Iraq Pre-Invasion Lies: Will the Media Apologize?

45 minutes from doomVia Glenn Greenwald:

An Iraqi taxi driver may have been the source of the discredited claim that Saddam Hussein could unleash weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes, a Tory MP claimed today.

Adam Holloway, a defense specialist, said MI6 obtained information indirectly from a taxi driver who had overheard two Iraqi military commanders talking about Saddam’s weapons.

The 45-minute claim was a key feature of the dossier about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction that was released by Tony Blair in September 2002. Blair published the information to bolster public support for war.

Once the British PM said it, the media was off to the races. Just one example among many:

CNN’s David Ensor, December 7, 2002:

British and U.S. intelligence officials believe Saddam Hussein has continued to produce a variety of chemical and biological agents with at least some of those weapons capable of being deployed in as little as 45 minutes.


The people who mindlessly passed on claims like Tony Blair’s “45-minute” hysteria did it without regard to whether it was true. At best, they didn’t care. They wanted the invasion and were willing to say anything to justify it. The ones who were most unquestioning were “journalists” whose only ostensible function is to question… What’s most remarkable about all of it is that virtually none has even acknowledged wrongdoing and none has suffered any consequences of any kind. This British investigation is underscoring just how extreme all of this was.

Really they will never apologize. But perhaps the media could try and find out what was the real reason we attacked Iraq in 2003. I’m still curious.

  1. #1 by JMBell on December 10, 2009 - 5:39 pm

    I’ll take things the media won’t apologize for, for 1,000, Alex.

  2. #2 by Becky Stauffer on December 10, 2009 - 5:42 pm

    I’m curious, too, Rich. I’ll never forget my own gut feeling as I watched Colin Powell speaking to the U.N. I felt his voice lack conviction–I was not persuaded. Of course, we now know the ‘evidence’ presented by Powell was trumped up or exaggerated. We deserve to know why.

  3. #3 by ken on December 10, 2009 - 6:44 pm

    Bad news for Obama. New poll shows 44% of Americans would rather still have Bush over Obama. Also after Obama snubbed most of the post Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance events, including Snubbing the King of Norway himself during the traditional lunch with the King for Nobel Prize Winners, Obama was replaced with a cardboard cut-out.

    Oh the symbolism. If only they also had of included a cardboard teleprompter.

  4. #4 by JBT on December 10, 2009 - 7:51 pm

    Bad news for Obama. New poll shows 44% of Americans would rather still have Bush over Obama.

    Interesting. In the 2008 election 46% of the voters voted for Sarah Palin and old what’s his name. Is there perhaps a correlation?

  5. #5 by Becky Stauffer on December 10, 2009 - 8:06 pm

    Ken, can you link to the poll? I followed your link and browsed beyond, but I can’t find any details on the poll itself. Other than the poll was published by Public Policy Polling, a right-leaning pollster.

  6. #6 by Larry Bergan on December 11, 2009 - 12:33 am


    As immersed as I have been in this stuff for all these years, even I might be able to win that category.

    I understand your Saturday KSL political show is coming off of hiatus soon, (this Saturday, perhaps). Keep providing the podcasts. You have the best show ever produced in Utah!

    If anybody here hasn’t heard “Left of the Dial”, download the shows and listen. You won’t be disappointed.

  7. #7 by Federal Farmer on December 11, 2009 - 12:43 am

    Interesting post, Richard. Journalism has become a joke in the past few decades, and it’s no wonder why a great number of Americans no longer trust their news.

    I’ll be honest, when the invasion of Iraq was sold to the public, I was in high-school and bought the whole thing hook, line, and sinker. Since then, I have become much more calloused and have a hard time believing anything until I investigate it on my own.

    I don’t see any organized agenda coming from the mainstream media, but I do see a deterioration of the professionalism and standards which made American journalism what it once was.

  8. #8 by Richard Warnick on December 11, 2009 - 8:34 am

    Ken– This post isn’t about the President, it’s about the media.

    FF- The most amazing thing about the WMD lies and the planning for the invasion is that the U.S. government and academia had a lot of people who knew better, who had the right expertise to avoid America’s worst foreign policy blunder. All of whom were ignored and bypassed by the Bush administration. Read Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq by Washington Post Pentagon correspondent Tom Ricks.

  9. #9 by cav on December 11, 2009 - 2:21 pm

    Looks increasingly like the whole congress is just a Potemkin village to keep the myths you learned in school alive. Financial firms write financial legislation, pharmacy firms write legislation that affects them, Halliburton, KBR, Boeing, etc. do defense work, Blackwater provides military/CIA services. The corporate takeover is complete – just keep the theater going on in Congress to keep up the dreams of the simple minded.

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