Skip to comments.Did Bush Lie? Ask Google
Posted on 11/14/2005 6:33:21 AM PST by EarthStomper
President Bush came out swinging on Veterans Day in a speech accusing his Democratic war critics of re-writing history. Some war critics have mounted a campaign against him by boiling the entire pre-war history and post-invasion violence down to a two-word phrase: "Bush Lied". They say he lied us into war by distorting intelligence about weapons of mass destruction to convince Americans to fight an unnecessary war. The "Bush Lied" accusation is, if true, an indictment of the entire war itself, and one could reasonably argue we should cut our losses and get out of it.
The president could have destroyed the entire "Bush Lied" attack a long time ago. And he could have done it in a way that showed what a wired, technologically savvy president he is; and in a way that would have simplified his side of the debate down to three words and a number:
Google "Clinton Iraq 1998"
Google is not just a search engine; it's also something of a wayback machine. It can take us back to the last time prior to 2003 that the United States waged a campaign against Saddam Hussein.
If you go to Google and run a search using "Clinton Iraq 1998," you will find at the time of this writing 3,010,000 hits. Time stands still for no net surfer, so your mileage may vary slightly. But you won't need all those three million hits anyway. You can just click on the very first one, which will take you to a CNN story dated December 16, 1998 about President Clinton warning Iraq that its failure to comply with UN weapons inspections left him no choice but to attack. And attack he did, launching Operation Desert Fox, which destroyed Iraq's intelligence headquarters and a few other points of concern. President Clinton's reasons for the operation:
"Saddam (Hussein) must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons," Clinton said.
"Earlier today I ordered America's armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces," Clinton said.
"Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors," said Clinton.
For the "Bush Lied" mantra to have any logical or factual force, one must believe that Desert Fox not only destroyed every single WMD Saddam had, but also cowed him sufficiently that he never built a single WMD or lab in the five years that remained of his rule. And that knowing all of this, Bush took us to war anyway. No serious person believes that.
The third hit that our Google search on "Clinton Iraq 1998" finds is a link to a story about something called the Iraq Liberation Act. What's that? Well, it's a document approved by Congress and signed by the president on October 31, 1998. It set forth as American policy the support of groups opposed to Saddam Hussein and encouraged regime change. It even set aside a few million dollars for the Iraqi National Congress, the group many war critics have accused of duping the Bush administration into believing in WMD that never existed. But if the Bush administration was duped, so was the Clinton administration, since the Iraq Liberation Act has President Clinton's signature on it.
Seven links into our three million hit cache we find a story with the following quote:
"Mr. President, today, along with Senators McCain, Lieberman, Hutchison and twenty-three other Senators, I am sending a letter to the President to express our concern over Iraq's actions and urging the President 'after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs.'"
The letter quoted goes on to detail the many ways Iraq has violated its post-Gulf War obligations to the UN (those violations being among the causes for war in 2003) and the Coalition that liberated Kuwait after the 1990 Iraqi invasion. It was written by Democratic Senator Carl Levin of Michigan. Today Sen. Levin is among those Democrats who publicly accuse President Bush of lying about WMD in order to get the U.S. into war with Iraq.
If you follow more of the three million links that Googling "Clinton Iraq 1998" find, you'll read Madeline Albright sounding as hawkish on Saddam as Donald Rumsfeld. Albright was Clinton's Secretary of State in 1998. Former Vice President Al Gore's transformation from reasonable hawk to a sort of howling anti-war Gorewolf is particularly disturbing. The Google search string will help you document that transformation. Thanks goodness he invented the internet to make this all possible.
The intire vocabulary of the Rat Party is "Bush Lied".
I think my mother,a dyed in the wool democrat, is coming around on the bush lied thing. She didnt know that all the democrats, including clinton, made the same case as bush. She knows that i also did support clinton in 92 and 96 so she trusts my word as not one of a clinton basher. I hope this is the beginning of a bush counter offensive
Try typing "great president" at google and see what the first entry is.
I did, and was surprised...
The intire vocabulary of the Rat Party is "Bush Lied".
When in reality they are the kings of liars. Up one side and down another.
I hate to say it but the Democrats have sold that lie to most of the idiots that look no farther than the end of there nose.
"If you tell it enough people will believe it"
Did youhappen to notice where the entry is from?
The WH. I suspect that the WH knows how to manipulate google too.
Make it easy for your anti-war friends to feel like an idiot today. E-mail the following link to them:
The anti-war left relies on Google as much as anyone else to try to back their strange conspiracy theories and wreckless accusations with the most obscure information to be found on the Web.
This simple Google search is certainly within their capability, and the results are instantaneous and indisputable.
The link for the actual article is:
Bush, Saddam, and the Weapons of Mass Destruction:
WHO IS REALLY LYING?
