True Lies

U.S. Congressman Henry A. Waxman had compiled a database of lies called Iraq On The Record (http://www.house.gov/reform/min/features/iraq_on_the_record/ , http://downingstreetmemo.com/docs/iraq_on_the_record.pdf , & http://www.echochamberproject.com/iraqstatements). This is a searchable database containing 237 lies or “misleading statements” put out by Bush Administration officials to fool the American public into supporting the war in Iraq. The statements are of U.S. President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Powell, and National Security Advisor Rice. A comprehensive examination of the pack of lies is also available in PDF format.

The war in Iraq was started on the premise that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and was supporting Al Qaeda. The lies started began at least a year before the commencement of hostilities in Iraq , when Vice President Cheney stated on 17th March 2002: “We know they have biological and chemical weapons.” Though most of the “misleading statements” were made prior to the war, administration officials worked over time with their lies during the one-month period before the U.S. Congress vote on the Iraq war and during the two months before the war began on 19th March 2003.

The most famous among them was that of President Bush when he declared in his State of the Union address that “the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” The next best is that of Vice President Richard Cheney, “I think there’s verwhelming evidence that there was a connection between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi government. . . I’m very confident that there was an established relationship there.”

Waxman accuses Bush administration officials of painting an innacurate picture and hiding doubts in the “intelligence community” about the threat from Iraq. CIA Director George Tenet categorically stated that the U.S. intelligence community “never said there was an ‘imminent’ threat.”

  • President Bush stated on October 2, 2002: “the Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency. . . . [I]t has developed weapons of mass death.”
  • President Bush stated on November 20, 2002: “Today the world is . . .uniting to answer the unique and urgent threat posed by Iraq.”
  • Vice President Cheney stated on August 26, 2002: “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.”

Prior to the war, there were “significant divisions within the intelligence community” about Iraq’s capability or activity with regard to WMD. Waxman says that any “doubts and qualifications” on intelligence were not communicated to the public. For example, Defence Secretary Rumsfeld denied that there was any difference of opinion about Iraq’s nuclear capabilities within the Administration, stating: “We said they had a nuclear program. That was never any debate.” Waxman says that, “Instead, the five Administration officials repeatedly made unequivocal comments about Iraq’s nuclear program.” Three days before the war, VP Cheney claimed, “we know he has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.” On the eve of the Congressional resolution on the war, Bush warned, “Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof — the smoking gun — that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.”

In 2001 and 2002, shipments of aluminum tubes to Iraq were intercepted. The U.S. Department of
Energy believed that the tubes likely were not part of a nuclear enrichment
program. The International Atomic Energy Agency agreed, concluding that “There is no indication that Iraq has attempted to import aluminum tubes for use in centrifuge enrichment.” Yet, U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice stated on CNN’s Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer “We do know that there have been shipments going . . . into Iraq . . . of aluminum tubes that really are only suited to — high-quality aluminum tools [sic] that are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs.”

On the claims about uranium from Africa, Waxman says that a former Ambassador, Joseph Wilson, was sent by the CIA to investigate the alleged purchase. Ambassador Wilson concluded that it was “highly doubtful that any such transaction had ever taken place,” and on his return, he provided detailed briefings
to the CIA and to the State Department African Affairs Bureau. The CIA sent two memos to the National
Security Council — one of which was addressed to Ms. Rice personally, warning against including the claim in a speech by the President. The CIA Director also “argued personally” to Ms. Rice’s deputy
national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, “that the allegation should not be used.” This is against Ms. Rice’ claim that “[h]ad there been even a peep that the agency did not want that sentence in or that George Tenet did not want that sentence in, that the Director of Central Intelligence did not want it in, it would have been gone.”

Vice President Cheney had repeatedly cited reports of Mohammed Atta, one of the September 11 hijackers, meeting a senior Iraqi official in Prague a few months before September 11, 2001. Waxman says Cheney hid the fact that the CIA and FBI had concluded before the war in Iraq that “the meeting probably did not take place”; the Czech government officials had developed doubts regarding whether this meeting occurred; and American records indicate that Mr. Atta was in Virginia Beach, Virginia, at the time of the purported meeting.

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