Am I Hallucinating? A Reporter At Washington Post Actually Questions Some of the Truthiness (aka Lies) in Bush's SoTU
iFor the last several years, especially since September 11th (9-11-01), the Washington Post has pretty much made it policy not just to support the president, including the lies he told to take us into Iraq in March 2003, but also to report - with almost giddy and slavish devotion - that anyone who opposed George Bush was, in Bush Administration/White House parlance, supporting the terrorists. There have been a few exceptions, including WaPo blogger Dan Froomkin, columnists Eugene Robinson and E.J. Dionne, and some of the best reporting done by stand-out journalists like Walter Pincus.
So color me pleasantly surprised when yesterday, the day after Bush's latest "big" speech, when WaPo staff writer, Glenn Kessler, dissected the president's State of the Union (SoTU) and found that, once again, Mr. Bush told tales even bigger than Texas itself. In a piece aptly entitled, "President's Portrait of 'The Enemy' Often Flawed", Kessler writes in his analysis:
In his State of the Union address last night, President Bush presented an arguably misleading and often flawed description of "the enemy" that the United States faces overseas, lumping together disparate groups with opposing ideologies to suggest that they have a single-minded focus in attacking the United States.Read the rest here; it's well worth your time.
Under Bush's rubric, a country such as Iran -- which enjoys diplomatic representation and billions of dollars in trade with major European countries -- is lumped together with al-Qaeda, the terrorist group responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. "The Shia and Sunni extremists are different faces of the same totalitarian threat," Bush said, referring to the different branches of the Muslim religion.
Similarly, Bush asserted that Shia Hezbollah, which has won seats in the Lebanese government, is a terrorist group "second only to al-Qaeda in the American lives it has taken." Bush is referring to attacks nearly a quarter-century ago on a U.S. embassy and a Marine barracks when the United States intervened in Lebanon's civil war by shelling Hezbollah strongholds.
Hezbollah has evolved into primarily an anti-Israeli militant organization -- it fought a war with Israel last summer -- but the European Union does not list it as a terrorist organization.
At one point, Bush catalogued what he described as advances in the quest for freedom in the Middle East during 2005 -- such as the departure of Syrian troops from Lebanon and elections in Iraq. Then, Bush asserted, "a thinking enemy watched all of these scenes, adjusted their tactics and in 2006 they struck back." But his description of the actions of "the enemy" tried to tie together a series of diplomatic and military setbacks that had virtually no connection to one another, from an attack on a Sunni mosque in Iraq to the assassination of Maronite Lebanese political figure.
In his speech, Bush argued that "free people are not drawn to violent and malignant ideologies -- and most will choose a better way when they are given a chance." He also said that terrorist groups "want to overthrow moderate governments."
In the two of the most liberal and diverse societies in the Middle East -- Lebanon and the Palestinian territories -- events have undercut Bush's argument in the past year. Hezbollah has gained power and strength in Lebanon, partly at the ballot box. Meanwhile, Palestinians ousted the Fatah party -- which wants to pursue peace with Israel -- from the legislature in favor of Hamas, which is committed to Israel's destruction and is considered a terrorist organization by the State Department.
In fact, many of the countries that Bush considers "moderate" -- such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia -- are autocratic dictatorships rated among the worst of the "not free" nations by the nonpartisan Freedom House. Their Freedom House ratings are virtually indistinguishable from Cuba, Belarus and Burma, which Bush last night listed as nations in desperate need of freedom.
Bush also claimed that "we have a diplomatic strategy that is rallying the world to join in the fight against extremism." But Monday, a poll of 26,000 people in 25 countries was released that showed that global opinion of U.S. foreign policy has sharply deteriorated in the past two years. Nearly three-quarters of those polled by GlobeScan, an international polling company, disapprove of U.S. policies toward Iraq, and nearly half said the United States is playing a mainly negative role in the world.
Then keep something in mind: anyone who thinks that having so much of the world loathe not just American foreign policy but Americans as a whole because they can't make their oft-proclaimed "greatest democracy and free society in the world will make us the target of far MORE, rather than less terrorism is consuming something far more blinding, deafening, and other incapacitating as well as lethal than mere GOP Kool-Aid.