Bush lied about the Weapons of Mass Destruction. It is the mantra of most of the democrat candidates, all of their professional spinmeisters, and the constant harangue of the liberal media. To determine if Bush did, in fact lie, we must accomplish two goals. First, we must determine what is meant by the word lie. Then, we must consider the facts of the situation and see if President Bush did actually lie, as the word is generally understood.
So then, what is a lie? Is it merely an untruth? Is it just a false statement? No, it is more complicated than that. A witness in court must swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. This three-part element, when violated in any of its components, is what a lie really is. It may be a lie of commission or omission, covert or overt.
When Bill Clinton said that he never had sex with that woman, Monica Lewinsky, he was committing an overt lie. The statement itself is patently false. It is so false that even Clinton, the master of the genre, could make only a feeble effort to redefine what sex is to try to extricate himself from his own falsehood. His democrat cohorts, however, committed a lie of omission in their defense of him. The party line became, Sure he lied, but he only lied about sex. Any man would lie about a private act whose discovery would be hurtful to his family.
What they omitted was that Mr. Clinton was the defendant in a sexual harassment case (Paula Jones) and was queried about Ms. Lewinsky because the law says that prior bad acts can be brought up in court in such cases, due to the he-said, she-said nature of the charges. So, if your secretary sues you because you told her that if she didnt have sex with you, she would get fired, it would be permissible to bring up facts related to the last ten secretaries that had been dismissed. If one or more of them corroborates the plaintiffs story, it would certainly lend credence to the charges. So, to say that Mr. Clintons lie was only about sex is as disingenuous as if Michael Jackson were found to be lying only about sex. Having sex with an underling, in the first case, or a twelve year-old boy, in the second, is different from having a consensual affair with your next-door neighbor.
It is evident that, for something to be the truth, it must be the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Here is another example. A woman hears her husband leaving the house early one Saturday morning. He returns at ten oclock after being gone for several hours. He has had a history of philandering, so the wife is suspicious.
Where the Hell were you? she inquires. I got the car washed, is the reply. He points out the window to their gleaming sedan. But was he telling the truth, as it is commonly understood?
Heres what actually happened: he left the house at seven, got to the car wash when it opened, left there at seven thirty, and drove to his girlfriends house a few miles away. He spent a few hours there committing adultery, and was back home at ten. His statement, that he got the car washed, while perfectly true and perfectly obvious from the cars exterior, is, in fact, part of a lie. The lie is clearly one of omission. The critical question, from the wifes viewpoint, was an implied, Have you been seeing that bimbo again? But, since it was not specifically asked, the question went unanswered. Had the wife countered with, It took you all morning to get your car washed? the man would still not be caught in an overt lie. He could have replied with It takes over an hour to get the car washed on Saturday morning at eight oclock. While the statement is true, it is irrelevant because he wasnt at the car wash at eight oclock. He was there at seven when the lines are short. His answer implied that he was there at eight, but he didnt actually say that he was. Bill Clinton would be proud.
Now to the question of George Bush and the Weapons of Mass Destruction, and the issue of who really is lying. The democrats are all using the same basic talking points. They allege:
1. George Bush said that Saddam had WMDs.
2. He took the country into war because of it.
3. Despite nearly a year of searching, no WMDs have been found, and therefore,
4. George Bush is a liar, which leads to
5. And should be replaced by a democrat, the party renowned for its honesty.
There are some shades and gradations of the above, depending upon whether its Howard Dean or John Kerry doing the talking, but the basic premise is the one I have outlined. Lets check it for veracity.
The very first statement is a lie of omission, and is actually the key to the democrats game plan to discredit the President. On the face of it, the statement George Bush said that Saddam had WMDs appears to be perfectly true. And it is, as far as it goes. But, as we have learned, sometimes statements dont go far enough, and the veracity of the statement is quite dubious, based upon a key omission. What is it that is omitted here? We all heard the President make the statement many times. Here is the key element: because George Bush subsequently acted (attacked Iraq) based upon this statement, the democrats are trying to make it seem like the statement really is:
George Bush (and George Bush alone) said that Saddam had WMDs. That is clearly what they are implying. But, before the war started, everyone in the world said that Saddam had WMDs. Bush said it, but so did Clinton, Gore, Daschle, Kennedy, Pelosi and Kerry, to say nothing of Koffi Annan and Dominique de Villepin. Even Saddam Hussein said that he had weapons of mass destruction. Weekly Standard Link.
Of course, it wouldnt be much of an indictment of the President if the first premise was: George Bush and the entire world said that Saddam had WMDs, or even, more accurately, The entire world said that Saddam had WMDs, which clearly would include George W. Bush among its minions. No, the liars on the left find it convenient to assign a belief which is held by all, and attribute it to one (and only one) person. This disingenuous act is exacerbated by their turning the truth further on its head by calling Bush the liar.
