The Mirriam-Webster dictionary defines "lie" in the following way: "to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive; to create a false or misleading impression". The word "lie" has many synonyms, including prevaricate, equivocate, palter, and fib, but "lie" is the bluntest, imputing the highest degree of dishonesty.
One after another, the so-called "lies" of George W. Bush have either proven to be true statements or are statements that still await verification. But, in spite of the fact that some of the so-called "lies" might not have complete evidence supporting them, they were uttered not with the ”intent to deceive", or to create a "false or misleading impression". In fact, every single statement that the Left has gleefully proclaimed as a lie, was made in the attempt to do what is right for America. Civil people can disagree with what is the right thing to do for our country, but they do not generally call their opponents liars and compare them to Hitler. The Media have devoted many headlines and space on the front pages to spread the “lie” stories. What we have not seen is equal space provided when the “Bush Lied” mantra has been shown to be merely a political prevarication, equivocation, falter or fib—dare we say, lie? Right now, let's look at the various attempts to demonstrate that Bush lied to the American people.
1. Bush's 16 words in the State of the Union speech in January 2003 ( "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.")
This rather well-known accusation made front page news shortly after Bush's State of the Union speech. Mostly because of the Ambassador Joe Wilson flap. Ambassador Wilson has made quite a reputation for himself in his anti-Bush rhetoric. He told an adoring Left that he had definitely found evidence that Bush's 16 words in the State of the Union were completely false, since he had been the person sent to Niger to check it out. He even published a book called The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity: A Diplomat's Memoir. Well, the. Ambassador was not quite telling the truth (perhaps he was only prevaricating for politics, rather than, you know, lying?). One of the more stunning revelations in the recently released by the Senate Intelligence Committee in June, 2004 was that, contrary to what he had said publicly, Ambassador Wilson had told the CIA exactly the opposite--that, Niger officials had admitted that Iraq and Iran had sought uranium. In fact, the CIA used Wilson's report to further support its information from British intelligence that Iraq was attempting to buy uranium in the world market for nefarious purposes. The politics of truth, indeed. To this day, British Intelligence has not revoked its original statement.
Question: Who was lying?
2. Bush supposedly claimed that Saddam Hussein and Iraq posed an "imminent" threat to the United States and suggested that Hussein and Iraq were somehow involved in 9/11.
Actually, President Bush said in addressing this issue in June, 2002: "…if we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long. " He was, of course addressing one of the lessons to be learned from the 9/11 terror attacks, which was to become a central component of the "Bush Doctrine" of pre-emptive military action in cases where other methods would not work due to the unique aspects of terror organizations. He never said that Iraq posed an "imminent" threat. (Although, if you consider the fact that Hussein had tried to assassinate the elder President Bush in , and that our military was already being shot at on a daily basis in the "no fly" zones in Iraq by Hussein's military forces; a reasonable person might conclude that Iraq's threat was more than "imminent"--it was already an actuality.
In contrast, consider these words spoken by Senator John Edwards on February 24, 2002 to CNN's Larry King on about the relative threats to the U.S. of North Korea, Iran and Iraq: "…and I think Iraq and Saddam Hussein present the most serious and most imminent threat."
As far as the connection of Iraq and Hussein to 9/11, President Bush and all his administration were in actuality very careful NOT to accuse Hussein even if they suspected a connection. Newsweek Magazine in an interview with Bush in 2001 asked him pointblank if he thought Iraq was involved in the September 11 attacks. Bush replied bluntly, "I cannot make that claim." Dick Cheney, on September 16, 2001 on Meet the Press said, "I want to be very careful about how I say this, I'm not here today to make a specific allegation that Iraq was somehow responsible for 9/11. I can't say that." And, of course in Michael Moore's artfully deceitful movie Fahrenheit 911, Condoleeza Rice is reported as saying "Oh, indeed there is a tie between Iraq and what happened on 9/11." However, the entire quote (which Moore omitted--see definition of "lie" at the beginning of this article) is as follows: "Oh, indeed there is a tie between Iraq and what happened on 9/11. It's not that Saddam Hussein was somehow himself and his regime involved in 9/11, but, if you think about what caused 9/11, it is the rise of ideologies of hatred that lead people to drive airplanes into buildings in New York."
One final comment: Is it really too absurd to think that one of the most significant mass murderer's in history might have had some input into 9/11. I consider myself a reasonable person, and I have speculated about it. I know there may never be any evidence found to prove it, but the connection is not, I believe, an unreasonable or particularly paranoid one to consider.
Question: Who are the liars in this case?
3. Bush (and others in his administration) said Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.
I won't go into this one in great detail. On 5/17/04 the Iraq Survey Group, charged with looking for WMD in Iraq, confirmed that artillery shells with sarin and mustard gas had been found in Iraq and are thought to be part of the missing projectiles that Saddam failed to account for. This article was buried in the few newspapers that published it. And the few commentators who did see it immediately stated that a "few old shells" aren't enough to qualify for WMD. Never mind that reams of evidence have recently been found that such programs existed. I predict that as more actual weapons are found, the bar will rise even higher, and that no number of banned shells, gas or nerve agent discovered will convince some individuals that Saddam had WMD. Photographic evidence just before the war shows a massive dismantling of a large facility in Iraq--why? Rumors suggest that Syria may have opened its arms to receive Iraq's banned weapons. It is also very likely that at some future date we may find out in a very unfortunate and tragic manner where those WMD went to. Because the question is not whether Saddam had them; it is what did he do with them before the war? As Thomas Sowell pointed out on July 8, 2004 on Townhall.com, "Who said Saddam Hussein had WMD? The Russians said so. The British said so. Bill Clinton said so. Leaders of both parties said so. George W. Bush was one of the last to say so. Yet he alone is accused of lying."
