“When I say I’m a patient man, I mean I’m a patient man and that we will look at all options and we will consider all technologies available to us, and diplomacy and intelligence.” George W. Bush, Press Conference, August 2002, Crawford, Texas.

Bush provided the American public and the global community with numerous pieces of misinformation and disinformation in a bid to gain support for his:

1. George W. Bush made a decision to go to war at least one year before he invaded Iraq. In March 2002, Bush told National Security Advisor Rice, “F___ Saddam. We’re taking him out.”


George Herbert Bush explained in his memoirs why he decided not to go to Baghdad and try to take out Hussein: “Trying to eliminate Saddam ...would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible ... We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq ...there was no viable “exit strategy” we could see, violating another of our principles. Furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-Cold War world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the United Nations’ mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression that we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land.”

Just days before Bush launched the invasion, Iraqi officials made a desperate attempt to avert war. A Lebanese-American businessman, Imad El-Hage, told the Associated Press that a high-level Pentagon official received a secret message. El-Hage owned a Beirut-based insurance conglomerate, American Underwriters Group, which did extensive business in Africa. (New York Times, November 6, 2003)

El-Hage said he had six meetings -- five in Beirut and one in Baghdad -- with senior Iraqi intelligence officials in the three months before the March 20 invasion. He said he believed the Iraqis he spoke to were desperate to avoid war. (New York Times, November 6, 2003)

In late 2002, the CIA was approached by Syrian intermediaries with an unusual offer that reportedly came from General Tahir Jalil Habbush, Saddam Hussein’s chief of intelligence. The Iraqis allegedly wanted to avert war and were willing to go to great lengths to appease the Bush administration, which eventually might have included permitting the deployment of United States troops in Iraq and free elections. (Newsweek, November 10, 2003)

The chief of the Iraqi Intelligence Service and other Iraqi officials told El-Hage that they wanted the Bush administration to know that Iraq no longer had WMD. He offered to let American troops and experts do an independent search. Iraqi officials also offered to hand over a man accused of being involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing who was being held in Baghdad. (New York Times, November 6, 2003)

Michael Maloof, a veteran Defense Department intelligence and export-control official. He cofounded a secret Pentagon intelligence unit that was assigned the job of investigating links between Al Qaeda operatives and secular Arab governments that conservatives have long suspected of having links to international terrorism, including the Saudis and the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein. (Newsweek, November 10, 2003)

On January 28, 2003, Maloof set up a meeting for El-Hage with Jaymie Durnan, a senior Pentagon aide to Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. Durnan confirmed he met with El-Hage and Maloof in Washington D.C. for 30 minutes. Durnan said, El-Hage claimed he could arrange for Hizbollah and the Syrian Intelligence services to “help us with Iraq.” (Newsweek, November 10, 2003)

Only hours after his meeting with Durnan, as El-Hage was attempting to board an overseas flight at Dulles Airport, he was stopped for questioning by United States customs investigators after screeners discovered the semiautomatic pistol and stun guns in his luggage. El-Hage had failed to obtain an export license for the pistol and also had failed to declare it to the airline, according to sources. Since El-Hague possessed diplomatic papers, FBI and Customs agents allowed him to return home to Lebanon. (Newsweek, November 10, 2003)

In February, internal Pentagon e-mails indicated that Durnan had sent messages to other Pentagon officials inquiring about what intelligence agencies knew about the Beirut businessman. Maloof received a message on February 19 from El-Hage saying he had just returned from meetings in Iraq with Saddam Hussein’s aides Habbush, Tariq Aziz, Amer Saadi and Naji Sabri. This message was forwarded to the Pentagon. (Newsweek, November 10, 2003),/P>

These Iraqi officials wanted a confidential meeting with a top U.S. representative to discuss Iraqi concessions including support for any Bush administration proposals for an Arab/Israel peace plan, cooperation with the United States against terrorists, and giving the United States “1st priority” (sic) for Iraqi oil rights. (Newsweek, November 10, 2003) In March – weeks before the war broke out -- Maloof arranged for El-Hage to meet in London with Pentagon advisor Richard Perle, a member of the Defense Policy Board, and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. Perle later admitted that he had met with El-Hage in 2002. Perle said that El-Hage proposed a plan to avert war. (New York Times, November 6, 2003; Newsweek, November 10, 2003),/P>

Defense Department officials said the CIA authorized Perle’s meeting with the Iraqis, but eventually told him they did not want to pursue El-Hage’s overture for peace. However, a senior United States intelligence official said CIA officials were unaware of any conversations with Perle on this subject and were unaware of any such authorization. (New York Times, November 6, 2003)

White House spokesman Scott McClellan refused to say whether the reported Iraqi effort to avert the war was brought to Bush’s attention. He said, “The United States exhausted every legitimate and credible opportunity to resolve this peacefully.” (New York Times, November 6, 2003)

In mid-April – weeks after the war broke out -- a Defense Intelligence Agency panel revoked Maloof’s high-level security clearances. The defense official had originally lost his clearances in December 2001, allegedly for failing to properly report his second marriage to a citizen of a former Soviet republic. The clearances later were restored after intervention by senior Pentagon civilians. However, Maloof had his clearances revoked for the second time, because allegedly both the CIA and DIA were angry with him for playing down Al Qaeda and for conducting “rogue operations” behind the backs of the CIA and DIA. (Newsweek, November 10, 2003)



George W. Bush hoped to pursue a unilateral policy -- to Go-it-alone’ – and topple the Saddam Hussein regime. He received only scattered support for his war. He failed to buy a coalition which his father had successfully done in 1991.

Turkey was a crucial base for United States to launch ground troops and warplanes into Iraq. Ankara needed weapons and debt relief and asked for $32 billion in grants and debt relief. Bush offered half that amount, prompting Turkey to refuse the offer. Eventually, Turkey granted “flyover” rights to the United States. For the most part, however, it came too late, as General Franks was ready to launch an Iraqi invasion from Kuwait.

Over 90 percent of Pakistanis opposed Bush’s war. General Pervez Musharraf warned that an American attack would cause more turmoil in the Muslim world.(New York Times, August 29, 2002)

Russia had an $8 billion oil contract with Iraq that provided support services and equipment. Moscow asked for a guarantee for $8 billion in expected revenue if Bush’s war negated the contract. Moscow asked for a new Baghdad government that would honor its contract. Bush vehemently opposed Russia’s planned $1-billion nuclear power plant for Iran. But after complaining that the project posed a nuclear proliferation threat, the White House finally became mute on that issue. (Los Angeles Times, October 16, 2002; Washington Post, November 22. 2002)

France also had an Iraqi oil contract which it feared would be cancelled after an American invasion. Israel asked for $4 billion in additional military assistance. Qatar needed cash to build an air base. Jordan needed long-term stability because of its high Palestinian population and its border with Iraq.

Mexican President Vincente felt abandoned by Bush. Days before 9/11, the two heads of state made great strides toward an accord that would make Mexican immigration to the United States safer and more orderly. Fox asked Bush to grant legal status to some of the millions of undocumented Mexicans who work in the United States and preferential visa status to aspiring immigrants. Bush failed to respond.

Leaders at the Arab League summit in March 2003 unanimously endorsed a strongly worded resolution opposing an attack against Iraq. Even Kuwait reconciled with Iraq since Baghdad formally recognized Kuwait’s sovereignty and international borders.

Twenty Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo in early September unanimously expressed their “total rejection of the threat of aggression on Arab nations, in particular Iraq.”


Bush and his father vacationed in Kennebunkport in August 2002. The elder Bush convinced his son to seek the approval of the Security Council before taking any military action against Iraq. Four days later, Bush told aides he had decided to go to the United Nations. A Bush associate said, “The change in the president’s attitude took place not as a result of the debate (that Republicans waged in public that month), but after he spent time in Kennebunkport. There were conversations and very in-depth conversations. ... It was interaction between the president and his father” that changed the policy. (Los Angeles Times, October 7, 2002)

George Herbert Bush appeared uneasy at the way his son ignored international opinion. The elder Bush said that charges that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction “could be debated.” He warned his son to resist his tendency to bear grudges, advising him to bridge the rift between the United States, France, and Germany: “You’ve got to reach out to the other person. You’ve got to convince them that long-term friendship should trump short-term adversity.” The elder Bush told his son that hopes of peace in the Middle East would be ruined if a war with Iraq were not backed by international unity. Bush “41” said that hope for Arab-Israeli relations under his presidency would never have happened if America had ignored the will of the United Nations. (, March 10, 2003)

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld outraged the European allies, labeling their countries “Old Europe” in view of their opposition to a quick military strike on Iraq. “You’re thinking of Europe as Germany and France. I don’t. I think that’s old Europe. If you look at the entire NATO Europe today, the center of gravity is shifting to the east. And there are a lot of new members.” (Washington Post, January 23, 2003)

Secretary of State Powell was skeptical in supporting a war against Iraq. Shortly after 9/11, Powell said he would not be pressured by hawks. But in January 2003, he capitulated to Cheney, Rumsfeld, and other White House hawks. Powell remained furious with some high-level administration officials and claimed that Rumsfeld had created diplomatic difficulties by insulting France and Germany. (New York Times, March 13, 2003)

In March 2003, Bush needed nine of the 15 members on the Security Council -- as well as all five permanent members holding single-nation veto power -- to approve his resolution for a preemptive Iraqi attack. Bush promised to call for a vote, so “we can see their cards on how they stand.” It never came. He reneged on his promise. Knowing full well that he lacked the required two-thirds vote, Bush abruptly pulled his resolution off the floor. He quickly blamed France for not supporting his war.


In February 2003, Bush told Illinois GOP Senator Peter Fitzgerald that he would probably order Saddam Hussein’s death “if we had a clear shot.” Fitzgerald said, “I have personally talked to the president about this, and if we had intelligence on where he was now, and we had a clear shot to assassinate him, we would probably do that. Bush declared that Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi leaders would be legitimate targets for United States military forces in a war. (York Times, February 25, 2003)


In June 2003, reporters from Associated Press visited 60 of Iraq’s largest hospitals and concluded at least 3,240 civilian deaths in the war. (Associated Press, June 10, 2003)  Baghdad: 1,896 (recorded at 24 hospitals)

 Najaf: 293 (four hospitals)

 Karbala: 200 (one hospital) Mosul: 118 (five hospitals)

 Samawa: 112 (two hospitals)

 Nasiriyah: 145 (three hospitals)

 Fallujah: 89 (one hospital)

 Madain: 71 (one hospital)

 Diwaniya: 61 (one hospital)

 Kut: 52 (two hospitals)

 Tikrit: 45 (one hospital)

 An additional 158 fatalities occurred in many small villages.


