The 935 lies of George W. Bush (and friends)

By Martin Bosworth

That Bush and his inner circle of neocon zealots lied and cooked the books to get us into a war we never should have fought is not news, of course. But to see the number of lies told and analyzed in such a fashion as Lewis and Reading-Smith have done beggars the imagination–the sheer amount of bullshit spewed by this cabal is astonishing. Consider: President Bush, for example, made 232 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and another 28 false statements about Iraq’s links to Al Qaeda. Secretary of State Powell had the second-highest total in the two-year period, with 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq’s links to Al Qaeda. Rumsfeld and Fleischer each made 109 false statements, followed by Wolfowitz (with 85), Rice (with 56), Cheney (with 48), and McClellan (with 14).

The study also holds the media culpable for their role in cheerleading the march to war without even the slightest desire to dig deeper into the claims and propaganda:

Some journalists — indeed, even some entire news organizations — have since acknowledged that their coverage during those prewar months was far too deferential and uncritical. These mea culpas notwithstanding, much of the wall-to-wall media coverage provided additional, “independent” validation of the Bush administration’s false statements about Iraq.

Again, this is no surprise. The media knew Bush’s true goals were oil and empire, and did their part to keep the public somnolent and thirsting for blood simultaneously. But I disagree with my friend Joe over at CenterBlue when he says:

This all has bearing on the current presidential election going on, as people try to sling mud at some candidate or other (Hillary, Edwards, etc.) over their having initially voted for the war. Well excuse me, but if I had been subjected to a relentless months-long misinformation campaign emanating from the president himself over the certainty of WMD’s and terrorism in Iraq I probably would have voted the same way. In fact I supported the war to begin with, having been played for a fool just like everyone else. This is why I consider these votes to be non-issues and pin the blame fully and squarely on Bush.

But not all of us fell for that. It’s something that a child could see–why attack Iraq when bin Laden was in Afghanistan?

People chose not to see the truth. They willingly blinded themselves to the obvious in order to remain favorable in the court of public opinion. Clinton and Edwards went along with the herd in order to look tough (and Clinton continues to do so today, even as Edwards has renounced his vote). Everyone who bought into the hype and supported this damnable false war must be held accountable and forced to bear the weight of their failure to question.

But they won’t be, of course. Bush continues to lie to this very day, and while Clinton’s lies about getting a blowjob nearly tore this country apart, Bush, like Rollo Tomasi, is the guy who gets away with it. And we are left with the burden of a costly, brutal, bloody, and useless war that has killed thousands, cost trillions, and turned our country into a pariah on the global stage.

Bush is the one who lied, but we are all responsible for believing the lie and not holding him accountable. Until that day comes, we must all bear the burden of that sin.

17 replies »

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  2. I heard about this on NPR on the way into work this morning. Astounding. And I’m not usually squeamish about politicians lying – I figure it’s part of the job sometimes.

    I wish I could say that this would finally put to bed the idea that there is some kind of moral equivalence between Clinton lying once or even 10 times about Monica and Bush lying about Iraq. It should, but it won’t.

  3. Same here. Politicians lying is nothing new–it’s part of the job. But this just goes orders of magnitude beyond an acceptable tolerance limit.

    I hope to God that someday, when historians discuss the awful legacy of Bush’s lies, they won’t have some asshole popping up and saying “But Clinton did XYZ!”

    But I doubt it.

  4. I wrote this in 2006 (in response to the James Frey [lying memoirist]) scandal:

    Arguably, the lie’s newfound legitimacy can be traced back to the shameless disavowals with which Ronald Reagan graced the Iran-Contra commission. Never mind that not knowing what’s going on in your own backyard is at least as pathetic as the actual crime. “I don’t know” and “I can’t remember” have since been cited by indicted government officials and business executives as if they were passages of Scripture.

    People expect to be lied to, and, when it serves their purposes, are happy to believe those lies.

  5. Why do people have such tolerance for politicians lying? If we come to expect lies, then that’s what we’ll get.


  6. Denny, I want some of my politicians to be able to lie. There are secrets that you have to be able to lie about, things that other nations cannot know or they would disrupt diplomatic negotiations or embarrass allies, for example. And while I would really prefer that they say “I’m sorry, I’m not at liberty to discuss that,” I can accept that there are situations where lying is necessary.

    However, I see that as radically different from what we’re talking about here.

  7. i would like to read all 935 statements made by all of the BUSHIE’S. please send me a copy of all the remarks and statements made by all of them, by the date and the year.

    Thank you,


  8. It’s subjective–it depends on what you lie about. I’m a firm believer in transparency and openness of all institutions, but I can accept hiding the details of a crucial peace negotiation, for instance.

    Something like this, however–willfully and repeatedly promoting false intelligence to prod us into an unneeded and unjustifiable war–is not acceptable, nor will it ever be.

