|Our Mad Mad World: Can We As a Society Respect the Truth?|
10 comments2 Apr 2006 @ 23:18 by vaxen : Dichotomes...
in the final analyses will be transcended and indeed one might look to the center rather than left or right, two miserable dichotomies if ever there was one, and observe who moves them both.
You might be interested in "The Treaty OF Peace" made between the supposed 'New Country" and just how much of it was kept by good old King George.
Getting rid of the Federal Reserve Fraud would do wonders for this, and other, countries. Understanding what the Washington Corporation (UNITED STATES, a for profit CORPORATION) has done to this country, as well as so many others, would stand you in good stead towards disassociating yourself from the lie. FInding out just WHO you are in relation to it will also bouy your confidence in those Un-a-lien-able right so often touted by those not in the know.
4 Apr 2006 @ 20:14 by jerryvest : Thanks Paul for your
article related to the half truths of the Right. It is so very frustrating to know what to do and how to respond to their messages and their corruption.
22 Jun 2006 @ 00:09 by Hanae @22.214.171.124 : Related Article:
An article titled, "The Political Smear: Why Does the Right Use It Better Than the Left?" on blogcritic. com
The author of the article, Adam Ash, observes that "as a strategy in political life, the 'Big Smear' is not new" — he tells, as an example, a story "that fearing a loss against an opponent for an office in Texas, the youthful LBJ, a Democrat, asked his campaign manager to put it about that his opponent fucked pigs."
"How can we say that?" asked his outraged campaign manager; 'you know he doesn't fuck pigs'."
"Of course," drawled LBJ. "But I'd sure as hell like to hear him deny it."
The author's contention however is that somehow the Republican party is just better at it, and more likely to resort to it than the Democrats — one reason being, accordingly to the author, that the political right, in general, find it easier ideologically to justify resorting to it than the left, because "they really, really believe the left is very bad for the country. They have a more fervent belief in their own righteousness than the left has in theirs. Unlike the left, the right harbors no doubts. Having the left get in power is so bad, they believe it's OK to use The Big Smear to prevent such a dire thing," and because of course they believe that "the end justifies the means."
Anyway, you can find the article here: http://blogcritics.org/archives/2005/08/31/102952.php - the blog has undoubtedly a clear partisan slant to it, and so does the article, but the question raised by the author, as the one raised by Quinty above ("Can we as a Society respect the truth?"), is a good question: is there indeed an ideological difference between the so-called right and the so-called left that would make one side more psychologically inclined to resort to political smear as an instrument of power because they feel it "philosophically" easier to justify to themselves or to their base on the ground that they "know better" and that the end justify the means?
History does provide infamous example of totalitarian communist regimes whose notorious resort to propaganda (on a large scale) doesn’t seem to support the author’s Left/Right theory.
Still, in the light of our present cultural and socio-political context, however, the question does retain some merit (or the question, at least, deserves to be studied.) One commentator, in particular suggest that:
"WITH ITS ANTI-GOVERNMENT CRITIQUE THE RIGHT EMBODIES AN IMPLICIT DISTRUST OF CIVIL SOCIETY."
Which is, I think, a valid (and disturbing) point, from which the commentator develops the following argument:
"The Left is, at least currently, more reluctant to engage in smear campaigns because they believe in the integrity of the political process. Maybe this is naive but I think they have more of a belief in the idea that there are certain rules that the game is played by. The Right is more skeptical of this assumption and more willing to reject or violate these rules."
This seems to me somewhat naive, in so far as the arena of partisan politics is concerned, a point the commentator concedes himself willingly. More interestingly the author of the comment continues with the following argument:
"I DON’T THINK IT’S FAIR TO SAY THAT THE RIGHT SMEARS BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO MORALS. I THINK THEY SMEAR BECAUSE IT FITS THEIR MORAL."
