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[casi] The Disinformation Age

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Interesting article about the responsibility of the media.
Dirk Adriaensens.
The Disinformation Age:
How George W. Bush and Saint Colin of Powell are lying America into an unnecessary war - and what 
honest journalists can do about it
By Dennis Hans
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, speaking January 19 on ABC's Sunday morning political show 
"This Week," offered the media splendid advice on how they should handle in their broadcasts and 
articles a leader who lies:

"Well, first, Saddam Hussein is a liar. He lies every single day. . . . He is still claiming that 
he won the war. His people are being told every day that they won. It was a great victory in 1991 
when he was thrown out of Kuwait and chased back to Baghdad. Now, it seems to me that almost every 
time you quote something from him, you should preface it by saying 'here's a man who has lied all 
the time and consistently'" (

Actually, that's no longer necessary with Saddam. Nothing he says has been taken at face value 
since the 1980s, that golden decade when he was committing his worst human rights abuses with the 
blessing and support of Saint Colin of Powell and presidents Reagan and Bush - not to mention 
Reagan's special emissary to Baghdad, a chap named Donald Rumsfeld.

There is a lying leader, a bit closer to home, to whom our news media should apply Rummy's good 
advice. Not only does the leader lie, but so too do his top aides. And the news media, with rare 
exceptions, routinely pass along their lies as fact. The result is that the people of America are 
out of touch with the people of the world. Thus we're far more willing than any other populace to 
launch an unprovoked attack on Iraq. Whereas the German and French people - and the populations 
ruled by governments siding with Uncle Sam - are reasonably well-informed and overwhelmingly 
opposed, Americans are reasonably well-disinformed.

If Brokaw, Rather, Jennings and Lehrer have an ounce of integrity, they'll apply Rummy's remedy to 
the pronouncements on Iraq by George W. Bush and his top aides. I recommend this pre-interview and 
-soundbite preface:

"Here is a president [secretary of defense, secretary of state, national security adviser] who, 
when it comes to Iraq, repeatedly lies, exaggerates, misrepresents, deletes crucial context, or 
states actual facts in a manner cleverly designed to leave a false impression. Viewer beware."

How The Media Enable And Enhance White House Deceit

For an administration headed by a purported plain-spoken straight shooter - a Texan who will look 
you in the eye and tell it like it is - it sure has mastered an awful lot of techniques of deceit.

The techniques of deceit I describe below are simple and transparent. It requires but half a brain 
and an ounce of courage to expose them. We should praise the too-few exposers and ridicule and 
badger the countless facilitators of flim-flam. We should single out the latter by name and demand 
they clean up their act or get out of the profession.

Not being privy to the brains of individual journalists, I can't say why any particular one behaves 
as he or she does. Clearly, many factors, both institutional and personal, help to explain why Bob 
Woodward, Wolf Blitzer and John McWethy are war-team toadies while Dana Millbank and Glenn Kessler 
are solid reporters. I don't know why columnists Nicholas Kristof and Richard Cohen continue to 
believe that Bush is an honest man, or why Paul Krugman has done more than all of the network and 
cable "news" operations combined to expose the president as a brazen serial liar. I do know, 
however, that the current ratio, which I estimate at 100 gullible Woodwards for every competent 
Krugman, is disastrous for democracy.

What I can explain are five media tendencies that "enable" administration lying and enhance its 

. Bestowing unwarranted credibility. When you routinely present a liar as a truth-teller, you 
become that liar's accomplice. Viewers - particularly those under the ridiculous impression that 
network anchors are feisty, fiercely independent and maybe even left-leaning - will place greater 
credence in an unchallenged lie than a challenged one.

. Demonstrating real or feigned gullibility. The first indicates journalistic incompetence, the 
second journalistic corruption. Either should be a firing offense, but in our twisted media world 
it's a ticket to the top. Self-respecting "news" organizations don't retain, let alone promote, 
people such as Bob Woodward and Ted Koppel, or any of the Rumsfeld groupies "covering" the Pentagon.

. Failure to keep a lying score. A number of administration lies have been exposed, though the 
exposure is brief and often comes weeks after the lie has racked up millions of "frequent liar 
miles." A reputable editor, publisher, anchor or producer would be troubled by this and would 
rectify the situation by regularly publishing or airing a running tally of administration lies.

