Friday, December 31, 2004

Religion has no place in Honest Political Discourse

It confuses the issues, mislabels participants and makes an honest exchange of ideas nearly impossible.

All political discourse should be conducted in a secular manner. Today, around the world, most free societies look at the US in the same way we look at radical Islamic countries. As an extremely religiously motivated society, occasionally dangerous (more so lately) who could lash out at any time against who knows who without warning. We are simply the other side of the same coin. If we could just do what the founders of this country intended and get the religion out of politics, we might get control of our government again and greatly improve our reputation around the world.

In case anyone’s forgotten, one of the main reasons the Pilgrims came to America was to free themselves from religious oppression by a government sanctioned church (The Church of England). This is why, in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, the founding fathers provided for the clear separation of church and state. They made it first because it was the most important. At the time they wrote it, it was based on 150 years of American tradition, born of the ideals the Pilgrims brought with them when they came. Then, religion was beginning to creep into the new government here. So, to stay the advance of something they had journeyed so far to be free from, the Constitution was amended. The following statement could not be any clearer or more binding.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” (religion has no business in government) ”or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” (government has no business in religion); ………….” “Establishment” can be read as either something the government might create or as something the church might create. Either way, the government is forbidden from codifying or denying “establishment” (‘s) in any way. Since then, this conservative interpretation of the constitution has been upheld by The Supreme Court on numerous occasions over a period of more than 200 years. That’s over 350 years of history of Americans believing in a secular government. Yes, I know “God” appears in the constitution. That’s why it had to be amended, to clarify the founder’s intent.
The purely secular consideration of issues demanded by the First Amendment has been abandoned by most politicians in this country due to the acquiescence of government in the unconstitutional mixing of religion and politics. Politicians and ordinary people (you) who support one political position based on a moral or political principle commonly allow religion to twist and sometimes totally reverse their principles when evaluating another political position. Do you think you’re intellectually consistent when it comes to the purely secular politics that the Pilgrims, Founding Fathers and 350 years of tradition call for? If you are a Republican, are you really as “conservative” as you think? If you’re a Democrat, are you sure your views are largely “liberal”? Are you a “liberal” living in conservative denial? Does religion or your reaction to it distort your politics? Does religion cause some of us to fret over the shape of someone’s genitalia and use thereof? Let’s find out, shall we?
True conservatives believe in less or “hands off” government, right to privacy, balanced budgets and freedom of speech.
How many “conservative” Republicans out there feel that the choking hands of government regulation should be pulled free from the throats of corporations so that they can grow and prosper, make more money and more jobs, lift the entire economy as a whole, and raise the standard of living for each and every one of us? How many “conservative” Republicans out there feel that the heavy hand of government should be lifted from the backs of the common man in the form of tax cuts so that he or she can keep more money from the each paycheck spending it wherever they want instead of the government deciding where it should go? So then……, how come so many allegedly “conservative” Republicans keep trying to shove the controlling hand of government so far up a woman’s crotch it won’t actually fit? How come so many “conservative” Republicans are screaming bloody murder over the exquisitely conservative decision in Texas vs. Lawrence? A decision where the Supreme Court held that Mr. Lawrence and his lovers’ “right to privacy” outweighed the government’s desire to limit their right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”? If Republican economic policy is so “conservative”, how come the economy goes down the crapper every time a Republican becomes President*? Wall Street types claim to favor conservatives in government yet a recent G.A.O. study shows that the stock market goes up 1.7 times as fast during Democratic administrations as it does during Republican administrations. Why? Because lately, Democrats have been the party of conservative economic policy and fiscal responsibility while Republicans have spent money like water from a fire hose.If the Republicans who are currently in charge of the government were really conservative they would balance the budget to insure our childrens’ futures, cut taxes on people who actually WORK for a living, get their noses out of gay men’s bedrooms and their hand out of my girlfriend’s cooch.
And you Democrats who think you’re so “liberal”, what’s so liberal about wanting government out of the abortion controversy? What’s so liberal about wanting all consenting adults to have a “right to privacy” to practice sex in any way they choose in their own homes? What is so “liberal” about wanting the Patriot act repealed when it’s main components restrict civil rights, violate “right to privacy” and put the government smack in the middle of our daily lives whether we want it or not? I’ll tell you what’s so “liberal” about these positions, NOTHING! These are conservative ideals that are being trampled on by today’s Republicans and championed by today’s Democrats. Theoretically, big government “liberals” should LOVE the Patriot Act! Why don’t they? It’s because on issues like these, you’re really conservative. Face it. You’re not quite as liberal as you thought you were, are you?
If you could actually take the religious component out of political discussions you might be able to have a sane airing of the issues. Most Republicans would find out that their position on abortion, gay sex and the Patriot act are liberal. “Liberals” on the other hand would be forced to admit that they are actually quite conservative on the same issues. Republicans who are true conservatives might say, “Damn, I don’t want to be a liberal on gay sex and abortion” and hopefully, change their views. “Liberals” capable of freeing themselves from “conservative” denial might say, “Damn, I guess I am conservative on these issues and would hopefully, still continue to try to change Republican minds (in spite of the fact they would be encouraging them to be more conservative). And in that moment of stark, secular, political clarity, viewed without the taint of religious prejudice, most Americans might find themselves on the same page when it comes to the two or three issues that currently tear this country in half.
And regarding what is currently the most controversial issue along these lines; Gay marriage. I always thought the A.C.L.U. was a purely secular organization. Their stand in favor of government sanctioned Gay marriage is about as far from their founding principals as it could be. Federal laws, according to the First Amendment, cannot legally contain the word marriage. Marriage is a religious “establishment” (there’s that word again) that over the years has been codified by government in clear violation of the Constitution. The A.C.L.U. should be arguing for the repeal of ALL FEDERAL LAWS relating to marriage and fight for “Equal Protection” of all individuals regardless of living arrangement. The A.C.L.U. did not respond to the Austin Dazes’ inquiries on this issue.
Religious prejudice is the cause of almost all wars, discrimination and persecution, not to mention the lack of intellectual consistency in American politics. No wonder we can’t see each others’ views clearly. Most of us can’t even see our own views for what they really are. And isn’t it a bit curious that religion only effects political issues related to someone’s genitalia? I thought you extremely religious types lived your lives in sexual denial. Why do you insist on shoving your genital preferences down the rest of our throats? Anyone who takes a look around the world with open eyes can see that religion, whether fact or fantasy, causes almost all human strife. Religion has no place in government, unless of course your motivation is to corrupt politics and give sanction to human strife.
I am not confused by religion or its practice. I am a conservative. I believe in conservative principals unaffected by the twisted logic of religion. These religiously untainted conservative political principals cause me to support ‘privacy rights’ like gay rights, reproductive rights and to oppose the Patriot Act. My economically conservative principals demand pay as you go budgeting, less income taxes for those who need all their income and more consumption taxes for those who don’t. My socially conservative principals guide me to help the truly disadvantaged and to let those who choose to be losers, lose. A conservative believes in less gun control. Sorry to those of you I just lost, but the Second Amendment is as clear as the First.
If we don’t get back to the secular government our forefathers intended soon, God help us!
JBlunt Austin, TX

JBlunt

Friday, July 09, 2004

Simon & Garfunkel

JBlunt
Culture, Politics & Music

First off I’d like to thank the DAZE for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the Austin Scene.
Finally, after 30 plus years of listening to and being guided by their words and music, I saw Simon & Garfunkel Tuesday night at the Erwin Center. It was a mixed experience. The sound was excellent, the performance sublime, the stage reasonably attractive and awash with the colors of the era providing a pleasant trip down memory lane as it should have. But take your eyes off the stage or take a close look at the artists and you are slapped with the realization that this is not your father’s millennium. Nobody but NOBODY was smoking pot! Simon & Garfunkel and no-ones getting high? I had good binoculars and made several passes across the arena and saw nothing. What kind of Hippies were you? The Fair Weather Politics kind! Even after Garfunkel acted like the didgeridoo was a bong by holding a lighter near the base, the auditorium remained smokeless. Don’t tell me it’s the Smoking Ordinance. I have seen and participated in virtual smoke-outs at many previous shows at the Erwin Center. Bowie, Nine Inch Nails, Eagles, Tom Petty. I however, was not deterred… at first. I managed to enjoy a toke or two here and there throughout the first two-thirds of the show. Then suddenly, the thirtyish man next to me said “Don’t do it! Don’t do it or Me and the Big Guy on the end are going to get you kicked out of here!” To which I responded, “You’re going to assault me for smoking pot?” He obviously had no sense of what Simon & Garfunkel and the Flower Power 70’s were all about, and I began to wonder if anyone there did. Something else caught my eye through the binoculars that was not obvious on the giant screen TV’s provided to enhance our entertainment experience. Old men. It’s the same rude awakening I got when I sat on the front row at the Eagles show. As the music started, I remember looking up and wondering who all those old farts holding the instruments were. Techs? Roadies? Then they started to sing. I began to realize how old I was. It was no different Tuesday. Father Time is taking his toll on all of us. While Garfunkel was obviously still enthralled by the packed house and his opportunity to perform to worshiping masses, Simon looked a little like he was just going through the motions, but he always looks like that. Don’t get me wrong. After thirty years, it was worth the $100.00 ticket price to take a trip down memory lane. I just wish the audience had come along with me.

JBlunt
www.jblunt.com

*G.W. Bush is not a legitimate President of the United States of America.
Long Live President Hastert.

Monday, February 23, 2004

NADERLOPER!

Ralph Nader endorsed George W. Bush* for President last Sunday. In an interview on Meet the Press, Naderloper announced his intent to run for President as an Independent and took up most of the positions already adopted by both of the leading Democratic candidates. Damn you Russert for giving this unwitting egomaniacal Republican shill such a high visibility platform. Naderloper was bitter about the criticisms he has weathered from the Nation magazine, the Green Party and virtually every person or organization that has ever backed him in the past. When all your friends turn against you in unison, you should listen. The best news here is that Naderloper has burned so many bridges with people who could have helped him get on ballots around the country that he will have much less of an effect this time than he did last time. America is unified in the “Anybody but Bush*” mentality. Whether motivated by anger over 2001 (Me), disappointment over degrading of civil liberties and immigration (Republicans), everything else he does, (Democrats) or the exporting of jobs (everybody), Americans will not be so easily distracted this time around. Naderloper keeps ranting that Democrats ignore Green/Liberal positions on some issues. With the appointment of G.W. Bush* in 2001, all that has transpired since then and the candidacy of Howard Dean, Democrats have already moved further left than they have been in years. Not only that, the perceived center of the political spectrum has been shifted left by radical right’s actions over the last 3 years. We don’t need a Naderloper to run this time. We have a LEFT leaning Democratic Party already. At best Naderloper will pass unnoticed this time. At worst, Naderloper is repeating the same behavior and expecting a different result. Insanity is not Presidential. Go home Ralph!

