Bush did not lie, but the war critics are

We have heard the littany from the Left from months. "Bush lied, people died." A catchy slogan that is reminiscent of Lenin's observation that "a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth." The lie, of course, is that Bush deliberately deceived anyone about the presence and threat of WMD from Saddam Hussein.

We know that the United Nations Security Council in November 2002 felt that Iraq had not accounted for its WMD and cooperated with inspections to verify its obligations under the cease-fire and prior UN resolutions:


FULL TEXT of UN Security Council Resolution 1441: http://www.state.gov/p/nea/rls/15016.htm

Excerpts:

"Recognizing the threat Iraq’s non-compliance with Council resolutions and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles poses to international peace and security,

"Recalling that its resolution 678 (1990) authorized Member States to use all necessary means to uphold and implement its resolution 660 (1990) of 2 August 1990 and all relevant resolutions subsequent to resolution 660 (1990) and to restore international peace and security in the area,

"Further recalling that its resolution 687 (1991) imposed obligations on Iraq as a necessary step for achievement of its stated objective of restoring international peace and security in the area,

"Deploring the fact that Iraq has not provided an accurate, full, final, and complete disclosure, as required by resolution 687 (1991), of all aspects of its programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles with a range greater than one hundred and fifty kilometres, and of all holdings of such weapons, their components and production facilities and locations, as well as all other nuclear programmes, including any which it claims are for purposes not related to nuclear-weapons-usable material,

"Deploring further that Iraq repeatedly obstructed immediate, unconditional, and unrestricted access to sites designated by the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), failed to cooperate fully and unconditionally with UNSCOM and IAEA weapons inspectors, as required by resolution 687 (1991), and ultimately ceased all cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA in 1998,

*******

"1. Decides that Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations under relevant resolutions, including resolution 687 (1991), in particular through Iraq’s failure to cooperate with United Nations inspectors and the IAEA, and to complete the actions required under paragraphs 8 to 13 of resolution 687 (1991);

"2. Decides, while acknowledging paragraph 1 above, to afford Iraq, by this resolution, a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions of the Council; and accordingly decides to set up an enhanced inspection regime with the aim of bringing to full and verified completion the disarmament process established by resolution 687 (1991) and subsequent resolutions of the Council;

********************************


To the time, every nation - whether opposed to the use of military force or not - conceded that Saddam had WMDs:

HANS BLIX: "Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament that was demanded of it." Hans Blix (2003), http://www.infoplease.com/spot/iraqtimeline2.html
"...to the issues of anthrax, the nerve agent VX, and long-range missiles, and said that such issues--and I quote myself--"deserve to be taken seriously by Iraq rather than being brushed aside," Blix, Feb. 2002,
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/transcripts/blixtranscript_021403.html

FRANCE: "So I don't say that Iraq is disarmed, but has been weakened by the war and the inspections..." Address by Jean-David Levitte, Ambassador of France to the US, at the US Institute of Peace, Washington, February 7, 2003: http://www.info-france-usa.org/news/statmnts/2003/levitte_iraq020703.asp
"...we agree on the nature of the regime in Baghdad. No doubt that we have in Baghdad for too many years a dictator who is a disaster for his own people and has been a threat for neighboring states." Id. "We know from experience that Saddam Hussein doesn't willingly disarm. Nobody has confidence in the man who has lied and cheated for so many years." National Journal correspondent Lee Michael Katz interviewed Jean-David Levitte, Ambassador of France to the United States, Washington, March 3, 2003: http://www.info-france-usa.org/news/statmnts/2003/levitte_nj030303.asp

GERMANY: "The objective now must be to preserve the territorial integrity of Iraq and as soon as possible to put the Iraqi people in a position to return an Iraq free of weapons of mass destruction to its former status as a respected and prosperous member of the family of nations." Statement of the German Government on the outbreak of hostilieis in Iraq: http://www.germany-info.org/relaunch/politics/speeches/032003.htm

RUSSIA: "...resolutions of the Council are the most reliable way for solving the problem of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq by political means. And that all of us want to solve this problem, no one should have any doubt." Statement by Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov at UN Security Council Meeting (New York, February 5, 2003) http://www.ln.mid.ru/bl.nsf/0/52629a90f9835a5a43256cc5003b5320?OpenDocument
"Iraq will be a checkpoint for the international community, and for the UN SC, whether it is able to act efficiently - aggressively but peacefully - in tracking and preventing nonproliferation violations." Vladimir A. Orlov, Center for Policy Studies in Russia, http://www.pircenter.org/articles/vb%2001-2003en.html

