Wednesday marks the 16th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq and former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer is getting hammered for trying to rewrite history.
On Tuesday night, Fleischer wrote on Twitter that claims he and others within President George W. Bush's administration lied about weapons of mass destruction were "a myth."
The Iraq war began sixteen years ago tomorrow. There is a myth about the war that I have been meaning to set strai… https://t.co/wFnXMk57y8— Ari Fleischer (@Ari Fleischer)1553046295.0
Fleischer said it was an "intelligence failure," rather than a series of lies and exaggerations, that led the US and coalition forces into what would become a multi-trillion dollar fool's errand that has claimed tens to hundreds of thousands of lives.
Its key finding was that that a "major intelligence failure" took place. It also stated that no intelligence servi… https://t.co/A9ZnIZtnX7— Ari Fleischer (@Ari Fleischer)1553047111.0
The intelligence "misjudgment," as Fleischer characterized it, "stemmed chiefly from the Community's failure to analyze correctly Iraq's reasons for attempting to procure high-strength aluminum tubes," used in the production of nuclear weapons.
This misjudgment stemmed chiefly from the Community's failure to analyze correctly Iraq's reasons for attempting to… https://t.co/csO9NmV7VC— Ari Fleischer (@Ari Fleischer)1553047314.0
The administration also misread analyses about Saddam Hussein's alleged biological weapons program, according to Fleischer.
"The primary reason for this misjudgment was the Intelligence Community's heavy reliance on a human source--codenamed "Curveball"--whose information later proved to be unreliable," he said.
The primary reason for this misjudgment was the Intelligence Community's heavy reliance on a human source--codename… https://t.co/EvEueUgcjA— Ari Fleischer (@Ari Fleischer)1553047464.0
A similar excuse was offered for conclusions drawn about Hussein's supposed stockpile of chemical weapons, which were never found.
The Community's substantial overestimation of Iraq's chemical warfare program was due chiefly to flaws in analysis… https://t.co/waDbxjYn7p— Ari Fleischer (@Ari Fleischer)1553047532.0
Fleischer then suggested that Hussein misled the west into... invading his own country?
Which leads me to conclude that there was a liar and his name was Saddam Hussein. He created an elaborate system o… https://t.co/ApN6k9oLMV— Ari Fleischer (@Ari Fleischer)1553047801.0
"I understand the anger that was felt after no WMDs were found," Fleischer concluded. Sure.
But that doesn't justify calling the President a liar. I can only hope that serious historians and other experts do… https://t.co/hxuTBz8eWq— Ari Fleischer (@Ari Fleischer)1553047860.0
The problem with all this however, is that it simply is not true.
Former Obama National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor threw the gauntlet down on Fleischer:
"In Feb 02, IAEA director Mohammed ElBaradei said 'we have found to date no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear-related activities in Iraq.' The Germans warned us that Curveball was a questionable source BEFORE the Iraq NIE was published."
@AriFleischer In Feb 02, IAEA director Mohammed ElBaradei said “we have found to date no evidence of ongoing prohib… https://t.co/I4LOSIU9wk— Tommy Vietor (@Tommy Vietor)1553051320.0
This, Vietor reminded us, was shouted down by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell and former Vice President Dick Cheney, both of whom said that those who doubted the veracity of the intelligence reports have not “seen all the intelligence that we have seen.”
In fact, the administration was itching for war with Iraq, dating back to the early days of the Bush presidency, even predating 9/11. "After all," Bush said of Hussein in 2002, "this is the guy who tried to kill my dad."
Powell would later admit the administration made "terrible strategic mistakes" after toppling Hussein and in the early days of the occupation of Baghdad.
Further, Vietor notes, and history has certainly proven this to be correct, the Bush administration had no long-term plan for the stability and eventual independence of Iraq - and it was not the CIA's fault. Nevertheless, "Mission Accomplished" was declared on May 1, 2003.
@AriFleischer But the intelligence failure was only the first tragedy. The utter failure to plan for and resource t… https://t.co/6nAVr1Ttbn— Tommy Vietor (@Tommy Vietor)1553051437.0
It is also crucial to remember that Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, a fact that Cheney would later admit, albeit begrudgingly.
David Corn of Mother Jones blasted Fleischer for his historical revisionism.
"Damn, Ari. I’ve been through this BS before. Cheney started out your push for war in a major speech claiming Saddam was amassing WMDs to use against the US. There was no intelligence concluding that. It was a lie."
Damn, Ari. I’ve been through this BS before. Cheney started out your push for war in a major speech claiming Saddam… https://t.co/32NkXmDfEp— David Corn (@David Corn)1553084547.0
Cheney lied - again and again.
Cheney then repeatedly claimed there was intelligence showing the 9/11 ringleader had met with Iraqi intelligence i… https://t.co/D4e5bnlbwY— David Corn (@David Corn)1553084548.0
Bush at one point said US intel didn’t know if Saddam already had a nuclear bomb. But US intel had concluded that a… https://t.co/zgQ1FqPREc— David Corn (@David Corn)1553084549.0
The administration, with Fleischer as its mouthpiece, deceived the public into senseless carnage.
Your White House cited the tubes as concrete evidence of a nuclear weapon program, even though the top experts in t… https://t.co/8ykktRsGbE— David Corn (@David Corn)1553084550.0
The repercussions of the disastrous invasion of Iraq have reverberated into the present day.
By the way, while misleading the public, you totally screwed up planning for the post-invasion period. Thanks to th… https://t.co/B8ZpbkfllN— David Corn (@David Corn)1553084550.0
At the very least, Fleischer and the rest of the 43rd president's team owe the world an apology, Corn said.
So on every anniversary of the misguided and mis-sold invasion of Iraq, you ought to skip the justifications and ju… https://t.co/UT9JrsERLP— David Corn (@David Corn)1553084551.0
Operation Iraqi Freedom came to define most of Bush's presidency and exacerbated the trauma caused by the 9/11 attacks.
@DavidCornDC Cheney did irreparable harm to this country.— Scott (@Scott)1553086307.0
@DavidCornDC Everyone retweeting this should link to the National Security Archive’s Iraq project, which has abunda… https://t.co/tZpHaeYfI0— Brad Simpson (@Brad Simpson)1553087432.0
@DavidCornDC That is one dedicated propaganda minister when he is still trying to make the lies seem true 13 years later.— Rusty Cannon (@Rusty Cannon)1553090245.0
Fleischer is not fooling anyone.
@DavidCornDC Thank you #DavidCorn for taking the time to answer those who are DANGEROUS - revisionists/fake newser… https://t.co/u7TlAZ0MzW— Repeating history reluctantly (@Repeating history reluctantly)1553087994.0
@DavidCornDC It's not that I didn't know back in 2008 that these monsters would be back to rewrite history eventual… https://t.co/JsWT92DVqy— Jive Ass Turducken McDuck (@Jive Ass Turducken McDuck)1553085988.0
@AriFleischer Stop covering up war crimes committed by the United States in this century— ♠️ Lexi Queen of Winter♠️ (@♠️ Lexi Queen of Winter♠️)1553048231.0
Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.