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NYTimes.com Article: Standard Operating Procedure

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  • eunacom@ca-unlimited.com
    This article from NYTimes.com has been sent to you by eunacom@ca-unlimited.com. Can anybody anywhere trust the US government now? Once you ve been caught
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 3 5:23 AM
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      This article from NYTimes.com
      has been sent to you by eunacom@....

      Can anybody anywhere trust the US government now? Once you've been caught lying, you are not likely to be believed again.


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      Standard Operating Procedure

      June 3, 2003

      The mystery of Iraq's missing weapons of mass destruction
      has become a lot less mysterious. Recent reports in major
      British newspapers and three major American news magazines,
      based on leaks from angry intelligence officials, back up
      the sources who told my colleague Nicholas Kristof that the
      Bush administration "grossly manipulated intelligence"
      about W.M.D.'s.

      And anyone who talks about an "intelligence failure" is
      missing the point. The problem lay not with intelligence
      professionals, but with the Bush and Blair administrations.
      They wanted a war, so they demanded reports supporting
      their case, while dismissing contrary evidence.

      In Britain, the news media have not been shy about drawing
      the obvious implications, and the outrage has not been
      limited to war opponents. The Times of London was ardently
      pro-war; nonetheless, it ran an analysis under the headline
      "Lie Another Day." The paper drew parallels between the
      selling of the war and other misleading claims: "The
      government is seen as having `spun' the threat from
      Saddam's weapons just as it spins everything else."

      Yet few have made the same argument in this country, even
      though "spin" is far too mild a word for what the Bush
      administration does, all the time. Suggestions that the
      public was manipulated into supporting an Iraq war gain
      credibility from the fact that misrepresentation and
      deception are standard operating procedure for this
      administration, which - to an extent never before seen in
      U.S. history - systematically and brazenly distorts the

      Am I exaggerating? Even as George Bush stunned reporters by
      declaring that we have "found the weapons of mass
      destruction," the Republican National Committee declared
      that the latest tax cut benefits "everyone who pays taxes."
      That is simply a lie. You've heard about those eight
      million children denied any tax break by a last-minute
      switcheroo. In total, 50 million American households -
      including a majority of those with members over 65 - get
      nothing; another 20 million receive less than $100 each.
      And a great majority of those left behind do pay taxes.

      And the bald-faced misrepresentation of an elitist tax cut
      offering little or nothing to most Americans is only the
      latest in a long string of blatant misstatements.
      Misleading the public has been a consistent strategy for
      the Bush team on issues ranging from tax policy and Social
      Security reform to energy and the environment. So why
      should we give the administration the benefit of the doubt
      on foreign policy?

      It's long past time for this administration to be held
      accountable. Over the last two years we've become
      accustomed to the pattern. Each time the administration
      comes up with another whopper, partisan supporters - a
      group that includes a large segment of the news media -
      obediently insist that black is white and up is down.
      Meanwhile the "liberal" media report only that some people
      say that black is black and up is up. And some Democratic
      politicians offer the administration invaluable cover by
      making excuses and playing down the extent of the lies.

      If this same lack of accountability extends to matters of
      war and peace, we're in very deep trouble. The British seem
      to understand this: Max Hastings, the veteran war
      correspondent - who supported Britain's participation in
      the war - writes that "the prime minister committed British
      troops and sacrificed British lives on the basis of a
      deceit, and it stinks."

      It's no answer to say that Saddam was a murderous tyrant. I
      could point out that many of the neoconservatives who
      fomented this war were nonchalant, or worse, about mass
      murders by Central American death squads in the 1980's. But
      the important point is that this isn't about Saddam: it's
      about us. The public was told that Saddam posed an imminent
      threat. If that claim was fraudulent, the selling of the
      war is arguably the worst scandal in American political
      history - worse than Watergate, worse than Iran-contra.
      Indeed, the idea that we were deceived into war makes many
      commentators so uncomfortable that they refuse to admit the

      But here's the thought that should make those commentators
      really uncomfortable. Suppose that this administration did
      con us into war. And suppose that it is not held
      accountable for its deceptions, so Mr. Bush can fight what
      Mr. Hastings calls a "khaki election" next year. In that
      case, our political system has become utterly, and perhaps
      irrevocably, corrupted.��



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