Show This Column to Anyone Who Claims Bush Lied about WMDs in Iraq

For more information on this topic, visit Dispatches University. Here’s John Hawkins:

Throughout the Bush years, liberals repeated “Bush lied, people died” like a mantra. That slander wasn’t true then and it’s not anymore true now that it has resurfaced. There are many legitimate criticisms of the way the Bush Administration conducted the war in Iraq and even more of the way Obama threw away all the blood and treasure we spent there for the sake of politics, but you have to be malicious or just an imbecile at this point to accuse Bush of lying about WMDs.

To begin with, numerous foreign intelligence agencies also believed that Saddam Hussein had an active WMD program. The “intelligence agencies of Germany, Israel, Russia, Britain, China and France” all believed Saddam had WMDs. CIA Director George Tenet also rather famously said that it was a “slam dunk” that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Incidentally, it’s hard to fault the CIA for their conclusions when even, “In private conversations that were intercepted by U.S. intelligence, Iraqi officials spoke as if Saddam continued to possess WMD. Even Iraqi generals believed he did. In the fall of 2002, the Iraqi military conducted exercises in chemical protective gear – but not because they thought the U.S.-led coalition was going to use chemical weapons.”

Additionally, many prominent Democrats who had access to the same intelligence that George Bush did came to the same conclusion and said so publicly. If George W. Bush lied, then by default you have to also believe that Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, John Edwards, Robert Byrd, Tom Daschle, Nancy Pelosi and Bernie Sanders also lied. Some of them, like Hillary Clinton, even alleged that Saddam was working on nuclear weapons.

“In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security.” — Hillary Clinton, October 10, 2002

Even Bernie Sanders, who opposed the war from the beginning, publicly said he believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

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Image credit: Cartoon by A.F. Branco.