Senator Ted Kennedy said in September, 2002: "We have known for years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
Senator John Kerry said on October 9, 2002: "And while the administration has failed to provide any direct link between Iraq and the events of September 11, can we afford to ignore the possibility that Saddam Hussein might accidentally as well as purposely, allow those weapons of mass destruction to slide off to one group or another in a region were weapons are the currency of trade?"
Question: Why are so many so eager to dismiss what everyone knew before the Iraq war? If Saddam's WMD are products of intelligence "groupthink"(as suggested by the Senate Intelligence Committee Report of June, 2004), then the group doing the thinking is an extremely large and multinational one. And, why aren't all of the members of this multinational entity called "liars"? Why aren't Ted Kennedy and John Kerry also liars?
4. Bush said there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda
OK. This one has been gone over with a fine toothcomb by the media, the 9/11 commission and by every political pundit of every persuasion. The facts are these: the intelligence community of the U.S. and several other countries believed that there was a connection that dated back a number of years between Iraq and al-Qaeda. Carl Levin on June 16, 2003 said on TheNewsHour with Jim Lehrer that "we were told by the intelligence community that there was a very strong link between al Qaeda and Iraq. (He later changed his mind and said to John Gibson of Fox News in February, 2004 that "the intelligence didn't say there is a direct connection between al Qaeda and Iraq). Despite his recent flip-flop, there is annoyingly significant evidence of a connection. To start with, Zarqawi was present in Iraq prior to the U.S. led invasion and is now the focal point of outside resistance to Iraq becoming self-governing. The terrorist group Ansar al-Islam was present in Iraq and had significant to al Qaeda. Also, more recently, Iraqi intelligence was found that documented Iraq's discussions with al Qaeda on a possible collaboration in Saudi Arabia. According to these documents, Osama bin Laden "requested joint operations against foreign forces" in Saudi Arabia. Thom Shanker in the NY Times reported on June 25, 2004 that "Iraqi Intelligence officials sought to maintain this relationship, stating that "cooperation between the two organizations should be allowed to develop freely through discussion and agreement."
Question: Why is this so difficult to believe? It is hard not to notice that the same people who flock to Michael Moore's conspiracy-laden propaganda movie have no difficulty whatsoever believing that Bush is in a deep conspiracy with the Saudi royal family; and the Taliban; and that some mythical pipeline is the real connection between the U.S. and Afghanistan. But, Saddam and al Qaeda? That possible collaboration is deemed "ridiculous", while the "collaboration " hinted at in Fahrenheit 911 is considered likely (I won't bother to go into debunking the claims made by Moore’s movie. Numerous others have already done a beautiful job). As a psychiatrist, I will simply point out that when a conspiracy theory enhances or confirms your particular world view (in the case of the Bush Lied Crowd, the world view is simple: America is Evil and Everything America does --especially under an Evil Republican President --is Evil) no evidence is necessary to believe it. Unquestionably, the conspiracy theory that Iraq and al-Qaeda might have had a relationship --even a collaborative one-- also confirms a world view. I prefer that one. At least is isn’t founded on denial and delusion.
The final point is that many people believed, based on the intelligence information known at the time that there was some connection, and possibly collaboration, between Iraq and al Qaeda. Carl Levin believed. Was he lying to PBS in 2003? Why was Bush lying when he acting on reasonable intelligence that has since received more evidence to support it.
5. Bush's Administration pressured the intelligence community to shape their findings to fit predetermined policy goals.
The Senate Intelligence Committee Report of June, 2004 stated: "The Committee found no evidence that the Intelligence community's mischaracterization or exaggeration of weapons of mass destruction capabilities was the result of political pressure." This was the conclusion based on over 200 interviews with intelligence officials. If the Intelligence community felt pressure, then it was the kind of pressure they should feel--and that is that their information holds the key to life and death for Americans around the world, especially now in the post-9/11 world.
Lack of evidence for this advertised “dishonesty” must be very disconcerting to Democrats and the Left in general. Unfortunately, they will likely continue to believe their version in spite of the Report’s findings.
6. Bush said that the Iraq war is an important front in fighting the war on Terror.
On this, the President is entirely correct in relying on the many Middle East analysts who have studied the region for decades. Of course, not everyone agrees with their assessment of what will happen if Iraq becomes a democracy in a region most noted for its lack of freedom generally and where half the population for all practical purposes except for reproduction does not exist. . No reasonable person can conclude that this analysis is a “lie”. Some of the dissident analysts stated at the beginning of the Iraq war that the U.S. actions would cause the region to explode (it didn’t); that Iraq would break out in a civil war (it didn’t) and that Iraqi’s were not capable of making a democracy work (that remains to be seen, but all the current evidence is that with time, they will do just fine).
Finally, one more point on setting the record straight. I certainly am not the first or only person to discuss many of these points. I post this essay primarily because we have been let down badly by the Media, who should be disseminating this information and many other facts to the people of America, so that they could weigh and balance opposing information and come up with their own conclusions. But even in (or should I say especially in?) Ann Arbor, the local newspaper isn’t much interested in publishing facts. It thinks nothing of publishing on the front page in the headline area opinion pieces about Bush, the War, the Economy, and the Presidential Election. Just to make sure that you and I know what all right-thinking individuals should be thinking. Needless to say, I have yet to see one of these “analyses” support the President’s position on any matter. When I contacted the editor to express my indignation at having a headline on the front page that is an opinion, his only comment was, “well, the NY Times does it.” Of course that makes it right because the NY Times is the Oracle, and has no history of publishing “lies”.