Last month, the Senate released a report on whether public statements regarding Iraq by U.S. officials were substantiated by intelligence information. Is this really news? I was connecting the dots on the Bush administration's campaign of deceit back in August of 2005. I'm returning to the topic now because the evidence of this keeps piling on.
In 2002, Bush was unequivocal about Iraq "seeking nuclear weapons." He stated on October 7 that "the evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program." The de facto President, Dick Cheney, was even more adamant when he said on August 26 of the same year that, "They continue to pursue the nuclear program they began so many years ago … we now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons."
Yet the intelligence of the time evidenced that Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program had been destroyed years earlier by American military strikes. The only evidence that Hussein was "reconstituting" his nuclear weapons program was the supposed uranium shopping in Africa and the aluminum tubes which were supposedly for weaponizing uranium. The uranium shopping was discounted by former Ambassador Joseph Wilson and the aluminum tubes had already been determined to not meet the tolerances required for centrifuging uranium.
Even then defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who was noted for speaking in riddles and contorting his responses, was remarkably clear when he asserted that Hussein's weapons of mass destruction facilities were underground. He told the House Armed Services Committee of those facilities on September 18, 2002, that "a good many are underground and deeply buried" and so "not … vulnerable to attack from the air." The truth of the matter, the Senate report found, was that there was no intelligence-community report that supported Rumsfeld's claim.
In spite of the report's substantial evidence that the Bush administration twisted and hyped intelligence regarding the threat Iraq posed to the U.S. before Bush invaded her, Republican Senators stonewalled the public release of the report for years. Only two of the seven Republicans on the fifteen-member Senate panel supported the report. When the five dissenting Republicans failed to prevent the release of the report, they then tried to delete most of its conclusions. The GOP clearly does not feel that Bush should be held accountable for intentionally deceiving the American people into an illegitimate, disastrous war.