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3rd Year Anniversary of Bush Lies in Cincinnati
By Steve Cobble
Tomorrow (10/7/05) marks the 3-year anniversary of George W. Bush's mendacious speech to the VFW in Cincinnati. This was the speech that ratcheted up the hype to such a level that half the Senate Democrats and 2/5 of the House Democrats blithely handed over their Constitutional obligation to declare war to a President who had been itching to invade Iraq since he was Governor of Texas.
3 years. 2,000 dead Americans. Uncounted dead Iraqis. $300 B dollars not spent on schools, levees, Medicaid--or security here at home--or even chasing Osama bin Laden.
Yet the Republicans in Congress, who totally control Washington, have yet to seriously investigate any of it, from the missing WMDs to the Downing Street Minutes to the Valerie Plame outing to 9-11. Shame, shame.
Let's walk through some of the hype of that speech. (If you want a meticulous deconstruction of the Bush Administration propaganda and lies that led us to war, I suggest the brilliant book Hood-winked by John Prados. He takes each bit of pre-war propaganda and rips it apart, line by line. He does, in short, the job we wish the MSM would do. The specific exaggerations and falsehoods from the Cincinnati speech are laid out between pages 124-138 of Hood-winked.)
"Tonight I want to take a few minutes to discuss a grave threat to peace..." (and no, he doesn't mean Cheney).
"The threat comes from Iraq...and its drive toward an arsenal of terror."
"We agree that the Iraqi dictator must not be permitted to threaten America and the world with horrible poisons and diseases and gases and atomic weapons."
"...the threat from Iraq stands alone--because it gathers the most serious dangers of our age in one place."
"...Iraq is unique." (Hint: lots of oil.)
"If we know Saddam Hussein has dangerous weapons today--and we do..."
"Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas."
"We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade."
"Some have argued that confronting the threat from Iraq could detract from the war against terror." (Yes, some did. In fact, it is little-recognized, but despite all the propaganda, 3/5 of the House Democrats, led by Dennis Kucinich, voted against the authorization bill. So did half the Senate Democrats, led by Robert Byrd. The "war enablers", the leading Democrats who get all the media attention, were actually the smaller part of their own peers--much less the base of the party!)
"To the contrary, confronting the threat posed by Iraq is crucial to winning the war on terror."
"When I spoke to Congress more than a year ago, I said that those who harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves." (Note: this rule apparently does not apply to Castro haters in Miami.)
"Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons." (Which requires yellowcake. Which brings us full circle to Ambassador Joseph Wilson, husband of Valerie Plame, noted recipients of the noted Bush Administration slime treatment...Any day now, though, the President is going to march across that hall and demand to know who outed Ms. Plame...)
"Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof--the smoking gun--that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud." (The "we cannot wait" argument, of course, was a favorite of the Japanese armed forces in the run-up to Pearl Harbor. It is also, at its core, fundamentally "un-American". What I mean by that is that striking a nation that has not attacked us is about as far from the ideals we all learned in school about what America stands for as anything I can think of--yet that is the logic that George W's pre-emption strategy is founded upon.)
"...for the sake of peace, we will lead a coalition to disarm him." (As the Institute for Policy Studies called it, "a coalition of the coerced.")
"Taking these steps would also change the nature of the Iraqi regime itself." (Yeah, I guess so. Now it's "Baja Iran"...)
"...they must understand that all war criminals will be pursued and punished." (As long as their rank is Lynndie England's or lower...)
"Some worry that a change of leadership in Iraq could create instability and make the situation worse." (Like everyone with more brain cells than Homer Simpson? Maybe Harry could speak to that...)
"I have asked the Congress to authorize the use of America's military, if it proves necessary, to enforce U.N. Security Council demands. Approving the resolution does not mean that military action is imminent or unavoidable."
(There you go, Hillary, John, Joe--there's your "out" door--why don't you take it? We all knew he was lying, but he did say it, and the Downing Street Minutes show he surely didn't mean it. So "fix" the blame on George, say you made a mistake by voting for the war and by trusting him, and apologize. Then move on.)
There you have it. A Michael Gerson special. A speech that preceded the key Congressional vote by only a few days, and was so important that, as Prados says, "The White House put out the word that Bush's Cincinnati VFW speech would be the definitive presentation of the Iraqi threat to America."
A well-crafted pack of lies, leading a supine press, a cowed Congress, and an abused and ignored (and too often, eye-averting) public to war.
10/7/02. A day that should live in infamy.