Did Bush Lie About Weapons of Mass Destruction?
By James D. Agresti
February 16, 2016
During Saturday night’s GOP presidential debate in North Carolina, Donald Trump asserted that former president George W. Bush and his administration deliberately misled the world about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Trump declared: “They lied! They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none, and they knew there were none.”
This claim that Bush lied about Iraq’s weaponry has been a repeated accusation of his political opponents. The same individuals have also ascribed various motives to Bush, including the desire to take Iraq’s oil, enrich the military-industrial complex, and settle a vendetta with Saddam Hussein on behalf of Bush’s father.
Conspiracies aside, the notion that Bush purposely deceived anyone about this matter conflicts with a broad range of verifiable facts. Even before Bush took office, Bill Clinton, high-ranking members of his administration, and many prominent Democrats assessed the evidence and arrived at the same conclusion that Bush reached. For example:
- “So there was an organization that is set up to monitor whether Saddam Hussein had gotten rid of his weapons of mass destruction. And that organization, UNSCOM, has made clear it has not.”
– Madeline Albright, Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State, November 10, 1999
- “The UNSCOM inspectors believe that Iraq still has stockpiles of chemical and biological munitions, a small force of Scud-type missiles, and the capacity to restart quickly its production program and build many, many more weapons.”
– President Bill Clinton, February 17, 1998
- “Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.”
– Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, December 16, 1998
- “There is a very easy way for this problem to be resolved, and that is for Saddam Hussein to do what he said he would do … at the end of the Gulf War when he signed the cease-fire agreement: destroy his weapons of mass destruction and let the international community come in and see that he has done that. Period.”
– Samuel Berger, Bill Clinton’s National Security Advisor, February 18, l998
- “We urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq’s refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs.”
– Letter to Bill Clinton signed by 27 U.S. Senators, including Democrats John Kerry, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Mikulski, Carl Levin, Chris Dodd, Tom Daschle, and others, October 9, 1998
- “Saddam has delayed; he has duped; he has deceived the inspectors from the very first day on the job. I have another chart which shows exactly what I’m talking about. From the very beginning, he declared he had no offensive biological weapons programs. Then, when confronted with evidence following the defection of his son-in-law, he admitted they had produced more than 2100 gallons of anthrax. … But the UN inspectors believe that Saddam Hussein still has his weapons of mass destruction capability—enough ingredients to make 200 tons of VX nerve gas; 31,000 artillery shells and rockets filled with nerve and mustard gas; 17 tons of media to grow biological agents; large quantities of anthrax and other biological agents.”
– William Cohen, Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Defense, February 18, l998
Democrats made many other similar statements to this effect both before and after Bush took office. Yet, Snopes.com, a website ostensibly dedicated to debunking urban legends, has tried to diminish their import by noting that some of them “were offered in the course of statements that clearly indicated the speaker was decidedly against unilateral military intervention in Iraq by the U.S.”
That line of reasoning is an irrelevant distraction from the issue at hand. Such quotes were not brought forward to show that these people supported military action but that Democrats had no legitimate grounds for accusing Bush of lying. The chain email that Snopes critiqued for sharing these quotes makes this abundantly clear in its concluding words: “Now the Democrats say President Bush lied, that there never were any WMD’s and he took us to war for his oil buddies??? Right!!!”
In the same piece, Snopes also whitewashed these quotes by declaring that several of them predate military strikes in 1998 that the Clinton administration said “degraded Saddam Hussein’s ability to deliver chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.”
That is a classic half-truth, for on the day that Bill Clinton ordered this action, he stated that these strikes will “significantly” degrade Hussein’s programs, but they “cannot destroy all the weapons of mass destruction capacity.”
In addition to the facts above, in 2004, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee released a 500+ page report about “Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq.” The committee members—including eight Republicans and seven Democrats—unanimously concluded:
The Committee did not find any evidence that intelligence analysts changed their judgments as a result of political pressure, altered or produced intelligence products to conform with Administration policy, or that anyone even attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to do so.
This statement appears on page 273 of the report, and the next 10 pages of the report provide detailed documentation that proves it.
Significantly, this report is not dismissive of the intelligence failures that preceded the Iraq war. It declares that “most of the major key judgments” made by the intelligence community in its “most authoritative” prewar report were “either overstated, or were not supported by, the underlying intelligence reporting.” However, as the quote above reveals, the committee found no malfeasance on the part of Bush or his appointees.
With disregard for these facts, the self-described “progressive” news outlet ThinkProgress, is giving credence to Trump’s claim by reporting:
A 2005 report from United Nations inspectors found that by the time Bush sent U.S. soldiers to disarm Saddam Hussein, all evidence indicated there was nothing to support claims of nuclear or biological weapons.
The hyperlink above leads to a 2005 Washington Post article about the Robb-Silberman report, which was commissioned by President Bush himself. These ThinkProgress and Washington Post articles both fail to provide a link to the actual report and any indication that the following statement appears on its opening page:
After a thorough review, the Commission found no indication that the Intelligence Community distorted the evidence regarding Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. What the intelligence professionals told you about Saddam Hussein’s programs was what they believed. They were simply wrong.
The same ThinkProgress article, written by Zack Ford, also mischaracterizes a 2006 report from 60 Minutes. According to Ford:
In 2006, Tyler Drumheller, former chief of the CIA’s Europe division, revealed that in 2002, Bush, Vice President Cheney, and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice were informed that Iraq had no active weapons of mass destruction program.