. Failure to impose a penalty for lying. Why does Bush systematically lie? Because the lies help 
him to win support for his policies - on economic and other issues as well as Iraq - and the media 
impose no penalties on those rare occasions they belatedly catch him. Imagine how much robbery we'd 
have if the only "penalty" for getting caught was a brief mention you were caught. Just as Bush can 
keep telling the lie, you get to keep the TV or SUV you stole. Not much of a "deterrant."

. No institutional memory BY DESIGN. In a healthy media environment, experts on the patterns, 
techniques and history of foreign-policy disinformation campaigns would be valued assets. In our 
present media environment, such people are shunned and staffers are discouraged from developing 
their own expertise. TV can hire scores of generals to provide expert analysis, but they won't hire 
experienced disinformation exposers Robert Parry, Peter Kornbluh, Norman Solomon, Edward Herman or 
Noam Chomsky.

The two-faced Washington Post

Bush is a con man who directs his cons at the very people most inclined to trust him: ordinary 
Americans who've been raised and taught by patriotic parents to put their faith and trust in the 
president of the United States. And here's the ugliest secret of all: His most bullish media 
boosters know it!

I speak of the jingoistic, pro-war and exceedingly creepy editorial board of the Washington Post. 
Commenting on the "misleading" numbers Bush uses to sell to regular folk a tax-cut designed for the 
rich, the Post editorialized recently, "Mr. Bush must know how phony his 'averages' are. Any time a 
salesman has to resort to such deceptive tactics, the customer ought to be wary about what is being 
sold" (

An unsigned editorial represents the collective wisdom of the men and women on the editorial board. 
It is not the view of a "rogue editorialist" shooting off his mouth. The Post's editorial 
braintrust KNOWS that Bush is a grifter.

Non-booster Krugman of the New York Times goes the Post one better, telling Terri Gross, the host 
of NPR's "Fresh Air," that the Bush administration's "level of irresponsibility and dishonesty is 
unprecedented" (WMNF-FM, Tampa, Feb. 26).

More and more Americans are beginning to see just how crooked our straight-shooting president is. 
To further this awareness, and to caution citizens inclined to follow him into war, I review below 
23 "techniques of deceit" of Bush and his foreign-policy team. Some of these techniques I address 
at greater length in "Lying Us Into War" (

I'll start with Powell's techniques before moving on to Bush.

Powell And Bush's "Techniques Of Deceit"

1) Telling with a straight face the "Mother of All Lies," so as to lend credence to a bunch of 
small ones:

"My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not 
assertions. What we are giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence." That's 
what Colin Powell told the U.N., in the course of his now-discredited presentation of bogus tales 
based on discredited defectors, tortured captives, photos and tape recordings that proved little or 
nothing, wild speculation, a "fine" British dossier built on plagiarized essays with 12-year-old 
"revelations," and so on.

I'll cite a few specifics below. Readers interested for a damning dissection of each of Powell's 44 
claims can read this analysis ( by Dr. Glen 
Rangwala of Cambridge University, England's leading expert on U.S. and U.K. claims about Iraq's WMD 

2) Bait and switch:

As Rangwala noted in his initial analysis (, 
posted the day after Powell spoke,

"[Powell] makes strong claims about Iraq's retention and development of non-conventional weapons, 
but the claims that he provides substantive evidence for are either tangential or the evidence is 
ambiguous. An example would be how Powell claimed: 'We know that Saddam's son, Qusay, ordered the 
removal of all prohibited weapons from Saddam's numerous palace complexes ... We also have 
satellite photos that indicate that banned materials have recently been moved from a number of 
Iraqi weapons of mass destruction facilities. . . .'

"However, instead of providing proof of any of those claims, Powell instead produced photos of 
al-Taji ammunition storage facility that shows a small shed and a truck adjacent to the bunker. 
Powell claimed that these are 'a signature item' for chemical bunkers. This seems on the face of it 
to be a wholly implausible claim: a picture of a truck and a shed by themselves reveal nothing 
about the contents of the adjacent bunker.

"In summary, Powell didn't provide evidence for the stronger claims that he made, instead 
displaying a satellite photo that reveals very little. This would indicate that the evidence for 
the stronger claims is either non-existent or contentious."

