The following is a chronological account of the actions of
President George W. Bush leading U.S.
illegally to war with Iraq.
- Fall, 1999
Before his presidency, Bush reveals his interest in invading Iraq.
Author and journalist Mickey Herskowitz recounts Bush's comment
that: "One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to
be seen as a commander-in-chief... My father had all this political
capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted
it... If I have a chance to invade, if I had that much capital,
I'm not going to waste it." Herskowitz states that "Bush
expressed frustration in a lifetime as an underachiever in the shadow
of an accomplished father. In aggressive military action, he saw
the opportunity to emerge from his father's shadow," (Russ
Barker, GNN.tv October 28, 2004).
- Early 2001
CIA informes the Bush administration that the "aluminum tubes,"
later to be used as evidence of a nuclear WMD program, were probably
not intended for that purpose.
In the article, CIA officials and a senior administration official
tell us that National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice's staff had been told in 2001 that Energy Department
experts believed the tubes were most likely intended for small artillery
rockets, and not a nuclear program. (New
York Times, Octbober 3, 2004)
- March, 2002
Despite his later claims that he had not yet decided to attack Iraq,
Bush indicates his intention to do so.
Bush states to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and three
U.S. Senators: "Fuck Saddam. We're taking him out," (Time
March 24, 2003).
- March, 2002
Prior to Congress' October 11th authorization of the Iraq invasion,
Bush initiates war in Iraq's No Fly Zone.
Bush ordered the tonnage of bombs being dropped on Iraq from 0
in March 2002 and 0.3 in April 2002 to between 7 and 14 tons per
month in May-August, reaching a pre-war declaration peak of 54.6 tons in September
Statesman, May 30, 2005).
The UN established No Fly Zones in 1991 (in UN resolution 688) and
1992. Accordingly, it is illegal for the allied pilots (U.K. &
U.S.) to bomb within the NFZs except to prevent humanitarian crises
between the Sunis and the Shias or in self-defense. To constitute
self-defense, "there must be more than 'a threat'. There has
to be an armed attack, actual or imminent. The development of posession
of nuclear weapons does not in itself amount to an armed attack;
what would be needed would be clear evidence of an imminent attack"
British Foreign Office legal advice: March 2002).
- July 23, 2002
During a meeting of top U.S. and U.K. officials regarding a possible
attack on Iraq, foreign policy aide Matthew Rycroft makes the following
observations about Bush's comments (Declassified
U.K. Downing Street
Documents: March 8 - July 23, 2002).
- "It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take
military action, even if the timing was not yet decided."
- "There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action
was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through
military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and
WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the
policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm
for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was
little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military
- “Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even
if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam
was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was
less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran.
- In reference to Bush's illegal bombings begun in May: "The Defence
Secretary said that the US had already begun 'spikes of activity'
to put pressure on the regime."
- “There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath
after military action.”
- “The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm
for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record.”
- “No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most
likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January,
with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional
- August 10, 2002
Bush claims publicly that he has no imminent
war plan or timetable for war with Iraq, despite clear indications
to the contrary in the Downing Street memo and despite having previously
initiated bombing in the NFZs
(Transcript, Ridgewood Country Club in Waco, TX).
- September 19, 2002
President Bush sends the Iraq Resolution
to Congress requesting authorization to use military force against
House Video & Transcript).
- October 16, 2002
Congress grants authorization to go to war
with Iraq in order to "enforce all relevant United Nations
Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq," or to "defend
the national security of the United States against the continuing
threat posed by Iraq." Subsequently, Bush failed to meet either
of these conditions for war.(Congress'
Authorization to go to War)
- February 2002 - January 28, 2003
Numerous sources advising the Bush Administration
debunk allegations that Niger sold "yellow-cake" uranium,
used in the construction of WMDs, to Iraq. However, in Bush's subsequent
State of the Union Address to Congress, he claims that the sale
did occur. Misleading Congress is a crime.(CNN,
March 14th, 2003)
- February 2002
Cheney requests that the uranium sales story be investigated,
and Ambassador Wilson is sent to Niger to do so. (New
July 6, 2003)
- February 2002
Ambassador Owens-Kirkpatrick informs Wilson that she had already
informed Washington that the allegations of uranium sales to
Iraq were false. (New
York Times, July 6, 2003)
- March 9th, 2002
Wilson's report is given to the White House. The report concludes
there was no evidence that the uranium sale had occurred, and
that it would be extremely unlikely for it to have taken place.
Jul. 21, 2003)
- Early October, 2002
CIA Director George Tenet argues “to White House officials,
including Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley,”
that the Nigerian uranium claim should not be included in Bush's
October 7th speech because the allegation is based on only one
July 23, 2003)
- Fall, 2002
The former head of CIA covert operations in Europe and a 26-year
veteran of the agency, Tyler Drumheller, states that the allegations
did not hold together. According to Drumheller, the CIA informed
the White House that "the Africa story is overblown"
and "the evidence is weak.'" Drumheller also reports
that the Bush Administration had intelligence from Saddam Hussein's
inner circle indicating that Iraq "had no active weapons
of mass destruction program." Bush's speech writers took
the uranium reference out of the October 7th speech (CBS,
April 23, 2006), though they would add it back in to subsequent
- December, 2002
Director General of the IAEA Mohamed ElBaradei sends a letter
to the White House and the National Security Council warning
senior officials that he believes the documents were forgeries
and should not be cited by the administration as evidence that
Iraq was actively trying to obtain WMDs. ElBaradei receives
no written response to his letter, despite repeated follow-up
calls he makes to the White House, the NSC and the State Department
January 27, 2006).
