In January 2003 during his State of the Union address, President George W Bush told the nation and the world that Saddam Hussein‘s Iraq had tried to purchase massive amounts of nuclear materials from “an African nation.“ This was key evidence for Bush‘s dramatic claim that Iraq posed “an imminent threat“ to the United States, Iraq‘s neighbors and the world, therefore, we could not afford to wait another few months for the UN inspectors to complete their work.
On Tuesday July 8, a White House National Security spokesman admitted for the first time that the documents that were the basis of President Bush‘s claim were in fact forgeries. How could this have happened? This White House admission came only after former U.S. ambassador Joseph Wilson went public; disclosing that he had investigated the nuclear purchase claim for the CIA in the spring of 2002 and reported it baseless. Then why did this false accusation turn up in a key presidential speech?
Perhaps this was just a case of important information not reaching the President‘s desk in time, as his spokespeople claim. But as more details emerge this explanation seems highly suspect.
National Public Radio reported that at the time of the President‘s speech, both the State Department and the CIA knew that the claims of Iraq‘s attempts to purchase nuclear materials from Niger were baseless.
In their report on 6/10, NPR cites a senior intelligence official who disputes the White House explanation, countering that the CIA had clearly advised the President‘s aids against making this claim. This intelligence official said the White House went ahead anyway in authorizing the President‘s speech, replying “why don‘t we say the British said this.“ The White House now disputes this claim.
However other disturbing facts have emerged:
British Prime Minister Tony Blair released a second “secret intelligence dossier“ to justify the war on Iraq. It turns out that this document was plagiarized off the Internet, from a decade old college thesis belonging to a student from California. (BBC news)
CIA Director George Tenet on two occasions told the Senate Intelligence Committee that “all significant sites suspected of having WMD‘s have been made available to UN Weapons Inspectors.“ In fact, several significant suspect sites were withheld from UN Inspectors. Why? (NPR)
We have to ask ourselves in light of the mounting evidence, why more Americans aren‘t demanding to know if their President lied to them. Have we lost our sense of proportion here?
How many of us believe that Clinton‘s affair with Monica Lewinsky deserved to be headline press for months (did Bill lie? or did he not?) and merited impeachment proceedings? While at the same time, the question of whether Bush lied or deceived us on Iraq - a major policy issue - now merits only a polite, behind closed doors “intelligence review“ from a Republican-led committee in Congress. Where is the public clamor for a full investigation? Where is our sense of proportion here?
Bill Clinton‘s lie concerned a largely victimless sex affair, while President Bush‘s misstatements concern a major foreign policy event that has cost thousands of lives and millions of dollars so far. And who really knows what the costs of the invasion and occupation of Iraq will ultimately be? As our soldiers come under increasing attack day after day, perhaps we should show real support for our troops now by calling for a full congressional investigation of the truth.
Jim Norgaard Petoskey
Responsible citizens & BATA
The weak opposition to BATA presented at the recent League of Women Voter‘s Forum was extremely self-serving for a small group of Central Neighborhood people. BETA now serves a very broad area of the region of Grand Traverse. The numbers of people using the service and the vital need for public transportation throughout the entire area was ignored as irrelevant to those who probably don‘t use it and certainly don‘t need it to get to work or to doctor appointments and shopping.
For many years as a responsible citizen when able, I learned time and time
again that a public supported service such as BATA is only as good as the
support it gets from the citizenry. It is foolish and dangerous for a
special interest group to try to kill a vital public service.
Instead, a responsible citizen will support BATA at the polls so that we
won‘t loose it entirely (which is predicted if this milleage fails)
A responsible citizen will then attend planning meetings for BETA, offering support and suggestions that will be helpful.
Finding fault and expecting that punishment will make BATA better is like
striking a child and expecting it to “learn a lesson“ it cannot learn
without the support of the parent. Lets get real. We are a growing urban area and to deny this is surely burying our heads in the sand. Listen to “smart growth“advisors and work for a finer and better BATA by going to the polls and voting YES on July 29
Carol Still TC
I have purposely sat on a letter to the editor (June 5, 2003 - Pot‘s Smokescreen written by Doug Petersen ) for this long, partly because I needed to let my anger subside and, also, I wanted to see if anyone else came to Jeff Fillmore‘s defense. To date, no one has. How sad!
I was angry because not only did Mr. Petersen personally attack my very good friend, he also attacked all of us marijuana activists. To him, I only want to say, “Don‘t judge Jeff until you have walked a mile in his shoes and don‘t judge the rest of us with your lies and government propaganda. You don‘t even know us or our children (whom we supposedly drag with us to our protests) and we certainly don‘t tell you or anyone else how to live, so what gives you the right to tell us how to live? If you don‘t want to see us on the parkway, embarrassing you in front of your friends and family, then tell our so-called government reps to quit lying to the public about cannabis sativa (marijuana) and decriminalize it now!
I won‘t even waste my time disputing your “real facts“ because you‘re right, we do believe and know for a fact, that it is nothing but more lies, funded partly by our own taxpayer dollars. One only has to look at the Bush administration‘s track record concerning the war with Iraq.
You want the truth, then let this sink in. Cannabis sativa (marijuana) is not a drug!! It never was, nor will it ever be. It is a seed-bearing herb (plant) that God created for our use and needs. May God forgive the fools who helped make it illegal,and fools who help keep it illegal by doing nothing in its defense and attacking those who do stand up for justice and our rights to grow and use this plant as we see fit.
Finally,while I am venting my feelings, it angers and saddens me that we can send our troops around the world to save oppressed people, others demonstrate against a war, pot smokers like Judge Gilbert won‘t come out of the closet and use their credibility for good, and all the while we are being killed and families destroyed right here in the U.S. and hardly nobody helps to stop it. To all these people I say “do yourself a favor and get educated about the good that this plant can do before it‘s too late to save anything.“
Rev.Steven B. Thompson Director,Benzie County NORML