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Insurgency is in its ‘last throes,’ Cheney lies

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Gulp!: Cheney plunges ahead with a new set of lies.

You’d have be Deep Throat to swallow what Dick Cheney is trying to force down us these days—I’m talking about his current lies concerning Iraq.

This morning’s excellent piece on A1 of the Washington Post lays it out, although the story by Jim VandeHei and Peter Baker is a lot more dynamic than the hack headline: “Bush’s Optimism on Iraq Debated.” They start out with this:

    President Bush‘s portrayal of a wilting insurgency in Iraq at a time of escalating violence and insecurity throughout the country is reviving the debate over the administration’s Iraq strategy and the accuracy of its upbeat claims.

    While Bush and Vice President Cheney offer optimistic assessments of the situation, a fresh wave of car bombings and other attacks killed 80 U.S. soldiers and more than 700 Iraqis last month alone and prompted Iraqi leaders to appeal to the administration for greater help. Privately, some administration officials have concluded the violence will not subside through this year.

Yeah, no shit. The current wave of suicide bombings is more intense than it’s been in Chechnya or Israel, as Carol J. Williams of the Los Angeles Times recently pointed out.

Today’s Post story noted that Cheney told CNN early last week that the insurgency is in its “last throes” and that the U.S. is making “major progress” in Iraq.

Well, I didn’t believe him back in 2002, either, so I’m not surprised that he’s still lying about the Iraq debacle. Too bad he got over on us by cooking the intelligence books.

And most of the press went along with it. The New York Times‘s Elisabeth Bumiller, who covered the pre-invasion Bush like a kindergartner’s cuddly little blanket, and her colleague James Dao fanned the dung-fueled war flames back on August 26, 2002, by writing:

    Vice President Dick Cheney today presented the administration’s most forceful and comprehensive rationale yet for attacking Iraq, warning that Saddam Hussein would “fairly soon” have nuclear weapons.

    Mr. Cheney said a nuclear-armed Mr. Hussein would “seek domination of the entire Middle East, take control of a great portion of the world’s energy supplies, directly threaten America’s friends throughout the region, and subject the United States or any other nation to nuclear blackmail.”

Bumiller and Dao went on to write:

    The vice president’s remarks, to a Nashville convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, came as White House advisers said they were increasingly concerned about the news accounts and the growing debate in Congress and among former high-ranking foreign policy officials over the administration’s plans for Iraq.

    Mr. Cheney’s speech … appeared intended to quell the confusion and present the administration as united behind the central idea that [Saddam] Hussein must be ousted, sooner rather than later.

    “What he wants is time, and more time to husband his resources to invest in his ongoing chemical and biological weapons program, and to gain possession of nuclear weapons,” Mr. Cheney said.

    The risks of inaction, he said, “are far greater than the risk of action.”

Colin Powell‘s speech of lies to the U.N. was months away—you remember, that was the one for which the Bush regime borrowed trucks from Hanna-Barbera to illustrate the danger we faced from Iraq.

But August 2002 was a crucial time. That was when Cheney and Bush were twisting the British government’s arms, as the Downing Street Memo and other documents reveal, and both regimes, having already decided to invade Iraq, were working really hard at coming up with enough bullshit to get over on us.

It didn’t work on everybody. On October 7, 2002, three Knight-Ridder reporters noted the strong dissent within the Bush administration about the justifications for war. In a Miami Herald story, Warren Strobel, Jonathan S. Landay, and John Walcott just about summed up the whole situation by writing:

    While President Bush marshals congressional and international support for invading Iraq, a growing number of military officers, intelligence professionals, and diplomats in his own government privately have deep misgivings about the administration’s double-time march toward war.

    These officials charge that administration hawks have exaggerated evidence of the threat that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein poses—including distorting his links to the Al Qaeda terrorist network—have overstated the extent of international support for attacking Iraq and have downplayed the potential repercussions of a new war in the Middle East.

    They charge that the administration squelches dissenting views and that intelligence analysts are under intense pressure to produce reports supporting the White House’s argument that Hussein poses such an immediate threat to the United States that preemptive military action is necessary.

    “Analysts at the working level in the intelligence community are feeling very strong pressure from the Pentagon to cook the intelligence books,” said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Still, that kind of reporting was drowned out by the mostly lame networks and cable talk shows. Too bad.

No matter what anyone says, the propaganda war from that crucial period is important today, if we’re to try to sort through the Bush regime’s current lying about Iraq.

The Post‘s VandeHei and Baker show how the Bush regime now finds itself—and 150,000 or so U.S. soldiers—trapped by those pre-war lies:

    The disconnect between Rose Garden optimism and Baghdad pessimism, according to government officials and independent analysts, stems not only from Bush’s focus on tentative signs of long-term progress but also from the shrinking range of policy options available to him if he is wrong. Having set out on a course of trying to stand up a new constitutional, elected government with the security firepower to defend itself, Bush finds himself locked into a strategy that, even if it proves successful, foreshadows many more deadly months to come first, analysts said.

Are we going to believe these post-invasion lies too? Reminds me of what we used to say in the Watergate era, that Nixon had to see Deep Throat twice before he finally got it down pat.

But Watergate was just a gag compared with the serious bloodletting in Iraq.

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