"I also saw a threat in Iraq. I was hoping to solve this problem diplomatically. That's why I went to the [United Nations] Security Council; that's why it was important to pass [Resolution] 1441, which was unanimously passed. And the world said, disarm, disclose, or face serious consequences -- 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 [emphasis added], then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him. And we did, and the world is safer for it."Yes, "And when he chose to deny inspectors"; excuse me. They were there and doing their job and till you told them to get out because you were about to "shock and awe" the country back to the stone age. But of course that was a rerun for this particular lie, not a lot of imagination in the White House so lies usually get several playings.
For the third time since the war began three years ago, Bush had falsely claimed that Saddam refused the U.N. weapons inspections mandated by the Security Council. For the third time, he had denied a reality witnessed by the entire world during the four months when those inspectors, under the direction of Hans Blix, traveled Iraq searching fruitlessly for weapons of mass destruction that, as we now know for certain, were not there.Joe points out that the press rarely called him on the lie.
The first incident was on July 14, 2003, at a White House press conference with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who diplomatically declined to contradict him. At that time, the Bush administration was reeling from the impact of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's Op-Ed essay about the Niger uranium fiasco in the New York Times, which had appeared a few days earlier.
Asked by reporters about the questionable intelligence on Iraq that had distorted his speeches and decisions, the president bristled. He clearly believed such questions impertinent and unimportant. He preferred to talk about the big picture. In his concluding remarks that afternoon, Bush said: "The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in [emphasis added]. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region. I firmly believe the decisions we made will make America more secure and the world more peaceful."
...Bush did it again six months later. On Jan. 27, 2004, he met briefly with reporters, accompanied by the visiting Polish president, Alexander Kwasniewski. The subject of the absent arsenal came up again because David Kay, the administration's handpicked weapons inspector, had confessed that nine months after the invasion the Iraq Survey Group had found nothing, zip, zero, and that he no longer expected they ever would.
As the Washington Post noted the following day, "the president's assertion that the war began because Iraq did not admit inspectors appeared to contradict the events leading up to war this spring: Hussein had, in fact, admitted the inspectors and Bush had opposed extending their work because he did not believe them effective." That was putting it rather blandly (as I suggested here). The POTUS had denied reality, and the press corps blinked. The New York Times didn't even report his bizarre statement, and the rest of the media followed along meekly.They certainly didn't treat Clinton that way.
(Let me pause here to note how the treatment of these incidents contrasts with that notorious occasion when Bush's predecessor uttered an obvious lie as the cameras rolled. Bill Clinton's denial of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky was played back over and over and over again.)The Bush administration has been responsible for evil that the United States may never recover from and the corporate media is equally responsible for letting the litany of lies stand unchallenged.