The details revealed thus far from the investigation
that led to the five-count indictment against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby seem
to indicate that the efforts to expose the identity of undercover CIA operative
Valerie Plame Wilson went far beyond the chief assistant to the assistant chief.
Though no other White House officials were formally indicted, the investigation
appears to implicate Vice President Richard Cheney and Karl Rove, President
George W. Bush's top political adviser, in the conspiracy. More importantly,
the probe underscores the extent of administration efforts to silence those
who questioned its argument that Iraq constituted a serious threat to the national
security of the United States. Even if no other White House officials ever have
to face justice as a result of this investigation, it opens one of the best
opportunities the American public may have to press the issue of how the Bush
administration led us into war.
Spurred by the Libby indictment, the Downing Street memo, and related British
documents leaked earlier this year, some mainstream pundits and Democratic Party
lawmakers are finally raising the possibility that the Bush administration was
determined to go to war regardless of any strategic or legal justification and
that White House officials deliberately exaggerated the threats posed by Saddam
Hussein's Iraq in order to gain congressional and popular support to invade
that oil-rich country. Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid stated for the first
time on Oct. 28, the day of the indictment, that the charges raise questions
about "misconduct at the White House" in the period leading up to
the U.S. invasion of Iraq that must be addressed by President Bush, including
"how the Bush White House manufactured and manipulated intelligence in
order to bolster its case for the war in Iraq and to discredit anyone who dared
to challenge the president." 1
Indeed, even prior to the return of United Nations inspectors in December 2002
and the U.S. invasion of Iraq four months later, it is hard to understand how
anyone could have taken seriously the administration's claims that Iraq was
somehow a grave national security threat to the United States. And, despite
assertions by administration apologists that "everybody" thought Saddam Hussein
possessed chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and an advanced
nuclear program immediately prior to the March 2003 invasion, the record shows
that such claims were strongly contested, even within the U.S. government.
In the months leading up to the U.S. invasion
of Iraq, there were many published reports challenging Bush administration claims
regarding Iraq's WMD capabilities. Reputable journals like Arms Control Today,
the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Middle East Policy, and others
published articles systematically debunking accusations that Iraq had somehow
been able to preserve or reconstitute its chemical weapons arsenal, had developed
deployable biological weapons, or had restarted its nuclear program. Among the
disarmament experts challenging the administration was Scott Ritter, an American
who had headed the UN Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) division that looked
for hidden WMD facilities in Iraq. Through articles, interviews in the broadcast
media, and Capitol Hill appearances, Ritter joined scores of disarmament scholars
and analysts in making a compelling and – in hindsight – accurate
case that Iraq had been qualitatively disarmed quite a few years earlier. Think
tanks such as the Fourth Freedom Foundation and the Institute for Policy Studies
also published a series of reports challenging the administration's claims.
And there were plenty of skeptics from within the U.S. government. For example,
the State Department's intelligence bureau noted how the National Intelligence
Estimate – so widely cited by war supporters of both parties – did
not add up to "a compelling case" that Iraq had "an integrated
and comprehensive approach to acquire nuclear weapons." 2
Even the pro-war New Republic observed that CIA reports in early 2002
demonstrated that "U.S. intelligence showed precious little evidence to
indicate a resumption of Iraq's nuclear program." 3
A story circulated nationally by the Knight-Ridder wire service just before
the congressional vote authorizing the invasion noted that "U.S. intelligence
and military experts dispute the administration's suggestions that Iraq's weapons
of mass destruction pose an imminent threat to the United States" and that
intelligence analysts in the CIA were accusing the administration of pressuring
the agency to highlight information that would appear to support administration
policy and to suppress contrary information. 4
Late in the Clinton administration, the Washington Post reported U.S.
officials as saying there was absolutely no evidence that Iraq had resumed its
chemical and biological weapons programs 5,
and there was no reason to believe that this assessment had changed. Just five
weeks before the congressional vote authorizing the invasion of Iraq, another
nationally syndicated Knight-Ridder story revealed that there was "no new intelligence
that indicates significant advances in their nuclear, biological, or chemical
weapons programs." The article went on to note, "Senior U.S. officials with
access to top-secret intelligence on Iraq say they have detected no alarming
increase in the threat that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein poses to American
In an August 2002 report published for Foreign Policy in Focus, I argued
that "there is no firm proof that Iraq is developing weapons of mass destruction."
7 In an article in Tikkun just before the outbreak
of the war, I discounted claims that pro-Israeli interests were pushing the
United States to invade by noting, "there are reasons to believe that Iraq
may not have any more capability to attack Tel Aviv than it does to attack Washington."
8 In the cover story I wrote for the Sept. 30, 2002, issue
of The Nation, I reminded readers that the International Atomic Energy
Agency had declared in 1998 that, after exhaustive inspections and oversight,
it had found nothing to suggest that Iraq still had a nuclear program. I also
observed how inspectors from UNSCOM had estimated that at least 95 percent of
Iraq's chemical weapons program had been similarly accounted for and destroyed.
9 The remaining 5 percent, I argued, could have already
been destroyed, but the Iraqis did not maintain adequate records.
I furthermore noted that the shelf life for the weaponized lethality of any
purported Iraqi chemical and biological agents had long since expired. And I
pointed out that Saddam Hussein was able to develop his earlier WMD programs
only through the import of technology and raw materials from advanced industrialized
countries, a scenario no longer possible due to the UN embargo in effect since
In the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War and the subsequent inspections regime,
virtually any aggressive military potential by Iraq was destroyed. Before UNSCOM
was withdrawn, its agents reportedly oversaw the destruction of 38,000 chemical
weapons, 480,000 liters of live chemical-weapons agents, 48 missiles, six missile
launchers, 30 missile warheads modified to carry chemical or biological agents,
and hundreds of pieces of related equipment capable of producing chemical weapons.
In late 1997, UNSCOM head Richard Butler reported that his agency had made "significant
progress" in tracking Iraq's chemical weapons program and that 817 of the 819
Soviet-supplied long-range missiles had been accounted for. There were believed
to be a couple of dozen Iraqi-made ballistic missiles unaccounted for, but these
were of questionable caliber. There was no evidence that Iraq's Scud missiles
had even survived the Gulf War, nor did Iraq seem to have any more rocket launchers
or engines. 10 UNSCOM also reported no
evidence that Iraq had been concealing prohibited weapons subsequent to October
1995. 11 Even if Iraq had been able to
engage in the mass production and deployment of nuclear or chemical weaponry,
these weapons would almost certainly have been detected by satellite and overflight
reconnaissance and destroyed in air strikes.
Though the development of potential biological weapons would have been much
easier to conceal, there was no evidence to suggest that Iraq had the ability
to disperse their alleged biological agents successfully in a manner that could
harm troops or a civilian population, given the rather complicated technology
required. For example, a vial of biological weapons on the tip of a missile
would almost certainly be destroyed on impact or dispersed harmlessly. Israeli
military analyst Meir Stieglitz, writing in the Israeli newspaper Yediot
Ahronot, noted: "There is no such thing as a long-range Iraqi missile
with an effective biological warhead. No one has found an Iraqi biological warhead.
The chances of Iraq having succeeded in developing operative warheads without
tests are zero." 12
Frightening scenarios regarding mass fatalities from a small amount of anthrax
assumed that Baghdad possessed the highly sophisticated means of distributing
such toxins by missile or aircraft. To become a lethal weapon, highly concentrated
amounts of anthrax spores must be inhaled and then left untreated by antibiotics
until the infection is too far advanced. The most realistic means of anthrax
dispersal would be from an aircraft. For the attack to be successful, the winds
would have to be just right, no rain could fall, the spray nozzles could not
clog, the target population could not be vaccinated, and everyone would need
to linger around the area chosen for the attack. Given this unlikely scenario,
one can understand why in autumn 2001 unknown terrorists chose instead to send
spores through the mail to indoor destinations in the eastern United States.
This was found to be a relatively efficient means of distribution, even though
it resulted in only a handful of deaths.
