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Lie by Lie: A Timeline of How We Got Into Iraq

Mushroom clouds, duct tape, Judy Miller, Curveball. Recalling how Americans were sold a bogus case for invasion.

—Jonathan Stein and Tim Dickinson | September/October 2006 Issue

Illustration: John Ueland

At A congressional hearing examining the march to war in Iraq, Republican congressman Walter Jones posed "a very simple question" about the administration's manipulation of intelligence: "How could the professionals see what was happening and nobody speak out?"

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell's former chief of staff, responded with an equally simple answer: "The vice president."

But the blame for Iraq does not end with Cheney, Bush, or Rumsfeld. Nor is it limited to the intelligence operatives who sat silent as the administration cherry-picked its case for war, or with those, like Colin Powell or Hans Blix, who, in the name of loyalty or statesmanship, did not give full throat to their misgivings. It is also shared by far too many in the Fourth Estate, most notably the New York Times ' Judith Miller. But let us not forget

that it lies, inescapably, with we the American people, who, in our fear and rage over the catastrophic events of September 11, 2001, allowed ourselves to be suckered into the most audacious bait and switch of all time.

The first drafts of history are, by their nature, fragmentary. They arrive tragically late, and too often out of order. Back in 2006, we attempted to strip the history of the runup to the war to its bones, to reconstruct a skeleton that we thought might be key in resolving the open questions of the Bush era. As we prepare to leave Iraq, we present that timeline to you again. offers a greatly expanded (if now technologically outdated) version of this timeline. one that is completely sourced to primary documents and initial news accounts. It was our hope to make this second draft of history as definitive as possible. So that we won't be fooled again.—THE EDITORS

Defense Secretary Dick Cheney declares President Bush Sr. wise not to invade Baghdad and "get bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq."


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