3) Putting incriminating words in Iraqi mouths that you - or at least your State Department - know 
to be false:

In "Powell's U.N. report apparently contains false information" in the Feb. 24 Sarasota Herald 
Tribune (,
 Gilbert Cranberg, former editorial page editor of the Des Moines Register and George H. Gallup 
Professor Emeritus at the University of Iowa, notes the following (I quote directly from the 

He [Powell] also played the tapes, in Arabic, of two intercepted conversations, which the State 
Department translated. Powell referenced the conversations and commented on them. In the first 
cited conversation, between two Iraqi military officers discussing how to conceal from U.N. 
inspectors a certain "modified vehicle," Powell's account of the conversation squared with the 
State Department's translation. Powell's version of the second conversation, however, departed 
significantly from it.

This conversation, about possibly forbidden ammunition, was reported by Powell to be between 
Republican Guard headquarters and an officer in the field. When Powell referred to this 
conversation, he quoted one of the parties as ostensibly saying, "And we sent you a message 
yesterday to clean out all of the areas, the scrap areas, the abandoned areas. Make sure there is 
nothing there."

The State Department's transcript of the actual conversation makes it evident that Powell had 
embellished the quote to make it appear much more incriminating. Instead of being a directive to 
"clean out all of the areas, the scrap areas and the abandoned areas," as Powell claimed, the 
transcript shows the message from headquarters was merely "to INSPECT [emphasis added by Cranberg] 
the scrap areas and the abandoned areas." The damaging admonition that Powell said he quoted, "Make 
sure there is nothing there" is not in the transcript and appears to be an invention.

Asked to explain the discrepancy, the State Department's press and public affairs offices said I 
should study Powell's presentation posted on the department's Web site. Instead of clarifying or 
explaining the discrepancy, the posted material simply confirmed the disparity.

Cranberg, after pointing out other problems with Powell's so-called evidence, observed that 
"columnists at The New York Times and The Washington Post accepted everything Powell said without a 
smidgen of skepticism, calling it a 'masterful indictment' (James Hoagland) 'that would convince 
any jury' (William Safire)."

4) Exploiting an undeserved reputation for integrity to get unsuspecting people to accept flimsy 
evidence as fact - based on your say-so:

Despite Powell's boast, most of his "evidence" was reed-thin. For viewers who noticed that, "trust" 
came into play in a big way. Listen to Richard Cohen, perhaps the most gullible of the Washington 
Post's lame, tiny contingent of real and fake liberals:

"The clincher, as it had to be, was not a single satellite photo or the intercept of one Iraqi 
official talking to another. And it was not, as it never could be, the assertion that some spy or 
Iraqi deserter had made this or that charge - because, of course, who can prove any of that? It was 
the totality of the material and the fact that Powell himself had presented it. In this case, the 
messenger may have been more important than the message." ( )

A week later, as Powell's "evidence" continued to unravel, the same gullible columnist acknowledged 
the unraveling but still couldn't come to grips with the fundamental dishonesty of his hero and the 
president. Cohen addresses Powell directly:

"Sir, in his kiss-and-not-tell book, David Frum, the former White House speechwriter, tells us 
about George W. Bush's insistence on honesty - on refraining from even politically acceptable 
exaggeration. I accept what he has to say. Yet it's apparent that when it comes to making the case 
for war with Iraq, both Bush and his aides have tickled the facts so that everything proves their 
case. . . . I sleep better knowing that you are in this administration - making policy, I hope, and 
not propaganda." ( .

Bush's "insistence on honesty"? Powell "making policy, . . . not propaganda"? Welcome to the fairy 
tale world of a respected Washington Post pundit.

5) Withholding the key fact that destroys the moral underpinning of an argument.

