935 lies, and the media's failure to stop the Iraq War

C&L wrote:
Bill Moyers did a wonderful job of exposing the trumped up case the WH made for war with Iraq with a great special called "Buying the War" which focused on the the media and their role in this travesty. Obviously this new report doesn't come as a shock to anyone in the liberal blogosphere, but I guess if FOX News runs an AP story about these claims then I guess Bill O'Reilly can't say it's "a hit job from the liberal media and NBC." Sorry, I forgot who I was dealing with for a moment.

Fox News wrote:
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 counted 935 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 Qaeda or both"…read on

Meet the Press and CNBC wrote:
In "˜01, Cheney said this on MTP:

CHENEY: It"˜s been pretty well confirmed that he did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April.

on 6/19/04 CNBC, he said:

GLORIA BORGER, TV SHOW HOST: You have said in the past that it was, quote, "pretty well confirmed."

CHENEY: No, I never said that. BORGER: OK.

CHENEY: I never said that. BORGER: I think that is"…

CHENEY: Absolutely not.

http://www.publicintegrity.org/WarCa...
http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/01...
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080123/...
Video

Can we please stop using the word Lie. I skimmed the article you are referring to and I don't see the word Lie used a single time.

"Lie - to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive."

It is generally recognized that when you lie, you make a concious decision to deceive others. By stating that Bush lied, there is a clear suggestion that he knew Iraq had no WMD and said they did anyways. Now, some people may believe that he lied but there is certainly no proof that he lied, only that he made false statements.

I am no fan of how the Bush administration handled the whole WMD issue in Iraq. The buck stops with the President and he clearly made bad decisions based upon false information. I don't believe for a second that he lied.

But "Bush made a wrong decision, people died" doesn't rhyme. It also doesn't pack the same emotional punch.

Copingsaw wrote:
It is generally recognized that when you lie, you make a concious decision to deceive others. By stating that Bush lied, there is a clear suggestion that he knew Iraq had no WMD and said they did anyways. Now, some people may believe that he lied but there is certainly no proof that he lied, only that he made false statements.

I am no fan of how the Bush administration handled the whole WMD issue in Iraq. The buck stops with the President and he clearly made bad decisions based upon false information. I don't believe for a second that he lied.

With info like:
Bush decided to remove Saddam 'on day one'
or
Plans For Iraq Attack Began On 9/11

I'm not sure why you would believe that.

Look at it this way, we in essence have followed the following steps.

1. Let's destroy Iraq!
2.
3. Destroying Iraq.

Now which seems like a more likely #2?
2a. Let's conduct an honest, good faith investigation of Iraq to see if it's worth destroying and just happen to be spectacularly wrong on almost every point.
or
2b. Let's pick only the intelligence that supports our initial premise and go with that and ignore anything that doesn't. Hey, this Chalababbi guy's working off our playbook too, let's take everything he's willing to put on paper and use that too.

Now, some people may believe that he lied but there is certainly no proof that he lied, only that he made false statements.

Yeah, that's why they destroy evidence.

They don't lie, they dismember. I mean dissemble.

Copingsaw wrote:
t is generally recognized that when you lie, you make a concious decision to deceive others. By stating that Bush lied, there is a clear suggestion that he knew Iraq had no WMD and said they did anyways. Now, some people may believe that he lied but there is certainly no proof that he lied, only that he made false statements.

Making false statements in the face of countervailing evidence is, by definition, to lie. By cherrypicking badly-sourced evidence to make the case for war and ignoring the analysis of the intelligence community the Bush Administration lied.

Copingsaw wrote:
I am no fan of how the Bush administration handled the whole WMD issue in Iraq. The buck stops with the President and he clearly made bad decisions based upon false information. I don't believe for a second that he lied.

Ask yourself a few questions: Where did his false information come from? How was it compiled? How was it vetted? What information was ignored? Ferret out the answers to these questions and tell me if you still believe the Bush Administration didn't willfully lie to make the case for war.

I believe it's quite possible that Bush did not lie, but knew that the people around him were lying to him. Plausible deniability and all.

I can just see it in court now.

Prosecutor: Did you lie to the American people to build a case for the war against Iraq?
Bush: It depends on what the definition of "lie" is.
Prosecutor: Allow me to rephrase. Did you intentionally withhold information that demonstrated that your specific cases made in favor of the war against Iraq was unfounded?
Bush: ...it depends on what exactly constitutes "intentionally"...

Look, I didn't even go for the blatant opportunity to make him sound like the blithering idiot he so often does.

Farscry wrote:
I can just see it in court now.

Prosecutor: Did you lie to the American people to build a case for the war against Iraq?
Bush: It depends on what the definition of "lie" is.
Prosecutor: Allow me to rephrase. Did you intentionally withhold information that demonstrated that your specific cases made in favor of the war against Iraq was unfounded?
Bush: ...it depends on what exactly constitutes "intentionally"...

