Better Late Than Never?


The ship of state, as represented by the Bush administration, has sprung more than a few leaks. In fact, following the release of the David Kay report, the ship is beginning to resemble the Titanic after its collision with the iceberg.

Taking note of this state of affairs, some of the rats who heretofore have supported the administration's war on the people of Iraq are beginning to don their life jackets.

George Will, for example, recently wrote a column entitled 'Can't They Just Admit It?''the 'They' being the Bush administration, and the 'It' being the fact that 'They' took us into a war on the basis of faulty intelligence. Will comes down relatively hard (for him) on the administration for its refusal simply to admit what is as plain as the ever-growing nose on the president's face. Now, ultimately Will is concerned that stubbornness in the face of overwhelming evidence will make it more difficult for any president to drag the country into a war in the future, which, of course, is a good thing. Nevertheless, that Will, Beltway conservative nonpareil, is beginning to question the administration's credibility cannot be considered a good sign for Bush.

Paul Sperry, Washington bureau chief of, possibly the most hawkish site on the Internet, was even more blunt in his October 6 column, as evidenced by its title: 'Yes, Bush Lied.' It doesn't get much more pointed than that. Sperry, who says he voted for Bush, lays out the case that Bush completely misrepresented'no, lied about'every bit of intelligence that the government had prior to the war and continued to lie about what had been found after the war. (To be fair, Sperry has been on the administration's case for months now and has even written a book entitled Crude Politics: How Bush's Oil Cronies Hijacked the War on Terrorism. However, only two of his critical articles appeared on WND prior to the start of the war on March 19, and those only in the week leading up to that date, which gives the impression that either he or the WND editors, or both, were relatively unconcerned about the administration's flimsy case until the war had clearly become a fait accompli.)

We can likely expect to see more of these belated admissions that the administration was'shall we say?'less than honest about the evidence supposedly supporting its case for war from, as Sperry puts it, 'Bush supporters with any intellectual honesty and concern for their own families' safety.' The diehard Republican partisans, of course, will barrel ahead with bluff and bluster, never allowing even a hint of doubt to creep into their public pronouncements; but nevertheless we should be encouraged by those commentators and politicians of the Right who have the guts to admit that they've been suckered and, in some cases, demand the administration be held accountable for its deception.

While any sign of contrition on the part of those who led the cries for blood will be welcome, there still remain two questions that those same people need to answer.

Question number one is: Why did you believe the president this time, given the history of presidents' lying our nation into wars in the past?

Beginning at least as early as the Spanish-American War, in 1898, the U. S. has not entered a single major conflict on the basis of truthful evidence. War fever for the Spanish-American War was drummed up in large part by the press (aided and abetted by war partisans in the government), which printed horror stories of Cuban life under Spanish colonial rule and pinned the accidental explosion of the U. S. S. Maine on the Spanish.

World War I saw an even more massive propaganda campaign on the part of the federal government, which invented stories of the Kaiser's soldiers' bayoneting babies and deliberately provoked the Germans into firing on the Lusitania by placing ordnance on the ship, knowingly making it a legitimate military target'and, not coincidentally, knowingly consigning the passengers to almost certain death. Let's not forget, either, that Woodrow Wilson had campaigned in 1916 on the slogan 'He kept us out of war,' only to turn around and take the country right into the Great War just 28 days after taking his second oath of office.

World War II saw FDR's stealth campaign to drag the U. S. into the European theater on the side of the British by way of Japan , all the while stealing the 'He kept us out war' page from Wilson 's play book during the 1940 campaign. Thanks to the diligent research of Robert B. Stinnett in Day of Deceit, we now know that FDR followed an eight-point plan laid out by Lieutenant Commander Arthur H. McCollum of the Office of Naval Intelligence that was specifically designed to provoke the Japanese into striking U.S. forces in the Pacific. On December 7, 1941, that plan came to fruition with horrifying results, not just for those killed on the 'sneak' attack on Pearl Harbor'about which FDR had perfect information'but for all those sent both to the Pacific and to Europe, which became a war zone for the U.S. because Germany, honoring its alliance with Japan, declared war on the U.S., just as FDR knew it would.

Vietnam brought us LBJ's fraudulent Gulf of Tonkin incident, among other lies.

Gulf War I resurrected the 'bayoneting babies' tales of World War I, this time with Iraqi soldiers ripping infants from incubators; and it gave us lies about Iraqi troops on the border of Saudi Arabia , something satellite photos from a neutral source proved false. There was also the little matter of Saddam Hussein's having been given the go-ahead to invade Kuwait from U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie.

The second question that those now coming clean must answer is: Will you allow yourself to be taken in by the next Republican president's fear-inducing tales of certain destruction if the United States does not enter into a war?

It's all well and good to confess your mistakes and demand accountability after the war is over, but by then the damage has been done. Countless people have been killed or injured on all sides, and entire sections of the earth have been laid waste. No amount of apologizing or calling for the president's head can undo that damage. On the other hand, opposing war from the beginning could possibly have helped avert all that; and if the ruling class decides to proceed with their killing spree anyway, at least you can have a clear conscience that you were not party to the act.

It is easy to oppose a war'or, indeed, any policy'if the administration conducting the policy is of the party one perceives to be his opponent. Thus, just as conservatives generally opposed Bill Clinton's military excursions, so liberals generally opposed Bush's. The real test is being able to see clearly, regardless of who is pushing for war and who will be in charge of it. Even more important is to be able to see clearly before the war becomes inevitable'to recognize that the War Party has interests of its own which are diametrically opposed to the interests of the average American; that the War Party has consistently deceived the public into wars for over a century; that, with almost 100 percent certainty, you will end up with egg on your face when, in the aftermath of the war, the lies are exposed; and that, instead of mere embarrassment, other people will have died because you fell for the same old trick again.

Your rating: None
Michael Tennant's picture
Columns on STR: 30

Michael Tennant is a software developer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.