The headline of February 22 was eye-catching and unambiguous. It read “Europe, Canada and Mexico Opposed to Spread of Democracy”, which isn’t the sort of thing you see every day. It not only caught my attention, it made me sit up and stare in disbelief. How could any sane person imagine for an instant that the twenty-five nations of the European Union and two other democratic countries could actually oppose the spread of the very system of governance they have themselves chosen? Could anyone believe this rubbish to be true?
Yes, they could. The crackpots of The Conservative Voice believe it. They must do, otherwise they wouldn’t have published that plain and clear-cut headline. But the truth, hidden in the text, was that an Associated Press poll showed “a majority of people in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, South Korea and Spain do not believe that the United States role should be to spread democracy throughout the world.” To be blunt : The Conservative Voice headline was an outright lie. The words “Opposed to Spread of Democracy” and “do not believe that the United States role should be to spread democracy” convey very different meanings. But this doesn’t matter to the cretins whose idol, Bush, has set a standard of flagrant mendacity they are trying hard to equal. Unfortunately, the lying doesn’t stop there. And the effects of the lies are both startling and depressing.
Last month a Harris poll showed that 64 per cent of Americans believe Saddam Hussein had strong links to Al Qaeda, that 47 per cent believe Saddam helped plan and support the 9/11 attacks, and that 44 per cent believe several of the 9/11 hijackers were Iraqis. It is staggering that so many millions of Americans can have got it entirely wrong. Surely they must have read at least some coverage of the 9/11 Commission Report which states “We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al-Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States”? There wasn’t a newspaper or radio or television station, even in deepest, darkest Bushland, that claimed the 9/11 terrorists included Iraqis. It appears that millions of people are so grotesquely gullible as to continue to imagine there were “strong links” between Saddam and Al Qaeda when an independent Commission determined that this was not so. Do they not read the responsible newspapers? – for example, the Washington Post recorded “The Sept. 11 commission reported yesterday that it has found no “collaborative relationship” between Iraq and al Qaeda”. How can so many people be fooled for so much of the time?
The reason they believe that up is down, round is square, lies are truth, is that Bush and Cheney told them there was cooperation between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. In his 2003 State of the Union Address Bush declared “Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of Al Qaeda.” There is no double-meaning in that pronouncement. The words are as clear as the headline in The Conservative Voice about Europe being opposed to the spread of democracy. And they are equally false and deceitful. The President assured the American people that Saddam Hussein aided and protected members of Al Qaeda. He said he had evidence to prove it. He lied.
This isn’t a matter of Clinton’s “I did not have relations with that woman” or even Nixon’s “You can say I don’t remember. You can say I don’t recall.” The lies of Clinton were absurd and pathetic, and those of Nixon dark and squalid. But their lies were not told with the intention of encouraging the American people to support an illegal and disastrous war that would kill or main thousands of young Americans and tens of thousands of blameless Iraqi citizens.
Clinton’s lies didn’t work, and he was disgraced. Neither did Nixon’s, and he was forced to resign. But the lies by Bush have worked very well. And he goes from depth to depth, telling more and more lies that are believed by many millions of Americans.
Bush and his coterie were determined to invade Iraq, and there was no better way of whipping up support for the attack than the Nazi device of the Big Lie. If the people of the United States were to be deceived into supporting his war, then it would take the biggest lies conceivable – real whoppers – to persuade them. And that’s what they got : exactly what Hitler’s Germany got in the 1930s. Little wonder the people who see only Fox News and consider their patriotic local newspapers to be next thing in credibility to the Gospel failed and still fail to realize they are lied to by experts. But they aren’t the only ones. It may seem bizarre, but some quite intelligent people believe that Saddam and Al Qaeda worked together. Last June Cheney told the James Madison Institute, a conservative organisation based in Florida that Saddam Hussein “had long established ties with al-Qaeda’.” This is a flat, outrageous and easily identifiable lie, but these people lapped it up, and they are not low in the IQ department. Yet they cannot believe – they refuse to credit – the 9/11 Commission’s finding that “We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al-Qaeda co-operated on attacks against the United States.”
