- Category: News & Analysis
- Created on Wednesday, 23 January 2008 12:07
- Written by Douglass K. Daniel
I have this bitter-funny picture in my head of a scholarly circles painstakingly counting the distinct and proven lies of the Bush government. "One hundred and forty one, one hundred and forty two.... hey, does this count as one lie or two?.... one hundred and forty three..."
Don't underestimate how much these lies are still being shamelessly milked and promoted as truth.
Don't miss the mother lode of counting here: publicintegrity.org.
Study: Bush, Other Officials Issued Hundreds of False Statements Before Iraq Invasion
By Douglass K. Daniel The Associated Press
Tuesday 22 January 2008 A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations 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 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."
The study was posted Tuesday on the Web site of the Center for Public Integrity, which worked with the Fund for Independence in Journalism.
White House spokesman Scott Stanzel did not comment on the merits of the study Tuesday night but reiterated the administration's position that the world community viewed Iraq's leader, Saddam Hussein, as a threat."The actions taken in 2003 were based on the collective judgment of intelligence agencies around the world," Stanzel said.
The study counted 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-Qaida or both."It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al-Qaida," according to Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith of the Fund for Independence in Journalism staff members, writing an overview of the study. "In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003."
Named in the study along with Bush were top officials of the administration during the period studied: Vice President Dick Cheney, national security adviser 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.
Bush led with 259 false statements, 231 about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 28 about Iraq's links to al-Qaida, the study found. That was second only to Powell's 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq and al-Qaida.
The center said the study was based on a database created with public statements over the two years beginning on Sept. 11, 2001, and information from more than 25 government reports, books, articles, speeches and interviews."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.
Web Site Assembles US Prewar Claims
By John H. Cushman Jr. The New York Times
Wednesday 23 January 2008
Washington - Students of how the Bush administration led the nation into the Iraq war can now go online to browse a comprehensive database of top officials' statements before the invasion, connecting the dots between hundreds of claims, mostly discredited since then, linking Saddam Hussein to Al Qaeda or warning that he possessed forbidden weapons.
The Center for Public Integrity, a research group that focuses on ethics in government and public policy, designed the new Web site to allow simple searches for specific phrases, such as "mushroom cloud" or "yellowcake uranium," in transcripts and documents totaling some 380,000 words, including remarks by President Bush and most of his top advisers in the two years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Warnings about the need to confront Iraq, by President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, the national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, and two White House press secretaries, among others, can be combed line by line, and reviewed alongside detailed critiques published after the fact by official panels, historians, journalists and independent experts.
There is no startling new information in the archive, because all the documents have been published previously. But the new computer tool is remarkable for its scope, and its replay of the crescendo of statements that led to the war. Muckrakers may find browsing the site reminiscent of what Richard M. Nixon used to dismissively call "wallowing in Watergate."
The database is online at www.publicintegrity.org.
Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith of the research center say their work has documented "at least 935 false statements" on hundreds of occasions, particularly that Iraq had unconventional weapons, links to Al Qaeda, or both.
The database shows how even after the invasion, when a consensus emerged that the prewar intelligence assessments were flawed, administration officials occasionally suggested that the weapons might still be found.
The officials have defended many of their prewar statements as having been based on the intelligence that was available at the time - although there is now evidence that some statements contradicted even the sketchy intelligence of the time.
President Bush said in 2005 that "much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong" but that "it was right to remove Saddam Hussein from power."