The second statement, He took the country into war because of it, is also partly true, but false in what it omits. George Bush and, indeed, Colin Powell, made a very strong case for the war, and the existence of the WMDs was only part of the reason. The democrats have attempted (rather successfully) to frame their argument that Bush made an assertion which ultimately he has been unable to prove. They (conveniently) omit just enough to keep their argument strong. Lets examine what they have left out.
What is inarguable is that Saddam, at one point in time, did have Weapons of Mass Destruction. It is inarguable because there is clear evidence that he used them. He killed thousands of Kurds with poison gas, dealt the Marsh Arabs a similar fate, and was actively using chemical weapons throughout the long war with Iran. Nobody, not even Howard Dean or Scott Ritter can say, with a straight face, that Saddam never had WMDs. The 1998 inventoried list, as cited above in The Weekly Standard, is not in dispute. The United Nations passed over a dozen resolutions, attempting to get Saddam to disarm. The final one, Resolution 1441, clearly, irrevocably, and for the final time, gave Saddam a last chance to come clean. Since the weapons clearly existed at one time, it was necessary for Saddam, as demanded by The United Nations, to hand over all proscribed munitions, and to explain and verify what had become of the rest. If weapons had been destroyed, he was to show evidence (video, trace element, even a bookkeeping entry) to prove it.
No evidence of such compliance has ever been offered. George Bush went to war because Saddam Hussein did not comply with the UNs resolution. The onus was on Saddam to prove he had destroyed known stocks of illegal weapons. The onus is not, as implied by the democrats, on George Bush to find those weapons. It is almost as if George Bush had invaded some peace-loving nation, like Switzerland, accusing it of making illegal weapons. That is not the case at all. The prior existence of Saddams WMDs was never in dispute
To give another analogy, consider the case of a mass-murderer who pulls out an automatic weapon and fires into a bunch of schoolchildren, killing nine of them. There are about a thousand witnesses, including a police officer, who gives chase. After a long run, he eventually starts gaining on the perpetrator, and yells, Police! Put down your weapon! Put your hands up and surrender! But, the alleged perpetrator keeps running. The policeman uses his own weapon to shoot the guy. Unfortunately, the police are unable to find the perpetrators weapon. If you are a democrat, the only conclusion that you could draw is that the weapon never existed. Tell that to the nine dead schoolchildren. And tell the Kurds that Saddam never gassed their village.
The left is forced into a syllogism that is absurd on its face. They really are saying:
1. Saddam had WMDs.
2. We cant find the WMDs, therefore
3. Saddam didnt have WMDs , and
4. George Bush is a liar for saying that he did.
Clearly, syllogisms dont work that way. One must start with a premise, and, based upon that premise, come to a conclusion. However, (and this is critical),
the conclusion can never invalidate the original premise.
For instance, my premise might be: "An apple is a fruit." It is clearly a true statement. From this, I can infer that if I am eating an apple, I am, in fact, eating a fruit. I cannot, however, by the rules of logic, infer that if I am eating a fruit, it must be an apple. I obviously could be eating an orange or a pear, and would still be eating a fruit. One could make many statements related to the original premise, but one could never say, An apple is a fruit. I am eating a fruit. It is a pear. Therefore, an apple is not a fruit. One can never invalidate the original premise. It is an absurdity.
While Saddams possession of WMDs is not quite the tautology of An apple is a fruit, it is pretty close. If the democrats accept it as a fact, as they all did in 1998 when Clinton was president, they are left with the above non sequitur. Since he did have the weapons and we cant find them, we cannot conclude that he never had them. (Unless we are democrats!) So then, what can rational people conclude? The choices are obvious. I will list them.
1. He hid them so well that we havent discovered them.
2. He transferred them to another country or entity.
3. He destroyed them.
Of course, there might be some combination of these three. If Saddam hid or transferred the weapons, the President was clearly correct in launching the invasion. That he had years to hide them does not make us at fault for not yet finding them. If he transferred them to a terrorist state, or a terrorist group, the invasion gains even more justification. Finally, the left might lead you to believe that if he destroyed them, we were wrong to invade. That is not the case. He had to show proof that he destroyed them, or else, like a gunman running from the police, the only safe assumption that can be made is that he still has the weapon or weapons. Thats why the police say, Come out slowly with your hands up! It is not enough to disarm. If you act as if you are still armed (for a criminalkeeping your hand in your pocket, pointing like a gun), the only way that you can be treated is as if you are, in fact, still armed. If the weapon is found, of course, these issues are moot. In Saddams case, the weapons have yet to be found in any significant quantity. This does not mean that he never had them, nor does it indicate that Saddam complied in any way with UN Resolution 1441, which passed unanimously, with even France and Germany approving it. Yes, there is a big lie involving George Bush, the invasion of Iraq, and the Weapons of Mass Destruction. Clearly, hes not the one telling it.
the same thing happens if you search "failure" and click "i'm feeling lucky."
You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time.
BUT.......you can never fool all of the people all of the time.
