Thursday, December 01, 2005

Turning Back Bush's Assault on the Press

The War on the Press
America's leadership is waging a war against the journalistic standards and practices that underpin not only a free press but our democracy. The Fourth Estate is withering under an unprecedented White House assault designed to intimidate, smear and discredit investigative journalism — and allow the president and his political cronies to lie with impunity.

On December 1, White House spokesman Scott McClellan called the U.S. “a leader when it comes to promoting and advocating a free and independent media around the world.” He added, “We’ve made our views very clear when it comes to freedom of the press.” Indeed, it's clear that the Bush administration doesn't believe in it, nor do they believe in our system of checks and balances that holds leaders accountable to the public.

If left unchecked this White House will continue to:
  • manipulate the media "message" by producing propaganda, putting journalists on the government payroll and tightly scripting all public events;

  • dismiss all dissenting views in the media as biased and politically motivated;

  • undermine public trust in journalism using the right-wing “echo chamber” to sow hostility toward reporters who challenge the official line; and

  • eliminate access to information making it nearly impossible for journalists to investigate vast areas of the federal government.
The Bush administration is more inhospitable to truth and an informed citizenry than any before it. In fact, the administration seeks the opposite: a public that buys a carefully constructed myth over reality. This deception has manifest in seven lines of attack:
  1. Infiltrating public broadcasting with party loyalists
  2. Manufacturing fake news and propaganda
  3. Bribing journalists to flack for the administration
  4. Gutting the Freedom of Information Act
  5. Deceiving media (and the U.S. public) about Iraq
  6. Stifling dissent within mainstream media
  7. Consolidating media control into the hands of the elite
The damage already done is reflected in plummeting public faith in reporters and the unrelenting stream of lies flowing from the White House into mainstream news.

This crisis can be attributed in part to the failure of big media corporations and some journalists to meet the basic responsibilities of the press in a democratic society. But the Bush administration's wholesale assault on a free press is also to blame. This White House has gone well beyond the cynical maneuvers of past administrations and implemented a scheme to tear down journalism and erode civil liberties.

Free Press (my colleagues and I) has launched a campaign to defend democracy from the war on diverse and independent media. The campaign will exert grassroots and lobbying pressure to implement policies that hold our leadership accountable and ensure that abuses of press freedom are not repeated by this and future administrations.

With an unprecedented campaign to undermine and stifle independent journalism, Bush & Co. have demonstrated astonishing contempt for the Constitution. This report shows the scope and intensity of the administration's assault on press freedoms by illustrating seven areas of abuse.

1. Infiltrating Public Broadcasting with Political Operatives

The War on the Press
White House loyalists from within the Corporation for Public Broadcasting have launched a crusade to remake PBS, NPR and other public media into official mouthpieces.

This campaign was led by Karl Rove confidant Kenneth Tomlinson, who left the CPB board in disgrace after a recent Inspector General's report found he violated federal law to monitor and influence PBS programming and used "political tests" to hire Patricia Harrison, a former co-chair of the Republican Party, as president of the agency.

The Inspector General levels a scathing indictment of Tomlinson's back-room maneuvering to manipulate content but it stops short of revealing the extent to which the White House orchestrated his efforts.

Missing from the report is email traffic between Tomlinson and Rove — provided to the IG by investigators at the State Department. Also missing is a "separate investigative report, along with specific evidence indicating possible wrongdoing," that the IG made available to the CPB board. This evidence, which may reveal the White House's hand in manipulations of public broadcasting programming, sits under lock and key at the heavily partisan CPB.

While Tomlinson is gone, he left behind a cast of GOP operatives who are reluctant to release the potentially damaging information. Newly elected CPB Chairwoman Cheryl Halpern and Vice Chairwoman Gay Hart Gaines are both major fundraisers for GOP candidates and causes. New CPB President Harrison has stacked CPB offices with former State Department officers skilled in "public diplomacy" and propaganda.

