Impeach Bush

State of the Union Lies
2003 State of the Union

Note, the following is a small list of lies Bush told the Congress and the nation in his State of the Union. The State of the Union is a legal document required by the Constitution. Bush's lies in his address to the Congress are impeachable offenses.

 It is up to Iraq to show exactly where it is hiding its banned weapons, lay those weapons out for the world to see, and destroy them as directed. Nothing like this has happened.

The United Nations concluded in 1999 that Saddam Hussein had biological weapons sufficient to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax -- enough doses to kill several million people. He hasn't accounted for that material. He's given no evidence that he has destroyed it.

The United Nations concluded that Saddam Hussein had materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin -- enough to subject millions of people to death by respiratory failure. He hadn't accounted for that material. He's given no evidence that he has destroyed it.

Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent. In such quantities, these chemical agents could also kill untold thousands. He's not accounted for these materials. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed them.

U.S. intelligence indicates that Saddam Hussein had upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents. Inspectors recently turned up 16 of them -- despite Iraq's recent declaration denying their existence. Saddam Hussein has not accounted for the remaining 29,984 of these prohibited munitions. He's given no evidence that he has destroyed them.

From three Iraqi defectors we know that Iraq, in the late 1990s, had several mobile biological weapons labs. These are designed to produce germ warfare agents, and can be moved from place to a place to evade inspectors. Saddam Hussein has not disclosed these facilities. He's given no evidence that he has destroyed them.

The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon and was working on five different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb. The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production. Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities. He clearly has much to hide.

The dictator of Iraq is not disarming. To the contrary; he is deceiving. From intelligence sources we know, for instance, that thousands of Iraqi security personnel are at work hiding documents and materials from the U.N. inspectors, sanitizing inspection sites and monitoring the inspectors themselves. Iraqi officials accompany the inspectors in order to intimidate witnesses.

Iraq is blocking U-2 surveillance flights requested by the United Nations.

As we know now just about everything Bush said in the State of the Union was a lie. We can also safely assume he used the UN and the U-2 fly-overs to help US in the planned military action against Iraq. We also know the US has troops on the ground long before the war looking for weapons and of course we know US troops and UN inspectors couldn't verify a word of what Bush was saying. Some will continue to say it was an intelligence failure. Needless to say, we need to ask them why their intelligence is failing them.

If UN inspectors and US troops weren't on the ground and if the US had no intelligence whatsoever for the past 12 years you might be able to believe Bush's claim that it was bad intelligence. But if you have a brain, you have to blame Bush for lying to us about going to war.

Once again the State of the Union is a legal document. It is required by the Constitution. Bush clearly lied in that document and lied to the Congress and the American people. If lying to Congress isn't grounds for impeachment than nothing is.


Gov't Report Backs Detainee Abuse Claims
Ab Impeachable Offense
The Associated Press
Sunday, June 22, 2003; 4:13 PM

NEW YORK - Yasser Ebrahim says his introduction to the federal prison system came from guards slamming his head into a wall while calling him a "terrorist."

Shakir Baloch says guards at the same lockup warned him: "You will be here the rest of your life."

Those allegations and others - including random beatings - made by Muslim men held on immigration charges after the Sept. 11 attacks had been routinely dismissed by federal officials.

Earlier this month, however, the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General issued a report saying it found "significant problems" with the treatment of nearly 800 detainees nationwide, including abusive conditions at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn where Ebrahim and Baloch were held.

The report cast a critical light on the little-known federal lockup on the waterfront, and breathed life into a pending civil rights lawsuit filed by Ebrahim, Baloch and five others against Attorney General John Ashcroft, prison personnel, FBI supervisors and other officials. The plaintiffs are seeking class action status.

"What we said about all the suffering was true," Ebrahim, 31, said in a phone interview from his native Egypt. "The government was doing its best to deny it."

Both Ebrahim and Baloch were held for eight months without being charged with a crime, then were deported.

"I'm owed an apology," said Baloch, 41, a Pakistani-born doctor with Canadian citizenship.

Their lawyers have amended the lawsuit, filed last year, to incorporate the inspector general's findings. The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, claims federal officials violated their rights by imprisoning them on the basis of their race and religion.

More than 80 men designated "of high interest" in the FBI investigation of the Sept. 11 attacks were jailed at the facility in Brooklyn between Sept. 14, 2001, and Aug. 27, 2002. The nine-story facility usually houses men and women charged with federal crimes, not immigration violations.

Inmates like Ebrahim and Baloch were classified "suspected terrorists" and put in high-security cell blocks normally reserved for dangerous inmates.

The men say they were denied access to phones and lawyers for weeks at a time, locked in tiny cells where lights burned all night, kept awake by guards pounding on their doors, put in handcuffs and shackles whenever outside their cells, and beaten at random.

"I was being hated by everyone around me wanting revenge for Sept. 11," Ebrahim said. He acknowledged staying past his visa's expiration but said he did nothing else illegal.

The abuse allegedly subsided once guards were ordered to videotape detainees outside their cells - a policy that prison officials said was designed simply to deter accusations of mistreatment. The officials cited an al-Qaida training manual that instructed terrorists to accuse their captors of abuse.

Ebrahim says one guard whispered: "The camera is your best friend. If not for the camera, I would have smashed your face."

In interviews with the Inspector General's investigators, most guards denied any wrongdoing. But one said he witnessed guards slam inmates against walls, and "stated this was a common practice before the MDC began videotaping the detainees," the report said.

The guard said a supervisor told him "it was all part of being in jail and not to worry about it."

Justice Department officials refuse to discuss the civil suit.

Government attorneys have asked a judge to dismiss the case, arguing Ashcroft and other defendants are shielded by immunity laws designed to ensure they can perform their official duties "without the chill and distraction of damages suits."

Ebrahim says the distraction of the lawsuit is nothing compared to hearing a knock on his door on Sept. 30, 2001, and being hauled away for reasons he says are still unclear to him.

"This is not supposed to happen in America," he said.

© 2003 The Associated Press

Who would have thought the US would or could become this corrupt/? Why isn't the media harping on Bush for destroying the Constitutional and human rights of others? If we want our citizens to be treated decently in their countries we better start doing the same here. Soon, it won't be safe to travel anyplace outside the US out of fear that other government will treat us like we treat their citizens. Shame on Bush, shame on the media and shame on those who support the current regime.

Also, I'm not sure what good the lawsuits will do. The Courts have consistently sided with abusing basic human rights instead of protecting basic human dignity. Shame on the Courts.

We're better than this so don't give me that un-American crap.


Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb: Bush lacks credibility
The Associated Press
Monday, June 23, 2003; 6:35 AM

WASHINGTON - The question of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction has left a cloud over the Bush administration's credibility that won't be removed until Americans know whether the administration was straightforward with them, a Republican member of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Sunday.

At the same time, the committee's chairman and its senior Democrat said it is too early to say whether prewar weapons intelligence was manipulated or hyped before the U.S.-led invasion in March, as some Democrats have suggested.

