Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Administration Finally Gives Up Hunt for Iraq WMD

Nearly two years after citing a growing threat from Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction as one of the main reasons for overthrowing the Iraqi president, the search for Iraqi WMD has ended.

The Washington Post reported this morning that "the violence in Iraq, coupled with a lack of new information, led them to fold up the effort shortly before Christmas." The decision did, however, come after the completion of a heated presidential campaign, in which the decision to go to war, and the administration's insistence on linking the Iraq War to the greater war on terror, were resoundly criticized by Democratic Presidential Candidate John Kerry and his supporters.

Charles Duelfer, the CIA special adviser who led the hunt, has returned home, and analysts serving in his Iraq Survey Group (ISG) have returned to CIA headquarters in Virginia, the Post reported. The findings of an interim report that Duelfer submitted to Congress in September will stand as the ISG's final conclusions, according to a senior intelligence official.

That report concluded that Iraq had no stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons and its nuclear program had decayed before last year's U.S.-led invasion, in findings contrary to prewar assertions of the Bush administration.

According to the Post, the White House had been reluctant to call off the hunt, holding out the possibility that weapons had been shipped out of Iraq before the war or well hidden inside the country.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would somebody please hold the Bush administration accountable?
We have 1,200 dead and 12,000 injured U.S. soldiers later, the deaths of 100,000 Iraq citizens later, the expenditure of $200 billion later, a deadly and costly war with no end in sight, later...
This is one issue where the Dems were right and the Bush/GOP shockingly wrong. Kerry and other Democrats voted for the war resolution under Bush's EXPRESSED beliefs before congress at the time the resolution was being debated, and under the CLEAR LANGUAGE of the resolution that Bush would tap war as a last resort and not until inspections had been at least reasonably attempted. Bush mislead congress on his willingness to go to war in order to get his way. Look where we are today as a result.
The Bush/Rove dishonest spin on the true position of Kerry and the Democrats -- not to mention overall exaggeration of Saddam's threat to the U.S. -- allowed Bush to win the last election.
All old news. But now very important in its historical context.

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am curious as to what you mean by hold accountable. We typically hold politicians accountable for their decisions by holding elections. We had one and Bush won. Whether you, me or anyone likes that result, I can accept it as the result of a process I believe in.

How then do you hold him accountable--and for what exactly. In retrospect, we shouldnt have invaded because there are no WMDs? Fair enough. But we have hindsight. As far as I can tell Bush committed no crime in going to war. (I do not subscribe to the theory that he made up the entire thing to get revenge for daddy and his oil buddies).

You can argue that there are two ways in which he will be held accountable at this point: 1) voting out his party both congressionally and then in 2008 in the presidential election. this may be possible if the dems can get their act together. 2) time/history will determine Bushs legacy as either a successful revolutionary or a flawed leader who hurt our standing economically and internationally. I believe the jury will be out on that one for years to come.

6:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How should Bush be held accountable?
I think Bush should be held accountable for committing what many in the international community consider the worst of crimes.
He attacked a country before it was proven to be any kind of threat to us and/or he rushed off to war without first exhausting other alternatives as instructed by the United Nations, an organization set up as a global cooperative to peacefully resolve conflicts between nations and prevent the very type of fiasco Iraq has become.
I soundly reject claims that the situation between the U.S. and Iraq was in anyway close to the situation between the U.S. and Germany and Japan in World War II.
Just watch those who make this argument stumble at an attempted explanation.
I also have nothing for the Bushie argument that the UN is biased and corrupt, i.e. read the Oil-For-Food scandal, so we were therefore justified in rejecting its authority. I think Michael Moore has a more credible tale to tell about the Bush relationships with the Saudis.
I also reject the argument that there was no one in congress or any one else publicly questioning Bush claims about WMDs in Iraq. These critics were all over the place! They were bonafide authorities on the matter! Nobody listened to them as were either relegated to the back pages of newspapers, or stricken down by the Bushies as whack jobs.
I hope this episode taught us it's never wise to blindly follow our propaganda of our leaders even when we are still foaming at the mouth over a desire for revenge against anyone, ANYONE, of middle-eastern descent over a prior atrocity such as 9-11.
As for the last election, I don't need to repeat again the fact Bush/Rove successfully manipulated the anger, fear and lust for blood following 9-11 in order to dupe the American public into giving Bush another term.
I don't have to wait for history to expose Bush deceptions and screw-ups. It already has.

