Thursday, June 07, 2007

But We Didn't Want the Smoking Gun to Be an IAEA Report 

You will perhaps recall the moment roughly two years ago when Mr. Bush and his myrmidons decided that taking credit for the Iraq War was no longer a desirable option, and began spreading blame instead. Democrats had the same intelligence we did! the President lied. Saddam wouldn't allow UN inspectors into the country, so we had no choice but to invade! the President lied again, making an especially strong impression on Mitt Romney, who is still repeating this transparent canard to his constituency of GOP amnesiacs. And of course: Everyone thought Saddam had WMD's! Everyone! The Brits, the Israelis, even the French! -- which does beg the question of why Mr. Bush was unable to secure a UN resolution authorizing his "Shock and Awe Tour" of 2003, but never mind.

Our he-mannish colleague J. Schwarz of A Tiny Revolution has made yet another flabbergasting catch, which suggests that the set of "everyone" who believed in Saddam's mass-destruction capabilities may well have included the Brits, the Israelis, even the French -- but not necessarily the Americans. From an Antiwar.com radio interview with Andrew Cockburn:
COCKBURN: March 26, 1997 was a very important day in the history of Iraq. That's when Madeleine Albright announced that economic sanctions would remain...whether or not Iraq was found to have any more weapons of mass destruction. It didn't matter. We were going to keep sanctions on regardless. And I happen to know -- I found out recently the reason why she said that: which was that Rolf Ekeus, who was then the chief UN weapons inspector, was about to say that Iraq was now free of WMD. Okay? And this is an Antiwar Radio exclusive, I might tell you.

Rolf Ekeus was about to certify that Iraq was now free of WMD. The Clinton administration was panicked -- because if he said that, then economic sanctions would have to be lifted. Then the right wing here would say: ah, Bill Clinton let Saddam get back on his feet! And the Israeli lobby would be up in arms. So the solution was for Madeleine Albright to declare this policy, in which case they knew what would happen. Saddam would say, well, heck, I'm not going to cooperate with the UN anymore if it doesn't matter whether I comply or not, why should I let your inspectors run around the country -- who he well knew, as a lot of other people knew, were heavily infiltrated by the CIA and MI6 -- let all these Western spies run around, if there's nothing in it for me? So therefore I'm stopping cooperating.

And that's why he stopped cooperating. That was a predictable and, you know, looked for result, he stopped cooperating with the UN inspectors, so they pulled out, and [the US] said, oh, we don't know, he's kicked out the UN, we don't know what he's up to! And that really set the stage for 2003.
If you are tempted to imagine that, as a result of Mr. Clinton's deceit, Mr. Bush did not in fact know what Mr. Hussein was "up to," then by all means read Mr. Schwarz's earlier post about Alan Foley of WINPAC (the CIA's Weapons Intelligence Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Center).

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