Powell condemned Saddam's "use of mustard and nerve gas against the Kurds in 1988" that killed 
"Five thousand men, women and children." True, but he did so with the blessing at the time of many 
Reaganites who now serve Bush - including Powell. In 1988, "Secretary of State Colin Powell was 
then the national security adviser who orchestrated Ronald Reagan's decision to give Hussein a pass 
for gassing the Kurds," says former U.S. Ambassador to Croatia, Peter Galbraith in the Boston Globe 

6) Trumpeting the testimony of defectors who you know or highly suspect aren't credible:

According to the recent Newsweek story "Spies, Lies & Iraq," (

"Iraqi defectors who offer themselves to the CIA are put through strenuous interrogations and 
lie-detector tests. The credible ones are given new identities and homes in America or Germany. The 
rejects are cast loose to fend for themselves. Some of them are nonetheless embraced by the [Iraqi 
National Congress] - and, according to CIA officials, recycled to the more sympathetic (and more 
credulous) hawks in the Pentagon. Their stories are then worked over by Wolfowitz's special 
intelligence unit-and passed on to the White House. The CIA, in turn, is asked then to rule on the 
credibility of information provided by defectors the agency has already deemed to be incredible. . 
. . Now, unsurprisingly, the CIA has little use for almost any intelligence emanating from the 
Kurds. The agency has acronyms for various types of intelligence, like HUMINT and ELINT (for 
electronic intelligence). At Langley, intelligence that is junk is jokingly called KURDINT."

Powell cynically used KURDINT and other intelligence "junk" for his U.N. "facts" and "conclusions."

7) Exploiting the fact that the U.N., unlike the U.S. military you served for most of your life, 
doesn't have a Code forbidding lying:

Activist Jimmy Walter (, who has taken out full-page "Powell Lied?" ads in the New York 
Times and other publications, reminds Powell what could have befallen him if he had been an 
active-duty general when he addressed the U.N. Walter cites Section 907, Article 107 of the Uniform 
Code of Military Justice, which addresses "False Statements":

"Any person subject to this chapter who, with intent to deceive, signs any false record, return, 
regulation, order, or other official document, knowing it to be false, or makes any other false 
official statement knowing it to be false, shall be punished as a court-martial may direct."

It's a good thing Powell is retired. But what about his boss, Commander-in-Chief Bush? Is the man 
who gives orders to the generals free to lie? Is he as immune from military justice as he appears 
to be from media justice? We now turn to Bush's techniques, noting that Powell used some of these 
as well in his U.S. presentation.

8) Generalized "certitude":

Bush confidentally asserts that the al Samoud2 missiles, recently ruled by Hans Blix to violate 
limitations on the distance that Iraqi missiles are allowed to fly, are merely the "tip of the 
iceberg" of Iraqi's illegal arsenal. How does he KNOW this? The charitable answer is he doesn't.

Even Hans Blix doesn't "know" what, if anything, remains of Iraq's WMD. As Fairness and Accuracy in 
Media ( reports, "while Blix said he could 
not certify [to the U.N.] that all of the proscribed materials Iraq once possessed had been 
destroyed, neither did he find evidence that any remain. In private, some inspectors do not rule 
out the possibility that Iraq truly is free of banned weapons [this was prior to Blix's ruling on 
the al Samouds]: 'We haven't found an iota of concealed material yet,' one unnamed UNMOVIC official 
told Los Angeles Times Baghdad correspondent Sergei Loiko (12/31/02), who added: 'The inspector 
said his colleagues think it possible that Iraq really has eliminated its banned materials.'"

FAIR also cites this analyis of Rolf Ekeus, who headed the UNSCOM inspections from 1992 to 1997: "I 
would say that we felt that in all areas we have eliminated Iraq's capabilities fundamentally," he 
told a May 2000 Harvard seminar (AP, 8/16/00), adding that "there are some question marks left."

Unless Bush is withholding evidence of Iraqi WMD - evidence that 1441 requires him to provide to 
inspectors - then he couldn't know more than Blix. If Bush is in violation of 1441, what would be 
the appropriate "serious consequences"?

When Blix and Mohammed ElBaradei address the U.N., it's clear from the tone and substance of their 
reports that they are honest experts who use words to inform, not to mislead. Being real experts, 
they're not ashamed to acknowledge when they can't make a definitive judgment about a particular 
matter. When Bush and Powell address the U.N. or the American people, they do so not as honest 
experts but as shady nonexperts. They pretend to know all, and they use words not to inform but to 

Bush's certitude is contagious and has infected much of the mass media. My local paper, the putrid 
St. Petersburg Times, editorialized Feb. 26 that "Bush is correct" in his "iceberg" declaration. 
Readers will have to trust me on this one, but I GUARANTEE that no one on the SPT editorial board, 
headed by the dimwitted, uncurious and contemptible Philip Gailey, has a clue as to what remains of 
Iraqi WMD capabilities.