John Blunt




*G.W. Bush is not a legitimate President of the United States of America.
Long Live President Hastert.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Gays Still Shooting Themselves in the Head!

Gay’s Still Shooting!


Representative Barney Frank came out against the “Marriages” taking place in San Francisco, CA since Valentines Day. As I have said before in Gay Lobby Shoots Self in Head
(11/18/03), people with liberal leanings should think before they act when dealing with such a politically sensitive issue. Sane liberals of all inclinations should be rabidly paranoid of this movement.

Make no mistake, Marriage is a religious institution. It has been adopted into law by government over the years in clear violation of the Separation Clause of the Unites States Constitution. If the Supreme Court of the United States is forced into making a decision in favor of any endorsement of “Marriage”, gay or straight, it will enshrine for the first time a constitutional principal binding church and state.

What gays are trying to do CLEARLY VIOLATES the implied Separation of Church and State. The ACLU to my astonishment appears to support the gay agenda. If they would just look past the end of their noses to the long term consequences they would be backing the most widely accepted resolution to this issue, Civil Unions. You would think that these words uttered by every member of the Church who performs a marriage, “And now by the power vested in me by (insert your local jurisdiction here)”, would be prima fascia evidence of this ongoing traditional violation of the Separation Clause of the Constitution. The only one that should be vesting power in the Church is God.

The Congress needs to pass legislation as soon as possible SEPERATING MARRIAGE FROM ANY CODIFICATION BY GOVERNMENT. All “Marriages” previously endorsed by government should revert to civil unions and the ability of anyone to enter into these unions in the future should be broadly allowed. Anyone “Married” in a church by a member of the clergy, gay or straight can call themselves “Married”. In the eyes of government the civil union would carry the same weight for everyone, as it should be.

John Blunt
©2004 JBlunt Publishing

*G.W. Bush is not a legitimate President of the United States of America.
Long Live President Hastert.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Bush to Blunt English translation of Sunday's Meet the Press

the Weekly Blunt
for the week of 02/10/04
by John Blunt
www.jblunt.com



Bush confirms the nation’s worst fears on Sunday’s MEET THE PRESS WITH TIM RUSSERT. Bush’s bottom line today seemed to be that the Iraq war caused the deficit, the stock market crash, job losses, the recession, our degraded reputation overseas, an unsustainable economic policy.
Hey, He’s right for once! And it’s all his fault. Let’s review shall we?
Transcript Copyright© 2004, National Broadcasting Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Bushisim to Blunt English translations in bold.

