American public and to the world at large that the intelligence left no doubt? It’s clearly indicating that either he misread the intelligence or misled the public, but it was the essence of his argument and it was not based on the truth.

AMY GOODMAN: It looks like right now, the administration is trying to put the blame squarely on the shoulders of George Tenet, of Central Intelligence.

DAVID CORN: They’re trying to do that. Pat Roberts a few days ago came out and said he was going to produce a report saying that the CIA had produced shoddy intelligence, but he was refusing to allow the investigation to go to where the democrats wanted it to go, and look at how the administration used — I would add, presented that intelligence.

So, I mean, there are a lot of things that we can talk about in terms of the war in which bush made statements that were not true, particularly about nuclear weapons. I thought the Niger-gate business was only a small piece of it, not even the most important piece. My book covers the tax cuts, stem cells, global warming, defense spending, social security.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s talk about global warming.

DAVID CORN: You might remember when he came into office there was a bit of a hullabaloo because he said he was not in favor of the Kyoto accords. He got flak for that. Bush promised that he would come up with the plan that would reduce the greenhouse gases that was different from the Kyoto plan. It took him a year to put it together and this was after he first denied that there was even a scientific consensus that global warming was real. For months he and Ari Fleischer kept saying there was no consensus. He agreed there was finally. He had a plan. He said, my plan is to reduce emissions and I have a plan that’s going to address global warming. What was his plan? His plan was that he had to cut the growth rate of global warming emissions.

Now, that’s pretty significant. Under his plan, the rate of global warming, greenhouse gas emissions could continue to go up as long as it increased less than the growth rate in the U. S. economy. So, we just heard yesterday that the economy grew by 7.2% in the past quarter. Under the bush plan, global warming gases could go up by 7.1%. So, there are a couple of things that are important to know. To begin with, he said that he would have a plan that would reduce emissions. That obviously doesn’t reduce emissions. He said that he would have a plan that would address global warming, adding more greenhouse gases to the environment doesn’t address global warming. It exacerbates global warming. The other nations of the world that want to see the Kyoto Accords are basically cutting emotions below 1990 levels. Cutting below 1990. Under the Bush plan, he is raising levels above the 2000 levels, which are higher than the 1990’s. So, it’s a complete lie to say it addresses or reduces the threat here.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to David Corn. What about the vacuuming of websites? Both the White House — the white house website now that we See that after George Bush on May 1 announced the ending of major combat operations or combat operations, they have changed that headline now, now that more soldiers have died after than before and also the EPA website, taking out references to global warming.

DAVID CORN: One thing I had to do with the book is when I was writing it, I talked to the doctor of the famous novelist that wrote Iraq Time and other great books. He said, what are you going to do with this book, put it out as a three-ring binder? Some of the lies and half truths keep coming. More information comes out about statements that he made previously that show that they were wrong. I have had to create a website to keep track of all of this stuff as they change things on the website as they continue to try to justify the war, as we find out that the EPA under White House pressure lied about the air quality in New York City after 9-11. I know that you have done shows on that. If I may, I’d love to give the website address.

AMY GOODMAN: Go ahead.

DAVID CORN: It’s www.bushlies.com. That’s bushlies.com. I think that, you know, we know about the whole mission accomplished banner business that happened a few days back. But I think it’s important to know that if you look at that press conference that Bush gave, that wasn’t even the only untrue statement that he said. There were a couple of other things that were pretty big whoppers. He continues to say that he had good and solid intelligence on Iraq before the war, not even the CIA’s own review says that, but he keeps saying that over and over again to justify his decision. He said at one point that he was the first President to advocate a Palestinian state. No, actually, Bill Clinton did that before he left office. I think more importantly, he was asked about the donor’s conference that occurred last week about Iraq in which they managed to squeeze $13 billion out of other countries. Yeah, that’s the $20 — you add that to the $20 billion that the U.S. is kicking in, that comes up to $33 billion. That’s still $20 billion short of what’s estimated to be the price tab for Iraq reconstruction. Asked about that gap and shortfall, Bush said, that’s okay, we’re going to use the Iraq oil revenues to cover that.

For the last few weeks, Paul Bremer, the head of the occupation there, a man hired by Bush to do this and who has come back here a few times to talk to Bush about what’s going on has said over and over again that in the near future, the revenues produced by the Iraq oil industry will just about cover the costs of the Iraq oil industry, so there won’t be any extra revenues. So, why is he telling the public that he can get $23 billion from a fund that won’t exist? So, there’s just this tremendous pattern which is why I call it mastering the politics of deception, the subtitle of the book, because you see it again and again and again.

AMY GOODMAN: David Corn, you write about white collar crime. What are Bush lies there?

DAVID CORN: The most obvious one is when he was asked about Ken Lay, The CEO Chief. This was in early 2002 as the Enron scandal was breaking. He was questioned by some reporters before he had a meeting about Enron with his economic advisers. He said, "I didn’t get to know Ken Lay until after the 1994 election." That was the most transparent lie because it was easy to prove it wasn’t so.

The 1994 election Bush said, "He supported my opponent." Well, yes, indeed, in 1994 he gave Ann Richards $12,000, but he gave George Bush three or four times that amount. And Enron itself gave Bush a lot more money, and in interviews that Ken Lay had done before becoming a scandalous figure, he often talked about how close he was to George Bush Sr. and George W. Bush and how he got to know George w. Bush very well in the 1980’s, and in a story that I broke about a year-and-a-half ago, I found that in 1986, 1987, Bush’s oil company at the time, Spectrum 7 was in an oil deal partnership with Enron. Now that, didn’t prove that Bush and Ken Lay knew each other and were working together at that point in time, but given the fact that Ken Lay was close to his dad, given the fact that Ken Lay loved to have political connections, I find it inconceivable that he could — that his company could be in the business deal with the son of a Vice President, and that Ken Lay wouldn’t know that and wouldn’t have had contact with Bush. In any event, that was one of those sort of silly lies that people tell that — that was easy to disprove. Then he also — there were also a lot of lies and untrue statements or misleading statements about his own business career that came out.

AMY GOODMAN: What are the main ones there, just leading up to him becoming Governor and then President?

DAVID CORN: Well, I think that — if you want to talk about his business career, one of sort of the untruths — it’s not a lie, but a misleading statement that he said was that there was a controversy that happened that came out of the Enron controversy about whether he had engaged in insider stock dealing when he was a director of this company called Harkin Oil, Harkin Energy in the 1990’s.

He made $500,000 or $600,000 that he used to pay off a loan for the Texas Rangers which is what made him a multimillionaire. In any event, at the time he sold his stock, the stock price was artificially high because his company had engaged in a sham transaction that was very similar to what Enron would later do in terms of selling things to itself. The question became whether Bush had been aware of the sham transaction at the time. The SEC later forced the company to sort of redo the books because of this deal. He was asked about this by reporters, and he said, um, rather than answering the question, yes or no, whether he knew about it, now knew about this phony deal, he said, You have to just go look at the board of directors’ minutes and you can see for yourself if I knew about this. Reporters went and discovered that the board of director’s minutes were confidential. Then they went to the White House and said, well, they’re confidential. Will you at least ask Harkin to release the significant board of director’s minutes? The White House, speaking for Bush, of course, said, no, we will not. So, when Bush was out there in a press conference saying, go look at the board of director’s minutes, you can clear this up on your own, it was a deceptive statement, because they were not available to the reporters or the public, and he would do nothing to make them available.

AMY GOODMAN: Stem cell research.

DAVID CORN: This is a good one. Some people — a lot of people think this is one of their favorite lies. I talk about this a lot on the radio. Listeners might recall that the first prime time speech the President gave was an August 9, 2001. He had had this — Clinton had left him a hard decision to make, whether there should be federal funding of stem cell research. Social conservatives, abortion foes, Catholic Church leadership, all oppose stem cell research, because stem cells are taken out of what’s called blastocysts.

They’re the collection of cells formed five days after sperm fertilizes an egg. You take the cells out of the blastocysts and they can become any one of the cells in the human body and thus, they give researchers a tremendous tool to use in trying to find cures and treatments for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and other terrible diseases.

The social conservatives are against stem cell research, you had people like Orrin Hatch, conservative Republican, Nancy Reagan, whose husband obviously suffers from Alzheimer’s, Andrew Card, White House chief of staff, Tommy Thompson, head of HHS, and patient advocacy groups like Michael J. Fox and Christopher Reeves in favor of it.

For Bush, the question was what do I do? He was between a rock and a hard place. He gave this speech and came up with what he said was this wonderful compromise. That is that you — that he would have federal funding of stem — federal funding of stem cell research that uses stem cell lines already developed. So, you don’t have to kill any more embryos to develop the lines, and you wouldn’t have any federal funding that would encourage the development of other stem cell lines.

So, the social conservatives would be happy about that. And he said that because there were 60 — 6-0, 60 stem cell lines already in existence, that that was enough to at this point in time have a robust, effective research program. 60 was key. Some scientists said you actually needed 100. Some said 60 might be enough. If you had fewer than that, then you could not really say that you were getting the right results and having the right effective research. So, you needed that number 60.

As soon as Bush makes the speech, biochemical experts around the world and country at Harvard and Stanford, the experts in the field come out and say, 60? We didn’t know there were 60? We thought there were more like a dozen. Then the media starts picking up on this and the Washington Post’s Rick Weiss, a wonderful science reporter there three weeks later does a story in which he goes around to the institutes and research universities that have the lines that were cited by the Bush administration, and finds out that they don’t really exist. The Goaderberg incident in Sweden was listed by the administration by having 19 stem cell lines. Turns out they had maybe — maybe three. They weren’t sure whether the lines were actually turn into bona fide stem cell lines. The best guessed estimate at the — after just a little review of this is that there are 11, maybe even six stem cell lines. That’s not enough to have a robust effort.

So, in actuality, Bush’s policy has created a ban — a block against stem cell research. And it’s possible that when he made his speech, he didn’t know that maybe he looked at the numbers. The numbers were given to him and he believed 60. But after it came out from undeniable witnesses and evidence that there were much fewer than 60 and not enough to support a research program, his administration, Tommy Thompson and Ari Fleischer again and again and again insisted, they kept insisting that there were 60 and there were enough. If he made a mistake initially, they turned the mistake into a lie by hanging onto the figure.

Two years later, they put out a report saying, you know what? We think there’s 11 now.

AMY GOODMAN: We are talking to David Corn, who has written a book, The Lies of George W. Bush. We will be back with him and Carol Aye and look at the tax issues that could affect wealthy corporations. Stay with us . . . [music]

Top


Yes He Would

PAUL KRUGMAN

The New York Times


Published: April 10, 2006

"But he wouldn't do that." That sentiment is what made it possible for President Bush to stampede America into the Iraq war and to fend off hard questions about the reasons for that war until after the 2004 election. Many people just didn't want to believe that an American president would deliberately mislead the nation on matters of war and peace.

Now people with contacts in the administration and the military warn that Mr. Bush may be planning another war. The most alarming of the warnings come from Seymour Hersh, the veteran investigative journalist who broke the Abu Ghraib scandal. Writing in The New Yorker, Mr. Hersh suggests that administration officials believe that a bombing campaign could lead to desirable regime change in Iran — and that they refuse to rule out the use of tactical nuclear weapons.

"But he wouldn't do that," say people who think they're being sensible. Given what we now know about the origins of the Iraq war, however, discounting the possibility that Mr. Bush will start another ill-conceived and unnecessary war isn't sensible. It's wishful thinking.

As it happens, rumors of a new war coincide with the emergence of evidence that appears to confirm our worst suspicions about the war we're already in.

First, it's clearer than ever that Mr. Bush, who still claims that war with Iraq was a last resort, was actually spoiling for a fight. The New York Times has confirmed the authenticity of a British government memo reporting on a prewar discussion between Mr. Bush and Tony Blair. In that conversation, Mr. Bush told Mr. Blair that he was determined to invade Iraq even if U.N. inspectors came up empty-handed.

Second, it's becoming increasingly clear that Mr. Bush knew that the case he was presenting for war — a case that depended crucially on visions of mushroom clouds — rested on suspect evidence. For example, in the 2003 State of the Union address Mr. Bush cited Iraq's purchase of aluminum tubes as clear evidence that Saddam was trying to acquire a nuclear arsenal. Yet Murray Waas of the National Journal reports that Mr. Bush had been warned that many intelligence analysts disagreed with that assessment.

Was the difference between Mr. Bush's public portrayal of the Iraqi threat and the actual intelligence he saw large enough to validate claims that he deliberately misled the nation into war? Karl Rove apparently thought so. According to Mr. Waas, Mr. Rove "cautioned other White House aides in the summer of 2003 that Bush's 2004 re-election prospects would be severely damaged" if the contents of an October 2002 "President's Summary" containing dissents about the significance of the aluminum tubes became public.

Now there are rumors of plans to attack Iran. Most strategic analysts think that a bombing campaign would be a disastrous mistake. But that doesn't mean it won't happen: Mr. Bush ignored similar warnings, including those of his own father, about the risks involved in invading Iraq.

As Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace recently pointed out, the administration seems to be following exactly the same script on Iran that it used on Iraq: "The vice president of the United States gives a major speech focused on the threat from an oil-rich nation in the Middle East. The U.S. secretary of state tells Congress that the same nation is our most serious global challenge. The secretary of defense calls that nation the leading supporter of global terrorism. The president blames it for attacks on U.S. troops."

Why might Mr. Bush want another war? For one thing, Mr. Bush, whose presidency is increasingly defined by the quagmire in Iraq, may believe that he can redeem himself with a new Mission Accomplished moment.

And it's not just Mr. Bush's legacy that's at risk. Current polls suggest that the Democrats could take one or both houses of Congress this November, acquiring the ability to launch investigations backed by subpoena power. This could blow the lid off multiple Bush administration scandals. Political analysts openly suggest that an attack on Iran offers Mr. Bush a way to head off this danger, that an appropriately timed military strike could change the domestic political dynamics.

Does this sound far-fetched? It shouldn't. Given the combination of recklessness and dishonesty Mr. Bush displayed in launching the Iraq war, why should we assume that he wouldn't do it again?

