Did the United States go to war under false pretenses?

A new multimedia investigation by the Fund for Independence in Journalism and the Center for Public Integrity shows President Bush and seven of his top officials made at least 935 false statements in the two years following 9/11 about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. The project, “Iraq: The War Card,” shows this orchestrated campaign was the underpinning of the Bush administration’s case for going to war with Iraq.

The project, housed on CPI’s site, is an exhaustive and searchable database containing every public statement made by eight top Bush administration officials from September 11, 2001, to September 11, 2003, regarding (1) Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction and (2) Iraq’s links to Al Qaeda.

A chart of the frequency of false statements by month shows:

The false statements dramatically increased in August 2002, with congressional consideration of a war resolution, then escalated through the mid-term elections and spiked even higher from January 2003 to the eve of the invasion. It was during those critical weeks in early 2003 that the president delivered his State of the Union address and Powell delivered his memorable U.N. presentation.

Carrie Ching

Carrie Ching is an award-winning, independent multimedia journalist and producer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. For six years, she led digital storytelling projects at the Center for Investigative Reporting as senior multimedia producer. Her multimedia reports have been featured by NPR.org, The Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Grist, Time.com, Fast Company, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, KQED, PBS NewsHour, Salon.com, Mother Jones, Public Radio International, Poynter, Columbia Journalism Review and many other publications. Her specialty is crafting digital narratives and exploring ways to use video, audio, photography, animation and interactive graphics to push the boundaries of storytelling on the Web, tablets and mobile. Her work has been honored with awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors, Best of the West, the Online News Association, Scripps Howard, The Gracies, and was part of the entry in a Pulitzer-finalist project. Prior to her time at CIR she was a magazine and book editor, video journalist, newspaper reporter and TV comedy scriptwriter. She was on the 2010 Eddie Adams Workshop faculty as a multimedia producer working with MediaStorm to teach digital storytelling techniques to photojournalists. She completed a master’s degree in journalism at UC Berkeley in 2005.