Skip to comments.Bush, Cheney Concede Saddam Had No WMDs
Posted on 10/07/2004 4:11:59 PM PDT by areafiftyone
WASHINGTON - President Bush (news - web sites) and his vice president conceded Thursday in the clearest terms yet that Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) had no weapons of mass destruction, even as they tried to shift the Iraq (news - web sites) war debate to a new issue whether the invasion was justified because Saddam was abusing a U.N. oil-for-food program.
Ridiculing the Bush administration's evolving rationale for war, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (news - web sites) shot back: "You don't make up or find reasons to go to war after the fact."
Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites) brushed aside the central findings of chief U.S. weapons hunter Charles ' that Saddam not only had no weapons of mass destruction and had not made any since 1991, but that he had no capability of making any either while Bush unapologetically defended his decision to invade Iraq.
"The Duelfer report showed that Saddam was systematically gaming the system, using the U.N. oil-for-food program to try to influence countries and companies in an effort to undermine sanctions," Bush said as he prepared to fly to campaign events in Wisconsin. "He was doing so with the intent of restarting his weapons program once the world looked away."
Duelfer found no formal plan by Saddam to resume WMD production, but the inspector surmised that Saddam intended to do so if U.N. sanctions were lifted. Bush seized upon that inference, using the word "intent" three times in reference to Saddam's plans to resume making weapons.
This week marks the first time that the Bush administration has listed abuses in the oil-for-fuel program as an Iraq war rationale. But the strategy holds risks because some of the countries that could be implicated include U.S. allies, such as Poland, Jordan and Egypt. In addition, the United States itself played a significant role in both the creation of the program and how it was operated and overseen.
For his part, Cheney dismissed the significance of Duelfer's central findings, telling supporters in Miami, "The headlines all say `no weapons of mass destruction stockpiled in Baghdad.' We already knew that."
The vice president said he found other parts of the report "more intriguing," including the finding that Saddam's main goal was the removal of international sanctions.
"As soon as the sanctions were lifted, he had every intention of going back" to his weapons program, Cheney said.
The report underscored that "delay, defer, wait, wasn't an option," Cheney said. And he told a later forum in Fort Myers, Fla., speaking of the oil-for-food program: "The sanctions regime was coming apart at the seams. Saddam perverted that whole thing and generated billions of dollars."
Yet Bush and Cheney acknowledged more definitively than before that Saddam did not have the banned weapons that both men had asserted he did and had cited as the major justification before attacking Iraq in March 2003.
Bush has recently left the question open. For example, when asked in June whether he thought such weapons had existed in Iraq, Bush said he would "wait until Charlie (Duelfer) gets back with the final report."
In July, Bush said, "We have not found stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction," a sentence construction that kept alive the possibility the weapons might yet be discovered.
On Thursday, the president used the clearest language to date nailing the question shut:
"Iraq did not have the weapons that our intelligence believed were there," Bush said. His words placed the blame on U.S. intelligence agencies.
In recent weeks, Cheney has glossed over the primary justification for the war, most often by simply not mentioning it. But in late January 2004, Cheney told reporters in Rome: "There's still work to be done to ascertain exactly what's there."
"The jury is still out," he told National Public Radio the same week, when asked whether Iraq had possessed banned weapons.
Duelfer's report was presented Wednesday to senators and the public with less than four weeks left in a fierce presidential campaign dominated by questions about Iraq and the war on terror.
In Bayonne, N.J., Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards (news - web sites) on Thursday called "amazing" Cheney's assertions that the Duelfer report justified rather than undermined Bush's decision to go to war, and he accused the Republican of using "convoluted logic."
Kerry, in a campaign appearance in Colorado, said: "The president of the United States and the vice president of the United States may well be the last two people on the planet who won't face the truth about Iraq."
A short time later, while campaigning in Wisconsin, Bush angrily responded to Kerry's charge he sought to "make up" a reason for war.
"He's claiming I misled America about weapons when he, himself, cited the very same intelligence about Saddam weapons programs as the reason he voted to go to war," Bush said. Citing a lengthy Kerry quote from two years ago on the menace Saddam could pose, Bush said: "Just who's the one trying to mislead the American people?"
