The Liar or The Denier: How Will History Judge President George W. Bush?

The Lame Duck President and First Lady were interviewed earlier this week by Charlie Gibson. After watching the footage of the of part two of the interview on December 2, 2008 there were some things that, as one who is interested in fighting disinformation, as the title of this blog blatantly suggests, stood out to me. These assertions made by the President provide excellent examples of why George W. Bush has been, and why others like him would be, very dangerous people to have leading our country and our military forces.

Gibson asks Bush what he thinks people in the country feel about him as he prepares to leave office. After a very folksy sounding, “I dunno” he goes on to say that he hopes people feel that he is “a guy that came didn’t sell his soul for politics.” (sic) and proceeds to say that he hopes people know that he is a principled guy who didn’t sell out his principles for politics. Laura Bush then cuts in to say that people feel safer because he was President, that people tell her that all the time (I wonder who these people are).

I find it disconcerting when people use the lack of a terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11 as proof that George W. Bush has been a good President, or that if nothing else, that he has made America a safer place. I only have one simple question to ask. How many terrorist attacks by Al-Qaeda or other non-Americans took place on American soil before 9/11? Can you think of any? Okay then, perhaps the question should not be whether we are safer now because there have been no other attacks. Perhaps the question should be, why did the attack on 9/11 happen during Bush’s watch? This is not necessarily meant to suggest a conspiracy theory in which the Bush Administration allowed and even colluded in these attacks, but rather to simply look at the past. Clinton, Bush Sr., Regan, Carter, etc. Show me the attack on American soil. You want to say we are safer because George W. Bush? Well then what about 9/11? What about two wars and thousands of dead, tens of thousands of wounded American soldiers? What about increased terrorist attacks around the world since the beginning of this “war on terror”?

Bush then goes on, at Gibson’s request, to give an example of a choice placed before the President that would have went against his principles had he actually made the choice. Bush’s immediate answer was pulling the troops out of Iraq. He said that to do so would have been against his principles. And what are those principles? “…that when you put kids into harms way you go in to win.” This echoes John McCain’s plan for Iraq which he laid out for the American people during the recent election campaign. McCain said over and over again that he would not pull troops out of Iraq until we win so that our troops can “come home with honor and victory and not in defeat” (source).

Victory and honor, no defeat, win at all costs. This idea, shared by Bush and McCain and perhaps much of conservative America, is one of the most dangerous ideas we face in this “war on terror.” In fact, I would argue that this idea is dangerous regardless of the particular conflict or war. The idea that we must keep fighting until we have won is reckless and childish. It is a part of the us versus them, good versus evil, we are always right and they are always wrong, all or nothing philosophy that has guided the executive branch of our government for the last eight years. What if we don’t win? Will we just keep fighting this war indefinitely, allowing bodies to pile up over the decades, or over the centuries as McCain suggested (source)? Rather than always having to be right, rather than the philosophy of victory at all cost maybe we should be more focused on cooperation, on justice, and on peace. Should we not be more concerned with solving the problem, resolving the conflict, and bringing about peace than winning, being victorious, and being able to claim some medieval notion of honor?

Gibson moves the interview along by asking Bush if he has any regrets from his eight years in office. Bush answers that his biggest regret is the intelligence failure in Iraq. He suggests that the intelligence on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction was wrong and he says, “I wish the intelligence had been different, I guess.” This statement, perhaps more than any other made, will ensure that President Bush goes down in history as either a liar, or as an incompetent President in denial until the very end. I will briefly discuss how the intelligence was not wrong. In fact, the intelligence was correct and was either ignored, falsified, or deliberately omitted by the Bush administration in their call for Congress to authorize the use of force in Iraq.

pinoccio-bush
(source)

1. On September 21, 2001, only 10 days after 9/11, the president’s daily brief given by the CIA informed the president that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the 9/11 attacks. “Coincidentally,” this was left out of the information the Bush administration provided to Congress when making its case for war in Iraq (source).

2. The Bush administration used testimony by a top Al-Qaeda prisoner named Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi as proof that Iraq was training Al-Qaeda to use biological and chemical weapons. In November of 2005 the New York Times reported that a then recently declassified Defense Intelligence Agency document from February 2002 stated that this information was unreliable and that in fact, al-Libi intentionally mislead those who had debriefed him. The Bush administration failed to provide this assessment of the intelligence information when making the case for war and unfortunately, the truth did not come out until it was almost four years too late (source).

