News Release

Bush Deceptions Today About Origins of Iraq War

At this morning’s news conference, responding to a question from journalist Helen Thomas about the real reason for initiating the Iraq war, President Bush said: “I didn’t want war. … No president wants war. … And the world said, ‘Disarm, disclose or face serious consequences.’ And therefore, we worked with the world. We worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world. And when he chose to deny the inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him.” [CNN transcript]

ELIZABETH DE LA VEGA
Elizabeth de la Vega wrote “The White House Criminal Conspiracy,” the cover story in a recent issue of The Nation magazine. She has recently retired after serving more than 20 years as a federal prosecutor in Minneapolis and San Jose. She said today: “Since the beginning of the Bush administration’s campaign to invade Iraq, veteran reporter Helen Thomas has been a modern day Diogenes in search of an honest man — an honest answer — about the reasons and basis for our unprovoked attack on a country 8,000 miles away. President Bush’s statement today — that we attacked because Saddam Hussein refused to allow inspections — was untrue when we started the war and it is untrue today. The UN inspectors were urging the president to allow the inspections to continue, but the president announced that they should leave, because we were going to bomb the country in 48 hours. The president is engaged in an ongoing fraud and our elected representatives are allowing him to get away with it.”
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PHYLLIS BENNIS
Bennis is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and author of the new book Challenging Empire: How People, Governments, and the UN Defy U.S. Power. She said today: “Bush’s answer to Helen Thomas frames almost all of his central lies about the origins of the Iraq war. He claims that Saddam Hussein kept UN inspectors out, when in fact the inspectors were on the ground in Iraq and the heads of both UN inspection teams indicated that they were getting full compliance. Bush says he ‘didn’t want war,’ but he and many in his administration had looked for excuses to go to war with Iraq even before they came into office and certainly officially beginning Sept. 12 [2001]. Bush says ‘I had the difficult decision to make,’ but that was not Bush’s decision to make. The UN followed the mandate of its Charter and refused Bush’s demand for war. Bush’s unilateral decision represents a complete abandonment of the UN Charter and international law, not to speak of the overwhelming opinion of the people of virtually every country in the world.”
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For more on the statements from the White House immediately before the beginning of the “Shock and Awe” bombing campaign in March of 2003, see the FAIR document “Will the War Begin With a Big Lie?.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167