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Friday, September 3, 2004

Thou shalt not lie, et cetera.

The Associated Press observes that "Bush Glosses over Complex Facts in Speech." Not just complex facts, either. We're talking really important facts:

On Iraq, Bush derided Kerry for devaluing the alliance that drove out Saddam Hussein and is trying to rebuild the country. "Our allies also know the historic importance of our work," Bush said. "About 40 nations stand beside us in Afghanistan, and some 30 in Iraq."

But the United States has more than five times the number of troops in Iraq than all the other countries put together. And, with 976 killed, Americans have suffered nearly eight times more deaths than the other allies combined.

Bush aggressively defended progress in Afghanistan, too. "Today, the government of a free Afghanistan is fighting terror, Pakistan is capturing terrorist leaders ... and more than three-quarters of al-Qaida's key members and associates have been detained or killed. We have led, many have joined, and America and the world are safer."

Nowhere did Bush mention bin Laden, nor did he account for the replacement of killed and captured al al-Qaida leaders by others.

He attacked Kerry for voting against an $87 billion package for Iraq and Afghanistan operations that included money for extra sets of body armor and other supplies, mocking his opponent for saying the issue was complicated. "There's nothing complicated about supporting our troops in combat," Bush said.

But the bill in question was not solely about supporting troops and Kerry's campaign said he ultimately voted against it because, among other reasons, it included no-bid contracts for companies.

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, who tracks the accuracy of campaign rhetoric at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication, said Bush overstepped on a few claims about Kerry.

"The speech distorts Kerry's positions by suggesting that he opposed Medicare reform when he instead favored an alternative, and opposed tax cuts for all when he in fact supported the middle class cuts and opposed cuts for those making more than $200,000," she said.

(Thanks, Kos!)

Or bear false witness.

The Washington Post says "GOP Prism Distorts Some Kerry Positions" — such as:

  • Kerry did not cast a series of votes against individual weapons systems, as Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.) suggested in a slashing convention speech in New York late Wednesday, but instead Kerry voted against a Pentagon spending package in 1990 as part of deliberations over restructuring and downsizing the military in the post-Cold War era.

  • Both Vice President Cheney and Miller have said that Kerry would like to see U.S. troops deployed only at the direction of the United Nations, with Cheney noting that the remark had been made at the start of Kerry's political career. This refers to a statement made nearly 35 years ago, when Kerry gave an interview to the Harvard Crimson, 10 months after he had returned from the Vietnam War angry and disillusioned by his experiences there. (President Bush at the time was in the Air National Guard, about to earn his wings.)

  • President Bush, Cheney and Miller faulted Kerry for voting against body armor for troops in Iraq. But much of the funding for body armor was added to the bill by House Democrats, not the administration, and Kerry's vote against the entire bill was rooted in a dispute with the administration over how to pay for $20 billion earmarked for reconstruction of Iraq.

And then there's this bit of complex fact:

While Cheney said Kerry opposed Reagan's "major defense initiatives," the campaign does not cite any votes against such defense programs while Reagan was president, relying instead on a campaign speech before he was elected senator.

Six years later, Kerry took part in a complex and serious debate in Congress over how to restructure the military after the Cold War.

Cheney, at the time defense secretary, had scolded Congress for keeping alive such programs as the F-14 and F-16 jet fighters that he wanted to eliminate. Miller said in his speech that Kerry had foolishly opposed both the weapons systems and would have left the military armed with "spitballs." During that same debate, President George H.W. Bush, the current president's father, proposed shutting down production of the B-2 bomber — another weapons system cited by Miller — and pledged to cut defense spending by 30 percent in eight years.

That's right, folks: Senator Kerry was so far to the left he actually agreed with known leftists George H.W. Bush and Dick Cheney. (Glenn Kessler and Dan Morgan, Washington Post 9.3.04, reg req'd; thanks, Nick Confessore!)

Honor thy father and mother.

And finally: Did you notice what George W. Bush seems to go out of his way not to acknowledge about his own family?

I am grateful to share my walk in life with Laura Bush. Americans have come to see the goodness and kindness and strength I first saw 26 years ago, and we love our First Lady.

I am a fortunate father of two spirited, intelligent, and lovely young women. I am blessed with a sister and brothers who are also my closest friends. And I will always be the proud and grateful son of George and Barbara Bush.

My father served eight years at the side of another great American Ronald Reagan. His spirit of optimism and goodwill and decency are in this hall, and in our hearts, and will always define our party.

It's nice to acknowledge Vice President Bush. But isn't it odd that the 43d president didn't mention that his father had been the 41st president? (Someone else drew my attention to this part of the speech, but I can't for the life of me figure out who it was!)

Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 3 September 2004 at 5:16 PM

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