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Agency disavows report on Iraq arms
September 29, 2002 1:41 PM   Subscribe

Agency disavows report on Iraq arms "The International Atomic Energy Agency says that a report cited by President Bush as evidence that Iraq in 1998 was 'six months away' from developing a nuclear weapon does not exist. 'There's never been a report like that issued from this agency,' Mark Gwozdecky, the IAEA's chief spokesman, said yesterday in a telephone interview from the agency's headquarters in Vienna, Austria."
posted by owillis (52 comments total)

 
Interesting. The Washington Times is not the paper I'd expect to report this.
posted by gsteff at 1:47 PM on September 29, 2002


Liar, liar! Pants on fire!
-Traditional Grade-School chant, c. 1996
posted by ac at 2:04 PM on September 29, 2002


I noticed this the other day myself... I agree that of all the places I expected something like this to appear, it wouldn't be the Moonie Times. However, it certainly shoots down any accusations that the mystical Librulmeedja is saying this. (To be fair, the blatantly left-wing websites are reporting this story too, with a very anti-Bush slant, essentially accusing the president of outright lying)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:11 PM on September 29, 2002


Poor man is sufferring from early onset senile dementia, I mean have you heard the Texan, wait, no Tennessean...no, I'll let the facts speak for themselves.

I actually was gonna post this, cos I really want to know how it'll be spun: by Ari, Warbloggers, Bushites, Republicans and chickenhawks. I especially want to hear this defended here.

But then, I realised: we're just gonna get a polarised debate, ad hominems, sleight-of-speech. Bleh. So he makes it up: what's new? When the powerful want war, they get it. One way or another. All we can do is witness (as in debate, observe, challenge).

Then vote.
posted by dash_slot- at 2:20 PM on September 29, 2002


O.T.: Well, obviously, I can't vote over there: though our countries are entwined, we haven't yet joined the Union. We're still a territory.
/O.T.
posted by dash_slot- at 2:23 PM on September 29, 2002


"He's[Bush]referring to 1991 there," said Deputy Press Secretary Scott McClellan. "In '91, there was a report saying that after the war they found out they were about six months away."
Mr. Gwozdecky said no such report was ever issued by the IAEA in 1991.

Where does he get "six months" from? Am I missing something, or was this just an outright lie
posted by ac at 2:46 PM on September 29, 2002


Is it an 'outright lie' if Bush simple confused the source of the "6 months away" information? No credible evidence of massive rebuilding of biological and chemical facilities dismantled under U.N. inspection during the 90's. Recent report suggesting that Saddam is 6 months away from a nuclear weapon has been misrepresented by the Bush administration. Report actually said that he was 6 months to 2 years away before the Gulf War. Recent statement by International Atomic Energy Agency report indicated that they do not believe Saddam has any residual nuclear capability.

So IAEA didn't say it, but somebody did. Anyone know who?
posted by schlyer at 3:30 PM on September 29, 2002


In this previous discussion is a quote from an article (no longer available from the MSNBC site, unfortunately) that says, "Instead...the [International Atomic Energy Agency] said in 1998 that Iraq had been six to 24 months away from [nuclear] capability before the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the U.N.-monitored weapons inspections that followed. The war and the inspections destroyed much of Iraq's nuclear infrastructure and required Iraq to turn over its highly enriched uranium and plutonium."

This CNN article, also linked in the previous thread, suggests that the confusion was over a nonexistent "new report" -- but now there's not even an "old report"? What the hell's going on?
posted by Dean King at 3:32 PM on September 29, 2002


schyler --- not, it's not an outright lie. But it is either simple incompetence or indifference to the truth. Regardless it doesn't leave me with warm fuzzy feelings for the "Trust Me" administration when they can't even get their facts straight.
posted by nathan_teske at 3:50 PM on September 29, 2002


If you start bringing up facts, it's just going to cloud up the decision making process.
posted by ArkIlloid at 4:11 PM on September 29, 2002


(tom_tomorrow)
Why do you all hate America so much?
(/tom_tomorrow)
posted by UKnowForKids at 4:42 PM on September 29, 2002


Wow. Cool. We've now reached the point of having entire articles written - and entire MeFi FPP's conducted about - single sentences in Bush speeches.

