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Bush's War for Re-Election: Iraq, the White House, and the People

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Overview

"In November of 2002, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld assured us that the then-looming second Iraq war ‘has nothing to do with oil, literally nothing to do with oil.' Since then, we've heard many other assertions about the war from George W. Bush and his cronies. And we've become less willing to believe. In this scathing indictment, Jim Moore adds to our reasons for doubt. He exposes the fibs and half-truths, ranging from Bush's disappearing act during his stint in the Texas Air National Guard, to the doctored intelligence reports that the Bush ...

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Overview

"In November of 2002, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld assured us that the then-looming second Iraq war ‘has nothing to do with oil, literally nothing to do with oil.' Since then, we've heard many other assertions about the war from George W. Bush and his cronies. And we've become less willing to believe. In this scathing indictment, Jim Moore adds to our reasons for doubt. He exposes the fibs and half-truths, ranging from Bush's disappearing act during his stint in the Texas Air National Guard, to the doctored intelligence reports that the Bush administration used to justify invading Iraq. He exposes the prevaricators while giving compassionate portraits of the soldiers who've died there. This book will make you mad. It might even make you vote."
—Robert Bryce author of Pipe Dreams: Greed, Ego, and the Death of Enron and the soon-to-be-released Cronies: Oil, the Bushes, and the Rise of Texas, America's Superstate

"Jim Moore takes you into the minds of the warriors on the battlefield and to the heart of the decisions that put them there. A brilliant, unconventional look at war and its aftermath."
—Wayne Slater, Senior Political Writer, Dallas Morning News

"James Moore masterfully details how Bush's war for reelection has real victims: the families of soldiers who have died in Iraq and American citizens who have dared to tell the truth. This exhaustively researched book exposes the dishonest underside of an administration that claims integrity as its calling card. Real young men and women are paying the price for Bush's follies with their lives, Moore reveals, while the man in the White House has used elitist connections to avoid ever risking anything."
—Mark Karlin, Editor, BuzzFlash.com

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...a compelling expose of the conflict with Iraq and the political effort to help George W. Bush win a second term in office." (Prospect, March 2004)
Matthew Dalleck
Through interviews with soldiers and family members of those who died in battle, Moore conveys the deep resentment toward Bush felt by at least some military families. Moore also conducted revealing interviews with former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, former Sen. Max Cleland and Bill Burkett, a lieutenant colonel in the Texas National Guard and a frequent Bush critic.
The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471483854
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 3/5/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 1.32 (d)

Meet the Author

JAMES MOORE is an Emmy Award—winning TV news correspondent with more than a quarter century of print and broadcast experience. Moore is also the author—along with Wayne Slater—of the New York Times bestseller Bush's Brain, also published by Wiley. He has traveled extensively on every Presidential campaign since 1976. His reports have appeared on CNN, NBC, and CBS. His professional honors include: an Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio-Television News Directors Association, and the Individual Broadcast Achievement Award from the Texas Headliners' Foundation.

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Table of Contents

Author's Note.

PART I: CAUGHT BY THE CHILL.

1. No Guns, No Glory.

2. A Beautiful Lie.

3. Boys at War.

4. A Few Young Men.

5. Pioneers of a Warless World.

6. The Awful Power.

PART II: JUST WALK AWAY.

7. Rewards of Service.

8. Bird of Pray.

9. The Ghost Soldier.

10. Flying Colors.

11. A Congressman’s Son.

12. Men Such as These.

PART III: COUNTING CASUALTIES.

13. Memorial Days.

14. At War with Mr. Wilson.

15. Soldier Down.

16. The Pokorney Girls.

Epilogue : Johnny Came Home.

A Letter to the President from the Father of a Fallen Marine.

Notes.

Acknowledgments.

Index.

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First Chapter

Bush's War For Reelection

Iraq, the White House, and the People
By James Moore

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-471-48385-0


Chapter One

No Guns, No Glory

Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war. Otto Von Bismarck

When the orders came over the radio, both of the young Marines were worried. First Lieutenant Ben Reid, and the platoon's other officer, Second Lieutenant Fred Pokorney, talked quietly about the sudden change of strategy from battalion headquarters. A month had been spent working out a detailed plan to bypass the Iraqi city of Al Nasiriyah after Charlie Company had crossed the Euphrates River. Three companies of Marines, Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, were to secure three separate bridges on the north and south sides of Al Nasiriyah.

Already, though, something had gone wrong.

