The report on the Bush administration's case for war, 170 pages long, reads like a catalog of erroneous claims. The document represents the most detailed assessment to date of whether those assertions were backed by classified intelligence reports available to senior officials at the time.
The report largely exonerates Bush administration officials for some of their prewar assertions, including claims that Baghdad had stockpiles of illegal chemical and biological weapons and was pursuing a nuclear bomb. Even though those claims were subsequently proved wildly inaccurate, the report notes, they were largely consistent with U.S. intelligence at the time.
But the report says the Bush administration veered away from its own intelligence community's conclusions in two key areas: Iraq's relationship with Al Qaeda and the difficulty of pacifying Iraq after a U.S. invasion.
Statements in dozens of prewar speeches and interviews created the impression that Baghdad and Al Qaeda had forged a partnership. But the report concludes that such assertions "were not substantiated by the intelligence" being shown to senior officials at the time.
Claims that Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta had met with an Iraqi agent in Prague, for example, were dubious from the beginning and subsequently discounted. The idea that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had provided chemical and biological weapons training to Al Qaeda hinged on intelligence from a source who soon was discredited.
Bush officials strayed even further from the evidence in suggesting that Hussein was prepared to provide weapons of mass destruction to Al Qaeda terrorist groups -- a linchpin in the case for war.
In October 2002, for example, Bush warned in a key speech in Cincinnati that "secretly, and without fingerprints, [Hussein] could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop their own." The threat was repeated frequently in the run-up to war but was "contradicted by available intelligence information," the committee says.
On post-war prospects, the report contrasts the rosy scenarios conjured by Cheney and others with more sober intelligence warnings that were being presented to senior officials.
Cheney's prediction that U.S. forces would "be greeted as liberators" was at odds with reports from the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency, which warned nearly a year earlier that invading U.S. forces would face serious resistance from "the Baathists, the jihadists and Arab nationalists who oppose any U.S. occupation of Iraq."
There's an era-defining elegance to the Senate report and the news articles, particularly as we head into the Presidential contest between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain with 150,000 U.S. troops still in Iraq.
Here's a run down of the candidates' positions on Iraq.