Bush Lying?

Discussion in 'America Attacks!' started by Stabilo Boss, Jun 3, 2004.

  1. Stabilo Boss

    Stabilo Boss Member

    Taken from www.globalecho.org

    Did Bush lie on the reasons for 9-11 ("they hate our freedoms," etc.)? I think one has to be a bit cautious.
    Lying requires a certain competence: at least, it requires an understanding of the difference between truth and falsehood. When a 3-year old tells you an obvious falsehood, it isn't really fair to call it a lie. The same was true of the huge whoppers that Reagan came out with when he got out of the control of his handlers.

    by: Noam Chomsky on: 2nd Jun, 04

    The poor soul probably had no idea. With Bush, I suspect it is more or less the same. There is a literature of "exposures" (Woodward, etc.), which is taken seriously, but I don't frankly understand why. Among the people he is interviewing, some have the competence to lie, and it only makes sense to suppose that they are doing so; why should they tell him the truth? As for the others, it doesn't really matter what they tell him. The same is true of people who are deeply immersed in some religious cult, like the Washington neocon intellectuals. It is hard to know whether they have the competence to lie, just as it's hard to know for someone who has a direct line to some divinity. For people who tried to be serious and honest commentators, the answers to "why they hate us" have been easy to find all along, and it is rather striking to see the systematic avoidance (what anthropologists sometimes call "ritual avoidance") of the clearest evidence. I've often reviewed it in print -- in World Orders, for example, when the documents were declassified. In brief, Eisenhower and his staff were concerned in the 1950s about the "campaign of hatred" against us in the Arab world, and understood the reasons: the perception that the US supports harsh and oppressive regimes and blocks democracy and development, and does so to gain control of the energy resources of the region. In later years, that remained true, though new reasons arose. Thus when the Wall St. Journal and others studied attitudes of "moneyed Muslims" (bankers, managers of multinationals, corporate lawyers, etc.) after 9-11, they found the same reasons, along with others: the decisive US support for vicious Israeli repression of Palestinians and robbery of their resources, and the murderous US-UK sanctions that were devastating the civilian society of Iraq. In the streets and villages, the attitudes would be far more extreme. Since Western intellectuals don't like to hear unpleasant truths about themselves, not surprisingly, we are treated instead to a stream of fantasies about "why they hate us".

    It remains true.

    Take Iraq. Among Western intellectuals, it is a virtual axiom that the US goal -- sometimes Bush's "messianic mission," as the elite press puts it -- is to bring democracy to Iraq, the Middle East, and the world. Critics in the liberal press (e.g., the New York Review, American Prospect, etc.) agree that it is a noble and generous vision but object that it is beyond our reach, etc. Iraqis apparently see it differently. A few days after the President affirmed his noble vision to rapturous applause in Washington last November, a poll in Baghdad was released in which people were asked why the US invaded. Some did agree with near-unanimous Western elite opinion: to establish democracy. 1%. 5% said it was to help Iraqis. Most of the rest gave the obvious answer, dismissed with some hysteria here as a "conspiracy theory" or with some other intellectual equivalent of a four-letter word: to control Iraq's resources and to reorganize the Middle East in the interests of the US and its Israeli client.

    Furthermore, it is not just Arabs and Muslims. The reason why many crucially important polls are simply suppressed in the media is that they tell us too much that it's better not to know. Take, say, the bombing of Afghanistan -- a "no brainer" according to virtually unanimous articulate opinion in the US and UK. No one but lunatics or absolute pacifists could possibly oppose it, we are solemnly instructed by leading moral philosophers, the executive editor of the NY Times, and others. To uphold that stand, it was necessary to suppress an international Gallup poll taken right after the announcement of the bombing, which found very limited support for it, and in the region that knows US power best, Latin America, virtually none. Thus 2% in Mexico supported the bombing IF it would not hit civilian targets (of course it did, at once) and IF the perpetrators of 9-11 were known (eight months later, the FBI conceded that there was still nothing more than "belief" that the plot might have been hatched in Afghanistan, but carried out elsewhere). Removing qualifications, there was virtually no support anywhere. But that won't do, so it is silenced, to this day. And the same is true of "why do they hate us."

    Same elsewhere. I happened to be listening to NPR a few days ago, where the usual mellifluous voices were discussing how Moqtada al-Sadr is a marginal figure greatly disliked by Iraqis. Maybe. However, I had just read a report in the quite respectable London Financial Times of a poll they regarded as quite credible, taken before the revelations about torture, which found that the US attack on Moqtada had succeeded in turning him into the second most popular figure in Iraq, right below Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, with about 1/3 expressing "strong support" for him and another third "some support." The reasons were that he had at least stood up to the hated occupation. Maybe it's been published here. I didn't see it.

    However, I'd be reluctant to call what you describe "lies," for the reasons mentioned, which extend over a broad range, not just to 3-year olds, cultists, and poor souls whose knowledge of the world may be restricted pretty much to their note cards.


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