U.S. President Bush addresses the media in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2008. (AP / Lawrence Jackson)
WASHINGTON -- A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks.
The study concluded that the statements "were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses."
The study was posted Tuesday on the website of the Center for Public Integrity (external - login to view), which worked with the Fund for Independence in Journalism.
White House spokesman Scott Stanzel did not comment on the merits of the study Tuesday night but reiterated the administration's position that the world community viewed Iraq's leader, Saddam Hussein, as a threat.
"The actions taken in 2003 were based on the collective judgment of intelligence agencies around the world," Stanzel said.
The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them or had links to al Qaeda or both.
"It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al Qaeda," according to Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith of the Fund for Independence in Journalism staff members, writing an overview of the study. "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."
Named in the study along with Bush were top officials of the administration during the period studied: Vice President Dick Cheney, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan.
Bush led with 259 false statements, 231 about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 28 about Iraq's links to al Qaeda, the study found. That was second only to Powell's 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq and al Qaeda.
The center said the study was based on a database created with public statements over the two years beginning on Sept. 11, 2001, and information from more than 25 government reports, books, articles, speeches and interviews.
"The cumulative effect of these false statements -- amplified by thousands of news stories and broadcasts -- was massive, with the media coverage creating an almost impenetrable din for several critical months in the run-up to war," the study concluded.
"Some journalists -- indeed, even some entire news organizations -- have since acknowledged that their coverage during those prewar months was far too deferential and uncritical. These mea culpas notwithstanding, much of the wall-to-wall media coverage provided additional, 'independent' validation of the Bush administration's false statements about Iraq," it said.
I was saying all this before, during and after the invasion that it was all BS based around lies and no evidence whatsoever, like Iran. It didn't take me 6-7 years of study and research to figure this out.
How much did this study cost I wonder, and will it have any effect on Bush and his SS Squad being held accountable and tried for war crimes?
Then again, above you hear them try and play it as though the entire world believed what they were saying and was based on various sources from other countries.... even though their own reports in those countries were actually based on what the US reported, so it's once again not their fault..... somebody give me a gun, cuz this is just getting retarded.
How many years has it taken to get this foolish report? How many years has nothing been done? How many more years will it take for things to be done right?
I can answer that a little bit. Chances are now that this came out, it's going to take another 3-4 years before it's taken seriously or they issue another study to confirm it, another 2-3 years after that report is completed for anybody to take action, but before that happens, there will be probably another 1-2 years deciding what action should be taken.
In the end when they're ready to take action, they'll decide not too, because Bush would be old and feeble by then, and they'd probably have sympathy for a former US president and not send him to jail or hang him because of his crippled old age..... so the final answer will be.....
Nothing will be done.
There I just saved everyone a few more millions in tax dollars.