2. Manufacturing Fake News

The War on the Press
The Bush administration has mounted a widespread effort to produce "video news releases," or VNRs, which are broadcast as real news to millions of unsuspecting Americans. At least 20 federal agencies have distributed this propaganda.

The White House has spent more than twice any other administration to create counterfeit news. In 2004 alone, the Bush administration spent $90 million on PR contracts, drawn from a $254 million taxpayer slush fund set up to manufacture White House-friendly propaganda.

Thus far, four separate Government Accountability Office investigations have found the White House violated laws that prohibit government use of taxpayer money to spread "covert propaganda" without attribution. Objectionable activities include a video news release where PR flack Karen Ryan gives the Bush tutoring program "an A-plus"; and commissioned newspaper articles that praised the Education Department's role in promoting "science literacy." Readers were never informed of the government's role in placing the article, which appeared in numerous small newspapers around the country.

The GAO's pronouncements against un-attributed propaganda have gone unheeded. Press officers for several of the federal agencies in question recently told the New York Times that disclosure requirements did not apply to government-made television news segments, which they insisted are "factual, politically neutral and useful to viewers."

On September 30, the GAO correctly shot down that sophistry, saying that pre-packaged government news is inherently not factual because "the essential fact of attribution is missing."

While some in Congress have taken up the call for more investigations, they have yet to look beyond isolated incidents. As more evidence comes to light we're able to assemble a case against this administration that goes much further, involving a systemic campaign to covertly manufacture news and manipulate public opinion in favor of presidential policies.

3. Bribing Journalists to Flack for the Administration

The War on the Press
The administration has paid pundits to sing its praises. Earlier this year, TV commentator Armstrong Williams pocketed $240,000 in taxpayer money to laud Bush's education policies. Three other journalists have since been discovered on the White House dole; and Williams admits that he has "no doubt" that other paid Bush shills are still on the loose.

The administration has even exported these tactics. According to the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. military is now secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops.

Over the past five years, the White House has set aside more than a quarter billion dollars to hire public relations firms to infiltrate our news system with fake news.

A report by the Government Accountability Office found the White House violated federal law by buying favorable news coverage from Williams in advance of the 2004 elections. Michael Massing wrote in the New York Review of Books that the GAO report "presents chilling evidence of the campaign that officials in Washington have been waging against a free and independent press."

The GAO has issued scathing reports on the White House's illegal use of taxpayer money to produce "covert propaganda" on four separate occasions. But Attorney General Alberto Gonzales refuses to prosecute these crimes. The official silence speaks volumes. Without legal recourse, an emboldened White House continues to manipulate the news and deceive Americans.

4. Gutting the Freedom of Information Act

The War on the Press
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) enshrines the public's right to access government records. In the past five years, FOIA has been gutted by an administration that would rather cloak its operations from public scrutiny.

In 2001, Attorney General John Ashcroft issued a chilling memorandum advising federal agencies that the Justice Department would defend their decisions to deny FOIA requests.

Many have since taken action to fend off public requests for disclosure. Since President Bush entered office, there has been a more than 75 percent increase in the amount of government information classified as secret each year — from 9 million in 2001 to 16 million by 2004.

Yet an even more aggressive form of government information control has gone un-enumerated and often unrecognized in the Bush era, as government agencies have restricted access to unclassified information in libraries, archives, Web sites, and official databases, according to Steven Aftergood, director of the project on government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists.

"Less of a goal-directed policy than a bureaucratic reflex, the widespread clampdown on formerly public information reflects a largely inarticulate concern about ‘security,'" Aftergood writes. "It also accords neatly with the Bush administration's preference for unchecked executive authority."

In their 2004 report, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press provide a rundown of actions taken by public officials to turn basic government information into state secrets. RCFP executive director Lucy Dalglish wrote that many Bush administration actions in fighting the war against terrorism were designed to undermine FOIA. Dalglish and her journalist members hoped that the government's post-September 11 move toward non-disclosure on all matters would be viewed as temporary or emergency measures.

