The Secret of Their Success

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The New York Times has discovered the secret, and they printed it on the front page!

On Monday, 29 March 2004, the Times reports “American soldiers shut down a popular Baghdad newspaper on Sunday and tightened chains across the doors after the occupation authorities accused it of printing lies that incited violence.”

Printing lies that incited violence? Glory be! Say it ain’t so!

Well, at least we can trust that when our own “Fab Five” — Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Perle — make over the fashion disaster of Iraq that this kind of thing won’t happen anymore. And if I may for a moment play “Congressional psychic” and read the mind of one Representative Henry Waxman, allow me to channel this:

“Yeah, right.”

You may peruse at your leisure the exhaustive “Iraq on the Record: The Bush Administration’s Public Statements on Iraq.” It was requested by Representative Waxman, and contains the hard facts about current presidential deceit, including the

237 misleading statements about the threat posed by Iraq that were made by President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary Rumsfeld, Secretary Powell, and National Security Advisor Rice. These statements were made in 125 separate appearances, consisting of 40 speeches, 26 press conferences and briefings, 53 interviews, 4 written statements, and 2 congressional testimonies. Most of the statements in the database were misleading because they expressed certainty where none existed or failed to acknowledge the doubts of intelligence officials. Ten of the statements were simply false.

This user-friendly document shows how the propaganda campaign worked, and sheds some interesting light on another issue: why Condi Rice may be a bit uncomfortable with that oath about the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

On page 6, the Congressional database of official Iraq war propaganda reveals, “Although Ms. Rice had the fewest public appearances and the fewest misleading statements, she had the highest number of statements — 8 — that were false.”

The report also provides a useful visual aid, showing when the Bush-Cheney fabrications were spiking, and when their lies were more modestly put forth.

As you can see, there are certain times when White House lying on Iraq peaked, and certain times when they didn’t lie noticeably on Iraq or the reasons for war, invasion, occupation, nation-building and all that jazz.

Well, you can bet that the Jerry Bremer, the stylish head of the Coalition Provisional Authority and with power over all he surveys in Iraq, has a similar chart covering the lies of the Al Hawza newspaper, an 8-page broad sheet “known for printing wild rumors, especially anti-American ones.” Some diligent reporter ought to ask for it, and put some of that $87 billion to work.

The Al Hawza paper is considered “a mouthpiece for Moktada al-Sadr, a fiery young Shiite cleric and one of the most outspoken critics of the Americans.”

Sounds like Moktada al Sadr might be right at home with some senior administration officials, who were apparently setting the mendacity standard on Iraq back in 2002 and 2003.

An Al Hawza news editor, Saadoon Mohsen Thamad, responded to the suggestion that he might be back in business in 60 days, with, “We have been evicted from our offices, and we have no jobs…How are we going to continue?”

This is certainly a valid observation for Thamad. It is also an excellent question for the lying, rumor-mongering, and dishonest Bush Administration to consider before they themselves are staring dumfounded at padlocks over the front gates.

Karen Kwiatkowski [send her mail] is a 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, and writes a bi-weekly column on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for

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