That’s the number of “false statements” Bush and his administration made in the two-year run-up to the Iraq War, according to a study from Center for Public Integrity, which worked with the Fund for Independence in Journalism:
The center said the study was based on a database created with public statements over the two years beginning on Sept. 11, 2001, and information from more than 25 government reports, books, articles, speeches and interviews. The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them or had links to al-Qaida or both. “It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al-Qaida,” according to Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith of the Fund for Independence in Journalism staff members, writing an overview of the study. “In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003.”
Bush led with 259 false statements, 231 about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 28 about Iraq’s links to al-Qaida, the study found. That was second only to Powell’s 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq and al-Qaida.
This is purported to be the link between Bush’s willingness to go to war and the public support for Bush’s decision:
“The cumulative effect of these false statements — amplified by thousands of news stories and broadcasts — was massive, with the media coverage creating an almost impenetrable din for several critical months in the run-up to war… Some journalists — indeed, even some entire news organizations — have since acknowledged that their coverage during those prewar months was far too deferential and uncritical. These mea culpas notwithstanding, much of the wall-to-wall media coverage provided additional, ‘independent’ validation of the Bush administration’s false statements about Iraq,” the study said.