Richard's Reflections

Bush Lies

January 27, 2004
(updated Feb 5 with "imminent threat" quotes)
(updated Feb 10 with quotes from Meet the Press interview)
(updated Apr 9 with health care quotes)

Others have listed White House lies. I concentrate here on the lies that have come directly from the mouth of George W. Bush. Even more of these can be found at this House Appropriations Committee Democratic Caucus site.

I specifically try to restrict this list to lies rather than broken and unfulfilled promises.

An unfulfilled promise is one that you have not fulfilled yet. You might still intend to fulfill it, or you might have honestly abandoned it in the face of overwhelming opposition. It is almost impossible that a candidate for any office other than dictator will make some promises that can't be fulfilled. It is prudent not to promise what you know you can't deliver, but a few of these unfulfilled promises are to be expected.

A broken promise is one for which you have done the opposite or which you have abandoned despite a real opportunity to accomplish the promised goal.

The President has plenty of broken and unfulfilled promises, and a long line of excuses to go with them. Here, though, I want to concentrate on the lies. It is hard to find an excuse for a lie.

A lie is a statement that you know is false or which you should know is false. It can be a promise that you never intend to keep, though it is hard to really show intent. It may not have to do with a promise at all, being instead an incorrect statement of facts that you know is wrong.

Here are some Mr. Bush's lies. When he lies so much, how can anyone ever again believe anything he says?


On the military

date What Mr. Bush said The truth
8/3/2000 In his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, he said, "if called on by the commander in chief today, two entire divisions of the Army would have to report, 'Not ready for duty, sir.'" The next day, the Army released a statement saying, "all active Army divisions are reporting that they are fully prepared to conduct their wartime mission assignments as established." Hugh Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, responded, "As of today our army divisions are ready, and ready to carry out the missions that are demanded by our war plans." Defense Secretary and Republican Ex-Senator William Cohen said, "We have the finest, the best-led, the best-equipped, the best-educated, the finest fighting force in the history of the world. We have that today."

CNN reported that "the Pentagon said the rating [of the two divisions] did not reflect the combat-readiness of the divisions, but the fact that they were already deployed on peacekeeping missions in the Balkans." In other words, they were not prepared to take on new duties only because they were already on duty.

The Bush campaign's senior defense policy advisor Richard Armitage admitted that Mr. Bush's claim was not true. In Congressional testimony, Armitage admitted: "Senator, those two divisions, I believe are ready for duty... We're delighted that those units are combat ready for C-1 -- that is their wartime mission -- couldn't be more happy."

The Army admirably proved itself to be ready months after Mr. Bush took office in their response to 9/11.


On al Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks

date What Mr. Bush said The truth
5/1/2003 "And as of tonight nearly one half of al Qaeda's senior operatives have been captured or killed," Mr. Bush said on the USS Lincoln. Of the 22 most wanted terrorists listed by the FBI after the 9/11 attack, only one has been located.
10/14/2002 "There is a connection between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein," said Mr. Bush on the South Lawn of the White House. The Joint Congressional Committee on September 11th Report concluded that there is no link between Iraq and Al Qaeda. No evidence of Hussein and al Qaeda working together has been found. In fact, former Senator Cleland says that the White House delayed release of the Congressional report before the War which would have questioned Mr. Bush's claim. The White House admits that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.
10/15/2002 "This is a man who we know has had connections with al Qaeda," said Mr. Bush of Saddam Hussein at a fundraiser in Michigan.
1/28/2003 In the 2003 State of the Union Address, Mr. Bush told Congress, "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."
5/1/2003 With the "liberation of Iraq... we have removed an ally of al Qaeda," Mr. Bush told the crew of the USS Lincoln.
9/16/2001 "Never did anybody's thought process about how to protect America did we ever think that the evil-doers would fly not one, but four commercial aircraft into precious U.S. targets - never." On 8/16/2001, Mr. Bush received a daily briefing memo that is said by the Washington Post to have warned that al Qaeda was determined to attack the U.S. and planned to use hijacked planes in the attack. According to the Observer, a UK magazine, other intelligence and FBI reports gathered from the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center specified that al Qaeda was out to hit the Pentagon and White House using crashed planes packed with high explosives.

