By Martin Bosworth
That Bush and his inner circle of neocon zealots lied and cooked the books to get us into a war we never should have fought is not news, of course. But to see the number of lies told and analyzed in such a fashion as Lewis and Reading-Smith have done beggars the imagination–the sheer amount of bullshit spewed by this cabal is astonishing. Consider: President Bush, for example, made 232 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and another 28 false statements about Iraq’s links to Al Qaeda. Secretary of State Powell had the second-highest total in the two-year period, with 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq’s links to Al Qaeda. Rumsfeld and Fleischer each made 109 false statements, followed by Wolfowitz (with 85), Rice (with 56), Cheney (with 48), and McClellan (with 14).
The study also holds the media culpable for their role in cheerleading the march to war without even the slightest desire to dig deeper into the claims and propaganda:
Some journalists â€” indeed, even some entire news organizations â€” have since acknowledged that their coverage during those prewar months was far too deferential and uncritical. These mea culpas notwithstanding, much of the wall-to-wall media coverage provided additional, “independent” validation of the Bush administration’s false statements about Iraq.
Again, this is no surprise. The media knew Bush’s true goals were oil and empire, and did their part to keep the public somnolent and thirsting for blood simultaneously. But I disagree with my friend Joe over at CenterBlue when he says:
This all has bearing on the current presidential election going on, as people try to sling mud at some candidate or other (Hillary, Edwards, etc.) over their having initially voted for the war. Well excuse me, but if I had been subjected to a relentless months-long misinformation campaign emanating from the president himself over the certainty of WMDâ€™s and terrorism in Iraq I probably would have voted the same way. In fact I supported the war to begin with, having been played for a fool just like everyone else. This is why I consider these votes to be non-issues and pin the blame fully and squarely on Bush.
But not all of us fell for that. It’s something that a child could see–why attack Iraq when bin Laden was in Afghanistan?
People chose not to see the truth. They willingly blinded themselves to the obvious in order to remain favorable in the court of public opinion. Clinton and Edwards went along with the herd in order to look tough (and Clinton continues to do so today, even as Edwards has renounced his vote). Everyone who bought into the hype and supported this damnable false war must be held accountable and forced to bear the weight of their failure to question.
But they won’t be, of course. Bush continues to lie to this very day, and while Clinton’s lies about getting a blowjob nearly tore this country apart, Bush, like Rollo Tomasi, is the guy who gets away with it. And we are left with the burden of a costly, brutal, bloody, and useless war that has killed thousands, cost trillions, and turned our country into a pariah on the global stage.
Bush is the one who lied, but we are all responsible for believing the lie and not holding him accountable. Until that day comes, we must all bear the burden of that sin.