Many years ago, Italian children’s author Carlo Collodi wrote a story about a wooden marionette, Pinocchio. This story comes to mind when people lie repeatedly – like Pinocchio, we imagine their noses growing as the lies get bigger.

The Bush administration has a crew who lie in unison, led by George W. Bush and followed up by Rice, Powell, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Perle, and a behind-the-scenes character named Douglas Feith, and a secret Pentagon unit known as the Office of Special Plans. This group of neo-conservative ideologues had been planning to invade Iraq for a decade before George W. Bush stole the presidency. When Sept. 11 came, they went full speed ahead, using fraudulent claims of weapons of mass destruction, links between Hussein and Al Qaeda, and threats to our national security to hasten the conquest of Iraq.

In the January issue of Mother Jones, journalists Robert Dreyfuss and Jason Vest have written a compelling expose of the Bush administration’s Iraq war drive, “The Lie Factory.”

The journalists paid a visit to retired Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski at her home in the Shenandoah Valley. Kwiatkowski, 43, served in the Pentagon’s Near East and South Asia unit in the year before the invasion of Iraq. She explained how the Pentagon’s war planning unit manufactured scare stories about Iraq’s weapons and ties to terrorists. “It wasn’t intelligence – it was propaganda,” she told them. “They’d take a little bit of intelligence, cherry pick it, make it sound much more exciting, usually by taking it out of context, often by juxtaposition of two pieces of information that don’t belong together.”

These manufactured scare stories were then placed in speeches by President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to push Congress and the American people to support war, Kwiatkowski said.

In his report to the United Nations, Powell showed pictures of dump trucks that he claimed held biological weapons, and held a small vial of powder in his hands, implying a connection between the trucks and poisonous anthrax that could put a battalion of soldiers out of action.

These manufactured stories, all false, came out of the Pentagon’s War Planning Board. They were conjured up by Rumsfeld deputies and fellow war zealots Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith. Feith was an aide to Richard Perle at the Pentagon in the 1980s. This ultra-right group supported Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s militaristic policies against the Palestinian people and, in line with this, pushed a U.S. invasion of Iraq as part of an aggressive U.S. military presence in the Mideast. This trend of thought culminated in the policy of regime change in Iraq with the U.S. as the policeman in the entire area.

A long-time Pentagon official, Harold Rhode, worked with Feith to purge defense officials who weren’t gung-ho about the Iraq war crusade. A defense analyst who complained about being excluded from the Pentagon planning group reportedly said, “They wanted nothing to do with the professional staff and they wanted us the f—- out of here.”

Kwiatkowski, who holds quite a few pieces of information about how the “lie factory” functioned, told the journalists, “So far no investigators have come knocking at my door” – not from the Central Intelligence Agency, not from the congressional investigation committees and not from the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

The truth of the matter is, the Republicans’ so-called investigation is a complete cover-up of the lying, the deception, the misrepresentation that is what the Bush gang is all about.

George W. Bush tells you that the economic situation is coming along great, but the truth is that the economy is a disaster for the vast majority of people. He says the war in Iraq saved the American people, but the truth is that it increased our insecurity. He tells you that the Democrats will raise taxes, but the truth is that taxes need to be increased for the super-rich, to provide vital funding for health care and education. Lying and deception are the gist of Bush’s campaign.

George long-long-nose Bush makes Pinocchio’s nose look like a speck. For him and the thieves in his administration, black is white, up is down and inside out is outside in.

John Gilman is a Wisconsin peace and justice activist. He can be reached at johngilman@aol.com.