Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Another Bush Administration Lie: ``We have found the weapons of mass destruction.''

Reuters breaksdown Bush's false statement in May of 2003 that: ``We have found the weapons of mass destruction.''

Bush was refering to two trailers found in Iraq as biological weapons facilities.

Yet, those investigating the trailers had unequivocally determined two days earlier that the trailers were not mobile weapons labs.

Of course, the reports regarding these trailers remain classified. Bush apparently is not-so-much interested on the truth when it hurts.

Expect the Bush apologists on the right to claim ignorance as a defense. Of course, if you used the right's parsing in favor of Bush, you could never call anyone a liar. Funny thing how they seem to use the term all the time then.

UPDATED: Here's Bush's full statement in May of 2003 of finding mobile weapons labs in Iraq:

We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories. You remember when Colin Powell stood up in front of the world, and he said, Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons. They're illegal. They're against the United Nations resolutions, and we've so far discovered two. And we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them.

The Bush Apologista are arguing that there were others who were taking the position that the trailers were, in fact, weapons labs (though we don't know who or whether they, in fact, were making any disclaimers or equivocating themselves) --- the issue was "hotly debated" they point out. But that's not what Bush said --- he says unequivocally that the trailers were biological labs and that the critics then saying the bio labs have not been found are wrong. It is not that hard to understand --- if you take a disputed issue and state it as established fact, you are lying. If you unequivocally say somebody is wrong when you possess evidence that they may be right, you are lying.

Moreover, when the final report came out three weeks later, Bush never steps up and corrects his false statement but allows it to stay out there to be repeated over and over again in the blogosphere by the Bush Apologista at that time. I remember it well.

Here's a proposal to get fully to the bottom of this issue --- Bush claims that he believes in declassifying to get at the truth, well give us all the prelimibnary reports as well as the final one and let us determine the full extent of Bush's duplicity here.


  • Although the docs that substantiate
    the 'lies' are classified, it is time
    for many to stop overdosing on the
    absinthe and recognize the possibility
    of fire when there is so much smoke.

    By Blogger Semanticleo, at 7:30 AM  

  • Or perhaps it's time for people to stop creating smoke and claiming that there's a fire. Note that the 12th paragraph of the article tells us that two other investigating teams thought that they were mobile bio weapons labs:

    Intelligence analysts involved in high-level discussions about the trailers noted that the technical team was among several groups that analyzed the suspected mobile labs throughout the spring and summer of 2003. Two teams of military experts who viewed the trailers soon after their discovery concluded that the facilities were weapons labs, a finding that strongly influenced views of intelligence officials in Washington, the analysts said. "It was hotly debated, and there were experts making arguments on both sides," said one former senior official who spoke on the condition that he not be identified.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:50 AM  

  • The above was me.

    By Anonymous geoff, at 7:51 AM  

  • In addition, we now see that Fitzgerald's "Key Judgement" statement has been retracted, completely invalidating the Why Leak Instead of Openly Declassify? To Deceive post. Not that it was valid in the first place.

    It is this eagerness to presume guilt that I find less than patriotic and objective. Time after time these extreme accusations dissolve under scrutiny. When is the left going to exercise more caution and integrity before jumping on these get-Bush issues?

    There are plenty of legitimate reasons to criticize the adminstration, and myriad constructive ways to do it. But the constant drumbeat of ridiculous stories is smothering any chance to discuss real issues.

    By Anonymous geoff, at 7:58 AM  

  • "I queried Powell at a reception following a talk he gave in Los Angeles on Monday. Pointing out that the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate showed that his State Department had gotten it right on the nonexistent Iraq nuclear threat, I asked why did the president ignore that wisdom in his stated case for the invasion?

    "The CIA was pushing the aluminum tube argument heavily and Cheney went with that instead of what our guys wrote," Powell said. And the Niger reference in Bush's State of the Union speech? "That was a big mistake," he said. "It should never have been in the speech. I didn't need Wilson to tell me that there wasn't a Niger connection. He didn't tell us anything we didn't already know. I never believed it."

    When I pressed further as to why the president played up the Iraq nuclear threat, Powell said it wasn't the president: "That was all Cheney." A convenient response for a Bush family loyalist, perhaps, but it begs the question of how the president came to be a captive of his vice president's fantasies."

    --Robert Scheer---

    I guess we can add Powell to the
    unpatriotic members of the anti-Bush
    crowd, along with Shinsecki, Zinni,
    Murtha et al.

    One of the largest varmints in the
    Bush problem cage is; credibility.

    Classifying the kitty litter and
    declassifying selective docs that
    support his position is very like
    the example Geoff provides to,
    ironically, prove his point.

