7 In July, while dealing with the uranium-from-Africa controversy, Bush tossed out a completely false rationale for the war: “We gave [Hussein] a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn’t let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power.” Not so. Hussein had permitted the U.N. inspector to enter Iraq and examine sites there. Hussein’s overall record of cooperation with the inspectors had been mixed. But he had not banned the inspectors. That was not the reason for the war.
8 In early August, before departing for a monthlong “working” vacation, Bush said, “We’re doing everything we can to protect the homeland.” That was a reassuring statement, but not an accurate one. His administration has not enhanced security at chemical plants. It has provided less than one-third of the funds needed to beef up security at port authorities. According to a Council on Foreign Relations task-force report, the country will fall $98.4 billion short on funding for emergency responders over the next five years. And after the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a measure compelling airlines to screen cargo carried by passenger airliners, the White House blocked the legislation in the Senate. This is hardly doing “everything we can.”
9 In early September, Bush claimed his education budget “for next year boosts funding for elementary and secondary education to $53.1 billion . . . In other words, we understand that resources need to flow to help solve the problems.” His math was way off. Bush’s proposed elementary and secondary education budget for the coming year was $34.9 billion, not $53.1 billion, according to his own Department of Education. Moreover, there was no “boost” in the elementary and secondary education budget. These programs received $35.8 billion in 2003. Bush’s 2004 budget proposed to cut that by nearly a billion dollars.
10 In a November speech, Bush credited President Ronald Reagan for having energized a worldwide movement for democracy that led to “new democracies in Latin America” and to the South Africa government’s 1990 release of Nelson Mandela. While Reagan had pushed for democracy in the Soviet bloc, he did the opposite elsewhere. His administration cozied up to the fascistic junta of Argentina and an El Salvador military that massacred peasants. It also normalized relations with Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. As for South Africa, Reagan defended the racist regime by saying that South Africa had “eliminated” segregation — at a time when blacks there were not allowed to vote or to mix with whites in many public facilities. When Congress overwhelming passed bipartisan legislation to impose economic sanctions on South Africa, Reagan vetoed the bill.
Bush has paid little, if any, political price for most of his self-serving untruths. Referring to those missing WMDs in Iraq, Bush remarked in July, “When it’s all said and done, the facts will show the world the truth.” Americans who do care about truth in government can hope that in this general regard Bush is indeed correct.
David Corn, Washington editor ofThe Nation, is author ofThe Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception (Crown) and editswww.bushlies.com.