"If we don't take those bridges now, regiment will give away our missions." The battalion commander's voice over the combat network was clear, and distinct. "So, we are going to run the gauntlet. Alpha, you take the southern bridge. Charlie, you take the northern bridge."

Reid and Pokorney spoke privately, acknowledging their fears to each other, but not their troops. Pokorney, though, had no doubt about what the orders meant.

"We're dead," he told Ben Reid.

Tanks, which were supposed to provide them armored support, had just beencalled away on a rescue mission, and still Charlie Company was being ordered to go straight up "ambush alley," a main thoroughfare in the center of Al Nasiriyah. Commanders had decided there was no time to wait for the return of the tanks. Al Nasiriyah needed to be controlled by the Americans, and neither Pentagon planners nor the White House was exhibiting much patience for a more calculated approach to battle. There was tremendous political pressure to prove that a small invasion force had the strength to move quickly and decisively on to Baghdad.

The stretch of road in front of Charlie Company was known to be occupied by Iraqi irregulars and Saddam Hussein's Fedayeen fighters, who had set up firing positions, were hiding in buildings, and waiting to attack. This information was the reason leadership had chosen a strategy of skirting the city after taking the southern bridge over the Euphrates. Alpha and Charlie Companies were then expected to close on the two northern bridges across the Saddam Canal.

A few hours earlier, Ben Reid and Fred Pokorney had gotten their first look at combat. Charlie Company, positioned at the rear of a column advancing up the main supply route, had moved northward as part of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade at 3:00 A.M. Around first light, the two young men saw Iraqis firing at the approaching Marines.

"From what I remember," Reid said. "First contact with the enemy was a few mortar rounds the Iraqis were shooting at us from the rooftop of a building. The front of the column also came into contact with machine guns, and I remember the anxiousness of the Marines in contact to employ their weapons systems."

As he listened on the radio, Reid gathered information on enemy positions, unfolded his map, and marked Iraqi and friendly positions with blue and red dots. Information off the combat network radio led him to believe the Marines out front were doing a good job of hitting their targets. Reid was encouraged. In the middle of the night on the Iraqi desert, while his platoon was preparing to move out, Ben Reid had spoken with several soldiers in a huge convoy moving through his own company's lines. He was surprised to learn that none of the personnel, junior officers, or senior staff noncommissioned officers had any maps of the area in which they were being deployed. Reid was pleased that he and Pokorney seemed to be more prepared for the coming challenges.

The morning of March 23 was already expected to be significant in the military career of Fred Pokorney. Not only was he getting his first combat experience, the 6 foot, 7 inch Marine was scheduled for promotion to First Lieutenant. Ben Reid had told his friend to plan on a brief ceremony acknowledging Pokorney's rise in rank, after they had accomplished their mission of taking the northernmost bridge over the canal.

Pokorney and Reid had become friends on the long ocean voyage from the United States to Kuwait. The two had shared a stateroom on the ship with several other junior officers. Pokorney was with Bravo Company and had been attached to Charlie Company to serve as an artillery forward observer in an infantry rifle company. Standard Marine procedures, these types of rotations are designed to give officers experience in a number of different military disciplines. Pokorney might have remained with his artillery unit and been relatively safe in the rear, but he asked for a change of orders.

His wife, Chelle Pokorney, did not learn of her husband's plans until he was preparing to leave for the Persian Gulf.

"After September 11, Fred was very eager, and willing to do something about what had happened to our country," she said. "But he didn't tell me he was going over with the infantry until the last minute. He was in the infantry before he became an officer and joined the artillery."

If the Marine Corps' advertising agency had ever stumbled across Fred Pokorney Jr., they might have used him as the new, national poster board Marine. Pokorney's dark eyes conveyed the kind of determination Marines have used to accomplish history's most difficult military goals. A photo during his days as an enlisted Marine showed him kneeling in front of three officers holding the company banner on a guidon. Pokorney's size and command presence, even from a ground level, dominate the picture and diminish the natural resolve of the officers arrayed behind him at attention.

Discipline was not what Fred Pokorney was looking for in the Marines. He already had that characteristic. Born with a hardened will, no one had ever heard him indulge in remorse or self-pity. Things were just what they were, he believed; you learned how to deal with circumstance, not make excuses, and if you were determined enough, you excelled. Pokorney was probably hoping the Marines would become his family. As a child, his existence was disrupted by the divorce of his parents and the nomadic nature of his father's work. Fred Pokorney wanted a permanent home.

