Skip to comments.A Litany of Leftist Lies-The truth behind the most common canards of the "Bush Lied" crowd
Posted on 08/13/2004 4:32:40 AM PDT by kattracks
Perhaps the least surprising moment of the recent Democratic National Conventionother than Michael Moores red carpet treatmentcame when Ted Kennedy labeled Bush administration officials false patriots. Over the past several months, the Liberal Lion has done everything but accuse the President of treason, stating, among other things, that Operation Iraqi Freedom was fought under false pretenses, and that the plan to rid Iraq of Saddam was cooked up in Texas and sold with lie after lie after lie. Freeing Muslims from a murderous sociopath, Massachusetts' second most liberal Senator has bellowed, was one of the worst blunders in the history of U.S. foreign policy.
Listening to Kennedy and his Democratic cronies, one would never guess that deposing Saddam Hussein used to be a bipartisan concern. From the moment the Clinton administration signed the 1998 Iraqi Liberation Act, which codified transition to democracy in Iraq as official policy, to the October 2002 vote authorizing the president to use force against Iraqa vote backed by 29 Democratic senators and 126 Democratic representativesthe necessity of regime change in Iraq was a rare point of agreement between the two parties.
But in the heat of this years presidential campaign, that principle has become disposable. Kennedys wanton demagoguery reflects the chief article of faith of the Left, that the justifications for warespecially Iraqs pursuit of WMDs and the Baathist regimes ties to terrorismare no longer defensible.
They couldn't be more wrong.
Lie #1: President Bush intentionally misled the nation when he stated that Saddam had sought yellowcake uranium in Niger.
This was the first major accusation levied at the Bush administration by the Left in order to undermine the Presidentsand the Warscredibility. Following the disclosure last summer that some of the documents the administration had used as evidence of the Iraq-Niger link were forgeries, the liberal media insisted that charges made by the President during his January 2003 State of the Union addressin which he said Iraq sought to buy enriched uranium from Nigerhad been thoroughly refuted. News articles, like a July story in CNN.com, casually refer to it as that since-discredited line. Democratic critics have also seized on Bushs 16 words to question the administrations underlying credibility on the Iraq war. Michigan Democrat Carl Levin, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, has recently said, The misleading statement about African uranium is not an isolated issue. That British intelligence services firmly stand by their assertion of the Iraq-Niger connection has not swayed liberal detractors like Levin at all. As recent reports make plain, however, the connection was very real.
The popular disbelief in that connection owes much to the utterances of former Ambassador Joe Wilson. After a February 2002 visit to Niger, during which Wilson investigated reports that Iraq sought to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program using uranium from Africa (often at poolside), Wilson made a great show of publicly rejecting the link. In Wilsons version of events, Saddam Hussein did not seek to purchase yellowcake uranium in Niger, nor did he have a nuclear weapons program to speak of. The flap over who revealed the identity of Wilsons wife, CIA agent Valerie Plame (besides Plame herself), only lent credence to Wilsons claims that Iraq posed no threat whatsoever.
As for Wilsons much-publicized chargesthat his trip resoundingly dashed any theory that Iraq sought uranium from Niger, and that the Bush administration doctored intelligence findings to bolster its case for warthey threw serious doubts on the administrations allegation that Iraq purchased Niger uranium. When the administration retreated from the connection amid a critical storm, Wilsons was taken as the last word on the subject.
That is, until the release of the bipartisan-prepared 9/11 Commission Report. That bipartisan report exposed Joe Wilson as a liar on multiple fronts, and the Niger uranium story took on new life. The committee noted Wilsons original findings were highly suspect. Wilson had maintained that the Niger intelligence was based on forged documents, a conclusion he defended by claiming that the dates were wrong and the names were wrong on the documents he saw. The Senate committee also saw signs of fraud. Committee staff asked how the former ambassador could have come to the conclusion that the dates were wrong and the names were wrong when he had never seen the CIA reports and had no knowledge of what names and dates were in the reports, the report stated. Wilson hadnt seen the reports for a very simple reason: they were not available until eight months after his intelligence trip to Niger.
And the report was not finished yet. Debunking Wilson's allegation that CIA analysts pressed the White House to excise the 16 words relating to the Iraq-Niger link that made it into President Bush's address, the report went on to cite several credible pieces of intelligence affirming the link, including reports from a foreign service and the U.S. Navy about uranium from Niger headed for Iraq and stored in a warehouse in Benin. (This revelation went unnoticed by the Democratic National Committee; on its website, the DNC still contends the Bush administration intentionally overrode CIA objections to the uranium line, claiming that the Bush Administration Knew Claim Was False.)
