BUSH LIED TO ENSURE WAR
Almost 1,000 neocon falsehoods counted out
By Pat Shannan
One lie in a civil deposition about consensual sex caused the Republicans (with Democratic help) to impeach Bill Clinton. Nine-hundred and thirty-five Bush administration lies leading the nation to a terrible war shattering the lives of millions have not even merited a congressional investigation. Only after seven years has it finally brought a mention from the establishment media and is still mostly suppressed.
A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations has found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks.
The study was posted on the web site of the Center for Public Integrity on January 22. CPI had worked on the project with the Fund for Independence in Journalism. The report counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them, or had links to al-Qaeda, or both.
The report also breaks down who told how many lies:
Bush led with 259 false statements, 231 about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 28 about Iraq’s links to al-Qaeda. That was second only to Powell’s 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq and al-Qaeda.
The groups concluded 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.”
Named in the study along with Bush were top officials of the administration during the period studied: Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan.
When questioned about this at a university speech after the story broke, Powell, still waffling, quickly dismissed the question, stating that it was the intelligence that was wrong—“not us.”
The center said the study was based on a database created with public statements and information from more than 25 government reports, books, articles, speeches and interviews.
White House spokesman Scott Stanzel did not comment on the merits of the study when questioned but reiterated the administration’s position that the world community viewed Iraq’s leader, Saddam Hussein, as a threat. No one asked whether the world community views Bush and Cheney as threats.
“The actions taken in 2003 were based on the collective judgment of intelligence agencies around the world,” Stanzel said.
But according to Charles Lewis and Mark Reading Smith, staff members of the Fund for Independence in Journalism and instrumental in the writing of the study, the fact that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or had any meaningful ties to al-Qaeda, “is beyond dispute, and in short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated, which then culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003.”
“The cumulative effect of these false statements—amplified by thousands of news stories and broadcasts—was massive, with the media coverage creating an almost impenetrable din for several critical months in the run-up to war,” the study concluded.
“Some journalists—indeed, even some entire news organizations—have since acknowledged that their coverage during those prewar months was far too deferential and uncritical. These mea culpas notwithstanding, much of the wall-to-wall media coverage provided additional, ‘independent’ validation of the Bush administration’s false statements about Iraq,” it said.
While the administration plays the lead role in this report, the propaganda machine posing as “news media” is the delivery vehicle of these lies, and they were delivered without any challenge.
It’s time for Congress to ask serious questions to members of the administration—past and present. The sacrificed lives of almost 4,000 soldiers deserve that little bit of sacrifice from our so-called leaders.
More about Pat Shannan can be found at www.patshannan.com.
(Issue #6, February 11, 2008)