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The lies that led to the invasion of Iraq

By Eli Stephens
Left I on the News

There's so much going on these days that sometimes it's easy to forget even
critical information. A brief (less than two minutes; I really can't stand
any more) listen to Hardball a little while ago reminded me of one of them.
Chris Matthews, after first making the absurd argument that the invasion of
Iraq might have been done by mistake because it was done in such "haste"
after 9/11 (yeah, Chris, only a year and a half had gone by), then went into
the usual song-and-dance about intelligence, was it lies,
misinterpretations, or just (as Matthews contended), "worst-case scenarios
piled on worst-case scenarios"? I have argued previously that, at the very
least, we know that the lack of conditional statements on the part of the
Administration makes it a case of lying. Many, many statements were of the
form "we know Iraq has stockpiles of weapons" or "we know Iraq has
reconstituted its nuclear weapons program," never "we think this" or "we
have good reason to believe that..."

But there's another big lie that I mention less frequently, and that's the
urgency lie. Although the existence of Iraqi WMD programs or stockpiles of
WMD was most definitely not proved beyond a shadow of a doubt, let's concede
that there was certainly a possibility that such programs or even stockpiles
existed. But there were weapons inspectors going over Iraq with a fine-tooth
comb during the entire pre-invasion period (and, needless to say, finding
nothing except some highly debatable technical violations of missile ranges,
which led to the prompt destruction of the missiles in question). Perhaps
the biggest lie of all was the lie that there was such an imminent danger to
the United States and to the world that, even with Iraq's hands figuratively
tied behind its back, the inspectors had to be pulled out and the U.S.-led
invasion had to begin right then, in March 2003, without further delay.

There is not a shred of evidence, not just a shred of valid evidence but
even a shred of concocted evidence, that this urgency was justified. There
was no such evidence at the time, and no "story" has been concocted since
then, either. The urgency of invading Iraq in March, 2003 was an assertion
by the Bush Administration, nothing more. And, as I said, perhaps the
biggest of the big lies, and the one which people, including myself, all too
frequently forget.


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