Saturday, March 25, 2006

Lies

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy." ~ Ernest Benn

Recently, there have been several comments made here and on other sites accusing Bush of being a liar. I asked for proof that Bush lied and I was obliged by a couple of commenters with links to sites that seem to suggest Bush did indeed lie.

I was also told by ER to get a life. More specifically, what he said was, "Mark. Get. A. Life." (funny)

If I didn't have a life, I would have time to look further into these sites I was linked to, in order to verify the veracity of the accusations found therein. But since I work for a living, (and not on the computer, either) I will simply make some brief observations based on personal experience and a bit of seemingly ignored (by the MSM) news out of Iraq that appears to disprove at least one allegation that Bush lied.

Now, understand that I start with the premise that, personally, I don't believe Bush lied about anything. I respect him. I believe he is a man of integrity.

Some of the "evidence" that has been presented to me has to do with economic statistics. Here is an observation about statistics from my personal experience:

When I was just starting in my new position as assistant manager of a marketing office in Kansas City, one of the most important things I learned from my mentor, (one of the very best managers in the company, which is a nationwide corporation) is that one can use statistics to support any theory. I became pretty adept at manipulating the statistical findings in personnel reports, business projections, etc, anything that made me look good and my rivals look bad. Without having to change them. I even used an obscure, usually non-essential statistic regarding a thing called "lead ratio" as an excuse to fire a hard working, but non-producing employee, who, incidentally, later became my wife.

I can be ruthless, if need be.

The point is: Statistics can be used to prove any allegation, no matter how ridiculous it seems on the surface. So, without delving much deeper into those statistics than I have time to do, I will simply dismiss them, until they can be proven more definitely.

Now. As to the allegation that Bush lied about his belief that Iraq and al-Qaida were linked, as has been asserted by his detractors:

From ABC news:

A newly released prewar Iraqi document indicates that an official representative of Saddam Hussein's government met with Osama bin Laden in Sudan on February 19, 1995, after receiving approval from Saddam Hussein. Bin Laden asked that Iraq broadcast the lectures of Suleiman al Ouda, a radical Saudi preacher, and suggested "carrying out joint operations against foreign forces" in Saudi Arabia. According to the document, Saddam's presidency was informed of the details of the meeting on March 4, 1995, and Saddam agreed to dedicate a program for them on the radio. The document states that further "development of the relationship and cooperation between the two parties to be left according to what's open [in the future] based on dialogue and agreement on other ways of cooperation." The Sudanese were informed about the agreement to dedicate the program on the radio.
The report then states that "Saudi opposition figure" bin Laden had to leave Sudan in July 1996 after it was accused of harboring terrorists. It says information indicated he was in Afghanistan. "The relationship with him is still through the Sudanese. We're currently working on activating this relationship through a new channel in light of his current location," it states.

It also indicates the discussions were substantive, in particular that bin Laden was proposing an operational relationship, and that the Iraqis were, at a minimum, interested in exploring a potential relationship and prepared to show good faith by broadcasting the speeches of al Ouda, the radical cleric who was also a bin Laden mentor.


This, from one of the news organizations that wants to undermine the Bush administration as badly as any Liberal.

I don't know about you, but that would seem to indicate that Bush didn't lie about that. I understand there is additional evidence within other just released documents that Saddam had WMD's, as Bush stated.

Listen. I don't want war any more than you do. I want the troops to come back home just as much as you do. But I also understand that sometimes war is the only option left after negotiations have failed. And after Saddam thumbed his nose at numerous calls for full disclosure, I believe war was the only option left to us. If I thought there was any other way to make the world safer, I would add my voice to those who protest. I did it during Viet Nam.

I am unapologetic then, and unapologetic now.

26 comments:

Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Good post and well said!!

ELAshley said...

"I am unapologetic then, and unapologetic now."

As you should be... You are right. And it's not your fault that certain others refuse to exercise common-sense in examining the evidence.

Goat said...

It seems much of the recent intel being released as well as evidence from Genenral Saad and others vindicates the Bush administration pretty well. We have millions of documents yet to go through, having but barely scratched the surface.

Mary said...

