Leslie Burg, Newton's Iraq Resolution
Bill Moyers, Restoring The Public Trust
Bill Moyers June 4, 2003
Howard Zinn at Spelman College
Bill Moyers May 15, 2005
Bill Moyers December 1, 2004
Sen Byrd Oct 17, 2003
Sen Byrd April 7, 2004
MP George Galloway Senate Testimony
MP George Galloway interview by Amy Goodman
Al Gore Nov 29 ,2003
Kennedy Oct 16, 2003
Kennedy Jan 14, 2004
Kennedy March 5, 2004
Kennedy: America's Future in Iraq
Mark Dayton Opposing Ms. Rice
Martin Luther King: Beyond Vietnam
Iraq Veterans Against the War
Howard Zinn at Spelman College
Senator Edward M. Kennedy Delivers Speech to
the Council on Foreign Relations
March 5, 2004
Thank you, Glenn Kessler, for
that generous introduction. As you all know, Glenn does an outstanding job
covering diplomacy and foreign policy for the Washington Post.
It's a privilege to be here
today with the Council on Foreign Relations. The Council and its members
have a distinguished record of notable contributions to the national debate
over the years. On the most important foreign policy issues confronting our
nation and the world, the Council is at the forefront. Your views and
analyses are more important than ever today as America tries to find its way
in this vastly transformed modern world.
The nation is engaged in a major
ongoing debate about why America went to war in Iraq, when Iraq was not an
imminent threat, had no nuclear weapons, no persuasive links to Al Qaeda, no
connection to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, and no stockpiles of
weapons of mass destruction.
Over two centuries ago, John
Adams spoke eloquently about the need to let facts and evidence guide
actions and policies. He said, "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may
be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they
cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." Listen to those words again,
and you can hear John Adams speaking to us now about Iraq. "Facts are
stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the
dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and
Tragically, in making the
decision to go to war in Iraq, the Bush Administration allowed its wishes,
its inclinations and its passions to alter the state of facts and the
evidence of the threat we faced from Iraq.
A month ago, in an address at
Georgetown University, CIA Director George Tenet discussed the strengths and
flaws in the intelligence on Iraq. Tenet testified to several Senate and
House committees on these issues, and next Tuesday, he will come before our
Senate Armed Services Committee. He will have an opportunity to explain why
he waited until last month to publicly state the facts and evidence on these
fundamental questions, and why he was so silent when it mattered most in
the days and months leading up to the war.
If he feels that the White House
altered the facts, or misused the intelligence, or ignored it and relied on
dubious sources in the Iraqi exile community, Tenet should say so, and say
It is not sufficient for Tenet
to say only, as he did last week to the Senate Intelligence Committee, that
we must be patient. When he was appointed Director of Central Intelligence
in 1997, Tenet said to President Clinton. "
I have believed that you
the Vice President must be provided with
complete and objective
intelligence...We must always be straight and tell you the facts as we know
them." The American people and our men and women serving in Iraq deserve the
facts and they deserve answers now.
The rushed decision to invade
Iraq cannot all be blamed on flawed intelligence. If we view these events
simply as an intelligence failure rather than a larger failure of
decision-making and leadership we will learn the wrong lessons.
The more we find out, the
clearer it becomes that any failure in the intelligence itself is dwarfed by
the Administration's manipulation of the intelligence in making the case for
war. Specific warnings from the intelligence community were consistently
ignored as the Administration rushed toward war.
We now know that from the moment
President Bush took office, Iraq was given high priority as unfinished
business from the first Bush Administration.
According to former Treasury
Secretary Paul O'Neill's account in Ron Suskind's book, The Price of
Loyalty, Iraq was on the agenda at the very first meeting of the National
Security Council, just ten days after President Bush's inauguration in 2001.
At that meeting, the President quickly and wrongly concluded that the
U.S. could not do much about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He said we
should "pull out of that situation," and then turned to a discussion of "how
Iraq is destabilizing the region."
Secretary O'Neill remembers:
"Getting Hussein was now the Administration's focus. From the start, we were
building the case against Hussein and looking at how we could take him out
and change Iraq into a new country. And, if we did that, it would solve
everything. It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of
it. The President saying, 'Fine. Go find me a way to do this.'"
