Monday, July 21, 2008

Bush Lied, Knew He Was Lying, Thought It Was Funny, and Killed Over a Million People

By David Swanson

Borrowing heavily from Congressman Dennis Kucinich's articles of impeachment, but adding and removing bits and pieces, here's a case against the current occupant of the White House:

In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution "to take care that the laws be faithfully executed," intentionally misled Congress to obtain authorization for the use of force against Iraq and used that fraudulently obtained authorization to commit US troops to combat.

Long before the March 19, 2003, invasion of Iraq, a wealth of intelligence informed the President and those under his direction and control that Iraq's stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons had been destroyed well before 1998 and that there was little, if any, credible intelligence that showed otherwise. As reported in the Washington Post in March of 2003, in 1995, Saddam Hussein's son-in-law Hussein Kamel had informed U.S. and British intelligence officers that "all weapons—biological, chemical, missile, nuclear were destroyed."

In September 2002, the Defense Intelligence Agency issued a report that concluded: "A substantial amount of Iraq's chemical warfare agents, precursors, munitions and production equipment were destroyed between 1991 and 1998 as a result of Operation Desert Storm and UNSCOM actions…[T]here is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons or whether Iraq has-or will-establish its chemical warfare agent production facilities." The main source of the President's claims that Iraq was producing biological weapons was an informant code-named Curveball by his German interrogators, who had informed the Bush Administration that Curveball was not "psychologically stable," was a heavy drinker, had had a mental breakdown, was "crazy," and was "probably a fabricator."

On or about September 12, 2001, former terrorism advisor Richard Clarke personally informed the President that neither Saddam Hussein nor Iraq was responsible for the September 11th attacks. On September 18, Clarke submitted to the President's National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice a memo he had written in response to George W. Bush's specific request that stated: (1) the case for linking Hussein to the September 11th attacks was weak; (2) only anecdotal evidence linked Hussein to al Qaeda; (3) Osama Bin Laden resented the secularism of Saddam Hussein; and (4) there was no confirmed reporting of Saddam Hussein cooperating with Bin Laden on unconventional weapons.

Ten days after the September 11th attacks the President received a President's Daily Briefing which indicated that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the September 11th attacks and that there was "scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda."

In Defense Intelligence Terrorism Summary No. 044-02, issued in February 2002, the United States Defense Intelligence Agency cast significant doubt on the possibility of a Saddam Hussein- Al Qaeda conspiracy: "Saddam's regime is intensely secular and is wary of Islamic revolutionary movements. Moreover, Baghdad is unlikely to provide assistance to a group it cannot control."

The October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) gave a "Low Confidence" rating to the notion of whether "in desperation Saddam would share chemical or biological weapons with Al Qaeda." The CIA never informed the President that there was an operational relationship between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein; on the contrary, its most "aggressive" analysis contained in "Iraq and al-Qaeda-Interpreting a Murky Relationship" dated June 21, 2002, was that Iraq had had "sporadic, wary contacts with al Qaeda since the mid-1990s rather than a relationship with al Qaeda that has developed over time."

The October 2002 NIE concluded that "Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or CBW against the United States, fearing that exposure of Iraqi involvement would provide Washington a stronger case for making war. Iraq probably would attempt clandestine attacks against the US Homeland if Baghdad feared an attack that threatened the survival of the regime were imminent or unavoidable." This statement was not included in the declassified shortened version of the NIE that was used to mislead the Congress. Other changes to the declassified version included removing dissenting paragraphs and footnotes, and removing phrases such as "We judge that..." and "We assess that..." and "Although we have little specific information on Iraq's CW stockpile..." in order to transform speculation into fact. Other phrases were added in the declassification process, including the phrase "including potentially against the U.S. homeland."

Notwithstanding the absence of evidence proving that weapons stockpiles existed and in direct contradiction to substantial evidence that showed they did not exist, the President and his subordinates and agents made numerous false representations claiming with certainty that Iraq possessed chemical and biological weapons that it was developing to use to attack the United States, including these:

(1) "In defiance of the United Nations, Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons." Speech of President Bush, October 5, 2002.

(2) "All the world has now seen the footage of an Iraqi Mirage aircraft with a fuel tank modified to spray biological agents over wide areas. Iraq has developed spray devices that could be used on unmanned aerial vehicles with ranges far beyond what is permitted by the Security Council. A UAV launched from a vessel off the American coast could reach hundreds of miles inland." Statement by President Bush from the White House, February 6, 2003.