'..Dems have sold that lie..' 'If you tell it enough, people will believe it'..
Exactly. That's why it is CRUCIAL that our side get out the truth using facts. The media will sure not do it on their own. We must bombard the media, our Senators, Congresspeople with calls, emails, snail mail. The media will, most likely, largely ignore our mail, but, we have to TRY to get out the truth.
"Bush Lied" is the entire platorm for the DNC. Howard the Duck screwed from the Tim Russert Show after being offered to be on with Ken Mehlmen because he was going to be confronted with this.
I suspect the DNC knows how to manipulate google too.
It is an amazing adventure into logical Wonderland watching the left spin this story. The usual sequence on any of the "Talking Heads" shows goes like this:
Lib: Bush lied about the reasons for going to war.
Conservative: Congress, which had the same intelligence, voted to go to war. Clinton said Saddam had WMD's back in 1998. Kerry, Pelosi, Schumer, and virtually the entire democrat party all said Saddam had WMD's.
Lib: But Bush took us to war over it.
That's where the logic breaks down. The issue isn't what Bush did with the information--the issue is whether Bush provided false information (i.e., "lied.") The dems conveniently change the subject. Unbelievably, the Sheeple have let them get away with it.
Yup, but passing along a link to the Google result is so dang effective. It's like saying "Did Bush Lie? Of course not--3 million Google hits can't be wrong." :)
That's a fact. People will spend hours watching the latest "Reality" television shows but they can't be bothered spending a few minutes trying to understand matters of (literally) life and death. It seems like the battle between the right and the left has increasingly become one between those who pay attention to facts (and apply basic logic to them) and those who are easily swayed by emotions and sound bites.
Is there a video of Clinton's address on this around still? The link for the video on CNN's site isn't valid any longer.
I did to! Everyone should give it a try! Especially the DUmmies.
Nice. The Dims hate it when logic gets in the way.
I did it also, now how come that comes up?
WJS this morning tells it all.
Who Is Lying About Iraq -- WSJ refutes?
A campaign of distortion aims to discredit the liberation.
BY NORMAN PODHORETZ
Monday, November 14, 2005 12:01 a.m. EST
The Wall Street Journal
Among the many distortions, misrepresentations and outright falsifications that have emerged from the debate over Iraq, one in particular stands out above all others. This is the charge that George W. Bush misled us into an immoral or unnecessary war in Iraq by telling a series of lies that have now been definitively exposed.
What makes this charge so special is the amazing success it has enjoyed in getting itself established as a self-evident truth even though it has been refuted and discredited over and over again by evidence and argument alike. In this it resembles nothing so much as those animated cartoon characters who, after being flattened, blown up or pushed over a cliff, always spring back to life with their bodies perfectly intact. Perhaps, like those cartoon characters, this allegation simply cannot be killed off, no matter what.
Nevertheless, I want to take one more shot at exposing it for the lie that it itself really is. Although doing so will require going over ground that I and many others have covered before, I hope that revisiting this well-trodden terrain may also serve to refresh memories that have grown dim, to clarify thoughts that have grown confused, and to revive outrage that has grown commensurately dulled.
The main "lie" that George W. Bush is accused of telling us is that Saddam Hussein possessed an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, or WMD as they have invariably come to be called. From this followed the subsidiary "lie" that Iraq under Saddam's regime posed a two-edged mortal threat. On the one hand, we were informed, there was a distinct (or even "imminent") possibility that Saddam himself would use these weapons against us or our allies; and on the other hand, there was the still more dangerous possibility that he would supply them to terrorists like those who had already attacked us on 9/11 and to whom he was linked.
This entire scenario of purported deceit was given a new lease on life by the indictment in late October of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, then chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. Mr. Libby stands accused of making false statements to the FBI and of committing perjury in testifying before a grand jury that had been convened to find out who in the Bush administration had "outed" Valerie Plame, a CIA agent married to the retired ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. The supposed purpose of leaking this classified information to the press was to retaliate against Mr. Wilson for having "debunked" (in his words) "the lies that led to war."
Now, as it happens, Mr. Libby was not charged with having outed Ms. Plame but only with having lied about when and from whom he first learned that she worked for the CIA. Moreover, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor who brought the indictment against him, made a point of emphasizing that "this indictment is not about the war":
This indictment is not about the propriety of the war. And people who believe fervently in the war effort, people who oppose it, people who have mixed feelings about it should not look to this indictment for any resolution of how they feel or any vindication of how they feel.
This is simply an indictment that says, in a national-security investigation about the compromise of a CIA officer's identity that may have taken place in the context of a very heated debate over the war, whether some person--a person, Mr. Libby--lied or not.
No matter. Harry Reid, the Democratic leader in the Senate, spoke for a host of other opponents of the war in insisting:
This case is bigger than the leak of classified information. It is about how the Bush White House manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to bolster its case for the war in Iraq and to discredit anyone who dared to challenge the president.