3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I checked a few partison right-wing websites today, including They are for the most part suspiciously quiet on yesterday's news of the official end of the search for WMD's in Iraq.
It is of no surprise, however, the posted commentators still have plenty to say about Dan Rather.

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that was a nice fit of anger above. ok, you are in the michael moore camp that everything Bush has done isnt just wrong, but motivated by malice of sorts. Ok. I ask do you hold him accountable. you answered why you think he should be, not how. how about a public lynching? he should be held accountable . Or are you just talking to yourself?

Even if everything you say above is 100% accurate, and it isnt, there are still some things to think about here:

---congress did actually give authority for the president to do what he did. i dont personally agree that they should have, particularly with hindsight, but they did.
---last i checked, the UN does not have authority over the US, a sovereign nation. We dont have to follow its dictates in all cases. To suggest that the UN operates properly, is without corruption to ignore its entire history, particularly over the past 15 years or so. Even ignoring the iraq episode, when you argue the UN should be some form of absolute authority as if it isnt littered with political scams and often panders to terrorist regimes in general--well, your audience is not going to be very receptive there. if you find any audience for that view.
---Bush won the election by a pretty wide margin in popular vote, and a slim margin electorally. You want to give credit to his campaign for that-i agree. I also would suggest that the role of a campaign is to do just that. While I find the election politics from both sides deplorable, it is what it is and those participating have to play to win. Bush did; so did Kerry. Bush's team was better and he won.
---i thought the comparison often made is not to japan but to vietnam. actually neither apply as each war is completely different and obviously take place in far different times.
---this complaint that nothing gets enough press.....didnt michael moore win a peoples choice award. and he even wore a tux for the occasion and may have showered. he certainly got play. while i agree an inordinate amount of time is often spent on one story versus another, that happens on both sides. and lets be real here---the stories about mishaps make far better press than good stories and hence we always read about what is going wrong. not just in politics but in all of american life. the way it is and the way it goes.
---last comment: I am trying to come up with a list of things Bush has done decently or better since his birth? Any ideas?

I truly do not like Bush or his administration. At the same time, i fear that this polarized country is so far gone that everyone is either out there saying everything we, as a country, do is wrong or everything is correct. and the few people who have not been brainwashed by either side are sitting here wondering when the democrats will wake up and grab the middle, where rational thought still exists.

7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A. The hindsite claim. Bush was given authority but the clear language of the resolution and Bush's own representations before Congress was that the country would not resort to war until the UN inspections had been exhausted. The resolution was designed to give the U.S. leverage against the UN and Sadaam.
B. The UN's original charter called for a mediation authority to peacefully settle disputes between nations, in lieu of going to war. If the UN has drifted from that charter, the matter should be addressed and corrected. It is cynical and nihilistic to assume this global authority lacks any credibility or any power in resolving disputes, so it should be promptly ignored.
On that note, the U.S.'s unprovoked attack on Iraq may have been illegal under UN charter.
C. I have repeatedly read and heard statements from people who attempt to compare the situation in Iraq to WWII. Only the so-called liberal opponents of the Iraq War disparagingly compare the War to Vietnam.
D. I am talking about the press ignoring an important issue: valid arguments early on which challenged Bush's assessments of WMD's in Iraq. If the media had paid attention, maybe we wouldn't be in this war.
This should not be equated with such frivolity as Michael Moore's tux.
E. Bush's team was not "better" merely because his team communicated the far more deceitful, dishonest and damaging whoopers than his opponent.
I suppose then we should consider Hitler an even more talented master of propaganda because we can consider his lies and distortions of even greater merit, in that he convinced an entire nation to rally behind the murders of millions of Jews.
F. A global forum should reprimand Bush as a lesson to other leaders to never again be allowed to so casually advocate unchecked claims of WMD's as an excuse to attack another country.

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting assessment. I tend to agree overall with some exceptions.

Hitler: clearly was a great propogandist. However, any comparison of Hitler to any American president is not worth discussing.

I am not suggesting the UN is devoid of any use---just that it needs to be fixed in many ways before a country can rely on it. And under any circumstance, the UN does not govern America. America does.