I'm just perpetually tickled by the fact that there is such an intense desire to explore every utterance of Bush looking for "gotcha!" moments, and a very peculiar lack of a similar desire to dissect (for instance) the statements issuing from Saddam Hussain or Tariq Aziz - who have been lying to the UN pretty much since about five minutes after they surrendered a decade ago. That 400,000 will protest Bush because he might act without it's approval, and not a soul demonstrating against Saddam (who, oddly enough, doesn't feel the need to ask the UN for permission to do anything - including invading neighboring countries).
posted by MidasMulligan at 4:46 PM on September 29, 2002


Dr. Mr. President --- Fool me once, shame ... shame on me. Fool me twice ....... mfuh can't be fooled again.
posted by crunchland at 4:47 PM on September 29, 2002


MidasMulligan - I don't think anyone here would seriously take Saddam for his word (anyone? anyone?). We don't argue about Saddam's speaches because the consensus is that he regularly lies his arse off, so why bother? If you wan't anti-Saddam rhetoric on daily basis, go to littlegreenfootballs and stand in line. They'll tell you everything you ever needed to know (and some you didn't) about the big man.

Bush, on the other hand, is expected to at least tell the truth and get his facts right, which makes for a much more interesting discussion when he doesn't.
posted by Neale at 4:57 PM on September 29, 2002


single sentences in Bush speeches.

Well, that's because wars may or may not be waged based on those single sentences.

That 400,000 will protest Bush because he might act without it's approval, and not a soul demonstrating against Saddam (who, oddly enough, doesn't feel the need to ask the UN for permission to do anything - including invading neighboring countries).

There's a logical fallacy at work here, but I can't figure out which one. How is protesting Saddam relevant to protesting George Bush? How is Saddam doing things without UN sanction relevant to George Bush doing things without UN sanction?
posted by RylandDotNet at 4:59 PM on September 29, 2002


so whats new....
posted by pyr at 5:00 PM on September 29, 2002


MidasMulligan: I believe its assumed that Saddam is lying 99% of the time by most reasonable folks, one hopes we can hold the president to a higher standard, so we like to look a little more closely. I'm not sure what else your comparison is about, unless you subscribe to some kind of inane "You're with us completely, or your against us" philosophy.

I don't think I've seen anyone on MeFi argue that Saddam is a good guy, or should be held up as a barometer of good behavior (as you seem to be suggesting with your "UN permission" point). The discussion is about whether a war where thousands will die is justified. This justification hinges entirely on evidence that Saddam has weapons of mass distraction and is likely to use them... as such, I'd say it makes a lot of sense to look real close at the evidence, no?

Feel free to ignore that and keep attacking the straw man of Saddam fans, tho.
posted by malphigian at 5:01 PM on September 29, 2002


(who, oddly enough, doesn't feel the need to ask the UN for permission to do anything - including invading neighboring countries).

The problem is Saddam had US government permission to invade Kuwait, and Saddam had our blessing to go to war with Iran, hell Saddam had our weapons technology. He is a monster that our government helped create, the only justification I can see for ousting Saddam is that the US is cleaning up it's own mess.
posted by jbou at 5:06 PM on September 29, 2002


I like the notion of "weapons of mass distraction." Something involving Iraqi strippers, maybe? (Sorry.)
posted by raysmj at 5:08 PM on September 29, 2002


"Saddam had US government permission to invade Kuwait"

Wait a minute, that's news to me. Care to cite a source?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:08 PM on September 29, 2002


I don't think anyone here would seriously take Saddam for his word (anyone? anyone?).

Maybe not here, but some folks certainly seem to think we can.
posted by Plunge at 5:17 PM on September 29, 2002


mr_crash_davis: Here is the transcript of a discussion between Sadaam Hussein and American ambassador April Glaspie, on July 25, 1990, in which the ambassador seems to give implicit permission to invade Kuwait. The key quote, from Glaspie:

"But we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait.

I was in the American Embassy in Kuwait during the late 60's. The instruction we had during this period was that we should express no opinion on this issue and that the issue is not associated with America. James Baker has directed our official spokesmen to emphasize this instruction."

