Given the Republican obsession with Benghazi talking points, it’s time for a very specific flashback. In 2008, two non partisan groups released a study that determined that President Bush and his top aides made 935 false statements about the security risk posed by Iraq in the two years following September 11, 2001.
These statements were part of a deliberate campaign, according to the study conducted by the Center for Public Integrity and the Fund for Independence in Journalism. They concluded, “The false statements dramatically increased in August 2002, with congressional consideration of a war resolution, then escalated through the mid-term elections and spiked even higher from January 2003 to the eve of the invasion… In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003.”
The study’s conclusions were further reinforced when former Bush White House press secretary Scott McClellan wrote, “top Bush aides had outlined a strategy for carefully orchestrating the coming campaign to aggressively sell the war… In the permanent campaign era, it was all about manipulating sources of public opinion to the president’s advantage.” (What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception)
According to the study, then President George W Bush made 232 false statements about Iraq and former leader Saddam Hussein’s possessing weapons of mass destruction, and 28 false statements about Iraq’s links to al Qaeda.
“President George W. Bush and seven of his administration’s top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq…
On at least 532 separate occasions, Bush and these three key officials, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan, stated unequivocally that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (or was trying to produce or obtain them), links to Al Qaeda, or both.”
On July 2004, the Republican majority led Senate Select Committee released the Intelligence Senate Report on Iraqi WMD Intelligence, which identified numerous failures in intelligence gathering and “analysis” (i.e., interpretation). However, Republicans defended the Bush administration’s statements on Iraq.
An investigation into the administration’s use of the intelligence was delayed for three years due to Republicans claiming it wasn’t as important (Senator Roberts, R-KS) as other pending items. Phase two of the investigation was released in 2007, but not all of the report was released. It determined, “our Committee has concluded that the Administration made significant claims that were not supported by the intelligence.”
Read the examples of the egregious lies told in the lead up to the Iraq War.
Methodology: “Over the past two and a half years, researchers at the Fund for Independence in Journalism have sought to document every public statement made by eight top Bush administration officials from September 11, 2001, to September 11, 2003, regarding (1) Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction and (2) Iraq’s links to Al Qaeda. Although both had been frequently cited as rationales for the U.S. war in Iraq, by 2005 it was known that these assertions had not, in fact, been true.”