But not all media outlets are so mendacious. The Financial Times, having waged an editorial campaign against the Iraq war, set the record straight. FT quoted senior European intelligence officials to the effect that illicit sales of uranium from Niger had been negotiated with five states during the three years before the U.S.-led war in 2003. One of those states was Iraq. The magazine also reported that three European intelligence services suspected Niger was skirting UN sanctions to illicitly traffic in uranium between 1999 and 2001: Human intelligence gathered in Italy and Africa more than three years before the Iraq war had shown Niger officials referring to possible illicit uranium deals with at least five countries, including Iraq, the Times noted. And, just this week the UK Butler Report further finds reporting on attempts to obtain uranium Niger as credible and accurate:
We conclude that, on the basis of the intelligence assessments at the time, covering both Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the statements on Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa in the Governments dossier, and by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons, were well-founded. By extension, we conclude also that the statement in President Bushs State of the Union Address of 28 January 2003 that: The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought sign cant quantities of uranium from Africa was well-founded.
Some critics have claimed the mere possession of uranium yellowcake, without the ability to convert it fissile material, would not qualify Iraq as an imminent threat. (See Lie #2.) But it is not at all clear that Iraq lacked this ability. Indeed, there were some in Iraq with this nuclear know-how. According to a July Reuters report, after recovering 1.8 tons of uranium stolen from a UN facility last year, an IAEA team discovered that some 90 pounds of the uranium had been enriched to 2.6 percent uranium-235a level of enrichment that would make it a likely ingredient for a dirty bomb. Further enrichment would have turned the uranium into a full-fledged nuclear weapon. Little wonder, then, that a U.S. team last week acted to remove the recovered uranium from the country.
Lie #2: Bush claimed Iraq was an imminent threat.
Opponents charge the Bush administration with trumping up the case for war by casting Iraq as an imminent threat. Claims Rep. Dennis Kucinich, This administration led this nation into a war based on a pretext that Iraq was an imminent threat, which it was not. Sen. Robert Byrd seconds this assessment, saying, (Bush) presented an imminent threat to the United States. The Center for American Progress, headed by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta, has carried on a determined campaign to prove that the administration did in fact use the phrase, imminent threat to make the case for war. The closest the leftist think-tank came to conclusive evidence was a February 10, 2003. remark by White House spokesman Scott McClellan: This is about an imminent threat. But while the quote is reproduced faithfully, its context is not. A review of the press conference transcript shows McClellans comment was directed to a specific questionabout Turkey, not Iraq.
In fact, White House officials took great pains to stress that Saddam Husseins regime must not be allowed to become an imminent threat. The presidents 2003 State of the Union Address accented this very point. Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent, Bush said. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late.
Not surprisingly, the wars critics, generally eager to use the administrations words against it, have shied away from referencing the presidents address. Thus, the myth of the imminent threat faces no imminent threat. Just last Friday, Detroit Free Press liberal columnist Brian Dickerson groused that Iraq has failed to live up to its billing as an imminent threat to U.S. security. Lost on Dickerson is the fact that it was never billed as oneand that, thanks to the intervention of coalition forces, it never will be.
Lie #3: Saddam had no ties to al-Qaeda.
According to the antiwar Left, Iraq was the wrong war at the wrong time, an exercise in oil-driven greed by the Bush administration rather than a vital facet of the War on Terror. Indeed, the antiwar Left and their political partisans in the Democratic Party deny that Saddam Hussein had any connections to al-Qaeda or to terrorism in general. Here is what they fail to mention: for years, Saddams regime offered $25,000 in blood money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. Saddam harbored prominent terrorist figures like Abu Nidal, responsible for the deaths of American citizens, and Abdul Rahman Yasin, an Iraqi who helped hatch the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. He also sponsored Ansar al-Islam, the al-Qaeda spin-off group headquartered in northern Iraq. And these troubling ties do not begin to cover Saddams extensive links to terrorism.
