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Hail To The Ostrich

by Steve Young

Steve Young columns

The White House decided that this country's Veterans Day was the perfect day to attack...our veteran's country. In doing so, President Bush honored those who sacrificed so deeply to give us, among other things, freedom of speech -- which, so it seems, is only to be used to condemn those who exercise that freedom. Not only condemn dissenters, but to once again hoist the old right- wing chestnut that questioning this President is a slam of the troops.

In his most recent I- am- a- uniter speech, the president said, among other things, "The stakes in the global war on terror are too high, and the national interest is too important, for politicians to throw out false charges. These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will."

Omigawd. I was kidding. Not a political speech on a day for all Americans? Still, Hannity, Limbaugh and the rest of the AM Lords of Loud said that Veteran's Day was the perfect day for that kind of rhetoric. "What better time than Veteran's Day to say that the troops need our support?"

Hello? Hypocrisy? Are you there?! Wasn't it the same "Lords of Loud" who when Paul Wellstone's son, David, stood up at his father's funeral and asked that we not forget the Wellstone legacy nor stop fighting for it, asked how the Democrats could be so obscene as to turn a funeral into a political pep rally?

As for the president turning a country's remembrance of the our past and present soldiers into his own political rally, not a peep of concern about ill-placed party bashing from the Republican large mouths.

But let's forget the day. Instead let's consider the content.

"While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began." In other words, it's your right to question me, but irresponsible to do so. So very constitutional.

"Congress saw the same intelligence the administration did before the war, and that independent commissions have determined that the administration did not misrepresent the intelligence." Well, how do you like that. The only part of that statement that's false is every part of that statement.

Number 1 -- The administration had access to much more intelligence than did Congress. They only received what the President wanted them to see.

Number 2 -- The independent commissions were not authorized to determine whether the administration exaggerated or distorted those conclusions.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the only committee actually investigating the potential distortions AND omissions, has not done its inquiry yet. In fact, Judge Laurence Silberman, chairman of Bush's commission on weapons of mass destruction, said when he released his report on March 31, 2005: "Our executive order did not direct us to deal with the use of intelligence by policymakers, and all of us were agreed that was not part of our inquiry."

It's Ostrich science, plain and clear: Proving something does not exist by not looking for it.

Intelligent design follows a similar but more creative discipline adding a Jabberwockian twist: The proof of something's existence that we cannot explain is explained by fabricating an explanation.

You might say, if you wanted to dally at all in the truth, that the President is trying to mislead the American public. How much of a stretch is it to believe he's done it before...AND with the same issue?

The President claims that those who question him are rewriting history. Anyone who has ever written professionally knows that you always have to rewrite fiction. To create something that rings true you have to rewrite and rewrite until you get it right.

AND MAKE NO MISTAKE, WHAT THIS ADMINISTRATION FED US WAS FICTION. Just because they pepper it with some facts doesn't make it true anymore than Monty Python and The Holy Grail was true. It wasn't, was it? National Security Advisor, Stephen Hadley also participated in the coordinated Veterans Day attack repeating that "lawmakers all looked at the same intelligence."

That's so full of bull I'm surprised the White House ever has to buy fertilizer. Bush doesn't share his most sensitive intelligence with congress. In addition, there were doubts about WMD and the Iraqi threat that were not included in the info congress got.

For example, the National Intelligence Estimate asserted that Hussein would not use weapons of mass destruction against the United States OR turn them over to terrorists -- unless he was backed into a corner. That report was cleared for public use only a day before the Senate vote, and not seen by most Senators.

Even within the Bush administration, not everybody consistently viewed Iraq as what Hadley called "an enormous threat." In a news conference in February 2001 in Egypt, Secretary of State Colin Powell said that economic sanctions against Iraq had worked and that Hussein had not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction."

In his speech Friday, Bush said that, "When I made the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, Congress approved it with strong bipartisan support."

The October 2002 joint resolution authorized the use of force in Iraq, but it did not directly mention the removal of Hussein from power. Hadley, in his remarks, went further. "Congress, in 1998, authorized, in fact, the use of force based on that intelligence," he said. "And, as you know, the Clinton administration took some action."

But the 1998 legislation gave the president authority "to support efforts to remove the regime of Saddam Hussein" by providing assistance to Iraqi opposition groups, including arms, humanitarian aid and broadcasting facilities.

Neither offering the truth nor looking for it. Like I said -- ostrich science. Sticking their heads in the ground so they don't have to look at the truth. Only with these ostriches, to discover where they're sticking their heads, you have to look a bit higher.

Steve Young, author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" takes the KTLK 1150AM mike every Saturday, 1-4 PM and read every Sunday in the LA Daily News Op-Ed page (right next to Bill O'Reilly)

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Albion Monitor November 11, 2005 (

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