Tuesday, May 8, 2007

How much more of this lying can we take?

May 7, 2007

In the Bible there is a passage found in Acts 5 verses 1 to 11 that tells of a man named Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, who lied about a land transaction in which they purposely kept money that was not theirs. Then they both died immediately after they had lied to Jesus' disciple Peter about the transaction.

That was in Bible times. Today the American people hear so many lies, especially from our government officials in the Bush administration, that it becomes just another day in which we hear more lies. If every member of the Bush administration died suddenly right after telling a lie to the American people there might possibly be only a few people left standing.

Vice President Dick Cheney has lost all his credibility regarding his comments on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. His statements almost always turn out to be untrue. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales recently used the words "I do not recall" approximately 71 times when testifying before Congress. The truth has and does not come forward from these officials' mouths. It has been reported by the press that Gonzales rehearsed his "I do not recall" for over 10 days before going before Congress to testify.

Military personnel under the Bush administration have lied about the Pat Tillman case. The first report said that he was killed by the enemy. They tried unsuccessfully to push that lie into reality, but the truth came out that he was killed by "friendly fire," which turned out to be from Tillman's fellow soldiers.

A soldier testified before a Congressional committee he was ordered not to reveal the truth about Tillman's death to his family. At the hearing, Tillman's brother Kevin criticized the government for "intentional falsehoods" and "deliberate and careful misrepresentations."

Jessica Lynch also testified before that same Congressional committee and told them that the story that was told about her heroics was all false. The military was trying to sell it to the public as a story that would help bolster the American citizens' patriotism.

These lies go even deeper. The Bush administration attempted to hire journalists who would lie about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and tell nothing except how well everything was put in favor of the U.S.'s occupation.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) got caught up in a lie when he told Wolf Blitzer on CNN that Army Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, could walk the streets of Baghdad in Iraq without any protection such as a full "armored" Humvee, a bullet-proof vest or soldiers surrounding him for protection. Within 30 minutes of his statement, a well-known and respected reporter from CNN in Baghdad challenged McCain about his statement.

McCain, trying to save himself from the lie he told, went to Baghdad about a week later and tried to walk the streets of Baghdad himself. He found out that he needed a vest, about 100 soldiers, four full-armored Humvees surrounding him and two Apache helicopters flying overhead. This is the same protection that was afforded Gen. Petraeus when he walked the streets of Baghdad.

I am amazed the lengths that some politicians go through to continue their lies. McCain looked very uneasy as he was walking at an accelerated pace.

I do not believe that U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich's attempt to bring impeachment proceedings against Cheney is a very good idea. But I do understand the frustration he feels when Cheney continues to lie to the American people about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Kucinich wants the lying to end. Frustration about this war not only affects the American public, but the senators and representatives also.

The lies that were told to U.S. citizens by Bush as to why we needed to go into Iraq have cost the lives of over 3,300 American troops, and over 25,000 military personnel have been wounded.

The war is in its fifth year since those first lies were told, and there is no progress to report. The Maliki-led government of Iraq has not reached any of the goals set by the U.S. government.

Only with God's helping hand and Congress' strong will and perseverance will this war come to an end. Bush and his administration are determined to continue this war in Iraq and Afghanistan and will not agree to bring our troops home. It is imperative that Congress has to come up with a solution to finally end these wars in two countries.

All the slogans and insults that most Republicans have used or are still using are getting tiresome and very stale -- "We will not cut and run," "We will stay the course" and the latest one, "We will not set a date for surrender."

Have you noticed, it is the Republicans using the word "surrender"? The Democrats have not used that word. They are calling for an orderly deployment of our U.S. troops and an end to this unjust war started with lies.

It will be a sad day when U.S. citizens realize that the Bush administration and most Republicans are timing the end of this war to coincide with Election Day 2008. Meanwhile, the death toll rises, and the U.S. soldiers killed are shipped back to the United States in the dark of night so that no one can photograph or see the caskets being unloaded.

One parent of a dead soldier recently complained that this unloading of a casket delivered to the soldier's hometown should not be done by a forklift truck, but by American soldiers. It will now be done by American soldiers, with thanks to that parent who helped make a change for the dignity of our fallen troops.

"Support Our Troops" should also include the humane treatment for our wounded troops to go to a respectable hospital for their care rather than the decrepit Walter Reed Hospital.

It appears that the American people will have to sustain two more years of an arrogant and stubborn President Bush before this war comes to an end.

I pray for every man and woman who are serving their country in military service, and I pray for their quick return home.

Dean Koldenhoven is a former mayor of Palos Heights and a 2002 recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. His column periodically appears in the Daily Southtown.

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