Friday, June 10, 2005

Bush's deceit

The use of deceit by President Bush's administration to convince Americans that his way is the right way has surfaced again with indefensible clarity.

This time, a one-time lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute, Philip Cooney, was caught altering White House scientific papers in which he had added language that reduced the importance of global warming. A Cooney colleague, who resigned in disgust over damage to integrity, leaked the documents.

Cooney is a big fish in Bush's science realm. He's chair of the president's Council on Environmental Quality—but he's no scientist. He's a lawyer whose former career was dedicated to debunking global warming for the oil industry, among the world's worst air polluters.

This is the second time a major White House document on global warming has been fabricated. A political appointee in the Environmental Protection Agency previously eliminated an entire section on global warming in a report.

Deceit has become an all-too-common strategy in the Bush administration.

The chief of the Medicare program provided Congress with budget estimates several hundred billion dollars below the actual forecast.

A British memo leaked last month revealed that nearly a year before the March 2003 invasion, President Bush had decided on war with Iraq, even as he went through the motions of seeking United Nations help in searching for weapons of mass destruction. It was a startling confirmation that President Bush and Vice President Cheney lied about when and why they decided to declare war.

"Military action was now seen as inevitable," the memo to British Prime Minister Tony Blair read. It was written by Richard Dearlove, then head of MI6 British intelligence, who'd met with his U.S. counterparts in Washington. "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

Concluded the notes, "The case (for war) was thin."

Defenders of the president's disregard for the truth can no longer wave it off merely as down-home Texas big talk or Washington smoke and mirrors.

The president and aides are too often involved in deliberate misrepresentations. Some have led to battlefield deaths of hundreds of U.S. troops and others have plunged the government into its worst financial state in modern history.

For far less, Republicans impeached Bill Clinton and wasted $60 million in a fruitless investigation for felonious wrongdoing.

It's time for Republicans who were outraged and self-righteous about Clinton's sexual dalliance to demand an accounting from President Bush, whose abuse of power is far more destructive to the national good.

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