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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Sunday, April 25, 2004


Americans Believe Lies

posted by Dana at Sunday, April 25, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
The biggest problem we have today, and the biggest reason I think Howard Dean lost, is that Americans believe lies.

Juan Cole parsed this today in recounting testimony by James Schlessinger to the Senate Foreign Relations committee last week.

A new poll shows that as of mid-March, 57% of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein had given substantial support to al-Qaeda. Worse, 45% actually say that "clear evidence" has been found in Iraq to support this allegation! As for weapons of mass destruction 45 percent say they believe Saddam had them before the recent war, and 22 percent say that he had a major program for developing them.

There is no documentary or physical evidence for any of these assertions.

One result of this Cole saw firsthand was Schlessinger forcing Rhode Island Republican Lincoln Chaffee into meek obedience on neocon Iraq policy and on the falsehood that CIA director George Tenet had testified to links between Bin Laden and Hussein.

Another result is that neocons like Victor Davis Hanson can get away with their Lady MacBeth acts. Davis blamed the present Iraq crisis on Carter not "taking out" Iran when "he had the chance." Other Republicans are taking Ashcroft's lead in blaming commission member Jamie Gorelick for 9-11.

John Kerry believed the lies back in 2002 and backed the war. Dean believed the lies enough to say we have to "stay the course" in Iraq during the campaign. But if the whole war was based on lies, and if we're now prepared to destroy the city of Fallujah based on lies, how much "better off" are the Iraqis than before, and how much "different" are we than those Ba'athists who followed Saddam Hussein himself?

How many Iraqis have we killed -- including innocents -- and how many more will we kill by November? Based on what?

Based on lies.

I don't absolve myself from this. I agreed 100% with Dean's formulation. We shouldn't have gone in, but we're stuck with it and have to "win." But at this point what can be "won?" The neocons, like Richard Perle, still want to install Ahmad Chalabi. The Administration is giving power back to the Ba'athists. The "democratic alternative" is to hand power to the theocrats, the Shi'ite mullahs of Najaf -- maybe not al-Sadr but the "moderate" mullahs like al-Sistani.

And meanwhile our best and brightest are dieing. Why? Why won't this blood wash off our hands?

It's because we continue to believe in lies, and the lying liars who tell them. It is up to those of us in Dean Nation, I believe, to do everything we can to change this. Before we can go forward, we must look back clearly. If we can't see the truth of today, we can't hope to change tomorrow.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.