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Did Bush lie? A short quiz

By Charles Bloomer
web posted August 2, 2004

Did Bush lie about WMDs in Iraq? Did Bush make up this story to justify going to war with Iraq? Was the story about WMDs in Iraq a right-wing-conservative-republican-warmonger conspiracy designed to mislead the American people?

Who made the following statements? (Answers given below)

1. "[W]e need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime. We all know the litany of his offenses. He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation. … And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction. That is why the world, through the United Nations Security Council, has spoken with one voice, demanding that Iraq disclose its weapons programs and disarm. So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but it is not new. It has been with us since the end of the Persian Gulf War." 

2. "We owe it to America's parents and our country's troops … to have our decision on going to war with Iraq informed by the latest threat assessment that cross-analyzes agency intelligence about Saddam Hussein's arsenal of weapons of mass destruction." 

3. "I think all of us are deeply concerned about the degree to which certain countries seem to be contributing to the potential of instability in the world. Obviously, there is nothing more destabilizing or threatening than weapons of mass destruction. We have spent an enormous amount of time and energy focused on Iraq …"

4. Saddam Had Used WMD And Intended "To Do So" Again.  "Saddam Hussein has already used these weapons and has made it clear that he has the intent to continue to try, by virtue of his duplicity and secrecy, to continue to do so.  That is a threat to the stability of the Middle East.  It is a threat with respect to the potential of terrorist activities on a global basis.  It is a threat even to regions near but not exactly in the Middle East." 

5. "Americans need to really understand the gravity and legitimacy of what is happening with Saddam Hussein. He has been given every opportunity in the world to comply. The president does not control the schedule of UNSCOM. The president did not withdraw the UNSCOM inspectors. And the president did not, obviously, cut a deal with Saddam Hussein to do this at this moment. Saddam Hussein has not complied. Saddam Hussein is pursuing a program to build weapons of mass destruction."

6. "One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line."

7. "Earlier today I ordered America's armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq… Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors… The international community had little doubt then, and I have no doubt today that, left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again… I have ordered a strong sustained series of air strikes against Iraq. They are designed to degrade Saddam's capacity to develop and deliver weapons of mass destruction and to degrade his ability to threaten his neighbors… The hard fact is that so long as Saddam remains in power he threatens the well being of his people, the peace of this region, the security of the world… He will make war on his own people. And mark my words; he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them and he will use them."

8. "Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here, for the risk that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face, and it is a threat against which we must and will stand firm."

9. "When I vote to give the president of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security…."

10. "We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."

11. "In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al-Qaeda members ... It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."

12. "There is no doubt that ... Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies."

13. "Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process. The responsibility of the United States in this conflict is to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, to minimize the danger to our troops and to diminish the suffering of the Iraqi people."

14. "Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."

15. "I think Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction are a threat, and that's why I voted to hold him accountable and to make certain that we disarm him. I think we need to, but it's not September 11th, folks, and the fact is that what we've learned is that the war on terror is much more of an intelligence operation and a law enforcement operation."

This is only 15 quotes, yet there are many, many more.

If Bush lied about WMDs, how did he pull it off? How did he convince so many American people that his lie was true?

In addition to intelligence gathered by the CIA regarding, at least 3 other intelligence agencies came to the same conclusion – Britain, Italy, and Isreal. Did Bush convince the CIA and three other countries' intelligence agencies to support his lie? What about Egypt and Jordan? Both of these countries warned General Tommy Franks that Iraq possessed and would use chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons against US troops. Did Bush twist their arms?

How did Bush get Congress to authorize the use of force against Iraq? Did he coerce the members of congress, of which a majority voted to authorize force against Iraq, to go along with his lie?

Colin Powell wrote in The Washington Post,

One year ago, when President Bush brought his concerns about Iraq to the United Nations, he made it plain that his principal concern in a post-Sept. 11 world was not just that a rogue regime such as Saddam Hussein's had WMD programs, but that such horrific weapons could find their way out of Iraq into the arms of terrorists who would have even fewer compunctions about using them against innocent people across the globe.

In the interim report, Kay and his team record the chilling fact that they "found people, technical information and illicit procurement networks that if allowed to flow to other countries and regions could accelerate global proliferation." …

President Bush was right: This was an evil regime, lethal to its own people, in deepening material breach of its Security Council obligations, and a threat to international peace and security. Hussein would have stopped at nothing until something stopped him. It's a good thing that we did.

Now read the answers to the quiz. It should make you reconsider whether or not Bush lied about WMDs.


1. (Senator John Kerry, Remarks At Georgetown University, Washington, DC, 1/23/03)
2. (Faye Bowers, "Iraq's Pursuit Of Nuclear Weapons Called ‘Unrelenting'," [Salt Lake City] Deseret News, 9/18/02)
3. (Senator John Kerry, Congressional Record, 9/11/00) In 2000, After Eight Years On Intelligence Committee, Kerry Cited Threat Of Iraq's WMD.
4. (Senator John Kerry, Press Conference, 2/23/98)
5. (Senator John Kerry, Press Conference, 12/16/98)
6. ("US: [Bill] Clinton Says Diplomatic Solution Preferable In Iraq," AAP Newsfeed, 2/5/98)
7. ("Text Of Clinton Statement On Iraq Attack," Agence France Presse, 12/17/98)
8. ("Secretary Of State Madeleine Albright, Secretary Of Defense William Cohen And National Security Adviser Sandy Berger Participate In Town Hall Meeting," Federal News Service, 2/18/98)
9. (Sen. John Kerry, Congressional Record, 10/9/02, p. S10174)
10. ("Remarks By Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) At The Johns Hopkins School Of Advanced International Studies," Federal News Service, 9/27/02)
11. (Sen. Hillary Clinton, Congressional Record, 10/10/02, p. S10288)
12. (Sen. Bob Graham And Others, Letter To President George W. Bush, 12/5/01 as quoted in Dennis Jenkins, Letter To The Editor, The Bellingham Herald, 10/2/03)
13. (Rep. Nancy Pelosi, "Statement On U.S. Led Military Strike Against Iraq," Press Release, 12/16/98)
14. ("Text Of Remarks By Former Vice President Al Gore At The Commonwealth Club, San Francisco," Federal News Service, 9/23/02)
15. (Sen. John Kerry As Quoted On NPR's "All Things Considered," 3/19/03)

Charles Bloomer is a Senior Writer for Enter Stage Right. He can be contacted at clbloomer@enterstageright.com. © 2004 Charles Bloomer

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