I'll believe he didn't have WMD on 11/03/04 and Kerry is the incumbent!
Because Saddam buried, sold off, or otherwise smuggled weapons out of Iraq doesn't necessarily mean he had no WMDs. I prefer Rudy's convention speech: "Saddam (and sons) was a WALKING, TALKING WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION".
I will repeat (for about the 50th time today on FR) that David Kay reported a year ago that Saddam had the infrastructure, the scientific and technical expertise, the growth media and precursor chemicals, and the will to reconstitute his WMD program. Duelfer's report leads to the conclusion that had Saddam not been toppled by the US-led coalition last year, the UN sanctions on Saddam's Iraq would likely have been lifted by now, Saddam would still be in power, and he'd currently be aggressively pursuing WMDs. The media ignores all of this.
The AP should try selling that line to whatever remaining relatives of those in mass graves.
Did John Kerry really say you don't make up things to go to war about after the fact? Has he fully conceded that we would be better off with Sadaam in power did he not read the entire report? John Kerry is nuts...I voted for the war because I believed there were WMD's... now that there are no WMD's I have no excuse for my vote and I will not take comfort in the fact that it was the right thing to do knowing everything that is in this report....
John Kerry needs to console with the sell out Jaques Chirac... I say we need to go to war with France...
Saddam gassed the Kurds. We know he had WMD.
Man alive, talk about BIASED AS HELL. The AP doesn't even begin to come close to objective - so why should we?
Blog on, might army of the pajamajadeen...
Kerry: "But it's OK to make up a firefight report in order to get a purple heart for a self inflicted wound- Did I tell you I was in Viet Nam?"
You just have to LOVE the headline writes over at AllPoop who focus on a laser on one item while completely ignoring everything else.
Earlier today I heard some report on FOX News that said Saddam didn't have scud missiles and I thought "what the hell was that that slammed into that shopping mall in Kuwait City then?"
I will never believe he didn't have them. I do think he stashed them in Syria or somewhere in the leadup to the invasion however. This is all to get Kerry elected.
Well written. Betcha a dollar to a plugged nickel that the info you wrote above will NOT be on the alphabet TV news programs.
And, he never proved that he had gotten rid of them. (Is that grammatically correct?)
What a horror show.
From this they conclude that President Bush is saying the OFF program is the reason we attacked Iraq? What a gigantic leap that is.
He is saying that Saddam fooled the world into believing he had WMD, and then bribed many into helping to delay the gathering storm against him.
It was a Chinese Silkworm (low flying cruise type missle) I believe. Not sure if those were banned weapons or not.
Darn. We should have waited 'til the coerced and bribed UNSC abandoned sanctions, Saddam reconstituted his WMD, gave them to Al Qaeda who then kills another 3000 Americans somewhere, and then we'll attack Iraq. But first, we'd still have to pass the Global Test.
MAYBE..October surprise? Syria admits to WMD transfer and hands them over.
Maybe if the President held more news conferences, he could get his message out. By avoiding them, he is losing a huge advantage of talking directly to the people.
Clinton had one every other day.
THE REPORT SAID HE HAD THE CAPABILITY
It's howdy doody time !
Those NATTERING NABOBS OF NEGATIVITY so-called "weapons inspectors"!! It was "Please President Hussein, may we go into that area and look for weapons of mass destruction?" for months on end. Hussein would say "NO!" and stall until stuff was moved out of the palaces and buildings, then he would allow the inspectors in. - "We find no weapons," remarked the inspectors. Duh!! Do these people not remember anything?
The Democrat's will react in kind when he has to pass legislation to draft young men between 18-29 because all our brave men and women would rather give up a good retirement than serve under him!
Of course it won't. These conclusions are, frankly, over a year old. We've never heard the MSM discuss these conclusions. But, frankly, the Administration hasn't hit these point hard either (much to our collective frustration).
John Kerry shot back: "You don't make up or find reasons to go to war after the fact..........."
John Kerry shot back: "You don't make up or find reasons after the fact if you are a Republican. That is the job of Democrats."