After a promising basketball career was ended by an injury during his freshman year in college, Pokorney went to work in the silver mines of Tonopah, Nevada, where he had attended high school. In a few years, he enlisted in the Marines; his focused self-discipline and rigorous attention to detail brought him a quick promotion to sergeant. In Pokorney, Marine commanders knew they had a natural, and they offered to pay for his college education, which, ultimately, qualified him to become a commissioned officer after attending Officer Candidate School (OCS).

Wade Lieseke, a decorated Vietnam veteran who became Pokorney's adopted father, was worried about his son joining the Marines.

"I remember when Fred said he was gonna be an artillery officer, I was thinking, 'Oh God, at least he'll be safe.' The artillery is in the rear. It never occurred to me they'd have an artillery forward observer. In my day, airplanes did that.

"But he wanted to be a Marine," Lieseke said. "He said they were the best and he wanted to be part of the best."

Before the Marines sent him off for an education at Oregon State University, Fred Pokorney was stationed at the Bangor Marine Barracks in Washington State, a submarine base. He met Carolyn Rochelle Schulgen (Chelle), a nursing student, and they married. Around the time he earned his degree in history and political science, the Pokorneys learned they were going to be parents. After Chelle pinned his officer's bars onto his shoulder at a commissioning ceremony, the young family, Fred, Chelle, and their daughter Taylor, went east to the Fleet Marine Force at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He spent more than a year in OCS and artillery training. Upon completion of those courses, Fred Pokorney became a "Mustang," an enlisted Marine who had earned the rank of officer. He had finally achieved the stability that had been missing from his childhood; the honor and pride of the Marines fortified his already strong personal character. The Marines were his family, and his devotion to the corps took him away from Chelle and Taylor.

During the two hundred kilometer roll from northern Kuwait to the Jalibah Airfield south of Al Nasiriyah, where the Marines were to encamp, Pokorney frequently brought up the subject of his wife and daughter to Lieutenant Ben Reid. Inside the amphibious assault vehicle, as the tracks ground against the desert sand and the rank smell of diesel filled their lungs, Fred Pokorney was sharing pictures of his girls playing in the snow back in the Carolinas.

"Here we are, advancing on the enemy, and he's showing us all pictures of Chelle and Taylor," Reid said. "He was so proud of them and loved them so much. Fred was a great husband, and the most honorable guy you could ever meet. He had good, strong values. This was the kind of guy you would want your own daughter to meet and marry."

He was also the kind of Marine that Reid wanted in his unit as they approached enemy fire. Up ahead, the tanks from Marine Task Force Tarawa had been sent forward to rescue soldiers from the 507th Mechanized Company, a maintenance and technical support group from Fort Bliss, Texas, which had lost direction and had fallen victim to an Iraqi ambush. Lacking adequate communications, with their automatic weapons jammed by desert sand, the mechanics were pinned down by withering Iraqi fire until the Marines pulled them out for evacuation to the rear. A series of wrong turns had led the 507th to disaster.

On the combat radio network, Reid heard a voice claiming that the 507th was attacked by Iraqi soldiers faking surrender. The description of events indicated the Iraqis had been waving white flags to lure the Americans into a position where they were easy targets for machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. Although there is no evidence or narrative testimony to prove the deception actually occurred, the information was repeated by battalion communications headquarters, picked up by embedded journalists, and dispatched to the United States as fact. Before the day of March 23 had concluded, the story was also used to explain what had happened to the fifty-four man platoon commanded by Lieutenant Ben Reid. But nothing of the sort ever happened to either the 507th or the Marine companies. Neither the Army nor the Marines offered any understanding of where the story originated, or why it was never clarified.

"I still don't know where that came from," Reid said. "It was just on the comms net, and the reporters started broadcasting it. A lot of stuff that's been in the media about what happened to us and the 507th, is wrong. It needs to be cleared up."

As Reid and Pokorney's unit edged up the road with their company just south of Al Nasiryah and the Euphrates River Bridge, they saw Cobra helicopters and F-18 Hornets making passes near the city. The helicopters fired at a tree line, and red smoke from the trail of their Zuni rockets floated across the sky. Reid, the fire support team leader, wanted to know who or what was being engaged by the aircraft, and radioed battalion for information. The positions of the targets might be valuable when he began to coordinate his own combat fire. Although he reached commanders on the combat network, Reid got no answers. Just short of the bridge over the Euphrates River, Charlie Company came upon burning T-55 Russian tanks. A few, unmanned, also appeared untouched. Several vehicles belonging to the Army's 507th Mechanized were in flames. A ball of fire consumed a large, armored truck used for logistical support.

