A Crack In Bush's Facade

  1. Care to comment?

    Published on Friday, June 27, 2003 by Ted Rall
    A Crack In Bush's Facade
    by Ted Rall

    MINNEAPOLIS--Bush lied about the weapons of mass destruction. He lied to us, the United
    Nations, and the soldiers he sent to die in Iraq. Bush's apologists defend his attempts to sell
    this obscene war as mere spin, but claiming certain knowledge of something that doesn't exist
    is hardly a question of emphasis. It's time to stop wondering where the WMDs are. Even if
    nukes and gases and anthrax turn up in prodigious quantities, it won't matter. Proof of Bush's
    perfidy, unlike his accusations that Saddam had something to do with 9/11, is irrefutable.

    Before he ordered U.S. forces to kill and maim tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi soldiers and
    civilians, Bush and Co. repeatedly maintained that they had absolute proof that Saddam
    Hussein still possessed WMDs. "There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of
    mass destruction," Dick Cheney said in August. In January, Ari Fleisher said: "We know for a
    fact that there are weapons there." WMDs; not a "WMD program" as they now refer to it.
    WMDs--not just indications of possible, or probable, WMDs.

    Absolute proof.

    During the first days of the war, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stared into television
    cameras, looked right at his employers (that's you and me), and said that he knew exactly
    where they were. "We know where they are," Rumsfeld said. "They are in the area around
    Tikrit and Baghdad."

    Uh-huh. So where are they?

    "Absolute" proof is a high standard--heck, it's a nearly impossible benchmark. The last time I
    checked, my cat was in my kitchen, licking the milk at the bottom of my cereal bowl. As intel
    goes, mine is triple-A-rated--I witnessed it this morning, and I've spent the better part of a
    decade observing that animal. But if you were to demand absolute proof of kitty's current
    location, I couldn't give it to you. I'd bet that he's sleeping on my bed. But he could be in the
    litter box, on the windowsill, or sneaking out an open window. Truth is, I don't know where he
    is. To say otherwise, to present even a well-founded hypothesis as Fact, would be a lie.

    Bush had conjecture, wishful thinking and stale intelligence going for him. He needed absolute
    proof, and the absence thereof is leading to talk of impeachment. Before the invasion of Iraq,
    Rumsfeld argues, "Virtually everyone agreed they did [have WMDs]--in Congress, in
    successive Democratic and Republican administrations, in the intelligence communities here
    in the United States, and also in foreign countries and at the U.N., even among those
    countries that did not favor military action in Iraq." Untrue.

    The Bush Administration didn't have proof, so they spent last fall making it up. As Robin Cook,
    who resigned from Tony Blair's cabinet over the war, told the British Parliament: "Instead of
    using intelligence as evidence on which to base a decision about policy, we used intelligence
    as the basis to justify a policy on which we had already decided."

    By January 2003, 81 percent of respondents to an ABC News poll said they believed that Iraq
    "posed a threat to the United States."

    Previous administrations, reliant on the CIA for reliable information, have traditionally respected
    a "Chinese wall" between Langley and the White House. As Republicans blame the CIA for the
    missing WMDs, leaks from within the CIA increasingly indicate that Dick Cheney and others
    sought to politicize its reports on Iraq, cherry-picking factoids that backed its war cry and
    dismissing those that didn't. This dubious practice culminated with Colin Powell's over-the-top
    performance before the U.N., where he misrepresented documents he knew to be
    forged--which he privately derided as "********"!--as hard fact.

    The Administration's defenders, whose selective morality makes Bill Clinton look like a saint,
    argue that the WMDs don't matter, that Saddam's mass graves vindicate the war liars. But no
    one ever denied that Hussein was evil. The American people knew that Saddam was a butcher
    during the '80s when we backed him, and during the '90s when we contained him. They weren't
    willing to go to war over regime change in the '00s, which is why the Administration invented a
    fictional threat. Now that we know that presidents lie about the need for war, how will future
    presidents rally us against genuine dangers?

