Dean says Bush misled public, calls for investigation

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(Host) Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean says there’s no doubt that the Bush administration has misled the American public about the threat that Iraq posed to this country before the recent war. Dean says a special independent commission is needed to determine if the president deliberately manipulated intelligence information to boost public support for the war.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) Dean, who has emerged as the leading anti-war candidate in the Democratic race, is continuing to be very critical of foreign policy of President Bush. Earlier this week, the White House admitted that a statement made by the president in his State of the Union Address, alleging that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium from an African country, was not true.

Dean says the White House admission is not an isolated incident, but rather is part of a pattern of misinformation from the Bush administration:

(Dean) “The claim that the secretary of Defense knew where the weapons were, wasn’t true. The claim that the vice president made that there was great evidence the Iraqis had nuclear weapons programs was not true. And the claim that the president of the United States made that Saddam was going to use chemical weapons on our troops was not true. So this is not an isolated incident. This was a significant misleading of the American people and our soldiers who went over there and fought. And I think we need to find out what the president knew and when did he know it.”

(Kinzel) Dean says there are several explanations to why the president misled the public and all of them have serious consequences. Dean wants a special independent commission to investigate this issue:

(Dean) “There are three alternatives. One is the intelligence service is awful in this country and needs to be totally rehabbed. Two, the president’s closest advisors misled him and did not give him the full information. And three, that the president knew what the right information was and simply did not give that information to the American people. Any of the three are very, very serious and we need to know what the answer is.”

(Kinzel) Campaigning in New Hampshire on Thursday afternoon, Dean called for the resignations of everyone in the Bush administration who participated in the effort to mislead the public.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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