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Rumsfeld Admits WMD Linchpin of Iraq Invasion

I saw this spoken word show with Henry Rollins last night, where he talked for two hours solid without notes. And while he opened with solidarity for the uprisings in Egypt and the worker demonstrations in Wisconsin, he also was, to date, the only person I’ve heard, on media or off, comment on Candy Crowley’s extraordinary interview with Donald Rumsfeld yesterday. It got buried in a very busy news cycle that included a holiday weekend. But I cannot believe it hasn’t garnered more attention.

While the original headline for the linked blog post on this story says “Rumsfeld: WMDs weren’t only reason for war in Iraq,” the revised headline and Rummy’s own words basically say the opposite:

Rumsfeld: WMD issue was ‘the big one’ in Iraq invasion

Washington (CNN) – If the Bush Administration had known there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, it probably wouldn’t have decided to invade in 2003, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in an interview broadcast Sunday.

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union” program, Rumsfeld noted there were multiple reasons for attacking Iraq and ousting Saddam Hussein from power.

However, intelligence reports – now shown to have been false – that Iraq possessed so-called WMDs was the main reason for going in, Rumsfeld said.

“No question it was the big one,” he said. Asked if the United States would not have invaded if the administration didn’t believe Iraq had the weapons of mass destruction, Rumsfeld said: “I think that’s probably right.”

Here’s the Secretary of Defense admitting that the United States would not have invaded Iraq absent “evidence” of weapons of mass destruction. What’s of course left out of this conversation is that reports at the time proved that the WMD snipe hunt was a fallacy and that the intelligence was faked or, at best, massaged to be put in the light most favorable to the interests of the Bush Administration. We actually knew well before last week that Curveball was lying (read Bob Drogin’s book; and we know that the German foreign ministertold this to the CIA at the time. We knew that the 16 words in the State of the Union were a lie, at the time. We knew the aluminum tubes were a lie, at the time. We knew Colin Powell had doubts about what he said in his speech to the United Nations, at the time. We knew pretty much every piece of “evidence” cited in the intelligence for WMD pointed in the other direction, as evidenced by Senators at the time who read the evidence and then voted against the war. Etc., etc., etc.

So the Defense Secretary at the time is saying that the WMD threat, based on a known lie at the time, provided the basis for the war. On national television. In front of everyone. Because he’s peddling a book.

And, of course, crickets.

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David Dayen

David Dayen