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[] LAT 04.03.03 (Op-Ed): Bush Pushes The Big Lie Toward The Brink,

Los Angeles Times March 4, 2003

Bush Pushes The Big Lie Toward The Brink

Even some in government can no longer be silent in the face of falsehood.

By Robert Scheer

So the truth is out: George W. Bush lied when he claimed to be worried 
about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction. Otherwise, Iraq's 
stepped-up cooperation with the U.N. on disarmament would be stunningly 
good news, obviating the need to rush to war.

Instead, the U.N. weapons inspectors' verification of Iraq's destruction of 
missiles, private meetings with Iraqi weapons scientists, visits to 
locations where biological and chemical weapons were destroyed in 1991 and 
a series of unfettered flights by U2 spy plans have been met with a shrug 
and sneer in Washington. The White House line is that even if the Iraqis 
destroy all their slingshots, Goliath is still bringing his tanks and 
instituting "regime change." The arrogance is breathtaking. We have 
demanded that a country disarm -- and even as it is doing so, we say it 
doesn't matter: it's too late; we're coming in. Put down your guns and 
await the slaughter.

Abraham Lincoln once observed that even a free people can be fooled for a 
time -- and this, mind you, was long before Fox News existed -- and in his 
chaotic two-year presidency, Bush has pushed the Big Lie approach so far 
that we are seeing dramatic signs of its cracking: an international 
backlash, a domestic peace movement and whistle-blowing from inside our own 
intelligence and diplomatic corps.

"We have not seen such systematic distortion of intelligence, such 
systematic manipulation of the American people, since the war in Vietnam," 
wrote John Brady Kiesling, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service in 
his letter of resignation last week to Secretary of State Colin Powell. 
Kiesling, who was political counselor in U.S. embassies throughout the 
Mideast, added that "until this administration, it had been possible to 
believe that by upholding the policies of my president, I was also 
upholding the interests of the American people and the world. I believe it 
no longer."

And this brave man is not the only one who has caught on. The entire world 
is astonished that our president is lying not about a personal indiscretion 
but about the most sacred duty of the leader of the most powerful nation in 
human history not to recklessly endanger the lives of his own or the 
world's people. Yet lie he has.

The first lie, claimed outright, was that Iraq aided and abetted the Sept. 
11 terrorists. There is no evidence at all for this claim. It is also 
interesting to note that not a single leading Al Qaeda operative has turned 
out to be Iraqi. The latest to be nabbed, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, was 
living in Pakistan, was raised in Kuwait and studied engineering -- and 
presumably the physics of explosives -- at a college in North Carolina.

The second lie was that Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction 
represent an imminent threat to U.S. security. Despite the most hugely 
expensive but secret high-tech spy operation in human history -- estimated 
by most at well over $100 billion a year -- and a vast network of defectors 
and spies, we have not been able to find their supposed weapons.

The third and most dangerous lie is that our mission now is to bring 
lasting peace to the Mideast by a devastating invasion of Iraq, which will 
end, as the president outlined last week, in U.S. dominance over the 
structure of government and politics throughout the region. After 
abandoning promising efforts by the previous administration to create peace 
between Israel and the Palestinians, the Bush team now claims that changing 
Muslim governments around the world will end the downward spiral of 
violence there. Which leads us to another lie: that this is all good for 
our ally, Israel -- the claim of the cabal of neoconservative ideologues 
running our Mideast policy. In fact, however, Israel will be placed in a 
terribly dangerous position, serving as a fig leaf for U.S. ambitions, 
further ensuring that it remain forever an isolated military garrison.

This construction of a new world order comes from a naive and untraveled 
president, emboldened in his ignorance by advisors who have been plotting 
an aggressive Pax Americana ever since the Soviet bloc's collapse. Bush 
insiders Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and 
Donald Rumsfeld are all members of something called the Project for a New 
American Century that has been pushing for a U.S. redesign of the Mideast 
since 1997. After Sept. 11, they seized on our national tragedy as a way to 
enlist George W. in support of their grand design. Not only was this 
reckless scheme never mentioned by Bush during the election campaign, it 
was the sort of thing renounced as "nation-building," something he would 
never support. Yet another lie.

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