It appears from this conversation that strongly spoken American words against an invasion of Kuwait may have deterred Hussein.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:29 PM on September 29, 2002


mr_crash_davis: Not so much permission as a failure to say the invasion wasn't OK, one that could easily have been taken as a wink-wink kind of thing. The former ambassador later admitted to at least making a boo-boo (but she stayed on with the foreign service - go figure). A (disputed) transcript here, with a bit of fleshing out of the story in the Christian Science Monitor.
posted by raysmj at 5:32 PM on September 29, 2002


Wow. Cool. We've now reached the point of having entire articles written - and entire MeFi FPP's conducted about - single sentences in Bush speeches.

Oh, please. We had entire books written about "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" and "I invented the internet." And don't tell me we don't have entire MeFi threads about single sentences other MeFi'ers have said either.

When someone says something (or is alleged to say something) that is found inflammatory by a large group of people, there's bound to be insight raised into it, be it challenging a statement of evidence in Bush's speech or protesting the opinion of a commentator.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:45 PM on September 29, 2002


Thanks, guys. That's some interesting reading. It really makes one wonder about "diplomatic" speech versus just coming right out and saying what one means, doesn't it?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:57 PM on September 29, 2002


Tony Snow interviewed Edward Peck, our ambassador to Baghdad in the late personality. To tell you the truth, Senator, I love Peck, I really do, because I think he has so much in his head because of that experience. There are others like him we have to consult, from our common pool of 285 million citizens, most of whom cannot help us in figuring out how to avoid an East/West war leading to oblivion. Peck is a mature man, probably around my age, 65, so what you get from him is distilled wisdom, without the cojones. When Tony asked him what he thought we should do about Iraq and Saddam Hussein, he mildly suggested we might think of talking to him. Talking to him!! Ed noted that it has been 11 years since we talked to Saddam. He didn't supply the details, but I can tell you the last time Saddam talked to us, as a government, he asked our permission to invade Kuwait. Yes he did. And we gave it to him.

The above is an excerpt of this link. Saddam is a US created monster that they now want to eliminate, and all this war propaganda is BS, Saddam is an embarrassment to George sr, and now innocent people have to die to fix a problem that the US created.
posted by jbou at 6:01 PM on September 29, 2002


As a followup to the thread about April Glaspie, I think that the expectation from the US was that Iraq was simply going to seize Kuwait's Rumalia (sp?) oil fields in the north and then leave it at that. I think that the US wasn't expecting an out-and-out invasion and annexation of Kuwait.

Someone mentioned in passing that Glaspie "stayed in the foreign service." That's not all... Where, praytell, was she found in 1993? Why, the United States embassy to Somalia, of course!

And that, my friends, is the rest of the story.
posted by deanc at 6:15 PM on September 29, 2002


I don't think anyone here would seriously take Saddam for his word (anyone? anyone?).

The UN does. So does Noam Chomsky. In fact, everyone who argues with a strait face that US sanctions kill 50,000 Iraqi children a year takes Saddam at his word.

Have we already forgotten that some people were making these claims? This was a Big Issue, once upon a time. Of course, it's often informative to note who made those claims, and then note what they're claiming today.
posted by gd779 at 6:59 PM on September 29, 2002


... Saddam is a US created monster that they now want to eliminate...

When one creates a monster isn't it one's duty to get rid of it before it does even more harm?
posted by Plunge at 7:09 PM on September 29, 2002


When one creates a monster isn't it one's duty to get rid of it before it does even more harm?

Depends whether "getting rid of him" involves the wholesale slaughter of tens of thousands of civilians, exposing American troops to nerve gas, setting off the middle eastern powder keg, and so forth.

And then of course, since Bush has both a spoken and demonstrated contempt for "nation building" this so-called regime change will leave Iraq the way we've left Afghanistan: a chaotic, ungoverned disaster area where warlords and terrorists come and go at will, acquiring and trafficking in those same weapons of mass destruction we were supposed to be eliminating, which will presumably be used on such targets as Israel and America.

Sound good to you?
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:20 PM on September 29, 2002


When one creates a monster isn't it one's duty to get rid of it before it does even more harm?

