Another Day, Another Lie Exposed

Ken AshfordIraqLeave a Comment

The constant drumbeat of misdoings just continues:

On May 29, 2003, 50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. and Kurdish troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile "biological laboratories." He declared, "We have found the weapons of mass destruction."

The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was hailed at the time as a vindication of the decision to go to war. But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true.

A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq — not made public until now — had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president’s statement.

The three-page field report and a 122-page final report three weeks later were stamped "secret" and shelved. Meanwhile, for nearly a year, administration and intelligence officials continued to publicly assert that the trailers were weapons factories.

Think Prgoress catalogues some of those public statements lies by members of the Bush Administration.

Tom Tomorrow asks "a serious question for conservatives":

Why do you still believe anything this administration says? How many times do you have to be shown that pretty much everything they tell you is a lie before you stop trusting them? Seriously, do you have some kind of mental disorder, or are you just not very smart? (Or do you understand that it’s all bullshit, but don’t care?)

Mahablog: "As I recall, Saddam Hussein had the same deal going with his weapons scientists. They’d tell him what he wanted to hear so they could keep their jobs. This sort of thing is not supposed to happen with the government of a free nation."

Shakespeare’s Sister looks at righty reactions and spin.

UPDATE:  Tapped reports that Howard Dean is all over this, asking the Bush Administration to declassify the document in question.  What possible reason can the Bush Administration give to avoid declassification — especially since (a) they’ve just launched a blitzkreig about how important it is to declassify documents to "inform the public"; and (b) the war against Saddam (as opposed to the rebuilding of Iraq) is over?

FURTHER UPDATE:  Get this.  On the subject of declassifying the document, Scotty McClellan today said this:

I think the CIA will tell you — and I spoke to them earlier today — that a finished product like this, a white paper like this, takes coordination, it takes debating, it takes vetting, and it’s not something that they will tell you turns on a dime. It’s a complex intelligence white paper and it’s … one derived from highly classified information takes a substantial amount of time to coordinate and to run through a declassification process. And they will tell you this.

So, when it comes to discrediting Joe Wilson, classifed information can be turned into declassified information through a mere presidential wave of the hand and a game of telephone tag to underlings.  But when it comes to information which may discredit the Bush Administration, it takes a "substantial amount of time".

FINAL UPDATE (maybe):  This is funny.  Scotty is angry at the media for reporting the story that the mobile labs were not weapons of mass destruction, and — get this — the media should apologize.  Think Progress writes:

McClellan’s complaint is that the Washington Post and others suggest that President Bush may have known about the report before he made definitive statements that the trailers were for the purpose of building biological weapons.

When McClellan was asked when the White House became aware of the Pentagon field report, however, McClellan couldn’t say. He told the press corps “I’m looking into that matter” but the answer was “not the point.”