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It is not an enjoyable experience watching the Republican Party descend into the depths of propaganda and falsehood. Today’s disaffected Republicans once believed the GOP to be the party of principle. Any remaining claim to principle ended with Bush’s invasion of Iraq.

No informed person believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction or terrorist connections to al-Qaida and involvement in the September 11 attacks.

It is not possible that the President and Vice President of the United States, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Director of the CIA and the National Security Adviser could have believed such rubbish. Yet, each one of them told the American people, the US Congress, the United Nations, and our allies that they did believe it.

Did US intelligence agencies actually convey totally false information to the highest government officials? If so, these agencies are the greatest threat to innocent people abroad and to the US government’s credibility. Such incompetence is more dangerous than terrorism. The agencies should be immediately abolished.

Contrary to Bush administration propaganda, Saddam Hussein was precisely the type of secular Arab ruler who would feature large on Osama bin Laden’s hit list. Hussein brutally suppressed Islamic leaders, knocking off cleric after cleric, including Moqtada al-Sadr’s father, a grand ayatollah.

If Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction to give terrorists, the terrorists would have used them on Israel. The US is a derivative target because of our alliance with Israel against the Palestinians.

Bush and Rumsfeld claim that they believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Yet, it is certain that the Joint Chiefs and commanding generals did not believe the falsehood. No general, no matter how incompetent, would have concentrated his invasion army in a small area adjacent to an enemy armed with WMD, when one weapon could wipe out the entire US invasion force.

No one has been held accountable for the unjustified invasion of Iraq that has destroyed America’s standing in the world and has cost tens of thousands of Iraqi lives and thousands of American dead and wounded.

Don’t expect a demand for accountability from the public. A poll released August 20 by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland found that 54% of Americans continue to believe Iraq had WMD; 35% believe that Iraq was closely linked to al-Qaida, and 15% believe Iraq was involved in the September 11 attack.

What does the persistence of such extraordinary falsehoods say about the US media? How can a free people with First Amendment rights be so totally misinformed? The answer is that an independent media no longer exists in the US.

Formerly independent media are now submerged into corporate chains where focus on advertising revenues means zero tolerance for controversy. In the run-up to the US invasion of Iraq, the US media served as a propaganda arm for the Bush administration. The New York Times and Washington Post have since published mild apologies for neglecting their responsibilities, but the US media has been muzzled by the "you-are-with-us-or-against-us" mantra.

Anyone who tells the truth is in the "against-us" camp.

Having gotten away with one invasion based on deception, the Bush administration is eager to repeat the offense. Last week Undersecretary of State John Bolton used a Hudson Institute forum to repeat before a live C-SPAN TV audience the same lies — only this time it is Iran which has WMD:

"Today I’d like to speak about Iran, which has concealed a large-scale, covert nuclear weapons program for over 18 years, and which, therefore, is one of our most fundamental proliferation challenges. All of Iran’s WMD efforts — chemical weapons, biological weapons, nuclear weapons, and ballistic missiles — pose grave threats to international security."

The grave threat to international security is posed by the Bush administration’s relentless war propaganda. Does Bolton really believe that a nuclear weapons program, with all its extraordinary requirements, could be concealed for 18 years?

There is total failure of US diplomacy. Is the failure intentional? Does the Bush administration desire more war in the Middle East?

Every indicator reads yes. The US has struck an aggressive stance toward Iraq, Syria and Iran — the three Middle Eastern countries that are not ruled by American puppets on the American payroll. Now that the Soviet Union is no longer a check on US intrusions in the Middle East, the Bush administration intends to complete the colonization under the cloak of bringing "democracy" to Islam.

This is the neoconservative agenda. The same neocons who control the Bush administration have put forward this plan in written and spoken form for all to read and hear. They have informed us of their war intentions, and we are paying no attention.

If you favor the return of the draft and war without end, vote Republican.

Dr. Roberts [send him mail] is John M. Olin Fellow at the Institute for Political Economy and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. He is a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal and a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury. He is the co-author of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.

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