Six days after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush signs a document outlining the war on terror. The document directs the Pentagon to begin planning military options for an invasion of Iraq.
President Bush is informed in a highly classified briefing that the US intelligence community cannot link Saddam Hussein to the 9/11 attacks and that there is little evidence pointing to collaborative ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda.
According to Bob Woodward's "Plan of Attack": "President Bush, after a National Security Council meeting, takes Don Rumsfeld aside, collars him physically, and takes him into a little cubbyhole room and closes the door and says, 'What have you got in terms of plans for Iraq? What is the status of the war plan? I want you to get on it. I want you to keep it secret."' Woodward adds that, immediately after Rumsfeld and [General Tommy] Franks work out a deal under which Franks can spend any money he needs. "And so he starts building runways and pipelines and doing all the preparations in Kuwait, specifically to make war possible."
According to Woodward's Plan of Attack, General Tommy Franks briefs Bush on the Pentagon's Iraq war planning at his Crawford ranch. Bush had directed the start of such planning five weeks earlier. Afterwards, Bush tells reporters they spoke about Afghanistan.
IN VIOLATION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW
One week after the first detainees arrive at Guantanamo, President Bush decides that they will not receive prisoner-of-war protection under the Geneva Conventions.
Alberto Gonzalez renders Geneva obsolete for US purposes in a policy-setting memo. When Secretary of State Colin Powell reads it, he immediately sets up a meeting with the President, telling him the document, if followed, "will reverse over a century of US policy and practice."
Seymour Hersh reports in The New Yorker, in October 2003, that by this time "it was understood by many in the White House that the President had decided, in his own mind, to go to war." Hersh adds, "The undeclared decision had a devastating impact on the continuing struggle against terrorism. The Bush Administration took many intelligence operations that had been aimed at Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups around the world and redirected them to the Persian Gulf. Linguists and special operatives were abruptly reassigned, and several ongoing anti-terrorism intelligence programs were curtailed."
The President seems to affirm this when he pokes his head into a meeting between Rice and three senators and says, "Fuck Saddam, We're taking him out."
One year later, in March 2003, President Bush will tell the public, "I've not made up our [sic] mind about military action."
President Bush, in a press conference, says of Bin Laden: "I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him."
Late March 2002
Dick Cheney tells Republican senators that the question is no longer if the US will invade Iraq, but when.
President Bush tells Britain's ITV: "I made up my mind that Saddam needs to go."
Reports emerge that American forces could have caught or killed bin Laden at Tora Bora. Reporters confront Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld with the story. He says he does not "know today of any evidence" that bin Laden "was in Tora Bora at the time, or that he left Tora Bora at the time." Later reports will make clear that the military was asked by the CIA at the time to supply troops to help close off bin Laden's escape routes. The military declined.
Details of the President's daily briefing of August 6, 2001, are revealed, including its title: "Bin Laden determined to strike in US." The same day, another pre-9/11 memo is discovered revealing that an FBI agent in Arizona had urged his superiors to more thoroughly investigate Middle Eastern men enrolling in flight schools in the US. Almost none of the information garnered by the FBI in monitoring flights schools was shared with the CIA before 9/11.
Tommy Franks is asked for details on how he would invade Iraq. He responds, "That's a great question and one for which I don't have an answer because my boss has not yet asked me to put together a plan to do that." (FDCH Political Transcripts, 05/21/02.) In fact, Franks was asked to start planning in Nov. 2001.
President Bush goes on record as opposing the formation of the 9/11 Commission.
Condoleezza Rice interrupts a deputy raising doubts about an Iraq war: "Save your breath. The President has already made up his mind."
Beginning of Operation Southern Focus, a bombing campaign against Iraqi defenses intended to lay the groundwork for invasion. The military admits in the summer of 2003 that it flew 21,736 sorties over southern Iraq between this time and the start of the war, attacking 349 targets. Bush tells the public four months later he hopes to avoid the use of force.
Late July 2002
General Franks requests $700 million for war preparations. The President agrees and Congress is not informed. The money comes from a supplemental appropriation for the war in Afghanistan that Congress previously approved, Bob Woodward reports in "Plan of Attack."
The White House Iraq Group is created. Its members include Karl Rove, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Condoleezza Rice, Stephen J. Hadley, as well as Karen Hughes and Mary Matalin. Its job is to sell the Iraq War to the public.
General Tommy Franks presents President Bush with an updated war plan.
The Washington Times reports that all of the Joint Chiefs have signed on to an Iraq invasion. Some have resisted for months, but "they can read the handwriting on the wall," says a source close to the administration.
