Charges and Countercharges: Did Bush Knowingly Mislead the U.S. Into War With Iraq?

Written by David Corn for Politics Daily

Peter Wehner, a Politics Daily colleague, was quite gracious to accept my challenge to defend his old boss, George W. Bush — that is, to partially accept it.

Regular readers of this column might recall that in a March 17 article, I insisted that the evidence is quite clear that Bush and his crew misled the American public into the Iraq war. I noted that in the months prior to the March 2003 invasion they had “waged a willful campaign of misrepresentation and hyperbole” about the supposed WMD threat posed by Iraq. It wasn’t merely a matter of Bush, Dick Cheney and the others repeating in good faith intelligence that later proved to be wrong. They incessantly made provocative (and false) assertions overstating the lousy intelligence, and, on other occasions, they simply made stuff up. I offered a sampling of eight false statements that characterized this endeavor. (The Center for Public Integrity has put together a list of 532 false Bush administration statements about Iraq’s WMD capability.) And I dared Wehner, who worked in the W. White House, Karl Rove, Bush’s uber-strategist, and Ross Douthat, a New York Times columnist — each of whom had recently dismissed the notion that Bush had misguided the nation — to provide a line-by-line response. Wehner was the sole member of this Bush-backing trio willing to give it a shot. But he has only managed to put up half a fight.

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