"Unfortunately, that has not been the case," Dalglish reported. "Led by secrecy-loving officials in the executive branch, secrecy in the United States government is now the norm."

The restrictions have now grown so tight that the American Society of Newspaper Editors last fall issued a "call to arms" to its members, urging them to "demand answers in print and in court" to stop this "deeply disturbing" trend.

5. Lying to the Press (and the Public) about the Iraq War

The War on the Press
The White House saw the battle for domestic popular opinion as one of the main fronts in the war in Iraq. With the help of a compliant media, truth became the first casualty in their campaign to whip up support.

Eight months before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, top level British intelligence officers reported that the White House had told them that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed" to fit the administration's aim of removing Saddam Hussein.

This proved to be the pattern throughout the run-up to the war — during Bush's 2003 State of the Union Address, in Condoleeza Rice's congressional testimony, and throughout Colin Powell's presentation to the United Nations about weapons of mass destruction — as officials manipulated and fabricated information to make their case.

Later, when this faulty intelligence was disputed, the administration chose to attack those reporting the truth rather than admit to their own lies and misinformation. As Frank Rich recently wrote in the New York Times, the administration's "web of half-truths and falsehoods used to sell the war did not happen by accident; it was woven by design and then foisted on the public by a P.R. operation built expressly for that purpose in the White House."

Among other things, this P.R. campaign involved:

    1. dressing up evidence provided by unreliable sources from within the Iraqi National Congress;
    2. concealing from Congress intelligence that disputed links between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's regime; and
    3. exaggerating WMD claims made by a "mentally unstable" Iraqi defector.
      As their deception begins to unravel before the public, Bush, Cheney and their White House colleagues have "stayed the course," choosing to repeat past untruths in the hope that mainstream media will again err on the side of authority and present the administration's lies unchallenged.

      6. Stifling Dissenting Views in the Media

      The War on the Press
      The Bush administration has established a hierarchy for journalists seeking interviews with top administration officials, granting access to those networks and newspapers that give the White House the most favorable coverage. At the same time, they've stonewalled those who seek to challenge administration talking points.

      The White House sends advance teams of handlers to all Bush events to screen audience members and reporters for loyalty to the president and his policies. They eject possible "troublemakers" who might disrupt their contrived public forum.

      The White House Press Office turned press conferences into parodies by seating a friendly faux journalist, former male escort Jeff Gannon, amid reporters and then steering questions to him when tough issues arose. They refuse to answer tough questioners such as veteran journalist Helen Thomas, effectively silencing reporters who might challenge the president or his aides.

      The administration's efforts have been amplified by a disciplined and well-organized "echo chamber" of blogs, newspapers, newsletters, journals and radio and televison broadcasters under the influence of conservatives and the Christian right. Often working hand in glove with the White House, these outlets systematically discredit mainstream media that question the official line. This criticism works it way from blogs and other fringe Web sites up the media food chain into radio talk show banter — from the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Mark Levin, and Laura Ingraham — until it's picked up by more mainstream news outlets.

      As Michael Massing writes in his recent report on journalism "an unscrupulous critic can spread exaggerated or erroneous claims instantaneously to thousands of people, who may, in turn, repeat them to millions more on talk radio programs, on cable television, or on more official ‘news' Web sites." This echo chamber effect has effectively placed White House talking points once considered absurd at the center of media discourse; all the while dismissing as "biased" or "liberal" journalists who question their accuracy.

      "We were biased," veteran TV journalist Bill Moyers recently explained about his PBS news show NOW, which came under frequent attack from the right. "Biased … in favor of uncovering the news that powerful people wanted to keep hidden."

      "Conflicts of interest at the Department of Interior, secret meetings between Vice President Cheney and the oil industry, backdoor shenanigans by lobbyists at the FCC, corruption in Congress, neglect of wounded veterans returning from Iraq, Pentagon cost overruns, the manipulation of intelligence leading to the invasion of Iraq… We were way ahead of the news curve on these stories," Moyers said, "and the administration turned its hit men loose on us."