In reality, 60 Minutes found that a lone source, an Iraqi foreign minister who “demonized the U.S. and defended Saddam,” had claimed this was the case. It is no mystery that such a person would be greeted with skepticism.
In summary, Trump’s allegation that Bush lied has no demonstrable basis in fact. Instead, it is grounded in proven falsehoods.
You are lying and so was G.W. Bush. Colin Powell had been told before he announced on TV the presence of WMDs in Iraq that there were no WMDs in Iraq. Bush wanted to invade, he wanted the oil and money and he whined on TV that Saddam had tried to, “Kill my daddy.” So, on March 19th, 2003 Bush announced, with all of his lies, the invasion of Iraq.
During the lead-up to war in 2003, United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix said that Iraq made significant progress toward resolving open issues of disarmament noting the “proactive” but not always “immediate” cooperation as called for by UN Security Council Resolution 1441. He concluded that it would take “but months” to resolve the key remaining disarmament tasks. The United States asserted this was a breach of Resolution 1441, but failed to convince the UN Security Council to pass a new resolution authorizing the use of force due to lack of evidence.
Despite being unable to get a new resolution authorizing force and citing section 3 of the Joint Resolution passed by the U.S. Congress, President George W. Bush asserted peaceful measures could not disarm Iraq of the weapons he alleged it to have and launched a second Gulf War. Later U.S.-led inspections found out that Iraq had earlier ceased active WMD production and stockpiling. The report also found that Iraq had worked covertly to maintain the intellectual and physical capacity to produce WMDs and intended to restart production once sanctions were lifted. (Wikipedia, Retrieved from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction)
In his final word, the CIA’s top weapons inspector in Iraq said Monday that the hunt for weapons of mass destruction has “gone as far as feasible” and has found nothing, closing an investigation into the purported programs of Saddam Hussein that were used to justify the 2003 invasion.
“After more than 18 months, the WMD investigation and debriefing of the WMD-related detainees has been exhausted,” wrote Charles Duelfer, head of the Iraq Survey Group, in an addendum to the final report he issued last fall.
“As matters now stand, the WMD investigation has gone as far as feasible.” (NBC News, 04/25/2005. Retrieved from: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/7634313/ns/world_news-mideast_n_africa/t/cias-final-report-no-wmd-found-iraq/#.VsNRL1UrKM8)
The following is a website that you probably already know about and conveniently ignore: (http://mindprod.com/politics/iraqlies.html)
I dare you to publicize my Post! You won’t because you are also liars; your ‘facts’ are lies!
well said, it also belies the facts that Bush was just the next phase in the process that Clinton, following Bush Senior, who clearly lied blatantly many times about the 300 plus babies killed in hospitals by Iraqi troops was as committed to as anyone within the neocon military industrial empire. Comments from a woman who thought it “worth it” to murder 500,000 Iraqi children over Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, an invasion he was told America would not act upon before he invaded, is a very bad joke.. this piece is pure propaganda.
Wrong War! You are referring to the Kuwait War!
Get real. You cited Wikipedia, a website named “Roedy Green of Canadian Mind Products,” and an NBC News article that effectively says nothing beyond what was already stated in my article. This pales in comparison to the multitude of credible, primary sources that I cited. Every fact in the article is rigorously documented and provably accurate. Nothing you wrote changes that.
That site is totes legit bro.
Nicholas Atkinson (Wikipedia):
“The United States asserted this was a breach of Resolution 1441, but failed to convince the UN Security Council to pass a new resolution authorizing the use of force due to lack of evidence.”
The breach of UNSCR 1441 was UNMOVIC finding “about 100 unresolved disarmament issues”, for example, “UNMOVIC has credible information that the total quantity of BW agent in bombs, warheads and in bulk at the time of the Gulf War was 7,000 litres more than declared by Iraq” and “With respect to stockpiles of bulk agent stated to have been destroyed, there is evidence to suggest that these was [sic] not destroyed as declared by Iraq.”
Nicholas Atkinson (Wikipedia):
“He concluded that it would take “but months” to resolve the key remaining disarmament tasks.”
The “key remaining disarmament tasks” included in fact the same tasks that Iraq promised to fulfill within 15 days at the outset of the Gulf War ceasefire in 1991 – namely, a total declaration of its nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs and the missiles to deliver them.
12 years later as the deadline for Saddam’s “final opportunity to comply” (UNSCR 1441) passed, Iraq still had not fulfilled the baseline step of the UN disarmament process Saddam had promised fulfilled within 15 days in 1991.
Blix’s request for an indefinite number of months was a reaction to Iraq’s latest failure to fulfill the obligation it had avoided for the better part of a decade with tactics of delay and deception against UNSCOM. Iraq used the same tactics against UNMOVIC in 2002-2003.
Blix was asking for more time to try again after Iraq had failed the UNSCR 1441 compliance test in Saddam’s “final opportunity to comply” (UNSCR 1441). It’s murky on what basis Blix believed Saddam would comply with the “governing standard of Iraqi compliance” (UNSCR 1441) if the US and UN backed down when Saddam called our bluff on the last remaining enforcement measure in his “final opportunity to comply” (UNSCR 1441) after nearly twelve years of steadfast Iraqi noncompliance.
Post-war, the Iraq Survey Group confirmed that Saddam had no intention to disarm as mandated by the terms of the Gulf War ceasefire.
