WASHINGTON - While admitting "we were wrong" about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, President Bush's national security adviser on Sunday rejected assertions that the president manipulated intelligence and misled the
Bush relied on the collective judgment of the intelligence
community when he determined that Iraq's Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, national security adviser Stephen Hadley said.
"Turns out, we were wrong," Hadley told "Late Edition" on
CNN. "But I think the point that needs to be emphasized ... allegations now that the president somehow manipulated intelligence,
somehow misled the American people, are flat wrong."
Republican lawmakers and other officials who appeared on Sunday
news shows echoed Bush's Veterans Day speech in which he defended his decision to invade Iraq.
Bush said Democrats in Congress had the same intelligence
about Iraq, and he argued that many now claiming that the information had been manipulated had supported going to war. The
president also accused his critics of making false charges and playing politics with the war.
Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean rejected the criticism on Sunday and said, "The truth is, the president misled America when he sent us to war."
Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," the party chairman disputed
Bush's claim that Congress had the same information — the president withheld some intelligence and some caveats about
it, Dean said — and that two commissions had found no evidence of pressure being placed on those within the intelligence
In fact, Dean said, how the administration handled the intelligence
it received has yet to be determined by a Senate committee.
Contending that the president has not been honest about the
size of the deficit as well as the war, Dean said, "This is an administration that has a fundamental problem telling the truth."
Hadley said Bush received dissenting views about the accuracy
of intelligence and relied on the collective judgment of the intelligence community as conveyed by the CIA director. The national security adviser criticized those who continue to claim that Bush manipulated the intelligence
and made misleading statements.
"It is unworthy and unfair and ill-advised, when our men and
women in combat are putting their lives on the line, to relitigate an issue which was looked at by two authoritative sources
and deemed closed," he said. "We need to put this debate behind us."
Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record), R-Ariz., said Democrats have a right to criticize the war
but that it was disingenuous to claim that Bush lied about intelligence to justify it.
"Every intelligence agency in the world, including the Russians,
the French ... all reached the same conclusion," McCain said on CBS' "Face the Nation."
In a column for The Washington Post, former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., said he was wrong to have voted to give Bush the authority to go to war and called the intelligence on which
he made that decision "deeply flawed and, in some cases, manipulated to fit a political agenda."
"The information the American people were hearing from the
president — and that I was being given by our intelligence community — wasn't the whole story," wrote Edwards,
the Democratic nominee for vice president in 2004. "Had I known this at the time, I never would have voted for this war."
Hadley said issues about the accuracy of U.S. intelligence
have not impaired the administration's ability to pursue its policies regarding the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea.
"We've been able to move our diplomacy forward at the same
time we're taking the steps we need to do to improve our intelligence," he said.
Asked why people should believe U.S. claims about the nuclear
plans of Iran given the failure of intelligence about Iraq, Hadley said there has been international consensus about Iran.
George W. Bush
is the 43rd President of the United States. He was sworn into office on January 20, 2001, re-elected on
November 2, 2004, and...
"There is no doubt that . Saddam Hussein
has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and
may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the
cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies."
Letter to President Bush, Signed by Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL,) and others, Dec, 5, 2001.
"We begin with the common
belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of
the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them."
Levin (d, MI), Sept. 19, 2002.
"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout
Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002.
"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven
impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."
Sept. 23, 2002.
"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seing and developing weapons of mass destruction."
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002.
"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October1998.
We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked
on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking
Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002.
"I will be voting to give the President
of the United States the authority to use force — if necessary — to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that
a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security."
Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002.
"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively
to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years . We also should remember we have
alway s underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction."
Jay Rockerfeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002,
"He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years,
every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any
nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do."
Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002.
four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and
biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary
to terrorists, including al Qaeda members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will
continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002
"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling
evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage
of weapons of mass destruction. "[W]ithout question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator,
leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation.
And now he has continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein
with weapons of mass destruction is real ...
Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003.
"One way or the other, we are determined
to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom
President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998.
"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to
use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998.
"Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens
there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological
weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."
Madeline Albright, Feb
"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983."
Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998
"[W]e urge you, after consulting
with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air
and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons
of mass destruction programs."
Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin, Tom Daschle,
John Kerry, and others Oct. 9, 1998.
"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass
destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998.
"Hussein has ... chosen to spend his
money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies."
Madeline Albright, Clinton
Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999.
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