Bush administration lies that led to war
This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's focus on the fallout of nuclear "spin."
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." 
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.
- White House News Release: President Commemorates Veterans Day, Discusses War on Terror, Tobyhanna Army Depot, Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania, November 11, 2005.
- Flashback: "Bush to Congress: Don't tie my hands," CNN, October 1, 2002.
- White House Press Briefing with Ari Fleischer, October 1, 2002.
- "Bush Disputes Accusations of Intelligence Misuse to Justify War," Bloomberg News, November 11, 2005: "'It is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how the war began,' Bush said in a Veterans Day speech today to military families at Tobyhanna Army Depot near Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. 'More than 100 Democrats in the House and Senate who had access to the same intelligence voted to remove Saddam Hussein from power,' the president said."
- Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus, "Asterisks Dot White House's Iraq Argument," Washington Post, November 12, 2005.
- Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo, November 12, 2005.
- White House News Release: Setting the Record Straight: The Washington Post On Pre-War Intelligence, November 13, 2005.
- David Kusnet, "The Worst Speech of Bush's Presidency," The New Republic (Common Dreams), November 13, 2005.
- Dan Froomkin, "Bush's Third Campaign," Washington Post, November 14, 2005.
- White House News Release: Setting the Record Straight: Sen. Levin On Iraq, November 14, 2005.
- White House News Release: President Delivers Remarks at Elmendorf AFB on War on Terror, Hangar One, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Anchorage, Alaska, November 14, 2005.
- Terence Hunt, "Bush Escalates Bitter Iraq War Debate," Associated Press, November 14, 2005.
- Jason Leopold, "Rediscovered testimony given by CIA director in 2001 suggests manipulation of pre-war intelligence," The Raw Story, November 14, 2005.
- Kevin Drum, "Manipulating Intelligence," The Washington Monthly, November 14, 2005.
- Fred Kaplan, "I Was Wrong, but So Were You. Parsing Bush's new mantra," Slate, November 14, 2005.
- eriposte, "WMDgate: Fixing Intelligence Around Policy", The Left Coaster :
- "Introduction," November 15, 2005.
- "The Aluminum Tubes": Part 1; Part 2A-1; Part 2A-2; Part 2A-3; Part 2A-4; and Part 2A-5, November 16-22, 2005.
- "The Aluminum Tubes": Part 2B-1, November 23, 2005, and Part 2B-2, November 29, 2005.
- "The Pathological Condi Rice": Part 2C, November 30, 2005.
- "The White House Iraq Protocol (WHIP) for Deceiving the United States": Part 3, December 7, 2005.
- E.J. Dionne, Jr., "Another Set of Scare Tactics," Washington Post, November 15, 2005.
- Carl Hulse, "Senate Republicans Pushing for a Plan on Ending the War in Iraq," New York Times, November 15, 2005.
- Richard W. Stevenson and Douglas Jehl, "A Reminder of How Debate Over Prewar Intelligence Continues to Shadow Bush," New York Times, November 15, 2005.
- Editorial: "Decoding Mr. Bush's Denials," New York Times, November 15, 2005.
- Ryan Lizza, "Bush's Dishonest New Strategy for Defending the War. Con Text," The New Republic, November 15, 2005. Subscription required.
- Murray Waas, "Key Bush Intelligence Briefing Kept From Hill Panel," National Journal, November 22, 2005.
- Michael A. Fletcher and Jim VandeHei, "Cheney Again Assails Critics of War. Rejection of 'Revisionism' Comes as His Standing Drops in Polls," Washington Post, November 22, 2005.
- Faiz, "What Bush Knew: More Evidence That He Deliberately Misled," Think Progress, November 22, 2005.
- Alexander Bolton, "Dems win McCain’s backing," The Hill, November 22, 2005.
- Dafna Linzer, "Report: Bush Had More Prewar Intelligence Than Congress," Washington Post, December 16, 2005.
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. 
- 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." 
- 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." 
- 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.'" 
- "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." 
- However, Ruth Rosen proclaimed, "none of this was true." 
- 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. 
- 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." 
- Paul O'Neill, former treasury secretary, "revealed that as soon as Bush officials took office, they began plotting to invade Iraq." 
- We have what is being called an "intelligence failure." 
- 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." 
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." 
"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." 
- See Patrick Martin's August 2001 "Iran-Contra gangsters resurface in Bush administration."
In an April 22, 2004, Knight Ridder article, Frank Davies wrote that: 
- "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.
- Also see Juan Cole's April 25, 2004, "Poll: 57% of Americans Believe Saddam Gave Substantial Support to al-Qaeda,"
... 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. 
- Representative Henry A. Waxman, ranking member of the Committee on Government Reform, established the website "Iraq on the Record" to highlight "The Bush Administration's Public Statements on Iraq".
- Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002
- Bush administration: duped into war with Iraq?
- Bush administration propaganda and disinformation
- Bush administration Orwellian logic
- Bush administration rationales for war in Iraq
- Bush administration scandals
- Bush administration smear campaigns
- Bush doctrine
- Bush lies and deceptions
- Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction
- Exit Strategy from Iraq
- Hans Blix
- Karen Kwiatkowski
- Operation Enduring Freedom
- Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Operation Iraqi Freedom: Military and Political Dissent
- Operation Iraqi Freedom: Year Three: Quagmire
- The alleged linkage of Saddam Hussein with Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda and weapons of mass destruction
- The Cheney-Rumsfeld Cabal Deception
- The leaked Cabinet Office briefing paper, July 21, 2002: "Iraq: Conditions for Military Action"
- Valerie Plame
- weapons of mass destruction
- weapons of mass destruction investigation
- "Iraq Lies," TV News Lies.
- Joshua Green, "The Other War Room," Washington Monthly, April 2002.
- Charlotte Beers, "Funding for Public Diplomacy," Statement before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and State of the House Appropriations Committee, Washington, DC, April 24, 2002.
- Franklin Foer, "Flacks Americana: John Rendon's Shallow PR War on Terrorism," The New Republic, May 20, 2002.
- Joe Wilson, "The Pinocchio presidency. A former diplomat says it's time to blow the whistle on the Bush administration's blatant lies," Salon, March 16, 2004.
- Jim Lobe, "Spanish Blowback: Iraq War Boomerangs," antiwar.com, March 16, 2004.
- Paul Krugman, "Weak on Terror," New York Times Op-Ed, March 16, 2004: "But Mr. Bush's lapses in the struggle against terrorism extend beyond his decision to give Al Qaeda a breather. His administration has also run interference for Saudi Arabia -- the home of most of the 9/11 hijackers, and the main financier of Islamic extremism -- and Pakistan, which created the Taliban and has actively engaged in nuclear proliferation."
- William Clark, "Revisited - The Real Reasons for the Upcoming War With Iraq: A Macroeconomic and Geostrategic Analysis of the Unspoken Truth," Ratical.com, January 2003; Revised March 2003; Post-war Commentary January 2004.
- "The lying game. An A-Z of the Iraq war and its aftermath, focusing on misrepresentation, manipulation, and mistakes," Independent/UK, June 1, 2004.
- Maureen Farrell, "Revisiting the 2000 GOP Platform: 20 Outrageous Assertions, Shameless Lies and Broken Promises," BuzzFlash, June 2, 2004. "For further reference (and more broken promises) see: The 2000 GOP platform."
- Murray Waas, "Curveballs to Congress" American Prospect, July 16, 2004.
- "Reports undercut Iraq, al-Qaeda link," The Australian, April 16, 2005.
- Walter Pincus, "Prewar Findings Worried Analysts," Washington Post, May 22, 2005.
- Martin Frost, "Bush: Congress Shouldn't Have Trusted Rice?" Fox News, November 21, 2005.
- Faiz, "What Bush Knew: More Evidence That He Deliberately Misled," Think Progress, November 22, 2005.
- Frank Rich "Dishonest, Reprehensible, Corrupt" New York Times, November 27, 2005.
- Bernard Weiner, "It's Time to Play Beat-the-Bully," The Crisis Papers, December 6, 2005.
- Robert Novak, "There never were WMD's," Crooks and Liars, December 23, 2005.
- Murray Waas, "Cheney 'Authorized' Libby to Leak Classified Information," National Journal, February 9, 2006.
- Murray Waas, "What Bush Was Told About Iraq" National Journal, March 2, 2006.
- Don Van Natta, Jr., "Bush Was Set on Path to War, British Memo Says," New York Times, March 27, 2006.
- Murray Waas, "Insulating Bush," National Journal, March 30, 2006.
- Dan Froomkin, "A Compelling Story," White House Watch Blog/Washington Post, March 31, 2006.
- Craig Unger, "The War They Wanted, The Lies They Needed," Vanity Fair, June 6, 2006: "The Bush administration invaded Iraq claiming Saddam Hussein had tried to buy yellowcake uranium in Niger. As much of Washington knew, and the world soon learned, the charge was false. Worse, it appears to have been the cornerstone of a highly successful 'black propaganda' campaign with links to the White House."
- Joby Warrick, "Warnings on WMD 'Fabricator' Were Ignored, Ex-CIA Aide Says," Washington Post, June 25, 2006.
- Colin Brown and Andy McSmith, "Diplomat's suppressed document lays bare the lies behind Iraq war," The Independent (UK), December 15, 2006.