Presidential Lies and 9/11

Presidential Lies and 9/11

Grand Prairie, TX


Grand Prairie, TX

In regard to your article about American aeronautical interests at the Paris Air Show, “Ugly Americans in Paris” [William D. Hartung and Michelle Ciarrocca, “Ugly Americans in Paris”], I would like to take this opportunity to chide you for using the term ‘Ugly American” as a pejorative. This is a quite common mistake. Please note that in the book The Ugly American, written over forty years ago by William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick, the ugly American is the good guy. It is a common error, especially these days, to refer to a negative image of an American abroad as an “ugly American,” but this is contrary to the cultural history of the phrase.

I would appreciate it if you would take note of this fact and refrain from further such characterizations. The fact that many American politicians and businessmen behave in an inappropriate manner is not justification for trading on the legacy of this book.


Chandler, AZ

I’ve wondered why I haven’t heard more about the “Big Lie.” The article “Brezhnev, Bush and Baghdad,” by Nina Khrushcheva, is the first I’ve seen that points it out. Unfortunately, the Soviets aren’t the only ones in the last century to employ the technique of telling big lies over and over until people believe them. Hitler was very successful with it…at least until the Russians finally invaded Berlin. The end of World War II, I’m told, came as quite a surprise to the Japanese, who had been told over and over again, against all evidence to the contrary, that Japan was winning the war in the Pacific. And now the United States has leadership that uses the same tactic.

I despair at times. It appears that so many of us are willing to believe the Big Lies that the Bush Administration pummels us with daily, for example: There really are weapons of mass destruction. The economy will turn around as soon as we give the rich another tax break. Forces in place at the end of Gulf War II are sufficient to establish and maintain the peace. The Iraqi people are delighted we’re there. And by the way, even if we don’t find WMDs, which was the basis upon which we went to war, well…the war was worth it anyway because Saddam was deposed.

The truth, on the other hand, appears to be that the President lied to us regarding WMDs and he co-opted Cabinet officers into his scheme. Oil, in the end, means more to this Administration than the lives of Americans dying daily at the hands of the “vanquished” Iraqis. The poor can eat cake and Saddam Hussein is just steps away. Finally, more lies: We’re not to worry about bin Laden or Al Qaeda. Those thousands of forgotten Americans still in Afghanistan have them on the run. Bin Laden may well be dead.

The Bush Administration is fast losing the confidence of those Americans capable of thinking for themselves. We cannot take this President at his word. I only hope that America wakes up before 2004. Another four years will cost more civil liberties and take an even greater toll of the trust we have always placed in our leaders during times of crisis.


Portland, OR

Robert Scheer’s column about the censored section of the 9/11 report [“Read Between the Lines of Those 28 Missing Pages”] had the usual effect your insightful work has on me–I was filled with utter disgust and disbelief at what is happening in Washington, but at the same time filled with appreciation that you and The Nation staff are there to report the “blizzard of Bush-era bad news,” as Matt Bivens describes it in his blog. Thank you very much, and please keep watching and reporting on the blizzard. I’ve not seen any better or more succinct summary comment on the stupefying events of post-9/11 history, and what we should do about them, than your superb analysis.


Portland, OR

It would appear to me that information from the 9/11 report indicating a link between the Saudi government and Al Qaeda would concern only Saudi dissidents within (and hitherto unknown to) that government, not elements loyal to the royal family. This is because the motivation behind the 9/11 attacks likely involved frustration and anger over our support–economic, military, strategic–for the Saudi monarchy, which is oppressive and responsible for human rights abuses against the Saudi people. Bin Laden and Al Qaeda are leaders in the movement against the Saudi regime (and by extention, the United States).

The more important connection is between large US corporate and Saudi oil interests. The US will not reduce its support of the Saudi family because it would affect the lucrative relationship between that government and the corporate elites in this country, which our foreign policy is designed to serve. In essence, the White House’s deliberate deception away from the real motivations behind 9/11 simply reveals that terrorism, 9/11 victims and their families, and US security all fall below business as usual on this Administration’s scale of importance. That is what the information within the twenty-eight pages would make more clear to the American people, and what Bush and his advisers are in no hurry to reveal.


Baltimore, MD

On the one hand, all the hoopla about the twenty-eight missing pages is perfectly valid criticism. The Bush Administration may well be trying to protect America’s close ties to the Saudis (and more to the point, the flow of relatively cheap oil that the Saudis protect). As has been ignored since 9/11 most of the hijackers hailed from that kingdom.

But have we forgotten about the ambitions spelled out in the Bush Doctrine? Do we now take at face value shadowy rumors of evidence claiming a connection between another despotic government and 9/11?

This is all starting to sound awfully familiar. How long before we are rallied to war once again, only this time based on exaggerated claims about the Saudi government’s ties to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda?


Utopia, TX

I had to laugh when I read Peter Clark’s article on the “failed” Plan Colombia. Every other recent article about Plan Colombia, including those in the Washignton Post and the Christian Science Monitor, are hailing the success of Plan Colombia. I was skeptical myself until my recent visit to Colombia, where I saw the immense popularity of President Alvaro Uribe’s campaign against the guerrillas. Thanks to increasingly savage and desperate attacks on the civilian population, the FARC and ELN have completely lost the support of the Colombian people. They rely on the drug trade for their funding and the remains of a sympathetic left-wing non-Colombian media for adulation. Few Colombians see them as anything other than the murdering narco-traffickers that they are. If you ask the average Colombian what he’d like to do to them, the response is “Mteles todos” (Kill them all). Even the right-wing AUC paramilitaries have seen the handwriting on the wall and have decided to lay down their arms. Everyone that is, except The Nation and the US Office on Colombia.


Lagrangeville, NY

Even though I do not like government bureaucracies, the state of medical care and the cost of it have convinced me that drastic changes are required. When doctors and hospital people tell me that a very significant part of their costs involves the processing of insurance forms and dealing with the different insurance carriers, then it is obvious that the system is broken. When some insurance clerk tells me that my doctor’s drug prescription exceeds their criteria for the dose/time and denies coverage, I could scream! The private insurance industry acts as a parasite upon healthcare, contributing nothing to the treatment of any actual medical problems. It is time to disband it. The HMOs, whose only function appears to be to restrict my choice of doctors, also must go. It is time to eliminate the employers’ coverage of medical insurance and the costs they incur for this. Some increases in business and private individual income taxes can be added to prevent windfall profits for the businesses and to provide coverage for all. Since Medicare seems to be working reasonably well, it can become the single payer of doctor and drug costs. To prevent patient abuse of the system, a percentage of the charges should be paid by the patient. A second part of the medical care problem is the malpractice insurance cost. I do not have a solution to this problem, but perhaps some limits must be imposed on the value of pain and suffering. The fewer lawyers who are involved, the better off we will all be.


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