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Honest! And Take a Look at This Real Estate in Florida!

January 22nd, 2004

Republicans are now changing their tack when it comes to reporting the “discovery” of WMD in Iraq. Previously, it was their habit to report the secret discovery of WMD and tell an expectant public that the official report was just days or weeks away. This gave everyone the idea that WMD had been found, though of course the reports always (quietly) ended up false.

But now, since this is an election year and apparently too many people might be getting wise to the scam, so there’s a new strategy: we are told with the same assuredness that WMD are indeed there–but it will years before they will be able to tell us about them exactly. This, without any doubt, is to give everyone the idea that WMD will be found without ever really having to produce any evidence at all.

“I would say that we are probably a couple of years away from getting through all the material and talking to all the people we need to talk to about exactly what was going on, not only with the Saddam Hussein regime but with some of the Taliban and some of the things that have been going on in North Korea, Libya, Iran and other places,” Republican Representative Porter Gross said.

In his State of the Union Speech (Part II of my commentary coming soon), Bush said, “Had we failed to act, the dictator’s weapons of mass destruction programs would continue to this day.” Oh really. What weapons of mass destruction programs exactly?

This is such blatant deception. We need to fight it by saying–as often and as loudly as possible–there are no weapons of mass destruction or even any programs for it that have been discovered in Iraq. Nothing.

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  1. WmLambert
    January 22nd, 2004 at 11:31 | #1

    It’s a bit disingenuous to act like all Republicans claimed that the US had WMD in its grasp and would show it to everyone in September. The link to Robert Novak was obviously referring to the David Kay speech, in which Kay pleaded for everyone to have patience because more info could be released, but not when. Most observers have agreed that EVERYONE agreed about WMD before the invasion of Iraq. The UN, France, Germany, and most every other nation deemed it accepted fact that 1) Hussein had used chemical and biological weapons (some said against his own people – but at least against Iran.) 2) That the US, France, and Germany had sold them to him, and 3) That he had an ongoing program to extend his WMD program and to prevent inspection of it.

    Wesley Clark specifically said in his Congressional interview “…Saddam Hussein is not only malevolent and violent but he is also to some large degree unpredictable at least to us. I’m sure he has a rationale for what he’s doing, but we don’t always know it. He does retain his chemical and biological capabilities to some extent and he is, as far as we know, actively pursuing nuclear capabilities, though he doesn’t have nuclear warheads yet. If he were to acquire nuclear weapons, I think our friends in the region would face greatly increased risks as would we. Saddam might use these weapons as a deterrent while launching attacks against Israel or his other neighbors. He might threaten American forces in the region. He might determine that he was the messenger of Allah and simply strike directly at Israel, or Israel weighing the possibilities of blackmail or aggression might feel compelled to strike Iraq first. Now, Saddam has been pursing nuclear weapons and we’ve been living with this risk for over 20 years. He does not have the weapons now as best we can determine. He might have the weapons in a year or two if the control for the highly-enriched uranium and other fissionable materials broke down.”

    Similar to Clark, almost everyone had the same premise, Republicans as well as Democrats: that Hussein had used such weapons in the past, had a quanitity of them stockpiled, had never accounted for them or their ordered destruction, and was likely to get more.

    Likewise, no one argued that he wasn’t trying to acquire yellowcake from Niger and other African nations. The forged document was thought to be bogus, but its content was believed and authenticated by the British and Israelis. There was no US Humint on the ground so George Tenet said he could not verify the yellowcake story independently. Joe Wilson went to Niger and admittedly only spoke to bureaucrats who denied any involvement, with no backup investigation of any kind. To this day, the Brits still back their story. Just this week a story broke of a junk metals transport company finding yellowcake in containers that are alleged to have come from Iraq. A respected Syrian reporter said Syria was storing WMD shipped out of Iraq during the UN-extended negotiations. The US and Turkish militaries has cordoned off a 600 square-mile area of the Syrian desert where it could take a thousand years to find any buried WMD unless someone ‘fesses up.

    The point is – there is no story. There may or may not be any WMD – but claiming there isn’t is just as reckless as any other position, and blaming the GOP for holding the same opinion that the rest of the world, as well as the Democrats held, is dishonest.

  2. Luis
    January 22nd, 2004 at 12:49 | #2

    “It’s a bit disingenuous to act like all Republicans claimed that the US had WMD in its grasp and would show it to everyone in September. The link to Robert Novak was obviously referring to the David Kay speech, in which Kay pleaded for everyone to have patience because more info could be released, but not when.”