It is hard to imagine that an Iraqi aircraft, presumably some kind of drone,
could somehow penetrate the air space of neighboring countries, much less far-off
Israel, without being shot down. Most of Iraq's neighbors have sophisticated
anti-aircraft capability, and Israel has the most sophisticated regional missile
defense system in the world. As one British scientist put it: "To say they have
found enough weapons to kill the world several times over is equivalent to the
statement that a man who produces a million sperm a day can thus produce a million
babies a day. The problem in both cases is one of delivery systems." 13
In short, in the months and years leading up to the invasion, it should have
been apparent that all of Iraq's nuclear weapons-related material and nearly
all of its chemical weapons were accounted for and destroyed; virtually all
systems capable of delivering WMD were also accounted for and destroyed; there
were no apparent means by which key components for WMD could have been produced
domestically; and, a strict embargo on military hardware, raw materials, and
WMD technology had been in place for more than a dozen years. No truly objective
observer, therefore, could have come to any other conclusion than that it was
highly unlikely that Iraq still had any offensive WMD capability and that it
was quite possible that Iraq may have indeed completely rid itself of its proscribed
weaponry, delivery systems, and weapons production facilities.
It also became apparent early on that at least some of the evidence of Iraqi
WMD offered by the Bush administration was highly questionable and was contradicted
by independent sources. Furthermore, given that the United States supported
Saddam Hussein's government in the 1980s when it really did have chemical weapons,
an advanced biological and nuclear weapons program, and hundreds of long-range
missiles and other sophisticated delivery systems, one finds it hard to imagine
how Iraq could be a threat after these dangerous weapons had been destroyed
or otherwise rendered harmless. Indeed, virtually every U.S. military intervention
in the last half century – from the alleged "unprovoked attacks"
on U.S. vessels in the Gulf of Tonkin to the supposed "endangered American
medical students" in Grenada to the nonexistent "chemical weapons
factory controlled by Osama bin Laden" in Sudan – has been based upon
purported evidence presented by various administrations that later proved to
As a result, one would have thought that more people in Congress and the media
would have approached the question of Iraq's WMD as would a public defender
of an admittedly disreputable client in the face an overzealous prosecutor with
a history of fudging the facts: look skeptically at the government's case for
holes in the evidence and unsubstantiated conclusions. They were not hard to
Killing the Messengers
The outing of Valerie Plame Wilson's CIA affiliation
was apparently a means of punishing Ambassador Joseph Wilson for going public
with his charges that the Bush administration had misled the public with its
claims regarding Iraq's WMD programs. The leak served as a warning to any who
would dare challenge administration efforts to frighten the American public
into accepting an illegal and unnecessary war.
As first reported by the Washington Post, Scooter Libby and Vice President
Dick Cheney made frequent trips to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, to
pressure analysts to come up with assessments that would "fit with the Bush
administration's policy objectives." 14
CIA analysts who resisted such manipulation "were beaten down defending their
Indeed, virtually all of us who refused to buy into the bipartisan hysteria
regarding the phony "Iraqi threat" were subjected to systematic efforts
to undermine our credibility. New Republic publisher Martin Peretz accused
me of "supporting Saddam Hussein," Sean Hannity of Fox News suggested
that my research was funded by terrorists, and National Review online
falsely accused me of anti-Semitic statements that I never made. Scott
Ritter, a Marine veteran and registered Republican, was labeled a traitor, and
administration supporters started spreading rumors that he was a pedophile.
When International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director Mohammed ElBaradei reiterated
that there was no evidence of Iraq attempting to restart its nuclear program,
Cheney insisted that "Mr. ElBaradei is frankly wrong." The vice president
then falsely claimed that the IAEA had "consistently underestimated or
missed what it was that Saddam Hussein was doing" 16
and insisted that there was no validity to the IAEA's assessments, despite their
more than 1,000 inspections – mostly without warning – in Iraq since
the early 1990s. Later, the Bush administration had ElBaradei's phone wiretapped
in an unsuccessful effort to find information to discredit him. 17
When administration skeptics weren't being attacked, we were being ignored.
