Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Why They Were Still Lies

Like many of you, I get these regular e-mails from factcheck.org, and in general they're pretty helpful in examining the claims Republicans and Democrats are constantly making about each other. The latest was this one, http://www.factcheck.org/article349.html, concerning an advertisement critical of the Bush administration called "They Lied, They Died." FactCheck concludes that the quotes by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice concerning the rationale for the Iraq War were not "lies," because there's always the possibility that they believed what they were saying at the time, and therefore bad intelligence was to blame. Even if true, that conclusion misses the point in a couple of important ways.

First of all, no matter what, there's no doubt from this article that these guys are idiots. When U.S. troops were in possession of two-thirds of the country, Rumsfeld claimed that we hadn't found the WMDs because the area we controlled "happens not to be the area where weapons of mass destruction were dispersed. We know where they are." Cheney said, "my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. . . ." Give me a fucking break.

Second, Bush makes the claim of Saddam Hussein's contacts with Al Queda at the time he knew full well that those "contacts" never amounted to anything. Isn't a half-truth the same as a lie?

Third, there's a little thing called the "Downing Street Memo," which is basically independent evidence that the intelligence was being manipulated to fit Bush's preconceived notions about Iraq. If there was pressure to produce intelligence that "fit the policy," then Bush and the others repeated that intelligence as the truth, then this is tantamount to lying. Judging by how completely wrong the intelligence was, it seems likely that this is exactly what happened.


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