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A Timeline of the Bush Administration's Road to War in Iraq [View All]

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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 07:16 PM
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A Timeline of the Bush Administration's Road to War in Iraq
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The road that led to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003 may be conceptualized in the form of two parallel timelines. One timeline involves documentation of the Bush administrations determination and plans for war, interspersed with concurrent public pronouncements that it was primarily seeking a peaceful solution to its conflict with Iraq.

The other timeline (actually, a series of timelines by subject area) involves the Bush administrations accumulation of evidence of the need for war, along with its marketing of that evidence to the American Congress, news media and people, interspersed with accumulating evidence that the evidence accumulated and marketed by the Bush administration was phony.

This post begins the first timeline shortly after George W. Bush took office in January 2001 (though its roots began much earlier), several months prior to the September 11th attacks on our country that provided the Bush administration with its primary excuse for war. The second timeline, concerning the accumulation and subsequent marketing of evidence of the supposed danger that Iraq posed to us, begins within hours of the 9-11 attacks.

In composing these timelines I used a presentation from the September/October edition of Mother Jones, which I shortened, organized, slightly expanded at some points, and linked to references, in an attempt to make the situation as crystal clear as I could. My goal was to develop a relatively short synopsis that would be capable of convincing all but the brain-dead and the heartless that for the sake of our country and for the sake of the world, there is a crucial need to remove the Bush administration from office and to try many of those who compose it for war crimes.

In order to highlight the contrasts, I put the Bush administrations denials of its pre-existing determination to go to war (from the first timeline) in red, as well as the evidence that contradicts the Bush administrations phony evidence (from the second timeline).

Documentation of the Bush administrations determination and plans for war and accompanying denials

1-30-01: Ten days after taking office, at Bushs first national security meeting, the top item on the agenda is finding an excuse for invading Iraq.

3-5-01: Pentagon produces Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts, including a map of areas for potential oil exploration, for Cheneys task force.

9-20-01: Bush tells Tony Blair, When we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must come back to Iraq.

9-20-01: PNAC letter to Bush: Even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

11-21-01: Bush to Rumsfeld: What have you got in terms of plans for Iraq? What is the status of the war plan? I want you to get on it. I want you to keep it secret.

1-29-02: Bush delivers his Axis of Evil speech, written by his speech writer David Frum after being asked Can you sum up in a sentence or two our best case for going after Iraq?

3-8-02: First Downing Street memo prepared by top Britain national security aid states that Washington believes the legal basis for an attack on Iraq already exists

3-22-02: Downing Street memo states US scrambling to establish a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda is so far frankly unconvincing It sounds like a grudge between Bush and Saddam.

March 2002: Cheney tells Republican senators that the question is no longer if the U.S. will invade Iraq but when.

4-4-02: Bush to Blair: I made up my mind that Saddam needs to go.

5-23-02: Bush states his opposition to hearings on the 9-11 attacks.

June 2002: Condoleeza Rice to a deputy raising doubts about the need for war with Iraq: Save your breath. The president has already made up his mind.

July 2002: Bush approves secret request from General Tommy Franks for $700 million in war preparations.

7-23-02: Downing Street memo written by Britain foreign secretary after visit with U.S. officials: Military action was now seen as inevitable The intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy

August 2002: White House Iraq Group created to market war.

8-7-02: Bush given Iraq war plan by General Franks.

8-20-02: Bush: We may or may not attack. I have no idea yet

8-26-02: Cheney: There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends and against us.

9-16-01: Rumsfeld: The president hasnt made a decision to do anything with respect to Iraq.

9-25-02: Bush: You cant distinguish between Al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror.

October 2002: Bush administration decided not to take out al-Zarqawi because any terrorist in Iraq helps case for war. According to a former NSC member, People were more obsessed with developing the coalition to overthrow Saddam than to execute the presidents policy of preemption against terrorists.