Let there be no doubt : if the 9/11 Commission had found the slightest, tiniest, most miniscule pointer that might possibly have indicated the remotest connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, they would have told the American people about it. But there wasn’t, so they didn’t. But it made no difference. The brainwashed faithful believers follow the false prophets.
Thirty years ago Nora Beloff, a British political analyst, wrote that “a Communist will always put the interests of the party and class war above the bourgeois concept of objective truth”. She wrote in the context of Marxist influence in the UK press, but her observation is applicable today in Washington. All we have to do is replace ‘a Communist’ with ‘Bush’, ‘Cheney’, Rumsfeld’ or ‘Rice’, to realize that truth is no longer important or even relevant to the country’s rulers. The present ‘class war’ is between the regime in power and the people they are willfully deceiving.
Contrary to the ideals of providing (or permitting) objective truth, there was constant repetition of the false claim that Al Qaeda was linked to Iraq. On October 7, 2002 Bush said “We know that Iraq and the al-Qaeda terrorist network share a common enemy: the United States of America. We know that Iraq and al-Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade . . . We’ve learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases.” All lies. But clever lies, because the American people were mesmerized by terrorism to the point of believing anything. When Bush strung together ‘terrorist’, ‘al-Qaeda’, ‘poisons’ and ‘Iraq’ in his speech, his audience leapt to the obvious conclusion they were meant to draw : Iraq was a deadly threat to the United States.
On January 21, 2003, Cheney announced on NPR that “There’s overwhelming evidence there was a connection between Al Qaeda and the Iraqi government. I am very confident that there was an established relationship there.” There was no evidence whatever. Little wonder that Conservatives and Madisons and hosts of others have been thoroughly brainwashed. They are brought up to believe that a Republican president and vice-president can think no wrong, say no wrong, do no wrong, and they lack the strength of will to question anything. Just like poor little Britney Spears they believe that “Honestly, I think we should just trust our president in every decision that he makes and we should just support that, you know, and be faithful in what happens.”
Even when evidence is produced by impeccable sources and shows, absolutely without doubt, with no possibility of it being contradicted, that Bush and Cheney were and are lying in their teeth, the loony tunes team continue believing the lies. They have to. They have no alternative to unconditional belief, even when the lies are so blatant and obvious. Because if they were to begin to question what Bush and Cheney tell them as truth, the whole edifice, the whole artifice, of the Bush administration would crumble to dust.
Three days after his lying announcement that Saddam Hussein “aids and protects” members of Al Qaeda, Bush was asked a penetrating question (not, of course, by one of the White House press spaniels) at a joint press conference with the equally mendacious Tony Blair, prime minister of Britain:
QUESTION. One question for you both. Do you believe that there is a link between Saddam Hussein, a direct link, and the men who attacked on September the 11th?
BUSH : I can’t make that claim.
BLAIR : That answers your question.
No; Bush avoided the question. Blair came to the aid of his fellow-conspirator and finessed the potentially embarrassing situation, but nobody was allowed to pursue the subject to the point that Bush would have to answer “No”, which, to anyone less devious and deceitful, would be the honest answer. But even if he had been honest for once in his life, and actually dared to say ‘No’ (although “I can’t make that claim” is pretty clear, at that), the Conservatives and the Madisons and their like would continue to believe that up is down and black is white because “we should just trust our president”
We are caught in a sticky web of sordid mendacity, spun by swindlers whose only loyalty is to the cause of power. A lying headline in a third-rate amateur publication may not seem of much importance; but it is, because it is an example of what Bush and Cheney have sponsored and encouraged, and of what they stand for. They have lost touch with truth. That wouldn’t be too bad in itself, if it wasn’t for the fact that they have dragged an awful lot of good people down into the gutter with them.
BRIAN CLOUGHLEY writes on military and political affairs. He can be reached through his website www.briancloughley.com