    Lying to the American people is impeachable. Waging war without cause is subject to
    prosecution at the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. But insiders have to talk
    before the media can aggressively pursue the WMD story, prosecutors can be appointed and
    top evildoers brought to justice.

    Now Slaughtergate has its own Alexander Butterfield. Christian Westermann, a respected
    State Department intelligence analyst talking to Congress, has testified that Undersecretary of
    State John Bolton, a Bush political appointee, pressured him to change a report on Cuba so
    that it would back Bush claims that Cuba was developing biological weapons. Westermann
    says that when he refused, Bolton tried to have him transferred.

    Westermann's testimony doesn't relate to Iraq, but it puts the lie to Bushoid assertions that
    they never messed with the CIA. A reliable source informs me that there's a "jihad" underway
    between Administration political operatives and the career intelligence community. "Guys are
    pissed off that they're being asked to take the fall for the White House. Look for more leaks in
    the future," this official says.

    Meanwhile, Gen. Richard Meyers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has been reduced to
    parsing the meaning of intelligence: "Intelligence doesn't necessarily mean something is true,"
    he says.

    Now he tells us.

    Ted Rall is the author of "Gas War: The Truth Behind the American Occupation of
    Afghanistan," an analysis of the underreported Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline project and the real
    motivations behind the war on terrorism. Ordering information is available at amazon.com and
    barnesandnoble.com.)

    COPYRIGHT 2003 Ted Rall
    Last edit by pickledpepperRN on Jun 28, '03
    •  
  2. 378 Comments

  3. by   pickledpepperRN
    Published on Friday, June 27, 2003 by the Hartford Courant
    Cheney And The CIA: Not Business As Usual
    by Ray McGovern

    As though this were normal! I mean the repeated visits Vice President Dick Cheney made to
    the CIA before the war in Iraq. The visits were, in fact, unprecedented. During my 27-year
    career at the Central Intelligence Agency, no vice president ever came to us for a working visit.

    During the '80s, it was my privilege to brief Vice President George H.W. Bush and other very
    senior policy-makers every other morning. I went either to the vice president's office or (on
    weekends) to his home. I am sure it never occurred to him to come to CIA headquarters.

    The morning briefings gave us an excellent window on what was uppermost in the minds of
    those senior officials and helped us refine our tasks of collection and analysis. Thus, there was
    never any need for policy-makers to visit us. And the very thought of a vice president dropping
    by to help us with our analysis is extraordinary. We preferred to do that work without the
    pressure that inevitably comes from policy-makers at the table.

    Cheney got into the operational side of intelligence as well. Reports in late 2001 that Iraq had
    tried to acquire uranium from Niger stirred such intense interest that his office let it be known
    he wanted them checked out. So, with the CIA as facilitator, a retired U.S. ambassador was
    dispatched to Niger in February 2002 to investigate. He found nothing to substantiate the
    report and lots to call it into question. There the matter rested - until last summer, after the
    Bush administration made the decision for war in Iraq.

    Cheney, in a speech on Aug. 26, 2002, claimed that Saddam Hussein had "resumed his effort
    to acquire nuclear weapons."

    At the time, CIA analysts were involved in a knock-down, drag-out argument with the Pentagon
    on this very point. Most of the nuclear engineers at the CIA, and virtually all scientists at U.S.
    government laboratories and the International Atomic Energy Agency, found no reliable
    evidence that Iraq had restarted its nuclear weapons program.

    But the vice president had spoken. Sad to say, those in charge of the draft National
    Intelligence Estimate took their cue and stated, falsely, that "most analysts assess Iraq is
    reconstituting its nuclear weapons program."

    Smoke was blown about aluminum tubes sought by Iraq that, it turns out, were for
    conventional weapons programs. The rest amounted to things like Hussein's frequent meetings
    with nuclear scientists and Iraq's foot-dragging in providing information to U.N. inspectors.

