Dat Bush cs hebben gelogen over de aanwezigheid van massavernietigingswapens in Irak en banden tussen Saddam H. en Al Qaida, weten we zolangzamerhand wel – maar de stelselmatige wijze waarop deze leugens zijn gespuid, is toch ontstellend.
President George W. Bush and seven of his administration’s top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Nearly five years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, an exhaustive examination of the record shows that the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.
On at least 532 separate occasions (in speeches, briefings, interviews, testimony, and the like), Bush and these three key officials, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan, stated unequivocally that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (or was trying to produce or obtain them), links to Al Qaeda, or both. This concerted effort was the underpinning of the Bush administration’s case for war.
It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to Al Qaeda. This was the conclusion of numerous bipartisan government investigations, including those by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (2004 and 2006), the 9/11 Commission, and the multinational Iraq Survey Group, whose "Duelfer Report" established that Saddam Hussein had terminated Iraq’s nuclear program in 1991 and made little effort to restart it.
In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003…
Bush and the top officials of his administration have so far largely avoided the harsh, sustained glare of formal scrutiny about their personal responsibility for the litany of repeated, false statements in the run-up to the war in Iraq. There has been no congressional investigation, for example, into what exactly was going on inside the Bush White House in that period. Congressional oversight has focused almost entirely on the quality of the U.S. government’s pre-war intelligence not the judgment, public statements, or public accountability of its highest officials. And, of course, only four of the officials Powell, Rice, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz have testified before Congress about Iraq.
Short of such review, this project provides a heretofore unavailable framework for examining how the U.S. war in Iraq came to pass. Clearly, it calls into question the repeated assertions of Bush administration officials that they were the unwitting victims of bad intelligence.
Above all, the 935 false statements painstakingly presented here finally help to answer two all-too-familiar questions as they apply to Bush and his top advisers: What did they know, and when did they know it?
Bill Moyers on Rhetoric and Reality
BILL MOYERS: Welcome to THE JOURNAL.
Let’s first connect some dots in the week’s news. In Washington, two public interest groups The Center for Public Integrity and the Fund for Independence in Journalism finished a report they have been working on for months. It’s an old story but with new math. They went through the record and counted every false statement made by the Bush administration in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq and even six months after we were at war. How many?
If you guessed 935, you are right on the button. That’s at least the number of times the president and seven of his top officials, including Condoleeza Rice, said Saddam Hussein was a national security threat.
On at least 532 separate occasions those officials told us unequivocally that Iraq had links to Al Quaeda or weapons of mass destruction, or both. Remember when this alarm went off?
CONDOLEEZA RICE (destijds): There will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.
BILL MOYERS: It was one of the most smoothly orchestrated and successful propaganda campaigns in our history, and it was one big lie. The war it produced still has no end in sight, five years later…
Students of how the Bush administration led the nation into the Iraq war can now go online to browse a comprehensive database of top officials statements before the invasion, connecting the dots between hundreds of claims, mostly discredited since then, linking Saddam Hussein to Al Qaeda or warning that he possessed forbidden weapons.
The Center for Public Integrity, a research group that focuses on ethics in government and public policy, designed the new Web site to allow simple searches for specific phrases, such as mushroom cloud or yellowcake uranium, in transcripts and documents totaling some 380,000 words, including remarks by President Bush and most of his top advisers in the two years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Warnings about the need to confront Iraq, by President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, the national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, and two White House press secretaries, among others, can be combed line by line, and reviewed alongside detailed critiques published after the fact by official panels, historians, journalists and independent experts.
There is no startling new information in the archive, because all the documents have been published previously. But the new computer tool is remarkable for its scope, and its replay of the crescendo of statements that led to the war. Muckrakers may find browsing the site reminiscent of what Richard M. Nixon used to dismissively call wallowing in Watergate...
Theres a cynical old saying that the victors write the history. CBSs 60 Minutes demonstrated how that process works on Jan. 27 in airing Scott Pelleys interview with the FBI agent who de-briefed former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
In a world of objective reality, a reporter might say that the United States launched an unprovoked invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003, under the false pretense that Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, even after Iraq had repeatedly and accurately announced that its WMD had been destroyed in the 1990s.
On Dec. 7, 2002, Iraq even sent to the United Nations a 12,000-page declaration explaining how its WMD stockpiles had been eliminated. In fall 2002, Husseins government also allowed teams of U.N. inspectors into Iraq and gave them free rein to examine any site of their choosing.
Those inspections only ended in March 2003 when President George W. Bush decided to press ahead with war despite the U.N. Security Councils refusal to authorize the invasion and its desire to give the U.N. inspectors time to finish their work.
But none of that reality is part of the history that Americans are supposed to know. The officially sanctioned U.S. account, as embraced by Bush in speech after speech, is that Saddam Hussein chose war by defying the U.N. over the WMD issue and by misleading the world into believing that he still possessed these weapons.
In line with Bushs version of history, 60 Minutes correspondent Pelley asked FBI interrogator George Piro why Hussein kept pretending that he had WMD even as U.S. troops massed on Iraqs borders, when a simple announcement that the WMD was gone would have prevented the war…