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Profile: George W. Bush

 
  

Positions that George W. Bush has held:

  • US President


 

Quotes

 
  

Undefined, July 10, 2002

   “Some worry that a change of leadership in Iraq could create instability and make the situation worse. The situation could hardly get worse, for world security and for the people of Iraq.” [White House, 7/10/2002]

Associated Events

Quote, August 22, 2002

   “The American people know my position. And that is that regime change is in the interest of the world.” [Agence France-Presse, 8/22/02, CNN, 8/25/02, CNN, 9/30/02]

Associated Events

Quote, September 7, 2002

   “I would remind you that when the inspectors first went into Iraq and were denied—finally denied access [in 1998], a report came out of the Atomic—the IAEA that they were six months away from developing a weapon. I don't know what more evidence we need.” [Washington Times 9/27/02]

Associated Events

Quote, September 12, 2002

   “Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.” [White House, 9/12/02, PBS, 9/12/02, The Age (Australia), 6/7/03]

Associated Events

Quote, September 16, 2002

   Saddam's offer is “his latest ploy, his latest attempt not to be held accountable for defying the United Nations.... He's not going to fool anybody. We've seen him before.... We'll remind the world that, by defying resolutions, he's become more and more of a threat to world peace. [The world] must rise up and deal with this threat, and that's what we expect the Security Council to do.” [Agence France Presse, 9/19/02]

Associated Events

Quote, September 25, 2002

   “... the danger is, is that they work in concert. The danger is, is that al-Qaeda becomes an extension of Saddam's madness and his hatred and his capacity to extend weapons of mass destruction around the world. Both of them need to be dealt with. The war on terror, you can't distinguish between al-Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror. And so it's a comparison that is—I can't make because I can't distinguish between the two, because they're both equally as bad, and equally as evil, and equally as destructive.” [White House, 9/25/03]

Associated Events

Quote, October 1, 2002

   “The UN must show some backbone. We'll work with members of the Security Council to put a little calcium there, put calcium in the backbone.” [Times, 10/02/02]

Associated Events

Quote, October 7, 2002

   “The threat comes from Iraq. It arises directly from the Iraqi regime's own actions—its history of aggression, and its drive toward an arsenal of terror. Eleven years ago, as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War, the Iraqi regime was required to destroy its weapons of mass destruction, to cease all development of such weapons, and to stop all support for terrorist groups. The Iraqi regime has violated all of those obligations. It possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons. It has given shelter and support to terrorism, and practices terror against its own people. The entire world has witnessed Iraq's eleven-year history of defiance, deception and bad faith.... We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas ... And surveillance photos reveal that the regime is rebuilding facilities that it had used to produce chemical and biological weapons.” [White House, 10/7/02, White House, 10/7/02]

Associated Events

Quote, October 21, 2002

   “The stated policy of the United States is regime change because, for 11 years, Saddam Hussein has ignored the United Nations and the free world. For 11 years, he has—he said, look, you passed all these resolutions; I could care less what you passed. And that's why the stated policy of our government, the previous administration and this administration, is regime change—because we don't believe he is going to change.” [White House, 10/21/02]

Associated Events

Quote, October 22, 2002

   “For the sake of having an international body which is effective, the UN ... must be resolved to deal with this person, must resolve itself to be something more than a League of Nations, must resolve itself to be more than just a debating society, must resolve itself to help keep international peace. It's an important time in our history to determine whether or not we're going to be a nation which is willing to work with other nations to keep the peace. The answer is ‘you bet’ but if they won't, if the UN can't make its mind up, if Saddam Hussein won't disarm, we will lead a coalition to disarm him for the sake of peace.” [CNN, 10/22/02, Associated Press, 10/22/02]

Associated Events

Quote, November 8, 2002

   Saddam's “cooperation must be prompt and unconditional or he will face severest consequences” [White House, 11/8/02]

Associated Events

Quote, November 9, 2002

   “The world has now come together to say that the outlaw regime in Iraq will not be permitted to build or possess chemical, biological or nuclear weapons ... [a]nd my administration will see to it that the world's judgment is enforced” [White House, 11/9/02]

Associated Events

Quote, November 20, 2002

   “Saddam Hussein has been given a very short time to declare completely and truthfully his arsenal of terror. Should he again deny that this arsenal exists, he will have entered his final stage with a lie. And deception this time will not be tolerated. Delay and defiance will invite the severest of consequences. America's goal, the world's goal, is more than the return of inspectors to Iraq. Our goal is to secure the peace through the comprehensive and verified disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Voluntary or by force, that goal will be achieved.” [New York Times, 11/21/02, White House, 11/20/02]

Associated Events

Quote, December 2, 2002

   “In the inspections process, the United States will be making one judgment: Has Saddam Hussein changed his behavior of the last 11 years? Has he decided to cooperate willingly and comply completely, or has he not? So far the signs are not encouraging.... That declaration must be credible and complete, or the Iraqi dictator will have demonstrated to the world once again that he has chosen not to change his behavior. Any act of delay, deception, or defiance will prove that Saddam Hussein has not adopted the path of compliance and has rejected the path of peace.” [Washington Post, 12/3/02, White House, 12/2/02]

Associated Events

Quote, January 28, 2003

   “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities. ... He clearly has much to hide.” [US President, 1/28/03]

Associated Events

Quote, March 17, 2003

   “Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.” [US President, 3/17/03]

Associated Events

Undefined, March 26, 2003

   “We will help the Iraqi people to find the benefits and assume the duties of self-government. The form of those institutions will arise from Iraq's own culture and its own choices.” [White House, 3/26/2003]

Associated Events

Undefined, April 28, 2003

   “As freedom takes hold in Iraq, the Iraqi people will choose their own leaders and their own government. America has no intention of imposing our form of government or our culture. Yet, we will ensure that all Iraqis have a voice in the new government ...” [White House, 4/28/2003]

Associated Events

Undefined, May 9, 2003

   “Soon, Iraqis from every ethnic group will choose members of an interim authority. The people of Iraq are building a free society from the ground up, and they are able to do so because the dictator and his regime are no more.” [White House, 5/9/2003]

Associated Events

Quote, July 30, 2003

   “Yes, I think, first of all, remember I just said we've been there for 90 days since the cessation of major military operations. Now, I know in our world where news comes and goes and there's this kind of instant-instant news and you must have done this, you must do that yesterday, that there's a level of frustration by some in the media. I'm not suggesting you're frustrated. You don't look frustrated to me at all. But it's going to take time for us to gather the evidence and analyze the mounds of evidence, literally, the miles of documents that we have uncovered.”

Associated Events

Quote, June 24, 2004

   “The United States is committed to the worldwide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example.” [Amnesty International, 5/7/2004]

Associated Events


 

Relations

 
  

Related Entities:


 

George W. Bush actively participated in the following events:

 
  

May 1990      Complete Iraq timeline

       The US National Security Council presents a white paper to President Bush in which it describes Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq as the optimum contender “to replace the Warsaw Pact” and on that basis argues for the continuation of Cold War-level military spending. [Pilger, 1991 cited in Davidsson, n.d.]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

January 29, 2001      Complete Iraq timeline

       Imam Sayed Hassan al-Qazwini, who heads the Islamic Center of America in Detroit, one of the nation's largest mosques, meets with President Bush in the White House about the administration's policy towards Iraq. The president says he supports a policy aimed at removing Saddam Hussein from power, though he does not discuss by what means. “No method was discussed at all,” al-Qazwini will tell the New York Times two years later. “It was a general desire for regime change.” He will also tell the newspaper that he had spoken with Bush about removing Saddam Hussein a total of six or seven times, both before and after the 2000 elections. [New York Times, 1/12/04 Sources: Imam Sayed Hassan al-Qazwini]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Imam Sayed Hassan al-Qazwini
          

(January 30, 2001)      Complete Iraq timeline

       The Bush White House holds its first National Security Council meeting. The lead discussion of the meeting centers on the need to remove Saddam Hussein from power. US Secretary of Treasury Paul O'Neill, recalling the meeting, will tell CBS News two years later: “From the very beginning, there was a conviction, that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go ... From the very first instance, it was about Iraq. It was about what we can do to change this regime. Day one, these things were laid and sealed.” O'Neill will say officials never questioned the logic behind this policy. No one ever asked, “Why Saddam?” and “Why now?” Instead, the issue that needed to be resolved was how this could be accomplished. “It was all about finding a way to do it,” O'Neill will explain. “That was the tone of it. The president saying ‘Go find me a way to do this.’ ” [CBS News, 1/10/04; New York Times, 1/12/04; Guardian, 1/12/04; Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 234 Sources: Paul O?Neill] After information of this meeting is revealed by Paul O'Neill, the White House will attempt to downplay its significance. “... The stated policy of my administration toward Saddam Hussein was very clear,” Bush will tell reporters during a visit to Mexico In January 2004. “Like the previous administration, we were for regime change. ... And in the initial stages of the administration, as you might remember, we were dealing with desert badger or fly-overs and fly-betweens and looks, and so we were fashioning policy along those lines.” [New York Times, 1/12/04] But another official, who is also present at the meeting, will later say that the tone of the meeting implies a policy much more aggressive than that of the previous administration. “The president told his Pentagon officials to explore the military options, including use of ground forces,” the official will tell ABC News. “That went beyond the Clinton administration's halfhearted attempts to overthrow Hussein without force.” [ABC News, 1/13/04 Sources: Unnamed senior official of the Bush administration] Other people, in addition to O'Neill and Bush, who are likely in attendance include Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard B. Myers. [Sources: National Security Presidential Directives—NSPD-1, 2/13/01]]
People and organizations involved: Paul O?Neill, Colin Powell, Richard B. Myers, Condoleezza Rice, George Tenet, Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush
          

February 1, 2001      Complete Iraq timeline

       The Bush White House holds its second National Security Council meeting. Again, the issue of regime change in Iraq is a central topic. One of the memos discussed during the meeting is titled, “Plan for post-Saddam Iraq.” It reportedly discusses the need for troops in a post-Saddam occupation, war crimes tribunals, and how to divvy up Iraq's oil wealth. [CBS News, 1/10/04; New York Times, 1/12/04 Sources: Paul O?Neill] In attendance is Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who speaks in favor of removing Saddam Hussein. It would “demonstrate what US policy is all about,” he says, and help transform the Middle East. According to Paul O'Neill, Rumsfeld talks at the meeting “in general terms about post-Saddam Iraq, dealing with the Kurds in the north, the oil fields, the reconstruction of the country's economy, and the ‘freeing of the Iraqi people.’ ” [New York Times, 1/12/04 Sources: Paul O?Neill] Other people, in addition to O'Neill, Bush, and Rumsfeld, who are likely in attendance include Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard B. Myers. [Sources: National Security Presidential Directives—NSPD-1, 2/13/01]]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Richard B. Myers, Condoleezza Rice, Paul O?Neill, George W. Bush, George Tenet, Donald Rumsfeld
          

Between April 2001 and September 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       The CIA writes at least 15 reports about Iraq's interest in purchasing 7075-T6 aluminum tubes. Several of the assessments are distributed only to high-level policy makers, including President Bush, and are not sent to other intelligence agencies for peer review. According to several Congressional and intelligence officials who later review the documents, they all fail to note that the opinions of leading centrifuge experts at the Energy Department conflict with the CIA's view. [New York Times, 10/3/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

August 24, 2001      US Military

       President George W. Bush appoints Gen. Richard Myers, an expert in hi-tech computer and space warfare, as the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Observers say that Bush's nomination of Myers, a former head of the US Space Command, reflects the Bush administration intent to develop a missile defense system and weaponize space. [US Department of State, 8/24/2001; PBS, 8/24/2001; Reuters, 8/30/2001]
People and organizations involved: Richard B. Myers, George W. Bush
          

September 12, 2001      Complete Iraq timeline

       US President George Bush speaks privately with White House counterterrorism advisor Richard Clarke in the White House Situation Room. According to Clarke, Bush tells him to investigate the possibility that Iraq had been involved in the attacks. “I want you, as soon as you can, to go back over everything, everything,” Bush says. “See if Saddam did this.” When Clarke responds, “But Mr. President, Al-Qaeda did this,” Bush replies, “I know, I know, but... see if Saddam was involved. Just look. I want to know any shred.” Clarke insists that the CIA, FBI and White House had already concluded that there were no such links. As he exits the room, Bush “testily” reiterates, “Look into Iraq, Saddam.” [Washington Post, 3/22/2004 Sources: Richard Clarke] During a “60 Minutes” interview, Clarke will add that Bush's instructions were made in a way that were “very intimidating,” and which hinted that Clarke “should come back with that answer.” “Now he never said, ‘Make it up.’ But the entire conversation left me in absolutely no doubt that George Bush wanted me to come back with a report that said Iraq did this.” [CBS News, 3/20/04; New York Times, 3/23/04] White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan will later dispute Clarke's account. Bush “doesn't have any recollection” of such a meeting or conversation, McClellan will say on March 22, 2004. “There's no record of the President being in the Situation Room on that day that ... you know, when the President is in the Situation Room, we keep track of that.” [Associated Press, 3/22/04] But 60 Minutes will later find two sources to confirm Clarke's account and [CBS News, 3/20/04] White House aides eventually concede that the meeting “probably” occurred. [New York Daily News, 3/27/04] After the meeting, Clarke collaborates with CIA and FBI experts producing a report which finds no evidence that Iraq had a hand in the attacks. But “it got bounced by the national-securty advisor, or deputy,” Clarke will explain. “ It got bounced and sent back, saying ‘Wrong answer .... Do it again.’ ” [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 238]
People and organizations involved: Scott McClellan, George W. Bush, Richard Clarke, Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Hadley  Additional Info 
          

