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Fact-Checking the White House on Iraq

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Fact-Checking the White House on Iraq

Analysis

Fact-Checking the White House on Iraq

Fact-Checking the White House on Iraq

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President Bush confronts a reporter at a White House press conference, March 21, 2006.

President Bush confronts a reporter at a White House press conference, March 21, 2006. Jim Young/Reuters hide caption

toggle caption Jim Young/Reuters

Throughout this week, President Bush and other administration officials have delivered speeches, held news conferences and appeared on network television political roundtable shows — all in an effort to convince a wary American public that in fact, progress is being made in Iraq. Which statements are true, and which are false? And which lie somewhere in between? Here is our brief guide for the bewildered:

The 'Last Throes' of the Insurgency

STATEMENT — Vice President Cheney, May, 2005:

"The level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."

True or False?

False — Asked about this comment this past Sunday, Cheney said it "reflected reality." But by almost any measure — attacks per day, casualties, etc. — the insurgency shows no sign of waning.

Comparing Iraq to Japan

STATEMENT — President Bush, in Wheeling, W.V., on March 22:

"Remember, they [Japan] attacked us, too. And yet today, the president says we're going to keep the peace. And what happened? It's an interesting lesson that I hope people remember. Something happened. What happened was Japan adopted a Japanese-style democracy."

True or False?

True — Japan, once a sworn enemy of the United States, is now one of its closest allies.

What he didn't say:

Japan, unlike Iraq, is a homogenous society with hardly any ethnic tension. And in Japan, the U.S. occupation forces never dismantled the local police.

A 'Battle-Ready' Iraq

STATEMENT — Vice President Dick Cheney, speaking on the CBS show Face The Nation, on March 19, 2006:

"We've seen major progress in terms of training and equipping Iraqi forces "

True or False?

True — The number of Iraqi troops being trained is on the rise.

What he didn't say:

The number of "battle-ready" Iraqi troops is still inadequate — the Iraqi forces depend heavily on U.S. troops. In addition, the Iraqi security forces have been infiltrated by members of various militia.

Iraq's Political Deadlines

STATEMENT — Vice President Dick Cheney, speaking on the CBS show Face The Nation on March 19, 2006:

"The Iraqis have met every single political deadline that's been set for them. They haven't missed a single one."

True or False?

Basically true — With only a bit of fudging, Iraq has indeed met its political deadlines.

What he didn't say:

These political milestones have not yet borne fruit. So while elections have been held, those elected have yet to form a government. And while a constitution has been written, it has yet to take effect.

Saddam's Terrorist Links

STATEMENT — President Bush, speaking in Cleveland on March 20, 2006:

"I don't think we ever said — at least I know I didn't say — that there was a direct connection between September the 11th and Saddam Hussein."

True or False?

True — President Bush has never explicitly linked Saddam Hussein with the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

What he didn't say:

President Bush has called Iraq "an ally of al-Qaida" and often speaks of the war in Iraq being part of the military effort his administration calls the "global war on terror."

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