According to the New York Times today, last fall the Bush administration once again told the nation a bald-faced lie regarding economic progress in Iraq as it sought continued surge financing from Congress.
At issue: The supposed success of the Iraqi government in actually using some of the billions in oil revenue available to it since the overthrow of Saddam, the American occupation and the restructuring of the Iraqi government itself. Some of those billions are set aside ostensibly for reconstruction of infrastructure, etc.
The Bush administration – with grave seriousness and in a nice, deep, voice -- assured Congress that some 24 percent of $10 billion had been spent by the Iraqi government on reconstruction in 2006. This was a very good sign of real progress.
Congress, naturally, took this good news into account when making its decision to fund the surge. There wasn’t very much other good news to work with, after all.
But according to a report released yesterday by the Government Accountability Office, “... official Iraqi Finance Ministry records showed that Iraq had spent only 4.4 percent of the reconstruction budget by August 2007. It also said that the rate of spending had substantially slowed from the previous year.”
Apparently we should be understanding because, as Gen. Petraeus was putting on his dog-and-pony-show in front of Congress in order to convince our gullible (and, I’m beginning to be convinced, dumb-as-planks) members of Congress to keep on funding George W. Bush's vanity war, accurate Iraqi economic figures just weren’t really available.
So, given the story today, my guess is that the administration just fucking made something up. I mean, I would, wouldn't you? Make something up? Because if I didn't make something up I might not get to ... never mind.
I know I should be jaded way beyond any surprise at this news. We are, after all, working on Year 8 of America's Long Night of Lies. Actually, I’m not really surprised – this is par for this malicious, prevaricating and dishonest administration.
I think my surprise comes from the fact that the story was relegated by the Times editors to the bottom of the online homepage, where it can easily be missed as a small liner hed under “World.”
I know -- after all these years of enduring a crappy, bought, lap-dog Fourth Estate, I shouldn't be surprised. But it seems to me news like that ought to be up at the top of the page, you know? It seems a little more important, to me, than the news that the GOP can’t seem to produce a popular front-runner in its presidential field so far. Well, duh. They're all whackjobs, phonies or washed-up, and all of them lie like their mentor, Mr. Bush. Even Republicans are getting a little tired of it.
I only knew the story about this particular lie was out there because I read Talking Points Memo each morning, and the sharp-eyed David Kurtz caught it and quoted it on the site.
He called the lie “fluff.” He’s more polite than I am. People are dying in unspeakable violence as a direct result of that lie.
“Rick Barton, co-director of the postconflict reconstruction project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said all measures of economic progress in Iraq were difficult to pin down precisely. But he said the United States, taking those difficulties into account, should have been wary of touting progress before the facts were clear.
“’The data in these places is hugely unreliable to begin with, primarily because nobody gets out in the field to see what’s going on,’ Mr. Barton said. ‘But what is probably troubling is that when you know this, you shouldn’t be using this to create wrong impressions or false impressions and pretending that you know what’s going on.’”
Well, yeah. But we’re talking about President Codpiece, here. Using data and information pulled out of thin air is de rigueur for this administration. Frankly, a lot of us American citizens who paid attention to Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker’s presentations to Congress in September were pretty skeptical. But as usual, Congress itself swallowed the bait whole.
Honestly, I can’t wait for Jan. 20, 2009. But that’s 370 days and 55 minutes away, and that’s a lot of days Bush can use to keep destroying his country with abandon, since it seems no one will raise a finger to stop him. Let’s hope that he won’t drag us all into yet another terrible and senseless war before he finally slinks away, leaving a trail of death, destruction and sorrow behind him.