Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Say It Loud Enough For The World To Hear: "Bush Lied"

 
"I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends... that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them." Adlai Stevenson, during his 1952 presidential campaign.
For a while it seemed as if the Democrats had taken Adlai's facetious proposition seriously. They couched their criticisms of the Deserter's Iraq War malfeasance in terms of faulty policy, poor intelligence, failure to adequately plan for the post-war period, insufficient troop strength, etc. They timidly insinuated that the Deserter had "hyped" the Iraq threat and "exaggerated" the connection to Al Qaeda. They appeared willing, much to the Deserter's delight, to ignore the question of whether the Iraq War had been justified, restricting themselves to cavils regarding the administration of the Iraq occupation.  Even as millions in this country could barely contain their outrage at having been deceived into war, it seemed as if no Democrat of national stature dared utter the terrible truth. Sure, Kennedy and Kucinich were speaking the truth, but it was too easy for the war criminals and their big media megaphones to dismiss them as paleoliberal pacifists.

And then came Howard Dean.

I was going down for the third time when I first heard Howard, utterly astonished that this nation could so rapidly descend into a Kafkaesque nightmare in which truth was banished and speakers of the truth hysterically condemned as heretics. I cannot fully convey the sense of relief I felt when Howard Dean forthrightly proclaimed that we had been deceived into war by the President, a deception so antithetical to democracy and monstrous in its implications for the future of this society that the silence of our leaders in the face of this lie was frightening and eerie, a deception so horrible that, like the macabre secret in a Sam Shepard play, it seemed to exert a truth warp that transmogrified every rhetorical attempt to navigate around it.

And then suddenly there was Howard Dean, the wonderful, pugnacious bantam from the Green Mountain State, his jaw clenched and looking vaguely pissed-off, speaking the truth and daring any rightwing brownshirt to question his patriotism. The other candidates recoiled at Howard's temerity, certain that speaking the truth would mean political doom. But then Dr. Dean began rising in the polls, drawing raucous crowds, appearing on the cover of Newsweek, raising millions of campaign dollars from people who were just plain grateful that someone was saying it aloud: Bush lied. Al Gore stepped forward: Bush betrayed us. And soon even Kerry and Edwards were saying it: we were deceived.

We must defeat the Deserter. He could ejaculate on a thousand underaged virgins in the oval office and not do the damage that he has done to the nation and our democracy with his criminal war. I understand why John Kerry must tack to the middle and flank the Deserter on the issue of strength against terrorism. But it was very disconcerting to hear, as we did in the days leading up to the Democratic convention, that the Democratic party would avoid the subject of Iraq, that "Bush bashing" would be off-limits even though he deceived us into war. How depressing. It was as if the truth, although no longer banished, was deemed too shrill, too "hot" for the cool medium that will carry the convention to millions, too politically inconvenient.

I am proud to say, as a Democrat and as an American, that the truth is being spoken at the 2004 Democratic convention. It is not yet clear that the candidate will speak the precious words, and perhaps even likely that he won't, but Democrats are LOUD and PROUD and they are unafraid to say what must be said if our democracy is to be fully preserved and principles of our republic vindicated: Bush lied, he sought to mislead and confuse, he assiduously employed deception to gull a peace-loving people into an unjust war.
Wouldn't we be safer with a President who didn't insist on confusing al Qaeda with Iraq? Al Gore

We also were sure that [Presidents Truman and Eisenhower] would not mislead us when it came to issues involving our nation’s security.   President Carter

And finally, in the world at large we cannot lead if our leaders mislead. President Carter

We’re not going to be afraid to stand up for what we believe. We’re not going to let those who disagree with us shout us down under a banner of false patriotism. Gov. Dean

I’m proud of John Kerry’s leadership, and I intend to stand shoulder to shoulder with him as we fight for the things Harry Truman promised in 1948: health insurance for every American, a real jobs plan to create jobs instead of destroy them. Standing up for middle class and working Americans who got a tax increase, not a tax cut. And a foreign policy that relies on telling the truth to the American people before we send our brave American soldiers to fight in foreign lands. Gov. Dean

How could any President have possibly squandered the enormous goodwill that flowed to America from across the world after September 11th? Senator Kennedy

In the White House, inscribed on a plaque above the fireplace in the State Dining Room, is a prayer – a simple but powerful prayer of John Adams, the first president to live in that great house. It reads: "I pray heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house and on all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but [the] honest and wise ever rule under this roof." In November, we will make those words ring true again. Senator Kennedy

Instead, he and his congressional allies made a very different choice: to use the moment of unity to push America too far to the right and to walk away from our allies, not only in attacking Iraq before the weapons inspectors finished their jobs, but in withdrawing American support for the Climate Change Treaty, the International Court for war criminals, the ABM treaty, and even the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. President Clinton

When we send our young men and women into harm’s way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they’re going, to care for their families while they’re gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return, and to never ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace, and earn the respect of the world. Barack Obama

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