Bob Herbert is on vacation.

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Facing Tough Questions, Bush Defends War

JIM RUTENBERG

The New York Times


Published: April 7, 2006

CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 6 — President Bush on Thursday faced some unusually tough — even hostile, in one case — questioning from members of a nonpartisan audience on a swing through North Carolina as part of his campaign to buoy support for the Iraq war.

He, in turn, offered some of his most direct comments about where he contended United States operations in Iraq had gone wrong, saying that perhaps training of Iraqi police officers should have started earlier, that the Iraqi military was initially unprepared for threats from within its borders and that prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib was disgraceful.

Still, Mr. Bush said, "I strongly believe what we're doing is the right thing," and he said he was certain of victory.

The visit here was part of the White House strategy to put Mr. Bush in front of crowds, including those hostile to him, as he tries to reverse sagging support for the war, and his presidency, in a crucial election year for his party in Congress.

But the event on Thursday, a speech about national security before the World Affairs Council of Charlotte, also highlighted the downside for his administration of breaking away from the friendly town hall meetings packed with pre-screened audiences that were a staple of his 2004 re-election campaign.

"While I listen to you talk about freedom, I see you assert your right to tap my telephone, to arrest me and hold me without charges," said a man who later identified himself as Harry Taylor, a 61-year-old commercial real estate broker. Mr. Taylor also said he was a member of the liberal political group Move On, but attended the speech on his own behalf.

Standing on a stage in shirtsleeves, holding a microphone, Mr. Bush drew applause and laughter by chiming in, "I'm not your favorite guy."

Mr. Taylor went on, "What I wanted to say to you is that I — in my lifetime, I have never felt more ashamed of, nor more frightened by my leadership in Washington, including the presidency, by the Senate."

Mr. Bush hushed boos from the audience by saying: "No, wait a sec. Let him speak."

Mr. Taylor continued, "I would hope from time to time that you have the humility and the grace to be ashamed of yourself."

Mr. Bush said he approved a program for eavesdropping without warrants after consulting with Republicans and Democrats in Congress and lawyers, and called it "a decision I made about protecting this country."

"I'm not going to apologize for what I did on the terrorist surveillance program," he said.

He was more reflective when another audience member complimented him for being steadfast but then asked him what came to mind "if you look back and go, 'Maybe I should have done this differently.' "

Referring to abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison, Mr. Bush said, "What took place there and the pictures there just represented everything we didn't stand for." He added: "I wish that could be done over. It was a disgraceful experience."

Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, said the president was not rankled by the tough questions. "The more the American people can understand his thinking and beliefs, the better," Mr. McClellan said. "And he enjoys the give and take of these kinds of formats."

Plenty of the comments were far gentler. One man thanked the president on behalf of an Iraqi friend, for improving her family's life there. A woman told him, "My heroes have always been cowboys."

But the administration is also under increasing pressure to address directly what polls suggest to be growing antiwar sentiment — evidenced by the antiwar protests that Mr. Bush's motorcade passed here and in Bridgeport, Conn., on Wednesday. While the administration has been increasingly acknowledging mistakes, it continues to emphasize that it believes its overall strategic objectives are sound and achievable.

The process has not been altogether smooth. Administration officials also found themselves explaining Thursday what appeared to be a public tiff between Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

On WDAY radio in Fargo, N.D., on Tuesday an interviewer asked Mr. Rumsfeld about Ms. Rice's statement in Liverpool, England, last week that the United States had made "tactical errors, thousands of them," in Iraq, though she said so in the context of saying that the administration's overall strategy would be vindicated by history.

Mr. Rumsfeld said, "I don't know what she was talking about, to be perfectly honest," according to a Defense Department transcript of the interview. He implied that the criticism stemmed from "a lack of understanding of what warfare is all about."

At a briefing at the Pentagon on Thursday he said, "I talked to Condi about that, and she pointed out the transcript where she said she was speaking figuratively, not literally."

Thom Shanker contributed reporting from Washington for this article.

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Five Questions Bush Must Answer

RICHARD S. DUNHAM

BusinessWeek Online


May 20, 2002

If he hopes to dispel doubts about how forthcoming he was after September 11, only the unvarnished, unspun truth will do

Anyone can understand the Bush Administration's sensitivity to suggestions that the President may have had advance warning of possible airplane hijackings by Osama bin Laden's followers.

It seems patently unfair, with the evidence now available, to suggest that Bush could have known that Mideast terrorists would use commercial airliners as megamissiles to target famous symbols of American economic and military might. "It's sad to play upon the emotions of people as if there were something we could have done to stop it," First Lady Laura Bush said on May 17 in Budapest, "because that's just not the case."

With all due respect to the First Family, that's not really what's making Americans feel queasy these last few days. Here's what bothers so many : Nobody in power told the country -- after the fact -- that the National Security Council, the FBI, and the CIA all had picked up credible hints that something strange was going on involving hijack scenarios.

MOUNTING SUSPICIONS According to a May 16 CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll, 68% of Americans think the Administration, in the months since September 11, should have publicly discussed the fact that it had the information prior to the attacks.

It's not that Americans hold President Bush responsible for what happened -- that's a ridiculous thought limited to conspiracy theorists on the political extremes. The problem for the White House is to many Americans, it appears that Bush officials withheld pertinent information from the public because it might have been embarrassing.

To ease public doubts, the Administration needs to be forthcoming -- even contrite, if necessary. The best way to do that isn't to get involved in a political blame game but to respond to some key concerns that have been raised in recent days. Here are five pivotal questions for the White House to answer now :

Who in the Justice Dept. and its FBI unit knew about the memos from the field raising questions about Arabs training in flight schools?

If there's a spectacular failure here, it's with the FBI officials who didn't let top White House officials know of at least two important clues. The most distressing : the July 10 electronic report to FBI headquarters from a Phoenix field agent suggesting that bin Laden was trying to train operatives in American flight schools. According to the Washington Post, the memo outlines links between Mideast terror suspects and an Arizona flight school, and it suggests that the bureau check out other flight schools for information on similar students.

Next was the FBI's nonresponse to a complaint from a Minnesota flight school that one of its Arab students had been interested in learning how to fly a plane but not to land one. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said on May 16 that she hadn't become aware of these reports until "just recently." That's tragic.

If the FBI had passed along the information to the National Security Council last summer, it might have helped Rice and others "connect the dots" and possibly break up the al Qaeda ring before September 11. "Apparently, this was an issue that didn't get very far beyond the middle ranks of the FBI," says Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham (D-Fla.). It's important for the President to find out just how high the blame should go, at the FBI or its parent organization, the Justice Dept.

Why, if Attorney General John Ashcroft stopped flying on commercial aircraft over the summer, did Justice not issue sterner warnings to airlines and the public about threats to commercial aviation?

Rice says the Administration picked up intelligence in June about an increased danger of hijackings by bin Laden's operatives. What followed was a series of Federal Aviation Administration Information Circulars, known in the jargon as ICs.

Rice says because the Administration believed the hijacking threat was primarily a foreign problem, it didn't caution the public about a possible hijacking of a domestic airliner. Still, Senator Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), at a closed-door Capitol Hill briefing with Rice, raised a Fox News report that Attorney General John D. Ashcroft was warned by the FBI in July not to fly commercial. He used leased government aircraft to travel to a summer fishing vacation in Missouri.

The Phoenix memo, the arrest of Minnesota flight-school student Zacarias Moussaoui, and Ashcroft's reported action "point to concerns about commercial domestic aviation, not terrorism and hijacking overseas," Durbin asserts. The Administration needs to tell the public whether Durbin is misguided -- or why he's onto something.

Why did Vice-President Richard Cheney ask congressional leaders not to investigate the events leading up to September 11?

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle says the Vice-President "requested on several occasions that we not have an investigation into this issue." The reason given by Cheney : U.S. should not be diverted from the war against terrorism to look backward. That sentiment was echoed by White House spokesman Ari Fleischer on May 17, when he said "100% attention needed to be on fighting the war" at the time.

Some Democratic partisans say Cheney was trying to shield the Administration from possible criticism by short-circuiting a Hill probe. White House officials say they just wanted to avoid a partisan circus or a blame game like the investigation that followed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Cheney should clear up any doubt as to his motives by openly discussing his concerns, and his reasoning, in as many public venues as possible.

Why did Administration officials keep repeating the mantra "We had no information about specific threats" when some of them were aware of at least nonspecific threats of hijackings?

I know this will rankle some in the White House, but rereading the words of key Administration officials from last September makes the official line back then sound strangely Clintonesque. A day after the terror attacks, Secretary of State Colin Powell told ABC's Good Morning America, "I have not seen any evidence that there was a specific signal we missed." Four days later, Cheney told NBC's Meet the Press that there was "no specific threat involving, really, a domestic operation."

Both statements are accurate because of the use of the word "specific." Now that we know what we know, did the Administration have reason to believe there was a nonspecific threat involving hijackings? If so, why not tell us?

Why did the Administration decide not to tell the public of the information it knew until the story leaked to the press?

Obviously, some Bush official thought the information about the Aug. 6 briefing at the Crawford ranch, where hijacking and bin Laden came up, was either too unimportant or too embarrassing to disclose after the fact. Either way, it's a mistake. The most talented people in public life know this rule of American politics : If you goof, it's best to fess up and just admit it. Fellow Texan Lloyd Bentsen, the longtime senator and former Treasury Secretary, once admitted an error this way : "I'm not known to make many mistakes, but when I do, it's a doozy." Bentsen was quickly forgiven by the voters.

The best thing the President can do is explain to the American people what happened. He can acknowledge, in hindsight, that it might have been better to have been more forthcoming after September 11, but that the crush of events -- the war on terrorism, the hunt for bin Laden, the overthrow of the Taliban -- was more important to deal with immediately. I could be wrong, but I'd bet that the vast majority of Americans would be forgiving, and this whole flap would blow over quickly.

The biggest mistake for the White House would be to create a partisan war over September 11. If Republicans start pointing fingers at Democrats, blaming them for starting this ruckus, questioning their patriotism in wartime, then everybody will lose. Voters don't want Republicans raising money by selling September 11 photos of the President aboard Air Force One. And they don't want Democrats playing "gotcha" politics over possible hijack warnings.

GET TO THE BOTTOM. It's not the style of this White House to admit it's wrong. But it's obvious to a majority of Americans that, in the words of Ronald Reagan, "mistakes were made." By 52% to 41%, according to Gallup, voters say the Administration did not act on the information in the proper way. And by 2-to-1, citizens think the Bush team didn't give airlines as much warning about potential hijackings as it could have.

Like Reagan at the time of the Iran-Contra scandal, President Bush should push to get to the bottom of the situation, then move beyond it. It's in the country's interest to have September 11 remain a unifying date -- not a source of division and discord.

Dunham is a White House correspondent for BusinessWeek's Washington bureau. Follow his views every Monday in Washington Watch, only on BusinessWeek Online.

Edited by Douglas Harbrecht.

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Bush administration on Iraq 9/11

BBC


US President George W Bush has explicitly stated for the first time that there is no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 11 September attacks.

Mr Bush has never directly accused the former Iraqi leader of having a hand in the attacks on New York and Washington, but he has repeatedly associated the two in keynote addresses delivered since 11 September. Senior members of his administration have similarly conflated the two.

A recent opinion poll suggests that 70% of Americans believe the Iraqi leader was personally involved in the attacks.

Despite his stated rejection of any clear link between Saddam Hussein and the events of that day, Mr Bush continues to assert that the deposed president had ties with al-Qaeda, the terrorist network blamed for the 11 September attacks.

BBC News Online looks at some of the remarks made by Mr Bush and members of his administration both in the run-up to war and after hostilities had officially ended.

Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror.

President Bush in his State of the Union address, January 2002. The speech was primarily concerned with how the US was coping in the aftermath of 11 September.

We also must never forget the most vivid events of recent history. On 11 September, 2001, America felt its vulnerability - even to threats that gather on the other side of the earth. We resolved then, and we are resolved today, to confront every threat, from any source, that could bring sudden terror and suffering to America.

President Bush speaking in Cincinnati, Ohio, in October, 2002, in which he laid out the threat he believed Iraq posed.

Before 11 September 2001, many in the world believed that Saddam Hussein could be contained. But chemical agents and lethal viruses and shadowy terrorist networks are not easily contained. Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons, and other plans - this time armed by Saddam Hussein. It would take just one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known.

President Bush in his State of the Union address, January 2003. He made these comments in the context of the links he perceived between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.

The terrorists have lost a sponsor in Iraq. And no terrorist networks will ever gain weapons of mass destruction from Saddam Hussein's regime.

President Bush in his speech to the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, September, 2003.

For America, there will be no going back to the era before 11 September 2001, to false comfort in a dangerous world. We have learned that terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength.

They are invited by the perception of weakness. And the surest way to avoid attacks on our own people is to engage the enemy where he lives and plans.

We are fighting that enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan today so that we do not meet him again on our own streets, in our own cities.

President Bush in a televised address to defend his administration's policy on Iraq, September 2003.

We've learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases. And we know that after 11 September, Saddam Hussein's regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America.

Some citizens wonder, after 11 years of living with this problem, why do we need to confront it now? And there's a reason. We've experienced the horror of 11 September.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell in a presentation to the UN Security Council, setting out the US case against the Iraqi regime, February 2003.

We don't know.

Vice-President Dick Cheney when pressed on whether there was a link between Iraq and 11 September during a TV interview, September 2003.

We will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who've had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11.

Mr Cheney in the same interview, commenting on the war against Iraq.

We've never been able to develop any more of that yet, either in terms of confirming it or discrediting it.

Mr Cheney in the same interview, while recounting the controversial claim that one of the hijackers, Mohammed Atta, met an Iraqi official in Prague before the attacks.

[Saddam Hussein posed a risk in] a region from which the 9/11 threat emerged.

National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice defending the reasons why the US went to war against Iraq, September, 2003.

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Bush rejects Saddam 9/11 link

BBC


Bush delivers his State of the Union address in January 2003

Bush maintains Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda are connected

US President George Bush has said there is no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 11 September attacks.