In his new book, The Connection, author Stephen Hayes culls countless sources, including Iraqi intelligence documents, confessions of Iraqi intelligence personnel, intercepted telephone conversations, allegations of counterterrorism officials in the Clinton administration, and even satellite photographs, to make a convincing case for connections between Saddam and terrorists, in particular al-Qaeda. At a minimum, Hayes lays out a cogent argument that those who dismiss the al-Qaeda/Saddam link outright are advancing little more than partisan interests.
Significantly, Hayes case was buoyed last week by the release of the 9/11 Commission report. While the commissions interim report had flatly dismissed any collaborative relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda, the commissions final report was far more circumspect, stressing that it found no evidence only of a collaborative operational relationship. (It should be noted that the Bush administration never claimed Saddam Hussein had any hand in planning the 9/11 attacks.) But the 9/11 Commission has shown that Iraqi officials had contacts with Osama bin Ladens aides throughout the 90s. These meetings, the report says, were apparently arranged through Bin Laden's Egyptian deputy, Zawahiri, who had ties of his own to the Iraqis. The report goes on to note that the Iraq/al-Qaeda relationship climaxed in 1999, when, during a brief falling out between the Taliban and bin Laden, Iraqi leaders offered the terror kingpin safe haven in Iraq. Confident of more generous patronage from the Taliban, Osama declined the offer; but the commission report makes clear that in their mutual hatred of the United States, Iraq and al-Qaeda found a binding theme. As for the theory, widely embraced by the wars opponents, that Iraqs Baathist secularism militated against a collaborative relationship with Islamic fundamentalists, the commissions rich findings suggest that this is a singularly inadequate explanation of Iraq and al-Qaedas history.
Another interesting aspect of the antiwar Lefts stance on Iraq is that in opposing the war, they have taken the odd tactic of posturing as ultra-hawksfor every war except Iraq. Make war on al-Qaeda, they argue, not Saddam. Indeed, they claim Iraq has diverted resources from the real War on Terrorism, which they claim to support. Innumerable reports of terrorists swarming to Iraq to battle U.S. troops give the lie to the diversion theory. From accounts that the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah has funneled mujahedeen through porous Syrian borders, to intelligence intercepts establishing the presence of Iranian and Saudi jihadists, to the bloody handiwork of Jordanian al-Qaeda operative Abu Musad al-Zarqawi, its increasingly apparent that Iraq is at present the main front in the War on Terrorism. Not that the wars opponents see it this way. One of the silliest arguments for the invasion, writes Reason magazine managing editor Jesse Walker, a libertarian critic of the war, held that our presence in Iraq was a flypaper attracting the world's terrorists to one distant spot. Who claimed this would be a side benefit of the invasion? Walker cannot produce a shred of evidence to support this proposition. It would be more reasonable to conclude that silliness is a quality best embodied by those of the wars critics who, like Walker, willfully ignore the terrorist presence in Iraq.
Lie #4: Operation Iraqi Freedom has increased the terrorist threat to the United States
If the rhetoric of some Democrats is to be believed, even after Saddam Husseins ouster, the United States is no safer than it was on September 12, 2001. As Sen. John D. Rockefeller recently put it, Our standing in the world has never been lower. We have fostered a deep hatred of America in the Muslim world, and that will grow. As a direct consequence, our nation is more vulnerable today than ever before. Likewise, presidential candidate Howard Dean famously claimed America was less safe after the capture of Saddam Hussein.
Even omitting the momentous fact that there has been no attack on American soil since 9/11, a possibility few envisioned in the aftermath of that day, Rockefellers assessment strains credulity. The diminishing fortunes of al-Qaeda are a case in point. Since ousting the Taliban from Afghanistan in 2002, which dispossessed al-Qaeda of its strategic base of operations and training grounds, the United States has conducted a stunningly successful crackdown on Osama bin Ladens terrorist organization. Scores of top al-Qaeda military planners including strategists behind the 9/11 attacks like Ramzi Binalshib have been killed. Some 3,400 al-Qaeda operatives in more than 90 countries have been detained. The terrorist groups ability to mount attacks has been crippled. At the same time, the United States has steadfastly worked with Middle Eastern governments to frustrate terrorist financing by cracking down on terror-aligned charities and to snuff out Islamic extremism by shuttering extremist madrassahs. This cooperation, even where it is limited, is nothing short of historic. On the domestic front, meanwhile, legislation like the Patriot Act has jolted an ossified intelligence bureaucracy, allowing for unprecedented levels of cooperation in intelligence gathering between federal, state and local law enforcement. Consequently, U.S. officials have had great success breaking up al-Qaeda-aligned terrorist cells.
In light of these results, to maintain that the United States today faces a greater terrorism threat is not merely an insult to reasonit is a slight to the impressive achievements of American troops, the cooperation of our allies, and the concerted efforts of our police and intelligence officers.
Lie #5: There were no WMDs in Iraq.
According to The Nation's David Corn, Iraqs Weapons of Mass Destruction make up one of the administrations Big Lies of the war on Iraq. Newsday columnist Jimmy Breslin goes further, asserting that American soldiers sent to rid Iraq of WMDs have been killed for a lie: George Bush told lies and they died. The fashionable leftist bumper sticker parrots that theme: GW Lied; GIs Died.
For Corn, Breslin and the rest of Left, these claims are becoming harder and harder to sustain. They require, for instance, glossing over last months report that Polish troops in Iraq uncovered warheads believed to contain Sarin or mustard gas, exploding the notion that Saddams regime had fully dispensed of its chemical weapons. Later tests revealed the truth was graver yet: the warheads contained Cyclosarin, an agent far more toxic than Sarin.
These are not the only chemical weapons thus far found in Iraq. Hans Blix, the former UN weapons inspector who opposed military intervention, has conceded that in the run-up to the war, his inspection team found 16 Iraqi warheads marked for use with Sarin. Meantime, the Iraq Survey Group, an outfit tasked with searching for WMD, has confirmed that a roadside bomb detonated in May near a U.S. military convoy was also packed with Sarin nerve agent. That bomb, reports the ISG, is one 550, for which Saddam Hussein failed to account prior to the war.
Sarin bombs count among a class of ordnance the Baathist regime claimed to have destroyed before the 1991 Gulf War. United Nations decrees like Resolution 1441 had also called on Iraq to surrender such weapons to UN monitors. But inspector David Kay and his WMD task force have confirmed the Iraqi regime violated 1441 with impunity, regularly finding new ways to sidestep its provisions. Saddams enduring evasiveness, coupled with an aggressive last-ditch bid to cover up its militaristic aims by barring international inspectors from sensitive sites, kept inspectors from discovering Iraqs three illegal missile programs (among many others).
Still more proof that the Iraqi regime was actively engaged in dodging international censure while working secretly to retain its WMD capabilities comes in the form of hidden weapons depots recently uncovered by officials in Iraq. Already, officials have revealed some 8,700 such weapons depots; recent estimates place their inventory between 650,000 and 1 million tons of arms. New weapons depots continue to be uncovered. Each of these programs was aimed at building missiles with a range of more than 93 miles. Clearly, prewar Iraq had designs on the region at large. Indeed, banned weapons components are even showing up overseas.
There should be no mistake: Absent a military campaign to depose Saddam Hussein, Iraqs WMDs would have remained permanently elusive. So long as the Iraqi regime carried on its shell game of supposedly destroying its weapons arsenals while offering zero evidence that it had done so, a full disclosure would have remained the impossible goal of the international community...until Hussein chose to visit them upon his neighbors, or offered them to terrorists willing to explode them in our midst.
Many on the Left claim that, although Iraq had some raw nuclear material, they had no meaningful program. The evidence shows, on the contrary, that Saddam was knee-deep in nuclear trafficking. In the months prior to the war, Iraq shelled out $10 million to North Korea for medium-range Nodong missile technology, before U.S. pressure caused the North Koreans to back off from the sale. A company led by the cousin of Syrian strongman Bashar Assad proved more successful: For three years prior to Saddams ouster, the company smuggled millions of dollars of sophisticated arms and equipment into Iraq. At least one such arms shipment was completed with the aid of the Syrian governmenta rank violation of a UN arms embargo.
Unquestionably, a great deal more remains to be said about Iraqs WMD capabilities. It bears noting, however, that exposing these capabilities and halting their construction made up only one part of a far more comprehensive case for war. There was also the humanitarian issue. Here we have some consensus: Even most of the wars critics allow that freeing Iraqis from the tyranny and systematic torture of the Saddam Hussein regime was, of course, a good thing only war was the wrong way to secure their freedom, they insist. Yet these critics have yet to put forward a pacifist solution to abbreviating Saddams 30-year reign and sealing the mass graves that had already claimed 300,000 Iraqis. Quiet, too, are the once-prominent champions of UN sanctions, those declarations which failed to moderate Saddam Hussein while prolonging the suffering of the Iraqi people and providing convenient recruitment propaganda for the likes of Osama bin Laden. Add to this list Saddam Husseins unabashed anti-Americanism, and his proven ties to terrorism, and you have a compelling case for regime-change.
Lie #6: We have no allies in our war on Iraq.
The wars Democratic opponents also claim our efforts in Iraq are insufficiently multilateral. Even so, their charge that the Bush administration is guilty of go-it-alone arrogance rings false: the U.S. has successfully rallied plenty of support for its mission to establish a stable and free Iraq. Three-dozen countries are currently contributing military forces to the country, and several creditor nations have forgiven Iraqi debt and pledged reconstruction funds. Nonetheless, it remains the case that the aging regimes of Western Europe have not been pulling their weight in the war against terrorism, most likely due to their deep economic ties to Iraq. For example, how do the Democrats propose to get Francea staunch ally and shameless enabler of the Saddam regime and certainly no friend of the U.S.to support our efforts in Iraq? Particularly when the French government has stated repeatedly that it would not support military action against Iraq under any conditions (a stance due no doubt to the fact that members of the Chirac government resided for years on Saddams payroll)?
The multilateral approach to rogue states, so idealized by critics of the Iraq war, has been a consummate failure. One is hard-pressed to draw any other conclusion from the Washingtons policy toward Iran. Bowing to pressure, the Bush administration sought to check the Islamic Republics zeal for WMDs by adopting the very strategy that, according to the critical consensus, it ought to have used in Iraq: toning down its axis-of-evil rhetoric, backing a European Union initiative to resolve the nuclear issue peacefully, and deferring to French and German diplomats at every turn.
The result, confirmed by last weeks 9/11 Commission report, is that Iran is now more dangerous than ever. Nine months of indulgent diplomacy has allowed the Tehran regime to acquire enriched uranium and further its nuclear program, threaten American allies like Israel with nuclear annihilation, sharpen its anti-Americanism, and sponsor an array of terrorist groups, from Hezbollah and al-Qaeda to jihadist mercenaries in Iraq.
Now, as the urgency of dealing with Iran intensifies, the administration finds itself weakened by the relentless propaganda assault on its tough-minded tack in Iraq. The Lefts attacks have rendered President Bush unable to respond militarily to Islamic nuclear aggression, should he need to do so. Thus, while Democrats like Robert Byrd accuse the Bush administration of basing the Iraq war on a house of cards, built on deceit, Iran diligently develops its nuclear program. If the Democratic Party has repeatedly failed to prove that the Bush administration lied about Iraq, they can nevertheless claim credit for this dubious achievement. In their burning desire to discredit the Iraq War effort for crass and fleeting political advantage, they have given the mullahs their best hope of realizing their nuclear dreams.
Magnificent post, K.
The Left won't read it. Hopefully this gets to The Sheep.
Good ammunition Ping.
The comrades insist that the war on terror has nothing to do with Iraq.
I guess Saddam isn't a terrorist.
Can't wait until Kerry says the same in the debates.
I am honestly hoping that GWB cores him a new one in the debates.
Even though the MSM will declare Kerry the winner before the debate even starts...
* bump * The summary of the Wilson affair is particularly good.
A great article. A keeper.
'Later tests revealed the truth was graver yet: the warheads contained Cyclosarin, an agent far more toxic than Sarin.'
I kept up pretty well after they discovered those warheads and I never saw this - the story, along with the weapons, was very well buried.
Thanks for posting this...
bump for later reading
ANOTHER in a long line of KEEPERS from KATTRACKS !
Nice post...but it requires a reading comprehension level far above that of the typical "undecided" voter. One-sentence lies need one-sentence rebuttals. "Prove it!" might be the best reply when confronted with these types of charges (hey, it worked for the Clintons...) - let the liberals do the explaining.
It will if you (and I) tell people. We're the foot soldiers.
He said his trip debunked the claim, that the White House knew about his tea parties, that he knew the claim was false because the documents were forgeries, and that his wife had nothing to do with his being assigned. The Senate Intelligence Committee's report said his trip didn't squash the allegation (1=wrong), the Vice President wasn't given the results even though he asked for it (2=wrong), the documents Wilson claimed to see weren't in US hands (3=liar) and his wife did recommend him, email attached (4=liar).
kattracks, you, and so many others on FR, a a researcher's dream. Thank you.