Yet even stipulating--which I do only for the sake of argument--that no weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq in the period leading up to the invasion, it defies all reason to think that Mr. Bush was lying when he asserted that they did. To lie means to say something one knows to be false. But it is as close to certainty as we can get that Mr. Bush believed in the truth of what he was saying about WMD in Iraq.
How indeed could it have been otherwise? George Tenet, his own CIA director, assured him that the case was "a slam dunk." This phrase would later become notorious, but in using it, Mr. Tenet had the backing of all 15 agencies involved in gathering intelligence for the United States.
In the National Intelligence Estimate of 2002, where their collective views were summarized, one of the conclusions offered with "high confidence" was that "Iraq is continuing, and in some areas expanding its chemical, biological, nuclear, and missile programs contrary to UN resolutions."
The intelligence agencies of Britain, Germany, Russia, China, Israel and--yes--France all agreed with this judgment. And even Hans Blix--who headed the U.N. team of inspectors trying to determine whether Saddam had complied with the demands of the Security Council that he get rid of the weapons of mass destruction he was known to have had in the past--lent further credibility to the case in a report he issued only a few months before the invasion:
The discovery of a number of 122-mm chemical rocket warheads in a bunker at a storage depot 170 km [105 miles] southwest of Baghdad was much publicized. This was a relatively new bunker, and therefore the rockets must have been moved there in the past few years, at a time when Iraq should not have had such munitions. . . . They could also be the tip of a submerged iceberg. The discovery of a few rockets does not resolve but rather points to the issue of several thousands of chemical rockets that are unaccounted for.
Mr. Blix now claims that he was only being "cautious" here, but if, as he now also adds, the Bush dministration "misled itself" in interpreting the evidence before it, he at the very least lent it a helping hand.
So, once again, did the British, the French and the Germans, all of whom signed on in advance to Secretary of State Colin Powell's reading of the satellite photos he presented to the U.N. in the period leading up to the invasion. Mr. Powell himself and his chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, now feel that this speech was the low point of his tenure as secretary of state. But Mr. Wilkerson (in the process of a vicious attack on the president, the vice president, and the secretary of defense for getting us into Iraq) is forced to acknowledge that the Bush administration did not lack for company in interpreting the available evidence as it did:
I can't tell you why the French, the Germans, the Brits and us thought that most of the material, if not all of it, that we presented at the U.N. on 5 February 2003 was the truth. I can't. I've wrestled with it. [But] when you see a satellite photograph of all the signs of the chemical-weapons ASP--Ammunition Supply Point--with chemical weapons, and you match all those signs with your matrix on what should show a chemical ASP, and they're there, you have to conclude that it's a chemical ASP, especially when you see the next satellite photograph which shows the UN inspectors wheeling in their white vehicles with black markings on them to that same ASP, and everything is changed, everything is clean. . . . But George [Tenet] was convinced, John McLaughlin [Tenet's deputy] was convinced, that what we were presented [for Powell's UN speech] was accurate.
Going on to shoot down a widespread impression, Mr. Wilkerson informs us that even the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, known as INR, was convinced:
People say, well, INR dissented. That's a bunch of bull. INR dissented that the nuclear program was up and running. That's all INR dissented on. They were right there with the chems and the bios.
In explaining its dissent on Iraq's nuclear program, the INR had, as stated in the NIE of 2002, expressed doubt about:
Iraq's efforts to acquire aluminum tubes [which are] central to the argument that Baghdad is reconstituting its nuclear-weapons program. . . . INR is not persuaded that the tubes in question are intended for use as centrifuge rotors . . . in Iraq's nuclear-weapons program.
But, according to Wilkerson:
The French came in in the middle of my deliberations at the CIA and said, we have just spun aluminum tubes, and by God, we did it to this rpm, et cetera, et cetera, and it was all, you know, proof positive that the aluminum tubes were not for mortar casings or artillery casings, they were for centrifuges. Otherwise, why would you have such exquisite instruments?
In short, and whether or not it included the secret heart of Hans Blix, "the consensus of the intelligence community," as Mr. Wilkerson puts it, "was overwhelming" in the period leading up to the invasion of Iraq that Saddam definitely had an arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, and that he was also in all probability well on the way to rebuilding the nuclear capability that the Israelis had damaged by bombing the Osirak reactor in 1981.
Additional confirmation of this latter point comes from Kenneth Pollack, who served in the National Security Council under Clinton. "In the late spring of 2002,"
Pollack has written:
I participated in a Washington meeting about Iraqi WMD. Those present included nearly twenty former inspectors from the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), the force established in 1991 to oversee the elimination of WMD in
One of the senior people put a question to the group: did anyone in the room doubt that Iraq was currently operating a secret centrifuge plant? No one did. Three people added that they believed Iraq was also operating a secret calutron plant (a facility for separating uranium isotopes).
