My fellow citizens, events in Iraq have now reached the final days of decision. For more than a decade, the United States and other nations have pursued patient and honorable efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime without war. That regime pledged to reveal and destroy all its weapons of mass destruction as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War in 1991.
Since then, the world has engaged in 12 years of diplomacy. We have passed more than a dozen resolutions in the United Nations Security Council. We have sent hundreds of weapons inspectors to oversee the disarmament of Iraq. Our good faith has not been returned.
The Iraqi regime has used diplomacy as a ploy to gain time and advantage. It has uniformly defied Security Council resolutions demanding full disarmament. Over the years, U.N. weapon inspectors have been threatened by Iraqi officials, electronically bugged, and systematically deceived. Peaceful efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime have failed again and again — because we are not dealing with peaceful men.
Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. This regime has already used weapons of mass destruction against Iraq’s neighbors and against Iraq’s people.
The regime has a history of reckless aggression in the Middle East. It has a deep hatred of America and our friends. And it has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al Qaeda.
The danger is clear: using chemical, biological or, one day, nuclear weapons, obtained with the help of Iraq, the terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions and kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent people in our country, or any other.
The United States and other nations did nothing to deserve or invite this threat. But we will do everything to defeat it. Instead of drifting along toward tragedy, we will set a course toward safety. Before the day of horror can come, before it is too late to act, this danger will be removed.
The United States of America has the sovereign authority to use force in assuring its own national security. That duty falls to me, as Commander-in-Chief, by the oath I have sworn, by the oath I will keep.
Recognizing the threat to our country, the United States Congress voted overwhelmingly last year to support the use of force against Iraq. America tried to work with the United Nations to address this threat because we wanted to resolve the issue peacefully. We believe in the mission of the United Nations. One reason the U.N. was founded after the second world war was to confront aggressive dictators, actively and early, before they can attack the innocent and destroy the peace.
In the case of Iraq, the Security Council did act, in the early 1990s. Under Resolutions 678 and 687 — both still in effect — the United States and our allies are authorized to use force in ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. This is not a question of authority, it is a question of will.
Last September, I went to the U.N. General Assembly and urged the nations of the world to unite and bring an end to this danger. On November 8th, the Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441, finding Iraq in material breach of its obligations, and vowing serious consequences if Iraq did not fully and immediately disarm.
Today, no nation can possibly claim that Iraq has disarmed. And it will not disarm so long as Saddam Hussein holds power. For the last four-and-a-half months, the United States and our allies have worked within the Security Council to enforce that Council’s long-standing demands. Yet, some permanent members of the Security Council have publicly announced they will veto any resolution that compels the disarmament of Iraq. These governments share our assessment of the danger, but not our resolve to meet it. Many nations, however, do have the resolve and fortitude to act against this threat to peace, and a broad coalition is now gathering to enforce the just demands of the world. The United Nations Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities, so we will rise to ours.
Many Iraqis can hear me tonight in a translated radio broadcast, and I have a message for them. If we must begin a military campaign, it will be directed against the lawless men who rule your country and not against you. As our coalition takes away their power, we will deliver the food and medicine you need. We will tear down the apparatus of terror and we will help you to build a new Iraq that is prosperous and free. In a free Iraq, there will be no more wars of aggression against your neighbors, no more poison factories, no more executions of dissidents, no more torture chambers and rape rooms. The tyrant will soon be gone. The day of your liberation is near.
Should Saddam Hussein choose confrontation, the American people can know that every measure has been taken to avoid war, and every measure will be taken to win it. Americans understand the costs of conflict because we have paid them in the past. War has no certainty, except the certainty of sacrifice.
As we enforce the just demands of the world, we will also honor the deepest commitments of our country. Unlike Saddam Hussein, we believe the Iraqi people are deserving and capable of human liberty. And when the dictator has departed, they can set an example to all the Middle East of a vital and peaceful and self-governing nation.