The comments - among his most explicit so far on the issue - come after a recent opinion poll found that nearly 70% of Americans believed the Iraqi leader was personally involved in the attacks.

Mr Bush did however repeat his belief that the former Iraqi president had ties to al-Qaeda - the group widely regarded as responsible for the attacks on New York and Washington.

Critics of the war on Iraq have accused the US administration of deliberately encouraging public confusion to generate support for military action.

We have no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the 11 September attacks --- President Bush

Looking back at what the administration said

At a time when the credibility of government intelligence and information is under the spotlight, President Bush probably had little choice but to scotch the confusion, says the BBC's Ian Pannell in Washington.

But if the public believes that they were given the wrong impression by the administration, then there may be a political cost involved with the presidential campaign under way, our correspondent says.

Lack of clarity

"We have no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the 11 September attacks," Mr Bush told reporters as he met members of Congress on energy legislation.

Many Americans believe that some of the hijackers were Iraqi - when none were - and that the attacks had been orchestrated by Baghdad, despite any concrete evidence to support that.

This confusion has been partly attributed to, at best a lack of clarity by the administration and at worst, deliberate obfuscation, correspondents say.

As recently as last Sunday, Vice-President Dick Cheney, refused to rule out a link between Iraq and 11 September, saying "'we don't know".

"We will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who've had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11."

Jordanian link

On Wednesday, Mr Bush said Mr Cheney was right about suspicions of a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda, citing the case of Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a leader of an Islamic group in northern Iraq called Ansar al-Islam believed to have links to al-Qaeda.

The US believes Mr Zarqawi received medical treatment in Baghdad and helped to orchestrate the assassination of a US diplomat in Jordan.

And Mr Bush denied there had been any attempt by his administration to try to confuse people about links between Saddam Hussein and 11 September.

"What the vice-president said was is that he [Saddam] has been involved with al-Qaeda.

"And Zarqawi, an al-Qaeda operative, was in Baghdad. He's the guy that ordered the killing of a US diplomat... There's no question that Saddam Hussein had al-Qaeda ties."

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Bush Lies, Media Swallows

Eric Alterman

The Nation


The more things change... Roughly ten years ago, I celebrated the criminal indictment of Elliott Abrams for lying to Congress by writing an Op-Ed in the New York Times on the increasing acceptance of official deception. (I was just starting my dissertation on the topic back then.) The piece got bogged down, however, when an editor refused to allow me even to imply that then-President Bush was also lying to the country. I noted that such reticence made the entire exercise feel a bit absurd. He did not dispute this point but explained that Times policy simply would not allow it. I asked for a compromise. I was offered the following: "Either take it out and a million people will read you tomorrow, or leave it in and send it around to your friends." (It was a better line before e-mail.) Anyway, I took it out, but I think it was the last time I've appeared on that page.

President Bush is a liar. There, I said it, but most of the mainstream media won't.

Liberal pundits Michael Kinsley, Paul Krugman and Richard Cohen have addressed the issue on the Op-Ed pages, but almost all news pages and network broadcasts pretend not to notice. In the one significant effort by a national daily to deal with Bush's consistent pattern of mendacity, the Washington Post's Dana Milbank could not bring himself (or was not allowed) to utter the crucial words. Instead, readers were treated to such complicated linguistic circumlocutions as: Bush's statements represented "embroidering key assertions" and were clearly "dubious, if not wrong." The President's "rhetoric has taken some flights of fancy," he has "taken some liberties," "omitted qualifiers" and "simply outpace[d] the facts." But "Bush lied"? Never.

Ben Bradlee explains, "Even the very best newspapers have never learned how to handle public figures who lie with a straight face. No editor would dare print this version of Nixon's first comments on Watergate for instance. 'The Watergate break-in involved matters of national security, President Nixon told a national TV audience last night, and for that reason he would be unable to comment on the bizarre burglary. That is a lie.'"

Part of the reason is deference to the office and the belief that the American public will not accept a mere reporter calling the President a liar. Part of the reason is the culture of Washington--where it is somehow worse to call a person a liar in public than to be one. A final reason is political. Some reporters are just political activists with columns who prefer useful lies to the truth. For instance, Robert Novak once told me that he "admired" Elliott Abrams for lying to him in a television interview about illegal US acts of war against Nicaragua because he agreed with the cause.

Let us note, moreover, that Bradlee's observation, offered in 1997, did not apply to President Clinton. Reporters were positively eager to call Clinton a liar, although his lies were about private matters about which many of us, including many reporters, lie all the time. "I'd like to be able to tell my children, 'You should tell the truth,'" Stuart Taylor Jr. of the National Journal said on Meet the Press. "I'd like to be able to tell them, 'You should respect the President.' And I'd like to be able to tell them both things at the same time." David Gergen, who had worked for both Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon as well as Clinton and therefore could not claim to be a stranger to official dishonesty, decried what he termed "the deep and searing violation [that] took place when he not only lied to the country, but co-opted his friends and lied to them." Chris Matthews kvetched, "Clinton lies knowing that you know he's lying. It's brutal and it subjugates the person who's being lied to. I resent deeply being constantly lied to." George Will, a frequent apologist for the lies of Reagan and now Bush, went so far as to insist that Clinton's "calculated, sustained lying has involved an extraordinarily corrupting assault on language, which is the uniquely human capacity that makes persuasion, and hence popular government, possible."

George W. Bush does not lie about sex, I suppose--merely about war and peace. Most particularly he has consistently lied about Iraq's nuclear capabilities as well as its missile-delivery capabilities. Take a look at Milbank's gingerly worded page-one October 22 Post story if you doubt me. To cite just two particularly egregious examples, Bush tried to frighten Americans by claiming that Iraq possesses a fleet of unmanned aircraft that could be used "for missions targeting the United States." Previously he insisted that a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency revealed the Iraqis to be "six months away from developing a weapon." Both of these statements are false, but they are working. Nearly three-quarters of Americans surveyed think that Saddam is currently helping Al Qaeda; 71 percent think it is likely he was personally involved in the 9/11 attacks.

What I want to know is why this kind of lying is apparently OK. Isn't it worse to refer "repeatedly to intelligence...that remains largely unverified"--as the Wall Street Journal puts it--in order to trick the nation into war, as Bush and other top US officials have done, than to lie about a blowjob? Isn't it worse to put "pressure...on the intelligence agencies to deliberately slant estimates," as USA Today worded its report? Isn't it more damaging to offer "cooked information," in the words of the CIA's former chief of counterterrorism, when you are asking young men and women to die for your lies? Don't we revile Lyndon Johnson for having done just that with his dishonest Gulf of Tonkin resolution?

Here's Bradlee again: "Just think for a minute how history might have changed if Americans had known then that their leaders felt the war was going to hell in a handbasket. In the next seven years, thousands of American lives and more thousands of Asian lives would have been saved. The country might never have lost faith in its leaders."

Reporters and editors who "protect" their readers and viewers from the truth about Bush's lies are doing the nation--and ultimately George W. Bush--no favors. Take a look at the names at that long black wall on the Mall. Consider the tragic legacy of LBJ's failed presidency. Ask yourself just who is being served when the media allow Bush to lie, repeatedly, with impunity, in order to take the nation into war.

Copyright © 2002 The Nation http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20021125&s=alterma

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Did Bush lie under oath in funeral home case?

Robert Bryce and Anthony York

Salon


Monday, Aug 9, 1999 07:54 ET

An SCI attorney says the Texas governor talked to him about a state agency investigation, contradicting Bush's affidavit in the case.

A sworn affidavit by Texas Gov. George W. Bush insisting he had no discussions about a state investigation into a political contributor's funeral home business has been contradicted by the company's own lawyer.

Bush had been subpoenaed by attorneys for Eliza May, the former executive director of the Texas Funeral Service Commission, which had been investigating Service Corporation International of Houston, the world's largest funeral company, whose chief executive, Robert Waltrip, is a close political ally of the Bush family. May, who was fired in February, is suing SCI, Waltrip and the state of Texas, alleging that Bush and other state officials pressured her agency to stop the investigation.

The Texas governor and front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination sought to avoid testifying in the case by filing an affidavit swearing he "had no conversations with [SCI] officials, agents, or representatives concerning the investigation or any dispute arising from it."

The affidavit also stated that Bush never spoke with the Texas Funeral Service Commission about the investigation, and that Bush had "no personal knowledge of relevant facts of the investigation nor do I have any personal knowledge of relevant facts concerning any dispute arising from this investigation."

But in a forthcoming story by Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff, Johnnie B. Rogers, attorney for SCI, said he and Waltrip met with Bush's chief of staff and campaign manager, Joe Allbaugh, on April 15 to hand deliver a letter demanding an end to the investigation.

Bush stuck his head into the meeting, Rogers told Isikoff, and said, "Hey Bobby, are those people still messing with you?" When Waltrip indicated that they were, Bush asked Rogers, "Hey, Johnnie B. Are you taking care of him?" Rogers replied, "I'm doing my best, Governor."

Rogers' story appears to contradict Bush's statement that he has "had no conversations with SCI officials, agents or representatives" about the state's investigation. Bush press secretary Linda Edwards told Isikoff that Bush and Waltrip had a "brief verbal exchange," though "they did not discuss the case."

May's attorneys believe the controversy should intensify the call for Bush to testify. "Obviously the statement of Johnnie B. Rogers in Newsweek indicates that [Bush] knew more than he's letting on about this case," said May's attorney, Derek Howard. "This is all the more reason to have him deposed."

May's lawsuit alleges she was fired because her department's investigation got too close to discovering illegal embalming practices by SCI. Bush has received $35,000 in campaign contributions since 1996 from SCI's political action committee, and Waltrip is an old friend and benefactor of the Bush family.

A hearing has been set for Aug. 30 in the Travis County Courthouse in Austin to decide if Bush must testify in the case.

The funeral home flap presents the first real test for Bush's high-flying presidential campaign. Earlier stories about his draft status seem to have fallen by the wayside, and the persistent rumors about his rambunctious youth have proven to be nothing more than gossip to date.

But these allegations represent something different. It can't be good news to the Bush campaign that Isikoff, the reporter who first dug up the name Monica Lewinsky, is on the case. The word around Austin is that "60 Minutes" is beginning to get interested in the story.

Meanwhile, the silence out of Austin is deafening. The normally gregarious Rogers has apparently been muzzled, and is not speaking to the media. He told Salon News that all questions about the matter should be referred to SCI spokesman Bill Miller.

Neither Bush's campaign press team nor his gubernatorial press office returned numerous calls seeking comment.

Robert Bryce is the managing editor of Energy Tribune. His latest book is Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of "Energy Independence." More: Robert Bryce

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Key Bush Intelligence Briefing Kept From Hill Panel

Murray Waas

ZNET


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda, according to government records and current and former officials with firsthand knowledge of the matter.

The information was provided to Bush on September 21, 2001 during the "President's Daily Brief," a 30- to 45-minute early-morning national security briefing. Information for PDBs has routinely been derived from electronic intercepts, human agents, and reports from foreign intelligence services, as well as more mundane sources such as news reports and public statements by foreign leaders.

One of the more intriguing things that Bush was told during the briefing was that the few credible reports of contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda involved attempts by Saddam Hussein to monitor the terrorist group. Saddam viewed Al Qaeda as well as other theocratic radical Islamist organizations as a potential threat to his secular regime. At one point, analysts believed, Saddam considered infiltrating the ranks of Al Qaeda with Iraqi nationals or even Iraqi intelligence operatives to learn more about its inner workings, according to records and sources.

The September 21, 2001, briefing was prepared at the request of the president, who was eager in the days following the terrorist attacks to learn all that he could about any possible connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

Much of the contents of the September 21 PDB were later incorporated, albeit in a slightly different form, into a lengthier CIA analysis examining not only Al Qaeda's contacts with Iraq, but also Iraq's support for international terrorism. Although the CIA found scant evidence of collaboration between Iraq and Al Qaeda, the agency reported that it had long since established that Iraq had previously supported the notorious Abu Nidal terrorist organization, and had provided tens of millions of dollars and logistical support to Palestinian groups, including payments to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.

The highly classified CIA assessment was distributed to President Bush, Vice President Cheney, the president's national security adviser and deputy national security adviser, the secretaries and undersecretaries of State and Defense, and various other senior Bush administration policy makers, according to government records.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked the White House for the CIA assessment, the PDB of September 21, 2001, and dozens of other PDBs as part of the committee's ongoing investigation into whether the Bush administration misrepresented intelligence information in the run-up to war with Iraq. The Bush administration has refused to turn over these documents.

Indeed, the existence of the September 21 PDB was not disclosed to the Intelligence Committee until the summer of 2004, according to congressional sources. Both Republicans and Democrats requested then that it be turned over. The administration has refused to provide it, even on a classified basis, and won't say anything more about it other than to acknowledge that it exists.

On November 18, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., said he planned to attach an amendment to the fiscal 2006 intelligence authorization bill that would require the Bush administration to give the Senate and House intelligence committees copies of PDBs for a three-year period. After Democrats and Republicans were unable to agree on language for the amendment, Kennedy said he would delay final action on the matter until Congress returns in December.

The conclusions drawn in the lengthier CIA assessment-which has also been denied to the committee-were strikingly similar to those provided to President Bush in the September 21 PDB, according to records and sources. In the four years since Bush received the briefing, according to highly placed government officials, little evidence has come to light to contradict the CIA's original conclusion that no collaborative relationship existed between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

"What the President was told on September 21," said one former high-level official, "was consistent with everything he has been told since-that the evidence was just not there."

In arguing their case for war with Iraq, the president and vice president said after the September 11 attacks that Al Qaeda and Iraq had significant ties, and they cited the possibility that Iraq might share chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons with Al Qaeda for a terrorist attack against the United States.

Democrats in Congress, as well as other critics of the Bush administration, charge that Bush and Cheney misrepresented and distorted intelligence information to bolster their case for war with Iraq. The president and vice president have insisted that they unknowingly relied on faulty and erroneous intelligence, provided mostly by the CIA.