      It's no surprise, then, that an administration that is willing to browbeat dissenting views in the media would seek also to attack so many other fundamental acheivements of our democracy.

      7. Consolidating Media Control in the Hands of the Elite

      The War on the Press
      The Bush administration has worked with the most powerful media corporations – like News Corp, Sinclair and Clear Channel – in an effort to rewrite media ownership laws in a manner that accelerates consolidation and monopoly control of information.

      In 1983, 50 corporations owned a majority of the news media. In 1992, fewer than two dozen companies owned 90 percent of the news media. In 2003, the number fell to a total of six. The escalated consolidation of media has precipitated the collapse of journalistic values and the rise of profit-driven "infotainment" and "celebrity news." Driven by bottom-line concerns, corporate media executives have cut overseas newsrooms from their payrolls. As a result, international reporting dropped nearly 80 percent in the past two decades.

      History has shown that the relaxation of media ownership rules always leads to more market consolidation and less competition and diversity in news. Greased by extensive campaign contributions and pressured by intensive lobbying, Washington policymakers have abandoned antitrust enforcement and pursued policies to encourage greater media concentration.

      The Republican-controlled Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will announce plans to rewrite the ownership rules soon – it could happen as early as February. Unless the public mobilizes to oppose efforts to make Big Media even bigger, the FCC will pass rules that would unleash a new wave of media consolidation and allow conglomerates to swallow up hundreds of independent media outlets.


      In a famous 1945 opinion, Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black said that "the First Amendment rests on the assumption that the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public, that a free press is a condition of a free society." In other words, a free press is the sine qua non of the entire American Constitution and republican experiment.

      Our democracy demands a diverse and independent media. The Bush administration's attack on the foundations of self-government requires a response of similar caliber. Unless lawmakers, the press and the public mobilize to hold the White House accountable for all its assaults on journalism, such abuses will be repeated in the future by this and other administrations. We can reform our media to become a servant of democracy that is stronger than the lies of George Bush, Dick Cheney and Karl Rove. But we need to act now while the damage of the last five years can still be undone.


      Brian Dufala said...

      I will reserve judgment on most of what you said because I need to research some of the information you presented. However, there are a couple of points that I clearly disagree with.

      First, you state, "The Bush administration has established a hierarchy for journalists seeking interviews with top administration officials, granting access to those networks and newspapers that give the White House the most favorable coverage." What politician doesn't do this? I didn't see John Kerry once during the campaign interviewed by a conservative newsperson. Bill O’Reilly (hardly a conservative) practically begged him to go on “The Factor.”

      Second, you (as so many others have) attacked the intelligence that led up to the war. While I agree that if the Bush Administration truly lied, it is an egregious offence, I have seen no evidence of it thus far. In fact, this very issue does more to refute your claims than to support them. There have been a number of weapons found in Iraq that were not only contrary to the sanctions that were in place, but are truly WMD’s. And yet, the media has not done anyone justice by not reporting this more openly. The public misperception is that there are no WMD’s because the news has not reported the true findings. This being the case, doesn’t that fly in the face of your arguments?

      Finally, there have been a number of assaults on the truth by the media themselves that forces me to be more concerned with the media itself than Bush’s attack on the media. For instance, where is the outrage and the media focus on the corruption in the Oil For Food Program? If you are to truly attack Bush honestly on this issue, you have to simultaneously address the media’s own offences.

      Timothy Karr said...


      Some recent articles you might consider reading:

      1. A White House that never learned to govern

      2. The man who sold the war

      3. Bush intelligence kept from the Hill

      4. Dishonet, reprehensible, corrupt . . .

      5. How the US fell under the spell of 'Curveball'


      6. The end of news?

      Brian Dufala said...


      I appreciate those articles. I have scanned them and will read them in depth later. However, I want to address something that is clear to me merely by scanning each of them.

