A study was released this past week by two non-profit journalism organizations, the Center for Public Integrity and the Fund for Independence in Journalism, which detailed the number of false claims made by top administration officials during the run-up to the war in Iraq. This study showed that,
"The false statements dramatically increased in August 2002, with congressional consideration of a war resolution, then escalated through the mid-term elections and spiked even higher from January 2003 to the eve of the invasion."
This shows that the false statements were clearly a propaganda technique used by the administration to drum up support for the war. The study found that,
"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."
It is important to show the most egregious claims made by members of this administration and how the evidence at the time contradicted their statements.
Dick 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."
However, in September of 2002 the DIA, the intelligence branch of the DOD stated, "There is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons, or whether Iraq has -- or will -- establish its chemical warfare agent production facilities."
Right before the invasion of Iraq on March 17, 2003 Bush stated,
"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."
A United Nations Document states, "Up until they were withdrawn from Iraq on 18 March –- the day before armed action began -- United Nations inspectors had found no evidence of the continuation or resumption of programmes of weapons of mass destruction, Hans Blix told the Security Council this morning, as he briefed them for a final time before stepping down at the end of June as head of the inspection team."
The most famous false statement was made during the State of the Union Address in January of 2003 in which Bush stated the following,
"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production."
The idea that Saddam was shopping for uranium in Niger came from a collection of documents now known to have been forged. Many people within the intelligence community did not believe these claims at the time. Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, John E. McLaughlin, stated this in Oct of 2002 regarding the uranium issue,
"The one thing where I think they(British) stretched a little bit beyond where we would stretch is on the points about Iraq seeking uranium from various African locations. We’ve looked at those reports and we don’t think they are very credible."
Bush was also warned by the CIA not to include the uranium claim in a speech he gave in Cincinnati on October 7, 2002. The memo sent by the CIA reads, "More on why we recommend removing the sentence about procuring uranium oxide from Africa...The evidence is weak. One of the two mines cited by the source as the location of the uranium oxide is flooded. The other mine cited by the source is under the control of the French authorities..."
This, however, is the speech where Bush states,
"America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. 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."
No one within the administration has been formally held accountable for the lies, distortions, propaganda, and fear mongering that led to our War in Iraq.