Tim Russert: And we are in the Oval Office this morning with the President of the United States. Mr. President, welcome back to Meet The Press.
President George W. Bush: Thank you, sir.
I’m scared silly.
Russert: On Friday, you announced a committee, commission to look into intelligence failures regarding the Iraq war and our entire intelligence community. You have been reluctant to do that for some time. Why?
President Bush: Well, first let me kind of step back and talk about intelligence in general, if I might. Intelligence is a vital part of fighting and winning the war against the terrorists. It is because the war against terrorists is a war against individuals who hide in caves in remote parts of the world, individuals who have these kind of shadowy networks, individuals who deal with rogue nations. So, we need a good intelligence system. We need really good intelligence.
Let me rephrase your question so my answer will seem more plausible.
So, the commission I set up is to obviously analyze what went right or what went wrong with the Iraqi intelligence. It was kind of lessons learned. But it’s really set up to make sure the intelligence services provide as good a product as possible for future presidents as well. This is just a part of analyzing where we are on the war against terror.
These kinds of committees are typically politically unmanageable and if I’m lucky will not complete or leak enough of its work between now and the election to damage me too severely.
There is a lot of investigations going on about the intelligence service, particularly in the Congress, and that’s good as well. The Congress has got the capacity to look at the intelligence gathering without giving away state secrets, and I look forward to all the investigations and looks.
Republican controlled investigations by Congress are no more of a threat then the stacked, bogus one I mentioned just now.
Again, I repeat to you, the capacity to have good intelligence means that a president can make good calls about fighting this war on terror.
Unlike mine.
Russert: Prime Minister Blair has set up a similar commission in Great Britain.
President Bush: Yeah.
No kidding?
Russert: His is going to report back in July. Ours is not going to be until March of 2005, five months after the presidential election.
President Bush: Yeah.
I don’t understand the implication here.
Russert: Shouldn’t the American people have the benefit of the commission before the election?
President Bush: Well, the reason why we gave it time is because we didn’t want it to be hurried. This is a strategic look, kind of a big picture look about the intelligence gathering capacities of the United States of America, whether it be the capacity to gather intelligence in North Korea or how we’ve used our intelligence to, for example, learn more information about AQ Kahn. And it’s important that this investigation take its time.
Well we don’t want to get busted before the next election and generalization poor grammar, fragmented logic and buzzwords are the most effective tools of intellectual obfuscation.
Now, look, we are in a political season. I fully understand people He’s trying to avoid responsibility. There is going to be ample time for the American people to assess whether or not I made a good calls, whether or not I used good judgment, whether or not I made the right decision in removing Saddam Hussein from power, and I look forward to that debate, and I look forward to talking to the American people about why I made the decisions I made.
I’m going to stand up and repeat these lies for the foreseeable future and chalk it all up to politics. I think the American people will buy that crap again.
The commission I set up, Tim, is one that will help future presidents understand how best to fight the war on terror, and it’s an important part of the kind of lessons learned in Iraq and lessons learned in Afghanistan prior to us going in, lessons learned that we can apply to both Iran and North Korea because we still have a dangerous world. And that’s very important for, I think, the people to understand where I’m coming from to know that this is a dangerous world. I wish it wasn’t.
I’m clinically paranoid and this commission will cloud that reality and my flawed preemptive foreign policy until I get re- elected. Haven’t you been listening?
I’m a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign policy matters with war on my mind. Again, I wish it wasn’t true, but it is true. And the American people need to know they got a president who sees the world the way it is. And I see dangers that exist, and it’s important for us to deal with them.
Come on Tim, Bushes always choose war. It’s what our family history and business connections are all about. I see the dangers no-one else does and these hallucinations have served me, my family and our associates well over the years. WAR! WAR! WAR! Come on man, get with the program!
Russert: Will you testify before the commission?
President Bush: This commission? You know, I don’t testify? I will be glad to visit with them. I will be glad to share with them knowledge. I will be glad to make recommendations, if they ask for some.
No. NO. HELL NO!
I’m interested in getting I’m interested in making sure the intelligence gathering works well.
Intelligence must be useful, but not necessarily accurate.
Listen, we got some five let me let me, again, just give you a sense of where I am on the intelligence systems of America. First of all, I strongly believe the CIA is ably led by George Tenet. He comes and briefs me on a regular basis about what he and his analysts see in the world.
If any of these investigations leaks or yields anything damaging, his ass is grass.
Russert: His job is not in jeopardy?
President Bush: No, not at all, not at all. We’ve got people working hard in intelligence gathering around the world to get as good an information as possible.
What’d I just say?
Intelligence requires, you know, all kinds of assets to bring information to the President, and I want that intelligence service to be strong, viable, competent, confident, and provide good product to the President so I can make judgment calls.
Intelligence requires, you know, all kinds of assets to bring information to the President, and I want that intelligence service to be strong, viable, competent, confident, and provide good product to the President so I can do whatever Carl Rove thinks is best. He’s God you know.
Russert: There is another commission right now looking into September 11th.
President Bush: Yeah.
Bastards!
Russert: Will you testify before that commission?
President Bush: We have given extraordinary cooperation with Chairmen Kean and Hamilton. As you know, we made an agreement on what’s called “Presidential Daily Briefs,” and they could see the information the CIA provided me that is unique, by the way, to have provided what’s called the PDB, because
We tolerate their malicious probing…….wait let me throw out an acronym……..did that sound informed?
Russert: Presidential Daily Brief?
President Bush: Right.
I guess it did!
And see, the danger of allowing for information that I get briefed on out in the public arena is that it could mean that the product I receive or future presidents receive is somewhat guarded for fear of for fear of it being revealed, and for fear of people saying, Well, you know, we’re going to second guess that which you told the President.
If my abuse of intelligence isn’t covered up the CIA may start delivering it directly to the public making it difficult if not impossible to start capricious wars in the future.
I need good, honest information, but we have shared this information with both those gentlemen, gentlemen I trust, so they could get a better picture of what took place prior to September the 11th.
Kean and Hamilton are just mid level lawmakers with little real power and both are beholdin’ to me.
And again, we want I want the truth to be known. I want there to be a full analysis done so that we can better prepare the homeland, for example, against what might occur.
Besides, the more we focus on something people generally sympathize with me on the less Americans will think about the dead and crippled soldiers in Iraq.
And this is all in the context of war, and the more we learn about, you know, what took place in the past, the more we are going to be able to better prepare for future attacks.
WAR! WAR! WAR! Come-on, Russert. Whats the matter with you?
Russert: Would you submit for questioning, though, to the 9/11 Commission?
President Bush: Perhaps, perhaps.
No. NO!
Russert: Senator Charles Grassley, a Republican
President Bush: Yes.
His misplaced loyalty is so cute!
Russert: said he is absolutely convinced we will capture Osama bin Laden before the election.
President Bush: Well, I appreciate his optimism. I have no idea whether we will capture or bring him to justice, may be the best way to put it. I know we are on the hunt, and Osama bin Laden is a cold blooded killer, and he represents the nature of the enemy that we face.
We caught Bin Ladin some months ago and are perpetuating false stories about his activities. I think those video’s we’ve produced for him have been very effective at fooling the public. Grassley should keep his moth shut about the top secret files he sees or I’m going to revoke his security clearance.
These are these are people that will kill on a moment’s notice, and they will kill innocent women and children. And he’s hiding, and we’re trying to find him.
We’ve got him and no-one is going to see his ass until November!
There’s a I know there is a lot of focus on Iraq, and there should be, but we’ve got thousands of troops, agents, allies on the hunt, and we are doing a pretty good job of dismantling al Qaeda better than a pretty good job, a very good job. I keep saying in my speeches, two thirds of known al Qaeda leaders have been captured or killed, and that’s the truth.
God, if I could just get the focus off this war and back on the old boogie man Bin Ladin, the public might trust me again.
Russert: Do you have a pretty good idea where Osama is?
President Bush: You know, I’m not going to comment on that.
In a cage at GITMO!
Russert: Let me turn to Iraq. And this is the whole idea of what you based your decision to go to war on.
President Bush: Sure, sure.
You prick. I’ve already said all I rehearsed on Iraq. Oh, OK.
Russert: The night you took the country to war, March 17th, you said this: “Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.”
President Bush: Right.
I’m ignoring your premise.
Russert: That apparently is not the case.
President Bush: Correct.
Still ignoring it while attempting to patronize you.
Russert: How do you respond to critics who say that you brought the nation to war under false pretenses?
President Bush: The … first of all, I expected to find the weapons. Sitting behind this desk making a very difficult decision of war and peace, and I based my decision on the best intelligence possible, intelligence that had been gathered over the years, intelligence that not only our analysts thought was valid but analysts from other countries thought were valid.
It doesn’t matter what was real. What matters is, I wanted war and since we had no reliable intelligence I decided to take advantage of what we had to justify MY WAR!
And I made a decision based upon that intelligence in the context of the war against terror. In other words, we were attacked, and therefore every threat had to be reanalyzed. Every threat had to be looked at. Every potential harm to America had to be judged in the context of this war on terror.
My paranoia integrated well with the political situation and the faulty intelligence, making it easy to ply my war of vengeance and oil lust to the American people as a war necessary for national security. Right wing serendipity if you will.
And I made the decision, obviously, to take our case to the international community in the hopes that we could do this achieve a disarmament of Saddam Hussein peacefully. In other words, we looked at the intelligence. And we remembered the fact that he had used weapons, which meant he had weapons. We knew the fact that he was paying for suicide bombers. We knew the fact he was funding terrorist groups. In other words, he was a dangerous man. And that was the intelligence I was using prior to the run up to this war.
Now, let me which is—this is a vital question
Hey, if you can’t depend on two decades old intelligence, what can you depend on?
Russert: Nothing more important.
President Bush: Vital question.
And so we – I expected there to be stockpiles of weapons. But David Kay has found the capacity to produce weapons. And when David Kay goes in and says we haven’t found stockpiles yet, and there’s theories as to where the weapons went. They could have been destroyed during the war. Saddam and his henchmen could have destroyed them as we entered into Iraq. They could be hidden. They could have been transported to another country, and we’ll find out. That’s what the Iraqi survey group let me let me finish here.
But David Kay did report to the American people that Saddam had the capacity to make weapons. Saddam Hussein was dangerous with weapons. Saddam Hussein was dangerous with the ability to make weapons. He was a dangerous man in the dangerous part of the world.
And I made the decision to go to the United Nations.
By the way, quoting a lot of their data in other words, this is unaccounted for stockpiles that you thought he had because I don’t think America can stand by and hope for the best from a madman, and I believe it is essential I believe it is essential that when we see a threat, we deal with those threats before they become imminent. It’s too late if they become imminent. It’s too late in this new kind of war, and so that’s why I made the decision I made.
OK so you’re not buying my lies. How’s about Rumsfeld’s lies? NO? Ok let’s blame the UN then. Those guys couldn’t see evil I saw between the actual facts. They tried to stop my war. But my paranoia and the sheep like mentality of the American people prevailed.
Russert: Mr. President, the Director of the CIA said that his briefings had qualifiers and caveats, but when you spoke to the country, you said “there is no doubt.” When Vice President Cheney spoke to the country, he said “there is no doubt.” Secretary Powell, “no doubt.” Secretary Rumsfeld, “no doubt, we know where the weapons are.” You said, quote, “The Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency.” “Saddam Hussein is a threat that we must deal with as quickly as possible.”
You gave the clear sense that this was an immediate threat that must be dealt with.
President Bush: I think, if I might remind you that in my language I called it a grave and gathering threat, but I don’t want to get into word contests. But what I do want to share with you is my sentiment at the time. There was no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein was a danger to America. [CROSSTALK]