Which he proceeds to explain as follow:
"The Left believes in ‘an essential equality of man’. Everyone should follow certain rules. The Right rejects this view. They represent a breed of individual exceptionalism. In one sense this might be a good thing in that it makes people feel special. But for some, especially or elites like Bush, Rumsfeld, and Cheney, this exceptionalism means that the rules do not apply to them, or at least not the same rules as for everyone else. They live in a world of entitlement and privilege. (For example, I don't think that Bush feels that his draft dodging in Vietnam was draft dodging. As the son of a powerful man it was merely his due to get a plum and safe assignment, and it was his due that he didn't have to show up for that assignment.) So for men like Rove, who buy into the conservative exceptionalism, smearing is okay. They are an elite, whether this elite is based on piety, wealth, family, or intellectual accomplishment. For them the ordinary rules of political fair play do not apply. They should be in control because they are elites and this belief gives them a wider latitude in which to conduct campaigns."
Beyond the Left/Right rhetoric into which it is cast, I believe the above argument has some value in terms of what people in power---people who sometimes have come to think of themselves as "elite" and have, as a result, come to dissociate themselves from "ordinary people," whom they perceive as "less successful" or "less deserving," or even as "inferior" – are willing to do, and what they believe they should get away with in the pursuit of power. It is in fact very much part of humanity’s mammalian heritage, isn’t it? The alpha wolf, the "pack mentality," the pecking order, and so on. The homo-sapiens has developed overtime a bigger neocortex than the other species, but all those traits are still there, deep down, hardwired in the more primitive parts of our mammalian brain.
Fortunately there is also a strong case being made for hard-wired altruism in evolutionary biology!
22 Jun 2006 @ 23:24 by Quinty @126.96.36.199 : This reminds me
of John Mitchell: who when faced with the Senate Watergate Committee and asked why he did it, responded by saying when he considered the alternative (George McGovern) it was worth *anything* to keep Richard Nixon in. And that from the AG of the United States, our highest sworn public official to uphold the law.
But it goes beyond that, doesn't it? The right has been honing its rhetoric for decades in order to find a justification for greed. At times it's open, isn’t it, such as coming forth with that Reagan era gem: "Greed is good." And it's corollary of "class warfare" to characterize taxing the rich. And we see it today, don't we? The Inheritance Tax is about to be scuttled by our Congress in order to protect all those poor millionaires. "Poor darlings," as a woman I once knew would say.
But the left can be pretty ruthless too: just ask anyone ever involved with the Communist Party. Or its derivatives. Now there is "ruthless."
Your anonymous writer above, I think, has his eye on something. His remarks remind me of a wonderful quote from John Kenneth Galbraith.
"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
I hate that term "elite" to describe the rich and powerful. It is a materialistic characterization which has nothing to do with any form of human superiority. The "elite," as any one of us who has ever known them, here in referred to, often enough aren't "elite" at all. But even left commentators often employ that term, such as Noam Chomsky, whose perspective is bleek indeed. Not even a weed grows out there on that desolate plane he sees. Though factually he is often true enough. The "elite" are ruthless about maintaining power: this has nothing, in fact, to do with genuine spiritual values. Which I think we all know here. Bush, and his clan, are surely the most vulgar exemplars of the "elite" we have seen in a long time. Power without competence, or possessing only guile: the ability to deceive the American people. But they have money, alright, and a great deal of power. That's the "elite?"
23 Nov 2007 @ 19:28 by quinty : Is Conservatism the ideology of freedom?
I've been following this writer, who occasionally writes a piece for Common Dreams, for some time now. And as a rule David Michael Green lands pretty close to the dead center of the situation he's writing about. A place buttressed by truth.
