Is President Bush Telling Us the Truth?





The Institute for Public Accuracy is the non-profit group that sponsored Sean Penn's trip to Iraq. The group helps bring progressive views to the attention of the media.

AUTHORITY TO USE FORCE

President George Bush, March 17: "Under Resolutions 678 and 687 -- both still in effect -- the U.S. and our allies are authorized to use force in ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction.... Last September, I went to the UN General Assembly and urged the nations of the world to unite and bring an end to this danger. On November 8th, the Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441, finding Iraq in material breach of its obligations, and vowing serious consequences if Iraq did not fully and immediately disarm."

John Negroponte, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, urging support for Resolution 1441, quoted in Los Angeles Times, November 8, 2002: "There's no 'automaticity' and this is a two-stage process, and in that regard we have met the principal concerns that have been expressed for the resolution." He added: "Whatever violation there is, or is judged to exist, will be dealt with in the [Security] Council, and the Council will have an opportunity to consider the matter before any other action is taken."

SADDAM'S TIES TO AL QAEDA

President Bush, March 17: "And it [Saddam Hussein's regime] has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al Qaeda."

Media: No evidence establishing such a link has been offered. The New York Times reported on February 9, 2003 that intelligence officials have "pointed out that neither the Bush administration nor the British government, which has also championed the Qaeda-Baghdad connection, has produced direct evidence of Iraqi involvement with the terrorist network." See also: "Allies Find No Links Between Iraq, Al Qaeda," Los Angeles Times, November 4, 2002; "Terrorism experts doubt bin Laden, Baghdad link," Toronto Globe and Mail, February 6, 2003.

REGIME CHANGE OR DISARMAMENT

President Bush, March 17: "For more than a decade, the United States and other nations have pursued patient and honorable efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime without war."

Resolution 687: Once Iraq complies with the weapons inspection regime, the economic sanctions "shall have no further force or effect."

President George H.W. Bush, May 20, 1991: "At this juncture, my view is we don't want to lift these sanctions as long as Saddam Hussein is in power."

SADDAM'S NUCLEAR CAPACITY

President Bush, March 17: "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised." State of the Union address, January 28: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

Mohamed El Baradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), March 7: "There is no indication of resumed nuclear activities."

Media: As reported by the Washington Post (March 8), the intelligence cited by Bush (as well as Powell before the Security Council) as proof were forged documents and "the forgers had made relatively crude errors." The Guardian in London reported on March 8 that "the fabrication was transparently obvious and quickly established."

THE ALUMINUM TUBES

President Bush, during the State of the Union address, January 28: "Our intelligence sources tell us that [Hussein] has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production."

Media: The Washington Post (March 8) reported that "further work by the IAEA's team of centrifuge experts -- two Americans, two Britons and a French citizen -- has reinforced the IAEA's conclusion that the tubes were ill suited for [nuclear weapons production] centrifuges."

AL-SAMOUD 2 MISSILES

Ari Fleischer, White House spokesman, March 3, 2003: When Iraq started destroying its Al-Samoud 2 missiles, Fleischer claimed that Saddam Hussein "denied he had these weapons, and then he destroys things he says he never had. If he lies about never having them, how can you trust him when he says he has destroyed them?"

Media: The Associated Press reported on February 19, 2003 that the Iraqi government disclosed these missiles in its December 7, 2002 declaration. In that same document, "Iraq declared that 13 of the 40 tests of the Al-Samoud 2 had gone beyond the 93-mile limit."

IRAQI DEFECTORS

President Bush: On many occasions, the administration cited the testimony of Iraqi defector Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamel as evidence that Iraq was still hiding weapons of mass destruction. For example, on October 7, 2002, Bush stated: "In 1995 ... the head of Iraq's military industries defected. It was then that the regime was forced to admit that it had produced more than 30,000 liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents.... This is a massive stockpile of biological weapons that has never been accounted for."

Media: According to UNSCOM/IAEA documents, the same defector had also told UN inspectors that Iraq had destroyed its entire stockpile of chemical and biological weapons and banned missiles. According to a Newsweekstory on February 24 ("The Defector's Secrets"), Kamel also told his story to the CIA and MI6. A military aide who defected with Kamel "backed Kamel's assertions about the destruction of WMD stocks."


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Mark - 3/22/2003

Excellent points, but will fall on deaf ears.


Orson Olson - 3/20/2003

The last claim appears to be false.

First, the link to "UNSCOM/IAEA documents" goes to FAIR, not any source documents. Second, the same story at FAIR was also published in The Colorado Daily by Norman Soloman, a leftist with the far-left Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center in Boulder; the claim seems to be making the rounds of the typically credulous.

Third, if these stocks were destroyed, where are the documents--eyewitness testimony, remaining ash, and disposal sites--that confirm the claimed destruction that the UN is still waiting for?

Fourth, and finally, since economists estimate that the trade embargo on Iraq sustained at the price of full disarmament has cost Saddam roughly $130 billion over the last dozen years--what would be so important to Saddam to accept such lucrative loss?

Newsweek's Barry story is false.


Orson Olson - 3/20/2003

The claimed document IS at the FAIR link above (in the middle), which leads to a pdf of an interview. (Mind you, this is only one of several interviews Kemal conducted before returning to Iraq to be murdered by Saddam; we do not know what was or was not said in these other interviews.)

On page 7 come the crucial exchange: "[Questioner:] were agents and weapons destroyed?" "[Kemal]nothing remained."

One need not know toxicology nor hazmat disposal to know that either this was not literally meant, or else it was false. Why? ANY disposal method of these chemicals (Anthras, Ebola, etc.) leave characteristic remants that can be detected if their locations are revealed.

IF the above is true, why didn't Saddam comply with identifying the location as demanded by UNSC Res 1441 (and earlier ones)?

The claim in the piece here at HNN does not pass these tests of reasonableness, and must therefore be rejected.


Orson Olson - 3/20/2003

The last claim appears to be false.

First, the link to "UNSCOM/IAEA documents" goes to FAIR, not any source documents. Second, the same story at FAIR was also published in The Colorado Daily by Norman Soloman, a leftist with the far-left Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center in Boulder; the claim seems to be making the rounds of the typically credulous.

Third, if these stocks were destroyed, where are the documents--eyewitness testimony, remaining ash, and disposal sites--that confirm the claimed destruction that the UN is still waiting for?

Fourth, and finally, since economists estimate that the trade embargo on Iraq sustained at the price of full disarmament has cost Saddam roughly $130 billion over the last dozen years--what would be so important to Saddam to accept such lucrative loss?

Newsweek's Barry story is false.


Suetonius - 3/20/2003

Yup yup. Good point, Maher.


Bill Maher - 3/20/2003



Send Sean Penn back to stay and, when you all get done being progressive for twenty minutes or so, read Ann Clwyd's speech to the House of Commons(http://www.indict.org.uk).

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