July 13, 2003
Lies Damn Lies and Un-American Presidential Behavior

Ah I harken back to the days when a real president was sticking a real cigar into one of the electorate for today we have an unelected impostor sticking something a lot more spiky and pernicious into all of us. Bush has managed to cement our position as the most hated country on earth. And not for the stated reasons which were cynical and specious to begin with, but for oil and democracy (Iraq's oil, our democracy?).

(It is not democracy which will suffer for we have never had one as most of our founders knew all too well. We live in a plutocracy which is a government largely by and for the wealthy. Bush is not a great statesman but he is a Bush, a rich man with a powerful name... in a meritocracy he would not even rise to mayor of Oshkosh, Wisconsin.)

It is Liberty which is suffering. I am no longer certain of my right to live in peace without fear of being arrested without charge and held without access to any legal representation. To be tried in a court and judged by my peers. I am afraid of the American Nazi Party, Ashcroft and his cronies, the Secret National Security State and camp Xray in Cuba. This is more pernicious than even the lies which were told to get our consent to the war. "Liberty must be curtailed to protect our freedom." Fuck that.
Cover of Time Untruth and consequences

The State of the Union message is one of America's greatest inventions, conceived by the Founders to force a powerful Chief Executive to report to a public suspicious of kings. Delivered to a joint session of Congress in democracy's biggest cathedral, it is the most important speech a President gives each year, written and rewritten and then polished again. Yet the address George W. Bush gave on Jan. 28 was more consequential than most because he was making a revolutionary case: why a nation that traditionally didn't start fights should wage a preemptive war. As Bush noted that night, "Every year, by law and by custom, we meet here to consider the state of the union. This year we gather in this chamber deeply aware of decisive days that lie ahead."

To that last question, at least, the answer was: apparently not. In what looked like a command performance of political sacrifice, the head of the agency that expressed some of the strongest doubts about the charge took responsibility for the President's unsubstantiated claim. "The CIA approved the President's State of the Union address before it was delivered," said CIA Director George Tenet in a statement. "I am responsible for the approval process in my agency. And ... the President had every reason to believe that the text presented to him was sound. These 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the President."

Yet the controversy over those 16 words would not have erupted with such force were they not emblematic of larger concerns about Bush's reasoning for going to war in the first place. Making the case against Saddam last year, Bush claimed that Iraq's links to al-Qaeda and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) made the country an imminent threat to the region and, eventually, the U.S. He wrapped the evidence in the even more controversial doctrine of pre-emption, saying America could no longer wait for proof of its enemies' intentions before defending itself overseas—it must sometimes strike first, even without all the evidence in hand. Much of the world was appalled by this logic, but Congress and the American public went along. Four months after the war started, at least one piece of key evidence has turned out to be false, the U.S. has yet to find weapons of mass destruction, and American soldiers keep dying in a country that has not greeted its liberators the way the Administration predicted it would. Now the false assertion and the rising casualties are combining to take a toll on Bush's standing with the public.

Posted by tstubbs at July 13, 2003 02:49 PM
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