Liar, liar

Bush pants on fire

Pants on fire

The Bush administration has been caught again taking liberties with the truth.

It has now been revealed that the turkey held by The Shrub in the shot seen round the world was an inedible prop. Tom Toles, cartoonist for the Washington Post, weighed in deftly with his 10,000 words on the subject. see cartoon

On Thanksgiving Day, Bush made a dramatic secret visit to Baghdad to visit with the troops. It was a stunt, but I gave him a pass. Now I'm sorry I did.

One of the details that emerged about that trip was the story of a chance encounter with a British Airways pilot who saw Air Force One, radioed over, but kept the secret when the pilot of Air Force One said that the plane was a Gulfstream V. That story came from the assistant White House communications director Dan Bartlett. It now seems that the story was a whopper of a lie, told to enhance the drama.

  • British Airways says that none of their pilots saw Air Force one or radioed to the plane
  • Bartlett now says that he left the wrong impression, that the BA pilots were talking to the tower in London about the sighting
  • Bartlett further clarified that the sighting took place just after daybreak off the western coast of England
  • British Airways again said that none of their pilots made or overheard such a conversation

Elementary, my dear Watson

The facts just don't add up. According to Jeeves, it is 2549 miles from London to Baghdad. Flying at a conservative estimate of 500mph, it would take just 5 hours to travel that distance. However, Air Force One did not arrive in Baghdad until after dark: Remember, we were also regaled with the story of the no-lights landing with Bush in the cockpit.

  • Sunrise in London on 27 November was 7:57am
  • Sunset in Baghdad on 27 November was 4:56pm
  • Baghdad is 3 hours ahead of London
  • 8am London + 5hrs flying time + 3hrs time difference works out to an arrival in Baghdad at 4pm, an hour before sunset

I think it is highly likely that all communication between planes and air traffic control is recorded. That assertion could be easily checked.

I would not be surprised if it turns out that Bush was not really in the cockpit during the landing either. Think about it, does it make any sense? What pilot in his right mind would want someone looking over his shoulder making a risky landing without lights with the potential to come under fire, even if the someone is the president of the United States? Is there even an extra seat in the cockpit of a 747? Surely W wasn't standing.

Not the first time

This isn't the first time the Bush administration has been caught playing fast and loose with the facts. Remember Jessica Lynch? Remember the uranium from Niger? Remember....?

It doesn't matter that this lie was told by his communications director. The fact that W's people keep doing it means he condones it. As the saying goes, A fish rots from the head.

Laura Bush used to be a children's librarian. Perhaps she should chose as W's bedtime story the tale of that other George who held the same office.