Top Bush Scandals Of 2003
Part I: Iraq
by Bob Fertik and Ted Kahl, Democrats.com, January 1, 2004
the 2004 election year begins, we are astonished to discover that
a handful of Americans actually believe George W. Bush should
be given four more years in the White House. Obviously this is
the result of too much holiday eggnog.
So in the spirit of all those year-ending "top" lists
of 2003, here is a quick refresher list of the Top Bush Scandals
of 2003. We hope you will send this and future lists to any friends
who think they might vote for Bush in 2004.
Because there are so MANY scandals, we will publish our list in
several different categories, starting with The Mother of All
Scandals - Iraq.
Bush's invasion of Iraq may be the single greatest scandal in
American history, thoroughly eclipsing such major scandals as
Watergate and Teapot Dome, not to mention the utterly insignificant
Lewinsky affair. Sometime in the future, historians will judge
whether it marked the end of American Democracy and the start
of a totalitarian American Empire.
Bush's Big Lie: Iraqi WMD. The invasion of Iraq was based on one
of the Biggest Lies in history: that Iraq possessed WMD's that
could be used against the United States. The clearest lie was
Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address, when he declared:
"Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of
uranium from Africa" - a claim that had been thoroughly discredited
by U.S. intelligence. Of course, this was just the tip of the
iceberg of Bush's lies about Iraq. Yet Bush still refuses to admit
Iraq had no WMD's, saying "what's the difference" between
Iraq's actual possession of WMD's and "the possibility that
he could move to acquire those weapons." And he has spent
$700 million of taxpayer dollars to perpetuate the charade of
a hunt for WMD's that he knows do not exist.
479 Dead Soldiers, Thousands of Dead Iraqis, and $166 Billion
- in 2003 Alone. Another Big Lie was Bush's claim that the U.S.
would be welcomed as liberators by the Iraqi people. But the year
2003 closed with 479 U.S. soldiers dead, and thousands more wounded.
Thousands of Iraqi civilians died as well, with countless families
devastated. U.S. taxpayers spent $166 billion as the first payment
for an occupation that will last at least through 2006, and possibly
for decades. One reason the occupation has been so costly in lives
and dollars was the Pentagon's rejection of the detailed plans
prepared by the State Department.
The Treasonous "Outing" of Valeria Plame. After former
Ambassador Joseph Wilson exposed Bush's Niger uranium claim as
a lie, two Bush administration officials sought revenge by exposing
his wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA agent, thus endangering her
life and the lives of her network of informants, and committing
a most serious crime. If Bush wanted to punish the criminals in
his inner circle, he could have demanded the immediate self-identification
of the guilty individuals, called upon Bob Novak to reveal his
sources, and immediately appointed a Special Prosecutor. Instead,
he turned the investigation over to his political appointees,
John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzalez, whose primary interests are
protecting Bush - rather than prosecuting criminals.
Creating an Empire. So why did Bush invade Iraq? Bush's policy
was driven by the neoconservative members of the Project for a
New American Century, who unsuccessfully pressured President Clinton
to invade Iraq in 1998, and then wrote a blueprint for Bush in
September 2000 to create a U.S. global empire. In the context
of Iraq, they wrote: "The need for a substantial American
force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime
of Saddam Hussein." Immediately after September 11, Dick
Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and Richard Perle decided
to use American anger over the attack to justify the invasion
of Iraq to create this permanent "American force presence."
Bush has never explained his imperial plan to Congress or the
American people, and the media pretends this plan does not exist.
