Voice in the Wilderness

The news about the "war on terror" your local newspaper won't print.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Bush Lied About Lying?

If you are fortunate to be able to read The Washington Post, you would have been able to read an article by Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus in Sunday's edition. Under the headline Asterisks Dot White House's Iraq Argument, it reports that George W. Bush's assertions last week that he did not lie about the run-up to Gulf War II were not, well honest.

But most people are not so fortunate, and so we offer the entire article for your consumption.

To summarize its points:
  • The adminstration cherry-picked what intelligence it revealed to Congress and the press.
  • Because the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has not yet investigated the entire process, there is no way to assert, as the adminsitration did, that the information was not manipulated.
  • There were doubts within the intelligence community about information contained in the president's daily briefings, which the administration used to bolster its reasons for war.
  • Most members of Congress did not bother to read the entire 92-page National Intelligence Estimate about Iraq before they voted in October 2002 to authorize Bush to go to war. They relied instead on the eecutive summary, which stated the "evidence" precisely in the way the administration wanted it stated.
To one observer here in the wilderness, it seems that the lapdog press is finally beginning to climb off its comfortable dog bed and scrutinize what the administration is telling us. Though it rarely has the gumption to challenge strong leaders, the press has always been adept at smelling blood and will go after wounded public figures faster than vultures descend on carrion.

However, we in the wilderness wonder why such exhaustive reporting was not done during the run-up to the war; it would have saved the lives of tens of thousands of Iraqis, more than 2,000 U.S. service men and women, a score of journalists and uncounted numbers of domestic mercenaries.

But that is the way of today's journalism. Had the Watergate affair taken place in this era rather than the Seventies, nothing would have been written or said about it until long after Richard Nixon had left office in triumph; Spiro Agnew might well have succeeded him as president, we might still be in Vietnam, and Saturday Night Live might never have had one of its most famous rinning gags.

Unfortunately, most of us will have little chance to read these reports in the local daily newspaper, which does not see fit to subscribe to the wire services of the nation's three most influential newspapers. And what news hole it does allocate between ads is often used in strange ways.