News Release

Bush on Iraq: “Comforting Families” and Telling Lies


Yesterday, President Bush, in an appearance with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, addressed the Downing Street Memo — minutes from a July 23, 2002, meeting of British foreign policy leadership — for the first time. The memo is evidence that Bush lied about his reasons for invading Iraq and the timing of his decision.

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Sheehan is co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace, a member organization in the coalition. She said today: “The evidence is overwhelming that George Bush wanted to invade Iraq at all costs and the lack of intelligence giving him a reason for going to war didn’t stop him. Iraq posed no threat to the United States, but this didn’t get in the way of Bush’s and Blair’s plans. The Downing Street Memo is the smoking gun that proves the intelligence was ‘fixed around the policy.’ Tens of thousands of innocent people, including my son, Spc. Casey Sheehan, are dead because of these deceits.”

Yesterday, Bush claimed: “You know, one of the hardest things I do as the president is to try to comfort families who’ve lost a loved one in combat.” Responded Sheehan: “George met with my family in June of 2004. He was ostensibly there to give our family some comfort, but his ‘tea party’ attitude, his cavalier, inappropriate comments, and his lack of respect for our family and my son were more hurtful than comforting. We left the meeting even more distraught. If he cares about our troops and we families, why has he never attended a funeral? Why doesn’t he sign the so-called ‘death letters’ that are sent to the families of fallen soldiers?”

Bush also claimed that committing troops to military combat is the “last option” and that “We worked hard to see if we could figure how to do this peacefully.” Sheehan’s response: “They worked hard trying to convince the world and the U.S. that Saddam had weapons that didn’t exist and that we may be looking into a mushroom cloud if we didn’t invade Iraq. … Bush misused, abused and fraudulently rushed our troops into a war that had no basis in reality.”
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President of Conscience International, based near Atlanta, Jennings made numerous humanitarian trips to Iraq between 1991 and 2003. He said today: “The Iraq war was a war of choice, not necessity. This is now widely known throughout the world. For Bush and Blair to say that the U.S. and U.K. went to war as a ‘last option’ and that Saddam Hussein forced them into it is more than disingenuous, it is an outright falsehood. Because two people agree to repeat the same lie does not make it true. With so many Iraqis and Americans already killed unnecessarily and with U.S. involvement stretching out interminably into the future, these are not just lies, but damned lies. The Downing Street Memo proves that the Bush administration intended go to war months before they claimed the decision was made and that the intelligence was then cooked to fit the policy.

“Even more damning is the British Attorney General’s pre-war report to Blair, which stated: ‘Given the controversy surrounding the legal basis for action, it is likely that the Court [International Court of Justice] will scrutinize any allegations of war crimes by U.K. forces very closely.'”
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Mahajan, author of the book Full Spectrum Dominance: U.S. Power in Iraq and Beyond, said today: “In their appearance yesterday, when asked if the decision to invade Iraq had been made by the summer of 2002 and claims about weapons of mass destruction had been ‘fixed’ in accordance with that decision, both President Bush and Prime Minister Blair denied it strenuously. The facts are becoming all too clear, however, and Bush and Blair are both refusing to acknowledge the evidence.

“If their denials are true, then why does the Downing Street memo, a secret internal British government document describing minutes of a classified briefing about the stance of the U.S. government, say that ‘military action was now seen as inevitable’ and that ‘intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy’?

“Why, if UN Resolution 1441 about disarming Iraq was really Bush and Blair’s reason for going to war, does the memo repeatedly mention ‘regime change’ rather than disarmament as the goal?

“And why, if they were waiting on the outcome of U.N. deliberations and negotiations with Iraq, does the memo mention ‘already begun “spikes of activity” to put pressure on the regime’? The Sunday Times recently reported that a ‘full air offensive’ was underway in 2002 designed to ‘provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war.’

“The recent revelations simply crown a large and growing body of evidence that the war was an act of premeditated aggression and thus a violation of international law. Congress, the media, and the American people should hold the president accountable.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167