Wednesday, January 19, 2005
WELCOME TO CASA BLANCA
By Jack Random
If you are going to serve as the president’s point on war propaganda, you have to expect a certain amount of criticism. If you accepted the job of testifying to the American people that no one could have imagined terrorists using passenger planes as missiles when you had in your possession innumerable intelligence reports describing that precise scenario, you have already sacrificed whatever credibility you had and your integrity is as questionable as the president’s intellect.
We cannot pretend that nations do not engage in propaganda; they most assuredly do. There is, however, a distinction between righteous propaganda, which appeals to both heart and mind in the service of a just cause, and malicious propaganda which stirs emotions to a corrupt cause. By its very nature, righteous propaganda adheres to the boundaries of truth while its counterpoint is bound only by the limits of credulity.
Short of kidnapping or extortion, no power on earth could compel an honorable person to serve a dishonorable cause. Likewise, no power could force an honest voice to betray known and acknowledged truths. Dr. Condoleezza Rice’s response to Senator Barbara Boxer’s challenge was a fallback to the oldest trick in the book of rhetoric: evasion by indignation. When the good doctor struck a pose and uttered the words, “I really hope that you will refrain from impugning my integrity,” it conjured the image of Casa Blanca’s chief of police closing Rick’s on charges of gambling before collecting his evening’s winnings.
In keeping with the decorum of the Senate, Boxer was too polite to utter the obvious retort: You cannot impugn what does not exist. Better yet: Welcome to Casa Blanca!
I submit that any analyst or commentator who took the positions advocated by Condoleezza Rice would have arrived at Point Zero on the credibility scale long ago:
1. In reference to a memo on the president’s desk days before September 11, 2001 entitled, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike inside US,” Dr. Rice argued that it was an historical document. Indeed it was.
2. Based on the infamous aluminum tubes and Nigerian yellow cake frauds, Dr. Rice melodramatically warned America to beware the mushroom cloud.
3. Months ago, when the lie of weapons of mass destruction was exposed, it was Dr. Rice who led the chorus in a rousing rendition of “We never said that.” Yes, they did. They just never used the words “imminent threat.” The fact that they carefully avoided that phrase is compelling evidence that they knew it was a phantom all along.
4. As a tireless advocate for democracy in the ever-evolving wheel of war rationalizations, Dr. Rice spoke a little too soon when she expressed satisfaction at a military coup overturning the democratic presidency of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. The more we learn, the more certain we are that this failed coup as well as the successful coup in Haiti was the work of this administration’s black ops.
On virtually every issue of substance over the last four years, Condoleezza Rice has willingly danced the dance of smoke and mirrors. Duplicity is her game and, as long as the media is corporate owned and dominated, she will continue the dance as Secretary of State, secure in knowing that she will not be held accountable. In contemporary politics, it is understood.
In the trial of history, however, it remains to be seen whether the truth will hold sway over obstinacy. Like the president himself, Condoleezza Rice is only a mouthpiece in the circle of warlords who run this White House. Thus far, the likes of Wolfowitz, Perle and Feith prefer to be relatively off camera. Cheney and Rumsfeld are up front but they have always preferred to delegate State with matters of official deception.
To those who believe it no longer matters, the damage done, and now is the time to move on, we should all reflect that the recent election was partly a referendum on the war in Vietnam. If the rightwing ideologues can redefine the horrors of Vietnam as a victory left wanting by the weakness of American resolve, little wonder that they hold faith in the virtues of Middle East occupation.
Barbara Boxer (curiously joined by John Kerry) struck a lonely blow for the party of opposition when she challenged the credibility of Condoleezza Rice. As the Senator said, “It is too soon to start rewriting history.” Indeed, it is better to wait three decades. By then you will be able to convince all America that Saddam Hussein was the aggressor, that he in fact did possess weapons of mass destruction, and that America’s decisive action struck to the heart of the enemy that attacked us on September 11, 2001.
Let the record be clear and let the facts be fully vetted by a multitude of independent investigators: This administration deliberately and painstakingly deceived the American public in order to justify a war that could not otherwise be justified.
That concerted effort to rewrite history before it appears on the page continues to this day in the denials of the administration that weapons of mass destruction ever were a primary justification for the war. It continues in the repeated assertions that the entire world agreed that Iraq posed a threat. If you believe that, reread the transcripts of the United Nations Security Council. In all the world, only three nations perceived anything approaching a significant threat: America, Israel and a disingenuous Great Britain (to wit: the dodgy dossier).
History matters and the truth is not negotiable. We have already begun to hear the beginnings of rationalizations for future wars. If we forget or tolerate the lies and deceptions of this war, even as our soldiers are on the field of battle, the price will be more severe than the bruised sensibilities of our future Secretary of State.
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