"As we think through Iraq, we may or may not attack. I have no idea yet. But it will be for the objective of making the world more peaceful." - President Bush, in an interview with Bob Woodward for the book "Bush at War."
The same day, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says: "There are al Qaeda in Iraq. There are."
At a speech in Nashville, Vice President Cheney says, "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us."
President Bush summons congressional leadership to the White House to make the case for war in Iraq. The next day a larger body of lawmakers is taken to the Pentagon to discuss Iraqi policy with Cheney, Rumsfeld, and CIA director Tenet.
Sen. Bob Graham hosts Tenet in a meeting of the Senate intelligence committee. Graham later writes, "CIA Director George Tenet was asked what the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) provided as the rationale for a preemptive war in Iraq. I was stunned when Tenet said that no NIE had been requested by the White House and none had been prepared." Graham asks for one to be presented to Congress. It will go on to be one of the most controversial documents in the Iraq War period.
Donald Rumsfeld repeatedly tells reporters, "The President hasn't made a decision with respect to Iraq."
Iraq agrees to let UN weapons inspectors return the country "without conditions." The Bush Administration dismisses the offer.
Vice President Cheney: "We now have irrefutable evidence that [Saddam] has once again set up and reconstituted his program to take uranium, to enrich it to sufficiently high grade, so that it will function as the base material as a nuclear weapon . And there's no doubt about the fact that the level of effort has escalated in recent months."
Rice says, "There clearly are contacts between al-Qaida and Iraq that can be documented. There clearly is testimony that some of these contacts have been important contacts and there's a relationship here." The CIA will later express frustration at statements like these. Former head of the CIA's bin Laden-hunting group, Michael Scheuer, will later describe an effort he led to find out if the statements could be substantiated. "Tenet, to his credit, had us go back 10 years in the Agency's records, and look and see what we knew about Iraq and al-Qaeda . We examined about 20,000 documents, probably something along the line of 75,000 pages of information. And there was no connection between [al Qaeda] and Saddam."
Bush addresses the nation: "The danger to our country is grave and it is growing. The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons, is rebuilding the facilities to make more and, according to the British government, could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes after the order is given. The regime has long-standing and continuing ties to terrorist groups, and there are al Qaeda terrorists inside Iraq. This regime is seeking a nuclear bomb, and with fissile material could build one within a year."
President Bush: "Of course, I haven't made up my mind we're going to war with Iraq.
Jonathan Landay of Knight Ridder reports that intelligence officials and weapons experts are having doubts about the way the Bush Administration handles dissent on intelligence.
"The White House and the Pentagon, these officials said, are pressuring intelligence analysts to highlight information that supports Bush's Iraq policy and suppress information and analysis that might undercut congressional, public or international support for war."
President Bush delivers a key speech in Cincinnati making the case for war. It contains almost every falsehood and misrepresentation used by the Bush Administration in the pre-war period.
Knight Ridder reporters Warren P. Strobel, Jonathan S. Landay and John Walcott write:
"A growing number of military officers, intelligence professionals and diplomats in [Bush's] own government privately have deep misgivings about the administration's double-time march toward war.
These officials charge that administration hawks have exaggerated evidence of the threat that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein poses -- including distorting his links to the al-Qaida terrorist network -- have overstated the amount of international support for attacking Iraq and have downplayed the potential repercussions of a new war in the Middle East.
"They charge that the administration squelches dissenting views and that intelligence analysts are under intense pressure to produce reports supporting the White House's argument that Saddam poses such an immediate threat to the United States that pre-emptive military action is necessary."
In response to Bush's October 7 speech in which the President made his case for war against Iraq, anonymous officials tell the Guardian that Bush "relied on a slanted and sometimes entirely false reading of the available US intelligence" and that analysts are being pressured into finding intelligence that supports the administration's policy. "Basically, cooked information is working its way into high-level pronouncements and there's a lot of unhappiness about it in intelligence, especially among analysts at the CIA," says the CIA's former head of counter-intelligence.
President Bush tells the public, "I have not ordered the use of force. I hope the use of force will not become necessary."
"We know he's got chemical weapons." - President Bush
"War is not my first choice, it's my last choice." - President Bush
"Five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that. It won't be a World War III." - Donald Rumsfeld, predicting the length of the war in Iraq, on a call-in radio program.
Paul O'Neill and Lawrence Lindsay are forced off President Bush’s economic team. Many suspect that Lindsay's public estimate for the cost of the war ($100-200 billion, as against the administration's official estimate of $50-60 million) plays a role. NOW (March, 2008) THE COST IS ESTIMATED TO BE, AT LEAST, TWO TRILLION DOLLARS!
The CIA's leadership goes to the White House to present the evidence for WMD in Iraq. Bush is underwhelmed, telling Tenet, "Nice try, but that isn't gonna sell Joe Public This is the best we've got?"
Tenet responds, "It's a slam dunk case!"
President Bush tells a reporter, "You said we're headed to war in Iraq - I don't know why you say that. I hope we're not headed to war in Iraq. I'm the decider, not you."
"The CIA finally [balks] at being assigned over and over to confirm what it viewed as phony intelligence," according to a later report in The Washington Post. In an angry dispute, CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin tells Cheney's aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, "I'm not going back to the well on this. We've done our work."
Two reports from the National Intelligence Council warn Bush that an Iraq invasion could spark sectarian violence and an anti-US insurgency. One says an occupation could "increase popular sympathy for terrorist objectives."
Donald Rumsfeld shows Saudi ambassador Prince Bandar the administration's war plans for Iraq and says, "You can count on this. This is going to happen." Two days later, Bush tells Colin Powell he has decided to go to war.
IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei tells the UN Security Council that inspections have turned up no evidence of nuclear weapons programs in Iraq. "[I]t appears that the aluminum tubes would be consistent with the purpose stated by Iraq and, unless modified, would not be suitable for manufacturing centrifuges."
The UN issues a press release regarding Iraq's response to Resolution 1441. "It would appear that Iraq had decided in principle to provide cooperation on substance in order to complete the disarmament task through inspection." The press release reports that UN weapons inspectors, after 60 days on the job, have inspected 106 locations and found "no evidence that Iraq had revived its nuclear weapons programme."
British Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bush meet in the Oval office to discuss the impending invasion of Iraq. A memo of the private meeting written by two senior British officials later reveals that Bush and Blair were aware that no WMDs had been found and that it was possible that they never would be, but Bush, determined to invade, spent the meeting discussing ways in which the two could justify the invasion. Bush also says that it would be a quick victory and it was 'unlikely [that] there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups.' During a news conference following Bush and Blair’s meeting, Bush tells the press that "Saddam is not disarming...this issue will come to a head in a matter of weeks, not months."
Officials in the Bush Administration come together to prepare for Secretary of State Powell's February 5 speech to the UN, in which Powell will put all credible US evidence on the table and make the case for war to the international community. Powell reads an early draft based on work down by Cheney aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and, finding the material poorly sourced and misleading, throws several pages in the air and exclaims, "I'm not reading this. This is bullshit."
The preparations will go on for four days and three nights. Intense scrutiny will be applied to assertions made routinely by Cheney and others, in hopes that Powell will commit himself to only the very best of American intelligence. One 38-page list of allegations against Iraq is whittled down to six pages by Powell and his team.
Colin Powell addresses the UN in an attempt to sway world opinion in favor of war in Iraq. Powell makes a series of inaccurate statements that will badly tarnish his reputation.
Donald Rumsfeld ballparks the length of the coming war at a town hall meeting, on an Air Force base. "It could last, you know, six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."
Three State Department bureau chiefs prepare a secret memo for their superior and cite "serious planning gaps for post-conflict public security and humanitarian assistance." They write that "a failure to address short-term public security and humanitarian assistance concerns could result in serious human rights abuses which would undermine an otherwise successful military campaign, and our reputation internationally." They advocate that the State Department stand strong against the Pentagon, which is ignoring the State Departments work in preparation for post-invasion Iraq.
Hans Blix appears before the UN Security Council and says his inspectors have enjoyed uninhibited access to 300 sites over a period of 11 weeks. Everything is in accordance with the Iraqi weapons declaration, and no weapons of mass destruction have been found.
Anti-war rallies take place in nearly 600 cities across the globe, including in Rome, where 3 million march in the world's largest protest.
Diplomat John Brady Kiesling resigns his post at the US embassy in Greece with a scathing letter to Colin Powell. "Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America's most potent weapon. We have begun to dismantle the largest and most effective web of international relationships the world has ever known. Our current course will bring instability and danger, not security. We have not seen such systematic distortion of intelligence, such systematic manipulation of American opinion, since the war in Vietnam."
"Mr. Secretary, I have enormous respect for your character and ability. You have preserved more international credibility for us than our policy deserves, and salvaged something positive from the excesses of an ideological and self-serving Administration. But your loyalty to the President goes too far."
OHRA chief Gen. Jay Garner prepares a document for Rumsfeld decrying the fact that his team has only $27 million to rebuild Iraq. Garner forecasts the cost of reconstruction to be upwards of $12 billion. Shortly before Garner deploys to the Middle East, Rumsfeld tells him, "If you think we're spending our money on that, you're wrong. We're not doing that. They're going to spend their money rebuilding their country." By fall 2006, the US spends $2 billion a week in Iraq.
Iraq destroys four missiles, meeting a U.N. deadline to begin disarming.
Joseph Wilson appears on CNN and is asked to comment on ElBaradei's appearance at the U.N. the day before, in which ElBaradei called the Niger uranium document forgeries. Wilson says it's an embarrassment that the U.S. intelligence community couldn't come to this conclusion on its own. "It would have taken a couple of phone calls. We have had an embassy there since the early '60s. All this stuff is open." He doubts that ElBaradei's announcement was the first time the U.S. had reason to think the documents were fakes. "I think it's safe to say that the U.S. government should have or did know that this report was a fake before Dr. ElBaradei mentioned it in his report at the U.N. yesterday."
In Wilson's book, "The Politics of Truth," he will claim that this appearance prompted the "workup" meeting between top Cheney aides that led to the decision to smear him and the disclosure of his wife's identity.
President Bush tells the nation, "We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq."
The same day…
Halliburton is awarded a $7 billion reconstruction contract over the objections of Army Corps of Engineers procurement officer Bunnatine Greenhouse. Testifying before Congress, she later calls the contract "the most blatant and improper contract abuse I have witnessed." She is demoted in short order.
As it becomes increasingly clear that a U.N. resolution justifying the use of force will not pass (Bulgaria is the only country other than the original sponsors to publicly support it), President Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar meet in the Portuguese Azores for an "emergency summit." At its conclusion, the three leaders restate their commitment to a March 17 deadline for the U.N. to authorize war. Bush says, "tomorrow is a moment of truth for the world."
Cheney appears on Meet the Press.
He says, "My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators."
On the fact that ElBaradei doubts Saddam Hussein has a nuclear program: "I think Mr. ElBaradei frankly is wrong. And I think if you look at the track record of the International Atomic Energy Agency and this kind of issue, especially where Iraq's concerned, they have consistently underestimated or missed what it was Saddam Hussein was doing."
After saying several times that Saddam is trying to build nuclear weapons, Cheney says: "And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons." Six months later after the beginning of the war, Cheney will claim that he misspoke.
With little international support, the U.S., Britain, and Spain officially scrap the quest to obtain a new U.N. resolution on Iraq. Four and a half months have passed since U.N. Resolution 1441, and a new resolution would signal the world's belief that Iraq had failed the terms of that resolution and now faced the consequences. The "coalition of the willing" announces it will enforce the U.N. resolution without the U.N.'s approval.
Bush addresses the nation on the eve of war and says, "Should Saddam Hussein choose confrontation, the American people can know that every measure has been taken to avoid war”
A Washington Post article runs, inside the paper on page A-13, under the headline, "Bush Clings To Dubious Allegations About Iraq." It reads, in part: "As the Bush administration prepares to attack Iraq this week, it is doing so on the basis of a number of allegations against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that have been challenged - and in some cases disproved - by the United Nations, European governments, and even US intelligence reports."
The U.S. invasion of Iraq officially begins.
MARCH 30, 2003: Donald Rumsfeld: We know where the WMD are
We know where [the weapons of mass destruction] are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat. ABC This Week
APRIL 16, 2003: Bush signs $79 billion supplemental spending bill for Iraq
APRIL 23, 2003: USAID Administrator Andrew Nastios Claims Rebuilding of Iraq Could Be Accomplished With $1.7 Billion
TED KOPPEL: I mean, when you talk about 1.7, you’re not suggesting that the rebuilding of Iraq is gonna be done for $1.7 billion?
NATSIOS: Well, in terms of the American taxpayers contribution, I do, this is it for the US.
KOPPEL: You’re saying the, the top cost for the US taxpayer will be $1.7 billion. No more than that?
NATSIOS: For the reconstruction. And then there’s 700 million in the supplemental budget for humanitarian relief, which we don’t competitively bid ’cause it’s charities that get that money.
KOPPEL: I understand. But as far as reconstruction goes, the American taxpayer will not be hit for more than $1.7 billion no matter how long the process takes?
NATSIOS: That is our plan and that is our intention. And these figures, outlandish figures I’ve seen, I have to say, there’s a little bit of hoopla involved in this. ABC, Nightline
MAY 1, 2003: Mission Accomplished
[M]y fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. Bush
MAY 29, 2003: Bush: We found the WMD
JULY 2, 2003: Bring ‘Em On
There are some who feel like — that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring them on.
JULY 14, 2003: Bush says he had good intelligence before the war
I think the intelligence I get is darn good intelligence. And the speeches I have given were backed by good intelligence.
