Q I'd like to ask you, Mr. President, your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime. Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is, why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, from your Cabinet -- your Cabinet officers, intelligence people, and so forth -- what was your real reason? You have said it wasn't oil -- quest for oil, it hasn't been Israel, or anything else. What was it?
THE PRESIDENT: I think your premise -- in all due respect to your question and to you as a lifelong journalist -- is that -- I didn't want war. To assume I wanted war is just flat wrong, Helen, in all due respect --
Q Everything --
THE PRESIDENT: Hold on for a second, please.
Q -- everything I've heard --
THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me, excuse me. No President wants war. Everything you may have heard is that, but it's just simply not true. [...]
Part of that meant to make sure that we didn't allow people to provide safe haven to an enemy. And that's why I went into Iraq -- hold on for a second --
Q They didn't do anything to you, or to our country.
THE PRESIDENT: Look -- excuse me for a second, please. Excuse me for a second. They did. The Taliban provided safe haven for al Qaeda. That's where al Qaeda trained --
Q I'm talking about Iraq --
THE PRESIDENT: Helen, excuse me. [...] I also saw a threat in Iraq. I was hoping to solve this problem diplomatically. That's why I went to the Security Council; that's why it was important to pass 1441, which was unanimously passed. And the world said, disarm, disclose, or face serious consequences --
Q -- go to war --
THE PRESIDENT: -- and therefore, we worked with the world, we worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world. And when he chose to deny inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him. And we did, and the world is safer for it. link
"The world" is safer for it. "The world" excludes the Iraqis who are dying by the dozens each day. "The world" excludes America which, with every bullet and every bomb, creates more recruits for Al Qaeda. This President wanted war. He wanted to provoke Saddam into starting war, even though Saddam didn't take the bait and offered to surrender and have full inspections. This President wanted war, and he used a steady stream of lies start that war to quench his bloodlust.
The new Downing Street Memo isn't so new. Like previous documents, such as the original Downing Street Memo that stated flat out the evidence for war was being fixed around the policy of regime change, this document has been around in the foreign press and the blogosphere for a while. (See dkos diary on it here,). Nearly two months have passed since the newest memo came to public light. Its contents reiterate what dozens of official documents before it proved: Bush and Blair were hellbent on launching a war which they knew was in violation of international law. They were determined to lie and deceive the world into thinking Saddam Hussein possessed WMD, that he was an imminent threat. Prior to the meeting described in the document (which took place January 2003) the RAF and US military already were implementing a plan to provoke Saddam, doubling the rates of aerial bombings in Iraq during 2002 in an attempt to make Saddam respond. Apparently, this wasn't working fast enough. As this new document details, Bush and Blair decided to step up the provocation. They debated painting an American plane with U.N. colors to goad Saddam into firing it down. They talked of assassination. They conspired to manipulate evidence, to lie in their public statements to their people, to commit a war of aggression in violation of the public trust and the laws of the war.
This document confirms what a hundreds of previous pieces of evidence confirm: the President is a liar. When he told us on March 6, 2003 that "I've not made up our mind about military action," he lied. When he told us two days before Shock & Awe "no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised," he lied. When he told us that Saddam "abosolutely" had a banned weapons program, he lied. Whenever George W. Bush opened his mouth to talk about Iraq from Sept. 11, 2001 on, he lied. He lied and he lies to this very day.
It's no surprise with this new document floating around for a couple months that Chairman of the Senate
Intelligence Cover-Up Committee Pat Roberts has been scrambling to finish the whitewash into pre-war intelligence. After over two years of stonewalling and missed deadlines and statements that such an investigation is pointless, he suddenly has declared that the investigation into whether the administration lied is almost over. Yet he has stated that Phase II of the investigation did not include an analysis of whether the administration twisted intelligence to lead us into war.
Nearly five months have passed since Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid stood on the Senate floor and proclaimed that "America deserves better than this. They also deserve a searching and comprehensive investigation into how the Bush administration brought this country to war." This newest document brings a new urgency to that call for truth. How many more Downing Street documents do we need before we hold this President accountable for a failed war of aggression? What can we do to show the American people that all the bloodshed on their TV screens is the result of a dangerously incompetent and manipulative President?
Shut down the Senate, Senator Reid. Shut. It. Down.
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