OK, we admit it: we were wrong. The big news that shook the world last month has finally convinced your humble correspondent to wolf down a huge plate of crow tartare and confess the error of his ways. Like the worst kind of partisan hack, this column completely swallowed the liberal media line on this all-important issue, and our blind zealotry led us to launch a series of savage–but unjustified–attacks on American leaders trying their best to defend the country against a remorseless, treacherous enemy who hates everything the nation stands for: its laws, its liberties, its most noble traditions.
Thanks to the revelations that emerged after the historic capture of Saddam Hussein, we now have the clearest picture yet of the brazen perfidy and moral depravity of the unelected tyrant directly responsible for the deaths of an untold number of innocent Iraqis and hundreds of American soldiers. Much of this sordid history has long been known–although tragically ignored or excused by the tyrant’s apologists–but its true extent has now been laid bare so starkly that no rational person could deny it.
We refer of course to the disclosure that the Bush Regime knowingly gave false testimony to Congress in secret sessions last fall, in order to manipulate legislators into supporting unelected strongman George W. Bush’s war of aggression against Iraq. These oathbreakers told senators that not only did Saddam Hussein ***possess*** armed and ready weapons of mass destruction–he also had the physical means to launch them directly against the United States at any time.
This stunning deceit was revealed by U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, who told Florida Today that administration officials gave a classified briefing to at least 75 senators before the October 2002 vote on Bush’s demand for a blank check to invade Iraq whenever he damn well took the notion. The Bushist Party perjurers told the Senate that Saddam had an arsenal of deadly chemical and biological weapons–including anthrax–which could be fired from his fleet of highly advanced unmanned drone airplanes. These drones could devastate the eastern seaboard of the United States, the Bush liars swore: millions of lives were at imminent risk.
Faced with these scarifying “facts,” the Senate finally gave Bush his blank check to make war on Iraq at his whim. We were among the many who denounced this vote as timorous kowtowing to an illegitimate, bullying blowhard. Our epithets flew like knives: “jellyfish,” “rubberstamps,” “spineless toadies.” We even quoted the Emperor Tiberius’ judgment on the obsequieous Senate that flattered his every desire: “Men fit to be slaves.”
But now we know the truth. There were no weapons of mass destruction, cocked and ready to fire. There were not even any active programs to produce them. This was the conclusion of the Regime’s own CIA-paid weapons hunter, David Kay (who coincidentally–or maybe not so coincidentally–announced his retirement from the job last week). The fleet of seaboard-ravaging intercontinental super-drones turned out to be a handful of tiny unmanned reconnaissance planes, with a wing-span of just 24 feet and no capacity for even carrying–much less ***delivering***–weapons of any kind.
But of course Bush’s bearers of false witness already knew that. They knew it before they briefed the Senate. Air Force intelligence experts–whom one might expect to know a little something about aircraft–repeatedly told the White House that their attack-drone angle was nonsense. Even amid the boiling war fever that fueled the Regime’s concoction of its “National Intelligence Estimate” on Iraq–a fetid stew of stale news, cooked data and pure hokum–the Air Force held firm, officially dissenting from the NIE conclusions, the Associated Press reports. But this didn’t stop the deceivers from peddling their prevarications to Congress–or keep the “moderate” Colin Powell from telling the same lies to the whole world at the UN.
Thus our apologies for the imprecations we heaped upon those senatorial heads. Surely it’s too much to expect the second-rate backslappers and bribetakers who make up the majority of any political party to stand firm against such an onslaught of radical deceit. And even for the most astute and honorable legislator, it would be hard to believe–harder still to accept–that the leader of your country would lie so completely, so shamelessly, especially to advance a cause so criminal and murderous in nature: a war of aggression, based on false evidence, leading to the unnecessary deaths of thousands upon thousands of innocent people.
But he did lie. Bush is steeped so far in lies and blood that his very grasp of reality has been effaced. This was evident in the rare TV interview he gave last month. Asked why he had claimed Saddam’s possession of WMD was a “hard fact” when the intelligence showed nothing of the sort, when it was obvious now that Saddam had, at most, only the possible intent to acquire them again someday, Bush replied, with bone-chilling moral incoherence: “So what’s the difference?”
No difference between a physical threat and a disembodied potential? Apparently not: both are equal justifications for killing innocent people. Like other wielders of illegitimate power–Stalin, Saddam, Osama–Bush’s lies have turned into deadly hallucinations. He’s entered an alternative world, where reason vanishes, facts melt and nothing remains but his own disordered sense of rectitude, the unchallengeable righteousness of his vagrant whims and base desires.
Life, death, truth, lies–what’s the difference? None, to Bush’s corroded mind. And we’re all living in his head now.
CHRIS FLOYD is a columnist for the Moscow Times and a regular contributor to CounterPunch. His CounterPunch piece on Rumsfeld’s plan to provoke terrorist attacks came in at Number 4 on Project Censored’s final tally of the Most Censored stories of 2002. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org