There is no longer any real question about whether
Bush lied to Congress and the
American people about Iraq. He did. The aluminum tubes, the uranium from Niger,
the unmanned drones rigged to spew clouds of bio-toxins over New York City at any
second? All lies. The Bush administration's public statements themselves demonstrate
these were lies, and no further Congressional inquiry is necessary to prove it.
But if the lies were bad, the innuendos were worse. Brazenly exploiting the tragedy,
the administration intentionally (and successfully) created a connection between Iraq
and September 11th in the mind of the public that simply did not exist. Bush sold the
attack using the same smoke and mirrors Enron used to earn "profits." Again,
Congress need not hold hearings to establish this fact. The Bush administration's
public statements already on record are all that is needed.
Thus it really doesn't matter if they ever find weapons of mass destruction. The Bush
administration isn't going to find Nigerian uranium or drones capable of attacking the
United States no matter how hard they look. Even if they do find something else,
Bush still lied.
While congressional hearings might provide some nice political theater (and have
therefore been blocked by the Republicans), they are not really necessary. The
fundamental question created by the war on Iraq has been answered. The Bush
administration deliberately deceived the American public. To what degree matters
not. They did so to drag the Nation into a war. They did so at least partially, if not
principally, to influence the 2002 Congressional elections, and solidify their hold
on domestic political power.
That ought to be enough. That their war has now become a guerrilla campaign, with no
end in sight to the loss of American blood and treasure, ought to be entirely too much.
But for the supplicant US corporate press, somehow the lives of US servicemen sacrificed
on the alter of Rovian political calculations is not a cause for concern.
To everyone but the press, Bush's defense against the charge that he lied is so completely
inept as to be laughable. The cover-up looks exactly like the work of an administration that
can't eat a pretzel and ride a Segway at the same time.
First out of the chute was the theory that the weapons were squirreled out of the country
by terrorists. They dropped this line when they belatedly realized that the whole purpose
of the war was to prevent that from happening. The more recent justification is that Saddam
had these weapons in the past, and that everyone from Bill Clinton to the United Nations
thought he still had them. You know they are desperate when they start invoking the UN
and Bill Clinton to support their cause. But the issue isn't whether others believed Saddam
was a danger; plainly they did. The issue is whether the Bush administration lied to portray
him as a bigger menace than he was. And clearly they did exactly that. So they are left
with the same song and dance they started with; they will find the WMDs, and Saddam
was a really bad guy who killed his own people.
That Saddam is evil was never in dispute. No one has forgotten that when Bush's father
inspired and then abandoned an Iraqi revolution, and Saddam quickly killed everyone in
Iraq stupid enough to read Bush's lips. The pictures of dead Kurdish children published
in Newsweek were hard to forget. So is the reality that these crimes were insufficient to
mobilize US public opinion to support a war. Ergo, the administration invented its tales
of weapons of mass destruction.
Just as with the cover up, the hunt for the WMDs has now become a joke unto itself.
The search first turned surreal when Bush was confronted with a question as to their
whereabouts while in Poland. Reflexively lying again, Bush claimed we had found them!
Since we hadn't, the American press was ordered not to dwell on the President's words,
and administration officials hastily explained that President did not mean what he said,
and to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. The desired effect was nevertheless
created as the number of mouth breathing Bush voters who believed United States had
found WMDs went over 40%.
Back in the real world, the search for WMDs essentially ended last week when the military
announced it had more or less run out of places to search, and would basically stop looking.
Perhaps the US soldiers in Iraq thought the rocket propelled grenades getting shot at them
were a more pressing issue than looking for Republican campaign props. Whatever the reason,
the fact that the search had ended, of course, did not prevent the Bush folks back in Washington
from continuing to insist they would eventually be found. It just gave it an "OJ Simpson on the
golf course" kind of feel when they said it. No one in the national media thought to ask them
how they intended to find weapons that might not even exist now that they were no longer even looking.
As attacks in Iraq linger on, and casualties continue to mount, Bush's "Mission Accomplished"
stunt off the San Diego coastline is looking more and more premature on all counts. Perhaps
the banner should have read "Photo-Op Accomplished" or "Mid-term Election Diversion
Accomplished" because if anything is clear in Iraq, it is that the United States has a long way
to go before it is done cleaning up after the administration's lies. Yet the media has replaced
its saturation coverage of the war in Iraq with saturation coverage of the Lacy Peterson trial,
so the Bush administration won't have to pay a price for any of this.
This is, in some sick way, appropriate. The media's relationship to the Bush administration
has become analogous to that of a beaten wife. They live in such fear of the administration
they can no longer sort out reality when the administration speaks. Just one example; when
discussing the not-quite-accomplished mission, the patriotically correct media has now adopted
the military's convention of referring to Iraqis who attack a foreign army occupying their
country as "terrorists."
Yet the media blame themselves for the abuse they suffer. So they dutifully write down the
administration's immoral and implausible narrative that the reasons for the war on Iraq don't
matter, and echo Republican claims that anyone who questions the administration's
laughable stories about the war is politically motivated.
One can only hope that despite the battered press corps, people will come to understand
that the war was marketed to the American public like a used car, except more dishonestly.
Hopefully, the public will remember the sales job came on the eve of the mid-term elections,
and they will connect the dots and realize that the lead up to the war was intended to distract
the public from the story that Bush's biggest financial backers were crooks who bankrupted
thousands of their own employees while becoming fabulously wealthy in the process. Hopefully,
they realize that although Saddam was a nasty piece of work, the American public was never
going to go to war on the real facts, so lies were told by Bush to sway public opinion in favor
of the war. Finally, one can only hope that the enormity of this deception will matter.
Because if it doesn't, nothing will.
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