Principal War Crime: "Aggressive War." The invasion
of Iraq was unprovoked by any hostile action by Iraq, since Iraq
never threatened the United States or any of its neighbors. When
the U.S. brought Iraq's alleged possession of WMD before the U.N.
in 2002, and won passage of U.N. Resolution 1441, Iraq opened
all of its territory - including the Presidential Palaces - to
UN weapons inspectors. Because Bush's invasion was unprovoked,
it constituted an "aggressive war", which violated the
U.N. Charter that the U.S. helped draft. Indeed, Nazi leaders
were prosecuted at Nuremberg for this very crime. Additional War
Crimes: Deaths of Civilians and Journalists. The conduct of the
war was marked by a number of individual war crimes. On several
occasions Iraqi civilians were massacred, including at least 62
civilians at the Shu'ale market on March 28, at least 33 civilians
at Hilla on April 1, at least 20 civilians in the Al-Dora neighbourhood
of Baghdad on April 10, and at least 10 civilians in Mosul on
April 16. A number of war crimes cases have been filed by human
rights groups, covering the use of civilian-targeted weapons (cluster
bombs, depleted uranium ammunition and fuel-air explosives), the
treatment of prisoners of war, and the possibly deliberate killing
of several journalists, most notably Al-Jazeera reporter Tariq
Ayoub and two journalists at the Palestine Hotel.
Ongoing Plan to Brainwash Americans. There was never any evidence
of Iraqi WMD's or of Iraq's connection to September 11. But the
White House and the Pentagon used a massive disinformation campaign
to "sell" the war to the American people before the
invasion, and that disinformation campaign is still ongoing. This
disinformation campaign has been conducted through "leaks"
to both the mainstream media (including front page NY Times propaganda
by Judith Miller about Iraq's aluminum tubes) and to the right-wing
media. This disinformation campaign successfully convinced a majority
of Americans that Saddam was involved with September 11, a lie
that Bush himself actually refuted. Still, this campaign continues,
most recently with the alleged memo from the head of Iraqi intelligence
claiming Mohamed Atta spent 3 days being trained in Iraq before
the September 11 attack; this memo was revealed as yet another
hoax, since FBI records show Atta was in the U.S. at the time.
There has been no Congressional investigation of this disinformation
campaign, and it will most likely continue through election day
Lying to Congress. Bush not only lied to the American people and
the world, but he also lied to Congress, which is a crime. These
lies were contained in secret intelligence briefings, including
one briefing to 75 Senators that claimed Iraq had WMD's and the
ability to deliver them to East Coast cities using unmanned aerial
vehicles. Neither the WMD's or the UAV's existed. Donald Rumsfeld
probably lied to Senator Robert Byrd when he claimed, "I
have no knowledge of US companies or government being involved
in assisting Iraq develop chemical, biological or nuclear weapons."
Politically Manipulating Intelligence. America's $40 billion intelligence
agencies are supposed to give strictly accurate information to
the President. But when the intelligence agencies could not find
evidence of Iraqi WMD's, Vice President Dick Cheney made several
unprecedented visits to the CIA to intimidate intelligence officials
into writing deliberately misleading reports. In addition, Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld created the Office of Special Plans
to "stovepipe" false intelligence directly to top administration
officials. Republicans have blocked efforts by Democrats on the
Senate Intelligence Committee to fully investigate this scandal.
Recklessly Endangering Soldiers' Lives. On July 3, Bush actually
invited Iraqi opponents to attack U.S. troops, when he said "Bring
'em on." No President in history has ever encouraged our
adversary to attack American troops. Bush has also forced soldiers
to serve as guinea pigs in a massive experimental use of anthrax
and smallpox vaccines, yet the Pentagon has covered up the extent
of death and illness caused by these vaccines. And Bush has sent
troops into dangerous occupation duty with inadequate protective
Treating Soldiers with Contempt. While nearly 500 soldiers have
died, Bush has refused to attend a single funeral - even while
he found time to attend dozens of million-dollar campaign fundraising
events. Bush has prohibited photographs of returning caskets,
in a naked effort to keep Americans ignorant of the toll in soldiers'
lives. Bush also cut veterans' benefits, thus revealing his contempt
for current and past soldiers. He betrayed Gulf War veterans who
were tortured by Saddam by fighting their claims for financial
compensation. And despite the fact that Bush went AWOL from the
Texas Air National Guard in 1972, he put on a uniform and landed
on the deck of the U.S.S. Lincoln to exploit the true heroism
of combat soldiers for his own personal political gain.