SEPTEMBER 3, 2003: Report shows Bush failed to plan
A secret report for the Joint Chiefs of Staff lays the blame for setbacks in Iraq on a flawed and rushed war-planning process that ‘limited the focus’ for preparing for post-Saddam Hussein operations.
OCTOBER 19, 2003: Bush ignored the experts
A yearlong State Department study predicted many of the problems that have plagued the American-led occupation of Iraq, according to internal State Department documents and interviews with administration and Congressional officials.
NOVEMBER 6, 2003: Bush signs $87 billion supplemental spending bill into law
NOVEMBER 20, 2003: Richard Perle suggests Iraq war was illegal
I think in this case international law stood in the way of doing the right thing.
MARCH 5, 2004: Former chief U.N. weapons inspector declares Iraq war illegal
The former chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix has declared that the war in Iraq was illegal
MARCH 24, 2004: Bush jokes at the Radio and Television Correspondents Association Dinner
Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere.
MAY 1, 2004: Bush says “daily life” of Iraqis is improving.
One year later [after Mission Accomplished], despite many challenges, life for the Iraqi people is a world away from the cruelty and corruption of Saddam’s regime. At the most basic level of justice, people are no longer disappearing into political prisons, torture chambers, and mass graves — because the former dictator is in prison, himself. And their daily life is improving.
AUGUST 27, 2004: Bush acknowledged for the first time that he made a “miscalculation of what the conditions would be” in postwar Iraq
SEPTEMBER 16, 2004: Intelligence report delivered to Bush warns of civil war. Bush’s response: the CIA is “just guessing”:
A classified National Intelligence Estimate prepared for President Bush in late July spells out a dark assessment of prospects for Iraq, government officials said Wednesday. The estimate outlines three possibilities for Iraq through the end of 2005, with the worst case being developments that could lead to civil war, the officials said.
SEPTEMBER 16, 2004: U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan declares Iraq war illegal
When pressed on whether he viewed the invasion of Iraq as illegal, he said: “Yes, if you wish. I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter from our point of view, from the charter point of view, it was illegal.”
SEPTEMBER 28, 2004: Another report showing Bush was warned about conditions in post-war Iraq
The same intelligence unit that produced a gloomy report in July about the prospect of growing instability in Iraq warned the Bush administration about the potential costly consequences of an American-led invasion two months before the war began, government officials said Monday.
OCTOBER 7, 2004: Duelfer Report: Iraq did not have WMD
Saddam Hussein did not possess stockpiles of illicit weapons at the time of the U.S. invasion in March 2003 and had not begun any program to produce them, a CIA report concludes.
JANUARY 30, 2005: U.S. loses track of nearly $9 billion in Iraqi funds
The CPA provided less than adequate controls for approximately $8.8 billion of Development Fund for Iraq (DFI) funds provided to Iraqi ministries through the national budget process.
MARCH 31, 2005: Silberman-Robb commission, the presidential commission on Iraqi WMD, concludes:
[T]he intelligence community was dead wrong in almost all of its prewar judgments.
MAY 30, 2005: Dick Cheney: Insurgency in its “last throes”
I think they’re in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.
OCTOBER 13, 2005: Bush administration paid no attention to warnings of post-war chaos
A review by former intelligence officers has concluded that the Bush administration ‘apparently paid little or no attention’ to prewar assessments by the Central Intelligence Agency that warned of major cultural and political obstacles to stability in postwar Iraq.
DECEMBER 17, 2005: Lieberman: Bush has turned corner on Iraq
The last two weeks have been critically important and I believe may be seen as a turning point in the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism.
DECEMBER 18, 2005: Bush: “[M]uch of the intelligence turned out to be wrong.”
FEBRUARY 2, 2006: Rumsfeld doubts “long war” in Iraq
“Is Iraq going to be a long war?” Mr. Rumsfeld answered, “No, I don’t believe it is.”
FEBRUARY 3, 2006: Bush requests additional $70 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan, $120 billion total for 2006
FEBRUARY 28, 2006: Another report reveals Bush administration did not plan for post-war
The Bush administration never drew up a comprehensive plan for rebuilding Iraq after the March 2003 invasion.
MARCH 19, 2006: “Complete victory”
On the eve of the third anniversary of the Iraq invasion, President Bush yesterday promised to “finish the mission” with “complete victory,” urging the American public to remain steadfast but offering no indication when victory may be achieved.
APRIL 23, 2006: A former top CIA official, Tyler Drumheller, reveals evidence that Bush was told before the war by a high-level Iraqi informant that Iraq did not possess WMD
MAY 1, 2006: On the 3rd anniversary of Mission Accomplished, Bush says Iraq has reached “a turning point.”
A new Iraqi government represents a strategic opportunity for America — and the whole world, for that matter. This nation of ours and our coalition partners are going to work with the new leadership to strengthen our mutual efforts to achieve success, a victory in this war on terror. This is a — we believe this is a turning point for the Iraqi citizens, and it’s a new chapter in our partnership.
MAY 18, 2006: CIA Director Michael Hayden: “I wasn’t comfortable” with the Bush administration approach to prewar intelligence
AUGUST 3, 2006: The head of U.S. Central Command, Gen. John Abizaid, suggests that civil war is possible in Iraq.
ABIZAID: “I believe that the sectarian violence is probably is as bad as I’ve seen it in Baghdad in particular, and that if not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move toward civil war.”
AUGUST 7, 2006: The top U.S. military official in Iraq, Gen. George Casey, says that civil war in Iraq is “certainly possible,” calling it “the most significant threat right now” in the country.
AUGUST 21, 2006: Bush acknowledges Iraq had “nothing” to do with 9/11.
SEPTEMBER 24, 2006: President Bush describes Iraq violence as “just a comma” in history.
SEPTEMBER 24, 2006: New National Intelligence Estimate determines Iraq war has increased terror threat.
“A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.”
SEPTEMBER 27, 2006: 71 percent of Iraqis want U.S. forces to withdraw within a year.
OCTOBER 6, 2006: In Baghdad, Rice says Iraq is “making progress.” Her trip “began inauspiciously when the military transport plane that brought her to Baghdad was forced to circle the city for about 40 minutes” because the airport was under attack.
OCTOBER 8, 2006: U.S. casualties in Iraq spiking.
“The number of U.S troops wounded in Iraq has surged to its highest monthly level in nearly two years as American GIs fight block-by-block in Baghdad to try to check a spiral of sectarian violence that U.S. commanders warn could lead to civil war.”
OCOTBER 14, 2006: Three in four Americans support bringing troops home from Iraq. A new Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll finds that nearly three in four Americans (73 percent) agree that U.S. troops should start to come home.
OCTOBER 15, 2006: Hagel: “We need to find a new strategy, a way out of Iraq.”
“The American people are not going to continue to support, sustain a policy that puts American troops in the middle of a civil war.” He added, “So we need to find a new strategy, a way out of Iraq, because the entire Middle East, Wolf, is more combustible than it’s been probably since 1948, and more dangerous, and we’re in the middle of it.”
OCTOBER 20, 2006: Former top Bush administration official calls for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
Richard Armitage proposed notifying “the Iraqis that we’re going to be drawing down a reasonable but careful percentage of our troops over a reasonable interval of months — just for example, 5 percent of troops every three months.”
OCTOBER 23, 2006: Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA): “We have to face the fact that Iraq is a civil war.”
NOVEMBER 20, 2006: Iraqis demand U.S. troops withdraw.
“Seven out of ten Iraqis overall–including both the Shia majority (74%) and the Sunni minority (91%)–say they want the United States to leave within a year.”
DECEMBER 5, 2006: Gates acknowledges U.S. is not winning the war in Iraq. Asked if he believes the U.S. is winning the war in Iraq, Defense Secretary nominee Robert Gates responds, “no, sir.”
DECEMBER 6, 2006: Iraq Study Group Report released. Key recommendations include:
RECOMMENDATION 22: The President should state that the United States does not seek permanent military bases in Iraq. If the Iraqi government were to request a temporary base or bases, then the U.S. government could consider that request as it would in the case of any other government.
RECOMMENDATION 35: The United States must make active efforts to engage all parties in Iraq, with the exception of al Qaeda. The United States must find a way to talk to Grand Ayatollah Sistani, Moqtada al-Sadr, and militia and insurgent leaders.
RECOMMENDATION 40: The United States should not make an open-ended commitment to keep large numbers of American troops deployed in Iraq.
DECEMBER 8, 2006: 71 percent of Americans who disapprove of President Bush’s handling of the Iraq war, an “alltime high.”
DECEMBER 19, 2006: The White House is “aggressively promoting” a plan to send “15,000 to 30,000 more troops” to Iraq “over the unanimous disagreement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” the Washington Post reports.
JANUARY 2, 2007: Gen. George Casey warns against troop escalation in Iraq.
“It’s always been my view that a heavy and sustained American military presence was not going to solve the problems in Iraq over the long term.”
JANUARY 2, 2007: “For the first time, more troops disapprove of the president’s handling of the war than approve of it. Barely one-third of service members approve of the way the president is handling the war, according to the 2006 Military Times Poll.”
JANUARY 10, 2007: New troops in Iraq lack needed armor.