No wonder, then, that another conclusion the NIE of 2002 reached with "high confidence" was that "Iraq could make a nuclear weapon in months to a year once it acquires sufficient weapons-grade fissile material." (Hard as it is to believe, let alone to reconcile with his general position, Joseph C. Wilson IV, in a speech he delivered three months after the invasion at the Education for Peace in Iraq Center, offhandedly made the following remark: "I remain of the view that we will find biological and chemical weapons and we may well find something that indicates that Saddam's regime maintained an interest in nuclear weapons.")
But the consensus on which Mr. Bush relied was not born in his own administration. In fact, it was first fully formed in the Clinton administration. Here is Bill Clinton himself, speaking in 1998:
If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons-of-mass-destruction program.
Here is his Secretary of State Madeline Albright, also speaking in 1998:
Iraq is a long way from [the USA], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risk that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.
Here is Sandy Berger, Clinton's National Security Adviser, who chimed in at the same time with this flat-out assertion about Saddam:
He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983.
Finally, Mr. Clinton's secretary of defense, William Cohen, was so sure Saddam had stockpiles of WMD that he remained "absolutely convinced" of it even after our failure to find them in the wake of the invasion in March 2003.
Nor did leading Democrats in Congress entertain any doubts on this score. A few months after Mr. Clinton and his people made the statements I have just quoted, a group of Democratic senators, including such liberals as Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, and John Kerry, urged the President "to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons-of-mass-destruction programs."
Nancy Pelosi, the future leader of the Democrats in the House, and then a member of the House Intelligence Committee, added her voice to the chorus:
Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons-of-mass-destruction technology, which is a threat to countries in the region, and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.
This Democratic drumbeat continued and even intensified when Mr. Bush succeeded Mr. Clinton in 2001, and it featured many who would later pretend to have been deceived by the Bush White House. In a letter to the new president, a group of senators led by Bob Graham declared:
There is no doubt that . . . Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical, and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf war status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies.
Sen. Carl Levin also reaffirmed for Mr. Bush's benefit what he had told Mr. Clinton some years earlier:
Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations, and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton agreed, speaking in October 2002:
In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical- and biological-weapons stock, his missile-delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al-Qaeda members.
Senator Jay Rockefeller, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, agreed as well:
There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years. . . . We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction.
Even more striking were the sentiments of Bush's opponents in his two campaigns for the presidency.
Thus Al Gore in September 2002:
We know that [Saddam] has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.
And here is Mr. Gore again, in that same year:
Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter, and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.
Now to John Kerry, also speaking in 2002:
I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force--if necessary--to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.
Perhaps most startling of all, given the rhetoric that they would later employ against Mr. Bush after the invasion of Iraq, are statements made by Sens. Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd, also in 2002:
Kennedy: "We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
Byrd: "The last U.N. weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical- and biological-warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons."
Liberal politicians like these were seconded by the mainstream media, in whose columns a very different tune would later be sung. For example, throughout the last two years of the Clinton administration, editorials in the New York Times repeatedly insisted that "without further outside intervention, Iraq should be able to rebuild weapons and missile plants within a year [and] future military attacks may be required to diminish the arsenal again."
The Times was also skeptical of negotiations, pointing out that it was "hard to negotiate with a tyrant who has no intention of honoring his commitments and who sees nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons as his country's salvation."
So, too, the Washington Post, which greeted the inauguration of George W. Bush in January 2001 with this admonition:
Of all the booby traps left behind by the Clinton administration, none is more dangerous--or more urgent--than the situation in Iraq. Over the last year, Mr. Clinton and his team quietly avoided dealing with, or calling attention to, the almost complete unraveling of a decade's efforts to isolate the regime of Saddam Hussein and prevent it from rebuilding its weapons of mass destruction. That leaves President Bush to confront a dismaying panorama in the Persian Gulf [where] intelligence photos . . . show the reconstruction of factories long suspected of producing chemical and biological weapons.
All this should surely suffice to prove far beyond any even unreasonable doubt that Mr. Bush was telling what he believed to be the truth about Saddam's stockpile of WMD.
It also disposes of the fallback charge that Mr. Bush lied by exaggerating or hyping the intelligence presented to him. Why on earth would he have done so when the intelligence itself was so compelling that it convinced everyone who had direct access to it, and when hardly anyone in the world believed that Saddam had, as he claimed, complied with the 16 resolutions of the Security Council demanding that he get rid of his weapons of mass destruction?
Another fallback charge is that Mr. Bush, operating mainly through Mr. Cheney, somehow forced the CIA into telling him what he wanted to hear. Yet in its report of 2004, the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee, while criticizing the CIA for relying on what in hindsight looked like weak or faulty intelligence, stated that it "did not find any evidence that administration officials attempted to coerce, influence, or pressure analysts to change their judgments related to Iraq's weapons-of-mass-destruction capabilities.
