In a speech last week, President Bush said “the terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the Middle East.” Pressed by a reporter on what 9/11 had to do with Iraq, Bush testily responded: “Nothing. Nobody has ever suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack.”
That may be true in the most hairsplitting, literal sense. (Nobody said “Saddam ordered the attack,” though you’ve got to believe it was on the tip of Dick Cheney’s tongue more than once.) But a look at Mother Jones‘ interactive timeline, Lie By Lie: A Chronicle of a War Foretold, to be released online tomorrow, reveals that on Sept. 24, 2002, Bush said “you can’t distinguish between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein when you talk about the war on terror.” Three days later, Donald Rumsfeld said that the link between Saddam and Al Qaeda was “accurate and not debatable.” And on back Sept. 9, 2002, Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice went on the Sunday morning talk shows to warn Americans “the first sign of a smoking gun may be a mushroom cloud.” And so on. (And on. And on….)
This is just one example of how you’ll be able to use our timeline. Each entry is sourced to original news accounts and source documents, and the timeline, as well as being fully searchable, will be sliceable and diceable by category and topic, allowing journalists, bloggers, and ordinary citizens to, say, parse what the president meant by “ordered” and judge for themselves.
Check back tomorrow for Lie by Lie.