Look, I didn't even go for the blatant opportunity to make him sound like the blithering idiot he so often does. :D

Yea, you made him sound like Clinton O.o

PAR

I can understand a mistake or two. But 935? Wake up and smell the bullsh*t.

LobsterMobster wrote:
I believe it's quite possible that Bush did not lie, but knew that the people around him were lying to him. Plausible deniability and all.

If you know the people supplying you with information are lying and then repeat their information you have, in fact, lied. Bush can couch it in whatever legalese he likes and he'll likely get off without any sort of reprecussions when he steps down in January, but history isn't at lawyer-speaks mercy. He wanted a legacy... he got it.

Raven wrote:
history isn't at lawyer-speaks mercy. He wanted a legacy... he got it.

Point taken.

par wrote:

Yea, you made him sound like Clinton O.o

I think that was the idea.

Farscry wrote:
I can just see it in court now.

Prosecutor: Did you lie to the American people to build a case for the war against Iraq?
Bush: It depends on what the definition of "lie" is.
Prosecutor: Allow me to rephrase. Did you intentionally withhold information that demonstrated that your specific cases made in favor of the war against Iraq was unfounded?
Bush: ...it depends on what exactly constitutes "intentionally"...
Phoenix Wright: OBJECTION!

Fixed.

Why would the media be expected to stop the war as the thread title suggests? The media benefits from a war. People watch more news and reporters get very dramatic backdrops for their work. A war can make a career, i.e., turn a $30,000 a year job into a million dollar gig on TV. It's like expecting ammunition manufacturers to stop a war before it begins.

I agree that "lies" is too strong. We should, instead, use the time honored Fox Nuisance term "weasel words".

Funkenpants wrote:
It's like expecting ammunition manufacturers to stop a war before it begins.

We import almost all of our ammunition from Israel, I believe.

LobsterMobster wrote:
Funkenpants wrote:
It's like expecting ammunition manufacturers to stop a war before it begins.

We import almost all of our ammunition from Israel, I believe.

Actually, no. Pretty much every company with a commercial press is making nothing but military ammo nowadays and sending it off to Iraq. Even Serbian companies are making 5.56 NATO green tip for our efforts there. By the time Bush is out of office, we will have spent nearly a trillion dollars in nothing other than bullets and MRE's.

Paleocon wrote:
I agree that "lies" is too strong. We should, instead, use the time honored Fox Nuisance term "weasel words".

I could go along with this.

I am a bit surprised that so many of you seem to flat out believe that President Bush would make a conscious decision to lie to the nation so that he could take us to war. Think about it ... if he knew there were no WMD, why in the hell would he make such a big deal about it, knowing that his whole premise for war would be proven false? If you were going to lie about WMD, why not fabricate WMD, plant them, and wrap it all up nice and pretty like? The logic of calling the faulty intelligence lies just doesn't work for me. Would any of you tell the biggest lie of your life knowing that if you got what you wanted you would be exposed?

Copingsaw wrote:
Would any of you tell the biggest lie of your life knowing that if you got what you wanted you would be exposed?

If I knew I wouldn't be held accountable for it and the most that would ever come out of it would be a book deal? Sounds like good business to me. In fact, it might be the best business move Bush has ever made.

Perhaps this administration is simply so arrogant that they figured they could get away with it? (Or is it arrogance if you're proven right? I don't know.) But given that they did everything they could to supress evidence that contradicted their claims and jumped on any source that supported them no matter how dubious (and smeared those who pointed out how sh*tty those sources were), what *is* evident is that they decided on a course first and searched for justification later. Whether they were knowingly lying or living in a bizarro faith-based universe where reality conforms to their beliefs is anyone's guess, but given their embrace of torture, illigal surveillance and other shenanigans, I can't see why anyone would think that lying to the american public so they can start a war would be beyond the pale for these people. Especially with Darth Cheney pulling the strings.

It's pretty obvious that they subscribe to Nixon's theory that it can't be illegal if the president does it.

Copingsaw wrote:
Paleocon wrote:
I agree that "lies" is too strong. We should, instead, use the time honored Fox Nuisance term "weasel words".

I could go along with this.

I am a bit surprised that so many of you seem to flat out believe that President Bush would make a conscious decision to lie to the nation so that he could take us to war. Think about it ... if he knew there were no WMD, why in the hell would he make such a big deal about it, knowing that his whole premise for war would be proven false? If you were going to lie about WMD, why not fabricate WMD, plant them, and wrap it all up nice and pretty like? The logic of calling the faulty intelligence lies just doesn't work for me. Would any of you tell the biggest lie of your life knowing that if you got what you wanted you would be exposed?

