The Truth, Mainly - 01/28/2008

Feeling Sorry For the Prez
by Leon Satterfield

OK, I admit it: I'm starting to feel sorry for our president again. Why? Things seem to be crashing all around him. If he had ever read W. B. Yeat's poem, "The Second Coming," he would be remembering these grim lines:

"Things fall apart;

The center cannot hold. . .."

For instance, there's an Associated Press story by Douglass K. Daniel from last Tuesday with this headline: "Study: Bush, Other Officials Issued Hundreds of False Statements Before Iraq Invasion."

The first sentence goes like this: "A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks."

The study concluded that the statements "were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decided false pretenses."

And it doesn't get much more friendly than that. A few sentences later, we get this:

"The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews, and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them or had links to al-Qaida or both."

Remember—this isn't coming from a Democrat propaganda machine. It's coming from the Associated Press.

And Douglass K. Daniel isn't the only journalist writing about the subject.

Another A.P. story, this one in USA TODAY, on the same day quoted Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith making this charge:

"It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al- Qaeda. . .. In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003."

The story named Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Paul Wolfowitz, Ari Fleischer, and Scott McClellan as co-actors in the scam.

But, Daniel writes, "Bush led with 259 false statements, 231 about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 28 about Iraq's links to al-Qaeda."

He goes on to conclude that "The cumulative effect of these false statements—amplified by thousands of news stories and broadcasts—was massive, with the media coverage creating an almost impenetrable din for several critical months in the run-up to war."

It makes more sense if we remember that Alan Greenspan— who was Federal Reserve chairman for 18 years—said in his new book, "The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World" that "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: The Iraq war is largely about oil."

And to top it all off, U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (Dem. Wisconsin) has called for her colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee "to conduct hearings on a resolution of impeachment" of the President.

That may be going a little too far. Before such a step is taken, we should remember the President is nearing the end of his term in office. I imagine he will welcome his leaving office— almost, I'd guess, as much as the electorate will welcome his departure.


Retired English Professor Leon Satterfield writes to salvage clarity from his confusion. His column appears on alternate Mondays. His e-mail address is:

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