See Dick Lie (Again, and Again, and Again....)
Dick “Five Deferments” Cheney confirmed for us this morning what some of you suspected yesterday when Bush took a softened tone towards Democratic critics of the war and the White House’s campaign of deceit in selling it. Forget the talk by Bush; the White House is adopting the Rovian “Tier One/Tier Two” approach towards its critics. Bush will attempt to rise above the fray and say nice things in Tier One, while letting Cheney and Rummy among others be the bad cops and continue the attacks in Tier Two. Cheney did just that this morning in front of a group that has the blood of Iraq on its hands: the American Enterprise Institute. He moved away from attacking Jack Murtha directly, which is a battle that the GOP knows they cannot win, and refocused his lies against the Senate Democrats.
What is not legitimate -- and what I will again say is dishonest and reprehensible -- is the suggestion by some U. S. senators that the President of the United States or any member of his administration purposely misled the American people on pre-war intelligence.
Some of the most irresponsible comments have come from politicians who actually voted in favor of authorizing the use of force against Saddam Hussein. These are elected officials who had access to the intelligence materials. They are known to have a high opinion of their own analytical capabilities. (Laughter.) And they were free to reach their own judgments based upon the evidence. They concluded, as the President and I had concluded, and as the previous administration had concluded, that Saddam Hussein was a threat. Available intelligence indicated that the dictator of Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and this judgment was shared by the intelligence agencies of many other nations, according to the bipartisan Silberman-Robb Commission. All of us understood, as well, that for more than a decade, the U.N. Security Council had demanded that Saddam Hussein make a full accounting of his weapons programs. The burden of proof was entirely on the dictator of Iraq -- not on the U.N. or the United States or anyone else. And he repeatedly refused to comply throughout the course of the decade.
Although our coalition has not found WMD stockpiles in Iraq, I repeat that we never had the burden of proof; Saddam Hussein did. We operated on the best available intelligence, gathered over a period of years from within a totalitarian society ruled by fear and secret police.
Actually, no Dick. Before committing men and women to war, and in order to fulfill your responsibilities under PL 107-243, the burden of proof rested with you, and the March 18, 2003 letter failed that test. And you did not operate on the “best available intelligence”. You relied on “Curveball” for your bio-weapons claims, whom the Germans told you was a fabricator months before. You relied upon an Al Qaeda operative that Rummy’s DIA said was quite possibly a fabricator in early 2002 for your Saddam-Al Qaeda training link claims. You cherry-picked the analysts you wanted to listen to and ignored the rest in your own government as well as the IAEA and those in other intelligence agencies. You ignored the IAEA’s proof that the Niger documents were forgeries thereby wiping out some of your Saddam-going-nuclear claims. And you intentionally pushed the IAEA inspectors out of Iraq rather than let them finish their work.
Some have suggested that by liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein, we simply stirred up a hornet's nest. They overlook a fundamental fact: We were not in Iraq on September 11th, 2001 -- and the terrorists hit us anyway.
Actually Dick, guess who else wasn't in Iraq under Saddam’s wing on September 11, 2001: Al Qaeda. But thanks to you, Al Qaeda is happy to use Iraq as their new training base of operations now.
Fine. If Dick wants to continue this line, Democrats should focus like I have been saying on what the Administration could have known on March 18, 2003 when Bush signed the letter to start the war. And then we’ll see how sustainable the lies are that Bush and Cheney are still telling. Let’s have the debate about what the Administration knew and told Congress to start the war.