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WMD: Before and After
June 10, 2003
By Jim Caddell, The Unrepentant Liberal

If you followed the news reports before and after the conquest of Iraq, you may have noticed a distinct difference in tone. The administration began to play down weapons of mass destruction and began emphasizing the "liberation" of Iraq. However, after talking about WMD until the whole country was sick of hearing about them, questions were bound to be asked. The contrast between the administration's stance before and after Baghdad's fall is striking:

Before Baghdad Fell

Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. - Dick Cheney, August 26, 2002

Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons. - George W. Bush, September 12, 2002

If he declares he has none, then we will know that Saddam Hussein is once again misleading the world. - Ari Fleischer, December 2, 2002

The president of the United States and the secretary of defense would not assert as plainly and bluntly as they have that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction if it was not true, and if they did not have a solid basis for saying it. - Ari Fleischer December 6, 2002

We know for a fact that there are weapons there. - Ari Fleischer January 9, 2003

It appears to be a re-run of a bad movie. [Iraqi President Saddam Hussein] is delaying. He's deceiving. He's asking for time. He's playing hide-and-seek with inspectors. One thing is for certain - he's not disarming. - George W. Bush, January 21, 2003

Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent. - George W. Bush, January 28, 2003

We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more. - Colin Powell, February 5, 2003

We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons - the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have. - George W. Bush, February 8, 2003

So has the strategic decision been made to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction by the leadership in Baghdad? . . . I think our judgment has to be clearly not. - Colin Powell, March 7, 2003

Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. - George W. Bush, March 17, 2003

Well, there is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly . . . all this will be made clear in the course of the operation, for whatever duration it takes. - Ari Fleischer, March 21, 2003

There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. And . . . as this operation continues, those weapons will be identified, found, along with the people who have produced them and who guard them. - Gen. Tommy Franks, March 22, 2003

One of our top objectives is to find and destroy the WMD. There are a number of sites. - Pentagon Spokeswoman Victoria Clark, March 22, 2003

We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat. - Donald Rumsfeld, March 30, 2003

We have high confidence that they have weapons of mass destruction. That is what this war was about and it is about. - Ari Fleischer, April 10, 2003

After Baghdad Fell

When there happens to be a weapon of mass destruction suspect site in an area that we occupy and if people have time, they'll look at it. - Donald Rumsfeld, April 11, 2003

I don't think we'll discover anything, myself. I think what will happen is we'll discover people who will tell us where to go find it. It is not like a treasure hunt where you just run around looking everywhere hoping you find something. I just don't think that's going to happen. The inspectors didn't find anything, and I doubt that we will. What we will do is find the people who will tell us. - Donald Rumsfeld, April 17, 2003

We are learning more as we interrogate or have discussions with Iraqi scientists and people within the Iraqi structure, that perhaps he destroyed some, perhaps he dispersed some. And so we will find them. - George W. Bush, April 24, 2003

There are people who in large measure have information that we need . . . so that we can track down the weapons of mass destruction in that country. - Donald Rumsfeld, April 25, 2003

He tried to fool the United Nations and did for 12 years by hiding these weapons. And so, it's going to take time to find them. But we know he had them, and whether he destroyed them, moved them or hid them, we're going to find out the truth. - George W. Bush April 25, 2003

We'll find them. It'll be a matter of time to do so. - George W. Bush, May 3, 2003

I'm absolutely sure that there are weapons of mass destruction there and the evidence will be forthcoming. We're just getting it just now. - Colin Powell, May 4, 2003

We never believed that we'd just tumble over weapons of mass destruction in that country. Donald Rumsfeld, May 4, 2003 I'm not surprised if we begin to uncover the weapons program of Saddam Hussein - because he had a weapons program. - George W. Bush, May 6, 2003

U.S. officials never expected that "we were going to open garages and find" weapons of mass destruction. - Condoleeza Rice, May 12, 2003

I just don't know whether it was all destroyed years ago - I mean, there's no question that there were chemical weapons years ago - whether they were destroyed right before the war, (or) whether they're still hidden. - Maj. Gen. David Petraeus, Commander 101st Airborne, May 13, 2003

Given time, given the number of prisoners now that we're interrogating, I'm confident that we're going to find weapons of mass destruction. - Gen. Richard Myers, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, May 26, 2003

They may have had time to destroy them, and I don't know the answer. - Donald Rumsfeld, May 27, 2003

For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction (as justification for invading Iraq) because it was the one reason everyone could agree on. - Paul Wolfowitz, May 28, 2003

It was a surprise to me then it remains a surprise to me now that we have not uncovered weapons, as you say, in some of the forward dispersal sites. Believe me, it's not for lack of trying. We've been to virtually every ammunition supply point between the Kuwaiti border and Baghdad, but they're simply not there. - Lt. Gen. James Conway, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, May 30, 2003

Whoa! What was that? Maybe Saddam destroyed the WMDs before we got there? Isn't that what Saddam claimed all along? So Slimeball Saddam was telling the truth and Shrub was lying? The irony of the administration asking for more time to find the WMDs when it denied that time to the UN inspectors would be delicious if it were not for the disgraceful nature of all those lies.

If a Democratic president were ever reckless enough to put the country in such an embarrassing position there would be a 250 million man lynch mob surrounding the White House.

During this last week several news reports have surfaced about administration officials distorting intelligence briefs to support their political agenda. A recently retired State Department analyst, Greg Thielman, said "There is a lot of sorrow and anger at the way intelligence was misused." He added that he couldn't believe that Bush would use "that stupid piece of garbage" about Iraq buying uranium from Niger, referring to the poorly forged documents the US presented to the UN as proof of Iraq's nuclear naughtiness.

It seems like every day another intelligence spook is popping up with a new complaint about how the administration misused his reports. Former CIA analyst Patrick Lang said intelligence on Iraq was "exploited and abused and bypassed" by the White House. Time quoted an Army intelligence officer who claimed Rumsfeld ''was deeply, almost pathologically distorting the intelligence.''

This revelation should come as no surprise, at least to members of the online progressive community. The White House propaganda about aluminum tubes, Nigerian uranium, Iraqi defectors' testimony, and unmanned drones was debunked long before the invasion began (See An Angry Liberal, 3/10/2003). The frustrating thing about these lies is not that they were so easily disproved, but that the administration kept on telling the same lies after they were exposed and that the American corporate-controlled media continued to repeat them virtually unchallenged.

The administration's propaganda strategy appears to be based on the idea that the American public is ignorant, uninformed, apathetic, and incapable of remembering last month's propaganda. That's just plain insulting. On the other hand, if they get away with it - they'll be right.

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