Friday, September 08, 2006

Senate Report Disputes Bush's Iraq Claims

If an American president says something, Americans are inclined to believe what is said. Bush was perfectly aware of that understandable habit when he lied to the American people about Iraq. Recently, a poll said 50% of Americans believed weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. At one point, more than two years ago, 70% of Americans believed Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11. Bush's false statements and his right wing Republican noise machine did an effective job of misleading America on the case for war. But they would like Americans to forget what they did. "Old news," the administration tells us. Bloomberg has a story on a Senate report on Bush's Iraq intelligence:
Declassified U.S. Senate reports said that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein didn't trust al-Qaeda before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and refused to support it.

``Saddam Hussein was distrustful of al-Qaeda and viewed Islamic extremists as a threat to his regime,'' one of the reports said. Hussein refused all requests from al-Qaeda to provide material or operational support, said the report issued in Washington today by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

A second committee report said that Iraq Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress told U.S. officials that Iraq possessed nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, information that later proved inaccurate.

Democrats said the reports show that statements by Bush administration officials before the Iraq war began in 2003 weren't supported by U.S. intelligence known at the time they spoke.

They include statements by Vice President Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice, then Bush's national security adviser, linking Iraq to al-Qaeda, said Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, the top Democrat on the intelligence committee.

Cheney's statement that an Iraqi intelligence officer met in Prague with Mohammed Atta, a leader of the Sept. 11 hijackers, was ``not substantiated by the intelligence assessments at the time this statement was made by the vice president,'' Rockefeller said.

Rice's statement that ``there are lot of tantalizing meetings between Iraq'' and ``people who were involved in 9/11'' was ``clearly false based upon what was known prior to the war,'' Rockefeller said.

If we had had this information before we attacked Iraq, the American people might have rejected an optional war that has become one of the most costly in American history and clearly the most damaging to our reputation and to our national security.

We may be stuck with Bush and his advisers another two years because impeachments are costly and disruptive. Given how little we can trust the Bush Administration, we need people who will shine the spotlight on the truth and we can't do that in a timely manner with the current Republican Congress. It's not enough that some of the more honest Republicans in Congress are finally getting disgusted with Bush. The bottom line is that the current Senate report comes four years too late.


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