Nicholas Atkinson (Wikipedia):
“The report also found that Iraq had worked covertly to maintain the intellectual and physical capacity to produce WMDs and intended to restart production once sanctions were lifted.”
According to the “governing standard of Iraqi compliance” (UNSCR 1441) enforced under US law, that violation alone was sufficient to corroborate the casus belli for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Nicholas Atkinson (NBCNews):
“In his final word, the CIA’s top weapons inspector in Iraq said Monday that the hunt for weapons of mass destruction has “gone as far as feasible” and has found nothing, closing an investigation into the purported programs of Saddam Hussein that were used to justify the 2003 invasion.”
Actually, Charles Duelfer determined, “ISG judges that Iraq failed to comply with UNSCRs”.
David Kay, Duelfer’s predecessor as head of the Iraq Survey Group, reported to Congress:
“In my judgment, based on the work that has been done to this point of the Iraq Survey Group, and in fact, that I reported to you in October, Iraq was in clear violation of the terms of [U.N.] Resolution 1441. Resolution 1441 required that Iraq report all of its activities — one last chance to come clean about what it had. We have discovered hundreds of cases, based on both documents, physical evidence and the testimony of Iraqis, of activities that were prohibited under the initial U.N. Resolution 687 and that should have been reported under 1441, with Iraqi testimony that not only did they not tell the U.N. about this, they were instructed not to do it and they hid material.”
In other words, UNMOVIC confirmed Iraq remained in material breach of the disarmament mandates of the Gulf War ceasefire to establish casus belli. The Iraq Survey Group then corroborated UNMOVIC’s confirmation of Iraq’s material breach.
I have to concur with the last two comments. This also doesn’t take into account the intentions of the neoconservatives who really REALLY wanted to invade Iraq.
In short, without me consuming my whole evening, the intelligence was cherry-picked to support the neoconservatives’ claim that Iraq had WMDs, in which they didn’t.
Just because the Democrats lied before him doesn’t vindicate a Republican’s assumption that there were WMDs in Iraq. It just means they all lied. In general, politicians lie. It’s what they do.
If anything, the calamity of Bush’s continued lie was even worse because of the full-scale invasion of a sovereign nation which further destabilized the Middle East and brought thousands of deaths of US Troops. Let’s not forget about blowback….
One way or another, Bush WANTED to invade Iraq. With the heightened collective emotional “patriotism” (if you want to call it that) post-9/11, the public bought right into this false narrative. Any questioning of not supporting the war was considered to be “un-American”. I’m still munching on my freedom fries, not french fries. 😉
I remember vividly Bush and Rumsfeld on TV arrogantly proclaiming that the WMDs were DEFINITELY there. They didn’t say MAYBE, POSSIBLY, or VERY LIKELY. They said THEY WERE THERE. And several years later….? There were NONE. That means they lied.
Quit with the verbal gymnastics and look at the bigger picture here. You’re right most of the time. But on this you’re not.
“There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. As this operation continues, those weapons will be identified, found, along with the people who have produced them and who guard them.” – Gen. Tommy Franks
“The Iraqi regime… possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons.” – President George W. Bush
“We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas.” – President George W. Bush
“We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons — the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have.” – President George W. Bush
These are just a sample of quotes. This doesn’t even include Rumsfeld.
Let’s deal with the facts instead of conspiracy theories. In all of the words above there is not even a shred of verifiable evidence that anyone lied. Yet, you’re claiming that all of the politicians lied, including even the Democrats who opposed the war. Sorry, but this does not cut it.
There is plenty of verifiable evidence that the Bush administration had every intention to wage war with Iraq. That’s just a plain fact. There are several books that document conversations between political officials who wanted to build up a case for invading Iraq. I’m not going to get into all the detail right now. But it is there.
Biden, Kerry, Hillary, Schumer, and Reid all supported the war. If I’m not mistaken, Gore voiced support for the war as well.
Saying that Bush had “every intention” to wage war and claiming that he lied are two very different things.
There are also “several books” that claim to document how the U.S. faked landing on the moon and countless other cockamamie ideas. Just Facts deals with verifiable facts, and to get these, one must generally deal with primary sources. This is because secondary sources (like many books on this topic) often distort the facts. Just look in this article at how ThinkProgress and the Washington Post distorted the Robb-Silberman report.
Cherry-picking certain Democrats proves nothing. Other Democrats fiercely opposed the war, including some of the people cited in my article. You provided no evidence that even one of them lied about WMDs, much less all of them.
Actually, the very fact that President Bush restored the compliance-based UN disarmament process shows that he hoped to solve the “crisis between the United States and Iraq” (Clinton, 28JUL00) diplomatically.
Bush didn’t need to go to the UN for UNSCR 1441 to restore the UN disarmament process. For the ad hoc ‘containment’ that followed Operation Desert Fox and the departure of UNSCOM from Iraq in December 1998, President Clinton had drafted the intelligence to substitute for the UN weapons inspections as an ad hoc trigger for enforcement.
Bush could have simply used Clinton’s ad hoc enforcement procedure for the ad hoc ‘containment’ to go directly to war with Iraq based on the pre-war intelligence, which correctly indicated a growing flow of proscribed weapons materials into Iraq. Saddam was in fact rearming with intent.
However, Bush opted to end the ad hoc ‘containment’ and restore the compliance-based UN disarmament process to give Saddam a “final opportunity to comply” (UNSCR 1441), which restored Iraqi compliance with the UN weapons inspections as the trigger for enforcement. The moment that UNMOVIC and IAEA were set to go to work in Iraq, the pre-war intelligence could no longer trigger enforcement.
Although Bush officials cited to the pre-war intelligence, President Bush correctly and consistently stated that enforcement of Iraq’s “final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions of the Council” (UNSCR 1441) depended on Iraq’s compliance.
By procedure, the pre-war intelligence cited by Bush officials did not and could not trigger OIF. The casus belli for Operation Iraqi Freedom was established with the UNMOVIC finding of “about 100 unresolved disarmament issues” which confirmed Iraq remained in material breach of the Gulf War ceasefire.
Bush didn’t lie his way to war with Iraq. Iraq’s material breach across the board of the Gulf War ceasefire was confirmed for casus belli.
So, Saddam SAID he had WMDs, he actually USED WMDs, every intelligence agency in the west believed he STILL had WMDs, and BOTH Republicans & prominent, liberal Democrats believed he had WMDs. So beyond the hard, irrefutable data from Just Facts, can you imagine the level of criticism if we hadn’t gone after the WMDs? It’s easy to be a Monday morning quarterback, especially if you can make political hay from it!
According to the “governing standard of Iraqi compliance” (UNSCR 1441) mandated by the Gulf War ceasefire enforced under US law, Saddam was confirmed guilty on WMD.
It has nothing to do with any kind of conspiracy theories. It’s a simple analysis of facts.
They had every intention of invading Iraq. Their intention was to ONLY use specific information from intelligence sources to support their WANTED claim that Iraq had WMDs. There were plenty of people in the Intel community that contradicted these reports.
I would say that purposely taking certain information and purposely neglecting other information, with the loving intention of going to war, is what concocting a lie is all about? I’d say it’s a pretty big lie.
I appreciate this dialogue. You are in the right place, and after what follows, there should be no reason to continue believing what you do.
Above and beyond all of the facts documented in this article, consider the following additional facts from the 2004 Senate Intelligence Committee report, which again, was unanimously approved by members of both parties. This includes Democrats who voted against the war, including Carl Levin, Ron Wyden, Richard J. Durbin, and Barbara Mikulski.
Fact 1: The U.S. government’s “comprehensive” and “authoritative” prewar intelligence report on Iraq’s weaponry was not researched, collated, or written by Bush or any of his political appointees. Instead, it was solely the work of career intelligence professionals.
Fact 2: The report explicitly stated that Iraq “is reconstituting its nuclear program,” “has chemical and biological weapons,” was developing a drone “probably intended to deliver biological warfare agents,” and “all key aspects—research & development (R&D), production, and weaponization—of Iraq’s offensive biological weapons (BW) program are active and that most elements are larger and more advanced than they were before the Gulf War.”
Fact 3: Bush and his administration accurately conveyed to the public what the report stated.
Fact 4: The career intelligence professionals who produced the report were questioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which “did not find any evidence that intelligence analysts changed their judgments as a result of political pressure, altered or produced intelligence products to conform with Administration policy, or that anyone even attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to do so. When asked whether analysts were pressured in any way to alter their assessments or make their judgments conform with Administration policies on Iraq’s WMD programs, not a single analyst answered ‘yes.’ ”
In sum, your claim that the Bush and his appointees intended to “ONLY use specific information from intelligence sources” is diametrically contrary to these facts.
In keeping with the facts, the Washington Post’s legendary Watergate reporter Bob Woodward stated: “I spent 18 months looking at how Bush decided to invade Iraq. And lots of mistakes, but it was Bush telling George Tenet, the CIA director, don’t let anyone stretch the case on WMD. … A mistake certainly can be argued, and there is an abundance of evidence. But there was no lying in this that I could find.”
Given the substance and verifiability of all the facts above, for you to keep claiming that “Bush lied” is exactly what you accused Bush of doing: “purposely taking certain information and purposely neglecting other information.”
The intelligence was just the intelligence. It wasn’t casus belli. The intelligence did not and could not trigger enforcement according to the operative enforcement procedure for the Gulf War ceasefire.
Only Iraq’s noncompliance could trigger enforcement, and only Iraq’s compliance could switch off the enforcement.
The principal trigger for Operation Iraqi Freedom was the UNMOVIC finding of “about 100 unresolved disarmament issues” that confirmed Iraq remained noncompliant with the disarmament mandates – ie, material breach of the Gulf War ceasefire.
Although the pre-war intelligence was shown to be predictively imprecise, it correctly indicated Saddam was engaged in proscribed armament and terrorist activity in breach of the Gulf War ceasefire.
It amazes me that people believe that they “know” what Bush was feeling and thinking. I suggest that people cannot know what Bush wanted. We cannot see into Bush’s mind and heart. The whole idea rests upon a false assumption which is this: Republicans are evil; therefore, they do and want to do evil things. Bush is a Republican; therefore, what he does is evil. When you start with that reasoning, it is easy to “know” that Bush wanted war and that he wanted the oil.
Robb-Silberman got it right: a multitude of intelligence agencies reported that Sadaam had WMD, even European intelligence agencies. Sadaam acted like he had them. Sadaam was rewarding the families of suicide bombers with thousands of dollars. Sadaam was stealing the food given to help the people. Sadaam shot at our aircraft and broke the no-fly zone rules. Bush with the British decided to bring him down. But did Bush lie? No. Was the war a mistake? Maybe. But Bush had lots of good reasons to “dethrone” Sadaam. As a matter of fact, “regime change” was the official policy of USA even during Clinton’s last years in office. “Bush lied, people died” is a cliche based on false assumptions and lots of emotion without lots of information.
