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The hellish-hot weather persuaded me that I was wise to ignore the caution expressed by a close friend who grew up in Dallas, as I set off to give talks there. Better wear a bulletproof vest, he told me.
I was, nonetheless, feeling a bit anxious, given what had happened during my last major speech there, when I addressed the World Affairs Council of Greater Dallas on Jan. 20, 2004. Then my topic was "Intelligence and War: Lessons From the Recent Past," and I was very intentional about being, well, fair and balanced in devoting equal time to listing the baleful lies of two Texans - Lyndon Baines Johnson and George W. Bush - both of whom got a lot of people killed in unnecessary war.
I even reached back into history to enlist help from a former president whom Bush had called his favorite - Teddy Roosevelt, who said:
"To announce that there is to be no criticism of the president or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong is not only unpatriotic and servile, but morally treasonable to the American people."
Suffice it to say that my attempt at evenhandedness failed miserably, even though I used up a lot of precious time rehearsing LBJ's perfidy on Vietnam - dissecting, in particular, his exploitation of dubious intelligence regarding the Gulf of Tonkin non-incident of Aug. 4, 1964. I gave pride of place to that well deserved castigation before I delved into a reconstruction of what was already discernible as of January 2004 with respect to the lies told by George W. Bush to "justify" attacking Iraq exactly 10 months before.
Okay, so maybe I laid it on a little thick in citing what Nazi war criminal Hermann Goering told his American interrogator in Nuremberg:
"Naturally, the common people do not want war. That is understood. But after all it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a communist dictatorship....
"The people can always be brought to do the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."