Can you pick yesterdays lottery numbers too?
Those supporting Bush's prewar claim that Iraq had WMDs defend this false claim on the ground that ?everyone? believed that Iraq had WMDs and constituted an imminent threat.
But what is the evidence that ?everyone? believed this? It isn?t enough to say they did; there should be evidence that they did. I?ve not seen the evidence.
And for other nations who did believe as the U.S. did, on what evidence did they base their beliefs? Only on what the U.S. told them? Or did they have independent evidence of their own? I?ve never seen this discussed.
We do know that France, Germany and Russia strongly opposed the invasion of Iraq. Do you think that France, Germany and Russia thought that Iraq could launch an imminent WMD attack on them but decided there was no need to do anything about it? Surely no one should doubt that if Iraq did attack the U.S., the nations of Europe would be quickly involved. Iraq could not pose an imminent threat to the U.S. without also posing an imminent threat to Europe. Yet, these nations did not consider that going to war was appropriate.
But what about Italy, Spain, Australia, and Japan? They joined the U.S. coalition, didn't they?
But joining the coalition is not the same as having evidence that Iraq had WMDs capable of attacking the U,S. or other nations. Did they rely on what the United States told them, or did they have evidence of their own? I've never since any claim of the latter.
Nations did not easily join the coalition. There was much pressure brought to bear by the Bush administration to force reluctant nations to join. Would that pressure have been necessary if these nations had evidence of their own that Iraq had WMDs and was an imminent threat? Remember that it would have been much easier for Iraq to attack nations in Europe than to attack the United States.
Before accepting that often heard claim that ?everybody?s doing it?, we should evidence that the claim is true. I?ve not seen such evidence.
In January 2003, United Nations weapons inspectors reported that they had found no indication that Iraq had a currently active program to make nuclear weapons, and that there was no credible evidence that Iraq possessed nuclear weapons.
The Washington Post reported in November 2000, "The CIA does not agree that Iraq possesses a crude nuclear weapon. 'We don't believe they have the fissile material required for a nuclear weapon,' said one senior U.S. official. ... 'Nor do we believe they currently have the infrastructure to build a nuclear weapon.'"
US Secretary of State Colin Powell has conceded that Iraq may not have possessed any stocks of weapons of mass destruction before the war last year.
His comments came after the former head of the US weapons inspection team, David Kay, said he did not believe there were any weapons stockpiles.
In May 2004 the New York Times published an editorial which stated that its journalism in the build up to war had sometimes been lax. It appears that the Iraqi exiles used for the stories about WMD were either ignorant as to the real status of Iraq's WMD or lied to journalists to achieve their own ends.
In the build up to the 2003 war the New York Times published a number of stories claiming to prove that Iraq possessed WMD. One story in particular, written by Judith Miller helped persuade the American public that Iraq had WMD: in September 2002 she wrote about an intercepted shipment of aluminum tubes which the NYT said were to be used to develop nuclear material. It is now clear that they could not be used for that purpose.
Does anyone think that the New York Times was alone in cooking the books?
"I've never given Iraq a clean bill of health," Ritter told Time in September 2002. "I've said that no one has backed up any allegations that Iraq has constituted weapons-of-mass-destruction capability with anything that resembles substantive fact."
Holding WMD Liars Accountable by John Nichols
Now that the Bush administration has finally stopped wasting millions of tax dollars each month on the futile search for the weapons of mass destruction it promised would be found in Iraq, it is time for an accounting.
First off, let's be clear about the fact that there was never any credible evidence to suggest that Iraq had a serious WMD program -- let alone the "stockpiles" of already-produced weaponry that the president and his aides suggested.
Twenty-three members of the Senate and 133 members of the House rejected the intensive lobbying by the administration and the pliable press for the use-of-force resolution that Bush would use as his authorization to launch a preemptive war.
Among those who voted "no" were the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and key members of the Senate and House committees responsible for intelligence, armed services and foreign relations -- all of whom had followed the issue for years and saw no evidence of a threat sufficient to justify an invasion of Iraq.
Former chief U.N. arms inspector Hans Blix felt Washington was intimidating him to produce reports that would justify military action in the run-up to the Iraq war, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Friday.
* U.N nuclear weapons inspector Mohammed El Baradei
issued his most positive statement March 7, saying, ?After
three months of intrusive inspections, we have to date found
no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear
weapons program in Iraq.?
-- St. Paul Pioneer Press, March 8, 2003
*France, Germany and Russia issued Feb. 24 an informal
?Memorandum? calling for at least four more months of weapons
inspections in Iraq. It says in part: ?? So far, the conditions
for using force against Iraq are not fulfilled: While suspicions
remain, no evidence has been given that Iraq still
possesses weapons of mass destruction or capabilities in
this field.? -- New York Times, Feb. 25, 2003
* In a lengthy briefing for UN journalists, UN chemical
and biological weapons inspector Hans Blix denied or discounted
four major claims made by Bush Administration officials:
1) Mobile biological labs: Blix said his inspectors had
reports about the claim but no evidence. ?We have never
found one,? he said; 2) Inspectors providing information to
Iraq: Blix denied that any information had been leaked from
any of his inspectors; 3) Iraq intercepting conversations by
UN inspectors; Blix said it was ?impossible? that Iraq had
been able to spy on UNMOVIC telephone conversations because
of the high level of security of UNMOVIC communications
operations; and 4) Iraq hiding weapons material inside
or outside Iraq: Blix said his team had seen no evidence that
Iraq had moved weapons material just before the inspectors?
arrival in order to hide it. -- New York Times, Feb. 5, 2003
* [UN chemical and biological weapons inspector Hans]
?Blix said his team had ... turned up ?no trace? of chemical or
biological agents even in liquid-filled warheads.?
-- New York Times, Jan. 31, 2003
* ?Inspectors have not found any conclusive evidence
to support the Bush administration?s charges that Mr. Hussein
is holding weapons of mass destruction.?
-- New York Times, Jan. 16, 2003
* ?International arms inspectors told the Security Council
that they had not yet found any ?smoking gun.??
-- New York Times, Jan. 10, 2003
I am not saying that the other nations did not believe that Iraq had WMDs and was an imminent threat, or that they had independent evidence of their own. I am simply saying that, as best as I can tell, the evidence that this is the case amounts mostly to simply saying that it is the case, with no underlying support.