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They Must Think Americans Are Idiots
January 9, 2004
By Becky Burgwin

You know, I'm really starting to think that our current president and his cronies must not have gotten in very much trouble when they were kids. I'm thinking that maybe they had permissive parents who were oblivious and let them get away with everything because they don't seem to have the skills they need to be successful liars. You know, the tools that experienced liars use, like covering your tracks and getting your stories straight. The fact that I can tell when they're lying makes me think that nobody's even listening anymore - especially Congress and the press. Or maybe it's the same syndrome that happens to children who are allowed to watch tons of movie and TV violence - they become desensitized.

The question really is, though, why does our president, our vice-president, our defense secretary and our national security advisor think that they can lie over and over to our faces and get away with it? I'm guessing that it's because they think Americans are really stupid. In the days leading up to the war, when they were talking about the WMDs, even I knew that they were lying. Bush said several times, "Time after time we have asked Mr. Hussein to let the inspectors in and time after time he has refused."

Now that's just bad lying. Even as he spoke, Hans Blix was in Iraq saying that Iraq was being very cooperative and that they hadn't found anything so far in their months of inspections. After that, Bush started calling them the "so-called inspectors." I am not a rocket scientist and I am not a politician, but I knew he was lying. I knew why they wanted to get into Iraq and I knew what was going to happen if they succeeded in getting into Iraq. The members of Congress and the press who heard him saying these things must have had that heard-so-many-lies-I'm-just-completely-oblivious-to-them syndrome.

Then we have the famous forged document. In order to convince the American and British citizens that Iraq had purchased uranium from Niger, someone forged a document. Now let me tell you something. I, like many Americans, have forged documents myself, in my younger days. There's the ever-favorite fake ID. What college kid didn't do that? And in my generation there was the phony draft card. So even I know that if you're going to forge the signature of a government employee on a document with a date on it, you'd better make sure that guy worked in that position on that date. Because it's really not going to be very effective if it's signed by J. Edgar Hoover and dated 1996. Bush's document was so phony, only someone who thinks that they're untouchable and everybody else is an idiot would even dream of using it.

It hasn't yet, but this comment from our national security advisor is what I think is going to finally bring these guys down: "How were we supposed to know someone would hijack an airliner and crash it into a building?" Well, here's how - because Bill Clinton's national security advisor, Senator Hart, Senator Rudman, and terrorism expert Richard Clarke started trying to warn you about it before Clinton left office in Jan. 2001.

Did she honestly think that all of these men were going to keep quiet about how much effort they put into warning her and her boss about the impending terrorism threat? Did they underestimate how bad they would look when the public was told that, in spite of the ever-increasing level of alarm being expressed by these men, President Bush took a month long vacation that ended on Sept. 4th ? Mark my words, this is the one that's going to come back and bite them in the ass.

Here's the problem, though. I really think that Congress and the press are so desensitized to Bush's lies that he could get away with standing in front of them and saying, "Look, we lied about the reasons for going to war. We really just want their oil. And we wanted to help our cronies make a shitload of money by overcharging the American taxpayer for rebuilding the country after we destroyed it. And we really don't give damn how many Iraqi men, women and children or American kids have died or been maimed by what we've done. Not only that, we ignored repeated warnings about a terrorist attack on our country and then, at the very least, we were completely inept on the morning of that predicted attack because I sat in a school room reading a book about goats to children while 3,000 of our citizens were being murdered by weapons of mass destruction and the greatest military in the history of humankind stood by and never fired a shot. It was the very the next day, after we flew the Bin Laden family out of the country on a private jet, that we started blaming Saddam and using fear as a political tool to convince you that we needed to alienate all of our allies and go to war with Iraq. And furthermore, we don't give a damn that the country is spiraling into a devastating economic collapse because me and my friends are getting richer and richer every day. And as for the environment, what do we care whether we drill for oil in our national parks or sell pieces of old growth forest to logging companies who, in turn, give us campaign contributions? We're not going to be here when the polar ice caps melt."

But while Congress and the press may be desensitized to this stuff, the American public is not. And neither are we stupid. If you're not paying attention or you're just relying on the press for your information, you need to know that our administration has committed grave crimes against its own people, particularly our troops, and against the Iraqis. We need to fight them with everything we've got if we're to have any hope of rescuing our broken and beleaguered country.

So we should make it our mission for 2004 to make sure that these people - who believe that it should be a government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich, these people who claim to be men of God while blithely causing the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people - lose, and lose big.

Ms. Burgwin's writing has appeared in Newsweek, Time, New York Magazine, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Tribune Review as well as several online Op Ed sites. She is also involved in gay rights, women's issues and the environment. She lives in Pittsburgh with her family.

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