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zimv20
Jul 27, 2003, 12:37 PM
link (http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/opinion/6378746.htm)


Posted on Fri, Jul. 25, 2003

A pattern of deception
By WALTER WILLIAMS

Did President Bush lie to the American people in his State of the Union Message when he said: ''The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa''? Technically, no, because ''the statement that he made was indeed accurate,'' said National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice on July 13. ``The British government did say that.''

Rice speaks the literal truth, just as her boss does, to distort what is meaningful. Outright lying is not the administration's modus operandi; willful deception is.

DUPING THE NATION

Bush's statement on Iraq shows his telltale MO. Moreover, duping the nation into war is only one case of the pattern of calculated deception that has gone on since the outset of his administration.

We need to go back to Feb. 27, 2001, when Bush introduced his first tax cut proposal in a televised speech to Congress and the nation, to see the early duplicity. As New York Times columnist Paul Krugman observed on March 28: ``I can't think of any precedent in the history of American economic policy (when an administration was) quite this shameless about misrepresenting the actual content of its own economic plan.''

I noted in a March 16 Seattle Times column that what stands out in the Bush speech is the use of the ''Big Lie.'' Such a statement is a technically accurate claim that distorts rather than reveals the truth. Looking into Bush's MO in his tax legislation illuminates the pattern of deception as used in Iraq.

In his February address, Bush said: ''People with the smallest incomes will get the highest percentage reductions.'' The literally true assertion hid that the tax cut provided little help for most people and that the big winners were the top 1 percent of the taxpayers.

Tax-savings calculations under the Bush proposal made at the time indicated that a young childless couple earning $20,000 would have its taxes reduced by 41 percent. A middle-aged couple with $1 million in earnings would receive a 15 percent reduction. Just as Bush said, the lower-income couple had its taxes cut by a much larger percentage than the wealthy couple.

But Bush's Big Lie covered up that the young couple would save $410 in taxes, or about $34 a month; the older couple would benefit by $47,114, or about $3,900 a month. The wealthier couple's tax savings would amount to over twice as much as the other couple's total annual income. Suggesting that lower-income families fared better than the wealthiest ones surely qualifies as world-class deception.

The Bush MO used to justify the Iraq invasion finally created a veritable firestorm of criticism directed at the president. Things became so bad that CIA Director George J. Tenet took full responsibility for not warning Bush about the shakiness of the British assertion: ``These 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the president.''

Tenet's statement accepting responsibility, however, also noted that in the fall of 2002, months before the president's 16 words on the British claim, the CIA ''expressed reservations'' about their validity both to the British and to members of Congress. And the top Bush operatives knew nothing about the uranium story being highly unreliable?

There is much controversy over how the alleged uranium purchase surfaced in the Bush speech. But to me, the strongest candidate is that the 16 words were too tempting to pass up. They fit the president's MO to a T -- unwarranted by the evidence and hence deceptive, yet offering the cover of technical correctness.

USING PROPAGANDA

A hard truth appears to have escaped the notice of the public and received scant attention from the media: Bush is the first president in American history to use deceptive propaganda as his main means of communications in selling his policies. His pattern of deception continues unabated and in direct conflict with the notion of the public's informed consent that is central to American democracy.

Walter Williams is professor emeritus at the University of Washington's Evans School of Public Affairs.

2003 The Baltimore Sun


is "willful deception" a lesser sin than lying?

mcrain
Jul 27, 2003, 01:14 PM
I've said since the Iraq war was first being talked about that Bush was using common, text-book propaganda techniques. I even did some research on propaganda (specifically what was done in Germany and the US during WWII), and the similarities were striking.

Backtothemac
Jul 27, 2003, 01:59 PM
Ok everyone, follow me on this ok. He said "The British". Now, Britain is still an Isle in the North Eastern Atlantic the last time that I checked. So, if it is there, that part of the sentence is true. "Intelligence has told us" Well, they did tell us something. The Brits are not running around saying they never said anything. "That Iraq recently tried to purchase yellow-cake in Nigeria". Well, lets see, the Brits did tell us that. We did not have any hard proof, but wait, he did not say the CIA said it, he said that British Intel did. Thus, EVERYTHING that was said in those 16 words were true.

The Democrats are reaching for straws, and really, need an issue to run on that the American people as a whole give a damn about.

zimv20
Jul 27, 2003, 02:10 PM
Originally posted by Backtothemac


yes, the statement is factually true, but as the writer above describes it, "willful deception."

i believe:
1. when the sentence was spoken, bush knew the evidence was dubious
2. the sentence was carefully worded to remain true but nonetheless deceive the public

fwiw, that one sentence is the thing that gave me pause about my opposition to the war. it gave me chills. nothing else in the SOTU did.