The March 2005 report of the equally bipartisan Robb-Silberman commission, which investigated intelligence failures on Iraq, reached the same conclusion, finding "no evidence of political pressure to influence the intelligence community's pre-war assessments of Iraq's weapons programs. . . . Analysts universally asserted that in no instance did political pressure cause them to skew or alter any of their analytical judgments."
Still, even many who believed that Saddam did possess WMD, and was ruthless enough to use them, accused Mr. Bush of telling a different sort of lie by characterizing the risk as "imminent." But this, too, is false: Mr. Bush consistently rejected imminence as a justification for war.
Thus, in the State of the Union address he delivered only three months after 9/11, Mr. Bush declared that he would "not wait on events while dangers gather" and that he would "not stand by, as peril draws closer and closer."
Then, in a speech at West Point six months later, he reiterated the same point: "If we wait for threats to materialize, we will have waited too long." And as if that were not clear enough, he went out of his way in his State of the Union address in 2003 (that is, three months before the invasion), to bring up the word "imminent" itself precisely in order to repudiate it:
Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. 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. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.
What of the related charge that it was still another "lie" to suggest, as Mr. Bush and his people did, that a connection could be traced between Saddam Hussein and the al Qaeda terrorists who had attacked us on 9/11? This charge was also rejected by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Contrary to how its findings were summarized in the mainstream media, the committee's report explicitly concluded that al Qaeda did in fact have a cooperative, if informal, relationship with Iraqi agents working under Saddam. The report of the bipartisan 9/11 commission came to the same conclusion, as did a comparably independent British investigation conducted by Lord Butler, which pointed to "meetings . . . between senior Iraqi representatives and senior al-Qaeda operatives."
Which brings us to Joseph C. Wilson, IV and what to my mind wins the palm for the most disgraceful instance of all.
The story begins with the notorious 16 words inserted--after, be it noted, much vetting by the CIA and the State Department--into Bush's 2003 State of the Union address:
The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.
This is the "lie" Mr. Wilson bragged of having "debunked" after being sent by the CIA to Niger in 2002 to check out the intelligence it had received to that effect. Mr. Wilson would later angrily deny that his wife had recommended him for this mission, and would do his best to spread the impression that choosing him had been the vice president's idea.
But Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, through whom Mr. Wilson first planted this impression, was eventually forced to admit that "Cheney apparently didn't know that Wilson had been dispatched." (By the time Mr. Kristof grudgingly issued this retraction, Mr. Wilson himself, in characteristically shameless fashion, was denying that he had ever "said the vice president sent me or ordered me sent.") And as for his wife's supposed nonrole in his mission, here is what Valerie Plame Wilson wrote in a memo to her boss at the CIA:
My husband has good relations with the PM [the prime minister of Niger] and the former minister of mines . . ., both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity.
More than a year after his return, with the help of Mr. Kristof, and also Walter Pincus of the Washington Post, and then through an op-ed piece in the Times under his own name, Mr. Wilson succeeded, probably beyond his wildest dreams, in setting off a political firestorm.
In response, the White House, no doubt hoping to prevent his allegation about the 16 words from becoming a proxy for the charge that (in Mr. Wilson's latest iteration of it) "lies and disinformation [were] used to justify the invasion of Iraq," eventually acknowledged that the president's statement "did not rise to the level of inclusion in the State of the Union address." As might have been expected, however, this panicky response served to make things worse rather than better. And yet it was totally unnecessary--for the maddeningly simple reason that every single one of the 16 words at issue was true.
That is, British intelligence had assured the CIA that Saddam Hussein had tried to buy enriched uranium from the African country of Niger. Furthermore--and notwithstanding the endlessly repeated assertion that this assurance has now been discredited--Britain's independent Butler commission concluded that it was "well-founded." The relevant passage is worth quoting at length:
a. It is accepted by all parties that Iraqi officials visited Niger in 1999.
b. The British government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium. Since uranium constitutes almost three-quarters of Niger's exports, the intelligence was credible.
c. The evidence was not conclusive that Iraq actually purchased, as opposed to having sought, uranium, and the British government did not claim this.
As if that were not enough to settle the matter, Mr. Wilson himself, far from challenging the British report when he was "debriefed" on his return from Niger (although challenging it is what he now never stops doing), actually strengthened the CIA's belief in its accuracy. From the Senate Intelligence Committee report:
He [the CIA reports officer] said he judged that the most important fact in the report [by Mr. Wilson] was that Niger officials admitted that the Iraqi delegation had traveled there in 1999, and that the Niger prime minister believed the Iraqis were interested in purchasing uranium.
The report on [Mr. Wilson's] trip to Niger . . . did not change any analysts' assessments of the Iraq-Niger uranium deal. For most analysts, the information in the report lent more credibility to the original CIA reports on the uranium deal.