9) Specific "certitude" - Stating as fact what are allegations, often dubious or subsequently 
disproved ones.

WMD labs in remote Kurdistan (disproven), mobile WMD labs (unproven, even though inspectors have 
been searching for years and some are skeptical of the practicality or existence of such labs) - 
these are just two of many dubious or false charges presented as fact by the Bush team. See 
Rangwala, my "Lying Us Into War," and the analyses of the Institute for Public Accuracy at for dozens of examples; here I'll address one.

Bush boldly declares that "From three Iraqi defectors we know that Iraq, in the late 1990s, had 
several mobile biological weapons labs. These are designed to produce germ warfare agents and can 
be moved from place to a place to evade inspectors. Saddam Hussein has not disclosed these 
facilities. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed them."

What we "know" is that defectors make this unproven claim. We don't know if they were paid or 
coached to make the claim, or volunteered it on their own. Rangwala ( notes that one defector made no mention of the 
labs in his first press conferences. It was several months later, after "debriefings" by the U.S. 
and the Iraqi National Congress, that he started talking about mobile labs. Hans Blix told the 
London Guardian ( he has seen no evidence that these 
mobile labs exist. Acting on tips from the U.S. about labs disguised as food-testing trucks, he 
investigated. "Two food-testing trucks have been inspected and nothing has been found," he said. 
Those mobile labs, a propaganga theme pushed hard by the administration because it supports the 
theme that inspections can never work: A former senior UNSCOM inspector told the Los Angeles Times 
last September that his inspection teams searched for the labs from 1993 to 1998. "I launched raid 
after raid," he said. "We intercepted their radio traffic. We ran roadblocks. We never found 
anything. It was just speculation." (

Blix, the cautious and honest expert, doesn't rule out the possiblity that mobile labs exist. But 
it is absurd for Bush to assert this as an established fact - and the media to allow him to get 
away with it.

10) Delegated lying/Team lying.

Using disinformation "affiliates," such as Richard Perle, Ken Adelman and former Clinton 
administration CIA director James Woolsey, to push damning, highly effective lies for which there 
is no credible evidence, such as the Saddam-9-11 connection ( 
This way, when the story loses steam and credibility, the president and his top advisers don't wind 
up with egg on their faces. The president will have gained considerable public support for an Iraq 
attack in the months the story percolates, and, quite perversely, his credibility will be enhanced 
in the "minds" of credulous commentators because he never PERSONALLY pushed this particular lie!

11) Passive lying (doing nothing to prevent what you know to be a vile slander from lodging in the 
brains of unsuspecting citizens as truth):

a) Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's Hardball, made the following important point a few weeks back 
(click here for transcript:, addressing retired general 
William Perry Smith:

"According to the [January 2003] Knight Ridder poll . . ., the people that know the most about the 
situation in Iraq are least supportive of the war. The ones who are most ignorant, particularly 
those who believe that half the people who attacked us September 11 included Iraqi citizens, are 
for the war. So isn't 'more education' something that stops support for the war, General? I mean, 
the president is not winning on the facts. He's winning, according to the polls, on those who don't 
know the facts.. Well, don't you think the president ought to make the case, General, that the 
American people, tell the American people, 'You're wrong, half of you out there who think that 
there were Iraqis who attacked us September 11. They weren't Iraqis. I've got some other reason why 
I want to attack Iraq.' He's never said that. Should he? Or should he allow himself to benefit from 
people's ignorance?"

