Bush's Contention of '36 Nations in Iraq' Last Week Mirrors Cheney Lie in '04 Veep Debate
Incident Led to Infamous BRAD BLOG Exposé on Pre-Election White House Website Scrubbing...
By Brad Friedman on 9/15/2007, 3:43pm PT  

During last Wednesday's televised address from the Oval Office, George W. Bush said, "We thank the 36 nations who have troops on the ground in Iraq."

As it turns out, you'll be stunned to learn that his number was a lie. But it wouldn't be the first time the Administration has lied about who is, and isn't, a part of the so-called "Multinational Coalition" in Iraq, as The BRAD BLOG reported exclusively as far back as October of 2004, prior to the Presidential Election.

Concerning Bush's "36 nations" mentioned last week, Spencer Ackerman reports, in an exclusive over at TPM, that the number is fudged at best, and just another unsupportable, outright lie by the administration at worst. The White House's fuzzy math used to comprise the "36 nations" with "troops on the ground in Iraq" apparently includes several nations which "aren't in Iraq in any capacity anymore," according to Ackerman.

The number also includes Canada's one soldier who had been serving at the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), who has since been withdrawn; New Zealand's single troop (yes, like Canada, just one!) commitment to UNAMI; Tonga's now-withdrawn force; a single press aide from Iceland; and an unknown number from Hungary which may, or may not, have anybody still in Iraq at all as part of a tiny NATO contingent.

Bush's prepared statement lie on national television last week, however, simply continues the pattern set years ago, prior to the 2004 Presidential Election, by Dick Cheney, as The BRAD BLOG exposed in a series of reports back then in what would become our first breakthrough story to be picked up by both national and international media alike...

The exposé came about after Cheney had angrily attacked John Edwards during the Vice-Presidential Debate after Edwards had the temerity (and accuracy) to suggest that American forces were taking "90 percent of coalition casualties."

Dick Cheney's angry, disingenuous response in turn was to charge that Edwards was "dead wrong" and that his comments were "beyond the pale" because he wasn't including Iraq among his list of "coalition casualties."

But upon checking the White House website to see if they themselves had listed Iraq on their "Coalition of the Willing" page, we found that though the link to the page was still there, the page itself, which had once listed coalition nations, had been conveniently, if clumsily, scrubbed from the site entirely.

After our original report, we began receiving tips that other inconvenient truths had been excised as well. For example, the video of Bush announcing that he was "not that concerned about" Osama Bin Laden, had been removed after he'd pronounced in the third Presidential debate: "Gosh, I just don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. It's kind of one of those exaggerations."

Media pressure in the wake of the story, and the multitudes of additional embarrassing information revealed as missing, eventually led the White House webmasters to spend untold hours restoring terrabytes of audio and video to their website, in the final week of the 2004 campaign, after we revealed the scrubbing to be in apparent violation of the Presidential Records Act of 1978.

Among other media, the story was covered by the AFP and Washington Post at the time. Reuters would eventually pick up the story as well --- an incredible three months later, in late January of 2005.

(A special coverage page with all of the key articles in the series is posted here.)

Nonetheless, the pattern of both lying and attempts at re-writing history and scrubbing official records was continued by the White House long since. As has the pattern of bloggers covering what the mainstream media have failed to.

For those who are finally "sorry" about their vote for Bush in 2004, we might suggest that had you read The BRAD BLOG at the time, there would be few, if any, surprises for you today.

The Bush Reign of Lies and Betrayal continues apace, to quote David Byrne, "same as it ever was."