Who started that story about Iraq, WMDs, and Al Qaeda? That’s right, Bill Clinton.


Bill said what?

Ok, let’s stipulate up front: the Bush administration owns the invasion of Iraq and everything that happened because of it up through 2009. (I do not believe new presidents inherit all responsibility on Inauguration Day; there is a grace period. President Obama’s expired about three years ago, but leave that argument for another day.) When Megyn Kelley is pantsing former Vice President Dick Cheney on this, you know that even the conservatives have accepted at least that much.

On one thing, however, it’s important to set the record straight, and that’s the issue of “lies” about WMD, especially chemical weapons.

It has now become pretty much the status of urban legend that no one was crazy enough to link Saddam Hussein to WMD and Al Qaeda terrorists until the Bush administration did it as a rationale — one of several — for the 2003 invasion. It makes for a great story, except for one problem.

It’s wrong.

What follows is adapted from my 2008 book on preventive war, Eve of Destruction. Let’s be clear: if I knew this in 2006 and 2007 when the book was undergoing edits at a top university press, then it wasn’t a secret. The fact of the matter is that Bill Clinton laid out the connection between Iraq, VX weapons, and Al Qaeda in 1998, and Clinton himself provided such a strong rationale for going to war against Hussein that the far left was apeshit distressed at his turn toward warmongering.

If you really want to know why we didn’t have a major (or major enough) debate on going to war in 2003, you might consider the degree to which senior members of the Democratic Party over 15 years ago had already sold their souls to support Clinton’s bellicose rhetoric, and thus were going to have a hard time explaining why they were then retreating on their own death-to-Saddam stuff only five years later without looking nakedly partisan.

I think this is one of many places that Bill Clinton eviscerated the heart and soul of the Democratic Party through his “triangulations” and other compromises, actions that I as a conservative welcomed, but whose damage to our public life is only now really evident. Again, a debate for another day.

In the meantime, if you’re one of the people who burps up that line about Bush’s “lies” in 2003, I suggest you revisit 1998 for a moment. The except below can be found on pages 49-51 of the book.

divider-line1Bill Clinton’s administration had already begun to lay out the case for a preventive war.

Clinton at the Pentagon, February 1998

In a forceful February 1998 speech at the Pentagon, Clinton made the assertion that not acting against Saddam was tantamount to allowing him to gain, and therefore to use, weapons of mass destruction:

Now, let’s imagine the future. What if he fails to comply, and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route which gives him yet more opportunities to develop this program of weapons of mass destruction and continue to press for the release of the sanctions and continue to ignore the solemn commitments that he made? Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And some day, some way, I guarantee you, he’ll use the arsenal. And I think every one of you who’s really worked on this for any length of time believes that, too.

By year’s end, Clinton made good on his threat to attack Iraq, with U.S. and British forces engaging in a three-day bombing campaign, Operation Desert Fox, aimed at “degrading” Saddam Hussein’s presumed WMD capabilities. “Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles,” Clinton said as the bombing started. “With Saddam, there is one big difference: He has used them . . . and I have no doubt today, that left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again.”

For a variety of reasons, including Clinton’s domestic political troubles and a face-saving deal struck at in the United Nations, military operations in 1998 never rose to the level of the rhetoric that attended them. Only weeks before Desert Fox, the U.S. Congress passed, and Clinton signed, the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act, which made it the stated policy of the American government from that point onward that Hussein’s regime should be removed from power. This was not a party-line vote; the Act passed by a lopsided and bipartisan 360 to 38 vote in the House, and by unanimous consent in the Senate.

The Act, however, only “supported” such efforts by the Iraqi opposition and was notably silent on the question of the use of American force. Regime change was never the stated goal of Desert Fox, and in the end the whole thing was a kind of desultory affair whose impact on Iraqi WMD programs remains unclear to this day. For his part, Clinton even called in to Larry King’s program to defend Bush’s assertion that there were WMD in Iraq: “We bombed with the British for four days in 1998,” he said to King and guest Bob Dole. “We might have gotten it all; we might have gotten half of it; we might have gotten none of it. But we didn’t know.”

But what is most interesting about this 1998 almost-war against Iraq is the way Clinton and others implicitly argued that opponents like Saddam Hussein were effectively undeterrable. This kind of anxiety could be seen, for example, among Clinton’s senior advisors in mid-1998 as they debated whether to strike a Sudanese factory they suspected was making chemical weapons. Former National Security Council staff members Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon later recalled:

Within the small circle of officials who knew of the plan [to attack the Sudanese facility called al-Shifa], some felt uneasy. Attorney General Janet Reno expressed concern about whether the strikes were proportional and met the requirements of self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter, which was how the administration intended to justify them. Others were aware that a decision to attack another country is rarely made on the basis of clandestine intelligence, and the United States has not often pursued a strategy of preempting threats militarily. Yet the perception of imminent danger was powerful enough to overcome these concerns. At the Principals meeting, [National Security Advisor] Sandy Berger asked, “What if we do not hit it and then, after an attack, nerve gas is released in the New York City subway? What will we say then?”

Reno eventually declined to vote, “but the rest recommended unanimously that al-Shifa be destroyed.” In August 1998, the United States launched Operation Infinite Reach, a series of cruise missile attacks against the Sudanese facility as well as several al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan.

The fact that al-Qaeda was struck was important. Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants were actually the primary targets of Infinite Reach, largely as retaliation for al-Qaeda’s involvement in terrorist bombings against U.S. embassies in Africa. But in justifying the operation, Clinton administration officials argued that they were acting against a triple threat, a synergy between Sudan’s manufacture of chemical weapons, the Iraqis, and al-Qaeda terrorists. “We see evidence that we think is quite clear on contacts between Sudan and Iraq,” undersecretary of state Thomas Pickering said. “In fact, El Shifa [sic] officials, early in the company’s history, we believe were in touch with Iraqi individuals associated with Iraq’s VX [nerve gas] program.” UN ambassador Bill Richardson told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer shortly after the strikes:

 We know for a fact, physical evidence, soil samples of VX precursor–chemical precursor at the site. Secondly, Wolf, direct evidence of ties between Osama bin Laden and the [Sudanese] Military Industrial Corporation–the al Shifa factory was part of that. This is an operation–a collection of buildings that does a lot of this dirty munitions stuff. And, thirdly, there is no evidence that this precursor has a commercial application. So, you combine that with Sudan support for terrorism, their connections with Iraq on VX, and you combine that, also, with the chemical precursor issue, and Sudan’s leadership support for Osama bin Laden, and you’ve got a pretty clear cut case.

The case, as it turns out, wasn’t quite so clear cut, and over the years various investigations have cast doubt on whether the Clinton administration’s intelligence on al-Shifa was correct. But all major figures in the execution of Operation Infinite Reach stand by their decision, most notably former defense secretary William Cohen, who repeated the charges against the Sudanese in his 2004 testimony to the 9/11 Commission.

20140318023600-xLExyFN So, Clinton lied?

No. Clinton and his people, including career diplomats and intelligence officers, made their best guess. But in any case, the next time you hear the claim that Bush dreamed up the Iraq-WMD-Al Qaeda connection, you can correct the record and note that it was none other than the best and the brightest working for Bill Clinton who came up with that one, not Bush or Cheney. It doesn’t mean that Bush doesn’t own the war, but it does point out that there was a lot greater unanimity in the view of Saddam’s Iraq as a threat to the U.S., even before 9/11.

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  1. I have to admit: political science renders me instantly stupid. I am therefore grateful whenever a political scientist gives a scathing history lesson.

    The case you present is inescapable for anyone who has paid attention to Iraq over the past two decades and change. That Saddam had to go was the all-but-total consensus among the FP/IR elites in America, across lines of party and ideology, leaving only the leftist and libertarian peacenik island unmoved.

    Another part of the consensus in Washington and, IIRC, London was that Saddam was illegally busting the oil sanctions with the French and the Russians — essentially buying off and bribing two members of the UNSC. It was undeniably clear that sanctions busting as a casus belli would fall flat at the UN when the Bush administration was attempting to assemble its “coalition of the willing” to invade Iraq. It goes without saying that Hussein’s violation of the No-Fly Zones by attacks on American air forces were of no concern to other UNSC members.

    By elimination, WMDs turned out to be the strongest case available on both the domestic and international political fronts. What I find so appalling since the AUMF and subsequent invasion of Iraq is the ahistorical rewriting of the history leading up to that event. That is unforgivable.

    Nonetheless, I wholeheartedly agree that the Bush administration owns the blame for its foreign policy and military failures in Iraq, up to and including a grace period not to exceed one year for the Oministration… as a contract lawyer bird whispered in my ear.

    My only explanation for this selective amnesia among Democrats and the left is that the peacenik fringe has taken complete control over there, threatening to purge anyone who remembers differently or fails to atone for having joined the WMD consensus.

    Sure, I’m a right-winger somewhere to the right of Genghis Khan and a centrist in the Golden Horde. Still, the past is what it is, and it shouldn’t be casually disappeared like the odd members of Lenin’s funeral procession.

  2. I’m not sure what the purpose of this piece was, but we knew Saddam had gassed his own people. SUBSEQUENTLY TO CLINTON LEAVING OFFICE, Hans Blix, and other observers certified that Iraq had little or no WMD.

    “Blix’s statements about the Iraq WMD program came to contradict the claims of the George W. Bush administration,[6] and attracted a great deal of criticism from supporters of the invasion of Iraq. In an interview on BBC 1 on 8 February 2004, Blix accused the US and British governments of dramatizing the threat of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, in order to strengthen the case for the 2003 war against the regime of Saddam Hussein. Ultimately, no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction were ever found.[7]

    In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, Blix said, “I have my detractors in Washington. There are bastards who spread things around, of course, who planted nasty things in the media.”[8]

    In 2004, Blix published a book, Disarming Iraq, where he gives his account of the events and inspections before the coalition began its invasion.”

    Of course, we had the CIA try to dig up some personal dirt on Blix for the sole purpose of discrediting whatever he found, because we’re such great guys.

    Of course, if we want to make it the state policy of the United States to invade and occupy every nation on earth with some CW in inventory, we should, perhaps, get busy.

    Whether the WMD was there or not- and it was in such puny quantities it surely didn’t pose any threat to us- the invasion was the 2nd worst strategic blunder of my lifetime, the first being VietNam. And then of course, there was the “yellowcake” fiasco.

    Selective reading of history, if not rank revisionism. Now more misery for the Iraqi people on a scale even THEY never dreamed of.

    • Blix certified no such thing. By the time Bush and Blair were pressing for war, Blix was asking for more time to prove Saddam didn’t have WMD, in effect asking for time to prove a negative. By late 2002 that game was over, and neither Bill Clinton nor any major Western intelligence agency dissented from the view that Saddam was hiding prohibited arms. You can call it a mistake — as Clinton did even after the war started — but it wasn’t a lie.

      • I find this reshuffling of history a bit disingenuous, but since anyone seeing this has web access, they can judge for themselves. Blix’s team had done 700 inspections, and found nothing of interest. If you’re telling me he needed to do another 700 more, perhaps he would still be there today. The line about “proving a negative” is most often used as a rhetorical tool by religious believers to atheists to prove the absence of the Diety. I find your use of it quite curious.

        Naturally, the fact that nothing WAS ever found couldn’t possibly have any bearing on this narrative, right? Please….

        The selective cherry picking of quotes may be useful for rhetorical purposes, but they do not serve the truth of history. I learned that a long time ago when discussing the Arab/Israeli conflict. Everyone has their “quotes.”

        In any case, since we’re all rubbing our hands on recriminations for this horrid human disaster, and although I usually disdain second guessing history, I will give you this: if the Supreme Court had not handed the election to Bush, we never would have invaded Iraq. Because the biggest cheerleaders for invasion in the White House would not have been there to do it. The bad actors in this never would have had their chance.

        • The Supreme Court of Florida gave President Bush the election not the Federal Surpreme Court. They were going to go along with Al Gore about selective recounts in certain precients and not recount them all.
          After President Bush took office. There were many media that went to Florida and did their own recount. 90 plus percent of them says that Bush won the election fairly. Tell the truth and dont skirt the truth when you write.

          • Even if I agreed with this (and I don’t), I have no idea what it has to do with the similarity of arguments about Iraq in 1998 and 2002. I’m allowing your comment to be posted here because I think it’s a perfect example of the mode of argument that says: “I don’t really care what the subject is or what the facts are, I just want to repeat how much I hate George Bush.” Message posted. Irrelevance noted. But thanks for writing.

            By the way, you need to do better homework. As I remember it, the journalists found that the only recount Gore likely would have one is the statewide recount his team rejected as an option. Since the vote was so close, we’ll never know. (But as an added irony, if Gore could have won his home state of Tennessee, Florida would have been irrelevant.) Bush wins in 3 of 4 possible scenarios

            • ” I have no idea what it has to do with the similarity of arguments about Iraq in 1998 and 2002. ”

              Because the FIRST “similarity of argument” (sic) dealt with the situation as people surmised it in 1998. 2002 was a quite a different story, especially when we add in what is a proven record of outrageous distortion, to the point where one poll showed over 50% of Americans thought Saddam had “something” to do with 9/11. Where did they get THAT idea, Tom?

              Hopefully, that clarifies the matter.

                • Because you opened up with: “Even if I agreed with this (and I don’t), I have no idea what it has to do with the similarity of arguments about Iraq in 1998 and 2002.”

                  That has nothing to do with the Florida recount either. Again, the post 9/11 stoking of Iraq hysteria by the subsequent occupiers of the White House is the key here.

                  And the commentary by those responsible in the past few days is something to behold.

                  Whether it’s bringing down an economy, or a nation, no one who holds a position of responsibility in America has the courage to say “I’m sorry- we messed that up.”

                  • “Whether it’s bringing down an economy, or a nation, no one who holds a position of responsibility in America has the courage to say “I’m sorry- we messed that up.””

                    You really think it’s a matter of courage? Maybe they don’t believe they messed up. That’s more troubling to me than the cowardice of the people in “a position of responsibility in America”.

          • “The Supreme Court of Florida gave President Bush the election not the Federal Surpreme Court. They were going to go along with Al Gore about selective recounts in certain precients and not recount them all.”

            I stand corrected on this matter.

        • Like you said, one could find hundreds of quotes of those cautioning against war with Iraq. But, truth discovery requires a more objective analysis of the times and the intelligence the world had. You don’t have to cherry pick to find the civilized world unanimously believed Hussein had WMD and that he had proven he would use them. Secondly, the description of the Iraq situation as “horrid” depends a great deal on your perspective. As an American it seems a terrible waste. To the Kurds it was freedom at last. The bulk of the American casualties were the result of our trying to avoid civilian casualties and keep from destroying the country while ridding it of terrorists and bad people (you can decide who that would be). If I would of had the “controls” it would have been civilians be damned. If you stick around while bad guys are there you will be killed. Equip the Iranian resistance with IEDs. Al Sadr assassinated. It would have been a bloody, horrid, mess for the Iranians and the Iraqis but still freedom for the kurds and relatively few American and, others of the civilized sort, casualties.
          No nation would be built by us, and I do feel sympathy for the poor muslims who have to live with such crap people surrounding them, but, that’s not my problem.

          • I wouldn’t say “unanimously” believed it, but all of the major Western, Russian, Middle Eastern intelligence services, yes.

          • “You don’t have to cherry pick to find the civilized world unanimously believed Hussein had WMD and that he had proven he would use them. Secondly, the description of the Iraq situation as “horrid” depends a great deal on your perspective. As an American it seems a terrible waste. To the Kurds it was freedom at last. ”

            These comments are incredible.

            Sir: If you dummy up the intelligence from the authority of the office of the most powerful country in the world, I suppose that might aid the “unanimity” of the belief. Tom mentions in another quote that ALL the major intelligence services believed it. If that’s the case, I would think THAT situation is worth more scrutiny than the hand wringing that is the subject of this thread.

            Secondly, the term “horrid” may seem to be a relative one to you. However, the needless slaughter of about 140,000 Iraqis (we will never know the real number) what is estimated to be over 3 million refugees, the needless sacrifice of 4200 of our sons, and the physical and mental condition of those who returned, seems to define “horrid” fairly well.

            There were articles in the NY Times about Iraqi families who fled to Syria, who became so destitute, fathers sold their daughters for food. (Now Syria is in the midst of it’s own self immolation, and Syrian fathers are doing likewise.)

            No doubt the glee of the Kurds is worth of all of this. I mean, it all depends on your PERSPECTIVE, old boy.

        • Nicely said.

          The fundamental nature of the Republic has been and continues to be that of a Corporate Fascist State, with a ruling oligarchy that has total control over everything, the changing of the guard at the top has very little meaning in the practicality of daily life.

