Rachel Maddow did an hour long special called Hubris: Selling the Iraq War that is exactly the kind of investigative journalism that the cable news networks should be doing more often. I was glad that she began with the Tonkin resolution, which was the lie on which the Vietnam war was based. The war in Iraq was started on no less audacious a set of lies. You can watch the whole thing here.
The recurring theme is the Bush administration repeatedly declaring that they had evidence that the intelligence services either disputed or explicitly rejected. Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice and George W. Bush himself went on television over and over again and said that they had convincing evidence either of a link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda or of his possession of WMDs and an active program to develop chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. In each and every case, that evidence was either highly disputed or already known to be false and unreliable.
For example, you remember all the hullabaloo over an alleged meeting between Mohammad Atta and a high-ranking Iraqi intelligence official in Czechoslovakia before 9/11? The intelligence community knew it was nonsense and told the administration that the man in the pictures was clearly not Atta. They used it anyway. Remember those famous aluminum tubes that they claimed Iraq was buying for centrifuges to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons? The Department of Energy had shown that they could not be used for that purpose a full year before the administration made their claim. And who can forget the alleged agreement to purchase yellowcake uranium from Africa? All nonsense. The CIA knew that, knew that the documents were forged and that the uranium mines there were controlled by the French, which was not about to sell yellowcake to Iraq. The Bush administration used it anyway.
The Iraq war was sold on the basis of a lie. No, of a whole bushel full of lies.
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