George W. Bush made a decision to go to war at least one year before he invaded Iraq. In March 2002, Bush told National Security Advisor Rice, “F___ Saddam. We’re taking him out.”

Bush and high-level officials bickered as to the reason to go to war, finally deciding that Iraq’s WMD threatened the United States. However, in February 2003, Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz claimed that WMD were not really the main reason for invading Iraq: “The decision to highlight weapons of mass destruction as the main justification for going to war in Iraq was taken for bureaucratic reasons. ... There were many other important factors as well.” (Vanity Fair, May 28, 2003)

Hussein Kamel, the son-in-law of Saddam, had managed Iraq’s special weapons programs and defected in 1995. Kamel testified on August 22, 1995 that Iraq’s uranium enrichment programs never resumed after the Gulf War in 1991. (Washington Post, August 10, 2003; Newsweek, March 3, 2003)

UNSCOM weapons inspector Scott Ritter insisted Iraq had destroyed its WMD and posed no threat to the Middle East or the United States. He said the manufacture of chemical and biological weapons emitted certain gases and would have been detected by satellite. (The Toronto Sun, August 25, 2002; The Nation, September 11, 2002)

In mid-2002, American analysts reported that 85 scientists at Tahhaddy laboratory were manufacturing biological weapons. The complex reportedly included test chambers, heavy security, and a viral strain code-named “Blue Nile” which resembled the Ebola virus. No such facility was uncovered after the war. (Washington Post, July 31, 2002)

In September, the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) expressed significant doubts about whether Iraq was producing and stockpiling chemical and biological weapons. According to the report -- “Iraq: Key Weapons Facilities - An Operational Support Study” -- the size of those stockpiles is uncertain and is subject to debate.” (San Jose Mercury News, June 7, 2003)

Bush claimed Iraq was planning to provide WMD to terrorist groups. On October 7, 2003 – five months before he launched his war -- Bush warned that Iraq could provide WMD to terrorists. However, the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) showed that at the time of Bush’s speech, the intelligence community was more concerned that, if attacked by the United States, Hussein might give weapons to Al Qaeda terrorists. This never occurred.

Bush claimed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report indicated that Iraq was six months from making nuclear weapons. The IAEA refuted that claim, saying Iraq was at least five years away.

Bush cited a satellite photograph and a report by the IAEA as evidence of new construction at several sites linked to the development of nuclear weapons. However, senior Bush administration official conceded that the United Nations report drew no such conclusion and that the photograph had been misinterpreted and that it was merely pictures taken by a satellite imaging company. (MSNBC, September 9, 2002; Znet, June 4, 2003)

Bush maintained that Iraq was seeking tubes to be used for centrifuges to enrich uranium for a nuclear bomb. However, the IAEA concluded it had strong evidence that Iraq was using them for conventional rockets.

Bush alleged that Hussein held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists that included three top gas centrifuge experts. However, they were not employed in the area of manufacturing nuclear weapons. One scientist operated a copper factory which extracted graphite from oil and a mechanical engineering design center at Rashidiya. (Washington Post, August 10, 2003)

Gas centrifuge experts consulted by the United States government said repeatedly for more than a year that the aluminum tubes were not suitable or intended for uranium enrichment. By December 2002, the experts said new evidence had further undermined the government's assertion. The Bush administration portrayed the scientists as a minority and emphasized that the experts did not describe the centrifuge theory as impossible. Secretary of State Powell described the use of such tubes for rockets as an implausible hypothesis, even after American analysts collected and photographed in Iraq a virtually identical tube marked with the logo of the Medusa’s Italian manufacturer and the words, in English, “81mm rocket. (Washington Post, August 10, 2003)

Bush falsely claimed that Iraq was capable of launching a chemical or biological attack in 45 minutes.

,P>Bush administration repeatedly cited Iraq’s use of chemical weapons “on his (Saddam Hussein) own people” at Halabja as a clear example of why Hussein needed to be toppled. (In These Times, December 16, 2003)

However, the New York Times reported in 2002, after Halabja, the United States government covertly increased its support of Hussein, knowing full well that “Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons” again. The story added, “The covert program was carried out at a time when President Reagan’s top aides were publicly condemning Iraq for its use of poison gas, especially after Iraq attacked Kurds in Halabja.” In addition, the Los Angeles Times reported in 1991 “that American-built helicopters were among those dropping the deadly bombs” at Halabja. (In These Times, December 16, 2003)

In January 2004, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace released a report entitled “WMD in Iraq: Evidence and Implications.” The think tank concluded that Iraq posed no imminent threat to the United States and that the Bush administration systematically misrepresented the weapons threat from Iraq. (Washington Post, January 8, 2004)

The Carnegie report also said that Iraq had dismantled its nuclear program and that no convincing evidence had emerged that it was being revived. It said Iraq’s ability to produce chemical weapons on a large scale had been destroyed by the 1991 Gulf war and by United Nations sanctions and inspections. (Washington Post, January 8, 2004)


“Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.” (Dick Cheney, speech to the VFW National Convention, August 26, 2002)

“Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.” (George W. Bush, speech to the United Nations General Assembly, September 12, 2002)

“Surveillance photos reveal that the (Iraqi) regime is rebuilding facilities that it had used to produce chemical and biological weapons. Iraq possesses ballistic missiles with a likely range of hundreds of miles -- far enough to strike Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, and other nations -- in a region where more than 135,000 American civilians and service members live and work. We’ve also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We’re concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVS for missions targeting the United States. And, of course, sophisticated delivery systems aren’t required for a chemical or biological attack; all that might be required are a small container and one terrorist or Iraqi intelligence operative to deliver it.” (George W. Bush, address to the United Nations, September 2002; Znet, June 4, 2003)

“If he declares he has none (NMD), then we will know that Saddam Hussein is once again misleading the world. “ (Ari Fleischer, Press Briefing, December 2, 2002)

“We know for a fact that there are weapons there.” (Ari Fleischer, Press Briefing, January 9, 2003)

“Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent.” (George Bush, State of the Union Address, January 28, 2003)

“While there will be no ‘smoking gun,’ we will provide evidence concerning the weapons programs that Iraq is working so hard to hide. We will, in sum, offer a straightforward, sober and compelling demonstration that Saddam is concealing the evidence of his weapons of mass destruction, while preserving the weapons themselves.” (Colin Powell in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, February 3, 2003)

“I think the reason that we know Saddam Hussein possesses chemical and biological weapons is from a wide variety of means. That’s how we know.” (White House Press Secretary Fleischer, February 3, 2003, Znet, June 4, 2003)

“We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more.” (Colin Powell, United Nations Security Council speech, February 5, 2003)

“We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have.” (George W. Bush, Radio Address, February 8, 2003)

Tim Russert asked Powell if the Bush administration knew where certain weapons in Iraq were being stored why not just send the United Nations inspectors in or destroy the facility rather than go to war. Powell responded: “Well, the inspectors eventually did go there, and by the time they got there, they were no longer active chemical bunkers.” (Meet the Press, February 9, 2003)

“So has the strategic decision been made to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction by the leadership in Baghdad? … I think our judgment has to be clearly not.” (Colin Powell, United Nations Security Council address, March 7, 2003)

“Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.” (George W. Bush, Address to the Nation, March 17, 2003)

“Well, there is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly . . . all this will be made clear in the course of the operation, for whatever duration it takes.” (Ari Fleisher, Press Briefing, March 21, 2003)

“There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. And . . . as this operation continues, those weapons will be identified, found, along with the people who have produced them and who guard them.” (General Tommy Franks, Press Conference, March 22, 2003)

“I have no doubt we're going to find big stores of weapons of mass destruction.” (Defense Policy Board member Kenneth Adelman, Washington Post, March 23, 2003),?P>

“One of our top objectives is to find and destroy the WMD. There are a number of sites.” (Pentagon Spokeswoman Victoria Clark, Press Briefing, March 22, 2003)

“We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.” (Donald Rumsfeld, ABC Interview, March 30, 2003)

“Obviously the administration intends to publicize all the weapons of mass destruction U.S. forces find -- and there will be plenty.” (Robert Kagan, Washington Post, April 9, 2003)

“I think you have always heard, and you continue to hear from officials, a measure of high confidence that, indeed, the weapons of mass destruction will be found.” (Ari Fleischer, Press Briefing, April 10, 2003)

“We are learning more as we interrogate or have discussions with Iraqi scientists and people within the Iraqi structure, that perhaps he destroyed some, perhaps he dispersed some. And so we will find them.” (George W. Bush, NBC Interview, April 24, 2003),/P>

“There are people who in large measure have information that we need . . . so that we can track down the weapons of mass destruction in that country.” (Donald Rumsfeld, Press Briefing, April 25, 2003)

“We'll find them. It'll be a matter of time to do so.” (George W. Bush, Remarks to Reporters, May 3, 2003),/P>

“I’m absolutely sure that there are weapons of mass destruction there and the evidence will be forthcoming. We’re just getting it just now. (Colin Powell, Remarks to Reporters, May 4, 2003),/P>

“We never believed that we’d just tumble over weapons of mass destruction in that country.” (Donald Rumsfeld, Fox News Interview, May 4, 2003),/P>

“I’m not surprised if we begin to uncover the weapons program of Saddam Hussein -- because he had a weapons program.” (George W. Bush, Remarks to Reporters, May 6, 2003)

“U.S. officials never expected that ‘we were going to open garages and find’ weapons of mass destruction.” (Condoleeza Rice, Reuters Interview, May 12, 2003)

“I just don’t know whether it was all destroyed years ago -- I mean, there’s no question that there were chemical weapons years ago -- whether they were destroyed right before the war, (or) whether they're still hidden.” (Major General David Petraeus, Commander 101st Airborne, Press Briefing, May 13, 2003)

“Before the war, there’s no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical. I expected them to be found. I still expect them to be found.” (General Michael Hagee, Commandant of the Marine Corps, Interview with Reporters, May 21, 2003)

