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By Bill Gallagher

DETROIT -- When historians write about our times, they'll shake their heads and wonder how so many people could believe so many lies for so long. They might actually write two parallel books -- one describing the cascading lies and deceptions George W. Bush and the Republicans sold and the other telling the truth.

We're told, in effect, that trampling on civil liberties and eroding freedom are a sure way to protect us from terrorists who envy our freedom. That colossal lie will be one of the lasting stains on this era, and I fear the day coming when the Busheviks or their political heirs, gripped in fascist fever, will silence those who expose the fraud.

The latest assault on liberty cloaked as protection is the Republican campaign in Congress for national identity cards. Of course, they don't call them that. Such candor sparks opposition. It's much more benevolent sounding to call the measure the Real ID Act.

The plan is to impose national standards for driver's licenses and require four pieces of identification before states issue them. The House Republicans attached the proposed law to the bill for appropriating funds for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The proposal is really aimed at immigrants and has nothing to do with terrorism. It would create a bureaucratic nightmare, impose an unfunded mandate on state governments and do nothing to protect us from al-Qaeda. What it means is that many laborers in California and Texas will no longer have a driver's license.

While the ignorant are licking up the lie that national ID cards will make us safer, the Bush administration is making it easier for Saudis to get visitor visas. That's right. The same folks who brought us 15 of the 19 hijackers on Sept 11, bin Laden himself, and the hateful Wahhabi sect will now have their tightened visa restrictions lifted.

While the American media devoted enormous resources covering Paula Abdul's fling with an "American Idol" contestant, an announcement last week from the U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia was buried. We should be following Abdullah, not Abdul.

On the heels of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah's visit to Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, we now know the prince and the president were doing more than holding hands in public. They were privately playing footsie to make it much easier for Saudis to enter the United States.

After Sept. 11, Bush reluctantly allowed the State Department to impose some tightened restrictions on Saudi visitors attempting to enter the United States. Up until then, all a Saudi citizen had to do was fill out a form at a travel agent's office and they were here in a jiffy. That's just what the 15 Saudi hijackers did.

But the tighter restrictions required security reviews and sometimes long waits. Saudi businessmen whined about the inconvenience, and after a few of them were denied visas, they went to the prince. He carried their complaints to the president, who listened.

In a remarkably under-reported story, the Arab News carried an announcement from James C. Oberwetter, the U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, declaring that visa restrictions for Saudi visitors would be eased.

"Last week's visit by Crown Prince Abdullah to the United States has given a major boost to bilateral relations," the ambassador said.

The Saudis were surely miffed when one of the members of their own delegation was denied a U.S. visa because his name appeared on a watch list for alleged terrorists. Both the Dallas Morning News and the Agence France-Press (AFP) wire service reported the incident, in which the name of one of Prince Abdullah's minions popped up on a government no-fly list.

"The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in a routine check of the delegation passenger manifest, found that one traveler was on a government list meant to screen out possible terrorists," an official said on condition of anonymity to the AFP.

The Dallas Morning News confirmed the report and quoted an administration official saying, "We're not going to discuss the individual because the information is classified."

So let's get this straight. We're going to make it harder for Mexicans to drive cabs in Los Angeles and send them packing if they're caught without a driver's license and make it easier for Saudis -- proven producers of mass murderers -- to enter the country. That's just what George W. Bush is doing. The more ignorant and oblivious the American people are, the more the Busheviks and their lies thrive.

The horrible carnage in Iraq is getting worse. The insurgents are hitting targets in most areas of the country and over the last 10 days more than 300 people have died in bombings and ambushes. But we're being offered the lie that the violence is sputtering out and the new government will bring stability.

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. James T. Conway, director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former commander in Iraq, says the insurgent forces are desperate and they can't sustain these attacks.

"We do know that some of the insurgent Web sites have called this the jihad Super Bowl, if you will, and now's the time to come fight and try to kick the Americans out of the region," Conway told reporters. "How much people are responding to that, we're just not certain at this point, but we continue to seek that answer." The answer is bloody obvious.

Two years after the chicken-hawk in chief made his cocky flight-deck strut and proclaimed victory under the Mission Accomplished banner, Iraq is in turmoil and the continued U.S. occupation there is a terrorist recruiter's dream.

The two supreme lies about the war of choice in Iraq that future historians will marvel at are:

  1. Saddam was a serious and imminent threat to the United States because he had or planned to build terrible weapons.
  2. George W. Bush sought peace and did everything he could to prevent war that would only happen "as a last resort."

The weapons of mass destruction lies are thoroughly documented. UN weapons inspectors came up empty-handed and our own multibillion dollar search yielded nothing. It's abundantly clear intelligence was shaped and distorted to create the myth of Saddam's weapons. No serious person believes otherwise.

Now, we have the first document proving Bush had Iraq in his crosshairs and was committed to "regime change" removed from any factual findings. His public posture that he longed for peace was a damnable lie.

The most important item coming from Britain in recent days was not Tony Blair's re-election but the publication of a "smoking gun" memo proving the Bush administration had no intention of dealing with Iraq peacefully and diplomatically.

The Sunday Times of London got hold of the minutes of a 2002 meeting Blair had with members of his cabinet to discuss consultations with the Bush people on U.S. intentions toward Iraq.

A Blair foreign police adviser, Matthew Rycroft, incorporated the minutes of the meeting in a memorandum described as "extremely sensitive." The document shows Bush and Blair had already decided to go to war in Iraq a year before the invasion.

All the subsequent moves -- asking for a UN Security Council resolution, more weapons inspections, Bush's speeches to Congress and the case he presented to the American people -- were all ruses, hollow lies. He and his buddy Blair were already committed to war and their words in public were meaningless. The die was cast.

The words of Sir Richard Dearlove, the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, blow the lid off the lies. Known as "C" in spy talk, his read on the U.S. position contained in the memo tells all.

It states, "C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wants to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. The NSC (National Security Council) has no patience with the UN route. There is little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw buttresses Sir Richard's views at the same meeting. "The Foreign Secretary said he will discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran," the meeting minutes note.

This document is dynamite. As Joe Conason writes in "Salon" online magazine, it has received little notice outside the U.K. "Are Americans so jaded about the deceptions perpetrated by our own government to lead us into war in Iraq that we are no longer interested in fresh and damming evidence of those lies?"

George W. Bush lied to the world when he said he sought peace in Iraq and war was a "last resort." That's what historians will write and they now have a document proving it.

Journalism is often called the first draft of history. For the most part, America's big corporate media's first draft of Bush's war has been devoted to his propagating lies. That's very dangerous in a fragile democracy.

Bill Gallagher, a Peabody Award winner, is a former Niagara Falls city councilman who now covers Detroit for Fox2 News. His e-mail address is gallaghernewsman@sbcglobal.net.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com May 10 2005