        • Did you read the regime change ordered by Clinton? Bush was following through with an order signed by Clinton. I have known this for years. Clinton deployed more troops since FDR. Sandy Berger got caught taking classfied info from the Library of Congress. Clinton laughed it off. So, If Bush inherited Al Qaeda, and the upcoming attacks on 9/11, and then the Obama admin thinks they inherited Bush’s mistakes, most ppl agree on one thing, after 5-6 years it is you own, so if Bush went in 2003, and Obama left in 2011. Very stupidly i might add, Why does Bush own the Iraq war, isn’t some of it Clinton’s seeing as he launched two campaigns of war on Saddam and yes WMD’s were found from the Gulf war. Dems said or those are harmless, I said, fine why don’t you drink or prove it yourselves. The wars that followed 9/11 were necessary. Saddam and Iraqi ppl were dancing in the streets, and Saddam was a Sunni, the ISIS gang of terrorists Al Qaida even hate. I say Clinton, Bush and Obama will go down in history as Clinton, the intitator, Bush the enactor and Obama as the fool who actions led to Iraq today. Sorry, I cannot back the Pres of today, And as Much as I like Bill, he is acting politcally, purposely degrading a man who did what he thought was right. We were never hit again. Until, the Marathon Bomber, The Fort Hood Terror Attack (or work place violence, what is that from when the workers were postal at the post offices?) They all did what they thought was right. Clinton and his two bombing campaigns. Bush. seeing Clinton’s invasions and possible regime change And as for the Bush/Gore thing? Gore was demanding recount after recount. And everytime more votes came in for Bush, the Supreme Court would not hear Gore, but when Sandra Day O’conner and others saw the situation they used the law that has been on the books since 1776, the electoral college. Gore and Bush were too close to call. The electoral College voted for Bush, Gore lost probably due to the fact he acted like he knew something or was just jealous. Bush won, get over it. And if you think he is some kind of terrorist or liar who murdered troops? In the 8 years of the wars, we lost 4000-5000, an unheard loss, Other wars? Obama had killed 1625 first year in office, Clinton and the Rwanda thing, Balkans, and Black Hawk Down. Lyndon Johnson, LBJ put us in the (Democrat) Vietnam war saw thousands of lives lost in just a few years, even decided he would not run again on the dem ticket and would refuse their party nomination. Nixon finally ended it (Repub) Korea started by Harry Truman, who dropped the bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Democrat, Eisenhower pulled us out Repub, WWII 400,000 killed, after the bombing of Pearl Harbour, introduced to suicide bombers then. Yes, lives were lost, but not nearly as many as the other wars we endevored on. George W. Bush, was thrown into a war, John Mcain a federalists, and republican George Washington, a federalist. Read Thomas Jefferson’s inaugural speech. He claimed we were all republicans and federalists The first president to win as a democrat on a ticket was Andrew Johnson, the VP to President Lincoln. After winning he tried to destabilize exactly what the civil war was all about. In those days, the Pres candidate that lost became VP, it helped keep the balance of power. Anyway, he was impeached So, after the surge, the iraqi ppl were voting, happy and the country was on it’s way until Pres Obama running on his campaign promise, destabilized and now look at the Mid East now, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, are you kidding me? Egypt has been our ally along with Israel forty years?

          Anyway, Human disaster? The wars previous to Afghanstan and Iraqi are far worse, with far more casualties. I listen to Wash Journal and I would listen to the public. Very mixed reviews back then. So yes, WMD’s found, the yellow cake is a Valerie Plame thing that cheney nor scooter libby had anything to do with. It was Armitage, look it up. We lost almost 5k lives in Iraq over 8 yrs. WE LOST 3,000, in less than an hour on 9/11/01 and four more 9/11/12. Now these brave souls
          still believe what they did was right. and so do the commanders who advised Obama to keep 20k troops, no, 1ok, no, 3000 by the time he decided it was too late the President said if you can’t stay and help get out. Most ppl,(Iraqis) blamed us in the beginning now they blame the gov. What will they write about our first African American President, and he truly is, Kenyan (been there) but he is also has a caucasian mother, why not bring that up when it is all about race, if it were he wouldn’t have won. Thanx for listening and yes, it is amazing how the left “forgets'” Remember the filibuster rule? They listed the longest filibusters in history, and of course all republicans, what happened to Robert Byrd from W VA who filibuster NO NO NO against the civil rights act, that passed overwellingly by Repubs and the south hated it as they were mostly democrats. Look at the Bush cabinet I mean Bush had Gonzalez, Powell, .Rice and won the hispanic vote hands down. Yes perhaps Bush was a bit much, but that is his job. Presidents take an oath that says they will protect the American ppl a all costs. Anyway, love the article. And yes, it sounds about right. The history isn;t really written yet. So we will see 10, 20 years from now. Thank you

          • Since this forum is moderated, just WHO approved the psychotic rant Ms. Moore regaled us with?

            • I did. When I start getting multiple responses that long, I sometimes edit them down, but usually I let people have their say at least once (unless it’s abusive, racist, delusional, etc). There was nothing psychotic there, but it definitely makes my point that everybody needs an editor. 🙂

  3. And let’s not forget Secretary of Defense William Cohen appearing on ABC’s “This Week” on November 16, 1997, holding a five-pound bag of sugar as a prop and saying:

    “It’s important when we talk about weapons of mass destruction, that we translate that into something that the American people and hopefully the world community can understand. For example, when we talk about anthrax—anthrax, if you took a five-pound bag of sugar and call this anthrax, this amount of anthrax could be spread over a city—let’s say the size of Washington. It would destroy at least half the population of that city. If you had more amounts of anthrax, let me just get to this point—one of the things we found with anthrax is that one breath and you are likely to face death within five days. One small particle of anthrax would produce death within five days. VX is a nerve agent. One drop from this thimble, as such, one drop will kill you within a few minutes.”

    Full transcript at http://library.umaine.edu/speccoll/docs/ms/cohenw/06dod/ps199798/WILL.PDF.

    • Great catch! Thanks. Retweeted it. If there was a picture of Cheney doing that, it would be a poster by now. Also interesting that Cohen has never backed away from the Sudan story. When I wrote the book, I asked him for an interview. No answer.

  4. Thank you so much for posting this! I definitely think there were mistakes made with Iraq (that’s a whole different subject for another post, though!), but the narrative that only Bush was stupid enough to link Iraq and chemical weapons is infuriating because it’s just plain wrong.

    • It’s the New Narrative. False, and demonstrably so, but Democrats, imo, are in a panic over the President’s plummeting numbers. They can’t figure out why Ukraine, Bergdahl, Syria, and Iraq aren’t being viewed as “wins,” so they’re going back to the “But Bush!” standby.

  5. It’s also worth noting that Clinton hadn’t changed his mind by May 2003, when he is on record for publicly agreeing with Bush and expressing his disagreement with France’s reasons for not being involved.

  6. Ah, if Clinton had not thought Saddam Hussein was a threat George Bush and his cronies would never have stumbled on it. But, because Clinton and his best and brightest nailed that tail on the donkey in February of 1998 there is no way that Saddam would be somehow be rid of that tail even after the missile strikes of Desert.
    As to the threat that Saddam presented and the unanimity of that threat, there was not even unanimity within the Bush administration of many of the claims made by the various members. But beyond that to consider the best guesses and errors of Clinton and the rationale and stories told by the Bush administration and consider them remotely the same is ludicrous.
    The center for public integrity counted not less than 935 lies to support Bush’s rationale for the invasion of Iraq (http://www.publicintegrity.org/2008/01/23/5641/false-pretenses). These were not the best guesses or some off-hand errors, these were intentional deceptions. Think about the statement concerning “the aluminum tubes” “they cannot be used for anything else.” That was a case of willful blindness to the dissents made by both the intelligence function of the State Department and Department of Energy specialists familiar with centrifuges, or consider the weasel wording in the 2002 State of the Union. Words that should not even have appeared in the SOTU. And then there are the stories planted on the New York Times courtesy of Judith Miller.

    Administrations sources gave Judith Miller the information and then once her story is published pointed to the story as if it were another independent source to validate a claim.
    Shortly after Miller’s article was published, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, and Donald Rumsfeld all appeared on television and pointed to Miller’s story as a contributory motive for going to war.
    We could argue the minutiae of all 935 lies and the overall conduct of the Bush administration and consider them in total. When I do that I am reminded of a short observation by Sigmund Freud.
    In order to render the strange logic of dreams, Freud quoted the old joke about the borrowed kettle: (1) I never borrowed a kettle from you, (2) I returned it to you unbroken, (3) the kettle was already broken when I got it from you. Such an enumeration of inconsistent arguments, of course, confirms exactly what it endeavors to deny—that I returned a broken kettle to you …Sigmund Freud