The United States, with other countries, will work to advance liberty and peace in that region. Our goal will not be achieved overnight, but it can come over time. The power and appeal of human liberty is felt in every life and every land. And the greatest power of freedom is to overcome hatred and violence, and turn the creative gifts of men and women to the pursuits of peace.
That is the future we choose. Free nations have a duty to defend our people by uniting against the violent. And tonight, as we have done before, America and our allies accept that responsibility.
Good night, and may God continue to bless America.
George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Tony Blair, Donald Rumsfeld, and several other senior government officials in the U.S. and U.K. told us that Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq had large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. They told us that they were actively trying to find nuclear weapons. They told us that they had connections with the al-Qaeda terrorist network, and that therefore Iraq posed an imminent threat to the security of the United States. Therefore pre-emptive war was necessary, and nothing short of
regime change would do.
They lied. When Ambassador Joe Wilson told them that their evidence for claiming that Saddam Hussein was trying to acquire nuclear weapons was a forgery, they kept citing that completely spurious, forged evidence in public statements. When the U.S. intelligence apparatus was not giving the answers that they needed to justify their policy, they didn’t change the policy; they set up a new intelligence office to give them the answers they wanted. Questions were left unasked and intelligence was cherry-picked and sexed-up and
those who offered cautious, qualified, or dissenting views were were marginalized by the
gang at the top and their political appointees at the top of the intelligence agencies. Needless to say, the caveats and doubts were completely erased in the governments’ public declarations and policy statements. Mysteriously enough, somehow or another, the attitudes of the mad-dog bosses at the top created an environment where groupthink flourished and even though
the intelligence community was inundated with evidence that undermined virtually all charges it had made against Iraq (Washington Post 2005-03-31), not one word of this evidence made it past the policy gate-keepers in the President’s cabinet. In other words, they
had a goal, they looked for evidence to support that goal, and when they did not find good evidence they repeated evidence that they were informed repeatedly ahead of time was questionable or completely spurious evidence, and they shamelessly bowdlerized the data to in order to hide these opportunities for doubt and hype their war.
And it turns out that what they claimed on nearly every point was false.
Iraq had no stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons.
Iraq had no connections with al-Qaeda.
Iraq was not any threat to the United States whatsoever.
Or to put it another way: they lied through their fucking teeth and, as a result, some 10,000-100,000 Iraqi civilians were murdered, thousands more were brutalized and tortured, and over 1,500 British and American troops have died in a rudderless, pointless bloodbath.
Dead wrong indeed. You fucking assholes.
Now that the latest report on
intelligence failures–even while piously avoiding
unauthorized inquiries into questions concerning the political use of intelligence in driving war policy, of course–has reiterated these sorry facts yet again, it seems that our august media and government officials are finally turning to serious questions of responsibility and policy, to make sure that something like this never happens again.
For example, The New York Times’ Op-Ed page indignantly blasts the Administration for encouraging the credulous use of shaky testimony from unscrupulous interested parties.
Meanwhile, Kit Bond tells us it’s all Bill Clinton’s fault..
And the commission’s report and Bond and the rest of the blowhard brigade have got an answer. Here it is:
The commission’s report said the principal cause of the intelligence failures was the intelligence community’sinability to collect good information about Iraq’s WMD programs, serious errors in analyzing what information it could gather and a failure to make clear just how much of its analysis was based on assumptions rather than good evidence.
The single most prominent recurring themeof its recommendations isstronger and more centralized management of the intelligence community, and, in general, the creation of a genuinely integrated community, instead of a loose confederation of independent agencies.
The panel urged Bush to give broad authority to John Negroponte when he is confirmed as the director of national intelligence.
The problem, you see, is how decentralized intelligence-gathering in the United States is. We’ve got to make sure in the future that we can avoid the politically-driven manipulation of data, that we can prevent dissenting or cautious assessments from being filtered out by hard-charging bosses, that decision-makers get all the information and analysis that they need to make a balanced assessment. And the best way in the world to do this is to consolidate and centralize as much of the intelligence apparatus in the United States government as possible.
