Sense of Decency

Reading Krugman, and reading other news questioning whether Bush lied claiming Iraq was a threat to us, I think we might be having a “Have you no sense of decency, sir?” moment. If so, I want Al Franken to get the historical credit, for going after O’Reilly the other day. I heard about it from several blogs, and saw it on C-Span. You gotta see it, it’s historic. You can watch by clicking here (scroll to where it says Franken, and click “Watch”) or, if you have DSL or cable, here. (Use RealPlayer’s slide bar if you want to skip to where Franken starts – about 27 or 28 minutes into it.)

Franken went after Bush and Limbaugh and O’Reilly (in person – he was sitting right next to him) for lying. I mean he really went after them. At the end of his talk he said that we’re tired of the lies from the right and tired of just taking it and “we’re not going to sit for it anymore, we just aren’t.” Franken’s upcoming book is titled, “LIES, And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them:A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right” and O’Reilly is on the cover.

Then today Paul Krugman’s column just got real and said it.

It’s long past time for this administration to be held accountable. Over the last two years we’ve become accustomed to the pattern. Each time the administration comes up with another whopper, partisan supporters — a group that includes a large segment of the news media — obediently insist that black is white and up is down. Meanwhile the “liberal” media report only that some people say that black is black and up is up. And some Democratic politicians offer the administration invaluable cover by making excuses and playing down the extent of the lies.

This stuff MATTERS. We went to WAR based on their lies! Bush lied, people died. As I am hearing more and more people saying, this is a lot worse than Watergate or Iran/Contra. This might even be worse than getting a blowjob!!!!!!!

So this might be a turning point, a “Have you no sense of decency, sir?” moment that crystallizes people’s thinking and helps guide them back to doing the right thing. It’s hard to ignore this one. Getting us into a war is serious businesses. Many people died. We were asked to trust the President, that he knew things we didn’t, that there were stockpiles of dangerous chemical, biological, even nuclear weapons — and it’s hard to reconcile that with what we have found on the ground. Now we’re bogged down with at least 150,000 troops stuck there, getting shot at, for years. And if we leave there is little doubt that Iraq will become a Shiite fundamentalist country and that WILL be a threat to us. So this one is going to be very hard to slip past the public, even with the extent of control of the media they have now. They just lie and lie, and look where it gets us.

We’re not going to sit for it anymore. We just aren’t.

Update – Here, from a former war supporter.

I trusted Bush, and unless something big develops on the weapons front in Iraq soon, it appears as though I was fooled by him. Perhaps he himself was taken in by his intelligence and military advisers. If so, he ought to be angry as hell, because ultimately he bears the responsibility.

It suggests a strain of zealotry in this White House that regards the question of war as just another political debate. It isn’t. More than 100 fine Americans were killed in this conflict, dozens of British soldiers, and many thousands of Iraqis. Nobody gets killed or maimed in Capitol Hill maneuvers over spending plans, or battles over federal court appointments. War is a special case. It is the most serious step a nation can take, and it deserves the highest measure of seriousness and integrity.

When a president lies or exaggerates in making an argument for war, when he spins the facts to sell his case, he betrays his public trust, and he diminishes the credibility of his office and our country. We are at war. What we lost in this may yet end up being far more important than what we gained.

Afternoon Update – Let’s look at Senator Byrd’s May 21 speech.

Truth has a way of asserting itself despite all attempts to obscure it. Distortion only serves to derail it for a time. No matter to what lengths we humans may go to obfuscate facts or delude our fellows, truth has a way of squeezing out through the cracks, eventually.

But the danger is that at some point it may no longer matter. The danger is that damage is done before the truth is widely realized. The reality is that, sometimes, it is easier to ignore uncomfortable facts and go along with whatever distortion is currently in vogue. We see a lot of this today in politics. I see a lot of it — more than I would ever have believed — right on this Senate Floor.

Regarding the situation in Iraq, it appears to this Senator that the American people may have been lured into accepting the unprovoked invasion of a sovereign nation, in violation of long-standing International law, under false premises. There is ample evidence that the horrific events of September 11 have been carefully manipulated to switch public focus from Osama Bin Laden and Al Queda who masterminded the September 11th attacks, to Saddam Hussein who did not. The run up to our invasion of Iraq featured the President and members of his cabinet invoking every frightening image they could conjure, from mushroom clouds, to buried caches of germ warfare, to drones poised to deliver germ laden death in our major cities. We were treated to a heavy dose of overstatement concerning Saddam Hussein’s direct threat to our freedoms. The tactic was guaranteed to provoke a sure reaction from a nation still suffering from a combination of post traumatic stress and justifiable anger after the attacks of 911. It was the exploitation of fear. It was a placebo for the anger.

The Administration assured the U.S. public and the world, over and over again, that an attack was necessary to protect our people and the world from terrorism. It assiduously worked to alarm the public and blur the faces of Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden until they virtually became one.

What has become painfully clear in the aftermath of war is that Iraq was no immediate threat to the U.S.

But, the Bush team’s extensive hype of WMD in Iraq as justification for a preemptive invasion has become more than embarrassing. It has raised serious questions about prevarication and the reckless use of power. Were our troops needlessly put at risk? Were countless Iraqi civilians killed and maimed when war was not really necessary? Was the American public deliberately misled? Was the world?

And mark my words, the calculated intimidation which we see so often of late by the “powers that be” will only keep the loyal opposition quiet for just so long. Because eventually, like it always does, the truth will emerge. And when it does, this house of cards, built of deceit, will fall.

Please go read the whole thing. As it begins to dawn on America that they were hoodwinked into war, I have a sense that we are experiencing history and this will go down as one of its great speeches.