    Check out the Novak article–he said that they “found substantial evidence of biological weapons in Iraq, plus considerable missile development.” And he said it would probably be released in September. That’s close enough to claiming that they “had WMD in its grasp and would show it to everyone in September.”

    Certainly, if, as Novak claimed, they had found substantial evidence, do you honestly think they would have waited more than four months by now? With new reports saying that a release is years away? Please.

    “Most observers have agreed that EVERYONE agreed about WMD before the invasion of Iraq. The UN, France, Germany, and most every other nation deemed it accepted fact that 1) Hussein had used chemical and biological weapons (some said against his own people – but at least against Iran.) 2) That the US, France, and Germany had sold them to him, and 3) That he had an ongoing program to extend his WMD program and to prevent inspection of it.”

    This is different from (a) sexing up the intelligence to make it seem more likely than it really was, or (b) claiming that evidence has been found and is just around the corner, when it actually is not.

    “Wesley Clark specifically said in his Congressional interview ‘…Saddam Hussein is not only malevolent and violent but he is also to some large degree unpredictable at least to us. I’m sure he has a rationale for what he’s doing, but we don’t always know it. He does retain his chemical and biological capabilities to some extent and he is, as far as we know, actively pursuing nuclear capabilities, though he doesn’t have nuclear warheads yet. If he were to acquire nuclear weapons, I think our friends in the region would face greatly increased risks as would we….'”

    Again, Clark by that time did not have access to the intelligence Bush & Co. had, and was simply trusting that Bush was not lying to us as he obviously was. Gievn the misinformation Bush & Co. dealt out, his comments are completely understandable–as is the fact that he is now no doubt ticked off that he was lied to, like so many of us.

    “Likewise, no one argued that he wasn’t trying to acquire yellowcake from Niger and other African nations. The forged document was thought to be bogus, but its content was believed and authenticated by the British and Israelis.”

    But not by Bush’s own people, who not only knew it was fake but were able to demonstrate how–as evidenced by Wilson’s observations and other intelligence. I honestly cannot believe that this bit “accidentally” found its way into the speech. If the president hears about British intelligence and fails to ask what our own people say, then he is an idiot. We all know that it is far more likely that Bush had all the intel, and decided only to use what supported his political agenda best.

    “There was no US Humint on the ground so George Tenet said he could not verify the yellowcake story independently. Joe Wilson went to Niger and admittedly only spoke to bureaucrats who denied any involvement, with no backup investigation of any kind.”

    This is such a skewed presentation I find it hard to even take seriously. Our intel said that they believed it was false and gave evidence–the Brits had no solid evidence, just an opinion. At the very best, Bush had equal reports from each agency, and actively chose to disbelieve his own, to omit it from mention, and go with a foreign source. That would be dumb, if not dangerous. But I do not accept your analysis that our intelligence was so soft as to be trumped by an outside source. Wilson did not just present the result of talks, he also spoke from a great deal of experience in the region, an expertise that was well deserved and trusted–an opinion that was shared by the U.S. ambassador. It was not just Nigerians saying “we didn’t do it,” it was the observation that the way things worked in Niger that it simply could not have happened. Not based on claims alone, as you tell it.

  3. January 22nd, 2004 at 12:59 | #3

    It’s not reckless to say that the weapons which the Bush administration used as its justification for war are nowhere to be found and probably do not exist. In any case, knowing what we do now, could anyone still warn of the impending “anthrax clouds” that would result if we didn’t occupy Iraq? You’re right, the Democrats were duped into believing that Iraq was an imminent threat (i.e. preparing to attack) and it reflects badly on them. But we’re not Congressional Democrats here. The Bush administration is grasping at straws and if there were weapons in Iraq, they would have used them by now to combat the rising tide of criticism.

    The point here is, just as Luis said, is that this whole Iraq debacle has been garbage in, garbage out. False premises lead to false conclusions. The U.S. government is fully willing to mislead us and it has already cost thousands of lives. Our liberty is being eroded on a daily basis. I ask you, how is it reckless to recognize that?

  4. January 25th, 2004 at 02:35 | #4

    Luis – in case you didn’t get my email, you’re welcome. =)

    How appropriate that now, after this discussion, David Kay is also saying there are no weapons in Iraq!

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