The Saddam Files aren't getting nearly the attention they deserve.

(Gee, I wonder why.)

You're absolutely right about statistics, Mark. Stats can "prove" anything if you work at it.

Regarding the liar stuff, it's important to distinguish between being wrong and intentionally setting out to deceive.

There's a world of difference there.

I've been saying this for years -- If Bush lied about WMD, then so did Clinton, Kerry, Albright, countless world leaders, etc.

Faulty intelligence is not equivalent to lying.

AND, as the Saddam Files show, it appears that the "lies" carry a good deal of truth.

carrier said...

None of us will ever know for certain whether any politician lied with regard to the weapons capabilities of SH.

I do know this. We are at war and it is high time we start fighting it to win. The only way we are going to exit Iraq to our satisfaction is to deploy another couple hundred thousand troops into the region. Scour out the bad guy's once and for all.

Let's get this thing taken care of and get the hell out of Dodge. Where in my opinion we should have never ventured in the first place.

Erudite Redneck said...

Mark, I told you to Get. A. Life. out of frustration because you attacked me, lied about me, took something I wrote out of context and left my handle out of it to give yourself free reign to do so -- but telling others, and yourself, that keeping my handle out of it was "protecting" me somehow.

That is a wad of prevarication and BS worthy of the Bush administration. You should send in your resume.

Re, "Now, understand that I start with the premise that, personally, I don't believe Bush lied about anything. I respect him. I believe he is a man of integrity."

That is nothing resembling a "premise." That is an emotional prism through which you interpret every single piece of data and evidence that comes your way. It's willful ignorance.

Re, "Some of the 'evidence' that has been presented to me has to do with economic statistics. Here is an observation about statistics from my personal experience ..."

Statistics are limited, absolutely. But you're mixing up fundamental concepts of thought when you say "an observation about statistics from my personal experience."

No, what you present is an observation from your personal expeirience. Use them both, statistics and experience, to come to your own position. But you're clubbing one with the other; both are useful.

Re, "I became pretty adept at manipulating the statistical findings in personnel reports, business projections, etc, anything that made me look good and my rivals look bad."

Have you repented of such? That's a pretty sorry thing to do. It's not just "ruthless." It's mean and well, evil, really. Is that why you assume that everyone misuses statistics? Because you did? (Or do?)

I know you misuse words to mischaracterize what others believe (people who are for choice do not "advocate killing babies," a distortion you have repeated again and again) -- and that's lying no matter how you parse it, worthy of Bubba. Do you, yourself, still use numbers to do so, too?

Mark said...

Goat, I have to admit I question the credibility of General Saad. Sometimes we want to believe so badly we abandon common sense.

That may be why I am loathe to believe that Bush lied, but it may also be the reason so many people are so willing to believe General Saad. I just don't find him very credible, myself.

Come on ER, lighten up! I only mentioned you this post because you objected to not mentioning you in the last one. Geeeez. I can't win for losing!

Dan Trabue said...

You said:

"I believe war was the only option left to us."

And I wonder exactly what you think Saddam would have done even if he had WMD, which does not appear to be the case except for the ones WE sold him under Reagan/Bush which were no longer around.

What would Saddam have done? Bombed the US? Israel? What do you fear?

Mark said...

"What would Saddam have done? Bombed the US? Israel? What do you fear?"

What is scarier, Dan? Knowing what he would do, or not knowing?

I think if he thoight he could get away with it, he would have attacked America, which is why having a strong defense minded president in office instead of an appeaser like Carter or Clinton or Kerry is so important. It may be Bush's willingness to retaliate that kept him from attacking us.

Mark said...

Carrier, I think this is the first time you and I ever agreed. Ending this thing should be first prioroty, but ending it right. Not cut and run.

Erudite Redneck said...

OK. I'm mainly miffed because you took one thing out of a whole long post and went off on it, making it look like all I did was bash the president. I did not. I swiped at Clinton and current Dems, as well!

It was a general lamentation about lots of things, written while I was down about a lot of things. Let the people decide. Here is the entire post from which Mark excised only my slap at Bush:

Is an attack imminent?
By The Erudite Redneck

"Isaac Hayes Controversy Continues," the AOL headline says. "Is Scientologist returning to South Park?"