Plausible semantics. That’s Carl’s. Like it?
Russert: In what way?
President Bush: Well, because he had the capacity to have a weapon, make a weapon. We thought he had weapons. The international community thought he had weapons. But he had the capacity to make a weapon and then let that weapon fall into the hands of a shadowy terrorist network.
It’s important for people to understand the context in which I made a decision here in the Oval Office. I’m dealing with a world in which we have gotten struck by terrorists with airplanes, and we get intelligence saying that there is, you know, we want to harm America. And the worst nightmare scenario for any president is to realize that these kind of terrorist networks had the capacity to arm up with some of these deadly weapons, and then strike us.
And the President of the United States’ most solemn responsibility is to keep this country secure. And the man was a threat, and we dealt with him, and we dealt with him because we cannot hope for the best. We can’t say, Let’s don’t deal with Saddam Hussein. Let’s hope he changes his stripes, or let’s trust in the goodwill of Saddam Hussein. Let’s let us, kind of, try to contain him. Containment doesn’t work with a man who is a madman.
And remember, Tim, he had used weapons against his own people.
Come on Tim!!! I told you I had run out of rehearsed responses on this topic. You’re getting dangerously close to making me think independently. I’ll end this interview!
Russert: But can you launch a preemptive war without iron clad, absolute intelligence that he had weapons of mass destruction?
President Bush: Let me take a step back for a second and there is no such thing necessarily in a dictatorial regime of iron clad absolutely solid evidence. The evidence I had was the best possible evidence that he had a weapon.
Evidence, schmevidence! WAR, WAR, WAR!
Russert: But it may have been wrong.
President Bush: Well, but what wasn’t wrong was the fact that he had the ability to make a weapon. That wasn’t right.
OK, He didn’t have ‘em but he wanted ‘em. Wolfowitz saw it in a dream and he told me so.
Russert: This is an important point because when you say that he has biological and chemical weapons and unmanned aerial vehicles
President Bush: Which he had.
That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.
Russert: and they could come and attack the United States, you are saying to the American people: we have to deal now with a man who has these things.
President Bush: That’s exactly what I said.
Ditto! HI Rush!!!!!!!
Russert: And if that’s not the case, do you believe if you had gone to the Congress and said he should be removed because he’s a threat to his people but I’m not sure he has weapons of mass destruction, Congress would authorize war?
President Bush: I went to Congress with the same intelligence Congress saw the same intelligence I had, and they looked at exactly what I looked at, and they made an informed judgment based upon the information that I had. The same information, by the way, that my predecessor had. And all of us, you know, made this judgment that Saddam Hussein needed to be removed.
Congress is made up of sheep like Americans. The same tripe that fooled the public fooled them too. It was easy.
You mentioned “preemption.” If I might, I went to the United Nations and said, Here is what we know, you know, at this moment, and you need to act. After all, you are the body that issued resolution after resolution after resolution, and he ignored those resolutions.
I made the obligatory gesture to the UN and then ignored them, yes.
So, in other words, when you say “preemption,” it almost sounds like, Well, Mr. President, you decided to move. What I decided to do was to go to the international community and see if we could not disarm Saddam Hussein peacefully through international pressure.
I tried to enlighten them but they ignored my prevision.
You remember U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441 clearly stated show us your arms and destroy them, or your programs and destroy them. And we said, there are serious consequences if you don’t. That was a unanimous verdict. In other words, the worlds of the U.N. Security Council said we’re unanimous and you’re a danger. So, it wasn’t just me and the United States. The world thought he was dangerous and needed to be disarmed.
And, of course, he defied the world once again.
Hey, between Saddam’s lying about having them and my co-dependant paranoia they had to comply or look like pussies. This world is full of sheep.
In my judgment, when the United States says there will be serious consequences, and if there isn’t serious consequences, it creates adverse consequences. People look at us and say, they don’t mean what they say, they are not willing to follow through.
If we say KILL we must KILL or WE look like pussies.
And by the way, by clearly stating policy, whether it be in Afghanistan or stating the policy that we expect you, Mr. Saddam Hussein, to disarm, your choice to disarm, but if you don’t, there will be serious consequences in following through, it has had positive effects in the world. Libya, for example, there was an positive effect in Libya where Moammar Khaddafy voluntarily disclosed his weapons programs and agreed to dismantle dismantle them, and the world is a better place as a result of that. And the world is a safer and better place as a result of Saddam Hussein not being in power.
Russert: There is a sense in the country that the intelligence that was given was ambiguous, and that you took it and molded it and shaped it your opponents have said “hyped” it and rushed to war.
President Bush: Yeah.
SO?
Russert: And now, in the world, if you, in the future, say we must go into North Korea or we must go into Iran because they have nuclear capability, either this country or the world will say, ‘Excuse you, Mr. President, we want it now in hard, cold facts.’
President Bush: Well, Tim, I and my team took the intelligence that was available to us and we analyzed it, and it clearly said Saddam Hussein was a threat to America.
Screw the World. They should be more sheep-like.
Now, I know I’m getting repetitive, but I’m just trying to make sure you understand the context in which I was making decisions.
I repeat my rehearsed responses, and by the way you’re starting to piss me off.
He had used weapons. He had manufactured weapons. He had funded suicide bombers into Israel. He had terrorist connections. In other words, all of those ingredients said to me: Threat.
Blah, blah, blah.
The fundamental question is: Do you deal with the threat once you see it? What in the war on terror, how do you deal with threats? I dealt with the threat by taking the case to the world and said, Let’s deal with this. We must deal with it now.
The world ignored my fantasy, so screw them!
I repeat to you what I strongly believe that inaction in Iraq would have emboldened Saddam Hussein. He could have developed a nuclear weapon over time I’m not saying immediately, but over time which would then have put us in what position? We would have been in a position of blackmail.
Must I continue to repeat these lies? Is none of this sticking to your Ivy League brain? Did your Parents schmoose you through school like mine did?
In other words, you can’t rely upon a madman, and he was a madman. You can’t rely upon him making rational decisions when it comes to war and peace, and it’s too late, in my judgment, when a madman who has got terrorist connections is able to act.
Saddam’s nuts. I’m nuts. We make a great team.
Russert: But there are lots of madmen in the world, Fidel Castro …
President Bush: True.
We’ll be gettin’ ‘round to them, don’t you fret.
MR. Russert: … in Iran, in North Korea, in Burma, and yet we don’t go in and take down those governments.
President Bush: Correct, and I could that’s a legitimate question as to why we like felt we needed to use force in Iraq and not in North Korea. And the reason why I felt like we needed to use force in Iraq and not in North Korea, because we had run the diplomatic string in Iraq. As a matter of fact, failed diplomacy could embolden Saddam Hussein in the face of this war we were in. In Iraq I mean, in North Korea, excuse me, the diplomacy is just beginning. We are making good progress in North Korea.
As I’ve said in my speeches, every situation requires a different response and a different analysis, and so in Iran there is no question they’re in danger, but the international community is now trying to convince Iran to get rid of its nuclear weapons program. And on the Korean peninsula, now the United States and China, along with South Korea and Japan and Russia, are sending a clear message to Kim Jung Il, if you are interested in a different relationship, disclose and destroy your program in a transparent way.
In other words, the policy of this administration is to be is to be clear and straightforward and to be realistic about the different threats that we face.
I SAID DON”T FRET! I’m on it. We have to give “diplomacy” time to weaken the minds of the sane so that when we start the next war no one thinks to mention the cost and the unwarranted carnage.
Russert: On Iraq, the vice president said, “we would be greeted as liberators.”
President Bush: Yeah.
I’m proud to call Dick a fellow conspirator. And a damn good one, too.
Russert: It’s now nearly a year, and we are in a very difficult situation. Did we miscalculate how we would be treated and received in Iraq?
President Bush: Well, I think we are welcomed in Iraq. I’m not exactly sure, given the tone of your questions, we’re not. We are welcomed in Iraq.
They cuss us, kill us, bomb us and hate us. Just like everyone else. Whada ya mean they don’t welcome us?
Russert: Are you surprised by the level and intensity of resistance?
President Bush: No, I’m not. And the reason I’m not surprised is because there are people in that part of the world who recognize what a free Iraq will mean in the war on terror. In other words, there are people who desperately want to stop the advance of freedom and democracy because freedom and democracy will be a powerful long term deterrent to terrorist activities.
See, free societies are societies that don’t develop weapons of mass terror and don’t blackmail the world.
If I could share some stories with you about some of the people I have seen from Iraq, the leaders from Iraq, there is no question in my mind that people that I have seen at least are thrilled with the activities we’ve taken. There is a nervousness about their future, however.
They’re going to get democracy even if it has to be forced on them! Every free man and woman will be forced to accept democracy whether they want it or not.
Russert: If the Iraqi people choose
President Bush: Well, let me finish on the nervousness. I don’t want to leave it on that note.
There’s nervousness because they’re not exactly sure what their form of government will look like, and there is you can understand why. In nine months’ time, there’s – we’re now saying, democracy must flourish. And as I recall from my history, it took us quite a while here in the United States, but nevertheless we are making progress.
And so, when you see the debate and the discussion about freedom, those are welcoming signs as far as I’m concerned. People are saying how best to develop this system so that we are free and minority rights are protected.
We will dictate the terms of this democracy and persecute all ethnicities equally.
Russert: If the Iraqis choose, however, an Islamic extremist regime, would you accept that, and would that be better for the United States than Saddam Hussein?
President Bush: They’re not going to develop that. And the reason I can say that is because I’m very aware of this basic law they’re writing. They’re not going to develop that because right here in the Oval Office I sat down with Mr. Pachachi and Chalabi and al Hakim, people from different parts of the country that have made the firm commitment, that they want a constitution eventually written that recognizes minority rights and freedom of religion.
I remember speaking to Mr. al Hakim here, who is a fellow who has lost 63 family members during the Saddam reign. His brother was one of the people that was assassinated early on in this past year. I expected to see a very bitter person. If 63 members of your family had been killed by a group of people, you would be a little bitter. He obviously was concerned, but he I said, you know, I’m a Methodist, what are my chances of success in your country and your vision? And he said, it’s going to be a free society where you can worship freely. This is a Shiia fellow.
And my only point to you is these people are committed to a pluralistic society. And it’s not going to be easy. The road to democracy is bumpy. It’s bumpy particularly because these are folks that have been terrorized, tortured, brutalized by Saddam Hussein.
Screw that. Those bastards will do what I say or else. I told them when they were here that if they didn’t shape up they’d be wiping their asses with their dead wives burka’s in a Turkish prison!
Russert: You do seem to have changed your mind from the 2000 campaign. In a debate, you said, “I don’t think our troops ought to be used for what’s called ‘nation-building.’”
President Bush: Yes.
That was stupid.
Russert: We clearly are involved in nation building.
President Bush: Right. And I also said let me put it in context. I’m not suggesting you’re pulling one of these Washington tricks where you leave half the equation out.
But I did say also that our troops must be trained and prepared to fight and win war and, therefore, make peace more possible. And our troops were trained to fight and win war, and we did, and a second phase of the war is now going on. The first phase, of course, was the Tommy Franks troop movement.
So sue me.
Russert: But this is nation building.
President Bush: Well, it is. That’s right, but we’re also fighting a war so that they can build a nation. And [crosstalk] the war is against terrorists and disgruntled Baathists who are saying we had it good in the past, and therefore we don’t want this new society to spring up because they have no faith in democracy, and the terrorists who want to stop the advance of freedom.
Damn. Busted again. You’re good at this Russert.
And if I might, people say to me, ‘Okay, you made a judgment as to how to secure America for the short term with the Taliban and with Saddam Hussein, and we are staying on the hunt for al Qaeda, but what about the long term?’ Which is a legitimate question. And the best way to secure America for the long term is to promote freedom and a free society and to encourage democracy.
Can I distract you by changing the Question?
