Sep 9, 2002
The Bush administration daily proclaims that Saddam Hussein is a madman, preparing to use "weapons of mass destruction."The claims have been repeated so much that many people in this country have come to believe Iraq does have chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
Certainly Bush and his administration assert that it is true. For example, on August 26, Vice President Dick Cheney said "There is no question that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction." Apparently, however, there were some questions, because five days later the Vice President said a little more cautiously, "We are convinced that Saddam will acquire nuclear weapons fairly soon."About the same time, the administration announced it had proof of a nuclear weapons facility in Iraq. It turned out embarrassing for them, however, since the facility they mentioned was in northern Iraq, in the part controlled by the Kurds, not by Saddam Hussein. So if a weapons facility exists there, it certainly isn't Hussein's nuclear bomb production factory!
Apparently the evidence they have been giving secretly to the Senate is not all that convincing either. Senator Chuck Hagel is the Deputy Whip for the Republican Minority, so he certainly supports the administration. He also sits on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations with oversight responsibility of the CIA. He announced that the CIA says there is "absolutely no evidence" that Iraq has ever possessed or will soon possess nuclear weapons.
As for the international experts the Bush administration cites – they, too, are a little skeptical. The administration reported that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had satellite photographs of Iraq showing new construction in Iraq, and it reported that the French physicist who heads the team, Jacques Baute, said, "We are very curious to see what is under the roof." The administration forgot to mention what Baute said when asked if the photos showed that Hussein was building nuclear weapons. He warned, "We have nothing now that allows us to draw a conclusion."There's one expert the Administration will not cite, the man whom the first Bush Administration sent into Iraq after the Gulf War to dismantle their weapon systems and make inspections. Scott Ritter, a former Marine who took part in the Gulf War as an intelligence officer, was chief inspector of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) from 1991 to 1998. What Ritter said in 1998 and has continued to say since then was directly contrary to what this administration asserts.
Ritter gave testimony at a Senate hearing in 1998 that his team had succeeded to a level of 90 or 95%. Ritter described the "destruction or dismantling of every major factory associated with prohibited weapons manufacture, all significant items of production equipment and the majority of the weapons and agents produced by Iraq."Ritter said that during his surprise inspections, the team "never once detected any evidence of retained proscribed activity or effort by Iraq to reconstitute that capability which had been eliminated through inspection."Ritter today says the political charges against Saddam Hussein are "a political sham used to invoke a modern-day Gulf of Tonkin-resolution equivalent for Iraq." Ritter refers to the excuse used to step up the bombing in Viet Nam. It was an incident that never happened, although the president of the U.S. said it did. In fact, Ritter, the man who knows better than anyone else, has been leading a campaign to refute Bush's lies.
That's what all the pronouncements from Bush and his supporters are: lies and propaganda.
Apparently, he thinks that occupying the White House gives him the right to make up any story, no matter how far from the truth. He wouldn't be the first president to do so.