Tuesday, January 22, 2008

IF WE HAD A NORMAL POLITICAL DISCOURSE...

UPDATE: The NY Times covers it. UPDATE 2: AOL includes it in TOP NEWS

The Downing Street Memos would've been the end of the criminal Bush regime so I don't expect much to come from the newest revelation about how we were lied into a war with Iraq.

Here are links to this story on Yahoo News, The Guardian, and MyWay. You can find a summary of the report here.

Study: False Statements Preceded War
Jan 22, 11:13 PM (ET)
By DOUGLASS K. DANIEL


WASHINGTON (AP) - 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 Web site of the Center for Public Integrity, which worked with the Fund for Independence in Journalism.

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-Qaida or both.

"It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al-Qaida," 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-Qaida, 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-Qaida.

"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.

4 comments:

ChenZhen said...

Well, the Bush defenders will put up similar statements from Dems and others about Iraq's WMDs, so I think you're right, but for the wrong reason.

The thing with the DSM that most people miss, however, was not the "fixing facts around the policy", but rather the revelation of the bigger lie, in that Bush was not interested in a peaceful solution (contrary to what he was saying publicly at the time). That's the lie. People can debate on who said (or believed) what about WMD's until they're blue in the face, but at the end of the day all the hyping or distorting of whatever intelligence was available was just part of the dog and pony show.

Steve J. said...

CHEN -

Yes, that the original lie, the WMD lies were just to support it.

ChenZhen said...

Since it obviously wasn't proven that the statements on WMD's weren't true until afterwards, you have to be careful to make the distinction between deliberate lies, intentional misleading, or simply being wrong. It can be any of the above, but I've always leaned toward "intentionally misleading".

Anyway, I guess the point I'm making is that this is revisiting it all over again. Everyone knows about the statements and that there were many of them, so while having statistical data on an actual number may serve to quantify the scale, it doesn't really break new ground.

It's a lot harder to call the WMD statements "lies" with a high degree of certainty, and I feel that the attempt to shifts the focus away from the overshadowing one.

Steve J. said...

CHEN -

Colin Powell said some of the information was "deliberately misleading."