The sorry state of the U.S. Government. From the war
with Afghanistan and Iraq to tax cuts, Israel, Iran and the FCC. What's happening to
our government? Why don't people seem to care? A look at some of the things wrong with our GOVERNMENT.
If it is exposed that Saudi Arabia is at least partly if not mostly responsible for the 9/11 attacks, it will be exposed that the Bush Administration incorrectly misled half the American people by inferring Iraq was responsible for 9/11.
Although it was never stated directly it has been inferred by the Bush Administration that Iraq was responsible for the terrorist attacks on 9/11. That’s why in a poll 50 percent of the American people surveyed thought Iraq had something to do with 9/11. Why did half of the American people believe this? They believed it because President Bush sandwiched talk about a “brutal dictator” Saddam Hussein, between talk of terrorism and the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. He was inferring there was a relationship between Iraq and 9/11. The American people were being misled by the Bush Administration (with the help of the news media) by the spreading of lies and propaganda.
I guess you have to look at the bright side, at least 50 percent of the American people weren’t misled, on this point anyway. But how many were misled by those 16 words uttered by Mr. Bush about Iraq trying to obtain uranium from Africa?
Even if all the sentences Mr. Bush used in the run up to war are “factually correct” that doesn’t mean the message is “factually correct”. When Mr. Bush talked about 9/11 and terrorism then talked about Iraq and the “brutal dictator” Saddam Hussein and how he murdered his own people followed by more talk about terrorist and 9/11, Bush was misleading the American people into believing that Iraq, terrorism and 9/11 were all related. All the facts might have been actual facts that were correct or lies that were “factually correct”, but the message 50 percent of Americans received was that Saddam Hussein had something to do with the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, which is FACTUALLY INCORRECT.
In a speech in Cincinnati Ohio on October 7, 2002 in 19 words President Bush said “Surveillance photos reveal that the regime is rebuilding facilities that it has used to produce chemical and biological weapons.” If these photos were so reveling why haven’t we found even a trace of chemical and biological weapons yet, over four months after the start of the war?
We’re told Saddam was a master at hiding his Weapons of Mass Destruction. He must be a magician to hide something as large as those facilities revealed in the surveillance photos.
OK, I have to admit those 19 words don't say they were rebuilding those facilities to be used as chemical weapon’s facilities, only that they were rebuilding the facilities that “it has (Iraq) used to produce chemical and biological weapons”. I guess you could say that those 19 words are “factually correct” in that they were rebuilding facilities that were once used to produce chemical and biological weapons. Does that mean it was alright to include those 19 words in the speech?
If these facilities were so important that they justified going to war over, I would think these facilities would have been inspected by U.S. Government Officials by now. If no Weapons of Mass Destruction were found at these facilities, than what was the real reason for the rebuilding of these facilities? It must have been a legitimate reason otherwise I'm sure we would have heard about it by now from an administration desperately looking for signs of WMD's.
In that same speech Bush also said “We've also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical and biological weapons across broad areas.” Mr. Bush went on to say “We are concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using UAVs for missions targeting the United States.” In actuality we found two unmanned aerial vehicles held together with duct tape and NOT equipped to disperse chemical and biological agents. That doesn’t constitute a fleet in anybody’s book, more accurately it is called a couple.
President Bush even went as far as to say “If the Iraqi regime is able to produce, buy, or steal an amount of highly-enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball, it could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year.” He went on to say “we cannot wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.” Wow! That’s some scary stuff. The only thing is none of it is true. It is all based on conjecture.
Mr. Bush than went on to quote John F. Kennedy he said “As President Kennedy said in October of 1962: "Neither the United States of America nor the world community of nations can tolerate deliberate deception and offensive threats on the part of any nation, large or small. We no longer live in a world," he said, "where only the actual firing of weapons represents a sufficient challenge to a nation's security to constitute maximum peril.” This was said in defense of his preemptive policy. But there is a big difference between the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
In 1962 there was undeniable evidence in the form of surveillance photos showing the missiles in Cuba. Also the Soviet Union was not denying having nuclear missiles in Cuba. In 2003 the satellite images were of trucks that could and probably did have legitimate purposes and buildings that didn’t prove anything. Also Iraq was denying they had nuclear and chemical weapons.
I don’t know about anybody else, but “Darn good intelligence” like this doesn’t make me feel any safer. In fact it is down right scary.
The handing out of contracts such as the $34.6 million contract that could climb to $680 million dollars to the Bechtel company on Thursday 7, 2003 is just the beginning of the feeding frenzy that will only increase as time goes by. The bidding for this contract was limited to a number of companies that were invited by The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and were conducted in secret. Only U.S. companies are allowed to be the main contractors with foreign companies relegated to the role of subcontractors. Steven Weiss, communications director with the Center for Responsive Politics, said “The fact that the process was conducted largely in secret and involved only a handful of [U.S.] companies, some of which gave substantial campaign contributions, raised the questions about whether this process was open and fair”. Of the handfull of companies allowed to bid on the contract Bechtel was the largest contributor of campaign funds contributing $1.3 million. Is it any wonder that they were awarded the contract?
