Now President Bush is Lying: Why?
In the President’s address to the nation Sunday the 18th, 2005, he made this statement, “It is true that Saddam Hussein had a history of pursuing and using weapons of mass destruction. It is true that he systematically concealed those programs, and blocked the work of U.N. weapons inspectors. It is true that many nations believed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. But much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong.”
This is the confession many Americans have been demanding for years now and for what-ever reason, the President decided to make this confession before the world community in this address. But is this a true and accurate assessment of the situation as we now know it, based on the facts?
Those of us interested in the real facts long ago discovered that the case used by the Bush administration to justify regime change in Iraq was not new, nor unique to the Bush administration. In fact, it was the Clinton administration that authored and passed legislation in 1998 making regime change the formal U.S. policy concerning Iraq and they did so on the basis of the same intelligence later used by the Bush administration.
In short, the intelligence from around the globe strongly suggested that Hussein still had WMD. As is always the case with intelligence work, it wasn’t 100% certain. However, the CIA Director did refer to it as a “slam dunk”. This was based primarily on the fact that we know he did have them, had even used them. Hussein was ordered by numerous UN Resolutions and a cease fire agreement from 1991 to destroy all of them and “provide evidence that they had been destroyed”, including full unfettered verification by UN inspectors. This simply did not happen… and every UN inspection report ever written on the subject says so.
There remained a large cashe of WMD unaccounted for by UN inspectors for years. These unaccounted for WMD remained at issue after 9/11 and nobody could confirm the whereabouts of Iraq’s missing WMD, previously catalogued by UN inspectors themselves. After Hussein failed for the 17th time to provide evidence of their disposal, the Bush administration acted to implement the regime change policy established in 1998.
We also know that Senator Jay Rockefeller traveled to Syria less than four months after 9/11 to advise Hussein’s allies that he believed Bush was intent upon invading Iraq. See Rockefeller’s Treachery.
We know that following that trip, CIA operatives reported Iraqi military convoys carrying something across the Syrian border and this became the centerpiece of Colin Powell’s case to the UN Security Council, including satellite images of the convoys. It was later reported by The World Tribune on August 26, 2003, “U.S. intelligence suspects Iraq's weapons of mass destruction have finally been located. Unfortunately, getting to them will be nearly impossible for the United States and its allies, because the containers with the strategic materials are not in Iraq. Instead they are located in Lebanon's heavily-fortified Bekaa Valley, swarming with Iranian and Syrian forces, and Hizbullah and ex-Iraqi agents.”
By June of 2004, The World Tribune reported “The United Nations has determined that Saddam Hussein shipped weapons of mass destruction components as well as medium-range ballistic missiles before, during and after the U.S.-led war against Iraq in 2003. The UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission briefed the Security Council on new findings that could help trace the whereabouts of Saddam's missile and WMD program.”
“The briefing contained satellite photographs that demonstrated the speed with which Saddam dismantled his missile and WMD sites before and during the war. Council members were shown photographs of a ballistic missile site outside Baghdad in May 2003, and then saw a satellite image of the same location in February 2004, in which facilities had disappeared.”
So is it true? Did U.S. and world-wide intelligence agencies have it all wrong? Or did we simply arrive in Iraq after the vast majority of unaccounted for WMD had been systematically moved outside of Iraq?
Then there is the little matter of what we did find in Iraq, which nobody including the President wants to discuss. On June 23 of 2004, U.S. Forces found and removed 1.77 metric tons of enriched uranium from a nuclear facility in Iraq. The Department of Energy, according to spokesman Bryan Wilkes, cataloged the removal of radioactive materials in “powder form” (easily deployed and dispersed), the worst kind of WMD post 9/11.
Tipped off by Iraqi citizens, the Polish Military spent $5000. a pop to purchase seventeen chemical-weapons warheads buried in the sand, in an effort to keep them off of the black market and out of the hands of terrorist organizations operating in Iraq. These warheads tested positive for “cyclosarin”, a nerve agent reportedly five times the strength of “sarin”.
In addition, U.S. troops found 1500 gallons of chemical agents in a Mosul warehouse in August of 2005. There are more incidents, but you get the point. These are all WMD, some of the very WMD we were concerned could end up in the wrong hands and all found in Iraq.
So again, how wrong was the pre-war intelligence concerning Iraq and its WMD program? And based on this information, why would the President now back away from these facts?
Unless you live in a cave, you have also most likely seen all of the damning statements made against Iraq by all those wannabe national leaders who have since criticized there own statements as false and misleading. But in case you missed them, here they are…Why the Facts No Longer Count
While much of the pre-war intelligence might have unknowingly been no longer valid, as in once valid but now outdated by days or weeks, it was certainly not “wrong”. So why do we see the President’s current effort to take responsibility for a wrong that didn’t even happen?
On a similar topic, why do we now see Bush cowing to John McCain’s “anti-torture” legislative effort? Doesn’t Bush remember that McCain’s legislative effort to eliminate special interest money from campaigns resulted in the biggest special interest bonanza in campaign history?
Maybe Bush should read Richard Miniter’s most recent Best Seller “Disinformation”, appropriately sub-titled “22 Media Myths That Undermine the War on Terror”. In it, Miniter clearly separates undocumented speculations from well documented pieces of hard evidence concerning pre-war intelligence and many other hot-button issues surrounding our efforts in the war on terror.
Bush’s statements of December 18, 2005 are the closest he has come to telling a lie concerning Iraq and pre-war intelligence, best I can tell. Why and why now?
Any honest examination of pre and post war intelligence from any reliable sources will lead any reasonable individual to conclude that we most likely got to Iraq too late, rather than too soon. That the pre-war intelligence was far more right than anyone wants to admit and that certain members of the American opposition party took at best, questionable actions to insure that by the time we got to Baghdad, the evidence supporting all pre-war intelligence would be gone.
So again, why the confession?
In a word, “politics”. Not Bush’s political career which is drawing to a close. Not Cheney’s political career as he will soon be headed to pasture. Not to save the Bush legacy, that will be written upon the long term success or failure of administration policies overall.
Simply the modern day politics of winning an unconventional war against an unconventional enemy, being fought on the TV screens of Americans who would much rather be watching their favorite sitcom or sportscast without a care in the world.
If Bush is to complete this mission and win this battle in the war against international terrorism, then he needs the support of the American people to do it. Our military won’t lose in the field of operations. The international community won’t be a factor for or against victory, they never are. But the American people have the power to lose this war. They have the power to bring our soldiers home in defeat.
If the American people make this decision on the basis of disinformation in the press or at the demands of the opposition party desperately seeking power by any means under the sun, then they will make an emotional decision on the basis of bad information and they won’t like the outcome at all.
Bush has chosen to forfeit the PR battle at home in an effort to gain public support for winning the war abroad. Will it work? Only time will tell.
But remember, the left pushed his father into breaking his promise of “no new taxes” too, only to later successfully use it against him in his re-election bid.
Bush has it right in the war on terror. I’m not sure he has it right in the war against his political foes at home, who will never concede him anything positive, no matter what.
JB Williams is a business man, a husband, a father, and a no nonsense commentator on American politics, American history, and American philosophy.
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