Ten Appalling Lies We Were Told About Iraq
It was a systematic campaign to frighten the hell out of us about the threat of Hussein, and almost none of it was true.
June 26, 2003 |
“The Iraqi dictator must not be permitted to threaten America and the world with horrible poisons and diseases and gases and atomic weapons.”
— George Bush, Oct. 7, 2002, in a speech in Cincinnati.
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: Orenthial 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, 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.
FACT: This story, leaked to and breathlessly reported by Judith Miller in the New York Times, has turned out to be complete baloney. Department of Energy officials, who monitor nuclear plants, say the tubes could not be used for enriching uranium. One intelligence analyst, who was part of the tubes investigation, angrily told The New Republic: “You had senior American officials like Condoleezza Rice saying the only use of this aluminum really is uranium centrifuges. She said that on television. And that’s just a lie.”
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.
FACT: This whopper was based on a document that the White House already knew to be a forgery thanks to the CIA. Sold to Italian intelligence by some hustler, the document carried the signature of an official who had been out of office for 10 years and referenced a constitution that was no longer in effect. The ex-ambassador who the CIA sent to check out the story is pissed: “They knew the Niger story was a flat-out lie,” he told the New Republic, anonymously. “They [the White House] were unpersuasive about aluminum tubes and added this to make their case more strongly.”
LIE #3: “We believe [Saddam] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.” — Vice President Cheney on March 16, 2003 on “Meet the Press.”
FACT: There was and is absolutely zero basis for this statement. CIA reports up through 2002 showed no evidence of an Iraqi nuclear weapons program.
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.
FACT: Said drones can’t fly more than 300 miles, and Iraq is 6,000 miles from the U.S. coastline. Furthermore, Iraq’s drone-building program wasn’t much more advanced than your average model plane enthusiast. And isn’t a “manned aerial vehicle” just a scary way to say “plane”?
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 Defense Donald Rumsfeld, March 30, 2003, in statements to the press.
FACT: Needless to say, no such weapons were found, not to the east, west, south or north, somewhat or otherwise.
Please read the entire list at http://www.alternet.org/story/16274/ten_appalling_lies_we_were_told_about_iraq