If Orwell Were Alive The Bush Adminstration Would Be His Living Nightmare

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The myth elves are working overtime and they’re not just some delusional right-wingers printing out wacky flyers in their mom’s basement or calling into to their favorite shock jock on AM radio. It is the people with their finger on the button. Paul Krugman – Reign of Error

First, if the facts fail to support the administration position on an issue — stem cells, global warming, tax cuts, income inequality, Iraq — officials refuse to acknowledge the facts.

Sometimes the officials simply lie. “The tax cuts have made the tax code more progressive and reduced income inequality,” Edward Lazear, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, declared a couple of months ago. More often, however, they bob and weave.

If one reads through a survey of western civilization textbook one has the impression at least that rationalism as a social phenomenon evolves. I think that it was Aristotle that believed that all matter was composed of different ratios of earth, wind and fire. A view of the physical world that most people today would find bizarre. But think of it this way some variation of that belief hung around for the next two thousand years. How much progress could civilization have made if the minority view of Leucippus and Democritus was adopted sooner. I’m not sure about why the wrong theory of matter hung around for so many years, but it looks as though the myths that Krugman points to in this column are likely to hang around like the wrong theory of matter. I’m not up for a thorough Fisking of the administration and their supporters spin today, but I’ll try and do a kind of Readers Digest version:

1. “50 percent of Americans now believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when we invaded”
The current Iraq war started in March 2003. At that time The Bush administration claimed they knew for certain that Iraq had WMD ( WMD as defined by this administration included not just nuclear weapons, but bio-chemical weapons also)

“We found the weapons of mass destruction.” President Bush, 5/29/03
“We know where the WMDs are.” – Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 3/30/03
“The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder.”– President Bush, 3/19/03

FACT: “A draft report on the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq provides no solid evidence that Iraq had such arms when the United States invaded the country in March” and none have materialized since. [Reuters 9/15/03]
Regardless of what is found now it will be evidence after the fact. Bush and Rumsfeld lied about having any concrete knowledge of WMD in Iraq. So why has the belief that Saddam had WMD shot up, because of the the discovery of some 25 years old sarin and mustard gas shells that were found after being in Iraq for over three years, Defense Department Disavows Santorum’s WMD Claims

Fox News’ Jim Angle contacted the Defense Department who quickly disavowed Santorum and Hoekstra’s claims. A Defense Department official told Angle flatly that the munitions hyped by Santorum and Hoekstra are “not the WMD’s for which this country went to war.”

You can’t or at least it is morally flawed to go to war over something that you did not know existed until three years after the fact. The greatest threat these old shells pose is to the Iraqi people and the American troops that will have to guard and dispose of them. Where will they be disposed of? Probably in the ground right there is Iraq as it would foolish to try and take them out of the country for disposal. As far these old shells being a threat to America, it is impossible for a rational person to take that argument seriously. Who would be stupid enough to handle old unstable munitions and how long would they have made them into an effective weapon once they did.
2.The Saddam 9-11 connection which the Secretary of State no less implies may have existed. A favorite tactic of many administration officials,right-wing blogs and pundits is not to claim absolute knowledge, but to suggest a gap in knowledge where the conspiracy minded can shoe horn in their pet theory.
M’s Rice on 9/16/03, “We have never claimed that Saddam Hussein … had either direction or control of 9/11.”
Paul Krugman notes,

Condoleezza Rice’s response a few months ago, when pressed to explain why the administration always links the Iraq war to 9/11. She admitted that Saddam, “as far as we know, did not order Sept. 11, may not have even known of Sept. 11.” (Notice how her statement, while literally true, nonetheless seems to imply both that it’s still possible that Saddam ordered 9/11, and that he probably did know about it.) “But,” she went on, “that’s a very narrow definition of what caused Sept. 11.”