Alpha Company, which had taken the Euphrates Bridge, had set up in a herringbone position to protect their location, and as Reid and Pokorney's Marines moved through their ranks to cross the river, sporadic small arms fire was audible on the edge of the Iraqi city. Original orders for Charlie Company were to follow Bravo Company to the east and avoid "ambush alley." Unfortunately, visual contact with Bravo had been lost, and simple radio communications failed.

"I hate to say this, sir," Ben Reid explained. "But you gotta remember, our radios were built by the lowest bidder. We had all kinds of problems with our combat comms network. And once all these different companies started taking fire, there was an unbelievable number of people trying to talk on that one combat net. Anything you wanted to say kept getting stepped on by other people jumping on the air."

As a result, Reid's company commander had no idea what had happened to Bravo after it had crossed the Euphrates. If Bravo was stuck in the mud off to the east, Charlie was certain to jeopardize the mission of securing the northern bridges by taking the same route. Everyone might end up bogged down, immobilized, and exposed to Iraqi attack. Reid was told by his commander that it was likely Bravo had made a run up "ambush alley" to get to their objective of the first canal bridge. But he didn't really know what maneuver had been executed by Bravo. Immediately, Reid knew what that meant and when new orders from battalion command passed over the net confirming his fears, Charlie Company began moving into the city of Al Nasiriyah, making a direct course up "ambush alley."

Very quickly, Reid and Pokorney's men encountered small arms fire. Their ten amphibious assault vehicles (referred to by Marines as amtracks, or tracks) and two Humvees were armed with .50 caliber machine guns and nineteen 40-millimeter grenade launchers. Returning fire, the convoy hurried through the crude urban reaches of Al Nasiriyah. Bullets pinged off the side of the Americans' tracked vehicles, and enemy fire dramatically intensified the further north they traveled into the city. While the Marines configured their armor in a combat-oriented position, on their right, to the east, they saw modest, low structures, mud huts uncommon in more developed cities. The other side of the road was lined with office buildings, and architecture slightly more typical of the commerce of a mid-sized city, though few structures rose to more than four or five stories in height. Iraqi gunners had set up fields of fire from hidden posts inside of mud huts, and the more modern, small office structures.

Ramp doors at the rear of some of the tracks were partially open. Lieutenant Fred Pokorney, and the mortar men, who would not be active until the convoy stopped, were using their M-16s to return Iraqi fire. Pokorney called out that a track, just to the rear of the one in which he and Reid were traveling, was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, and caught fire.

Continues...


Excerpted from Bush's War For Reelection by James Moore Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Interviews & Essays

An Interview with James Moore

Barnes & Noble.com: Bush's War for Re-election is a follow-up to your bestselling Bush's Brain. What was the impetus for the new book?

James Moore: I've always been interested in writing about people who serve our country. I felt that the military, people who trusted our president and our government, were mistreated. Their trust was abused. They are willing to serve us, no matter what we ask, as long as we are honest. I believe they were not dealt with honestly. Our servicemen and women have been victimized by our Congress, our president, and our media. I wanted to tell that story.

My goal was to write about a piece of time in America, to take a section of our recent history, and reveal what really happened. I think people will be astonished by what they read because mainstream media has failed to capture the truth. They, too, have been manipulated, just as were intelligence sources, and the honorable men and women who wear the uniform of our armed forces.

B&N.com: George W. Bush's disputed National Guard service is one of the major topics of the book. Are you surprised that this issue has suddenly emerged?

JM: No, actually, I'm not. I asked him in 1994 how he got into the Guard. This was during his only debate with Gov. Ann Richards, and I was a panelist. I knew how hard it was to get into the Guard. I had tried. I was told I had to wait five years and I would likely be drafted before I got called into the Guard. We all knew it was a place to avoid the bullets and bombs of Vietnam. But it didn't seem to matter to Americans after President Clinton. The press corps traveling with Mr. Bush had an attitude that seemed to indicate, even if Mr. Bush did not do his full six-year hitch, and he got in with privilege, at least he did something. Bill Clinton, this rationale argued, was just a long-haired draft dodger. Bush was more than that as a pilot, so he got a free pass.

But it matters now because he is calling up the National Guard and sending tens of thousands of our young people into combat. They are serving honorably. And if they were as capricious or cavalier about their sworn oath to the Guard as Mr. Bush was during his time, there would be no one to call up to defend our country.

