COLUMN: ‘The best we’ve got’

Erin Roof

In a December 2002 briefing, the deputy CIA director laid out all of the evidence about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction for George W. Bush.

“I’ve been told all this intelligence about having WMD and this is the best we’ve got?” Bush replied, according to Bob Woodward’s book Plan of Attack.

It was all out on the table: the false allegations of uranium purchases from Niger, false information of weapons programs, false ties to al-Qaida and false assertions of weapons of mass destruction. All were lies, but that didn’t matter because it was “the best we’ve got.”

In the rushed, lusty lead-up to the Iraq war, honesty did not matter to President Bush. The administration repeatedly fabricated facts to fit the administration’s goals.

Vice President Dick Cheney commissioned a gulf invasion strategy plan from Project for a New American Century in 2000. The document notes the public would not accept the United States starting a war against Iraq unless we suffered a “catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.”

Then came Sept. 11. The Bush administration hastily seized its imperialistic opportunity and began name-dropping “Iraq” and “Sept. 11” in the same breath – successfully conveying the message the two were linked. It wasn’t true, but it was “the best we’ve got.”

And it worked.

President Bush built his war on lies. This deceit is not only a travesty to the American public, it is a federal crime. Title 18, United States code, section 371 prohibits conspiracies to defraud the United States. The Supreme Court defines this type of fraud as “to interfere with, impede or obstruct a lawful government function by deceit, craft or trickery, or at least by means that are dishonest.”

The president is in direct violation and should be impeached.

Bush knew Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. The Nation Intelligence Estimate maintained this as of December 2001, three years after U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors left Iraq empty-handed. Yet, under the blinding lights of the House Chamber, Bush contradicted the NIE in his 2002 State of the Union address by saying Iraq was a “grave and growing danger.”

So, to make the facts fit his plans, he simply re-wrote them. An October 2002 NIE had a much different assessment, one that was more favorable to the White House. Still this evaluation of pre-war intelligence had many holes. To fix this, two different reports were distributed: one to Congress and one to the public. Of course, all of the dissents were only in the classified version. Members of Congress were barred from warning the public to question the integrity of their version, which was packed with additional unsubstantiated evidence and other language that distorted the severity of Iraq’s threat.

Bush fraudulently hid the truth from the public and instead fed us sexy sound bites, uncorroborated statements and twisted evidence. He built his war as a house of cards. And it is beginning to crumble.

I. Lewis Libby’s indictment in “Plamegate” is just the tip of the iceberg of corruption that led to the Iraq war. A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll revealed 58 percent of Americans now doubt the president’s honesty.

The American public is no longer buying the lies.

Erin Roof is a senior magazine journalism major and a point/counterpoint columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].