The committee began last week an inquiry into the administration's use of intelligence to justify the invasion, specifically assertions that President Saddam Hussein had thriving programs to develop chemical and biological weapons and had tried to obtain material for nuclear arms.

Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., said the administration is cooperating with the committee hearings, and he expects the cooperation to continue.

"This is a cloud hanging over their credibility, their word," said Hagel. "They need to get that dealt with, taken care of, removed."

Hagel, who spoke on ABC's "This Week" program, said: "The world - certainly Americans - must have confidence in this administration. ... And to resolve this issue is certainly in the interests of this administration."

The Intelligence Committee chairman, Sen. Pat Roberts, said he had seen no evidence in the hearings' early going of any manipulation or other questionable administration tactics, but his panel hopes to answer that question once and for all.

"That's why we have all of the voluminous material from the ceiling to the floor from the CIA," the Kansas Republican said.

The panel's top Democrat, Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, said he does not know whether intelligence may have been exaggerated to bolster the administration's case for going to war, but he added that he has misgivings over the possibility.

Rockefeller pointed to claims that Iraq sought uranium from Africa, which were later determined to be based on forged documents that came to the CIA through Italian and British agencies. President Bush mentioned the purported Niger-Iraq connection in his State of the Union address, apparently after the forgery had been discovered.

For now, Rockefeller said, "I am not going to conclude from that that the president was deliberately misleading."

Rockefeller and Roberts both appeared on "Fox News Sunday."

Their committee held one secret session last week. Roberts said three more hearings are planned, and they probably will be followed by an open hearing, which Democrats have demanded.

"At the end of it, doubtlessly, we will have a public hearing. We'll make a public report and probably a classified report," Roberts said.

The House Intelligence Committee is conducting a similar review on prewar weapons assessments, as is the Senate Armed Services Committee.

More than two months after the fall of Baghdad, no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, which has raised questions about the Bush administration's primary justification for invading.

Until recently, Bush and his aides had maintained prohibited weapons would be found. In his radio address Saturday, Bush made no such promise and said instead that documents and suspected weapons sites were looted and burned "in the regime's final days."

On the Net: Senate Intelligence Committee:

© 2003 The Associated Press

As some of you may not know, the BBC and British Government are having a massive feud over doctoring evidence, or sexing it up. I have no idea how that will work out, but it obvious the US media should be hitting Bush very hard on doctored evidence. If he can tell us what he thought they had in weapons, he can tell us where he received his evidence and why it was wrong. Any attempt to keep this secret is unacceptable and any congressman or senator who supports this continued coverup is not fit to be in office.


Defending Bush: Saddam brought it on himself--revising history
The Age (AU)
June 24 2003

Dubious editorialising by ABC reporters won't alter the fact that the Iraq war was justified, writes Gerard Henderson.

And so it came to pass that it was an ABC journalist who chose to rain on the Australian Defence Force's parade. Federal Communications Minister Richard Alston, an avowed critic of the ABC coverage of the Second Gulf War, will not have been surprised.

Geoff Sims covered the march by ADF service men and women in Sydney last Wednesday to commemorate those who served in the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. On ABC TV's national news he editorialised that "they went with mixed feelings... over why they were sent at all" but acknowledged that "they came back to unanimous approval".

Then it was the time for a question, of the leading kind. Young ADF personnel were asked: "Does it bother you that the reason given for going to war may have been spurious."

Sims finished his piece to camera by asserting that (unnamed) ADF members had privately declared that "the best political decision" was "bringing them home" before there were deaths and/or casualties. It was as negative as that.

Two days earlier John Howard had told Parliament that Labor MPs who were raising the issue of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) "status" were "in effect calling for the restoration of Saddam Hussein as the ruler of Iraq". As might be expected in the heat of parliamentary debate, the Prime Minister's claim was exaggerated. But it is true that if the coalition of the willing (the United States, Britain, Australia and Poland) had not invaded Iraq with the express intention of ridding the Iraqi regime of its WMDs, then Saddam and his murderous sidekicks would still be in power in Iraq.

There is no evidence that George Bush or Tony Blair or John Howard lied about Iraq's WMD capacity before the coalition of the willing entered Iraq. But it is quite possible that all three - and their intelligence advisers - overestimated the contemporary threat posed by Saddam. This may cause one or all some political discomfort unless - or until - WMDs are discovered. But it is unlikely to have a long-term impact within the electorates of the three democracies.

Intelligence is not an exact science. That's why many United Nations Security Council resolutions, over more than a decade, required that Iraq demonstrate that it had disarmed in accordance with the surrender terms agreed to at the end of the First Gulf War in 1991. As UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Hans Blix, the leader of the UN weapons inspection team, acknowledged before the conflict started, the Saddam regime consistently refused to abide by this requirement.

In 1990-91, some commentators opposed the UN military action (led by the US) to drive Iraq out of Kuwait. A decade later some of the same commentators were content to let Saddam continue to defy UN demands that Iraq prove that it had abandoned its WMD capacity.

Viewed in this light, it does not matter whether Saddam's WMDs are discovered. Before the outbreak of the Second Gulf War, virtually no one maintained that Iraq was a WMD-free zone. Not even those commentators who opposed military action without an unequivocal UN mandate. For example, Richard Butler, the former UN weapons inspector, told the Sydney Institute on January 28, 2003, that there was "no question" that Iraq had "weapons of mass destruction".

Even Andrew Wilkie, who quit his job at the Office of National Assessments last March in protest at the looming military action against Saddam, conceded at the time that "there was no doubt" that Iraq had "chemical and biological weapons". He argued, however, that Saddam's WMD program was "disjointed and limited" (The Bulletin, March 18, 2003). Interviewed by Richard Glover on ABC radio in Sydney on April 15, Wilkie went so far as to suggest the US just might "plant" some significant WMDs in Iraq post bellum.

It has not happened. Sure, Messrs Bush, Blair and Howard would welcome a discovery of WMDs in Iraq - or, failing that, a convincing account of what happened to the remaining weapons when the UN inspectors were effectively driven out of Iraq in 1998. Yet Saddam's consistent defiance of the UN-endorsed 1991 surrender terms was sufficient to justify the invasion of Iraq and the toppling of his murderous regime.

Viewed in this light, Wilkie's conspiracy theory is pointless.

Wilkie is not the only critic of the coalition of the willing whose views warrant close assessment. This month, in an interview with The Guardian, Dr Blix let it be known that he had "detractors in Washington" whom he regarded as "bastards". It's just that the members of the Bush Administration were entitled to be sceptical about Hans Blix. After all, when head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, he had failed to detect that Iraq was developing a nuclear capacity in the lead-up to the First Gulf War. This was a significant failure, the consequences of which were only resolved by Iraq's military defeat in 1991.

Then there is the former British cabinet minister Robin Cook, who, along with Wilkie, gave evidence to Britain's Foreign Affairs Committee last week. In the early stages of the war, Cook called for British troops to be brought home. The claim was soon withdrawn when he realised such a call for capitulation, if implemented, would lead to Saddam's military victory in the field.

Like Geoff Sims, Cook seems to regard the reasons given for the defeat of Saddam's regime as spurious. This overlooks the fact that the tyrant was deposed because he consistently failed to do what he had agreed to do - namely, to prove that Iraq had no WMDs.

