Proof of the Lies
George Bush is right about one thing. He reminds us accurately that the Democrats also told the world that Saddam was a menace, that he was armed to the death with weapons of mass destruction, that he had to be confronted, etc. etc. However, Bush's claim that "everyone" thought the same thing about Saddam so it was just an honest mistake based on "bad intelligence" is garbage.
What he's covering up is that they had "good intelligence", but they just rejected it and hid it. At his talk at Qunnipiac University on November 14 Scott Ritter told how they deliberately lied about Saddams battery of missiles. Ritter, a former Marine intelligence officer, had been put in charge by the UN of finding the location of every single SCUD in Iraq's arsenal. At first Iraq's military men lied and said only a small number had survived the '91 war. But Ritter demanded more information, got a hold of the Russian suppliers of the missiles and found that there were 98 unaccounted missiles. He went back to the Iraqis who admitted their falsehoods and said that the 98 had been destroyed and buried in the desert. So he went to the desert, dug it up with backhoes and took out every piece of metal he could find and compared the serial numbers he uncovered to the ones the Russians supplied him. All but two missiles were accounted for. There was plenty of metal that could possibly have been the missing SCUDs, but without the numbers the two couldn't positively have been declared found.
Ritter went back to NY pretty satified with himself for finding out that the Iraqi missile capability was in the dust. But then he was told that the C.I.A. had rejected his findings and that U.S. intelligence had found out on its own that Iraq still had 200 missiles. They said they were buried in the desert, hidden in caves in mountains, on river bottoms and shuttled around in trucks. So Ritter's teams stopped Iraqi trucks and inspected them and send teams to every site suggested by the CIA. They used the most advanced ground penetrating radar. They sent divers into rivers. Nothing, nothing at all was found.
So once again they made their report to the C.I.A. Ritter was thanked for his work and dismissed. Then he says C.I.A. chief Woolsey called Ritter's boss Rolph Ekeus into a room and told him, "The number we are using for Iraqi missiles is 12-20 and that number will never change." And it never did right up to the days of the invasion.
So they knew full well that there were no missiles, but they chose to lie about it. And this was back in the early 1990's!
Ritter also said it was part of his job for the UN to read the foreign assassements of Iraq military strength. In 1998 these assessments all agreed that Iraq was fundamentally disarmed.
They had good intelligence, but as Ritter explained eliminating weapons of mass destruction was never the game, it was always about regime change, driving Saddam from power.
So they lied.
a Project of
The Middle East Crisis Committee, P.O. Box 3626, Woodbridge, CT
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