And we are doing so in a part of the world where people say it can’t happen, but the long term vision and the long term hope is—and I believe it’s going to happen—is that a free Iraq will help change the Middle East. You may have heard me say we have a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East. It’s because I believe so strongly that freedom is etched in everybody’s heart I believe that and I believe this country must continue to lead.
The US will eventually dominate the Middle East and we won’t blow it like the Brits and Turks and the Monguls. We’re much smarter than all of mankind that preceded us.
Russert: Are you now willing to allow the United Nations to play a central role in the reconstruction?
President Bush: In the recon in spending our money, no. They don’t want to spend our money, the money that was appropriated by the United States Congress I think you’re talking about, but they will play a vital role in helping the Iraqis determine the proper course to democracy.
I’m confused. Are they trying to muscle us out? What have you heard?!
Russert: In transferring power, the U.N. will play a central role?
President Bush: Yeah. I call it a vital role because there is a lot of roles being played by different players, but the U.N. will play and this role is a very important role. It says to the Iraqi citizens who again are trying to figure out the right balance as they head toward this new democracy after years of after years of being enslaved by a tyrant—how best to do this, and I think it’s very helpful to have the stamp of the international community be placed upon the political process.
A meaningless UN rubber stamp would be nice, yes as long as they play along with the big picture.
In terms of reconstruction, of course we want the international community to participate, and they are. There is a lot of participation by the international community in restoring this infrastructure of the country of Iraq that Saddam Hussein had just totally I shouldn’t say “totally,” but destroyed a lot of.
If we can sucker those pre war pussies like the French and the Russians into picking up the tab, you can find me in the restroom!
Russert: Before we take a break, now that we have determined there are probably not these stockpiles of weapons that we had thought, and the primary rationale for the war had been to disarm Saddam Hussein, Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Defense Secretary, said that you had settled on weapons of mass destruction as an issue we could agree on, but there were three. “One was the weapons of mass destruction, the second is the support for terrorism, and third is Saddam’s criminal treatment of his Iraqi people.”
He said the “third one by itself is a reason to help Iraqis but it’s not a reason to put American kids’ lives at risk, certainly not on the scale we did.”
President Bush: Um hmm.
You got to pick a plausible lie and stick to it if you’re going to weave enough wool to cover the eyes of America.
Russert: Now looking back, in your mind, is it worth the loss of 530 American lives and 3,000 injuries and woundings simply to remove Saddam Hussein, even though there were no weapons of mass destruction?
President Bush: Every life is precious. Every person that is willing to sacrifice for this country deserves our praise, and yes.
Yes it is!
Russert: But
President Bush: Let me finish.
Oh crap, did I actually say that? Sorry I was thinking out loud.
Russert: Please.
President Bush: It’s essential that I explain this properly to the parents of those who lost their lives.
Let me re-trench.
Saddam Hussein was dangerous, and I’m not gonna leave him in power and trust a madman. He’s a dangerous man. He had the ability to make weapons at the very minimum.
Saddam Sucks.
For the parents of the soldiers who have fallen who are listening, David Kay, the weapons inspector, came back and said, “In many ways Iraq was more dangerous than we thought.” It’s we are in a war against these terrorists who will bring great harm to America, and I’ve asked these young ones to sacrifice for that.
Why the hell did they join the military if they didn’t want to die?
A free Iraq will change the world. It’s historic times. A free Iraq will make it easier for other children in our own country to grow up in a safer world because in the Middle East is where you find the hatred and violence that enables the enemy to recruit its killers.
Free Iraq, Free oil. What more do you want?
And, Tim, as you can tell, I’ve got a foreign policy that is one that believes America has a responsibility in this world to lead, a responsibility to lead in the war against terror, a responsibility to speak clearly about the threats that we all face, a responsibility to promote freedom, to free people from the clutches of barbaric people such as Saddam Hussein who tortured, mutilated there were mass graves that we have found a responsibility to fight AIDS, the pandemic of AIDS, and to feed the hungry. We have a responsibility. To me that is history’s call to America. I accept the call and will continue to lead in that direction.
And of course, Tim, my foreign policy is so arrogant and indisputable it can cure AIDS! Nyeah!
Russert: In light of not finding the weapons of mass destruction, do you believe the war in Iraq is a war of choice or a war of necessity?
President Bush: I think that’s an interesting question. Please elaborate on that a little bit. A war of choice or a war of necessity? It’s a war of necessity. We—in my judgment, we had no choice when we look at the intelligence I looked at that says the man was a threat. And you know, we will find out about the weapons of mass destruction that we all thought were there. That’s part of the Iraqi survey group and the group I put together to look at.
You’re confusing me again. STOP IT! Saddam needed an ass whipping. Just ask Daddy!
But again, I repeat to you, I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but David Kay, who is the man who led the Iraqi survey group, who has now returned with an interim report, clearly said that the place was a dangerous place. When asked if President Bush had done had made the right decision, he said yes. In other words, the evidence we have uncovered thus far says we had no choice.
Please refer to the fabricated facts and stop badgering me!
Russert: We are going to take a quick break.
President Bush: Thank you.
THANK GOD!
Russert: We are going to come back and talk to the President a lot more about our world and our economy here at home and the presidential election of 2004. We are in the Oval Office with President George W. Bush.
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Russert: And we are back in the Oval Office talking to the President of the United States.
Mr. President, this campaign is fully engaged. The chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Terence McAuliffe, said this last week: “I look forward to that debate when John Kerry, a war hero with a chest full of medals, is standing next to George Bush, a man who was AWOL in the Alabama National Guard. He didn’t show up when he should have showed up.”
President Bush: Yeah.
I hate that prick. Always pointing out the obvious. How intelligent is that?
Russert: How do you respond?
President Bush: Political season is here. I was I served in the National Guard. I flew F 102 aircraft. I got an honorable discharge. I’ve heard this I’ve heard this ever since I started running for office. I I put in my time, proudly so.
Hey, I got to fly airplanes, play soldier and screw off for a year. The military makes much better sheep than the public. The public has to be fooled. The military takes orders.
I would be careful to not denigrate the Guard. It’s fine to go after me, which I expect the other side will do. I wouldn’t denigrate service to the Guard, though, and the reason I wouldn’t, is because there are a lot of really fine people who served in the National Guard and who are serving in the National Guard today in Iraq.
Don’t try to make a valid point here, Russert. Just because I’m a lying pussy doesn’t mean all guardsmen are lying pussies.
Russert: The Boston Globe and the Associated Press have gone through some of their records and said there’s no evidence that you reported to duty in Alabama during the summer and fall of 1972.
President Bush: Yeah, they re they’re just wrong. There may be no evidence, but I did report; otherwise, I wouldn’t have been honorably discharged. In other words, you don’t just say “I did something” without there being verification. Military doesn’t work that way. I got an honorable discharge, and I did show up in Alabama.
Yeah, prove it.
Russert: You did were allowed to leave eight months before your term expired. Was there a reason?
President Bush: Right. Well, I was going to Harvard Business School and worked it out with the military.
Nepotisim and the political clout of my Father. What are you dumb or just naïve?
Russert: When allegations were made about John McCain or Wesley Clark on their military records, they opened up their entire files. Would you agree to do that?
President Bush: Yeah. Listen, these files I mean, people have been looking for these files for a long period of time, trust me, and starting in the 1994 campaign for governor. And I can assure you in the year 2000 people were looking for those files as well. Probably you were. And absolutely. I mean, I
Yeah, sure. Good luck finding them asshole. My family’s great at cover-ups. Just ask Noriega.
Russert: But would you allow pay stubs, tax records, anything to show that you were serving during that period?
President Bush: Yeah. If we still have them, but I you know, the records are kept in Colorado, as I understand, and they scoured the records.
And I’m just telling you, I did my duty, and it’s politics, you know, to kind of ascribe all kinds of motives to me. But I have been through it before. I’m used to it. What I don’t like is when people say serving in the Guard is is may not be a true service.
Look Sherlock, I know those records don’t exist ‘cause I had them destroyed. Search on brother! Quit tryin’ to dis my free ride through the military.
Russert: Would you authorize the release of everything to settle this?
President Bush: Yes, absolutely.
We did so in 2000, by the way.
We’ve released nothing before and we’re willing to pretend to do it again.
Russert: Were you favor of the war in Vietnam?
President Bush: I supported my government. I did. And would have gone had my unit been called up, by the way.
Yeah, after my Dad got me the free ride. That one digit selective service number had me scared to death at first.
Russert: But you didn’t volunteer or enlist to go.
President Bush: No, I didn’t. You’re right. I served. I flew fighters and enjoyed it, and we provided a service to our country. In those days we had what was called “Air Defense Command,” and it was part of the air defense command system.
The thing about the Vietnam War that troubles me as I look back was it was a political war. We had politicians making military decisions, and it is lessons that any president must learn, and that is to the set the goal and the objective and allow the military to come up with the plans to achieve that objective. And those are essential lessons to be learned from the Vietnam War.
Hell NO! You must think I’m stupid. A person could get killed fighting a war based on lies. That whole Gulf of Tonkin thing was a lie. I wasn’t going to die for a lie.
Russert: Let me turn to the economy.
President Bush: Yes.
Oh crap.
Russert: And this is one of my charts that I would like to show you.
President Bush: I was hoping to see one of them.
They rehearsed me on this, shoot!
Russert: The Bush Cheney first three years, the unemployment rate has gone up 33 percent, there has been a loss of 2.2 million jobs. We’ve gone from a $281 billion surplus to a $521 billion deficit. The debt has gone from 5.7 trillion, to $7 trillion up 23 percent.
Based on that record, why should the American people rehire you as CEO?
President Bush: Sure, because I have been the President during a time of tremendous stress on our economy and made the decisions necessary to lead that would enhance recovery. We’ll review the bidding here. The stock market started to decline in March of 2000. That was the first sign that things were troubled. The recession started upon my arrival. It could have been some say February, some say March, some speculate maybe earlier it started, but nevertheless it happened as we showed up here.
Hey the economy tanked as soon as it became apparent in the poles that I might actually win. I know America liked the prosperity of a peaceful Democratic administration but what does that do for the neglected rich? As the economy spiraled downward I had to do something to protect the folks who got me elected but you can’t just take the money from the public, you’ve got to be much sneakier. The recession was taking money out of the important Americans wallets and the only way we could heal them quick was by transferring wealth from the common man to the fiscally abused wealthy. A transfer of wealth disguised as a “tax cut” did the trick.
The attacks on our country affected our economy. Corporate scandals affected the confidence of people and therefore affected the economy. My decision on Iraq, this kind of march to war, affected the economy, but we have been through a lot. And what those numbers show is the fact we have been through a lot.
Ken Ley & Dennis K., what convenient patsies! And then Osama! Man I got lucky with all those serendipitous occurrences. God wants me to heal the rich.
But what the people must understand is that instead of wondering what to do, I acted, and I acted by cutting the taxes on individuals and small businesses, primarily. And that, itself, has led to this recovery.
The stock market’s rise and temporary healing of the gaping holes in everyone’s retirement accounts has hidden the reality of our unsustainable economics and I’m hoping that lasts through the next election.
So, you show that the numbers kind of I’m not suggesting the chart only shows the bad numbers, but how about the fact that we are now increasing jobs or the fact that unemployment is now down to 5.6 percent? There was a winter recession and unemployment went up, and now it’s heading in the right direction.
Most of the lazy sheep in America have quit looking for work and we don’t count deadbeats no matter how bad they want jobs.
The economic stimulus plan that I passed, or I asked the Congress to pass, and I worked with Congress to pass, is making a big difference.
The economic stimulus plan that I passed, or I asked the Congress to pass, and I worked with Congress to pass, is faking a big difference to the upside. I’ll be re-elected before that chicken comes home to roost.
Russert: But when you proposed your first tax cut in 2001, you said this was going to generate 800,000 new jobs. Your tax cut of 2003, create a million new jobs. That has not happened.
President Bush: Well, it’s happening. It’s happening. And there is good momentum when it comes to the creation of new jobs.
One job, a million jobs, now you’re being petty.
Again, we have been through a lot. This economy has been through a lot, which is why I’m so optimistic about the future because I know what we have been through.
After Osama and Saddam no one can blame ME for the coming economic crisis.
And I look forward to debate on the economy because I think one of those things that’s very important is that the entrepreneurial spirit of this country be strong and the small business sector be strong. And the policies I have laid out enhance entrepreneurship, they encourage small business creation, and I think this economy is coming around just right, frankly.
Look here Tim, I’ve fooled myself and everyone else about the economy and by the time the sheep figure it out this herder and his owners will be golden.
Russert: The General Accounting Office, which are the nation’s auditors
President Bush: Yeah.
Oh God, not more facts. I can’t get re-elected on the facts.
Russert: have done a study of our finances.
President Bush: Um hmm.
Come on, come on I got a lie for this, too.
Russert: And this is what your legacy will be to the next generation. It says that our “current fiscal policy is unsustainable.” They did a computer simulation that shows that balancing the budget in 2040 could require either cutting total Federal spending in half or doubling Federal taxes.
President Bush: Um hmm.
So?
Russert: How why, as a fiscal conservative as you like to call yourself, would you allow a $500 billion deficit and this kind of deficit disaster?
President Bush: Sure. The budget I just proposed to the Congress cuts the deficit in half in five years.
I think you forgot the tax cut subterfuge. Are you listening to me? These are good lies!
Now, I don’t know what the assumptions are in the GAO report, but I do know that if Congress is wise with the people’s money, we can cut the deficit in half. And at that point in time, as a percentage of GDP, the deficit will be relatively low.
I guess they’ve never met Rosie. You know, Miss Scenario?
I agree with the assessment that we’ve got some long term financial issues we must look at, and that’s one reason I asked Congress to deal with Medicare. I strongly felt that if we didn’t have an element of competition, that if we weren’t modern with the Medicare program, if we didn’t incorporate what’s called “health savings accounts” to encourage Americans to take more control over their healthcare decisions, we would have even a worse financial picture in the long run.
Gutting Medicare has always been in the cards. Social Security, too. If you’re not smart enough to get rich by the time you’re old, screw you. You screwed up. Not me.
I believe Medicare is going to not only make the system work better for seniors but is going to help the fiscal situation of our long term projection.
All that cash wasted on the poor and infirm should more than cover our imperialistic needs.
We got to deal with Social Security as well. As you know, these entitlement programs need to be dealt with.
Oops! I almost forgot all the cash we get from dissolving Medicare. Hey Don, We got any other wars to start? Look at all this cash we’re gong to have!
We are dealing with some entitlement programs right now in the Congress. The highway bill. It’s going to be an interesting test of fiscal discipline on both sides of the aisle. The Senate’s is about $370, as I understand, $370 billion; the House is at less than that but over $300 billion. And as you know, the budget I propose is about $256 billion.
Congress is bought, paid for and under Republican control. They ain’t gonna’ do nuthin’.
Russert: But your base conservatives and listen to Rush Limbaugh, the Heritage Foundation, CATO Institute, they’re all saying you are the biggest spender in American history.
President Bush: Well, they’re wrong.
So? Who else they gonna’ vote for DEAN?
Russert: Mr. President
President Bush: If you look at the appropriations bills that were passed under my watch, in the last year of President Clinton, discretionary spending was up 15 percent, and ours have steadily declined.
The war expenses have made it easy to take money from the weak and under represented sheep in America.
And the other thing that I think it’s important for people who watch the expenditures side of the equation is to understand we are at war, Tim, and any time you commit your troops into harm’s way, they must have the best equipment, the best training, and the best possible pay. That’s where we owe it to their loved ones.
Don’t worry Don, the military is getting all it wants, in spite of the numbers.
Russert: That’s a very important point. Every president since the Civil War who has gone to war has raised taxes, not cut them.
President Bush: Yeah.
Damn you Russert. Again with the facts!
Russert: Raised to pay for it. Why not say, I will not cut taxes any more until we have balanced the budget? If our situation is so precious and delicate because of the war, why do you keep cutting taxes and draining money from the treasury?
President Bush: Well, because I believe that the best way to stimulate economic growth is to let people keep more of their own money. And I believe that if you raise taxes as the economy is beginning to recover from really tough times, you will slow down economic growth. You will make it harder.
I learned how to destroy an economy from the best. Regan/Bush!
See, I’m more worried about the fellow looking for the job. That’s what I’m worried about. I want people working. I want people to find work. And so, when we stimulate the economy, it’s more likely that person is going to find work. And the best way to stimulate the economy is not to raise taxes but to hold the low taxes down.
People looking for job just muck things up. Personally I think they should be ignored and I believe that’s actually policy.
Russert: How about no more tax cuts until the budget is balanced?
President Bush: Well, that’s a hypothetical question which I can’t answer to you because I don’t know how strong the economy is going to be.
Are you kidding? R.M. Scafe would have me shot. Remember Kennedy? Rich people don’t jack around when it comes to money.
I mean, the President must keep all options on the table, but I do know that raising the child lowering the child credit thereby raising taxes on working families does not make sense when the economy is recovering, and that’s exactly what some of them are calling for up on Capitol Hill. They want to raise taxes of the families with children, they want to increase the marriage penalty. They want to get rid of those taxes on small businesses that are encouraging the stimulation of new job creation, and I’m not going to have any of it.
I just need to stick to my lies and I’ll be fine. I’m not worried.
Russert: We are going to take another quick break. We will be right back with more of our conversation with the President in the Oval Office, right after this.
(Commercial)
Russert: And we are back.
Mr. President, last time you were on the show you said that you wanted to change the tone in the nation.
President Bush: Yes.
Yeah, that was rich, eh? They bought it.
Russert: This is Time magazine: “Love Him or Hate Him: Why George Bush arouses such passion and what it means for the country.”
President Bush: Yes.
Commies!
Russert: Tom Daschle, the Democratic Leader in the Senate, said that you’ve changed the tone for the worse; that it’s more acrimonious, more confrontations, that you are the most partisan political president he’s ever worked with.
Tom sucks!
Our exit polls of primary voters, not just Democrats but Independents in South Carolina and New Hampshire, more than 70 percent of them said they are angry or dissatisfied with you, and they point to this whole idea of being a uniter as opposed to a divider.
Why do you think you are perceived as such a divider?
President Bush: Gosh, I don’t know, because I’m working hard to unite the country. As a matter of fact, it’s the hardest part of being the president. I was successful as the Governor of Texas for bringing people together for the common good, and I must tell you it’s tough here in Washington, and frankly it’s the biggest disappointment that I’ve had so far of coming to Washington.
I’m blind to this. Besides, Democrats aren’t real Americans!
I’m not blaming anybody. It’s just the environment here is such that it is difficult to find common ground. I‘ll give you a classic case: the Medicare bill. The Medicare bill was a tough vote, but the Medicare bill is a bill that a lot of people could have signed on to and had it not been for kind of the sense of, well, ‘Bush might win, we might lose,’ you know, or ‘Bush might lose, we might win’ kind of attitude.
People take me too seriously. I’m just trying to schmoose through another government job. People shouldn’t get so worked up about debt and dead soldiers and such. It’ll all work itself out after the election.
And… but I will continue to work hard to unite the country. I don’t speak ill of anybody in the process here. I think if you went back and looked at my comments, you will see I don’t attack. I don’t hold up people. I talk about what I believe in, and I lead, and maybe perhaps I believe so strongly in what we are doing around the world or doing here at home.
I don’t have any convictions. What bastard says I’ve been convicted? That was wiped clean in the 80’s. My Dad promised me that was done! Is there some old college associate trying to dig up stuff in Houston again?
Russert: But around the world, in Europe, favorable ratings unfavorable ratings, 70 in Germany, 67 in France.
President Bush: But you know, Tim, that
Screw the French.
Russert: Why do people hold you with such contempt
President Bush: Heck, I don’t know, Ronald Reagan was unpopular in Europe when he was President, according to Jose Maria Aznar. And I said, ‘You know something? ‘
He said to me, he said, ‘You’re nearly as unpopular as Ronald Reagan was.’ I said, ‘so, first of all, I’m keeping pretty good company.’
I think that people when you do hard things, when you ask hard things of people, it can create tensions. And I heck, I don’t know why people do it. I’ll tell you, though, I’m not going to change, see? I’m not trying to accommodate I won’t change my philosophy or my point of view. I believe I owe it to the American people to say what I’m going to do and do it, and to speak as clearly as I can, try to articulate as best I can why I make decisions I make, but I’m not going to change because of polls. That’s just not my nature.
Cause I’m a powerful dangerous moron, jeese Tim!
Russert: Two polls out this weekend show you—
President Bush: See there, you’re quoting polls.
Polls scmolls, I’ve got $200,000,000.00+. By the time I get done campaigning people will vote for me just to shut me up.
Russert: you’re trailing John Kerry in both U.S.A. Today and Newsweek polls by seven and five points.
President Bush: Yeah.
SO? $200,000,000.00 Tim!!!!!!!!
Russert: This is what John Kerry had to say last year. He said that his colleagues are appalled at the quote “President’s lack of knowledge. They’ve managed him the same way they’ve managed Ronald Reagan. They send him out to the press for one event a day. They put him in a brown jacket and jeans and get him to move some hay or move a truck, and all of a sudden he’s the Marlboro Man. I know this guy. He was two years behind me at Yale. I knew him, and he’s still the same guy.”
Did you know him at Yale?
President Bush: No.
I went to Yale?
Russert: How do you respond to that?
President Bush: Politics. I mean, this is—you know, if you close your eyes and listen carefully to what you just said, it sounds like the year 2000 all over again.
I went to Yale?
Russert: You were both in Skull and Bones, the secret society.
President Bush: It’s so secret we can’t talk about it.
I wouldn’t have joined if I had known “Skull & Bone(s) was a homosexual reference. But I had a great time!
Russert: What does that mean for America? The conspiracy theorists are going to go wild.
President Bush: I’m sure they are. I don’t know. I haven’t seen the (unintel) yet. (Laughs)
Yeah, who would have thought I had a Gay period. Coke will do that to you, ya know.
Russert: Number 322.
President Bush: First of all, he’s not the nominee, and I look forward
Russert: Are you prepared to lose?
President Bush: No, I’m not going to lose.
I’ve already paid for this one, just like the last one.
Russert: If you did, what would you do?
President Bush: Well, I don’t plan on losing. I have got a vision for what I want to do for the country. See, I know exactly where I want to lead. I want to lead us I want to lead this world toward more peace and freedom. I want to lead this great country to work with others to change the world in positive ways, particularly as we fight the war on terror, and we got changing times here in America, too.
I’m not going to lose. I’m leading the country to peace and freedom by fighting a war and abrogating civil rights. I’m not changing a winning strategery now!
Russert: Biggest issues in the upcoming campaign?
President Bush: Who can properly use American power in a way to make the world a better place, and who understands that the true strength of this country is the hearts and souls of the American citizens, who understands times are changing and how best to have policy reflect those times.
And I look forward to a good campaign. I know exactly where I want to lead the country. I have shown the American people I can lead. I have shown the American people I can sit here in the Oval Office when times are tough and be steady and make good decisions, and I look forward to articulating what I want to do the next four years if I’m fortunate enough to be their president.
WAR, WAR, WAR. (Bush jumping up and down yelling) KILL, KILL, KILL. Russert joins in and they were both jumpin’ up and down yellin’ KILL, KILL, KILL(A. Guthrie circa 1970). Come on America! Lets Roll!
Russert: Mr. President, we thank you for sharing your views, and I hope we could come back and talk about issues during the course of the campaign.
President Bush: Thank you, Tim.
In your DREAMS Russert! I do something like this again and someone may figure out the truth!
Russert: That’s all for today. We will be back next week. If it’s Sunday, it’s Meet The Press.
Transcript © 2004 MSNBC Interactive
All of the preceding is for entertainment only. The idea that Bush could ever muster up words or phrases as sophisticated as “ethnicities; subterfuge; plausible; unwarranted carnage; co-dependant paranoia; integrated well with the political situation and the faulty intelligence, making it easy to ply my war of vengeance and oil lust; obfuscate; serendipity and acronym" is of course pure fiction.
JBlunt
Added satire © 2004 JBlunt Publishing


*G.W. Bush is not a legitimate President of the United States of America.
Long Live President Hastert.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Bush* tries to trade 9-11 time for WMD time.

Now we know why Bush* extended the deadline for the 9-11 commission. It was a tradeoff. The administration needs to buy time in the eyes of the American public for them to get past the election without having to produce WMD. George Tennant spoke at his alma-mater Thursday where he attempted to purchase that time by insisting that David Kaye doesn’t know shit. Hmmmm…. President’s approval rating drops below 50%; The number of Americans believing what we are doing in Iraq is wrong goes over 50%; White House gives in to the 9-11 investigation extension; Tennant falls on his sword and begs for more time while protesting that overall the CIA is doing a great job; The President* goes on Meet the Press. A Rove by any other name still smells the same.

Bush lays down a campaign bottom line “Knowing what I knew then, and knowing what I know today, America did the right thing in Iraq.” Most of America no longer believes that. This shows Bush’s inability to learn even on the most elementary level. He said the unemployment rate is dropping. Yo' G., when people run out of benefits and or hope you don’t count them. Doesn’t mean we’re not still here!

Bush is beginning to show that he truly does not see things as most Americans do.
He’s had 2 years to kick this country in the ass and lead it back to the thriving economy and peaceful existence we enjoyed in the 90’s. Instead, all He’s* done is kick America in the balls financially, internationally, domestically and repeatedly. Financially he has destroyed the economy for the long term, something we had just gotten right at the end of the Clinton administration. He did it by pandering to his wealthy peers in the form of a tax cut which buys him just enough of an economic dead cat bounce to get him through the next election and by dragging us into a war based on lies born of poor, selectively filtered intelligence. This has caused America’s reputation around the world damage so great it will take decades to repair. This widely accepted distrust and animosity will cost our economy immeasurable billions over the years to come. Our children will pay the balance in the near term. Four years ago we were on the path to pay off the national debt in 30-40 years. Now we can only see deficits into infinity. If we weren’t paying interest on the national debt we could afford Healthcare, Food, Clothing and Shelter for every American and not even break a sweat financially. And He just keeps on kicking us. Tennant repeated the lies today. Bush* will repeat them again on Sunday. TV ads and surrogates will repeat them for the next ten months.
Ten months America. Ten months of someone repeating the same behavior expecting a different result. Isn’t that the definition of INSANITY?
This pretend President* of ours is going to destroy us if He’s* elected (for the first time) or manages to steal another one.
Don’t let him kick you in the balls anymore, America.

WAKE UP!

JBlunt

*G.W. Bush is not a legitimate President of the United States of America
Long Live President Hastert!
© JBlunt Publishing

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Can Bush* turn back the tide?

Can Bush* turn back the tide?


As the choice for Democratic nominee becomes clearer, the events of recent weeks combined with the pounding He’s* getting in the media are closing the window on Bush’s* re-election bid.

Events: David Kaye has quit his job, returned to the U.S., and with one terse statement to Congress obliterated the administration’s reasoning for war. Just yesterday Colin Powell said he would not have supported the war if the intelligence had been accurate. The raw intelligence was accurate if you give the caveats that come with such intelligence the weight they deserve. A practice that the “Office of Special Plans” was specifically created to eliminate. Even the information given to the Senate and House intelligence committees was filtered through that office. No wonder normally competent peace loving politicians reluctantly got behind the President* in the war effort. If I had been professionally lied to for 2 years I too might have been conned into supporting the war. OK I was. I like many other people with good hearts were tricked into thinking that war with Iraq was a NESCESSCARY thing. Now, new polls show that among all Americans the war in Iraq is WRONG! I too should thank David Kaye for pulling the administration’s wool from over my eyes. Bush* is now labeled a liar in the eyes of a majority of America and that’s a hard label to shed.

A jobless recovery is underway. Yes everybody’s 401k is healing a little from the Bush* tax cut that puts more money into the pockets of the investing class but hundreds of thousands of Americans have stopped contributing to these accounts and many are now drawing them down in an effort to make it from month to month. Everyone longs for the fairer tax structure and budget surpluses of the Clinton administration. You remember, when we had the greatest economic expansion in history? When almost everyone had a job, or two? When the national debt was going down, driving interest rates down? Now the rich are getting relief while the majority of Americans search for work thanks to NAFTA (not Bush’s* fault, although he supports it) pushing jobs overseas. Some say that if we retaliate at other countries that are absorbing our jobs it will violate NAFTA. Who says we can’t impose restrictions and penalties in this country on the companies that export those jobs. What say we pass a law or two that taxes the crap out of companies that ship a modest percentage of our jobs overseas and those that send most of our jobs overseas get to live overseas. Do you really think American CEO’s will be willing to live and work in third world countries? I am boycotting all the companies that are listed as “Exporting America” on CNN’s web site. If you look at that list you see that it must be policy and not just pure unadulterated corperate greed that allows such a broad, diverse list of companies to be comfortable exporting these jobs. This same broad exporting of jobs tells us something else. 30 years ago these companies would have found it impossible to export these jobs due to lack of a trained work force overseas. Now, with the neglect our educational system has seen by government, the decimation of teaching standards by the teacher’s unions trying to insure job security, and the death nail of “No child Left Behind”, corporations now see exporting of jobs as a logical if not preferable alternative to letting poorly educated overpaid Americans do them.

Resentment about the last Presidential election is also still a factor.

Corporate criminals are still free and American retirement accounts are still bare.




Politics: The State of the Union Speech bombed. While the majority of Americans are concerned about the economy and jobs, Bush* talked of war, terrorism and steroids. What a moron.

Bush has been permanently labeled a LIAR by David Kaye. Virtually every statement of fact that He*, Cheney, Rice, Powell, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and their subordinates spewed forth for the last two years has been shown to be LIES. The more money he spends in the election trying to convince Americans otherwise will backfire and be viewed as more of the well financed lies we’ve been told to date. Americans no longer TRUST Bush* so everything he says from now on will be taken with a pound of salt.

Osama Bin Laden is still free and we have spent LIVES and tremendous amounts of money chancing a false boogie man in Iraq while the real devil roams free in Pakistan.

A monstrous deficit put forth in the administration’s* budget proposal has CONSERVATIVES angry and Democrats livid. It is likely DOA at Congress and will not be resolved before the election. And this obscenely large Smoke and Mirrors deficit doesn’t even include the costs of the war in Iraq. The generosity of the proposed budget to the military industrial complex and pittance doled out to regular Americans is proving there is nothing passionate about this conservative.

A new immigration policy that was supposed to pander to the Hispanic voters without alienating the base has backfired. Immigrants who will be effected by the policy are not voters and voters that make up Bush’s* base don’t want work permits, they want concrete walls topped with razor wire and sniper towers.

Thanks to Bush* shoot first make up excuses later foreign policy, America is viewed with disdain if not much worse by most of the rest of the World. If you go to France in the near future and they treat you like shit, its not just routine, we deserve it, they were right this time.

DEMOCRATS ARE ANGRY! Exit polling at the Democratic primaries and caucuses shows that “beating Bush*” is the only thing that matters to most of them. The criminal actions of the Supreme Court in the last election that led to the theft of the Presidency have not been forgotten. Nor will the current state of affairs be drowned out by the Bush campaign juggernaut. Every media outlet but FOX will see to that.


Predictions: Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld will be found culpable and George Tennant will be found spineless in the investigation of WMD claims and the role of the office of “See mo’ evil, Hear mo’ evil, Speak mo’ evil” (Office of Special Plans). As I write this Rumsfeld sits before Congress repeating the WMD claim in the face of the overwhelming evidence and already exposed lies. Senator Kennedy is justifiably incredulous.

Bush* will Pull Osama Bin Laden out of his ass in November. Even though I find the literal visualization of the agony on his face as they pull a seven foot Arab through his sphincter satisfying, I hope Americans will not be blinded to the truth by his capture. They know where he is and are waiting to apprehend him in deference to the best political timing for such an arrest.

Bush’s* closest advisors, beginning with Colin Powell, will soon begin announcing retirements or other forms of graceful exits.

The political careers of Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz are over. Who would have thought that Arie Fleischer was most cognizant of the path the administration was taking and its eventual consequences.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, AMERICA, from now on REMEMBER:

REPUBLICAN=WAR & DEBT
DEMOCRAT=PEACE & PROSPERITY

JBlunt

*G.W. Bush is not a legitimate President of the United States of America
Long Live President Hastert!
© JBlunt Publishing

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Pollack on "Office of Special Plans" or Office of See mo' evil, Hear mo' Evil, Speak mo' Evil.

The following is an excerpt from the Atlantic Monthy where Ken Pollack summarizes why we stumbled into war with Iraq.

Everyone should read at least this section or the whole article. It is the most consise published account of who did what and why I have seen yet.

The Politics of Persuasion


The intelligence community's overestimation of Iraq's WMD capability is only part of the story of why we went to war last year. The other part involves how the Bush Administration handled the intelligence. Throughout the spring and fall of 2002 and well into 2003 I received numerous complaints from friends and colleagues in the intelligence community, and from people in the policy community, about precisely that. According to them, many Administration officials reacted strongly, negatively, and aggressively when presented with information or analysis that contradicted what they already believed about Iraq. Many of these officials believed that Saddam Hussein was the source of virtually all the problems in the Middle East and was an imminent danger to the United States because of his perceived possession of weapons of mass destruction and support of terrorism. Many also believed that CIA analysts tended to be left-leaning cultural relativists who consistently downplayed threats to the United States. They believed that the Agency, not the Administration, was biased, and that they were acting simply to correct that bias.

Intelligence officers who presented analyses that were at odds with the pre-existing views of senior Administration officials were subjected to barrages of questions and requests for additional information. They were asked to justify their work sentence by sentence: "Why did you rely on this source and not this other piece of information?" "How does this conclusion square with this other point?" "Please explain the history of Iraq's association with the organization you mention in this sentence." Reportedly, the worst fights were those over sources. The Administration gave greatest credence to accounts that presented the most lurid picture of Iraqi activities. In many cases intelligence analysts were distrustful of those sources, or knew unequivocally that they were wrong. But when they said so, they were not heeded; instead they were beset with further questions about their own sources.

On many occasions Administration officials' requests for additional information struck the analysts as being made merely to distract them from their primary mission. Some officials asked for extensive historical analyses—a hugely time-consuming undertaking, for which most intelligence analysts are not trained. Requests were constantly made for detailed analyses of newspaper articles that conformed to the views of Administration officials—pieces by conservative newspaper columnists such as Jim Hoagland, William Safire, and George F. Will. These columnists may be highly intelligent men, but they have no claim to superior insight into the workings of Iraq, or to any independent intelligence-collection capabilities.

Of course, no policymaker should accept intelligence estimates unquestioningly. While I was at the NSC, I regularly challenged analysts as to why they believed what they did. I asked for additional material and required them to do significant additional work. Any official who does less is derelict in his or her duty. However, at a certain point curiosity and diligence become a form of pressure. If your employer asks you every so often about your health and seems to take an appropriate interest in the answer, you probably feel that he or she is kind and considerate. If your employer asks you about your health every ten minutes, in highly detailed, probing questions, you may have a more nervous reaction.

