LIES WE WERE TOLD ABOUT IRAQ
"The Iraqi dictator must not be permitted to threaten America and the world with horrible poisons and diseases and gases and atomic weapons."
There is a small, somber box
that appears in the New York Times every day. Titled simply "Killed
in Iraq," it lists the names and military affiliations of those who
most recently died on tour of duty. Wednesday's edition listed just one
name: Orenthal J. Smith, age 21, of Allendale, South Carolina. The young,
late O.J. Smith was almost certainly named after the legendary running
back, Orenthal J. Simpson, before that dashing American hero was charged
for a double-murder. Now his namesake has died in far-off Mesopotamia
in a noble mission to, as our president
put it on March 19, "disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend
the world from grave danger." Today (6/27/03), more than three months
after Bush's stirring declaration of war and nearly two months since he
declared victory, no chemical, biological or
nuclear weapons have been found, nor any documentation of their existence,
nor any sign they were deployed in the field.
The mainstream press, after an astonishing two years of cowardice, is belatedly drawing attention to the unconscionable level of administrative deception. They seem surprised to find that when it comes to Iraq, the Bush administration isn't prone to the occasional lie of expediency but, in fact, almost never told the truth. What follows are just the most outrageous and significant of the dozens of outright lies uttered by Bush and his top officials over the past year in what amounts to a systematic campaign to scare the bejeezus out of everybody:
LIE #1: "The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program ... Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons." President Bush, Oct. 7, 2002, in Cincinnati.
LIE #2: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." President Bush, Jan.28, 2003, in the State of the Union address.
LIE #3: "We believe [Saddam] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons." Vice President Cheney on March 16, 2003 on "Meet the Press."
LIE #4: "[The CIA possesses] solid reporting of senior-level contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda going back a decade." CIA Director George Tenet in a written statement released Oct. 7, 2002 and echoed in that evening's speech by President Bush.
LIE #5: "We've learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases ... Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints." President Bush, Oct. 7.
LIE #6: "We have also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We are concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] for missions targeting the United States." President Bush, Oct. 7.
LIE #7: "We have seen intelligence over many months that they have chemical and biological weapons, and that they have dispersed them and that they're weaponized and that, in one case at least, the command and control arrangements have been established." President Bush, Feb. 8, 2003, in a national radio address.
LIE #8:"Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent. That is enough to fill 16,000 battlefield rockets." Secretary of State Colin Powell, Feb. 5, 2003 in remarks to the UN Security Council.
LIE #9: "We know where [Iraq's WMD] are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat." Secretary of State Colin Powell, Feb. 5, 2003 in remarks to the UN Security Council.
LIE #10: "Yes, we found a biological laboratory in Iraq which the UN prohibited." President Bush in remarks in Poland, published internationally June 1, 2003.
So, months after the war, we are once again where we started - with plenty of rhetoric and absolutely no proof of this "grave danger" for which O.J. Smith died. The Bush administration is now scrambling to place the blame for its lies on faulty intelligence, when in fact the intelligence was fine; it was their abuse of it that was "faulty."
Rather than apologize for leading us to a preemptive war based on impossibly faulty or shamelessly distorted "intelligence" or offering his resignation, our sly madman in the White House is starting to sound more like that other O.J. Like the man who cheerfully played golf while promising to pursue "the real killers," Bush is now vowing to search for "the true extent of Saddam Hussein's weapons programs, no matter how long it takes."
On the terrible day of the 9/11 attacks, five hours after a hijacked plane slammed into the Pentagon, retired Gen. Wesley Clark received a strange call from someone (he didn't name names) representing the White House position: "I was on CNN, and I got a call at my home saying, 'You got to say this is connected. This is state-sponsored terrorism. This has to be connected to Saddam Hussein,'" Clark told Meet the Press anchor Tim Russert. "I said, 'But - I'm willing to say it, but what's your evidence?' And I never got any evidence.'"And neither did we.
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This page was updated on Saturday, January 24, 2004 2:35 PM