“Given time, given the number of prisoners now that we're interrogating, I’m confident that we’re going to find weapons of mass destruction.” (General Richard Myers, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, NBC Today Show Interview, May 26, 2003)

“They may have had time to destroy them, and I don’t know the answer.” (Donald Rumsfeld, Remarks to the Council of Foreign Relations, May 27, 2003)

“For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction (as justification for invading Iraq) because it was the one reason everyone could agree on.” (Paul Wolfowitz, Vanity Fair Interview, May 28, 2003)

“It was a surprise to me then -- it remains a surprise to me now -- that we have not uncovered weapons, as you say, in some of the forward dispersal sites. Believe me, it’s not for lack of trying. We’ve been to virtually every ammunition supply point between the Kuwaiti border and Baghdad, but they're simply not there. (Lt. General James Conway, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, Press Interview, May 30, 2003)

“We found the weapons of mass destruction.” (George Bush, May 2003, referring to two mobile labs seized in northern Iraq)

“We took action based upon good, solid intelligence.” (George Bush)

The NIE estimate was “the product of years of reporting and intelligence collection, analyzed by numerous experts in several different agencies. … We stand behind the judgments of the NIE. … the soundness and integrity of our process.” (CIA Director Tenet, August 2003; Washington Post, August 10, 2003)

Yet high-level Republican officials in Washington refuted Bush’s claims. In interviews with reporters in July, Richard Kerr, a former CIA deputy director conducting a review of the CIA’s prewar intelligence, said that intelligence had been somewhat ambiguous. He noted that United States intelligence analysts had been forced to rely upon information from the early and mid 1990s and had possessed little hard evidence to evaluate after 1998, when IAEA and UNSCOM inspectors left Iraq. Kerr said most information from the intelligence community was “circumstantial or inferential. … less specific and detailed” than in previous years. (Washington Post, August 10, 2003)

1. Former National Security Council official Richard Clarke said that seized Iraqi documents disclosed the existence of a “crash program” to build a bomb in 1991. However, Clarke refuted Bush administration’s claims that Iraq posed a nuclear threat: “I can understand why that was a seminal experience for Cheney. And when the CIA says (in 2002), ‘We don’t have any evidence,’ his reaction is … ‘We didn’t have any evidence in 1991, either. Why should I believe you now?’ ” (Washington Post, August 10, 2003)

2. In September, Representative Porter Goss, the chairman of the House intelligence committee, and Jane Harman, the ranking Democrat on the panel, sent a letter to CIA Director Tenet that criticized the prewar intelligence for relying on outdated, “circumstantial” and “fragmentary” information, noting that the intelligence contained “too many uncertainties.” (The Nation, November 2003)

3. Senator Pat Roberts, the Republican chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said that the prewar intelligence had sometimes been “sloppy” and inconclusive. Bush, he complained, had been “ill-served by the intelligence community.” (The Nation, November 2003)


In September 2002, Bush claimed that Iraq was building a fleet of drones that were capable of reaching American soil. He said Iraq’s drones were capable of disseminating chemical and biological weapons on American troops, if Bush were to launch an invasion. Bush warned the drones could be used “for missions targeting the United States.” (Washington Post, October 22, 2002)

Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson said the Bush administration told him and 75 other senators on October 7, 2002 that Iraq not only had WMD, but it had the means to deliver them to East Coast cities. Nelson said the senators were told Iraq had both biological and chemical weapons, notably anthrax, and it could deliver them to cities along the Eastern seaboard via unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones. (Florida Today, December 15, 2003)

The Air Force refuted Bush’s claim, saying that Iraqi drones did not have that capability. (MSNBC, September 11, 2003)


Bush incorrectly charged that Hussein was involved with Bin Laden and Al Qaeda in the plotting of 9/11. No evidence corroborated that claim.

The CIA, FBI, and Czech intelligence concluded there was no evidence that a Prague meeting between September11 hijacker Mohamed Atta with an Iraqi intelligence official took place in the spring of 2000. (The Nation, September 11, 2002)

The State Department’s own annual study, Patterns of Global Terrorism, could not list any serious act of international terrorism connected to the government of Iraq. A CIA report indicated that the Iraqis were consciously avoiding any actions against the United States or its facilities abroad, presumably to deny Washington any excuse to engage in further military strikes against their country. (The Nation, September 11, 2002)

National Security advisor Rice accused Iraq of sheltering Al Qaeda members in Baghdad and helping Bin Laden’s operatives develop chemical weapons. “We clearly know that there ... have been contacts between senior Iraqi officials and members of Al Qaeda. We know too that several of the (Al Qaeda) detainees, in particular some high-ranking detainees, have said that Iraq provided some training to Al Qaeda in chemical weapons.” (PBS’ NewsHour, September 25, 2002)

On September 29, 2002, Rumsfeld reiterated Rice’s claims. The secretary of defense said, “We do have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of Al Qaeda members, including some that have been in Baghdad. We have what we consider to be very reliable reporting of senior-level contacts going back a decade, and of possible chemical- and biological-agent training.” Rumsfeld said reports of contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda had been increasing since 1998. (New York Times, September 29, 2002)

In December 2002, Bush claimed he received a credible report that Islamic extremists affiliated with Al Qaeda took possession of a chemical weapon in Iraq. The White House said government analysts suspected that the transaction involved the nerve agent VX and that a courier managed to smuggle it overland through Turkey. (Washington Post, December 12. 2002)

In 2003 -- on the second anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks -- Wolfowitz told ABC, “We know (Iraq) had a great deal to do with terrorism in general and with Al Qaeda in particular and we know a great many of Bin Laden’s key lieutenants are now trying to organize in cooperation with old loyalists from the Saddam regime.” (ABC, September 11, 2003)

The next day Wolfowitz was forced to admit it. He told Associated Press that his remarks referred not to a “great many” of Bin Laden’s lieutenants but rather to a single Jordanian, Abu Musab Zarqawi. Wolfowitz conceded, “ should have been more precise.” (Associated Press, September 13, 2003)

Wolfowitz told a Senate committee on September 16 that there was no evidence of connections between Ansar al Islam and Hussein’s regime after the United States invasion. In addition, Vincent Cannistraro, formerly the CIA’s director of counter-terrorism operations and analysis, testified before the committee: “There was no substantive intelligence information linking Saddam to international terrorism before the war. Now we’ve created the conditions that have made Iraq the place to come to attack Americans.”


Bush repeatedly claimed that, after Hussein would be toppled, democracy would be established in Iraq and eventually the rest of the Middle East would follow. Yet, all of the Middle Eastern nations -- except for the state of Israel -- had deep-seeded roots in authoritarian regimes. The establishment of democratic institutions in the Middle East had failed in nearly every country. Iraq was home to three diverse groups: Kurds, Sunnis, and Shi’ites. The democratization of Iraq would lead to a nationalistic anti-American society in which American economic interests would be excluded.

The State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research report expressed doubt that installing a new regime in Iraq would foster the spread of democracy. The report indicated significant divisions within the Bush administration over his so-called “democratic domino theory.” (Los Angeles Times, March 14, 2003)

Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz said that Iraq could be “the first Arab democracy” and that even modest democratic progress in Iraq would “cast a very large shadow, starting with Syria and Iran but across the whole Arab world.” (Los Angeles Times, March 14, 2003)

Richard Perle, chairman of the Defense Policy Board, said that a reformed Iraq “has the potential to transform the thinking of people around the world about the potential for democracy, even in Arab countries where people have been disparaging of their potential.” (Los Angeles Times, March 14, 2003)

The Bush administration groomed Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress (INS) as president of the new Iraq. In the 1990s, Chalabi was indicted in absentia by a Syria court for embezzlement. In 2002, Chalabi stated that he had no ambition to become president.


Bush claimed that Americans would be safer from terror on United States soil once the Hussein regime was toppled.

Bush insisted that Hussein had to be removed in order to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian issue. However, violence in Israel and the Occupied Territories escalated after Bush declared victory in Iraq.

Yet, Iraq’s armed forces were barely one-third their pre-Gulf War strength. A large chunk of its weapons had been destroyed after Gulf War I. Iraq’s navy was virtually nonexistent, and its air force was just a fraction of what it was before the war. Military spending by Iraq was estimated at barely one-tenth of what it was in the 1980s. The Bush administration was unable to explain why in 2002 -- with Iraq at a tiny percentage of his once-formidable military capability -- was considered such a threat that war was mandatory.


CIA Director George Tenet said that an attack on Iraq would increase terrorism and that Baghdad would be more likely to use any weapons of mass destruction it might have in its arsenal.

Bush ignored an October 2002 24-page CIA report, warning that a postwar Hussein would lead to country-wide terror and guerrilla attacks. (Newsweek, October 6, 2003)

Intelligence officials charged that Cheney and his chief of staff made numerous trips to the CIA to question analysts studying Iraq’s weapons programs and alleged links to Al Qaeda. The CIA claimed that the Bush administration created an environment in which some analysts felt they were being pressured to make their assessments jive with the Bush administration’s policy objectives. (Washington Post, June 5, 2003)


False claims that Iraq was selling uranium to Iraq. Bush claimed in his February 2003 State of the Union that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger. Eventually, on June 8, National Security Advisor Rice admitted that Bush had used a forged document in his State of the Union speech to prove Iraq represented a nuclear threat. (Los Angeles Times, June 10, 2003; July 21, 2003)

In October 2002, Rice received two memos doubting the claim and a phone call from CIA Director Tenet. Either she missed or overlooked numerous warnings from intelligence agencies that had squelched claims about Iraq’s nuclear weapons program -- or she made public claims that she knew to be false. (Washington Post, July 27, 2003)

White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett and Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley acknowledged that the CIA intervened in October 2002 to remove references to the African uranium charge from a Bush speech in Cincinnati. (Los Angeles Times, July 28, 2003)

Nevertheless, Rice and Rumsfeld claimed that Iraq sought uranium was accurate even if some of the evidence was unsubstantiated. (New York Times, July 13, 2003)

Bush refused to take responsibility for the fact that the uranium charges were bogus. In July 2003, he absolved himself of any responsibility by shifting the blame on CIA Director Tenet. (New York Times, July 11, 2003)

In the fall of 2002, Joseph Wilson, ambassador to Niger, embarrassed Bush by saying Niger never sought to sell uranium to Iraq.

