Judith Miller George Bush did not lie, Miller admits her role in WMD reports, No senior official spoon fed me a line about WMD

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Judith Miller George Bush did not lie, Miller admits her role in WMD reports, No senior official spoon fed me a line about WMD

 

From the Wall Street Journal April 3, 2015.

“The Iraq War and Stubborn Myths
Officials didn’t lie, and I wasn’t fed a line, writes Judith Miller”

“I took America to war in Iraq. It was all me.

OK, I had some help from a duplicitous vice president, Dick Cheney. Then there was George W. Bush, a gullible president who could barely locate Iraq on a map and who wanted to avenge his father and enrich his friends in the oil business. And don’t forget the neoconservatives in the White House and the Pentagon who fed cherry-picked intelligence about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, or WMD, to reporters like me.

None of these assertions happens to be true, though all were published and continue to have believers. This is not how wars come about, and it is surely not how the war in Iraq occurred. Nor is it what I did as a reporter for the New York Times. These false narratives deserve, at last, to be retired.

There was no shortage of mistakes about Iraq, and I made my share of them. The newsworthy claims of some of my prewar WMD stories were wrong. But so is the enduring, pernicious accusation that the Bush administration fabricated WMD intelligence to take the country to war. Before the 2003 invasion, President Bush and other senior officials cited the intelligence community’s incorrect conclusions about Saddam’s WMD capabilities and, on occasion, went beyond them. But relying on the mistakes of others and errors of judgment are not the same as lying.

I have never met George W. Bush. I never discussed the war with Dick Cheney until the winter of 2012, years after he had left office and I had left the Times. I wish I could have interviewed senior officials before the war about the role that WMDs played in the decision to invade Iraq. The White House’s passion for secrecy and aversion to the media made that unlikely. Less senior officials were of help as sources, but they didn’t make the decisions.

No senior official spoon-fed me a line about WMD. That would have been so much easier than uncovering classified information that officials can be jailed for disclosing. My sources were the same counterterrorism, arms-control and Middle East analysts on whom I had relied for my stories about Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda’s growing threat to America—a series published eight months before 9/11 for which the Times staff, including me, won a Pulitzer.”

“The CIA repeatedly assured President Bush that Saddam Hussein still had WMD. Foreign intelligence agencies, even those whose nations opposed war, shared this view. And so did Congress. Over the previous 15 years, noted Stuart Cohen, the former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council, none of the congressional committees routinely briefed on Iraqi WMD assessments expressed concern about bias or error.”
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