Saturday, July 26, 2003
I keep reading about how the reason for war was “multicausal” and therefore, we should not be too upset that the weapons of mass destruction haven’t turned up. It was just one of many reasons and since the other reasons are good, this really isn’t that big of a deal.
But, really folks, the weapons issue wasn’t just one of many rationales. It was the Big Kahuna of rationales, so much so that they changed their objective from “regime change” to “disarmament.”
In his only formal press conference on March 6, Bush used the word disarm or disarmament 45 times.
Read the following opening statement from that press conference and then ask yourself why, in light of the fact that no weapons have been found, that people might just be thinking that he misled them about the reasons for war. There may have been multiple causes, but the one the president talked about that night was pretty obviously the threat Saddam presented to the United States with his weapons of mass destruction. And, he said it over and over and over again.
There certainly were other reasons for invading. But to excuse Bush because the underlying reasons may have been reasonable when he repeatedly made the case that the war was about dealing with a threat to the people of the United States is simply outrageous. To do this just one year after 9/11 in order to get the country to unknowingly acquiesce to a risky and expensive long term restructuring of the middle east, based upon nothing more than theoretical think tank models is unconscionable.
Bush did not just emphasize the WMD threat. He unequivocally presented it as the casus belli:
BUSH: Good evening. I'm pleased to take your questions tonight and to discuss with the American people the serious matters facing our country and the world.
This has been an important week on two fronts — on our war against terror. First, thanks to the hard work of American and Pakistani officials, we captured the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks against our nation. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed conceived and planned the hijackings and directed the actions of the hijackers. We believe his capture will further disrupt the terror network and their planning for additional attacks.
Second, we have arrived at an important moment in confronting the threat posed to our nation and to peace by Saddam Hussein and his weapons of terror.
In New York tomorrow, the United Nations Security Council will receive an update from the chief weapons inspector. The world needs him to answer a single question: Has the Iraqi regime fully and unconditionally disarmed as required by Resolution 1441 or has it not?
Iraq's dictator has made a public show of producing and destroying a few missiles, missiles that violate the restrictions set out more than 10 years ago.
Yet our intelligence shows that even as he is destroying these few missiles, he has ordered the continued production of the very same type of missiles.
Iraqi operatives continue to hide biological and chemical agents to avoid detection by inspectors.
In some cases, these materials have been moved to different locations every 12 to 24 hours or placed in vehicles that are in residential neighborhoods.
We know from multiple intelligence sources that Iraqi weapons scientists continue to be threatened with harm should they cooperate with U.N. inspectors.
Scientists are required by Iraqi intelligence to wear concealed recording devices during interviews, and hotels where interviews take place are bugged by the regime.
These are not the actions of a regime that is disarming. These are the actions of a regime engaged in a willful charade. These are the actions of a regime that systematically and deliberately is defying the world.
If the Iraqi regime were disarming, we would know it because we would see it. Iraq's weapons would be presented to inspectors and the world would witness their destruction.
Instead, with the world demanding disarmament, and more than 200,000 troops positioned near his country, Saddam Hussein's response is to produce a few weapons for show, while he hides the rest and builds even more.
Inspection teams do not need more time or more personnel. All they need is what they have never received, the full cooperation of the Iraqi regime.
Token gestures are not acceptable. The only acceptable outcome is the one already defined by a unanimous vote of the Security Council: total disarmament.
Great Britain, Spain and the United States have introduced a new resolution stating that Iraq has failed to meet the requirements of Resolution 1441. Saddam Hussein is not disarming. This is a fact. It cannot be denied.
Saddam Hussein has a long history of reckless aggression and terrible crimes. He possess weapons of terror. He provides funding and training and safe haven to terrorists, terrorists who would willing use weapons of mass destruction against America and other peace-loving countries.
Saddam Hussein and his weapons are a direct threat to this country, to our people and to all free people.
If the world fails to confront the threat posed by the Iraqi regime, refusing to use force even as a last resort, free nations would assume... unacceptable risks.
The attacks of Sept.11, 2001, show what the enemies of America did with four airplanes. We will not wait to see what terrorists or terrorist states could do with weapons of mass destruction.
We are determined to confront threats wherever they arise. I will not leave the American people at the mercy of the Iraqi dictator and his weapons.
In the event of conflict, America also accepts our responsibility to protect innocent lives in every way possible.
We will bring food and medicine to the Iraqi people. We will help that nation to build a just government after decades of brutal dictatorship.
The form and leadership of that government is for the Iraqi people to choose. Anything they choose will be better than the misery and torture and murder they have known under Saddam Hussein.
Across the world and in every part of America people of good will are hoping and praying for peace. Our goal is peace for our nation, for our friends and allies, for the people of the Middle East.
People of good will must also recognize that allowing a dangerous dictator to defy the world and harbor weapons of mass murder and terror is not peace at all, it is pretense.
The cause of peace will be advanced only when the terrorists lose a wealthy patron and protector, and when the dictator is fully and finally disarmed.
Tonight I thank the men and women of our armed services and their families.
I know their deployment so far from home is causing hardship for many military families. Our nation is deeply grateful to all who serve in uniform.
Gosh. I wonder where anyone could have gotten the idea that Saddam's cache of weapons of mass destruction was the reason we were preparing to invade?
digby 7/26/2003 06:40:00 PM