Iraq: If Congress felt that Bush had no business threatening or attacking iraq,why even resolve at all giving Bush authority to do anything. Why should he then have anything to enable him to lean on the UN....the logic is b-s and i know it has been the hallmark of many. I take no issue with those who were opposed to the war at the outset. but when congress passed that resolution, the potential for this result was definitely there for everyone to see and contemplate. Bush was not alone here. Not that this is an excuse for going into an improper war. and i also do not believe bush violated any law going in (unless it can be proven that he had knowledge his evidence was incorrect and went with it anyway).

As far as Moore's tux, I was trying to keep this a bit light. That said, I have personal distaste for Moore and think he is everything that is wrong with the democratic party these days. However, I believe he has every right to make his movies and say what he wants. I just dont have to agree with him or like him. I have been following his movies for some time and while I did like his better ones (like Columbine), I have never liked him.

Seems to me we are held to a higher standard than everyone else in the world. I believe this is fine--we are what we are-- but lets at least have everyone admit that. I am sick of the US being blamed for the world's ills---I am watching the oh so grateful tsunami victim's governments give their views about America right now (i.e. Indonesia)...just sad.

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanted to clarify the link I see between Bush and Hitler, that, yes, I think is a worthwhile -- if extreme -- consideration.
To be clear, the comparison to Hitler was only meant to show an extreme example of what can happen when leaders distort the truth and succeed at duping a majority in believing falsehoods in order to win support for their agenda.
Hitler was able to use dishonest propaganda to sway people to his cause because he spoke to the weary, impoverished condition of the German people who felt they were given a raw deal in the international negotiations following World War II.
Bush was able to use dishonest propaganda to sway people to his cause for an unprovoked war in Iraq because he spoke to the anger and fear people felt towards the Middle East in the aftermath of 9-11.
I call it dishonest propaganda because Bush used claims of WMD and connections between Sadaam and Osama Bin Laden that were based on, at best, unsubstantiated and widely-disputed information.
History has proven him wrong. We have the search for WMD's officially called off a few days ago. And just this morning we read that a major indepth CIA report conclusively found Sadaam and Osama had no working relationship, nor had been planning one when we attacked Iraq.
The CIA report repeated and reaffirmed other telling relevations about the Bush Administration policy in Iraq actually fueling global terrorism. But that's the subject for another blog.
It appears that you haven't gotten my point about the war resolution. In a nutshell, it was designed to give Bush leverage in his dealings with Sadaam and the UN. Sure it authorized Bush to go to war and contemplated that result. But it was clearly intended to first allow the UN inspections to run their course. Bush broke the spirit and intent of the resolution by rushing into war early. That was the catastrophic blunder.
I just don't want to hear any more of this that Bush only did what everyone believed was the proper thing to do. There was plenty discourse and concern that Bush's venture in Iraq was not a wise move. Bush and the mainstream press refused to listen.
A president who wears blinders to the world is probably the most dangerous and reckless president we could imagine.

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Twisting things here.....noone is suggesting that there were not opponents to going into iraq. however, you intimate that BUsh was lone in his way of thinking when all evidence points to the contrary. Many many people, and congress overall, were with bush at the time. now you can argue that bus intentionally lied to sway their opinions. thats fine but i dont believe that. was he wrong yes. has history and bad evidence pointed that out. yes. but did he intentionally, meaning he knew this at the time, lie to sway opinion. I say no. So, the country was divided at the time. I believe more of the coutnry felt going in was proper given the facts as we knew them at the time.

6:30 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

I suppose the Republicans would just love us all to buy that line that once the election is finished Bush becomes "100% Officially Endorsed", and as such can't be subject to any other accountability.

And when the Republicans went after Clinton, on a witchhunt of endless accusations and investigations without conviction, then tried to impeach an elected American President during wartime, what were they doing?

I for one would like the Democrats (or whoever else is willing) to grow some coconuts and go on the attack. It's perfectly simple: Bush should be held accounatable in the same way we hold all criminals accountable - he should be in prison.

5:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again the blogger above resorts to Republican spin.
Yes many members of Congress stood behind Bush -- A. to the extent he would follow the spirit and intent of the War resolution and resort to war as a last resort. Once Bush decided to go into war, many stood behind him based on misrepresentations that would have been exposed had Bush followed A.
Here's something else to put into your pipe and smoke it. I've read and heard reports that members of the Senate, including Kerry, and the House were not exposed to anywhere near the same level of security info (leading to the war decision) that had been seen by Bush. They acted based on trust of Bush's assessment of the info about WMD, terrorism links, etc.
I acknowledge I would have to do some more research on this topic...

12:58 PM  

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