Here we go again. With ALL that's going on, and going wrong, in the world and with this country, we've let our attention span get away from us again, and I think it started with the Dubai ports deal.

So many people were so caught by surprise by the story, and so caught up in the story -- and some are so embarrassed that they were caught by surprise and caught up in the story -- that lots of people just tuned the hell out again.

Myself, I'm still agin' any foreign gubmint controlling the ins and outs and tos and fros of our ports. Period.

It's all part of my unabashed protectionist stance on trade and the economy in general -- and my main bitch about Bubba: Part of his triangulation was to be "conservative" on "free" trade. SHAFTA and all that.

There is "us," and there is "them" -- and NEITHER should bow to Mammon above all.

My own attention span has snapped, too, though.

It's no fun picking on the alleged president. Like makin' fun of a Special Olympics kid. Wait -- that's an insult to Special Olympics. ... It's like making fun of your basic eighth-grade boy tryin' to keep up with a graduate seminar.

No fun picking on the Republican Party. I tend to turn away when I see anyone shittin' their britches.

No fun cheering on the Democrats -- they lost what was left of their soul when they left Sen. Feingold hanging out last week with his proposal to censure the alleged president.

Hope, yet, springs eternal. The righty-rights seem to think that the Dems have no chance this November without a "viable alternative" to the ransacking the Repubs and their alleged president have been up to these long years.

Nah. If my sewer were backed up here in the house, I'd hire someone, perhaps in desperation, on their mere claim to be able to come in and clean the place up -- THEN I'd listen to whatever ideas they might have for fixing the problem itself.

Stopping the shit when it's rising fast is the most important thing.

... A ramble, yes. ... Newswise, today makes me think of 9/10 for some reason. And that makes me wary that another attack is imminent. You know, to "pull us all together" again and all.

As if. The right-wing leadership of this country pissed away one chance at internal unity and global empathy. No reason to think they wouldn't do it again.

--ER

BTW, holy crap, we all agree. End the war now -- BY WINNING IT.

MORE TROOPS, not fewer.

RETIRE Rumsfled and put a real leader in charge.

Jim said...

Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein does not make him a co-conspirator in the 9/11 attacks.

Saddam is a mad man, but he isn't an idiot. He would know that any use of his WMDs by his regime or others would be tracked back to him and he would have been blown off the face of the earth. The CIA, which believed that Saddam had WMDs, also believed that the chances of him using them or giving them to someone else to use against the United States was extremely remote.

There is only one reason to attempt to connect Saddam to al Qaeda. To try to justify a plan to attack Iraq that had been hatched in the 90s.

Erudite Redneck said...

Suddenly, it's a real black-armband kind of day, Mark.

Buck Owens has gone to the Big "Hee Haw" sound stage in the Sky.

RIP, Buck!

Goat said...

To those that think Bush lied, please provide evidence that he knew that Saddam did not have WMDs prior to our invasion. That is the only way you can prove that Bush lied. Prove that President Bush had credible evidence and knowledge that Saddam did not have WMDs. I know we are finding tons and tons of weapons and explosives cached around the country, there is no telling what be will find buried in the sandbox or in that mountain of documents. There is stuff coming out now about the ruskies helping move incriminating stuff out of Iraq while they stalled the security council. You could not write a better thriller novel.Much history is being made and it is fascinating to watch it unfold.

Jim said...

This is not "proof" because you can't prove what' inside a person's head, but allow me to quote that well-known radical leftist Chris Matthews from the Imus show:

"Well I am just going to stick to this point that the president led us in there with the background music of American culture. Everybody was led to believe that we were getting payback, we were avenging what happened on 9/11 and that we are going to get them. Vice President Cheney said we are going to attack terrorism at its base. Over and over the language was, this is where it came from, in fact most recently the President suggested that it was always the hot pursuit, like a new York police chase, we chased them back into their country. We pursued the terrorists back to Iraq and it's all nonsense. The reason there are terrorists in Iraq today like Zarqawi is we created the opening by blowing the country apart.