Backtothemac
Jul 27, 2003, 02:14 PM
Originally posted by zimv20
yes, the statement is factually true, but as the writer above describes it, "willful deception."

i believe:
1. when the sentence was spoken, bush knew the evidence was dubious
2. the sentence was carefully worded to remain true but nonetheless deceive the public

fwiw, that one sentence is the thing that gave me pause about my opposition to the war. it gave me chills. nothing else in the SOTU did.

30,000 liters of anthrax precurser did not give you chills? My point is that even Clinton is saying this is getting overblown. Clinton is supporting Bush, as is Madeline Albright. I really think that Bush did not know the CIA had objections to it, but I blame Condi for that. She shoudl have allowed the CIA to see the final draft of the speech, but did not. But, that evidence was not presented to the UN by Colin Powel, and was not the basis for the war. I do see your point though, and udnerstand why you feel the way you do, but don't you think with Clinton's recent comments that Bush should be given more time with the WMD's. And less flack for the SOTU addresses 16 famous words ;)

zimv20
Jul 27, 2003, 02:32 PM
argh! i wrote a long response and safari crashed when i tried to preview it. argh! i'll try again.

Originally posted by Backtothemac
30,000 liters of anthrax precurser did not give you chills?


no, it seemed like hyperbole. additionally, i'll suggest a difference between things that hussein was supposed to already have (and hadn't been used in the US) vs. things he was allegedly trying to acquire (i.e. a nuke).

also, nukes scare the hell out of me, more so than chem or bio (fear isn't necessarily rational). that's why i think N. Korea is a much bigger deal than iraq. even if the Niger thing was true (indeed, it seems iraq already had a bunch of yellow cake), NK has nukes _now_.

Clinton is supporting Bush, as is Madeline Albright.


i didn't know that about her. regarding clinton, it may also be a political ploy (not sure to what end). i'm not certain we've yet seen how his comments will actually play out.

I blame Condi for that.


something went wrong somewhere. if bush didn't know, was her willingness to let it slide intentional or accidental? either way, something has broken down. i wonder how many other things have broken down.

And less flack for the SOTU addresses 16 famous words ;)

should i give him the benefit of the doubt? i'd consider it, but as is outlined in the first post, there's a pattern of deception. i remain skeptical.

Backtothemac
Jul 27, 2003, 02:42 PM
Originally posted by zimv20
argh! i wrote a long response and safari crashed when i tried to preview it. argh! i'll try again.



no, it seemed like hyperbole. additionally, i'll suggest a difference between things that hussein was supposed to already have (and hadn't been used in the US) vs. things he was allegedly trying to acquire (i.e. a nuke).

also, nukes scare the hell out of me, more so than chem or bio (fear isn't necessarily rational). that's why i think N. Korea is a much bigger deal than iraq. even if the Niger thing was true (indeed, it seems iraq already had a bunch of yellow cake), NK has nukes _now_.



i didn't know that about her. regarding clinton, it may also be a political ploy (not sure to what end). i'm not certain we've yet seen how his comments will actually play out.



something went wrong somewhere. if bush didn't know, was her willingness to let it slide intentional or accidental? either way, something has broken down. i wonder how many other things have broken down.



should i give him the benefit of the doubt? i'd consider it, but as is outlined in the first post, there's a pattern of deception. i remain skeptical.

Well, having been in the military, and trained in NBC situations, Chem and Bio scare me much worse. Nukes, you don't even know what happened. Chem and Bio and miserable. Well, you know if the nuke went off if you are 20 miles down wind of a 100 megaton detonation. :)

I agree, I have been skeptical of how they are doing things, but not of the reasons for war. I was 100% behind the war, but now things have to change. The UN needs to get in there quickly.

zimv20
Jul 27, 2003, 08:06 PM
Originally posted by Backtothemac
Well, having been in the military, and trained in NBC situations, Chem and Bio scare me much worse.

i tell myself that in such attacks, maybe i'll be indoors w/ the windows closed, maybe my immune system will be sufficient and/or i won't get exposed to too much of the virus, blah blah blah. and maybe i'm just kidding myself (and ignornace is bliss).

none of those things would help w/stand a nuclear blast. and god forbid i get a good dose of fallout but survive an initial blast. i'd rather be at ground zero (used in the correct sense, not the incorrect 9/11 sense).