Straight-shooting Bush prefers to benefit from the people's "ignorance," though "ignorance" is not 
quite the correct word. People are misinformed because they've been deceived by the Prague 
Connection lie countenanced by Bush and spread by his henchmen.

b) Powell not saying squat about Bush's repeated declarations that the only purpose for those 
aluminum tubes Iraq has been trying to buy is to build centrifuges for uranium enrichment. Powell 
knew there were plenty of doubters in the Energy Department and his own State Department, but the 
"reluctant warrior" never corrected the president. He allowed Bush to build public and 
congressional support for war with an outright lie. (If you know there is a valid non-nuclear 
explanation for a tube, and you tell Americans there is only a nuclear use, that is a lie. For 
details, see the tubes section in this article of mine: (

12) The pot calling the kettle black:

See the comment by Rumsfeld at the start of this essay and the steady stream of comments by Bush 
and others calling Saddam a liar and labeling the Iraqi strategy "cheat and retreat." Every time 
Bush or one of his aides correctly calls Saddam a liar (which is not to suggest he tells nothing 
but lies), reporters should shout back at the speaker, "Takes one to know one!" If reporters shout 
it in unison, they'll be less likely to suffer reprisals from the childish thugs who control access 
to administration officials.

13) The pot calling the WHITE kettle black (dishonest people stating or implying that honest people 
or an uncorrupted process can't be trusted):

Administration officials have cast doubt on the integrity of the inspectors and/or the inspection 
process so as to justify NOT providing them with information with which the inspectors can prove or 
disprove administration allegations of proscribed weapons or WMD activity.

The Bushies know they can keep an allegation alive and productive so long as it has not been 
disproven. On several occasions in the recent past, the administration has provided inspectors with 
evidence of possible nuclear or other proscribed activity at a variety of sites. The inspectors 
have then visited the sites and found no evidence of such activity - and no evidence that such 
activity had taken place in any recent time. In most instances inspectors have the technical means 
to figure this out, so it's not like Iraq can get wind of the inspection and quickly shut down the 
operation and remove all the equipment, as well as the evidential residue that would tip off the 
experts. So now the administration is taking a new tack, claiming that it is withholding evidence 
because the INSPECTORS can't be trusted! That perhaps they've been infiltrated by the Iraqis. This 
accomplishes two things: It supports the argument that inspections can never succeed - as does the 
probably bogus claim of mobile weapons labs - which undermines any proposal that features 
inspections. the credibility of the inspectors in the eyes of those who take administration 
pronouncements at face value (this includes virtually all of the U.S. news media and perhaps half 
of the citizenry), justifies.

14) "Intentional ignorance" as a tactic to sustain an accusation you know or highly suspect is 

Bush and Powell have built the latest alleged Saddam-al Qaeda connection partly on the activities 
of an anti-Saddam Islamist group, Ansar-ul-Aslam, based in Kurdish Iraq, which is beyond the 
control of Saddam's Baghdad-based government. Among the charges the U.S. has made is that Ansar was 
operating a chemical and biological weapons lab in its territory. U.S. senators repeatedly asked 
why the administration doesn't simply bomb the cite and never got a satisfactory answer. Here's the 
REAL answer: Despite what the administration said for public consumption, it was between 99.9 and 
100 percent certain that there was no such weapons lab. If they bombed the town and drove the group 
out, then the media would come in and verify that there was never was any WMD lab. Not only would 
the allegation no longer be available in the propaganda campaign, but the administration would be 
proven to be wrong, dishonest or both. After Powell again made the charge at the U.N. on February 
5, Ansar invited journalists to their rudimentary headquarters and demonstrated for all to see that 
there was no WMD lab or the high-tech infrastructure a WMD lab requires. The allegation has been 
put to rest, though not before it gave weeks of useful service.

15) Passive voice:

Matthew Rothschild, editor of the magazine The Progressive, noted that Bush, in his Feb. 26 speech 
to the American Enterprise Institute, "repeated his favorite passive phrase, 'If war is forced upon 
us.'" As Rothschild aptly comments, "No one's forcing you, George!" (

16) Projecting sincerity that is fraudulent and espousing values you don't cherish:

