Now that President Obama has declared an end to the seven-year combat mission in Iraq, let's remember how this war started: with a lie. Officials of the previous administration, including Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell, Bush, Tenet and Cheney, expressed "no doubt" that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Yet it is impossible to have no doubt about the existence of something that is not there. The Bush administration, however, claimed that the weapons were there and sent thousands of troops into harm's way based on this false pretext:
Rumsfeld: “We know they have weapons of mass destruction. We know they have active programs. There isn’t any debate about it.”
Bush: “There’s no doubt in my mind he wants to have a ‘nucular’ weapon and he’s got some capacity.”
Cheney: “There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies and against us.”
After no WMD were found, Bush joked about it at the Radio and Television Correspondents dinner. He narrated a slide show depicting himself unable to find the weapons in the Oval Office. Bush used the false rationale of his war as a source of humor at a black-tie affair.