On the evening of March 19, 2003 -- ten years ago -- U.S. warplanes bombed a site in Baghdad that military officials believed was the hideout of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Although the failed attempt to kill him was followed two days later by hours of missile and bomb strikes, and then a ground invasion, it was an inauspicious start to a war that would lead to a lengthy U.S. occupation of Iraq and the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars from the U.S. treasury. Almost 4,500 American troops were killed in the conflict and more than 32,000 were wounded.
Five years ago, in an effort to hold accountable the officials who led the United States into the Iraq war and orchestrated the war's expansion, the Center for Public Integrity and the Fund for Independence in Journalism combed through thousands of statements made by those officials about the war. The "Iraq; The War Card" project found hundreds of falsehoods, demonstrating that the policy underpinnings of the conflict were based in large measure on poor understanding, at best, or a manipulative public relations campaign, at worst.
The findings were not controversial, as many official reports -- by Congress and others -- have reached similar conclusions. But the Center put a number on the falsehoods, and tallied them all in one place. Here is that work, below right, for those who may wish to look back on a tragic record of error-filled official assertions. The accompanying piece, below left, details the deeply flawed reconstruction process in Iraq.