The White House leak to embarrass Ambassador Wilson. On July 14, 2003, news commentator Robert Novak reported that a White House mole had revealed that Wilson’s wife was a CIA operative in an effort to discredit and embarrass the former ambassador. Novak said, “I have full confidence that (Karl Rove), at a minimum, condoned it and did nothing to stop it. (San Francisco Chronicle, September 30, 2003; New York Times, September 29, 30; October 1, 2003)

Refusing to invoke an independent counsel, Bush said Attorney General Ashcroft “can do a good job” in investigating the criminal activity. Rove had served as a consultant to Ashcroft and had campaigned for him beginning in 1985 in both his gubernatorial and senatorial bids in Missouri. Rove also had lobbied for Ashcroft’s nomination as attorney general. (San Francisco Chronicle, September 30, 2003)

As the Clinton administration was turning affairs over to the new Bush regime in January 2001, outgoing National Security Advisor Sandy Berger warned Rice that the country’s largest threat was potential terrorist attacks from Al Qaeda. Rice presumably dismissed the advice, since she failed to act prior to the 9/11 attacks.


Secretary of State Powell falsely testified to the Security Council that a “poison factory” existed in northern Iraq. Two days later, foreign journalists visited the site and found nothing. It turned out to be a dilapidated collection of concrete outbuildings at the foot of a grassy sloping hill. There were broken rocket parts among concrete houses behind barbed wire. (The Observer, February 9, 2003)


Bush attempted to hype up American and global support for a war with claims that Hussein was capable of dealing a major blow to the American economy. According to retired Air Force Colonel Sam Gardner, Bush falsely claimed that Iraq had the capability of destroying major American computer systems. (MSNBC, October 2, 2003)


A 1997 article in The Oil and Gas Journal expressed the importance of American oil corporations conducting business in the Middle East.

Vice President Cheney denied that oil was an issue in attacking Iraq. However, as Halliburton’s CEO in the 1990s, Cheney lobbied extensively to lift sanctions against Iran in order to move ahead with the Iran-Caspian connection. (Village Voice, February 26, 2003)

Bush adamantly denied that oil was a major reason to invade Iraq. In April 2001, Strategic Energy Policy Challenges for the 21st Century, was commissioned by former Secretary of State James Baker. The study concluded that the United States faced its largest energy crisis in history. It advocated a policy of using military force against Iraq in order to secure United States access to, and control of, Middle Eastern oil fields. The report recommended using United Nations weapons inspectors as a means of controlling Iraqi oil. (The Sunday Herald, London, October 6, 2002)

In February 2003, Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle said, “Allow me to say, I find the accusation that this administration has embarked upon this policy for oil to be an outrageous, scurrilous charge for which, when you asked for the evidence, you will note there was none. … It’s an out-and-out lie.” (Meet the Press, February 23, 2003)

Undersecretary of State Paul Wolfowitz said, “This is not a war about oil. This is going to -- if we have to use force, it’s going to be to liberate Iraq, not to occupy Iraq. The oil resources belong to the Iraqi people.” Defense Secretary Rumsfeld proclaimed, “An Iraq war has absolutely nothing to do with oil.” On several occasions, Secretary of State Powell claimed, “The oil of Iraq belongs to the people of Iraq.”

However, on January 26, 1998, Perle, Wolfowitz, and Rumsfeld wrote a letter to President Clinton. “It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world's supply of oil will all be put at hazard.” (Fox News, February 25, 2003)


In the fall of 2002, the Bush administration released a study entitled “A Decade of Deception and Defiance.” It made no mention of any Iraqi ties to Osama Bin Laden. But it made a reference to Hussein’s backing of the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO), a violent Iranian dissident group. (Newsweek, September 26, 2002)

According to “A Decade of Deception and Defiance,” one of the MKO’s supporters was Attorney General Ashcroft who became involved while a Republican senator from Missouri. When the National Council of Resistance staged a September 2000 rally outside the United Nations to protest a speech by Iranian President Mohammed Khatami, Missouri’s two Republican senators -- Ashcroft and Chris Bond -- issued a joint statement of solidarity.

A delegation of 500 Iranians from Missouri attended the MKO event. Later, the MKO used a picture of a smiling Ashcroft at its rally to promote its cause on Capitol Hill. Once Bush began to beat the war drums in anticipation of an attack on Iraq in 2002, Ashcroft began distancing himself from the MKO. (Newsweek, September 26, 2002)


1. Bush repeatedly claimed that care was being taken to protect innocent Iraqi civilians. The Herald of Scotland (May 23,2003) reported, “American guns, bombs, and missiles killed more civilians in the recent war in Iraq than in any conflict since Vietnam, according to preliminary assessments carried out by the United Nations, international aid agencies, and independent study groups. Despite United States boasts his was the fastest, most clinical campaign in military history, a first snapshot of ‘collateral damage’ indicates that between 5,000 and 10,000 Iraqi non-combatants died in the course of the hi-tech blitzkrieg.”

2. The Bush administration boasted that the people in Baghdad would turn out in masses to greet American troops as liberators. “There will be dancing in the streets.” There were only scattered expressions of gratitude when Americans troops marched into Baghdad. Within a day or two of the Saddam government’s fall, the scene in the Baghdad streets turned to wholesale ransacking and vandalism. Within the week, large-scale protests of the United States occupation began.

A spontaneous crowd of cheering Iraqis showed up in a Baghdad square to celebrate the toppling of Saddam’s statue. However, a long-distance shot of the same scene showed only one or two hundred people, contrary to the impression given by all the close-up TV news shots of what appeared to be a massive gathering. It was later reported that members of Ahmed Chalabi’s local entourage made up most of the throng.

3. Bush claimed the United States was obeying the Geneva conventions in its treatment of terror-related suspects, prisoners, and detainees. But it was the Bush administration that branded suspects as “unlawful combatants” in order to skirt the Geneva conventions on treatment of prisoners.

4. The Pentagon boasted about its daring “rescue” of Private Jessica Lynch from an Iraqi hospital. Officials claimed that Lynch and her comrades were taken after a firefight in which Lynch battled back bravely. Later they announced that United States Special Forces had rescued Lynch from her captors. They reported that she had been shot and stabbed. Later they reported that the recuperating Lynch had no memory of the events.

The Pentagon’s claim was false. Lynch’s injuries occurred when the vehicle she was riding in crashed. She did not fire on anybody and she was not shot or stabbed. The Iraqi soldiers abandoned the hospital where she was staying the night before United States troops came to get her -- a development her “rescuers” were aware of. Lynch’s doctor tried to return her to the Americans the previous evening after the Iraqi soldiers left. But he was forced to turn back when American troops fired on the approaching ambulance. As for Lynch’s amnesia, her family told reporters her memory was perfectly fine.

In November 2003, Lynch was interviewed by ABC’s Diane Sawyer. Lynch criticized the Pentagon’s account of her capture by Iraqi forces. She denied the Pentagon’s story that she had been wounded by Iraqi gunfire but had kept fighting until her ammunition ran out. Lynch said she never fired a shot -- that her gun had jammed during the chaos. Lynch said there was no reason for her rescue to be filmed by Special Forces. Lynch said she had no recollection of the attack. Lynch said, “I’m not about to take credit for something I didn’t do. I did not shoot - not a round, nothing. I went down praying to my knees – that’s the last thing I remember.”


1. After Bush declared victory on May 1, 2003, high-level administration officials claimed that American troops had found the WMD smoking gun, including the president himself. On June 1, Bush said, “For those who say we haven’t found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they’re wrong, we found them.” That was untrue.

2. Bush administration officials falsely claimed they were sent to Syria for hiding. “They shipped them out!” It never happened.

3. General James Conway, commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, contradicted Bush’s claim that WMD would be recovered. Conway said, “We were simply wrong. It was a surprise to me then, it remains a surprise to me now, that we have not uncovered (nuclear, chemical or biological) weapons” in Iraq. (Los Angeles Times, June 3, 2003)

4. On June 1, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld told ABC’s “This Week” that banned weapons were not in areas controlled by allied forces. “We know where they are, they are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north of that.”

5. On June 8, National Security Advisor Rice said on “Meet the Press:” “No one ever said that we knew precisely where all of these agents were, where they were stored.”

6. On July 7, some high-ranking Bush administration officials acknowledged for the first time that Bush had relied on incomplete and perhaps inaccurate information from American intelligence agencies. (New York Times, July 7, 2003)

7. In August, a former Pentagon employee and whistleblower charged that the CIA planned to “plant” WMDs inside Iraq. (, August 13, 2003)

8. When asked about WMD by Tim Russert on “Meet the Press,” Cheney acknowledged for the first time that “I did misspeak. I said repeatedly during the show, ‘weapons capability.’ We never had any evidence that (Hussein) had acquired a nuclear weapon.” Still, Cheney tried to minimize that statement by saying David Kay, the CIA special advisor directing the hunt for WMD, might find evidence of chemical and other banned arms “buried inside (Hussein’s) civilian infrastructure.” (“Meet the Press,” September 14, 2003)

9. In September, Bush acknowledged for the first time that there was no concrete evidence linking the Hussein regime to the 9-11 attacks. While emphasizing that Iraq was a haven for terrorists, he conceded that the war was not to fight Al Qaida. (San Jose Mercury News, September 14, 2003; New York Times, September 18, 2003)

10. Just after retiring in October, Carl Ford Jr., former Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research -- the State Department’s intelligence arm – said the United States intelligence community “badly underperformed” for years in assessing Iraq’s WMD and should accept responsibility for its failure. Ford was the first senior official, involved in preparing the prewar assessments on Iraq, who conceded that serious intelligence errors were made. (Los Angeles Times, October 30, 2003)

11. In January 2004, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace released a report entitled “WMD in Iraq: Evidence and Implications.” The think tank concluded that Iraq posed no imminent threat to the United States and that the Bush administration systematically misrepresented the weapons threat from Iraq. (Washington Post, January 8, 2004)

The Carnegie report also said that Iraq had dismantled its nuclear program and that no convincing evidence had emerged that it was being revived. It said Iraq’s ability to produce chemical weapons on a large scale had been destroyed by the 1991 Gulf war and by United Nations sanctions and inspections. (Washington Post, January 8, 2004)

The report read in part: “It is unlikely that Iraq could have destroyed, hidden or sent out of the country the hundreds of tons of chemical and biological weapons, dozens of Scud missiles and facilities engaged in the ongoing production of chemical and biological weapons that officials claimed were present without the United States detecting some sign of this.” (Washington Post, January 8, 2004)

However, the Carnegie report said Iraq still apparently maintained an active program to produce missiles capable of flying beyond the range permitted by the Security Council. It held open the possibility that Iraq could have been able to resume banned programs, such as biological weapons production, quickly in the future. (Washington Post, January 8, 2004)

According to Kenneth Pollack, a Clinton-era National Security Council member and strong supporter of regime change in Iraq, the Bush administration’s “justifications and explanations for war were at best faulty, at worst deliberately misleading.” Pollack also said that the White House consistently engaged in “creative omission,” overstating the imminence of the Iraqi threat, even though it had evidence to the contrary. Pollack added, “I think the Administration was only telling part of the truth to the American people because it was trying to justify a war in 2003. The intelligence estimates just didn’t really support that imminence. (Kenneth Pollack, Spies, Lies, and Weapons: What Went Wrong)

12. In an interview with National Public Radio in January 2004, Vice President Cheney revived the issue of the discovery of semi-trailers during the spring of 2003. At that time, the CIA concluded that they had not been used to manufacture chemical weapons. Instead, the vehicles had been used in the manufacturing of hydrogen.

Nevertheless, Cheney told NPR, “We found some semi-trailers we think were part of that (weapons) program. In my mind, it was a danger to have these in the hands of someone like Saddam Hussein.” Cheney said intelligence pointing to stockpiles of anthrax and VX nerve agent came from the United Nations.

13. After $900 million and at least 1,200 weapons inspectors, David Kay stepped down in January 2004 as the CIA’s chief weapons inspector. The Kay Report also corroborated the findings of American intelligence, saying, “We have not yet been able to corroborate the existence of a mobile biological weapons production effort. ...Technical limitations would prevent any of these processes from being ideally suited to these trailers.” (

When Kay was asked about Cheney’s comments, he told the BBC it was “premature and embarrassing” to characterize the vehicles found as weapons labs. Kay added, “I wish that news hadn’t come out.”(Washington Post, January 24, 2004)

Kay also said the CIA and other intelligence agencies did not realize that Iraqi scientists had presented weapons’ programs to Hussein and had then used the money for other purposes.

Kay reported that Iraq attempted to revive its efforts to develop nuclear weapons in 2000 and 2001, but never got as far toward making a bomb as Iran and Libya did. Kay also said his team had uncovered no evidence that Niger had tried to sell uranium to Iraq for its nuclear weapons program. (New York Times, January 27, 2004)

Kay said, “We don’t find the people, the documents or the physical plants that you would expect to find if the production was going on. I think they gradually reduced stockpiles throughout the 1990s. Somewhere in the mid-1990s the large chemical overhang of existing stockpiles was eliminate. …The Iraqis say they believed that (the United Nations inspection program) was more effective (than United States analysts believed), and they didn’t want to get caught.” (New York Times, January 27, 2004)

Kay also said Baghdad was actively working to produce a biological weapon using the poison ricin until the American invasion in early 2003. Kay said that the CIA and other agencies failed to recognize that Iraq had all but abandoned its efforts to produce large quantities of chemical or biological weapons after the 1991 Persian Gulf war.

On January 28, Kay told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the inability to find WMD pointed to a major intelligence failure, and he suggested that an independent investigation look into the reasons for it. (New York Times, January 29, 2004)


Failing to win the peace. During the 2000 campaign, Bush clearly stated that he opposed “nation building.” After attacking Afghanistan in 2001, he went on to create something that resembled a democracy. After Bush declared victory in Iraq on May 1, 2003, he asked for $87 billion to rebuild the country.

Bush administration officials claimed Iraqis would be “dancing in the streets” once American forces marched into Baghdad. But the hundreds of thousands of delirious Iraqis never filled the streets.

Bush created the vacuum in Iraq that was quickly filled by terrorists. Before the war, the American intelligence community – to the dismay of the president – found no evidence whatsoever of a link between the Saddam Hussein regime and terrorist networks. Bush repeatedly said that Hussein needed to be removed before terrorism would subside.

After Bush declared major combat operations over, Cheney announced on “Meet the Press” that the toppling of Hussein was a major blow to “the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault for many years, but most especially on 9/11.” Seventy percent of Americans believed that Iraq had ties to the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

Cheney announced on “Meet the Press” that the toppling of Hussein was a major blow to “the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault for many years, but most especially on 9/11.” Seventy percent of Americans believed that Iraq had ties to the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Prior to the war, the intelligence community found absolutely no links between terrorist networks and the Hussein regime. After the invasion of Iraq, Cheney claimed that Iraq was a base for terrorists.

After Bush declared victory, the Iraqi infrastructure remained in chaos. Living standards plummeted. Drinking water was a precious commodity. Open sewage spewed in streams in neighborhoods. The rate of crime escalated. Many Iraqis took the land into their own hands. Many Iraqis longed for the return to the old regime, where their lives were predictable under Hussein. The Bush administration appeared paralyzed and frustrated, unable to solve the political and diplomatic problems in Iraq.

Bush claimed that anti-American groups in Iran infiltrated into Iraq. One was a special unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. The other were members of the Badr Brigade, the armed force of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a Shi’ite group, with headquarters in Tehran. (New York Times, April 23, 2003)

On April 8, Kadhem al-Husseini al-Haeri, an Iranian cleric born in Iraq, issued a “fatwa” (religious edict) that called on Shi’ites “to seize the first possible opportunity to fill the power vacuum in the administration of Iraqi cities.” The order urged the Shi’ite clergy to work against American influence. The fatwa read in part: “People have to be taught not to collapse morally before the means used by the Great Satan if it stays in Iraq” (New York Times, April 26, 2003)

The Iraqi police force turned out to be corrupt. The Pentagon did not count on criminal gangs’ systematically tearing a part Iraq’s crumbling infrastructure and smuggling it out to sell abroad. (Newsweek, October 6, 2003)

The Bush administration boasted of Iraqis pulling down a statue of Saddam Hussein near the Palestine Hotel. But as cameras pulled back, only a handful of Kurds, recruited by INC leader Ahmed Chalabi, participated, while hundreds of others appeared uninterested.

On May 1, the White House spent $1 million to outfit Bush in war gear and fly him a short distance to the USS Abraham Lincoln off the coast of San Diego. The carrier was positioned so cameras would not see the nearby coast line as Bush spoke behind a huge banner that read “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.”

“Bring them on,” Bush bragged as he dared militants to attack United States troops in Iraq. (, July 4, 2003)

In October, General Ricardo Sanchez, the United States military commander for Iraq, acknowledged that American troops had failed to secure acres of munitions from the Hussein regime. Many of the weapons could have been seized and used by anti-American groups. Sanchez conceded that it would be years before the Bush administration could “draw down” American forces in Iraq. He warned of more battles where “significant engagement where tens of American soldiers” would be killed. (Chicago Tribune, October 3, 2003; Newsweek, November 3, 2003)

On September 11, 2003 -- the second anniversary of 9/11 – Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz charged that high-ranking Al Qaeda lieutenants were plotting with former Saddam Hussein officials to kill Americans in Iraq. Wolfowitz said “a great many” operatives of Al Qaeda were working to link up with Iraqis loyal to Saddam’s regime to attack Americans. (New York Times, September 13, 2003)

One day later, Wolfowitz said he had misspoken and that he had referred to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, one of the few people that Bush administration officials had cited previously to assert links between Al Qaeda and Iraq before the war. (New York Times, September 13, 2003)


Violence continued to intensify with each passing month. Yet with each passing month, Bush claimed that conditions in Iraq were improving. In the summer and fall of 2003:

1. A sophisticated car bomb exploded at the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad, killing 17 people and injuring three times that number.

2. A suicide bomber detonated a truck full of explosives at the United Nations compound, killing over 30 people. In October, a United Nations seven-member panel, investigating the attack against its Baghdad compound, charged that its system for ensuring protection had fundamentally “failed in (its) mission to provide adequate security.” (Washington Post, October 22, 2003)

3. A massive car bomb exploded at the Imam Ali mosque during Friday prayers in a holy city just south of Baghdad, killing Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, one of Iraq’s most important Shi’ite clerics. Over 20 people died as a result of the bombing. Al-Hakim had just delivered a sermon calling for Iraqi unity at the shrine, the holiest in Iraq. (New York Times, August 29, 2003)

4. American soldiers mistakenly killed eight Iraqi policemen and a Jordanian hospital worker in a gun battle in Falluja. (New York Times, September 12, 2003)

5. The beginning of October brought more ominous news when Hussein loyalists shot down its first Chinook helicopter, killing 15 Americans and wounding 22.

Daily attacks on Americans increased from 15 to 20 daily in September to 25 to 30 in October. (Newsweek, November 3, 2003)


George W. Bush repeatedly called for the democratization of Iraq. Hoping to squelch reports that the United States would control Iraq, he repeatedly called for the democratization of Iraq.

Bush boasted that a democratic Iraq would be the first step in bringing similar governments to the Middle East, even though Arab nations had only experienced authoritarian regimes.

Bush insisted that a democratic Iraq would be the first step in bringing similar governments to the Middle East, even though Arab nations had only experienced authoritarian regimes.

Before the war started, Bush signed on to a statement with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, pledging to “work in close partnership with international institutions, including the United Nations” in postwar Iraq and to seek a Security Council resolution to “endorse an appropriate post-conflict administration.” (Washington Post, April 3, 2003)

However, a secretive Pentagon plan called for the Bush administration to unilaterally install a postwar regime dominated by Americans and Iraqi exiles. It would exclude not only the United Nations but also European and Middle Eastern allies whose support was essential to stabilizing the country. (Washington Post, April 3, 2003)


Bush’s ratings dropped month-by-month. According to a March 2002 Zogby Poll conducted in pro-American countries, six of them found that only a small minority of respondents had a favorable opinion of the United States. American popularity in Saudi Arabia was the lowest at only 4 percent. It was only 6 percent in Jordan and Morocco; 8.8 percent in the United Arab Emirates; 13 percent in Egypt; but 33 percent in Lebanon. Among the entire Arab world, anywhere from 60 percent of Jordanians to 91 percent of Saudis thought that a new conflict would create greater instability. (Los Angeles Times, March 16, 2003)

According to a March 19 CNN/Gallup/USA Today poll, unfavorable views of the United States were high: 84 percent in Turkey, 71 percent in Germany, 68 percent in Russia, and 67 percent in France.

