From Democratic Underground.com - a quick chronology of deception highlights (on Iraq):
- In January 1998, leaders of the neo-con Project for the New American Century - a Hard Right think-tank that included such key figures as Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, Jeb Bush, Jim Woolsey, et al. - wrote a letter to President Clinton urging that he invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein. (Clinton declined; he was going after bin Laden.) Later that year, when musing about a run for President in 2000 and how he would approach Iraq, Bush told his ghostwriter: "If I have a chance to invade, if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it."
- The first Bush Administration cabinet meetings in January 2001, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill reported, focused on finding ways to attack Iraq. Later that year, Bush directed Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to begin considering military options for Saddam's removal. Even after being told by his intelligence analysts that 9/11 was the work of Al Qaida and not Iraq, Rumsfeld began badgering his intelligence crew to try to include Saddam Hussein in retaliation plans. Bush himself cornered anti-terrorism chief Richard Clarke and strongly suggested that he find a way to include Saddam in the mix.
- In March of 2002, Time Magazine reported that Bush told several senators visiting the White House: "Fuck Saddam, we're taking him out."
- In July of 2002, without going to Congress for permission, Bush took $700 million from funds Congress authorized for the Afghanistan war against Al Qaida/Taliban forces and diverted them to the coming Iraq War. Meanwhile, of course, Bush was telling the American people that he hadn't made up his mind about attacking Iraq.
- The recently-revealed, top-secret Downing Street Memo, dated July 23, 2002, which talks about a just-concluded meeting between U.K. and Administration leaders at the Bush ranch in Texas, said that the "intelligence and facts" to justify the Iraq invasion to the public were to be "fixed around the policy." "Terrorism and WMD" would be the basis, the memo reported. Later, Paul Wolfowitz admitted that the Administration was having trouble agreeing on a rationale that would be seen morally acceptable and thus gain wide public support, so they finally settled on WMD - which they were sure would work. And it did, despite the fact that there were no stockpiles of those banned weapons.
- In the second top-secret Downing Street Memo, released by the Times of London just a few days ago, the briefing paper for that Blair-Bush meeting of July 23, 2002, reveals that the British were worried about the illegality of the war action and that both the U.S. and Britain were anxious to find some legal excuse for their pending attack. They conceived of ways to lure Saddam Hussein into doing something belligerent that would make an attack more acceptable in the U.S. and U.N.; bombing runs by U.S. jets went on for months before the invasion, to try to provoke just such a response. But Saddam, aware of what game was being played, didn't react to the bait. Blair and Bush tried another ruse at the United Nations: they believed Saddam would object to allowing U.N. weapons inspectors back in, and thus create a casus belli, but, surprise, the Iraqi leader said the inspectors could return. Their preliminary work indicated that there were no stockpiles of WMD.
- The U.N. inspections were cut off abruptly. The "shock and awe" bombing and land invasion began in March of 2003, nearly one year to the date from when Bush told the senators that Saddam was a goner, "we're taking him out."