To say someone has “lied” about something is pretty strong stuff. It’s so much easier and nicer to imply that they might have intentionally or unintentionally misrepresented the facts based upon conflicting or otherwise confusing evidence. That way, the liar (or liars) can later weasel out of their untruths and any trouble their misrepresentations might have caused. Which is precisely what George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and the rest of the Bush crime syndicate have been doing for years.
Perhaps saddest of all, is the degree to which the American mass media watched the Bushies whip the nation into a war frenzy over imaginary weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and non-existent links between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, while doing little or nothing to stop it from moving forward.
Remember the misrepresented aluminum tubes? The yellow cake in Niger that wasn’t there? Secret meetings in Paris that never took place? Outing undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame? Why were they permitted to lay all that nonsense on us and then just walk away?
I was privileged to be working out of the Los Angeles Times in those nervy days, attending the paper’s daily editorial meetings, and I watched it happen. It was evident to anyone who cared to read the paper, that Bush and Cheney weren’t getting what they wanted from then CIA Director George Tenet, so they kept sending him back to Langley to come up with evidence of WMD’s and a connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, even if the evidence wasn’t there. They needed it and they were going to have it regardless of what the CIA might be telling them. When it was over they blamed not their own push for non-existent evidence, but the CIA for giving them what they were demanding. Later, Tenet, would be forced to fall on his sword for the Bushies, as he was presented with the Medal of Freedom before being pushed out the door. It’s the same departure technique LBJ used on Robert McNamara, after Johnson got tired of being told the Vietnam War was a bad idea.
Of course, what Tenet did or did not say in secret meetings with Administration officials cannot be proven, and unlike Judith Miller, I have no inside information to give you. These are just my recollections having followed daily reports out of Washington for months on end and nothing more.
The Times did an excellent job reporting what was happening, but by that time the war frenzy propaganda machine was running over everything in its path. They had us all thinking about taping plastic sheeting to our windows, looking for white powder in the mail and imagining mushroom clouds over the city skyline. And now, here were are, a dozen years later, and the former Acting Director of the CIA, Michael Morell, has written a book and is telling those who will listen that Cheney intentionally got it wrong. That he Intentionally misrepresented the facts to the American people in the runup to the war.
Dare we say it? He lied. And if he lied, they lied. All of them, who repeatedly talked about the threat of mushroom clouds over American cities, or the even bigger lie about an alleged connection between Osama and Saddam Hussein, two men who were in truth, mortal enemies. The bogus connection between the two is a bigger lie, as in the preemptive world of perceived threats of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, we can surely imagine that Saddam Hussein, might eventually have been able to assemble a bomb. It might have taken him thirty years and it might only have been a cherry bomb, but he could eventually have done it. That’s one thing. Osama and Saddam being allies, is another. Are we really so naive as to believe the CIA had no idea that Saddam and al Qaeda were at opposite poles of their political spectrum? But of course that wasn’t what the Bush/Cheney Administration wanted to hear.
They lied. Nobody wants to come out and just say it. Not even Hillary Clinton, who is saying she “got it wrong,” that she made a mistake in voting for the Iraq War. A mistake? Why doesn’t she just admit that like so many others, she was tricked into voting the way she did by the Bush/Cheney Administration? Many of the very same fine Republicans who remain at the top of their wonderful party even today, undoubtedly still drawing upon many of the same public relations professionals who were pressed into service by the Administration in the runup to the Iraq War. The same guys who scared the nation nearly out of its wits with a massive smear of half-truths, innuendo and falsehood.
The root issue perhaps, is that if we admit they were feeding us lies, we might then feel compelled to do something about it. Is the nation ready for that? And if not, aren’t we condoning the propaganda roller coaster they created and the place it took us as a people?
Attorney Vincent Bugliosi, who put Charles Manson behind bars, has expressed his feelings on the issue in his bestselling book, “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder.” One wonders how many others would be in agreement.