Woodward documents Bush’s many lies about Iraq war

Bob Woodward’s new book, State of Denial, not only shows an out-of-control White House unable to accept reality, it details the lies George W. Bush told the American people about Iraq war progess that wasn’t and an optimistic prognosis that existed only in the President’s mind.

Writes Woodward:

On May 22, 2006, President Bush spoke in Chicago and gave a characteristically upbeat forecast: "Years from now, people will look back on the formation of a unity government in Iraq as a decisive moment in the story of liberty, a moment when freedom gained a firm foothold in the Middle East and the forces of terror began their long retreat."

Two days later, the intelligence division of the Joint Chiefs of Staff circulated a secret intelligence assessment to the White House that contradicted the president’s forecast.

Instead of a "long retreat," the report forecast a more violent 2007: "Insurgents and terrorists retain the resources and capabilities to sustain and even increase current level of violence through the next year."

A graph included in the assessment measured attacks from May 2003 to May 2006. It showed some significant dips, but the current number of attacks against U.S.-led coalition forces and Iraqi authorities was as high as it had ever been — exceeding 3,500 a month. [In July the number would be over 4,500.] The assessment also included a pessimistic report on crude oil production, the delivery of electricity and political progress.

On May 26, the Pentagon released an unclassified report to Congress, required by law, that contradicted the Joint Chiefs’ secret assessment. The public report sent to Congress said the "appeal and motivation for continued violent action will begin to wane in early 2007."

There was a vast difference between what the White House and Pentagon knew about the situation in Iraq and what they were saying publicly. But the discrepancy was not surprising. In memos, reports and internal debates, high-level officials of the Bush administration have voiced their concern about the United States’ ability to bring peace and stability to Iraq since early in the occupation.

[The release last week of portions of a National Intelligence Estimate concluding that the war in Iraq has become a primary recruitment vehicle for terrorists — following a series of upbeat speeches by the president — presented a similar contrast.]

On June 18, 2003, Jay Garner went to see Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to report on his brief tenure in Iraq as head of the postwar planning office. Throughout the invasion and the early days of the war, Garner, a retired Army lieutenant general, had struggled just to get his team into Iraq. Two days after he arrived, Rumsfeld called to tell him that L. Paul "Jerry" Bremer, a 61-year-old terrorism expert and protege of Henry A. Kissinger, would be coming over as the presidential envoy, effectively replacing Garner.

"We’ve made three tragic decisions," Garner told Rumsfeld.

"Really?" Rumsfeld asked.

"Three terrible mistakes," Garner said.

He cited the first two orders Bremer signed when he arrived, the first one banning as many as 50,000 members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party from government jobs and the second disbanding the Iraqi military. Now there were hundreds of thousands of disorganized, unemployed, armed Iraqis running around.

Third, Garner said, Bremer had summarily dismissed an interim Iraqi leadership group that had been eager to help the United States administer the country in the short term. "Jerry Bremer can’t be the face of the government to the Iraqi people. You’ve got to have an Iraqi face for the Iraqi people."

Garner made his final point: "There’s still time to rectify this. There’s still time to turn it around."

Rumsfeld looked at Garner for a moment with his take-no-prisoners gaze. "Well," he said, "I don’t think there is anything we can do, because we are where we are."

Comments

  1. Since I am not able to express it in the eloquent fashion that others on this post have, I can only add my voice to the call to elect only Democrats to both the House and the Senate in November. That is the only way we have left to begin to correct the horrendous damage that this present cabal of so-called leaders has brought down upon our beloved land.
    Sit home and continue to complain…or get off your butts and Vote. Clean House and Senate. Throw the rubber-stamp Republicans out.
    VJS

  2. Vote for Democrats and then watch them like a hawk. The leadership is cashing in on this war just as well. We really need a new constitution that kills unbridled capitalism and a royal supreme court once and for all. It is our cruddy institutions that are really at fault. They breed flies like an outhouse.

  3. Bill Robinson

    I go back to my old solution–one term for all elected officials, including Supreme Court Justices, and that term being one of three years duration. It will stop the long reign of imperial power these arrogant politicians have and their buddy system of protecting one another. Foley was a SIX term congressman. SIX terms. Even the pages and the interns knew enough to avoid him. Three years is enough time for these crooks, and maybe it will eliminate some of the more greedy ones from coming to rob the American people.

  4. Bill C

    Thanks for all the excellent commentary here.
    It’s up to the American people to make their sternest comment in the November elections.
    If we don’t overturn the House and Senate, then we get exactly what we deserve.
    The American people need to take our country back from the terrorists in Washington D.C.

  5. Doubtom

    Who the hell is Bob Woodward anyway? Do all the lies with which every sentient being on earth is familiar, take on more meaning for being mentioned in his book? Who the hell appointed Woodward the “truth guru” to the world anyway?

    Should we now all sigh in unison, knowing that Woodward has confirmed what we already knew? What is it about a columnist that confers this special trustworthiness, especially in these days of totally compromised corporate controlled media?

    Bob, go hawk your book in the 99 cent stores where it rightfully belongs. You’d turn on your mother for a story and a book sale.