Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Friday, May 30, 2003  

We interrupt our regularly-scheduled programming to bring you these following announcements...

Sorry, as much as I hoped to keep my chin up out of the gutter for an entire week, it was not to be. In two reports published by Financial Times this week, our President was accused of gross misconduct and lies. They appear credible. In the first, which Paul Krugman discusses today, the White House is characterized as having abandoned diplomacy with Iraq in December.

"'There was a feeling that the White House was being mocked,' an individual who worked closely with the National Security Council was quoted as telling the Financial Times.

"'A tinpot dictator (Saddam Hussein) was mocking the president (George W Bush). It provoked a sense of anger inside the White House,' the individual said. 'After that point, there was no prospect of a diplomatic solution.'"

This is, of course, not an incidental revelation. The President repeatedly told anyone who'd listen that he was committed to a diplomatic solution and that "no decision has been made." Moreover, many of us were chilled by the President's language of revenge. He used WMD as a pretext for invasion, but his words belied this justification. Writing on May 7th (because I assume that earlier link is bloggered), I noted:

For Bush, the problem's personal--it's Saddam. In the course of the news conference, the President used the word Saddam or Saddam Hussein 39 times; add to that 6 times he referred to him not by name (though personally) as "dictator." Throughout the entire news conference, the word "Iraq" or its variants only appeared 36 times together--and many of these referred to the "Iraqi people" and so on.

Despite all the talk of disarmament, the danger of the Iraqi regime's weapons and their availability on the open terrorist market, the President will be satisfied if Saddam (not Iraq) disarms or leaves the country. Leaves the country? That's not consistent with anything we've heard from the White House. But it is consistent with getting back at Saddam personally. Which, when you read the transcript, is the unmistakable tell the President gives about his real intention.

If the Financial Times is right, the President lied about WMD to support a war because a "tin-pot dictator" had offended his vanity.

In the second article, the Financial Times reports that Bush buried a key report that the US is facing deficits of $44 trillion. That's right: trillion.

"The study, the most comprehensive assessment of how the US government is at risk of being overwhelmed by the "baby boom" generation's future healthcare and retirement costs, was commissioned by then-Treasury secretary Paul O'Neill.

"But the Bush administration chose to keep the findings out of the annual budget report for fiscal year 2004, published in February, as the White House campaigned for a tax-cut package that critics claim will expand future deficits....

"The study's analysis of future deficits dwarfs previous estimates of the financial challenge facing Washington. It is roughly equivalent to 10 times the publicly held national debt, four years of US economic output or more than 94 per cent of all US household assets. Alan Greenspan, Federal Reserve chairman, last week bemoaned what he called Washington's "deafening" silence about the future crunch."

This doesn't fit the garden-variety definition of a lie--it's a more sophisticated form of deception. But the effect is the same: the President has failed to tell the truth about his policies, which, one assumes, would be wildly unpopular. The worst part is that the results of these misdeeds won't be felt until years from now, when responsible leaders will have to clean up the mess. By then, Bush will be sipping Budweiser in Crawford.

(And now details about the tax cut are starting to emerge. In order to pay the corporate robber barons, Bush had to cut services to the poor--no tax benefit for children if you're too poor, that's just for the middle class [who vote]. Another jewel: if you are willing to buy an SUV, Bush is willing to let you write it off.)

posted by Jeff | 10:53 AM |
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