As Seymour Hersh, among others, has reported, Bush Administration officials also took some actions that arguably crossed the line between rigorous oversight of the intelligence community and an attempt to manipulate intelligence. They set up their own shop in the Pentagon, called the Office of Special Plans, in order to sift through the information on Iraq themselves. To a great extent OSP personnel "cherry-picked" the intelligence they passed on, selecting reports that supported the Administration's pre-existing position and ignoring all the rest.

Most problematic of all, the OSP often chose to believe reports that trained intelligence officers considered unreliable or downright false. In particular it gave great credence to reports from the Iraqi National Congress, whose leader was the Administration-backed Ahmed Chalabi. It is true that the intelligence community believed some of the material that came from the INC—but not most of it. (In retrospect, of course, it seems that even the intelligence professionals gave INC reporting more credence than it deserved.) One of the reasons the OSP generally believed Chalabi and the INC was that they were telling it what it wanted to hear—giving the OSP, in a kind of vicious circle, further incentive to trust these sources over differing, and ultimately more reliable, ones. Thus intelligence analysts spent huge amounts of time fighting bad information and trying to persuade Administration officials not to make policy decisions based on it. From my own experience I know that it is hard enough to figure out what the reliable evidence indicates—and vast battles are fought over that. To have to also fight over what is clearly bad information is a Sisyphean task.

The Bush officials who created the OSP gave its reports directly to those in the highest levels of government, often passing raw, unverified intelligence straight to the Cabinet level as gospel. Senior Administration officials made public statements based on these reports—reports that the larger intelligence community knew to be erroneous (for instance, that there was hard and fast evidence linking Iraq to al-Qaeda). Another problem arising from the machinations of the OSP is that whenever the principals of the National Security Council met with the President and his staff, two completely different versions of reality were on the table. The CIA, the State Department, and the uniformed military services would present one version, consistent with the perspective of intelligence and foreign-policy professionals, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Office of the Vice President would present another, based on the perspective of the OSP. These views were too far apart to allow for compromise. As a result, the Administration found it difficult, if not impossible, to make certain important decisions. And it made some that were fatally flawed, including many relating to postwar planning, when the OSP's view—that Saddam's regime simultaneously was very threatening and could easily be replaced by a new government—prevailed.

For the most part, the problems discussed so far have more to do with the methods of Administration officials than with their motives, which were often misguided and dangerous, but were essentially well-intentioned. The one action for which I cannot hold Administration officials blameless is their distortion of intelligence estimates when making the public case for going to war.

As best I can tell, these officials were guilty not of lying but of creative omission. They discussed only those elements of intelligence estimates that served their cause. This was particularly apparent in regard to the time frame for Iraq's acquisition of a nuclear weapon—the issue that most alarmed the American public and the rest of the world. Remember that the NIE said that Iraq was likely to have a nuclear weapon in five to seven years if it had to produce the fissile material indigenously, and that it might have one in less than a year if it could obtain the material from a foreign source. The intelligence community considered it highly unlikely that Iraq would be able to obtain weapons-grade material from a foreign source; it had been trying to do so for twenty-five years with no luck. However, time after time senior Administration officials discussed only the worst-case, and least likely, scenario, and failed to mention the intelligence community's most likely scenario. Some examples:


In a radio address on September 14, 2002, President Bush warned, "Today Saddam Hussein has the scientists and infrastructure for a nuclear-weapons program, and has illicitly sought to purchase the equipment needed to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon. Should his regime acquire fissile material, it would be able to build a nuclear weapon within a year."


On October 7, 2002, the President told a group in Cincinnati, "If the Iraqi regime is able to produce, buy, or steal an amount of highly enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball, it could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year."


On November 1, 2002, Undersecretary of State John Bolton told the Second Global Conference on Nuclear, Bio/Chem Terrorism, "We estimate that once Iraq acquires fissile material—whether from a foreign source or by securing the materials to build an indigenous fissile-material capability—it could fabricate a nuclear weapon within one year."


Vice President Cheney said on NBC's Meet the Press on September 14, 2003, "The judgment in the NIE was that if Saddam could acquire fissile material, weapons-grade material, that he would have a nuclear weapon within a few months to a year. That was the judgment of the intelligence community of the United States, and they had a high degree of confidence in it."


None of these statements in itself was untrue. However, each told only a part of the story—the most sensational part. These statements all implied that the U.S. intelligence community believed that Saddam would have a nuclear weapon within a year unless the United States acted at once.

Some defenders of the Administration have reportedly countered that all it did was make the best possible case for war, playing a role similar to that of a defense attorney who is charged with presenting the best possible case for a client (even if the client is guilty). That is a false analogy. A defense attorney is responsible for presenting only one side of a dispute. The President is responsible for serving the entire nation. Only the Administration has access to all the information available to various agencies of the U.S. government—and withholding or downplaying some of that information for its own purposes is a betrayal of that responsibility.


What Is to Be Done?


What we have learned about Iraq's WMD programs since the fall of Baghdad leads me to conclude that the case for war with Iraq was considerably weaker than I believed beforehand. Because of the consensus among American and foreign intelligence agencies, outside experts, and former UN weapons inspectors, I had been convinced that Iraq was only years away from having a nuclear weapon—probably only four or five years, as Robert Einhorn had testified. That estimate was clearly off, possibly by quite a bit. My reluctant conviction that war was our only option (although not at the time or in the manner in which the Bush Administration pursued it) was not entirely based on the nuclear threat, but that threat was the most important factor in it.

The war was not all bad. I do not believe that it was a strategic mistake, although the appalling handling of postwar planning was. There is no question that Saddam Hussein was a force for real instability in the Persian Gulf, and that his removal from power was a tremendous improvement. There is also no question that he was pure evil, and that he headed one of the most despicable regimes of the past fifty years. I am grateful that the United States no longer has to contend with the malign influence of Saddam's Iraq in this economically irreplaceable and increasingly fragile part of the world; nor can I begrudge the Iraqi people one day of their freedom. What's more, we should not forget that containment was failing. The shameful performance of the United Nations Security Council members (particularly France and Germany) in 2002-2003 was final proof that containment would not have lasted much longer; Saddam would eventually have reconstituted his WMD programs, although further in the future than we had thought. That said, the case for war—and for war sooner rather than later—was certainly less compelling than it appeared at the time. At the very least we should recognize that the Administration's rush to war was reckless even on the basis of what we thought we knew in March of 2003. It appears even more reckless in light of what we know today.

The problems that led to our mistaken beliefs about the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction must be addressed immediately. Unfortunately, to some extent the problems are contradictory, and therefore the solutions may work against one another. For example, a remedy used in the past to address influence from the executive branch on the intelligence process has been to increase oversight of intelligence operations and analysis by Congress. However, in this instance increasing congressional oversight could have exacerbated another problem: the failure of the intelligence community to sufficiently challenge its own assumptions about Saddam's strategy. The more that intelligence agencies must report to both Congress and the White House, the more they fear becoming a political football, and the more they will tone down their estimates, stick to mainstream judgments, and avoid taking controversial positions. Arguing that Iraq had minimized its WMD holdings after 1996 would have been a very controversial position indeed.

Some of the problems that led to our misunderstanding of Iraq's WMD may be insoluble, at least by bureaucratic changes. The forms of pressure exerted on the intelligence community by the Bush Administration were perfectly legal; it would probably be impossible to regulate against them. Moreover, doing so could preclude useful and necessary questioning of intelligence analysts by Administration officials. Still, some fixes do suggest themselves.

In the future we as a nation must be willing to devote enough resources to intelligence so that we will always be able to sustain a large, aggressive program to collect all manner of information and a sophisticated analysis program on all high-priority issues. In retrospect, our over-reliance on UNSCOM inspectors lulled us into a false sense of security; this in turn contributed to our inflated estimates of Iraq's WMD progress after 1998. Even though Iraq was a difficult environment for any intelligence service to operate in, and the CIA did devote substantial assets to it at all times, it would have made some difference if the Agency could have devoted still greater resources to it, even when that seemed redundant with UNSCOM's missions.

Our failings in the WMD experience also argue for a more powerful and independent director of central intelligence. The DCI currently serves at the pleasure of the President, and although he is the nominal head of the entire intelligence community, in reality he does not have much authority over most of the intelligence agencies, whose budgets and personnel come largely from the Department of Defense. The United States could make the DCI position similar to that of the director of the FBI: the President would nominate a candidate who would then need to be confirmed by Congress, and who would serve a fixed term. And the DCI could be made the true head of intelligence, with control over the budgets and personnel of all the intelligence agencies. Many of the intelligence agencies that currently report to the Secretary of Defense, including the National Security Agency and the National Reconnaissance Office, to name just two, should instead report to the DCI. These changes would put the DCI in a stronger position to resist pressure from the executive branch (or Congress) and to protect his people from the same.

Strengthening the DCI and increasing his independence might make for smarter, bolder analysis. The less intelligence analysts have to worry that the DCI is going to take heat for unpopular if accurate judgments, the more willing they will be to make them. This is not a slur against DCI George Tenet, who I think handled the difficulties of his situation extraordinarily well. But it is a recognition that DCIs must not be put in the position that Tenet was forced into.

Another step worth considering is forbidding the CIA or anyone else in government from making any intelligence estimates public for five or ten years. As someone firmly committed to the concept of open government, who believes that the CIA has benefited from its efforts in the past decade to be more open to the public, I dislike the idea of greater secrecy. However, when intelligence estimates become public, they have a huge impact on the course of foreign-policy debates, and administrations therefore find themselves with a great incentive to make sure the Agency's estimates support the Administration's preferred policy. If such estimates were not made public, an administration would have little reason to try to influence them. The government could still produce white papers, but they should come from the State Department—the agency that is, after all, officially charged with public diplomacy.

Finally, the U.S. government must admit to the world that it was wrong about Iraq's WMD and show that it is taking far-reaching action to correct the problems that led to this error. Iraq is not going to be the last foreign-policy challenge in which we must make choices based on ambiguous evidence. When the United States confronts future challenges, the exaggerated estimates of Iraq's WMD will loom like an ugly shadow over the diplomatic discussions. Fairly or not, no foreigner trusts U.S. intelligence to get it right anymore, or trusts the Bush Administration to tell the truth. The only way that we can regain the world's trust is to demonstrate that we understand our mistakes and have changed our ways.
Kennith M. Pollack