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UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY

"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."

ON GIVING THE LIE TO BUSH AND CHENEY

November 17, 2005

Tom Raum, AP's senior political analyst, wrote Wednesday that George W. Bush's "efforts to paint Democrats as hypocrites for criticizing the Iraq war after they once warned that Saddam Hussein was a grave threat could backfire on Republicans" (Associated Press, Nov. 16, 2005).

We hope so.

Dick Cheney's portrayal of the claim the administration misled the public and Congress as "one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city" is particularly rich (Washington Post, Nov. 17, 2005).

There is something odd about the pretense mainstream media are maintaining that there is doubt and hesitation over whether the Iraq war was a product of "mistakes" or "misleading statements." In reality, the current Bush/Cheney campaign is fooling no one, and George W. Bush's collapse in public support is no more than the Bush administration getting its due.

As UFPPC said in a January 8, 2004, statement, almost two years ago: "Statements from the present administration on policy toward Iraq before the invasion were marked by dissembling, distortion, disinformation, and outright deceit. This was apparent at the time to even the casual reader of the mainstream press. In particular, it is now clear that the dire warnings of impending doom that issued from the president and his chief advisers, as well as from the neoconservative clique that exercises so much influence in the Department of Defense and the Office of the Vice President, were part of an elaborate campaign to persuade the American public of two untruths: that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that posed an imminent danger to the national security of the United States, and that the government of Saddam Hussein had links to agents of transnational terrorism."

Mainstream media have difficulty stating these obvious truths because they are seduced by the logic of power.

In a recent essay, William Greider wrote: "The price of intimacy is collected in various coins, but older hands in the news business understand what is being sold. The media, Christopher Dickey of Newsweek observed in a web essay, 'long ago concluded having access to power is more important than speaking truth to it.'"

Tacoma's News Tribune, therefore, deserves kudos for its recent examination of the Bush/Cheney claim that Democrats looked at "the same intelligence" as the White House. Its conclusion, blazoned in a subhead: "The facts differ." "Bush does not share his most sensitive intelligence, such as the President’s Daily Brief, with lawmakers," the News Tribune noted. "Also the National Intelligence Estimate summarizing the intelligence community’s views about the threat from Iraq was given to Congress just days before the vote to authorize the use of force. In addition, there were doubts within the intelligence community not included in the NIE. And even the doubts expressed in the NIE could not be used publicly by members of Congress because the classified information had not been cleared for release. For example, the NIE view that Saddam would not use weapons of mass destruction against the United States or turn them over to terrorists unless backed into a corner was cleared for public use only a day before the Senate vote" (News Tribune, Nov. 12, 2005).

This is good, but it is appropriate to go further. Much further.

As UFPPC pointed out in its initial call for the impeachment of the president and the vice president, on April 21, 2005, "In fact, [the president's] statements [made as he decided to to go war] were not supported by U.S. intelligence reports from the CIA on the relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda (June 21, 2002) and on Iraqi support for terrorism (January 29, 2003) or by the October 2, 2002, National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction." See UFPPC's statement for links to .pdf files of these documents, which were declassified in April 2005. They demonstrate that there was a disconnect between what U.S. intelligence agencies said, and what the president stated, not only publicly, but to Congress in sending our military forces into war. They demonstrate that the president was, in fact, lying about the gravest possible subject. How many tens of thousands of lives have been lost as a result? How many more will be lost?

This nation desperately needs more people in media to stand up to the lies of those in power. The mendacious character of our newspaper and broadcast journalism is, we are convinced, a linchpin in the apparatus that makes it possible for the U.S. national security state to crouch, Minotaur-like, in the labyrinthine corridors of American power, regularly exacting its tribute of death.

William Greider concludes his essay with these words: "The governing elites, including major media, are in denial, unwilling to speak honestly about the perilous economic circumstances ahead, the burgeoning debt from global trade, the sinking of the working class, and other threatening conditions. When those realities surface, many American lives will be upended with no available recourse and no one in authority they can trust, since the denial and evasion are bipartisan. That's a very dangerous situation for a society -- an invitation to irrational angers and scapegoating. It will require a new, more encompassing politics to avert an ugly political contagion. We need more reliable 'news' to recover democracy."

For a start, how about the media giving the lie to the current Bush/Cheney counter-offensive?

UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY

"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."