President Clinton, CNN interview, 22JUL03:
“Let me tell you what I know. When I left office, there was a substantial amount of biological and chemical material unaccounted for. That is, at the end of the first Gulf War, we knew what he had. We knew what was destroyed in all the inspection processes and that was a lot. And then we bombed with the British for four days in 1998. We might have gotten it all; we might have gotten half of it; we might have gotten none of it. But we didn’t know.”
I’m pretty skeptical of the “official” Senate Intelligence report.
What about taking other things into account? What about Seymour Hersh’s account of the administration “stovepiping” information and “selective intelligence”? What about Edward Luttwack’s account of the White House lying about the intelligence? What about what Karen Kwiatkowski’s said about the war planners “cherry-picking” intelligence to support their claims? What about General Shelton accusing the Bush administration of Iraq war lies? These here aren’t just comments from the peanut gallery.
Everyone knows that the administration started out with an agenda for invading Iraq. They then PURPOSELY held back intelligence that contradicted their claims and PURPOSELY wanted to believe their own “facts”. This is either ideological madness, or just simple lying. IMO, it’s more the former, which is something way more dangerous, because the same mindset occurs still to this day with the same kind of people.
I do my own analysis and critical thinking of the matter. I take both “official” AND “secondary” sources into account. I question what the government wants me to believe.
If nations NEVER engaged in conspiracies, and government officials NEVER lied, I’d believe what the government tells me 100%. But since this isn’t the case, I at least question it. It’s only fair and we all owe it to ourselves to find out the truth.
The conspiracy by your “peanut gallery” is disqualified by its false premise that the pre-war intelligence was the cause of war. In fact, the controlling law, policy, and precedent that defined the operative enforcement procedure for the Gulf War ceasefire and, in accordance, the determinative fact findings that governed the decision for Operation Iraqi Freedom plainly show the cause of war was Iraq’s material breach – across the board – of the Gulf War ceasefire.
Whether or not President Bush wished for war with Iraq (he didn’t), the decision was Saddam’s to make in his “final opportunity to comply” (UNSCR 1441): comply as mandated to switch off enforcement or stay in breach to trigger enforcement.
Saddam chose to stay in material breach of the Gulf War ceasefire and triggered OIF.
The basic mandate of the US-led enforcement of the UNSCR 660-series resolutions since 1990-1991, including the Gulf War ceasefire based on UNSCRs 687 and 688, was to “bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations” (Public Law 105-235) according to the “governing standard of Iraqi compliance” (UNSCR 1441) set by the UN mandates.
The pre-war intelligence was not the governing standard of Iraqi compliance. If Bush had presented the pre-war intelligence sparingly, differently, or not at all to the public, the operative enforcement procedure for Iraq’s mandated compliance would have been the same.
I disagree. You know, as well as I do, that the Bush administration sold the public on the Iraq WMD threat along with stretching Al-Qaeda connections. We all saw and heard Bush, Cheney, Powell, and Rumsfeld on TV.
Hans Blix, the head UN weapons inspector for Iraq, stated himself that Iraq neither possessed or had the means to produce WMDs. The Bush administration brazenly contradicted these claims and invaded anyways.
Blix even stated in a BBC interview that the US and Britain dramatized the WMD threat. Why else would the US have done that? Intention? I certainly believe so.
Was Iraq such an imminent threat to launch a full-scale invasion?
There are way too many opposing documented claims from all sources to claim that what Trump said is false.
“You know, as well as I do, that the Bush administration sold the public on the Iraq WMD threat along with stretching Al-Qaeda connections.”
Actually, the Bush administration inherited that position. To wit, President Clinton, 17FEB98:
–“[This] is not a time free from peril — especially as a result of reckless acts of outlaw nations and an unholy axis of terrorists … they will be all the more lethal if we allow them to build arsenals of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, and the missiles to deliver them. We simply cannot allow that to happen.
There is no more clear example of this threat than Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
… In the next century, the community of nations may see more and more the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists”
President Clinton inherited the position, too. The basic Gulf War ceasefire resolution, UNSCR 687 (1991), featured WMD disarmament (paras 8 to 13) and terrorism renouncement (para 32) mandates that Iraq was required to satisfy in order to switch off enforcement.
Clinton and Bush officials were simply citing to the condition of Iraq’s WMD and terrorism that was established in the factual baseline of the “governing standard of Iraqi compliance” since 1991. There was no burden of proof on the US and UN to prove Iraq was guilty on WMD and terrorism. By procedure, the burden of proof was on Iraq to prove it disarmed its WMD and renounced its terrorism as mandated by the terms of ceasefire.
“Hans Blix, the head UN weapons inspector for Iraq, stated himself that Iraq neither possessed or had the means to produce WMDs.”
Excerpt from Hans Blix’s update to the Security Council on 27JAN03:
–“The nerve agent VX is one of the most toxic ever developed. Iraq has declared that it only produced VX on a pilot scale, just a few tons, and that the quality was poor and the product unstable.
Consequently, it was said that the agent was never weaponized.
Iraq said that the small quantity of [the] agent remaining after the Gulf War was unilaterally destroyed in the summer of 1991.
UNMOVIC, however, has information that conflicts with this account. There are indications that Iraq had worked on the problem of purity and stabilization and that more had been achieved than has been declared. Indeed, even one of the documents provided by Iraq indicates that the purity of the agent, at least in laboratory production, was higher than declared.
There are also indications that the agent was weaponized.”
Excerpt from Blix’s report to the Security Council on 07MAR03 that established casus belli:
–“UNMOVIC evaluated and assessed this material as it has became [sic] available and … produced an internal working document covering about 100 unresolved disarmament issues …
… [for example] UNSCOM considered that the evidence was insufficient to support Iraq’s statements on the quantity of anthrax destroyed and where or when it was destroyed[,] … UNMOVIC has credible information that the total quantity of BW agent in bombs, warheads and in bulk at the time of the Gulf War was 7,000 litres more than declared by Iraq[, and] … With respect to stockpiles of bulk agent stated to have been destroyed, there is evidence to suggest that these was [sic] not destroyed as declared by Iraq.”
As for Saddam’s terrorism, the Iraqi Perspectives Project, which analyzed captured regime materials, confirmed the Saddam regime’s terrorism included Islamic terrorism that overlapped the al Qaeda network:
–“Captured Iraqi documents have uncovered evidence that links the regime of Saddam Hussein to regional and global terrorism, including a variety of revolutionary, liberation, nationalist, and Islamic terrorist organizations. … Because Saddam�s security organizations and Osama bin Laden�s terrorist network operated with similar aims (at least in the short term), considerable overlap was inevitable when monitoring, contacting, financing, and training the same outside groups. This created both the appearance of and, in some ways, a �de facto� link between the organizations. At times, these organizations would work together in pursuit of shared goals … evidence shows that Saddam�s use of terrorist tactics and his support for terrorist groups remained strong up until the collapse of the regime.”
“Was Iraq such an imminent threat to launch a full-scale invasion?”
Due to the successive Iran-Iraq and Gulf Wars and his intransigence and belligerence through the Gulf War ceasefire, Saddam intrinsically manifested the threat. The Gulf War ceasefire was purpose-designed to pacify Saddam’s manifested threat via the mandated measures. As such, if Saddam was noncompliant, that meant Saddam remained a threat, the Gulf War ceasefire was breached, and the Government of Iraq’s status was restored to the Gulf War.
That being said, President Bush pointedly did not characterize the situation as an “imminent” threat. To wit, excerpt from the 2003 State of the Union:
–“Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.”
Rather, Bush characterized the situation as a “grave and gathering” threat. While the pre-war intelligence was off the mark, nevertheless, Bush’s concern was validated by the post-war Iraq Survey Group and Iraqi Perspectives Project findings. Saddam was in fact rearming in breach of UNSCR 687 – eg, “From 1999 until he was deposed in April 2003, Saddam’s conventional weapons and WMD-related procurement programs steadily grew in scale, variety, and efficiency” (Iraq Survey Group). And, as I quoted the IPP report, Saddam was in fact a world-leading terrorist, including Islamic terrorism that overlapped the al Qaeda network, in breach of UNSCR 687.
That being said, don’t lose sight that we did not invade Iraq outright despite that Iraq evidently was in material breach across the board of the Gulf War ceasefire. President Bush made sure Saddam was granted a full and fair second “final opportunity to comply” (UNSCR 1441).
In December 1998, Clinton had declared “Iraq has abused its final chance” and bombed Iraq with Operation Desert Fox after a 3-week compliance test with UNSCOM.
Under substantially the same “governing standard of Iraqi compliance” (UNSCR 1441 was stricter), Bush gave Saddam 4 months to comply with UNMOVIC, despite that it was clear early in the UNSCR 1441 inspections that Saddam had no intention to cure Iraq’s “continued violations of its obligations” (UNSCR 1441).
To understand the disingenuous of Blix’s request for an indefinite addition of months after Saddam failed the UNSCR 1441 compliance test, the baseline-setting step that Saddam failed to pass in the UN disarmament process was a full and verified declaration of his entire WMD-related program to the UN weapons inspectors. That step was supposed to take 15 days to satisfy – in 1991. Twelve years later, when Saddam triggered the OIF regime change, Iraq still hadn’t satisfied the baseline-setting step.
ISG confirmed Saddam had no intention to comply with the UN disarmament process. To wit, David Kay, head of Iraq Survey Group, testimony to Congress, 28JAN04:
–“We have discovered hundreds of cases, based on both documents, physical evidence and the testimony of Iraqis, of activities that were prohibited under the initial U.N. Resolution 687 and that should have been reported under 1441, with Iraqi testimony that not only did they not tell the U.N. about this, they were instructed not to do it and they hid material.”
The bottom line is if Saddam had simply complied with the terms of the Gulf War ceasefire in 1991-1992, let alone in 2002-2003, then there would have been no resumption of the Gulf War with Operation Iraqi Freedom when UNMOVIC confirmed Iraq’s “continued violations of its obligations” (UNSCR 1441) in Saddam’s “final opportunity to comply” (UNSCR 1441).
A) Bush #41 war with Saddam was a bunch of BS; a set-up from the time Rumsfeld shook Husseins’ hand, all the way to the “Highway of Death.”
B) I love how right wingers bring out President Clinton vs Hussein. At the time they paid no attention to anything he said and gave Clinton the back of the hand; saying it was all just to distract from the dog and pony show that eventually lead to impeachment.
C) Saddam was NOT put on trial, NOR was he executed for ANY violations of UN resolutions or reasons listed by Bush #43 in his State of the Union address.