The invasion of Iraq was justified - even if the occasional ABC reporter editorialises otherwise.

Gerard Henderson is executive director of the Sydney Institute.

Copyright © 2003 The Age Company Ltd

It's good to hear the opposition so we can see how intent they are on destroying international law. Regime Change is not part of International Law. The former USSR killed a lot of their own citizens but we didn't take out their regimes because that's not how the US acts.

Any attempt to dissuade us by saying Saddam was a bad person is spurious. We already know that. But Saddam was far worse during the 80's and early 90's, when he was a US puppet. It was during this time that he used WMD in Iran without our objections. To suggest his actions two decades ago warrant his remodel from power now is as spurious as it gets. Those who defend the actions of Blair, Bush and John Howard (the Australian PM) are not fit to hold office. It's time we start putting standards back into our political systems and hold our leaders responsible for their lies.


"Bush Lied About WMD: A Ridiculous Conspiracy Theory"
Posted by Brandt Zembsch
June 09, 2003

If you are a dedicated "Bush hater," you latch onto anything you can that can be used to bash the President.  Robert Fagan, writing in the Washington Post, notes the ridiculous hysteria of the crowd promoting the "Bush lied about the WMD to sell the war in Iraq."  To buy into this notion, Fagan points out how far one must stretch reality.  From the editorial page with Ruthie Rosen to the back page with Jon "Loon" Carroll, the Chronicle  promotes this conspiracy theory.  Note that the Post is known as a liberal paper.   But, it does have journalistic standards and talent.  The Chron is short on both.

There is something surreal about the charges flying that President Bush lied when he claimed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.  Yesterday The Post continued the barrage, reporting that Defense Intelligence Agency analysts claimed last September merely that Iraq "probably" possessed "chemical agent in chemical munitions" and "probably" possessed "bulk chemical stockpiles, primarily containing precursors, but that also could consist of some mustard agent and VX," a deadly nerve agent.

This kind of "discrepancy" qualifies as front-page news these days.  Why?  Not because the Bush administration may have--repeat, may have--exaggerated the extent of knowledge about what Hussein had in his WMD arsenal.  No, the critics' real aim is to prove that, as a New York Times reporter recently put it, "the failure so far to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq may mean that there never were any in the first place."

The absurdity of this charge is mind-boggling. Yes, neither the CIA nor the U.N. inspectors have ever known exactly how many weapons Hussein had or how many he was building.  But that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and the ability to produce more?  That has never been in doubt.

Start with this: The Iraqi government in the 1990s admitted to U.N. weapons inspectors that it had produced 8,500 liters of anthrax and a few tons of VX.  Where are they?  U.N. inspectors have been trying to answer that question for years. Because Hussein refused to come clean, the logical presumption was that he had hidden them.  As my colleague, nonproliferation expert Joseph Cirincione, put it bluntly in a report last year: "Iraq has chemical and biological weapons."  The only thing not known was where they were and how far the Iraqi weapons programs had advanced since the inspectors left in 1998.

Go back and take a look at the report Hans Blix delivered to the U.N. Security Council on Jan. 27.  On the question of Iraq's stocks of anthrax, Blix reported "no convincing evidence" that they were ever destroyed.  But there was "strong evidence" that Iraq produced more anthrax than it had admitted "and that at least some of this was retained."  Blix also reported that Iraq possessed 650 kilograms of "bacterial growth media," enough "to produce . . . 5,000 litres of concentrated anthrax."  Cirincione concluded that "it is likely that Iraq retains stockpiles of anthrax, botulinum toxin and aflatoxin."

On the question of VX, Blix reported that his inspections team had information that conflicted with Iraqi accounts.  The Iraqis claimed that they had produced VX only as part of a pilot program but that the quality was poor and the agent was never "weaponized."  But according to Blix, the inspections team discovered Iraqi documents that showed the quality of the VX to be better than declared.  The team also uncovered "indications that the agent" had been "weaponized."  According to Cirincione's August 2002 report, "it is widely believed that significant quantities of chemical agents and precursors remain stored in secret depots" and that there were also "thousands of possible chemical munitions still unaccounted for."  Blix reported there were 6,500 "chemical bombs" that Iraq admitted producing but whose whereabouts were unknown.  Blix's team calculated the amount of chemical agent in those bombs at 1,000 tons.  As Blix reported to the Security Council, "in the absence of evidence to the contrary, we must assume that these quantities are now unaccounted for."

Maybe former CIA director John Deutch was lying when he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Sept. 19, 1996, that "we believe that [Hussein] retains an undetermined quantity of chemical and biological agents that he would certainly have the ability to deliver against adversaries by aircraft or artillery or by Scud missile systems."

Maybe former defense secretary William Cohen was lying in April when he said, "I am absolutely convinced that there are weapons. . . . I saw evidence back in 1998 when we would see the inspectors being barred from gaining entry into a warehouse for three hours with trucks rolling up and then moving those trucks out."

Maybe the German intelligence service was lying when it reported in 2001 that Hussein might be three years away from being able to build three nuclear weapons and that by 2005 Iraq would have a missile with sufficient range to reach Europe.

Maybe French President Jacques Chirac was lying when he declared in February that there were probably weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that "we have to find and destroy them."

Maybe Al Gore was lying when he declared last September, based on what he learned as vice president, that Hussein had "stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."

Finally, there's former president Bill Clinton.  In a February 1998 speech, Clinton described Iraq's "offensive biological warfare capability, notably 5,000 gallons of botulinum, which causes botulism; 2,000 gallons of anthrax; 25 biological-filled Scud warheads; and 157 aerial bombs."  Clinton accurately reported the view of U.N. weapons inspectors "that Iraq still has stockpiles of chemical and biological munitions, a small force of Scud-type missiles, and the capacity to restart quickly its production program and build many, many more weapons."  That was as unequivocal and unqualified a statement as any made by George W. Bush.

Clinton went on to insist, in words now poignant, that the world had to address the "kind of threat Iraq poses . . . a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists . . . who travel the world among us unnoticed." I think Bush said that, too.

So if you like a good conspiracy, this one's a doozy.  And the best thing about it is that if all these people are lying, there's only one person who ever told the truth: Saddam Hussein.  And now we can't find him either.

The writer, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, writes a monthly column for The Post.

Copyright © 2003 ChronWatch. All rights reserved.

Let's begin here. Bush uses this line in his State of the Union: "The Iraqi government in the 1990s..." When in the 90's? Before the first Gulf War? Yup, don't be fooled.

Then to what he says came from Blix. Blix did in fact say there is no evidence Saddam's anthrax was destroyed. We shouldn't jump at this as being proof that they weren't destroyed, only that there's no evidence. No evidence of their destruction does not mean proof they exist. A government proposing to go to war based on a guess does not have credibility. Bush didn't have proof. So, that one is easy to destroy too.

Regarding the growth medium to create anthrax, where is it? Are we going to use a false estimate by one UN inspector as grounds for going to war? Recall, how Bush stated unequivocally that Saddam had WMD. Where is his evidence? He had none.

