Sunday, February 06, 2005

Bush Administration Transparency and Media Transparency

The other day, I wrote an entry on the transparency in the motives of the Bush Administration, but I never addressing the other side of the story - media complacency.

In the leadup to the War in Iraq, the Bush Administration convinced the nation of the need to invade Iraq, because of the imminent danger posed by the threat of the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Many exhibits of evidence were provided to present the case for WMDs in Iraq - surveillance photos, uranium yellowcake in Niger, Aluminum Tubes, first-hand accounts from former Iraqis, and the word of Ahmad Chalabi.

Later, it became apparent that there were disputes with every major article of evidence. The American people were lied to. The next excuse became the undisputed link between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. The 9/11 commission Report refuted this claim - there was no relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

Finally, the excuse became the march for freedom - the democratization of Iraq, and the liberation of the Iraqi people. While this is a noble goal, the excuse rings hollow. Out of all of the brutal dictatorships in the world - why did they select Iraq, and what was the immediate urgency? Sudan, currently suffering from mass genocide at the hands of the Khmir Rouge, would've been a much more benevolent target. The claims of chemical weapons use by the Saddam Regime also have a hollow ring - the chemical weapons were used over a decade ago, and they were originally provided by a George H.W. Bush-led CIA, complete with photographs of a smiling Donald Rumsfeld posing with Saddam.

The war was supposed to be a War on Terror, yet we failed to capture Osama Bin Laden (AKA Osama Been Forgotten) As President Bush said "I truly am not that concerned about him," the president said, according to the official White House transcript.

Now, the Bush Administration just had a chance to offer up some accountability. In Bush's speech's proclaiming the Iraqi War cause, he claimed one of the causes of the war was to remove the rape rooms and torture chambers used of the Saddam Regime. Yet, after occupying Iraq, it was discovered that the United States had re-used Saddam's torture chambers for the use of rape rooms and torture chambers. Did we hold Alberto Gonzales, the man responsible for the torture memos, responsible for the usage of torture? No, we did not. Donald Rumsfeld offered to resign twice over the Abu Ghraib scandal, yet Bush refused the offer of resignation. To not hold the leadership responsible for torture responsible is an inexcusable offense.

The provided explanations for the Iraqi war are hanging by a thread. The Bush Administration simply has no respectability in the world stage. How can the American people not see through this charade?

A large portion of the blame must go to the mainstream media. By allowing the Bush Administration to continually change their explanation for the war, they have done a great disservice to the American public. A fairly recent PIPA study found that the majority of registered republicans in this country still believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and ties to Al Qaeda, despite the fact all evidence points to the contrary, and that the 9/11 Commission Report contradicted this assertion. Yet, the media allows people to be misled into believing that there was a chance that the weapons were secretly transferred to Syria. As long as the waters are muddied, the American people are contented, and able to rest without worry that the government in charge is openly lying to the American people.

With the current social security reforms now in discussion, the mainstream media now has a chance to redeem themselves. Yet, the outlook does not look good. The Bush Administration spent months trying to sell social security privatization. The product wasn't selling, so they changed the branding to "Social Security Personal Accounts"....and, the media bought it. Why is the Bush Administration allowed to continue trying different marketing strategies. Why are they allowed to continuously re-brand the flawed Iraqi war when at their whim and fancy? Why is the mass media allowing the Bush Administration to-brand the dismantling of our social security safety net without question?