Thursday, October 07, 2004

Cheney to Reality: Go F*** Yourself

Yesterday, Charles Duelfer, the chief U.S. weapons inspector, presented a report stating that: (1) Iraq had no stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons, and (2) Iraq's nuclear program had decayed before last year's U.S.-led invasion. The report found no evidence of any such weapons, and concluded that Saddam Hussein's weapons capability had weakened, not grown, during a dozen years of U.N. sanctions before the U.S. invasion last year (noting that Hussein had wanted to get a program going, although he lacked the infrastructure).

"What we have found on the ground is at a substantial variation from ... the pre-war assessments," Duelfer told the US Senate armed services committee. In addition, Duelfer's team found no evidence of the "reconstituted" nuclear weapons program VP Cheney claimed in late 2002. He also said that much of the "proof" of Iraq's WMD that Secretary of State Colin Powell presented to the United Nations Security Council in 2003 had plausible alternative explanations.

Vice President Dick Cheney stated today that this report justifies rather than undermines the President's decision to go to war. Cheney said that the report shows that "delay, defer, wait wasn't an option." He further stated that "The headlines all say no weapons of mass destruction stockpiled in Baghdad. We already knew that." Cheney added "As soon as the sanctions were lifted he had every intention of going back" to his weapons program.

Nice try, Dick. The problem is, no one (other than Hussein) ever said, or even suggested, that the UN, the US, Bulgaria, or anyone else should lift sanctions against Iraq while Hussein was in power (the US did afterwards). You cannot argue against an argument no one made.

Moreover, if Saddam Hussein's ability to produce any WMD got weaker over the time of the sanctions, then how exactly did the continuing sanctions, or what Cheney calls "delay, defer, wait" cause any harm? Moreover, Duelfer's report stated that Hussein wanted weapons primarily not to attack the United States or to provide them to terrorists, but to oppose Iran [someone should tell Pres. Bush this - he said today that "We had to take a hard look at every place where terrorists might get those weapons and one regime stood out: the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein."]

In sum, Cheney's statements (not to mention Bush's) just do not make sense. Then again, Cheney has had a problem with veracity this week.

In fairness to VP Cheney, CNB's crack investigative staff does note that the Clinton administration also believed that Iraq had WMD, and actually signed the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998. However, CNB notes that there was no barrage of statements as to the pressing need for war and invasion of Iraq [in addition to the links above, see the 2003 State of the Union Address], based upon putative threats to the United States.

Even though all of these statements are now proven to be demonstrably false, no one in the Administration has had the integrity to admit fault, or even a mistake in judgment. In fact, VP Cheney said on Tuesday that he'd do everything the same way all over again. Evidently, VP Cheney feels the same way about troublesome truths the same way he feels about Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT).