Richard's Reflections


Investigate Bush's State of the Union Speech

July 15, 2003
(updated Aug 1 to add Senator Cleland's accusation)
(updated Aug 3 to add comment on aluminum tubes)
(updated Feb 28 to add legal grounds)

The State of the Union is Constitutionally required testimony to Congress.

Knowingly giving false or misleading information or concealing a material fact in the State of the Union is a violation of 18 USC 1001, 1018, 1505, and 371. One lie is punishable by five years in prison. Under these statutes, it is illegal to lie to Congress whether or not you are under oath.

Such lies are a serious breach of the duty of the Office of the President. Certainly, when it comes to such important testimony, the buck must stop in the Oval Office.

In the testimony, Mr. Bush said, "Saddam Hussein had biological weapons sufficient to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax." No such weapons have been found. Mr. Bush appears to have concealed material facts about intelligence agency doubts about this very strong claim.

In the testimony, Mr. Bush said, "Saddam Hussein had materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin." No such weapons have been found. Mr. Bush appears to have concealed material facts about intelligence agency doubts about this very strong claim.

In the testimony, Mr. Bush said, "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. Mr. Bush appears to have concealed material facts about intelligence agency doubts about this very strong claim.

In the testimony, Mr. Bush said, "Saddam Hussein had upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents." No such weapons have been found. Mr. Bush appears to have concealed material facts about intelligence agency doubts about this very strong claim.

In the testimony, Mr. Bush said, "we know that Iraq... had several mobile biological weapons labs." No such labs have been found. Mr. Bush appears to have concealed material facts about intelligence agency doubts about this very strong claim.

In the testimony, Mr. Bush said, "Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production." The Washington Post had reported months before that experts had determined that the tubes were not suitable for nuclear use and probably were intended for artillery rockets that Iraq was allowed to produce. Mr. Bush made no mention of contradictory evidence.

In the testimony, Mr. Bush said, "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." No link between Hussein and al Qaeda has been found. In fact, former Senator Cleland says that the White House delayed release of a Congressional report before the War which would have questioned Mr. Bush's claim.

In the testimony, Mr. Bush said, "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 gave this testimony. 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. 18 USC 1001 explicitly prohibits using a "trick" such as hiding behind such wording in order to conceal the material fact that the CIA had knowledge that this claim was based on forged documents.

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." Mr. Bush's revised claims that the war was not about disarming Hussein are themselves violations of 18 USC 1505, subject to one year in prison.

We must find out what the White House knew and when it knew it. These specific and credible claims that the President misled Congress must be fully and openly investigated to either demonstrate that there was no wrongdoing or to learn where we went wrong and ensure that it never happens again.

Richard M. Mathews
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