I think he got caught up with the title of President and with the emotions that came from 9/11 and decided that there wasn't anything he couldn't get away with. He got busted and the rest of his time in office has been an ego filled trip trying to cover up he got caught. All at the expense of US lives, time and money.

I tend to believe he was lied to. There's plenty of evidence that Cheney hammered on the CIA and other agencies until he got the readings he wanted. The White House even set up it's own "intel agency" to "review" primary sources (notoriously requiring multiple confirmations, which were not taken into account) to get their own conclusions, to compare to the other, more robust agencies. People who have talked about this at the CIA describe groups of analysts and managers who were "for" the White House, and groups that tried to follow usual procedures. At State, which disagreed with many of the White House conclusions, they've described being cut out of the process of getting information to the White House, with their conclusions ending up cut during editing.

Remember, the counterweight is amazing. Besides the visceral "my Dad was attacked" that Bush seems to have harbored, the prospect of re-writing the Middle East with a successful, Western, American-oriented Muslim democracy in the heart of the Middle East was incredibly enticing. These guys envisioned their own Domino Theory (because of course *that* worked out well for the Soviets), toppling Iraq, then Syria and possibly Iran, creating an American-friendly axis from Libya to the Chinese border (with the pacification of Afghanistan and the purchase of the other mid-Asian 'stans.) That's the most breathtaking foreign policy push since Alexander.

Want to know how far along that got? See if you can find information on what went on Anbar Province during the initial phase of the war. There was a complete blackout from the Syrian border, with claims that the units sent there could not take the bases for weeks. My personal theory is those guys were supposed to get the go order once the troops had pacified Baghdad and the other major cities and it was clear that the new government was self-organizing. (Note - this is based on memory and could be *completely* wrong. But it's my own Farscry conspiracy theory.)

Copingsaw wrote:
Would any of you tell the biggest lie of your life knowing that if you got what you wanted you would be exposed?

Bush has a reputation as a gambler, and it's certainly possible that they thought that WMDs or not, once the war was over and democracy was running wild in Baghdad, nobody would either care or dare to raise the issue of any lies they told. If the insurgency hadn't ramped up, would we be talking about this now?

Presidents have lied to get what they want for generations. It's definitely not something I'd exclude from consideration just because it's a president doing the lying.

par wrote:
Farscry wrote:
I can just see it in court now.

Prosecutor: Did you lie to the American people to build a case for the war against Iraq?
Bush: It depends on what the definition of "lie" is.
Prosecutor: Allow me to rephrase. Did you intentionally withhold information that demonstrated that your specific cases made in favor of the war against Iraq was unfounded?
Bush: ...it depends on what exactly constitutes "intentionally"...

Look, I didn't even go for the blatant opportunity to make him sound like the blithering idiot he so often does. :D

Yea, you made him sound like Clinton O.o

PAR

That was actually the point.

Robear wrote:
(Note - this is based on memory and could be *completely* wrong. But it's my own Farscry conspiracy theory.) :-)

My master plan has taken root! Soon ALL will join the Farscry Foundation!

I do believe that Bush was misled by Cheney, Rove, et al, but I also believe that, as much as we may joke about him being stupid, he couldn't possibly be that dumb to think that everything he was spoonfed was true.

Robear wrote:
Remember, the counterweight is amazing. Besides the visceral "my Dad was attacked" that Bush seems to have harbored, the prospect of re-writing the Middle East with a successful, Western, American-oriented Muslim democracy in the heart of the Middle East was incredibly enticing.

I'm not sure the "Muslim" part of that is a terribly high priority. In fact, it seems to be a rare case of tailoring expectations to reality.

Robear wrote:
I tend to believe he was lied to. There's plenty of evidence that Cheney hammered on the CIA and other agencies until he got the readings he wanted. The White House even set up it's own "intel agency" to "review" primary sources (notoriously requiring multiple confirmations, which were not taken into account) to get their own conclusions, to compare to the other, more robust agencies. People who have talked about this at the CIA describe groups of analysts and managers who were "for" the White House, and groups that tried to follow usual procedures. At State, which disagreed with many of the White House conclusions, they've described being cut out of the process of getting information to the White House, with their conclusions ending up cut during editing.

Remember, the counterweight is amazing. Besides the visceral "my Dad was attacked" that Bush seems to have harbored, the prospect of re-writing the Middle East with a successful, Western, American-oriented Muslim democracy in the heart of the Middle East was incredibly enticing. These guys envisioned their own Domino Theory (because of course *that* worked out well for the Soviets), toppling Iraq, then Syria and possibly Iran, creating an American-friendly axis from Libya to the Chinese border (with the pacification of Afghanistan and the purchase of the other mid-Asian 'stans.) That's the most breathtaking foreign policy push since Alexander.

