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In the year since the invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration has repeatedly shifted its justification for going to war and constantly changed its story on intelligence, the United Nations, reconstruction, political transition and the cost to the American taxpayer. More than anything, the administration's war in Iraq resembles a software program that, at first, works brilliantly, but then catches the user in a cycle of "fatal error" messages.

Here then, in Silicon Valley terms, is a review of the Bush administration's year in Iraq:

  • Version 1.0 – Saddam Hussein is an imminent threat
  • Version 1.01 – Saddam Hussein is a gathering threat
  • Version 1.02 – Saddam Hussein poses a real and dangerous threat
  • Version 1.1 – The smoking gun will be a mushroom cloud
  • Version 1.2 – We can't afford to wait
  • Version 1.3 – We never said imminent
  • Version 1.3.1 – OK, maybe we did say it once or twice
  • Version 1.4 – We should have been more precise
  • Version 2.1 – Saddam has weapons of mass destruction
  • Version 2.2 – Saddam has nuclear weapons
  • Version 2.3 – Saddam has biological agents he's never accounted for
  • Version 2.3.1 – The trailers are mobile labs for producing chemical weapons
  • Version 2.3.2 – Unmanned aircraft are ready to spread Saddam's biological weapons
  • Version 2.4 – Saddam's going to make more of all these weapons
  • Version 2.5 – We all know where the weapons are
  • Version 2.5.1 – Well, Saddam has used weapons of mass destruction
  • Version 2.5.2 – Iraq is a big country. We'll find the weapons eventually.
  • Version 2.5.3 – Saddam had weapons of mass destruction programs
  • Version 2.5.4 – Saddam had "weapons of mass destruction program related activities"
  • Version 2.5.5 – David Kay? Who's David Kay?
  • Version 2.6 – It's not about misleading the American people – Saddam Hussein is gone and that's the most important thing
  • Version 3.0 – We based our statements on our available intelligence
  • Version 3.1 – Saddam tried to buy uranium ore in Niger
  • Version 3.1.2 – Well, that was what the British told us
  • Version 3.1.3 – Did we tell you about Joe Wilson's wife?
  • Version 3.1.4 – Do you know a good lawyer?
  • Version 3.2 – The intelligence is absolutely clear
  • Version 3.2.1 – Intelligence is never 100 percent certain
  • Version 3.2.2 – We didn't manipulate the intelligence
  • Version 3.3 – There was no consensus within the intelligence community
  • Version 3.3.1 – We saw the same intelligence the last Administration did
  • Version 4.0 – Saddam has long-standing ties to al Qaeda
  • Version 4.0.1 – You can't distinguish between Saddam and al Qaeda
  • Version 4.0.2 – There is an al Qaeda terrorist network in Iraq
  • Version 4.0.3 – Saddam has provided al Qaeda with chemical and biological weapons training.
  • Version 4.0.4 – Saddam will give his weapons to al Qaeda
  • Version 4.0.5 – Colin Powell: I have not seen smoking-gun, concrete evidence about the connection [between al Qaeda and Iraq]
  • Version 4.0.6 – Vice President Cheney: I still believe there's a connection.
  • Version 4.0.7 – CIA Director George Tenet: I told Dick not to say that.
  • Version 5.0 – The UN had 12 years to deal with this
  • Version 5.1 – We don't trust the UN to handle this
  • Version 5.1.1 – We don't need the UN's help
  • Version 5.1.2 – The UN should play a vital, but not central role
  • Version 5.1.3 – You there, UN, tell Ayatollah Sistani that elections aren't possible
  • Version 5.1.4 – UN, please oversee the election process
  • Version 5.1.5 – Pretty please? We'll pay our dues
  • Version 6.0 – Iraq won't affect our hunt for bin Laden
  • Version 6.1 – Assets have been moved from Afghanistan to Iraq
  • Version 6.1.1 – Assets are being returned to Afghanistan
  • Version 6.2 – We're mounting a spring offensive against bin Laden
  • Version 6.2.1 – We'll catch bin Laden this year
  • Version 6.2.2 – We hope to catch bin Laden this year
  • Version 6.3 – Even if we catch bin Laden, the threat will still exist.
  • Version 7.0 – We won't need hundreds of thousands of troops – that's wildly off the mark
  • Version 7.1 – Mission accomplished
  • Version 7.1.1 – We'll stay as long as needed and not one day more
  • Version 7.1.2 – The troops will be home in six months
  • Version 7.1.3 – The Iraqi Army will provide security
  • Version 7.1.4 – Where's the Iraqi Army?
  • Version 7.1.5 – We've disbanded the Iraqi Army
  • Version 7.1.3 – The troops will stay a year and be replaced
  • Version 7.2 – We're training the Iraqi army – Iraqification will work
  • Version 7.2.1 – We don't need any more American troops
  • Version 7.2.2 – Well, maybe we do
  • Version 7.2.3 – We're keeping 30,000 more troops on active duty than were authorized
  • Version 7.2.4 – We don't know if this increase in troops is a spike or a plateau
  • Version 7.2.5 – We're establishing stop loss so troops can't leave
  • Version 7.2.6 – The Army is planning multi-year rotations
  • Version 8.0 – Economic advisor Larry Lindsey: The war will cost $200 billion
  • Version 8.0.1 – President Bush: You're fired!
  • Version 8.1 – The war will pay for itself very quickly
  • Version 8.1.1 – Iraqi oil revenue will pay for reconstruction
  • Version 8.2 – Our allies will help us
  • Version 8.3 – We'll pay for the war through supplementals
  • Version 8.3.1 – Congress wouldn't let us put it in the budget
  • Version 8.3.2 – Can we please have $87 billion?
  • Version 8.3.3 – Well, we really can't calculate what it will cost…
  • Version 8.3.4 – Well, maybe we can – $50 billion may be on the low side
  • Version 8.3.5 – Ask us after November 2…
  • Version 9.0 – We will be greeted as liberators
  • Version 9.0.1 – We'll establish democracy in Iraq
  • Version 9.1 We'll turn this back to the Iraqis quickly
  • Version 9.1.1 – President Chalabi will be welcomed with open arms
  • Version 9.1.2 – Well, not so fast – we're prohibiting political parties
  • Version 9.2 – We have the November 15 agreement – it's unchangeable
  • Version 9.2.1 – We will appoint a small governing council
  • Version 9.2.2 – Well, maybe a larger one
  • Version 9.3 – We don't favor elections
  • Version 9.3.1 – Caucuses work in Iowa, why not Iraq?
  • Version 9.3.2 – OK fine, we'll have elections
  • Version 9.4 – We can't return sovereignty until there is a constitution
  • Version 9.4.1 – Nevermind, we'll turn over sovereignty first
  • Version 9.4.2 – We need to return this to the Iraqis – How about June 30?
  • Version 9.4.3 – We're still focused on elections – the ones on November 2
  • Version 10.0 – Trust us. We know what we're doing

P.J. Crowley is senior fellow and director of national defense and homeland security and Robert O. Boorstin is senior vice president of national security at the Center for American Progress.

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.

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