The new information on the September 21 PDB and the subsequent CIA analysis bears on the question of what the CIA told the president and how the administration used that information as it made its case for war with Iraq.

The central rationale for going to war against Iraq, of course, was that Saddam Hussein had biological and chemical weapons, and that he was pursuing an aggressive program to build nuclear weapons. Despite those claims, no weapons were ever discovered after the war, either by United Nations inspectors or by U.S. military authorities.

Much of the blame for the incorrect information in statements made by the president and other senior administration officials regarding the weapons-of-mass-destruction issue has fallen on the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies.

In April 2004, the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded in a bipartisan report that the CIA's prewar assertion that Saddam's regime was "reconstituting its nuclear weapons program" and "has chemical and biological weapons" were "overstated, or were not supported by the underlying intelligence provided to the Committee."

The Bush administration has cited that report and similar findings by a presidential commission as evidence of massive CIA intelligence failures in assessing Iraq's unconventional-weapons capability.

Bush and Cheney have also recently answered their critics by ascribing partisan motivations to them and saying their criticism has the effect of undermining the war effort. In a speech on November 11, the president made his strongest comments to date on the subject: "Baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will." Since then, he has adopted a different tone, and he said on his way home from Asia on November 21, "This is not an issue of who is a patriot or not."

In his own speech to the American Enterprise Institute yesterday, Cheney also changed tone, saying that "disagreement, argument, and debate are the essence of democracy" and the "sign of a healthy political system." He then added: "Any suggestion that prewar information was distorted, hyped, or fabricated by the leader of the nation is utterly false."

Although the Senate Intelligence Committee and the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, commonly known as the 9/11 commission, pointed to incorrect CIA assessments on the WMD issue, they both also said that, for the most part, the CIA and other agencies did indeed provide policy makers with accurate information regarding the lack of evidence of ties between Al Qaeda and Iraq.

But a comparison of public statements by the president, the vice president, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld show that in the days just before a congressional vote authorizing war, they professed to have been given information from U.S. intelligence assessments showing evidence of an Iraq-Al Qaeda link.

"You can't distinguish between Al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror," President Bush said on September 25, 2002.

The next day, Rumsfeld said, "We have what we consider to be credible evidence that Al Qaeda leaders have sought contacts with Iraq who could help them acquire ... weapons-of-mass-destruction capabilities."

The most explosive of allegations came from Cheney, who said that September 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta, the pilot of the first plane to crash into the World Trade Center, had met in Prague, in the Czech Republic, with a senior Iraqi intelligence agent, Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, five months before the attacks. On December 9, 2001, Cheney said on NBC's Meet the Press: "[I]t's pretty well confirmed that [Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in [the Czech Republic] last April, several months before the attack."

Cheney continued to make the charge, even after he was briefed, according to government records and officials, that both the CIA and the FBI discounted the possibility of such a meeting.

Credit card and phone records appear to demonstrate that Atta was in Virginia Beach, Va., at the time of the alleged meeting, according to law enforcement and intelligence officials. Al-Ani, the Iraqi intelligence official with whom Atta was said to have met in Prague, was later taken into custody by U.S. authorities. He not only denied the report of the meeting with Atta, but said that he was not in Prague at the time of the supposed meeting, according to published reports.

In June 2004, the 9/11 commission concluded: "There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda also occurred after bin Laden had returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship. Two senior bin Laden associates have adamantly denied that any ties existed between Al Qaeda and Iraq. We have no credible evidence that Iraq and Al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States."

Regarding the alleged meeting in Prague, the commission concluded: "We do not believe that such a meeting occurred."

Still, Cheney did not concede the point. "We have never been able to prove that there was a connection to 9/11," Cheney said after the commission announced it could not find significant links between Al Qaeda and Iraq. But the vice president again pointed out the existence of a Czech intelligence service report that Atta and the Iraqi agent had met in Prague. "That's never been proved. But it's never been disproved," Cheney said.

The following month, July 2004, the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded in its review of the CIA's prewar intelligence: "Despite four decades of intelligence reporting on Iraq, there was little useful intelligence collected that helped analysts determine the Iraqi regime's possible links to al-Qaeda."

One reason that Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld made statements that contradicted what they were told in CIA briefings might have been that they were receiving information from another source that purported to have evidence of Al Qaeda-Iraq ties. The information came from a covert intelligence unit set up shortly after the September 11 attacks by then-Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith.

Feith was a protégé of, and intensely loyal to, Cheney, Rumsfeld, then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, and Cheney's then-chief of staff and national security adviser, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby. The secretive unit was set up because Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Libby did not believe the CIA would be able to get to the bottom of the matter of Iraq-Al Qaeda ties. The four men shared a long-standing distrust of the CIA from their earlier positions in government, and felt that the agency had failed massively by not predicting the September 11 attacks.

At first, the Feith-directed unit primarily consisted of two men, former journalist Michael Maloof and David Wurmser, a veteran of neoconservative think tanks. They liked to refer to themselves as the "Iraqi intelligence cell" of the Pentagon. And they took pride in the fact that their office was in an out-of-the-way cipher-locked room, with "charts that rung the room from one end to the other" showing the "interconnections of various terrorist groups" with one another and, most important, with Iraq, Maloof recalled in an interview.

They also had the heady experience of briefing Rumsfeld twice, and Feith more frequently, Maloof said. The vice president's office also showed great interest in their work. On at least three occasions, Maloof said, Samantha Ravich, then-national security adviser for terrorism to Cheney, visited their windowless offices for a briefing.

But neither Maloof nor Wurmser had any experience or formal training in intelligence analysis. Maloof later lost his security clearance, for allegedly failing to disclose a relationship with a woman who is a foreigner, and after allegations that he leaked classified information to the press. Maloof said in the interview that he has done nothing wrong and was simply being punished for his controversial theories. Wurmser has since been named as Cheney's Middle East adviser.

In January 2002, Maloof and Wurmser were succeeded at the intelligence unit by two Naval Reserve officers. Intelligence analysis from the covert unit later served as the basis for many of the erroneous public statements made by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and others regarding the alleged ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda, according to former and current government officials. Intense debates still rage among longtime intelligence and foreign policy professionals as to whether those who cited the information believed it, or used it as propaganda. The unit has since been disbanded.

Earlier this month, on November 14, the Pentagon's inspector general announced an investigation into whether Feith and others associated with the covert intelligence unit engaged in "unauthorized, unlawful, or inappropriate intelligence activities." In a statement, Feith said he is "confident" that investigators will conclude that his "office worked properly and in fact improved the intelligence product by asking good questions."

The Senate Intelligence Committee has also been conducting its own probe of the Pentagon unit. But as was first disclosed by The American Prospect in an article by reporter Laura Rozen, that probe had been hampered by a lack of cooperation from Feith and the Pentagon.

Internal Pentagon records show not only that the small Pentagon unit had the ear of the highest officials in the government, but also that Rumsfeld and others considered the unit as a virtual alternative to intelligence analyses provided by the CIA.

On July 22, 2002, as the run-up to war with Iraq was underway, one of the Naval Reserve officers detailed to the unit sent Feith an e-mail saying that he had just heard that then-Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz wanted "the Iraqi intelligence cell ... to prepare an intel briefing on Iraq and links to al-Qaida for the SecDef" and that he was not to tell anyone about it.

After that briefing was delivered, Wolfowitz sent Feith and other officials a note saying: "This was an excellent briefing. The Secretary was very impressed. He asked us to think about possible next steps to see if we can illuminate the differences between us and CIA. The goal was not to produce a consensus product, but rather to scrub one another's arguments."

On September 16, 2002, two days before the CIA produced a major assessment of Iraq's ties to terrorism, the Naval Reserve officers conducted a briefing for Libby and Stephen J. Hadley, then the deputy national security adviser to President Bush.

In a memorandum to Wolfowitz, Feith wrote: "The briefing went very well and generated further interest from Mr. Hadley and Mr. Libby." Both men, the memo went on, requested follow-up material, most notably a "chronology of Atta's travels," a reference to the discredited allegation of an Atta-Iraqi meeting in Prague.

In their presentation, the naval reserve briefers excluded the fact that the FBI and CIA had developed evidence that the alleged meeting had never taken place, and that even the Czechs had disavowed it.

The Pentagon unit also routinely second-guessed the CIA's highly classified assessments. Regarding one report titled "Iraq and al-Qaeda: Interpreting a Murky Relationship," one of the Naval Reserve officers wrote: "The report provides evidence from numerous intelligence sources over the course of a decade on interactions between Iraq and al-Qaida. In this regard, the report is excellent. Then in its interpretation of this information, CIA attempts to discredit, dismiss, or downgrade much of this reporting, resulting in inconsistent conclusions in many instances. Therefore, the CIA report should be read for content only-and CIA's interpretation ought to be ignored."

This same antipathy toward the CIA led to the events that are the basis of Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation of the leak of CIA officer Valerie Plame's identity, according to several former and current senior officials.

Ironically, the Plame affair's origins had its roots in Cheney and Libby's interest in reports that Saddam Hussein had tried to purchase uranium yellowcake from Niger to build a nuclear weapon. After reading a Pentagon report on the matter in early February 2002, Cheney asked the CIA officer who provided him with a national security briefing each morning if he could find out about it.

Without Cheney's knowledge, his query led to the CIA-sanctioned trip to Niger by former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, Plame's husband, to investigate the allegations. Wilson reported back to the CIA that the allegations were most likely not true.

Despite that conclusion, President Bush, in his State of the Union address in 2003, included the Niger allegation in making the case to go to war with Iraq. In July 2003, after the war had begun, Wilson publicly charged that the Bush administration had "twisted" the intelligence information to make the case to go to war.

Libby and Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove told reporters that Wilson's had been sent to Niger on the recommendation of his wife, Plame. In the process, the leaks led to the unmasking of Plame, the appointment of Fitzgerald, the jailing of a New York Times reporter for 85 days, and a federal grand jury indictment of Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice for allegedly attempting to conceal his role in leaking Plame's name to the press.

The Plame affair was not so much a reflection of any personal animus toward Wilson or Plame, says one former senior administration official who knows most of the principals involved, but rather the direct result of long-standing antipathy toward the CIA by Cheney, Libby, and others involved. They viewed Wilson's outspoken criticism of the Bush administration as an indirect attack by the spy agency.

Those grievances were also perhaps illustrated by comments that Vice President Cheney himself wrote on one of Feith's reports detailing purported evidence of links between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. In barely legible handwriting, Cheney wrote in the margin of the report:

"This is very good indeed ... Encouraging ... Not like the crap we are all so used to getting out of CIA."

-- Murray Waas is a Washington-based writer and frequent contributor to National Journal. Several of his previous stories are also available online.

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Iraq had no WMD: the final verdict

Julian Borger in Washington

guardian.co.uk


The Guardian, Saturday 18 September 2004 01.28 BST

The comprehensive 15-month search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has concluded that the only chemical or biological agents that Saddam Hussein's regime was working on before last year's invasion were small quantities of poisons, most likely for use in assassinations.

A draft of the Iraq Survey Group's final report circulating in Washington found no sign of the alleged illegal stockpiles that the US and Britain presented as the justification for going to war, nor did it find any evidence of efforts to reconstitute Iraq's nuclear weapons programme.

It also appears to play down an interim report which suggested there was evidence that Iraq was developing "test amounts" of ricin for use in weapons. Instead, the ISG report says in its conclusion that there was evidence to suggest the Iraqi regime planned to restart its illegal weapons programmes if UN sanctions were lifted.

Charles Duelfer, the head of the ISG, has said he intends to deliver his final report by the end of the month. It is likely to become a heated issue in the election campaign.

President George Bush now admits that stockpiles have not been found in Iraq but claimed as recently as Thursday that "Saddam Hussein had the capability of making weapons, and he could have passed that capability on to the enemy".

The draft Duelfer report, according to the New York Times, finds no evidence of a capability, but only of an intention to rebuild that capability once the UN embargo had been removed and Iraq was no longer the target of intense international scrutiny.

The finding adds weight to Mr Bush's assertions on the long-term danger posed by the former Iraqi leader, but it also suggests that, contrary to the administration's claims, diplomacy and containment were working prior to the invasion.

The draft report was handed to British, US and Australian experts at a meeting in London earlier this month, according to the New York Times. It largely confirms the findings of Mr Duelfer's predecessor, David Kay, who concluded "we were almost all wrong" in thinking Saddam had stockpiled weapons. The Duelfer report goes into greater detail.

Mr Kay's earlier findings mentioned the existence of a network of laboratories run by the Iraqi intelligence service, and suggested that the regime could be producing "test amounts" of chemical weapons and researching the use of ricin in weapons.

Subsequent inspections of the clandestine labs, under Mr Duelfer's leadership, found they were capable of producing small quantities of lethal chemical and biological agents, more useful for assassinations of individuals than for inflicting mass casualties.

Mr Duelfer, according to the draft, does not exclude the possibility that some weapons materials could have been smuggled out of Iraq before the war, a possibility raised by the administration and its supporters. However, the report apparently produces no significant evidence to support the claim. Nor does it find any evidence of any action by the Saddam regime to convert dual-use industrial equipment to weapons production.

"I think we know exactly how this is going to play out," said Joseph Cirincione, a proliferation expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"You'll see a very elaborate spin operation. But there's not much new here from what the ISG reported before," he said. "There are still no weapons, no production of weapons and no programmes to begin the production of weapons. What we're left with here is that Saddam Hussein might have had the desire to rebuild the capability to build those weapons."

"Well, lots of people have desire for these weapons. Lots of people have intent. But that's not what we went to war for."

The motives for war, meanwhile, came under fresh scrutiny last night as the Telegraph reported that Tony Blair was warned in Foreign Office papers a year before the invasion of the scale of dealing with a post-Saddam Iraq.

The Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, Sir Menzies Campbell, said that if authenticated, the papers "demonstrate that the government agreed with the Bush administration on regime change in Iraq more than a year before military action was taken".

Mr Duelfer, who is reported to still be in Baghdad, did not respond to a request for an interview on the question of WMD yesterday.

Earlier this year, he told the Guardian that he expected his report would leave "some unanswered questions".