- January 12, 2003
The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research
expresses "concerns to the CIA that the documents pertaining
to the Iraq-Niger deal were forgeries" and notes that it
may already have informed intelligence agencies of this (Declassified
State Department Memo to the Undersecretary).
- January 17, 2003
The State Department tells the CIA that the intelligence reports
upon which the uranium claims were based were forgeries (Declassified
State Department Memo to the Undersecretary).
- January 28, 2003
Despite having been informed numerous times to the contrary,
Bush claims in his State of the Union Address to Congress that
"the British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein
recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa"
(White House Video & Transcript).
- January 28, 2003
Bush misleads congress about chemicle WMDs
Bush claims in his State of the Union address to Congress that
Iraq is pursuing and has vast stockpiles of checmical weapons. In
this speech, he leaves out key words used by his intelligence agency
which modify the assertions he puts forth. These modifications would
have cast doubt on his assertions, and the removal of these modifyers
amounts to misleading congress. An analysis of these changes to
the intelligence reports was made by John W. Dean, a FindLaw columnist,
and a former counsel to the President. (FindLaw,
July 18, 2003)
- January 31, 2003
The New York Times and The Guardian reports
that a secret memo reveals that President Bush and Prime Minister
Blair agreed to invade Iraq even without U.N. backing (NYTimes,
March 27, 2006; The
Guardian, Feb. 3rd, 2006):
- "Mr Bush made it clear the US intended to invade whether
or not there was a second UN resolution and even if UN inspectors
found no evidence of a banned Iraqi weapons programme."
- "The diplomatic strategy had to be arranged around the
military planning", Bush told Blair.
- The memo is also said to reveal that President Bush suggested
"flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft planes with fighter cover
over Iraq, painted in UN colours," in order to provoke Saddam
to shoot on them, therefore putting Iraq in breach of United Nations
- March 6, 2003
Bush indicates to the public that he hasn't decided to take
military action, and is open to a peaceful resolution.
"I've not made up our mind about military action. [sic] Hopefully,
this can be done peacefully...” (George
W. Bush, White House Press Conference White House Video & Transcript)
- March 7, 2003
United Nations Chief Weapons Inspector (Hans
Blix) report on WMDs. Shows Iraq was cooperating with weapons inspectors,
and presence of WMDs could not be confirmed. Inspector indicated
more time was needed as Iraq was becoming increasingly forthcoming,
and much progress was being made. A prediction of months (not weeks
or years) was needed. Bush is to later pull these inspectors from
Iraq and claim Saddam "wouldn't let them in." (CNN,
March 7, 2003)
- March 8, 2003
Bush indicates to the public that he is attempting to avoid
war with Iraq:
“We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq.”
W. Bush Radio Address, White House Video & Transcript)
- March 17, 2003
Bush advises U.N. weapons inspectors to
leave Iraq Immediately.
(Address to Nation, White House Video & Transcript)
- March 17, 2003
Bush indicating publically, a willingness
to work with the United Nations and respect it's mission:
"America tried to work with the United Nations to address this
threat because we wanted to resolve the issue peacefully. We believe
in the mission of the United Nations." (George
W. Bush, in Address to the Nation, White House Video & Transcript)
- March 18, 2003
Bush Letter to Congress prior to revealing
the ongoing war:
"[A]cting pursuant to the Constitution and [the Authorization
for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002] is consistent
with the United States and other countries continuing to take the
necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist
organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons
who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks
that occurred on September 11, 2001." (White
House, March, 2003)
- March 19, 2003
Bush reveals ongoing war with Iraq and increases
intensity. War announced despite Iraq not having been shown to be
a threat to the U.S., and without a resolution from the U.N. Security
Council. These conditions were required by Congress' authorization
to go to war. (White
House Video & Transcript)
- July 14, 2003
Bush lying to public about his confidence
about WMDs and the status of weapons inspectors prior to the war:
"The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did
Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely.
And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't
let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided
to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make
sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and
allies in the region..." (George
W. Bush, Photo Op in the Oval Office, White House Video & Transcript)
- September 17, 2003
This shows that Bush knew about the lack
of connection between Iraq and 9/11, a connection he implied existed
in his letter to Congress.
"We have no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with
the Sept. 11." (White
House Transcript and Video)
- July 29, 2004
CIA-commissioned report on pre-war intelligence)
- "Some in the Intelligence Community and elsewhere hold
the view that intense policymaker demands in the run-up to the
war constituted inappropriate pressure on intelligence analysts."
- "Despite the pressure, however, the Intelligence Community
remained firm in its assessment that no operational or collaborative
relationship existed [between Iraq and al-Qa'ida]. In the case
of Iraq's possession of WMD, on the other hand, analytic judgments
and policy views were in accord, so that the impact of pressure,
if any, was more nuanced and may have been considered reinforcing."