How many times have I heard some piece of breaking news, usually reporting a fresh outrage of the Bush administration's, and asked myself, "Wouldn't it be great to have handy an interactive timeline of the Bush years -- sortable by category -- so I could whip up a quick blog post furnishing helpful context?" I'll be honest: Not many. But it's good to be able to do just that, thanks to our (nonpartisan, fact-based) Lie by Lie timeline!
As Senate Democrats push (futilely) for a resolution to have the Defense Secretary canned, I can simply click the "Rumsfeld" link on the timeline, and here (below) is what comes up: a fairly extensive catalogue of lies, obfuscations, idiocies, and screw-ups; an impressive enough record, one would think, to have gotten him fired long ago. Bear in mind, the time period covered by Part I of Lie by Lie ends at the start of the Iraq war, in March, 2003 -- that is, before Abu Ghraib, the torture memos, "stuff happens," "Heck, I'm an old man," the utter disaster of the post-war period.... Stay tuned for further installments.
September 11, 2001
A note from an aide who was with the Secretary of Defense at the National Military Command Center shows that just five hours after the attacks Rumsfeld says, "Best info fast. Judge whether good enough to hit S.H. at same time. Not only UBL
Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not."
December 1, 2001
According to Bob Woodward, Rumsfeld orders Franks to begin work on an Iraq war plan. Bush will meet with military leaders regarding the plan on a regular basis starting late December, despite public assurances that the administration is seeking a diplomatic solution to its showdown with Saddam.
January 22, 2002
After a Defense Department photo is released showing detainees in goggles and masks, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld defends the detentions of "committed terrorists," saying, "We are keeping them off the street and out of the airlines." Besides, he says, "To be in an eight-by-eight cell in beautiful, sunny Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is not a inhumane treatment. And it has a roof."
April 17, 2002
Reports emerge that American forces could have caught or killed bin Laden at Tora Bora. Reporters confront Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld with the story. He says he does not "know today of any evidence" that bin Laden "was in Tora Bora at the time, or that he left Tora Bora at the time." Later reports will make clear that the military was asked by the CIA at the time to supply troops to help close off bin Laden's escape routes. The military declined.