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Bush Misled America about the Threat from Iraq

impeachbush.tv


See also this analysis of the fraud by retired federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega.

Why did we invade Iraq? Was it because, as the White House claimed, Saddam Hussein was an immediate and serious threat to America. Or did Bush mislead the public, the Congress and the UN by consistently overstating this threat.

Bush claims he was forced to to invade Iraq as a last resort. But Bush wanted to invade Iraq from the very beginning of his presidency. Many of his team came from the PNAC, a thinktank which urged the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and pointed out the need for a "new Pearl Harbor". “From the very first instance, it was about Iraq. It was about what we can do to change this regime,” says Ron Suskind. “Day one, these things were laid and sealed.”

This is not a situation where Bush said ten things and one of them was wrong. Basically everything Bush said about the threat from Iraq was false. He had no solid evidence of any threat but still led us into this deadly and costly war. Here are the main lies about the threat from Iraq given by Bush and Cheney:

Lie #1 - Uranium from Niger - Bush said "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." in his State of the Union Address. The documents supporting that statement were forged.

Lie #2 - Iraq and 9/11 - Bush led people to believe that Iraq was involved with 9/11 by repeatedly linking them in his speeches. This was so effective that at one point 70% of Americans actually believed Saddam was behind 9/11. Bush has since admitted that this was not true.

Lie #3 - Congress Knew - Bush has stated that Congress had access to all the same information that the White House had. Thus he should not be blamed for making the mistake of going to war. But Bush was briefed many times about the falsehood of various stories and this information never reached Congress. [ZNet]

Lie #4 - Aluminum Tubes - Bush, Cheney, Rice and Powell said that some aluminum tubes Iraq attempted to buy were intended for use in a uranium centrifuge to create nuclear weapons. These were the only physical evidence he had against Iraq. But it turns out this evidence had been rejected by the Department of Energy and other intelligence agencies long before Bush used them in his speeches. [NYTimes] --- [MotherJones] --- [CNN]

Lie #5 - Iraq and Al Qaeda - Bush still insists that there was a "relationship" between Iraq and Al Qaeda. But the 9/11 Commission released a report saying, among other things, that there was no "collaborative relationship" between Al Qaeda and Iraq. The nature of the relationship seems to be that Al Qaeda asked for help and Iraq refused. Al Qaeda was opposed to Saddam Hussein because Saddam led a secular government instead of an Islamic government. [ZNet] --- [CNN] On 9/8/06 a Senate panel reported there was no relationship. [ABC]

Lie #6 - Weapons of Mass Destruction - Bush insisted that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction but his "evidence" consisted mostly of forged documents, plagiarized student papers, and vague satellite photos. The United Nations was on the ground in Iraq and could find nothing. After extensive searches Bush was finally forced to admit that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction.

Lie #7 - Mobile Weapons Labs - Bush and his team repeatedly claimed that Iraq possessed mobile weapons labs capable of producing anthrax. Colin Powell showed diagrams of them at his speech before the UN to justify invading Iraq. These claims originated from Curveball, a discredited Iraqi informer who fed Bush many of the stories related to WMD. On May 29, 2003, two small trailers matching the description were found in Iraq. A team of bio-weapons experts examined the trailers and concluded they were simply designed to produce hydrogen for weather balloons. But, for over a year, Bush claimed these were part of Iraq's bio-weapons program. The expert's report was suppressed and only recently made public. [WashPost] --- [ABC]

Bush wanted so much to convince people of the need to invade Iraq that the White House set up a secret team in the Pentagon to create evidence. The Office of Special Plans routinely rewrote the CIA's intelligence estimates on Iraq's weapons programs, removing caveats such as "likely," "probably" and "may" as a way of depicting the country as an imminent threat. They also used unreliable sources to create reports that ultimately proved to be false. [Mother Jones] --- [New Yorker] --- [Wikipedia]

By lying to Congress, Bush violated US Laws related to Fraud and False Statements, Title 18, Chapter 47, Section 1001 and Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, Title 18, Chapter 19, Section 371.

Resources

1. "Inquiry into the Decision to Invade Iraq" by the Cooperative History Research Commons (Excellent!)
2. Chronology of Illegal War on impeachforpeace.org
3. "Timeline for Iraq War" on Mother Jones
4. Timeline of Iraq Lies by Jodin Morey
5. Senate Intelligence Committee Reports from September 8, 2006
6. "Postwar Findings about Iraq's WMD and Links to Terrorism and How They Compare to Prewar Assessments" (PDF 6.9 MB)
7. "The Use by the Intelligence COmmunity of Intelligence Provided by the Iraqi National Congress" (PDF 9.3 MB)
8. "Key Judgments" from Rockefeller website
9. CBS News Report
10. "IraqOnTheRecord" - database of 237 lies by administration officials about Iraq, compiled by Congressman Henry Waxman. http://democrats.reform.house.gov/IraqOnTheRecord
11. 'CONSPIRACY TO DEFRAUD THE UNITED STATES: Misrepresenting the Truth in Order to Sell a War is A “High Crime”' by Elizabeth de la Vega
12. "Ex-CIA official: Bush administration misused Iraq intelligence", statements by Paul R. Pillar, CNN, 2/10/06
13. "Bush and Iraq: Mass Media, Mass Ignorance" by Jeff Cohen
14. List of Lies and News Links from BuzzFlash
15. "Key Bush Intelligence Briefing Kept From Hill Panel" 11/23/05, by Murray Waas
16. Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud United States - Title 18, Chapter 19, Section 371
17. Fraud and False Statements - Title 18, Chapter 47, Section 1001
18. Disarm Saddam Hussein, the White House's own summary of lies about Iraq.
19. "U.S. 'Almost All Wrong' on Weapons Report on Iraq Contradicts Bush Administration Claims" By Dana Priest and Walter Pincus Washington Post Staff Writers, 10/7/04

Top


Bush Lies

Richard's Reflections


January 27, 2004

(updated Feb 5 with "imminent threat" quotes)
(updated Feb 10 with quotes from Meet the Press interview)
(updated Apr 9 with health care quotes)

Others have listed White House lies. I concentrate here on the lies that have come directly from the mouth of George W. Bush. Even more of these can be found at this House Appropriations Committee Democratic Caucus site.

I specifically try to restrict this list to lies rather than broken and unfulfilled promises.

An unfulfilled promise is one that you have not fulfilled yet. You might still intend to fulfill it, or you might have honestly abandoned it in the face of overwhelming opposition. It is almost impossible that a candidate for any office other than dictator will make some promises that can't be fulfilled. It is prudent not to promise what you know you can't deliver, but a few of these unfulfilled promises are to be expected.

A broken promise is one for which you have done the opposite or which you have abandoned despite a real opportunity to accomplish the promised goal.

The President has plenty of broken and unfulfilled promises, and a long line of excuses to go with them. Here, though, I want to concentrate on the lies. It is hard to find an excuse for a lie.

A lie is a statement that you know is false or which you should know is false. It can be a promise that you never intend to keep, though it is hard to really show intent. It may not have to do with a promise at all, being instead an incorrect statement of facts that you know is wrong.

Here are some Mr. Bush's lies. When he lies so much, how can anyone ever again believe anything he says?

On the military

8/3/2000 --- What Mr. Bush said
In his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, he said, "if called on by the commander in chief today, two entire divisions of the Army would have to report, 'Not ready for duty, sir.'"

The truth
The next day, the Army released a statement saying, "all active Army divisions are reporting that they are fully prepared to conduct their wartime mission assignments as established." Hugh Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, responded, "As of today our army divisions are ready, and ready to carry out the missions that are demanded by our war plans." Defense Secretary and Republican Ex-Senator William Cohen said, "We have the finest, the best-led, the best-equipped, the best-educated, the finest fighting force in the history of the world. We have that today."

CNN reported that "the Pentagon said the rating [of the two divisions] did not reflect the combat-readiness of the divisions, but the fact that they were already deployed on peacekeeping missions in the Balkans." In other words, they were not prepared to take on new duties only because they were already on duty.

The Bush campaign's senior defense policy advisor Richard Armitage admitted that Mr. Bush's claim was not true. In Congressional testimony, Armitage admitted: "Senator, those two divisions, I believe are ready for duty... We're delighted that those units are combat ready for C-1 -- that is their wartime mission -- couldn't be more happy."

The Army admirably proved itself to be ready months after Mr. Bush took office in their response to 9/11.

On al Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks

5/1/2003 --- What Mr. Bush said
"And as of tonight nearly one half of al Qaeda's senior operatives have been captured or killed," Mr. Bush said on the USS Lincoln.

The truth
Of the 22 most wanted terrorists listed by the FBI after the 9/11 attack, only one has been located.

10/14/2002 --- What Mr. Bush said
"There is a connection between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein," said Mr. Bush on the South Lawn of the White House.

10/15/2002 --- What Mr. Bush said
"This is a man who we know has had connections with al Qaeda," said Mr. Bush of Saddam Hussein at a fundraiser in Michigan.

1/28/2003 --- What Mr. Bush said
In the 2003 State of the Union Address, Mr. Bush told Congress, "Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda."

5/1/2003 --- What Mr. Bush said
With the "liberation of Iraq... we have removed an ally of al Qaeda," Mr. Bush told the crew of the USS Lincoln.

The truth
The Joint Congressional Committee on September 11th Report concluded that there is no link between Iraq and Al Qaeda. No evidence of Hussein and al Qaeda working together has been found. In fact, former Senator Cleland says that the White House delayed release of the Congressional report before the War which would have questioned Mr. Bush's claim. The White House admits that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

9/16/2001 --- What Mr. Bush said
"Never did anybody's thought process about how to protect America did we ever think that the evil-doers would fly not one, but four commercial aircraft into precious U.S. targets - never."

The truth
On 8/16/2001, Mr. Bush received a daily briefing memo that is said by the Washington Post to have warned that al Qaeda was determined to attack the U.S. and planned to use hijacked planes in the attack. According to the Observer, a UK magazine, other intelligence and FBI reports gathered from the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center specified that al Qaeda was out to hit the Pentagon and White House using crashed planes packed with high explosives.

On Iraq

2/8/2004 --- What Mr. Bush said
In a Meet the Press interview, he said, "The international community thought [Hussein] had weapons."

The truth
The IAEA and U.N. both repeatedly told the Administration it had no evidence that Iraq possessed WMD. On 2/15/2003, the IAEA said that, "We have to date found no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear-related activities in Iraq." On 3/7/2003, IAEA Director Mohamed El Baradei said nuclear experts have found "no indication" that Iraq has tried to import high-strength aluminum tubes for centrifuge enrichment of uranium. AP reported that "U.N. weapons inspectors have not found any 'smoking guns' in Iraq during their search for weapons WMD." AP also reported, "U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said his teams have not uncovered any WMD."

2/8/2004 --- What Mr. Bush said
In a Meet the Press interview, he said, "I went to Congress with the same intelligence. Congress saw the same intelligence I had, and they looked at exactly what I looked at."

The truth
Congress was outraged when they learned that the information they were given by the White House was incomplete.

Sen. Nelson (D-PA) said on the Senate floor, "I want to take this occasion to inform the Senate of specific information that I was given, which turns out not to be true." Among other things, he says, "I was looked at straight in the face and told that UAVs could be launched from ships off the Atlantic coast to attack eastern seaboard cities of the United States." He states, "I am upset that the degree of specificity I was given a year and a half ago, prior to my vote, was not only inaccurate; it was patently false."

He complains, "Now, what I have found after the fact -- and I presented this to Dr. Kay this morning in the Senate Armed Services Committee -- is there was a vigorous dispute within the intelligence community as to what the CIA had concluded was accurate about those UAVs and about their ability to be used elsewhere outside of Iraq. Not only was it in vigorous dispute, there was an outright denial that the information was accurate. That was all within the intelligence community. But I didn't find that out before my vote. I wasn't told that. I wasn't told that there was a vigorous debate going on as to whether or not that was accurate information. I was given that information as if it were fact, and any reasonable person then would logically conclude that the interests of the United States and its people were in immediate jeopardy and peril. That has turned out not to be true."

The New Republic reported, "Senators were outraged to find that intelligence info given to them omitted the qualifications and countervailing evidence that had characterized the classified version and played up the claims that strengthened the administration's case for war." According to Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA), many House members were only convinced to support the war after the Administration "showed them a photograph of a small, unmanned airplane spraying a liquid in what appeared to be a test for delivering chemical and biological agents," despite the U.S. Air Force telling the Administration it "sharply disputed the notion that Iraq's UAVs were being designed as attack weapons."

2/8/2004 --- What Mr. Bush said
When Tim Russert asserted, "You gave the clear sense that this was an immediate threat that must be dealt with," the President objected, saying, "I think, if I might remind you that in my language I called it a grave and gathering threat, but I don't want to get into word contests."

The truth
On 9/13/2002, the President said, "[Hussein]'s a threat that we must deal with as quickly as possible." He said, "It's in our national interests that we do so" and "that's essential for the security of the world." He said we must have a deadline of "days and weeks, not months and years."

On 10/2/2002 he said, "The Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency."

On 11/23/2002, he said there was a "unique and urgent threat posed by Iraq."

2/8/2004 --- What Mr. Bush said
In a Meet the Press interview, he said, "They could have been destroyed during the war. Saddam and his henchmen could have destroyed them as we entered into Iraq. They could be hidden. They could have been transported to another country, and we'll find out."

The truth
Weapons Inspector David Kay concluded, "Multiple sources with varied access and reliability have told ISG that Iraq did not have a large, ongoing, centrally controlled CW program after 1991. Information found to date suggests that Iraq's large-scale capability to develop, produce and fill new CW munitions was reduced - if not entirely destroyed - during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Fox, 13 years of U.N. sanctions and U.N. inspections."

2/8/2004 --- What Mr. Bush said
In a Meet the Press interview, he said, "How about the fact that we are now increasing jobs or the fact that unemployment is now down to 5.6 percent? There was a winter recession and unemployment went up, and now it's heading in the right direction."

The truth
Jobs are being created at a rate less than population growth. The percent of people with jobs thus is continuing to decrease. This most certainly is not the right direction.