America’s image was strongly negative even in Spain (74 percent) and Italy (59 percent), whose governments supported Bush’s war. Only in Britain did the percentage of respondents who view America favorably (48 percent) exceed those with unfavorable views (40 percent).

Asked in a March CNN/Gallup/USA Today poll directly whether they approve of Bush’s international policies, majorities in all the countries -- ranging from 87 percent in France and 79 percent in Spain to 60 percent in Britain and 54 percent in Poland -- said no. Likewise, majorities in the four countries participating in Bush’s “coalition of the willing” said they opposed their governments joining in an attack on Iraq; that sentiment ranged from 51 percent in Britain to 73 percent in Poland and 81 percent in both Italy and Spain.

In the four countries whose governments oppose the war -- France, Germany, Turkey and Russia -- majorities of two-thirds or greater said they were against an attack. Also, majorities of the respondents in Russia, Turkey, Spain, Italy, France, and Germany -- and pluralities in Poland and Britain -- said Europe should take a more independent approach to foreign policy rather than remain “as close as it has been” to the United States.

According to the Pew Research Center conducted in May, Bush’s approval rating was 69 percent. In June, it slid to 63 percent. In July and August, it dropped four points to 59 percent. Bush’s approval rating in September dipped seven points to 52 points. That was the lowest since September 11, 2001. (USA Today, September 12, 2003),?P>

Two months after Bush declared victory, a CNN/Gallop Poll found that 56 percent of Americans believed Iraq was “worth going to war over.” In July, 42 percent disagreed. That was down from 73 percent to 23 percent from a poll conducted during Bush’s war. Twenty-four percent said Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction. An equal number say the invasion resolved nothing and was a “waste of human lives.” Eleven percent said the United States needed to stop policing the world.

In July, 65 percent found Bush “honest and trustworthy” and 57 percent agreed he “cares about the needs of people like you” - but both these figures were down 8 percentage points from an April poll. Thirty-seven percent said the Bush administration deliberately misled the American public about whether Iraq had serious weapons of mass destruction, up from 31 percent in early June and late May.

Confidence that the United States would eventually capture or kill Hussein dropped from 36 percent who were very confident in March to 18 percent who felt that way in at the end of June. (Reuters, July 1, 2003)

A Zogby International poll conducted in August found that 50 percent of Iraqis said they thought the United States would hurt Iraq over the next five years. Only 35 percent said they thought the United States would help it.

According to a September Zogby poll, in the United States, Bush’s approval rating slipped to a record-low 50 percent, as it became more and more apparent that he reconstruction was failing. Similarly, Americans supporting the Iraqi war dropped to a new low of 54 percent.

A September Zogby Poll showed that, for the first time, Bush’s approval rating dropped below 50 percent. Seventy percent of citizens in countries considered American allies said the United States never considered their interests.

An October 2 New York Times/CBS News poll indicated that Bush had a 44 per cent approval rating; 50 percent said they lacked confidence in Bush’s ability to handle an international crisis; and 53 percent believed the Iraq war was not worth it.


In January 2003, the Center for Strategic and International Studies recommended the Pentagon plan as diligently for the postwar period as for the war. “To avoid a dangerous security vacuum, it is imperative to organize, train, and equip for the post-conflict security mission in conjunction with planning for combat,” the document stated. (Washington Post, May 19, 2003)

A secretive Pentagon task force worked on advanced in plans to unilaterally install a postwar regime dominated by Americans and Iraqi exiles -- one that would effectively exclude not only the United Nations but also European and Middle Eastern allies whose support would be essential to stabilizing the country. (New York Times, March 25, 2003; Washington Post, April 3, 2003)

Prior to the war, General Eric Shinseki said it was necessary to have 200,000 American peacekeeping troops. Instead, 145,000 soldiers were assigned to the reconstruction effort. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld denied charges that there were too few troops in Iraq to restore order. (Washington Post, May 19, 2003)

On May 23, administrator Paul Bremer issued an edict that dissolved Iraq’s 400,000 armed forces. His decision was opposed by many White House officials and exiled Iraqi military officers who had spent months preparing detailed plans for the Bush administration that called for giving the Iraqi army a key role in winning the peace. (Los Angeles Times, August 25, 2003)

The decision to dissolve Iraq’s former armed forces appeared to contribute to the escalating post-war violence in Iraq. It helped to create the chaotic atmosphere that allowed daily attacks on water mains, oil pipelines, electric towers, and military convoys. Bremer’s edict might have alienated former Hussein soldiers and might have encouraged them to promote anti-American attacks. ,/P>

Behind the scenes, the Pentagon quietly pushed for multimillionaire businessman Ahmed Chalabi, the leader of the Iraqi National Congress (INC). In 1992, he was sentenced in absentia by a Jordanian court to 22 years in prison with hard labor for bank fraud after the 1990 collapse of Petra Bank, which he had founded in 1977.

Chalabi was very unpopular among CIA and Pentagon officials. In 1996, he received support from the CIA for a Kurdish uprising in northern Iraq. It ended in failure, with thousands of Kurds being killed. (CI Press News Monitor, April 9, 2003),/P>

In late 2002, Chalabi said he would never take a role in any future government. He told the German Die Zeit magazine, “Personally, I will not run for any office, and I am not seeking any positions. My job will end with the liberation of Iraq from Saddam’s rule.” (British Broadcasting Corporation, October 3, 2002)

In the fall, Chalabi embarrassed the Bush administration by calling for a speedy handover of power to the Iraqis. National Security Advisor Rice confronted Chalabi on October 2, admonishing him for “embarrassing for the president.” (Los Angeles Times, October 2, 2003)

Bush repeatedly promised that a new Iraq would be represented fairly by all ethnic groups. However, very few Shia Muslims were chosen to participate in the new government.

Bush was surprised to learn from moderate Islamic leaders that they had become deeply distrustful of American intentions. (New York Times, October 28, 2003)


Bush did an excellent job protecting Iraq’s oil, but he failed to prevent looting. The greatest blow to Iraq’s cultural history occurred when looters pilfered priceless treasures -- dating back to early civilization -- from Baghdad’s museum. The pillaging ravaged the irreplaceable Babylonian, Sumerian and Assyrian collections that chronicled ancient civilization in Mesopotamia.

The head of Bush’s cultural advisory committee reigned in protest over the United States failure to stop the looting of Baghdad’s National museum. Martin Sullivan said in a letter to Bush dated on April 14 he was resigning as chairman of the President’s advisory committee on cultural property, a position he had held since 1995. (Al Jazeera, April 17, 2003)

Some Americans were caught smuggling artifacts. An American soldier shipped gold-plated weapons to the American military base in Fort Stewart, Georgia. A former Fox News employee was investigated for smuggling 15 paintings and gold-plated guns into the United States. American troops at the Baghdad Airport stole duty-free items, shot up the airport, and trashed five Boeing airplanes. (Time, July 6, 2003)


Morale among United States soldiers began to plummet in the summer of 2003. In some cases, it hit “rock bottom.” Some troops wrote letters to representatives in Congress to request their units be repatriated. In some units, there was an increase in letters from the Red Cross stating soldiers were needed at home, and there were daily instances of female troops being sent home due to pregnancy. (Christian Science Monitor, July 7, 2003)

A survey by the military’s Stars and Stripes newspaper found that 50 percent of American soldiers in Iraq described their unit’s morale as low and their training as insufficient. They also said they would not reenlist. Thirty-three percent complained that their mission lacked clear definition and characterized the war in Iraq as of little or no value. Forty percent said the jobs they were doing had little or nothing to do with their training. Thirty-four percent described their morale as low -- compared with 27 percent who described it as high; 37 percent said it was average; 49 percent described their unit’s morale as low -- while 16 percent called it high. (Washington Post, October 16, 2003)


American military officials spoke of maintaining four bases in Iraq at: (1) the international airport near Baghdad; (2) Tallil, near Nasiriya in the south; (3) at an isolated airstrip called H-1 in the western desert, along the old oil pipeline that runs to Jordan; (4) at the Bashur air field in the Kurdish north. (New York Times, April 20, 2003)


In the summer of 2003, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence launched an investigation to determine if Bush was justified to go to war.

From the outset, the panel ran into numerous roadblocks, since the White House refused to cooperate and to turn over documents to the panel.

In October, the committee issued a blistering report on prewar intelligence on Iraq. They report was critical of CIA Director Tenet and other intelligence officials for overstating the weapons and terrorism case against the Hussein regime. (Washington Post, October 24, 2003)

As the Clinton administration was turning affairs over to the new Bush regime in January 2001, outgoing National Security Advisor Sandy Berger warned Rice that the country’s largest threat was potential terrorist attacks from Al Qaeda. Rice presumably dismissed the advice, since she failed to act prior to the 9/11 attacks.

Even Republicans accused the Bush administration of stonewalling the federal commission. Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” (October 26, 2003) that it would be in the Bush administration’s interest to release documents that the commission had requested.

On October 30, the Senate Intelligence Committee sent angry letters to top-level Bush administration officials, demanding access to records and witnesses. The letters -- sent to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, and Secretary of State Powell -- criticized their agencies for failing to deliver documents and testimony. (Los Angeles Times, October 31, 2003)


On April 23, 2003, Secretary of State Powell brusquely told the French government that it would be made to suffer for its opposition to the war in Iraq. French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin stood his ground, insisting that France would not back down to American pressure or threats. (New York Times, April 24, 2003)

Bush bent so low as to change the menu on Air Force One. It changed the name “French Fries” to “Liberty Fries.” Bush’s callous treatment of the French impacted a large portion of the American public who castigated the Europeans for not supporting Bush’s war. This heightened nationalism and blind patriotism to Bush’s war resembled the axis powers during World War II. There were cries for boycotting French products.,/P>

With reconstruction efforts failing, Bush returned to the United Nations in July 2003 to ask for funds and troops.

The United States funneled $4 billion each month into Iraq, as the American budget deficit in 2003 approached a record-shattering $500 billion. (New York Times, July 19, 2003)

Hans Blix asked the Security Council on April 22 if international inspectors could return to Iraq in search for WMD, but that request was rejected by Bush. The inspectors would have provided credibility.