      The debate here that you are favoring is the same that so many are using. In fact, I have had this very debate with a friend. The problem is that you have taken a portion of what Bush has said and magnified it. I am providing for you a link to President Bush’s U.N. address on Iraq If you focus primarily on paragraphs 14 through 23, you will understand what I mean by magnifying one part of what he has said. In those paragraphs, there are a number of reasons given. If you are going to refute part of what he has said, can you put it into context of everything he has said? Meaning, can you acknowledge that the vast majority of what he has said was in fact true?

      Again, it is an egregious act if he knowingly lied on even one part of his speech. I will openly acknowledge that. I am not advocating lying. But, isn’t it also a lie to portray Bush in the manner in which you and so many are? On one hand, you are condemning him for a small portion of what he has said. On the other hand, you are ignoring and misrepresenting the rest of what he has said by not being open about how accurate that portion truly is.


      You have missed a lot of news if all you listen to is the BBC. Have you heard of the thousands of metric tons of uranium found in Iraq? We could go on with this, but that one fact is enough because it has not been reported. But of course, who really wants to know about that? If we did, we would have to be more accepting of President Bush. Furthermore, how can the Oil For Food scandal even be mentioned in the manner in which you have? How is it not the biggest scandal ever? Come on, countries were being bribed! And yet, it is supposedly “strawmen.” The U.N. is supposed to protect the interests of the entire world and yet, Saddam Hussein was bribing them. This type of news should not be perpetuated by the Bush administration. It should be front-page news until the offenders have been brought to justice. That begs the question, why is it not?

      Crazy Politico said...

      The only "assault" on the media is trying to get them to put out both sides of a story.

      Newsweek's Michael Isikoff pretty well admitted on 'Hardball' 3 days ago that the media has no interest in good news stories from Iraq, only bombings and death.

      Brian Dufala said...


      Just to be clear, I am skeptical not because I follow Bush blindly into the dark. In fact, I am in disagreement with Bush on a number of issues. It is this specific issue (War in Iraq) where I am in agreement with Bush that I have the problem.

      My problem, or skepticism, is exasperated by the fact that my legitimate questions go unanswered. First, was Bush simply lying about everything he said? Or, as I have stated, was he in fact correct on the majority of what he has said on the issue? It is quite simple. He based the majority of his war argument on other factors that are rarely mentioned (read his own speech that I provided). Why is most of his argument ignored? This is where my skepticism originates from. I cannot take something such as Timothy's article completely serious, despite the fact that it is well written, if it narrowly focuses on one aspect of the argument. Of course, I can conversely accept it more readily if it is within the context of the entire argument.

      Second, in regards to the Uranium. The intelligence was clearly wrong about the "present day" capabilities of Iraq. Of course, this is the focus on Bush. Was he merely mistaken or was he maliciously lying? I am not prepared to make that assessment. What I am arguing is something different. Bringing to light that Iraq did not have the abilities to enrich the uranium because it was against "sanctions" is moot. Since when did Saddam follow the Sanctions?

      The point I am making here is also quite simple. Why did he have the uranium? I am not talking in the form of the so called "dirt" that you mention. Why would a man with a history of violent attacks and financial support of terrorism have stock piles of uranium? It is a fair question. To what end did he have in mind? What was the "end game" of Saddam?

      In the end, I am clearly on the other side of this debate. But, I believe I have been fair about it. I am not attacking anyone here (as Burton did). I think the concerns I have voiced are legitimate. If they go unanswered, what alternative do I have but to be skeptical? Finally, I want to point out that I appreciated Timothy's efforts for me. I took them seriously and I have read the articles he provided. Please do not react rashly to my skepticism as I have been fair in my comments.

      One last note: Polls do nothing for me. The polls going into the last election showed that John Kerry would win. They were wrong. When you present polls such as this to me, I merely think, "Why?" If someone tells me they do not feel safer today, naturally they should have a reason. Right? A poll does not provide these reasons. It provides questions and leaves it to the pundits to provide the reasons. Furthermore, there is plenty of doubt as to the veracity of the polls themselves. You seem to be quite capable of rationalizing with me. Do that instead.