Backtothemac
Jul 27, 2003, 08:18 PM
Originally posted by zimv20
i tell myself that in such attacks, maybe i'll be indoors w/ the windows closed, maybe my immune system will be sufficient and/or i won't get exposed to too much of the virus, blah blah blah. and maybe i'm just kidding myself (and ignornace is bliss).

none of those things would help w/stand a nuclear blast. and god forbid i get a good dose of fallout but survive an initial blast. i'd rather be at ground zero (used in the correct sense, not the incorrect 9/11 sense).

Actually, radiation poisioning is very survivable. There are tricks to surviving a nuclear blast. If the initial blast doesn't get you, you can survive the fallout.

MIMIC
Jul 27, 2003, 08:27 PM
Originally posted by Backtothemac
Ok everyone, follow me on this ok. He said "The British". Now, Britain is still an Isle in the North Eastern Atlantic the last time that I checked. So, if it is there, that part of the sentence is true. "Intelligence has told us" Well, they did tell us something. The Brits are not running around saying they never said anything. "That Iraq recently tried to purchase yellow-cake in Nigeria". Well, lets see, the Brits did tell us that. We did not have any hard proof, but wait, he did not say the CIA said it, he said that British Intel did. Thus, EVERYTHING that was said in those 16 words were true.

The Democrats are reaching for straws, and really, need an issue to run on that the American people as a whole give a damn about.

So, in other words, since Bush attributed the information to the British, it made the statement alright?

Well, since the statement is technically correct, why was Ari Fleischer forced to come out, revealing that those 16 words should not have been included in the speech? If there's apparently nothing wrong with the sentence, why apologize for its presence in the State of the Union address?

It's a good thing the CIA didn't relay memos to the White House, warning them of the story's dubiousness. It's a good thing Stephen Hadley never received a phone call from George Tenet specifically mentioning the unreliability of the claim. It's a good thing former ambassador Joseph Wilson never went to Niger, concluding that the information was erroneous.

macfan
Jul 28, 2003, 02:19 AM
And it's a good thing that this Niger business had nothing to do with the decision to remove Saddam from power.

MIMIC
Jul 28, 2003, 08:59 AM
Originally posted by macfan
And it's a good thing that this Niger business had nothing to do with the decision to remove Saddam from power.

So, why was it included in the State of the Union address? For word count?

sturm375
Jul 28, 2003, 09:55 AM
<Sarcasm>I thought the Department of Homeland Security was supposed to clear up all this inter-agency/office communication?</Sarcasm>

You ask: Why was it included? Easy: Scare Tactics.

Both the Dems and Repubs use Scare Tactics to get the masses to do stuff for them. Traditionally Dems scare us about domestice stuff: Medicare, SS, Environment and so on. Repubs like to scare us about our neighbors: So and so country is aquiring nukes, trade with China is bad, restrict immigration to provent a "bad influence" into America. Just try to look at everything like this in politics, and see what they are trying to do.

Scare Tactics are easy, truely inspiring is hard. It takes a gifted person to inspire this nation. We did see some of this come out of Bush Jr. just after 9/11. I believe he spoke from the heart, and it worked. However it's just too easy these days to revert to the easy scare tactics commonly practiced in politics. I personally believe that Bush Jr.'s goals are good, his method of execution (no pun intended) are not.

I was raised to believe, and still do, that the ends do not justify the means. By distorting the facts (notice I said Facts, not the subjective truth), whether unknowlingly (this is bad), or knowlingly (this is really bad), Bush made the people of America believe something we know now to be false. This is one of many things that this adminstration has done, and continues today, that grates against my core beliefs. This is why I will never vote for Bush Jr. I have, and will continue to actively campaign against this kind of adminstration.

toontra
Jul 28, 2003, 10:25 AM
Originally posted by sturm375
You ask: Why was it included? Easy: Scare Tactics.


In the UK we were treated to tanks surrounding Heathrow airport and lots of info about the likelihood of dirty bomb attacks during the weeks leading up to war.
This generated a air of mild panic, and people started stockpiling food, duct tape, etc.
Since the war this has all evaporated. Is the threat to UK security from terrorism so much less now than it was then? I can't see why.
Likely reason: Scare Tactics

zimv20
Jul 28, 2003, 10:32 AM
Originally posted by toontra

Since the war this has all evaporated. Is the threat to UK security from terrorism so much less now than it was then? I can't see why.
Likely reason: Scare Tactics

same w/ the so-called "terror alert." it was bouncing like a basketball in the run up to the war, and since it's been all but silent.