Since this debacle, all statements coming out of the CIA must be taken with a grain of salt. They clearly have no idea what they're doing, but the CIA didn't take us to war, Bush did.

Clinton's justification was also very clear. The author of this piece simply refuses to state what they were. Here is what else President Clinton stated in 1998: "If Saddam can cripple the weapons inspections system and get away with it, he would conclude the international community, led by the United States, has simply lost its will," said Clinton. "He would surmise that he has free rein to rebuild his arsenal of destruction."

Prior to 2003 war with Iraq (made for tv war to most of us) the UN inspectors have free reign to search for WMD. That was not present in 1998. To compare the two event and the two presidents is spurious.

President Clinton also strengthened the US's position at the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention in 1998, the opposite of what Bush is doing. President Clinton was prepared to prove to the world that the US wasn't building biological weapons. Bush is telling the world we're ridding nuclear weapons from one country (though they never had any), while at the same time building new and better ones. Clinton's policies showed strength of character. Bush has not.


By Ted Rall/YahooNews
June 23, 2003

PITTSBURGH--Today's version of the heroic Nathan Hale would fall to his knees, beg for mercy, and swear fealty to the British crown. A 21st century Patrick Henry would no doubt argue that homeland security trumps personal liberty. Benedict Arnold would make the rounds of the TV talk shows, lauded as an "heroic pragmatist." In a land of wimps, the dimwit is king--such is the dismal state of post-9/11 America.

As George W. Bush's aristocorporate junta runs roughshod over hard-earned freedoms, as his lunatic-right Administration loots $10 trillion from the national treasury, as his armies invade sovereign nations without cause, as he threatens war against imagined enemies while allowing real ones to build nuclear weapons, those charged with standing against these perversions of American values remain appallingly, inexplicably silent.

We have become a nation of cowards, and I am ashamed.

Where are the Democrats? Under our two-party system it is their patriotic duty to represent the opinions and beliefs of their constituents, who are mostly liberal. That responsibility becomes an urgent necessity when the GOP, in firm control of all three branches of government, abandons a proud tradition of conservatism in favor of outright fascism. With the exception of a few principled men like Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV), leading Democrats have made little or no effort to stymie Bush's agenda, launch a real investigation of 9/11 or appoint a special prosecutor to go after the WMD scandal. To their eternal dishonor 82 Democratic Congressmen and 29 Senators voted for the invasion of Iraq--this despite the pleas of millions of demonstrators. Among the nine leading contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, only two have made opposition to runaway militarism a staple of their stump speech.

Easily spooked and even more easily fooled, Democratic leaders are neither leading nor acting like Democrats. Thirty years of political duck-and-cover has brought them to the brink of irrelevance. Far more damning, they have abandoned their rightful role as loyal opponents.

Where is the left? The radical theoreticians who provided the intellectual rationale for opposition to the Vietnam War--Ralph Nader, Noam Chomsky, et al--are touring the nation's universities, each pushing books and promoting their personal "brand" to youthful idealists. Former leftist Christopher Hitchens, who so desperately wanted to fit into the new paradigm that he endorsed attacking Iraq, has been reduced to insisting that weapons of mass destruction will turn up someday. Probably.

Unlike Saddam, Bush needn't cut out his opponents' tongues. They're keeping silent on their own.

It may be naïve to pose the question, but where are the principled Republicans? Not long ago, conservative leaders trudged down from Capitol Hill to tell an embattled Richard Nixon that he could no longer count on their support. Now the moderate, fiscally responsible Republicans one might expect to stand up to Bush's fiscal depredations--men like John McCain, Bob Dole and George Pataki--remain mute as their party and nation are hijacked by fanatics. Bush's rich man's welfare will cost the average U.S. citizen $500,000 over the next decade--isn't that the kind of government waste Republicans are supposed to deplore?

Partisan politics are so dead that the American resistance is entrusted by default into the unlikely hands of the same intelligence establishment that poisoned Fidel's cigars. Every day brings startling revelations from angry CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency spymasters: despite what Bush said over and over again, there was never any proof that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, the trailers Bush claimed were mobile chemical weapons labs were no such thing, and Colin Powell presented, in the UN, evidence on Iraq that he privately considered doctored and unreliable. The recent DIA leak of a November 2002 analysis shows that intelligence experts believed that Saddam Hussein would never use WMDs--even if he had them--unless "regime survival was imminently threatened." The Iraqis would use them only "in extreme circumstances," the report said, "because their use would confirm Iraq's evasion of UN restrictions."

Where is the outrage? Even though it's painfully clear that Bush lied about the WMDs, even though daily ambushes of American troops indicate that the war is far from over, a CBS News poll shows that 62 percent of Americans still support Bush's con job on Iraq. "The president is 99 percent safe on this one," says Newt Gingrich.

Protestors who demonstrated against the war before it began ought to be energized by the WMD scandal, but the streets of Washington are quiet. Editors who parroted the Administration's lies, given the chance to redeem themselves now, downplay the latest Slaughtergate news. An army colonel e-mails, urging me to keep asking questions, yet confesses, "I'm keeping my thoughts to myself and waiting until I retire to get the hell out of here." Daniel Goldhagen's controversial 1996 book "Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust" pointed out an obvious truth: that the Nazis could never have triumphed, retained power or gotten anything done without the explicit complicity of the people they ruled. Therefore, Goldhagen argued--and thoughtful people agree--the failure of the German people to resist Hitler made them just as guilty as he was.

How will history judge us?

<em>(Ted Rall is the author of "Gas War: The Truth Behind the American Occupation of Afghanistan (news - web sites)," an analysis of the underreported Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline project and the real motivations behind the war on terrorism. Ordering information is available at and</em>

Copyright © 2003 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

I can't see a factual error in this article though it's a tad bit harsh. I present it as a means to help those who are slumbering along on this issue and need a little help.

I'm deeply disappointed in Jews. Where are they? Why do they remain silent knowing the US has concentration camps (death camps) in Cuba, knowing we torture POW's (but we call them other names these days) and go to war with defenseless countries? Where are they knowing we occupy countries that have never harmed us? Have Jews become deaf and blind?

I'm only somewhat shocked by the democrats. They're becoming totally worthless and have been on this track for a very long time. The current breed of democrats are destroying the party. I hope they know that. Dean can save the party maybe, but the press hates him (which is good).

The media too, I guess I've gotten used to them lying to us daily and protecting the current regime while never missing a chance to slander President Clinton or the former First Lady. I've even gotten used to the constant rewriting of history to excuse the Reagan and Bush debt, and/or the under reporting of it.

But what really, really bothers me is the American people. You just piss me off. You sit back and let these tyrants destroy your country, your ideals, your future and your lives. If you care, I mean really care about this country, then support those who oppose the Bush Regime.


Venezuela and US Media Bias
By Greg Palast, AlterNet
June 25, 2003

Editors note: As a globetrotting investigative reporter who has worked for major news outlets on both sides of the Atlantic, Greg Palast has had ample opportunity to see how media coverage can strongly skew how events are seen by the public. Last week, in an original article published on AlterNet, "The Screwing of Cynthia McKinney", he showed how sloppy reporters at the New York Times and National Public Radio were complicit in the political destruction of progressive Rep. Cynthia McKinney. Now, in another case study, he takes on U.S. media coverage of Venezuela's political turmoil.

