"Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud."
This statement came from George W. Bush in October 2002, as he was trying to convince Americans that Iraq posed such an imminent threat to the security of the United States that it would be necessary to take the unprecedented step of invading and occupying Iraq even though the Iraqi government had not made any aggressive moves toward any other country and had expressed no plans to do so. Back before the war, when so many Americans opposed his plans for an unprovoked invasion, Bush made many such statements.
Lately, Republicans have been trying to rewrite the history of George W's rush to war. They've been trying to convince Americans that Bush was always very aware of the limitations of information about foreign governments, and of the difficulty in making decisions based on intelligence reports.
Take, for example, what Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert said on "Fox News Sunday" on July 21, 2003: "Intelligence is not an exact science. We had a hard time just what was going [on]."
This idea is at the core of Republican revisionist history: Bush never should have been expected to know about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction for certain because "intelligence is not an exact science." The Republicans are now saying that anyone who expected Bush to have clear evidence to prove that Iraq had massive stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction is just naive. The Republicans are now suggesting that no one ever really expected Bush to make his decisions based on clear evidence.
The fact is that Bush himself told Americans, over and over again, that he had such clear evidence. Look at Bush's statement again. Pay close attention to what Bush said. He cites "clear evidence of peril" that Iraq could attack the United States "in the form of a mushroom cloud". In short, he said that he had "clear evidence" that Iraq might soon be able to engage in a nuclear attack against the United States.
Where is this "clear evidence" now? It has become clear in recent weeks that Bush's supposed "clear evidence" was clearly questionable. It was based on forgeries, unsubstantiated hearsay, plagiarism and sloppy misinterpretations of the facts.
What's more, it has become clear that Bush and his top aides knew that the supposed evidence for an Iraqi nuclear weapons program was unreliable. In the very same month that Bush made the above statement about "clear evidence", he was warned by CIA Director George Tenet that the evidence Bush wanted to cite was in fact unsound.
According to the Washington Post The Bush Administration has admitted that George W. Bush himself was given a 90-page report which included a clear warning from the State Department that the information Bush had been given about attempts to get yellowcake uranium from Niger were "highly dubious". The only defense that the White House has been able to come up with so far is that Bush didn't bother to read the whole report, and skipped over the parts that indicated that evidence for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was not reliable.
Don't believe the Republican attempts to rewrite history. You were there. You heard George W. Bush lecture America time and time again about all the "secret evidence" he had that Iraq was an imminent threat, that the Iraqi government was preparing to attack America with nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
Now we see that once was praised as Bush's "moral certainty" was actually more akin to prideful blindness to the basic facts:
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