By DOUG THOMPSON
One word will define forever the sad and despicable legacy of George W. Bush.
Most politicians lie. They call it “spin” or “positioning” or “situation analysis” but evasion of truth becomes part of political life.
Yet lying is so ingrained into the Bush Administration that it now is impossible to accept, on face value, anything the President or his appointees say.
A Congressional Budget Report issued Thursday says the President gave the nation inaccurate figures on both the cost and size of his planned troop surge in Iraq. It will cost at least three times more and perhaps more, the CBO said, and require as many as 48,000 troops when you factor in support personnel.
Bush knew this when he went before the cameras in January but he low balled the numbers and cost. That’s his style: Evade the truth, shade the numbers and cook the books.
The President lied outright in his rationale for invading Iraq. As testimony unfolds in the perjury trial of Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, we learn that Cheney orchestrated a campaign of lies to discredit former Ambassador Joseph Wilson because Wilson had the audacity to tell the truth about the administration’s fabricated tales of Iraqi attempts to buy uranium to build a non-existent nuclear weapon.
We know now that, shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Bush administration ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to lie to residents of New York City about the air quality hazards from the collapse of the World Trade Center towers. This past week, we learned that the administration forced federal scientists to alter reports to present a false impression minimizing the effects of global warming.
Bush promised to fire any White House staff member involved in leaking the name of Ambassador Wilson’s wife, a covert CIA operative. Testimony in the Libby trial shows Cheney and Bush’s political guru, Karl Rove, played key roles in the campaign to discredit Wilson and revealed his wife’s name to several reporters. Bush can’t fire Cheney, although he could demand his resignation. He hasn’t. He can fire Rove. He won’t.
After the November midterm election where voters tossed out the corrupt Republican leadership of Congress and sent Bush a clear message that they wanted change in Iraq, Bush promised to work with the new Congress and “consider all options” before announcing any new Iraqi initiatives.
Two months later, he went before the American public and announced his “troop surge,” a plan crafted without any consultation with the new leadership on Capitol Hill and one that completely ignored the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group.
Once again, Bush lied. And just about every time this man has lied, too many Americans have died.
Mark Twain once wrote that there are three kinds of lies: Lies, damn lies and statistics.
In these troubled times, we should amend Twain’s writing to read: Lies, damn lies and any statements by the President of the United States.