Friday, December 19, 2003

WMD - Blair, Bush, Kay

Those pesky missing weapons of mass destruction:

  1. From the Financial Times on Tony Blair:

    "Asked in an interview with the BBC Arabic Service if he was still certain weapons would be found - an assertion he has repeatedly made - the prime minister said he was 'confident that the Iraq Survey Group, when it does its work, will find what has happened to those weapons, because that he had them, there is absolutely no doubt at all'.

    Blair knows Iraq had such weapons in the 1980's and early 1990's because British companies, amongst others, sold them to Iraq. Saddam destroyed the weapons in the mid 1990's because of UN weapons inspections, and even Blair has to acknowledge that now. Therefore, the hunt for weapons has turned into the hunt to find out when Saddam destroyed them. International law unequivocally prohibited the attack on Iraq, but Bush and Blair cobbled together their bogus excuse for the attack based on Saddam's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction, and the supposed inability of the UN weapons inspectors to find them. For their warmongering argument to have any chance of working, the threat had to be imminent and there had to be no other way to remove the threat. Bush and Blair had to be completely certain that Iraq had the weapons they claimed he had. In the absence of weapons of mass destruction, Tony the Poodle is a War Criminal. His statement that the issue is what happened to the weapons amounts to a confession, and when he is out of power he should be immediately turned over to the proper authorities for prosecution.

  2. Diane Sawyer interviewed George Bush and actually pressed him on the issue of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (which makes her the only American 'journalist' to even pretend to do her job). Here is the exchange:

    "DIANE SAWYER: But let me try to ask — this could be a long question. ... ... When you take a look back, Vice President Cheney said there is no doubt, Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction, not programs, not intent. There is no doubt he has weapons of mass destruction. Secretary Powell said 100 to 500 tons of chemical weapons and now the inspectors say that there's no evidence of these weapons existing right now. The yellow cake in Niger, in Niger. George Tenet has said that shouldn't have been in your speech. Secretary Powell talked about mobile labs. Again, the intelligence — the inspectors have said they can't confirm this, they can't corroborate.


    DIANE SAWYER: — an active —


    DIANE SAWYER: Is it yet?

    PRESIDENT BUSH: But what David Kay did discover was they had a weapons program, and had that, that — let me finish for a second. Now it's more extensive than, than missiles. Had that knowledge been examined by the United Nations or had David Kay's report been placed in front of the United Nations, he, he, Saddam Hussein, would have been in material breach of 1441, which meant it was a causis belli. And look, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein was a dangerous person, and there's no doubt we had a body of evidence proving that, and there is no doubt that the president must act, after 9/11, to make America a more secure country.

    DIANE SAWYER: Again, I'm just trying to ask, these are supporters, people who believed in the war who have asked the question.

    PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, you can keep asking the question and my answer's gonna be the same. Saddam was a danger and the world is better off cause we got rid of him.

    DIANE SAWYER: But stated as a hard fact, that there were weapons of mass destruction as opposed to the possibility that he could move to acquire those weapons still —

    PRESIDENT BUSH: So what's the difference?

    DIANE SAWYER: Well —

    PRESIDENT BUSH: The possibility that he could acquire weapons. If he were to acquire weapons, he would be the danger. That's, that's what I'm trying to explain to you. A gathering threat, after 9/11, is a threat that needed to be de — dealt with, and it was done after 12 long years of the world saying the man's a danger. And so we got rid of him and there's no doubt the world is a safer, freer place as a result of Saddam being gone.

    DIANE SAWYER: But, but, again, some, some of the critics have said this combined with the failure to establish proof of, of elaborate terrorism contacts, has indicated that there's just not precision, at best, and misleading, at worst.

    PRESIDENT BUSH: Yeah. Look — what — what we based our evidence on was a very sound National Intelligence Estimate. ...

    DIANE SAWYER: Nothing should have been more precise?

    PRESIDENT BUSH: What — I, I — I made my decision based upon enough intelligence to tell me that this country was threatened with Saddam Hussein in power.

    DIANE SAWYER: What would it take to convince you he didn't have weapons of mass destruction?

    PRESIDENT BUSH: Saddam Hussein was a threat and the fact that he is gone means America is a safer country.

    DIANE SAWYER: And if he doesn't have weapons of mass destruction [inaudible] —

    PRESIDENT BUSH: Diane, you can keep asking the question. I'm telling you — I made the right decision for America —


    PRESIDENT BUSH: — because Saddam Hussein used weapons of mass destruction, invaded Kuwait. ... But the fact that he is not there is, means America's a more secure country."

    Bush says there is no difference between Saddam's having weapons of mass destruction and the possibility that he could move to acquire such weapons. Of course, there is all the difference in the world. The Bush/Blair argument for war absolutely depended on an imminent threat, and for that Saddam actually had to have the weapons in hand and be able to use them. Thinking about getting weapons, pondering getting weapons, planning getting weapons, having the capability to attempt to acquire weapons - none of these is good enough. After the Second World War the world community decided on the sanctity of the sovereignty of nations, and prohibited wars waged on the basis of the various excuses used by people like Hitler. To say that the war was fought as Saddam would be a threat if he acquired weapons is ridiculous, as any war could be fought on that basis. There has to at least be either an imminent threat of attack and no other way to avoid war, or the agreement of the United Nations. Otherwise, the war is illegal, and allowing it destroys the understanding carefully created to ensure that another Hitler couldn't hide behind vague claims of security to wage colonialist wars. Bush in fact may not be smart enough to understand this, but the American attack on Iraq was clearly illegal, and sets a terrible precedent for the world.

  3. David Kay is getting tired of looking for something which he knows isn't there, and wants to quit as the man in charge of dragging the search for WMD out long enough so Bush won't be embarrassed. I assume he believes that Bush no longer needs to pretend that there are such weapons now that a Saddam-like figure is in the bag, and so he can give up the charade. Kay, who has spent much of the last fifteen years mongering for the obscene attack on Iraq, has become a rather pathetic figure, dragging his ass around the desert so he and Bush won't look like bloodthirsty fools.

With Saddam in custody all the war criminals seem to feel comfortable about brazenly admitting that the weapons that provided the excuse for the attack didn't exist. Complex diplomacy and the lessons of the Second World War have been laid waste, and the world is a more dangerous place.