“There is no historical precedent
To put the words in the mouth of the President
There’s no such thing as a winnable war
It’s a lie that we don’t believe anymore
Mr. Reagan says we will protect you
I don’t subscribe to his point of view
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too
We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
What might save us, me, and you
Is if the Russians love their children too”---Sting, “Russians” www.azlyrics.com
To paraphrase Benjamin Disraeli: there are lies, damn lies, and then there is George W. Bush. There is no historical precedent to put such words in the mouth of the President.
Lying, when it concerns matters of state, is not the unmitigated evil, the cardinal sin that it is held to be. Certain kinds of lies not only serve the national interests but in fact may be necessary. If the economy is in a downturn, for instance, it is not wise for the President to stand before the country and announce that things have gone to shit and there is nothing we can do about it. This will, as anyone who has watched the markets react to the slightest ill wind blow from the backsides of Alan Greenspan, send the markets into a panic and destabilize the nation’s economy. National leaders often have to put the best face they can on inconvenient truths. But it is one thing to fudge the edges, to play cheerleader in order to boost the spirits and give confidence to the country; it is quite another to intentionally lead the country into war by the systematic use of falsehood. In the history of this republic there is no record of any President so openly and compulsively lying to the American people about questions of war and peace.
“I’ve had enough of reading things
By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth
Just give me some truth”
A few weeks ago it was reported that leading up to the Iraq war senior administration officials openly lied to the American people no less than 935 times. These lies have been documented and catalogued for the historical record, and will remain as a permanent blemish on the history of our age. The rancher from Crawford, our very own Decider in Chief, led the parade with 260 boldfaced lies. These were not little white lies, you know the kind needed to restore confidence to shaky markets, the kind a cheerleader would shout to inspire his heroes on the field. No these were material misrepresentations designed to scare the holy shit out of the public so as to stampede us off to war. For instance: 1. Iraq had 500 tons of chemical weapons, including Sarin gas, Mustard gas, and VX nerve agents. Wrong. In fact not a single drop of any of these chemical weapons was found. 2. Iraq had 30,000 weapons capable of delivering chemical weapons. Wrong, there were zero munitions found. 3. Iraq had a growing fleet of planes capable of dispersing chemical weapons. Wrong again. Not a single aerial vehicle so capable was found anywhere in Iraq. 4. Iraq aided and protected terrorists including Al Qaeda, implying that somehow Iraq was behind the September 11 attacks. Wrong again, not a single shred of evidence connected Hussein with Al Qaeda or, with the exception of certain Palestinian groups, any other known terrorist organization. 5. Iraq attempted to purchase metal tubes used in nuclear weapons production. Wrong. Months before the war the International Atomic Energy Agency declared that these tubes were unsuitable for such purposes. 6. Iraq was rebuilding nuclear facilities. Wrong. In an IAEA report to the U.N. Security Council, dated 1/27/03, the inspectors declared that they found no evidence of prohibited activities at these sites. 7. Iraq had sought to obtain significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Wrong. These documents were not credible and were believed at the time to be forged. 8. Iraq has nuclear weapons. Wrong. The IAEA in a report to the Security Council dated 3/7/03 said that “The IAEA had found no evidence or plausible indication of a nuclear weapons program in Iraq.” 9. Saddam Hussein refused to allow U.N. inspectors into Iraq. Wrong. U.N. Inspectors went into Iraq in December and Hans Blix, chief U.N. inspector, was pleading for more time as the Americans brushed aside the U.N. effort advising the U.N. to withdraw its inspection team as we prepared for war. These and many other such gross misrepresentations of the facts on the ground were repeated by the President and his administration culminating in Secretary Powell’s humiliating performance at the United Nations, and with Condi Rice famously warning that we didn’t want “the smoking gun to come in the form of a mushroom cloud”. (See “A Chart of Bush Lies about Iraq” at buzzflash.com, http://www.buzzflash.com/contributors/03/07/22_lies.html)
“No short-haired, yellow-bellied
Son of tricky-dicky’s
Gonna Mother Hubbard
Note here that the world knew, if America did not, enough of the truth to vote against a Security Council resolution sanctioning our invasion. It is for these reasons that we went to war with what was derisively referred to at the time the ‘coalition of the bribed’. It was a coalition which, beyond Tony Blair’s Britain, enlisted the support of such military giants as Lithuania, Poland and Costa Rica. It was a coalition hastily formed through the device of offering or withholding foreign aid. It was a coalition which belied the fact that we went into Iraq nearly alone.
It is clear, as noted earlier from the “Downing Street Memos”, that this administration was hell-bent on war with Iraq, and that the reasons given for our action were nothing other than blue smoke and mirrors designed to confuse, mislead, and fool the American people. The problem, as Abe Lincoln once said, is that you can fool some of the people all the time, all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time; and the world was not amused.
“I’m sick to death of seeing things
From tight-lipped, condescending, mommies little chauvinists
All I want is the truth
Just give some truth
I’ve had enough of watching scenes
Of schizophrenic, egocentric,
paranoiac, prima donnas
All I want is the truth
Just give me some truth.”—John Lennon, “Give Some Truth”
And now with the war grinding on longer that World War Two, with some four thousand dead and tens of thousands wounded, with nearly a trillion dollars having been spent, we have Marshall McCain insisting that we honor these falsehoods by committing us, for another century, to this hopeless quagmire. There is no historical precedent to put the words in the mouth of the President that there is no such thing as a winnable war. Especially a war that has no justification. A war without end, Amen.