Bring 'em On!

The Bush administration's top 40 lies about war and terrorism


26) Shots rang out from the Palestine hotel, directed at U.S. soldiers, just before a U.S. tank fired on the hotel, killing two journalists.

Eyewitnesses to the April 8 attack uniformly denied any gunfire from the hotel. And just two hours prior to firing on the hotel, U.S. forces had bombed the Baghdad offices of Al-Jazeera, killing a Jordanian reporter. Taken together, and considering the timing, they were deemed a warning to unembedded journalists covering the fall of Baghdad around them. The day's events seem to have been an extreme instance of a more surreptitious pattern of hostility demonstrated by U.S. and UK forces toward foreign journalists and those non-attached Western reporters who moved around the country at will. (One of them, Terry Lloyd of Britain's ITN, was shot to death by UK troops at a checkpoint in late March under circumstances the British government has refused to disclose.)

Joshua Karsten

Some days after firing on the Palestine Hotel, the U.S. sent in a commando unit to raid select floors of the hotel that were known to be occupied by journalists, and the news gatherers were held on the floor at gunpoint while their rooms were searched. A Centcom spokesman later explained cryptically that intelligence reports suggested there were people "not friendly to the U.S." staying at the hotel. Allied forces also bombed the headquarters of Abu Dhabi TV, injuring several.


27) U.S. troops "rescued" Private Jessica Lynch from an Iraqi hospital.

If I had wanted to run up the tally of administration lies, the Lynch episode alone could be parsed into several more. Officials claimed that Lynch and her comrades were taken after a firefight in which Lynch battled back bravely. Later they announced with great fanfare that U.S. Special Forces had rescued Lynch from her captors. They reported that she had been shot and stabbed. Later yet, they reported that the recuperating Lynch had no memory of the events.

Bit by bit it all proved false. Lynch's injuries occurred when the vehicle she was riding in crashed. She did not fire on anybody and she was not shot or stabbed. The Iraqi soldiers who had been holding her had abandoned the hospital where she was staying the night before U.S. troops came to get her--a development her "rescuers" were aware of. In fact her doctor had tried to return her to the Americans the previous evening after the Iraqi soldiers left. But he was forced to turn back when U.S. troops fired on the approaching ambulance. As for Lynch's amnesia, her family has told reporters her memory is perfectly fine.


28) The populace of Baghdad and of Iraq generally turned out en masse to greet U.S. troops as liberators.

There were indeed scattered expressions of thanks when U.S. divisions rolled in, but they were neither as extensive nor as enthusiastic as Bush image-makers pretended. Within a day or two of the Saddam government's fall, the scene in the Baghdad streets turned to wholesale ransacking and vandalism. Within the week, large-scale protests of the U.S. occupation had already begun occurring in every major Iraqi city.


29) A spontaneous crowd of cheering Iraqis showed up in a Baghdad square to celebrate the toppling of Saddam's statue.

A long-distance shot of the same scene that was widely posted on the internet shows that the teeming mob consisted of only one or two hundred souls, contrary to the impression given by all the close-up TV news shots of what appeared to be a massive gathering. It was later reported that members of Ahmed Chalabi's local entourage made up most of the throng.


30) No major figure in the Bush administration said that the Iraqi populace would turn out en masse to welcome the U.S. military as liberators.

When confronted with--oh, call them reality deficits--one habit of the Bushmen is to deny that they made erroneous or misleading statements to begin with, secure in the knowledge that the media will rarely muster the energy to look it up and call them on it. They did it when their bold prewar WMD predictions failed to pan out (We never said it would be easy! No, they only implied it), and they did it when the "jubilant Iraqis" who took to the streets after the fall of Saddam turned out to be anything but (We never promised they would welcome us with open arms!).

But they did. March 16, Dick Cheney, Meet the Press: The Iraqis are desperate "to get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that.... [T]he vast majority of them would turn on [Saddam] in a minute if, in fact, they thought they could do so safely").


31) The U.S. achieved its stated objectives in Afghanistan, and vanquished the Taliban.

According to accounts in the Asia Times of Hong Kong, the U.S. held a secret meeting earlier this year with Taliban leaders and Pakistani intelligence officials to offer a deal to the Taliban for inclusion in the Afghan government. (Main condition: Dump Mullah Omar.) As Michael Tomasky commented in The American Prospect, "The first thing you may be wondering: Why is there a possible role for the Taliban in a future government? Isn't that fellow Hamid Karzai running things, and isn't it all going basically okay? As it turns out, not really and not at all.... The reality... is an escalating guerilla war in which 'small hit-and-run attacks are a daily feature in most parts of the country, while face-to-face skirmishes are common in the former Taliban stronghold around Kandahar in the south.'"

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