Despite overwhelming intelligence in the form of statements and reports filed by and on behalf of the CIA, the State Department and the IAEA, among others, which indicated that the claim was untrue, the President, and those under his direction and control, made numerous representations claiming and implying through misleading language that Iraq was attempting to purchase uranium from Niger in order to falsely buttress its argument that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program, including:

(1) "The regime has the scientists and facilities to build nuclear weapons, and is seeking the materials needed to do so." Statement of President Bush from White House, October 2, 2002.

(2) "The [Iraqi] report also failed to deal with issues which have arisen since 1998, including: . . attempts to acquire uranium and the means to enrich it." Letter from President Bush to Vice President Cheney and the Senate, January 20, 2003.

(3) "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." President Bush Delivers State of the Union Address, January 28, 2003.

Despite overwhelming evidence in the form of reports by nuclear weapons experts from the Energy, the Defense and State Departments, as well from outside and international agencies which assessed that aluminum tubes the Iraqis were purchasing were not suitable for nuclear centrifuge use and were, on the contrary, identical to ones used in rockets already being manufactured by the Iraqis, the President, and those under his direction and control, persisted in making numerous false and fraudulent representations implying and stating explicitly that the Iraqis were purchasing the tubes for use in a nuclear weapons program, including the following:

(1) "Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production." President Bush's State of the Union Address, January 28, 2003.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report on Whether Public Statements Regarding Iraq By U.S. Government Officials Were Substantiated By Intelligence Information, which was released on June 5, 2008, concluded that:

(1) "Statements by the President and Vice President prior to the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate regarding Iraq's chemical weapons production capability and activities did not reflect the intelligence community's uncertainties as to whether such production was ongoing."

(2) "The Secretary of Defense's statement that the Iraqi government operated underground WMD facilities that were not vulnerable to conventional airstrikes because they were underground and deeply buried was not substantiated by available intelligence information."

(3) Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Jay Rockefeller concluded: "In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent. As a result, the American people were led to believe that the threat from Iraq was much greater than actually existed."

Notwithstanding the complete absence of intelligence analysis to support a claim that Iraq posed an imminent or urgent threat to the United States and the intelligence community's assessment that Iraq was in fact not likely to attack the United States unless it was itself attacked, President Bush, both personally and through his agents and subordinates, made, allowed and caused to be made repeated false representations to the citizens and Congress of the United States implying and explicitly stating that such a dire threat existed, including the following:

(1) "States such as these [Iraq, Iran and North Korea] and their terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic." President Bush's State of the Union Address, January 29, 2002.

(2) "The history, the logic, and the facts lead to one conclusion: Saddam Hussein's regime is a grave and gathering danger. To suggest otherwise is to hope against the evidence. To assume this regime's good faith is to bet the lives of millions and the peace of the world in a reckless gamble. And this is a risk we must not take." Address of President Bush to the United Nations General Assembly, September 12, 2002.

(3) "On its present course, the Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency. . . . it has developed weapons of mass death." Statement of President Bush at White House, October 2, 2002.

(4) "Today the world is also uniting to answer the unique and urgent threat posed by Iraq. A dictator who has used weapons of mass destruction on his own people must not be allowed to produce or possess those weapons. We will not permit Saddam Hussein to blackmail and/or terrorize nations which love freedom." Speech by President Bush to Prague Atlantic Student Summit, November 20, 2002.

(5) "But the risk of doing nothing, the risk of the security of this country being jeopardized at the hands of a madman with weapons of mass destruction far exceeds the risk of any action we may be forced to take." President Bush Meets with National Economic Council at White House, February 25, 2003.

While the President noticeably avoided the word "imminent," which might have prompted requests for evidence, he frequently used equivalent phrases, such as "on any given day," "before the day of horror can come, before it is too late to act," "the danger is already significant, and it only grows worse with time," "each passing day could be the one," etc.

In furtherance of his fraudulent effort to deceive Congress and the citizens of the United States into believing that Iraq and Saddam Hussein posed an imminent threat to the United States, the President allowed and authorized those acting under his direction and control, including Vice President Richard B. Cheney, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and Lewis Libby, who reported directly to both the President and the Vice President, among others, to pressure intelligence analysts to tailor their assessments and to create special units outside of, and unknown to, the intelligence community in order to secretly obtain unreliable information, to manufacture intelligence, or to reinterpret raw data in ways that would support the Bush administration's plan to invade Iraq based on a false claim of urgency despite the lack of justification for such a preemptive action.

Former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke said on "Good Morning America" in 2004 that on September 12, 2001, "The President in a very intimidating way left us - me and my staff - with the clear indication that he wanted us to come back with the word that there was an Iraqi hand behind 9/11." Vice President Richard Cheney made several unprecedented visits to the CIA to pressure analysts. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, at an August 2002 meeting of the Defense Intelligence Agency, criticized the CIA for not finding a link between Hussein and Al Qaeda. Robin Raphel, a veteran of the State Department's Foreign Service, David Dunford, a State Department Middle East specialist, Richard Kerr, former deputy director of the CIA, Kenneth Pollack, a Clinton Administration National Security official, and Paul Pillar, retired CIA agent, are among those who have testified to White House pressure on intelligence analysts to make a case for war on Iraq. This determination to fix the facts around the policy of invasion is also documented in the minutes of a July 23, 2002, meeting hosted by the Prime Minister of Britain Tony Blair, known as the Downing Street Minutes, and in a related collection of British memos.

Further evidence of the President's intention to make war a first, rather than a last, resort and to mislead the Congress and the public, is found in the British minutes of a January 31, 2003, White House meeting between President Bush and Prime Minister Blair, at a time when their public statements included claims of working to preserve peace. During this meeting, the President proposed a number of possible ways to manufacture an excuse for war, including suggesting that the United States paint U2 reconnaissance aircraft with UN colors and try to get them shot at. The President agreed to pressure the United Nations for a resolution authorizing war, but said that he would launch a war regardless of the outcome.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report on Whether Public Statements Regarding Iraq By U.S. Government Officials Were Substantiated By Intelligence Information, which was released on June 5, 2008, concluded that:

"Statements by the President and the Vice President indicating that Saddam Hussein was prepared to give weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups for attacks against the United States were contradicted by available intelligence information."

Notwithstanding his knowledge that neither Saddam Hussein nor Iraq was in any way connected to the September 11th attacks, the President allowed and authorized those acting under his direction and control, including Vice President Richard B. Cheney and Lewis Libby, who reported directly to both the President and the Vice President, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, among others, to pressure intelligence analysts to alter their assessments and to create special units outside of, and unknown to, the intelligence community in order to secretly obtain unreliable information, to manufacture intelligence or reinterpret raw data in ways that would further the Bush administration's goal of fraudulently establishing a relationship not only between Iraq and al Qaeda, but between Iraq and the attacks of September 11th.

Further, despite his full awareness that Iraq and Saddam Hussein had no relationship to the September 11th attacks, the President, and those acting under his direction and control have, since at least 2002 and continuing to the present, repeatedly issued public statements deliberately worded to mislead, words calculated in their implication to bring unrelated actors and circumstances into an artificially contrived reality thereby facilitating the systematic deception of Congress and the American people. Thus the public and some members of Congress, came to believe, falsely, that there was a connection between Iraq and the attacks of 911. This was accomplished through well-publicized statements by the Bush Administration which contrived to continually tie Iraq and 911 in the same statements of grave concern without making an explicit charge:

(1) " [If] Iraq regimes [sic] continues to defy us, and the world, we will move deliberately, yet decisively, to hold Iraq to account…It's a new world we're in. We used to think two oceans could separate us from an enemy. On that tragic day, September the 11th, 2001, we found out that's not the case. We found out this great land of liberty and of freedom and of justice is vulnerable. And therefore we must do everything we can -- everything we can -- to secure the homeland, to make us safe." Speech of President Bush in Iowa on September 16, 2002.

(2) "With every step the Iraqi regime takes toward gaining and deploying the most terrible weapons, our own options to confront that regime will narrow. And if an emboldened regime were to supply these weapons to terrorist allies, then the attacks of September 11th would be a prelude to far greater horrors." March 6, 2003, Statement of President Bush in National Press Conference.