The scuds were banned, the silkworm was banned. Any missile in Saddam's arsenal that could fly beyond 92 miles was banned. The bottom line is, Saddam simply could not be trusted to comply to any sanction put forth in front of him.
Yeah, and to get out with any self-respect intact, we're going to have to do something similar. Not gas, of course. But massively devastating.
Saddam DID have a point--it's tough to pacify this triad of fanatics who inhabit the geographic/political construct we call Iraq.
I have a couple of observations here:
1. What happened to the 20,000 liters of Anthrax and other weapons that was never accounted for, is there anything about that in the report? Saddam was manic about documenting everything, surely he would have documented how and where he destroyed that if he did so?
2. The french joker has a new line: "we should have let the inspectors finish." I think that the US sniffed something was up with the Oil for Weapons program, and knew that the UN inspectors would not do anything to incriminate Saddam. So, Mr Joker, how exactly did you want the inspections to continue?
Kerry was a total hawk on the Iraq war, and now is pretending only Bush said these things.
Kerry is so dishonest and two-faced about this it literally makes me sick to my stomach listening to him. God help us if this creep BS's his way into the White House.
I stand corrected, it was a Silkworm, but Saddam had used Scuds as far back as Gulf I, lobbing a few toward Israel while we were pounding Saddam from the air.
One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. President Bill Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998.
If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraqs weapons of mass destruction program. President Bill Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998
He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983. Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Advisor, Feb. 18, 1998 (Ohio State University).
Iraq is a long way from the U.S. but what happens there matters a great deal here For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face. Madeline Albright, Feb. 18, 1998 (Ohio State University).
We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country. Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002.
We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction. Sen. Ted Kennedy, Sept. 27, 2002
I will be voting to give the President of the U.S. the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to out country. Sen. John Kerry, Oct. 9, 2002
In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery, capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaida members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Sen. Hillary Clinton, Oct. 10, 2002.
Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime. He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation And now he is miscalculating Americas response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction. So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real Sen. John Kerry, Jan. 23, 2003 (Georgetown University).
bin Laden had been living [at the pharmaceutical plant in Sudan], that he had, in fact, money that he had put into this military industrial corporation, that the owner of the plant had traveled to Baghdad to meet with the father of the VX program. William S. Cohen, Bill Clintons Defense Secretary. Mar. 2004 before the 911 Commission Hearings. He cited an al Qaida-Baghdad link as justification for bombing the pharmaceutical plant.
I think Iraq is the most serious and imminent threat to our country. time has come for decisive action. Sen. John Edwards, Feb. 2002, prior to Congress even voting to authorize the war.
Almost no one disagrees with these basic facts; that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a menace; that he has weapons of mass destruction and that he is doing everything in his power to get nuclear weapons, that he has supported terrorists; that he is a grave threat to the region, I believe this is not an either-or choice. Our national security requires us to do both, and we can. John Edwards, Oct. 10, 2002.
No. I didnt get misled As you know, I serve on the Intelligence Committee. So it wasnt just the Bush administration. I sat in meeting after meeting after meeting where we were told about the presence of weapons of mass destruction. There is clearly a disconnect between what we were told and what in fact, we found there I think we couldnt let those who could veto in the Security Council hold us hostage. John Edwards, Oct. 13, 2003. (Hardball with Chris Matthews).
We all know of his [Saddam Hussein] announcement he can no longer permit U.S. citizens to participate in the U.N. inspection team searching for Iraq for violations of the U.N. requirement that Iraq not build or store weapons of mass destruction While it is not certain, it is not unreasonable to assume that Saddams action may have been precipitated by the fear that the U.N. inspectors were getting uncomfortably close to discovering some caches of reprehensible weapons of mass destruction long feared he is doing everything in his power to build, hide, and hoard Plainly and simply, Saddam Hussein cannot be permitted to get away with his antics, or with this latest excuse for avoidance of international responsibility In my judgment, the Security Council should authorize a strong U.N. military response that will materially damage, if not totally destroy, as much as possible of the suspected infrastructure for developing weapons of mass destruction, as well as key military command and control nodes. Saddam Hussein should pay a grave price, in a currency that he understands and values This should not be a strike consisting only of a handful of cruise missiles hitting isolated targets primarily of presumed symbolic value John Kerry, Nov. 9, 1997. (Congressional Record)
And then, there are statements from Saddam Hussein and his state sponsored media:
We will chase [Americans] to every corner at all times. No high tower of steel will protect them against the fire of truth. Saddam Hussein, Feb. 8, 1991.
What remains for Bush [Bush I] and his accomplices in crime is to understand that they are personally responsible for their crime. The Iraqi people will pursue them for this crime, [Operation Desert Storm] even if they leave office and disappear into oblivion. There is no doubt they will understand what we mean if they know what revenge means to the Arabs [Saudi Arabian and Kuwaiti] will light torches, grow aromatic plants, and water the tree of freedom, resistance and victory. Saddam Hussein, Jan. 26, 1999.
What is required no is to deal strong blows to U.S. and British interests. These blows should be strong enough to make them feel that their interests are indeed threatened not only by words but also in deeds. Al-Qadisiyah, Feb. 27, 1999 (State-controlled newspaper).
Does [America] realize the meaning of every Iraqi becoming a missile that can cross to countries and cities? Saddam Hussein, Sept. 29, 1994.
When peoples reach the verge of collective death, they will be able to spread death to all Al-Qadisiyah, Oct. 6, 1994.(State controlled newspaper).
One chemical weapon fired in a moment of despair could cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands. Al-Quds al-Arabi, Oct. 12, 1994. (State controlled newspaper).
The real perpetrators [Sept. 11] are within the collapsed buildings. Alif-Ba, Sept. 11, 2002.
If the attacks of September 11 cost the lives of 3,000 civilians, how much will the size of looses 50 states within 100 cities if it was attacked in the same way in which New York and Washington were. What would happen if hundreds of planes attacked American cities? Al-Rafidayn, Sept. 11, 2002
[The U.S.] should send more coffins to Saudi Arabia because no one can guess what the future has in store. Saddam Hussein, June 27, 1996.
The U.S. must get a taste of its own poison. Babil, Oct. 8, 2001
It is possible to turn to biological attack, where a small can, not bigger than the size of a hand, can be used to release viruses that affect everything
Babil, Oct. 8, 2001.
You're right, and how fortunate we are that Dan Rather and Mary Mapes in utter stupidity, chose to step up to the plate and demonstrate that to the American people in September.
Kerry was hawkish on Iraq throughout the 2nd term of the rapist-in-chief's 8 year nightmare.
The democrat's only remember one thing. "They are not the one's in charge".
It's really gettin' scarey these days, the big media have become another wing of the Democrat Party. They've declared all out warfare agaisnt conservatism and Christianity in America.
Who the f... cares the exact reason why we went to Iraq? Nothing Bush said would have appeased the vermin media. We are in a war with radical Islam and Saddam was the radical tyrant of an aggressive Islamic nation. He once possessed and used WMD...that's all anyone really needs to know.
Notice, if you will, it's not largely the common person making all the noise and divisive accusations, (like during the Vietnam era), it's the damn whoring press making all the trouble for our government. They're the ones drumming up all the unrest and divisions and acting like shills for the 'rat Party. It's not only getting annoying, it's getting downright dangerous for America.
But you will never hear that on the MSM and they will pound every day to try and discredit Bush. We just may in trouble here folks.
Better safe than sorry.
Thank you! I was looking for this list of quotes earlier today.
I completely agree with you. The greatest threat to America and our values is the leftist media. Another thing to remember....even when everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, was saying that Saddam had WMDs back in early 2003 (and I'm still not convinced he didn't have them back then, despite this Duelfer report), the left STILL opposed the war to drive him from power. So, faced with a consensus opinion that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, the left in this nation, including a goodly percentage of the news media, were opposed to doing anything about it.
None of this matters to the MSM because it doesn't fit their agenda.
I believe the Duelfer report confirms this statement of Clinton's.
"Concede"? Oh yeah, I forgot about the Demorat spin that the invasion was because we knew they had WMDs, instead of because we didn't know if they had WMDs.
The MSM is in full court press mode for their man, JFK.
"The media ignores all of this."
---- no sh*t??? :/