What–if Anything–Does Bush Know About the Iraq War?

Time magazine’s Joe Klein has read George W. Bush’s memoir, and has a few criticisms (11/11/10); for instance, he points out that Bush

never stops to wonder if the UN inspectors, whom Saddam Hussein had allowed back into Iraq, were not finding weapons of mass destruction because, maybe, uh, the WMD didn’t exist.

That’s a good question, but it’s not surprising that Bush didn’t raise it, sinceBushhas repeatedly claimed thatSaddam Hussein did not allow weapons inspectors into Iraq in the first place.As FAIR pointed out in an Action Alert (“Media Still Letting Bush Lie on Iraq Inspectors,” 12/2/08), Bush peddled this absurd falsehood to ABC‘s Charlie Gibson, who failed to challenge him:

GIBSON: If the intelligence had been right, would there have been an Iraq War?

BUSH: Yes, because Saddam Hussein was unwilling to let the inspectors go in to determine whether or not the U.N. resolutions were being upheld.

The Washington Post‘s write-up (12/1/08) of the interview praised Bush’s “new candor.”

The alert noted that this wasn’t Bush’s first attempt to rewrite history:

As FAIR pointed out (7/18/03), in July 2003 Bush made a similar comment (“We gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn’t let them in”), which the Post soft-pedaled by saying these words “appeared to contradict the events leading up to war this spring.” And reporter Robert Parry (Consortium News, 12/2/08) noted after the ABC interview that Bush has made similar declarations (1/27/04, 3/21/06, 5/24/07 )–none of which generated much interest from the corporate media.

If these utterances had received more attention at the time,reporters like Joe Klein would surely be more familiar with them. But Bush’s fantasy was kept quiet–perhaps because reporting it widely would have sent a message that Bush had no idea what he was doing.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.