Because nothing ensures a wide range of opinion and the integrity of data like making sure that it’s all filtered through a single directorate before it reaches decision-makers.
A single directorate under the control of one all-powerful political appointee, who answers directly to the President.
And that one political appointee should be John Negroponte.
All of this would be really depressing. I’m just glad that it’s nothing more than one sick fucking April Fools’ joke.
Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks
Jus ad bello
Like Judas of old,
you lie and deceive
A world war can be won
you want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain
Why don’t we just take his oil?Smith bellowed to the crowd during a fiery 13-minute speech, referring to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.Why buy it? Take it!
President George W. Bush, speech before the United Nations General Assembly, 12 September 2002:
He has proven instead only his contempt for the United Nations, and for all his pledges. By breaking every pledge — by his deceptions, and by his cruelties — Saddam Hussein has made the case against himself.
In 1991, the Iraqi regime agreed to destroy and stop developing all weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles, and to prove to the world it has done so by complying with rigorous inspections. Iraq has broken every aspect of this fundamental pledge.
From 1991 to 1995, the Iraqi regime said it had no biological weapons. After a senior official in its weapons program defected and exposed this lie, the regime admitted to producing tens of thousands of liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents for use with Scud warheads, aerial bombs, and aircraft spray tanks. U.N. inspectors believe Iraq has produced two to four times the amount of biological agents it declared, and has failed to account for more than three metric tons of material that could be used to produce biological weapons. Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.
United Nations’ inspections also revealed that Iraq likely maintains stockpiles of VX, mustard and other chemical agents, and that the regime is rebuilding and expanding facilities capable of producing chemical weapons.
We know that Saddam Hussein pursued weapons of mass murder even when inspectors were in his country. Are we to assume that he stopped when they left? The history, the logic, and the facts lead to one conclusion: Saddam Hussein’s regime is a grave and gathering danger. To suggest otherwise is to hope against the evidence.
Perry G. Smith, guest column for the Opelika-Auburn News, 27 February 2003:
The editorial board asked these questions:
How can we start a war with Iraq while waging a war against terrorists all over the place?
Would the battlefront be too much to manage?
Might al-Qaida appreciate us going into Iraq?
If we attack Iraq, will we be more vulnerable to terrorists?
It’s too bad those people whom we elected to make decisions about those questions for us (President Bush, Vice President Chaney [sic] and our Republican-controlled Congress) and our nation’s National Security advisers and military leaders don’t include the [Opelika-Auburn News] on every little aspect of their planning. Our smart leaders use intelligence that is gathered by very sophisticated sources in their decision-making process. Disclosure of our secret intelligence and plans (necessarily the answers to your questions) to the liberally biased news media usually gets the people who gave the information on which we based our decisions killed or stops any further disclosure of information to our sources. I believe that our leaders have made a full assessment of those and other questions and the best courses of action have been decided upon for the best interest of our nation. All of us should fall in behind our president and whole-heartedly support him and our committed military personnel now.
Saddam needs to disarm now. If he does not, this superpower intends to make him. I personally believe that this conflict will be over more quickly than Desert Storm and with even fewer U.S. casualties.
Jus in bello
You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people’s blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud
George W. Bush, 20 January 2002:
I, GEORGE W. BUSH, … do hereby proclaim Sunday, January 20, 2002, as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. I call upon all Americans to reflect upon the sanctity of human life. Let us recognize the day with appropriate ceremonies in our homes and places of worship, rededicate ourselves to compassionate service on behalf of the weak and defenseless, and reaffirm our commitment to respect the life and dignity of every human being.
Alberto Gonzales, memo to George W. Bush, 23 January 2002:
The consequences of a decision to adhere to what I understood to be your earlier determination that the GPW does not apply to the Taliban include the following:
- Substantially reduces the threat of domestic criminal prosecution under the the War Crimes Act (18 U.S.C. 2441). ** That statute, enacted in 1996 prohibits the commission of awar crimeby or against a U.S. person, including U.S. officials.War crimefor these purposes is defined to include any grave breach of GPW or any violation of common Article 3 thereof (such as outrages against personal dignity). Some of these provisions apply (if the GPW applies) regardless of whether the individual being detained qualifies as a POW. Punishments for violations of Section 2441 include the death penalty. A determination that the GPW is not applicable to the Taliban would mean that Section 2441 would not apply to actions taken with respect to the Taliban.