Another contract awarded to Halliburton’s Kellogg Brown & Root by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), to put out oil fires in Iraq was awarded without competitive bidding. The total estimated cost of the two-year contract is $7 billion. Vice President Dick Cheney is the former chief executive of the Houston based Halliburton. Even though USACE spokesman Lt. Col. Gene Pawlik says that Kellogg Brown & Root will only be involved in the initial phase of the contract during the hostilities and that subsequent oil field repair would be open to competitive bidding and the final cost and duration of the contract would not hit anywhere near the $7 billion, two year limit. The fact remains that once they get their foot in the door this will put Kellogg Brown & Root in a very good position to win other contracts.
Peter Singer at the Brookings Institution author of Corporate Warriors, a book about the military contracting industry said “They know the contract in and out, they know what the client wants and they have people on the ground. It becomes very hard for a competitor to knock you off.”
Many other countries are staking their claims as well. The Polish Government (which has troops in Iraq) asked companies interested in rebuilding Iraq to make themselves know. Over 500 responded, and they now hope to get public works and oil industry contracts.
Italy, which supported the war, agreed to send thousands of police, nurses and architects to Iraq. It hopes for a post within the interim administration, sure to result in reconstruction contracts.
War supporters Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia are also said to be negotiating contracts with the U.S.
Where is all the money coming from to pay for these contracts? A good share is coming from the American taxpayer. That's in addition to the American taxpayer money being spent to prosecute the war for the benefit of big business. Some of the money will also be coming from profits from the sale of Iraq’s oil. The oil that Mr. Bush says belongs to the Iraqi people. Correct me if I’m wrong but if the U.S is making all the decisions on how that oil money is spent and Iraqi’s have no say in how that oil money is spent, doesn’t that mean that it is really United States oil?
The Iraqi people will not be able to compete with big American companies and will become reliant on American business and foreign aid. Foreign aid will then be used as a bargaining chip to black mail the installed Iraqi Government. If the installed government refuses to do what the US Government wants they will be threatened with the cutoff of the foreign aid. If the installed government still refuses to cooperate, the siphoning off of the foreign aid will be one of the reasons stated to remove that government.
That’s the real reason for the war in Iraq, not Weapons of Mass Destruction or the liberation of the Iraqi people as we are being told
When President Bush declared the major part of the war over on May 1, 2003 when in fact it was not and is not even close to being over two and a half months later, shows Mr. Bush and his administration are either delusional, the intelligence (some from dubious sources, like the (INC) Iraqi National Congress) is so bad that it is dangerous, or they are deliberately trying to mislead the American people. It seems to be a combination of all three.
Just before the war when Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz was asked by Senators if he agreed with then Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki’s estimate that more than 200,000 troops would be needed as an occupation force after the war he replied “way off the mark”. The one who was way off the mark was Paul Wolfowitz. Philadelphia Inquirer, foreign affairs analyst Trudy Rubin wrote, “Back in November Wolfowitz told me he believed that the London based Iraqi opposition (headed by Ahmed Chalabi and backed by the Pentagon) would return to Baghdad and assume the reins of power, just as Gen. Charles de Gaulle and the Free French returned triumphantly to postwar France.”
When experts of the region argued that U.S. troops would face as much hostility as gratitude from parts of the Iraqi population, the hawks in the Whitehouse replied that they (the experts) underestimated the attraction and political skills of a man like Ahmed Chalabi, who told them (the Whitehouse hawks) of his far-reaching secret network of informants and supporters inside Iraq. It sounds to me like Paul Wolfowitz is either delusional or relied on extremely bad intelligence, probably from Chalabi.
On July 2, 2003 in the Roosevelt Room the president, when faced with questions about the present number of troops in Iraq and the chaotic postwar scene said. "There are some who feel that the conditions are such that they can attack us there," Extending his right hand for emphasis, he added: "My answer is: Bring 'em on. We've got the force necessary to deal with the security situation."
The Pentagon is currently in a debate over whether more troops than the current 145,000 are now needed. Some retired officers, warning of a serious shortage of military manpower, have called on Bush to take the unusual step of activating National Guard divisions to relieve overtaxed troops. I’d say Mr. Bush is definitely delusional on this one. Need more proof? Mr. Bush defended the quality of CIA Intelligence by saying "I think the intelligence I get is darn good intelligence. And the speeches I have given were backed by good intelligence". If Mr. Bush calls lies "darn good intelligence" I'd hate to see bad intelligence.
