“The Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us About Iraq”

Book Notes

Volume CIV, No. 4April, 2004

THE FIVE BIGGEST LIES BUSH TOLD US ABOUT IRAQ, by Christopher Scheer, Robert Scheer and Lakshmi Chaudhry, Akashic Books, Brooklyn & Seven Stories Press, New York City, 2004, 190 pp., paper, $9.95.

It’s now widely accepted (by all except dyed-in-the-wool Republicans) that the Bush administration was disingenuous about the reasons for attacking Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

Strangely, the press and media have rarely used the L-word (that’s for Lie, not Liberal) in its reportage, preferring usages like “factually challenged,” erroneous, mendacious, spin and disinformation.

Some columnists and editorialists have afforded the president the benefit of the doubt, claiming that he may have been deluded by his neoconservative advisors and really believes the falsehoods he and his White House cohorts have dumped on the public.

The “admirable” restraint shown by the fourth estate has not, however, been shared by the world of book publishing. Within the past year, more than a dozen books have arrived calling the prez a liar, and many of them became best-sellers.

Among them are “Thieves in High Places,” by Jim Hightower, “Dude, Where’s My Country?” by Michael Moore, “Bushwhacked,” by Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose, “Weapons of Mass Deception,” by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, and “The Book on Bush,” by Eric Alterman and Mark Green.

The L-word has even made it into the titles of several: “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them,” by Al Franken, “Big Lies,” by Joe Conason, and the subject of this review, “The Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us About Iraq.”

Although all these books have much to offer, each in its own way, this slim paperback has the advantage of being the least expensive, easiest to read, and most recently published of the crop.

It boils down the administration’s “Blizzard of Lies” (in the words of Dave Frishberg’s immortal song title) to five whoppers: Iraq was allied with Al Qaeda, had stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, had (or would soon have) nuclear bombs, would be a “cakewalk” to occupy, and could be easily democratized to become a model for the region, if not the world.

Each of these fantasies is meticulously debunked with citations from intelligence officials and knowledgeable experts from around the world.

Pick up a copy of “The Five Biggest Lies,” read it and then spread the word by loaning it out to friends. There’s also a fine documentary film on the subject: Robert Greenwald’s “Uncovered: the Whole Truth about the Iraq War,” available at

–John Glasel

John Glasel is a former president of Local 802.