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What Else Is In Scott's Head?

The blog site for writer Scott C. Smith. Some observations on the world we live in and life in general. And maybe some politics.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Deceiving America

Does it come as a surprise that a Bush administration official edited a report on global warming to downplay the environmental impact of climate change?

Not at all. The Bush administration has been engaged in the act of deceiving America since Bush took office.

The editing of the global warming reports was done by Philip Cooney, chief of staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Quick quiz: Cooney's former occupation was:

1) Scientist
2) Lawyer
3) Lobbyist for the oil industry
4) Both 2 and 3

If you guessed number four, you win! Who needs a scientific background to deal with a scientific issue? No one! At least, not if you are working for the Bush administration.

Someone who used to work for the Bush administration is Rick Piltz. Piltz resigned in March from the government office that coordinates federal climate change programs. According to Piltz, Cooney was the primary author of the global warming reports. The Bush administration has said many people were involved in the writing of the documents.

Pitz said that Cooney "played a central role, including having final review and signoff authority," and contends that Cooney's changes were aimed "at creating an enhanced sense of scientific uncertainty" about climate change and its impact, contrary to the views of professionals.

There are other examples where the Bush administration presented information that was not accurate or, indeed, factual. Take Bush's 2003 state of the union address, which contains at least one huge lie (or, in light of the fact that no WMDs were found in Iraq, you could say the entire state of the union address was just a pack of lies):

"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production. Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities. He clearly has much to hide."

The Africa uranium bit has been discredited as a lie, passed off in badly forged documents.

The Bush administration never offered a believable explanation about the uranium line in the state of the union address, while the CIA maintains it communicated doubts about the intelligence to the Bush administration.

There are other lies, big and small, that the Bush administration has presented to the American people. Check out David Corn's book, The Lies of George W. Bush. It's an eye-opening read, and chronicles many lies that would take me hours to add to this entry.

And let's not forget the Downing Street Memo, which outlines a meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bush on July 23, 2002. The memo, written by someone named Matthew Rycroft, appears to be the minutes of the meeting. In one paragraph, the author says, of Iraq:

"Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

Bush, predictably, denied this, although based on what we know now about Iraq and WMDs, it certainly isn't inconceivable that facts were manipulated in order to build a stronger case for going to war. Right-wingers will also predictably downplay this information, claiming it to be a forgery or to discount it outright because it is "anti-Bush" or some bullshit. The good ole' blame the messenger mentality.

Speaking of Iraq, another way the Bush administration deceives us is to downplay how the war is going. Bush and his administration will say at press conferences that the war is going like gangbusters and democracy is springing up all over Iraq like a sort of plant. A weed?

The truth is, conditions in Iraq are not as great as we are led to believe. Conservatives can bluster that the so-called liberal media is only reporting the negative and not the positive. Well, you know, if soldiers are fixing up or building schools in Iraq, that's great. But is it safe for the children to attend those schools? Do they run the risk of an insurgent blasting the school (or kids) to bits?

Frankly, I don't know why conservatives support Bush so much. Maybe they're blind with power, who knows? Republicans do control the White House and the Congress. So what if George W. Bush has bankrupted the United States? It's just money.

Even before being elected president, Bush lied. At the South Carolina Republican Debate, Feb. 15, 2000, Bush said, of his proposal for huge tax cuts: "But by far the vast majority of my tax cuts go to the bottom end of the spectrum." Which was a lie. But so what? At least he wasn't lying about sex. That would have been horrible.

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