September 15, 2001      Complete Iraq timeline

       George W. Bush, CIA Director George Tenet, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, Paul Wolfowitz, and perhaps other officials as well, meet at Camp David to discuss war plans in Afghanistan. The meeting reportedly begins at 9:30 AM with a prayer. [Washington Post, 1/31/02; Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 232] There is discission on a paper submitted by the Defense Department depicting Iraq, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda as priority targets. Paul Wolfowitz pushes for regime change in Iraq, claiming that there is a 10 to 50 percent chance that Iraq was involved in the attacks. [Woodward, Bob. Bush at War. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002. Pg. 83; Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 232; Washington Post, 7/23/2004]
People and organizations involved: George Tenet, George W. Bush, Paul Wolfowitz, Robert S. Mueller III, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul O?Neill, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell  Additional Info 
          

September 17, 2001      Complete Iraq timeline

       President Bush signs a 2 1/2-page “top secret” document that outlines the administration's plan to invade Afghanistan and topple its government. According to administration officials interviewed by The Washington Post, the document also instructs the Pentagon to begin planning for an invasion of Iraq. [Washington Post, 1/12/03; The Mirror, 9/22/03 Sources: senior administration officials] The document further orders the military to be ready to occupy Iraq's oil fields if the country acts against US interests. [Washington Post, 7/23/04]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

On and around September 18, 2001      Complete Iraq timeline

       Paul Wolfowitz and Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith argue in three memos why Iraq should be included as a target in the war on terrorism. One memo dated September 18, “Were We Asleep?” and suggests links between Iraq and al-Qaeda, which most intelligence officials consider highly dubious. [Washington Post, 1/12/03; The Mirror, 9/22/03 Sources: senior administration officials]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

September 20, 2001      Complete Iraq timeline

       British Prime Minister Tony Blair meets with President George Bush at the White House. During dinner that night, also attended by Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and British ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer, Blair tells Bush that he wants to concentrate on ousting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Bush replies, “I agree with you Tony. We must deal with this first. But when we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must come back to Iraq.” Blair says nothing to disagree. [BBC, 4/3/03; Observer, 4/4/04; Independent, 4/4/04; Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 238 Sources: Christopher Meyers]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Condoleezza Rice, Christopher Meyers
          

Early November 2001      Complete Iraq timeline

       According to a September 2002 USA Today article, the decision to invade Iraq is made at this time. Significantly, the decision is made independent of normal policy-making procedures—a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq was not requested, members of Congress were not consulted, and the concerns of senior military officers and intelligence analysts were ignored. Explaining why the White House did not request a NIE on Iraq, an unnamed US intelligence official explains it didn't want to detail the uncertainties regarding the threat Iraq allegedly poses to the US. And a senior administration official says the White House did not believe an NIE would be helpful. Notwithstanding, an NIE will be requested in September 2002 as a result of pressure from Congress. The classified version of the document will include many qualified and nuanced statements, but the shorter, unclassified, public version, which is given to Congress, will not include these uncertainties (see October 1, 2002). [USA Today, 9/10/02 Sources: officials at the White House, State Department, Pentagon, intelligence agencies, Congress and elsewhere]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

November 21, 2001      Complete Iraq timeline

       George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld speak in private. Bush asks the Defense Secretary what kind of plan the Pentagon has for invading Iraq. When Rumsfeld says its current plan is outdated, Bush instructs him to devise a new one. “Let's get started on this,” Bush will later tell Bob Woodward. “And get Tommy Franks looking at what it would take to protect America by removing Saddam Hussein if we have to.” Bush requests that discussion about Iraq remain low-key. “I knew what would happen if people thought we were developing a potential war plan for Iraq,” Bush will say to Woodward. Bush does not share the details of his conversation with Condoleezza Rice, only telling her that Rumsfeld would be working on Iraq. [Woodward, 2004 cited in Associated Press, 4/16/2004; Woodward, 2004 cited in New York Times, 4/17/2004; Woodward, 2004 cited in Washington Post 1/18/2004 Sources: George Bush and other top officials interviewed by Washington Post editor Bob Woodward] When General Tommy Franks—who already has his hands full with the operation in Afghanistan—learns that the administration is considering plans to invade Iraq, he utters “a string of obscenities.” [Woodward, 2004 cited in Associated Press, 4/16/2004 Sources: Top officials interviewed by Washington Post editor Bob Woodward] General Franks will meet with Bush and brief him on the plan's progress on December 28 (see December 28, 2001).
People and organizations involved: Thomas Franks, George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld
          

(Late 2001)      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       US Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld authorizes the creation of a “special-access program,” or SAP, with “blanket advance approval to kill or capture and, if possible, interrogate ‘high value’ targets in the Bush administration's war on terror.” The operation, known as “Copper Green,” is approved by Condoleezza Rice and known to President Bush. [The New Yorker, 5/24/2004 Sources: Unnamed former US intelligence official] Less than two hundred operatives and officials, including Donald Rumsfeld and General Richard Myers, are “completely read into the program.” The operatives are given advanced approval to carry out “instant interrogations—using force if necessary—at secret CIA detention centers scattered around the world.” Information obtained through the program is sent to the Pentagon in real-time. “The rules are ‘Grab whom you must. Do what you want,’ ” one former intelligence official will explain to journalist Seymour Hersh. [The New Yorker, 5/24/2004]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Richard B. Myers
          

December 28, 2001      Complete Iraq timeline

       General Tommy Franks, the head of the US Central Command, visits Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas and briefs him on the progress of his Iraq war plan. Bush had requested an updated plan from the Defense Department on November 21 (see November 21, 2001). [Woodward, 2004 cited in Washington Post 1/18/2004 Sources: Top officials interviewed by Washington Post editor Bob Woodward]
People and organizations involved: Thomas Franks, George W. Bush
          

After February 7, 2002      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       President George Bush signs a secret order authorizing the CIA to set up a network of secret detention and interrogation centers outside the United States where high value prisoners can be subjected to harsh interrogation tactics. [Newsweek, 5/24/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

February 9, 2002      Plans to use force against Iran

       Prime Minister Ariel Sharon meets with President George W. Bush. According to the Ha'aretz Daily, the goal of the meeting is to “convince the United States that Iran constitutes a strategic threat to Israel.” [Ha'aretz, 2/9/2002]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

February 15, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       Bush signs an intelligence finding, directing the CIA to conduct operations within Iraq as part of an ultimate plan to overthrow Saddam's government. The CIA warns Bush that staging a coup to depose the leader would be impossible. [Woodward, 2004 cited in Washington Post 1/18/2004 Sources: Top officials interviewed by Washington Post editor Bob Woodward]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

Early March 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       According to a former White House official interviewed by Seymour Hersh during the fall of 2003, Bush makes the decision to invade Iraq at this time and begins diverting resources away from the “war on terrorism” to the planned invasion of Iraq. “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 New Yorker, 10/20/03 Sources: Unnamed Former White House official]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush  Additional Info 
          

April 18, 2002      Venezuela

       US President George W. Bush warns Chavez to draw a lesson from the unrest that his country has just experienced and insists that he commit himself to democracy. “If there's lessons to be learned, it's important that he learn them,” Bush says in a meeting with Colombian President Andres Pastrana. [BBC, 4/18/2002]
People and organizations involved: Andres Pastrana, George W. Bush, Hugo Chavez Frias
          

July 2002-March 19, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       Numerous US and British, current and former, intelligence, military, and other government officials who have inside knowledge refute claims made by the Bush administration that Saddam Hussein's regime has or is seeking ties with global Islamic terrorist groups. [Independent, 2/9/03; New York Times, 2/3/03; Knight Ridder, 10/7/02; Radio Free Europe, 10/29/02; International Herald Tribune, 11/1/02; Los Angeles Times, 11/4/02; Baltimore Sun, 9/26/02; Wall Street Journal, 8/15/02; Telegraph, 2/4/03; Washington Post 9/10/02; Sunday Herald, 10/13/02; CBC News, 11/1/02]
People and organizations involved: Vince Cannistraro, Brent Scowcroft, Igor Ivanov, Youssef M. Ibrahim, MIchael O'Hanlon, Rohan Gunaratna, Tony Blair, Baltasar Garzon, Jean Chretien, Anna Eshoo, Saddam Hussein, US Department of State, 4/30/2001, Vince Cannistraro, Jack Straw, Daniel Benjamin, George W. Bush, Jean-Louis Brugui?re, Richard Durbin, Michael Chandler  Additional Info 
          

July 10, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       President George Bush says in a speech at the Cincinnati Museum Center: “Some worry that a change of leadership in Iraq could create instability and make the situation worse. The situation could hardly get worse, for world security and for the people of Iraq.” [White House, 7/10/2002]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

(Early August 2002)      Complete Iraq timeline

       British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George Bush discuss over the phone their intention to topple Saddam Hussein's government. An unnamed White House official who later reads the transcripts of the 15-minute phone call, will explain to Vanity Fair that it was clear from their conversation that the decision to invade Iraq had already been made. The magazine reports in April 2004: “Before the call, the official says, he had the impression that the probability of invasion was high, but still below 100 percent, Afterward, he says, ‘it was a done deal.’ ” [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 284 Sources: Unnamed White House official]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Tony Blair
          

August 2, 2002      Treaties + UN

       US President George Bush signs the American Servicemembers? Protection Act (HR 4775), making it Public Law 107-206. Section 2007, written by Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, prohibits the United States from providing military assistance to any nation that is party to the International Criminal Court (see July 17, 1998). Only countries that receive a special waiver from the president or that sign so-called “Article 98” agreements (see August 2002-July 1, 2003) will be exempt from the prohibition. The exemption is also extended to a select few other counties (Taiwan, NATO members, and “major non-NATO allies” like Australia, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Argentina, the Republic of Korea, and New Zealand). Section 2007 will go into effect on July 1, 2003, one year after the Rome Statute entered into force. Section 2008 of HR 4775 gives the president authority to use “all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any person ... being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the International Criminal Court.” [New York Times, 8/10/2002 Sources: American Servicemembers' Protection Act, HR 4775]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Tom DeLay
          

(8:00 p.m.) August 5, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       After dinner at the White House, Colin Powell speaks privately with George Bush and convinces him that international backing would be crucial for an invasion of Iraq and the inevitable occupation that would follow. Powell cites polls which indicate that a majority of Americans favor seeking a UN resolution. Bush reluctantly agrees. [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 284]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, George W. Bush
          

August 16, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       After a spate of criticism of his administration's Iraq policy from several prominent Republican former US government officials, President George Bush says from his ranch in Mount Crawford, Texas: “I am aware that some very intelligent people are expressing their opinions about Saddam Hussein and Iraq. I listen very carefully to what they have to say. I'll continue to consult.... I will use all the latest intelligence to make informed decisions about how best to keep the world at peace, how best to defend freedom for the long run.... Listen, it's a healthy debate for people to express their opinion. People should be allowed to express their opinion. But America needs to know, I'll be making up my mind based upon the latest intelligence and how best to protect our own country plus our friends and allies.” But he also adds, “There should be no doubt in anybody's mind that this man is thumbing his nose at the world, that he has gassed his own people, that he is trouble in his neighborhood, that he desires weapons of mass destruction.” [New York Times, 8/17/02; CNN, 8/16/02; Fox News, 8/16/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush  Additional Info 
          

September 7, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       During a joint press conference with US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the two leaders make 2 false and misleading statements, which are quickly contested by experts.
Tony Blair states, “We only need to look at the report from the International Atomic Agency [IAEA] this morning showing what has been going on at the former nuclear weapons sites to realize that” Saddam is a real threat. [White House, 9/7/02] But no such report exists. [Washington Times, 9/27/02] What Blair is actually referring to is a set of commercial satellite photographs showing signs of new construction at a site the US had bombed in 1998. [MSNBC 9/7/02; Guardian 9/9/02; Associated Press, 9/10/02] That same day, Mark Gwozdecky, a spokesman for the UN agency, says the agency had drawn no conclusion from those photographs. [MSNBC 9/7/02] On September 9, the Guardian of London will report that according to “a well-placed source” the photographs do not support Blair's statement. “You cannot draw any conclusions,” the source explains. “The satellites were only looking at the top of a roof. You cannot tell without inspectors on the ground.” [Guardian, 9/9/02] [Guardian, 9/9/02] The following day, Hans Blix, head of UNMOVIC, will similarly tell reporters: “... satellites don't see through roofs. So we are not drawing conclusions from them. But it would be an important element in where, maybe, we want to go to inspect and monitor.” [Associated Press, 9/10/02; The Globe and Mail, 9/11/02]
Bush asserts, “I would remind you that when the inspectors first went into Iraq and were denied—finally denied access [in 1998], a report came out of the Atomic—the IAEA that they were six months away from developing a weapon,” adding, “I don't know what more evidence we need.” [White House, 9/7/02; Washington Times, 9/27/02] But Bush's statement is quickly refuted by an MSNBC news report published later that day, which includes an excerpt from the summary of the 1998 IAEA report Bush cited. The summary reads, “[B]ased on all credible information available to date ... the IAEA has found no indication of Iraq having achieved its program goal of producing nuclear weapons or of Iraq having retained a physical capability for the production of weapon-useable nuclear material or having clandestinely obtained such material.” [MSNBC 9/7/02] The text of the actual report, authored by IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei, reads: “There are no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the production of weapon-usable nuclear material of any practical significance.” [Washington Times, 9/27/02] When confronted by MSNBC reporters on this point, an unnamed senior White House official states, “What happened was, we formed our own conclusions based on the report.” [MSNBC 9/7/02] Later, when The Washington Times presses Deputy Press Secretary Scott McClellan for an explanation, he says, “[Bush is] referring to 1991 there. In '91, there was a report saying that after the war they found out they were about six months away.” But this too is challenged by Mr. Gwozdecky, spokesman for the UN agency, who says that no such report was ever published by the IAEA in 1991. Apparently the President's accusations are based on two news articles that were published more than a decade ago— “a July 16 [2001] story in the London Times by Michael Evans and a July 18 [2001] story in the New York Times by Paul Lewis.” But as The Washington Times notes, “Neither article cites an IAEA report on Iraq's nuclear-weapons program or states that Saddam was only six months away from ‘developing a weapon’ —as claimed by Mr. Bush.” Instead the two news articles reported that at that time, UN inspectors had concluded that Iraq was only six months away from the large-scale production of enriched uranium. But as the 1998 report shows, both 1991 news stories are outdated. [Washington Times, 9/27/02]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed ElBaradei, Tony Blair, Scott McClellan, Mark Gwozdecky, George W. Bush
          

September 9, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       Canadian Primer Minister Jean Chretien and US President George Bush meet in Detroit to discuss policy towards Iraq as well as security measures along the US-Canadian border initiated after September 11. Chretien later tells reporters that Bush said that Saddam Hussein's alleged ties to terrorism was “not the angle they're exploring now. The angle they're exploring is the production of weapons of mass destruction.” [Washington Post, 9/10/02; CNN, 9/10/02 Sources: Jean Chretien]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Saddam Hussein, Jean Chretien
          

September 12, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       President George Bush tells the UN General Assembly, “Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.” [White House, 9/12/02; PBS, 9/12/02; The Age (Australia), 6/7/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

October 1, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       The National Intelligence Council, a board of senior analysts who prepare reports on crucial national security issues, completes a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq. The purpose of an NIE is to provide policy-makers with an intelligence assessment that includes all available information on a specific issue so that they can make sound policy decisions. The formal document is supposed to be the result of a collaborative effort of the entire intelligence community and is supposed to be untainted by political interests. The decision to produce the assessment on Iraq followed criticisms that the administration had already decided to invade Iraq without having received—or even called for—an assessment from its multi-billion dollar intelligence apparatus on the supposed threat posed by Iraq. Congress wanted the NIE completed prior to voting on a bill authorizing the President to use force against Iraq and was formally requested by Senator Bob Graham. NIEs such as this usually take months to prepare, however this document took a mere three weeks. The person in charge of preparing the document was weapons expert Robert Walpole. According to the Independent of London, Walpole has a track record of tailoring his work to support the preconceived conclusions of his superiors. “In 1998, he had come up with an estimate of the missile capabilities of various rogue states that managed to sound considerably more alarming than a previous CIA estimate issued three years earlier,” the newspaper will report. “On that occasion, he was acting at the behest of a congressional commission anxious to make the case for a missile defense system; the commission chairman was none other than Donald Rumsfeld ....” [Independent, 11/3/03; New York Times, 10/3/2004]
Summary of NIE Conclusions - After the document is completed, two different versions will be released. An abridged declassified version is posted on the CIA's website for the public, while the classified version is disseminated within the administration and to Congress (see (8:00pm) October 1, 2002). The two versions portray the threat posed by Saddam Hussein very differently. The classified version of the NIE on Iraq provides a far less alarmist view of the threat allegedly posed by Iraq than that which is presented in the public version of the document. According to US intelligence and congressional sources who read the classified document, the intelligence estimate contains “cautionary language about Iraq's connections with al-Qaeda and warnings about the reliability of conflicting reports by Iraqi defectors and captured al-Qaeda members about the ties.” And notably, the second paragraph of the “key judgment” section states that the estimate lacks “specific information” on Iraq's alleged arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. Though the document does say that Iraq probably has chemical and biological weapons, it also says that US intelligence analysts believe that Saddam Hussein would only launch an attack against the US if he felt a US invasion was inevitable. The intelligence estimate also concludes that Saddam would only provide terrorists with chemical or biological agents for use against the United States as a last resort in order to “exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him.” A senior intelligence official will later tell The Washington Post in June 2003: “There has always been an internal argument within the intelligence community about the connections between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. The NIE had alternative views.” The NIE also concludes that Iraq does not have nuclear weapons. The public version of the report—which is presented to Congress before it votes on a resolution conditionally authorizing Bush to use military force against Iraq—contains language that is far less qualified and nuanced than the classified version. [Washington Post, 6/22/03; Agence France Presse, 11/30/03 Sources: Stuart Cohen, US intelligence and congressional sources, INR's alternative view in the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq]
Iraqi attempts to obtain uranium from Africa - The document makes a reference to the allegation that Iraq has sought to procure uranium from Africa. “A foreign government service reported that as of early 2001, Niger planned to send several tons of ‘pure uranium’ (probably yellowcake) to Iraq. As of early 2001, Niger and Iraq reportedly were still working out arrangements for this deal, which could be for up to 500 tons of yellowcake. We do not know the status of this arrangement. Reports indicate Iraq also has sought uranium ore from Somalia and possibly the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” But the alternative view—endorsed by the State Department's bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR)—says that it is doubtful Iraq sought to procure uranium from Africa. “(T)he claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium in Africa are, in INR's assessment, highly dubious,” it reads. [US Government, 10/02; Washington Post, 7/19/03 Sources: Wissam al-Zahawie]
Iraqi attempts to obtain aluminum tubes - The document provides a very misleading assessment of the tubes case. For instance, it includes a chart which compares the dimensions of the aluminum tubes sought by Iraq with those that would be needed for a “Zippe-type” centrifuge. The comparison makes the two tubes appear similar. However, the chart fails to note that the aluminum tubes are an exact match to those used in Iraq's 81-millimeter rocket. The estimate also claims that the tubes are not suitable for rockets. The assertion ignores the fact that similar tubes are used in rockets from several countries, including the United States. [New York Times, 10/3/2004] In addition to the assessment's misleading statements about the tubes, there are interesting differences between the classified and declassified versions of the NIE with regard to the tubes. The declassified, public version of the NIE states: “Iraq's aggressive attempts to obtain proscribed high-strength aluminum tubes are of significant concern. All intelligence experts agree that Iraq is seeking nuclear weapons and that these tubes could be used in a centrifuge enrichment program. Most intelligence specialists assess this to be the intended use, but some believe that these tubes are probably intended for conventional weapons programs. Based on tubes of the size Iraq is trying to acquire, a few tens of thousands of centrifuges would be capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium for a couple of weapons per year.” However the classified version of the document presents a more nuanced assessment. In the main text of the document, it says that the Energy Department “agrees that reconstitution of the nuclear program is underway but assesses that the tubes probably are not part of the program.” At the bottom of the page, in a lengthy footnote by the State Department's INR, the alternative view states that the agency agrees with the DOE's assessment that the tubes are not meant for use in a gas centrifuge. The footnote reads: “In INR's view Iraq's efforts to acquire aluminum tubes is central to the argument that Baghdad is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program, but INR is not persuaded that the tubes in question are intended for use as centrifuge rotors. INR accepts the judgment of technical experts at the US Department of Energy (DOE) who have concluded that the tubes Iraq seeks to acquire are poorly suited for use in gas centrifuges to be used for uranium enrichment and finds unpersuasive the arguments advanced by others to make the case that they are intended for that purpose. INR considers it far more likely that the tubes are intended for another purpose, most likely the production of artillery rockets. The very large quantities being sought, the way the tubes were tested by the Iraqis, and the atypical lack of attention to operational security in the procurement efforts are among the factors, in addition to the DOE assessment, that lead INR to conclude that the tubes are not intended for use in Iraq's nuclear weapon program.” [US Government, 10/02; Washington Post, 7/19/03; USA Today, 7/31/03 Sources: Wissam al-Zahawie]
Reconstituted nuclear weapons programs - The intelligence estimate says that “most” of the US' six intelligence agencies believe there is “compelling evidence that Saddam [Hussein] is reconstituting a uranium enrichment effort for Baghdad's nuclear weapons program.” The classified version of the document includes the dissenting position of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) which states: “The activities we have detected do not, however, add up to a compelling case that Iraq is currently pursuing what INR would consider to be an integrated and comprehensive approach to acquire nuclear weapons. Iraq may be doing so, but INR considers the available evidence inadequate to support such a judgment. Lacking persuasive evidence that Baghdad has launched a coherent effort to reconstitute its nuclear weapons programs, INR is unwilling to ... project a timeline for the completion of activities it does not now see happening.” It is later learned that nuclear scientists in the Department of Energy's in-house intelligence office were also opposed to the NIE's conclusion and had wanted to endorse the State's alternative view. However, the person representing the DOE, Thomas Ryder, silenced the views of those within his department and inexplicably voted to support the position that Iraq had reconstituted its nuclear weapons program (see September 2002). The DOE's vote was seen as critical, since the department's assessment was supposed to represent the views of the government's nuclear experts. [US Government, 10/02; Washington Post, 7/19/03; Knight Ridder, 2/10/04; Knight Ridder, 2/10/04 Sources: Wissam al-Zahawie]
Chemical and Biological Weapons - The classified version of the estimate uses cautionary language to conclude that Iraq probably does have chemical and biological weapons. It states: “We judge Iraq has some lethal and incapacitating BW agents and is capable of quickly producing and weaponizing a variety of such agents, including anthrax, for delivery by bombs, missiles, aerial sprayers, and covert operatives.” But the document also highlights the belief that it is unlikely that Iraq has any intention to use these against the US. “... Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or CBW [Chemical/Biological Weapons] against the United States, fearing that exposure of Iraqi involvement would provide Washington with a stronger case for making war.” Iraq would probably only use such weapons against the United States if it “feared an attack that threatened the survival of the regime were imminent or unavoidable, or possibly for revenge.” [Sources: 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq] The last two observations are conspicuously absent from the declassified, public version of the estimate, which reads only, “Iraq has some lethal and incapacitating BW agents and is capable of quickly producing and weaponizing a variety of such agents, including anthrax, for delivery by bombs, missiles, aerial sprayers, and covert operatives, including potentially against the US Homeland.” [Knight Ridder, 2/10/04; Washington Post, 2/7/03]
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles - The NIE claims that Iraq has unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) which can be used to deploy biological and chemical weapons. “Baghdad's UAVs—especially if used for delivery of chemical and biological warfare (CBW) agents—could threaten Iraq's neighbors, US forces in the Persian Gulf, and the United States if brought close to, or into, the US Homeland.” [Sources: 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq] But this view is not held unanimously among the various intelligence agencies. Significantly, the Air Force's National Air and Space Intelligence Center disagrees with this assessment. The Center, which controls most of the American military's UAV fleet, says in a dissenting opinion that there is little evidence that Iraq's drones are related to the country's suspected biological weapons program. Current intelligence suggests that the drones are not capable of carrying much more than a camera and a video recorder. The Air Force believes that Iraq's unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are for reconnaissance, like its counterparts in the US. The dissenting opinion reads: “... The Director, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, US Air Force, does not agree that Iraq is developing UAVs primarily intended to be delivery platforms for chemical and biological warfare (CBW) agents. The small size of Iraq's new UAV strongly suggests a primary role of reconnaissance, although CBW delivery is an inherent capability.” [Associated Press, 8/24/03; Washington Post, 9/26/03; Knight Ridder, 2/10/04 Sources: US Government officials and scientists] This important statement is not included in the public version of the document. [Knight Ridder, 2/10/04 Sources: 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq] Bob Boyd, director of the Air Force Intelligence Analysis Agency, will tell reporters in August 2003 that his department thought the allegation in the NIE “was a little odd,” noting that Air Force assessments “all along” had said that reconnaissance, not weapons delivery, was the purpose of Iraq's drones. “Everything we discovered strengthened our conviction that the UAVs were to be used for reconnaissance,” he will explain. “What we were thinking was: Why would you purposefully design a vehicle to be an inefficient delivery means? Wouldn't it make more sense that they were purposefully designing it to be a decent reconnaissance UAV?” [Associated Press, 8/24/03; Washington Post, 9/26/03 Sources: Bob Boyd] The NIE's conclusion is apparently also based on accounts from defectors and exiles as well as information suggesting that Iraq is attempting to obtain “commercially available route-planning software,” containing topographic data of the United States. According to the NIE, this data “could facilitate targeting of US sites.” But Air Force analysts were not convinced by the argument, noting that this sort of information could easily be retrieved from the Internet and other highly accessible sources. “We saw nothing sinister about the inclusion of the US maps in route-planning software,” Boyd will tell reporters. [Washington Post, 9/26/03 Sources: Bob Boyd] Analysts at the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency are said to back the Air Force's National Air and Space Intelligence Center's position. [Associated Press, 8/24/03 Sources: US Government officials and scientists]
Aftermath - After the completion of the National Intelligence Estimate, the Bush administration will continue to make allegations concerning Iraq's weapons capabilities and ties to terrorism, but will include none of the qualifications and nuances that are present in the classified version of the assessment. After excerpts from the classified version of the NIE are published in the press in July of 2003 (see July 11, 2003) and the public learns that the document's conclusions had actually been much less alarmist than the public version, administration officials will claim that neither Bush, Rice nor other top officials were informed about the alternative views expressed by the DOE, INR, and the Air Force intelligence agency. They will also assert that the dissenting views did not significantly undermine the overall conclusion of the NIE that Iraq was continuing its banned weapons program despite UN resolutions. [Washington Post, 7/19/03; Washington Post, 7/27/03; New York Times, 7/19/03] But this claim is later disputed in an article by The Washington Post, which reports: “One person who has worked with Rice describes as ‘inconceivable’ the claims that she was not more actively involved. Indeed, subsequent to the July 18 briefing, another senior administration official said Rice had been briefed immediately on the NIE—including the doubts about Iraq's nuclear program—and had ‘skimmed’ the document. The official said that within a couple of weeks, Rice ‘read it all.’ ” [Washington Post, 7/27/03 Sources: two unnamed administration officials] Additionally, senior CIA analyst Stuart Cohen, the acting chairman of the National Intelligence Council at this time, who helped write the document, will tell the Agence France Presse, “Any reader would have had to read only as far as the second paragraph of the Key Judgments to know that as we said, ‘we lacked specific information on many key aspects of Iraq's WMD program.’ ” [Agence France Presse, 11/30/03 Sources: Michael Hayden] A Senate Intelligence Committee investigation will determine in July 2004 that “Most of the major key judgments in the Intelligence Community's October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction, either overstated, or were not supported by, the underlying intelligence reporting.” [Sources: Senate Intelligence Report on Iraq, 7/2004]
People and organizations involved: Bob Graham, George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Stuart Cohen, Bob Boyd  Additional Info 
          

October 3, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       The US and Britain continue to demand that weapons inspectors not return to Iraq until after a stronger resolution—one that authorizes the use of force—is agreed upon by the National Security Council. Bush threatens to lead a coalition against Iraq if the UN Security Council fails to back him. During an address in Washington to Hispanic leaders, Bush says: “My intent, of course, is for the United Nations to do its job. I think it'll make it easier for us to keep the peace.... My intent is to put together a vast coalition of countries who understand the threat of Saddam Hussein. The military option is my last choice, not my first. It's my last choice.... The choice is up to the United Nations to show its resolve. The choice is up to Saddam Hussein to fulfill its word—his word. And if neither of them acts, the United States, in deliberate fashion, will lead a coalition to take away the world's worst weapons from one of the world's worst leaders.” [White House, 10/3/02; Reuters, 10/3/2002b] But Russia, France, and China maintain their opposition to the US-British draft resolution which would pave the way for using military force against Iraq. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Saltanov strongly disagrees that a tougher resolution is needed. And France remains insistent that any further resolutions against Iraq should be broken into two parts—one defining the terms of inspections, and a second outlining the consequences if Iraq does not comply. [Reuters, 10/3/2002b]
People and organizations involved: Richard Gephardt, Robert C. Byrd, Alexander Saltanov, George W. Bush
          

October 7, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       In a televised speech, Bush presents the administration's case that Saddam Hussein's regime is a threat to the security of the nation. The speech is widely criticized for including false and exaggerated statements.
Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons - Bush claims that a shipment of 3,000 aluminum tubes to Iraq, which were intercepted in Jordan by US authorities in July of 2001 (see July 2001), had been destined for use in a uranium enrichment program. But by this time numerous experts and government scientists have already warned the administration against making this allegation. [White House, 10/7/02] Three weeks before Bush's speech, The Washington Post ran a story on the aluminum tubes. The article summarized a study by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), disputing the administration's claim that the tubes were to be used for gas centrifuges. The report was authored by the institute's president and founder, David Albright, a respected nuclear physicist, who had investigated Iraq's nuclear weapons program after the First Gulf War as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency's inspection team and who has spoken before Congress on numerous occasions. In his study, he concluded that Iraq's attempts to import the tubes “are not evidence that Iraq is in possession of, or close to possessing, nuclear weapons” and “do not provide evidence that Iraq has an operating centrifuge plant or when such a plant could be operational.” [Institute for Science and International Security, 10/9/03; Washington Post, 9/19/02; Guardian, 10/9/02; San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12/02] Soon after the speech, David Albright tells The Guardian newspaper that there is still no evidence to substantiate that interpretation. As one unnamed specialist at the US Department of Energy explains to the newspaper, “I would just say there is not much support for that [nuclear] theory around here.” [Guardian 10/9/02] The Washington Post article also reported that government experts on nuclear technology who disagreed with the White House view had told Mr. Albright that the administration expected them to remain silent. [Washington Post 9/19/02; Independent 9/22/02] Houston G. Wood III, a retired Oak Ridge physicist considered to be “among the most eminent living experts” on gas centrifuges reviewed the tube question in August 2001 (see 1950s) and concluded at that time that it was very unlikely that the tubes had been imported to be used for centrifuges in a uranium enrichment program. He later tells The Washington Post in mid-2003 that “it would have been extremely difficult to make these tubes into centrifuges,” adding that it stretched “the imagination to come up with a way.” He also says that other centrifuge experts whom he knew shared his assessment of the tubes. [Washington Post, 8/10/03 Sources: Houston G. Wood III] In addition to the several outside experts who criticized the tubes allegation, analysts within the US intelligence community also doubted the claim. Less than a week before Bush's speech, the Energy Department and the State Department's intelligence branch, the INR, had appended a statement to a National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq disputing the theory (see October 1, 2002). [National Intelligence Estimate, 10/2002 Sources: David Albright]
Saddam Hussein ordered his nuclear program to continue in 1998 - Bush says that US intelligence has information that Saddam Hussein ordered his nuclear program to continue after inspectors left in 1998. “Before being barred from Iraq in 1998, the (UN) International Atomic Energy Agency dismantled extensive nuclear weapons-related facilities, including three uranium enrichment sites,” Bush charges. “That same year, information from a high-ranking Iraqi nuclear engineer who had defected revealed that despite his public promises, Saddam Hussein had ordered his nuclear program to continue.” [White House, 10/7/02; San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12/02] But Bush's “high-ranking” source turns out to be Khidir Kamza, who is considered by many to be an unreliable source. David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security where Hamza worked as an analyst from 1997 to 1999, says that after Hamza defected “he went off the edge” and “started saying irresponsible things.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12/02] And General Hussein Kamel, Saddam Hussein's son-in-law who was in charge of the dictator's former weapons program but who defected in 1995, told UNSCOM and IAEA inspectors, as well as US and British intelligence, that Khidhir Hamza was “a professional liar.” “He worked with us, but he was useless and always looking for promotions,” Kamel had explained. “He consulted with me but could not deliver anything. . . . He was even interrogated by a team before he left and was allowed to go.” [New Yorker, 5/5/03 Sources: UNSCOM report, S/1998/332, April 16, 1998]
Iraq is developing drones that could deploy chemical and biological weapons - The President claims that Iraq is developing drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which “could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas.” He goes so far as to say, “We're concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVs for missions targeting the United States.” [White House, 10/7/02; Guardian, 10/9/02] But this claim comes shortly after US intelligence agencies completed a National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, in which Air Force intelligence had disputed the drone allegation (see October 1, 2002). Bush's drone allegation is quickly derided by experts and other sources. The Guardian of London reports two days later that according to US military experts, “Iraq had been converting eastern European trainer jets, known as L-29s, into drones, but ... that with a maximum range of a few hundred miles they were no threat to targets in the US.” [Guardian, 10/9/02 Sources: Unnamed military experts] And the San Francisco Chronicle will cite experts who say that “slow-moving unmanned aerial vehicles would likely be shot down as soon as they crossed Iraq's borders” because “Iraqi airspace is closely monitored by US and British planes and radar systems” . The report will also note, “It's also unclear how the vehicles would reach the US mainland—the nearest point is Maine, almost 5, 500 miles away—without being intercepted.” [San Francisco Chronicle 10/12/02 Sources: Unnamed experts] Anthony Cordesman, a security analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, will say he believes the drone allegation is unrealistic. In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, he says, “As a guesstimate, Iraq's present holdings of delivery systems and chemical and biological weapons seem most likely to be so limited in technology and operational lethality that they do not constrain US freedom of action or do much to intimidate Iraq's neighbors.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12/02 Sources: Anthony Cordesman] These criticisms of Bush's claim are validated after the US invasion of Iraq. Two US government scientists involved in the post-invasion hunt for weapons of mass destruction will tell the Associated Press in August 2003 that they inspected the drones and concluded that they were never a threat to the US. “We just looked at the UAVs and said, ‘There's nothing here. There's no room to put anything in here,’ ” one of the scientists will say. “The US scientists, weapons experts who spoke on condition of anonymity, reached their conclusions after studying the small aircraft and interviewing Iraqi missile experts, system designers and Gen. Ibrahim Hussein Ismail, the Iraqi head of the military facility where the UAVs were designed,” the Associated Press will explain in its report. [Associated Press, 8/24/03 Sources: Unnamed US government scientists]
Saddam Hussein could give terrorists weapons of mass destruction - Bush asserts, “Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists.” [White House, 10/7/02] But not only have numerous experts and inside sources disputed this theory (see July 2002-March 19, 2003), US intelligence's National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq—completed just one week before—concluded that this is an unlikely scenario (see October 1, 2002). “Baghdad, for now, appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or CBW against the United States,” the document clearly stated. “Should Saddam conclude that a US-led attack could no longer be deterred he probably would become much less constrained in adopting terrorist actions.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 9/12/03]
Iraq rebuilding facilities associated with production of biological and chemical weapons - Bush claims that surveillance photos indicate that Iraq “is rebuilding facilities that it had used to produce chemical and biological weapons.” [White House, 10/7/02] On the following day, photos are published on the White House website showing that Iraq had repaired three sites damaged by US bombs—the Al Furat Manufacturing Facility, the Nassr Engineering Establishment Manufacturing Facility, and Fallujah II. [White House, 10/8/02] But no evidence is provided by the White House demonstrating that these sites have resumed activities related to the production of weapons of mass destruction. Iraqi authorities will give reporters a tour of the facilities on October 10 (see October 10, 2002).
Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases - Bush alleges that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda operatives “in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases.” [White House, 10/7/02] The claim is based on a September 2002 CIA document which had warned that its sources were of “varying reliability” and that the claim had not yet been substantiated (see September 2002). The report's main source, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, an al-Qaeda operative who offered the information to CIA interrogators while in custody, later recounts the claim (see February 14, 2003). [CNN, 9/26/02; Newsweek, 7/5/2004; The New York Times, 7/31/2004 Sources: Unnamed administration official] And earlier in the month, US intelligence services had concluded in their National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq that this allegation could not be confirmed. [Newsday, 10/10/02; San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12/02; Washington Post, 6/22/03; CNN, 9/26/02]
A very senior al-Qaeda leader received medical treatment in Baghdad - Bush claims: “Some al-Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior al-Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks.” The allegation refers to Abu Mussab Al Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born Palestinian who is the founder of al-Tawhid, an organization whose aim is to kill Jews and install an Islamic regime in Jordan. No evidence ever surfaces to suggest that the group works with al-Qaeda. The allegation is partly based on intercepted telephone calls in which Al Zarqawi was overheard calling friends or relatives (see Late 2001-May 2002). But Knight Ridder Newspapers reports that according to US intelligence officials, “The intercepts provide no evidence that the suspected terrorist was working with the Iraqi regime or that he was working on a terrorist operation while he was in Iraq.” [White House, 10/7/02; Knight Ridder Newspapers, 10/7/02 Sources: Umnamed US intelligence officials]
People and organizations involved: David Albright, George W. Bush, Houston G. Wood III, Abu Mussab Al Zarqawi  Additional Info 
          

October 21, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       US Ambassador to the UN John Negroponte provides the five permanent members of the UN Security Council with a revision of the UN draft resolution. [Associated Press, 10/21/02; Telegraph, 10/22/02 Sources: Revised Draft of a US-British UN Resolution on Iraq] The Bush administration makes it clear that it expects the UN Security Council to vote on this draft of the resolution soon and signals that US officials are losing their patience with other member states. At the daily White House press briefing, Secretary Ari Fleischer says, “It's coming down to the end. The United Nations does not have forever.” Similarly, State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher, states, “We're also making clear it is time to wrap this up.” [Associated Press, 10/21/02; Associated Press, 10/21/02b] George Bush will say the following day: “The UN can't make its mind up. If Saddam won't disarm, we will lead a coalition to disarm him for the sake of peace. [The United Nations] must resolve itself to be something more than the League of Nations, must resolve itself to be more than a debating society, must resolve itself to keep international peace.” Summing up US feelings, an unnamed official tells the New York Times that the administration's message to the other permanent members is, “You're either with us or against us.” [Telegraph, 10/22/02; New York Times, 10/23/02; CNN, 10/22/02]
The revision drops the words “all necessary means,” stipulating in its place that Iraq's failure to abide by the new resolution would result in “serious consequences.” [Associated Press, 10/21/02; Associated Press, 10/21/02b; Telegraph, 10/22/02; Washington Post, 10/22/02 Sources: Revised Draft of a US-British UN Resolution on Iraq]
The revision does not require that UN inspectors be accompanied by armed guards, a requirement in the earlier draft which many current and former UN inspectors opposed. [Associated Press, 10/21/02; Associated Press, 10/21/02b Sources: Revised Draft of a US-British UN Resolution on Iraq]
A provision in the previous draft requiring that member states help the UN enforce “no-fly” and “no-drive” zones around the inspection sites remains in the draft resolution, but in brackets, suggesting that the US and Britain are willing to negotiate on this point. [Associated Press, 10/21/02b; Telegraph, 10/22/02; Economist, 10/23/02 Sources: Revised Draft of a US-British UN Resolution on Iraq]
The revision does not require that the five permanent members of the Security Council be permitted to appoint their own officials to the inspection teams. [Telegraph, 10/22/02; Associated Press, 10/21/02b Sources: Revised Draft of a US-British UN Resolution on Iraq]
The revision stipulates that Iraq must declare its weapons of mass destruction within 30 days of the resolution's passing, after which the weapons inspectors would have another 45 days to commence its work on disarmament. If Iraq does not meet the deadline, its failure to do so will be considered a “material breach” of the resolution. [Economist, 10/23/02; ABC News, 10/23/02 Sources: John Negroponte]
The revised draft still contains phrases that set a hair trigger for the implementation of “serious consequences.” The revision stipulates that further “false statements and omissions” by Iraq would amount to “a further material breach.” [Economist, 10/23/02 Sources: Revised Draft of a US-British UN Resolution on Iraq]
Reactions - In spite of the revision, the oppositional stances of France, Russia, Mexico, and China remain unchanged. Bulgaria, Colombia, Norway, Singapore show some support for the revision. [Telegraph, 10/22/02; Associated Press, 10/21/02b; Times, 10/28/02]
People and organizations involved: Richard A. Boucher, George W. Bush, Ari Fleischer, Revised Draft of a US-British UN Resolution on Iraq  Additional Info 
          

November 2002-March 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       The Bush administration disagrees with the United Nations and other member states over what precisely should qualify as a “material breach” of UN Resolution 1441. The UN and other nations believe that only serious violations should count. The US, however, takes the position that any violation, no matter how small, should be considered a material breach and thus sufficient cause for using military force against Iraq. The difference in opinion is acknowledged by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who says, “The US does seem ... to have a lower threshold than others may have” to justify the use of military force. He also says, “I think the discussion in the council made it clear we should be looking for something serious and meaningful, and not for excuses to do something.” President Bush, reflecting the stance of his hawkish advisors, says the Security Council should have “zero tolerance,” implying that even minor infractions could be considered a “material breach.” [Washington Post, 11/17/02 Sources: US and UN officials] Colin Powell and Vice President Cheney contend that the delay of, or omissions and inaccuracies in, Iraq's early December declaration would constitute a breach. And Iraq is warned to this effect. During a dinner meeting on November 18, Hans Blix reminds a close aide to Saddam Hussein that a failure to meet the deadline would be considered by the United States to be a “material breach.” [US Department of State 11/21/02; Observer, 12/8/02; Independent, 11/20/02]
People and organizations involved: Kofi Annan, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush
          

November 8, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       The UN Security Council unanimously votes 15-0 in favor of UN Resolution 1441, which stipulates that Iraq is required to readmit UN weapons inspectors under tougher terms than required by previous UN resolutions. The resolution does not give the US authority to use force against Iraq. The resolution makes it very clear that only the UN Security Council has the right to take punitive action against Iraq in the event of noncompliance. [United Nations, 11/8/02; Zunes, 11/14/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441] After the resolution is passed, top Bush administration officials make public statements threatening to use military force against Iraq if Saddam's regime does not comply with the resolution. George Bush, Colin Powell, John Negroponte, Andrew Card, and Ari Fleischer make statements asserting that the resolution does not prevent the US from using force.
A provision that would have authorized UN member states to use “all necessary means” to disarm Iraq is relocated to the preamble of the resolution where it presumably has no practical significance. [New York Times, 11/6/02]
A provision requiring that security guards accompany the inspectors is removed. [New York Times, 11/6/02]
The resolution requires Iraq to provide the UN with the names of all its weapons experts. [New York Times, 11/6/02; Times, 11/9/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441]
The resolution states that weapons inspectors will be authorized to remove Iraqi scientists, as well as their families, from Iraq in order to interview them. An official later tells The Washington Post that the power to interview Iraqi scientists was “the most significant authority contained in the resolution” and “the one thing that is most likely to produce overt Iraqi opposition.” [New York Times, 11/6/02; Times, 11/9/02; Guardian, 11/7/02; The Washington Post, 12/12/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441]
The resolution overturns provisions of the previous Resolution 1154 that required UN inspectors to notify Baghdad before inspecting Saddam Hussein's presidential sites. Resolution 1154 had also required that inspections of those sensitive sites occur in the presence of diplomats. The new resolution demands that Iraq allow the inspectors “immediate, unimpeded, unconditional and unrestricted access” to any sites chosen by the inspectors. [New York Times, 11/6/02; Times, 11/9/02; Guardian, 11/7/02; CNN, 11/8/02] Unnamed diplomats and US officials tell USA Today that the US may attempt to claim that Iraq is engaged in a pattern of defiance and deceit if it hinders the inspectors in any way. [USA Today 12/19/02 Sources: Unnamed diplomats and US officials]
The resolution include a provision calling for “no-fly” and “no-drive” zones in the areas surrounding suspected weapons sites to prevent the Iraqis from removing evidence prior to or during inspections. [New York Times, 11/6/02; Times, 11/9/02; Guardian, 11/7/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441]
The final resolution includes statements stipulating that an Iraqi failure to comply with the terms of the resolution, including “false statements or omissions” in the weapons declaration it is required to submit, will “constitute a further material breach” of its obligations. Additional wording included in the same provision explains that any breach of the resolution will “be reported to the Council for assessment.” Also, towards the end of the resolution, it states that the chief weapons inspector should “report immediately to the Council any interference” by Iraq so that the Council can “convene immediately to consider the situation and the need for full compliance with all the relevant council resolutions in order to restore international peace and security.” [New York Times, 11/6/02; Times, 11/9/02; CNN, 11/8/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441]
Paragraph 8 of UN Security Council Resolution 1441 states that Iraq “shall not take or threaten hostile acts directed against any representative or personnel of the United Nations or the IAEA or of any Member State taking action to uphold any Council resolution.” The US contends that this applies to the US- and British- patrolling of the “no-fly” zones that the two countries imposed shortly after the Gulf War. The “patrolling,” which has never been officially sanctioned by the UN and which is not recognized by Iraq, often includes aerial attacks on Iraqi sovereign territory. Iraq consistently fires on the attacking jets in self-defense. Other UN Security Council members explicitly oppose this interpretation of the resolution before its passage. [Associated Press, 11/12/02; Associated Press, 11/15/02; Associated Press, 11/16/02; United Press International; Washington Post, 11/16/02; Reuters, 11/15/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441]
The resolution gives Iraq seven days to announce whether or not it will comply with the resolution, and 30 days (December 8) to declare its chemical, biological, and nuclear-related capabilities—even those that are unrelated to weapons programs. 10 days after Iraq's acceptance of the terms, inspectors will send an advanced team to Baghdad, but will have a total of 45 days to begin the actual work. The inspection team will be required to provide the UN Security Council with a report 60 days (January 27) after the commencement of its work. [Associated Press, 11/16/02; Associated Press, 11/8/02; Guardian, 11/7/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441] Diplomats and US officials speaking off the record tell USA Today that the declaration due on December 8 represents a hidden trigger, explaining that any omissions will be considered a material breach and sufficient justification for war. [USA Today 12/19/02 Sources: Unnamed diplomats and US officials]
Syria requested that the resolution include a provision stating that Iraq's compliance with the terms would result in the lifting of sanctions. This provision was not included. [CNN, 11/8/02]
Syria requested that the resolution declare the entire Middle East a “nuclear-free and weapons of mass destruction-free zone.” This provision was not included. [CNN, 11/8/02]
France did not want the resolution to include any wording that might authorize the use of force. Instead it argued that the resolution should include only terms for tougher inspections. In the event of Iraqi noncompliance with the terms, France argued, a separate resolution should be agreed upon to decide what further action would be necessary. France lost its argument, and the new resolution includes a warning to Iraq “that it will face serious consequences” in the event of its failure to comply with the terms of the resolution. [Guardian, 11/7/02]
People and organizations involved: Andrew Card, Colin Powell, John Negroponte, George W. Bush, Ari Fleischer  Additional Info 
          

November 13, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       Bush reiterates the White Houses' interpretation of UN Resolution 1441: “I have told the United Nations we'll be glad to consult with them, but the resolution does not prevent us from doing what needs to be done, which is to hold Saddam Hussein into account. We hope that he disarms, we hope that he will listen to the world.” [White House, 11/13/02; Associated Press, 11/13/02b]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

December 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       CIA Director George Tenet and his deputy John McLaughlin meet in the White House with President George Bush and Bush's top advisors for a “dress rehearsal” ahead of a public presentation alleging that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. According to Bob Woodward's book, Plan of Attack, Bush is disappointed with Tenet and McLauglin's presentation, which is based on communications intercepts, satellite photos, diagrams and other intelligence. “Nice try,” Woodward's source will later recall Bush saying. “I don't think this quite—it's not something that Joe Public would understand or would gain a lot of confidence from.” Bush reportedly says to Tenet. “I've been told all this intelligence about having WMD, and this is the best we've got?” Tenet responds, “It's a slam dunk case.” Woodward's book will say that Bush then asked, “George, how confident are you?” To which the intelligence head responded, “Don't worry, it's a slam dunk.” [Woodward, 2004 cited in Washington Post 4/17/2004 Sources: Top officials interviewed by Washington Post editor Bob Woodward]
People and organizations involved: George Tenet, George W. Bush, John McLaughlin
          

December 2, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       Bush administration officials launch what appears to be a concerted effort to discredit the inspections after press reports indicate that inspections are going well and that Iraq is cooperating. The Washington Post reports, “In speeches in London, Washington and Denver, Bush, Vice President Cheney and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz sought to increase pressure on Hussein in advance of a Sunday deadline for the Iraqi leader to declare his inventory of weapons and missiles.” The paper adds, “The coordinated speeches ... seemed designed to preempt any positive sign from the UN inspection teams about Iraqi compliance and to set the stage for an early confrontation with Hussein.” [Washington Post, 12/3/02]
People and organizations involved: Paul Wolfowitz, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney  Additional Info 
          

December 4, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       During the bill signing of the Dot Kids Implementation and Efficiency Act of 2002, Bush says of Saddam Hussein: “One of my concerns is that in the past he has shot at our airplanes. Anybody who shoots at US airplanes or British airplanes is not somebody who looks like he's interested in complying with disarmament.” He also chastises Saddam's questioning US motives (see November 23, 2002). “He wrote letters, stinging rebukes, to what the UN did. He was very critical of the US and Britain. It didn't appear to be somebody that was that anxious to comply, but we've just started the process.” [White House, 12/4/02; CNN, 12/4/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

December 11, 2002      Bush's environmental record

       Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton, Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman, and Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chairman James L. Connaughton meet with President Bush to discuss the implementation of the administration's “Healthy Forest Initiative.” After the meeting, they announce proposed changes that would expedite the approval of “fuels treatment” projects (forest thinning) by weakening the review process and restricting public input. [US Department of Interior, 12/11/2002; US Department of Agriculture, 12/11/2002; Associated Press, 12/11/2002] Critics say the changes would make it easier for the timber industry to cut the larger, more fire resistant trees, making the forests more vulnerable to wildfires. They also charge that the proposed rules would allow logging interests to override local concerns. [Natural Resources Defense Council, 12/11/2002; League of Conservation Voters, n.d.] Mike Francis, a forest specialist with the Wilderness Society, commenting on the proposed rule changes, tells the Associated Press, “Those are nothing more than administration's typical desires to cut the public out of forest decisions. This administration doesn't like what the public wants to do with their forests.” [Associated Press, 12/11/2002]
People and organizations involved: Gale A. Norton, George W. Bush, Bush administration, Ann M. Veneman, James L. Connaughton  Additional Info 
          

Early January 2003      Haiti, Complete Iraq timeline

       According to Bob Woodward's book, Plan of Attack, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice visits George Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas. Bush tells her: “We're not winning. Time is not on our side here. Probably going to have to, we're going to have to go to war.” [Woodward, 2004 cited in The Washington Post, 4/17/2004] When the contents of Woodward's book are reported in mid-April 2004, many people interpret Bush's statement as a decision to go to war. But Rice will deny that that was the case. “... I just want it to be understood: That was not a decision to go to war,” she will say. “The decision to go to war is in March. The president is saying in that conversation, I think the chances are that this is not going to work out any other way. We're going to have to go to war.” [Woodward, 2004 cited in Associated Press, 4/17/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice
          

January 13, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       US President George Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell meet alone in the Oval Office for twelve minutes. According to Woodward's book, Plan of Attack, Bush says, “The inspections are not getting us there.... I really think I'm going to have to do this,” adding that he was firm in his decision. Powell responds, “You're sure? ... You understand the consequences.... You know that you're going to be owning this place?” Bush indicates that he understands the implications and asks, “Are you with me on this? ... I think I have to do this. I want you with me.” Powell responds: “I'll do the best I can. ... Yes, sir, I will support you. I'm with you, Mr. President.” Woodward will also say in his book that Bush had never—ever—asked his Secretary of State for his advice on the matter of Iraq. “In all the discussions, meetings, chats and back-and-forth, in Powell's grueling duels with Rumsfeld and Defense, the president had never once asked Powell, Would you do this? What's your overall advice? The bottom line?” Woodward will write. [Woodward, 2004 cited in Washington Post 4/18/2004; Woodward, 2004 cited in New York Times, 4/17/2004 Sources: Top officials interviewed by Washington Post editor Bob Woodward]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Colin Powell
          

January 14, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       Before his meeting with Polish President Alexander Kwasniewski, Bush tells reporters that he does not support an extension for the inspections. “I am sick and tired of games and deception, and that is my view on timetables,” he says. “The United Nations has spoken with one voice. He's been given 11 years to disarm, and we have given him one last chance.” [New York Times, 1/15/03b; Washington Post, 1/15/03; Sydney Morning Herald, 1/16/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

January 20-21, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       Bush and his advisors respond to statements made the previous day by Russian, French, Chinese, and German ministers expressing satisfaction with the weapons inspection process. Bush says: “He's not disarming. As a matter of fact, it appears to be a rerun of a bad movie. He is delaying, he is deceiving, he is asking for time. He's playing hide-and-seek with inspectors. ... It's clear to me now that he is not disarming. And, surely, our friends have learned lessons from the past. Surely we have learned how this man deceives and delays. ... This business about more time—how much time do we need to see clearly that he's not disarming? As I said, this looks like a rerun of a bad movie and I'm not interested in watching it.” US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage also refutes the notion that Saddam is cooperating with inspectors. “Our other options are just about exhausted at this point,” he asserts “This regime has very little time left to undo the legacy of 12 years. There is no sign, there is not one sign that the regime has any intent to comply fully.” [White House, 1/21/03; Washington Post, 1/21/03; Washington Post, 1/22/03b; New York Times 1/22/03]
People and organizations involved: Richard Armitage, George W. Bush
          

January 21, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       President George Bush signs an executive order formally creating the Office of Global Communications (see July 30, 2002) to coordinate efforts among various federal agencies to “disseminate truthful, accurate and effective messages about the American people and their government” to audiences around the world. [White House, 1/21/2003; New York Times, 1/22/2003] The office has actually been in existence since before July 2002 (see July 30, 2002). Its first publication is also released on this day. Titled, “Apparatus of Lies,” the 32-page white paper argues that Iraq is using a carefully calibrated system of propaganda and disinformation to gain international support for the regime and to hide development of its weapons of mass destruction programs. In its executive summary, it states that Iraq?s foreign relations consist primarily of “a highly developed, well disciplined, and expertly organized program designed to win support for the Iraqi regime through outright deceit.” It goes on to say that the “elaborate program is one of the regime's most potent weapons for advancing its political, military, and diplomatic objectives. In their disinformation and propaganda campaigns, the Iraqis use elaborate ruses and obvious falsehoods, covert actions and false on-the-record statements, and sophisticated preparation and spontaneous exploitation of opportunities. Many of the techniques are not new, but this regime exploits them more aggressively and effectively—and to more harmful effect—than any other regime in power today.” [Sources: Apparatus of Lies]
People and organizations involved: Office of Global Communications, George W. Bush
          

January 27, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       President Bush receives a letter signed by more than 120 members of the House of Representatives urging him “to use the opportunity provided in the upcoming State of the Union Address to offer assurances both to the American people and the international community that the United States remains committed to the diplomatic approach and comprehensive inspections process agreed to in the UN Security Council.” The letter is written by Representatives Sherrod Brown and Ron Kind. In it they argue that Bush should “sufficiently weigh future decisions regarding Iraq on the assessment given by UNMOVIC/IAEA, including additional inspection time and resources as appropriate.” The letter emphasizes: “Your commitment to working through the UN Security Council and your vocal support for Resolution 1441 are critical to UNMOVIC/IAEA's eventual success.” The anti-war organization, moveon.org, plays a large role in influencing the representatives' decision to sign the letter. The group had helped coordinate hundreds of visits by concerned citizens to the offices of their congresspersons demanding that they sign the letter. [The Nation, 1/27/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Sherrod Brown, Move-On [.org], Ron Kind
          

January 28, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       In his 2003 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush accuses Iraq of having enough material “to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax—enough doses to kill several million people ... more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin—enough to subject millions of people to death by respiratory failure ... as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent.” [Washington Post, 1/28/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

January 31, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       During a joint press conference with President George Bush and British Prime Minister Blair at the White House, the two leaders are asked by a reporter, “One question for you both. Do you believe that there is a link between Saddam Hussein, a direct link, and the men who attacked on September the 11th?” Bush answers succinctly, “I can't make that claim.” [US President, 1/31/2003]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Tony Blair
          

February 4, 2003      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       US President George Bush announces his intention to nominate Stephen Cambone to the new Pentagon position of undersecretary of defense for intelligence (see June 21, 2002). [White House, 2/4/2003]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Stephen Cambone
          

February 5, 2003      US Military

       US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and General Richard Myers, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, inform the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee that they intend to seek permission from George Bush to use calmative agents (see February 12, 2001-March 30, 2001) against Iraqi civilians, in cave systems or to take prisoners. [Independent article; Newsmax, 2/6/2003] Rumsfeld calls the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) a “straightjacket” [The Guardian, 4/8/2003; Baltimore Sun, 3/27/2003] and insists that “there are times when the use of non-lethal riot agents is perfectly appropriate.” [Newsmax, 2/6/2003; The Guardian, 3/12/2003; The Guardian, 4/8/2003; Christian Science Monitor 2/14/2003] Under the provisions of the CWC, military use of chemicals—including non-lethal gases like tear gas—is prohibited. The treaty only permits the use of non-lethal agents for law enforcement purposes. [Christian Science Monitor 2/14/2003; Newsmax, 2/6/2003]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Richard B. Myers, George W. Bush
          

February 22 or 23, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       President Bush telephones Mexican President Vicente Fox to discuss Mexico's stance on Iraq. Shortly after the phone call, the Mexican government issues a 2-page policy directive backing Bush's policy on Iraq. It states that its position is that Iraq must disarm immediately and makes no mention of the weapons inspections. “Nothing is more urgent, no time can be lost in achieving this objective,” it says. The last point of the directive notes the importance of Mexico's relationship with the United States and the need to have a policy based on Mexico's national interests. “We know that this issue is of critical importance to the United States and to the Bush administration,” the directive also says. [Associated Press, 2/26/03]
People and organizations involved: Vicente Fox, George W. Bush
          

March 6, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       During a televised national press conference, President Bush states that the US will call for a vote in the UN Security Council, regardless of the anticipated vote. A reporter asks, “[T]he Security Council faces a vote next week on a resolution implicitly authorizing an attack on Iraq. Will you call for a vote on that resolution, even if you aren't sure you have the vote?” Bush responds: “No matter what the whip count is, we're calling for the vote. We want to see people stand up and say what their opinion is about Saddam Hussein and the utility of the United Nations Security Council. And so, you bet. It's time for people to show their cards, to let the world know where they stand when it comes to Saddam.” But 11 days later, Bush will announce that the US will not call for a vote, saying, “The United Nations Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities, so we will rise to ours.” The decision is made not to seek a second resolution when it becomes apparent that it would not pass. [White House, 3/6/03; CNN, 3/6/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

March 17, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       In his March 17, 2003 speech to the nation, shortly before the US officially begins its invasion of Iraq, President George W. Bush says: “Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.” [US President, 3/17/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

March 18, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       Bush sends a letter to Congress justifying the invasion of Iraq. First, he has determined that further diplomacy will not protect the US. Second, he is “continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.” [White House, 3/18/2003] This mimics language from a bill passed by Congress in October 2002, which granted Bush the power to declare war against Iraq if a link with the 9/11 attacks is shown and several other conditions are met. [White House, 10/2/2002] But there is no evidence linking Iraq to the 9/11 attacks, a simple fact that even Bush has acknowledged (see January 31, 2003).
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

March 26, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       In a speech to US troops at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, US President George Bush says: “We will help the Iraqi people to find the benefits and assume the duties of self-government. The form of those institutions will arise from Iraq's own culture and its own choices.” [White House, 3/26/2003]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

April 28, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       US President George Bush, in discussion on the future of Iraq at the Performing Arts Center in Dearborn, Michigan, says: “As freedom takes hold in Iraq, the Iraqi people will choose their own leaders and their own government. America has no intention of imposing our form of government or our culture. Yet, we will ensure that all Iraqis have a voice in the new government.” [White House, 4/28/2003]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

May 1, 2003      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       President Bush, donning a custom-made flight suit, is ferried in a Navy S-3B Viking jet to the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln anchored off the coast of San Diego where he declares the cessation of major combat operations in Iraq. A banner unfurled behind the President reads, “Mission Accomplished.” [CNN, 5/2/2003] US military officials will subsequently say that the event meant that captives being held in Iraq would no longer be treated as prisoners of war under the third article of the Geneva Conventions, but instead as civilians being held by an occupying power under the fourth article of the Geneva Conventions—which allows long-term detentions for prisoners deemed a threat to governing authorities. [The Washington Post, 5/21/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

May 9, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       US President George Bush, in a commencement address at the University of South Carolina, says: “Soon, Iraqis from every ethnic group will choose members of an interim authority. The people of Iraq are building a free society from the ground up, and they are able to do so because the dictator and his regime are no more.” [White House, 5/9/2003]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

2:28 p.m. May 29, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       In an interview with Polish TV station TVP, hours before leaving on a seven-day trip to Europe and the Middle East, Bush says: “We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories. You remember when Colin Powell stood up in front of the world, and he said, Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons. They're illegal. They're against the United Nations resolutions, and we've so far discovered two. And we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them.” [White House, 5/29/2003; The Washington Post, 5/31/2003]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

May 30, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       In an interview with a Polish television station, President Bush refers to the two trailers that had been found in northern Iraq in April as evidence that the US had “found the weapons of mass destruction.” [New York Times, 6/26/03; New York Times, 6/27/03; Sheperd Express, 7/10/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

June 1, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       In St. Petersburg, Russia, Bush says, responding to a US reporter's question, “Yes, we found a biological laboratory in Iraq which the UN prohibited.” [Rosbalt News Agency, 1/6/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

June 12, 2003      Bush's environmental record

       President Bush sends Congress the Biennial Report on the Administration of the Coastal Zone Management Act, [White House, 6/12/2003] which proposes new rules that would undermine coastal states' control over their coastlines by reducing public and state government participation in decisions affecting the coast and its resources. The changes would pave the way for new offshore oil and gas development. [Environmental Defense Center, 8/21/2003; League of Conservation Voters, n.d.]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Bush administration
          

June 26, 2003      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       In honor of United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, President Bush releases a statement saying that the US is “committed to the world-wide elimination of torture and [is] leading this fight by example.” Bush calls on all nations to join the US in “prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture and in undertaking to prevent cruel and unusual punishment.” In his speech he also condemns countries who have refused to admit international human rights monitors into their facilities. “Notorious human rights abusers, including, among others, Burma, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Zimbabwe, have long sought to shield their abuses from the eyes of the world by staging elaborate deceptions and denying access to international human rights monitors.” [Whites House, 6/26/2003; Human Rights Watch, 5/7/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

July 2, 2003      Bush's environmental record

       Interior Secretary Gale Norton presents President George Bush with a report detailing the achievements of the National Park Service. The report calls attention to the $2.9 billion that the Bush administration says it has set aside for the park's maintenance backlog. [National Park Service, 7/2/2003] But the figure is misleading because it actually refers the park's entire maintenance budget. Only $370 million of that amount represents funds allocated to the maintenance backlog. Moreover, as the National Parks Conservation Association notes, “the president's budget is [actually] contributing to the backlog by ignoring the annual needs of the national parks, which continue to operate with only two-thirds of the needed funding.” [CNN, 8/15/2003; Salt Lake City Tribune, 7/09/2003; Salt Lake City Tribune, 8/16/2003; League of Conservation Voters, n.d.] According to the General Accounting Office, the Park Service needs upwards of $6.8 billion to complete the deferred maintenance and repairs. Critics of the administration's record also note that the administration's lax enforcement of clean air policies and its plan to replace some parks' staff with private contractors are serious threats to the national park system. [Salt Lake City Tribune, 8/16/2003; League of Conservation Voters, n.d.]
People and organizations involved: National Park Service (NPS), Gale A. Norton, Bush administration, George W. Bush
          

July 11, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       Referring to Bush's 2003 State of the Union address, CIA director George Tenet says in a written statement, “These 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the president.” But Tenet denies that the White House is responsible for the mistake, putting the blame squarely on his own agency. And comments by Condoleezza Rice also blame the CIA, “If the CIA: the director of central intelligence, had said, ‘Take this out of the speech,’ it could have been gone, without question. If there were doubts about the underlying intelligence, those doubts were not communicated to the president, to the vice president or to me.” Another senior White House official, defending the president and his advisors, tells ABC news: “We were very careful with what the president said. We vetted the information at the highest levels.” But an intelligence official, interviewed by the news network, dismisses the claim. [The Washington Post, 7/12/2003; New York Times, 7/12/03; CNN, July 11, 2003 Sources: Unnamed intelligence official] Following Tenet's statement, a barrage of news reports citing unnamed CIA officials reveal that the White House had in fact been explicitly warned not to include the African-uranium claim. These reports indicate that at the time Bush delivered his State of the Union address, it had been widely understood in US intelligence circles that the Africa-uranium claim had little evidence supporting it. [The Washington Post, 7/20/03; Associated Press, 6/12/03; Knight Ridder Newspapers, 6/12/03; Boston Globe, 3/16/03; New York Times, 3/23/03; Newsday, 7/12/03; Associated Press, 6/12/03; Knight Ridder, 6/13/03; Knight Ridder, 6/16/03] For example, CBS News reports, “CIA officials warned members of the President's National Security Council staff the intelligence was not good enough to make the flat statement Iraq tried to buy uranium from Africa.” And a Washington Post article cites an unnamed intelligence source who says, “We consulted about the paper [September 2002 British dossier] and recommended against using that material.” [CBS News, 7/10/03; CNN, 7/10/03; The Washington Post, 7/11/03 Sources: Unnamed intelligence official] White House officials respond that the dossier issued by the British government contained the unequivocal assertion: “Iraq has ... sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa” and that the officials had argued that as long as the statement was attributed to the British Intelligence, it would be technically true. Similarly, ABC News reports: “A CIA official has an idea about how the Niger information got into the president's speech. He said he is not sure the sentence was ever cleared by the agency, but said he heard speechwriters wanted it included, so they attributed it to the British.” The same version of events is told to the New York Times by a senior administration official, who claims, “The decision to mention uranium came from White House speechwriters, not from senior White House officials” . [New York Times, 7/19/03; New York Times, 7/14/03; http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0710-12.htm; ABC News, 6/12/03 Sources: Unnamed CIA official, Unnamed administration official] But according to a CIA intelligence official and four members of the Senate Intelligence Committee who are investigating the issue, the decision to include the Africa-uranium claim was influenced by the people associated with the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans (see September 2002). [Information Clearing House, 7/16/03 Sources: four members of the Senate's intelligence committee, Unnamed CIA official]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice  Additional Info 
          

July 30, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       During a press conference, Bush is asked if the White House is planning to provide the public with “definitive evidence that Saddam was working with al-Qaeda terrorists” or if the alleged al-Qaeda links had been “exaggerated to justify war.” Bush responds that the US needs more time to analyze documents uncovered in Iraq. Bush explains: “Yes, I think, first of all, remember I just said we've been there for 90 days since the cessation of major military operations. Now, I know in our world where news comes and goes and there's this kind of instant-instant news and you must have done this, you must do that yesterday, that there's a level of frustration by some in the media. I'm not suggesting you're frustrated. You don't look frustrated to me at all. But it's going to take time for us to gather the evidence and analyze the mounds of evidence, literally, the miles of documents that we have uncovered.” [US Department of State, 7/30/2003; US Newswire, 7/30/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

August 11, 2003      Bush's environmental record

       President George Bush names Utah Governor Mike Leavitt as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, replacing Christie Todd Whitman who resigned in June. [White House, 8/11/2003] Leavitt was at the center of a controversy a couple of months ago for a back-room deal he made with Interior Secretary Gale Norton to suspend wilderness studies on millions of acres of Utah lands (see April 11, 2003). He supports replacing mandatory pollution controls with voluntary compliance programs for polluting industries and is a strong backer of the administration's policy of shifting environmental regulation to the states. [League of Conservation Voters, n.d.; Washington Times, 8/12/2003] During his term as governor, US Magnesium, a magnesium-processing company on the western side of the Great Salt Lake, earned the place as the nation's worst polluter. Leavitt says that he and Bush “have a like mind and a like heart” on environmental policy. [Salt Lake City Tribune, 8/12/2003] Environmentalists condemn the nomination noting that aside from Leavitt's strong opposition to a plan to store nuclear waste on a Utah Indian reservation, the governor has a very poor environmental record. “Mike Leavitt has no credentials, no understanding and no political willpower to protect America's clean air, clean water and clean land,” Marc Clemens, chapter coordinator for the Utah Sierra Club, tells the Salt Lake Tribune. [Salt Lake City Tribune, 8/12/2003]
People and organizations involved: Environmental Protection Agency, George W. Bush, Mike Leavitt
          

September 14, 2003-September 17, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       Vice President Cheney says on NBC's “Meet the Press”, “I think it's not surprising that people make [the] connection” between Iraq and 9/11. He adds, “If We're successful in Iraq . . . then we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of The Base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11.” However, two days later, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld states that he hasn't “seen any indication that would lead” him to believe there was an Iraq-9/11 link. [Asssociated Press, 9/16/2003] National Security Adviser Rice says the administration has never accused Hussein of directing the 9/11 attacks. [Reuters, 9/16/03] The next day, Bush also disavows the Cheney statement, stating, “We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September the 11th . . . [but] there's no question that Saddam Hussein has al-Qaeda ties.” [Associated Press, 9/17/03; Washington Post, 9/18/2003]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld
          

October 31, 2003      Bush's environmental record

       The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture announce a decision to approve the unrestricted sale of the pesticide atrazine. Manufacturers of the chemical will be responsible for monitoring atrazine residue levels in only a small percentage of the watersheds vulnerable to atrazine contamination and ensuring that they do not exceed the Clean Water Act's total maximum daily load (TMDL). Other vulnerable waterways will not be monitored by the manufacturers or the EPA. For example, Syngenta—the major manufacturer of the chemical—agreed in private meetings with the EPA that it would monitor atrazine pollution in 20 of 1,172 watersheds labeled as high risk beginning in 2004. The number would double the following year. Atrazine has been linked to cancer and is potentially harmful to endangered fish, reptiles, amphibians, mussels, and aquatic plant life. [Environmental Protection Agency, 10/31/2003; Natural Resources Defense Council, 10/31/2003; League of Conservation Voters, n.d.]
People and organizations involved: Syngenta, Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, George W. Bush
          

November 14, 2003      Bush's environmental record

       After 71 days of negotiations, Congressional Republicans announce that they have agreed on an energy bill that would provide some $20 billion in tax breaks for power companies. [New York Times, 11/15/2003; Christian Science Monitor, 11/19/2003] President Bush voices his support for the bill—drafted mostly by Republicans—which he says will make the US “safer and stronger” by helping to “keep the lights on, the furnaces lit, and the factories running.” He also states, “By making America less reliant on foreign sources of energy, we also will make our nation more secure.” [White House, 11/14/2003; New York Times, 11/15/2003] To facilitate the bill's passage through Congress, “negotiators sprinkled in dozens of sweeteners sought by states and congressional districts,” including nearly $1 billion in shoreline restoration projects, tax credits for a company that manufactures fuel from compressed turkey carcasses, and a provision doubling the use of corn-based ethanol as a gasoline additive. The Republican lawmakers also dropped a section that would have opened the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration, as Democrats had made clear that they would vote against any bill containing such a provision. But the Republicans decided against including a Democrat-favored plan to require large utility companies to steadily increase their use of energy from clean, renewable sources such as wind and solar power. [New York Times, 11/15/2003; The Washington Post, 11/16/2003 [b]; Christian Science Monitor, 11/19/2003; Associated Press, 11/16/2003] The bill includes:
A provision introduced by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay that would provide energy companies and universities with $2 billion in subsidies over the next 10 years for research and development of ultra deep-water oil exploration techniques and “unconventional” natural gas extraction. [The Washington Post, 11/16/2003; Christian Science Monitor, 11/19/2003; Associated Press, 11/16/2003]
A controversial provision granting Gulf Coast refiners of the fuel additive MTBE $2 billion in subsidies to assist them in the phasing out of MTBE production. The phase-out, originally proposed to take 4 years, is extended to 10 by the bill. MTBE, or methyl tertiary-butyl ether, which helps decrease smog, is known to contaminate groundwater. The new energy bill would also prevent communities from bringing product liability lawsuits against the manufacturers of MTBE. Tom Delay was a strong supporter of this provision, as were other legislators from Louisiana and Texas, where MTBE is produced. [The Washington Post, 11/16/2003; New York Times, 11/15/2003; Christian Science Monitor, 11/19/2003; Associated Press, 11/16/2003]
A section dealing with the electric grid that would require large power companies to meet new mandatory reliability standards. [New York Times, 11/15/2003; New York Times, 11/16/2003]
Royalty relief to the owners of marginal oil and gas wells. The program would apply to approximately 80 percent of all wells on federal lands. [Christian Science Monitor, 11/19/2003]
A provision that would allow taxpayer money to fund the clean-up of leaking underground gasoline storage tanks (LUST). [Sources: Letter from head of evironmental groups to Congress about the energy bill HR 6]
A provision authorizing Alaska's “Denali Commission” to use over $1 billion on hydroelectric and other energy projects on Alaska Federal Lands. [Sources: Letter from head of evironmental groups to Congress about the energy bill HR 6]
A provision permitting urban areas like Dallas-Ft. Worth, Washington, DC and southwestern Michigan to further delay efforts to reduce air pollution, “an action that will place a significant burden on states and municipalities down-wind of these urban centers.” [Sources: Letter from head of evironmental groups to Congress about the energy bill HR 6]
$100 million/year in production tax credits for the construction of up to four light-water nuclear reactors. [Christian Science Monitor, 11/19/2003; The Washington Post, 11/16/2003 [b]]
Loan guarantees for building a $20 billion trans-Alaska natural gas pipeline. But officials of ConocoPhillips, a major backer of the project, complain that the bill's incentives are insufficient to get the project moving. [Associated Press, 11/16/2003; The Washington Post, 11/16/2003 [b]]
Tax incentives to encourage wind power generators, energy-efficient homes and hybrid passenger cars running on gasoline and batteries. Additionally, it sets aside funds for equipping government buildings with photovoltaic cells and developing energy-efficient traffic lights. The package also allocates $6.2 million to encourage bicycle use. But according to a preliminary estimate by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, these progressive reforms would eliminate only about three months worth of energy use between now and 2020. [The Washington Post, 11/16/2003 [b]]
A repeal of the 1935 Public Utility Holding Company Act, which limits utility industry mergers. This provision was a top priority for the electric power industry and the White House. [The Washington Post, 11/16/2003 [b]] Senator Pete V. Domenici, Republican of New Mexico and chairman of the conference committee charged with resolving differences between the House and Senate bills, acknowledge to the New York Times that the bill will likely be criticized. [New York Times, 11/15/2003]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Pete V. Domenici, Tom DeLay  Additional Info 
          

November 24, 2003      Bush's environmental record

       President Bush signs into law the defense authorization bill, which contains a controversial rider allowing the Pentagon to circumvent the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and Endangered Species Act (ESA). The MMPA prohibits government and commercial interests from engaging in activities harmful to the declining populations of whales, dolphins and seals. The act, passed in 1972, has been credited with halting the decline of some of those populations. The bill also exempts the military from certain provisions of the ESA. [Christian Science Monitor, 11/24/2003; The Washington Post, 11/16/2003; League of Conservation Voters, n.d.] For example, the bill:
Permits the Secretary of Defense to exempt any military activity from the MMPA, without regard to its impact on whales, seals and dolphins. The Navy claims the MMPA puts American lives at risk because it makes it more difficult for the Navy to detect enemy submarines. [Christian Science Monitor, 11/24/2003; The Washington Post, 11/16/2003; Earth Island Institute, 11/6/2004]
Loosens the MMPA definition of “harassment” of marine mammals, making it almost impossible to enforce the MMPA. [Earth Island Institute, 11/6/2004; Christian Science Monitor, 11/24/2003]
Extends the Pentagon's exemptions to scientists who conduct research sponsored by the Navy or other federal agencies. [Earth Island Institute, 11/6/2004]
Eliminates language in the MMPA that prohibits the Navy from doing sonars, invasive research, bomb testing and other activities that threaten the habitat of whales, seals and dolphins. [Earth Island Institute, 11/6/2004; Christian Science Monitor, 11/24/2003]
Exempts US military bases and lands from ESA habitat-protection provisions. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says that the new exemption will “improve ... military readiness” even though a General Accounting Office study found that “very few units reported being unable to achieve combat-ready status due to inadequate training areas.” [Earth Island Institute, 11/6/2004; Christian Science Monitor, 11/24/2003 Sources: Military Training: DoD Lacks a Comprehensive Plan to Manage Encroachment on Training Ranges, GAO, June 2002] Encouraged by their success at weakening the MMPA and ESA, defense officials say that next year they will attempt to modify a court agreement the Pentagon accepted the month before requiring the Navy to limit where it can use its new low-frequency sonar system that has the ability to track quiet diesel submarines. Critics argue the sonar's frequency is so loud that it could kill noise-sensitive whales and dolphins. [The Washington Post, 11/16/2003; League of Conservation Voters, n.d.] The military is also planning to seek exemptions to the Clean Air Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Superfund Act (see April 6, 2004). [Christian Science Monitor, 11/24/2003; League of Conservation Voters, n.d.]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

December 3, 2003      Bush's environmental record

       President Bush signs into law the “Healthy Forest Restoration Act,” (see May 21, 2003) aimed at reducing environmental and judicial review of forest-thinning fire-prevention programs in national forests. The law—modeled on President Bush's “Healthy Forest Initiative” —almost doubles the federal budget for forest-thinning projects to $760 million. [White House, 12/3/2003; CNN, 12/4/2003; Los Angeles Times, 12/4/2003] The bill axes a requirement that any proposed US Forest Service (USFS) program that may adversely affect endangered plants or animals be reviewed by the Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service. Under the new law, reviews will instead be performed by USFS biologists or other land-management agencies. Marty Hayden, legislative director for Earthjustice, says the measure removes important checks and balances. “The conflict of interest is that the agency whose top job is to do the logging will make this decision, rather than the agency whose top job is to protect threatened or endangered species,” he explains. [Los Angeles Times, 12/4/2003] Critics of the bill argue that it will make it easier for timber companies to log large fire-resistant trees in remote parts of the forest and ignore the needs of at-risk communities who need help clearing flammable brush from the immediate areas surrounding their homes and property. Sean Cosgrove, a forest expert with the Sierra Club, tells CNN: “The timber industry fought real hard for this bill for a reason and it's not because they want to remove brush and chaparral. Through and through this thing is about increasing commercial logging with less environmental oversight.” Overall, critics say, the law reduces environmental review, limits citizen appeals, pressures judges to quickly handle legal challenges to logging plans, and facilitates access for logging companies to America's 20 million acres of federal forests. [CNN, 12/4/2003; Associated Press, 12/3/2003; Natural Resources Defense Council, 12/3/2003; League of Conservation Voters, n.d.]
People and organizations involved: Bush administration, US Forest Service (USFS), George W. Bush
          

January 13, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       Joseph Darby, a 24-year-old MP assigned to Abu Ghraib, slips an anonymous note under the door of the Army's Criminal Investigations Division and later turns over a CD with roughly one thousand photographs relating to the abuses that had taken place at the prison, mostly between October and December of the previous year. Within three days, a report on the photos makes its way to Donald Rumsfeld, who informs President Bush. [The New Yorker, 5/24/2004; Knight Ridder News, 5/10/2004] According to one former intelligence official, the Defense Secretary's attitude is: “We've got a glitch in the program. We'll prosecute it.” The former official explains to Seymour Hersh, “The cover story was that some kids got out of control.” The Taguba report creates a problem for “Copper Green,” (see (Late 2001)) as it could potentially blow the special-access program's cover. The former official observes: “You can't cover it up. You have to prosecute these guys for being off the reservation. But how do you prosecute them when they were covered by the special-access program? So you hope that maybe it'll go away.” [The New Yorker, 5/24/2004]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush, George W. Bush
          

February 15, 2004      Bush's environmental record

       The US Forest Service reverses its ban on poisoning prairie dogs on five national grasslands in South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska and Wyoming. The measure is a response to complaints from the livestock industry that prairie dog populations are spreading from federal lands onto private property, ruining grazing land, causing erosion and damaging roads. Critics of the decision to lift the ban note that in 2000, the US Fish and Wildlife Service had concluded that prairie dogs should be listed as a threatened species. [Associated Press, 2/14/2004; League of Conservation Voters, n.d.]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, US Forest Service (USFS)
          

March 1, 2004      Haiti, Haiti Coup

       US President George Bush announces that the US is sending US forces to Haiti to help stabilize the country. [Reuters, 3/1/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

April 28, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       CBS “60 Minutes II” airs the Abu Ghraib prison photos (see October 2003-December 2003). Bush reportedly first learns about these photos from the television report. [CBS, 5/6/2004; Sydney Morning Herald, 5/6/2004; Baltimore Sun, 5/6/2004; St. Petersburg Times, 5/9/2004] Most of the photos show prisoners being forced to engage in humiliating sexual acts. For example in one photo a hooded naked man is forced to masturbate as a grinning female MP, Lynndie England, looks on, giving a thumbs-up. Another photo shows two naked hooded men, one standing, while the other is kneeling in front of him, simulating oral sex. The Bush administration will portray these forced acts of humiliation as the immature pranks of low ranking soldiers. But others will argue that the acts were ordered from above with the intent to exploit Arab culture's conservative views with regard to sex and homosexuality (see (2002-March 2003)). [The New Yorker, 5/10/2004; The New Yorker, 5/17/2004] A different picture shows a hooded-man with his arms spread and wires dangling from his fingers, toes and penis. He was apparently told that if he fell of the box he would be electricuted. The tactic is known as the “The Vietnam,” an “arcane torture method known only to veterans of the interrogation trade” that had been first used by Brazilians in the 1970s. [Newsweek, 5/24/2004; Seattle Times, 5/14/2004 Sources: Darius Rejali] Another picture is of a dead man who was killed after being “stressed” too much. [The New Yorker, 5/10/2004; The New Yorker, 5/17/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

May 4, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       Major General Geoffrey Miller says during a Coalition Provisional Authority Briefing that while physical contact between the interrogator and detainees is prohibited, “sleep deprivation and stress positions and all that could be used—but they must be authorized.” (see April 16, 2003) But as Amnesty International later notes in a letter to George Bush, “The United Nations Committee against Torture, the expert body established by the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment has expressly held that restraining detainees in very painful positions, hooding, threats, and prolonged sleep deprivation are methods of interrogation which violate the prohibition on torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.” [Amnesty International, 5/7/2004]
People and organizations involved: Geoffrey Miller, George W. Bush, Amnesty International
          

July 17, 2004      Complete Iraq timeline

       President Bush forcefully disputes statements by the 9/11 Commission (see Early July 2004) that there was no evidence of collaboration between Iraq and al-Qaeda. “The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda, because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda,” Bush says. [CNN, 6/17/2004; Washington Post, 6/18/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

Fall 2004      US Military

       At the request of Donald Rumsfeld, President George Bush issues an Executive Order on the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) authorizing the military “to find and finish” terrorist targets, including certain al-Qaeda network members, al-Qaeda senior leadership, and other high-value targets. The order was cleared by the national-security bureaucracy. [New Yorker, 1/24/2005 Sources: unnamed pentagon consultant]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush
          

October 29, 2004      US Military

       President Bush signs the 2004 Defense Authorization Act which contains a provision giving the Pentagon authority for US special operations to give cash, equipment and weapons to foreign fighters and groups who are willing to ally themselves with the US on certain military operations. Under the new piece of legislation, US Special Operations Command will have as much as $25 million a year to spend on supporting “foreign forces, irregular forces, groups or individuals.” Commenting on Congress' generous appropriation, retired Army Gen. Wayne Downing tells the Associated Press, “For the kind of stuff they want to do—buy AK-47s, pick-up trucks, stuff like that—this is a lot of money. If they can slip someone $100,000 to buy information or buy support (from foreign individuals or groups), then that would be very useful.” Until now, these types of operations were restricted to the CIA—but only when authorized by a presidential directive. This new provision imposes no such restrictions on the Pentagon's special operations. Some observers have expressed concern that this will lead to problems. They fear that special operations will end up funding and arming unsavory foreign elements that later turn against the US, as has happened on countless occasions during the last half-century. Others say the measure is part of Rumsfeld's strategy to make the defense department more autonomous so its activities will not be subject to the oversight of other agencies. [Associated Press, 10/30/2005]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Wayne Downing
          

Week of November 14, 2004      US Military

       President George Bush issues a presidential directive establishing an interagency group to consider whether it “would best serve the nation” to give the Pentagon complete control over the CIA?s elite paramilitary units. [New York Times, 11/23/2004; New Yorker, 1/24/2005; Associated Press, 11/22/2004 Sources: unnamed pentagon consultant] The units carry out the government's most sensitive covert operations including “training rebel forces; destabilizing governments and organizations through violence; and directly attacking enemy targets and individuals.” [Associated Press, 11/22/2004] CIA paramilitary activities are conducted under presidential directives called “findings.” [New York Times, 11/23/2004] The panel will consist of representatives from the State and Justice Departments, the Pentagon, and the CIA. Critics of the proposal, including veteran members of special operations branches, note that CIA units operate “under a different set of findings and carry different legal protections than the military, in particular for cases in which they are ordered to conduct the most extreme clandestine operations,” the New York Times reports. Other critics say the move, which is based on a recommendation by the 911 Commission, is part of a Pentagon strategy to wrest control of covert operations from the CIA. Thomas W. O'Connell, the assistant defense secretary for special operations and low-intensity conflict, denies this, telling the New York Times, “I have heard it said that there is a conspiracy within the Department of Defense to go and rip off the agency's capabilities, and I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth.” [New York Times, 11/23/2004] However, former CIA officers tell investigative reporter Seymour Hersh a few months later that they believe otherwise. They feel the study's conclusion has already been made. “It seems like it?s going to happen,” Howard Hart, the former chief of the CIA?s Paramilitary Operations Division says. [New Yorker, 1/24/2005 Sources: unnamed pentagon consultant]
People and organizations involved: Howard Hart, George W. Bush
          

December 2004      US Military

       Intelligence Brief, a newsletter published by former CIA officers Vince Cannistraro and Philip Giraldi, reports that the White House has given the Pentagon permission “to operate unilaterally in a number of countries where there is a perception of a clear and evident terrorist threat,” including Algeria, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Malaysia, [New Yorker, 1/24/2005] and Tunisia. [New Yorker, 1/24/2005 Sources: unnamed former high-level intelligence official interviewed by Seymour Hersh] The operations' chain of command will include Donald Rumsfeld and two of his deputies, Stephen Cambone, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, and Army Lieutenant General William G. (Jerry) Boykin. Under these new arrangements, “US military operatives would be permitted to pose abroad as corrupt foreign businessmen seeking to buy contraband items that could be used in nuclear-weapons systems,” New Yorker magazine reports. “In some cases, according to the Pentagon advisers, local citizens could be recruited and asked to join up with guerrillas or terrorists. This could potentially involve organizing and carrying out combat operations, or even terrorist activities.” Describing how the operations would be conducted, Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker reports: “The new rules will enable the Special Forces community to set up what it calls ‘action teams’ in the target countries overseas which can be used to find and eliminate terrorist organizations. ‘Do you remember the right-wing execution squads in El Salvador?’ ... [a] former high-level intelligence official asked me.... ‘We founded them and we financed them,’ he said. ‘The objective now is to recruit locals in any area we want. And we aren?t going to tell Congress about it.’ A former military officer, who has knowledge of the Pentagon?s commando capabilities, said, ‘We?re going to be riding with the bad boys.’ ” [New Yorker, 1/24/2005]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Philip Giraldi, Stephen Cambone, Vince Cannistraro, Donald Rumsfeld, William Boykin
          

December 8, 2004      Treaties + UN

       President Bush signs into law the 2005 Consolidated Appropriations Act 2005 setting a $338 billion budget for “Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs.” Section 574 of the Act (see August 2, 2002) blocks the distribution of economic aid to countries that are party to the Rome Statute (see July 17, 1998) and have not signed “Article 98” agreements (see August 2002-July 1, 2003) with the US. The provision states: “None of the funds made available in this Act in title II under the heading `Economic Support Fund' may be used to provide assistance to the government of a country that is a party to the International Criminal Court and has not entered into an agreement with the United States pursuant to Article 98 of the Rome Statute preventing the International Criminal Court from proceeding against United States personnel present in such country.” [Washington Post, 11/26/2002; Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 12/3/2004 Sources: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005, HR 4818]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

Feb 18, 2005      Plans to use force against Iran

       Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, appearing with journalist Dahr Jamail, tells a packed house at Olympia Washington's Capitol Theater that George W. Bush has “signed off” on plans to bomb Iran in June 2005. [United For Peace of Pierce County, 2/19/2005]
People and organizations involved: Scott Ritter, George W. Bush
          

February 19, 2005      Plans to use force against Iran

       During a news conference with European Union leaders in Brussels, President Bush says that rumors suggesting the US is preparing to strike Iran are “simply ridiculous.” But he quickly adds that, notwithstanding, “all options are on the table.” [Reuters, 2/22/2005; Associated Press, 2/22/2005]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

February 21, 2005      Plans to use force against Iran

       Sam Seder, hosting Air America's Randi Rhodes show, interviews Scott Ritter about statements he made at Olympia's Capitol Theater three days earlier. Responding to a question about information Ritter discussed at Olympia, Washington about possible U.S. military air strikes on Iran Ritter said: "I have sources, which are unimpeachable, which I would not state who they are who told me in October of 2004 that the President had been briefed on military strike options against Iran that were to commence against in June of 2005. And that the President signed off on these plans." [The Randi Rhodes Show - February 21, 2005]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Scott Ritter
          

February 22, 2005      Plans to use force against Iran

       During a news conference with European Union leaders in Brussels, President Bush says that rumors suggesting the US is preparing to strike Iran are “simply ridiculous.” But he quickly adds that, notwithstanding, “all options are on the table.” [Reuters, 2/22/2005; Associated Press, 2/22/2005]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

March 7, 2005      Plans to use force against Iran

       President George Bush selects John Bolton, currently an official in the State Department, to be the US ambassador to the UN. Bolton is a staunch neoconservative with a long record of opposing multilateral efforts. For example, as undersecretary of state for arms control, Bolton opposed a multilateral effort in July 2001 to create broad worldwide controls on the sale of small arms (see July 9, 2001), and in February 2002, Bolton made it clear that the Bush administration did not feel bound to the 1978 pledge not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states (see February 2002). Bolton was also a strong advocate of taking unilateral action against Saddam Hussein (see January 26, 1998) and in May 2002, he effectively removed the US signature from the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court (ICC) (see May 6, 2002). [USA Today, 3/7/2005]
People and organizations involved: John R. Bolton, George W. Bush
          

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