1/20/2004 --- What Mr. Bush said
In the 2004 State of the Union Address, Mr. Bush told Congress, "Already, the Kay Report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations. Had we failed to act, the dictatator's [sic -- from the White House web site] weapons of mass destruction programs would continue to this day."

The truth
David Kay replied, "I don't think they existed." He said, "What everyone was talking about is stockpiles produced after the end of the last (1991) Gulf War, and I don't think there was a large-scale production program in the nineties."

1/20/2004 --- What Mr. Bush said
In the 2004 State of the Union Address, Mr. Bush told Congress, "the people of Iraq are free."

The truth
How can they be free when they are occupied by a foreign army that prohibits them from holding elections?

1/28/2003 --- What Mr. Bush said
In the 2003 State of the Union Address, Mr. Bush told Congress, "Saddam Hussein had biological weapons sufficient to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax."

The truth
No such weapons have been found.

1/28/2003 --- What Mr. Bush said
In the 2003 State of the Union Address, Mr. Bush told Congress, "Saddam Hussein had materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin."

The truth
No such weapons have been found.

1/28/2003 --- What Mr. Bush said
In the 2003 State of the Union Address, Mr. Bush told Congress, "Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent."

The truth
No such material has been found. Two months earlier, the CIA concluded that there was "no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons."

1/28/2003 --- What Mr. Bush said
In the 2003 State of the Union Address, Mr. Bush told Congress, "Saddam Hussein had upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents."

The truth
No such weapons have been found.

1/28/2003 --- What Mr. Bush said
In the 2003 State of the Union Address, Mr. Bush told Congress, "we know that Iraq... had several mobile biological weapons labs."

The truth
No such labs have been found.

1/28/2003 --- What Mr. Bush said
In the 2003 State of the Union Address, Mr. Bush told Congress, "Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production."

The truth
Months before, on 9/19/2002, The Washington Post had reported that leading scientists and former weapons inspectors had determined that the tubes were not suitable for nuclear use and probably were intended for artillery rockets that Iraq was allowed to produce.

1/28/2003 --- What Mr. Bush said
In the 2003 State of the Union Address, Mr. Bush told Congress, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

The truth
We now know that the White House had been informed that this was erroneous before Mr. Bush said this. He did not just make a neutral statement that the British government claimed this to be the case. By saying they "learned" it, he implied that the US government believed it to be factual. The US Government knew at the time Mr. Bush said this that it was false, and the CIA had previously warned Mr. Bush not to use it in a speech.

1/28/2003 --- What Mr. Bush said
The White House now tries to cover up these apparent lies with revisionist claims that elimination of WMD was not the reason Mr. Bush went to war.

The truth
Yet Mr. Bush testified to Congress, "But let there be no misunderstanding: If Saddam Hussein does not fully disarm, for the safety of our people and for the peace of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him."

10/7/2002 --- What Mr. Bush said
The President told a television audience, "We've also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas."

The truth
No such vehicles have been found.

5/31/2003 --- What Mr. Bush said
"We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories," Mr. Bush told Polish TV according to the Associated Press.

The truth
Experts believe the mobile labs were for producing hydrogen for artillery balloons. The U.S. military has similar mobile facilities built out of Humvees.

7/14/2003 --- What Mr. Bush said
Mr. Bush told reporters, "We gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in."

The truth
The inspectors went in. They were kicked out when Mr. Bush went to war. It was then Mr. Bush himself who refused to allow UN inspectors to return after the war.

9/13/2002 --- What Mr. Bush said
Mr. Bush told reporters that it was essential to world security that we act immediately on Iraq. He said, "Well, there will be deadlines within the resolution. Our chief negotiator for the United States, our Secretary of State, understands that we must have deadlines. And we're talking days and weeks, not months and years. And that's essential for the security of the world."

He added that it was also critical to our national interests to act as quickly as possible: "My answer to the Congress is, they need to debate this issue and consult with us, and get the issue done as quickly as possible. It's in our national interests that we do so. I don't imagine Saddam Hussein sitting around, saying, gosh, I think I'm going to wait for some resolution. He's a threat that we must deal with as quickly as possible."

10/7/2002 --- What Mr. Bush said
The President told a television audience, "The danger is already significant." He added, "Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists."

The truth
CIA Director Tenet told Congress that CIA analysts "never said there was an imminent threat."

On the economy and the budget

3/27/2001 --- What Mr. Bush said
"We can proceed with tax relief without fear of budget deficits, even if the economy softens." [Bush Remarks at Western Michigan University]

The truth
Al Gore certainly predicted the perils of the Bush tax cut many months before this statement.

Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan warned about the tax cut. He told Congress two months earlier (in his wonderful technospeak), "the risk of adverse movements in receipts is still real, and the probability of dropping back into deficit as a consequence of imprudent fiscal policies is not negligible." While suggesting that it is better that "surpluses be lowered by tax reductions than by spending increases," he warned, "In recognition of the uncertainties in the economic and budget outlook, it is important that any long-term tax plan, or spending initiative for that matter, be phased in." He concluded his testimony with, "We need to resist those policies that could readily resurrect the deficits of the past and the fiscal imbalances that followed in their wake."

Bush should have known that a deficit would be the result of his plan, as so many of us did. He disregarded that out of his greed. He failed to phase it in slowly and to include automatic limits in case surplus and debt targets were not achieved, as recommended by Mr. Greenspan. He claimed that very simple arithmetic was "fuzzy math." This was a lie.

The end result certainly is clear. A record $374 billion deficit last year. Next year is expected to be much bigger, exceeding $500 billion, according to the White House, or $600 billion, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. It may double the pre-G.W.Bush record. The old record of $290 billion had been set by G.H.W.Bush in 1992.

9/16/2002 --- What Mr. Bush said
"One of the ways we've got to make sure that we keep our economy strong is to be wise about how we spend our money. If you overspend, it creates a fundamental weakness in the foundation of economic growth. And so I'm working with Congress to make sure they hear the message -- the message of fiscal responsibility."

The truth
It was certainly known at the time he said this that we were facing a big deficit. Shortly after this, Mr. Bush proposed a budget that spends $300 billion more than it brings in, and that is just the first year.

6/7/2002 --- What Mr. Bush said
(and on a dozen other occasions) "I remember campaigning in Chicago and one of the reporters said, 'Would you ever deficit spend?' I said, 'only -- only -- in times of war in time of economic insecurity as a result of a recession, or in times of national emergency.' Never did I dream we'd have a trifecta." [emphasis added]

The truth
This is both a lie and plaguerism.

It is a lie because Mr. Bush never said it.

It is plaguerism because it was Al Gore in Detroit who actually said this. He said, "barring economic reversal, a national emergency, or a foreign crisis, we should balance the budget this year, next year, and every year." [emphasis added]

On taxes

10/11/2000 --- What Mr. Bush said
In the second debate with Al Gore, Mr. Bush said that with his tax plan, "by far the vast majority of the help goes to the people at the bottom end of the economic ladder."

The truth
If the "bottom end" is the bottom 60%, then they get less than 15% of the tax cuts, certainly nothing like a majority much less a vast majority.

On the environment

3/13/2001 --- What Mr. Bush said
Mr. Bush wrote to members of Congress that "carbon dioxide... is not a 'pollutant" under the Clean Air Act."

The truth
At the time Mr. Bush wrote this, the most recent rulings by two different EPA General Counsels had stated that carbon dioxide is a pollutant that must be regulated.

The law on this is actually quite clear. Here are some quotes from the Clean Air Act:

  • 42 USC 7412(a) says that "The term 'hazardous air pollutant' means any air pollutant listed pursuant to subsection (b) of this section."
  • 42 USC 7412(b) says the EPA Administrator must add "pollutants which present, or may present, ... a threat of ... adverse environmental effects whether through ambient concentrations ... or otherwise"
  • 42 USC 7412(a) also says that "The term 'adverse environmental effect' means any significant and widespread adverse effect, which may reasonably be anticipated, to wildlife, aquatic life, or other natural resources, including adverse impacts on populations of endangered or threatened species or significant degradation of environmental quality over broad areas."
  • 42 USC 7602 says that "All language referring to effects on welfare includes... effects on ... climate."
  • 42 USC 7408 requires the Administrator to create air quality standards for air pollutants "emissions of which, in his judgment, cause or contribute to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare." [emphasis added]

Since Congress wrote "which present, or may present," it is clear they did not intend strict proof to be required. The anticipated danger of carbon dioxide comes from ambient concentrations. The description of "adverse environmental effect" could not match global warming theory any better. Since carbon dioxide is thus a hazardous air pollutant that endangers climate and thus welfare, air quality standards for carbon dioxide must be created.

On health care

08/09/2001and 08/11/2001 --- What Mr. Bush said
In two separate addresses, Mr. Bush made the identical statement, "As a result of private research, more than 60 genetically diverse stem cell lines already exist."

The truth
Scientists at the time were astronished to hear such a claim. Only about 10 lines were then available for research. Even 2 and a half years later, there are only 15 available, and some of those may be unusable due to genetic damage, according to the NIH. The NIH says in the "best case scenario," there could eventually be 23. This is not enough to represent the diversity of the human race. A species with only 23 genetic lines would be seriously endangered.

10/17/2000 --- What Mr. Bush said
In the third debate with Al Gore, Mr. Bush said, "As a matter of fact, I brought Republicans and Democrats together to do just that in the state of Texas, to get a patients' bill of rights through."

The truth
In 1995 Governor Bush vetoed the Texas Patients' Bill of Rights and in 1997 threatened to do so again. It became law without his signature when the bill's support was strong enough to withstand a veto.

On his criminal record

1998 --- What Mr. Bush said
"Asked whether he had been arrested on anything 'after 1968,' the governor replied, 'No.' [Dallas Morning News]

The truth
Mr. Bush has now admitted to an arrest and conviction in 1976 for drunk driving. 11/3/2000 Concerning his drunk driving case, Mr. Bush told a press conference, "No, there was no court. I went to the police station."

The truth
Court documents show a hearing on Mr. Bush's drunk driving conviction. He paid a fine, and his license was suspended. 6/23/2000 Regarding his 1972 National Guard service in Alabama, "I was there on a temporary assignment and fulfilled my weekends at one period of time," Bush told a news conference. "I made up some missed weekends."

The truth
His orders, dated Sept. 15, 1972, said: "Lieutenant Bush should report to Lt. Col. William Turnipseed, DCO, to perform equivalent training." Turnipseed said, "To my knowledge, he never showed up... Had he reported in, I would have had some recall, and I do not... I had been in Texas, done my flight training there. If we had had a first lieutenant from Texas, I would have remembered." No records or eyewitnesses have been found to corroborate Mr. Bush's story despite extensive searching by the Bush campaign and news media. You would think someone would remember meeting the son of our Ambassador to the U.N.

Richard M. Mathews
e-mail : richard@alumni.caltech.edu

More of Richard's Reflections

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Lies, Fraud and Deception to Promote War in Iraq

realchange.org


Don't buy the Bush spin that the lies about Iraq are only "16 words" -- the administration lied, deceived or committed outright fraud about every single point they used to justify invading Iraq (except to say that Saddam was an evil man.)

The "16 words" spin reveals just how shameless their lies are. Short lies don't matter? Well, Clinton got impeached for just 8 words -- "I did not have sex with that woman." Even by that ridiculous standard, Bush is twice as big a liar as Bill Clinton.

The uranium allegation (the "16 words") is famous because the fraud is so obvious. That charge, which Bush stated directly in his State of the Union speech, was based on blatantly forged documents -- one purported to be from a Niger official, to himself. The Bush Administration knew they were forged. They had been told several times that the charges were false, including by our own CIA and State Department. Bush and his top aides fought to put the words back in his speech, using weaselly phrasing -- Defense Secretary Rumsfeld has actually argued that the statement wasn't a lie because Bush didn't SAY Iraq did try to buy uranium, he just said "British intelligence HAS LEARNED that they tried to buy uranium." Once again, Bush imitates Clinton, arguing about what the meaning of "is" is.

Before considering each of the dozens of individual deceptions, lies and misleading statements that Bush and his aides used to push the US into war in Iraq, let's not lose track of the big picture. The Bush administration justified war, immediate war, because alleged weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Those weapons do not exist. They have not existed for years. The Bush adminstration knew this, because a top Iraqi defector told us this over 4 years ago, but they kept that information secret. And weapons of mass destruction were not the reason the Bush administration wanted to invade Iraq. Top officials have even admitted this, saying flat out that they had other reasons but chose WMD because it was the most effective argument politicially.

There were many other deceptive charges by the Bush administration -- about unmanned drones, orders to use chemical weapons, aluminum tubes, links between Iraq and Al Qaeda, etc. But don't forget the big picture. The Bush administration knew that there were no WMD in Iraq. They deliberately and consistently lied to the American people about this, to justify war in Iraq. And 300 US soldiers have died as a result.

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Bush Lied to the American People about 9/11 Terrorists' Motives

representativepress.org


Bush's lie hides from many Americans the fact that we were attacked by Al-Qaeda because of specific foreign polices and not because we are the"brightest beacon of freedom and opportunity"

We don't deserve to be lied to. What Bush lied about was WHY WE WERE TARGETED. The day after the worst terrorist attack in American history, President Bush addressed the nation. Those looking for an explanation for why the terrorists attacked America got only a lie. Bush claimed, "America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world." But the truth was revealed in the FBI’s statement to Congress and bin Laden’s own words: Opposition to U.S. military forces in the Persian gulf area, most notably Saudi Arabia, U.S. support of corrupt Middle Eastern countries, U.S. support for Israel’s brutal occupation and the ongoing assault on civilians in Iraq.

The FBI testified clearly that Al-Qeada had specific goals. "One of the primary goals of Sunni extremists is the removal of U.S. military forces from the Persian gulf area, most notably Saudi Arabia." - The Terrorist Threat Confronting the United States The FBI made it clear that the terrorism was done "in order to overthrow all governments[in Muslim lands, check what Osama and Richard Reid have actually said] which are not ruled by Sharia (conservative Islamic) law." That is what the FBI has said the motives are.