Having occasionally been around authoritarians - who tend to be guys in expensive suits in corporations - I long ago learned that if the world ever began to look like a Republican National Convention (Ann Coulter's ideal) we would all begin goose stepping. For the guys in suits believe in freedom, all right. Their own freedom. The right to boss others around. That is the cultural background of modern conservatism. It was around before the nineteenth century of course (human nature asserting itself) but truly showed its American head in the war against labor. And as Green describes it has always asserted itself in the struggles for minority (majority in the case of women) rights. And has been enormously successful. My only quibble with what Green says is that this conservative notion of freedom has become so imbedded in the American self-image that it goes beyond Republicans and Conservatives. And when it comes to starting wars Democrats and liberals ("the best and brightest") can often be equally guilty.
We live by many myths in this country. Here's David Michael Green lambasting a few.
Published on Friday, November 23, 2007 by CommonDreams.org
If Conservatism Is The Ideology of Freedom, I’m The Queen of England
by David Michael Green
I wish I had a nickel for every time a conservative told a lie in order to sell an ideology that would otherwise be hopelessly unappealing.
But, then, what the hell would I do with ten kazillion, trillion, dollars? I wouldn’t know how to spend that much loot.
These lies are legend, and they’re endlessly retold. Everything from the one about the liberal bias in the media, or the one about Ronald Reagan ending the Cold War, to the one about how the private sector is so much more efficient than the government. And how about Saddam’s arsenal of WMD, eh? Or the tax cuts that weren’t going to drive the federal government into deficit? Or remember when George Bush told us that the war in Iraq was over, before it had even really started? Or the bit about how global warming is just a great big conspiracy among those noted well-known cabalists, er … climatology scientists?
I’m only just getting started here, but you get the point. If you’re a conservative you basically have two choices - lie or lose. ‘Cause if you tell the truth, no one in his or her right mind would buy the garbage you’re peddling.
The list of lies is endless, but my personal favorite is the one about how conservatism is the ideology of freedom, and specifically freedom from an overweening, intrusive, liberty-stealing, nanny-state government.
Sometimes when I hear that howler, I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not off in some virtual reality world (like ‘Liberty’ University, or the Republican national convention) somewhere. Because, clearly, between me and the well-programmed fool mouthing these hopeless inanities, one of us is, that’s for sure.
But I’ll tell you what, if conservatism is the ideology of freedom - then I’m the Queen of England. And, one thing you can be sure of is that I’m not the Queen of England. I don’t even have the right parts and pieces, and the only crown I’ve ever worn was given to me forty years ago by some pimply-faced teenager working the cash register at Burger King. Somehow, I don’t think that counts.
Meanwhile, here’s what I’d like to know:
If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who fought against the American Revolution?
If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are always trying to take that freedom away from us, especially women and minorities? Why did they fight against the effort to end slavery, or to give women and minorities the vote, or to protect them from discrimination? Why are they still supporting efforts to disenfranchise minorities?
If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who bitterly opposed the New Deal at a time when Americans were ravaged by the Great Depression and the only freedom they were desperately seeking was from unemployment, starvation, humiliation and death? We should give thanks for their efforts ever since then, though, as they’ve been kind enough to keep trying to liberate seniors from the hell of receiving their Social Security benefits, bravely volunteering Wall Street to carry that burden instead.
If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are always propping up foreign dictators, like Saddam, Musharraf, Mubarak, Marcos, Pinochet, the Shah, Batista, the House of Saud and apartheid South Africa? Why did they, in some of these cases, secretly topple democratically elected governments to install repressive regimes, which they then assisted in the torturing of their own citizens? Exactly which definition of ‘freedom’ does that fall under?
If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are always trying to control other people’s sexuality? Why are conservatives always telling us whom we can sleep with and what we can do in bed, even including whether we can use birth control?
If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are always trying to make sure that the state takes control of women’s bodies, denying them reproductive choice and freedom?
If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are always trying to tell us who we can marry? How come they believe that the state - which they always seem to hate, except when it is at war - should be able to make that most personal decision for us?
If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are always blocking the environmental regulations which are the only hope to keep our bodies free from carcinogens and other harmful effects?
If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who refuse to allow us to use medical marijuana when we are suffering the effects of chemotherapy, and even perhaps at risk of dying from the wasting it causes?
