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It's a Matter of Words

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(Originally published on my website April 7, 2006.)

Once again Bush is off the hook. How close can scandal get over and over again without touching him? First, I have to give Scott McClellan a round of applause. The performance he gave at the press briefing was an amazing tap dance. It reminded me of Clinton's "I did not have sexual relations with that woman." It all depended on the definition of "sexual relations". Some debated that it meant intercourse while others said it should include blow jobs. It's all in the definition as to whether he lied or not.

We saw the White House do it with Hurricane Katrina after the FEMA video came out. Breeched Levee's versus Topped Levee's. Never mind that over a thousand people died and still seven months later many remain homeless and displaced. The difference between breeched and topped decided whether they would do nothing or do what? It didn't make a bit of difference to the People in New Orleans. If it had been topped, the water would have been trapped in the city with no way out. But the whole time the media and the White House tapped danced about the difference between the two words.

So now we have the difference between releasing information for the public interest using subterfuge, i.e. Scooter Libby telling Ms. Miller of the NY Times that it was obtained from a former house staffer rather then just releasing it through McClellan himself as they did later anyway, and leaking information. The subterfuge the White House used should be the hot topic, not a discussion about whether or not the president declassified it so it wasn't a leak. If he wanted to defend himself against Joe Wilson, then why not go through normal channels. In addition, why is nobody asking the president why he "leaked" or "declassified" information that supported his defense of the Iraq pre-war intelligence and not the dissenting material. If that wasn't "Cherry picking" then please explain to me what is. The fact of the matter is that if the President presented all the facts, the American public would have not supported this war at the beginning. The only reason the public agreed to support the war was because they were frightened of "Mushroom Clouds" and "eminent threats". Not because Saddam was a bad man. We are not better off without him, we are worse. Our military is at a breaking point, we are despised around the world, we have massive national debt, we have killed well over 100,000 innocent Iraq's, we have over 2300 of our own troops dead and over 19,000 wounded, the Iraq government we have put in place is allied with Iran, and a civil war is beginning. So how are we better off without Saddam? If the American people were really concerned about Saddam's ethics and treatment of his people, I can think of a number of countries we should go into today. How about the Sudan? Genocide is going on there this very moment. But that is not why we invaded Iraq. The Downing Street Memos show clearly Bush manipulating intelligence and lying to the people about the Iraq war. House resolution 635, 636, and 637 is still sitting on Rep. Conyers desk with no way to leave unless the democrats get control of the house in September. Then we have the NSA warrantless spying on Americans versus the terrorist surveillance program. If you keep changing the words often enough, it becomes legal. Well, it helps that your cronies in the congress shut down any investigation. No investigation , no crime. Simple. What did Nixon say? "When the president does it, it's not illegal." Isn't that how it works for everyone? NO? So now we have The connection between Wilson-Libby-Cheney-Bush. The Plame-Gate scandal. Mr. Honor himself had this to say
"I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action." [Bush Remarks: Chicago, Illinois, 9/30/03]

and don't forget Bush's press shill

"The President has set high standards, the highest of standards for people in his administration. He's made it very clear to people in his administration that he expects them to adhere to the highest standards of conduct. If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration." [White House Briefing, 9/29/03]

At no time during all this did the President mention, BTW I did declassify information surrounding this issue and authorized Scooter to leak it to selected people in the press but had him ensure it wouldn't be attributable to the White House ( I have not addressed the issue of whether Libby is telling the truth because the press briefing and Scott McClellan's tap dance made it obvious that they are putting out why it was OK for the president to leak intelligence information and not concentrating on lack of proof).
And lets applaud the role media is performing. Great investigative reporting by asking Scott McCellan what the law is about declassifying information. Wouldn't that be better put to, say, a lawyer? I keep hearing the media asking whether this is just politics. When does politics become treason? When 1,000 people die because of politics? When 2,000 die? When 100,000 die? 200,000? When is the line crossed?

There are many scandals surrounding this President. And these aren't about who got a blow job or an accounting/real estate scandal that was investigated for eight plus years with nothing to show from it. These scandals start before his elections and the 57,000 people removed from the voting registrars simply for being black or registered democrats. We would have to start with his low entrance test to the Air National Guard, yet able to leap ahead of thousands of others to be selected to avoid the Vietnam draft. Greg Palast has done tremendous investigative reporting that is mostly shown in Europe where it has a great impact on our elections. If you get a chance to watch Bush Family Fortunes, you will begin to get an idea of how deep this rabbit hole goes.

So this is the man that was elected to bring back honor and integrity to the White House. That has sent our honourable men and women off to war for reasons unknown. We don't know because when he is asked by reputable reporters like Helen Thomas, they are vilified.

The evidence is there. The investigations just need to begin. I suggest we do it soon, though. The drums of war are beating again. This time Iran with North Korea to follow. For the critics that say he isn't that crazy, just look at who is surrounding him. He is a War President after all. With many republicans decrying "declare victory and leave" concerning Iraq, he will be looking for a chance to get it right with no regard to truth or the lives of our sons and daughters.
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 A native of Missouri, Richards is currently in D.C. and working with others to end the war in (more...)
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