This passage goes on to note that the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research--which (as we have already seen) did not believe that Saddam Hussein was trying to develop nuclear weapons--found support in Mr. Wilson's report for its "assessment that Niger was unlikely to be willing or able to sell uranium to Iraq." But if so, this, as the Butler report quoted above points out, would not mean that Iraq had not tried to buy it--which was the only claim made by British intelligence and then by Mr. Bush in the famous 16 words.
The liar here, then, was not Mr. Bush but Mr. Wilson. And Mr. Wilson also lied when he told the Washington Post that he had unmasked as forgeries certain documents given to American intelligence (by whom it is not yet clear) that supposedly contained additional evidence of Saddam's efforts to buy uranium from Niger. The documents did indeed turn out to be forgeries; but, according to the Butler report:
The forged documents were not available to the British government at the time its assessment was made, and so the fact of the forgery does not undermine [that assessment].
More damning yet to Mr. Wilson, the Senate Intelligence Committee discovered that he had never laid eyes on the documents in question:
[Mr. Wilson] also told committee staff that he was the source of a Washington Post article . . . which said, "among the envoy's conclusions was that the documents may have been forged because 'the dates were wrong and the names were wrong.' " 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.
To top all this off, just as Mr. Cheney had nothing to do with the choice of Mr. Wilson for the mission to Niger, neither was it true that, as Mr. Wilson "confirmed" for a credulous New Republic reporter, "the CIA circulated [his] report to the Vice President's office," thereby supposedly proving that Cheney and his staff "knew the Niger story was a flat-out lie."
Yet--the mind reels--if Mr. Cheney had actually been briefed on Mr. Wilson's oral report to the CIA (which he was not), he would, like the CIA itself, have been more inclined to believe that Saddam had tried to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger.
So much for the author of the best-selling and much-acclaimed book whose title alone--"The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity"--has set a new record for chutzpah.
But there is worse. In his press conference on the indictment against Mr. Libby, Patrick Fitzgerald insisted that lying to federal investigators is a serious crime both because it is itself against the law and because, by sending them on endless wild-goose chases, it constitutes the even more serious crime of obstruction of justice. By those standards, Mr. Wilson--who has repeatedly made false statements about every aspect of his mission to Niger, including whose idea it was to send him and what he told the CIA upon his return; who was then shown up by the Senate Intelligence Committee as having lied about the forged documents; and whose mendacity has sent the whole country into a wild-goose chase after allegations that, the more they are refuted, the more they keep being repeated--is himself an excellent candidate for criminal prosecution.
And so long as we are hunting for liars in this area, let me suggest that we begin with the Democrats now proclaiming that they were duped, and that we then broaden out to all those who in their desperation to delegitimize the larger policy being tested in Iraq--the policy of making the Middle East safe for America by making it safe for democracy--have consistently used distortion, misrepresentation and selective perception to vilify as immoral a bold and noble enterprise and to brand as an ignominious defeat what is proving itself more and more every day to be a victory of American arms and a vindication of American ideals.
Mr. Podhoretz is editor-at-large of Commentary and author of 10 books, most recently "The Norman Podhoretz Reader," edited by Thomas L. Jeffers (Free Press, 2004). This article will appear in Commentary's December issue.
And our response?
"Yet, we still stomped you in the polls."
bump & bookmark
I was talking to two friends last night who've inbibed too much of the MSM kool-aid.
"Bush lies!" they ranted. "Don't you think Bush has lied to you?"
"No." I said. "I don't think so."
"So you don't think politicians ever lie...?!"
"Sure they do. They lie all the time. Clinton didn't do anything BUT lie... but I don't think George Bush lied."
"Well, maybe someday you'll see that Bush lies!"
"What does he lie about?"
"What does he lie about! Um, uh... that CIA thing!"
"What CIA thing?"
"Uh, yeah. You mean the Valerie Plame case?"
"Yes! Bush knew all about that."
"Why do you say that?"
"He's the President! He knows EVERYTHING that goes on!"
"I bet that evil, smirking Dick Chaney told him, right?"
"Right! Cheney is EVIL and a criminal!"
"OHHH? And tell me, just what has the Evil Dick Cheney done that's illegal...?"
It's kind of fun, when you argue with these dimwits, to keep them pinned down, and not let them squirm off-topic... ultimately, all of their lamebrained arguments come down to: "Well, i just FEEL he's lying to us! I just KNOW he's a bad guy!" - which, of course, indicates nothing except they don't have very much experience using the rational part of their feeble brains, and have seen too much MSM or Michael Moore propaganda.
"Bush Lied" in not a plan for America. The dems have NO plan for America they just wont't tell you that.
Substitute 'national Democrat Party' for 'the state' in the above quote and you will have arrived at the truth of what Screaming Howie and his ilk are attempting to do (with the full support of the MSM). The 'Rats have sank so far that they're reduced to using the tactics of the late Nazi Propaganda Minister. Amazing.
Please tell me they're teenage girls. They're incoherent.
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