3. There was a lot of talk about aluminum tubes prior to the invasion of Iraq. Saddam Hussein had received a large shipment of aluminum tubes that could supposedly be used to enrich uranium, part of the process in making a nuclear weapon. There was a lot of debate within the intelligence community over the validity of this claim. Ultimately, nuclear experts within the U.S. Energy Department concluded that the tubes could not be used to enrich uranium and were most likely meant for use in developing artillery rockets. This piece of information, however, was consistently left out by the Bush administration as they touted this piece of “evidence” before the nation and the world as proof of Saddam Hussein’s attempt to develop nuclear weapons and use them on the world (source).

4. We also heard a lot about Saddam Hussein’s attempts to purchase uranium in the African nation of Niger so that he could produce nuclear weapons. After all, you can’t use your aluminum tubes to enrich uranium unless you have lots, and lots of uranium. The documents, which were in British hands, were turned over to the CIA and in February of 2002 it was reported that the documents were forgeries. In March of 2002 The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that they had come to the same conclusion as the CIA. Furthermore, the IAEA also reported that there was no evidence at all that Iraq was attempting to develop nuclear weapons. Even though this information regarding the attempt to purchase uranium was known to be false, the Bush administration still chose to use this false evidence to make their case for war. In fact, in January 2003, Bush used both the uranium and the aluminum tube examples as fact in his State of the Union Address before Congress and the rest of the nation (source).

bush-soua-2003
(source)

There is more, yes I cold go on, but I am not going to. This is old news. All of this is information that has been reported and has been readily available for years to anyone with even the slightest inclination toward searching for the truth. I simply find it appalling that in the face of all of this long standing evidence proving that intelligence showed there were no weapons programs, President Bush is still insisting that intelligence suggested that Saddam Hussein had and was developing WMDs. I suppose that leaving out the part about the evidence being proven false is ethical and removes Bush from all blame and ill-intent. It is clear that this evidence was false, it is clear that this was a lie. American and UN inspectors found nothing before or after the invasion and virtually all of the evidence used by the Bush administration to make its case for war was intelligence that had been refuted, and that refutation had been presented to Bush and his administration before the case for war was made to Congress and the American people.

Decider? Maybe. Liar? It seems so. Denier? Definitely. Hopefully in 47 days we will begin to see the change we have been promised over the course of the last year. I do not have particularly high hopes that an Obama presidency will bring truly significant change to this country. However, at the very least, perhaps enough change that Americans and the rest of the world can start to have even a bit of faith, trust, and hope in this country and its government once again. Please, at least change in the sense that our leaders will be able to admit when they have made mistakes and will be willing to try new approaches to solving our nation’s problems when old approaches have been found to be misguided, rather than simply living in denial and continuing the same failed policies year in and year out. Let us at least be able to stand and say once again that we truly do stand for truth and justice in this country.

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2 Responses to “The Liar or The Denier: How Will History Judge President George W. Bush?”

  1. He’s a liar. You point out the evidence in enough detail to make it clear. He lied to get us there (Iraq). I don’t even believe he really thought it was going to be a short fight. He just had enough liar’s sense to know he couldn’t come out and say that.

    I mean, how could it have been? Even the most basic understanding of the region would have allowed one to foresee the chaos that has followed. And that’s not Monday morning quarterbacking or 20/20 hindsight. I, and many others, have been saying that since before the invasion was launched.

    Given his ability to unflinchingly lie to get us there and keep us there, it’s difficult to believe he’s told the truth about much else of any consequence.

    He is a liar.

    http://www.gonzogeek.com

  2. There was always the question of “Is he being incompetent or is he just stupid?” regarding George W. Bush. Here’s my thought. I think he’s stupid. His brain is fried after years of snorting cocaine and drinking himself under the table. While Jesus might have been able to sober him up, he certainly couldn’t repair the injured brain functions he sustained. I think George W. is stupid and he’s the PUPPET for a much more powerful gulag of highly dangerous men and women who seek to destroy the middle class, take away our rights and pour money and power into the hands of their wealthy elite friends. THEY are the ones who are incompetent. So we have a stupid puppet being steered by incompetent hands. TA DA!

    Great article as always. I just posted my eternally-scrolling article on governmental and economic models.

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