By the end of February 2001, the
talk on Iraq was mostly about how and how quickly to get rid of Saddam
Hussein. President Bush was clearly frustrated with what the intelligence
community was providing. According to Secretary O'Neill, on May 16, 2001, he
and the other principals of the National Security Council met with the
President to discuss the Middle East. Tenet presented his intelligence
report, and told the President that it was still only speculation whether
Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, or was even starting a program to
build such weapons.
Secretary O'Neill says:
"Everything Tenet sent up to Bush and Cheney about Iraq was very judicious
and precisely qualified. The President was clearly very interested in
weapons or weapons programs and frustrated about our weak intelligence
capability but Tenet was clearly being careful to say, here's the little
that we know and the great deal that we don't. That wouldn't change, and I
read those CIA reports for two years," said O'Neill.
Then came 9/11. In the months
that followed, the war in Afghanistan and the hunt for Osama bin Laden had
obvious priority. Al Qaeda was clearly the most imminent threat to our
national security. In fact, in his testimony to Congress in February 2001,
one month after President Bush's inauguration and seven months before 9/11,
Tenet had said: "Osama bin Laden and his global network of lieutenants and
associates remain the most immediate and serious threat." That testimony
emphasized the clear danger of bin Laden in light of the specific attacks in
previous years on American citizens and American institutions.
In February 2002, five months
after 9/11, Tenet testified: "Last year, I told you that Osama bin Laden and
the Al Qaeda network were the most immediate and serious threat this country
faced. This remains true despite the progress we have made in Afghanistan
and in disrupting the network elsewhere."
Even during the buildup to the
war in Iraq, in February 2003, Tenet again testified, "the threat from Al
Qaeda remains ... We place no limitations on our expectations on what Al
Qaeda might do to survive
Al Qaeda is living in the expectation of
resuming the offensive."
In his testimony last week to
the Senate Intelligence Committee, Tenet repeated his earlier warnings. He
said again that Al Qaeda is not defeated and that "We are still at war
is a learning organization that remains committed to attacking the United
States, its friends and allies."
Tenet never used that kind of
strong language to describe the threat from Iraq. Yet despite all the clear
and consistent warnings about Al Qaeda, by the summer of 2002, President
Bush was ready for war with Iraq. The war in Afghanistan was no longer in
the headlines or at the center of attention. Bin Laden was hard to find, the
economy was in trouble, and so was the President's approval rating in the
Karl Rove had tipped his hand
earlier by stating that the war on terrorism could bring political benefits
as well. The President's undeniable goal was to convince the American people
that war was necessary and necessary soon, because soon-to-be-acquired
nuclear weapons in the hands of Saddam Hussein could easily be handed off to
This conclusion was not
supported by the facts, but the intelligence could be retrofitted to support
it. Greg Thielmann, former Director of the State Department's Bureau of
Intelligence and Research, put it bluntly last July. He said, "Some of the
fault lies with the performance of the intelligence community, but most of
it lies with the way senior officials misused the information they were
provided." He said, "They surveyed the data, and picked out what they liked.
The whole thing was bizarre. The Secretary of Defense had this huge Defense
Intelligence Agency, and he went around it." Thielmann also said, "This
administration has had a faith-based intelligence attitude, its top-down use
of intelligence: we know the answers; give us the intelligence to support
Going down the list of administration deficiencies, or
distortions, one has to talk about, first and foremost, the nuclear threat
being hyped," he said.
David Albright, the former
weapons inspector with the International Atomic Energy Agency, put it this
way: "Leaders will use worst case assessments that point to nuclear weapons
to generate political support because they know people fear nuclear weapons
Even though they make semantic
denials, there is no doubt that senior Administration officials were
suggesting the threat from Iraq was imminent.
At a roundtable discussion with
European journalists last month, Secretary Rumsfeld insisted: "I never said
In fact, Secretary Rumsfeld had
told the House Armed Services Committee on September 18, 2002, "
argued that the nuclear threat from Iraq is not imminent that Saddam is at
least 5-7 years away from having nuclear weapons. I would not be so
In February 2003, with war only
weeks away, then Deputy Press Secretary Scott McClellan was asked why NATO
allies should support Turkey's request for military assistance against Iraq.
His clear response was, "This is about an imminent threat." In May 2003,
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer was asked whether we went to war
"because we said WMD were a direct and imminent threat to the United
States." Fleischer responded, "Absolutely."
What else could National
Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice have been suggesting, other than an
imminent threat an extremely imminent threat when she said on September
8, 2002, "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."