On Iraq

date What Mr. Bush said The truth
2/8/2004 In a Meet the Press interview, he said, "The international community thought [Hussein] had weapons." The IAEA and U.N. both repeatedly told the Administration it had no evidence that Iraq possessed WMD. On 2/15/2003, the IAEA said that, "We have to date found no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear-related activities in Iraq." On 3/7/2003, IAEA Director Mohamed El Baradei said nuclear experts have found "no indication" that Iraq has tried to import high-strength aluminum tubes for centrifuge enrichment of uranium. AP reported that "U.N. weapons inspectors have not found any 'smoking guns' in Iraq during their search for weapons WMD." AP also reported, "U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said his teams have not uncovered any WMD."
2/8/2004 In a Meet the Press interview, he said, "I went to Congress with the same intelligence. Congress saw the same intelligence I had, and they looked at exactly what I looked at." Congress was outraged when they learned that the information they were given by the White House was incomplete.

Sen. Nelson (D-PA) said on the Senate floor, "I want to take this occasion to inform the Senate of specific information that I was given, which turns out not to be true." Among other things, he says, "I was looked at straight in the face and told that UAVs could be launched from ships off the Atlantic coast to attack eastern seaboard cities of the United States." He states, "I am upset that the degree of specificity I was given a year and a half ago, prior to my vote, was not only inaccurate; it was patently false."

He complains, "Now, what I have found after the fact -- and I presented this to Dr. Kay this morning in the Senate Armed Services Committee -- is there was a vigorous dispute within the intelligence community as to what the CIA had concluded was accurate about those UAVs and about their ability to be used elsewhere outside of Iraq. Not only was it in vigorous dispute, there was an outright denial that the information was accurate. That was all within the intelligence community. But I didn't find that out before my vote. I wasn't told that. I wasn't told that there was a vigorous debate going on as to whether or not that was accurate information. I was given that information as if it were fact, and any reasonable person then would logically conclude that the interests of the United States and its people were in immediate jeopardy and peril. That has turned out not to be true."

The New Republic reported, "Senators were outraged to find that intelligence info given to them omitted the qualifications and countervailing evidence that had characterized the classified version and played up the claims that strengthened the administration's case for war." According to Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA), many House members were only convinced to support the war after the Administration "showed them a photograph of a small, unmanned airplane spraying a liquid in what appeared to be a test for delivering chemical and biological agents," despite the U.S. Air Force telling the Administration it "sharply disputed the notion that Iraq's UAVs were being designed as attack weapons."

2/8/2004 When Tim Russert asserted, "You gave the clear sense that this was an immediate threat that must be dealt with," the President objected, saying, "I think, if I might remind you that in my language I called it a grave and gathering threat, but I don't want to get into word contests." On 9/13/2002, the President said, "[Hussein]'s a threat that we must deal with as quickly as possible." He said, "It's in our national interests that we do so" and "that's essential for the security of the world." He said we must have a deadline of "days and weeks, not months and years."

On 10/2/2002 he said, "The Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency."

On 11/23/2002, he said there was a "unique and urgent threat posed by Iraq."