B&N.com: Did Bush jump the line of men trying to get into the Guard?

JM: Mr. Bush jumped ahead of about 500 others waiting to get into the 111th Fighter Interceptor Group in Houston. There were two other fully trained pilots waiting to transfer into Houston who got passed over because of Mr. Bush's family influence. Not only did he get jumped over hundreds of others, but also after basic training he was promoted to 2nd Lt. faster than anyone in the history of the U.S. military. Normally, such a promotion would require years of ROTC, active duty, and extensive training. But not for George W. Bush. He got the promotion after he completed basic training.

B&N.com: If you had to speculate, why do you think he skipped his flight physical?

JM: I think this was one of his many cases of bad judgment caused by years of privilege. By his own admission, he was partying too much. I think Mr. Bush decided that he wasn't going to fly any more, and just decided not to show up. There is also the possibility that he was doing more than just drinking in 1972, and, if so, he was about to confront the first possibility that he might have had his blood randomly tested under a new Pentagon directive. Those all seem to be instructive on why he missed his physical.

More baffling to me, however, is how he was able to unilaterally decide he was no longer going to fly. This is something a pilot never gets to decide on his own. Pilots take orders from commanders, who decide their future for the period of their six-year commitment. They don't just get to say, "I'm not flying any more." This is more evidence of coddling and privilege of a young lieutenant with a powerful family.

B&N.com: Is it true that Bush was in potential danger of being sent into combat for being AWOL?

JM: Many other young men who behaved as he did, missing their training sessions or losing their flight status, were sent to boot camp and then into active duty with the Army. I interviewed one National Guard commander who sent out arrest warrants for men in his unit if they were 15 minutes late. There were many cases of Guard soldiers and reservists who did not live up to their obligations under the law and were sent into combat.

Mr. Bush clearly failed to keep his sworn and signed oath to show up and serve honorably and professionally, and yet he did not face induction, as was legally outlined on his Guard agreements.

B&N.com: Were Bush's military files tampered with?

JM: Yes, I think the evidence in my book proves that the hard copy, retained records file of Governor Bush was tampered with in Austin. There are too many documents missing from the file. Also, Lt. Col. Bill Burkett heard conversations with Bush staffers who were issuing directives to "clean up the files" and "remove embarrassments." He also watched a general in the Texas Guard throw documents out of the Bush file into a wastebasket. A second witness corroborated Burkett's story and credibility in 1999 and again in 2002. The witness changed his story in 2004 after I leaked Burkett's story to the media. Bill Burkett's reputation as an officer and a man is impeccable. Even the witness who changed his story wrote in an email, "Bill Burkett is an honorable man and when he opens his mouth he speaks the truth."

The Bush file needs to be judged, not by what is there, but rather by what is missing, and much is missing.

B&N.com: Has the release of Bush military records [in early 2004] quelled the debate?

JM: No, because the records have not all been released, in spite of how the White House has tried to position this. Mr. Bush needs to sign a release authorizing any journalist or researcher who is interested in his records to get a printout of the full microfiche file at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. We only have a printout that has been screened first by the White House. There is more on file, as well as his pay stubs, which are located at the Defense Finance and Accounting Center in Colorado. Release of his pay stubs will show what days Mr. Bush actually served.

The big issue, though, is what is missing from his file. There should be a report from a board of inquiry on why he lost flight status, as well as pay stubs, and a document showing the total points he earned. That document would prove if he served the necessary number of days each year.

B&N.com: Some of the chapters of your book chronicle the experiences -- often tragic -- of American servicemen as they fought in Iraq. What did you discover about what the troops went through? Were they adequately prepared for combat?

JM: Like most young people going to war, I don't think most of them had any idea what they were facing. Who can imagine the terror of war, even if you have read widely about the subject? The saddest part about what happened to most of our troops was that they weren't even given enough weaponry to fight. Their guns often jammed. They were told silly, optimistic stories that the Iraqis would greet them with happy fire, resistance would be minimal. They were misled, many died, and now their families are suffering.

B&N.com: You spent a lot of time interviewing Ambassador Joseph Wilson, the noted diplomat whose wife, Valerie Plame, was outed as a covert CIA operative -- evidently by someone in the administration. How serious an offense is this?

JM: This is another betrayal, which became a part of the legacy of the grand betrayal of the war against Iraq. The president said he wanted to get rid of weapons of mass destruction, yet someone in his White House betrayed Valerie Plame by releasing her identity, and she was working to stop WMD as an undercover agent. Whoever did this, in my estimation, is a traitor. We are a nation at war and Ms. Plame had placed herself at great risk to protect our country, and still someone decided to reveal her identity simply because her husband disagreed with the White House.

