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Count the Lies

June 30, 2005
By David Swanson

On Tuesday night, and there's no really delicate way to put this, it was stunning to see the extent to which Bush flat out lied his ass off. The Downing Street Minutes and related documents have made clear, among other things, that Bush determined early on to promote two false justifications for the war: asserting a threat from Iraq's fictitious weapons of mass destruction, and blaming the attacks of September 11, 2001, on Saddam Hussein.

Tuesday night, Bush said he never made any such crazy claims. Just kidding. Actually, Bush made them again. Of course, voices in the media believe that Bush's lies are "old news," and polls are starting to reflect that. But apparently repetition of the lies themselves is new news, worthy of commercial-free airtime that even the Michael Jackson trial never merited.

Bush came back to September 11 five times during the speech. He said that we are fighting "a global war on terror," and that "the terrorists we're fighting aim to remake the Middle East. Iraq is the latest battlefield in this war." Bush also said that "Terrorists on the streets of Baghdad are followers of the same ideology" that produced the attacks of - you guessed it - September 11, 2001.

But - do we really still have to say this? - the regime that Bush changed in Iraq had exactly nothing to do with those attacks. And the terrorists on the streets of Baghdad were not there until Bush attacked and occupied Baghdad. So, why did he do so?

There was, he just reminded us, "only one course. To defeat them abroad before they attack us at home."

Bush is sticking to the lies that he included in the formal letter and report that he submitted to the United States Congress within 48 hours after having launched the invasion of Iraq. In the letter, dated March 18, 2003, the President made a formal determination, as required by the Joint Resolution on Iraq passed by the U.S. Congress in October 2002, that military action against Iraq was necessary to "protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq," as well as suggesting that the war is part of a global campaign against those behind the attacks of September 11, 2001.

But Iraq couldn't even shoot down an airplane after endless and illegal provocation during the summer of 2002. What was the threat? That they would nuke us in 45 minutes, that unmanned planes would spray us with killer chemicals? These lies have all been shredded.

"We fight today," Bush said on Tuesday night, "because the terrorists want to attack our cities and kill our citizens, and Iraq is where they are making their stand. We will fight them there, and we will stay in the fight until the fight is won."

So, the disaster that Bush has created in Iraq is now the justification for having created it. But who is this universal group of "terrorists" fighting this global war? Bush made that clear by quoting none other than Osama Bin Laden as saying that "the war is waging in Iraq." But he didn't say that before Bush launched a war against Iraq.

Bush also lied by omission on Tuesday night, as he does every day that he maintains silence on key points about which the media will not ask him. He did not say tonight that there will be no permanent US military bases in Iraq. He did not say tonight that the Iraqi people will get to keep their oil. He said he would give no exit date until "the job is done" and the "mission" is "complete," but he did not provide any way for a mortal to measure whether that state of affairs has been reached or not.

"To complete the mission, we will continue to hunt down the terrorists and insurgents." But won't you always continue to hunt down somebody or other, Mr. President? So, won't the mission never be complete? So, won't there be permanent military bases? And wouldn't you now forswear any interest in giving oil to your cronies if you were ever going to do so?

Bush said nothing about the rise in terrorist incidents since he launched his war on terror, nothing about the steep decline in affection for the United States around the world. He knows that he has made us less safe, yet he asserted that "My greatest responsibility as President is to protect the American people."

But, as Sam Husseini has argued, a good way to reduce the fighting in Iraq and make Americans less hated would be for Americans to take steps to investigate and, if necessary, impeach Bush. The message that would send to the people of Iraq would be far more powerful than any boost in U.S. Army recruitment.

Or, we could all sign up and go kill and die for Bush.

Hmm. It's a tough choice, I know.

"This 4th of July," Bush said Tuesday night, "I ask you to thank the men and women defending our freedom by flying the flag. Or helping the military family down the street."

George, why don't you pay the military family for the work it does, and provide those people with decent health care and education? I'll fly a flag or eat a picnic on one, as I see fit, but it won't be because you lied to a bunch of courageous young people and sent them off to give their lives or their limbs or their sanity for your wealth, ease, and ego, while you mumble lies off a teleprompter about what you're sacrificing.

You want to sacrifice? Take ten minutes and answer Congressman Conyers' letter. Did you know that 128 Congress Members and 560,000 of the rest of us have signed it?

Do it for your country, Mr. Commander in Chief. Give 10 minutes back to the nation that has given you so much.

David Swanson is a co-founder of AfterDowning Street.org.

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