Gaylord Guenin: Administration possibly infected with ‘misspeak’ | AspenTimes.com
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Gaylord Guenin: Administration possibly infected with ‘misspeak’

PBS carried a Ken Burns documentary recently that I believe was called “The American Experience.” At any rate, part of it included a segment about Gen. George Armstrong Custer, a man celebrated as an American hero until all the facts came out about his disastrous encounter with Sioux warriors at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

We know that Custer was a rather flamboyant fellow, and Burns touches on that aspect of the man in relating a story about George riding off alone to kill a buffalo on the plains. Apparently George figured he could do it with a pistol but he didn’t have much success. According to the documentary, George Armstrong managed to shoot his horse in the head and kill it, forcing him to walk back to camp.

I am probably being terribly unfair here, but upon hearing that story I couldn’t help thinking of another rather flamboyant George, one we all know and love. That would be George W., our compassionate-warrior president, a man who has yet to shoot one of his horses in the head (at least as far as we know) but certainly is skilled at shooting himself in the foot.



Remember after the tragic events of 9/11, George W. was preparing to attack Afghanistan (a move most all of us applauded), and he seemed to be in one of his shoot-from-the-hip cowboy modes when he threatened to destroy all of Afghanistan’s ports.

I had a sneaking hunch at that time that maybe our president actually did graduate from Yale with a low-C average, which may or may not be a substantiated fact. Anyway, Afghanistan happens to be a landlocked nation. It has no ports! But in all fairness, perhaps George W. did simply “misspeak,” as his defenders insisted.




Perhaps he and members of his administration were infected with an incurable outbreak of “misspeak” as they attempted to convince the American citizens and the world that we were justified in turning our attention from Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida, and staging a pre-emptive strike against Iraq. Iraq apparently was considered to be a serious and imminent threat to civilization as we know it, and the administration, as you recall, offered up one justification after another for going to war.

Living in Lenado, as I do, it is rather difficult to get my hands on top-secret intelligence such as that available to our leaders inside the Beltway. So I pretty much depend on magazines and major newspapers for my information, and, for the record, I am not influenced by those right-wing radio personalities, such as the one who has problems both with facts and a drug addiction. And for the record, I am probably close enough to being a card-carrying Socialist to be arrested without cause in this current period of political hysteria. Living in Lenado, as I do, it is rather difficult to get my hands on top-secret intelligence such as that available to our leaders inside the Beltway. So I pretty much depend on magazines and major newspapers for my information, and, for the record, I am not influenced by those right-wing radio personalities, such as the one who has problems both with facts and a drug addiction. And for the record, I am probably close enough to being a card-carrying Socialist to be arrested without cause in this current period of political hysteria. (Even as a knee-jerk liberal, I must applaud our amazing military personnel in Iraq, who hunted down and captured that scum Hussein in his strange but appropriate rat hole. That was quite an accomplishment!)

The Constitution pretty much gives me the right to believe what I damn well want to believe, no matter how wrong I might be, but Herr Ashcroft, our always-vigilant attorney general, and his buddies are doing a rather energetic job of chipping away at the Constitution. But I am a patriot! I want that understood, no matter how much Bush-bashing I may engage in. For that matter, I would happily put my military record up against George W.’s questionable participation in the Texas Air National Guard.

But getting back to all of those reasons (ever-changing, it seems) for our pre-emptive strike on Iraq, I just finished an interesting article in The New York Review of Books (Dec. 4) by Thomas Powers, entitled “The Vanishing Case for War.” A respected writer, Powers called his latest book “Intelligence Wars: American Secret History from Hitler to al-Qaeda.”

Powers questions most of the reasons offered up by this administration for war, from the weapons of mass destruction to supposed connections between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein. One of the more intriguing elements in his article is the discussion of a 600-page report by the House and Senate Intelligence committees (the Joint Inquiry).

“The Joint Inquiry’s report stressed the comings and goings of the Sept. 11 plotters,” according to Powers, “noting that they ‘became radicalized in Germany, held meetings in Malaysia and received funds channeled through the United Arab Emirates.'”

The report stated that among the countries where al-Qaida “sought help or haven” were Yemen, Malaysia, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, Spain, Bosnia, Morocco, Thailand, the Philippines, Dubai, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and the United States.

Isn’t there a nation missing from that list? Gee, Iraq isn’t mentioned! In fact, Powers writes that Iraq is seldom referred to anywhere in the Joint Inquiry’s entire report. Strange that Iraq, that evil nation preparing to destroy Western Civilization, is barely mentioned in this huge report. Iran also is missing from the list, which is very troubling considering that George W. has included Iran in his “Axis of Evil.”

Why do so many of us question claims so casually made by this administration? Because of contradictions between what is being said and information contained in reports like that of the Joint Inquiry ” hardly the product of a liberal think tank.

This is the 298th article in a two-part series devoted to the community of Woody Creek, a place like Afghanistan that does not have any seaports.


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