President Bill Clinton was impeached by a Republican-controlled Congress for lying about sex. President George W. Bush and aides lied the United States into a stupid, unnecessary colonial war that has so far killed more than 305 Americans and seriously wounded more than 1,400. It has also cost many thousands of Iraqi dead, and $1 billion US weekly.
Lying about sex is an impeachable offence; lying the nation into war apparently is not.
I was no Clinton fan, but give me his iffy morals any day over Bush's Mussolini-like strutting. Sen. Edward Kennedy is absolutely correct when he calls Bush's Iraq war a "fraud" concocted to win the next elections.
A fraud and an epic blunder.
Last week, Bush received a glacial and scornful reception at the United Nations that symbolized the world's contempt and disgust for his administration. Not since Nikita Khrushchev pounded his shoe on the speaker's rostrum has a major leader so embarrassed himself and his nation before the world body.
In his UN speech, Bush again claimed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and "ties" to terrorism. Days later, U.S. intelligence teams that scoured Iraq for four months reported no traces of weapons or terrorism links - the pretext used by Bush and his neo-conservative handlers for unprovoked war against Saddam Hussein.
The White House was left choking on its own grotesque lies.
Incredibly, VP Dick Cheney, a prime architect of the Iraq war, actually claimed recently that Iraq still had mobile germ labs, though U.S. and British inspectors debunked this claim last June. The "special" intelligence network created by neo-conservatives is still apparently feeding disinformation to America's leadership.
This latest humiliation came only days after Bush finally admitted Iraq was not, as most Americans were misled into believing, behind the 9/11 attacks.
No wonder world leaders gave Bush the cold shoulder, and even usually timid UN Secretary General Kofi Annan warned against "dangerous acts of unilateralism" - a pointed reference to the bellicose Bush administration.
Unfortunately, many Americans still do not understand how gravely the Bush White House has damaged and sullied their nation's once noble reputation.
Recent polls show that even among traditional friends abroad, America is no longer regarded as a champion of freedom, democracy and human rights, but increasingly as a dangerous aggressor bent on imperial domination and exploitation.
America's most precious and proudest asset, its moral reputation, has been gravely damaged by the Bush White House. The only positive note: rising anti-Americanism is largely associated in the eyes of non-Americans with the persona of George Bush, a man who projects almost all the negative stereotypes foreigners hold of Americans.
Bush's blinkered core supporters in middle America simply don't understand or don't care what the rest of the world thinks of their nation, which, since 9/11, has wrapped itself in a cocoon of xenophobia and self-righteous rage.
The White House's mouthpiece media, led by Fox News, have simply blanked out world opinion and endlessly chorused administration war propaganda.
A fascinating March study of network TV news by New York's Fairness and Accuracy in Media shows how Americans were misled into war by outrageously biased programming on Iraq.
The analysis found: a) 76% of all commentators about Iraq on TV were present or former government officials; b) only 6% of commentators expressed skepticism regarding the need for war - when 61% of the public supported more time for diplomacy and inspections; c) on the four TV networks, less than 1% of sources were identified with anti-war groups.
And more than two-thirds of commentators were from the U.S., 75% either present or former government or military officials. The small number of foreign commentators mostly came from nations like Britain and Israel which were backing Bush's war policy.
In short, the major networks, under White House prompting, beat the war drums and blatantly excluded commentators with contrary views, giving Americans a badly warped view of world events.
No wonder so few Americans understand what is going on abroad, how the outside world really sees them, or why America has so many enemies overseas. Small wonder many Americans are turning for balanced news to the CBC, BBC and the Internet.
Citizens of the old Soviet Union suffered the same information isolation. Like Americans since 9/11, they were force-fed agitprop and patriotic pap disguised as news, and deprived of all knowledge of the real world around them.
Back to reality. Bush's UN speech was another attempt to mislead Americans into believing the horrid mess in Iraq - entirely the creation of Bush and the neo-cons - is somehow the fault of the UN.
French President Jacques Chirac proposed the U.S. hand Iraq over to UN control. But Bush, still lusting for Iraqi oil and fearful his family foe, Saddam Hussein, would return to thumb his nose at him, foolishly scorned this wise proposal.
Bush is praying his hit teams will assassinate Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein before next year's elections. But even that may not save him from the growing anger of defrauded Americans who are slowly realizing that his Iraq war was a political version of the giant Enron swindle.
Copyright © 2003, CANOE, a division of Netgraphe Inc