"President Bush's recent claim that weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq highlights two disturbing trends in rhetoric from the White House," observes Bryan Keefer. The first "is the Bush administration's record of factual misstatements and distortions.
The Bush administration distorted intelligence and presented conjecture as evidence to justify a US invasion of Iraq, said Greg Thielmann, who served as director of the strategic, proliferation, and military issues office in the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research during the months before the war. "What disturbs me deeply is what I think are the disingenuous statements made from the very top about what the intelligence did say," said Thielmann. "The area of distortion was greatest in the nuclear field."
In the wake of the war in Iraq, a number of questions have arisen about events during the war and Iraq's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction and ties to Al Qaeda. Brendan Nyhan and Bryan Keefer sift through the evidence to date and attempt to separate spin from reality regarding events including the looting of Iraq's National Museum and the capture and rescue of Private Jessica Lynch.
The Pentagon has renamed its controversial Total Information Awareness program "Terrorist Information Awareness," Reuters reports.
"Other presidents have had problems with truth-telling," write Drake Bennett and Heidi Pauken. "But George W. Bush is in a class by himself when it comes to prevarication. It is no exaggeration to say that lying has become Bush's signature as president." They detail the gap between words and deeds in Bush's policies on education, health and the environment. (Unfortunately, the article is inaccurately titled. Bennett and Pauken caught a few of the president's lies, but certainly not "all" of them.)
"The case for invading Iraq to remove its weapons of mass destruction was based on selective use of intelligence, exaggeration, use of sources known to be discredited and outright fabrication," The Independent writes. "A high-level UK source said last night that intelligence agencies on both sides of the Atlantic were furious that briefings they gave political leaders were distorted in the rush to war with Iraq. Quoting an editorial in a Middle East newspaper which said, 'Washington has to prove its case.
Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels observed that "the bigger the lie, the more people will believe it." The Big Lie technique has worked well in Bush's war on Iraq. The New York Times reports that "organizers of the antiwar movement lament how well the administration argued that there was a link between Al Qaeda and Iraq, playing on Americans' residual anger and fear after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Columnist Frank Rich writes, "There's almost nothing in the war, it seems, that cannot be exploited as a network promo. ... When Victoria Clarke at the Pentagon says Saddam is responsible for 'decades and decades and decades of torture and oppression the likes of which I think the world has not ever seen before,' no one on Fox or MSNBC is going to gainsay her by bringing up Hitler and Stalin.
"A day after U.S. allied forces marched into Iraq, Sony applied for a trademark on the war's catchphrase, 'shock and awe,' for use as a video game title, according to a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It was unclear if Sony planned to make use of the name. The application, dated March 21, was first discovered by British publication Media Guardian. The U.S. Patent and Trademark office has more than a dozen applications for uses of the phrase, including for fireworks, lingerie, baby toys, shampoo and consulting services.