Thursday, December 18, 2003

Is Anybody Gonna Complain?

If I copy this piece of horrible news into the blog?


In a high-tech cover-up, the Washington Post this morning reports the White
House is actively scrubbing government websites clean of any of its own
previous statements that have now proven to be untrue. Specifically, on
April 23, 2003, the president sent his top international aid official on
national television to reassure the public that the cost of war and
reconstruction in Iraq would be modest. USAID Director Andrew Natsios,
echoing other Administration officials, told Nightline that, "In terms of
the American taxpayers contribution, [$1.7 billion] is it for the US. The
American part of this will be $1.7 billion. We have no plans for any
further-on funding for this."

The president has requested more than $166 billion in funding for the war
and reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan this year. But instead of
admitting that he misled the nation about the cost of war, the president has
allowed the State Department "to purge the comments by Natsios from the
State Department's Web site. The transcript, and links to it, have
vanished." (The link where the transcript existed until it caused
embarrassment was

When confronted with the dishonest whitewash, the administration decided to
lie. A Bush spokesman said the administration was forced to remove the
statements because, "there was going to be a cost" charged by ABC for
keeping the transcript on the government's site. But as the Post notes,
"other government Web sites, including the State and Defense departments,
routinely post interview transcripts, even from 'Nightline,'" and according
to ABC News, "there is no cost."

This story is not the first time the President has tried to hide critical
information from the American public. For instance, the president opposed
the creation of the independent 9/11 investigative commission, and has
refused to provide the commission with critical information, even under
threat of subpoena. Similarly, after making substantial budget cuts, the
president ordered the government to stop publishing its regular report
detailing those cuts to states. And when confronted with a continuing
unemployment crisis, the president ordered the Department of Labor to stop
publishing its regular mass layoff report.

It is also not the first time the administration has sought to revise
history and public records when those records become incriminating. As the
Post reports "After the insurrection in Iraq proved more stubborn than
expected, the White House edited the original headline on its Web site of
President Bush's May 1 speech, "President Bush Announces Combat Operations
in Iraq Have Ended," to insert the word 'Major' before combat." And the
"Justice Department recently redacted criticism of the department in a
consultant's report that had been posted on its Web site."

Valerie A. Metzler, M. A., C. A.
Valerie Metzler Archivist/Historian
114 Ruskin Drive
Altoona, PA 16602-2916
814 940 0493
fax 940 0449

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