Bush administration lies that led to war

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The Bush administration lies that led to war were already coming "unraveled" one year after the U.S.-led coalition of the willing launched preemptive war in Iraq, Ruth Rosen wrote in the March 15, 2004, San Francisco Chronicle.

Status Report: 2005

Two assertions made November 11, 2005, by President George W. Bush and National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley -- that "Congress saw the same intelligence the administration did before the war, and that independent commissions have determined that the administration did not misrepresent the intelligence" -- Washington Post reporters Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus wrote are not "wholly accurate."

A 14-page "congressional report made public [December 15, 2005,] concluded that President Bush and his inner circle had access to more intelligence and reviewed more sensitive material than what was shared with Congress when it gave Bush the authority to wage war against Iraq," Dafna Linzer reported in the December 16, 2005, Washington Post.

Democrats said the "report contradicts Bush's contention that lawmakers saw all the evidence before U.S. troops invaded in March 2003, stating that the president and a small number of advisers 'have access to a far greater volume of intelligence and to more sensitive intelligence information'," Linzer wrote.

However, the "report does not cite examples of intelligence Bush reviewed that differed from what Congress saw. If such information is available, the report's authors do not have access to it. The Bush administration has routinely denied Congress access to documents, saying it would have a chilling effect on deliberations. The report, however, concludes that the Bush administration has been more restrictive than its predecessors in sharing intelligence with Congress," Linzer wrote.

Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), "who has emerged as a leading opponent of the Bush administration’s policy on interrogating detainees in the war on terrorism, wants Senate investigators to interview senior administration officials about their statements regarding the threat posed by Saddam Hussein before the war," Alexander Bolton of The Hill reported November 22, 2005.

Senator Carl Levin, described as a "TOP Democratic senator" in the April 16, 2005, The Australian, released formerly classified documents that he says undercut top US officials' pre-Iraq war claims of a link between Saddam Hussein's regime and the al-Qaeda terrorist network."

Levin said that "These documents are additional compelling evidence that the intelligence community did not believe there was a cooperative relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda, despite public comments by the highest ranking officials in our government to the contrary."

"The declassified documents undermine the Bush administration's claims regarding Iraq's involvement in training al-Qaeda operatives and the likelihood of a meeting between September 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in April 2001, Senator Levin said in a statement."

  • "In October 2002, Mr Bush said: 'We've learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases.'
  • "But a June 2002 CIA report, titled Iraq and al-Qa'ida: Interpreting a Murky Relationship, said 'the level and extent of this is assistance is not clear'."

Additionally, the "report said that there were 'many critical gaps' in the knowledge of Iraq-al-Qaeda links due to 'limited reporting' and the 'questionable reliability of many of our sources', according to excerpts cited by Senator Levin." [1]

Also see the key September 8, 2002, New York Times' article "U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts" by Michael R. Gordon and Judith Miller.

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Status Report: 2003-2004

  • In March 2004, Ruth Rosen pointed to CIA Director George J. Tenet's admission the week of March 8, 2004, "that he had privately disputed public statements made by top government officials who had twisted intelligence reports." However, Rosen wrote, even though he could have, or perhaps should have, Tenet "failed to expose the administration's manipulation of" and creation of cooked intelligence. [2]
In his State of the Union 2003 speech, George W. Bush "declared that Iraq had tried to buy uranium from Niger," which was "a bogus story that was discredited in the foreign press." [3]
  • Secretary of State Colin L. Powell told the United Nations Security Council that the United States had "'solid' British evidence of Iraq's WMDs." However, "that was immediately exposed as 10-year-old data posted on the Internet by a graduate student." [4]
Then, wrote Rosen, "By the time the war began, the government's Big Lie had turned into conventional wisdom. Much of the American media, according to a study by the Center for International Security Studies at Maryland, amplified administration assertions and failed to critically analyze how officials 'framed the events, issues, threats and policy options.'" [5]
"As a result," she said, "more than half of the American people believed that Iraqis had been among the September 11, 2001 terrorists and that Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda had forged an alliance to destroy the United States." [6]
However, Ruth Rosen proclaimed, "none of this was true." [7]
  • Joseph C. Wilson IV, "a career diplomat, broke his silence by disclosing that he had found no evidence that Niger had sold uranium to Iraq, and concluded that 'some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.'" See Valerie Plame "leak" information. [8]
  • David A. Kay, the CIA's chief weapons inspector, "returned from Iraq and publicly reported that his survey team had not found any evidence of WMDs." [9]
  • Paul O'Neill, former treasury secretary, "revealed that as soon as Bush officials took office, they began plotting to invade Iraq." [10]
  • We have what is being called an "intelligence failure." [11]
  • Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld "and company established their own private Pentagon intelligence unit -- the Office of Special Plans -- to seek evidence that confirmed only what they believed." [12]

Rosen concluded, "as the one-year anniversary of the war approaches, the shelves in American bookstores groan under the weight of tomes that describe the deception that led to war in Iraq." [13]

"Shades of Iran-Contra"

  • Writing for Salon on April 22, 2004, Sidney Blumenthal said that the "White House's rush to war with Iraq featured some of the same power abuses and even the same personnel as the Iran-Contra scandal. But this time the effort to evade checks and balances came from the top." [14]

Statistically Speaking

In an April 22, 2004, Knight Ridder article, Frank Davies wrote that: [15]

"A new poll shows that 57 percent of Americans continue to believe that Saddam Hussein gave 'substantial support' to al-Qaida terrorists before the war with Iraq, despite a lack of evidence of that relationship.
"In addition, 45 percent of Americans have the impression that 'clear evidence' was found that Iraq worked closely with Osama bin Laden's network, and a majority believe that before the war Iraq either had weapons of mass destruction (38 percent) or a major program for developing them (22 percent)."
"In the poll, roughly 4 in 10 Americans perceived the administration as saying it had clear evidence that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction just before the war."
"There's no known evidence to date", he writes, "that these statements are true."
However, "for the first time, a majority of Americans - 51 percent - said they thought that a majority of Iraqis wanted U.S. forces to leave. The survey was completed before the worst violence of the occupation erupted in April." (See Shiite Muslim uprising in Iraq for details.)
The complete results can be viewed at the Program on International Policy Attitudes web site.

... and War Without End

"It is possible the U.S.-led war on terror has created new enemies of Western governments and societies by splintering al Qaeda, according to counterterrorism experts. ...

"'This is more like a mass movement, and you can arrest as many people as you want. But it's very hard to arrest the movement of ideas,'" said Peter Bergen, a CNN terrorism expert and author of Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden. [16]

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