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Lying Lies and the Liars Who Tell Them

Last week we noted that the Center for Public Integrity, a public-interest group in Washington DC, had created an online database of the 935 “false statements” uttered by ranking officials of the Bush administration to push the United States into war with Iraq. The New York Times, reporting on the new research resource, compared the scandal the center had documented to Watergate.

But if the Bush lies were bad, how about the lies told by Bill Clinton on the same score, or for that matter, the lies told in the editorials of the New York TimesConnecting the Dots has uncovered a couple of whoppers, which the Times, in its story on the matter did not — or affected not to –  notice.

Here is a New York Times editorial on February 13, 2003, on the eve of the second Gulf war:

The Europeans and the United Nations must recognize that Saddam Hussein does pose a clear and present danger to the peaceful international order that the United Nations purports to protect. The credibility of the United Nations is at issue — not because President Bush says so, but because Mr. Hussein is a serial violator of both international law and Security Council resolutions forbidding him to acquire terrible weapons of mass destruction, and because he is a serious threat to his neighbors.

It is easy to find many more such “lies” in the editorials of the Times. Here is another one from November 4, 1997.

Closing down Baghdad’s efforts to build weapons of mass destruction requires the continuing pressure of international sanctions until U.N. investigators are completely satisfied that Baghdad is no longer hiding anything from them. Iraq now demands that the Security Council set a timetable for lifting all sanctions in exchange for full Iraqi cooperation. The sanctions are indeed supposed to be lifted when Iraq has fully complied with U.N. requirements. But Baghdad has no right to negotiate over the degree of its cooperation with U.N. investigators. Iraq has been flagrantly misleading U.N. experts and obstructing inspectors’ efforts to examine suspected storage sites.

And here is President Clinton “lying” to the American people on December 16, 1998, as he justifies military action against Iraq:

Earlier today I ordered America’s Armed Forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq’s nuclear, chemical, and biological programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.

Their purpose is to protect the national interest of the United States and, indeed, the interest of people throughout the Middle East and around the world. Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas, or biological weapons.

Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there’s one big difference: He has used them, not once but repeatedly, unleashing chemical weapons against Iranian troops during a decade-long war, not only against soldiers but against civilians; firing Scud missiles at the citizens of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Iran, not only against a foreign enemy but even against his own people, gassing Kurdish civilians in northern Iraq.

A question Connecting the Dots has asked before is: did the Bush administration lie when it relied on the CIA’s estimates of Iraq’s WMD program? Did the Clinton administration also lie? Are the Clinton administration’s lies included in the database of the Center for Public Integrity? Are the “lies” of the New York Times?

Or perhaps the Bush administration’s lies were not lies after all but something else. Or perhaps the George Soros-funded Center for Public Integrity lacks integrity, as does the New York Times.



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