Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Has President Bush been telling the Truth to the American People

Recently, I received a comment from one of my readers. In the comment, the reader was offended by statements that I made with regard to whether I thought that President Bush was telling the truth to the American people. Of course, it is never my desire to offend anyone during the course of relating how I feel about a given subject. For that reason, I am apologizing to 'Sandra' for having offended her, however; I feel it is imperative of me to explain why I wrote that I thought that the President of the United States is a liar.

President Bush took office in January of 2000 with a mandate of presenting an openly honest government. He promised that none of the dishonest tactics that characterized the Clinton administration would be attributed to his administration. However, over the course of his eight years in the White House, Mr. Bush has presented a much different modus operandi. He has hidden many of his actions behind the curtain of ‘executive privilege; it is a position that does not lend itself readily to the original promise to be open and honest with the American public.

While the use of ‘executive privilege’ is not, in and of itself, reason to believe that the President has lied; it does however, contradict the ‘promise’! I have decided to ‘google’ the some of the instances where what the President promised and what he actually did are in conflict with his promise to the American people to be open and honest. In doing this, I want to dispel the notion that I have a personal vendetta against the President Bush.

Let’s get started by defining the term 'executive privilege' and whether, or not it is address in the Constitution. We will then discuss how it is being applied by the Bush administration. Looking at the Congressional Library for guidance, we see that its definition is as follows: EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE - exemption from legally enforced disclosure of communications within the executive branch of government when such disclosure would adversely affect the functions and decision-making processes of the executive branch - Merriam-Webster.

That is the definition; now let's look at what, how, and under what circumstances that the President can apply 'executive privilege'.

Executive Privilege was first invoked by President George Washington. Washington's invokement of executive privilege set the precedence which modern day Presidents have continued to enjoyed, much to the chagrin of the American public. Just what are the rights involved with this privilege?


1. The Constitution nowhere expressly mentions executive privilege. Presidents have long claimed, however, that the constitutional principle of separation of powers implies that the Executive Branch has a privilege to resist certain encroachments by Congress and the judiciary, including some requests for information.

2. Presidents often assert executive privilege even if the information or documents sought are not matters of national security. They argue that some degree of confidentiality is necessary for the Executive Branch to function effectively. Key advisers will hesitate to speak frankly if they must worry that what they say will eventually become a matter of public record.

The Supreme Court considered this argument in the 1974 case of
United States v. Nixon. A grand jury convened by Watergate special prosecutor Leon Jaworski issued a subpoena to President Nixon requiring that he produce Oval Office tapes and various written records relevant to the criminal case against members of Nixon's Administration. Nixon resisted on grounds of executive privilege.

The Court recognized "the valid need for protection of communications between high Government officials and those who advise and assist them in the performance of their manifold duties." It noted that "[h]uman experience teaches that those who expect public dissemination of their remarks may well temper candor with a concern for appearances and for their own interests to the detriment of the decision-making process."

Nonetheless, the Justices concluded that the executive privilege is not absolute. Where the President asserts only a generalized need for confidentiality, the privilege must yield to the interests of the government and defendants in a criminal prosecution. Accordingly, the Court ordered President Nixon to divulge the tapes and records. Two weeks after the Court's decision, Nixon complied with the order. Four days after that, he resigned.

I am quoting Mr. Dorf, a Harvard Professor of Law, because of his distinguish credentials with regard to Constitutional Law. I also want to point out that there, technically, is no constitutional basis for any President to withhold information from the American people under any circumstances - unless - you don't want the truth to be known. Yet, the other two branches of government have relinquished their right to question the authority of the Executive branch in its assertion of executive privilege as a tool in denying everyone the access to information that was used to develop policy, or make decisions that effect us all.

President Bush has invoked 'Executive Privilege' on more occasions than any other President - four times! Obviously, he has a lot to hide.

Bush's Lies About Iraq
Lie #1--They Attacked Us: Iraq Supported Al Qaeda. Astonishingly, President Bush, in a rare moment of candor, finally admitted half a year after the invasion that there was no evidence Saddam Hussein's Iraq had any links to the 9/11 attacks, undermining eighteen months of implying the exact opposite. Yet in both of his recent big speeches--a brief and rather reserved statement after Saddam's capture and his macho 2004 State of the Union address--Bush again dished out the fundamental lie that the war and occupation of Iraq can reasonably be linked to the "war on terror," even as a new book by ex-Bush Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill described the Bush foreign policy team's consistent obsession with Iraq from the first days of the Administration.

Lies #2 and #3--Imminent Threats: Iraq's Bio-Chem and Nuclear Weapons Programs. A year after using his 2003 State of the Union address to paint Iraq's allegedly vast arsenal of WMDs as a grave threat to the United States and the world, Bush wisely avoided mentioning anything about uranium there--though he did spend a great deal of his latest SOTU defending the war on the grounds that "had we failed to act, the dictator's weapons of mass destruction programs would continue to this day." Dick Cheney, in interviews with USA Today and the Los Angeles Times, echoed this fudging--last year "weapons," this year "programs"--declaring that "the jury's still out" on whether Iraq had WMDs and that "I am a long way at this stage from concluding that somehow there was some fundamental flaw in our intelligence."

Only days later, chief US weapons inspector David Kay quit and began telling the world what the Bush Administration had been denying since taking office: that Saddam Hussein's regime was but a weak shadow of the semi-fearsome military force it had been at the time of the first Gulf War thirteen years ago; that it had no significant chemical, biological or nuclear weapons programs or stockpiles still in place; and that the UN inspections and allied bombing runs in the 1990s had been much more effective than their critics had believed at eroding these programs.