Want to know how far along that got? See if you can find information on what went on Anbar Province during the initial phase of the war. There was a complete blackout from the Syrian border, with claims that the units sent there could not take the bases for weeks. My personal theory is those guys were supposed to get the go order once the troops had pacified Baghdad and the other major cities and it was clear that the new government was self-organizing. (Note - this is based on memory and could be *completely* wrong. But it's my own Farscry conspiracy theory.)


In retrospect, I think every bit of this is plausible. I know that in '02/'03 I completely bought into the Democracy Domino Effect in the Middle East idea.

I see from some reading that there were psy-ops going on to keep the Syrians quiet. Perhaps the news reports I recall were based on those. That would create a situation where an apparently large armored force could not take out a few airbases over a period of weeks, something that on the face of it is questionable.

George Bush didn't lie. His administration didn't lie.

The lies told were by Saddam and his government. He convincingly lied about their WMD program to keep Iran cautious. Apparently on 60 Minutes this week there is a segment with Saddam's FBI interrogator. Sounds interesting.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/...

This is always an interesting subject. Saddam used WMD on Iran and his own people, but American liberals are convinced he didn't have WMD, unless they are claiming that Iraq had WMD that Reagan gave to them. In fact, he didn't have ANY MORE WMD, a point that he repeatedly lied about. Read Hans Blix's report, for example, it details how Iraq documented having 19,000 chemical bombs and then documented dropping 12,000 (the exact #'s might be off, I'm going from memory) of them on Iran, Blix clearly stated that the point of contention was always: "what happened to the rest of the bombs?" NOT do you have any WMD's?

How that gets twisted into "Bush Lied People Died" is beyond me. I think you have to deperately want that statement to be true to believe it.

Yes, and if the various organizations looking in the 90's and later for the WMDs hadn't backed up the assessment that the WMDs were not there, you'd have a point. But there was clear and convincing evidence that the only open question was when and how he destroyed the munitions that were not witnessed being destroyed. We in fact received reliable information that those munitions were in fact destroyed.

Bear in mind that any chemical munitions from the 80's would have been inert by 2002, or degraded enough that they'd not be effective as munitions. Chemical weapons production had ended before the first Gulf War. The WMDs that he used on his people were useless on the whole by 91, or we'd have seen them used in the first Gulf War. They were destroyed by 1995, which is why Blix's teams could not find them, and we'd been so informed. So those should not be confused with the claims of the Bush Administration that the nuclear and chemical and biological programs had been restarted, or (later) could be imminently restarted with disastrous results for the US.

So I guess your stance is that the Bush Administration heard both accounts - from the inspectors and the CIA and State that WMDs were not there; from it's own Iraq Studies Group and also from the CIA that they were (based on information from German intel that we now know was discredited by the Germans themselves) - and picked the wrong story to believe? Even without the knowledge that Bush had targeted Iraq before 9/11, that's basically saying "Ease up guys, he's just incompetent". Unfortunately, the whole situation with the ISG and Cheney's close pressuring of analysts at the CIA argues that they were hapless victims. They *wanted* the intel to support their position, and made sure they got it. In other words, they *worked* at building their intel story, and it's hard to argue that that was done in innocence.

The big problem with this story is that the claims were not "Iraq has WMDs". It was that they had them, we knew specifically where, and it was only a matter of time before an American or European city went up smoke (cf Bush's speech in October 2002). That's way beyond the evidence that was supportable, and while the record has been obfuscated, everything we've learned shows that the information was filtered and interpreted so as to remove important qualifications and the fact that the majority of it was single-source or otherwise unreliable.

This pretty much sums up why I think they are lies. We've been lied to too many times in too many scandals to beleive them.

Considering his track record of the last 7 years, I'm going with the idea that he didn't really give a crap if he ended up getting caught. He's a slimy rules lawyer who has weaseled his way out of every constitutional check on his power whenever challenged. He hasn't hesitated at destroying evidence, "interpreting" laws in ways that simply invert their meanings, and utilizes political hit squads to discredit or politically assasinate his critics.

I honestly think he did know there were no WMDs, that he knew folks would find out that they weren't there, and that he also knew that by the time they could prove it, it wouldn't matter.

Turns out, he was right.

Maybe I'm just wanting it to be true but when they can turn the list of lies (or should I say false statements?) into a database then I'm not certain how one cannot at least entertain the idea that there was some bending of the truth going on. If the statements are taken on their own then I can see where that mistake could be made but when you match it up with the proven intent and goals of these chuckleheads then it just seems like denial to me. What more do you need to believe that they lied? They certainly aren't going to tell you that they lied so if the mountain of evidence proving that they lied isn't enough then I fail to see how we, who believe that they lied, are the ones deceiving ourselves. What do you have in the way of evidence that they didn't lie? And why is this starting to take on the sound of a religious conversation to me? (Shudders)