"From the beginning it's been not true. Now you can't prove motive and you can't prove somebody lies, but from the beginning everything about how they've got WMD's, they are a threat to us, they are going to bomb us with a nuclear weapon, this country is going to be an easy liberate, it's going to be a cake walk. As Cheney said as recently as ten months ago the insurgents are in their last throws. Everything that is said is not true. And right to the end here, here we are now and it's not a civil war and when Allawi the prime Minster is saying it is a civil war and here is the president quoting his own people that it's not a civil war. I mean the denial has been continuous. So you really can't count on the administration to tell you what is going on. That is just the fact. You've got to check it out.

"By the way, the president said this week that he wants the whole truth about what is going on in Iraq, the whole truth and that the media isn't telling the whole story. I'll tell you what we are not telling. We are not showing pictures of the twenty five hundred bodies coming back because they won't let us show the pictures [emphasis added]. They don't want the whole truth out and that's the fact."

Jim said...

President Bush said this week words to the effect that he had been "very careful" not to say that Saddam had anything to do with 9/11.

This is VERY true. He and Cheney and the Bush administration never specifically SAID Saddam was connected to 9/11. But the fact is that they said everything BUT those exact words. They implied it every time they mentioned Iraq. The number of times a member of the administration included the words Saddam and 9/11 in the same sentence is uncountable.

At one time 70% of the people in this country believed that Saddam had a direct connection to 9/11. Why do you think they thought that? Why do you think 80% of the US troops in Iraq think they are avenging 9/11? The so-called liberal media didn't tell them that.

There are two lies here. The obvious implication that Saddam was directly connected to 9/11 AND the denial that the administration ever claimed they said or suggested it.

You want a lie? This is the lie.

Francis Lynn said...

Years ago I saw a book in a bookstore called "How To Lie With Statistics". Wish I bought it , now. It might still be out there.

Dan Trabue said...

On May 29, 2003, during a visit to Poland, President Bush declared that the U.S. had “found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories. . . . They’re illegal. They’re against the United Nations resolutions, and we’ve so far discovered two.”

Goat asked:
"To those that think Bush lied, please provide evidence that he knew that Saddam did not have WMDs prior to our invasion."

On June 1, 2003, Bush proclaimed that “we found a biological laboratory in Iraq which the UN prohibited.”

A review by US and UK experts has found this claim to be false. The mobile trailers at issue were facilities to fill weather balloons.

[Scheer – AlterNet (06/27/03), Corn – The Nation (09/15/03)]

In his address to the nation Bush said the intelligence “leaves no doubt that...Iraq... continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.”

On March 30, 2003, Secretary Rumsfeld proclaimed that the administration “knows where [Iraq’s WMDs] are. They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.”

Leaves no doubt? Know where they are?

Perhaps you're correct, Goat. Perhaps Team Bush believed everything they were stating as decided fact and were self-deluded and didn't actually lie.

In which case, I'd like to see the Bush administration held accountable for being criminally negligent in what they've stated and deceiving themselves and the public at large.

Either way is okay with me. Investigate them for lies or investigate them for criminal negligence, if you prefer. But investigate them we must.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Jim, quoting Chris Matthew's interpretation of events does not make them true; just his perception. If he was misled, that's his problem. I've never once felt misled into believing that this would be "a cakewalk". His little rant that you quoted is laughable. This is typical: President Bush says one thing, and the media misrepresents what it is that he says. They have a serious listening comprehension problem.

At one time 70% of the people in this country believed that Saddam had a direct connection to 9/11. Why do you think they thought that?

I must belong in the other 30% then. I've seen time and time again where this was the conclusion that the media was pushing; and people read from the media. I listened to the SotU speeches and press conferences, and I did not come away with the kind of connection/link between 9/11, al Qaeda, and Iraq that those now opposed to this war seemed to have drawn. The only link I saw, is Iraq being part of the GWOT. And I'm 100% on board with that.

Dan, I'm not a big fan of "Gotcha" moments. Whether it's mispeaks from your side or my side of the aisle. It's just lame.

What you have quoted President Bush on were not intentional lies. We thought that's what we found, and we were wrong; and the President was given bad advice in jumping the gun, and saying we found wmd evidence. He shouldn't have said it. But that does not mean he said it, knowing that it was a lie. You'd think he'd plant evidence, if that were the case, knowing full well that lies would eventually be found out.

And the quote from Rumsfeld is just bad intell.

Jim said...

Word,

There is no way you can get away with some notion that "time and time again where this was the conclusion that the media was pushing".

No way, never, hasn't happened. The media has from the very beginning questioned the administration's implications that Saddam had a direct connection to 9/11. To say otherwise is either a lie or delusional.

Pardon me, but could you in simple terms explain exactly how Iraq is part of the global war on terror? There was no terrorism in Iraq prior to the US invasion and occupancy. If you are going to bring up the rewards for suicide bombers, that's lame and certainly doesn't rise to the justifcation for attacking a country.

And although Bush will tell you that we are fighting the terrorists in Iraq now, experts on both sides of the spectrum agree that only about 10% of the people fight Americans in Iraq are terrorists. The remaining 90% are insurgent Sunnis who do not want the Shiites to take control of the country.

So how is Iraq a central battlefront in the war on terror other than sucking up resources that could actually be used to find and kill terrorists all over the world and better secure our assets at home and abroad?

Erudite Redneck said...

Read "Bush at War" by Woodward. George W. Bush was intent on starting a war with Iraq from the momnent he took office. 9/11 gave him the fodder to create an environment where most of the people in this couhntry -- INCLUDING MYSELF -- would follow along blindly.

Some of us got our sight back.

Note that Bush sanctioned the book, "Bush at War."

Dan Trabue said...

"What you have quoted President Bush on were not intentional lies."

No "gotcha" moments here. I'm serious. If you want to believe they weren't intentional lies only slips (whoops!) and bad intelligence, fine. But the degree they were wrong rises to a criminally negligent level. We wrongly invaded a sovreign nation!! That is wrong, wrong, wrong in so many ways.

An investigation should occur, penalties should be enacted (on Dems or Republicans - any who helped create this horribly wrong invasion), apologies and restitution should be made. To expand upon a Colin Powell comment: We broke it, we need to humbly ask the world's pardon and ask for assistance in fixing it.

Goat said...

Noone ever said Saddam had direct connections to 9/11 only that he supported terrorists and had connections to AQ. Dan and Jim, your knowledge seems limited to MSM and some narrow sites. Strike two, you Frankenphiles don't know how to hit or pitch. Please provide evidence not conspiracy theories to back up your claims.

Dan Trabue said...

I provided quotes directly from the president and his people and the facts as we know them. If you weren't getting your information from sources with a huge agenda, you'd recognize this as does most of the world.

How about responding to this direct, objective fact:

Shortly after Bush was installed the first time, he hired Eliot Abrams and John Poindexter. This is a fact.

Abrams and Poindexter are convicted felons. Fact.

Abrams and Poindexter were convicted of lying to Congress. Fact.

Abrams and Poindexter lied to Congress about our gov't's illegal involvement in the support of Contra terrorists in Nicaragua. Fact. (Ok, the "terrorists," part is subjective. The Contras were terrorists only if you think that attacking, killing and raping innocent villages is terrorism).

Abrams and Poindexter were glad to have committed these crimes - they're unrepentant on this point. Fact.

Now, two questions:

Given these facts which occurred early on in the Bush administration, do you think it reasonable that these folk think that lying is all right as long as the cause is just in their minds?

If they think lying is sometimes justified (even when people are dying and US laws are being broken), how do you know you can trust this administration - how do you know that they're not lying to you to support some cause that they think just?

Erudite Redneck said...

Probably because Mark probably believes it's OK to lie for the right reasons.

And that there is whatcha call situational ethics. Ain't irony a bitch!

Jim said...

Actually, Dan, that Contra stuff was so early on in the Bush administration it was actually in the Reagan and pappa Bush administration.

Nevertheless, you are probably right. I'm sure Game, goat, et al worship all those guys including Ollie North who lied, broke the law, and was convicted (yeah, the conviction was overturned on a technicality. Damn that rule of law thing!)

But the reasons for lying were "noble", weren't they?