Tuesday 13 January 2004

The big lie made clear

The study by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace stating that the Bush administration "systematically misrepresented" the threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction doesn't break new ground but, combined with assertions by former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill that the White House was plotting a pre-emptive invasion of Iraq before September 11, 2001, the picture of a White House spoiling for war and willing to misrepresent the truth to justify it is cast in even sharper relief. The administration intentionally misled the American people in embarking upon a strategy that has done perhaps irreparable harm to long-held American principles.

The administration's case for a pre-emptive invasion of Iraq was poor from the beginning, but with congressional Democrats afraid to speak out against it in an election year and the media in full flag-waving mode, it went essentially unchallenged. It was only after the fact that it became apparent, as the Carnegie study makes clear, that the White House didn't use intelligence evidence to build a case for invading Iraq, but instead manipulated and misrepresented intelligence to justify an invasion it was long determined to launch.

The record is clear and cannot be disputed. Iraq had no biological weapons, let alone the "massive stockpile" the administration claimed it had. The White House claimed Saddam Hussein had seven biological agents factories -- he had none. The administration said the Iraqi leader had huge chemical weapons stockpiles, including mustard and sarin gases -- he had no chemical weapons. The White House claimed Iraq had restarted its nuclear weapons program, buying uranium from Africa and procuring enrichment equipment. In fact, Iraq had no nuclear weapons program, no equipment, and no uranium.

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