      Ichabod Crane said...

      Take a tranquilizer and stop watching the news, neither print, nor radio, nor televised, for a month. Once the hypnosis wears off you may see things differently.
      The media are trying to undermine our Constitutional Government by filtering whatever makes their opposition look good and by continuously pounding the public with tripe that is either fabricated or distorted. It's easy to see this, the situation in Iraq is that all milestones stated at the onset (you do remember that the President did outline the plan for victory when he made his case for the war before congress, don't you?) and insofar as human casualties, this is the best run war that this country has ever been involved with. In 2.5 years we have tragically lost nearly 1800 soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen (the rest were accidental that might happen even if they were home). In Vietnam, the war the media darlings are always compare to whatever we are doing, had 5,800 casualties per year, on average. Korea generated 8,600 per year! Even counting the accidental misshapes, Iraq has produced 840 casualties per year.
      Is that how your precious press presents those figures though? I think not! How many, if any, Medal of Honor winners have there been in Iraq? Shouldn't those stories be shouted for the rooftops? Silence. I know of a woman (Army I believe) who was the first woman to win a Silver Star since WWII, have you heard about it? Silence.
      It is the Press, not the administration, who are out of control and who have abandoned their mission.
      Try those tranquilizers and month-free from the news, you should get a much clearer perspective on things. After all, how could you not?

      Ichabod Crane said...

      One parting remark, directed to Brian Dufala:
      You are 100% correct in what you have said. I would go further in stating that the uranium was both enriched and the 'yellow cake' type found in Arizona and Utah, and Niger. I think Arizona and Utah can be cleared of selling that to Saddam, leaving Niger, in spite of what Joe Wilson 'discovered' poolside on the vacation he took at his wife's behest.
      To Burton E. Morrow and Brian Dufala: Keep the faith, but also know that some people don't want the truth. They hate Bush for not allowing Al Gore from stealing the 2000 election. He will never be forgiven for that. Any story that is anti-Bush will be taken at face value; and pro-Bush story (if you can find one) will be discounted out of hand. There are none so deaf as they who will not hear; and none so blind as they who will not see.
      I have more on this, and related issues, at:
      and an older blog at:
      Remember, for those of us who wish to see, keep the torch burning!
      Best regards,
      Ichabod Crane

      Timothy Karr said...

      Wow Ichabod,

      Thanks for that nice example of sophistry. It's interesting (and not the least disturbing) to see the extremes to which one will turn turn when all reality gets sucked out of his argument.

      Indeed, history is finally catching up to the spin and obfuscation of this White House. I had hoped the media would have done a better job of debunking Bush & Co's prior to the 2004 election. But alas, they did not and we have to endure this tragic farce for four more years.

      Your bizzare argument puts you in the league of those 78 percent of Fox News Channel watchers who prior to the 2004 election believed that the US had found evidence of direct links between Saddam Hussein's regime and the terrorists who flew planes into the WTC and Pentagon. Not so. If you believed that well planted propaganda -- among many other lies seeded in the media by Bush, Cheney, Rove and company -- you would certainly be more inclined to vote them in.

      more about this here

      Repeating "it's the liberal media" a million times doesn't make it so. You've just bought into yet another lie pushed upon the rest of us by a well-oiled propaganda machine that extends from GOP-friendly polictical operatives and neo-conservative think tanks outwards through right-wing talk radio, bloggers and cable networks into more mainstream media.

      As soon as your tranquilizer dart wears off consider reading this:

      The end of news

      And the next time you self-medicate consider taking the red pill instead:

      Brian Dufala said...


      The suggestion that there is a “direct” link between Saddam and the "terrorists who flew planes into the WTC and Pentagon" has rarely been suggested. Everyone I know who supports this war has made no suggestion of an operational relationship between Saddam and Al Qaeda. This is the same type of misrepresentation you have used in your article. You are focusing on one small aspect of an initial theory that is no longer accepted by anyone. Do you really believe that the vast majority of people voted for Bush because they believed Saddam and OBL were in cahoots?