Last June, on Page One of the San Francisco Chronicle, an Associated Press photo of a mass of demonstrators carried the following caption:


The caption let us know this South American potentate was a killer, an autocrat, and the people of his nation wanted him out. The caption continued: "[Venezuelans] marched Saturday to demand his resignation and punishment for those responsible for 17 deaths during a coup in April. 'Chavez leave now!' read a huge banner."

There was no actual story in the Chronicle – South America simply isn't worth wasting words on – just the photo and caption. But the Chronicle knew no story was needed. Venezuelans hated their terrible president, and all you needed was this photo to prove it.

And I could confirm the large protests. I'd recently returned from Caracas and watched 100,000 march against President Chavez. I'd filmed them for BBC Television London.

But I also filmed this: a larger march, easily over 200,000 Venezuelans marching in support of their president, Chavez.

That picture, of the larger pro-Chavez march, did not appear in a single U.S. newspaper. The pro-Chavez marchers weren't worth a mention.

By the next month, when the New York Times printed a photo of anti-Chavez marchers, they had metastasized. The Times reported that 600,000 had protested against Chavez.

Once again, the larger pro-Chavez demonstrations were, as they say in Latin America, "disappeared." I guess they didn't fit the print.


Look at the Chronicle/AP photo of the anti-Chavez marchers in Venezuela. Note their color. White.

And not just any white. A creamy rich white.

I interviewed them and recorded in this order: a banker in high heels and push-up bra; an oil industry executive (same outfit); and a plantation owner who rode to Caracas in a silver Jaguar.

And the color of the pro-Chavez marchers? Dark brown. Brown and round as cola nuts – just like their hero, their President Chavez. They wore an unvarying uniform of jeans and T-shirts.

Let me explain.

For five centuries, Venezuela has been run by a minority of very white people, pure-blood descendants of the Spanish conquistadors. To most of the 80 percent of Venezuelans who are brown, Hugo Chavez is their Nelson Mandela, the man who will smash the economic and social apartheid that has kept the dark-skinned millions stacked in cardboard houses in the hills above Caracas while the whites live in high-rise splendor in the city center. Chavez, as one white Caracas reporter told me with a sneer, gives them bricks and milk, and so they vote for him.

Why am I explaining the basics of Venezuela to you? If you watched BBC TV, or Canadian Broadcasting, you'd know all this stuff. But if you read the New York Times, you'll only know that President Chavez is an "autocrat," a "ruinous demagogue," and a "would-be dictator," who resigned when he recognized his unpopularity.

Odd phrasings – "dictator" and "autocrat" – to describe Chavez, who was elected by a landslide majority (56 percent) of the voters. Unlike our President.


On April 12, 2002, Chavez resigned his presidency It said so, right there in the paper – every major newspaper in the USA, every single one. Apparently, to quote the New York Times, Chavez recognized that he was unpopular, his time was up: "With yesterday's resignation of President Hugo Chavez, Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator."

Problem was, the "resignation" story was a fabulous fib, a phantasmagoric fabrication. In fact, the President of Venezuela had been kidnapped at gunpoint and bundled off by helicopter from the presidential palace. He had not resigned; he never resigned; and one of his captors (who secretly supported Chavez) gave him a cell-phone from which he called and confirmed to friends and family that he remained alive – and still president.

Working for the Guardian and the BBC, I was able within hours of the kidnapping to reach key government people in Venezuela to confirm that this "resignation" factoid was just hoodoo nonsense.

But it was valuable nonsense to the U.S. State Department. The faux resignation gave the new U.S.-government-endorsed Venezuelan leaders the pretense of legitimacy – Chavez had resigned; this was a legal change of government, not a coup d'etat. (The Organization of American States bars recognition of governments who come to power through violence.) Had the coup leaders not bungled their operation – the coup collapsed within 48 hours – or if they had murdered Chavez, we would never have known the truth.

The U.S. papers got it dead wrong – but how? Who was the source of this "resignation" lie? I asked a U.S. reporter why American news media had reported this nonsense as stone fact without checking. The reply was that it came from a reliable source: "We got it from the State Department."


"He's crazy," shouts a protester about President Chavez on one broadcast. And if you watched the 60 Minutes interview with Chavez, you saw a snippet of a lengthy conversation – a few selective seconds, actually – which, out of context, did made Chavez look loony.

In the old Soviet Union, dissidents were packed off to insane asylums to silence and discredit them. In our democracy we have a more subtle – and more effective – means of silencing and discrediting dissidents. Television, radio, and print press obligingly sequester enemies of the state in the media's madhouse. In this way, Bush critic Rep. Cynthia McKinney became "loony" (see earlier article,

HREF="">"The Screwing of Cynthia McKinney"); Chavez a mad "autocrat."

It's the electronic loony bin. You no longer hear what they have to say because you've been told by images, by repetition, and you've already dismissed their words ... if by some chance their words break through the television Berlin Wall.

Try it: Do a Google or Lexis search on the words Chavez and autocrat.

For who is the autocrat? Today, there are hundreds of people held in detention without charges in George Bush's United States. In Venezuela, there are none.

This is not about Venezuela but about the Virtual Venezuela, created for you by America's news wardens. The escape routes are guarded.


January 5, 2003, New York City. Picked up bagels and the Sunday Times on Delancey Street. Looks like that s.o.b. Chavez is at it again: Here was a big picture of a half-dozen people lying on the ground. The Times story read: "Protesters shielded themselves from tear gas during an anti- government rally on Friday in Caracas, Venezuela. In the 33rd day of a national strike, several protesters were shot."

That was it – the entire story of Venezuela for the Paper of Record.

Maybe size doesn't matter. But this does: Even this itty-bitty story is a steaming hot bag of mendacity. Yes, two people were shot dead – those in the pro-Chavez march.

I'd be wrong to say that every U.S. paper repeated the Times sloppy approach. Elsewhere, you could see a photo of the big pro-Chavez march and a photo of the "Chavista" widow placed within an explanatory newswire story. Interestingly, the fuller and correct story ran in an outlet that's none too friendly to Chavez: El Diario, New York City's oldest Spanish-language newspaper.

Lesson: If you want to get accurate news in the United States, you might want to learn a language other than English.


Friday, January 3, 2003. The New York Times ran a long "News Analysis: Venezuela Outlook." Four experts were quoted. For balance, two of them don't like Chavez, while the other two despise him.

The Times reporter wrote that "the president says he will stay in power." "In power?" What a strange phrase for an elected official. Having myself spoken with Chavez, it did not sound like him. He indicated he would stay "in office" – quite a different inference than "in power." But then, the Times' phrasing isn't in quotes.

That's because Chavez never said it.