President Bush himself may not
have used the word "imminent", but he carefully chose strong and loaded
words about the nature of the threat words that the intelligence community
never used to persuade and prepare the nation to go to war against Iraq.
In the Rose Garden on October 2,
2002, as Congress was preparing to vote on authorizing the war, the
President said the Iraqi regime "is a threat of unique urgency."
In a speech in Cincinnati on
October 7, President Bush echoed Condoleezza Rice's image of nuclear
devastation: "Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final
proof the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud."
At a political appearance in New
Mexico on October 28, 2002, after Congress had voted to authorize war, and a
week before the election, President Bush said Iraq is a "real and dangerous
At a NATO summit on November 20,
2002, President Bush said Iraq posed a "unique and urgent threat."
In Fort Hood, Texas on January
3, 2003, President Bush called the Iraqi regime a "grave threat."
Nuclear weapons. Mushroom cloud.
Unique and urgent threat. Real and dangerous threat. Grave threat. This was
the Administration's rallying cry for war. But those were not the words of
the intelligence community. The community recognized that Saddam was a
threat, but it never suggested the threat was imminent, or immediate, or
In his speech last month at
Georgetown, CIA Director Tenet stated that, despite attempts to acquire a
nuclear capability, Saddam was many years away from acquiring a nuclear
weapon. Tenet's precise words were: "We said Saddam did not have a nuclear
weapon, and probably would have been unable to make one until 2007 to 2009."
The acquisition of enough
nuclear material is an extremely difficult task for a country seeking
nuclear weapons. Tenet bluntly stated that the intelligence community had
"detected no such acquisition" by Saddam. The October 2002 National
Intelligence Estimate also outlined the disagreement in the intelligence
community over whether the notorious aluminum tubes were intended for
nuclear weapons or not. Tenet clearly distanced himself from the
Administration's statements about the urgency of the threat from Iraq in his
speech at Georgetown. But he stopped short of saying the Administration
distorted the intelligence or relied on other sources to make the case for
war. He said he only gave the President the CIA's daily assessment of the
intelligence, and the rest he did not know.
Tenet needs to explain to
Congress and the country why he waited until last month nearly a year
after the war started to set the record straight. Intelligence analysts
had long been frustrated about the way intelligence was being misused to
justify war. In February 2003, an official described the feelings of some
analysts in the intelligence agencies to the New York Times, saying "I think
there is also a sense of disappointment with the community's leadership that
they are not standing up for them at a time when the intelligence is
obviously being politicized."
Why wasn't CIA Director Tenet
correcting the President and the Vice President and the Secretary of Defense
a year ago, when it could have made a difference, when it could have
prevented a needless war, when it could have saved so many lives?
It was Vice President Cheney who
first laid out the trumped up argument for war with Iraq to an unsuspecting
public. In a speech on August 26, 2002, to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, he
We now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire
Many of us are convinced that Saddam will acquire nuclear
weapons fairly soon." As we now know, the intelligence community was far
from certain. Yet the Vice President had been convinced.
On September 8, 2002, Cheney was
even more emphatic about Saddam. He said, "[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." The
intelligence community was deeply divided about the aluminum tubes, but
Cheney was absolutely certain.
Where was the CIA Director when
the Vice President was going nuclear about Saddam going nuclear? Did Tenet
fail to convince the policy makers to cool their overheated rhetoric? Did he
even try to convince them?
One month later, on the eve of
the watershed vote by Congress to authorize the war, President Bush said it
even more vividly. He said, "Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength
which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons. If the
Iraqi regime is able to produce, buy, or steal an amount of highly enriched
uranium a little larger than a single softball, it could have a nuclear
weapon in less than a year. And if we allow that to happen, a terrible line
would be crossed
Saddam Hussein would be in a position to pass nuclear
technology to terrorists."
In fact, as we now know, the
intelligence community was far from unified on Iraq's nuclear threat. The
Administration attempted to conceal that fact by classifying the information
and the dissents within the intelligence community until after the war, even
while making dramatic and excessive public statements about the immediacy of
In a February 2004 article in
the Atlantic Monthly, Ken Pollack, a former CIA analyst who supported the
war, said, "
Time after time senior Administration officials discussed only
the worst case and least likely scenario, and failed to mention the
intelligence community's most likely scenario." In a January interview,
Pollack added, "Only the Administration has access to all the information
available to various agencies of the U.S. government and withholding or
downplaying some of that information for its own purposes is a betrayal of
In October 2002, the
intelligence agencies jointly issued a National Intelligence Estimate
stating that "most agencies" believed that Iraq had restarted its nuclear
program after inspectors left in 1998, and that, if left unchecked, Iraq
"probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade."