And there have not been large numbers of civilian casualties because the coalition took such great care to protect the lives of innocent civilians as well as holy sites. … When the dust is settled in Iraq, military historians will study this war. They’ll examine the unprecedented combination of power, precision, speed, flexibility and, I would add also, compassion that was employed.
General Tommy Franks, Bagram Air Force Base, 19 March 2002:
I don’t believe you have heard me or anyone else in our leadership talk about the presence of 1,000 bodies out there, or in fact how many have been recovered. You know we don’t do body counts.
Donald Rumsfeld, interview on FOX News Sunday, 9 November 2003:
Well, we don’t do body counts …
Q: How many people, Iraqi people, have been killed during the occupation? Do you have a figure or don’t you?
A: … And I gave answers to a Parliamentary Question on this. I went into it in a great deal of detail. We’ve made use of NGO estimates, and others, but the last estimate which I gave in answer to a Parliamentary Question, and I speak from recollection but I’m happy to have this checked, was about ten thousand.
Hamza Hendawi, Associated Press, 7 September 2004:
A spike in fighting with Sunni and Shiite insurgents killed eight Americans in the Baghdad area on Tuesday and Wednesday, pushing the count to 1,003. That number includes 1,000 U.S. troops and three civilians, two working for the U.S. Army and one for the Air Force. The tally was compiled by The Associated Press based on Pentagon records and AP reporting from Iraq.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld cited progress on multiple fronts in the Bush administration’s global war on terrorism and said U.S. enemies should not underestimate the willingness of the American people and its coalition allies to suffer casualties in Iraq and elsewhere.
Dr. Les Roberts, 29 October 2004:
Making conservative assumptions we think that about 100,000 excess deaths, or more, have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Violence accounted for most of the excess deaths and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for most of the violent deaths.
James Massey, interview on Democracy Now!, 24 May 2004:
Iraq violated every rule of engagement that I have ever been taught – violated every rule of the Geneva Convention that I have been taught.
Adam Gorlick, Associated Press, 16 October 2004:
Depression set in, and Jeff dealt with it by going on heavy drinking binges. On Christmas Eve, he sat down with Debbie and gave his first account of being told to shoot two unarmed Iraqi soldiers.
The way he told the story, Jeff was about five feet away from two Iraqis — each about his own age — when he was ordered to shoot them. He said he looked them in their eyes before closing his own, then pulled the trigger.
He took off two dog tags around his neck, threw them at me and said,Debbie said.Don’t you understand? Your brother is a murderer,
Doug Struck, Washington Post, 7 December 2004:
A former U.S. Marine staff sergeant testified at a hearing Tuesday that his unit killed at least 30 unarmed civilians in Iraq during the war in 2003 and that Marines routinely shot and killed wounded Iraqis.
Jimmy J. Massey, a 12-year veteran, said he left Iraq in May 2003 after a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress. He said he and his men shot and killed four Iraqis staging a demonstration and a man with his hands up trying to surrender, as well as women and children at roadblocks. Massey said he had complained to his superiors about thekilling of innocent civilians,but that nothing was done.
U.S.-appointed Iraqi Defence Minister Sheikh Hazem Shalaam, 9 November 2004:
We’ve called it Operation Dawn. God willing, it’s going to be a new, happy dawn for the people of Falluja.
U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, 9 November 2004:
There is no confusion, if you’re on the street, you’re a bad guy. Ninety per cent of the civilian population has left
The moves came amid renewed warnings from aid groups that Iraq’s civilian population was facing ahumanitarian catastrophe.
Although many of Falluja’s 200,000 to 300,000 residents fled the city before the assault, between 30,000 and 50,000 are believed to have remained during the fighting.