Yes, but that is not the reason the administration wants to go to war. They want to go to war for oil. Everyone knows this. They are just going through the motions because they can't come out and say "We want to invade Iraq for oil". This is a democracy after all.
posted by botono9 at 7:22 PM on September 29, 2002


When one creates a monster isn't it one's duty to get rid of it before it does even more harm?

Having personally created a number of monsters, I must say that this monster has had a conflicted upbringing.

One must be consistent with ones monster. You cannot turn around and slap him days later for behavior you have previously been actively encouraging, for ones monster will grow resentful and distrustful.

There are two approaches to dealing with an unhinged creation.

1) "Hey I found a hideous monster, it's eeeeeevil, no it can't talk, it must die tonight"

Or

2) "We screwed up folks. What is the best way to handle this situation without adding to the body count"
posted by The Great Satan at 7:35 PM on September 29, 2002


When one creates a monster isn't it one's duty to get rid of it before it does even more harm?

Yes. And then after doing so, kindly off one's self under the Dr. Frankenstein precedent. Two monsters are actually made: the "made" monster and the creator thereof.
posted by nathan_teske at 8:32 PM on September 29, 2002


It makes about as much sense to say that the U.S. "created" Saddam Hussein as it does to say that The U.S. created Pol Pot or Hitler. I'ts inexcusably poor logic, not to mention false.

Bush and his advisers know a lot more about this situation than they are letting on, and are not about to lead an attack on a genocidal terrorist and terror-supporter on hunches and rumours. Why would they? For fun? Why waste the time and money and *most importantly* lives of Americans just to chase down some imaginary villain? Come on.
posted by hama7 at 8:40 PM on September 29, 2002


Bush and his advisers know a lot more about this situation than they are letting on...

Yeah, they have the receipts. And the holiday snaps.

Why would they? For fun?

For the sake of ideology, sure. It's not as if they don't have a track record. Whether you call that 'fun' is your own decision.
posted by riviera at 8:56 PM on September 29, 2002


*most importantly* lives of Americans

Could some kind person explain to me why American life is worth more then any other?

I'm sure some (soon to be made dead) Iraqi collateral damage would appreciate it if their lives were factored into the equation.
posted by The Great Satan at 9:02 PM on September 29, 2002


American lives carry greater political capital; it seems to be a universal truth of American politcs, equally abused by both parties.
posted by nathan_teske at 9:16 PM on September 29, 2002


So IAEA didn't say it, but somebody did. Anyone know who?

The WT article that started this whole discussion offers an answer to that question, but points out how far from true the whole thing was (not just the source).

Apparently, the New York Times and the London Times both reported in 1991 that Iraq had a uranium "enrichment plant using electromagnetic technology [that] was about six months from becoming operational." The year ('91, not '98) was corrected by Deputy Press Secretary Scott McClellan, making the above source more likely. But there's a large difference between being 6 months from starting up a uranium enrichment plant and having a nuclear weapon. At least, I think there is; it's been a long time since I built my last nuclear weapon...
posted by adameft at 9:20 PM on September 29, 2002


RE: Weapons of Mass Distraction
posted by owillis at 9:28 PM on September 29, 2002


I'm sure some (soon to be made dead) Iraqi collateral damage would appreciate it if their lives were factored into the equation.

Perhaps, then, they ought to talk to their leader? Who (presumably) should be most responsible for any such "factoring"? Perhaps persuade him that his behavior might have - oh, I don't know - at least a little something to do with the current situation?
posted by MidasMulligan at 9:34 PM on September 29, 2002


Bush and his advisers know a lot more about this situation than they are letting on

My first impulse was to offer a snarky comment about what a great job Bush is doing about hiding his knowledge. From what he has chosen to share with the American people, I'd never guess that he knows anything.

But, I'm not going to say that. ~wink!~

Instead, I'll mention how odd it is that otherwise sensible people offer faith as an debate argument. It's rather like bringing a banana to a knife fight. How can one reason with someone who seriously suggests blindly "following the leader" is a logical position?
posted by SPrintF at 9:39 PM on September 29, 2002


*most importantly* lives of Americans

I said that because of the context of an American leader's statement, which was the subject of this thread. I thought it was obvious that an American president's first concern would be the lives of its own citizens.

suggests blindly "following the leader" is a logical position?