D) The “trial” of Saddam Hussein received less television coverage than the trial of Scott Peterson.
What a disgrace, a sick disgusting joke.
A) With the original set of UNSCR 660 series resolutions preceding the Gulf War, just as with the UNSCR 660 series resolutions for the Gulf War ceasefire, the decision for war rested with Saddam. Saddam could, should have prevented war with Iraq’s mandated compliance in 1990-1991 no less than in 2002-2003.
B) The Gulf War ceasefire enforcement wasn’t partisan. Just as President Bush’s enforcement with Iraq carried forward from President Clinton, President Clinton’s enforcement with Iraq carried forward enforcement of the UNSCR 660 series from President HW Bush.
C) You’re incorrect. Pursuant UNSCR 688 and related international law, the Saddam regime’s human rights abuses were a core element throughout the US-led enforcement of the Gulf War ceasefire.
I have read several items in this site, and the info that most on the staff are conservative/libertarians…. and find quite a slant toward in that political direction of everything I have read.
That’s because this site is dedicated to debunking widespread falsehoods propagated by major media and cultural institutions, and such institutions frequently spread left-leaning falsehoods. Hence, what you see on this site is not evidence of bias on our part but evidence of bias on the part of the media. In cases where right-leaning falsehoods take hold and no one properly debunks them, we go after them as well.
If the Bush administration really believed that the Saddam regime possessed weapons of mass destruction, it would not have attacked Iraq. Since Bush made it publicly clear that he was out for regime change, he and his advisers knew that Saddam would be fighting for his life and would therefore use all the weapons at his disposal against the invaders including WMD. Also, if Iraq had WMD how could Bush be certain that Saddam had not smuggled these weapons into the U.S. for use against American targets if Iraq was invaded? Were potentially horrific American casualties to overthrow Saddam politically acceptable to the neocons just to get American hands on Iraqi oil? I doubt it.
Therefore, the very fact that Bush invaded Iraq meant that he and his intelligence agencies knew without a doubt that Saddam had no WMD.
Why would WMD in the hands of Saddam be any worse than WMD in the hands of any other regime? Which advanced industrial power does not have WMD including all of Washington’s European allies? The only nation to have ever used the most destructive WMD – nuclear weapons – is the U.S. The psychopaths Stalin and Mao didn’t, but an American President, Truman, did and against defenseless civilian targets.
Furthermore, both Bushes, Clinton and Obama have all authorized the use of WMD – depleted uranium. Thousands of tons of depleted uranium munitions have been deployed in Serbia, Afghanistan and the Middle East leaving a radioactive contamination of the air, water and soil of those cursed lands for all eternity as far as mankind is concerned. Yet the tree-hugging American media is totally silent on this, the worst environmental and public health catastrophe imaginable.
The American people are finally waking up to the fact, which the rest of the world is well aware of, and that is that the neocons occupying Washington are the most hypocritical and murderous cabal on the planet.
Your speculative theory is disproven by the fact that “Iran suffered more than 50,000 casualties from Iraq’s repeated use of nerve agents and toxic gases in the 1980s.” Yet, in 1989 the U.S. attacked Iraq after Iraq invaded Kuwait.
In reply to your question: “Why would WMD in the hands of Saddam be any worse than WMD in the hands of any other regime?” Because Saddam wantonly used WMDs against civilians (including his own) who posed no threat to him.
Depleted uranium in not a WMD, and your comments about it expose gross ignorance on your part.
The U.S. used nuclear weapons to end WWII, thereby saving far more American and Japanese lives than were lost. Most importantly, the U.S. has done more than any nation in the history of the world to protect innocent lives and defend freedom. Were it not for the U.S. military, the entire world (you included) would have been plunged into the darkness of communism and fascism.
James D. Agresti,
MetaCynic’s theory is dispelled on its face by the UNSCR 687 disarmament process with UNSCOM and UNMOVIC, and the Iraq Survey Group fact findings.
One, for the OIF decision itself, the question of whether Iraq disarmed its proscribed armament was not guesswork nor even intelligence work in the UNSCR 687 disarmament process. The question of whether Iraq disarmed as mandated was answered by the UN inspections. With UNSCOM then UNMOVIC, Saddam did not disarm as mandated. The 15DEC98 UNSCOM report, which dispositively confirmed Iraq did not disarm as mandated, triggered Operation Desert Fox. Then the 06MAR03 UNMOVIC report dispositively confirmed Iraq did not disarm as mandated in Iraq’s “final opportunity to comply” (UNSCR 1441), which triggered Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Post hoc, despite significant evidentiary gaps due in part to “sanitized” suspect areas, the Iraq Survey Group was able to confirm Saddam’s WMD intent, covert IIS procurement and chemical and biological labs, NBCM R&D, and ready CW/BW-convertible production capability. Apart from the enforcement-triggering question of whether Iraq disarmed as mandated, Saddam was in fact rearming in violation of UNSCR 687.
Notably, ISG confirmed IIS – the clandestine regime arm that originated Saddam’s WMD program and managed Saddam’s “regional and global terrorism” (IPP) – was secretly capable of producing CW and likely BW.
I think the important facts lie deeper that what is published officially or by news agencies. But getting those facts is very difficult and would require interviewing thousands of people (some of whom are already dead). Trying to get an organization or individual to implicate themselves is impossible. And people in general have no command of history, let alone what happened yesterday..so everything is fuzzy. Given that… it’s no wonder the true story is never quite found. Another way of putting it would be to ask, “how do you know when you have ‘all’ the facts”?
