Politics

Bush (Iraq War) vs. Obama (Obamacare): Who ‘lied’?

Bush (Iraq War) vs. Obama (Obamacare): Who 'lied'?

When the weapons hunters failed to find stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, so began one of the greatest slanders on a president in history: “Bush lied, people died.”

Never mind that, in building the case for war in Iraq, President George W. Bush relied on the unanimous opinion of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies.

Never mind that the bipartisan Robb-Silberman commission examined the intelligence on which Bush relied, and unanimously found that “the Intelligence Community did not make or change any analytic judgments in response to political pressure. … We conclude that it was the paucity of intelligence and poor analytical tradecraft, rather than political pressure, that produced the inaccurate pre-war intelligence assessments.”

Never mind that Bush retained the same CIA director, George Tenet, who served under Bill Clinton. Tenet gave Bush the same intelligence assessment: that Saddam Hussein, the dictator of Iraq, possessed WMD is a “slam dunk.” Indeed, according to The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, Bush was initially skeptical of the intelligence that reached that conclusion. When, on December 21, 2002, Tenet laid out the intelligence purportedly showing the existence of WMD stockpiles, Bush said, “This is the best we’ve got?”

Never mind that former secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then a New York senator, was particularly adamant about the threat posed by Saddam: “In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical- and biological-weapons stock, his missile-delivery capability and his nuclear program. … If left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.”

Finally, never mind about then-President Bill Clinton’s Persian Gulf expert on the National Security Council, Kenneth Pollack. While he opposed the war’s timing, Pollack said “no one doubted” Saddam’s stockpiles of WMD: “The intelligence community convinced me and the rest of the Clinton Administration that Saddam had reconstituted his WMD programs following the withdrawal of the U.N. inspectors, in 1998, and was only a matter of years away from having a nuclear weapon. … Other nations’ intelligence services were similarly aligned with U.S. views. … Germany … Israel, Russia, Britain, China and even France held positions similar to that of the United States. … In sum, no one doubted that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.”

“Bush lied, people died” — or some version of it — was uttered at the highest levels in the opposition party. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., called W. a “loser” and a “liar.” He later apologized — for the “loser” part.  Liar stands. The so-called Lion of the Senate, Ted Kennedy, bellowed, “Before the war, week after week after week after week, we were told lie after lie after lie after lie.”

If Bush is a “liar,” having relied in good faith on the unanimous opinion of the U.S. intelligence agencies, what do you call President Barack Obama? In building the case for Obamacare, Obama promised: “No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.”

Did Obama “lie”?

Obama’s health care team, according to NBC News, knew that more than half of the people who buy their plans on the individual market would lose their plan: “Millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years.”

NBC News’ sources estimated that 50 to 80 percent of Americans who buy individual insurance will find their policies cancelled, because those existing policies don’t meet Obamacare standards. And for many of those — now forced to buy new policies — the price tag will give them “sticker shock.”

The Affordable Care Act stated that an insurance policy in effect before March 23, 2010, was to be grandfathered in — provided insurance companies have made no “significant change” to the plan. But if the plan, say, had a change to the deductible, co-pay or benefits, the plan was no longer eligible to be grandfathered, and the policyholder would have to purchase a new plan.

Obamacare’s July 2010 regulations included an estimate that “40 to 67 percent” of customers wouldn’t be able to keep their policy because of normal annual turnover in the individual insurance market. And, because many policies will have been changed since the March 23, 2010, date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.” Yet Obama continued to tell Americans that no one would lose their plan or doctor, a promise without which Obamacare would never have passed.

For his part, Obama now says: “What we said was, you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed.” A lie is an untruth told with intent to deceive.

Bush didn’t “lie.”

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. 

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