Here is what a terrorism expert says: In fact, says terrorism expert Richard E. Rubenstein, Bin Laden has made clear in previous remarks that he is seeking to force a U.S. withdrawal from the Arabian peninsula. He also hopes to destabilize pro-Western regimes in the Middle East and possibly provoke a U.S. military response that will further anger and alienate the Muslim world. "It's actually quite clear what he wants," Richard E. Rubenstein says. "What makes him different is not what he wants, but the way he proposes to get it."

Now here is what Osama bin Laden has said:"The Western regimes and the government of the US bear the blame for what might happen. If their people do not wish to be harmed inside their very own countries, they should seek to elect governments that are truly representative of them and that can protect their interests."-bin Laden, May 1998. "We swore that America wouldn't live in security until we live it truly in Palestine. This showed the reality of America, which puts Israel's interest above its own people's interest. America won't get out of this crisis until it gets out of the Arabian Peninsula, and until it stops its support of Israel." -bin Laden, Oct. 2001 Here is what the shoe bomber (Richard Reid) has said:"The reason for me sending you (a document he calls his "will") is so you can see that I didn't do this act out of ignorance nor did I just do it because I want to die, but rather because I see it as a duty upon me to help remove the oppressive American forces from the Muslim land and that this is the only way for us to do so as we do not have other means to fight them." Now what did the President say? He told us a lie that we are being targeted because we are the "brightest beacon of freedom and opportunity in the world".Whitehouse Transcript

The lie is about why we were targeted, not about if we are "the brightest beacon." Yes, we are the "the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world" but the point is President Bush is lying when he uses that as the reason for why we were attacked. The truth is we were targeted for attack because of specific foreign policies which are objected to by Al-Qaeda.

Bush deceives Americans about the terrorists motives to shield U.S. foreign policies from public scrutiny, his first concern is the special interests he serves. He does not respect our right to the truth and the media is just as bad.

The cover story that Bush feeds the American people robs the American people of the chance to decide for themselves if they want to continue to be put in harm's way over specific foreign polices.

Not one mainstream media reporter pointed out that Bush lied, the media for the most part played along with the official lie. [After two years the chance to hear the truth has improved, David Corn has a new book that identifies this particular lie of President Bush.] Who, what, where, when and why are standard press question but when it came to 9/11 most of the media avoided the why. The media has provided a very poor public forum for anyone wanting to understand why America was targeted. CNN’s Paula Zahn even questioned the very idea that a person could understand why America was targeted. Paula Zahn asked, “Professor, let me jump in here, but implicit in that -- aren't you saying that you understand why America was targeted?” Noam Chomsky answered, “Do I understand? Yes, so does the U.S. intelligence services, so does all of scholarship. I mean, we can ignore it if we like, and therefore lead to further terrorist attacks, or we can try to understand.”

Graham E. Fulller, former CIA, warned in 1998, “It is dangerous to divorce terrorism from politics, yet the U.S. media continue to talk about an abstract war against terrorism without mention of the issues or context that lie behind them.

President Bush cares more about the special interests he serves than the American people. President Bush obviously lies to the American people for an ugly reason. He lies to cover the real motives because the powerful people who push the agendas he serves don't want U.S. foreign policy to change. The cover story that Bush feeds the American people robs the American people of the chance to decide for themselves if they want to continue to be put in harm's way over specific foreign polices. If the American people knew why they were attacked, the American people might rightly question if the actions of U.S. foreign policy actually serve their own needs. We may question why we are being put in this situation. We may question why we are being put in harm's way and for exactly what reasons. We may decide that the policies are not serving the real Americaninterests: the interests of the average American.

911 motives

The Press that has played along with the agendas of powerful groups by not pointing out that the President has lied to the American people. Both the President and the Press rob the American people of the chance to decide if they want to continue to risk their lives for policies that are basically unjust and benefit corrupt business interests including the Israeli agenda.

Bush told the American Public a lie: "America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world."

The FBI stated the real primary reason why America was targeted: U.S. military forces in the Persian gulf area and U.S. backing of corrupt Middle East governments.

Osama bin Laden has himself stated the two primary motives above and these two other motives: U.S. support for Israel which has violated the human rights of millions of people and the sanctions against Iraq which has killed over a million people. When President Bush lies to us about why we were attacked, he serves special interests instead of the American people. We don't owe him or these special interests a damn thing. We don't "have to" continue these policies, polices that they didn't want us to know about.

Here is what David Corn wrote about Bush's September 11 lie in the Nation: [with my comments]

"As many Americans and others yearned to make sense of the evil attacks of September 11, Bush elected to share with the public a deceptively simplistic explanation of this catastrophe.[ Bush's deception serves the interests of special interests that push the specific foreign polices we are getting targeted over] Repeatedly, he said that the United States had been struck because of its love of freedom. "America was targeted for attack," he maintained, "because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world." This was shallow analysis, a comic-book interpretation of the event that covered up complexities and denied Americans information crucial for developing a full understanding of the attacks.[ I agree. I think it should be pointed at that this crucial information is being denied intentionally so that the American people don't question the specific foreign policies] In the view Bush furnished, Osama bin Laden was a would-be conqueror of the world, a man motivated solely by irrational vil, who killed for the purpose of destroying freedom. [Because of the lies, many Americans have this distorted view of what bin Laden and Al-Qaeda actually want and what they don't want]

But as the State Department's own terrorism experts--as well as nongovernment experts--noted, bin Laden was motivated by a specific geostrategic and theological aim: to chase the United States out of the Middle East in order to ease the way for a fundamentalist takeover of the region. Peter Bergen, a former CNN producer and the first journalist to arrange a television interview with bin Laden, observes in his book Holy War, Inc., "What [bin Laden] condemns the United States for is simple: its policies in the Middle East." [In his book he includes: Those are, to recap briefly: the continued U.S. military presence in Arabia; U.S. support for Israel; its continued bombing of Iraq; and its support for regimes such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia that bin Laden regards as apostates from Islam] Rather than acknowledge the realities of bin Laden's war on America, Bush attempted to create and perpetuate a war-on-freedom myth."

Here is a letter I wrote someone who didn't understand Chomsky's 9/11 book (or didn't want to understand it):

Dear Mr. Lockard:

In your review of Noam Chomsky's 9/11 you wrote, "They did so for their own reasons, apparently religio-cultural xenophobia, and certainly not out of compassion for the struggles of other peoples for self-determination. "

If you had taken the time you could have found out what the motives actually were. The terrorism we face is a matter of life and death and it is a necessity to do the research into why these things are happening.

The FBI testified as to motive before the Senate. As any criminal investigator they looked at what bin Laden has actually said. What is provoking the terrorism is not complicated and bin Laden has explained it many times for several years: Opposition to U.S. military forces in the Persian gulf area, most notably Saudi Arabia, U.S. support of corrupt Middle Eastern countries, U.S. support for Israel’s brutal occupation and the ongoing assault on civilians in Iraq.

Your assertion about what they "certainly" didn't attack us because of compassion for the struggles of other peoples for self-determination is unnecessary demonization. The fact is horrible wrongs are being carried by U.S. foreign polices and it is arrogant to think it is not possible that people could be reacting to this fact. When you wrong peoples you can't expect to dictate how some will respond, even if their response is wrong. Yes bin Laden wants a certain form of Islamic rule but he uses a broad appeal to very real and very legitimate grievances and in so doing gains support from even those that may not want exactly the version of government he seeks to establish in the Muslim world.

Nat Turner convinced several other blacks to engage in terrorism, killing dozens of whites. It would be dishonest not to admit the role slavery had in motivating these blacks to do what they did. It was an example of two wrongs. But it is important to keep in mind that to claim that these blacks did it because they were religious freaks is dishonest. It would be manipulative to claim that all these blacks believed in Nat Turners "signs from God" and that a religious and "anti-white" motive was all there was to it. Today I think we can see clearly that the wrongs of slavery were the motivating reasons for Nat Turner and his fellow terrorist's terrorism. And we can see that it is possible for two wrongs to take place.

Every time I read an article that doesn't acknowledge that President Bush had the audacity to lie to America about why we were attacked, I am reminded just how extreme the political environment is in America today.

The bottom line is Bush lied to America about why we were attacked. http://www.representativepress.org/whylie.html (you will find a link to the FBI's testimony there) The corrupt polices (a case of two wrongs) are kept safe from public scrutiny by a President who prefers to feed the public a huge lie (so that people don't question what it is they are being put in harm's way for)

From what I remember, the book 9/11 wasn't the best presentation of Chomsky's analysis (although it was good) I suggest you read more of Chomsky because what he says makes sense here is a page I transcribed, it includes a link to the whole audio interview with Chomsky. ChomskyInterview Here is a key part of it:

Dick Gordon: But you do that from a very clinical academic point of view.

Noam Chomsky: It’s not academic. I don’t want to have other terrorist atrocities in the United States. And if you want to reduce terrorist atrocities, if you’re even sane, the first thing you do is look at their causes. If you don’t want to look at their causes you’ll just increase the atrocities. I mean that’s just elementary, there’s nothing academic about it. I mean that’s for my grandchildren. I don’t want them to be attacked. So therefore I want to know the reasons why things like this happen. If we want to know the reasons why things like this happen we are going to have to search the record. And there we will find the reasons.

As I had started to say, you can go back 40 years and find President Eisenhower talking about the campaign of hatred against us in the Middle East and you’ll find the National Security council giving the reasons. People in the region perceive the United States, rightly they say, as supporting oppressive harsh governments which block democracy and development and doing it because we want control of their oil resources. You can find the same things when the Wall Street Journal does analyses of opinion there today. Yeah, we caught to pay attention to that.

Quick Guide to Motives for 9/11

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Motives for 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

representativepress.org


The motives for 9/11 are no mystery. The motives have been stated by several people clearly and repeatedly for years.

The terrorists are not attacking us in order to force us to convert to Islam or because we don't believe in Islam or that they don't like freedom or that they are envious.

SCANDAL: 9/11 Commissioners Bowed to Pressure to Suppress Main Motive for the 9/11 Attacks.

MSM didn't make this clear to the public.

See video which shows the 9/11 Commission Hearing where the question "What motivated them to do it?" was finally asked. See FBI Special Agent Fitzgerald explain the motive.

What motivated the 9/11 hijackers?

Note that Osama bin Laden has said why repeatedly and he says that the attacks will continue UNTIL specific foreign policies (American policy in the Middle East and its support of Israel) are stopped. He doesn't say "until you believe in Alah", none of the terrorists have ever said this or anything about attacking us because of our freedoms. It is dangerous to spread false reasons for why 9/11 happened.

Please read the following for the motives for 9/11 attacks:

"Your position against Muslims in Palestine is despicable and disgraceful. America has no shame. ... We believe that the worst thieves in the world today and the worst terrorists are the Americans. Nothing could stop you except perhaps retaliation in kind. We do not have to differentiate between military or civilian. As far as we are concerned, they are all targets, and this is what the fatwah says ... . The fatwah is general (comprehensive) and it includes all those who participate in, or help the Jewish occupiers in killing Muslims. "
- Osama bin Laden May 1998

"For over half a century, Muslims in Palestine have been slaughtered and assaulted and robbed of their honor and of their property. Their houses have been blasted, their crops destroyed. And the strange thing is that any act on their part to avenge themselves or to lift the injustice befalling them causes great agitation in the United Nations which hastens to call for an emergency meeting only to convict the victim and to censure the wronged and the tyrannized whose children have been killed and whose crops have been destroyed and whose farms have been pulverized "
- Osama bin Laden May 1998

"The International Islamic Front for Jihad against the U.S. and Israel has issued a crystal-clear fatwa calling on the Islamic nation to carry on jihad aimed at liberating holy sites. The nation of Muhammad has responded to this appeal. If the instigation for jihad against the Jews and the Americans in order to liberate Al-Aksa Mosque and the Holy Ka'aba Islamic shrines in the Middle East is considered a crime, then let history be a witness that I am a criminal." - Osama bin Laden May 1999 "We swore that America wouldn't live in security until we live it truly in Palestine . This showed the reality of America, which puts Israel's interest above its own people's interest. America won't get out of this crisis until it gets out of the Arabian Peninsula , and until it stops its support of Israel."
- Osama bin Laden, October 2001

A German friend of Mohammed Atta(the hijacker pilot who flew into WTC) is quoted as describing him as "most imbued actually about Israeli politics in the region and about US protection of these Israeli politics in the region. And he was to a degree personally suffering from that."

These facts point to a motive for attacking the WTC in 2001 that is consistent with the motive expressed by terrorists in a letter sent to the New York Times after the 1993 bombing attack of the WTC, "We declare our responsibility for the explosion on the mentioned building. This action was done in response for the American political, economical, and military support to Israel the state of terrorism and to the rest of the dictator countries in the region."

It is also the same motive that Mir Aimal Kasi had for killing CIA employees Frank Darling and Lansing Bennett outside CIA headquarters in Langley,Virginia in 1993 . Mir Aimal Kasi said, "What I did was a retaliation against the US government for American policy in the Middle East and its support of Israel ." Mir Aimal Kasi once professed a love for this country, his uncle testified. "He always say that 'I like America, I love America and I want to go there,'" Amanullah Kasi said at a sentencing hearing for his nephew, Mir Aimal Kasi . Kasi's roommate, who had reported him missing after the shootings, told police that Kasi would get incensed watching CNN when he heard how Muslims were being treated. After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Kasi said he did not approve of the attack on the World Trade Center because innocent were killed. He understood, however, the attack on the Pentagon, the symbol of government might.

The shoe bomber (Richard Reid) has said:"The reason for me sending you (a document he calls his "will") is so you can see that I didn't do this act out of ignorance nor did I just do it because I want to die, but rather because I see it as a duty upon me to help remove the oppressive American forces from the Muslim land and that this is the only way for us to do so as we do not have other means to fight them."

