By MARC McDONALD
George W. Bush has had two years to carefully work out a strategy for rehabilitating the legacy of his disastrous presidency. And now, we are seeing the first major salvo in that effort: Bush's new book, Decision Points.
As could be expected from a man who brazenly lied his way through his presidency, Decision Points is a book filled with outrageous lies and distortions of history.
Clearly, Bush is channeling his mentor, Karl Rove. Rove's credo has always been: if you want to get a message out, don't worry about whether it's true. Just repeat it loudly, over and over. It's a blunt force tactic that usually works with the sort of simple-minded people who voted for Bush and who are lining up to buy his book today.
Reading Decision Points is a surreal experience. It's from a man whose worldview comes straight from the likes of Fox News and Rush. It is remarkably detached from reality.
The most nauseating lie in Bush's new book comes, as you might expect, from the central event that defined the Bush years: the disastrous Iraq War.
In his book, Bush writes that he was astonished to find after the invasion that there were no WMDs in Iraq. "No one was more shocked or angry than I was when we didn't find the weapons," Bush writes. "I had a sickening feeling every time I thought about it. I still do."
Indeed, Bush should have had a "sickening feeling" every time he thought about the non-existent WMDs. It should haunt him for the rest of his life.
But the record shows otherwise. In fact, a mere year after he ordered the Iraq invasion, Bush was already flippant about the missing WMDs. Incredibly, he even thought the topic was suitable fodder for humor.
In one of the most jaw-droppingly offensive performances by any U.S. politician in history, Bush laughed and joked about the missing WMDs in Iraq, during his March 24, 2004 appearance at the White House Correspondents Dinner.
To Bush, the non-existent WMDs were nothing more than a butt of a joke that night. While an overhead projector displayed photos of a puzzled-looking Bush searching around the Oval Office, Bush recited a comedy routine.
"Those weapons of mass destruction have gotta be somewhere," Bush laughed, while a photo showed him poking around the corners in the Oval Office. "Nope--no weapons over there! Maybe they're under here," he said, as a photo showed him looking under a desk.
Meanwhile, the assembled "Liberal" media elites at the White House Correspondents Dinner were laughing heartily during Bush's performance.
Bush joked about the same non-existent WMDs that represented his case for taking the nation to war with Iraq. Recall how in the 2002-2003 build-up to the invasion of Iraq, every other word out of Bush's mouth was "WMD."
Bush and the other chickenhawk NeoCons constantly did their best to make the case that Saddam had WMDs that posed a threat to America. The NeoCons in effect used WMDs as a club to beat over the head of anyone who dared question whether the U.S. was following a wise course in invading Iraq.
We Progressives never bought Bush's case for war. We tried to point out to anyone who would listen that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. We also tried to point out that Iraq was a small Third World nation with less than one-tenth of America's population, a nation with little industry.
Indeed, if Iraq did pose some sort of threat to America, we argued, then the question wasn't whether the U.S. should invade. Instead it was this: exactly why wasn't the Pentagon, with its trillion-dollar budgets, up to the job of protecting America? (Note that the U.S. spends more on its military than the rest of the world combined).
Indeed, many of us progressives rejected the very term, "Weapons of Mass Destruction." It was nothing more than a deliberately scary, propagandistic term, meant to frighten Americans into doing whatever the Bush/Cheney regime wanted. WMD was a term that belonged in a Marvel comic book, not in the real world.
Fast-forward to 2010. Bush is now trying to whitewash his presidency and hawk his book--the advance for which he reportedly pocketed a cool $7 million. Apparently unaware of the existence of sites like YouTube, Bush is now trying to pretend the 2004 White House Correspondents Dinner never happened. And now, he have us believe that the non-existent WMDs left him feeling "shocked," "angry" and with a "sickening feeling."
Actually, that exactly how I felt upon reading Bush's pack of lies.
I like Mother Jones writer David Corn. But I have to admit, I was a bit dismayed to see his Nov. 19 piece, "Bush's Biggest WMD Lie?" which makes exactly the same point as my Nov. 9 article above. (No, I'm not saying Corn copied my article----I doubt he's aware of my obscure blog). But the coincidence is spooky indeed.