(3) "The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11, 2001 -- and still goes on. That terrible morning, 19 evil men -- the shock troops of a hateful ideology -- gave America and the civilized world a glimpse of their ambitions. They imagined, in the words of one terrorist, that September the 11th would be the 'beginning of the end of America.' By seeking to turn our cities into killing fields, terrorists and their allies believed that they could destroy this nation's resolve, and force our retreat from the world. They have failed." May 1, 2003, Speech of President Bush on U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln.

(4) "Now we're in a new and unprecedented war against violent Islamic extremists. This is an ideological conflict we face against murderers and killers who try to impose their will. These are the people that attacked us on September the 11th and killed nearly 3,000 people. The stakes are high, and once again, we have had to change our strategic thinking. The major battleground in this war is Iraq." June 28, 2007, Speech of President Bush at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.

Notwithstanding his knowledge that there was no credible evidence of a working relationship between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda and that the intelligence community had specifically assessed that there was no such operational relationship, the President, both personally and through his subordinates and agents, has repeatedly falsely represented, both explicitly and implicitly, and through the misleading use of selectively-chosen facts, to the citizens of the United States and to the Congress that there was and is such an ongoing operational relationship, to wit:

(1) "We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade. Some al Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior al Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks. We've learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases." September 28, 2002, Weekly Radio Address of President Bush to the Nation.

(2) "[W]e we need to think about Saddam Hussein using al Qaeda to do his dirty work, to not leave fingerprints behind." October 14, 2002, Remarks by President Bush in Michigan.

(3) "We know he's got ties with al Qaeda." November 1, 2002, Speech of President Bush in New Hampshire.

(4) "Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda. Secretly, and without fingerprints, he could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop their own." January 28, 2003, President Bush's State of the Union Address.

(5) "The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11, 2001 — and still goes on. . . . [T]he liberation of Iraq . . . removed an ally of al Qaeda." May 1, 2003, Speech of President Bush on U.S. S. Abraham Lincoln

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report on Whether Public Statements Regarding Iraq By U.S. Government Officials Were Substantiated By Intelligence Information, which was released on June 5, 2008, concluded that:

(1) "Statements and implications by the President and Secretary of State suggesting that Iraq and al-Qa'ida had a partnership, or that Iraq had provided al-Qa'ida with weapons training, were not substantiated by the intelligence."

(2) "The Intelligence Community did not confirm that Muhammad Atta met an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in 2001 as the Vice President repeatedly claimed."

In order to fulfill the requirements of the Congressional Authorization to Use Force, the President was required to submit to Congress his determination that:

"(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic or other peaceful means alone either (A) will not adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq or (B) is not likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and

"(2) acting pursuant to this joint resolution is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorist and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001."

On March 18, 2003, President George Bush sent a letter and a report to Congress stating that he had made those determinations. The evidence shows that the President knew his assertions in this letter and report to be false.

At a January 31, 2003, White House press conference with Tony Blair, at which Bush and Blair did not mention their discussion of how to manufacture excuses for war, but rather claimed to be working for peace, a reporter asked "Do you believe that there is a link between Saddam Hussein, a direct link, and the men who attacked on September the 11th?" President Bush replied: "I can't make that claim."

Congress relied on the false information provided to it by the President of the United States. Congress provided the President with the authorization to use military force that he requested. As a consequence of the fraudulent representations made to the Congress, the United States Armed Forces, under the direction of George W. Bush as Commander in Chief, pursuant to Section 3 of the Authorization for the Use of Force which President Bush requested, invaded Iraq and occupy it to this day, at the cost of 4,116 lives of US service men and women, injuries to over 30,000 of our troops, the deaths of over 1,000,000 innocent Iraqi civilians, the destruction of Iraq, and a long term cost of $2 to $3 trillion of taxpayers' money.

President Bush's misrepresentations to Congress to induce passage of a use of force resolution are subversive of the Constitutional system of checks and balances, destructive of Congress' sole prerogative to declare war under Article I Section 8 of the Constitution, and therefore constitute a High Crime. An even greater offense by the President of the United States occurs in his capacity as Commander in Chief, because he knowingly placed the men and women of the United States Armed Forces in harms way, jeopardizing their lives and their families' future, for reasons the President knew to be fraudulent.

In all of these actions and decisions, President George W. Bush has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and Commander in Chief, and subversive of constitutional government, to the prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States and of those members of the Armed Forces who put their lives on the line pursuant to the falsehoods of the President. Wherefore, President George W. Bush, by such conduct, is guilty of an impeachable offense warranting removal from office.

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