Bring 'em On!

The Bush administration's top 40 lies about war and terrorism

 

32) Careful science demonstrates that depleted uranium is no big risk to the population.

Pure nonsense. While the government has trotted out expert after expert to debunk the dangers of depleted uranium, DU has been implicated in health troubles experienced both by Iraqis and by U.S. and allied soldiers in the first Gulf War. Unexploded DU shells are not a grave danger, but detonated ones release particles that eventually find their way into air, soil, water, and food.

While we're on the subject, the BBC reported a couple of months ago that recent tests of Afghani civilians have turned up with unusually high concentrations of non-depleted uranium isotopes in their urine. International monitors have called it almost conclusive evidence that the U.S. used a new kind of uranium-laced bomb in the Afghan war.

 

33) The looting of Iraqi nuclear facilities presented no big risk to the population.

Commanders on the scene, and Rumsfeld back in Washington, immediately assured everyone that the looting of a facility where raw uranium powder (so-called "yellowcake") and several other radioactive isotopes were stored was no serious danger to the populace--yet the looting of the facility came to light in part because, as the Washington Times noted, "U.S. and British newspaper reports have suggested that residents of the area were suffering from severe ill health after tipping out yellowcake powder from barrels and using them to store food."

 

34) U.S. troops were under attack when they fired upon a crowd of civilian protesters in Mosul.

April 15: U.S. troops fire into a crowd of protesters when it grows angry at the pro-Western speech being given by the town's new mayor, Mashaan al-Juburi. Seven are killed and dozens injured. Eyewitness accounts say the soldiers spirit Juburi away as he is pelted with objects by the crowd, then take sniper positions and begin firing on the crowd.

 

35) U.S. troops were under attack when they fired upon two separate crowds of civilian protesters in Fallujah.

April 28: American troops fire into a crowd of demonstrators gathered on Saddam's birthday, killing 13 and injuring 75. U.S. commanders claim the troops had come under fire, but eyewitnesses contradict the account, saying the troops started shooting after they were spooked by warning shots fired over the crowd by one of the Americans' own Humvees. Two days later U.S. soldiers fired on another crowd in Fallujah, killing three more.

 

36) The Iraqis fighting occupation forces consist almost entirely of "Saddam supporters" or "Ba'ath remnants."

This has been the subject of considerable spin on the Bushmen's part in the past month, since they launched Operation Sidewinder to capture or kill remaining opponents of the U.S. occupation. It's true that the most fierce (but by no means all) of the recent guerrilla opposition has been concentrated in the Sunni-dominated areas that were Saddam's stronghold, and there is no question that Saddam partisans are numerous there. But, perhaps for that reason, many other guerrilla fighters have flocked there to wage jihad, both from within and without Iraq. Around the time of the U.S. invasion, some 10,000 or so foreign fighters had crossed into Iraq, and I've seen no informed estimate of how many more may have joined them since.

(No room here, but if you check the online version of this story, there's a footnote regarding one less-than-obvious reason former Republican Guard personnel may be fighting mad at this point.)

 

37) The bidding process for Iraq rebuilding contracts displayed no favoritism toward Bush and Cheney's oil/gas cronies.

Most notoriously, Dick Cheney's former energy-sector employer, Halliburton, was all over the press dispatches about the first round of rebuilding contracts. So much so that they were eventually obliged to bow out of the running for a $1 billion reconstruction contract for the sake of their own PR profile. But Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown Root still received the first major plum in the form of a $7 billion contract to tend to oil field fires and (the real purpose) to do any retooling necessary to get the oil pumping at a decent rate, a deal that allows them a cool $500 million in profit. The fact that Dick Cheney's office is still fighting tooth and nail to block any disclosure of the individuals and companies with whom his energy task force consulted tells everything you need to know.

 

38) "We found the WMDs!"

There have been at least half a dozen junctures at which the Bushmen have breathlessly informed the press that allied troops had found the WMD smoking gun, including the president himself, who on June 1 told reporters, "For those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them."

Shouldn't these quickly falsified statements be counted as errors rather than lies? Under the circumstances, no. First, there is just too voluminous a record of the administration going on the media offensive to tout lines they know to be flimsy. This appears to be more of same. Second, if the great genius Karl Rove and the rest of the Bushmen have demonstrated that they understand anything about the propaganda potential of the historical moment they've inherited, they surely understand that repetition is everything. Get your message out regularly, and even if it's false a good many people will believe it.

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