10-8-02: Knight Ridder report: A growing number of military officers, intelligence professionals and diplomats in his own government privately have deep misgivings about the administrations double-time march toward war. These officials charge that administration hawks have exaggerated evidence of the threat that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein poses Analysts at the working level in the intelligence community are feeling very strong pressure from the Pentagon to cook the intelligence books

10-16-02: Bush to U.S. public: I have not ordered the use of force. I hope the use of force will not become necessary.

November 2002: CIA station chiefs at a secret meeting in London: War is inevitable, just a few months away.

11-7-02: Bush: War is not my first choice. Its my last choice.

12-31-02: Bush to U.S. press: You said were headed to war in Iraq. I dont know why you say that Im the person who gets to decide, not you.

January 2003: Deputy CIA Director John McLaughlin to Scooter Libby, on being pressured to bolster the WMD intelligence: Im not going back to the well on this. Weve done our work.

1-31-03: Notes of meeting between Bush and Blair make clear that Bush intends to invade Iraq even if U.N. inspectors found no evidence of WMD.

3-7-03: U.S., Britain, and Spain present resolution to Saddam Hussein giving him an ultimatum to disarm by March 17 or face war.

3-8-03: Bush: We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq.

3-20-03: U.S. begins war on Iraq.

Accumulation and marketing of phony evidence of Saddam Husseins intentions and development of WMD, in order to support war in Iraq

The efforts to tie Saddam Hussein to the 9-11 attacks on our country were initiated remarkably quickly, especially considering the amazingly slow response mounted against the attacks themselves. Within two days of 9-11, the following occurred:

9-11-01: Five hours following the attacks on the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon, minutes taken by a Rumsfeld aide stated Best info fast. Judge whether good enough {to} hit SH {Saddam Hussein}

9-12-01: Bush tells counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke, I want you, as soon as you can, to go back over everything, everything. See if Saddam did this. Bush asks for any shred of evidence that Saddam was involved.


9-21-01: Bush briefed by intelligence community that there is no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the 9-11 attacks.

But despite this, the Bush administration proceeded with its plans.

In order to make the subsequent efforts of the Bush administration to gather and market evidence of the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capabilities of Saddam Hussein easier to follow, the following is a description of overlapping time lines according to subject area:

Efforts to obtain information through torture

January 2002: Captured Al Qaeda operative, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, states while being tortured that Al Qaeda has received chemical weapons from Iraq.

February 2002: Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) intelligence summary says that al-Libis statement about Al Qaeda receiving chemical weapons from Iraq lacks pertinent details and that it is most likely false and based solely on his desire to stop being tortured. Report also notes that it is unlikely that Saddam would provide assistance to Al Qaeda.

4-9-02: Bush speaking to CIA Director George Tenet about captured Al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah: I said he was important, youre not going to let me lose face on this are you?... Do some of those harsh methods really work? Zudaydah is then tortured and speaks of several plots.

Claim that Iraq purchased enriched uranium from Africa

The most serious threat that the Bush administration tried to establish was that Saddam Hussein was making a concerted effort to develop a nuclear weapons program. A major component of that effort was the allegation that he had purchased enriched uranium (often referred to as yellowcake) from Niger. The Bush administration clung to that claim despite a great deal of evidence against it:

3-5-02: Joe Wilson tells CIA that there is no indication that Iraq is buying yellowcake.

Summer 2002: The French debunk the theory that Iraq tried to obtain yellowcake from Niger: We told the Americans, Bullshit. It doesnt make any sense.

October 2002: National Intelligence Estimate report states claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium {i.e., yellowcake} in Africa are highly dubious.

10-6-02: NSC memo to White House on the claim that Iraq attempted to obtain uranium from Niger: The evidence is weak the Africa story is over-blown.

3-3-03: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) tells U.S. that the Niger uranium documents were forgeries.

3-7-03: IAEA: After three months of intrusive inspections, we have to date found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons program in Iraq.

3-8-03: Joe Wilson on CNN: I think its safe to say that the U.S. government should have or did know that the {Niger documents were} fake before Dr. ElBaradei mentioned it in his report at the U.N. yesterday.

But despite all that, on 12-7-02, the Bush administration discredited a report by Iraq to the United Nations, documenting all of its unconventional arms, on the basis that the report didnt mention the alleged uranium that it acquired from Niger, and it used that discredited allegation as one of its major excuses for going to war.

