US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, has finally admitted that the case for invading Iraq "appears" to have been untrue. As if the US government didn't know it at the time!
Colin Powell admits the case for attacking Iraq was wrong
Powell was given the job of making the case for overthrowing Iraq's government to the UN last year. He delivered a presentation to the Security Council, broadcast in the media throughout the world, claiming that Iraq had WMD and had to be disarmed. He showed photographs and maps of weapons facilities. But none of the locations he pointed to were weapons facilities. These sites were all visited by UN weapons inspectors before the war and known to be clean.
Colin Powell said the US knew Iraq had WMD, and even claimed to know where the weapons were located. Many people took his word for it, particularly in the US. Did you? The official reason for the war on Iraq was a pack of lies. The UN weapons inspectors knew it. Russian intelligence knew it. German intelligence knew it. French intelligence knew it. Even we knew it. Are we supposed to believe that the US and the UK were the last to know? In fact, the truth was freely available for anybody who cared to look.
Richard Clarke, the US government security advisor during the last four presidencies, and Paul O'Neill, the former Treasury Secretary, have both confirmed that the plan to conquer Iraq was already on the table on 9/11. Bush and his cabinet were ready to use 9/11 as an excuse to take Iraq's oil even before the bodies were cold.
There was literally never any evidence whatsoever to support accusations that Iraq had WMD. The reasons for the war on Iraq were not the reasons sold to us: http://www.thedebate.org
BBC News, "Powell admits Iraq evidence mistake", 3 April 2004.
[ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3596033.stm ]
US Secretary of State Colin Powell has admitted that evidence he submitted to the United Nations to justify war on Iraq may have been wrong.
In February last year he told the UN Security Council that Iraq had developed mobile laboratories for making biological weapons.
On Friday he conceded that information "appears not to be... that solid".
The claim failed to persuade the Security Council to back the war, but helped sway US public opinion.
Mr Powell said he hoped the commission appointed to investigate pre-war intelligence on Iraq would examine whether the intelligence community was justified in backing the claim.
Doubts have been widely cast on the existence of the mobile labs, not least by the former US chief weapons inspector in Iraq, David Kay, who now says does not know whether Iraq ever had a mobile weapons programme.
New York Times, "Ex - Advisor Says Bush Eyed Bombing of Iraq on 9 / 11", 19 March 2004.
[ http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/international/international-iraq-retaliation.html ]
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former White House anti-terrorism advisor says the Bush administration considered bombing Iraq in retaliation after Sept. 11, 2001 even though it was clear al Qaeda had carried out the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Richard Clarke, who headed a cybersecurity board that gleaned intelligence from the Internet, told CBS ``60 Minutes'' in an interview to be aired on Sunday he was surprised administration officials turned immediately toward Iraq instead of al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
``They were talking about Iraq on 9/11. They were talking about it on 9/12,'' Clarke says.
Clarke said he was briefing President Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld among other top officials in the aftermath of the devastating attacks.
``Rumsfeld was saying we needed to bomb Iraq. ... We all said, 'but no, no. Al Qaeda is in Afghanistan,'' recounts Clarke, ``and Rumsfeld said, 'There aren't any good targets in Afghanistan and there are lots of good targets in Iraq.'''
Clarke, an advisor to four presidents, left his position in February 2003 after the White House transferred functions of the cybersecurity board to Homeland Security.
Clarke's comments are the latest to raise the question of the Bush administration's focus on overthrowing Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, fired in a shake-up of Bush's economic team in December 2002, told ``60 Minutes'' in an interview aired in January he never saw any evidence Iraq had weapons of mass destruction -- Bush's main justification for going to war.
O'Neill also charged that Bush entered office intent on invading Iraq and ousting its leader, Saddam Hussein.
``I think they wanted to believe that there was a connection'' between Iraq and al Qaeda, Clarke tells ``60 Minutes.''
``But the CIA was sitting there, the FBI was sitting there, I was sitting there, saying, 'We've looked at this issue for years. For years we've looked and there's just no connection,''' says Clarke.
The Guardian (UK), "Bush and Blair made secret pact for Iraq war ", 4 April 2004.
[ http://politics.guardian.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12956,1185439,00.html ]
· Decision came nine days after 9/11
· Ex-ambassador reveals discussion
President George Bush first asked Tony Blair to support the removal of Saddam Hussein from power at a private White House dinner nine days after the terror attacks of 11 September, 2001.
According to Sir Christopher Meyer, the former British Ambassador to Washington, who was at the dinner when Blair became the first foreign leader to visit America after 11 September, Blair told Bush he should not get distracted from the war on terror's initial goal - dealing with the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
Bush, claims Meyer, replied by saying: 'I agree with you, Tony. We must deal with this first. But when we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must come back to Iraq.' Regime change was already US policy.
Faced with this prospect of a further war, he adds, Blair 'said nothing to demur'.
Details of this extraordinary conversation will be published this week in a 25,000-word article on the path to war with Iraq in the May issue of the American magazine Vanity Fair. It provides new corroboration of the claims made last month in a book by Bush's former counter-terrorism chief, Richard Clarke, that Bush was 'obsessed' with Iraq as his principal target after 9/11.
But the implications for Blair may be still more explosive. The discussion implies that, even before the bombing of Afghanistan, Blair already knew that the US intended to attack Saddam next, although he continued to insist in public that 'no decisions had been taken' until almost the moment that the invasion began in March 2003. His critics are likely to seize on the report of the two leaders' exchange and demand to know when Blair resolved to provide the backing that Bush sought.
The Vanity Fair article will provide further ammunition in the shape of extracts from the private, contemporaneous diary kept by the former International Development Secretary, Clare Short, throughout the months leading up to the war. This reveals how, during the summer of 2002, when Blair and his closest advisers were mounting an intense diplomatic campaign to persuade Bush to agree to seek United Nations support over Iraq, and promising British support for military action in return, Blair apparently concealed his actions from his Cabinet.
Vanity Fair also discloses that on 13 January, at a lunch around the mahogany table in Rice's White House office, President Chirac's top adviser, Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, and his Washington ambassador, Jean-David Levitte, made the US an offer it should have accepted. In the hope of avoiding an open breach between the two countries, they said that, if America was determined to go to war, it should not seek a second resolution, that the previous autumn's Resolution 1441 arguably provided sufficient legal cover, and that France would keep quiet if the administration went ahead.
But Bush had already promised Blair he would seek a second resolution and Blair feared he might lose Parliament's support without it. Meanwhile, the Foreign Office legal department was telling him that without a second resolution war would be illegal, a view that Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney-General, seemed to share at that stage. When the White House sought Blair's opinion on the French overture, he balked.
BBC News, "Bush's Iraq WMDs joke backfires", 26 March 2004.
[ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3570845.stm ]
US President George W Bush has sparked a political firestorm by making a joke about the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
At a black-tie dinner for journalists, Mr Bush narrated a slide show poking fun at himself and other members of his administration.
One pictured Mr Bush looking under a piece of furniture in the Oval Office, at which the president remarked: "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be here somewhere."
After another one, showing him scouring the corner of a room, Mr Bush said: "No, no weapons over there," he said.
And as a third picture, this time showing him leaning over, appeared on the screen the president was heard to say: "Maybe under here?"
The audience at Wednesday's 60th annual dinner of the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association obviously thought the quips hilarious - there were laughs all round - but the next morning, in the cold light of day, things looked far less amusing.
The joke about the fruitless search for Iraqi WMDs so far, Washington's prime justification for the US-led invasion, has been branded as tasteless and ill-judged.
"The Insider" mailing list article, 03 April 2004.
Tags: Iraq, WMD, Colin, Powell, war, oil, 9/11, , conspiracy theories.