2/8/2004 In a Meet the Press interview, he said, "They could have been destroyed during the war. Saddam and his henchmen could have destroyed them as we entered into Iraq. They could be hidden. They could have been transported to another country, and we'll find out." Weapons Inspector David Kay concluded, "Multiple sources with varied access and reliability have told ISG that Iraq did not have a large, ongoing, centrally controlled CW program after 1991. Information found to date suggests that Iraq's large-scale capability to develop, produce and fill new CW munitions was reduced - if not entirely destroyed - during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Fox, 13 years of U.N. sanctions and U.N. inspections."
2/8/2004 In a Meet the Press interview, he said, "How about the fact that we are now increasing jobs or the fact that unemployment is now down to 5.6 percent? There was a winter recession and unemployment went up, and now it's heading in the right direction." Jobs are being created at a rate less than population growth. The percent of people with jobs thus is continuing to decrease. This most certainly is not the right direction.
1/20/2004 In the 2004 State of the Union Address, Mr. Bush told Congress, "Already, the Kay Report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations. Had we failed to act, the dictatator's [sic -- from the White House web site] weapons of mass destruction programs would continue to this day." David Kay replied, "I don't think they existed." He said, "What everyone was talking about is stockpiles produced after the end of the last (1991) Gulf War, and I don't think there was a large-scale production program in the nineties."
1/20/2004 In the 2004 State of the Union Address, Mr. Bush told Congress, "the people of Iraq are free." How can they be free when they are occupied by a foreign army that prohibits them from holding elections?
1/28/2003 In the 2003 State of the Union Address, Mr. Bush told Congress, "Saddam Hussein had biological weapons sufficient to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax." No such weapons have been found.
1/28/2003 In the 2003 State of the Union Address, Mr. Bush told Congress, "Saddam Hussein had materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin." No such weapons have been found.
1/28/2003 In the 2003 State of the Union Address, Mr. Bush told Congress, "Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent." No such material has been found. Two months earlier, the CIA concluded that there was "no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons."
1/28/2003 In the 2003 State of the Union Address, Mr. Bush told Congress, "Saddam Hussein had upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents." No such weapons have been found.
1/28/2003 In the 2003 State of the Union Address, Mr. Bush told Congress, "we know that Iraq... had several mobile biological weapons labs." No such labs have been found.
1/28/2003 In the 2003 State of the Union Address, Mr. Bush told Congress, "Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production." Months before, on 9/19/2002, The Washington Post had reported that leading scientists and former weapons inspectors had determined that the tubes were not suitable for nuclear use and probably were intended for artillery rockets that Iraq was allowed to produce.
1/28/2003 In the 2003 State of the Union Address, Mr. Bush told Congress, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." We now know that the White House had been informed that this was erroneous before Mr. Bush said this. He did not just make a neutral statement that the British government claimed this to be the case. By saying they "learned" it, he implied that the US government believed it to be factual. The US Government knew at the time Mr. Bush said this that it was false, and the CIA had previously warned Mr. Bush not to use it in a speech.
1/28/2003 The White House now tries to cover up these apparent lies with revisionist claims that elimination of WMD was not the reason Mr. Bush went to war. Yet Mr. Bush testified to Congress, "But let there be no misunderstanding: If Saddam Hussein does not fully disarm, for the safety of our people and for the peace of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him."
10/7/2002 The President told a television audience, "We've also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas." No such vehicles have been found.
5/31/2003 "We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories," Mr. Bush told Polish TV according to the Associated Press. Experts believe the mobile labs were for producing hydrogen for artillery balloons. The U.S. military has similar mobile facilities built out of Humvees.
7/14/2003 Mr. Bush told reporters, "We gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in." The inspectors went in. They were kicked out when Mr. Bush went to war. It was then Mr. Bush himself who refused to allow UN inspectors to return after the war.
9/13/2002 Mr. Bush told reporters that it was essential to world security that we act immediately on Iraq. He said, "Well, there will be deadlines within the resolution. Our chief negotiator for the United States, our Secretary of State, understands that we must have deadlines. And we're talking days and weeks, not months and years. And that's essential for the security of the world."

He added that it was also critical to our national interests to act as quickly as possible: "My answer to the Congress is, they need to debate this issue and consult with us, and get the issue done as quickly as possible. It's in our national interests that we do so. I don't imagine Saddam Hussein sitting around, saying, gosh, I think I'm going to wait for some resolution. He's a threat that we must deal with as quickly as possible."

CIA Director Tenet told Congress that CIA analysts "never said there was an imminent threat."
10/7/2002 The President told a television audience, "The danger is already significant." He added, "Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists."

On the economy and the budget

date What Mr. Bush said The truth
3/27/2001 "We can proceed with tax relief without fear of budget deficits, even if the economy softens." [Bush Remarks at Western Michigan University] Al Gore certainly predicted the perils of the Bush tax cut many months before this statement.

Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan warned about the tax cut. He told Congress two months earlier (in his wonderful technospeak), "the risk of adverse movements in receipts is still real, and the probability of dropping back into deficit as a consequence of imprudent fiscal policies is not negligible." While suggesting that it is better that "surpluses be lowered by tax reductions than by spending increases," he warned, "In recognition of the uncertainties in the economic and budget outlook, it is important that any long-term tax plan, or spending initiative for that matter, be phased in." He concluded his testimony with, "We need to resist those policies that could readily resurrect the deficits of the past and the fiscal imbalances that followed in their wake."

Bush should have known that a deficit would be the result of his plan, as so many of us did. He disregarded that out of his greed. He failed to phase it in slowly and to include automatic limits in case surplus and debt targets were not achieved, as recommended by Mr. Greenspan. He claimed that very simple arithmetic was "fuzzy math." This was a lie.

The end result certainly is clear. A record $374 billion deficit last year. Next year is expected to be much bigger, exceeding $500 billion, according to the White House, or $600 billion, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. It may double the pre-G.W.Bush record. The old record of $290 billion had been set by G.H.W.Bush in 1992.

9/16/2002 "One of the ways we've got to make sure that we keep our economy strong is to be wise about how we spend our money. If you overspend, it creates a fundamental weakness in the foundation of economic growth. And so I'm working with Congress to make sure they hear the message -- the message of fiscal responsibility." It was certainly known at the time he said this that we were facing a big deficit. Shortly after this, Mr. Bush proposed a budget that spends $300 billion more than it brings in, and that is just the first year.
6/7/2002 (and on a dozen other occasions) "I remember campaigning in Chicago and one of the reporters said, 'Would you ever deficit spend?' I said, 'only -- only -- in times of war in time of economic insecurity as a result of a recession, or in times of national emergency.' Never did I dream we'd have a trifecta." [emphasis added] This is both a lie and plaguerism.