In September 2002, a month before the vote to authorize the invasion, I contacted
the chief foreign policy aide to one of my senators, Democrat Barbara Boxer
of California, to let him know of my interest in appearing before an upcoming
hearing on Capitol Hill regarding the alleged threat that Iraq posed to the
United States. He acknowledged that he and other staffers on the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee were familiar with my writing on the topic and that I would
be a credible witness. He passed on my request to a staff member of the committee's
ranking Democrat, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware. I was never invited, however.
Nor was Scott Ritter, Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies, or
anyone else who expressed skepticism regarding the administration's WMD claims.
The bipartisan Senate committee only allowed those who were willing to come
forward with an exaggerated view of Iraq 's military potential to testify.
The basis of the constitutional framework of checks and balances between the
three branches of government rests in part upon the belief that Congress does
not allow the executive branch to remain unquestioned on issues of national
importance. Senator Biden, however, was apparently determined to give the Bush
administration a free ride. In the words of Aldous Huxley, "The survival of
democracy depends on the ability of large numbers of people to make realistic
choices in the light of adequate information." 18
As he prepares for a likely presidential run in 2008, serious questions must
be raised regarding Biden's commitment to democracy.
Public opinion polls at the time showed that the only reason that a majority
of Americans would support going to war was if Iraq was developing weapons of
mass destruction that could be used against the United States. Secretary of
State Colin Powell, in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
ruled out other justifications for an invasion, stating, "The president has
not linked authority to go to war to any of those elements." 19
It is not surprising, then, that the administration was willing to go to extraordinary
lengths to silence those who recognized that Iraq did not have the weapons programs
and delivery systems that the administration claimed.
The Complicity of the Democrats
These bogus claims by the Bush administration
regarding Iraq's alleged military threat are now well-known and have been frequently
cited. And Republicans in Congress have blocked demands by some Democrats that
a serious investigation be undertaken regarding the manipulation of intelligence
regarding Iraq's military capability.
It is important to recognize, however, that the leadership of the Democratic
Party was also guilty of misleading the American public regarding the supposed
threat emanating from Iraq . It was the Clinton administration, not the current
administration, that first insisted – despite the lack of evidence –
that Iraq had successfully concealed or relaunched its chemical, biological,
and nuclear weapons programs. Clinton's fear-mongering around Iraqi WMD began
in 1997, several years after they had been successfully destroyed or rendered
inoperable. Based upon the alleged Iraqi threat, Clinton ordered a massive four-day
bombing campaign against Iraq in December 1998, forcing the evacuation of UNSCOM
and IAEA inspectors. As many of us had warned just prior to the bombing, this
gave Saddam Hussein the opportunity to refuse to allow the inspectors to return.
Clinton was egged on by leading Senate Democratic leaders, including Minority
Leader Tom Daschle, John Kerry, Carl Levin, and others who signed a letter in
October 1998 urging the president "to take necessary actions, including,
if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspected Iraqi sites, to respond
effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass
destruction programs." 20 Meanwhile, Clinton's Secretary
of State Madeleine Albright was repeatedly making false statements regarding
Iraq's supposed possession of WMD.
During fall 2002, in an effort to counter and discredit those of us questioning
the Bush administration's WMD claims, congressional Democrats redoubled their
efforts to depict Saddam Hussein as a threat to America's national security.
Democrats controlled the Senate at that point and could have blocked President
Bush's request for the authority to invade Iraq. However, in October, the majority
of Democratic senators, including Minority Leader Tom Daschle and Assistant
Minority Leader Harry Reid, voted to authorize President Bush to invade Iraq
at the time and circumstances of his own choosing on the grounds that Iraq "poses
a continuing threat to the national security of the United States … by … among
other things, continuing to possess and develop a significant chemical and biological
weapons capability, [and] actively seeking a nuclear weapons capability."
In a Senate speech defending his vote to authorize Bush to launch an invasion,
Senator Kerry categorically declared, despite the lack of any credible evidence,
that "Iraq has chemical and biological weapons" and even alleged that
most elements of Iraq's chemical and biological weapons programs were "larger
and more advanced than they were before the Gulf War." Furthermore, Kerry
asserted that Iraq was "attempting to develop nuclear weapons," backing
up this accusation by falsely claiming that "all U.S. intelligence experts
agree" with that assessment. The Massachusetts junior senator also alleged
that "Iraq is developing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) capable of delivering
chemical and biological warfare agents [that] could threaten Iraq's neighbors
as well as American forces in the Persian Gulf." Though it soon became
evident that none of Kerry's allegations were true, the Democratic Party rewarded
him in 2004 with its nomination for president.
