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Helen Thomas vs. George Bush...and the rest of the media

Eli Stephens, Left I on the News

March 22, 2006

One of the biggest of George Bush's big lies resurfaced today. On July 14, 2003, George Bush first (?) said this:

"We demanded that Saddam Hussein let the inspectors in. He did not let them in."
A stunner right? Not to the press. As I wrote back then:
The following day it was followed by a deafening silence in the media. As far as I could tell at the time, only the Washington Post carried the story, and they covered Bush's rear with the almost equally preposterous claim that Bush's statement "appeared to contradict the events leading up to war."
Which brings us today's press conference, and Helen Thomas asking George Bush why he really went to war, since we know all the public rationales fell apart. The whole answer isn't worth repeating, but this is:
"I also saw a threat in Iraq. I was hoping to solve this problem diplomatically. That's why I went to the Security Council; that's why it was important to pass 1441, which was unanimously passed. And the world said, disarm, disclose, or face serious consequences -- [interruption from Thomas] -- and therefore, we worked with the world, we worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world. And when he chose to deny inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him.
Of course the world knows that Iraq did disclose that it had no weapons (as the post right below this one reminds us), and that it did disarm, and that Iraq was not "denying" the inspectors. So the very next questioner followed up on Thomas' question, and demanded to know how Bush could make such a preposterous statement, right?

Sorry, no. The word "inspectors" never came up again. The next questioner asked a question almost as bizarre as Bush's answer to the previous one: "If [Iraqi forces] can't [handle a civil war "if" it breaks out], sir, are you willing to sacrifice American lives to keep Iraqis from killing one another?" As if American lives aren't already being sacrificed, and Iraqis aren't already killing one another. Good job, press corps. Not.






Helen Thomas vs. the media, part II


I realize that a lot of ground was covered in Bush's press conference yesterday. But his repeating of the absurd twin claims that Iraq hadn't "disclosed" and hadn't disarmed (not to mention the claim of having "denied" the inspectors) as his central justification for going to war even though "no President wants war" surely warranted comment. You'd think. The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and San Francisco Chronicle didn't agree; not one of them mentioned it.

Jim VandeHei writing in the Washington Post even added his own rewriting of history to Bush's:

Moments later, [Bush] said the reason U.S. forces went to Iraq was to "make sure we didn't allow people to provide safe haven to an enemy." Since the invasion, Bush has emphasized different rationales for the Iraq invasion, such as the need to topple a dangerous dictator and to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, which have yet to be found.
Not only does VandeHei not point out that the "not providing safe haven" reason was primarily a "post-facto" reason, and only a secondary issue advanced by Bush before the war, he makes the astonishing claim that the need to eliminate WMD was a rationale that Bush has emphasized "since the invasion." Perhaps he needs to reread Bush's address to the nation on March 19, 2003, which began: "American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger." Or his statement of March 17, 2003, which began "For more than a decade, the United States and other nations have pursued patient and honorable efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime without war," and continued "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." Or his statement of March 16: "The dictator of Iraq and his weapons of mass destruction are a threat to the security of free nations."

"Disarming" Iraq (in quotes since it was impossible to disarm an already disarmed country) was the reason the U.S. "officially" went to war. U.N. Resolution 1441, on which the U.S. based its completely invalid "legal" claim for the invasion, talks about only one thing - disarming Iraq of WMD. It doesn't talk about safe havens, or "toppling dangerous dictators," or anything of the sort. Only disarmament.


:: Article nr. 21806 sent on 23-mar-2006 00:06 ECT

www.uruknet.info?p=21806

Link: lefti.blogspot.com/2006_03_01_lefti_archive.html#114298861907781228



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