This article was based on a contribution to the compendium, "Abuse Your Illusions," released this month by Disinformation Press. Oliver Shykles, Fredda Weinberg, Ina Howard, and Phil Tanfield contributed research for this report. Palast, an investigative reporter for BBC television, is author of the New York Times bestseller, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy" (Penguin/Plume 2003).

© 2003 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved. Reproduction by Syndication Service only.

When it came to foreign news I guess the story of the Venezuela coup took the cake. Almost every newspaper in the US that wrote about the coup supported it while few if any opposed the fall of a democratically elected president.. I knew then something was very, very wrong with both the current Regime in Washington and the US media.

After the coup collapsed, the media and Bush tried to recover–that is they backtracked big time, but the damage was done. Bush and the US media showed us their contempt for the rule of law and democratically elected governments. The media also believed the Bush Administration lies that the president had stepped down. They didn't verify the facts before they ran with the Party Line. When the real facts came out, the media didn't go after Bush. It was just another in a long series of foreign policy blunders covered up by the media.


How the Left Can Get Its Groove Back
By Danny Goldberg, AlterNet
June 23, 2003

The follow excerpts are drawn from chapters 14 and 15 of the just published "Dispatches from the Culture Wars: How the Left Lost Teen Spirit."

A few months the 2002 election I opened an envelope from the Democratic Senatorial Election Committee (DSEC) to find an invitation to a fund-raiser, featuring Senate majority leader Tom Daschle. The entire front page of the mailing consisted of the following quote: "Never before in modern history have the essential differences between the two major political American parties stood out in such striking contrast, as they do today." The quote was from former president Franklin Delano Roosevelt and dated 1945. It seemed to me a terrible commentary on today's Democrats that they had to go back to the 1940s to evoke a contrast with Republicans.

The differences between the parties were indeed vivid 57 years ago in the wake of the New Deal and during the end of World War II. The Democrats' problem is that unlike the way it was during the late 1940s, the differences between the parties today are not clear to many of their own supporters, not to mention nonvoters, Nader voters, and swing voters.

By the early summer of 2002 it was clear that the Washington consultants for the Democrats had determined that "swing voters" could be swayed by focusing on prescription drug benefits, protecting Social Security, and warning of the impact of Bush economics on the stock market. These were all perfectly valid issues, but again most Democratic candidates had deliberately avoided issues of interest to younger voters and to many other parts of the Democratic base. There was no overarching moral vision of the appropriate role of government, a role that could have been articulated vividly after September 11. There were little or no references to poverty, to public financing of political campaigns, or to national service.

There was no questioning of the drug war nor any passion about the environment. This all took place against the backdrop of a Democratic strategy in the years leading up to the election in which consultants treated all messages as if they were in the last stages of a hotly contested election. Instead of looking at long-term opinion growth, they were focusing year-round on the sliver of "swing voters" who represent approximately 10 percent of those who actually vote. No attention was given to the half of the eligible people who choose not to vote. Far too little attention was given to issues that inspire emotional intensity on the part of activists who can influence media and turnout. Even among "swing voters" the assumption was that they are undecided because they are centrist on every issue. In fact, many such voters have strong convictions but can't figure out which party's candidate represents their views.

If one were to dig down and read every detailed position paper of the Democrats, in many cases one would find that there were indeed significant differences from Republicans. For someone like me, who places importance on judicial appointments, and who closely follows the Senate debates, it was not difficult to root for a Democratic Senate. But it was not at all surprising to me that most voters who follow the popular media had no idea what Democrats stood for.

Democratic strategists seem to have assumed that any reference to September 11 would automatically benefit Republicans. Instead of offering a much-needed debate about security and foreign policy, they naïvely tried to avoid the subjects that were uppermost in the minds of most Americans. As Arthur Schlesinger had pointed out, the Democrats had traditionally been the party that stressed the need for collective action via government. Why hadn't there been a more aggressive government action to protect harbors, train stations, and nuclear power facilities? Why was it so important to the Bush administration to prevent new union members from being minted in a department of homeland security that the Republicans were willing to put off the creation of such a department? These were not esoteric challenges but ones that could have put Democrats at the emotional heart of the concerns of most Americans. Instead, most Democrats robotically repeated concerns about "prescription drugs" as their advisors had directed as if all other issues were irrelevant.

I couldn't understand why the Democrats weren't calling for energy independence. It seemed obvious to me that oil affects our relationships in the Middle East, where so much terrorism originates. Moreover, Bush and Cheney both have oil industry backgrounds. Progressive publicist David Fenton suggested that a goal of energy independence could be a progressive goal similar to President Kennedy's commitment to get a man on the moon . . . .

Why assume that Republicans had the unique ability to prepare the nation for future attacks? September 11 had occurred on the Republicans' watch. No one was held accountable for security lapses. Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle had enormous moral authority on the subject of fighting terrorism because his office had been the target of an anthrax attack. Yet Daschle mysteriously avoided debating the Bush security policy and rarely mentioned that the search for the anthrax criminals had turned up no suspects nor even any theories of the attack's source. Another issue that Washington mavens avoided was the performance of Attorney General Ashcroft.

Early in the year Bob Borosage, who ran a progressive think tank called the American Future, floated the idea to civil liberties groups and progressive Democrats that there should be a national campaign demanding the resignation of Ashcroft. Many progressives felt that Ashcroft had crossed the line on a number of important civil liberties issues and seemed oddly focused on unpopular cultural conservative issues. Weeks after September 11, when the nation was looking toward Washington for ideas about improving security, Ashcroft's Justice Department instead filed a lawsuit in Oregon to prevent implementation of a "right to die" law that Oregon voters had supported in a ballot initiative. For months Ashcroft had kept FBI agents focused on the drug war instead of the war on terrorism. Most absurdly, Ashcroft ordered covering for nude statues in front of the Justice Department Building.

However, neither public interest groups nor progressive Democrats chose to make Ashcroft an issue. As summer turned to fall, the Bush administration's push for a preemptive war against Iraq intensified. Bush chief of staff Andy Card implicitly acknowledged the administration's PR strategy when he told a reporter that "August is not a good time to introduce a new product," in reference to the timing of the planned initiative to convert the American public to support of a war. Bush was said to have insisted to his staff that the resolution authorizing a war against Iraq be "so simple that the boys in Lubbock can understand it."

Given the awkward and jumbled response of those Democrats who opposed Bush's policy, it was obvious that the antiwar forces were not thinking anywhere near as effectively. I recognize that there are many progressives, people who are passionately pro-environment, pro-civil liberties, and deeply concerned about poverty, who nonetheless agree with the Bush foreign policy relative to Saddam Hussein and Iraq. However, much of the Democratic support of Bush's foreign policy was said to be based on the dubious theory that by avoiding debate on the war, Democrats could get the focus of the nation back on the economy, which pollsters indicated was a better issue for the Democrats. The conventional wisdom of centrist Democrats relative to Iraq was laid out by Senator Zell Miller of Georgia in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece in October. Cleverly entitled "That 70's Show," the piece managed to get in the now fetishistic Democratic insult to entertainment stars who supported the party. Miller's thesis was that the failed McGovern campaign of 1972 was still, thirty years later, the key cautionary tale for twenty-first-century Democrats. Miller, who had been a delegate for Vietnam hawk Henry Jackson at the Democratic Convention in 1972, recalled smelling "tear gas mingling with marijuana smoke."

Miller opined that "the 'peace at almost any price' position is a loser for the Democrats," adding that "the extreme left will . . . put their money, their emotion, their Ms. Streisand's vocal cords" into an antiwar movement. Of course, no one on the antiwar side advocated "peace at any price." The debate was over whether or not to initiate an unprecedented preemptive war, and the most coherent arguments from the political world against war with Iraq had come from Republicans such as Brent Scowcroft, the national security advisor for the first President Bush, and conservative Democratic senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia. Miller advised Democrats to "respond with strength and boldness not with the same failed script that doomed us 30 years ago."

No national Democrat saw fit to remind Miller that the biggest "failed script" of the early seventies was the continuation of the Vietnam War itself, nor that a "message" tailored for conservative Georgia might not be appropriate for national Democrats. Instead, national Democrats, as expressed through the views of House leader Richard Gephardt and Senate leader Tom Daschle, bought into Miller's argument and supported the president's request for authorization for a war against Iraq. Those Democrats who disagreed with their congressional leadership made speeches on the floor of Congress and dutifully voted against the bill, but none of them spoke at antiwar rallies or staged teach-ins or expressed themselves in a way that was comprehensible to most Americans. At a moment when the Bush administration was making a radical change in American foreign policy, Democrats allowed the Bush administration to decide that a preemptive war was morally and politically valid without so much as a spirited and detailed debate. Why would anyone other than lifelong Democrats be attracted to candidates of a party who so stubbornly refused to engage this crucial issue?

Al Gore, who had been eerily absent from the public stage since winning a plurality of votes for president, made one speech articulating reservations about Bush's plan for a preemptive war, but rather than expanding on his position, he hastily retreated from public debate on the issue. Hillary Clinton, like the Democratic congressional leadership, voted in favor of Bush's war authorization bill. Of those Democratic senators up for reelection, only the late Paul Wellstone, who was tragically killed in an airplane accident shortly before the election, voted against Bush. Wellstone was leading in Minnesota polls taken just prior to his death. When Minnesota Democrats picked former vice president Walter Mondale, he followed the lead of national Democratic leaders and avoided the issue of Iraq, emphasizing instead his detailed knowledge of Senate rules. He lost.

After both houses of Congress passed the resolution giving President Bush the authority to go to war with Iraq, New York Times columnist Frank Rich pointedly wrote, "Perhaps more than he intended, Tom Daschle summed up the feeble thrust of his party's opposition on Meet the Press last weekend when he observed, 'The bottom line is . . . we want to move on.' Now his wish has come true – but move on to what? The dirty secret of the Democrats is that they have no more of an economic plan than they had an Iraq plan." As I mentioned in the introduction to this book, the Democrats in 2002 did such a poor job of defending their agenda that a New York Times poll published on the Sunday before the election showed that only 31 percent of the electorate thought that the party had "a clear plan for the country." What makes this heartbreaking for progressives is that there are plenty of excellent plans gathering dust in the offices of policy wonks in Washington. What was lacking was the political judgment to advocate progressive government, and what was present was a cultural myopia among political consultants that actively prevented Democrats from expressing a clear agenda.

On Election Day, the low Democratic turnout permitted Republicans to control all three major branches of government for the first time in several decades. As Clinton media advisor and CNN commentator James Carville lamented on election night, "A party that won't defend itself is not going to be trusted to defend the country."

The left as well as the right can learn to communicate so that "the boys in Lubbock can understand it". Unless it connects with a mass constituency, progressive politics is like the proverbial trees falling in a forest that no one hears. Professors and critics can and should have rarefied taste. Political activists must learn to speak the language of the people, not solely the "Latin" of the political elite.

As Sid Blumenthal, former aide to President Clinton, observes, "Most people in Washington, including those on the left, love the idea of America, which is the ideals, the symbols, the monuments, and the history books, but they don't like actual Americans very much. Americans are those gross people who go to shopping malls and watch television."

This is another indulgence that the left cannot afford. Bob Dylan's message of four decades ago still works: "You better start swimming or you'll sink like a stone, for the times they are a changing."

Let's swim.

Danny Goldberg, CEO of Artemis Records and long-time political and civil liberties activist, is currently the President of the ACLU Foundation of Southern California.

Democrats need a single message. One that will destroy the conservative party for the rest of time. That message should be something like "deficits are really a tax increase...don't let Bush and republicans lie to you."

The biggest problem facing democrats though is two-fold. First, there's no message they can create that will sell better than "tax give-aways." People who vote for tax cuts are morons. They don't understand yet that tax cuts that result in deficits are really postponed tax increases. So how do you sell a tax increase, a solution to their give away program? It's damn hard. That's why they have to tell Americans how much debt Bush and republicans have created and put it into historical context. Bush is closing in on creating $1 trillion of debt. That's more debt than all presidents before Reagan combined. Since Reagan and his tax give-away have created almost $5.6 trillion of debt. In other words, since Reagan this generation has created almost 6x more debt than all previous generations combined.

The second problem Democrats have is the Corporate media that benefits from these massive give-aways. Tim Russert is always going to be kind to the party that helps keep his pay check growing and he'll always be hard on any candidate who suggests tax give-aways for corporations and the wealthy are bankrupting us. We have two types of news in the US, conservative news and corporate news. Both hate democrats.


Too Many Lies, Too Little Outrage
By Ivan Eland, AlterNet
June 26, 2003

Recent leaks of highly classified intelligence information are a clear signal to the American people that many government experts felt that intelligence was manipulated to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Yet the public so far seems complacent to bask in the "patriotic" glow of the battlefield victory over Iraq.

As a nation, most Americans relished the sight of the American flag being draped over the statue of Saddam Hussein in downtown Baghdad as a symbol of the U.S. conquest of another vanquished foe. And we were a bit disappointed that the reception from the "liberated" Iraqi masses to the American troops was one of ambivalence rather than adulation. In short, the war was about "us" and not the Iraqis.

To demonstrate this unnerving conclusion, one needs only to look at the media coverage, which may well reflect where the public's attention lies. We have moved on to coverage of Scott Peterson's trial and the Catholic bishop who allegedly committed a hit-and-run crime. And who can tell us what is happening in Afghanistan now – the scene of the last U.S. military victory?

The ugly truth is that most Americans care little what happens to defeated countries after the war as long as we can "beat our chests," as Lt. Gen. Garner put it, and revel in the military trouncing our superpower juggernaut gave to the armies of tinpot despots in the relatively poor developing world.

In fact, as long as a victory was won, the slumbering public doesn't care much about why we went to war in the first place. We don't seem to care that the administration twisted the intelligence (and maybe even lied) to hype the threat from Iraq in order to garner support for a questionable war.

The Congress's and the media's focus on the U.S. military's failure to find mass quantities of chemical and biological weapons after the war is quite curious, however. More important – even if some such weapons are eventually found – before the war the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency both reported to the administration that unless attacked, Iraq was unlikely to use such weapons or give them to terrorists. In a letter to Congress made public prior to the war, CIA Director George Tenet made this assessment fully known.

