President Bush has never been one to shy away from demagoguery, but his speech today, on Veteran's Day, really takes the cake:
In a speech marking Veterans Day at the Tobyhanna Army Depot in Pennsylvania, Bush pointed to bipartisan support for an October 2002 congressional resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq and suggested that critics now were hypocritically refusing to "stand behind" U.S. troops fighting there.
So says the man who sent those troops into combat without proper equipment, without any sort of clear plan or mission, without any appreciation for how he's overextending our armed forces. So says the man who fights to cut the Veteran's Administration resources.
So says the man to ginned up false and weak intelligence into a case for a war he was planning since his first week in office. Recall:
"From the very beginning, there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go," O'Neill told CBS, according to excerpts released Saturday by the network. "For me, the notion of pre-emption, that the U.S. has the unilateral right to do whatever we decide to do, is a really huge leap."
O'Neill, who served nearly two years in Bush's Cabinet, was asked to resign by the White House in December 2002 over differences he had with the president's tax cuts. O'Neill was the main source for "The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill," by former Wall Street Journal reporter Ron Suskind.
The CBS report is scheduled to be broadcast Sunday night; the book is to be released Tuesday by publisher Simon & Schuster.
Suskind said O'Neill and other White House insiders gave him documents showing that in early 2001 the administration was already considering the use of force to oust Saddam, as well as planning for the aftermath.
"There are memos," Suskind told the network. "One of them marked 'secret' says 'Plan for Post-Saddam Iraq.'"
So who the hell does Bush think he's kidding when he says:
While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began. Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war.
BooMan cites several sources from the right-wing pro-war echo chamber, and adds:
This is how lies are spread from Cheney's office into the mainstream media. Will the media question why the President continues to cite crudely forged documents?
Will they indeed.
Bush further claims:
That's why more than a hundred Democrats in the House and the Senate -- who had access to the same intelligence -- voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power.
But did Congress have the same intelligence, as Bush claims? Apparently not:
Vice President Cheney and his chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, overruling advice from some White House political staffers and lawyers, decided to withhold crucial documents from the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2004 when the panel was investigating the use of pre-war intelligence that erroneously concluded Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, according to Bush administration and congressional sources.
Among the White House materials withheld from the committee were Libby-authored passages in drafts of a speech that then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell delivered to the United Nations in February 2003 to argue the Bush administration's case for war with Iraq, according to congressional and administration sources. The withheld documents also included intelligence data that Cheney's office -- and Libby in particular -- pushed to be included in Powell's speech, the sources said.
The new information that Cheney and Libby blocked information to the Senate Intelligence Committee further underscores the central role played by the vice president's office in trying to blunt criticism that the Bush administration exaggerated intelligence data to make the case to go to war.
Of course, when caught in a lie, Bush and company will just come up with a bigger lie -- like trying to claim that it's the Democrats who are rewriting history.
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Atrios with some dates and quotes that are inconvenient for Bush.
Think Progress with some fact checking.
The Heretik with some political realities.
Oh, yes, and those damning Downing Street Memos.