July 19, 2003

Vidal Award What's on tap

Vidal Award

What's on tap for brainy enarque-types who might be perusing the July Monde Diplomatique? Some Gore Vidal-style rampant anti-americanism divorced from any sober, factual analysis.

Some representative grafs:

"The US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, was manipulated and his political future is now at stake. He was reported to have resisted White House and Pentagon pressures to distribute the most dubious briefings. In his UN Security Council speech of 5 February 2003 Powell was obliged to read a draft prepared by Lewis Libby, chief of staff to vice president Dick Cheney. It contained such tenuous information that Powell was said to have become angry, thrown the sheets in the air and refused to read it. Finally Powell asked to have the head of the CIA, George Tenet, sit in view behind him to share responsibility for what was being read.

In an interview in the June issue of Vanity Fair, Wolfowitz admitted that governmental lies had been told. He said that the decision to put forward the threat of WMD to justify a preventive war against Iraq had been adopted "for reasons that have a lot to do with US government bureaucracy . . . We settled on the one issue which everyone could agree on, which was weapons of mass destruction"

So Bush had lied. Searching for a casus belli to appeal to the United Nations and recruit a few accomplices (United Kingdom and Spain) to his project for conquering Iraq, Bush did not hesitate to fabricate a massive governmental lie."

Powell's "future at stake"? With whom? Says who? An absurd contention--and not even the slightest corroboration of such a wild claim attempted.

And how did Wolfowitz's interview with Sam Tannenhaus in Vanity Fair constitute an admission that "governmental lies had been told"? See here an earlier analysis I had up on that interview with the relevant language. And take a look how the French press was spinning the interview earlier.

But in no way can one conclude, from a judicious examination of the interview, that Wolfowitz admitted "government lies." He simply stated that--among four factors he lists for going to war in Iraq--Administration cohesion was most easily achieved on the WMD factor.

And notice the word used to describe countries like the U.K. and Spain--"accomplices." I guess "vassal", trotted out so often in the past, had become a bit worn and hackneyed. And it doesn't quite evoke a sense of state criminality per the title of Ramet's intemperate essay.

Another whopper, of course, is the contention that Bush "did not hesitate to fabricate a massive governmental lie." Intelligence may have been hyped, politicized, interpreted aggressively with an aim towards more forcefully establishing a casus belli.

But there were genuine, honest debates about much of the intelligence with people, as with the aluminum tubes and whether they could be used for uranium enrichment, simply coming to different conclusions. A fabrication of a "massive governmental lie" is an egregiously hyperbolic statement that shouldn't pass muster in an ostensibly top-flight French foreign policy journal.

But it gets worse. A last quote from Ramet's quasi-hysterical piece:

"To justify a preventive war that the United Nations and global public opinion did not want, a machine for propaganda and mystification (organised by the doctrinaire sect around George Bush) produced state-sponsored lies for more than six months, with a determination characteristic of the worst regimes of the 20th century." [my emphasis]

Dubya--as determined a liar as Hitler or Stalin. For more Dubya as Hitler analogies check this out.

Posted by Gregory at July 19, 2003 01:35 PM
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