Ambassador Wilson's assessment that there was no yellowcake uranium sold to Iraq from Niger has turned out to be true, and Mr. Bush's alarms about WMD in Iraq have turned out to be false, and Valerie Plame is a victim of mean-spirited politics.

B&N.com: Do you think that "Plame-gate" will play a role in the election?

JM: I don't know. I hope that it matters to Americans. Much depends on whether a grand jury actually indicts someone. If it turns out, as I believe, that Karl Rove was behind the release of her name, and he is indicted, it could have a significant impact on the election. Mr. Rove is the mastermind of all political moves in the Bush White House, and this would closely connect the crime to the president.

B&N.com: You've written about Karl Rove previously -- how do you think he's feeling about Bush's prospects for re-election?

JM: I think, for the first time in his career, Mr. Rove is very worried. The Bush administration has alienated many, many constituencies during the course of the past four years. It will be hard to win them back, even a portion of them. Nonetheless, I never discount Mr. Rove's ability to pull a rabbit out of his political hat. We may yet find WMDs, perhaps hidden in Syria, and the new offensive in Afghanistan might lead to the capture of bin Laden. If all of this happens, as I suspect it will, sometime late in the summer, it will help Mr. Bush.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2004

    Brilliant expose of Bush's 'war on terrorism'

    This is a riveting account of Bush¿s war against Iraq, its causes and consequences. Veteran journalist James Moore vividly shows the courage and patriotism of American soldiers in battle and the heartache of the casualties¿ families. He contrasts this with the cold-hearted lying of those who abuse their trust. In particular, he examines the doctored military records of a certain congressman¿s son, who managed to evade serving in the war against Vietnam. In 2000, outgoing President Clinton told George W. Bush that the terrorist threat from bin Laden was `the top priority¿, followed by Israel-Palestine, North Korea, India-Pakistan and Saddam Hussein. Bush replied, ¿I think you¿ve got your priorities wrong. I¿m putting Saddam at the top of the list.¿ From the first, Bush targeted Iraq, which has oil, not Al Qa¿ida, which doesn¿t. So Bush had to lie that Iraq, not Al Qa¿ida, was the main threat to the American people. Fortunately for him, the US state has decades of experience of deceiving people into aggressive wars. Moore examines several of these tested techniques. For example, Bush alleged that Iraq had bought aluminum tubes to help develop nuclear weapons. Here¿s how it works. Ignore the facts ¿ the experts at the Department of Energy¿s Oak Ridge National Laboratory unanimously found that the tubes were not for nuclear weapons. Plant the story with a pliant journalist ¿ in this case, Pulitzer Prize-winning Judith Miller of the New York Times. Order the intelligence and scientific communities not to dispute the administration¿s claims, implying that any dissent would be treated as treachery. Do a media blitz, and use the silence from the spooks and scientists as proof of the claims. Get an administration stooge - Colin Powell - to tell the lie to the UN. Get another stooge - Blair - to repeat the lie around the world. Moore also shows how the US Army censored reports from Iraq ¿ that¿s what `embedded journalism¿ means ¿ so Judith Miller reported what the Army told her. She got most of her WMD stories from Ahmad Chalabi, who told the same tales to the Army and the White House, which then confirmed their truth to Miller. Moore recounts how, eight days after Joseph Wilson wrote that the White House `twisted intelligence to exaggerate the Iraqi threat¿, `senior administration officials¿ released his wife¿s identity as a CIA agent. Divulging such information is a criminal offence. Using known forgeries is another technique. Although even Berlusconi¿s tabloid paper Panorama turned down an article based on forged documents alleging that Iraq bought uranium from Niger, Blair published the story as fact in his September 2002 dossier, and Bush used it in his State of the Union address. Bush also has techniques for stealing elections: his new one, electronic touch screen voting, beats `hanging chads¿ and postal voting any day. Georgia was the first state to conduct an election using only electronic voting: as a result, the Republican candidate¿s votes rose by 16% in the four days after the last opinion poll, producing the first Republican governor of the state in 130 years. Nebraska¿s Republican Senator Chuck Hagel owns the firm that counted 85% of the votes in the state election that he won with 83% of the vote, the largest electoral victory in Nebraska¿s history. November¿s Presidential election is scheduled to be conducted electronically.

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