    They select, then elect. That is
    their SOP. What is it you don't

    By Blogger Semanticleo, at 8:50 AM  

  • Geoff, this "eagerness to see guilt" is not borne from tje unbridled biasness that you seem to suspect, but rather an objective response to what the wise know to be a fundamentally dishonest chimp. I am not sorry if you consider that unpatriotic. Bearshaft

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:51 AM  


    By Blogger Semanticleo, at 11:57 AM  

  • but rather an objective response to what the wise know to be a fundamentally dishonest chimp.

    This is exactly what I'm talking about: the framework is already established and you're force-fitting the facts into it. That's the opposite of objective inquiry. You can't start with the proposition that you have "a fundamentally dishonest chimp" and claim that you're being objective. And that's why time after time the liberal narrative fails.

    It's too bad. A strong center-left platform could destroy the GOP this year and in 2008, and it could have buried it in 2004. But this sort of silliness has crippled the cause.

    You're making Bush look very smart.

    By Anonymous geoff, at 12:46 PM  

  • And as to Bush's self-incriminating statement, I'm sure it was based on this (from the WaPo article):

    A day after the team's report was transmitted to Washington -- May 28, 2003 -- the CIA publicly released its first formal assessment of the trailers, reflecting the views of its Washington analysts. That white paper, which also bore the DIA seal, contended that U.S. officials were "confident" that the trailers were used for "mobile biological weapons production."

    The *DIA*, who was the sponsor of the oh-so-incriminating 3rd team's report, and who was the agency who received the report before Bush's speech, agreed with the CIA's assessment. Note that these individual reports don't generally leave an agency until they've been incorporated into an agency-approved intelligence product. The *agency* determination that the trailers weren't mobile bio weapons lab evolved over the summer. By early August, although there were *still* some disputes internally, the DIA briefed the administration and released the revised assessment to the public (see NYT, 8/9/03).

    This story is, like so many others, going nowhere. And it ought to create embarrassment amongst all the liberal bloggers who picked it up, and all the liberal readers who started salivating. I suppose that's not likely...

    By Anonymous geoff, at 1:09 PM  

  • Geoff,

    You're all over the place as usual.

    Are you saying Bush was unaware of the unequivocal DIA report that the trailers were not weapons labs? McClellan didn't even go that far today.

    I would hope that you are also aware that the Defense Dept (Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld) and CIA (Tenet) also had politicos who were furiously spinning at this time. Are you suggesting Bush couldn't see through their bullshit?

    Bush's statement contains no equivocation --- none. He, in fact, slams any critic that would disagree. I haven't seen McClellan argue that he was mislead as to the evidence in the report or even that he was unaware that experts in the DIA had said exactly the opposite of what he was claiming without qualification.

    I'm with you --- let's determine exactly who in the CIA and DoD were suggesting these trailers were weapons labs. They then need to be held accountable, right?

    WRONG --- you don't give a shit about that. You only want to make whatever argument you think you can get away with to protect Bush.

    Regardless of whether it was a lie, you don't dispute that Bush's statement was false. Yet, you have no interest in determining exactly how such a blatant falsehood could come out of the mouth of your President. Your "objectivity" is to just sweep it under the rug.

    By Blogger Macswain, at 2:55 PM  

  • Where to start? Maybe here:

    You're all over the place as usual.

    At least I don't have the pleasure
    of having all of my warmed-over firedoglake posts unequivocally discredited within days.

    Now let's turn to Bush in the hopes that some small rational impulse will cause you to quit distorting the evidence and acting like some DIA field team had a hotline to Bush's desk. Here's the timeline as I've been able to reconstruct it:

    late April/early May 2003: 2 Teams report that the trailers are mobile bio weapons lab. DIA sends follow-up team.
    27 May 2003: DIA field team sends report summary to DIA.
    28 May 2003: CIA/DIA publish report saying that they are weapons labs.
    29 May 2003: Bush announces that they are weapons labs.
    2 June 2003: State Dept. intelligence disagrees with assessment in a classified memo to Powell.
    7 June 2003: Judith Miller reports on dissenting views in the NYT.
    ~18 June 2003: Final report from DIA field team arrives at DIA. This will be evaluated internally and contrasted against other reports to formulate a new agency position.
    25 June 2003: State Dept. dissenting view leaked to the NYT.
    26 June 2003: Richard Boucher, State Dept. spokesman, soft-peddles the dissenting view.
    July 2003: Various 3rd party investigators make their claims, casting further doubt on the use of the trailers.
    9 August 2003: NYT publishes an article saying that the CIA and DIA stand by the original report, that the engineering report wasn't available when the original report was drafted, and that there are "deep divisions" within the DIA over the use of the labs.
    [I previously said that DIA had released a revised assessment to the public - that was incorrect, it was a leak, and the revised assessment was really just a growing internal consensus].
    2 Oct 2003David Kay tells reporters that lab use is questionable.
    22 Jan 2004Cheney gives interview on NPR where he states that "we believe" that labs are mobile bio weapons facilities. He is challenged in the following days by the LAT and WaPo.
    5 Feb 2004: Tenet gives a speech where he states:
    Let me also talk about the trailers discovered in Iraq last summer. We initially concluded that they resembled trailers described by a human source for mobile biological warfare agent production today. There is no consensus within our community over whether the trailers were for that use or if they were used for the production of hydrogen. Everyone agrees they are not ideally configured for either process, but could be made to work in either mode.
    4 Mar 20043 foreign participants in the Iraq Survey Group resign because they say the CIA won't admit that "that the alleged mobile biological weapons labs found by US forces in April and May of 2003 were in fact designed to produce hydrogen, not biological weapon agents."
    30 Sep 2004: CIA releases report stating that trailers were *not* mobile bio weapons labs.

    So Macswain says "Bush lied" in his May statement. That is clearly nonsense. Cheney was overboard when he clung to the claim in January '04 (though he did use a weasel word), but claiming that Bush lied in May '03 is a willful self-deception.

    By Anonymous geoff, at 8:38 PM  

  • Geoff:

    Your specific points aside, do you think Bush is performing adequately as president?

    By Anonymous webhub, at 9:12 PM  

  • Aw gee, this guy put together a much better timeline than I did.

    Your specific points aside, do you think Bush is performing adequately as president?

    I think Bush has many, many problems in his handling of the budget, immigration, homeland security, staffing of government agencies, intelligence agencies, relationship with the Senate and Congress, and communications with the public (the source of this problem appears to be genetic). I think he's had some decent ideas, but has shown little follow-through or imagination in responding to problems that arise after his ideas are set in motion.

    I've got no particular love for Bush: I didn't vote for Bush the first time, and I wouldn't have voted for him the last time if the Dems had put up somebody credible. But these silly accusations detract from decent, productive debate over the real issues.

    By Anonymous geoff, at 9:22 PM  

  • Geoff,

    Nice try ... maybe next time you should try answering my questions instead of avoiding them.

    Let's start over ... I'll try and write really slow ...

    Was ... Bush ... unaware of ... the
    DIA Report ... that unequivocally found ... the trailers ... were NOT ... mobile weapons labs?

    By Blogger Macswain, at 10:33 PM  

  • :Was ... Bush ... unaware of ... the DIA Report ... that unequivocally found ... the trailers ... were NOT ... mobile weapons labs?

    I thought that was obvious from the timeline and the preceding comments, but if you need it spelled out for you, here it is. There's no way a field report got from Iraq to Bush's desk in two days. Got it? There's no way that report would get to the Executive Office without being vetted all the way to the top of DIA. Note that it didn't go anywhere within DIA in that timeframe, since they released their report with no reservations the following day.


    Do you understand that there is no BatPhone from the field to Bush's desk? That the report had to through four or five orgnizational layers before it ever hit Bush's desk? Not to mention that he was in Poland when he gave the speech on May 30? Do you understand that the report would have required analysis and interpretation by the DIA home team before it went anywhere? And that the home team wouldn't really start until the final report was delivered?

    I guess not.

    Well, I've wasted enough time with this nonsense. You can have the last word, and I'll move on. A week from now this, like all the other ginned-up "scandals," will be just another ugly stain on the liberals' track record. You really couldn't try any harder to reverse Bush's decline in the polls.

    By Anonymous geoff, at 2:41 AM  

  • That you seriously believe the WH would not know about a report from the one on-the-scene, hands-on expperts during the time they were frantically seeking info on the WMD reveals everything we need to know about your blind partisanship.

    If your view was correct, somebody would've been handed their ass for secreting this info from Bush.

    Batphone? Are you batshit crazy that you don't understand the vast modern means of communication especially available to the WH.

    And what the fuck needed to be determined, weighted or vetted regarding a unanimous finding from the experts on-hand that the trailers were not bio-weapons labs? So much, if your nonsensical view were believed, for the plain spoken Bush administration that cuts through the bureaucracy and red-tape.

    "Uhm ... Mr. President ... sorry to disturb you but ... the on-hand experts have determined the trailers are not bio-weapons labs."

    Vet that.

    By Blogger Macswain, at 10:51 AM  

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