Kerry supporters claim he was not being dishonest in making these false claims
but that he had been fooled by "bad intelligence" passed on by the
Bush administration. However, well before Kerry's vote to authorize the invasion,
former UN inspector Scott Ritter personally told the senator and his senior
staff that claims about Iraq still having WMD or WMD programs were not based
on valid intelligence. According to Ritter, "Kerry knew that there was
a verifiable case to be made to debunk the president's statements regarding
the threat posed by Iraq's WMD, but he chose not to act on it." 22
Joining Kerry in voting to authorize the invasion was North Carolina Senator
John Edwards, who – in the face of growing public skepticism of the Bush
administration's WMD claims – rushed to the president's defense in an op-ed
article published in the Washington Post. In his commentary, Edwards
claimed that Iraq was "a grave and growing threat" and that Congress
should therefore "endorse the use of all necessary means to eliminate the
threat posed by Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction." 23
The Bush administration was so impressed with Edwards' arguments that they posted
the article on the State Department Web site. Again, despite the fact that Edwards'
claims were groundless, the Democratic Party rewarded him less than two years
later with its nomination for vice president.
By 2004, it was recognized that the administration's WMD claims were bogus
and the war was not going well. The incumbent president and vice president,
who had misled the nation into a disastrous war through false claims, were therefore
quite vulnerable to losing the November election. But instead of nominating
candidates who opposed the war and challenged these false WMD claims, the Democrats
chose two men who had also misled the nation into war through the same false
claims and who favored the continued prosecution of the war. Not surprisingly,
the Democrats lost.
Kerry's failure to tell the truth continues to hurt the antiwar movement, as
President Bush to this day quotes Kerry's false statements about Iraq's pre-invasion
military capability as a means of covering up for the lies of his administration.
For example, in his recent Veteran's Day speech in Pennsylvania in which he
attacked the antiwar movement, President Bush was able to say, "Many of
these critics supported my opponent during the last election, who explained
his position to support the resolution in the Congress this way: 'When I vote
to give the president of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary,
to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons
of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security.'"
Despite the consequences of putting forth nominees who failed to tell the truth
about Iraq's WMD capabilities, current polls show that New York Senator Hillary
Rodham Clinton, who also made false claims about the alleged Iraqi threat, is
the front-runner for the Democratic Party nomination for president in 2008.
In defending her vote authorizing President Bush to invade Iraq, Mrs. Clinton
said in October 2002, "It is clear … that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein
will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare
and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons." 24
In his Veteran's Day speech, Bush was able to deny any wrongdoing by his administration
by noting how "more than a hundred Democrats in the House and the Senate
– who had access to the same intelligence – voted to support removing
Saddam Hussein from power." If the Democrats had instead decided to be
honest and take a critical look at the phony intelligence being put forward
by the administration, they would have said what so many of us were saying at
the time: it was highly unlikely that Iraq still had such weapons. Instead,
by also making false claims about Iraqi WMD capability, it not only resulted
in their failure to retake the House and Senate in the 2004 elections, but they
have effectively shielded the Bush administration from the consequences of its
Even some prominent congressional Democrats who did not vote to authorize the
invasion were willing to defend the Bush administration's WMD claims. When House
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi appeared on NBC's Meet the Press in December
2002, she claimed: "Saddam Hussein certainly has chemical and biological weapons.
There is no question about that." 25
Despite repeated requests for information, her staff has been unwilling to reveal
what led the Democratic leader to make such a groundless claim with such certitude.
Now that the Democrats are finally speaking out against the administration's
phony WMD claims, conservative talk show hosts, columnists, and bloggers have
been dredging up scores of pre-invasion quotes by Democratic leaders citing
nonexistent Iraqi WMD. As a result, though the Republicans have undoubtedly
been hurt by their false statements on the subject, the Democrats are not likely
to reap much benefit. Given the number of us that had warned them beforehand,
they have no one to blame but themselves.