“The thousands of troops that President Bush is expected to order to Iraq will join the fight largely without the protection of the latest armored vehicles that withstand bomb blasts far better than the Humvees in wide use, military officers said.”
JANUARY 10, 2007: Bush announces escalation. “I’ve committed more than 20,000 additional American troops to Iraq.”
JANUARY 11, 2007: 70 percent of Americans oppose sending more troops to Iraq.
“Just 35 percent think it was right for the United States to go to war, a new low in AP polling and a reversal from two years ago, when two-thirds of Americans thought it was the correct move.”
JANUARY 11, 2007: Hagel on escalation:”The most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam.”
JANUARY 22, 2007: Sen. John Warner (R-VA) introduces resolution opposing Bush’s Iraq plan.
JANUARY 30, 2007: The Army and Marine Corps “are short thousands of vehicles, armor kits and other equipment needed to supply” the extra 21,500 troops President Bush plans to send to Iraq. “It’s inevitable that that has to happen, unless five brigades of up-armored Humvees fall out of the sky,” one senior Army official said.
FEBRUARY 2, 2007: National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq declares Iraq is worse than a civil war. The document states that the term civil war “accurately describes key elements of the Iraqi conflict,” though it “does not adequately capture the complexity of the conflict.”
FEBRUARY 2, 2007: Bush requests another $100 billion for Iraq
“President George W. Bush will ask Congress for $99.7 billion for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for rest of fiscal year 2007 and more than $145 billion for fiscal year 2008. … That money comes on top of $70 billion that Congress approved for the current fiscal year, adding up to a total of $170 billion and making it the most expensive year yet for the war.”
FEBRUARY 6, 2007: Pace: Not enough equipment to support escalation.
“U.S. Marine Gen. Peter Pace admitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday equipment will be a problem when U.S. forces in Iraq are increased. … Pace said the military has about 41,000 armored vehicles in Iraq — fewer than will be needed ‘to cover all of the troops that are deploying.’ Pace says it will be July before enough equipment is in place.”
FEBRUARY 13, 2007: 63 percent of Americans want all U.S. troops home from Iraq by the end of 2008.
FEBRUARY 16, 2007: The House opposes escalation. By a vote of 246-182, the House of Representatives passes a resolution opposing President Bush’s escalation in Iraq, marking the first time in four years that Congress has voted decisively against Bush’s Iraq policy.
FEBRUARY 17, 2007: Senate rejects debate on anti-escalation resolution.
“The Senate gridlocked on the Iraq war in a sharply worded showdown on Saturday as Republicans foiled a Democratic attempt to rebuke President Bush over his deployment of 21,500 additional combat troops. The vote was 56-34.”
MARCH 8, 2007: “Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday proposed legislation that would bring American combat troops out of Iraq by August 2008 at the latest.”
“At the same time Senate Democrats were preparing their own bill with binding legislation that would require a withdrawal from Iraq to begin no less than 120 days after the legislation is enacted with the goal of redeployment by March 31, 2008.”
MARCH 14, 2007: The Pentagon acknowledges Iraq is a civil war
“In its bleakest assessment of the war to date, a quarterly Pentagon report said that last October through December was the most violent three-month period since 2003. Attacks and casualties suffered by coalition and Iraqi forces and civilians were higher than any other similar time span, said the report.”
MARCH 24, 2007: “Record high” percentage of Americans believe the Iraq war was not worth fighting.
MARCH 27, 2007: McCain claims progress in Iraq. McCain tells CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: “General Petraeus goes out there almost every day in an unarmed humvee. I think you oughta catch up. You are giving the old line of three months ago. I understand it. We certainly don’t get it through the filter of some of the media.” He later acknowledges, “There is no unarmored humvees. Obviously, that’s the case.”
MARCH 29, 2007: Senate passes Iraq withdrawal. The Senate votes 51-47 to pass a “war spending bill that would require U.S. combat troops to leave Iraq by the end of March 2008, ignoring a veto threat from President Bush.”
APRIL 1, 2007: McCain strolls through Baghdad market, accompanied by 100 soldiers, 3 blackhawks, 2 Apache gunships.
APRIL 9, 2007: Tens of thousands of Iraqis gather to protest U.S. presence in Iraq.
On the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad and the toppling of Saddam’s statue, up to one million Iraqi Shias summoned by Moqtada al-Sadr “have gathered in the holy city of Najaf for a mass demonstration calling for US-led troops to leave Iraq.”
APRIL 26, 2007: 28 percent. President Bush’s approval rating in a new Harris survey, the lowest of his presidency.
MAY 1, 2007: Bush vetoes Congressional plan for withdrawal from Iraq.