Russia announced that it would consider sending peacekeeping troops but only with a United Nations mandate that set out a specific mission and timetable. But the Bush administration refused to relinquish any authority. (New York Times, July 19, 2003)

After shunning the United Nations before and throughout his war, Bush dropped his unilateral approach in August. It came after attacks on American troops escalated. After the September bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, the Bush administration drafted a resolution to ask for a multilateral effort to reconstruct Iraq. But there was a hitch. An international force would have to be commanded by an American. The proposal was rejected by France, Germany, Mexico, and Syria. (Los Angeles Times, August 23, 2003)

On September 3, French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder charged that Bush refused to go far enough in transferring political control of Iraq to the Iraqis or give the United Nations a strong enough role in the proposed international force. (New York Times, September 4, 2003)

On September 23, Bush addressed the General Assembly, where he attempted to justify his war and called on the international organization for the first time for assistance in his failing reconstruction effort. He hoped the world would forget the way he had shunned the United Nations before and during his war. Bush received an icy reception. (Los Angeles Times, September 23, 2003),/P>

In October, Secretary-General Annan joined France, Russia, and Germany in indicating unhappiness with Bush’s request for international troops and aid. Annan, as well as the French, Russian, and Germans wanted a quick transfer of power to a provisional Iraqi government that would then draft a constitution and hold elections. (San Francisco Chronicle, October 3, 2003),/P>

Bush not only failed to enlist help from the global community, but he also lost support from the leadership of the United Nations. Annan announced he might withdraw all United Nations personnel from Iraq in response to two suicide attacks against the international body. (Washington Post, September 25, 2003),/P>

Bush finally received mixed signaled in mid-October, when the Security Council unanimously adopted the American resolution calling for the establishment of a United States-led multinational force. The resolution also asked United Nations members to provide troops and money to help support reconstruction. Very little money was earmarked for reconstruction, and very few troops were provided. (Washington Post, October 16, 2003)


In its 2003 annual report issued on May 28, Amnesty International reported that Bush’s “war on terror” made the world more dangerous and left people feeling less secure and that human rights had been threatened in Iraq. The report said that international laws were undermined and governments were shielded from scrutiny as a result of Bush’s fight against terrorism. It said that the lack of security in Iraq since Bush declared victory posed a threat to human rights and development.


The Bush administration never reported that for every soldier who was killed in Iraq, at least another 15 became so ill that they had to be flown back to the United States. (Washington Post, September 2, 2003)

The United States Army Surgeon General’s office dispatched teams of medical experts to investigate the causes of a severe pneumonia-like condition afflicting American soldiers taking part in operations in Iraq. (Washington Post, September 2, 2003)

High concentrations of depleted uranium were the cause of some deaths. Inhalation or absorption of large concentrations of depleted uranium-contaminated particles would produce acute respiratory problems and severely damage the kidneys and could result in pulmonary edema. (World Socialist Web Site, August 4, 2003)


In September 2002, six months before Bush launched his war, White House economic advisor Lawrence Lindsey predicted that the cost to rebuild Iraq after Hussein was toppled could be as high as $200 billion. Bush quickly dismissed that estimate.

The Pentagon’s first estimate was that it would take about $10 billion and three months to reconstruct Iraq. United Nations estimates were $100 billion a year for a minimum of three years.

In March 2003, one week into the war, Wolfowitz told Congress, “We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon.” On March 27, Wolfowitz said that, once Hussein was ousted, Iraqi oil revenues would generate between $50 billion and $100 billion over a couple of years. That would be enough, he said, to pay for reconstruction of the country.

Bush boasted that Iraqi oil would pay for reconstruction costs. A Pentagon study in October 2003 described Iraq’s oil industry as so badly damaged by a decade of trade embargoes that production capacity had fallen by more than 25 percent. In the city of Zalan alone, 2,000 to 2,500 tons of oil were stolen and sold on the black market. Trucks and small boats were used in illicit operations. (Chicago Tribune, October 5, October 6, 2003),/P>

Bush waited over four months from the time he declared victory before he officially addressed the spiraling cost for reconstruction. In September, he asked Congress for $87 billion, close to $30 billion more than what was expected. Twenty-five percent of the $87 billion was earmarked for reconstruction of Iraq. Some items included:

 A new curriculum for training an Iraqi army for $164 million.

 Five hundred experts, at $200,000 each, to investigate crimes against humanity.

 A witness protection program for $200,000 per Iraqi participant.

 A computer study for the Iraqi postal service at a cost of $54 million.

 $100 million to build seven planned communities with a total of 3,258 houses, plus roads, an elementary school, two high schools, a clinic, a place of worship, and a market for each.

 $10 million to finance 100 prison-building experts for six months.

 $100,000 to finance 100 prison-building experts.

 40 garbage trucks at $50,000 each.

 $900 million to import petroleum products such as kerosene and diesel to a country with the world’s second-largest oil reserves.

 $20 million for a four-week business course, at $10,000 per student.

 $400 million to build two 4,000-bed prisons at $50,000 a bed. The cement needed to be imported to make concrete. (Washington Post, September 26, 2003)

The Bush administration could have saved millions of dollars:

 United States engineers estimated it would cost $15 million to repair a cement plant in northern Iraq. Instead, the job was given to local Iraqis at a cost of only $80,000.

 The Bush administration paid $25 million to refurbish 20 police stations in Basra. An Iraqi official said that a local company could have done the work for $5 million.

 The homes of 10 Iraqi officials were renovated at a cost of $700,000. Local companies could have built entirely new homes for the same price.

The Bush administration had to deal with Iraq’s $125 billion foreign debt. In an effort to erase that deficit, the international community pledged merely $9 billion in loans and $4 billion in grants. Coupled with the United States $20 billion, that totaled only $33 billion. Over 75 percent of the non-United States pledges came from just three sources -- Japan, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. The 15-country European Union promised $236 million. (Washington Post, October 25, 2003)

When Bush was asked how to pay for the $23 billion gap between the $33 billion pledged for Iraq reconstruction and the estimated $56 billion earmarked for reconstruction, he said “Iraqi oil revenues .. coupled with private investments should make up the difference.” Yet Bremer noted that in the near-term oil industry revenues would cover only the industry’s costs -- far short of the cost for reconstruction. (The Nation, November 2003)

In December, the Bush administration punished those countries that did not support the war. Assistant Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz announced that any country which failed to support the war would not be allowed to build on the $20 billion in contracts. Corporations in Russia, Germany, France, and Canada were the largest firms that were blackballed by Bush. (Washington Post, December 9, 2003)

On the day after Wolfowitz’s pronouncement, Bush asked for the help of those countries that had opposed his war. Bush made phone calls to heads of state of those very countries which had just been penalized. Within one week, James Baker flew to Russia, Germany, and France to lobby their heads of state to forgive Iraq’s $125 billion foreign debt. (Newsweek, December 22, 2003)


On October 16, 2003, Rumsfeld released an internal Pentagon memo that revealed “significant doubts about the progress in the two-year struggle against terrorists.” For the first time, he acknowledged that the United States had made “no made truly bold moves” in fighting Al Qaeda and other terror groups. Rumsfeld also conceded for the first time that the United States was engaged in a “long, hard slog” in both Iraq and Afghanistan. (USA Today, October 22, 2003)

 The United States was “just getting started” in fighting the Iraq-based terror group, Ansar Al-Islam.

 The war was hugely expensive. “The cost-benefit ratio is against us! Our cost is billions against the terrorists' cost of millions.”

 Postwar stabilization efforts were very difficult. “It is pretty clear the coalition can win in Afghanistan and Iraq in one way or another, but it will be a long, hard slog.”

An internal Army evaluation showed that United States military intelligence gathering operation in Iraq was undercut by a series of problems in using technology, training intelligence specialists, and managing them in the field.

 Commanders reported that younger officers and soldiers were unprepared for their assignments, “did not understand the targeting process” and possessed “very little to no analytical skills.”

 Reserve troops specializing in civil affairs and psychological operations received “marginally effective” training before their deployment.

 Intelligence teams were far less productive than the Army expected them to be. The 69 “tactical human intelligence teams” in Iraq should have been producing “at least” 120 reports a day, but instead were delivering an average total of 30. This was due to “the lack of guidance and focus” from the intelligence office overseeing the teams’ work.

 Some key intelligence machinery were misused in Iraq, raising questions about the high-tech solutions that some at the Pentagon had advocated to improve the military’s performance.

 Only one “unmanned aerial vehicle: (UAV) was assigned to find buried aircraft. A major UAV system known as the Hunter was kept idle for 30 days because it had not been assigned an operational frequency on which to operate.

 There was no network to link intelligence teams and convey time-sensitive information among them -- as well as permit them to tap into an evolving database.

 The report recommended that the teams be provided with satellite telephones.

 There was a “lack of competent interpreters throughout the theater” but those available “were not used to their full capability.” Poorly trained soldiers would speak to their interpreters, rather than maintain eye contact with the people being questioned. Interpreters were wasted on errands such as being sent with troops “to buy chicken and soft drinks.” (Washington Post, October 25, 2003)


In October 2003, Bush all but acknowledged failure. The National Security Council created the “Iraq Stabilization Group” (ISG) to oversee operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

By placing control in the hands of National Security Advisor Rice, a large amount of power was taken away from Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. (San Francisco Chronicle, October 6, 2003)

Rumsfeld was never informed of the change and was shocked. He said he learned of the shift in power when he received a classified memo and that was after it already had been put into motion. (Washington Post, October 8, 2003)

MOVING UP THE TIMETABLE. After 40 Americans were killed in 10 days in November, the Bush administration drew up emergency plans to accelerate the transfer of power in Iraq. The abrupt change in policy clearly revealed that the Bush administration knew its program in Iraq was failing.

