Tuesday, December 06, 2005

AJC: Is Iraq deceit part of Bush pattern?

Yes it is indeed, the AJC editorializes, with four other examples of lying: "In its effort to build support for invading Iraq, did the Bush administration distort and exaggerate intelligence about weapons of mass destruction and alleged ties between Iraq and terrorist leader Osama bin Laden?

It's a deadly serious question, because it suggests that the administration may have been willing to deceive both Congress and the American people to get its way, even if it meant silencing or contradicting government experts for political purposes.

Surely the administration would never stoop that low, right? Wrong. Take a look at the history.

News item No. 1:

Washington — A supposedly straightforward scientific analysis of competing air-pollution proposals was unfairly fixed by Bush officials so that it would favor an approach supported by the administration, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service has concluded after an investigation.

The CRS report, released Nov. 23, found that the administration's analysis exaggerated the costs of enacting tougher air pollution standards and underestimated the benefits — including reducing premature deaths — that tougher standards would produce.

News item No. 2:

Washington — Staff attorneys for the U.S. Justice Department investigating a political redistricting plan in Texas recommended unanimously that the plan be rejected because it illegally diluted minority voting strength, according to a memo released Friday.

However, Bush appointees in the Justice Department quietly ordered the staff to approve the plan anyway in time for the 2002 election. That election, conducted under the new redistricting map, produced seven more congressional seats for the Republican Party.

A similar staff recommendation, involving a change in voter identification law in Georgia, had also been overturned on orders of political appointees.

News item No. 3:

Washington —The U.S. Food and Drug Administration deviated from normal scientific and regulatory processes in refusing to approve over-the-counter sales of the Plan B "morning-after" contraceptive pill, according to a report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office.

FDA staff committees and outside expert panels had approved over-the-counter sales of Plan B as medically safe, but in an unprece-dented move, that recommendation was overturned by top agency officials. Right-wing political activists have lobbied the Bush administration against the Plan B pill, perceiving it as a means of abortion.

News item No. 4:

Washington — A Bush administration official threatened to fire chief Medicare actuary Richard Foster if he told Congress the truth about the projected cost of the administration's Medicare drug benefit program, according to an inspector general's investigation.

Foster's projections indicated that the drug program would cost up to $600 billion over 10 years, far more than the $400 billion cost guaranteed to Congress by the administration. But Foster was forbidden by his superior from releasing that information, even after requests for information from members of Congress, an investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services found.

That superior, Thomas Scully, left the government shortly thereafter to take a lucrative job as a lobbyist and consultant to the health care industry."


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