    Not much heed was paid to the fact that Hussein's son-in-law, who supervised Iraq's nuclear
    program before he defected in 1995, had told interrogators that Iraq's nuclear capability - save
    the blueprints - had been destroyed in 1991 at his order. (Documents given to the United
    States this week confirm that. The Iraqi scientists who provided them added that, even though
    the blueprints would have given Iraq a head start, no order was given to restart the program;
    and even had such an order been given, Iraq would still have been years away from producing a
    nuclear weapon.)

    In sum, the evidence presented in last September's intelligence estimate fell far short of what
    was required to support Cheney's claim that Iraq was on the road to a nuclear weapon.
    Something scarier had to be produced, and quickly, if Congress was to be persuaded to
    authorize war. And so the decision was made to dust off the uranium-from-Niger canard.

    The White House calculated - correctly - that before anyone would make an issue of the fact
    that this key piece of "intelligence" was based on a forgery, Congress would vote yes. The war
    could then be waged and won. In recent weeks, administration officials have begun spreading
    the word that Cheney was never told the Iraq-Niger story was based on a forgery. I asked a
    senior official who recently served at the National Security Council if he thought that was
    possible. He pointed out that rigorous NSC procedures call for a very specific response to all
    vice presidential questions and added that "the fact that Cheney's office had originally asked
    that the Iraq-Niger report be checked out makes it inconceivable that his office would not have
    been informed of the results."

    Did the president himself know that the information used to secure congressional approval for
    war was based on a forgery? We don't know. But which would be worse - that he knew or that
    he didn't?

    Ray McGovern (rmcgovern@slschool.org), a CIA analyst from 1964 to 1990, regularly reported
    to the vice president and senior policy-makers on the President's Daily Brief from 1981 to
    1985. He now is co-director of the Servant Leadership School, an inner-city outreach ministry
    in Washington.
  4. by   pickledpepperRN
    Friday, June 27, 2003 CommonDreams.org

    When Will House Republicans Call for Bush's
    Impeachment?
    by Steve Pittelli

    It has now become clear that President Bush lied to the American people in order to promote a
    war. That war continues and has already led to the death of thousands of Iraqi civilians,
    hundreds of U.S. soldiers and countless Iraqi soldiers. In truth, Bush's lies are more than just
    lies. They are high crimes and the President should now be subject to impeachment.

    There are those who say that the President's current popularity or the Republican majority in
    the House and Senate preclude the possibility of his impeachment. Perhaps they are
    underestimating the moral integrity of our Republican congressmen. In fact, some of them have
    already publicly stated their opinions on this subject. They did so in February of 1999 when
    they served as Impeachment Trial Managers for the Senate Impeachment Trial of former
    President Clinton. Let's look at what they had to say then:

    Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Illinois):
    "There is a visibility factor in the president's public acts, and those which betray a trust or
    reveal contempt for the law are hard to sweep under the rug...They reverberate, they ricochet
    all over the land and provide the worst possible example for our young people."

    Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin):
    "The truth is still the truth, and a lie is still a lie, and the rule of law should apply to everyone,
    no matter what excuses are made by the president's defenders...We have done so because of
    our devotion to the rule of law and our fear that if the president does not suffer the legal and
    constitutional consequences of his actions, the impact of allowing the president to stand
    above the law will be felt for generations to come...laws not enforced are open invitations for
    more serious and more criminal behavior."

    Steve Chabot (R-Ohio):
    "It would be wrong for you to tell America's children that some lies are all right. It would be
    wrong to show the rest of the world that some of our laws don't really matter."

    Steve Buyer (R- Indiana):
    "I have also heard some senators from both sides of the aisle state publicly: I think these
    offenses rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors. Now, to state publicly that you
    believe that high crimes and misdemeanors have occurred but for some reason you have this
    desire not to remove the president -- that desire, though, does not square with the law, the
    Constitution, and the Senate's precedents for removing federal judges for similar offenses."

    Rep. Lindsey Graham (R - South Carolina, Now Senator):
    "The president of the United States sets atop of the legal pyramid. If there's reasonable doubt
    about his ability to faithfully execute the laws of the land, our future would be better off if that
    individual is removed. And let me tell you where it all comes down to me. If you can go back
    and explain to your children and your constituents how you can be truthful and misleading at
    the same time, good luck."

    These, of course, are just a few examples. It is likely that most of those who voted to impeach
    Clinton are on record as to the high ethical standards they were following. Certainly, they must
    follow these same standards when considering Bush's egregious lies and the consequences of
    those lies. It is time to draft the Articles of Impeachment and let those who oppose them state
    why this case deserves more leniency than was given to former President Clinton.

    Steve Pitelli is a physician and peace activist living on the Central Coast of California. He can
    be reached at NoBushWar@aol.com
  5. by   fergus51
    Of course they'd say all that in 1999. It's all different when it's your guy in the white house. No Republican is going to really criticize Bush's handling of the Iraq issue and no Democrat will do anything more than make a little noise. It's too easy for the Bush camp to say, "they do have WMD, we just haven't found them" or that intelligence failures were an honest mistake.
  6. by   Q.
    I myself know that it really doesn't matter. Bush would be blamed if some terrorist event happened and "he knew and didn't do anything about it" (translation: the "sketchy" intelligence he had to GO to war would suddenly be regarded as reliable) and the fact that he DID act on intelligence now means it was wrong. (translation: the "reliable" intelligence in scenario #1 above is now considered "sketchy.") In other words, people hate Bush and it really doesn't matter what he does. He's always wrong. Although again, no one made any noise when Clinton bombed the piss out of Iraq in Operation Desert Fox and bombed a civilian aspirin factory on "sketchy" intelligence. But oh well.
    Last edit by Susy K on Jun 28, '03
  7. by   fergus51
    I think a lot of people did make noise then. People made it out to be a "wag the dog" thing, then were horribly offended when people questionned Bush for the same thing. Face it, Republicans and Democrats are really not all that different. They are exactly the same when it comes to their behaviour and criticism of the "other" side......
  8. by   Q.
    Well frankly, I'm glad Bush didn't decide to use my city or town as the litmus test to confirm intelligence 110%. He took a risk and I for one am glad he didn't risk us.
  9. by   ucandoit
    Bush is ignorant, I will be so glad when he leave the White House!
  10. by   pickledpepperRN
    10 Appalling Lies We Were Told About
    Iraq
    By Christopher Scheer, AlterNet
    June 27, 2003

    "The Iraqi dictator must not be permitted to threaten America
    and the world with horrible poisons and diseases and gases and
    atomic weapons."
    - George Bush, Oct. 7, 2002, in a speech in Cincinnati.

    There is a small somber box that appears in the New York Times every
    day. Titled simply "Killed in Iraq," it lists the names and military
    affiliations of those who most recently died on tour of duty.
    Wednesday's edition listed just one name: Orenthial J. Smith, age 21, of
    Allendale, South Carolina.

    The young late O.J. Smith was almost certainly named after the
    legendary running back, Orenthal J. Simpson, before that dashing
    American hero was charged for a double-murder. Now his namesake
    has died in far-off Mesopotamia in a noble mission to, as our president
    put it on March 19, "disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the
    world from grave danger."

    Today, more than three months after Bush's stirring declaration of war
    and nearly two months since he declared victory, no chemical, biological
    or nuclear weapons have been found, nor any documentation of their
    existence, nor any sign they were deployed in the field.

    The mainstream press, after an astonishing two years of cowardice, is
    belatedly drawing attention to the unconscionable level of administrative
    deception. They seem surprised to find that when it comes to Iraq, the
    Bush administration isn't prone to the occasional lie of expediency but, in
    fact, almost never told the truth.

