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David Swanson: If Beal Street Could Talk – Part 1

If Beal Street Could Talk – Part 1

Bush's Escalation Speech
Remarks at the National Conference for Media Reform in Memphis, Tenn., January 13, 2007.
By David Swanson

I'd like to request that nobody shout during this event, and I'll tell you why. I watched Bush's speech with some people who thought it would be a good idea to take a sip of liquor every time he told a lie. Three days later my head is aching.

But it aches mostly because of the media's coverage of the speech. Idiots don't offend me as much as smart people following idiots do. The Washington Post printed Bush's speech for those who missed it, and then printed some analysis of it. But the analysis was provided by the White House, which published a glossy brochure that so-called reporters could plagiarize.

If you went to online sources like Foreign Policy in Focus, you found analyses of Bush's speech that pointed out the lies. If you turned on your television, you heard how smart Bush was to admit his mistakes. But you did not hear the long list of mistakes that he has not admitted to or gone to prison for. You just heard about his mistake of not having yet done exactly what he now wants to do.

The following is what I would like to have heard on the TV and radio after Bush's speech (and similar reporting on Congressman Dick Durbin's so-called response):


Earlier this evening we aired a speech by President George W. Bush that may have left you with some false impressions. We need to correct these matters of fact.

The President's speech did not mention WMDs or Saddam Hussein or attempt to explain why we are occupying the nation of Iraq or what it would mean for that occupation to "win" or "lose." This may have left you with the impression that no justification is required by law to forcibly occupy someone else's country and kill a significant portion of their population. That is not the case.

The President made no reference to the permanent military bases he is illegally constructing in Iraq. This may have left you with the impression that he plans to leave Iraq some day. This, combined with his references to democracy, may have given you a certain idea of his plans for Iraq that does not seem to be suggested by the President's actions.

Bush also expressed support for a number of Middle-Eastern nations allied with the United States, notably Saudi Arabia. This may have given you the idea that these nations are democracies. They are dictatorships.

Bush began his speech by connecting Iraq to 9-11. In fact, Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11. We apologize to the millions who have lost loved ones because of this lie. When Bush said that al Qaeda was "still" active in Iraq, he failed to add that it had only become active in Iraq as a result of his invasion and occupation of that nation.

Bush said that he would see that the people of Iraq profit from its oil. This statement bears no relationship to actual U.S. policy, and Bush has no legal right to decide what happens to another nation's resources.

Bush suggested that most Iraqis want the occupation to continue. This is false.

Bush suggested that occupying Iraq was making Americans safer. His own intelligence analysts disagree.

Bush implied that he can escalate wars at his own discretion. In fact, Congress can prevent him from doing so if it chooses to.

Of course, Bush has escalated this war in the past. We have not reported on that as such because he did not make a big deal of it. The reason he is making a big deal of it this time was not addressed in his speech.

What was new in the speech was a threat to Iran and Syria. Bush claimed that Iran is providing material to Iraqi resisters. There is no evidence of this. Bush said he was sending ships and missile defense systems to the region. These steps have no clear connection to Iraq and may be seen as part of a threat to Iran.

Bush said not one word about all of the Iraqi blood he has spilled. Approximately 655,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the United States' invasion and occupation of Iraq, thus far. And the death rate is increasing, not diminishing. Here is video showing many of the people killed and injured in this war and their family members….

…Americans can support or oppose this war by contacting their Congress Members. There will be a march in opposition to the war in Washington D.C. on January 27th followed by lobbying of Congress on the 29th. For more on that, see


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