The Lies We Believed (And Still Believe) About Iraq

Roundup
tags: Iraq, lies



Chuck Lewis founded the Center for Public Integrity.  He now teaches at American University. 

... Precisely what had US government officials said to cause most Americans and their elected representatives to completely ignore facts, logic, and reason in the rush to war? Exactly who was involved and to what extent?

I began systematically to investigate the answers to those and other related questions, enlisting the help of a team of reporters, researchers and other contributors that ultimately included 25 people. Nearly three years later, the Center for Public Integrity published Iraq: The War Card, a 380,000-word report with an online searchable database. [4] It was released on the eve of the five-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq and was covered extensively by the national and international news media.

Our report found that in the two years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush and seven of his administration’s top officials made at least 935 false statements about the national security threat posed by Iraq. The carefully orchestrated campaign of untruths about Iraq’s alleged threat to US national security from its WMDs or links to al Qaeda (also specious) galvanized public opinion and led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses. Perhaps most revealing: the number of false statements made by top Bush administration officials dramatically increased from August 2002 to the time of the critical October 2002 congressional approval of the war resolution and spiked even higher between January and March 2003, between Secretary of State Colin Powell’s address before the United Nations General Assembly and the fateful March 19, 2003, invasion. [5]

Within hours of the release of our report, White House press secretary Dana Perino responded with scorn: “I hardly think that the study is worth spending any time on. It is so flawed in terms of taking anything into context or including — they only looked at members of the administration rather than looking at members of Congress or people around the world. Because as you’ll remember, we were part of a broad coalition of countries that deposed a dictator based on a collective understanding of the intelligence.” [6] This sophistry was at least consistent with the administration’s track record of distorting reality. In fact, neither Congress nor America’s international allies was demanding an invasion of Iraq before the administration started beating the war drums.

The so-called Coalition of the Willing was a face-saving artifice cobbled together after the UN Security Council failed to approve the US-instigated invasion, rendering it a violation of the UN Charter and thus “illegal.” Furthermore, “the intelligence” referred to by Perino proved to be anything but intelligent; indeed, it had been mostly manufactured by the administration in accordance with its political agenda. [7]

Three months after the Center for Public Integrity Iraq report, David Barstow of The New York Times reported more details about how the Iraq deception had been orchestrated. Barstow revealed that the Pentagon had quietly recruited and coached 75 retired military officers to be “independent” paid consultants and radio and television analysts whose true role was to make the case for war in Iraq. Many had significant, undisclosed financial ties to defense companies and were thus benefiting hugely from the very policies they were “analyzing.” [8] ...





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