An interesting combination of poll results has come together in the past few weeks. One poll found that 53% of American adults believed that President Bush should be impeached if he did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq (Zogby International). Another poll found that 57 percent of Americans believe that Mr. Bush deliberately misled the country into war in Iraq (The Wall Street Journal/NBC News); and another poll found that Americans wanted Democrats to regain control of Congress in the 2006 election, by a margin of 48% to 37% (The Wall Street Journal).
Top Bush Administration officials realize that if Democrats regain control of Congress; real investigations would start, with hearings and evidence, and witnesses testifying under oath. That would mean certain impeachment; and if there is any justice in the world: indefinite imprisonment in a cage at Camp X-Ray with no "due process of law "just the way they like it.
They deliberately sold Americans an unnecessary war using a combination of exaggerated estimates, discredited intelligence, and outright lies; and now the truth is closing in on them. All they can do is to keep on lying in a desperate attempt to avoid responsibility. Now their big lie is "the Democrats had the same information as the President, and they supported the war with Iraq." They know it is not true, but if the media lets them repeat it enough times, it can become the truth. It has worked before.
Shortly after 9/11, a CBS News/New York Times poll found only 6 percent of Americans thought Saddam had anything to do with the attack, but by the time we invaded Iraq after listening to lies from the Bush Administration every day for 18 months, CBS News found that 53 percent believed Saddam had been "personally involved" in 9/11. The Bush Administration knows very well what the constant repetition of lies and mis-information can do.The fact is that Congress (Democrats and Republicans) only saw the intelligence that the Bush Administration wanted them to see the same cherry-picked garbage that was being leaked to the public by people who jokingly called themselves "reporters".
So when Congress and the American people heard:"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." --George W. Bush, State of the Union Address, 1/28/03.
We did not know that this information was based on documents that were so crudely forged that former National Security Adviser Richard Clarke recently described them as appearing to be done "in crayon".
"and when we were told:"Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons." --George W. Bush, 10/7/02
No one mentioned that this "evidence" was based on the belief of one CIA analyst with a bachelor's degree while "the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research and the Department of Energy, concluded the aluminum tubes were the wrong specification for nuclear materials." --MSNBC, 11/8/05
Congress had access to 15 different assessments, suggesting these tubes were evidence that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program. Not one of those assessments bothered to mention that numerous experts in the field did not believe they were suitable for that purpose.
Since Iraq didn't actually possess any weapons of mass destruction, the Bush Administration had a hard time finding real evidence to make their case for war. They thought the professional intelligence agencies were wasting too much time confirming the reliability of sources and the accuracy of information; so they put together their own little intelligence group within the Pentagon, called the Office of Special Plans (OSP). The OSP didn't need to confirm anything. They knew good intelligence when they saw it, and they got a lot of "good" intelligence from Ahmed Chalabi's group, the Iraqi National Congress (INC). It was all false, but it was exactly the kind of evidence the OSP was looking for.
"A routine settled in: the Pentagon's defector reports, classified "secret," would be funnelled [sic] to newspapers, but subsequent C.I.A. and INR analyses of the reports -- invariably scathing but also classified -- would remain secret." --Media Matters for America, 11/8/05
The New Republic reported "An internal assessment performed by the Defense Intelligence Agency determined in September 2003 that the information provided by the INC defectors 'was of little or no value'."
"There was considerable skepticism throughout the intelligence community about the reliability of Chalabi's sources, but the defector reports were coming all the time" Meanwhile, the garbage was being shoved straight to the President." --Greg Thielmann, former director, Office of Strategic, Proliferation, and Military Affairs in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, quoted in The New Yorker, 10/27/03
"A Knight Ridder review of the administration's arguments, its own reporting at the time and the Senate Intelligence Committee's 2004 report shows that the White House followed a pattern of using questionable intelligence, even documents that turned out to be forgeries, to support its case - often leaking classified information to receptive journalists - and dismissing information that undermined the case for war." --Jonathan S. Landay, Knight Ridder Newspapers, 10/25/05
"[Senate] Intelligence Committee, Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Vice Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said they doubted that the Senate would have authorized the president to go to war if senators had been given accurate information regarding Iraq's programs on weapons of mass destruction." --National Journal, 10/27/05
It is clear that the Bush Administration wanted a war, and they were willing to deceive the American people, the Congress, and the world to make it happen. Now the question is whether they are going to get away with it. Will the braying of Limbaugh, the whining of Hannity, the shouting of O'Reilly, and the non-stop propaganda of Fox "News" be able to drown out the truth? Or will some new terrible threat suddenly appear to divert our attention until the story just fades away?
We must not let that happen again.