Hardball | February 18, 2013
>>> month will mark ten years since the iraq war was launched amid of flood of misinformation ob fuss skation and fear that flowed from the white house to the american people . as we get further away from the event, however, new evidence is emerging there was far more dissent within the administration and the military than was previously known. plus, we're getting more details on just how this war was sold to the american people . it's all laid out in a new brilliant msnbc documentary airing tonight on this met yooshg, hubris, the selling of the iraq war hosted by rachel mad dow and based on the book of mike isikoff and david corn . congratulations, you have won the george polk award the biggest one in this industry. incredible reporting on mitt romney 's 47% comments. which you broke.
>> thanks, chris.
>> and you're mg zen. vice president dick cheney sold the iraq war with conviction and certitude. i wouldn't call it conviction. it wasn't necessarily shared by others in theed a organization xlug anthony zin ni. let's listen to him being overwhelmed by the deceit of cheney .
>> simply stated there is no doubt that saddam hussein has weapons of mass destruction . there is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.
>> i had a seat at the stage next to the lectern where he was speaking, and i literally bolted at that.
>> with our help, a liberated iraq can be a great nation once again.
>> vice president dick cheney 's speech to the veterans of foreign wars is the opening salvo of the bush administration 's effort to sell to the american people what white house insiders call the product.
>> thank you very much.
>> it was a shock. it was a total shock. i couldn't believe the vice president was saying this and doing work with the cia through all the briefings i heard at langley, i never saw one piece of credible evidence that there was an ongoing program.
>> this is what's so stunning about your report tonight, your book and everything. just documents the fact that the people who knew more than the big shots in the white house , including cheney , knew it wasn't there, that he just bs'd his way into that war.
>> cheney said there was no doubt in that --
>> that's his avuncular manner.
>> no doubt they were amassing weapons to attack the united states with. ziny and many others within the intelligence and national security establishment which we read about in the book through this was plenty of doubt that in all the major factors that they would bring to wear, aluminum tubes and yellow cake there, was always dissent, someone saying we're not so sure about this intelligence. it's rather iffy.
>> why did cheney say otherwise?
>> ziny, just to underscore how significant it was, he was centcom commander since 2007 . his view of the intelligence was what the u.s. military 's view was right up to 2001 which is saddam's much less of a threat today thn he had been ten years earlier. the weight of sanctions are closing in on him.
>> everything --
>> his ability --
>> centcom -- the chief military guy in fighting the war. the chief guy. let's take a look at another example. vice president cheney in a pattern repeated over and over as he sold the iraq war . it would ignore all evidence that didn't make his, cheney 's case. he tried to draw the connection between saddam hussein and the ringleader of the 9/11 hijackers, mohamed atta . remember his face. despite the fact that this link had been debunked totally by the fbi counterterrorism agent who was then detailed to the cia. here is more from the documentary, hubris.
>> from prague comes a czech intelligence report of a photograph allegedly showing mohamed atta meeting with a high ranking iraqi intelligence officer. the photograph of the supposed meeting is never made publicly available.
>> mohamed atta was a slight guy barely 5'5", 5'6" and skinny. the guy in the photograph was muscular and thick and had a neck the size of two of my necks. that's not mohamed atta in the photograph. send it to the lab anyway. in my mind the matter is put to bed.
>> but even without definitive evidence, the vice president goes public with it.
>> it's been pretty well confirmed that he did go to prague and he did meet with senior official of the iraqi intelligence service in czechoslovakia last april.
>> i was sitting in my den in my home in washington, d.c., and i remember looking at the tv screen saying what did i just hear? and first time in my life i actually threw something at the television because i couldn't believe what i had just heard.
>> you guys are pros at this as reporters. i want to get to final ones. the nail in the coffin . you guys know almost everything there is to know about this. what was the motive for cheney to take us into this war in it wasn't the evidence?
>> it certainly wasn't the fact that iraq was a major wmd threat working with al qaeda against us. i think maybe some regrets over what happened with the first gulf war . i think -- but after 9/11, you know, sort of a fuse kind of popped for him and he said we have to go out against these guys again and again. he bought the neocon line that saddam hussein --
>> did he buy it or were they both --
>> i think they were of a similar mindset.
>> cheney doesn't -- didn't consent to an interview bu doug five is in this film and he says some very revealing things. the purpose after 9/11 was to shock the upon sers of state terrorism to get them to change their policies. that's his quote in this film. now --
>> which isn't what they told the public.
>> it's not what they told the public and it was not about changing policy as i think your last bite here will show because it's very clear this was never about changing policies.
>> this is what they will want to watch tonight, michael. the documentary which you really were behind includes the talking points from a november 2001 meeting held by secretary of defense donald rumsfeld . on the agenda was how start? those were the notes. how start? meaning the iraq war . with bullet points that included these potential pretexts. u.s. discovered saddam connection to 9/11 attack or anthrax attacks. dispute over wmd numberses. start now think demands. in other words start putting together the pretext. we didn't have a war. we didn't have a reason for a war. we were looking for a reason for a war.
>> we didn't have a bona fide threat. at any time they were free to go to the public and say you know what? this is what doug five thinks, this is what we think, we're not so sure, but we still think we ought to do something. they never did that. they were looking for a pretext, as you say. they were phonying up the case. in another part of the film lawrence wilkinson chief of staff to colin powell said he and colin powell participated in what he called a hoax. unintentionally but he called it a hoax.
>> one of the things coy never understand, at the time i didn't either, the hawks in the middle east believe somehow if you could break apart one of the arab front line states were rejectionist, the road through -- jerusalem goes through baghdad. if you broke one of them, they would all break and you'd be able to get a treaty, get peace in the middle east which is a dream of everybody. was that ever the driving force or not?
>> that was the sort of ideological preconception of where all the people who were driving this were coming from. cheney , wolf --
>> where did they lose that? we did go into iraq , did what they wanted us to do. why didn't it lead to that sort of nirvana --
>> can i just say one final thing on this point. chuck hagel in his confirmation hearing the other day said -- when he was pressed my mccain, history will make the judgment on the iraq war and whether it was a good thing or a bad thing or the end product. but the verdict of history is already in on the selling of the war. that's the focus of this film and i think --
>> another key point. you asked a good question. why didn't it work? one reason is they weren't prepared. we go into this in the book. it's not part of the documentary as much but what would happen after the invasion? they thought it would all happen by magic. what you might call hubris and arrogance that the world would fall into place affording to the neocon vision and they put no thought into what it would mean for iraqis. 100,000 were killed.
>> they mean a chance for shia to fight sunni. thank you, guys. david corn , michael isikoff , the brains behind this great documentary that rachel maddow will present to you, hubris, the selling of the iraq war . there is no better thing to do tonight than to watch this ping.
>>> up next, only took 148 years but mississippi, remember every molehill in mississippi, has officially come out against slavery. boy, they're up to date. and this is haum, the place for politics. i have low