What we have is no weapons of mass destruction found. So what we don’t have is the facts on how so many agencies and individuals quoting those agencies got it wrong or where the WMD moved to. On the other hand, we do have tid-bits here and there all making allusions to the idea that many in our nation like to feel like we are helping…others like the fact we are strong and project power, yet other feel we are weak and need to become stronger…and our politicians are all to happy national angst for their purposes. They amass armies, exceed budgets, run up debt and tell us it’s all for some “greater” good that they define. In the end, there is so much crap floating in the cesspool that assembling a true story from what’s floated as fact…is woefully inadequate. All that is left is innuendo, and whispers, and a smell of coverup. I’ve come to believe that our politicians (Republicans and Democrats) have no interest in American beyond what benefit they can derive from themselves. And I believe the agencies under their command also have no love for America or Americans. They are self-serving entities with self-serving agendas. And we are the cannon fodder.
“What we have is no weapons of mass destruction found.”
The fundamental premise of your entire position is wrong.
The UNMOVIC findings, which confirmed Iraq’s breach of the Gulf War ceasefire WMD mandates and triggered OIF, the post hoc Iraq Survey Group findings, and Operation Avarice are in fact rife with WMD violations according to the “governing standard of Iraqi compliance” (UNSCR 1441).
Despite significant evidentiary gaps, ISG was able to confirm Saddam’s WMD intent, IIS procurement and chemical and biological labs, NBCM R&D, and ready CW/BW-convertible production capability. While by procedure, OIF was triggered by Saddam’s failure to disarm as mandated with UNMOVIC – irrespective of Iraq’s actual armament – ISG also confirmed Saddam was rearming in violation of UNSCR 687.
Keep in mind that in the Gulf War ceasefire UNSCR 687 disarmament process, Iraq’s proscribed armament was established fact. Upon the established fact of Iraq’s proscribed armament, Saddam’s guilt was presumed until Iraq proved it disarmed as mandated. Enforcement was keyed in on UN assessment of Iraq’s “continued violations of its obligations” (UNSCR 1441), not uncovering items to match estimates. The burden of proof was on Iraq to disarm as mandated. There was no burden on the US, UK, and UN to prove Iraq was armed as estimated.
Iraq’s burden of proof was practically necessary due to Saddam’s “denial and deception” (ISG). Iraq’s burden of proof also meant the UN inspections were not designed like a criminal forensic investigation that secured a crime scene against loss or contamination of evidence. In effect, Iraq was allowed by the UN inspections to hide, alter, or destroy evidence of proscribed armament as much as Iraq wanted since doing so only hindered Iraq from proving it disarmed according to the “governing standard of Iraqi compliance” (UNSCR 1441). OIF was triggered by Iraq’s failure to prove it disarmed. Indeed, ISG qualified its post hoc findings with significant evidentiary gaps, including “sanitized” suspect areas.
Nevertheless, once again, the fact findings are rife with Iraq’s UNSCR 687 WMD violations despite significant evidentiary gaps for several reasons, including suspect areas “sanitized” by Iraq.
No matter how thorough or intellectual someone wants to be on this topic, there is a fact that is indisputable. Cite this expert, or this study, or some congressional or intelligence agency report that seems agreeable or feasible. Blame the war on these weapons or some other reason, depending on political views. Opine about this lie or that lie, or who told it first. Say what was found was misinterpreted or misunderstood. Bottom line: Soldiers on the ground were exposed to and injured by WMDs found in Iraq. That is a fact. Not an opinion or an assessment.
While you’re correct that the munitions discovered in Operation Avarice provide additional corroboration of Iraq’s “continued violations of its obligations” (UNSCR 1441) in “material breach” (UNSCR 1441) of the “governing standard of Iraqi compliance” (UNSCR 1441) for WMD-related disarmament mandated in paragraphs 8 to 13 of UNSCR 687 of the Gulf War ceasefire, you’re incorrect that Operation Avarice constitutes the “bottom line” of evidence for the Iraq WMD issue.
In accordance with the operative procedure to “enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq” (Public Law 107-243), the WMD-related “bottom line” of evidence that established casus belli for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) was not Operation Avarice. Rather, the “bottom line” of evidence was provided in the 06MAR03 UNMOVIC report to the UN Security Council, the “about 100 unresolved disarmament issues” that confirmed Iraq failed to cure its “material breach” of the Gulf War ceasefire’s WMD-related measures in Saddam’s “final opportunity to comply” (UNSCR 1441).
By the operative enforcement procedure for the OIF decision, the prescribed measurement by the UN weapons inspectors of Iraq’s compliance with paragraphs 8 to 13 of UNSCR 687 was the principal trigger for Operation Iraqi Freedom. See the 06MAR03 UNMOVIC “clusters” document:
So while you’re not altogether wrong, Operation Avarice provides additional corroboration only, not the “bottom line” of evidence for Iraq’s “material breach” (UNSCR 1441) of the WMD-related measures of the Gulf War ceasefire. The “bottom line” of evidence that confirmed Iraq’s UNSCR 687 WMD breach which principally triggered OIF was provided by Hans Blix and his team of UN weapons inspectors.
You are all wrong. It started with the Tonkin Gulf Resolution and was LBJ’s fault. Or it was and is the fault Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive Movement.
The real answer is found in a quote from Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) and names the actual culprits. “The US Congress Is America’s only true home grown criminal class.”