In his 2003 State of the Union Address, President Bush told Congress (and the nation) that, "the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." The fear of a nuclear bomb in the hands of such a tyrant would be sufficient cause to invade Iraq, and was my personal reason for originally endorsing the war.
The only problem was, the statement wasn't true, nor was the information upon which Bush based his statement. Although terrible repercussions have occurred because of that statement, some might consider Bush's mistake genuine had it not been for the fact that former CIA director George Tenet already told him to remove the language from the State of the Union Address prior to giving his speech. Even more damning, George Tenet told George Bush to remove the same language from a speech nearly a month earlier as the CIA already knew the alleged British documents were forgeries.
Why would President Bush say something that he knew to be false? Why would he even say something that had the strong possibility of being false? What drove him to deceive the American public into permitting him to invade Iraq?
My initial thought would have been Bush's strong desire to defend America after the tragic events of September 11, 2001. My thought might be right, except for the knowledge that most of those in Bush's cabinet who pushed for war also belong to a little-known organization called the Project for the New American Century. In a letter to President Clinton in 1998 (three years before 9/11), PNAC urged him to "turn your Administration's attention to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam's regime from power."
Members of Bush's cabinet, including Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and "Scooter" Libby all belong to this organization and had been planning to invade Iraq (at least) since 1998. Bush lied to us to get us to believe in his cabinet's premeditated agenda. Bush lied. But when agenda overrides truth, you can say anything you want, reality be damned.
President Bush's predecessor was nearly impeached for lying, but Bill Clinton's lie didn't cost the nation a trillion dollars, 4,000 American lives, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, much of our Bill of Rights, and every shred of credibility we had in the international community.
Where are those who were so concerned for the "dignity of the White House" and called for President Clinton's ouster after his lie? Oh, that's right. Those are the same individuals who are defending George Bush now. If wrong is wrong, and lying is an impeachable offense, certainly George Bush has done his fair share of lying, and he has done so at a much higher cost to America.
Granted, Bush's lie was not under oath, but that would be just the technicality someone looking to prove Bush right (rather than proving the truth right) would argue. For those who called for Clinton's ouster, your credibility is destroyed now we see that you look for political affiliation before doing what is right. "Doing what is right for your party" is more like it.
I used to (but can no longer) belong to a political party that viciously attacks a President who lies about his infidelity, but then turns a blind eye to a President who lies about jus ad bellum, throwing up the blinders because he belongs to your party. The current administration consistently deceives the American public to achieve its ends, at the expense of our freedoms. But to use Bush's own words, my greatest hope is that the next President will bring "honor and dignity back to the White House".