Bush excels at making eye contact with the camera or a human and projecting sincerity - whether he 
believes in what he's saying or is knowingly selling snake oil. In his Feb. 26 American Enterprise 
Institute address, Bush spoke about his desire to bring democracy to the Middle East, starting with 
Iraq. But Bush didn't take office Feb. 26; he's been president for 25 months. His government has 
had substantial leverage over any number of allied regimes in the Middle East, leverage which he 
could have used to press for democratic reform. To date, he's shown scant interest. So we're 
supposed to believe he's caught the democracy bug just in time to use it to sell an unpopular war? 
Last year he welcomed a coup that temporarily displaced the elected president of Venezuela and 
endorsed crooked elections in Pakistan. He has looked the other way or given the thumbs-up as 
countless allied governments have exploited 9-11 to crush dissent and tighten the squeeze on 
democratic foes. In Afghanistan, he promotes rule by warlords. Even before 9-11, Bush was running 
the U.S. as if it were his own corporation and he was its authoritarian, secretive, scheming and 
duplicitous CEO. Bush has strong anti-democratic tendencies, the worst of which is his continuous 
brazen lying. It would be foolish indeed to take at face value his latest sales pitch: war as a 
means to democratize the Middle East.

17) Talking out of both sides of your mouth:

Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), referring to Bush's reported $26 billion inducement to the Turkish 
government to disregard the 95 percent of Turks opposed to war and allow Turkish territory to be 
used as a staging ground, said this: "In the very week that we negotiated with Turkey, the 
administration also told the governors there wasn't any more money for education and health care."

18) Misrepresentation/Invention.

On Sept. 7, 2002, Bush claimed that the International Atomic Energy Agency released a report in 
1998 that Saddam was six months away from developing a nuclear weapon. No 1998 IAEA report made any 
such claim. Then a presidential spokesperson said Bush had referred to a 1991 report. Wrong again. 
Here's what the IAEA actually reported in 1998: "There are no indications that there remains in 
Iraq any physical capability for the production of weapon-usable nuclear material of any practical 
significance" (

19) Withholding the key fact that would alert viewers that the purported grave threat is 

Bush said in his October speech that Iraq was developing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that could 
target the United States. The president neglected to tell Americans that Saddam would have to 
transport these limited-range UAVs - undetected - across the ocean all the way to our coast. The 
odds of that happening start at a billion to one.

20) Creating in the public mind an intense but unfounded fear:

"Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof - the smoking gun - that could 
come in the form of a mushroom cloud." (October speech) No nukes, no long-range missiles, no 
Saddam-delivered "mushroom cloud" over America.

21) Using mistranslation, misquotation and context-stripping to plant a frightening impression that 
is the exact opposite of what you know to be true:

"Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his 
'nuclear mujahedeen' -- his nuclear holy warriors" (Bush's October speech, repeated by Powell).

Here Bush exploits two fears of the public: of Islamist holy-warrior terrorists and nuclear 
weapons. In "Counter-Dossier II" (, Dr. Glen Rangwala, a 
Cambridge University professor who is the world's leading authority on U.S. and U.K. claims about 
the Iraqi regime, observes that the speech Bush is referring to was delivered by Saddam "on 10 
September 2000 and was about, in part, nuclear energy. The transcription of the speech was made at 
the time by the BBC monitoring service. Saddam Hussein actually refers to 'nuclear energy 
mujahidin,' and doesn't mention the development of weaponry. In addition, the term 'mujahidin' is 
often used in a non-combatant sense, to mean anyone who struggles for a cause. Saddam Hussein, for 
example, often refers to the mujahidin developing Iraq's medical facilities. There is nothing in 
the speech to indicate that Iraq is attempting to develop or threaten the use of nuclear weapons."

22) Straw man:

"The risks of doing nothing, the risks of assuming the best from Saddam Hussein, it's just not a 
risk worth taking." Who advocates "doing nothing"? Not France, Russia and Germany. Not Jimmy Carter 
( Who?

23) Mixing yourself up with the American people, thus pretending that you and we are one and the 

"This nation," says the president, "fights reluctantly, because we know the cost, and we dread the 
days of mourning that always come." But Bush also says that because he's the president, he gets to 
decide. By no stretch of the imagination is Bush a "reluctant warrior."

George W. Bush and Colin Powell simply cannot be trusted. Rather than follow such men into an 
unnecessary and unprovoked war, we'd be better off thinking about just what we should do with this 
deceitful duo.

******* ENDS *******
2003 by Dennis Hans

Bio: Dennis Hans is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington 
Post, National Post (Canada) and online at, Slate and The Black World Today 
(, and his media critiques appear regularly at He has taught courses 
in mass communications and American foreign policy at the University of South Florida-St. 
Petersburg, and can be reached at

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