Some Democrats have defended their pre-invasion claims by citing the 2002 National
Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass
Destruction from the CIA, which appeared to confirm some of the Bush administration's
claims. However, there were a number of reasons to have been skeptical: For
starters, this NIE was compiled in a much shorter time frame than is normally
provided for such documents. Oddly, the report expressed far more certitude
regarding Iraq's WMD capabilities than all reports from the previous five years
despite the lack of additional data to justify such a shift. When the report
was released, there was much stronger dissent within the intelligence community
than about any other declassified NIE.
Some have defended the Democrats by saying that if they had insisted on hard
evidence to support the administration's WMD claims, they would have been accused
of being weak on national defense. This excuse has little merit, however, since
Republicans accuse Democrats of being weak on defense whatever they do. For
example, even though congressional Democrats voted nearly unanimously to grant
President Bush extraordinary war powers immediately following the Sept. 11 attacks
and strongly supported the bombing of Afghanistan, this patriotic exhibit did
not prevent the White House from falsely accusing Democrats of calling for "moderation
and restraint" and offering "therapy and understanding for our attackers."
26 Similarly, even though 2004 Democratic presidential
nominee Kerry defended America's right to unilaterally invade foreign countries
in violation of the United Nations Charter and basic international legal standards,
President Bush still accused him of believing that "in order to defend
ourselves, we'd have to get international approval." 27
In reality, it appears that the Democrats were as enthusiastic about the United
States invading and occupying Iraq as were the Republicans and that the WMD
claims were largely a means of scaring the American public into accepting the
right of the United States to effectively renounce 20th century international
legal norms in favor of the right of conquest. Indeed, Senators Kerry, Edwards,
and Clinton all subsequently stated that they would have voted to authorize
the invasion even if they knew Iraq did not have WMD. Given their apparent eagerness
for an excuse to go to war in order to take over that oil-rich nation, they
seem to have been willing to believe virtually anything the Bush administration
said and dismiss the concerns of independent strategic analysts who saw through
This may help explain why congressional Democrats had been so reluctant, until
faced with enormous pressure from their constituents following the Libby indictments,
to push for a serious inquiry regarding the Bush administration's misleading
the American public on Iraqi WMD: the Democrats were guilty as well. It may
also explain why pro-Democratic newspapers such as the New York Times and
Washington Post were so unwilling to publicize the Downing Street memos
and so belittled efforts by the handful of conscientious Democrats such as John
Conyers to uncover WMD deceptions. Such failures have led both newspapers' ombudsmen
to issue rare rebukes.
Even after it has become apparent that the Bush administration had been dishonest
regarding Iraq's alleged threat, Democrats still seem unwilling to take a more
skeptical view of administration claims regarding alleged WMD threats from overseas.
For example, congressional Democrats have overwhelmingly voted in favor of legislation
targeting Syria and Iran based primarily on dubious claims by the Bush administration
of these countries' military capabilities and alleged threats to American security
interests. Given that the vast majority of Democrats who hyped false WMD claims
regarding Iraq were reelected in 2004 anyway, they apparently believe that they
have little to lose by again reinforcing the administration's alarmist claims
of threats to U.S. national security.
There is growing awareness that the American people
were lied to by their government and needlessly drawn into war. How does this
deception impact what the United States should do regarding Iraq today?
Three years ago politicians in both parties successfully scared the American
people into believing that the national security of the United States would
somehow be threatened if we did not invade Iraq. These same politicians now
expect us to believe that U.S. national security will be jeopardized unless
we continue to prosecute the war.
Some thoughtful activists and intellectuals who opposed the invasion of Iraq
have since concluded that because the elected Iraqi government is reasonably
representative of the majority of the Iraqi people, because much of the insurgent
movement is dominated by fascistic Islamists and Ba'athists, and because the
Iraqi government is too weak to defend itself, U.S. armed forces should remain.