Yet senior Bush administration officials simply ignored the unveiling of embarrassing information and soldiered on – apparently taking a page out of the Bill Clinton playbook during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. In repeated public statements, senior Bush officials portrayed Iraq's chemical and biological weapons as a threat to the United States, either directly or because they might be given to terrorists.

Subsequent events proved that the threat from Iraq proved to be even less than the intelligence community predicted. Iraq did not even use such "super weapons" in the most dire case imaginable for the Saddam Hussein Regime – being overrun by a U.S. invasion. And now the U.S. can't seem to even find any of the vast quantities of chemical and biological agents promised by the administration.

The most troubling matter surrounding the war is not that the Bush administration has failed to uncover super weapons in Iraq; it is that the American public did not say "no" to the war (and to this day has not reversed its approval of the conflict) even when the war rationale by Bush administration officials was contradicted publicly by their own intelligence community.

This public acceptance of the war is even more curious given the sordid history of presidential lying to the American people about wars in the past. In 1846, the Polk administration sent U.S. troops into a disputed region along the Texas-Mexican border to provoke Mexico into firing the first shot in the Mexican War. In 1898, the McKinley administration used an explosion aboard the U.S. warship Maine in a Cuban harbor to take the country to war against Spain. Most historians now believe the explosion was a total accident. In the 1916 election, Woodrow Wilson promised the American people he would keep the United States out of war; in 1917, the United States entered World War I.

In 1940, also an election year, Franklin Roosevelt promised to keep the country out of World War II, while actively trying to start a naval war with the Germans in the Atlantic and imposing provocative economic sanctions on Japan in the Pacific. In 1964, Lyndon Johnson lied about an incident between U.S. and North Vietnamese ships in the Gulf of Tonkin to gain acceptance from Congress to escalate the war in Vietnam. But he conveniently waited until 1965, after the 1964 election, to do so. To justify Operation Desert Storm, the first Bush administration cited satellite photos showing Iraqi forces massing on the border between newly-occupied Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Curiously, simultaneous photographs from Russian satellites did not detect any military build-up. In all these cases, however, Americans trusted their government and later found such trust to be misplaced.

The alarming thing about Iraq War II is that the American people had plenty of evidence before the war – from the president's own intelligence chief – that the Bush administration was exaggerating the threat. In a republic, aren't the people ultimately responsible for the policies their government adopts in their name?

Most of the public seems to revel in its willingness to allow the U.S. Government – like the empires of old – to conduct "patriotic" wars of conquest for glory. The Founders of our nation – who realized that foreign wars lead to many ill-effects, both domestically and abroad – would find this misguided conception of "patriotism" very troubling indeed.

Ivan Eland is Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at The Independent Institute in Oakland, Calif., and author of the book, "Putting 'Defense' Back into U.S. Defense Policy: Rethinking U.S. Security in the Post-Cold War World."

What Bush has is a docile media. Too afraid to tell the truth. The truth has two components. First, Bush is bankrupting us with his give aways and massive spending and Bush lied to us in his official capacity as president and should be removed from office for doing so. I'm guessing you'd be hard pressed to find one person in uniform that still trusts Bush. He lied to them and some of their own died because of his lies. I don't like the idea that's it's ok to lie about threats to our security simply because other presidents have done it too.


The Ends Still Don't Justify the Means
By Robert Scheer, AlterNet
June 26, 2003

There was a time when the sickness of the political far left could best be defined by the rationale that the ends justified the means. Happily, support for revolutionary regimes claiming to advance the interests of their people through atrocious acts is now seen as an evil dead end by most on the left. Immoral and undemocratic means lead inevitably to immoral and undemocratic ends.

Unfortunately, junior Machiavellis claiming to wear the white hat still are running amok among us. This time, however, they are on the right, apologists for the Bush administration arguing that noble ends justify deceitful means.

With the administration's core rationale for invading Iraq – saving the world from Saddam Hussein's deadly arsenal – almost wholly discredited, the Republicans now want us to believe that any distortions of the truth should have been forgotten once we took Baghdad.

As Newt Gingrich put it last week: "Does even the most left-wing Democrat want to defend the proposition that the world would be better off with Saddam in power?"

The quick answer is that we don't know what the future holds for Iraq. Our track record of military interventions in the Middle East and elsewhere would lead any competent historian or Vegas bookie to conclude that a stable secular dictatorship is about the best outcome we can predict. But the larger, more frightening meaning of Gingrich's statement is that in order to rid the world of a tinhorn dictator who posed no credible threat to the United States, it was just dandy to lie to the people.

It was OK to lie about the nonexistent evidence of ties between Hussein and Al Qaeda. It was OK to lie about the U.N. weapons inspectors, claiming they were suckered by Hussein. It was OK to lie, not only to Americans but to our allies in this war, about "intelligence" alleging that Iraq's military had chemical and biological weapons deployed in the field. Only it's not OK. Washington's verbal attack on the U.N. inspectors, for example, is of no small consequence, undermining global efforts to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation.

Meanwhile, to justify a political faction's blunder we ignore core values upon which this country was built. The New York Times on Friday blithely referred to the use of "coercive" measures in interrogating former Iraqi scientists and officials. Apparently, protections in international treaties for political prisoners do not apply to us.

Similarly, the indefensible gambit of preemptive war has seriously damaged two of this nation's most precious commodities – our democracy and the reputation of our form of government. By giving Congress distorted and incomplete intelligence on Iraq, the Bush administration mocks what is most significant in the U.S. model: the notion of separation of powers and the spirit of the Constitution's mandate that only Congress has the power to declare war.

Is this an exaggeration? Consider that on Oct. 7, 2002, four days before Congress authorized the Iraq war, President Bush asserted that intelligence data proved Iraq had trained Al Qaeda "in bomb making and poisons and deadly gases." Yet no such proof existed. Never in modern times have we beheld a Congress so easily manipulated by the executive branch. Last week, the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee caved in and dropped their opposition to closed hearings on whether Congress was lied to. How can they not be open to the public, which is expected under our system to hold the president and Congress accountable?

To be sure, many Americans were never fooled, and many more have become upset at seeing continuing casualties and chaos in Iraq after Bush's pricey aircraft carrier photo op signaled that the war was over. But much of our public has been too easily conned. For contrast, consider that in Britain the citizens, Parliament and media have been far more seriously engaged in questioning the premises of their government's participation in the invasion of Iraq.

This administration's behavior is an affront to the nation's founders and the system of governance they crafted. It is sad that we now have a president who acts like a king and a Congress that acts like his pawn.

© 2003 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved. Reproduction by Syndication Service only.

"Does even the most left-wing Democrat want to defend the proposition that the world would be better off with Saddam in power?" No, that's not the question Newt and the morons who follow nonsense like this. We knew Saddam was bad long before you did. Your party gave him the tools he needed to become a tyrant. Your party trained bin Laden in Afghanistan. Your party lied to us about a threat to our national security and your party lied to us about WMD.

Deflection does not negate the truth.