In only the second veto of his presidency, Bush rejected legislation pushed by Democratic leaders that would require the first U.S. combat troops to be withdrawn from Iraq by Oct. 1 with a goal of a complete pullout six months later.
MAY 1, 2007: Maliki office carrying out ‘extremist Shiite agenda.’ CNN reports that Iraq’s prime minister has “created an entity within his government that U.S. and Iraqi military officials say is being used behind a smokescreen to carry out an extreme Shiite agenda that is worsening the country’s sectarian divide.”
MAY 5, 2007: 28 percent. President Bush’s approval rating in a new Newsweek survey, “an all-time low for this president in our poll, and a point lower than Gallup recorded for his father at Bush Sr.’s nadir.”
MAY 9 2007: 11 republicans berate Bush over Iraq in private White House meeting. One member of Congress called the discussion the “most unvarnished conversation they’ve ever had with the president,” and NBC’s Tim Russert said it “may have been a defining pivotal moment” in the Iraq debate.
MAY 12, 2007: Billions in oil missing in Iraq.
“Between 100,000 and 300,000 barrels a day of Iraq’s declared oil production over the past four years is unaccounted for and could have been siphoned off through corruption or smuggling, according to a draft American government report. Using an average of $50 a barrel, the report said the discrepancy was valued at $5 million to $15 million daily.”
MAY 20, 2007: Iraq is a ‘big moneymaker’ for al-Qaeda. U.S. officials say that “al-Qaida’s command base in Pakistan increasingly is being funded by cash from Iraq, where the terrorist network’s operatives are raising substantial sums from donations to the insurgency as well as kidnappings of wealthy Iraqis and other criminal activity.”
190,000 weapons issued to Iraqi security forces have been “misplaced.” U.S. forces cannot account for the weapons, issued in 2004 and 2005, and fear they are in the possession of insurgent groups.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, President Bush told Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile that the U.S. is “kicking ass” in Iraq.
As of October 17, 2007 ...
US SPENDING IN IRAQ
Lost & Unaccounted for in Iraq - $9 billion of US taxpayers' money and $549.7 million in spare parts shipped in 2004 to US contractors. Also, per ABC News, 190,000 guns, including 110,000 AK-47 rifles.
Mismanaged & Wasted in Iraq - $10 billion, per Feb 2007 Congressional hearings
Halliburton Overcharges Classified by the Pentagon as Unreasonable and Unsupported - $1.4 billion
Amount paid to KBR, a former Halliburton division, to supply U.S. military in Iraq with food, fuel, housing and other items - $20 billion . Portion of the $20 billion paid to KBR that Pentagon auditors deem "questionable or supportable" - $3.2 billion
Daily Insurgent Attacks, Feb 2004 - 14
Daily Insurgent Attacks, July 2005 - 70
Daily Insurgent Attacks, May 2007 - 163 (During the “surge”)
Estimated Insurgency Strength, Nov 2003 - 15,000
Estimated Insurgency Strength, Oct 2006 - 20,000 - 30,000
Estimated Insurgency Strength, June 2007 - 70,000 (During the “surge”)
QUALITY OF LIFE INDICATORS
Iraqis Displaced Inside Iraq, by Iraq War, as of May 2007 - 2,135,000
Iraqi Refugees in Syria & Jordan - 1.3 million to 1.75 million
Iraqi Unemployment Rate - 27 to 60%, where curfew not in effect
Consumer Price Inflation in 2006 - 50%
Iraqi Children Suffering from Chronic Malnutrition - 28% in June
Percent of professionals who have left Iraq since 2003 - 40%
Iraqi Physicians Before 2003 Invasion - 34,000
Iraqi Physicians Who Have Left Iraq Since Invasion - 12,000
Iraqi Physicians Murdered Since 2003 Invasion - 2,000
Average Daily Hours Iraqi Homes Have Electricity - 1 to 2 hours, per Ryan Crocker, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq.
Average Daily Hours Iraqi Homes Have Electricity - 10.9 in May 2007
Average Daily Hours Baghdad Homes Have Electricity - 5.6 in May 2007
Pre-War Daily Hours Baghdad Homes Have Electricity - 16 to 24
Number of Iraqi Homes Connected to Sewer Systems - 37%
Iraqis without access to adequate water supplies - 70%
RESULTS OF POLL Taken in Iraq in August 2005 by the British Ministry of Defense (Source: Brookings Institute)
Iraqis "strongly opposed” to presence of coalition troops - 82%
Iraqis who believe Coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security - less than 1%
Iraqis who feel less secure because of the occupation - 67%
Iraqis who do not have confidence in multi-national forces - 72%