The announcement came on the heels of a devastating CIA report, warning that the guerrilla war was escalating to a new height. The report, an “appraisal of situation” commissioned by CIA Director Tenet and written by the CIA station chief in Baghdad, said that the insurgency continued to increase and had reached about 50,000. The report concluded that the United States could be defeated and that they supported the insurgents. (Philadelphia Enquirer, November 12, 2003; The Herald, London, November 13, 2003; The Guardian, November 13, 2003)

The announcement came on the heels of a devastating CIA report, warning that the guerrilla war was escalating to a new height. The report, an “appraisal of situation” commissioned by CIA Director Tenet and written by the CIA station chief in Baghdad, said that the insurgency continued to increase and had reached about 50,000. The report concluded that the United States could be defeated and that they supported the insurgents. (Philadelphia Enquirer, November 12, 2003; The Herald, London, November 13, 2003; The Guardian, November 13, 2003)

The Iraqi Governing Council had purposely stalled the process of drafting a new constitution. With this major policy shift, the Bush administration handed the Governing Council its wish of becoming an autonomous provisional government. In return, the council promised to set a timetable for drafting a constitution and holding democratic national elections. (New York Times, November 14, 2003)

The Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most respected person in Iraq, issued a legal judgment that rejected an unelected constitutional assembly. The Shia pronouncement along with the chaos in Iraq convinced the Bush administration that the democratic participation of the Iraqi people in a constitutional assembly would be counterproductive. (New York Times, November 14, 2003)

For months, Bush boasted that the United States military would turn control over to a new Iraqi army. In the fall, the Pentagon changed its counterinsurgency plan in Iraq. It expedited the training of Iraqi troops, intensified sweeps and patrols through dangerous neighborhoods in the “Sunni Triangle,” and considered diverting troops from the Iraq Survey Group charged with searching for WMD. (Los Angeles Times, October 31, 2003)

In October, Bush administration officials reiterated progress when Iraq’s first post-war battalion -- known as Freedom Battalion -- completed a nine-week basic training course. Bremer said the battalion would be the core “of an army that will defend its country and not oppress it.” (Chicago Tribune, December 9, 2003; Los Angeles Times, December 11, 2003)

Bush was dealt a blow in December. One-third -- 250 of 700 soldiers – quit. Most of the recruits said they were angry after comparing their pay with that of other forces. Iraqi police were paid $60 a month and members of the Civil Defense Corps received a monthly salary of $50. (Chicago Tribune, December 9, 2003; Los Angeles Times, December 11, 2003)

In a joint press conference with Prime Minister Blair on November 19, Bush contradicted the Pentagon when he indicated that more troops could be sent to Iraq. The president said, “Whatever is necessary to secure Iraq.” Immediately, Secretary of State Powell and National Security Advisor Rice looked at the press corps as if to suggest that there might be some clarification. (Washington Post, November 20, 2003)


Iraq was home to 11 per cent of international oil reserves, which accounted for more than 112 billion barrels of oil. Studies by the Energy Information Administration put the reserves in excess of 200 billion barrels. An added attraction was that the cost of pumping Iraqi crude is the cheapest worldwide. Iraq never came close to achieving its potential. In 1979, the year before Iraq’s oil fields were devastated by the first of three wars, its wells produced an average of 13,700 barrels each per day. By contrast, each Saudi well averaged 10,200 barrels. United States wells averaged just 17 barrels. (Time, May 19, 2003)

The Center for Global Energy Studies in London reported that it would take more than 800 United States wells to pump as much oil as a typical Iraqi well. Consequently, production costs in Iraq were much lower. The average cost of bringing a barrel of oil out of the ground in the United States was about $10 -- and $2.50 in Saudi Arabia. However, it was less than $1 per barrel in Iraq.

American oil companies waited in the wings to land contracts with a new Iraqi regime. Pentagon adviser Richard Perle told an investment seminar on ways to profit from conflicts in Iraq and North Korea. This came weeks after he received a top-secret government briefing on the crises in the two countries. Perle attended a Defense Intelligence Agency briefing in February. Three weeks later participated in a Goldman Sachs conference call in which he advised investors in a talk titled “Implications of an Imminent War: Iraq Now. North Korea Next?” (Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2003),/P>

Perle resigned as chairman of the Defense Policy Board on March 27, after it was reported he had worked as a consultant to bankrupt telecommunications company Global Crossing Limited, which was trying to get Pentagon approval to be sold to Asian investors. (Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2003)

In 2001, the Council on Foreign Relations and the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy of Rice University released a study on the importance of Iraqi oil. The report stated: “Tight (oil) markets have increased U.S. and global vulnerability to disruption and provided adversaries undue potential influence over the price of oil. Iraq has become a key ‘swing’ producer, posing a difficult situation for the U.S. government.” (Time, May 19, 2003)

Bush repeatedly said the opposite. He asserted that Iraq’s oil belongs to its citizens: “We’ll make sure that Iraq’s natural resources are used for the benefit of their owners, the Iraqi people.” According to Rumsfeld, “It (Iraq) has nothing to do with oil, literally nothing to do with oil.” (Time, May 19, 2003)

When American troops rolled into Baghdad, their first objective was to protect the Iraqi Oil Ministry building. Iraq’s oil records were secured. Meanwhile, other government buildings, ranging from the Ministry of Religious Affairs to the National Museum of Antiquities, were looted and pillaged. Hospitals were stripped of medicine and basic equipment.

Prior to Bush’s war, the administration notified both American and European corporations that they would be treated equally in determining which would receive contracts. Bush boasted that both European and American oil corporations would be treated equally when contracts would be handed out once the war terminated. ,/P>

A secret memo was sent out only to American companies,” inviting them to submit bids. Subsequently, European firms were left out. The White House handed out contracts to Dick Cheney’s Halliburton and George Shultz’s Bechtel. (CBS’ “60 Minutes,” April 25, 2003)

Bush’s war provided a gigantic bonanza for the United States-dominated oil-services industry. The first contracts were doled out to Halliburton, Schlumberger Ltd., Baker Hughes Incorporated, and BJ Services Company to provide repair, rehabilitation, engineering, and construction services. These contracts added up to over $1.5 billion. An additional $5 billion and $5 billion in contracts would be awarded at a later date. As part of that first phase, engineering, and construction project specialists such as Aliso Viejo-based Fluor Corporation could be in the running for contracts to repair and upgrade Iraqi oil facilities. (Los Angeles Times, March 11, 2003)

Cheney’s Halliburton was granted an emergency contract the Bush administration to extinguish Iraqi oil fires. The no-bid contract included extinguishing fires, cleaning up oil spills, and “providing for the continuity of operations of the Iraqi oil infrastructure.” The contract enabled Halliburton to make as much as $7 billion over two years. (Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2003)

The Army Corps of Engineers contracted with Kellogg, Brown and Root, a unit of, as its main oil well fire-fighting firm -- without any bidding. Other companies included major contributors to the Republican Party: Bechtel Group, and Fluor Corporation. These three and Halliburton had funneled a total of $2.8 million over the last two election cycles over $1.90 million to Republicans. Meanwhile, Halliburton was continuing to pay Cheney approximately $5 million annually as part of his retirement. (Washington Post, March 12, 2003; Los Angeles Times, March 19, 2003; Yahoo News, March 27, 2003)

On April 17, the United States Agency for International Development awarded the Bechtel Group the first major contract in a vast reconstruction plan for Iraq. The contract guaranteed Bechtel $680 million over 18 months. Together, the six companies invited to bid on the Bechtel contract contributed $3.6 million to federal election campaigns, two-thirds to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. (Christian Science Monitor, October 10, 2003)

By the end of August -- four months after Bush declared major combat operations over -- Halliburton had pocketed more than $1.7 billion. About $1 billion was allocated to Halliburton’s subsidiary, Brown and Root Services. (Washington Post, August 28, 2003)

There seemed to be little cooperation between Bechtel, which was responsible for electricity, and Halliburton, which had an open-ended contract to secure fuel. Halliburton said it was not asked to supply fuel for restarting the refineries. (Newsweek, November 3, 2003)

Senior Republican and Democratic lawmakers asked that the congressional investigation into how federal contracts were awarded for the reconstruction of Iraq be expanded to include nearly every aspect of the American occupation of that country. (New York Times, May 23, 2003)

In November, allegations circulated that Halliburton gouged prices on imported fuel. Cheney’s former firm charged the federal government $1.59 a gallon while the Iraqis “get up to speed.” However, the Iraqi national oil company said it could purchase fuel for 98 cents a gallon. The average wholesale cost of gasoline during that period in the Middle East was about 71 cents a gallon. That meant Halliburton was charging more than 90 cents a gallon to transport fuel into Iraq from Kuwait. (Boston Globe, October 16, 2003; Time, November 3, 2003)

The next month, there were allegations that KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary, overcharged the United States government $61 million on a contract to supply fuel for Iraq. KBR charged the government $2.27 a gallon to deliver gasoline from Kuwait, while a similar contract for gas from Turkey set the price at only $1.18. (Washington Post, December 11, 2003)

In another case involving a Halliburton $220 million contract to operate mess halls in Iraq, auditors found that Halliburton already had awarded a subcontract under which the cost was actually $67 million lower than that. (Washington Post, December 11, 2003)

Bush’s policy violated The Hague Regulations of 1907 as well as the United States Army’s own code of war. The Hague Regulations stated that an occupying power must respect “unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.” The convention stated that occupying powers “shall be regarded only as administrator and usufructuary of public buildings, real estate, forests, and agricultural estates belonging to the hostile State, and situated in the occupied country. It must safeguard the capital of these properties, and administer them in accordance with the rules of usufruct.” (The Nation, November 24, 2003)

Iraq’s Constitution outlawed the privatization of key state assets, and it barred foreigners from owning Iraqi firms. Nevertheless, the Bush administration ignored the international law. On September 19, Bremer enacted Order 39 by privatizing 200 Iraqi state companies. He decreed that foreign firms could retain 100 percent ownership of Iraqi banks, mines, and factories. Bremer allowed these firms to move 100 percent of their profits out of Iraq. (The Nation, November 24, 2003)

In December, the Bush administration punished those countries that did not support the war. Corporations in Russia, Germany, France, and Canada were the largest firms that were blackballed by Bush. They were not allowed to compete for subcontracts on the United States funds earmarked for reconstruction. The policy did not apply to $13 billion in international pledges. (Washington Post, December 9, 2003)

United Nations Secretary General Annan called Bush’s policy “unfortunate” and suggested that he might be violating international law. Diplomats warned that Bush’s policy -- which barred countries that did not support the invasion of Iraq from getting prime contracts there -- could be problematic. (Washington Post, December 12, 2003)

Even high-ranking Republicans echoed the same concerns. GOP House Majority Leader Bill Frist was puzzled that he decided to support a policy that he had flatly rejected only months earlier. (Washington Post, December 12, 2003)