It is a lie because Mr. Bush never said it.

It is plaguerism because it was Al Gore in Detroit who actually said this. He said, "barring economic reversal, a national emergency, or a foreign crisis, we should balance the budget this year, next year, and every year." [emphasis added]


On taxes

date What Mr. Bush said The truth
10/11/2000 In the second debate with Al Gore, Mr. Bush said that with his tax plan, "by far the vast majority of the help goes to the people at the bottom end of the economic ladder." If the "bottom end" is the bottom 60%, then they get less than 15% of the tax cuts, certainly nothing like a majority much less a vast majority.

On the environment

date What Mr. Bush said The truth
3/13/2001 Mr. Bush wrote to members of Congress that "carbon dioxide... is not a 'pollutant" under the Clean Air Act." At the time Mr. Bush wrote this, the most recent rulings by two different EPA General Counsels had stated that carbon dioxide is a pollutant that must be regulated.

The law on this is actually quite clear. Here are some quotes from the Clean Air Act:

  • 42 USC 7412(a) says that "The term 'hazardous air pollutant' means any air pollutant listed pursuant to subsection (b) of this section."
  • 42 USC 7412(b) says the EPA Administrator must add "pollutants which present, or may present, ... a threat of ... adverse environmental effects whether through ambient concentrations ... or otherwise"
  • 42 USC 7412(a) also says that "The term 'adverse environmental effect' means any significant and widespread adverse effect, which may reasonably be anticipated, to wildlife, aquatic life, or other natural resources, including adverse impacts on populations of endangered or threatened species or significant degradation of environmental quality over broad areas."
  • 42 USC 7602 says that "All language referring to effects on welfare includes... effects on ... climate."
  • 42 USC 7408 requires the Administrator to create air quality standards for air pollutants "emissions of which, in his judgment, cause or contribute to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare."
[emphasis added]

Since Congress wrote "which present, or may present," it is clear they did not intend strict proof to be required. The anticipated danger of carbon dioxide comes from ambient concentrations. The description of "adverse environmental effect" could not match global warming theory any better. Since carbon dioxide is thus a hazardous air pollutant that endangers climate and thus welfare, air quality standards for carbon dioxide must be created.


On health care

date What Mr. Bush said The truth
In two separate addresses, Mr. Bush made the identical statement, "As a result of private research, more than 60 genetically diverse stem cell lines already exist." Scientists at the time were astronished to hear such a claim. Only about 10 lines were then available for research. Even 2 and a half years later, there are only 15 available, and some of those may be unusable due to genetic damage, according to the NIH. The NIH says in the "best case scenario," there could eventually be 23. This is not enough to represent the diversity of the human race. A species with only 23 genetic lines would be seriously endangered.
10/17/2000 In the third debate with Al Gore, Mr. Bush said, "As a matter of fact, I brought Republicans and Democrats together to do just that in the state of Texas, to get a patients' bill of rights through." In 1995 Governor Bush vetoed the Texas Patients' Bill of Rights and in 1997 threatened to do so again. It became law without his signature when the bill's support was strong enough to withstand a veto.

On his criminal record

date What Mr. Bush said The truth
1998 "Asked whether he had been arrested on anything 'after 1968,' the governor replied, 'No.' [Dallas Morning News] Mr. Bush has now admitted to an arrest and conviction in 1976 for drunk driving.
11/3/2000 Concerning his drunk driving case, Mr. Bush told a press conference, "No, there was no court. I went to the police station." Court documents show a hearing on Mr. Bush's drunk driving conviction. He paid a fine, and his license was suspended.
6/23/2000 Regarding his 1972 National Guard service in Alabama, "I was there on a temporary assignment and fulfilled my weekends at one period of time," Bush told a news conference. "I made up some missed weekends." His orders, dated Sept. 15, 1972, said: "Lieutenant Bush should report to Lt. Col. William Turnipseed, DCO, to perform equivalent training." Turnipseed said, "To my knowledge, he never showed up... Had he reported in, I would have had some recall, and I do not... I had been in Texas, done my flight training there. If we had had a first lieutenant from Texas, I would have remembered." No records or eyewitnesses have been found to corroborate Mr. Bush's story despite extensive searching by the Bush campaign and news media. You would think someone would remember meeting the son of our Ambassador to the U.N.

Richard M. Mathews

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