The horrific conditions for those who remained in the city have begun to emerge in the last 24 hours as it became clear that US military claims ofprecisiontargeting of insurgent positions were false.
According to one Iraqi journalist who left Falluja on Friday, some of the civilian injuries were caused by the massive firepower directed on to city neighbourhoods during the battle.
If the fighters fire a mortar, US forces respond with huge force,said the journalist, who asked not to be named.
The city had been without power or water for days. Frozen food had spoiled and people could not charge their cellphones.Some people hadn’t prepared well. They didn’t stock up on tinned food. They didn’t think it would be this bad,he said.
At the main hospital, cut off from the rest of the city, doctors have reportedly been treating the injured with nothing but bandages, while the Red Crescent says people have been bleeding to death for lack of medical attention.
Q: Hi, Mr. Secretary. I’m Sergeant Cramer (ph) from the 502nd (Transit ?), and I was just curious to know whether or not you’ve been bombarded with apologetic phonecalls from your critics who had perceived a doom and gloom scenario.
Rumsfeld: My answer’s off the record. (Laughter.) There were a lot of hand-wringers around, weren’t there? (Laughter; applause.) You know, during World War II, I think Winston Churchill was talking about the Battle of Britain, and he said,Never have so many owed so much to so few.A humorist in Washington the other day sent me a note paraphrasing that, and he said,Never have so many been so wrong about so much.(Laughter; applause.)
Jus post bellum
How much do I know
to talk out of turn?
You might say that I’m young
You might say I’m unlearned
But there’s one thing I know
Thought I’m younger than you
Even Jesus would never forgive what you do
George W. Bush, remarks to reporters, 3 May 2003:
We’ll find them [Weapons of Mass Destruction]. It’ll be a matter of time to do so
George W. Bush, interview with TVP Poland, 30 May 2003:
But for those who say we haven’t found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they’re wrong, we found them.
WASHINGTON (AFP) – US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he did not recall British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s pre-war claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction ready to be deployed in 45 minutes.
I don’t remember the statement being made, to be perfectly honest,Rumsfeld told a Pentagon news conference.
General Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he didn’t remember the statement either.
The claim made headlines around the world after Blair leveled it in a 55-pagewhite paperpresented to the House of Commons in September 2002.
Paul Bremer, Coalition Provisional Authority, 2 September 2003:
The Iraqi people are now free. And they do not have to worry about the secret police coming after them in the middle of the night, and they don’t have to worry about their husbands and brothers being taken off and shot, or their wives being taken to rape rooms. Those days are over.
George W. Bush, press availability in Monterrey, Mexico, 12 January 2004:
One thing is for certain: There won’t be any more mass graves and torture rooms and rape rooms.
On 19 January 2004, Lieutenant General (LTG) Ricardo S. Sanchez, Commander, Combined Joint Task Force Seven (CJTF-7) requested that the Commander, US Central Command, appoint an Investigating Officer (IO) in the grade of Major General (MG) or above to investigate the conduct of operations within the 800th Military Police (MP) Brigade. LTG Sanchez requested an investigation of detention and internment operations by the Brigade from 1 November 2003 to present. LTG Sanchez cited recent reports of detainee abuse.
I find that the intentional abuse of detainees by military police personnel included the following acts: (a) Punching, slapping, and kicking detainees; jumping on their naked feet; (b) Videotaping and photographing naked male and female detainees; (c) Forcibly arranging detainees in various sexually explicit positions for photographing; (d) Forcing detainees to remove their clothing and keeping them naked for several days at a time; (e) Forcing naked male detainees to wear women’s underwear; (f) Forcing groups of male detainees to masturbate themselves while being photographed and videotaped; (g) Arranging naked male detainees in a pile and then jumping on them; (h) Positioning a naked detainee on a MRE Box, with a sandbag on his head, and attaching wires to his fingers, toes, and penis to simulate electric torture; (i) WritingI am a Rapest(sic) on the leg of a detainee alleged to have forcibly raped a 15-year old fellow detainee, and then photographing him naked; (j) Placing a dog chain or strap around a naked detainee’s neck and having a female Soldier pose for a picture; (k) A male MP guard having sex with a female detainee; (l) Using military working dogs (without muzzles) to intimidate and frighten detainees, and in at least one case biting and severely injuring a detainee; (m) Taking photographs of dead Iraqi detainees. … These findings are amply supported by written confessions provided by several of the suspects, written statements provided by detainees, and witness statements.