      The question you have to ask yourself is do you truly believe that there was no relationship? Again, there is no “direct” operational relationship. But, that does not mean that Saddam had no relationship. The accepted rationale that is also supported by evidence is that Saddam provided monetary support to terrorism, in the form of actual cash and the use of Iraq for terrorist training camps. There is nothing surprising in this information. This is simple fact. Do you deny this as well?

      Even if you deny it, the point is moot. The real truth is the same one I presented to you already. The foundation of the war was not as narrow as you have suggested. You have ignored the majority of what was said because it was in fact true. It doesn’t support your agenda to acknowledge that most of what Bush has said is true. Thus, these fringe issues are merely anecdotal. The truth is that you have not addressed my initial assessment of your article.

      If you are to acknowledge that Bush has been truthful in most of his foundation for war, what are you left with? You would then have to decide whether it is a worthy cause to focus on this one small aspect of Bush’s reasoning. Perhaps, you even prove to be right. Perhaps, Bush did knowingly lie about the WMD intelligence. What does that mean for the war? In truth, it means nothing. All of the other reasons were in fact, true. The war was still just because all of the other litany of reasons were just.

      What I am arguing here is that the war being just does not depend on whether or not Bush was truthful in this one regard. Even if Bush did lie here, it does nothing to refute the war itself. It calls Bush into question, but not the war. The only argument against war that has held water is the same one that has held water for all of history. It is called pacifism. If you are a true pacifist, I can say nothing but that I am not one myself. If you merely believe that all wars are wrong, who can truly argue with that? If you however, are arguing not that all wars are wrong, but that this particular war is wrong, then you have to use some reasoning skills to support your claim. I have yet to hear that.

      Brian Dufala said...


      I appreciate that apology. I am glad that we can debate with respect. If anything I say offends anyone, I apologize beforehand as that is not my intention.

      As for your last remark, I will say one final piece and leave it at that.

      What I am arguing again is that the war is “just” for all of those other reasons that Bushed used that is ignored by the media and by Timothy’s article. Bush may have argued using WMD’s as a primary reason (I emphasize may), but that was not my primary reason, and it was not his lone reason. It is my philosophy that there comes a point in time where one can no longer use diplomacy. In other words, there is a time for war (I am not a pacifist). In my estimation, we were long past that point with Iraq. Certainly, we could have attempted to use more sanctions and more diplomacy. But, to what end? As we found out after the war, the oil for food program was a joke and the sanctions were not truly working.

      In the end, I believe the war to be just not because of our own security, but because the Iraqi people deserved to be liberated. It is not a matter to me of spreading our ideals. It is a matter of spreading justice. How long do we sit back and watch innocent people be slain at the hands of brutal dictators?

      Let me just say one other thing about the idea of pacifism and I will have exhausted my efforts on this debate.

      To me, pacifism is a worthy cause and is not something to be made fun of. It is not something I may choose myself, but I understand it. The civil rights movement was primarily achieved through pacifism. What I am pointing out though is that there is a hitch in the pacifism argument. Pacifism forces you to either choose it wholly, or not at all. You cannot say that you believe in pacifism and then say some particular war is just. Once you start down the path of saying a war “can” be just, you have to use logic to decide when a war is in fact just.

      In the case of our debate, we can assume if you want that he Bush was lying on the one aspect. But even if he was truly lying, you cannot say it was an unjust war without also saying that the other aspects of his argument were incorrect as well. And that is what I mean by just. To me, those other reasons were more important than the WMD argument. To me, they were just. Again, you have to decide whether you believe a war can be just. If so, you cannot simply say this particular war was unjust because of one aspect where Bush either lied or was wrong. You have to look at the argument as a whole. Did other aspects of the argument hold water in and of themselves? To me, they did.

      As I said, I am signing out after this one. I have said my piece and do not feel there is anything else I can contribute. Timothy, I will continue to read those articles and look into this a little more for my own benefit.

      Brian Dufala