The State Department's
intelligence bureau, however, said the "available evidence" was inadequate
to support that judgment. It refused to predict when "Iraq could acquire a
nuclear device or weapon."
The National Intelligence
Estimate cited a foreign government report that, as of early 2001, Niger
planned to send several tons of nuclear material to Iraq. The Estimate also
said, "reports indicate that Iraq has sought uranium ore from Somalia and
possibly the Democratic Republic of the Congo." The State Department's
intelligence bureau, however, responded that claims of Iraq seeking to
purchase nuclear material from Africa were "highly dubious." The CIA sent
two memos to the White House stressing strong doubts about those claims.
But the following January, the
President included the claims about Africa in his State of the Union
Address, and conspicuously cited the British government as the source of
Information about nuclear
weapons was not the only intelligence distorted by the Administration. On
the question of whether Iraq was pursuing a chemical weapons program, the
Defense Intelligence Agency concluded in September 2002 that "there is no
reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical
weapons, or where Iraq has or will establish its chemical warfare agent
That same month, however,
Secretary Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Saddam has
He said that "we do know that
the Iraqi regime has chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction,"
that Saddam "has amassed large clandestine stocks of chemical weapons," that
"he has stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons," and that Iraq has
"active chemical, biological and nuclear programs." He was wrong on all
Yet the October 2002 National
Intelligence Estimate actually quantified the size of the stockpiles,
finding that "although we have little specific information on Iraq's CW
stockpile, Saddam probably has stocked at least 100 metric tons and possibly
as much as 500 metric tons of CW agents much of it added in the last
year." In his speech at the United Nations on February 5, 2003, Secretary of
State Powell went further, calling the 100-500 metric ton stockpile a
Secretary Rumsfeld made an even
more explicit assertion in his March 30, 2003, interview on "This Week with
George Stephanopoulos." When asked about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction,
he said, "We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and
Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat."
The second major claim in the
Administration's case for war was the linkage between Saddam Hussein and Al
Significantly here as well, the
Intelligence Estimate did not find a cooperative relationship between Saddam
and Al Qaeda. On the contrary, it stated only that such a relationship might
happen if Saddam were "sufficiently desperate" in other words, if America
went to war. But the estimate placed "low confidence" that, even in
desperation, Saddam would give weapons of mass destruction to Al Qaeda.
A year before the war began,
senior Al Qaeda leaders themselves had rejected a link with Saddam. The New
York Times reported last June that a top Al Qaeda planner and recruiter
captured in March 2002 told his questioners last year that "the idea of
working with Mr. Hussein's government had been discussed among Al Qaeda
leaders, but Osama bin Laden had rejected such proposals." According to the
Times, an Al Qaeda chief of operations had also told interrogators that the
group did not work with Saddam.
Mel Goodman, a CIA analyst for
20 years, put it bluntly: "Saddam Hussein and bin Laden were enemies. Bin
Laden considered and said that Saddam was the socialist infidel. These were
very different kinds of individuals competing for power in their own way and
Saddam Hussein made very sure that Al Qaeda couldn't function in Iraq."
In February 2003, investigators
at the FBI told the New York Times they were baffled by the Administration's
insistence on a solid link between Al Qaeda and Iraq. One investigator said:
"We've been looking at this hard for more than a year and you know what, we
just don't think it's there."
But President Bush was not
deterred. He was relentless in using America's fears after the devastating
9/11 tragedy. He drew a clear link and drew it repeatedly between Al
Qaeda and Saddam.
