Monday, August 21, 2006

Keep These In Mind

In debating the situation in Iraq, two particular incidents must be kept in mind of deliberate lies to keep the discussion within a certain Republican script. One is Colin Powell speaking in Egypt in February 2001 about the sanctions in Iraq. He says:

We had a good discussion, the Foreign Minister and I and the President and I, had a good discussion about the nature of the sanctions -- the fact that the sanctions exist -- not for the purpose of hurting the Iraqi people, but for the purpose of keeping in check Saddam Hussein's ambitions toward developing weapons of mass destruction. We should constantly be reviewing our policies, constantly be looking at those sanctions to make sure that they are directed toward that purpose. That purpose is every bit as important now as it was ten years ago when we began it. And frankly they have worked. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors. So in effect, our policies have strengthened the security of the neighbors of Iraq...

That link to the Memory Hole also quotes Powell in a Senate Subcommittee, as well as Condolezza Rice who also thought Iraq was weak.

The second is probably more pernicious. Who out there thinks that Saddam kicked the inspectors out in 1998? Go ahead, raise your hands. Take your hands off the keyboard for a second and raise them if you think so. Now take a look at this.

Since January 1999, the Washington Post has spun a tall tale about the 1998collapse of U.N. weapons inspections in Iraq and the U.S.-British airstrikesthat followed. Not only has the Post rewritten Iraqi history, but thepaper's new version of events contradicts its own coverage from the time ofthe airstrikes. Despite running several letters to the editor pointing outthe mistake, the paper has repeated the error again and again. How manytimes can one newspaper get the same fact wrong?

The story centers on the Iraq crisis that broke out on December 16, 1998.Richard Butler, head of the United Nations weapons inspection team in Iraq,had just released a report accusing the Iraqi regime of obstructing U.N.weapons checks. On the basis of that report, President Clinton announced hewould launch airstrikes against Iraqi targets. Out of concern for theirsafety, Butler withdrew his inspectors from Iraq, and the U.S.-Britishbombing proceeded.

The Washington Post reported all these facts correctly at the time: ADecember 18 article by national security correspondent Barton Gellmanreported that "Butler ordered his inspectors to evacuate Baghdad, inanticipation of a military attack, on Tuesday night."

But in the 14 months since then, the Washington Post has again and againtried to rewrite history--claiming that Saddam Hussein expelled the U.N.inspectors from Iraq. Despite repeated attempts by its readers to set therecord straight in letters to the editor, the Post has persisted inreporting this fiction.

Not only did Saddam Hussein not order the inspectors' retreat, but Butler'sdecision to withdraw them was--to say the least--highly controversial. TheWashington Post (12/17/98) reported that as Butler was drafting his reporton Iraqi cooperation, U.S. officials were secretly consulting with him abouthow to frame his conclusions.

As the website says, the Washington Post was not the only one to say this. This is President Bush in the 2002 State of the Union address:

This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens; leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children. This is a regime that agreed to international inspections; then kicked out the inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world.

FAIR also shows a comparison in news media sources, comparing what they said in 1998 with what they said in 2002 to show how the lie was produced. Take a look.

"Butler abruptly pulled all of his inspectors out of Iraq shortly after handing Annan a report yesterday afternoon on Baghdad's continued failure to cooperate with UNSCOM, the agency that searches for Iraq's prohibited weapons of mass destruction."

-- Newsday, 12/17/98


"The reason Hussein gave was that the U.N. inspectors' work was completed years ago, before he kicked them out in 1998, and they dismantled whatever weapons they found. That's disingenuous."

--Newsday editorial, 8/14/02

Here is the Neo-cons website, Project for the New American Century, that also shows this lie:

"But just five days later, Kofi Annan struck yet another "deal" with the Iraqi dictator--which once more gave U.N. inspectors permission to inspect--and Saddam won again.

Of course, much has changed since President Clinton gave that speech. The situation has gotten worse. Ten months after Saddam accepted Annan's offer, he kicked U.N. weapons inspectors out of Iraq for good."

This website offers even more proof of what officials from Clinton to Butler actually said in 1998, and it wasn't that Saddam kicked out the inspectors.

This article catalogs Bush's way of lying, setting up the straw men and changing the words to fit a careful script. Evil. That's what these men are.

I wanted to get this post to keep a reminder of these events that otherwise might get lost to history, because the lies keep being spoken so loudly that they might just soon be held as the truth. And that would be a travesty.

Bush says nobody in his administration tried to link Saddam to 9/11. Ha! More Orwellian nonsense. Thankfully the good people at Talking Points Memo have several links and here that prove otherwise. Here is Cheney saying it is irresponsible to not see the connection between Al-Qaida and Iraq. Here is Cheney further discrediting himself as an honest man. There's plenty more out there.

8/29/06 Update:

Bush says that Iraq pullout will be decided by future presidents,

President Bush suggested yesterday that US troops might stay in Iraq beyond his presidency, which ends in 2009, saying at a press conference that the issue of removing troops from the country ''will be decided by future presidents and future governments of Iraq."

but meanwhile, he said this earlier:

I believe it is the job of a President to confront problems, not pass them on to future Presidents and future generations. (Applause.) And in the last four years, we have faced some problems. We faced a recession, corporate scandal. We passed tough laws now to make it abundantly clear, we will not tolerate dishonesty in the boardrooms of America. (Applause.)

We faced a terrorist attack and war. Because we confronted these challenges with focus and resolve, our nation is on the path to a better future. If America shows weakness or uncertainty in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy. This is not going to happen on my watch. (Applause.)

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