Exclusive! ‘Bush Overstated Evidence on Iraq’


In wake of new Senate report, Dubya’s chances for a third term are thought to be nil.

Five years in the making, a Senate committee report has concluded that George W. Bush and his administration constructed their public case for the invasion of Iraq on exaggerations and lies.

Who could have guessed that? As the New York Times reported this morning:

A long-delayed Senate committee report endorsed by Democrats and some Republicans concluded that President Bush and his aides built the public case for war against Iraq by exaggerating available intelligence and by ignoring disagreements among spy agencies about Iraq’s weapons programs and Saddam Hussein’s links to Al Qaeda.

See the report and check out the latest Iraq War casualty figures (4,000 U.S. soldiers dead and nearly 30,000 wounded.)

As the Times notes:

The 170-page report accuses Mr. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other top officials of repeatedly overstating the Iraqi threat in the emotional aftermath of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

I don’t know about you, but I’m shocked and awed that our government officials would do such a thing.

The Times reporters Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane failed to get comment from former colleague Judy Miller about her pre-war coverage of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction. Maybe they’re saving that for a book deal.

They also went easy on the pre-war pro-war Democrats by saving this for the last:

In a detailed minority report, four of those Republicans accused Democrats of hypocrisy and of cherry picking, namely by refusing to include misleading public statements by top Democrats like… Hillary Rodham Clinton and Jay Rockefeller.

As an example, they pointed to an October 2002 speech by Mr. Rockefeller, who declared to his Senate colleagues that he had arrived at the “inescapable conclusion that the threat posed to America by Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction is so serious that despite the risks, and we should not minimize the risks, we must authorize the president to take the necessary steps to deal with the threat.”

The report about the Bush administration’s public statements offers some new details about the intelligence information that was available to policy makers as they built a case for war. For instance, in September 2002 Donald H. Rumsfeld, then the defense secretary, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that “the Iraq problem cannot be solved by airstrikes alone,” because Iraqi chemical and biological weapons were so deeply buried that they could not be penetrated by American bombs.

Two months later, however, the National Intelligence Council wrote an assessment for Mr. Rumsfeld concluding that the Iraqi underground weapons facilities identified by the intelligence agencies “are vulnerable to conventional, precision-guided, penetrating munitions because they are not deeply buried.”

On Thursday, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, a Democratic member of the intelligence committee, said that Congress had never been told about the National Intelligence Council’s assessment.

The detailed Senate report is unlikely to have any impact on the 2004 election.