Published on Tuesday, February 24, 2004 by the Niagara Falls Reporter
Lies About War, Economics, Science: President's Lies Are Never-Ending
by Bill Gallagher
The house of cards in the House of Bush is toppling. The whole administration is in serious disarray and everywhere you turn there is evidence that the once invincible and slick political operation is unraveling.
It would be a joy to watch if so many people didn't have to suffer and die because of the terrible policies and actions Bush has foisted on the world and the American people. From Nobel prize-winning scientists to the president's own cabinet members, the credibility of George W. Bush is under a barrage of attacks.
The deliberate deceits and lies that previously worked are no longer flying, as the public realizes the frauds and what's been happening. Now the truth is the administration's undoing.
Until recent weeks, Bush & Co. was noted for its discipline and focus, the loyalty of its minions and its ability to keep everyone "on message." No one dared wander. Everything was controlled. Disloyalty was dealt with swiftly.
Now there is public disorder and the voices of dissent are making noise. People are protecting their own hides and the "blame game" is in full stride. What we know and see is certainly only a minor reflection of the mess inside the West Wing, where Karl Rove, the president's brain, and his army of zealous Christian soldiers are working, now nervously, on the re-election campaign.
Like the occupation of Iraq, the re-election campaign was supposed to be a "cake walk." After the president's landing on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and the banner declaration "Mission Accomplished," Bush's handlers viewed election 2004 as the road to coronation. America would have King George IV. George III, you'll recall, ran into the mess of the American Revolution, and the would-be George IV is now facing the revolt of the American people waking up to his lies and systematic deceptions.
We went to war in Iraq because we were told Saddam Hussein was an immediate threat to our national security and that he was in cahoots with international terrorists taking aim at the United States. Now the man singularly most responsible for creating that image of Saddam is admitting it was a lie. He should know. He did it.
Ahmed Chalabi for years has been the principle conduit for Iraqi defectors who provided information about what was going on in Saddam's Iraq. We now know the information was at best wildly off-the-mark and, in many cases, pure fabrications. But Chalabi just shrugs it off. No big deal.
In an interview with the London Daily Telegraph, the Iraqi National Congress leader said, "Our objective has been achieved. That tyrant Saddam is gone, and the Americans are in Baghdad. What was said before is not important."
Chalabi's words were the wacky weed for the Bush warmongers. They puffed away on his assessments, dragging in the lies they were longing for in the first place and, in the haze of obsession to get Saddam by any means necessary, they took everything Chalabi said as sacred writ.
Why not? He was saying the things Bush and his boys wanted to hear. Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz pinned more value on Chalabi's reports and credibility than on all the other sources of intelligence on Iraq combined.
Warnings about the lack of truth in Chalabi's reports were simply ignored. The CIA was onto his lies and he failed a polygraph in May 2002. Intelligence agencies were warned Chalabi's information was unreliable. But his friends in the highest places chose to accept his word over the assessments of professionals who knew better.
Chalabi doesn't mind that, because of his lies, more than 500 Americans have died, more die every day, and we are faced with an indefinite occupation and mess in Iraq that is costing billions. Thousands of Iraqis are dead and the nation's infrastructure is in shambles.
But Chalabi's happy. "We are heroes in error," he said. "As far as we're concerned, we've been entirely successful." Tell that to the families of the dead.
And then he cavalierly added, "The Bush administration is looking for a scapegoat. We are ready to fall on our swords if (President Bush) wants." If Chalabi were an American, he should be tried for treason. The fact that George W. Bush and his crew would rely so much on such a despicable creep speaks volumes about them.
Remember, Chalabi was convicted in Jordan of embezzling millions from a bank in the late 1980s. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison. The Jordanians have been demanding the extradition of the convicted thief, but we're refusing to turn over our favorite liar.
One of Chalabi's great defenders has found his preferred scapegoat for the bogus intelligence before the invasion of Iraq. Richard Perle, a member and former chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, says that "heads should roll," and he wants top U.S. intelligence officers to resign.
Perle told the Christian Science Monitor, "When you discover that you have an organization that doesn't get it right time after time, you change the organization, including the people." Perle takes dead aim at CIA Director George Tenet, two weeks after President Bush gave him a vote of confidence. "George Tenet has been at the CIA long enough to assume responsibility for its performance. There is a record of failure and it should be addressed in some serious way," Perle said. He also called for the resignation of Navy Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby, the head of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency.
Perle, bear in mind, is an appointee of the Secretary of Defense to the Defense Policy Board. How is it that a man Donald Rumsfeld appointed can take positions directly counter to the president? Why the lack of discipline? Or maybe Perle is a stalking horse for others in the administration who are looking to pin all the intelligence failures on the CIA and the uniformed military.
But perhaps Perle is upset because the CIA took on his pal, the thief and professional liar Ahmed Chalabi. "His detractors, by and large ... are the people who know him the least, and his defenders are the people who know him best. ... The CIA has been engaged in a character assassination of Ahmad Chalabi for years now, and it's a disgrace," Perle whined.
Chalabi committed character suicide long ago. Only Perle, whose own financial affairs and influence-peddling have a heavy stench, would run to defend a man who lied to get the war he wanted, aided, of course, by vermin like Perle himself.
Bush & Co. is also perplexed over economic forecasting and job creation. The annual Economic Report of the President sent to the Congress contains glowing projections for job growth this year. The reports projects 2.6 million new jobs in 2004.
Before the ink was even dry on the rosy report, the administration was backpedaling. Treasury Secretary John Snow distanced himself from the forecast, saying the administration was uneasy with specific job growth numbers.
Then the president avoided embracing his own jobs report, offering this strange assessment. "I think the economy is growing, and I think it's going to get stronger," the vague president said. Yes, and I'll bet it rains in April and gets hot in July.
White House flack Scott McClellan repeatedly refused to endorse the administration's own jobs forecast. "The president is not a statistician," McClellan said. I'll say. And given the size of the Bush deficits and the record $7 trillion in national debt, I wonder if George W. is capable of simple arithmetic like adding and subtracting.
But Bush is well-versed in an important facet of statistics. Start with the truth in economic issues and everything else and George W. takes a standard deviation from it.
Oh, well, you say. That's politics. Economics is a nebulous "soft" science. All those politicians stretch the truth a bit and fudge now and again. Nothing new here. Think again.
The Bush administration is deliberately suppressing, censoring, distorting and manipulating science to serve its political purposes. That's the conclusion of a distinguished group of scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates and several science advisers to past Republican presidents.
The Union of Concerned Scientists, an independent organization, issued a report, "Scientific Integrity in Policymaking," that details the accusations. The report was undertaken following numerous complaints from top scientists.
"We found a serious pattern of undermining science by the Bush administration, and it crosses disciplines, whether it's global climate changes or reproductive health or mercury in the food chain, or forestry -- the list goes on and on," said Kevin Knobloch, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
We shouldn't be surprised that the same people who lied about the reasons for war would try to twist science to suit their political agenda.
The challenge for George W. Bush, Karl Rove, their corporate sponsors and the radical Christian right is clear. They must come up with bigger and better lies to stay in power. The old ones are failing.
Bill Gallagher, a Peabody Award winner, is a former Niagara Falls city councilman who now covers Detroit for Fox2 News.
Copyright 2004 Niagara Falls Reporter