Several US Army Soldiers have committed egregious acts and grave breaches of international law at Abu Ghraib/BCCF and Camp Bucca, Iraq. Furthermore, key senior leaders in both the 800th MP Brigade and the 205th MI Brigade failed to comply with established regulations, policies, and command directives in preventing detainee abuses at Abu Ghraib (BCCF) and at Camp Bucca during the period August 2003 to February 2004.
Then-National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice, CBS Early Show, 19 March 2004:
There are no more rape rooms and torture chambers in Iraq.
George W. Bush, remarks on the first anniversary of the Iraq War, 19 March 2004:
All of us can now agree that the fall of the Iraqi dictator has removed a source of violence, aggression and instability in the Middle East. … Who would prefer that Saddam’s torture chambers still be open? Who would wish that more mass graves were still being filled? Who would begrudge the Iraqi people their long-awaited liberation?
George W. Bush, interview with Al-Arabiya Television, 5 May 2004:
It’s very important for people, your listeners, to understand in our country that when an issue is brought to our attention on this magnitude, we act–and we act in a way where leaders are willing to discuss it with the media. And we act in a way where, you know, our Congress asks pointed questions to the leadership. … Iraq was a unique situation because Saddam Hussein had constantly defied the world and had threatened his neighbors, had used weapons of mass destruction, had terrorist ties, had torture chambers …
Good morning. On this day two years ago, we launched Operation Iraqi Freedom to disarm a brutal regime, free its people, and defend the world from a grave danger.
Et cognoscetis veritatem
Let me ask you one question.
Is your money that good?
Will it buy you forgiveness?
Do you think that it could?
I think you will find
when your death takes its toll
all the money you made
will never buy back your soul
And I hope that you die
And your death’ll come soon
I’ll follow your casket
in the pale afternoon
I’ll watch while you’re lowered
down to your death-bed
And I’ll stand o’er your grave
‘Til I’m sure that you’re dead
George W. Bush, speech in Cincinatti, Ohio, 7 October 2002:
After eleven years during which we have tried containment, sanctions, inspections, even selected military action, the end result is that Saddam Hussein still has chemical and biological weapons and is increasing his capabilities to make more. And he is moving ever closer to developing a nuclear weapon.
We’ll find them. It’ll be a matter of time to do so
George W. Bush, interview with TVP Poland, 30 May 2003:
But for those who say we haven’t found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they’re wrong, we found them.
The hunt for biological, chemical and nuclear weapons in Iraq has come to an end nearly two years after President Bush ordered U.S. troops to disarm Saddam Hussein. The top CIA weapons hunter is home, and analysts are back at Langley.
Duelfer is back in Washington, finishing some addenda to his September report before it is reprinted.
There’s no particular news in them, just some odds and ends,the intelligence official said. The Government Printing Office will publish it in book form, the official said.
The CIA declined to authorize any official involved in the weapons > search to speak on the record for this story. The intelligence official offered an authoritative account of the status of the hunt on the condition of anonymity. The agency did confirm that Duelfer is wrapping up his work and will not be replaced in Baghdad.
… But the President is going to continue working closely with our friends and allies to confront the threats that we face —
How can he do it again —
— and we continue to take steps to improve our intelligence. That’s what the President is going to do. We have very good relationships with countries across the world because of the President’s efforts over the last few years. He’s worked to build strong relationships with our friends and allies, and worked to make sure that we’re confronting the threats that we face. It’s important that we act together to confront the threats that we face. And it’s important that when we say something, that we follow through on what we say. That’s why the President is also —
Even if the information is wrong?