Indeed, if conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are limiting the freedom of individuals to use drugs of any sort? If people want to use these substances and can do so without harming others, why do conservatives insist on restricting that freedom?
If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who refuse to allow us to die with dignity when we have a terminal disease, instead thrusting the state into the most personal and private decision a human being can make?
If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who passed an act of Congress intervening in the personal family tragedy of Terri Schiavo, with the president of the United States - the same one who couldn’t be bothered to come off vacation to deal with the 9/11 threat or the Katrina disaster - flying across the country to sign it?
If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are denying many of us the freedom to live by forbidding the stem-cell research that would likely produce cures to all manner of diseases now killing of millions of us every year?
If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are loading up our children with mountains of debt that the federal government has borrowed under the stewardship of such notorious liberals as Ronald Reagan (who quadrupled the national debt) and George W. Bush (who borrowed more money from foreign governments than all 42 of his predecessors, combined)? Right now, every eighteen year-old just starting a payroll job owes $60,000, and rising, plus interest, as their share of the nine trillion dollars conservatives have been especially instrumental in running up as national debt. What kind of freedom, exactly, does that represent? Assuming (quite ‘conservatively’) that that number rises to $100,000 before it is paid off, and that our young friend earns ten bucks an hour, it is the freedom to work five solid years, bringing home zero dollars after taxes, to do nothing whatsoever but paying off his share of the conservative binge.
If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who have taken the very lives of four thousand of our soldiers for a war based completely on lies? This same war has left tens of thousands of Americans gravely wounded, likely more than a million Iraqi civilians dead, and well over four million more Iraqis as refugees from the violence. What kind of freedom is this? The freedom from having to be alive and well? The freedom to serve three and four rotations of extended tours in the hell of Iraq, keeping our military personnel safe from their nagging mothers-in-law at home?
If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are so anxious to take away our civil liberties, the most important of American freedoms, as enshrined in one of the greatest statements of freedom ever, the Bill of Rights? What happened to habeas corpus - a freedom dating back almost a thousand years - or the right to an attorney, or to have a trial, or to be protected from search and seizure without a judicially-issued warrant based on probable cause, or protection from torture? What happened to all those freedoms? What happened is that conservatives came to town and erased them.
If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are always trying to have the government jam their religion down our throats, in direct opposition to the intentions of the Founders? The United States Constitution makes precisely the same number of references to the Christian god as it does to the Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Zoroastrian. That would be none. What kind of freedom is it for everyone’s tax dollars to support one group’s religion, or for our government to impose a single religion on all of us?
If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are always telling me I should leave the country if I don’t approve the latest war for lies they’ve cooked up? How exactly does ’shut-up or leave’ qualify as freedom of speech?
If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are constantly attempting to turn the executive branch of the federal government into a monarchy? By using signing statements, endless claims of executive privilege, lack of congressional oversight when they controlled Congress, thwarted oversight when they didn’t, and unprecedented levels of secrecy, they have shredded the fundamental doctrine of separated powers checking and balancing against each other. Since those ideas - the most basic concept of the Constitution - are intended to keep us safe from governments that would steal our liberties, just how is it that conservatism is the ideology of freedom?
Any one of these inconvenient truths, let alone the sum of all of them, demonstrate the absurdity of this claim. Not only is it ridiculous to call a conservatism that at every turn seeks to limit you - in what you can say, what you can ingest, who you can sleep with, marry, and even when you can end your own life - the ideology of freedom, but the only real conclusion that one can honestly come to on the basis of this historical record is of course just the opposite: Conservatism is, and has almost always been, the ideology of oppression - the very opposite of freedom.
When Americans wanted liberty from the British crown, conservative Tories not only in Britain but here as well fought to block that freedom. When ‘radicals’ sought to emancipate the slaves, conservatives fought to keep them in chains. When progressives later sought equality for women and blacks, it was conservatives who stood in the doorways blocking entrance. And, today, as we seek justice and fairness for all people regardless of their sexual orientation, it is - wait for it, now - the conservative movement which not only resists that effort at every turn, but in fact shamefully turns their homophobia into a tool used to win elections, just as they have been doing with racism for forty years now.
