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Frank Rich on Iraq: 'What was not a lie?'


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A column set to appear in Sunday's New York Times by Frank Rich explores a number of 'cover-ups' attributed to the Bush Administration about the war in Iraq in recent reports, RAW STORY has learned.

Among other examples, Rich covers the Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) ten days after 9/11 that showed "scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with al-Qaida" which Murray Waas reported was kept from Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and last Sunday's LA Times story which described German intelligence officials as being "shocked" that President Bush and Colin L. Powell used "not proven" WMD intel in key prewar speeches.

Excerpts from Rich's Sunday column:



Each day brings slam-dunk evidence that the doomsday threats marshaled by the administration to sell the war weren't, in Cheney-speak, just dishonest and reprehensible but also corrupt and shameless. The more the president and vice president tell us that their mistakes were merely innocent byproducts of the same bad intelligence seen by everyone else in the world, the more we learn that this was not so. The web of half-truths and falsehoods used to sell the war did not happen by accident; it was woven by design and then foisted on the public by a PR operation built expressly for that purpose in the White House. The real point of the Bush-Cheney verbal fisticuffs this month, like the earlier campaign to take down Joseph Wilson, is less to smite Democrats than to cover up wrongdoing in the executive branch between 9/11 and shock and awe.


What these revelations also tell us is that Bush was wrong when he said in his Veterans Day speech that more than 100 congressional Democrats who voted for the Iraqi war resolution "had access to the same intelligence" he did. They didn't have access to the President's Daily Brief that Waas uncovered. They didn't have access to the information that German intelligence officials spoke about to The Los Angeles Times. Nor did they have access to material from a Defense Intelligence Agency report, released by Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan this month, which as early as February 2002 demolished the reliability of another major source that the administration had persistently used for its false claims about Iraqi-Qaida collaboration.

The more we learn about the road to Iraq, the more we realize that it's a losing game to ask what lies the White House told along the way. A simpler question might be: What was not a lie? The situation recalls Mary McCarthy's explanation to Dick Cavett about why she thought Lillian Hellman was a dishonest writer: "Every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the."'


New York Times subscribers can read the rest of "Dishonest, Reprehensible, Corrupt..." at the Times Select link.

Originally published on Saturday November 26, 2005


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