In a September 25, 2002,
statement at the White House, President Bush flatly declared: "You can't
distinguish between Al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on
In his State of the Union
Address in January 2003, President Bush said, "Evidence from intelligence
sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody
reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members
of Al Qaeda," and that he could provide "lethal viruses" to a "shadowy
Two weeks later, in his radio
address to the nation, a month before the war began, President Bush
described the ties in detail, saying, "Saddam Hussein has longstanding,
direct and continuing ties to terrorist networks
He said: "Senior members of
Iraqi intelligence and Al Qaeda have met at least eight times since the
early 1990s. Iraq has sent bomb-making and document-forgery experts to work
with Al Qaeda. Iraq has also provided Al Qaeda with chemical and biological
weapons training. An Al Qaeda operative was sent to Iraq several times in
the late 1990s for help in acquiring poisons and gases. We also know that
Iraq is harboring a terrorist network headed by a senior Al Qaeda terrorist
planner. This network runs a poison and explosive training camp in northeast
Iraq, and many of its leaders are known to be in Baghdad."
In fact, there was no
operational link and no clear and persuasive pattern of ties between the
Iraqi government and Al Qaeda. That fact should have been abundantly clear
to the President. Iraq and Al Qaeda had diametrically opposing views of the
In the march to war, the
President exaggerated the threat anyway. It was not subtle. It was not
nuanced. It was pure, unadulterated fear-mongering, based on a devious
strategy to convince the American people that Saddam's ability to provide
nuclear weapons to Al Qaeda justified immediate war.
Why would the Administration go
to such lengths to go to war? Was it trying to change the subject from its
failed economic policy, the corporate scandals, and its failed effort to
capture Osama bin Laden? The only imminent threat was the November
Congressional election. The politics of the election trumped the stubborn
Early in the Bush
Administration, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill had raised concerns about
politics pervading the process in the White House.
Comparing the Bush
Administration and previous Republican Administrations, he said, referring
to Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and Karen Hughes: "The biggest difference
that our group was mostly about evidence and analysis and Karl, Dick,
Karen and the gang seemed to be mostly about politics."
In the late winter and early
spring of 2002, in the aftermath of the Enron and other corporate scandals,
as Ron Suskind, the author of the O'Neill book wrote, "
Rove told numerous
administration officials that the poll data was definitive: the scandals
were hurting the President, a cloud in an otherwise blue sky for the
soaring, post-Afghanistan Bush."
The evidence so far leads to
only one conclusion. What happened was not merely a failure of intelligence,
but the result of manipulation and distortion of the intelligence and
selective use of unreliable intelligence to justify a decision to go to war.
The Administration had made up its mind, and would not let stubborn facts
stand in the way.
Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, a
recently retired Air Force intelligence officer who served in the Pentagon
during the buildup to the war, said: "It wasn't intelligence -- it was
they'd take a little bit of intelligence, cherry pick it, make it
sound much more exciting, usually by taking it out of context, usually by
juxtaposition of two pieces of information that don't belong together."
As it now appears, the Iraqi
expatriates who had close ties to the Pentagon and were so eager for the war
may well have been the source of the hyped intelligence. As Walter Pincus
reported today in the Washington Post, "The Bush Administration's prewar
assertion that Saddam Hussein had a fleet of mobile labs that could produce
bioweapons rested largely on information from an Iraqi defector working with
another government who was never interviewed by U.S. intelligence officers."
The Iraqi exiles have even begun
to brag about it.
The Pentagon's favorite Iraqi
dissident, Ahmed Chalabi, is actually proud of what happened. "We are heroes
in error," Chalabi recently said. "As far as we're concerned, we've been
entirely successful. That tyrant Saddam is gone and the Americans are in
Baghdad. What was said before is not important. The Bush Administration is
looking for a scapegoat. We're ready to fall on our swords, if he wants."
Our men and women in uniform are
still paying with their lives for this misguided war in Iraq. CIA Director
Tenet could perform no greater service to the armed forces, to the American
people, and to our country, than to set the record straight, and state
unequivocally what is so clearly the truth: the Bush Administration
misrepresented the facts to justify the war.
America went to war in Iraq
because President Bush insisted that nuclear weapons in the hands of Saddam
Hussein and his ties to Al Qaeda were too dangerous to ignore. Congress
never would have voted to authorize the war if we had known the facts.
The Bush Administration is
obviously digging in its heels against any further serious investigation of
the reasons we went to war.
The Administration's highest
priority is to prevent any more additional stubborn facts about this fateful
issue from coming to light before the election in November.
This debate will go on anyway in
Congress and in communities across the country. The most important decision
any President makes is the decision on war or peace. No President who
misleads the country on the need for war deserves to be reelected. A
President who does so must be held accountable. The last thing our nation
needs is a sign on the desk in the Oval Office in the White House that says,
"The buck doesn't stop here any more." Thank you very much.