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Study proves Bush lied to American people before Iraq war

Study: False statements preceded war

By DOUGLASS K. DANIEL
Associated Press Writer

A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The study concluded that the statements “were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.”

The study was posted Tuesday on the Web site of the Center for Public Integrity, which worked with the Fund for Independence in Journalism.

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel did not comment on the merits of the study Tuesday night but reiterated the administration’s position that the world community viewed Iraq’s leader, Saddam Hussein, as a threat.

“The actions taken in 2003 were based on the collective judgment of intelligence agencies around the world,” Stanzel said.

The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them or had links to al-Qaida or both.

“It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al-Qaida,” according to Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith of the Fund for Independence in Journalism staff members, writing an overview of the study. “In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003.”

Named in the study along with Bush were top officials of the administration during the period studied: Vice President Dick Cheney, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan.

Bush led with 259 false statements, 231 about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 28 about Iraq’s links to al-Qaida, the study found. That was second only to Powell’s 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq and al-Qaida.

The center said the study was based on a database created with public statements over the two years beginning on Sept. 11, 2001, and information from more than 25 government reports, books, articles, speeches and interviews.

“The cumulative effect of these false statements — amplified by thousands of news stories and broadcasts — was massive, with the media coverage creating an almost impenetrable din for several critical months in the run-up to war,” the study concluded.

“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,” it said.

On the Net:

Center For Public Integrity: http://www.publicintegrity.org

Fund For Independence in Journalism: http://www.tfij.org

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January 22, 2008 Posted by | Current Events, Iraq, Military & War, News, Politics | Leave a comment

Women Angry Over Oprah-Obama Campaign

ABC News

Some Say Oprah is a “Traitor” for Endorsing Obama and not Clinton

By EMILY FRIEDMAN

Jan. 22, 2008—

A month after Oprah hit the campaign trail with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, the queen of day time talk is facing heat from her largely female fans who have traditionally agreed with just about anything she has done  from the books she reads to the weight loss plans she tries.

But Oprah’s endorsement of Obama is different from the typical seals of approval the host offers on her show, and as early as November 2007 commenters on her site’s message boards began unleashing criticism of her endorsement for the black candidate  Obama  rather than the female one  Hillary Clinton.

“I cannot believe that women all over this country are not up in arms over Oprah’s backing of Obama,” wrote austaz68 on Oprah.com, in a message thread titled “Oprah is a Traitor!!!” “For the first time in history we actually have a host at putting a woman in the white house and Oprah backs the black MAN. She’s choosing her race over her gender  hypocrisy [sic] at it’s finest!! Oprah  you should be ashamed of yourself!!!!!”

And almost two months later, some are still fuming  sparking a heated debate among Oprah’s fiercest critics and now her supporters, anxious to defend the beloved host.

On Jan. 19, wendykwrit posted, “You know, for so long I’ve felt a connection to Oprah and all that she’s done not only for women but the world in general. She was such an idol to me and I truly loved all that she stood for. Since she threw her support behind Barack Obama I felt like she let me down.”

“I feel like I lost a friend who I thought identified with me and now I realize she’s something she’s not,” added the poster. “I refuse to even watch the show anymore.”

But for every critic of Oprah there seems to be a supporter. One poster called those angry with Oprah’s endorsement “ignorant.”

“Oprah is a traitor, you say. A traitor to whom?” asked Susanne01 on Jan. 20. “My answer would be a traitor to ignorant women who would blindly vote for Hillary because she is a woman. Grow up and get some education.”

Back in November when the first criticisms arose, Oprah issued a statement herself, defending her decision to endorse a politician for the first time.

“I thought long and hard before stepping up and out into this because it feels like I am stepping out of my pew and I know that no matter what you do, you’re going to be criticized. So, I weighed it. What is the cost for me doing it? Am I going to lose viewers? I made the decision that I have the right to do it as an American citizen and I am doing this because I feel it is the right thing to do at this time,” said Oprah in a statement provided to ABCNEWS.com.

A spokesperson added that the show’s Web site is meant to be an “open forum” for viewers to share their opinions.

“I don’t see any evidence of an Oprah effect,” said Diana Owen, an associate professor of political science and the chair of the American studies department at Georgetown University. “We don’t have any data [to show her endorsement has had an effect on voters]. The race is so up for grabs.”

The first face-off between Obama and Clinton was in Iowa, and while he did succeed with female voters in the Iowa Caucuses  receiving 35 percent to Clinton’s 30 percent  Owens adds there is no way to be sure Oprah’s campaigning could take credit for the win.

Her effect is equally unclear in both New Hampshire where Clinton garnered 46 percent of the female vote to Obama’s 34 and in Nevada where more than 50 percent of the females preferred Clinton, according to ABC News polls and analysis.

And as for Oprah’s numbers in terms of ratings, Owens suspects that not much has changed.

“[Her endorsement] certainly doesn’t seem to have diminished her popularity in terms of the show, it’s still up there in the ratings,” said Owens. “The backlash is probably a small percentage of her fans.”

A call to Oprah’s publicist for ratings information was not immediately returned.

Women’s Org Reminds Voters to Stay on Point

Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization of Women, told ABCNEWS.com that she was familiar with the negative feedback Oprah had received following her endorsement, and isn’t convinced the harsh criticism was merited.

A candidate’s race or gender should not be a factor in an election  the issues they stand for and support should be, said Gandy.

“[The postings] are not a fair characterization of Oprah,” said Gandy. “There are other reasons she chose Obama than his race  we all choose candidates because they embody our hopes for the future.”

NOW has endorsed Clinton for president, but Gandy told ABCNEWS.com that in the past the organization has chosen male candidates over female candidates, resulting in an outcry similar to the one Oprah is facing.

“We got a lot of grief from women saying, ‘How could you did this’ and ‘how could you endorse a man over a woman,'” said Gandy. “But we endorse the candidate that we think will be the strongest for women.”

Had Obama been more outspoken on women’s issues during his time in the Senate, said Gandy, NOW would have had no hesitation in endorsing him over Clinton.

Could Oprah’s Obama Endorsement Backfire?

With Super Tuesday just around the corner, when 22 states hold primaries on Feb. 5, how women will vote will matter to each and every presidential candidate. It’s unlikely, though, that Oprah’s own political agenda will have much effect on the results, said Sid Milkis, a White Burkett Miller professor of politics at the University of Virginia.

“Traditionally celebrities haven’t had that much impact on campaigns,” said Milkis. “Obama doesn’t need help getting large crowds either, he’s a celebrity in his own right and if there’s been any criticism of him it’s been to do with his lack of experience [not his friendship with Oprah].”

In fact, rather than hurt the way females turn out to vote for Obama, Oprah’s political agenda may only hurt her own franchise, says Milkis.

“Anyone who can make a best seller out of Anna Karenina has tremendous appeal,” said Milkis. “This is the first time she’s taken a political position and she needs to explain why she felt compelled.

“Sometimes when you go political like this it goes sour,” added Milkis.

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January 22, 2008 Posted by | Current Events, News, Politics | , , | 10 Comments