The Real Credibility Gap
cott McClellan, W.’s mouthpiece, piled up a mountain of ironies when he lashed out at Newsweek for its piece about the desecration of the Koran by U.S. guards at Guantanamo. Scottie was outraged, he said, because Newsweek editors initially refused to retract the story after finding a factual flaw in it. Filled with righteous indignation, he lectured about standards of truth, about relying on only one source, and about credibility. Hoo-boy—where to start? How about with the entire pack of lies that the Bushites used to plunge American troops into the war and ongoing occupation of Iraq? Even though the White House has now been forced to admit that it couldn’t find any Weapons of Mass Destruction or a link between Al Qaeda and Saddam, we still have received no retraction of their story or apology for damaging U.S. credibility.
Also, you might recall that the Bushites’ untrue story about a “mobile biological weapons lab” in Iraq was not only based on a single source, but the source was a guy that U.S. intelligence never interviewed! And when Scott wailed about Newsweek relying on only one source, he didn’t add that the source is a top-ranking official in Bush’s own Pentagon, or that Pentagon officials were shown the story before publication and raised no objection to its truthfulness. Then there’s the general tone of glee over getting to beat up on Newsweek, part of the despised “liberal media.” But wait—the author of Newsweek’s piece is a hero to the right wing, the guy who broke the Monica Lewinsky story. One more irony: While Scottie is piously browbeating Newsweek, note that he does not and cannot say that the desecration charge itself is untrue. WORKING FOR THE CIA George “The Liberator” Bush brought democracy to Iraq, right? He certainly takes every opportunity to tell us so, pointing to that country’s newly-elected government that, he says, now is the sovereign authority in charge of Iraq’s destiny. But how sovereign is it, really? For example, can you imagine considering our own U-S-of-A to be a sovereign democracy if—get this—a foreign power had total control of our CIA? If a nation does not control its own secret intelligence agency, it is not sovereign. So, guess who controls the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS)? The CIA! The director of this secret police force, Mohammed Abdullah Shahwani, was not chosen by the new government, but was handpicked by the Bushites. He reports not to the new Iraqi officials, but to the CIA, which provides all of IIS’s financing. In fact, immediately after January’s elections, U.S. forces moved Iraq’s national intelligence archives into U.S. headquarters in Baghdad, putting them off-limits to the very elected officials that George W. so loudly touts as that country’s sovereign leaders. As one leading lawmaker in the new government bluntly puts it, the IIS “is not working for the Iraqi government; it’s working for the CIA. I prefer to call it the American Intelligence Service of Iraq.” Why put this iron clamp on a supposed democracy? Because the Bushites don’t trust the new leaders or the idea of real democracy. They say that Iraq’s elected government is too friendly with neighboring Iran, so the leaders cannot be allowed the freedom of being—well, sovereign, democratic leaders. Also, the CIA has spent a lot of time spying on the politicians whom the Iraqis have now voted into office—and the Bushites want to keep this information secret from the people and their chosen leaders.
A government that’s under the thumb of the CIA is neither sovereign nor a democracy, no matter how George tries to spin it.
GREAT SMOKY PHOTO-OP This year Mother Nature messed up George’s Earth Day plans. He was fully outfitted and had been flown out to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where a horde of TV cameras, photographers, and reporters were going to record him working with a gaggle of volunteers to help restore a trail in the park. George loves being depicted as a regular working guy, and Karl Rove had carefully screened the volunteers so no pesky Democrats or Sierra Club kooks would interrupt his scripted moment with some nasty remark. (You know, like pointing out that George has broken his promise to eliminate the $4 billion backlog on repairing our deteriorating park system, and instead has actually increased the backlog to $5 billion).
It was to be a swell day—but Mother Nature whipped up a thunderstorm, and poor George had to give his environmental talk inside a cold, dank hangar at the airport, speaking to his own aides and some military personnel. This made him a bit grumpy, as he declared, “In the park, had I been there, I would have reminded people today is Earth Day, a day in which we recommit ourselves to being good stewards of the land.” Then George flew back to Washington to continue pushing for policies that allow oil-drillers, clear-cutters, and strip-miners to plunder our national parks and pollute our environment. But he did make one sensible suggestion while in the park—he encouraged Americans to save our environment through volunteer action.
I agree. Please volunteer with your local Sierra Club or other grassroots environmental group to defeat George’s corporate assault on Mother Earth. Jim Hightower is a speaker and author. To order his books or schedule him for a speech, visit www.jimhightower.com. To subscribe to his newsletter, the Hightower Lowdown, call toll-free 1-866-271-4900.