DETROIT -- The lies and calculated deceptions George W. Bush used to make his case for war with Iraq are unraveling. At long last, more Americans are realizing how intelligence information was shaped and warped to support the case for an attack on Iraq to protect us from the "imminent threat" of Saddam's phantom weapons.
Nearly every day now, American soldiers die and the resistance to the occupation of Iraq grows stronger and more organized. In a chilling interview with Newsday, a leader of Saddam Hussein's Fedayeen militia describes the strategy that will challenge the new American empire.
The militia fighter, living on the run and known as Khaled, described the secret leadership structure and how the insurgents operate in five- and six-member cells. He says they are in it for the long run.
"We have many more people and we're a lot better organized than the Americans realize. We have been preparing for this kind of guerrilla war for a long time, and we are much more patient than the Americans. We have nowhere else to go."
American forces are living in a shooting gallery, and it's likely to get worse as the insurgents exploit the growing hostility toward the occupying troops.
Patience is not one of our distinguished national virtues and, given the dangers and the price tag of $4 billion a month for occupation, twice the original estimates, polls show American confidence in the ignoble experiment in Iraq is waning rapidly.
In his State of the Union address, President Bush said, with resounding, unequivocal certainty, that Iraq was seeking nuclear material from Africa. That assertion was based on a British intelligence report that was actually built on forged documents.
CIA Director George Tenet has fallen on his sword and is taking the rap for the president's propagation of fraud to buttress support for war. The speech never should have included the Iraq-Niger uranium allegations, Tenet said in a prepared statement. "This was a mistake," he said. The Bush presidents always surrounded themselves with dutiful butlers willing to clean up their messes.
What's hilarious now is listening to the Clintonian parsing the "straight-talking" Bush and his minions are using to justify the deception.
Let's see. We were just quoting the British. The information showing the fraudulent documents never made it to the White House. It was only 16 words in a long speech. We know Saddam's a bad guy and if he wasn't shopping for uranium then, he would be sometime. At the time it was said, it was believed to be true.
Maureen Dowd of The New York Times notes, "More and more with Bush administration pronouncements about the Iraq war, it depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."
Rather than pledge to find out what really happened, King George says with sublime arrogance that, since Tenet took the fall, the matter is over. Ari "I'll say anything" Fleischer says, "The president has moved on. And I think, frankly, much of the country has moved on, as well."
What they're really saying is that they don't want to get straight answers about how in God's name the President of the United States could possibly foist such a colossal lie on the world and what role top manipulators in the White House played in pouncing on the bogus information the CIA had already had serious doubts over.
Field Marshall Rumsfeld says he became aware of the fraud in March, and you have to assume the president was aware of the truth also. Why then did they wait until July to confess?
The president is really unrepentant about using the phony Iraq-Niger claim. He just brushed it off, saying, "There is no doubt Saddam Hussein was a threat to world peace."
Let's remember the context of all this. The Bush administration was always willing to inflate and exaggerate the threat Saddam posed whenever possible. They consistently leaned on the side of pumping up whatever evil intentions he had.
What's worse than the now-admitted "mistake" -- and you can bet there are many others -- is the deliberate rhetorical connection repeatedly made to tie Saddam and Iraq to al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. That is the biggest lie of all, but it worked so well in convincing the Congress and the American people that the two were inseparable partners in terror that Bush and company will never admit to that whopper.
As they scramble to cover up the deceptions for war with Iraq, the Bush people are doing a marvelous job in covering up the truth about intelligence information the government possessed before Sept. 11.
Note this very well. George W. Bush never wanted an independent commission to investigate the events leading up to the worst terrorist attack in American history. He fought its creation and now he's doing everything he can to scuttle its work.
The Sept. 11 commission leaders -- chairman Thomas Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey, and Lee Hamilton, former Democratic member of the House from Indiana -- know the White House is stalling in providing documents and testimony needed for the commission to do its work.
The Pentagon and the Defense Department are not cooperating quickly or fully, and both agencies want to have witnesses interviewed in the presence of government colleagues from the departments -- a situation the commission considers "intimidation."
The delays and the witness "minding" seriously impair the commission's ability to present a full report to the nation by its deadline next May.
In an editorial, The New York Times warns we should all heed Kean and Hamilton's warning. "When these seasoned, mild-mannered men start complaining that the administration is trying to intimidate the commission, the country had better take notice."
The Bush administration scoffed when UN weapons inspectors interviewed Iraqi scientists, with Saddam's agents present, and were required to have "minders'" as they toured suspected weapons sites. How could the scientists possibly be candid and tell the truth under those circumstances, Bush operatives wondered.
Now the administration wants its own "minders." The Times points to the dangers. "Acting more like the Soviet Kremlin than the American government, the administration has insisted that monitors from various agencies attend debriefings of key officials by investigators. ... This is a thinly veiled attempt at intimidation."
The president is already nervous about the release of a report on the Joint House and Senate Intelligence Committee hearings on Sept. 11.
Explosive areas are expected to be mistakes and gaps in systems that ignored evidence that al-Qaeda planned a significant assault using hijacked airplanes, and new information that links members of the Saudi royal family to funding the Sept. 11 attacks.
Those are not matters the president wants to give a full public airing. As has become the predictable pattern for George W. Bush and company, they will use an avalanche of lies to try to keep the truth from the American people.
But since the people are smarter than the politicians and the corporate media propagandists who've aided and abetted the lies, the time has arrived when the public appetite for truth is growing.
That threatens George. W. Bush.
Bill Gallagher, a Peabody Award winner, is a former Niagara Falls city councilman who now covers Detroit for Fox2 News. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com July 15 2003