Badly Weakening the Military. The occupation of Iraq has tied
down the bulk of the U.S. military, and Bush has put returning
troops in the U.S. on the lowest state of alert. As a result,
the U.S. would be unable to respond quickly to an attack on the
U.S. or our overseas interests. Bush has used "stop-loss"
orders to force at least 40,000 U.S. soldiers to serve beyond
the end of their tour of duty, leaving soldiers - and their families
- feeling like slaves. And because troops feel abused, re-enlistment
rates are dropping, and our armed forces are losing good, experienced
Creating Worldwide Contempt for the U.S. By lying to the world,
Bush has lost all respect for the U.S. by the people of the world.
Bush has alienated our historic allies through his bullying tactics,
including threatening aid cutoffs and wiretapping their U.N. delegations.
Worst of all, Bush has created hatred among millions of Muslims
who believe the U.S. plans an endless war against them.
Increasing the Threat of Terrorism. Bush claims his invasion of
Iraq reduced the threat of terrorism against Americans, but the
opposite is true. Bush admitted this when he told the American
people on September 7 that Iraq had become "the central front"
in the war on terror, while Iraq was not a source of terrorism
before the war. Moreover, Bush's failure to protect Iraq's nuclear
facility at Tuwaitha allowed looters to steal radioactive material
they could sell to terrorists for a "dirty bomb." Bush's
invasion of Iraq diverted resources from the war against Al Qaeda
in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and left Osama Bin Laden and Ayman
Al Zwahiri in command of its global terror network. Bush's neglect
of Afghanistan has allowed the Taliban to regroup in Pakistan,
where it threatens to overthrow Musharraf's government and put
Pakistan's nuclear weapons in the hands of Islamic extremists.
Hiring of Murderers and Training of Assassins. On the very day
(November 4) that Bush denounced the "torturers and murders
[sic] and thugs that used to benefit from Saddam Hussein's regime,"
he betrayed the Iraqi people by hiring former employees of Saddam's
murderous security services. In December, Bush formed assassination
squads to murder targeted Iraqis.
Destruction of Priceless Antiquities. The Pentagon ignored warnings
of the looting that would follow the overthrow of the Iraqi government,
and failed to protect the ancient cultural heritage of Iraq.
War Profiteering. Bush has promoted war profiteering by giving
no-bid cost-plus contracts to Halliburton. Bush also allowed former
top officials like 2000 campaign manager Joe Allbaugh to broker
lucrative reconstruction contracts.
Coverup of Cheney's Energy Task Force. Millions of people in the
U.S. and abroad believe Bush invaded Iraq partly in order to steal
its oil for the benefit of U.S. oil companies. If this is true,
then the plans for this invasion may well have been discussed
by Cheney's Energy Task Force, which included Bush's largest donors
from the oil industry. Yet Bush refuses to provide Congress or
journalists with documents from the Energy Task Force, and has
responded to a series of defeats in court by filing further appeals,
in order to delay the release of the documents for as long as
The Hoaxes: Jessica Lynch, Mission Accomplished, the Air Force
One Sighting, and the Decoration Turkey. These would be the most
trivial of Bush's Iraq scandals, except that they demonstrated
the Bush's administration's willingness to lie about absolutely
anything - large or small - to get a few days of positive publicity
during an election year.
Bush's Madness. It is unclear whether the war in Iraq has affected
George Bush's actual sanity. He has made delusional claims, such
as telling the Palestinian Prime Minister, "[God] instructed
me to strike at Saddam, which I did." In July, he told reporters
"We gave [Saddam] a chance to allow the inspectors in, and
he wouldn't let them in." Speaking at a fundraiser in NJ
on December 1, Bush claimed he eliminated Weapons of Mass Destruction
from Iraq. These statements suggest Bush may be insane or drugged.