Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Kirchick's Unwitting Deception Defense

“Bush never lied to us about Iraq.”

That’s the claim passionately made by James Kirchick, an assistant editor of the New Republic, in an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times dated June 16, 2008. To forestall any uncertainty about his declamation, the subtitle reads, “The administration simply got bad intelligence. Critics are wrong to assert deception.”

Mr Kirchick, with studied, journalistic style, opens his piece with a reference to former Michigan governor, George Romney’s Johnny-come-lately renunciation of the illegal US war in Indo-China – the Vietnam War. (In 1967, after tossing his hat into the presidential ring, Romney claimed he had been duped into thinking the war right and just.)

Ironic that Mr Kirchick should choose to refer to the claim by a former Republican governor and presidential candidate that he had been deceived about US involvement in another very unpopular and very illegal war. One can only assume that Mr Kirchick contends that such a claim, even coming from a privileged member of the upper echelon of government, loses veracity if used to exonerate or excuse oneself from complicity. Then again, one must be wary of piling assertions upon assertions. A caveat to which, unfortunately, Mr Kirchick pays little heed as a Bush apologist.

“Four years on from the first Senate Intelligence Committee report, war critics, old and newfangled, still don't get that a lie is an act of deliberate, not unwitting, deception.”

Apart from inferring that ‘unwitting deception’ is a morally tenable notion, Mr Kirchick might be commended for manning the wall against all of the many thousands of poor, deluded members of the US population whom he assumes do not understand what a lie is. (We all must have been out of the room when they explained that.) His commendation for setting the rest of us straight will have to wait until Mr Kirchick learns the corollary to that simple definition: once one realizes or is informed that what one has stated is in error, the statement must be apologized for (at least in polite company), a correction made to rectify the statement in question and if necessary, retribution paid if inconveniences or unpleasantries were caused by the non-factual information. So far, we’ve heard nothing remotely of the sort from Bush and company. (Maybe they and Mr Kirchick missed that part of the class on honesty.)

Additionally, if, after one learns that a statement one has made is false, contains falsehoods, or is misleading and then continues to affirm the truthfulness of the known falsehood, this affirmation is, most assuredly, a deliberate act of deception. A lie. And that is not putting too fine a point on the matter even for a kindergartener. The adult citizens of the United States should expect nothing less from their elected and appointed representatives than they do from their own children.

In an attempt to make lying and deception a partisan issue, Mr Kirchick recommends the following:

If Democrats wish to contend they were "misled" into war, they should vent their spleen at the CIA.”

Here one must ask, “Does Mr Kirchick mean the CIA which brought zero credible evidence to the Bush war planners of the presence of WMDs, a nuclear program, or any but the most gossamer of connection between Saddam and Al Queda? Does he mean to lump the CIA in with the rest of the US Intelligence network that were told to ‘cherry-pick’ and ‘stove-pipe’ information and politicize reports so as to support, contrary to available substantive evidence, the decision, which the administration had made years before September 11th, 2001, to invade Iraq? The self-same CIA, whose experts on the Iraq and Middle-east desks told the Bush administration that the assertions about WMDs, a nuclear program and Baathist ties to Al Queda were fantasy? THAT CIA?”

One must strive for clarity, after all. One would not wish to see the Democrats ‘vent their spleen’ against the wrong party.

Mr Kirchick continues his lesson:

“This may sound like ancient history, but it matters. After Sept. 11, President Bush did not want to risk allowing Hussein, who had twice invaded neighboring nations, murdered more than 1 million Iraqis and stood in violation of 16 U.N. Security Council resolutions, to remain in possession of what he believed were stocks of chemical and biological warheads and a nuclear weapons program. By glossing over this history, the Democrats' lies-led-to-war narrative provides false comfort in a world of significant dangers.”

“Ancient history”? Either this is clearly the expression of raw, brass-balls condescension by Mr Kirchick towards his readers or Mr Kirchick’s long-term memory has undergone some unfortunate trauma, leading him to actually think that 5 years ago is a very, very long time. Perhaps he’s pitching this passage to a fifth grade civics class somewhere; perhaps one of the classes which also missed learning the definition of ‘lie’. One can only speculate, of course.

Kirchick then makes the bold claim that ‘it matters’ what happened five years ago, thus truly insulting and patronizing his readers further. That Mr Kirchick should feel it necessary to point out that the official actions of and by the Chief Executive of the United States and his administration ‘matter’ (waging war, for example) - even those enacted in the ‘ancient history’ of five years ago – reveals an astounding contempt for the readers of the New Republic and the public in general. Even the readers of the on-line version of the New Republic could not be so dense, so intellectually challenged that such a rudimentary truism would escape their understanding without Kirchick’s writing it on the wall in crayon. This evident presumption that his readers are vacuous fools is unworthy of anyone beyond middle-school claiming to be a journalist.

Then again, here it seems is the crux of the biscuit: this is not journalism. Mr Kirchick, as evidenced by this editorial, does not concern himself with understanding the facts or seeking the truth; what any journalist worth their salt most assuredly aspires to. He is content, instead, to recite the proscribed myth of ‘Dubya and the Evil-doers’, as fabricated by the Administration’s cadre of P.R. spin-sters, no doubt gaining, at least for Mr Kirchick, ‘comfort in a world of significant dangers’.

