Lies, misperceptions and fabrications make great history, great plays and great country songs. Both the Bible and Shakespeare feature the ramifications of this type of evil. And who can’t sing along with Reba McEntire every word of Bobby Russell’s "The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia?"
From the first whispers of the Serpent in the Garden to our belligerent born-again President proclaiming glory behind a cheap banner on an expensive ship, we have been transfixed by evil and misrepresentation. While all government practices to deceive, the Bush administration’s use of falsehood and faulty perception has been particularly masterful. Bush and his team have a grifter’s confidence. This grift is a confidence game, a swindle on the American people, unctuously seduced to fund a Rousseau-esque fantasy that we can force men to be free. In fact, we are funding the destruction of real national possibilities for Iraq, the future disruption of much of the rest of the Middle East, and a new era of global conflict and competition that will be played out with tactical nuclear weapons and the accompanying financial and moral deficits, the effects of which we cannot begin to imagine. "Neo-conmen" is what one reader calls them. It fits.
Retired USAF Colonel and former National War College Professor Sam Gardiner has analyzed this phenomenon of con as it relates to Bush’s current adventures in democracy through occupation. Beyond the obvious fabrications that you and I might have seized upon, Colonel Gardiner painstakingly identifies 50 discrete and mostly successful efforts of this administration to mislead the American people, the Congress, and the world.
Fourteen administration lies are listed below. They represent less than a third of the well-circulated and promoted storylines "manufactured or at least engineered that distorted the picture of Gulf II for the American and British people," such as:
- The link between terrorism, Iraq and 9/11.
- Iraqi agents meeting with 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta.
- Iraq’s possession of chemical and biological weapons.
- Iraq’s purchase of nuclear materials from Niger.
- Saddam Hussein’s development of nuclear weapons.
- Aluminum tubes for nuclear weapons.
- The existence of Iraqi drones, WMD cluster bombs and Scud missiles.
- Iraq’s threat to target the US with cyber warfare attacks.
- The rescue of Private Jessica Lynch.
- The surrender of a 5,000-man Iraqi brigade.
- Iraq executing Coalition POWs.
- Iraqi soldiers dressing in US and UK uniforms to commit atrocities.
- The exact location of WMD facilities.
- WMDs moved to Syria.
The Bushist Regime in Washington fascinates with glittery whirling costumes and fantastic masks of government and foreign policy. It is a veritable Mardi Gras of politics and intrigue, except the cheering throngs are big political donors and world government types, and the trinkets thrown are trillions of dollars worth of access, promises of favors and sole-source contracts.
A preoccupation with the lies, however, can blind us to the truths of this administration. The truths are these.
- The mission IS accomplished. Neoconservative objectives require a major repositioning of U.S. military forces into Iraq, and we have done that. Four permanent bases are being built to American standards. These bases will be operational whether Iraq is stable and democratic, or just another Somalia replete with warlord rule, religious fundamentalist furor and abject poverty. The positive evolution of Iraq is irrelevant. The neo-conmen already toasted their success at a special Black Coffee meeting on Iraq, held Friday morning, March 21, 2003. The real party was reportedly hosted the following Saturday night at Richard Perle’s house. Case closed.
- Forget A Bright Shining Lie, the lessons of Vietnam HAVE been learned. Every point between Iraqi battlefields and American military hospitals and graveyards is under complete State media control. The President doesn’t do funerals. The media doesn’t cover flag-draped caskets and grief-stricken families. This time around, the State response to rational criticism — whether blacklisting Hollywood actors, making traitors of members of Congress, or smearing people in the street who dare raise their voices with rational questions — is instantaneous and massive.
- For the Bush administration and its backers, neo-conservatism is COST-FREE AND PROFITABLE. The rest of America, the great unwashed, will kill for it, die for it, be maimed for it, and pay for it. Without end. And when this country can afford no more blood and treasure and offspring, the neo-conservative policy-makers will, conveniently and without a single hesitation, cash out and default on the whole failed project.
It’s not pretty. The night the lights went out in Georgia, the innocent died, the guilty lived, and most importantly, the State ate well. Reba sang it with pathos. The Bush administration sings it with triumphalism and ever increasing hostility.
We won’t see real political improvement in Iraq until we bring every soldier home — all of them, now. And we won’t have improvement or honor in America until we send Bush, Cheney, their loyalists and their co-dependent congressmen back from whence they came, with due haste and without ceremony.
[Note to Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld: From what I am hearing, this last is looking increasingly inevitable. Make sure "update résumé" is on your "To Do" list.]
Karen Kwiatkowski [send her mail] is a recently retired USAF lieutenant colonel, who spent her final four and a half years in uniform working at the Pentagon. She now lives with her freedom-loving family in the Shenandoah Valley.