Secrets and lies

In his State of the Union speech, President Bush said Saddam Hussein bought significant quantities of uranium from Niger.

Not so, says Ray McGovern, a CIA analyst who reported to senior policymakers during the Reagan years. He says administration officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, knew the document used to support this claim was a forgery. “It was used anyway to deceive our Congressmen and Senators into voting for an unprovoked war,” McGovern charges. Opinion polls show that many people agree with McGovern.

According to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll the percentage of people who believe the “situation in Iraq is/was worth going to war over” has dropped from 76 percent in April to 56 percent today.

Another poll finds that 62 percent of respondents now say the evidence the Bush administration presented to justify the war was either “stretching the truth” or “presenting evidence they knew was false.” The University of Maryland Program on International Policy Attitudes poll says only 32 percent think the administration was “being fully truthful.” Similarly, 56 percent say the Bush administration was either stretching the truth or knowingly presenting false evidence when it claimed links between Iraq and al-Qaeda.

In short, there is a growing belief that the Bush administration lied to sell war on Iraq.

Two congressional committees have opened investigations into the matter.

The GOP leadership has been trying to squelch the inquiries, but some Republicans are worried. “This is a cloud hanging over their credibility, their word,” GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel said of the administration.

Now the White House claims it has evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. The record shows that Bush & Co. will twist and fabricate “intelligence” to back preemptive war on any country that opposes its drive for global domination.

We support the demand for a full and open investigation of the administration’s WMD lies that have already cost the lives of thousands of innocent people.

* * * * * *

Spirit of ’76: keep the fight alive

As we celebrate the 4th of July this weekend, issues of the Bill of Rights and the erosion of democracy loom large. No one can deny with the Bush White House and Justice Department hard-won democratic rights and civil liberties have been under attack.

While celebrating the revolutionary roots of our nation’s birth, we can also celebrate that the ultra-right suffered two huge defeats in June in a venue they thought was firmly under their control: the U.S. Supreme Court. On June 23, the high court ruled 5 – 4 that affirmative action can be used to achieve a multiracial student body on the nation’s colleges and universities.

That same week, the court struck down a Texas sodomy law ruling 6 – 3 that gays and lesbians are entitled to the same privacy rights as heterosexuals, a sweeping ruling that reversed the court’s 1986 decision upholding sodomy laws.

Even with the limitations, these rulings are still regarded by fighters for equal rights as landmark decisions that will give more political space for an expanded battle for equality and civil rights.

Why is the ultra-right so apoplectic about these decisions? The answer is that in one fell swoop the court demolished the myth that the ultra-right represents the “moral majority.”

On the contrary, the real majority in this country is multiracial, multicultural and rejects racism and bigotry. George W. Bush knows that. He called on the court last January to use the Michigan lawsuits to overturn affirmative action as “unconstitutional.” But when the court upheld affirmative action he praised the court for upholding “diversity.” It shows that the ultra-right is forced to conceal their hateful views under a façade of inclusion.

Several moderates may retire, giving Bush the opening he wants to pack the court with fanatics in the mold of Scalia and Thomas. It gives great urgency to the struggle to defeat Bush and break the ultra-right majority grip on the Senate and House in the 2004 elections.