EGYPT: "The Egyptian government daily Al-Akhbar published a scathing attack on Saddam Hussein written by Ahmad Rajab describing Saddam as a "disaster and a curse that befell the Arabs, Arab unity, Arab resources, and Arab oil. Saddam suspended Egypt's membership in the Arab League following Camp David, and did not face any Arab threat, such as suspending Iraq's membership in the Arab League, to dissuade him from invading Kuwait. And now, in a series of stubbornness, conceit, ignorance, and stupidity he paved the way for shredding the Arab homeland and redrawing its map. This is how the fate of the whole Arab nation has been tied to the follies of a bloody, insane despot whose game is destruction." http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=countries&Area=iraq&ID=INW1202#VII
"... the representative of Egypt today stressed that Iraq’s compliance and continued cooperation with the inspectors was a "way out of the dark tunnel". The danger of mass destruction weapons, however, was not confined to Iraq. Council members must keep in mind that its credibility would not be served by eliminating the banned Iraqi weapons, while failing to apply the same criteria to all other cases, including those in the Middle East." Press Release, SC/7666, UN Security Council ,4709th Meeting: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2003/sc7666.doc.htm
"Disarming Iraq, he continued, must be the beginning of removing the danger of all mass destruction weapons from the Middle East." Id.

IRAQI MILITARY: Saddam even let on to this generals that he had WMD: "Early on, Saddam sought to foster the impression with his generals that Iraq could resist a Coalition ground attack using WMD." Iraq Survey Group, Final Report,2004. "In March 2003, Saddam created further confusion when he implied to his ministers and senior officers that he had some kind of secret weapon." Id. http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/report/2004/isg-final-report/isg-final-report_vol1_rsi-06.htm


THE CIA: The Direcor of the CIA when directly asked about the issue told the president of the United States that it was "a slam dunk." CNN, "Woodward: Tenet told Bush WMD case a 'slam dunk', " Monday, April 19, 2004 : "WASHINGTON (CNN) -- About two weeks before deciding to invade Iraq, President Bush was told by CIA Director George Tenet there was a "slam dunk case" that dictator Saddam Hussein had unconventional weapons..."


These are the facts. The speculation is whether they were 100% wrong or whether the Iraqis moved what WMD that they still had. Since currency normally moves via wires to Swiss accounts and household effects would not warrant the effort, a lot of us speculate what else could have been in the dozens of "big rigs" that went into Syria in the months up to Operation Iraqi Freedom. I will guess that the missing quantities of WMD or production components that were never accounted for were in the trucks: this is the only rational explanation for why Saddam would and could not account for their destruction to the UNSCOM teams as late as January 2003. The fact that nuclear components from Iraq showed up in subsequent months and that Iraqi WMD facilities had been stripped of equipment in the months before OIF seems to strongly verify this speculation.

But whatever the speculation, there is zero factual basis for saying that Bush lied.

It also imperative to realize that Saddam's threat to actually use WMD was viewed - accurately I think - as larger than any other potential U.S. adversary. Whether he had the WMD in hand or was intent on building them in the future was only a matter of timing, not a matter of the scope of the threat. Everyone agreed to this premise at the time. The quotes from prominient Democrats are now being accurately reproduced everywhere. My favorite is the John Kerry "Position on Iraq, Version 5.01", where I truly believe that he got it right:

"I would disagree with John McCain that it’s the actual weapons of mass destruction he may use against us, it’s what he may do in another invasion of Kuwait or in a miscalculation about the Kurds or a miscalculation about Iran or particularly Israel. Those are the things that - that I think present the greatest danger. He may even miscalculate and slide these weapons off to terrorist groups to invite them to be a surrogate to use them against the United States. It’s the miscalculation that poses the greatest threat." (CBS "Face The Nation" 9/15/02)


This almost unbelievable ability to miscalculate by Saddam ran right up to the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, when he thought that Russia, France, and China (dependent upon him for oil deals) could stop the United States and other allies from proceeding. Unlike North Korea and Iran, that enjoy rattling sables, Saddam had actually used WMD and had actually invaded another country in recent times. From plotting to kill George H. Bush in 1998 to launching an operation to blow up our U.S. embassy in Pakistan working with Al Qaeda operatives aftwer 9-11, Saddam showed no fear of retaliation or reprisals.

Based on the intelligence available and the history of this tyrant, the United States and its allies had no choice in 2003 but to act. But to say that reliance on all of the available information - not seriously contested by anyone at the time - was a "lie" is the biggest disingenuous political grandstanding of our time.

Randy Mott

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