These activists argue that even though the premise of the invasion was a lie
and the occupation was tragically mishandled, the consequences of a precipitous
U.S. military withdrawal would result in a far worse situation than exists now.
Such a case might be worth consideration if the Bush administration and congressional
leaders had demonstrated that they had the integrity, knowledge, foresight,
and competence to successfully lead a counterinsurgency war in a complex, fractured
society on the far side of the planet. To support the continued prosecution
of the Iraq war, however, would require trusting the same politicians who hoodwinked
the country into that war in the first place. A growing number of Americans,
therefore, have come to recognize that any administration dishonest enough to
make the ludicrous prewar claims of an Iraqi military threat and any Congress
that – through whatever combination of dishonesty or stupidity – chose
to reinforce these false assertions simply cannot be trusted to successfully
control the insurgency, extricate the United States from further military involvement,
and successfully facilitate Iraq's development as a peaceful, secure, democratic
- Senator Harry Reid, remarks before
the floor of the U.S. Senate, Oct. 28, 2005.
- Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack,
Simon & Schuster, 2004.
- John B. Judis & Spencer Ackerman,
"The First Casualty: The Selling of the Iraq War," The New Republic,
June 30, 2003.
- Jonathan Landay, "CIA Report Reveals Analysts
Split over Extent of Iraqi Nuclear Threat," Knight-Ridder Newspapers,
Oct. 4, 2002.
- Karen DeYoung, "Baghdad Weapons Programs
Dormant: Iraq's Inactivity Puzzles U.S. Officials," Washington Post, p
A 19, July 15, 1999.
- Jonathan Landay, "Lack of Hard Evidence of Iraqi
Weapons Worries Top U.S. Officials," Knight-Ridder Newspapers, Sept.
- Stephen Zunes, "Why Not to Wage War
with Iraq," Foreign Policy in Focus Talking Points, Aug. 27, 2002.
- Stephen Zunes, "Iraq, the United States, and the
Jews," Tikkun, March 2003.
- Stephen Zunes, "The Case Against War," The
Nation, Sept. 30, 2002.
- Institute for Policy Studies, "Iraq's Current
Military Capability," February 1998.
- Barton Gellman, "Iraq Cooperating
on Inspections: Failure to Find Weapons May Diminish Support for UNSCOM,"
p A27, March 20, 1998.
- Cited by Rep. Cynthia McKinney, on PBS Newshour,
Feb. 10, 1998.
- Dr. Julian Perry Robinson, The
Independent, March 7, 1998.
- Walter Pincus and Dana Priest, "Some
Iraq Analysts Felt Pressure from Cheney Visits," Washington Post,
p A1, June 5, 2003.
- Seymour Hersh, "The Stovepipe: How Conflicts
Between the Bush Administration and the Intelligence Community Marred the
Reporting on Iraq's Weapons," New Yorker, Oct. 27, 2003.
- NBC, Meet the Press, March
- Dafna Linzer, "IAEA Leader's Phone Tapped: U.S.
Pores Over Transcripts to Try to Oust Nuclear Chief," Washington Post,
Dec. 12, 2004, p. A01.
- Aldous Huxley, Brave New World,
- Cited in Jonathan Schell, "The Empire
Backfires," The Nation, March 11, 2004.
- Letter to President Bill Clinton,
Oct. 9, 1998.
- Senate Joint Resolution 45 authorizing the use of
United States armed forces against Iraq, Oct. 11, 2002.
- Scott Ritter, "Challenging Kerry on His Iraq
Vote," Boston Globe, Aug. 5, 2004.
- John Edwards, "Congress Must Be
Clear," Washington Post, Sept. 19, 2002.
- Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Oct. 10, 2002.
- NBC, Meet the Press, Dec. 15, 2002.
- Karl Rove from a July 22, 2005, speech in New York.
White House spokesperson Scott McClellan defended his remarks, claiming that
President Bush's chief political adviser was "simply pointing out the
different philosophies and different approaches when it comes to winning the
war on terrorism." See Jim Abrams, "Dems Say Rove Should Apologize
or Resign," Associated Press, June 23, 2005.
- Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe, Ariz., Oct. 13,