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Just Plain Liars
March 18, 2004
By punpirate

It is a repetitive theme in the alternative press that the Bush administration collectively seems to be the largest complement of liars ever to have inhabited Washington, DC. The continuing mystery is why the public hasn't risen up and ripped out all their tongues.

I do not need to recount in detail all the instances in which the Bushies have lied. Just the latest examples will suffice: Richard Foster, chief actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, feared dismissal for revealing the true costs of the latest Medicare bill, and his superior, Tom Scully, after muzzling him, then ran away to the safety of Alston & Bird, a law firm in which "Scully's initial focus will be on healthcare regulatory, strategic, and public policy matters," according to the firm's self-congratulatory press release.

Let's ignore all the old-Europe nonsense about the Iraq war, uh, invasion. Donald Rumsfeld, on Face the Nation this past Sunday, had his ass handed to him by one of the biggest pre-war hawks in the press, Tom "give war a chance" Friedman, when Rumsfeld averred that no one in the administration said, before the invasion, that Iraq's threat to the US was "imminent." Friedman, uncharacteristically, fed Rumsfeld's words back to him as if he were force-feeding a French goose headed for the paté hall of fame:

[From the FTN transcript] Mr. FRIEDMAN: We have one here. It says "some have argued that the nu" - this is you speaking - "that the nuclear threat from Iraq is not imminent, that Saddam is at least five to seven years away from having nuclear weapons. I would not be so certain."

Sec. RUMSFELD: Mm-hmm. It - my view of - of the situation was that he - he had - we - we believe, the best intelligence that we had and other countries had and that - that we believed and we still do not know - we will know.

Well, conservatives, that's even funnier than Clinton's definition of what "is" is. And a lot more people died because of such lies, including the better part of 550 of our own.

Condoleezza Rice, patron saint of rich people and oil tankers, doesn't fare much better in her recent remarks in the press. On Meet the Press, Rice said:

"We all believed that it is an urgent threat and I believe to this day that it was an urgent threat.... And we are safer as a result, because today Iraq is no longer going to be a state of weapons of mass destruction concern.''

Parsing such a remark requires considerable legal leeway in the definition of the phrase, "we all believed." Well, all except the tens of millions marching in the streets of this country and other countries around the world, who did not believe as the administration did. It's not even worth the additional effort to determine if "weapons of mass destruction concern" is somehow more significant or different than "weapons of mass destruction-related program activities." Both estimations are prevarications. Both are obfuscations. More plainly, both are lies.

Even the darling of moderates everywhere, Colin Powell, was willing to whore for the administration, on ABC's This Week, saying, "We may not find the stockpiles. They may not exist any longer. But let's not suggest that somehow we knew this.... We went to the United Nations, we went to the world with the best information we had. Nothing that was cooked."

The rest of the world wonders why Powell didn't say this in front of a barbeque, outfitted with a chef's apron and a fork.

Then, there's the VP, Richard Cheney, whose distance from the truth spans from here to Sedna, the latest planetoid outside the orbit of Pluto. Cheney, in all his latest appearances before the press, continues to assert that there were and are nuclear weapons in Iraq. In the March 14th edition of the Toronto Sun, Eric Margolis refers to such claims as follows: "Vice President Dick Cheney's bizarre jeremiads about 'Iraq's reconstituted nuclear weapons' were absurd."

All this is in defense of the biggest liar of them all - George W. Bush - the Texas-sized liar in charge of all the lesser liars, the man who fronts the neo-conservative assault on us all. These days, there's lots of talk about Bush being somehow absolved from guilt because he doesn't read and trusts his advisors to tell him the news. The idea that repeating, innocuously, the lies of those around him gives him a pass just doesn't wash. No president in the last several decades would have been afforded that luxury. Indeed, few have, save Bush.

Nixon, hiding behind the cloak of executive privilege, was still found to be naked in his duplicity and resigned the presidency. Reagan, finally hard-pressed in a news conference with a question about Iran-Contra, admitted that he and his administration had not been forthright. Carter, basically honest, accepted culpability for a failed hostage rescue attempt in 1980. Clinton parsed the word "is" for all his worth, but still apologized to the nation for his private, but indecorous, behavior which the right wing so determinedly forced him to reveal. Even the elder Bush was forced to admit that an inviolate promise of not raising taxes was not exactly inviolate, after all, however minimal that increase might have been.

But, Dubya admits no error, offers no apologies, strides Caligula-like through the wreckage he's created and has little to offer the public except a smirk and even more lies - about job creation, about the war, about the environment, about the horrors of September 11, 2001, about everything important to the general public.

Yet, the religious right and Republicans in general continue to perpetuate the myth that Bush is an honorable, decent, trustworthy man. Bush has sought to conceal every unpleasant detail of his pre-political life from the public, because he knows that any full exposition would reveal his character in a way that would forever prevent him from participation in political life. But, the spin goes on - Bush is a moral, honest man - even in contradiction of the truth that is his presidency.

punpirate is a New Mexico writer who thinks there's a Bush administration opening for Lewis Carroll's Red Queen.

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