President’s Day: Lies Kill

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As we approach President’s Day, I am compelled to compare our current president’s character to the presidents we will celebrate and honor on February 19. President’s Day is a celebration of the birth, accomplishments, and sacrifices of President’s George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. 

The original version of the holiday was in commemoration of George Washington, the first President of the United States. According to folklore, George Washington, born on the 22nd of February, was the man who “could not tell a lie.”

Washington was so trusted and revered by his colleagues, as well as the common man, that the framers of the Constitution did not bother to delineate the duties of the President in the Constitution. They trusted that General Washington would know what to do and would do what was right. 

Without his generalship during the Revolutionary War, there may not have been a presidency. On President’s Day, American’s also celebrate “Honest” Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, born on the 12th of February. The first formal observance of Lincoln’s birthday took place in 1865, the year after his assassination.  Lincoln, a great orator and considered by many to have been one of America’s more cerebral presidents, held the nation together during one of its most turbulent times, the Civil War. 

Like Washington, Lincoln had been a soldier. He served as a captain in the Black Hawk War. As a soldier, Lincoln clearly understood the ravages of war and did everything in his power to avoid it. He warned the South in his Inaugural Address: "In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you—You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect and defend it."

Compare the vision, sacrifices, and perception of honesty and integrity in both Washington and Lincoln and then look for those same traits in President George W. Bush. According to the Washington Post, Americans now question the integrity of President Bush. 

The Post’s survey found only 40 percent views him as honest and trustworthy. In 2006, according to the PEW Research Center, an independent opinion research group, “The single word most frequently associated with George W. Bush today is “incompetent,” and close behind are “idiot” and “liar.”” In a so-called “time of war” the Commander In Chief’s competence and integrity should be beyond reproach.

Today, as the Bush Administration asserts that Iran is supplying Shiite militias in Iraq with weapons, many in the intelligence, military, and political circles are questioning the evidence. The inference that the Administration is drawing from general intelligence assessments and their interest in maintaining the anonymity of the officials who are making them is generating skepticism. 

According to the New York Times, Senator John D. Rockefeller, IV (D-WV), “sharply criticized the Bush Administration’s …stance toward Iran, saying that the White House efforts to portray it as a growing threat are uncomfortably reminiscent of rhetoric about Iraq before the American invasion of 2003.” 

According to the Kansas City Star, Marine General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says that he has seen no intelligence showing that the Iranian government is supplying Iraqi militias with explosives. In spite of this, the president continues to promise to “seek out and destroy” Iranian networks that are providing “advanced weaponry and training to our enemies.”

The issue here is not the weapons themselves but their sources and whether or not the Iranian government is involved. The Bush Administration has provided circumstantial evidence at best. Sean McCormack, the State Department spokesman quoted in the article, said: “While they presented a circumstantial case, I would put to you that it was a very strong circumstantial case...”

Can the American people afford more substantial loss of life based on circumstantial evidence? Again, in a so-called “time of war” the Commander In Chief’s competence and integrity should be beyond reproach. The information that is presented to the American people in order to support their involvement in war should be rock-solid not circumstantial.

The White House is doing its best to counter the opposition to its recent accusations as being politically motivated but there are plenty of reasons to doubt the credibility of the Administrations accusations. The record is replete with examples of the Bush Administration using misinformation and lies to support its positions in the Middle East.

Congressman Henry Waxman’s report, “Iraq on the Record” chronicles 237 statements made by the five Administration officials most responsible for providing public information and shaping public opinion on Iraq: President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. All of the statements included in the report were drawn from public statements, speeches, press conferences and briefings, interviews, written statements, and testimony by the five officials.

Remember this, as each of the excuses to justify the illegal invasion of Iraq was proven to be false, another excuse was given. There were no Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs); there was no link between President Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden; Iraq was not involved in 9-11; Iraq did not try to purchase yellow-cake uranium from Niger, and we have not brought democracy to Iraq.

Eleanor Clift, a contributing editor at Newsweek, has written: “As the president said in his news conference this week, if they’re still writing about No.1 – George Washington – there’s plenty of time before the historians can properly evaluate No. 43.” That may be true, but 208 years after his death, no one questions No.1’s honesty; no one questions No.1’s integrity and more than 3,000 American soldiers and over 6,000 Iraqi’s have not died from his mistakes, incompetence, lies, and obfuscations.


Dr. Wilmer Leon is the Producer/Host of the nationally broadcast call-in talk radio program “On With Leon” on XM Satellite Radio Channel 169, Producer/Host of the television program “Inside The Issues With Wilmer Leon” and a Teaching Associate in the Department of Political Science at Howard University in Washington, D.C.  Go to or email: [email protected]


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