Vice President Dick Chaney said on television just before the war “I really do believe we will be greeted as liberators.” Of course we weren’t, as least not in large parts of Iraq. Retired ambassador Chas Freeman, president of the Middle East Policy Council, a group of former U.S. officials and analysts who specialize in the region had this to say “It is fairly incredible that the civilians in the Pentagon inhaled their own propaganda about the welcome that the U.S. forces would receive from the Iraqis. No one who knew anything about the region ever bought the notion that U.S troops would be welcomed as liberators, but no one who knew anything about the region was invited to take part in policy discussions.” I would say Chaney in his delusion relied on bad intelligence.
When Donald Rumsfeld was asked, where are the Weapons of Mass Destruction two weeks into the war his reply was “They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad, and east, west, south and north somewhat”. What kind of answer is that? Does that sound like a statement of someone who really knows where the WMD’s are? For all the rhetoric about knowing Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and knowing where they are and in fact was the main reason for going to war with Iraq, this statement sounds like a statement from someone who is delusional or trying to mislead the people. As Rumsfeld once said, “We tend to hear what we expect to hear, weather it’s bad or good. Human nature is that way. Unless something is jarring, you tend to stay on your track and get it reinforced rather than recalibrated.” Mr. Rumsfeld sure proved that point. So did President Bush, Dick Chaney, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice along with many others in the present administration. The ideologues reinforced each other’s assumptions and attacked everyone, including the real experts, who disagreed with them. Mr. Rumsfeld sounds like a delusional man who used bad intelligence to mislead the American public.
In an article published in the New York Times Sunday July 6, 2003 former US Ambassador, Joseph C. Wilson, who traveled to Niger in late February 2002 to investigate the allegation for the Central Intelligence Agency said it did not take long to conclude that it was highly doubtful that any such transaction had ever taken place. Mr. Wilson arrived back in Washington in early March, 2002 and promptly provided a detailed briefing to the C.I.A. and later shared his conclusions with the State Department African Affairs Bureau (well before Mr. Bush’s State of the Union address). In the article Mr. Wilson also stated that the Bush Administration had “twisted” data on Iraq to suit its case for war.
According to Wilson, his mission had been instigated by questions from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney, and the results would have been reported back to that office.
"The office of the vice president, I am absolutely convinced, received a very specific response to the question it asked and that response was based upon my trip out there," Wilson now says.
Senior administration officials tell CBS News the President’s mistaken claim that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Africa was included in his State of the Union address -- despite objections from the CIA.
Before the speech was delivered, the portions dealing with Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction were checked with the CIA for accuracy, reports CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin.
CIA officials warned members of the President’s National Security Council staff the intelligence was not good enough to make the flat statement Iraq tried to buy uranium from Africa.
The White House officials responded that a paper issued by the British government contained the unequivocal assertion: “Iraq has ... sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” As long as the statement was attributed to British Intelligence, the White House officials argued, it would be factually accurate. The CIA officials dropped their objections and that’s how it (the State of the Union Address) was delivered.
How many more untruths were fed to the American public to justify the war with Iraq? Did the Bush Administration know more about the missing weapons of mass destruction than they’re telling us?
The Whitehouse has finally admitted that President Bush used information involving forged documents when he gave his State of the Union Address, but not until Mr. Wilson’s article appeared in the New York Times. Whitehouse national security spokesmen Michael Anton said the statement should not have been included in the president’s address to the nation because it rested on flawed intelligence.
This comes out of the Whitehouse when Mr. Bush is out of the country on a five nation tour in Africa. How convenient, this information comes out when the President is unavailable to answer questions. Of course this comes as no surprise. This Administration is the most secretive Administration of all time. So far Bush has only given eight press conferences in which he appeared alone. At the same point in their presidencies President Clinton gave 30 solo press conferences, Bush’s father 58, President Reagan 16, President Carter 45, President Ford 37, President Nixon 16, and President Johnson 52.
A Presidential press conference is the one time that the American public has the chance to determine whether their President is truly competent or just knows how to read a speech from a teleprompter. When the President allows reporters to ask unscripted questions, voters have the opportunity to tell whether the President knows what he's talking about, and ultimately whether he is worthy of re-election. If Bush's wealthy campaign contributors can have personal access to the White House, how come ordinary Americans can't even see the President on television in a live press conference once a month?
If President Bush had more press conferences the real truth would likely have come out a long time ago. Could that be the reason for so few press conferences? Is President Bush afraid the real truth will get out?
If Mr. Bush knew about Mr. Wilson’s report before his State of the Union Address than he lied to the American public. If he didn’t know about the report it shows the incompetence of the administration that he put in place and directly reflects on the incompetence of Mr. Bush himself.
Thom Hartmann (thom at thomhartmann.com) is the author of over a dozen books, including "Unequal Protection" and "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," and a nationally syndicated daily talk show host. www.thomhartmann.com This article is copyright by Thom Hartmann, but permission is granted for reprint in print, email, blog, or web media so long as this credit is attached.