Has the United States ever had to endure a president who lies as often as George W. Bush? He repeatedly lied to the American people in order to invade Iraq. Now he is lying about Iran. Who is going to hold him accountable?
In Sept. '02, Bush invoked a nonexistent IAEA report to claim that Iraq was "six months away from developing a [nuclear] weapon." From that nonexistent report, Bush concluded: "I don't know what more evidence we need."
During his January 28, 2003, State of the Union address, Bush defrauded Americans at least three times. He presented a less than candid assessment of the intelligence linking Saddam Hussein to al Qaeda. He also presented a less than candid assessment of the intelligence concerning weapons of mass destruction. As former federal prosecutor, Elizabeth de la Vega, demonstrated in her book, U.S. v. Bush, according to Title 18, United States Code, Section 371"It is still the law of the United States that once politicians become Executive Branch officials, they are legally required to be honest and forthright about public matters." [p. 197]
Bush then built upon these two fraudulent assessments to establish a third, Saddam's link to 9/11: "Before September 11th, many in the world believed that Saddam Hussein could be contained. But chemical agents and lethal viruses and shadowy terrorist networks are not easily contained. Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons, and other plans -- this time armed by Saddam Hussein."
In order to defraud the American public a third time, Bush and his speech writers employed a hallowed axiom of propaganda; one recognized by Walter Lippmann decades earlier: "[T]he more untrained the mind, the more readily it works out a theory that two things which catch its attention at the same time are causally connected."
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Bush also lied in mid-July 2003, when he told reporters that "we gave him [Saddam] a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in." In fact, Saddam did let the inspectors in. But, the Bush administration made them leave, lest they discover that no WMD existed and scotch the invasion.
In December 2003, ABC's Diane Sawyer pressed Bush about justifying a war to the American public by stating "as a hard fact, that there were weapons of mass destruction as opposed to the possibility that he [Saddam] could move to acquire those weapons." Put on the spot, Bush asserted: "So what's the difference?"
In late 2005, Bush lied again, when attempting to justify his unconstitutional order permitting the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens without obtaining the required court-approved warrants. Bush defended his directive as a "vital tool" in the war against terrorism, evidently forgetting that, in April 2004, he assured an audience in Buffalo, New York: "When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so."
And he lied again on December 14, 2005, when he asserted that his critics in Congress "saw the same intelligence I saw and then voted to authorize the use of force against Saddam Hussein." In fact, Bush was receiving many more intelligence reports than any member of Congress.
Bush lied again, on the eve of the November 2006 mid-term elections, when he said that he wanted Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld to stay on until the end of his presidency. In fact, Bush already had commenced work on replacing Rumsfeld and knew he was lying when he said Rumsfeld would stay on.
In a December 19, 2006, interview with the Washington Post, Bush lied again. According to the Post, when he was asked to reconcile his "absolutely, we're winning" in Iraq assertion of October 25, 2006, with his new assertion, "We're not winning, we're not losing," Bush "recast" his former assertion "as a prediction rather than an assessment."
Just a few days ago, during his August 6, 2007 "Joint Press Availability" (mini news conference) with Afghanistan's President Karzai, Bush lied again. This time the lie concerned Iran's nuclear program. Bush lied after being asked to respond to Karzai's recent assertion that Iran was playing a helpful role in Afghanistan.
Thus, after noting that it was up to Iran to prove that it is a stabilizing force in the world, Bush proceeded to lie: "After all, this is a government that has proclaimed its desire to build a nuclear weapon."
We can be sure that Bush lied, because virtually everyone, except for a few morons, knows that "the Iranian government has never articulated such a desire and in fact has repeatedly claimed, genuinely or disingenuously, the opposite." [Farideh Farhi, "Afghanistan, Iraq and the Bush Administration's Incoherent Iran Policy," Informed Comment Global Affairs, Aug. 7, 2007]
Let us assure that this lie is not another lie for another war.
Yet, beyond the lies, I've noticed another pattern in the president's recent speeches; suggesting a type of psychological projection that results in the "pot calling the kettle black."
Simply read Bush's "Joint Press Availability" assertions about Iran. But, in every sentence where you see the word "Iran," substitute the words "United States.".
For example: "It's up to Iran to prove to the world that they're a stabilizing force as opposed to a destabilizing force." Simply insert the words "the United States," and then recall how its illegal, immoral and incompetent invasion of Iraq caused a spike in worldwide terrorist attacks and the metastasizing of international terrorism.
Take another example: "So I believe that it's in the interests of all of us that we have an Iran…that gives up its weapons ambitions." Insert "a United States" and recall that the U.S. spends as much on weapons as the rest of the world. Then ask why it is pursuing its own line of new, more robust nuclear weapons under the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program.
Here's a classic in psychological projection: "And I must tell you that the current leadership there [in Iran] is a big disappointment to the people of Iran." Yes, but Iran's leaders are mere amateurs at national disappointment, when compared with the professionals in the Bush administration.
Finally, consider one more case of the pot calling the kettle black: "The people of Iran could be doing a lot better than they are today. But because of the actions of this government, the country is isolated." True, but then consider Glenn Greenwald's recent analysis of the worldwide Pew poll of public opinion.
According to Greenwald, "the polling data demonstrates that while America's standing in the world is dangerously low on every continent in the world (the sole exception being Christian nations in Africa), pervasive anti-American sentiment has emerged only in the last six years." [Greenwald, "The tragic collapse of America's standing in the world," salon.com July 5, 2007] Yes, the world hates us and we've lost much influence, thanks to Bush.
Thus, the conclusion appears inescapable: When Bush becomes the pot that calls the kettle black, it's because he's still living in a bubble After all, he appears far too ignorant to be taunting the impotence of his domestic opponents with such a wicked sense of irony.
That being the case, all we can expect is more bad news based upon lies - both for citizens of the United States and the world - unless Bush is impeached, convicted and removed from office (but after Cheney).
Walter C. Uhler is an independent scholar and freelance writer whose work has been published in numerous publications, including The Nation, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Journal of Military History, the Moscow Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. He also is President of the Russian-American International Studies Association (RAISA).
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