Sunday | July 13, 2003
A day of lies
By Steve Gilliard
Well, the administration hit the talk show circuit today and lied.
They blamed everyone else for everything and their lies sounded like lies.
Yet, all day, the media kept talking about what an opportunity this would be for the Dems.
Everytime I hear that, I shudder.
This isn't about partisan politics. This isn't about Bush hatred or making the GOP look bad. I believe most Republicans are as disturbed about the idea that Bush and his coterie is lying as Democrats. They aren't only lying, but the degrees of lies they made will only grow in stature and importance.
I'm listening to The New Republic's Lawrence Kaplan babbling something about the need for the "mission to succeed." It hurts my head when I hear such nonsense. That's Beltway talk for "well, they don't want to be losers do they?" It's vile, utter nonsense.
People want their kids to come home and in a distant second, help the Iraqis live a little better. But if the Iraqis have to go back to the stone age so their kids could come home, they'd translate Fraggle Rock into Arabic, show them how to do cave paintings and toss some big clubs out the back of the last C-17 to leave Baghdad International.
"Liberating" Iraq is only as important as the President said it was to most people. He said it was a matter of national security and they took him at his word. The President placed the credibility of his office on the idea that fighting Saddam was of supreme national interest. Yet, the people around him see this as a mere debating point.
It matters if the president lies. It matters if the Secretary of Defense, who once sounded as smug as a fraternity president on Hell Weekend, is now tripping over his words like a kid who took his dad's car drag racing while he was away.
Condi Rice's excuses are so palid, they wouldn't fool a boyfriend about seeing an old flame, much less a matter of critical national security. Even their voices are shaky. They hem and haw when asked direct questions. Which is unacceptable when dealing with national security.
It mattered when Clinton lied about his sex life. It diminished the man, if not the office. No matter how we would sympathize with that lie, and I do, it was wrong and it shouldn't have happened. But lies about the threat posed by another country are unforgivable, beyond mere explanation or understanding.
Let me put it in simple terms: if Bush lied about the reasons for war, it would be the gravest crisis in the nation's history. It would exceed Watergate because of the cost in terms of money and lives. It would be the worst failure of the Presidency since the founding of the republic. A gross abuse of the office and its powers.
If you cannot believe the President on going to war, what can he say that anyone can believe? Which is a lot more important than if the Dems score a few points on the campaign trail.
I would hope that the GOP would understand that their entire future rides on the credibility of Bush and his team. If they are seen to be dishonest, their jobs are on the line as well.
But then, this is George Bush's pattern. He looks good until he has to start making decisions and then it all comes crashing down. He's failed his entire life, a series of bad decisions coming home to roost, over and over. Make no mistake, this is not some political crisis he can solve with a few distractions. This is a matter of life and death for hundreds of thousands of families.
American now stands isolated, trapped in Iraq, our allies unwilling to help, except in the most nominal way. Now, the President's top aides are regarded as liars. Their dissembling shames both their office and the man they serve.
Bush used the benefit of the doubt which all Presidents get to get his war, now as the costs of it explode beyond anything he said, beyond anything he imagined, his aides are reduced to the most shameful kind of fingerpointing.
Why did Bush contenance these lies? Because he thought he'd bet right. Getting rid of Saddam would be little more than a sideshow. But it isn't. It has trapped the US Army in a nasty guerrilla war, one his father predicted would have occured in 1991 if we had tried to seize Baghdad.
We should expect many more days of lies to come as the foundation of this war collapses like rotting wood.Posted July 13, 2003 05:39 PM