19 February 2004

Twenty Nobel Laureates Versus Bush

Specific examples follow, such as the suppression of EPA studies that conflicted with administration positions on climate change and the Clean Air Act. I actually found several items on the list of abuses a bit surprising. For example, the scientists note that the administration is 'supporting revisions to the Endangered Species Act that would greatly constrain scientific input into the process of identifying endangered species and critical habitats for their protection.' That's true, but given that it's only a proposed policy and Bush probably won't get the law passed, I found it odd to see it singled out here.

Far more interesting, though, is this complaint:

In making the invalid claim that Iraq had sought to acquire aluminum tubes for uranium enrichment centrifuges, the administration disregarded the contrary assessment by experts at the Livermore, Los Alamos, and Oak Ridge National Laboratories.

And so Bush's abuses of intelligence to justify war with Iraq and his abuses of science finally merge. If the American public realizes that Bush's willingness to twist information to support his policies is systematic and fundamental to the way he operates, he will truly be doomed in the 2004 election. Perhaps more than any other part of this scientist statement, this sentence should terrify the president.

Finally, the statement ends with legislative proposals to prevent such abuses in the future--for example, laws prohibiting the censorship of scientific reports and the packing of scientific advisory panels. Interestingly, there's no discussion of ensuring that the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, which Bush has minimized and shipped out of the White House, plays a much bigger role in future administrations. Maybe the scientists felt it was inappropriate to tell presidents how they ought to staff their own office.

The recent brouhaha over job stats exemplifies the whole thing, as does the Bush approach to fiscal projections. You'll not be shocked to hear I do not plan to vote for John Howard but, with the exception of greenhouse issues, his government has at least been prepared to deal with real facts rather than fantasy.

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