Desperately Seeking WMDs
This is beginning to look like an obsession.
With chief weapons searcher David Kay now confirming to Congress that his massive team has found no weapons, this new request is slightly ridiculous. The Bush administration has gone from claiming that the Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, definitely had weapons in known locations, to claiming that he had programs to develop weapons, to claiming that he had plans to develop programs to develop weapons, to claiming that he had ambitions to develop programs. The latest position is that Iraq had dual-use materials and facilities, and scientists capable of making weapons. By that standard, the Bush administration could start bombing lots of countries.
The story has also been leaked that Hussein was bluffing about having weapons. The problem with that is that he let the UN conduct inspections and he even invited the CIA to look around.
Is there any part of the administration's case for war that is not now in disarray? It's been reported lately that the CIA doubted the intelligence of MI6 (Britain's CIA) and MI6 doubted the intelligence of the CIA. When the Americans claimed that the Iraqis had aluminum tubes suitable for making nuclear weapons, British analysts chortled. When the British claimed that the Iraqis tried to buy uranium in Niger, American analysts guffawed.
On top of that, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee has concluded from government documents that the administration based its case against Iraq on dated and fragmentary evidence. Then there is the Defense Intelligence Agency's own assessment that the administration was essentially sold a bill of goods by Iraqi defectors, particularly those connected with Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress. Chalabi is a member of the U.S.-anointed governing council and a favorite of the Bush administration. In a leaked letter to a defense department official, it was noted that the intelligence report claimed that most of the information furnished by the defectors was worthless.
But the administration persists, as if ignoring all this damaging evidence will make it go away. There was something surreal about President Bush's standing before the UN General Assembly and reciting boilerplate about WMDs and Iraqi links to international terrorism, when, just a day or two earlier, officials, including the president himself, had distanced themselves from those claims.
Signs of desperation abound. We were told to wait for David Kay's interim reports. But then National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said we shouldn't expect interim reports. That was after word had leaked out that Kay's classified report to Congress would contain no evidence of WMDs.
The administration's fans continue to repeat the canard that everyone knows that Hussein had WMDs and used them against the Kurds. This is Clintonesque in its manipulation of language. Yes, he had weapons in the late 1980s-thanks to American help. But weapons and facilities were destroyed, first in the 1991 Gulf War and then by UN inspectors from 1991 to 1998. The assertion that in recent years "everyone" agreed Iraq had WMDs is patently false.
Broadcast journalist John Pilger has found statements made by Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell before September 11, 2001, pointing out that Hussein had not re-armed. For example, Powell said in Cairo in February 2001, "He [Saddam Hussein] has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors."
The spin will go on. But one thing can't be spun: the weapons are nowhere to be found.
Sheldon Richman is senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation (www.fff.org) in Fairfax, Va., author of Tethered Citizens: Time to Repeal the Welfare State, and editor of Ideas on Liberty magazine.
Copyright © 2003 The Baltimore Chronicle and The Sentinel. All rights reserved. We invite your comments, criticisms and suggestions.
Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.
This story was published on October 3, 2003.
Local Stories, Events
Ref. : Civic Events
Ref. : Arts & Education Events
Ref. : Public Service Notices
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
03.17 China's 'war against pollution' shows promising results, study finds [U.S. doesn't care]
03.17 In Latest 'Alarming' Attack on Science, Pruitt Reportedly Moving to Restrict Use of Research in EPA Policy [“Stupid is as stupid does.” –Forrest Gump]
03.17 Global energy giants forced to adapt to rise of renewables [the Middle-East's wars may be stupid given looming drop in oil and gas prices]
03.15 WHO launches health review after microplastics found in 90% of bottled water [health risks are being assessed]
03.14 Sky-high prices of everything make US healthcare the world's most expensive [legal corruption of government Makes America Less Great Again, and more of a mafia-state]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
03.18 Mueller Wants Trump’s Business Records. What’s the Russia Connection? [real estate deals with money laundering for higher profits...]
03.18 Paul Ryan sold shares on same day as private briefing of banking crisis [offense in 2008 became a story in 2012, which now in 2018 is hot news...]
03.16 Cash in: the rich guys in Trump's cabinet who can't resist public money [morals and rules for behavior are for little people]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
03.17 The Radical Reformist
International & Futurism
03.17 Turkey claims to have encircled Afrin, besieging up to 200,000 [Kurds are the new Armenians. Is ethnic purity—that DNA testing cannot discern—so important that Turkey and Syria must kill minority ethnic populations?]
03.16 The long read: Vladimir Putin’s politics of eternity
03.15 Busting the Myth of ‘Welfare Makes People Lazy’ [Are all conservative economic theories based on anecdotal gossip of ill-informed, often-biased people? There does seem to be a pattern...]
03.15 Donald Trump admits making up 'facts' in trade meeting with Justin Trudeau [“Stupid is as stupid does.” –Forrest Gump]