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Presidential Lies | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Politics, current affairs and riffs and reflections on the news.

Presidential Lies

In my debate with Dick Armey on Hardball last Thursday night, the former House majority leader and current MSNBC consultant was obsessed with presidential lies and impeachment--that is, President Bill Clinton's lies and impeachment. But, as I pointed out, Clinton may have lied in office but no one died--and Congress impeached him.

Meanwhile, Bush and his Administration have lied, many have died and the majority of Congress treats it as business-as-usual. I wonder if the families of the 212 soldiers killed thus far in Iraq are as offended by Armey's statements as I am. I know that scores of Nation readers and cable viewers are--many e-mailed me after watching the segment, expressing disgust with Armey's refusal to hold Bush accountable for deceiving the public.

...And Rumsfeld's Flailing

Meanwhile, on yesterday's Meet the Press, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was lacking his usual macho bluster. As Tim Russert posed pointed questions about intelligence lapses and the failure of postwar planning, Rumsfeld flailed about:

**Essentially agreeing with antiwar Senator Robert Byrd's assessment of the situation in Iraq as "an open-ended shooting gallery..."

**Declaring that the United Nations---an organization he reviled in the runup to war-was important for Iraq's successful postwar reconstruction.

**And embodying what former highranking intelligence official Gregory Thielmann describes as a "faith-based intelligence attitude." When Russert asked if US credibility would be undermined if no Iraqi WMDs were found, Rumsfeld sought refuge in a faith-based reply: "I believe we will find them." This hedge is a far cry from his assertion last March that, "We know where they are."

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