    What follows are just the most outrageous and significant of the dozens
    of outright lies uttered by Bush and his top officials over the past year in
    what amounts to a systematic campaign to scare the bejeezus out of
    everybody:

    LIE #1: "The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its
    nuclear weapons program ... Iraq has attempted to purchase
    high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment need for gas
    centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear
    weapons." - President Bush, Oct. 7, 2002, in Cincinnati.

    FACT: This story, leaked to and breathlessly reported by Judith Miller
    in the New York Times, has turned out to be complete baloney.
    Department of Energy officials, who monitor nuclear plants, say the
    tubes could not be used for enriching uranium. One intelligence analyst,
    who was part of the tubes investigation, angrily told The New Republic
    that, "You had senior American officials like Condoleezza Rice saying
    the only use of this aluminum really is uranium centrifuges. She said that
    on television. And that's just a lie."

    LIE #2: "The British government has learned that Saddam
    Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from
    Africa." - President Bush, Jan.28, 2003, in the State of the Union
    address.

    FACT: This whopper was based on a document that the White House
    already knew to be a forgery thanks to the CIA. Sold to Italian
    intelligence by some hustler, the document carried the signature of an
    official who had been out of office for 10 years and referenced a
    constitution that was no longer in effect. The ex-ambassador who the
    CIA sent to check out the story is pissed: "They knew the Niger story
    was a flat-out lie," he told the New Republic, anonymously. "They [the
    White House] were unpersuasive about aluminum tubes and added this
    to make their case more strongly."

    LIE #3: "We believe [Saddam] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear
    weapons." - Vice President Cheney on March 16, 2003 on "Meet
    the Press."

    FACT: There was and is absolutely zero basis for this statement. CIA
    reports up through 2002 showed no evidence of an Iraqi nuclear
    weapons program.

    LIE #4: "[The CIA possesses] solid reporting of senior-level
    contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda going back a decade." - CIA
    Director George Tenet in a written statement released Oct. 7, 2002
    and echoed in that evening's speech by President Bush.

    FACT: Intelligence agencies knew of tentative contacts between
    Saddam and al-Qaeda in the early '90s, but found no proof of a
    continuing relationship. In other words, by tweaking language, Tenet and
    Bush spun the intelligence180 degrees to say exactly the opposite of
    what it suggested.

    LIE #5: "We've learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members
    in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases ... Alliance with
    terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without
    leaving any fingerprints." - President Bush, Oct. 7.

    FACT: No evidence of this has ever been leaked or produced. Colin
    Powell told the U.N. this alleged training took place in a camp in
    northern Iraq. To his great embarrassment, the area he indicated was
    later revealed to be outside Iraq's control and patrolled by Allied war
    planes.

    LIE #6: "We have also discovered through intelligence that Iraq
    has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that
    could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across
    broad areas. We are concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of
    using these UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] for missions
    targeting the United States." - President Bush, Oct. 7.

    FACT: Said drones can't fly more than 300 miles, and Iraq is 6000
    miles from the U.S. coastline. Furthermore, Iraq's drone-building
    program wasn't much more advanced than your average model plane
    enthusiast. And isn't a "manned aerial vehicle" just a scary way to say
    "plane"?

    LIE #7: "We have seen intelligence over many months that they
    have chemical and biological weapons, and that they have
    dispersed them and that they're weaponized and that, in one case
    at least, the command and control arrangements have been
    established." - President Bush, Feb. 8, 2003, in a national radio
    address.

    FACT: Despite a massive nationwide search by U.S. and British forces,
    there are no signs, traces or examples of chemical weapons being
    deployed in the field, or anywhere else during the war.

    LIE #8: "Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a
    stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons
    agent. That is enough to fill 16,000 battlefield rockets." -
    Secretary of State Colin Powell, Feb. 5 2003, in remarks to the UN
    Security Council.

    FACT: Putting aside the glaring fact that not one drop of this massive
    stockpile has been found, as previously reported on AlterNet our own
    intelligence reports show that these stocks - if they existed - were well
    past their use-by date and therefore useless as weapon fodder.

