Count the Lies
June 30, 2005
By David Swanson
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
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