Wednesday, October 06, 2004


Personally, I'd rather talk about books right now, but we're getting close to an important election, and there's something I've been thinking about that was highlighted again last night and this morning as I read the various spin doctors on last night's debate.

Around my house, accusing someone of being a liar are fighting words. I've recently faced the truth that I count on this reaction sometimes to be an effective deflector from the main issue. I've never been very good at lying, or poker for that matter. In order to lie well, I have to use lots of words, and spin things in such a way that I actually believe myself by the time I'm done. As an example;

"Did you feed the cats?"

"When I went down there this morning, I noticed that their bowls desperately need cleaning. Especially this time of year, when the bugs are coming in out of the cold. I think we need a regular schedule to wash those bowls, don't you?"

"But did you feed them?"

"I said I went down there this morning. Are you accusing me of being a liar to avoid a discussion of their neglected bowls?"

How is this tied to the current election?

After the last Presidential debate, I noticed two new ads on TV; this one from the Bush campaign, and this one from the Kerry campaign.

Here's the text of the Bush ad;

He said he'd attack terrorists who threaten America,
But at the debate, John Kerry said America must pass a "global test" before we protect ourselves.

The Kerry doctrine: A global test.
So we must seek permission from foreign governments before protecting America?
A global test?
So America will be forced to wait while threats gather?
President Bush believes decisions about protecting America should be made in the Oval Office, not foreign capitals.
Those who saw the debate know this is taking statements out of context. Kerry did use the phrase "global test," after he stated that he would never allow anyone to veto the President's right to protect the country. So, did the Bush campaign lie?

The Kerry people seem to think so. From their response ad;

George Bush lost the debate. Now he's lying about it...
Those are fighting words. I can never recall a candidate calling the President a liar, especially on the basis of such shakey evidence.

Don't misunderstand me. Personally, I've called the President a liar a number of times. I realize that is a strong accusation. But the particular situation in which I believe he lied has cost thousands of lives. I'm convinced he knew there were no WMDs in Iraq, that Hussein was no threat to our security, and lied through his teeth to push forward this unneccesary war. Recent news stories suggest that this accusation is well founded;

In 2002, at a crucial juncture on the path to war, senior members of the Bush administration gave a series of speeches and interviews in which they asserted that Saddam Hussein was rebuilding his nuclear weapons program. Speaking to a group of Wyoming Republicans in September, Vice President Dick Cheney said the United States now had "irrefutable evidence" - thousands of tubes made of high-strength aluminum, tubes that the Bush administration said were destined for clandestine Iraqi uranium centrifuges, before some were seized at the behest of the United States.

Those tubes became a critical exhibit in the administration's brief against Iraq. As the only physical evidence the United States could brandish of Mr. Hussein's revived nuclear ambitions, they gave credibility to the apocalyptic imagery invoked by President Bush and his advisers. The tubes were "only really suited for nuclear weapons programs," Condoleezza Rice, the president's national security adviser, explained on CNN on Sept. 8, 2002. "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

But almost a year before, Ms. Rice's staff had been told that the government's foremost nuclear experts seriously doubted that the tubes were for nuclear weapons, according to four officials at the Central Intelligence Agency and two senior administration officials, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity. The experts, at the Energy Department, believed the tubes were likely intended for small artillery rockets...
This administration knew that their claims of WMDs were false. Bush knew. A strong but accurate word to describe this President would be "liar." If the Kerry campaign wants to toss around this word, I think they should point to this event (replacing their preferred term, "misled" with the more accurate term, "lied") and not focus on a petty attempt to win voters by quoting a line from a debate out of context.

Last night, in the VP debate, we saw who has really been running the country for the last four years; Dick Cheney. And we saw that he most likely is quite good at poker. The way he was so convincingly able to trot out lie after lie was pretty frightening. No matter how often this is pointed out post debate, the reality is that he came off as the grizzly old veteran compared to Edwards the young pup. Those who will vote to feel safer will go with the old man, even if he is a bold-faced liar.

Now I need to go feed the cats. Maybe I'll even wash their bowls.


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