Posted by: coloradokiwi | January 25, 2008

935 Lies….and 1,000 Excuses

Quite a lot of hay has been made in recent days over a new report by the Center for Public Integrity, which points out, in great detail, precisely how many times the Bush Administration lied to us about the reasons for invading 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. …

So, that seems pretty cut and dried.  And if you peruse this release (and others on their site) in more detail, two things become immediately apparent:

1.  That these “lies” or “misstatements” were pretty clearly intended to mislead, and were not merely the result of faulty intelligence.  The best you can credit the Administration with is overplaying their hand as to what they knew, and that they were saying they were certain of things of which they could not possibly be certain.

2.  This group really is nonpartisan, at least to the extent that in other reports they do not play party favorites.

But really, now, does this actually matter?  Sure, it’s an election year, but let’s face it:  nobody from this administration is running, and the people who authorized war (Hillary, Edwards, McCain), in fact who supported it and continue to support it  (McCain, Romney, Giuliani, Huckabee sort of) have plausible deniability concerning all these lies, or at the very least have found ways to justify why, whether or not we were lied in, various solutions as to what to do now.

***Aside:  But, really?  I mean, c’mon Hillary:  even I, living halfway across the world at the time, a relative greenhorn to such matters, someone who did not know anything about the intelligence in any detail, could see very clearly that Bush couldn’t wait to go to war!  You really thought that if you voted to “strengthen his hand” with that authorization that he wouldn’t use it?  Either you are far more naive than your so-called “years of experience” would seem to warrant, or you are an idiot, or you tacitly supported the invasion from the get-go, and you and your husband are bald-faced liars with regard to your opinion concerning the war, both then and now.***

Here’s the real problem with this report, however.  Something’s happened to political discourse (especially among conservatives, natch) in the age of truthiness:  the people who need convinced on this, which is to say the people who don’t already “know” this, will not be swayed by a “nonpartisan” report, because the default position today is not to actually evaluate new, contrarian information, but to look for the ways in which it is “obviously” suspect.  If you take a look at the other reports and investigations this group has done, I would indeed say they are “nonpartisan” in that they let Democrats have it, too.  However in general the approach is from what has come to be a kind of lefty standpoint:  that the interests of “the people” should be oriented away from corporate or even mildly authoritarian actions in “our” interests.  In short:  conservatives will find it easy to dismiss this as a hit piece, and frankly they don’t CARE whether it is accurate or not.  (Obviously it’s completely fucking insane that this view has become associated with the left, but that’s another topic.)

Lastly, and this is no small thing:  the report (rightly, and to its credit since it’s beyond the scope of their investigation) doesn’t judge whether it was ultimately right or wrong to go into Iraq, only that we were lied to in order to galvanize public opinion for the invasion.  Again, today’s modern conservative doesn’t care about lies per se:  they are focused on the “big picture” in that many still defend Bush’s decision to go to Iraq because history will look at how we toppled a nasty dictator and ultimately (some day!) brought “democracy” to the heart of the Middle East.  They have been re-writing the reasons for going there pretty much since boots hit the dirt in 2003.  What makes you think they’ll actually care about the lying part now?  They’ve long moved on, said “so what?”, and are now fighting the fight that McCain has taken up:  right or wrong, we’re there now and it’s become a CAUSE, our PROVIDENTIAL DUTY, to stay.   Indeed, not staying means “surrendering” to Al Qaeda, abandoning the troops and rendering their sacrifice “meaningless,” and handing over Iraq to a bunch of radicals and brigands when we’re this close to victory*!  So here comes the next task:  how do you out-spin people who live in a whole other dimension, and who don’t think facts (or the distortion of them) matter?

What we need is some kind of A-Team consisting of Lewis Carroll, Salvador Dali, a dadaist or two, Dr. Who, and what the hell, Maximillian Arturo.  They can show up, put things aright (or at least out-wit, as it were, conservatives at their own descent into meaninglessness, time-distortion, and surrealism), and then move on to the next major piece of political spin and distortion of the truth.  Come to think of it, I think this must be the key to conservatism, after all:  they are merely adrift in a time-space dimensional vortex.  I don’t know how else you can believe that they seem to believe or even understand what they are saying.

*Victory is a registered trademark of Haliburton, Inc., and is subject to any and all alteration in meaning at the company’s discretion.

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Responses

  1. When Mccain said we could be there for 100 years, I lost all hope and conceded that this is a very determined and unrelenting attempt at expanding the empire.

    Regardless of what the Dems might try to sell us on in terms of withdrawl, those huge bases in Iraq are permanent.

    Also, There Is No “War on Terror”


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