Abdullah Azzam authored Join the Caravan and he writes, "We then are calling upon the Muslims and urging them to proceed to fight, for many reasons, at the head of which are the following:" Then he lists 16 reasons. NONE of them state that the reason is just for the sake of attacking non-believers.In fact the first reason is: "1. In order that the Disbelievers do not dominate.""Do not dominate" Note that he does not write "just because they are disbelievers" or "in order to make them believe." NONE of the 16 reasons say "fight to make disbelievers into Muslims"In fact Osama bin Laden addressed the lying about motives for 9/11:

"... the Mujahideen saw the black gang of thugs in the White House hiding the Truth, and their stupid and foolish leader, who is elected and supported by his people, denying reality and proclaiming that we (the Mujahideen) were striking them because we were jealous of them (the Americans), whereas the reality is that we are striking them because of their evil and injustice in the whole of the Islamic World, especially in Iraq and Palestine and their occupation of the Land of the Two Holy Sanctuaries."
- Osama Bin Laden , February 14 , 2003

In that same statement Osama bin Laden once again listed the motives: " ... in 1995 , the explosion in Riyadh took place, killing four Americans, in a clear message from the people of that region displaying their rejection and opposition to the American policy of bankrolling the Jews and occupying the Land of the Two Holy Sanctuaries. The following year, another explosion in Al-Khobar killed 19 Americans and wounded more than 400 of them, prompting them to move their bases from the cities to the desert . Then in 1998 , the Mujahideen warned America to cease their support to the Jews and to leave the Land of the Two Holy Sanctuaries, but the enemy refused to heed this warning, so the Mujahideen, with the ability from Allah , smashed them with two mighty smashes in East Africa . Then again America was warned, but she refused to pay attention to the warnings, so the Mujahideen destroyed the American Destroyer, the USS Cole, in Aden, in a martyrdom operation, striking a solid blow to the face of the American military and at the same time, exposing the Yemeni Government as American agents, similar to all the countries in the region."
- Osama bin Laden February 14, 2003

The cover story that Bush feeds the American people robs the American people of the chance to decide for themselves if they want to continue to be put in harm's way over specific foreign polices.

See Link : Bush Lied to the American People about 9/11 Terrorists' Motives

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Did Bush Lie Us into War?

JOHN DEAN

History News Network


Mr. Dean served as White House counsel under President Richard Nixon.
His latest book is: The Rehnquist Choice: The Untold Story of the Nixon Appointment That Redefined the Supreme Court (2002)

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President George W. Bush has got a very serious problem. Before asking Congress for a Joint Resolution authorizing the use of American military forces in Iraq, he made a number of unequivocal statements about the reason the United States needed to pursue the most radical actions any nation can undertake -- acts of war against another nation.

Now it is clear that many of his statements appear to be false. In the past, Bush's White House has been very good at sweeping ugly issues like this under the carpet and out of sight. But it is not clear that they will be able to make the question of what happened to Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) go away -- unless, perhaps, they start another war.

That seems unlikely. Until the questions surrounding the Iraqi war are answered, Congress and the public may strongly resist more of President Bush's warmaking.

Presidential statements, particularly on matters of national security, are held to an expectation of the highest standard of truthfulness. A president cannot stretch, twist or distort facts and get away with it. President Lyndon Johnson's distortions of the truth about Vietnam forced him to stand down from reelection. President Richard Nixon's false statements about Watergate forced his resignation.

Frankly, I hope the WMD are found, for it will end the matter. Clearly, the story of the missing WMD is far from over. And it is too early, of course, to draw conclusions. But it is not too early to explore the relevant issues.

President Bush's Statements On Iraq's Weapons Of Mass Destruction

Readers may not recall exactly what President Bush said about weapons of mass destruction; I certainly didn't. Thus, I have compiled these statements below. In reviewing them, I saw that he had, indeed, been as explicit and declarative as I had recalled.

Bush's statements, in chronological order were :

United Nations Address, Sept. 12, 2002:
"Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons."

Radio Address, Oct. 5, 2002:
"Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons."

"We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have."

Cincinnati, Ohio Speech, Oct. 7, 2002:
"The Iraqi regime... possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons."

"We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas."

"We've also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We're concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVS for missions targeting the United States."

"The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his"nuclear mujahideen" -- his nuclear holy warriors. Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past. Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons."

State of the Union Address, Jan. 28, 2003:
"Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent."

Address to the Nation, March 17, 2003:
"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."

Should The President Get The Benefit Of The Doubt?

When these statements were made, Bush's let-me-mince-no-words posture was convincing to many Americans. Yet much of the rest of the world, and many other Americans, doubted them.

As Bush's veracity was being debated at the United Nations, it was also being debated on campuses -- including those where I happened to be lecturing at the time.

On several occasions, students asked me the following question: Should they believe the president of the United States? My answer was that they should give the president the benefit of the doubt, for several reasons deriving from the usual procedures that have operated in every modern White House and that, I assumed, had to be operating in the Bush White House, too.

First, I assured the students that these statements had all been carefully considered and crafted. presidential statements are the result of a process, not a moment's thought. White House speechwriters process raw information, and their statements are passed on to senior aides who have both substantive knowledge and political insights. And this all occurs before the statement ever reaches the president for his own review and possible revision.

Second, I explained that -- at least in every White House and administration with which I was familiar, from Truman to Clinton -- statements with national security implications were the most carefully considered of all. The White House is aware that, in making these statements, the President is speaking not only to the nation, but also to the world.

Third, I pointed out to the students, these statements are typically corrected rapidly if they are later found to be false. And in this case, far from backpedaling from the president's more extreme claims, Bush's press secretary, Ari Fleischer had actually, at times, been even more emphatic than the president had. For example, on Jan. 9, 2003, Fleischer stated, during his press briefing,"We know for a fact that there are weapons there."

In addition, others in the administration were similarly quick to back the president up, in some cases with even more unequivocal statements. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld repeatedly claimed that Saddam had WMD -- and even went so far as to claim he knew"where they are; they're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad."

Finally, I explained to the students that the political risk was so great that, to me, it was inconceivable that Bush would make these statements if he didn't have solid intelligence to back him up. Presidents do not stick their necks out only to have them chopped off by political opponents on an issue as important as this, and if there were any doubt, I suggested, Bush's political advisers would be telling him to hedge. Rather than stating a matter as fact, he would say:"I have been advised," or"our intelligence reports strongly suggest," or some such similar hedge. But Bush had not done so.

So what are we now to conclude if Bush's statements are found, indeed, to be as grossly inaccurate as they currently appear to have been?

After all, no WMD have been found, and given Bush's statements, they should not have been very hard to find -- for they existed in large quantities,"thousands of tons" of chemical weapons alone. Moreover, according to the statements, telltale facilities, groups of scientists who could testify and production equipment also existed.

So where is all that? And how can we reconcile the White House's unequivocal statements with the fact that they may not exist?

There are two main possibilities. One, that something is seriously wrong within the Bush White House's national security operations. That seems difficult to believe. The other is that the President has deliberately misled the nation, and the world.

A Desperate Search For WMD Has So Far Yielded Little, If Any, Fruit

Even before formally declaring war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq, the president had dispatched American military special forces into Iraq to search for WMD, which he knew would provide the primary justification for Operation Freedom. None were found.

Throughout Operation Freedom's penetration of Iraq and drive toward Baghdad, the search for WMD continued. None were found.

As the coalition forces gained control of Iraqi cities and countryside, special search teams were dispatched to look for WMD. None were found.

During the past two-and-a-half months, according to reliable news reports, military patrols have visited over 300 suspected WMD sites throughout Iraq. None of the prohibited weapons were found there.

British And American Press Reaction To The Missing WMD

British Prime Minister Tony Blair is also under serious attack in England, which he dragged into the war unwillingly, based on the missing WMD. In Britain, the missing WMD are being treated as scandalous; so far, the reaction in the United States has been milder.

The New York Times columnist, Paul Krugman, has taken Bush sharply to task, asserting that it is"long past time for this administration to be held accountable.""The public was told that Saddam posed an imminent threat," Krugman argued."If that claim was fraudulent," he continued,"the selling of the war is arguably the worst scandal in American political history -- worse than Watergate, worse than Iran-Contra." But most media outlets have reserved judgment as the search for WMD in Iraq continues.

Still, signs do not look good. Last week, the Pentagon announced it was shifting its search from looking for WMD sites to looking for people who can provide leads as to where the missing WMD might be.

Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton, while offering no new evidence, assured Congress that WMD will indeed be found. And he advised that a new unit called the Iraq Survey Group, composed of some 1,400 experts and technicians from around the world, is being deployed to assist in the searching.

But, as Time magazine reported, the leads are running out. According to Time, the Marine general in charge explained that"[w]e've been to virtually every ammunition supply point between the Kuwaiti border and Baghdad," and remarked flatly,"They're simply not there."

Perhaps most troubling, the president has failed to provide any explanation of how he could have made his very specific statements, yet now be unable to back them up with supporting evidence. Was there an Iraqi informant thought to be reliable, who turned out not to be? Were satellite photos innocently, if negligently, misinterpreted? Or was his evidence not as solid as he led the world to believe?

The absence of any explanation for the gap between the statements and reality only increases the sense that the president's misstatements may actually have been intentional lies.

Investigating The Iraqi War Intelligence Reports

Even now, while the jury is still out as to whether intentional misconduct occurred, the president has a serious credibility problem. Newsweek magazine posed the key questions:"If America has entered a new age of preemption -- when it must strike first because it cannot afford to find out later if terrorists possess nuclear or biological weapons -- exact intelligence is critical. How will the United States take out a mad despot or a nuclear bomb hidden in a cave if the CIA can't say for sure where they are? And how will Bush be able to maintain support at home and abroad?"

In an apparent attempt to bolster the President's credibility, and his own, Secretary Rumsfeld himself has now called for a Defense Department investigation into what went wrong with the pre-war intelligence. The New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd finds this effort about on par with O. J. looking for his wife's killer. But there may be a difference: Unless the members of the administration can find someone else to blame -- informants, surveillance technology, lower-level personnel, you name it -- they may not escape fault themselves.

Congressional committees are also looking into the pre-war intelligence collection and evaluation. Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said his committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee would jointly investigate the situation. And the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence plans an investigation.

These investigations are certainly appropriate, for there is potent evidence of either a colossal intelligence failure or misconduct -- and either would be a serious problem. When the best case scenario seems to be mere incompetence, investigations certainly need to be made.

Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) -- a former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee - told CNN's Aaron Brown that while he still hopes they find WMD or at least evidence thereof, he has also contemplated three other possible alternative scenarios:

One is that [the WMD] were spirited out of Iraq, which maybe is the worst of all possibilities, because now the very thing that we were trying to avoid, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, could be in the hands of dozens of groups. Second, that we had bad intelligence. Or third, that the intelligence was satisfactory but that it was manipulated, so as just to present to the American people and to the world those things that made the case for the necessity of war against Iraq.

Sen. Graham seems to believe there is a serious chance that it is the final scenario that reflects reality. Indeed, Graham told CNN"there's been a pattern of manipulation by this administration."

Graham has good reason to complain. According to the New York Times, he was one of the few members of the Senate who saw the national intelligence estimate that was the basis for Bush's decisions. After reviewing it, Sen. Graham requested that the Bush administration declassify the information before the Senate voted on the administration's resolution requesting use of the military in Iraq.

But rather than do so, CIA Director Tenet merely sent Graham a letter discussing the findings. Graham then complained that Tenet's letter only addressed"findings that supported the administration's position on Iraq," and ignored information that raised questions about intelligence. In short, Graham suggested that the administration, by cherrypicking evidence only to its own liking, had manipulated the information to support its conclusion.

Recent statements by one of the high-level officials privy to the decisionmaking process that lead to the Iraqi war also strongly suggests manipulation, if not misuse of the intelligence agencies. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, during an interview with Sam Tannenhaus of Vanity Fair magazine, said:"The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on, which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason." More recently, Wolfowitz added what most have believed all along, that the reason we went after Iraq is that"[t]he country swims on a sea of oil."

Worse Than Watergate? A Potential Huge Scandal If WMD Are Still Missing

Krugman is right to suggest a possible comparison to Watergate. In the three decades since Watergate, this is the first potential scandal I have seen that could make Watergate pale by comparison. If the Bush administration intentionally manipulated or misrepresented intelligence to get Congress to authorize, and the public to support, military action to take control of Iraq, then that would be a monstrous misdeed.

This administration may be due for a scandal. While Bush narrowly escaped being dragged into Enron, it was not, in any event, his doing. But the war in Iraq is all Bush's doing, and it is appropriate that he be held accountable.

To put it bluntly, if Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked. Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be"a high crime" under the Constitution's impeachment clause. It would also be a violation of federal criminal law, including the broad federal anti-conspiracy statute, which renders it a felony"to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose."

It's important to recall that when Richard Nixon resigned, he was about to be impeached by the House of Representatives for misusing the CIA and FBI. After Watergate, all presidents are on notice that manipulating or misusing any agency of the executive branch improperly is a serious abuse of presidential power.

Nixon claimed that his misuses of the federal agencies for his political purposes were in the interest of national security. The same kind of thinking might lead a president to manipulate and misuse national security agencies or their intelligence to create a phony reason to lead the nation into a politically desirable war. Let us hope that is not the case.

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On The Lighter Side

Bush Answers Questions


Once, former president BUSH went to a school.
After having a brief talk with the children, he asked them if they had any questions for him.

One boy raised his hand and stood up.

Bush : What's your name?
John : John, Sir.
Bush : What's your question, John?
John : Sir, I have three questions :
1) Why did America attack Iraq without the approval of UNO?
2) Where is Osama?
3) Why does America support Pakistan so much?
Bush : You are an intelligent student John ...

Just then the bell for recess rang.
Oh dear students, we will continue after the recess is over ...

After the recess

Bush : OK children, where were we? Yes, so anybody wants to ask me any question?
Peter raised his hand.
Bush: What's your name?
Peter : Peter, Sir.
Bush : What's your question, Peter?
Peter : Sir, I have 5 questions :
1) Why did America attack Iraq without the approval of UNO?
2) Where is Osama?
3) Why does America support Pakistan so much?
4) Why did recess bell ring 20 minutes before the scheduled time?
5) Where is JOHN?

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