— that’s why the President is also working to strengthen the United Nations and make it more effective. That’s something that we’re working on, as well, because it was very clear what the international community expected of Saddam Hussein, and he continued to defy the international community. It was a very unique threat that we faced in terms of Iraq. And in a post-September 11th world, it was a threat you could not ignore.
For the past few decades, libertarian and Leftist critics of U.S. foreign policy alike — from Noam Chomsky to Murray Rothbard — have put a lot of work into documenting and exploring the subtle mechanisms of control that the American government has developed to ensure that our supposedly free press is still reliably at the service of U.S. government policy. What their efforts have have revealed is an interlocking system of interests and manipulation, which manages to effectively carry out the aims of an extensive propaganda system without taking on the formal structure of one.
But it looks like here, as in so many other places, the Bush administration is committed to bolder leadership than its predecessors:
WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 – The Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress, said on Thursday that the Bush administration violated federal law by producing and distributing television news segments about the effects of drug use among young people.
The accountability office said the videos
constitute covert propagandabecause the government was not identified as the source of the materials, which were distributed by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. They were broadcast by nearly 300 television stations and reached 22 million households, the office said.
In May the office found that the Bush administration had violated the same law by producing television news segments that portrayed the new Medicare law as a boon to the elderly.
The accountability office was not critical of the content of the video segments from the White House drug office, but found that the format — a made-for-television “story package” — violated the prohibition on using taxpayer money for propaganda.
A spokesman for the drug policy office said the review’s conclusions made a
mountain out of a molehill.
Seeking to build support among black families for its education reform law, the Bush administration paid a prominent black pundit $240,000 to promote the law on his nationally syndicated television show and to urge other black journalists to do the same.
The campaign, part of an effort to promote No Child Left Behind (NCLB), required commentator Armstrong Williams
to regularly comment on NCLB during the course of his broadcasts,and to interview Education Secretary Rod Paige for TV and radio spots that aired during the show in 2004.
Williams said he does not recall disclosing the contract to audiences on the air but told colleagues about it when urging them to promote NCLB.
The contract may be illegal
because Congress has prohibited propaganda,or any sort of lobbying for programs funded by the government, said Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
And it’s propaganda.
And then Williams violated a PR rule: he got off-point.
This happens all the time,he told me.
There are others.Really? I said. Other conservative commentators accept money from the Bush administration? I asked Williams for names.
I’m not going to defend myself that way,he said. The issue right now, he explained, was his own mistake. Well, I said, what if I call you up in a few weeks, after this blows over, and then ask you? No, he said.
Armstrong Williams, the columnist paid $240,000 by the Bush Administration to surreptitiously promote Bush&’s
No Child Left Behind Lawremained listed on the White House website as a member of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships as late as Wednesday, RAW STORY has learned.
The discovery, first reported by D.C. Inside Scoop, suggests that the White House has declined to sever ties with the discredited pundit. Williams was terminated by the company syndicating his column, Tribune Media Services, last Friday.
The electoral group headed by Iyad Allawi, [U.S.-installed] interim Iraqi prime minister, yesterday handed cash to journalists to try to ensure coverage of its press conferences, in a throwback to Ba’athist-era patronage ahead of parliamentary elections on January 30.
After a meeting held by Mr Allawi’s campaign alliance in west Baghdad, reporters, most from the Arabic-language press, were invited upstairs where each was offered a
giftof a $100 bill in an envelope.
Many of the journalists accepted the cash, equal to about half the starting monthly salary for a reporter at an Iraqi news-paper, and one jokingly recalled how the former regime of Saddam Hussein had also lavished perks on favoured reporters.
Welcome to the mainstream news media for the new millennium, in which Noam Chomsky has become obsolete: they aren’t even trying to hide it anymore. Interlocking interests and subtle mechanisms of control aren’t even the point anymore; the Bush machine and its clients now pass out government-manufactured
news segments and lucrative tax-funded bribes for useful political commentators. The Bush League may not be making government smaller, but they are making radical critique simpler–may God help us all.