Activist author blasts Bush over Iraq war
By Steve Hinnefeld, Herald-Times Staff Writer
November 18, 2003

William Rivers Pitt wrote a book titled War in Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You To Know.

He said expanding the argument to book length, with help from co-author Scott River, was no problem. "I mean, where do I begin?" he said.

In a Monday interview, Pitt ran through a list of deceptions, including claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that Saddam Hussein was involved with the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and hidden links between administration figures and businesses profiting from the war.

"This administration is a smash-and-grab robbery," he said.

Pitt is an outspoken activist who serves as managing editor of the Web site www.truthout.org and whose other books include The Greatest Sedition is Silence and It's Our Flag Too: The Paradox of Patriotism. The 32-year-old former high school teacher from Cambridge, Mass., was in Bloomington to give talks Sunday and Monday at Indiana University.

His targets include not only the Iraq war but the USA Patriot Act, the manipulation of fears about terrorism and what he sees as uncritical coverage by television news of the Bush administration. Truthout.org tries to break through soft broadcast coverage with daily links to news stories and political columns from U.S. and international newspapers, he said.

"There's an enormous amount of integrity remaining in the mainstream print media," he said. But "people don't read."

Pitt said he came to activism at an early age, talking politics with his Democratic father and jousting with his conservative grandfather. He said his writings often strike a chord with conservatives who are disillusioned with the Bush administration over its shifting rationale for the war.

He said Bush's ability to persuade Americans that the war was about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks ranks near the top of the administration's deceptions, although the president has recently said there's no evidence Iraq was involved.

"They don't want you to know the idea of an alliance between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden is laughable," he said. "They're absolutely blood enemies."

He faulted the administration for slanting intelligence, failing to understand that current actions have future consequences and creating an atmosphere in which political dissent is suspect. But Pitt sees hope in old-fashioned electoral politics. He said Democrats can win the Senate and the White House next year.

"I think this group of Democrats we have in the (presidential) field are some of the most interesting we've had in a long time," he said.


Pitt said half the Democratic candidates look like potential winners, including Howard Dean, John Kerry, Dick Gephardt, John Edwards and Wesley Clark.

"Right now, I think it's probably Howard Dean's race to lose," he said.


Reporter Steve Hinnefeld can be reached at 331-4374 or by e-mail at shinnefeld@heraldt.com.

 



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