The smoking gun, however, is not in why the stock value fell, but what turned it around? Halliburton's stock price started a nearly 400% rise from 6 to 40 at precisely the point when the push to invade Iraq began in mid-2002. Check out the chart (http://bigcharts.marketwatch.com/advchart/frames/frames.asp?symb=nasdaq&time=&freq=); it's a V, with the war as the turning point. Why has the media ignored this "coincidence?" Why no question about whether the war's true purposes included the rescue of Halliburton?" Did they get "the benefit of the doubt?"
Similarly, during the first week of the Enron scandal, Bush went in front of the cameras and stated unequivocally that it was an accounting problem not a corruption problem. Never mind the question of how he could know that with such certainty. What makes this an extraordinary event was a President of the United States leaping to the defense of a single corporation, and a primary contributor. Why wasn't there even a peep about it at the time, or later on when the enormity of the corruption was revealed?
Thank God that the Bush Administration no longer gets the benefit of the doubt on its policies, but they still get a pass on their sincerity, even often from left-leaning media. An article from Roy Eidelson (http://www.nonesoblind.org/blog/?p=446) includes this quote: "the Bush administration and its supporters have instead chosen to exploit these concerns in an effort to promote their own narrow ideological agenda." Why is their agenda assumed to be ideological? Is it so certain that their purpose is to pursue ideas, ideals, or ideology? Really?
A few days ago, Bush critic Richard Wolfe actually said that the Bushies were SINCERE in their belief that Iraq would be easy and would lead to other regimes falling. To believe something doesn't make you sincere. I believe that I will eat lunch within the hour. Does that make me sincere? Why do the Bushies' get taken at face value on the character issue?
I believe THE emblematic Bush moment occurred when he was asked in a press conference if the "Mission Accomplished" banner was a mistake. He answered, with obvious awkwardness, that the banner wasn't their idea, but was done by the ship's crew.
This is cheap behavior in trivial incident, to be sure, but that's precisely why it's so significant! It could have been neutralized so easily if Bush had answered "Maybe so" or "I don't know" or "Time will tell" or anything reasonable. In stead, he told a lie that was ridiculously easy to debunk.
What does this reveal? That they don't lie as a last resort, they lie as a FIRST resort! I'm reminded of the old joke: how you know when a lawyer is lying his mouth is moving. It's also emblematic of the press during that time that they let the matter slide, in stead of questioning not just the lie, but the bigger question what kind of people lie when they don't have to, and why bother to lie about trivial embarrassments? A few weeks later, Bush fell off a bicycle, and they tried to cover by saying it was raining. That was debunked the next day, but it didn't even get 1% of the media coverage of Hillary's "bad men" joke or Kerry's botched dummies-go-to-Iraq joke. The Bush team lied outright, offered no explanation, and got a pass.
These guys get caught falsifying news reports, altering scientific reports, plus one lie after another, but they might still be sincere people after all? Come on! They don't just walk and talk like ducks, they have "duck" tattooed on their foreheads!
During 1999 primaries, I researched the histories of all the Bush brothers, and it showed absolutely nothing but shady people giving them sweetheart deals in order to curry favor with their father. Fast forward to the recent Scam of the Union Address, filled with lies and hypocrisies so ironic that I often laughed out loud. And yet, it has only been pseudo-criticized in the media as anything from "too bold" to "out-of-touch," but NOT as the latest and most obvious round of shockingly bald deceit.
And until very recently, condemnations of the Bush rationales for war merely suggested that something's fishy without ever saying they lied. Even now, the talking heads just scratch their heads and wonder why they really want a surge in Iraq, why they would defy advisors and public opinion? And the answer that's always implied is that they're misguided ideologues, demented "true believers."
Maybe demented, but true believers? No way!
Their true purpose all along could easily have been to generate Middle-eastern unrest and perpetual war. After all, it empowered hawks and allowed Bush to suppress criticism as a "president in wartime," it increased crude oil prices and gave oil conglomerates their biggest profits in history, and it funneled a fortune to weapons manufacturers and other Bush backers. All these results were certain to occur, so is it even slightly possible that they did NOT know that? I'd just love to watch someone try to say, with a straight face, that these results were merely fortunate byproducts of their idealistic pursuit of democratic world.
And we should shudder at how close they came to succeeding. Just imagine for a moment how things would be now if they'd found just a few weapons labs in Iraq, as even liberals expected? The public might have been convinced to support martial law, to suppress political speech, maybe even to institute a draft. And if Katrina had also fizzled, the media, that is still letting them slide on voter fraud, would be shouting about their foresight, boldness and competence. Just two pieces of luck, and who knows where we'd be.
During the 2000 election, I thought Gore's single biggest mistake was in saying he did not question what's in George Bush's heart. Bush has had a lifetime of undeserved free passes, his own private affirmative action, and Gore gave Bush his best one. I had never seen a politician more obviously insincere than Bush, but Gore's sighing at Bush's ignorance only demonstrated that he had completely bought the media subtext that Bush is too dumb to be insincere. So Gore validated Bush and empowered their strategy
I urge all progressives to demand of the media and the Democrats that Bush be seen as his record proves. He is not someone who lies because he sincerely believes that his wonderful ends justify his clumsy means, but is really an old-fashioned con artist, running swindles for the likes of Enron, Halliburton, and the Republican crony machine. From now on, they should be presumed guilty until proven innocent.