  9. Martin – exactly. I think that the whole “presidential privilege” thing is bogus. If you’re going to advise the President to do something that you may regret later, then maybe you shouldn’t advise the President to do that thing in the first place.

    I’d probably feel less like this, though, if our Presidents since Reagan (maybe even Nixon) hadn’t used Presidential privilege to hide things from the country and the world. It’s basically a good idea ruined by decades of abuse.

  10. :::People chose not to see the truth. They willingly blinded themselves to the obvious in order to remain favorable in the court of public opinion. Clinton and Edwards went along with the herd in order to look tough (and Clinton continues to do so today, even as Edwards has renounced his vote). Everyone who bought into the hype and supported this damnable false war must be held accountable and forced to bear the weight of their failure to question.:::

    It’s easy to say that in retrospect, but we should try to put ourselves back in the mood of the country in 2002 as this whole sad drama began. We were a wounded nation, with our paranoia being fed by terrorist Code Orange alerts and by Bush & Co. suggesting another attack was just around the corner. How could we NOT react in the face of such news when, lo and behold, we are informed by our forthright president that Saddam is not only hording WMD’s, but he is passing nuclear fissile material to Al-Qaeda? Put it a different way–what if this news HAD been true and we had done nothing, could we have lived with ourselves if Al-Qaeda had nuked an American city as a result? Of course not–and so something had to be done according to the information that was given.

    The best you can do is the best you can do—and the best we could do at the time was based on the false information we were given. That’s true too of Congress. How could Edwards and Hillary NOT have voted as they did even if they did not have the motive of appearing strong vs. Arabs? You may recall the Dem. party was in dreadful danger of being branded as milquetoast weak on terrorism in those days, which would have been the kiss of death politically. There is NO WAY these politicians could have voted against evidence that everyone believed to be true.

    That’s why I blame Bush for being the disseminator of lies–not the politicians that fell for them.

  11. DISGUSTING. Absolutely reprehensible. It was aggravating and mind-boggling enough that this “Administration” has been blatantly lying to the American people for so many years, at the cost of so many lives, with whatever excuse they chose to use at the time to allow the media to trumpet whatever policy they wanted to shove down the throats of the American people, but now we have cold hard figures to back this up. Why are these fools not in the Hague??? Why do they continue to reside on Pennsylvania Avenue at all? They need to be held to account just like anyone else when they are complicit in the death of another…and we’re talking MANY others: those who wore our nation’s uniforms, trying to do nothing less than to serve their country as best they could, and those who wondered why they were being bombed, shot at, harrassed or whatever else they must have felt. The civilian leadership will call them “acceptable collateral damage” to avoid calling them what they really are: unfortunate victims of a war based on LIES in which Bush and Co. continue to lie about to this very day. For God’s sake, throw the bums out! (Preferably in jail…maybe in Guantanamo Bay or Abu Ghraib, and let ’em get a taste of that waterboarding they seem to like so much so they can tell the truth as to what they’ve REALLY done to this country, ’cause I’m sick of ’em.)
    I have spoken.

  12. It shows very clearly that at least 1/2 of the people that voted in the 04 election are either total idiots, or totally ignorant and just voted for Bush because they are republican. I hope they all hang their heads in shame. Please do not vote for McBush…I mean McCain.

  13. Eight years ago when a good portion of the electorate were sick and tired of the president’s zipper, I believe that a good number of voters were hoping for a second Bush Administration. Instead they got a Nixon Two Administration.

    Instead of a thousand people named on an enemies list, we now have well over a million names on that enemies list. and this time they are not allowed to fly or enjoy a private phone call.

    This time we are told there are no tapes and we do not have a Judiciary Committee in either house of Congress to demand the evidence that surely is sitting in the White House.

    This time when we are told by a top “insider” that Iraq was being planned long before 9/11, no one does anything about it. (see Paul O’neil’s book)

    This time there is and has been open theft of government funds by the Vice-President and his old company–the theft of billions and billions of dollars of tax dollars and nothing is done. The last Vice-President caught steeling-and the theft amounted to only a few thousand dollars in bribes–he was hounded out of office and into disgrace.

    In Nixon’s Administration scores of executive employes were convicted and sent to jail for lying to congress. This time when the President’s men lie openly, nothing is done. Hell, half the time they do not even show up to give any testimony.

    Rummy and Cheney learned their lessons and swore that justice would never prevail again in the White House and they won.

    I am afraid that Bugliosi–whom I admire greatly and who is now surely on the greatest enemies list since the time of Stalin–is wrong. Bush and Cheney and Rummy will live out the end of their lives in complete ease and comfort.

    Hundreds of felons will go free, felons who have committed crimes thousands of times greater than anyone standing on street corners selling grass.