Lie #4--It Will Be Easy: Iraq as a "Cakewalk." "The capture of Saddam Hussein does not mean the end of violence in Iraq," Bush admitted, putting the lie to the idiotic and arrogant statements by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and others that policing Iraq would be a simple matter that could be quickly delegated to Iraqis as soon as they stopped celebrating the US military's arrival and cleaned up all those flowers they were going to throw.

Reality has continued to diverge from the White House's neat depictions of inexorable progress. In the weeks after Saddam's capture, the number of US soldiers killed actually increased, several helicopters were downed by enemy fire, and on Christmas Day alone there were eighteen attacks, including nine nearly simultaneous rocket grenade launches on embassies, apartments and the "green zone," which houses the Coalition Provisional Authority headquarters. American KIAs have passed 500, while uncounted Iraqis continue to die in undocumented skirmishes.

Lie #5--The Moral Justification: Iraq as a Democratic Model. As the other lies upon which this war were based have been crumbling, this one has moved to the forefront. For war apologists such as the New York Times's Thomas Friedman, if we can "bring democracy to Iraq," all those immoral means will justify this noble end. Here, too, we find grave problems continuing to frustrate the fantasies of neocons and neoliberals alike: The Kurds want to retain the large de facto autonomy they've achieved in the north; the Sunni areas continue to be extremely hostile to the occupation; and the long-oppressed majority Shiites are protesting in the streets in the tens of thousands, demanding one-man, one-vote elections. The CIA now considers civil war in Iraq a serious possibility.

Just as it didn't solve the stunning array of problems facing Iraq, the capture of Saddam did nothing to heal the rifts in our own country, where the lies of this Administration have so polarized the populace that this election year promises to be extremely nasty. We Americans now have but three options: We can deny that the Administration lied and continues to lie about Saddam's ties to terror and the threat he allegedly posed to the United States; we can be aware of the lies, but cling to a faith that good things will come from them, that the ends justify the means; or we can get angry about the lies and how truth has become a casualty of 9/11.

The lies of this Administration concerning Iraq rise to the level of the greatest scandals in American history. Now it is time to clean up the mess and reinvigorate our democracy.

In an article dated September 25, 2003 and entitled The Other Lies of George Bush, David Corn writes "Does Bush believe his own untruths? Did he truly consider a WMD-loaded Saddam Hussein an imminent threat to the United States? Or was he knowingly employing dramatic license because he wanted war for other reasons? Did he really think the average middle-class taxpayer would receive $1,083 from his second tax-cut plan? Or did he realize this was a fuzzy number cooked up to make the package seem a better deal than it was for middle- and low-income workers? Did he believe there were enough stem-cell lines to support robust research? Or did he know he had exaggerated the number of lines in order to avoid a politically tough decision? It's hard to tell.

Bush's public statements do suggest he is a binary thinker who views the world in black-and-white terms. You're either for freedom or against it. With the United States or not. Tax cuts are good--always. The more tax cuts the better--always. He's impatient with nuances. Asked in 1999 to name something he wasn't good at, Bush replied, "Sitting down and reading a 500-page book on public policy or philosophy or something." Bush likes life to be clear-cut. And perhaps that causes him to either bend the truth or see (and promote) a bent version of reality. Observers can debate whether Bush considers his embellishments and misrepresentations to be the honest-to-God truth or whether he cynically hurls falsehoods to con the public. But believer or deceiver--the result is the same.

With his misrepresentations and false assertions, Bush has dramatically changed the nation and the world. Relying on deceptions, he turned the United States into an occupying power. Using lies, he pushed through tax cuts that will profoundly reshape the US budget for years to come, most likely insuring a long stretch of deficits that will make it difficult, perhaps impossible, for the federal government to fund existing programs or contemplate new ones.

Does Bush lie more than his predecessors, more than his political opponents? That's irrelevant. He's guiding the nation during difficult and perhaps perilous times, in which a credible President is much in need. Prosperity or economic decline? War or peace? Security or fear? This country has a lot to deal with. Lies from the White House poison the debates that must occur if Americans are going to confront and overcome the challenges of this century at home and abroad.

Presidential lying, in fact, threatens the country. To render informed and wise choices about the crucial and complicated controversies of the day, people need truthful information. The President is generally in a position to define and dominate a debate more than other political players. And a lie from the White House--or a fib or a misrepresentation or a fudged number--can go a long way toward distorting the national discussion.

Bush campaigned for the presidency as the fellow who would bring honesty back to the White House. During his first full day on the job, while swearing in his White House staff, he reminded his cadre, "On a mantelpiece in this great house is inscribed the prayer of John Adams, that only the wise and honest may rule under this roof." But Adams's prayer would once more go unanswered. There has been no restoration of integrity. Bush's promise was a lie. The future of the United States remains in the hands of a dishonest man."

Most notable in David Corn's article is his prediction that the financial situation of the United States would be in a terrible deficit - how true that we have come to realize this predicament about the economical practices of George W. Bush – 43.

To summarize Bush's prevalence to lie, I submit the following: He fired Doanld Rumsfeld after saying that he was going to fire him, Osama Bin Laden is still at large, there never were any WMDs, the Iraqis did not dance in the streets when our troops liberated them - so to speak, he reneged on his promise to hold an honest and open government, and he still has not fully funded No Child Let Behind.

Those are just the ones that I can remember at this moment!

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