Ignorance is bliss, everybody. Go back to sleep while ‘the Decider’ decides on how best to ‘smoke ‘em out of their holes’ while using the smoke as cover to gut the Constitution.

If Mr Kirchick were concerned with historicity, as a responsible journalist should be, must be, he would cite some of the following incontrovertible facts:

“…President Bush did not want to risk allowing Hussein, who had twice invaded neighboring nations, murdered more than 1 million Iraqis …”

The US was Saddam’s chief supplier of arms and armament during Saddam’s eight-year war with Iran, leaving upwards of a million casualties. The slaughter on both sides did nothing to discourage the US from selling arms or providing support to Saddam during the administrations of Reagan and Bush the First. It is well-known that the US supplied the technology and the know-how to build arsenals of WMDs, during Saddam’s reign. This support, furthermore, included whatever nuclear capability Saddam had. As long as he was holding the Iranians in check and rebuking Soviet influence, Saddam was ‘our man’ deserving of favor and support as an ally and a client. Once he decided to use his US-supplied military might for conquest un-authorized by Washington (i.e. invading Kuwait) he fell from favor.

His vicious suppression of the Shi’ite and Kurdish rebellions by utilizing US supplied poison gas and other WMDs following the First Gulf War – rebellions which had been publically and privately encouraged by the US leadership – was met with little more than hand-wringing from Washington in the calamitous aftermath. There’s little reason to think that the cabal led by Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, having been key players in the Reagan/Bush years before during and after Gulf War One and having returned to power with Bush the Younger, had had a change of heart regarding the desperate plight of the Iraqi people in the intervening years.

“…to remain in possession of what he (Bush) believed were stocks of chemical and biological warheads and a nuclear weapons program…”

As mentioned before and substantiated in numerous reports, the intelligence network of the United States had no verifiable evidence that Saddam had any active weapons programs or viable caches of WMDs. UN weapons inspectors, Hans Blix and Scott Ritter both contend that Saddam had no substantial stock-piles of WMDs nor any active weapons programs nor the capacity or capability of reviving or initiating weapons programs. After an 8-year stalemate with Iran, a crushing defeat by US and coalition forces in Gulf War Mark 1 and more than 10 years of crippling sanctions and UN inspections, all that was left of Saddam’s US supplied WMDs and weapons programs was what was found after the invasion and after victory in Iraq was declared by our tin-pot Potentate-in-Chief - NOTHING! Nada. Zilch. Bupkis.

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz had an agenda set well before 2001to finish the job they felt Bush Senior had botched back in 1991 by not getting rid of the recalcitrant Hussein and replacing him with a different, more amenable strongman. The calamity of September 11 gave them the opening they needed. Ahmed Chalabi was to be the replacement despot for Saddam, apparently. Chalabi was also, quite neatly, a prime source of the disputable evidence of Saddam’s WMDs – evidence long since proven false and repudiated as rank, self-serving, wanton, malicious fiction upon which the Bush-ites built much of their case for the invasion of Iraq.

“…in violation of 16 U.N. Security Council resolutions…”

As for those long-standing violations of UN resolutions as a just, compelling reason for invasion, one need only look at records of the Security Council and the General Assembly to realize that Iraq was not the only member state on the list of violators. (The United States, itself, would be on that list were it not for its omnipotent veto power by which disagreeable resolutions are stricken from the record and thence sent disappearing down the memory hole.) Israel has held in contempt any and all resolutions that have escaped the US veto regarding Palestine for decades without suffering the threat of US invasion.

On the contrary, Israel is the foremost beneficiary of the US State Department and American tax-payer-funded largesse, amounting to billions of dollars worth of military hardware each year with which they have brutally oppressed the Palestinians and invaded and occupied their Arab neighbors. (To cite just one example; Israel has invaded Lebanon 5 times in 30 years, killing an estimated 20,000 people during the 1982 invasion.) Israel is also the only country in the Middle-east that actually has a functioning and readily deployable nuclear arsenal – one surreptitiously supplied by the US, by all accounts. None of these acts of aggression, nor the presence of WMDs have merited US sanction, reproach or more than the occasional finger-wag of disapproval from Washington.

Further examples of other nations in violation of UN resolutions are easily discovered by anyone interested in knowing the facts. One must conclude Mr Kirchick is not to be counted as one of those. Otherwise, one would assume he would have attempted to utilize some factual evidence to support his preposterous assertion that “Bush never lied to us about Iraq”. He did not. He chose to build a ‘straw man’ and accuse the Democrats of “glossing over this history”; history that he himself distorts in his own feeble gloss in an attempt to purposefully mislead any reader gullible or ignorant enough to swallow such obvious bilge. (That fifth-grade class comes to mind.)

Given Mr Kirchick’s pathetic, fatuous arguments in support of his ‘Dear Leader’ amid the growing avalanche of testimony from reputable sources regarding the Bush administrations’ felonious finagling, one can safely conclude therefore that Bush did, indeed, lie about Iraq. Repeatedly. One must, as a result, soberly consider the unpleasant likelihood that George W Bush continues to prevaricate, equivocate, obfuscate, dissemble, and mislead the American people.,0,4808346.story

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