    LIE #9: "We know where [Iraq's WMD] are. They're in the area
    around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north
    somewhat." - Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, March 30,
    2003, in statements to the press.

    FACT: Needless to say, no such weapons were found, not to the east,
    west, south or north, somewhat or otherwise.

    LIE #10: "Yes, we found a biological laboratory in Iraq which the
    UN prohibited." - President Bush in remarks in Poland, published
    internationally June 1, 2003.

    FACT: This was reference to the discovery of two modified truck
    trailers that the CIA claimed were are potential mobile biological
    weapons lab. But British and American experts - including the State
    Department's intelligence wing in a report released this week - have
    since declared this to be untrue. According to the British, and much to
    Prime Minister Tony Blair's embarrassment, the trailers are actually
    exactly what Iraq said they were, facilities to fill weather balloons, sold
    to them by the British themselves.

    So, months after the war, we are once again where we started - with
    plenty of rhetoric and absolutely no proof of this "grave danger" for
    which O.J. Smith died. The Bush administration is now scrambling to
    place the blame for its lies on faulty intelligence, when in fact the
    intelligence was fine, it was their abuse of it which was "faulty."

    Rather than apologize for leading us to a preemptive war based on
    impossibly faulty or shamelessly distorted "intelligence" or offering his
    resignation, our sly madman in the White House is starting to sound
    more like that other O.J. Like the man who cheerfully played golf while
    promising to pursue "the real killers," Bush is now vowing to search for
    "the true extent of Saddam Hussein's weapons programs, no matter how
    long it takes."

    On the terrible day of the 9/11 attacks, five hours after a hijacked plane
    slammed into the Pentagon, retired Gen. Wesley Clark received a
    strange call from someone (he didn't name names) representing the
    White House position: "I was on CNN, and I got a call at my home
    saying, 'You got to say this is connected. This is state-sponsored
    terrorism. This has to be connected to Saddam Hussein,'" Clark told
    Meet the Press anchor Tim Russert. "I said, 'But - I'm willing to say it,
    but what's your evidence?' And I never got any evidence.'"

    And neither did we.

    Christopher Scheer is the managing editor of AlterNet.org. He can
    be reached at feedback@alternet.org
  11. by   Mkue
    I don't mind waiting a few months or even longer to get the facts straight. All of this crying about "lying" is not helping the Democrats IMO.
  12. by   Mkue
    Fact: SH was a diabolical dictator and murdered millions of his own ppl.
    Fact: Pres Bush called for a Regime change in Iraq and it happend.
    Fact: 2 mobile biological weapons trailers have been discovered.
    Fact: Terrorists camps were discovered in Iraq.
    Fact: The UN was unsuccessful in disarming Iraq and getting SH to cooperate for 13 years.
    Fact: SH and his Regime stashed United Nations food away in warehouses instead of distributing it to babies and mothers.
    Fact: Previous administrations and constituants claimed that Iraq was a threat and must be dealt with. (see my previous posts of quotes -weapons of mass destruction thread)
  13. by   passing thru
    I read in the papers today that we have not restored electricity to 85% of the towns we bombed and that 75 % of Iraq is still without water since we bombed.

    No wonder they are taking it out on us..."the Lberators"

    It is 117 degrees there the paper said....
    no electricity for air conditioning................
  14. by   pickledpepperRN
    LIE #10: "Yes, we found a biological laboratory in Iraq which the
    UN prohibited." - President Bush in remarks in Poland, published
    internationally June 1, 2003.

    FACT: This was reference to the discovery of two modified truck
    trailers that the CIA claimed were are potential mobile biological
    weapons lab. But British and American experts - including the State
    Department's intelligence wing in a report released this week - have
    since declared this to be untrue. According to the British, and much to
    Prime Minister Tony Blair's embarrassment, the trailers are actually
    exactly what Iraq said they were, facilities to fill weather balloons, sold
    to them by the British themselves.

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