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On Iraq, and weapons of mass destruction

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Posted: Monday, July 19, 2004 10:00 pm | Updated: 6:32 pm, Wed May 16, 2012.

Wars have aims, and the declared aim of the one in Iraq was to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

In his State of the Union address in January 2002, President Bush articulated the threat he would soon carry out in Iraq: "The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous weapons."

Later, he said we didn't want the next warning to be "a mushroom cloud."

Indeed, in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary of State Colin Powell explicitly ruled out every other justification for war. Asked about other reasons, he said, "The president has not linked authority to go to war to any of those elements." - Jonathan Schell in "The Nation."

On Jan. 22, 2003, Bush told an audience in St. Louis, "The dictator of Iraq has got weapons of mass destruction." On the eve of the war in March, he said, "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. Sunday, after nine months of searching, former chief inspector David Kay said, "I don't think they exist." Kay quit his post on Friday. - Associated Press in Lodi News-Sentinel.

Without appearing to weigh evidence by Hans Blix, U.S. papers all essentially pronounced Powell right (in his Feb. 5, 2003, speech to the United Nations), though they couldn't possibly know for sure that he was. In short, they trusted him. And in so doing, they failed to bring even an elementary skepticism to the Bush case for war. - S. Sherman, "The Nation."

Tim Russert challenged Vice President Dick Cheney to defend his claim, made on "Meet the Press" before the war, that Iraq possessed nuclear weapons. "Yeah, I did misspeak," Cheney admitted. "We never had any evidence that (Hussein) had acquired a nuclear weapon." - Robert Scheer in the S.F. Chronicle.

"The war was launched (over) weapons of mass destruction … In fact, there were no weapons of mass destruction." - Zbigniew Brzezinski in Newsweek.

"Those weapons of mass destruction have to be somewhere … Nope, no weapons over there. Maybe under here," said President Bush at a dinner for TV/Radio correspondents as he showed slides of himself looking under furniture in the White House Time Magazine. (A joke by President George W. Bush who led us to war under the assurance that WMD's were poised to strike. A hilarious story, especially for the families of the hundreds dead, the thousands maimed and the tens of thousands serving and serving and serving again.)

Don Levy


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