Bush on MEET THE PRESS
BUSH: I expected to find the weapons. Sitting behind this desk, making a very difficult decision of war and peace, and basing my decision on the best intelligence possible — intelligence that had been gathered over the years — intelligence that not only our analysts thought was valid, but analysts from other countries thought was valid. ‘
Bush should consider the possibility that he was lied to, not by the CIA or the DIA, who included caveats, but by Dick Cheney and the Neocons and Mossad and Ahmad Chalabi and Iyad Alawi, who peddled rather fantastic stories to him.
What I remember is that former US Marine and UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter said that 85-95 percent of Iraq’s chemical weapons had been destroyed. He was pilloried by Rupert Murdoch’s news organs as a Baathist lackey. Will W. now call Ritter to the White House to give him a personal apology?
By the way, Reuters reports, ‘ French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said France had not reached the same conclusions as “the Anglo-Saxons” on the basis of available intelligence such as satellite photographs. She said that was why Paris had argued against last year’s U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and in favour of letting U.N. inspectors keep searching for the alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMD). “It’s true that intelligence…has its limits. Knowing how to recognise its limits and find other means is the way to avoid committing mistakes,” she told a news conference.’
So, it just isn’t true that other countries necessarily thought the US intelligence was valid. That countries like Spain and Portugal and Denmark bought the Cheney version is unremarkable; they get their intelligence on issues like Iraq from . . . the United States.
BUSH: . . . And I made the decision obviously to take our case to the international community in the hopes that we could achieve a disarmament of Saddam Hussein peacefully.
Actually, the UN did achieve the disarmament of Saddam Hussein peacefully. By 1998, when the United States ordered the weapons inspectors out so that it could bomb Iraq. When the US demanded that the UN put the inspectors back in, it did so. Bush went to war a month after they arrived, giving them no time to do their jobs. His administration then attempted to smear UN inspector Hans Blix for objecting to this odd procedure.
BUSH: . . . And so we expected — I expected — there to be stockpiles of weapons. But David Kay has found the capacity to produce weapons. In other words, David Kay goes in and says we haven’t found stockpiles yet . . .
The “yet” is misleading. Kay has expressed the most severe skepticism as to the very existence of any remaining stockpiles: “Let me begin by saying, we were almost all wrong, and I certainly include myself here . . . It turns out that we were all wrong . . . and that is most disturbing.” Kay did not find “the capacity to produce weapons” if by that is meant factories and laboratories set up to begin production. There are no such factories or laboratories. If Bush means that the Iraqis have the capacity to produce chemical weapons, well, sure. All societies do. These are all weasel words of the most contemptible sort.
and there’s theories as to where the weapons went. They could have been destroyed during the war. Saddam and his henchmen could have destroyed them as we entered into Iraq. They could have been hidden. They could have been transported to another country. . . .
No, George. First of all, there were no military nuclear materials or programs at all. As for chemical and biological weapons, they couldn’t have been been destroyed during the war. Destruction of any significant numbers of chemical or biological weapons would have been noticed by the extensive US surveillance of the country conducted as part of the war effort. They can’t be hidden. The US has captured all the people who know where they would have been hidden, and they would certainly reveal the information to avoid being executed. Ask Tariq Aziz. They were not transported to another country. That also could have been tracked. Besides, George, your whole argument was that Saddam intended to use those weapons. If he had them but refused to use them when facing a frontal military attack, when exactly would he have used them?
Bush: . . . Saddam Hussein was dangerous with the ability to make weapons.
OK, this is just nonsense. The word “dangerous” is being used here as a sort of metaphysical attribute. If someone said that a garter snake was “dangerous,” we would want to know why. In what way is it dangerous? Garter snakes do not have poisonous fangs. So although they are snakes, they are not dangerous in the way a rattlesnake is dangerous. In the absence of the poison, what sense would it make to say that garter snakes are “dangerous?”
If it is alleged that Saddam was “dangerous,” that cannot be because he is intrinsically dangerous. He isn’t dangerous the way an banana is yellow. It isn’t possible that it is something essential. He would be dangerous because he had weapons that could do harm. If he did not have the weapons, he was not dangerous. He did not in fact have the “ability to make weapons.” US sanctions and surveillance had deprived him of that ability. He was contained.
Bush: . . . He was a dangerous man in a dangerous part of the world.
OK, now this is just racism. Not only is Saddam “dangerous” the way Satan is Evil, but now the Middle East is essentially “dangerous.” Is Qatar “dangerous”? I’ve been to Qatar. It is a wonderful little society. People like to go for picnics at midnight in the desert and sing songs and eat fish. It is the least dangerous place I think I’ve ever been. I guarantee you could walk anywhere in Doha at 3 am and you would never ever be robbed. Most American cities are far more dangerous than most Middle Eastern ones.
Bush went to war because the entire Middle East is “dangerous”?
BUSH: . . . And I made a decision to go to the United Nations — by the way, quoting a lot of their data — in other words, this is unaccounted-for stockpiles that you thought he had — because I don’t think America can stand by and hope for the best from a mad man. And I believe it is essential — I believe it is essential that when we see a threat we deal with those threats before they become imminent. It’s too late if they become imminent. It’s too late in this new kind of war. And so that’s why I made the decision I made.
We’ve been over this. You did not have to “hope for the best.” You had Iraq surrounded. Saddam could not even send soldiers into parts of his own country. By late February of 2003 the country was crawling with UN weapons inspectors, the same sort of teams that had ensured that Saddam was completely disarmed of WMD in the 1990s before the US yanked them out. And, Saddam’s sanity or lack thereof cannot be the reason for a war against him, just as his “dangerousness” cannot.
BUSH: We thought he had weapons. The international community thought he had weapons. But he had the capacity to make a weapon, and then let that weapon fall into the hands of a shadowy terrorist network. It’s important for people to understand the context in which I made a decision in the Oval Office. I’m dealing with a world in which we have gotten struck by terrorists with airplanes, and we get intelligence saying that, you know, we want to harm America. And the worst nightmare scenario for any president is to realize that these kind of terrorist networks have the capacity to arm up with some of these deadly weapons, and they strike us. And the president of the United States’ most solemn responsibility is to keep this country secure.
1. Saddam could not have given any terrorists chemical or biological weapons because he did not have any.
2. Saddam would not have given dangrous weapons to radical Islamist terrorists who wished to overthrow his regime.
3. When the US invaded Iraq, it did not bother to secure the (non-military) nuclear materials at Tuwaitha, which were stolen. If you were so worried about WMD and it getting spread around, why did you have your army behave in this odd way?