Friday, September 29, 2006

Orwell Would Be Proud

Huffington Post
Joshuah Bearman
Orwell Would Be Proud

The Daily Orwellianism Award goes to Bush, speaking on openness in government on Tuesday: "We believe that the more we inform our American citizens, the better our government will be." And: "The more transparency there is in the system, the better the system functions on behalf of the American people."

This from the "trust me" President, a guy who has tried to systematically curtailed access to government information with a record number of classification decisions and even growing security controls on unclassified documents.
Not to mention the absolute fetish for administration secrecy and witch-hunts against leakers, those "informers of American citizens" who Bush and Cheney liken to traitors. That's transparency for you!

This particular embrace of openness by Bush came just before Bush selectively declassified 4 of 30 pages of the National Intelligence Estimate. Why only 4? Because those were the 4 pages that best diluted the advance word on the document's vivid portrayal of Bush's failure in Iraq and the fight against terrorism. If the NY Times and other reports on the NIE that "create confusion in the minds of the American people," as Bush complained, what is it when he tries to release a friendlier version of the same information?

And incidentally, if that grim excerpt is the most favorable for Bush, I wonder what the rest says.

By now, we've all read the choicest parts of those 4 pages: the NIE says the war in Iraq has increased the threat from terrorism by "shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives" and that Iraq has become "the cause célèbre for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of U.S. involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement."

So, yes, Bush is right that "the more we inform our citizens, the better our government will be." In light of that, where's the rest of the NIE? And for that matter, where's the companion report Jane Harman mentioned that focuses exclusively on Iraq?

I'm sure Bush had seen both reports and their consensus that the war was making us less safe by September 7, 2006, when he declared: "Five years after September the 11th, 2001, America is safer -- and America is winning the war on terror." I guess we have to retroactively award him with the Daily Orwellianism Award for that day too.