We call on the citizens of Pierce County to repudiate the Bush administration's politics of deceit by participating in the February 7 caucuses.
UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY
"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."
SAY NO TO THE POLITICS OF DECEIT
PARTICIPATE IN THE FEBRUARY 7 CAUCUSES
January 8, 2004
On November 15, 2003, the administration announced an accelerated plan to end US occupation of Iraq and restore sovereignty to the people of Iraq by June 30, 2004. The media refer frequently to this plan and convey the belief that the US is in the process of disengagement from Iraq. Unfortunately, this is not the case. We believe that current statements from the administration about US plans and intentions are marked by the same politics of deceit that we saw in the eighteen months preceding the invasion of Iraq.
Statements from the present administration on policy toward Iraq before the invasion were marked by dissembling, distortion, disinformation, and outright deceit. This was apparent 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.
Like millions of others here at home and around the world, members of UFPPC saw through this campaign and denounced it for what it was. As we said on the first day of the war, this has been "an aggressive pre-emptive war against a country that posed no imminent threat." The retirement of Dr. David Kay from leadership of the Iraq Survey Group without finding any WMDs in Iraq may be taken as confirmation that our assessment was correct.
A NEW STRATEGY OF DECEIT
At present, the Bush administration is engaged in a new strategy of deceit. We are asked to believe that, having captured Saddam Hussein, the US is drawing down the number of troops in Iraq and preparing a transition to a democratic sovereign government there, while continuing to work to rebuild that unfortunate nation's shattered society. The truth is very different.
US MILITARY STRATEGY IN IRAQ
While the number of troops in Iraq is officially declining, the US has covertly adopted a strategy of beefing up special forces there. This strategy seeks to crush the Iraqi insurgency that has plagued the occupation for the past six months, costing the lives of hundreds of Americans and thousands of Iraqis. Seymour Hersh reports, "The Bush Administration has authorized a major escalation of the Special Forces covert war in Iraq. . . . A new Special Forces group, designated Task Force 121, has been assembled from Army Delta Force members, Navy seals, and C.I.A. paramilitary operatives, with many additional personnel ordered to report by January. Its highest priority is the neutralization of the Baathist insurgents, by capture or assassination." At the urging of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Hersh reported, the US is seeking "active and secret help in the war against the Iraqi insurgency from Israel, Americaís closest ally in the Middle East. . . . Israeli commandos and intelligence units have been working closely with their American counterparts at the Special Forces training base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and in Israel to help them prepare for operations in Iraq. Israeli commandos are expected to serve as ad-hoc advisers ñ again, in secret ñ when full-field operations begin." In addition, the US plans "to assemble teams drawn from the upper ranks of the old Iraqi intelligence services and train them to penetrate the insurgency. . . . A former C.I.A. station chief described the strategy in simple terms: . . . 'We have to resuscitate Iraqi intelligence, holding our nose, and have Delta and agency shooters break down doors and take them' -- the insurgents -- 'out'" (New Yorker, Dec. 15, 2003).
Officially, the U.S. plans to maintain about 100,000 troops in Iraq even after the occupation "ends" (Washington Post, Jan. 2, 2004). However, special forces are by definition covert and the US does not include their numbers in official figures. (The very existence of elite units of US special forces, like Fort Bragg's Delta Force, is officially secret.)
As an additional part of the administration's strategy, according to London's Daily Telegraph (Jan. 4, 2004), the sum of $3 billion was hidden in the "other procurements" section of the Air Force's portion of the $87 billion appropriated for Iraq by Congress last fall. These funds will be used to maintain a large Iraqi secret police force controlled by the US and paid by the CIA. The Daily Telegraph reports: "The Pentagon and CIA have told the White House that the [secret police] organization will allow America to maintain control over the direction of the country as sovereignty is handed over to the Iraqi people during the course of this year."
US POLITICAL STRATEGY IN IRAQ
US official policy is that the sovereignty will be turned over to the a representative Iraqi body on June 30, 2004, and the Iraqis will then proceed, with some help and advice from the US, to develop a democratic constitutional form of government. The reality is quite different. As the Washington Post reported on Jan. 2, 2004, the US "plans to create the largest U.S. diplomatic mission in the world in Baghdad, complete with a staff of over 3,000 personnel. The bulk of the U.S. staff will continue to be headquartered in Saddam Hussein's former Republican Palace. But to avert the potential psychological fallout from staying in the headquarters of the previous dictatorship, the new embassy will officially be in a building not far from the 'Green Zone' of Baghdad, where the Coalition Provisional Authority operates. The embassy, however, will have nominal use." Meanwhile, the U.S. "is tentatively planning to build a new embassy, although construction could take three to five years, U.S. officials say. Over the next two months, the State Department will be intensively recruiting to staff the U.S. Embassy." UFPPC believes that the present administration has no intention of restoring sovereign freedom to the people of Iraq. at a forum organized by the U.S. Naval Institute and the Marine Corps Association, saying: "My contemporaries, our feelings and sensitivities were forged on the battlefields of Vietnam, where we heard the garbage and the lies, and we saw the sacrifice. I ask you, is it happening again?" The speech received prolonged applause, with many officers standing. Gen. Zinni reports that he has not received a single negative response from military people about the stance he has taken. "I was surprised," he said, "by the number of uniformed guys, all ranks, who said, 'You're speaking for us. Keep on keeping on'" (Washington Post, Dec. 23, 2003). But figures in the administration have responded by organizing an ugly smear campaign against Gen. Zinni, a man of unimpeachable honor and integrity.
A GARGANTUAN TASK
Many other examples of this administration's politics of deceit could be given, in domestic as well as international affairs. Keeping up with the Bush administration's deceitful practices is a gargantuan task that could keep busy an army of full-time researchers. UFPPC does not, of course, pretend to have penetrated its every ruse. Nor are we so naÔve as to imagine that governments can always tell the truth. But we do hold that this administration has forfeited any entitlement to belief by the American people in its good faith. We are convinced that this administration's politics of deceit pose a danger to our democratic way of life.
IMPUGNING THE HONOR OF OPPONENTS
Among its other deceits, the administration portrays all dissent as partisan and political. In fact, opposition and outrage at the Bush administration's perversions of the truth and violations of the canons of good governance can be heard across the political spectrum. Many who have long supported the Republican Party are speaking out. Gen. Anthony Zinni voted for George W. Bush in the 2000 election; as an officer who completed a tour as chief of Central Command in 2000, he could hardly be better informed about the realities of the region. Shocked by the Bush administration's deceitfulness, he has begun to speak out against US policy in Iraq. In September, he spoke to hundreds of Marine and Navy officers
Kevin Phillips, a lifelong Republican who worked in the Nixon White House, traces the history of the last four generations of the Bush family in *American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush* (Viking Press, 2004). He notes that this family, which has risen to power by specializing in the areas of national security, intelligence, oil, and international finance, has prospered by practicing systematic deceit. Philips goes so far as to wonder whether these practices may be consciously inspired by the writings of the notorious NiccolÚ Machiavelli, who counselled in chapter 18 of *The Prince*, written in 1513:
"It is necessary . . . to be a great feigner and dissembler; and men are so simple and so ready to obey present necessities, that one who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived. . . . [I]t is well to seem merciful, faithful, humane, sincere, religious, and also to be so; but you must have the mind so disposed that when it is needful to be otherwise you must be able to change to the opposite qualities. . . . A prince must take great care that nothing goes out of his mouth which is not full of the above-named five qualities, and, to see and hear him, he should seem to be all mercy, faith, integrity, humanity, and religion. And nothing is more necessary than to seem to have this last quality, for men in general judge more by the eyes than by the hands, for everyone can see, but very few have to feel. Everybody sees what you appear to be, few feel what you are, and those few will not dare to oppose themselves to the many, who have the majesty of the state to defend them; and in the actions of men, and especially of princes, from which there is no appeal, the end justifies the means. Let a prince therefore aim at conquering and maintaining the state, and the means will always be judged honorable and praised by every one, for the vulgar [that is, the great mass of people] is always taken by appearances and the issue of the event; and the world consists only of the vulgar, and the few who are not vulgar are isolated when the many have a rallying point in the prince."
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A CALL TO THE CITIZENS OF PIERCE COUNTY
UFPPC repudiates the present administration's cynical politics of deceit, which are incompatible with the fundamental values of this nation. In this year of another presidential election, we call on every American citizen to hold the Bush administration accountable to the people of the United States, lest not only ourselves but also our posterity be cut off from the blessings of liberty. To that end, we urge the citizens of Pierce County to join us in participating in the February 7 caucuses, which will note candidates for U.S. president supported by the people attending each caucus as well as allocate and elect delegates to the county conventions proportionate to candidate support. The political issues of the day will also be discussed at these caucuses, and resolutions passed indicating each meeting's official position on those issues.
UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY