"On March 20, 2003, U.S.-led coalition forces invaded Iraq. Six months earlier, the Bush administration had begun a national media campaign to persuade the American people that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the security of the United States. In September, 2002, Vice President Cheney, National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and other key officials announced that Iraq had long-standing ties to al-Qaeda and by inference, was partly responsible for the 9/11 attacks on the United States. They also stated that Saddam was capable of inflicting death on a massive scale through its pursuit and/or possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Believing these statements to be true, on October 10, 2002, both houses of the U.S. Congress passed resolutions authorizing President Bush to use U.S. armed forces to defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq, and enforce UN Security Council resolutions.
"In his January 2003 State of the Union address, President Bush asserted that Saddam was in possession of 'the material to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard (gas) and VX nerve agent.. ., more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin and upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents.' He also stated that Iraq had attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production, and had sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. A week later, in February, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke before the UN Security Councl, reasserted the link between al-Qaeda and Iraq, and presented satellite photos and illustrations that he said showed chemical weapons bunkers and mobile biological weapons factories. Secretary Powell also stated that Iraq's persistent denials of these U.S. charges were 'all a web of lies.'
"None of it was true. Iraq had no links to al-Qaeda, no nuclear weapons program, and no stashes of chemical or biological weapons. I was on the ground in Iraq and I know. We never found anything. And there was no link between al-Qaeda and Iraq, or a major presence of al-Qaeda in Iraq, until after the aborted battle of Fallujah. These facts were verified (in part or in whole) by three independent government study groups: the U.S. Senate Report of Pre-War Intelligence on Iraq (July 9,2004); a British study, the Butler Review (July 14, 2004); and Iraq Survey Group (September 30, 2004), which was initially led by David Kay before he resigned. To use Colin Powell's phrase, then, which was really the 'web of lies' -- Iraq's denials or the Bush administration's assertions?
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Bush Report: A Web of Lies
This is the final installment from Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez's book, Wiser in Battle: A Soldier's Story. Sanchez was commander of the coalition forces in Iraq from June 14, 2003 to July 1, 2004. This is from pages 453-454: