William Rivers Pitt: Speaking of Apologies
Speaking of Apologies
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Thursday 02 November 2006
For the record, this is what John Kerry said: "You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."
Big deal, right? He was clearly referring to George W. Bush with those lines, and sure, his comedic timing is somewhere to the south of sharp. A few people got it, however; Chris Matthews, on his MSNBC show 'Hardball,' said of the quip, "If you listen to the transition of words there, it clearly looks like he was talking about President Bush being in a state of denial, not realizing when he took us into Iraq what he was going to face because he didn't study hard in school."
But whatever to all that, because it's a campaign season, and campaign seasons tend to make people comprehensively stupid, so everyone gets to hoot and holler about this for a few news cycles. Hell, the GOP has to campaign on something, right? Bush, along with White House press secretary Tony Snow and a few weak-kneed Democrats, have demanded that Kerry apologize for, yes, you got it, "insulting the troops." Surely this is Bizarro World, yes?
Let's take a minute and think of some other apologies that probably should be offered, since we're on the subject.
"Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons," said Bush to the UN General Assembly in September of 2002. This was a lie, and he should apologize.
"Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons. We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons - the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have," said Bush in October of 2002. This was a lie, and he should apologize.
"The Iraqi regime possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons. We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas," said Bush in October of 2002. This was a lie, and he should apologize.
"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production," said Bush during his January 2003 State of the Union address. This was a lie, and he should apologize.
"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised," said Bush in March of 2003. This was a lie, and he should apologize.
"But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them," said Bush in May of 2003. This was an astonishing, bald-faced lie. He should apologize, and be ashamed of himself.
105 American soldiers died in Iraq during October because of these lies. 71 American soldiers died in Iraq during September because of these lies. 65 American soldiers died in Iraq during August because of these lies. 43 American soldiers died in July, 61 in June, 69 in May, 76 in April, and 31 in March, the month that marked the three-year anniversary of the carnage unleashed by these lies. 2,818 American soldiers have died since the invasion was undertaken, and 44,779 more have been wounded, because of these lies.
The Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University estimates that more than 600,000 Iraqis have been killed since the invasion was undertaken. A police officer was shot to death, along with a clerk in the Ministry of Industry. Two people were killed by a bomb. Forty people were abducted off a highway north of Baghdad, and five bodies showing signs of torture and mutilation were pulled from the Tigris River. Ten more bodies, showing similar signs of torture, were dumped across different districts in Baghdad. All of this happened during a single day. All of this happened yesterday.
Since we're talking about apologies, George W. Bush owes more than a few. In a just world, he would be made to personally appear before the families of all the dead, and all the wounded, in order to beg for their forgiveness.
One apology, just one, would be good for starters.
William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times
and internationally bestselling author of two books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want
You to Know and The Greatest Sedition Is Silence.
His newest book, House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War,
Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation, will be
available this winter from PoliPointPress.