The Final Days 

In this wonderland of untruth, the term has special relevance.

ST. LOUIS -- Oh, you sweet, innocent, carefree citizens in non-swing states. You have no idea how much fun and slime you are missing.

In the swingers, wolves stalk us mercilessly. (As the pro-wolf lobby points out, no one has ever been killed by wolves on U.S. soil, but try arguing that in the face of the relentless new Bush ad campaign.) Breaking news is everywhere -- 380 tons of high explosives in Iraq gone missing, stock market down to year's low, leading economic indicators down, more tragedy in Iraq, the Swift Boat Liars are back, more Halliburton scandal, George Tenet says the war in Iraq is "wrong." It feels like we're dodging meteorites in the Final Days.

It seems the majority of Bush supporters, according to recent polls, still believe Saddam Hussein had ties to al-Qaeda and even to 9/11 and that the United States found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Many of you are asking how that could possibly be, since everybody knows

But everybody doesn't know. There it is. And if you are wondering why everybody doesn't know, you can either blame it on the media, always a shrewd move, or take notice that the administration is still spreading this same misinformation.

Both Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush have publicly acknowledged there is no evidence of any links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. However, as Dick Cheney campaigns, a standard part of his stump speech is the accusation that Saddam Hussein "had a relationship" with al-Qaeda or "has long-established ties to al-Qaeda."

He makes this claim up to the present day. The 9/11 Commission, however, found that there was "no collaborative relationship" between the two.

Cheney, of course, also has never given up his touching faith that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, recently referring to a "nuclear" program that had in fact been abandoned shortly after the first Gulf War.

Bush and Cheney misled the country into war using these two false premises, and it turns out an enormous number of our fellow citizens still believe both of them to be true. It's not because they're stupid but because an administration they trust is still telling them both phony propositions are true.

Those Kerry volunteers earnestly engaging Bush supporters on the latest outrage are way off base. They need to go all the way back to the Great Lie that got us into this: Many American soldiers marching into Iraq believed it was payback for 9/11.

A third, slightly blinding fact (to me) is that more people now think Kerry behaved shamefully in regard to Vietnam than did Bush. Incredible what brazen lying will do, isn't it?

A friend of Bush's dad got him into the "champagne unit" of the Texas Air National Guard, a unit packed with the sons of the privileged trying to stay out of Vietnam, and he failed to complete his service there. Kerry is a genuine, bona fide war hero. The men who served on his boat are supporting him for president, but those who didn't serve with him, who weren't there, and who don't know what happened have been given more credence. Wolves will get you!

The great triumph of the political right in this country has been the creation of a network of alternative media. There are people who listen to Rush Limbaugh for more hours every day than the Branch Davidians listened to David Koresh. Watch Fox News, read The Washington Times -- hey, that's what the Bush administration does, according to its own words.

But it's not just the right-wing media purveying lies -- they are quoting the administration. These misimpressions come directly from the Bush administration, still, over and over. "

Molly Ivins writes for Creators Syndicate and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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