Indeed, you have to be more or less deaf, dumb and blind - or perhaps simply watching Fox every night for your ‘news’ (which produces the same result) - to buy into this rhetoric from the theater of the absurd. Let me reiterate: If you think these monsters who are depriving you of your liberties at every opportunity represent freedom, then you need to bow, scrape and walk backwards in my presence, as a sign of respect for the British crown. I’ll take a bunch of your money, too. Palaces aren’t cheap to maintain, buddy.
Yeah, sure, it’s true that conservatives will be right there for you if you want the freedom to buy guns and ammo, including ‘cop-killer’ bullets, assault rifles (to nail those most obstinate of pheasants, of course), or a fifty caliber rifle capable of bringing down a jumbo jet, and advertised as such in its sales literature. Of course, along with the freedom to buy these weapons (and how come, if the Second Amendment protects the bearing of “arms”, not ‘guns’, I can’t also legally buy cannons, napalm and tactical nuclear warheads - just in case the neighborhood gets a little rowdy?), also comes the lovely ‘freedom’ to join the 35,000 or so Americans every year who become very stiff corpses as a result of the massive proliferation of weapons in which America uniquely specializes. Perhaps you’d rather live in Europe, eh, enjoying being alive? Well, for the rest of you non-sissies out there, conservatives have made sure that you have the freedom to take your bullet along with you when you’re buried. What cheese-eating Frenchman ever had that freedom?
Conservatives are also busy making sure that there is plenty of freedom for corporations to pollute the land, water and air we depend on for survival. Regulation is bad, you see. Very bad. It’s much better to have freedom - including your freedom to get sick, or to live in a world careering toward global disaster - than it would be to impede on the freedom of the super-rich to make themselves super-duper-rich.
No need to worry too much about the health implications of global warming, arsenic or radioactive waste, though. Chances are you won’t live long enough to get killed this way, or to be shot by somebody whose freedom to own a gun has been well protected by nice right-wing people. That’s because conservatives are also on the front-lines in the lonely battle fighting to make sure that you have the opportunity to join the more than 47 million Americans free from having healthcare coverage, or the many tens of millions more whose policies are insufficient to keep them alive. Don’t you feel good knowing you’re free from the evils of ’socialized’ medicine? Isn’t profit-driven corporate non-care so much better? Forget about “Give me liberty or give me death”. Now you can have both!
One thing you can’t argue about, however, is that it is conservatives who will keep your taxes down. Right? Well, yeah, if you mean this year. And if you mean nickels and dimes. But then, by applying the same logic, making your house payment on a credit card would be defined as keeping your monthly expenses down. (Of course, since you’re about to lose your house anyhow, as a result of conservative economics, that may be a moot point.) But there’s just these two little problems. One is that the nice people who loan you money invariably want to be paid back. And, two, they want interest on the loans as well. I don’t know who middle-class Americans dreamed would be paying for their meager tax cuts, which - along with massively increased government spending by those paragons of fiscal responsibility, you guessed it, conservatives - were funded by charging it all on the federal plastic, but you can bet America’s creditors know all our addresses. They’ll find us when the bill comes due.
Of course, this is only the beginning. What the tax cuts were really about was shifting the burden of funding government from the wealthy to the middle class, and from today’s generation to tomorrow’s. So, not only will middle class Americans, or their kids, have to pay back everything borrowed these last six years to fund their piddly little tax cuts, plus interest accrued, but they will also be paying for the massive tax cuts that were given to the massively wealthy.