This brings up a question that has been asked repeatedly, if the administration has evidence that links Saddam Hussein to 9-11 why was it never shown to the 9-11 Commision
Wouldn’t it be in the administration’s and congressional conservatives interests to whip out the charts and diagrams before the 2006 elections and connect the dots with conclusive proof of their insinuations or is it actually in their best interests to keep the culture of conspiracy theories, vague assertions, and distortions as an on going propaganda tool to manipulate the electorate.

Bush showed great leadership before and after the Katrina catastrophe? Hardly, AP: Video Contradicts Bush Katrina Statements , Bush’s Katrina Cop Out. The Bush administration even managed to piss off a few conservatives, Bush’s Katrina dawdling should offend conservatives

Back to Iraq, I’m picking up on the assertions in which Krugman makes them, “Mr. Bush has repeatedly suggested that the United States had to invade Iraq because Saddam wouldn’t let U.N. inspectors in.” I’ve seen this and heard this particular lie so many times that it smacks of O.J. Syndrome, the liars are starting to believe their lies, pdf file

September 16, 2002: Baghdad announces that it will allow arms inspectors to return “without conditions.” Iraqi and UN officials meet September 17 to discuss the logistical arrangements for the return of inspectors and announce that final arrangements will be made at a meeting scheduled for the end of the month. The United States inspections at more than 500 sites. The inspectors did not find that Iraq possessed chemical or biological weapons or that it had reconstituted its nuclear weapons program. Although Iraq was cooperative on what inspectors called “process”—allowing inspectors access to suspected weapons sites, for example—it was only marginally cooperative in answering the questions surrounding its weapons programs. Unable to resolve its differences with Security Council members who favored strengthening and continuing weapons inspections, the United States abandoned the inspections process and initiated the invasion of Iraq on March 19.

Inspectors were in, no weapons were found, Bush told the inspectors to leave because he did not believe what the Iraqis were saying under questioning, i.e. uncooperative. How were they uncooperative? They were not telling the inspectors what Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld wanted to hear. This whole argument is somewhat irrelavent since Bush had made up his mind to invade regardless of what the inspectors found or how the Iraqis answered questions, The secret Downing Street memo

Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime’s record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

Which coincidently fits in with Bush’s decision not to go to the U.N to seek another resolution after inspectors were in Iraq and the claims that Saddam was not being cooperative enough,

March 17, 2003: After U.S.-led diplomatic efforts to build support for the new resolution fail, the United States decides not to seek a vote on it—a reversal of Bush’s March 6 statement that the United States would push for a Security Council vote on the resolution, regardless of whether it was expected to pass.

I did skip the paragraph on tax cuts, maybe I’ll do that on another post. At present “compassionate conservatives” are displaying their deep and heart felt concern for a wealthy 1% of the population, House negotiates minimum wage bill

Republican leaders are willing to allow the first minimum wage increase in a decade but only if it’s coupled with a cut in inheritance taxes on multimillion-dollar estates, lawmakers said Friday.

A handy fact sheet on the inheritance tax, Myths and Facts about the Estate Tax

Myth: The estate tax must be repealed because it forces family businesses to close.
Fact: This issue has been wildly exaggerated. Only 3 of every 10,000 people who die leave a taxable estate in which a family business forms the majority of the estate. A recent Federal Reserve study found that the average small business is worth $702,566, well below the level at which estate taxes kick in. Virtually all small family businesses can be protected by simply raising estate tax exemption levels.

Myth: The estate tax “confiscates” over half the value of all estates.
Fact: For more than 99% of Americans, the estate tax takes away nothing.

There is more at the link. Conservatives are doing their best on behalf of a hand full of people while around 8 14.9 million Americans try to get by on wages that are not keeping up with inflation.

The administration can lie about anything and break any law, just don’t expose that to the public, NSA whistleblower subpoenaed by federal grand jury

In a statement issued by the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, of which Tice is a member, he declared “This latest action by the government is designed only for one purpose: to ensure that people who witness criminal action being committed by the government are intimidated into remaining silent.”