Claim that Iraq intended to use aluminum tubes to produce enriched uranium for use in a nuclear weapon

The other major alleged evidence pointing to a nuclear weapons program in Iraq was the Iraqis purchase of aluminum tubes, which the Bush administration claimed was proof that they intended to use them to enrich uranium for use in a nuclear weapon. In September of 2002, the Bush administration began to push that bogus claim:

9-7-02: Bush claims a new U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report states Iraq is six months from developing a nuclear weapon though no such report existed.

9-8-02: Judith Miller of the New York Times cites anonymous administration officials as saying that Saddam has repeatedly tried to acquire aluminum tubes specially designed to enrich uranium.

9-8-02: Cheney on Meet the Press: We do know, with absolute certainty, that he is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment he needs in order to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon.

They pushed that claim to the end, despite a great deal of evidence to the contrary:

9-23-02: Institute for Science and International Security releases report calling the aluminum tube intelligence ambiguous and warning that U.S. nuclear experts who dissent from the Administrations position are expected to remain silent

1-9-03: IAEA says that the aluminum tubes sought by Iraq are likely for artillery rockets, rather than centrifuges for uranium concentration.

1-24-03: IAEA to Washington Post: It may be technically possible that the tubes could be used to enrich uranium, but youd have to believe that Iraq

And then, in Bushs January State of the Union speech he put both the yellow cake and the aluminum tubes claims together to scare his country into believing that Iraq posed a nuclear threat to us:

1-28-03: Bush State of the Union speech: The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Saddam has tried to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production and has mobile biological weapons labs.

Claims by Curveball for Iraqi WMD programs

Another major claim of the Bush administration, for the existence of a biological weapons program in Iraq, was based on the allegations of an Iraqi defector who went by the code name of Curveball. Again, this claim was maintained by the Bush administration to the end, despite substantial and accumulating evidence against it:

May 2002: DIA says that Curveballs claims that Iraq has mobile weapons labs are likely lies.

September 2002: Germans warn CIA that Curveball is crazy and probably a fabricator.

2-4-03: CIA agent e-mail regarding the validity of information coming from Curveball: We sure didnt give much credence to this report when it came out. Why now? (Response from CIA Iraqi Task Force was Lets keep in mind the fact that this wars going to happen regardless of what Curveball said or didnt say)

2-8-03: U.N. team searches Curveballs former work site and disproves many of his claims.

But despite all this, Secretary of State Colin Powell used Curveballs evidence in his speech to the United Nations on February 5, 2003, to justify a U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Other evidence against a WMD threat posed by Iraq

Other evidence against the claim that Iraq posed a WMD threat to the United States came from a variety of sources, the most important of which were the official reports by the United Nations concerning their extensive efforts to ascertain a threat:

3-15-02: British intelligence report states that there is only sporadic and patchy evidence of Iraqi WMD. There is no intelligence of any {biological weapons} production facilities.

September 2002: All 30 American relatives of Iraqis who were sent to Iraq as CIA moles report that Iraq has abandoned its WMD program.

9-26-02: Classified DIA report concludes that there is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons.

10-7-02: CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin, in a letter to Congress: The likelihood of Saddam using WMD unless attacked is very low.

1-9-03: Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix says that no smoking guns have been found in Iraq.

1-27-03: U.N. press release: It would appear Iraq had decided in principle to bring the disarmament task to completion through the peaceful process of inspection Weapons inspectors have examined 106 locations and found no evidence that Iraq had revived its nuclear weapons program.


The above timelines thoroughly demonstrate that:

1) The invasion of Iraq was a major priority of the Bush administration long before the 9-11 attacks on our country;

2) Bush went to great lengths, including the use of torture to force confessions out of people, to establish that Iraq had or was developing programs for the production of weapons of mass destruction that would likely be used against the U.S.; and,

3) Despite the fact that no credible evidence could be found to support those claims, the Bush administration nevertheless used them to justify an invasion of a country that posed no threat to it.
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