My point is, no rational leader in his right mind would consider an attack in his wildest dreams without really good reasons for it. People said the same thing about Afghanistan, and they were pretty soundly mistaken.
posted by hama7 at 9:52 PM on September 29, 2002


Perhaps, then, they ought to talk to their leader?

Good idea..... Ooooh...*smacks forehead... I got my dictatorships and democracies mixed up again. My bad.

Good point. They took responsibility for whatever hell comes screaming down from the sky when they elected Saddam as their dictator....Ooooh...*smacks forehead...
posted by The Great Satan at 9:53 PM on September 29, 2002


My point is, no rational leader in his right mind would consider an attack in his wildest dreams without really good reasons for it. People said the same thing about Afghanistan, and they were pretty soundly mistaken.

(I would argue that "rational leader in his right mind" is A) redundant and B) very questionably applicable to Bush. But that's just a cheap shot. Completely true, but a cheap shot. Instead, addressing your points:)

Mistaken how? The supposed purposes of attacking Afghanistan were first to capture Bin Laden an other al-Quaeda leaders, and second to replace the regime with one that did not harbor terrorists. It has failed at both: warlords and terrorists dominate most of the country outside Kabul, and only now is the administration claiming that capturing Bin Laden was not an important objective.

So they attacked a country for one set of reasons, failed entirely at those stated objectives, then retroactively changed what the objectives were supposed to have been.

And still you would have us take what they want to do and why on faith?
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:15 PM on September 29, 2002



Shouldn't there be [naive] tags around this? Why waste time and lives, indeed?
posted by umberto at 10:59 PM on September 29, 2002


er...that naive tags thing was in reference to this:

Bush and his advisers know a lot more about this situation than they are letting on, and are not about to lead an attack on a genocidal terrorist and terror-supporter on hunches and rumours. Why would they? For fun? Why waste the time and money and *most importantly* lives of Americans just to chase down some imaginary villain? Come on.
posted by umberto at 11:00 PM on September 29, 2002


Perhaps, then, they ought to talk to their leader?

That's a great idea, Midas. Since their lives aren't worth anything anyway, they ought to just throw them away talking to a maniacal dictator. Don't you have great shoe-making kids in Thailand to be economically exploiting right now or something?
posted by Ryvar at 11:10 PM on September 29, 2002


Slightly off-topic: for those reluctant to accept conclusions about Iraqi civilian casualties in the Gulf War and after, I suggest reading Ramsay Clark's books. They include War Crimes: A Report on United States War Crimes Against Iraq, The Fire This Time: U. S. War Crimes in the Gulf and The Impact of Sanctions on Iraq: The Children are Dying.

For those unfamiliar with his impressive credentials, perhaps the most salient points are his tenure as US Attorney General under LBJ and subsequent anti-war activism during the Vietnam War.
posted by Nicolae Carpathia at 11:19 PM on September 29, 2002


first to capture Bin Laden an other al-Quaeda leaders, and second to replace the regime with one that did not harbor terrorists.

I must have been reading different news over the past year, because I don't see bin Laden anymore, lots of al Qaida were captured and/or removed, and al Qaida isn't in Afghanistan.

But we digress.
posted by hama7 at 11:49 PM on September 29, 2002


I don't see bin Laden anymore, lots of al Qaida were captured and/or removed, and al Qaida isn't in Afghanistan

Oh, that's right, the stated goal was to keep you from seeing bin Laden. And not to actually capture the perpetrators of 9/11, but to drive a bunch of their brethren into Pakistan, where they'll be completely harmless. The pigs are up on the ladder with the paintbucket again.
posted by soyjoy at 9:21 AM on September 30, 2002


I don't see bin Laden anymore, lots of al Qaida were captured and/or removed, and al Qaida isn't in Afghanistan

That's the spirit! When's the parade?
posted by niceness at 10:06 AM on September 30, 2002


My point is, no rational leader in his right mind would consider an attack in his wildest dreams without really good reasons for it

Are the President's "good reasons" my good reasons? I think that is exactly what we are all debating about. I have heard so many possible reasons from both sides of the debate. I have heard or read nothing yet that gives me complete confidence that a war is necessary.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:18 AM on September 30, 2002


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