When the weapons hunters failed to find stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, so began one of the greatest slanders on a president in history: "Bush lied, people died."
Never mind that, in building the case for war in Iraq, President George W. Bush relied on the unanimous opinion of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies.
Never mind that the bipartisan Robb-Silberman commission examined the intelligence on which Bush relied, and unanimously found that "the Intelligence Community did not make or change any analytic judgments in response to political pressure. ... We conclude that it was the paucity of intelligence and poor analytical tradecraft, rather than political pressure, that produced the inaccurate pre-war intelligence assessments."
Never mind that Bush retained the same CIA director, George Tenet, who served under Bill Clinton. Tenet gave Bush the same intelligence assessment: that Saddam Hussein, the dictator of Iraq, possessed WMD is a "slam dunk." Indeed, according to The Washington Post's Bob Woodward, Bush was initially skeptical of the intelligence that reached that conclusion. When, on December 21, 2002, Tenet laid out the intelligence purportedly showing the existence of WMD stockpiles, Bush said, "This is the best we've got?"
Never mind that former secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then a New York senator, was particularly adamant about the threat posed by Saddam: "In the 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. ... 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."
Finally, never mind about then-President Bill Clinton's Persian Gulf expert on the National Security Council, Kenneth Pollack. While he opposed the war's timing, Pollack said "no one doubted" Saddam's stockpiles of WMD: "The intelligence community convinced me and the rest of the Clinton Administration that Saddam had reconstituted his WMD programs following the withdrawal of the U.N. inspectors, in 1998, and was only a matter of years away from having a nuclear weapon. ... Other nations' intelligence services were similarly aligned with U.S. views. ... Germany ... Israel, Russia, Britain, China and even France held positions similar to that of the United States. ... In sum, no one doubted that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction."