The president's ability to lead is being destroyed by attacks on his character, motives and credibility. Serious allegations are demoralizing our troops, dividing America, confusing Iraqis and delighting terrorists.
Without offering specifics, Bush's accusers suggest the president knowingly deceived us, after secret conversations, perhaps like the one below.
If this actually happened, Bush should be impeached, and jailed for treason. If not, if common-sense finds this ridiculous, let's end the politics of personal destruction, and unite against those who threaten our future.
Did this take place? You decide!
The Oval Office — Early 2003
Bush: Well it's time to take out Saddam. How do we gather support for this?
Vice President Dick Cheney: Easy. We convince the folks that Saddam has WMD — and that he'll give them to al-Qaida.
Condoleeza Rice: But we know that he doesn't have WMD!
Donald Rumsfeld: And Saddam can't even spell al-Qaida.
Paul Wolfowitz: Doesn't matter. We've got to invade Iraq.
Cheney: Besides, our manipulated intel already has lots of folks believing Saddam has WMD, and that his guys met with Atta before 9/11. The UN inspectors, those puppets at Fox News, and even the liberal Dems are talking-up Saddam's WMD!
Bush: Well, I hate lying. Besides, won't it hurt me politically if we invade Iraq and later acknowledge no WMDs?
Karl Rove: Not at all! This war will help you politically.
Rice: How so? We lie and soldiers die. How will that help the President?
Wolfowitz: The American people will accept some losses, when we're greeted as liberators by Iraqis waving American flags.
Rice: But we all know that's not going to happen. Saddam's loyalists would declare us infidel invaders and occupiers.
Bush: Yeah! And our own media would claim I sent troops to die to revenge Saddam's attempt to assassinate my dad.
Cheney: Don't worry about the media. They're just a bunch of jerks.
Wolfowitz: To disarm the press, we assert that Saddam is building nuclear weapons.
Bush: And just how do we package that fabrication?
Wolfowitz: We claim that Saddam is purchasing yellow-cake from Niger.
Cheney: And that Iraq's aluminum tubes are designed to enrich uranium.
Rove: Hey! Let's also trick Colin Powell into making these claims at the U.N.
Bush: But what if it's later proven that Saddam never had nuclear weapons?
Cheney: Easy. We'll blame the bad intel on the dumb Brits. They actually believe it's true.
Rumsfeld: Won't work. The CIA sent a State Department weenie into Niger to investigate the yellow-cake claims. He's Joe Wilson, a Democrat, preconditioned to declare the story bogus.
Bush: Why Wilson?
Rice: His wife is a CIA analyst, named Valerie Plame. She's got connections in Niger, and is looking for profitable deals for after she leaves the Agency.
Wolfowitz: Well maybe we can "out her." You know. Leak that she's CIA.
Bush: How does "outing" his wife discredit statements Wilson makes about yellow cake?
Rove: The media gets distracted, and denies Wilson any airtime.
Bush: But isn't it dangerous to "out" this Flame dame?
Rice: It's Plame, Mr. President.
Cheney: We'll have Libby "out her."
Bush: What if it's discovered that Libby leaked to the press? What if they call a grand jury?
Cheney: Libby will deny everything.
Rumsfeld: That could put Libby away for 30 years!
Cheney: If that's what it takes, Libby will take the fall. He's completely loyal.
Rice: Let's move on. What about Saddam's ties to al-Qaida.
Wolfowitz: All bogus. Chalabi and I just made this up. But if we spread the fib, it'll sure sway the American people.
Cheney: OK. Let's start spreading the lies. About WMD and al-Qaida ties.
Rumsfeld: This is all going to backfire!
Rove: Not if we make a pact. We each pledge to never reveal these discussions. Got it?
Cheney: Yeah! This meeting never happened!
Rumsfeld: You've got my word.
Wolfowitz: I'm in, Mr. President — as long as you send me over to the World Bank.
Rice: Me, too. But in exchange, you dump Powell and make me Secretary of State.
Bush: OK. It's agreed. But for the life of me, I still don't see how starting a war based on lies helps me politically. Dismissed, guys. Condi, stay behind for a bit. All depart except Bush and Rice.
Bush: So Condi. Any remaining concerns?
Rice: Yes. I still want to know . . . is Saddam a threat; is Iraq armed with WMD; is Niger a source of yellow-cake; and is it feasible that Iraq might someday provide WMD to al-Qaida?
Bush: Condi, it all depends on the meaning of the word "is."
Jack Tymann retired as president of Westinghouse International. He later founded Homeland Security Partners, focused on counterterrorism technologies. He served on and chaired the Clinton-Mubarak Presidents' Council for the Middle East from 1993-2001. Today he serves on the board of AMIDEAST, promoting mutual understanding between Americans and peoples of the Arab world.