Which, of course, is really what the whole elaborate kabuki dance of conservative ‘freedom’ was ever all about, from the beginning. As one of the greatest political marketing ploys of all time, it used pathetic middle class tax cuts plus supremely ironic restrictions on social and personal liberties to sell a bunch of frightened naifs on the notion that conservatism is the ideology of freedom, all so that the ubër-class could realize their dream kleptocracy in place of a government actually devoted to public service. And, remarkably, it worked - at least for a time.
Don’t you feel better now that you’re free after decades of Reagan, Gingrich, Bush, Cheney, DeLay and Scalia? You’re free to shut up with your unpopular ideas. You’re free from having to make difficult decisions when you’re pregnant. You’re free to be arrested for smoking a joint to keep from vomiting while you’re doing chemotherapy. You’re free from having to worry about which sex you’re going to sleep with or marry. You’re free from protection against guns or from long life in a healthy environment. And when you do get shot or sick, you’re free from adequate medical care. Moreover, should you find yourself stuck with a painful and terminal illness, you’re also free from either stem-cell remedies or your own choice to end your suffering and die with dignity.
You’re also free to fall through the tattered safety net of government programs during a recession or a depression, and you’ll likely be free from making those pesky house payments very much further into the future either. You’re free from wondering whether the rest of the world hates you and your country because it’s been undermining democracies, propping up dictators, and invading oil-rich countries on the basis of completely fabricated war rationales. You’re free from having to pay your taxes today. But you’ll also be free from buying those things you wanted tomorrow, as you’ll instead be paying today’s taxes, interest on those taxes, tomorrow’s taxes, plus the share that the wealthy used to pay.
So whattaya think? Ain’t conservative freedom great?
Next time you hear a conservative ranting about the wonder and joys of freedom, tell them: “Yeah, no kidding, freedom is a really good thing. You’d like it even better if you actually tried it out some time”.
David Michael Green is a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New York. He is delighted to receive readers’ reactions to his articles (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org), but regrets that time constraints do not always allow him to respond. More of his work can be found at his website, www.regressiveantidote.net.
29 Nov 2007 @ 18:41 by quinty : Bill Clinton
has been saying some weird things lately. When the boys up on the stage accused Hillary of customarily shaping her comments to please her audience Bill accused them of “swift boating” Hillary. Now Bill is claiming that he always wisely opposed the Iraq war.
Well, perhaps. This war was a Neocon sort of thing and when PNAC approached Bill during his presidency to explain the wisdom of attacking Iraq he more or less told them to take a walk. And it is reasonable to assume that he always saw the folly of such a reckless and unnecessary move. (Unless, of course, you believe in empire.)
But the point is that during the build up to the war there was no Bill Clinton speaking out against it. He may have privately thought it was all a bad idea - as I said, this war was a Neocon fixation - but during this important time he kept his trap shut. And if my memory is correct Bill had no desire to buck the popular and growing groundswell for war. This was a time when nearly the entire Congress, mass media, and pundocracy waved their pompoms , in unison, for war.
When a hundred thousand of us (yes, there were millions of Americans who saw through the sham) marched against the upcoming war where was Bill? Where was his voice? The one important political leader I remember who spoke out forcibly against the approaching war was Senator Robert Byrd speaking out on the floor of an empty Senate. (Al Gore came a little later, if memory properly serves. And as for Kucinich, Barbara Lee and a few others in the House, well, don’t ya’ know, they’re all part of the “looney left.”)
Assuming a mantle of moral high-mindedness seems a little late and inappropriate today. Bill’s “third way” failed us though, like Hillary, he appears to like to mold the facts to fit the image he would like to project. And if one is going to go to the trouble to shape one’s image should it be bad?
Now here is Karl Rove painting himself in the dayglow he would like history to see him in. And if the rightwing pundocracy picks up on this new “truth” no one should be surprised. For they have long specialized in molding reality into whatever shape they like: for profit, guns, and God.
Published on Thursday, November 29, 2007 by The Huffington Post
Karl Rove’s Shameless, Remorseless, Soulless Attempt to Rewrite History
by Arianna Huffington
I went on Countdown last night to talk about what Keith Olbermann called Karl Rove’s “attack on history.” Too political? For Karl Rove? That’s like saying something was too bloody for Count Dracula.
