Excerpted from "Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law."
Although Bush marketed the war in Iraq as necessary to protect us from Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction (WMD), his decisions had less to do with self-defense than with dominating the oil-rich Middle East. Some evidence for this conclusion can be found in a September 2000 report prepared by the neoconservative Project for a New American Century (PNAC). The report, commissioned by Dick Cheney, outlines a plan "to maintain American military preeminence that is consistent with the requirements of a strategy of American global leadership." It notes that while "the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein." Another document produced for Vice President Cheney's secret Energy Task Force included a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals as well as charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects and "Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts." That document was dated March 2001, six months before 9/11 and two years before Bush invaded Iraq.
After 9/11, the Bush administration attacked Afghanistan and removed the Taliban from power. But the primary target all along was Iraq. To sell the war to the American people, the administration made two claims and repeated them like a mantra. First, Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Second, it had ties with al-Qaeda and was thus complicit in the 9/11 attacks. Although the administration argued that both reasons justified the use of force against Iraq, it was advised repeatedly that neither claim was valid.
No Weapons of Mass Destruction
An August 2006 report prepared at the direction of Rep. John Conyers, Jr. found that "members of the Bush Administration misstated, overstated, and manipulated intelligence with regards to linkages between Iraq and Al Qaeda; the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iraq; the acquisition of aluminum tubes to be used as uranium centrifuges; and the acquisition of uranium from Niger." The report also noted that "[b]eyond making false and misleading statements about Iraq's attempt to acquire nuclear weapons, the record shows the Bush Administration must have known these statements conflicted with known international and domestic intelligence at the time." Finding that the administration had also misstated or overstated intelligence information regarding chemical and biological weapons, the report concluded that "these misstatements were in contradiction of known countervailing intelligence information, and were the result of political pressure and manipulation." In short, the Bush gang misrepresented the WMD threat to justify its planned invasion of Iraq.