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Judge Silberman: George W. Bush Didn't Lie in Iraq War Buildup

Judge Silberman: George W. Bush Didn't Lie in Iraq War Buildup
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By    |   Monday, 09 February 2015 11:42 AM

Assertions by the media that President George W. Bush lied about Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction to lead the nation into war are themselves a dangerous lie,  Judge Laurence Silberman says in an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal.

Silberman, who took leave from the bench in 2004-05 to co-chair the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, said he understood the specifics of intelligence information provided to Bush.

From that, he now says: "It is astonishing to see the 'Bush lied' allegation evolve from antiwar slogan to journalistic fact."

Silberman, in his opinion piece published Sunday, acknowledged that the Robb-Silberman Commission, as the group was commonly known, "ultimately determined that the intelligence community was 'dead wrong' about Saddam’s weapons."

But, he added, "as I recall, no one in Washington political circles offered significant disagreement with the intelligence community before the invasion. The National Intelligence Estimate was persuasive — to the president, to Congress and to the media."

Silberman outlined ongoing correspondence he has had between Associated Press veteran Washington reporter Ron Fournier, now with the National Journal, who he says has contended that Bush fronted wrongful information to win approval for the war with Iraq.

Silberman strongly disagreed. "It is one thing to assert, then or now, that the Iraq war was ill-advised. It is quite another to make the horrendous charge that President Bush lied to or deceived the American people about the threat from Saddam," he wrote.

Fournier remains adamant that Bush is responsible, Silberman said, responding in an email that "an objective reading of the events leads to only one conclusion: the administration ... misinterpreted, distorted and in some cases lied about intelligence.”

But Silberman, a Ronald Reagan appointee and a senior justice on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, countered that the journalist didn't provide any evidence for his claims.

And, according to Talking Points Memo, Silberman's piece argues that Bush's Iraq War accusers "are peddling myths like those that led to the rise of Hitler."

Noted Silberman of the media's role in continuing the wrongful assertion: "It is thus certainly possible to criticize President Bush for having believed what the CIA told him, although it seems to me that any president would have credited such confident assertions by the intelligence community. But to accuse the president of lying us into war must be seen as not only false, but as dangerously defamatory."

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Assertions by the media that George W. Bush lied to lead the nation into war are a dangerously perpetuated lie, Judge Laurence Silberman writes in The Wall Street Journal.
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Monday, 09 February 2015 11:42 AM
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