He went on to paint a picture of a White House pushed into war, and laid the blame for much of what has happened since on a Congress that had “made things move too fast.” If not for Congress, you see, there would have been more time for weapons inspections, and to build a broader coalition.
It was a satiric tour de force worthy of Jonathan Swift or Stephen Colbert — but Rove wasn’t joking. He actually expected us to buy his load of b.s. Watching Rove, two things were perfectly clear: his disdain for the truth and his contempt for the American people know no bounds.
Rove’s appearance was the work of a shameless, remorseless, soulless political animal taking the first steps on what will no doubt be a high profile and lucrative march toward historical revisionism. He knows that he stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the fanatics responsible for the worst foreign policy disaster in American history — not exactly the best thing to put on your post-government resume — so he is hell-bent on replacing reality with the latest incarnation of The Big Lie.
A student of history, Rove is obviously also up on his Orwell: “Who controls the past, controls the future.”
Unfortunately for Rove, this isn’t 1984; we now live in the Age of Google, and YouTube, and Lexis-Nexis searches. So the refutation of his lies is just a click away.
The evidence that it was President Bush and Vice President Cheney — and not Congress — who were hungry for war is overwhelming. For starters, we have Bush’s own words before the vote, when he explicitly told Congress that “it’s in our national interest” to get the vote “done as quickly as possible.” And the insistence of then-Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld that “delaying a vote in Congress would send the wrong message.” And the words of then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle who says that when he asked Bush in September 2002 why there was such a rush for a vote on Iraq the president “looked at Cheney and he looked at me, and there was a half-smile on his face. And he said: ‘We just have to do this now.’”
And there is the insider evidence provided by Richard Clarke, who wrote that within hours of the 9/11 attacks, this administration had its heart set on heading into Iraq. And from Paul O’Neill, who made it clear that invading Iraq had been Bush’s goal before he had even learned where the Oval Office supply closet was.
Even now, with his approval ratings scraping the bottom of the historical barrel, Bush still dominates the Congressional agenda on the war. And Rove wants us to buy that back in the heady days of 2002, when the president was still riding a wave of support forged by 9/11, his desire for caution and reasoned action were overridden by a war hungry Congress? “We don’t determine when the Congress votes on things,” Rove told Rose. “The Congress does.” I guess he and Bush landed on the whole “I’m the Decider” thing later (maybe after they orchestrated that triumphal landing on the Abraham Lincoln).
The truth is that the zealots in the White House were not about to allow their desires to invade Iraq — which had been laid out years earlier by the Project for a New American Century — be quashed by anything as piddling as the facts or the evidence or reasoned debate or Congress. Especially a Congress populated with Democratic leaders so rattled and timid that to call them spineless would be an insult to invertebrates everywhere.
Indeed, it was the perfect political environment for an administration intent on shoving a war down the throats of Congress and the American people.
Let’s remember, this was the time when the administration had pulled together the White House Study Group (which included Rove himself) with the express mission of marketing the war. These people weren’t in the mood to wait, they were in the mood to sell, sell, sell. The Downing Street Memo showed that by July of 2002 they were already fixing the intel to sell the war. By August 2002 the White House was already using Judy Miller and the New York Times as prime advertising space. And by September 2002, Condi Rice was already warning of smoking guns turning out to be mushroom clouds, and Cheney was using aluminum tubes to make the case that Saddam was “actively and aggressively seeking to acquire nuclear weapons.”
So the record is irrefutable: the drumbeat of war coming from the White House couldn’t have been louder. And no amount of 5-years-down the road spinning by Karl Rove is going to change that truth.
Arianna Huffington is the editor of The Huffington Post and the author of many books, including her most recent, On ‘Becoming Fearless….in Love, Work and Life‘.
27 Jun 2009 @ 23:03 by quinty : Deleted
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