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It has come to light that very early in the Bush administration ” fully a year and a half before the

9-11 attack on the World Trade Center ” a cadre of warhawks within that administration, under the leadership of Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, was engaged in preparing a plan for attacking Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein. It would have been virtually impossible to sell such an outrageous scheme to Congress and the American people, without a major incident to provide a reason to justify it.

Then along came the 9-11 al-Qaida attack on the World Trade Center, with the loss of nearly 3,000 lives. It has been conjectured that warnings of an impending terrorist incident were ignored, leaving the door open to what turned out to be a far more devastating action than had been expected, just as it has been conjectured that the Roosevelt administration, in its desire to gain public support for entering the war against Nazi Germany, ignored warnings of a Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which also turned out to be more devastating than expected (although fewer lives were lost than on 9-11).

The Bush administration now had a major “incident which united the American people, and embarked upon a campaign of lies, which continues to this day, to attempt to create a connection between Iraq and al-Qaida, and to portray Saddam Hussein as an ‘imminent threat’ to America, with his alleged weapons of mass destruction” and nuclear weapons program.

It has turned out that none of these claims were true ” all were fabrications, based on a few reports selected over intelligence reports to the contrary, which were ignored. Saddam Hussein had no connection with al-Qaida, whose leader, Osama bin Laden, detested him as a traitor to Islam. Iraq had no active nuclear weapons program. The claim that Iraq was trying to import uranium ore from Niger was based on what was known to be a forged document. But because the administration has repeated these lies so often, more than half of the public believes them to be true.

As for the WMD, the United Nations inspectors under Hans Blix were called ineffective because they didn’t find any. But neither has the team of American inspectors led by Bush’s appointee, David Key, after an expenditure of $300 million. In his zeal to find WMD, Bush even asked for an additional $600 million. If that money had been directed toward securing the arms stashes of mortar shells, surface-to-air missiles and rocket propelled grenades all over Iraq, instead of on a wild goose chase, our troops would probably be suffering far fewer casualties caused by insurgents who have access to these weapons.

And the lies go on. We are being told that we are fighting the terrorists in Iraq so we don’t have to fight them here at home, and that we are much safer since the capture of Saddam. Hogwash! There is no question that Iraq is far better off with him out of the picture, but we have only exacerbated the terrorist threat by our invasion and occupation of Iraq. Since our defeat of the Taliban in Afghanistan, al-Qaida has relocated its activities to several other countries, and has regrouped with hundreds if not thousands of fanatical new recruits, whom our invasion of Iraq has motivated. If our action in Iraq and capture of Saddam have made the United States safer from terrorism, why are we all of a sudden under a heightened alert, and initiating unprecedented security measures?

The lies aren’t limited to Iraq. We are being told the economy is in great shape ” stock prices and corporate profits and productivity (read that more output with fewer employees) are up. That’s great for the corporations and the wealthy who contribute generously to the Bush campaign, but little comfort to the army of unemployed, whose jobs have been eliminated or sent overseas.

Would you believe someone who constantly lied to you? What does it say about the majority of Americans who apparently do? “I say he lies, and lies, and lies.” ” Shakespeare, Richard II.

Glenwood Springs resident Hal Sundin’s column runs every other Thursday in the Post Independent.

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