"We think the Iraqi people would be a lot
better off with a different
leader, a different regime," he said, "but
the principal offence here is weapons of
mass destruction ... The major issue
before us is disarmament."
MSNBC News Services
Updated: 7:30 p.m. ET Oct. 6, 2004
WASHINGTON - Contradicting the main argument for a war that has cost more than 1,000 U.S. lives, the top U.S. arms inspector reported Wednesday that he had found no evidence that Iraq produced weapons of mass destruction after 1991. He also concluded that Saddam Hussein’s weapons capability weakened, not grew, during a dozen years of U.N. sanctions before the U.S. invasion last year.
Contrary to prewar statements by President Bush and top administration officials, Saddam did not have chemical and biological stockpiles when the war began and his nuclear capabilities were deteriorating, not advancing, said Charles Duelfer, head of the Iraq Survey Group.
In the face of such revelations, the public has been presented spin, like the following comments by Alexander Downer to the PM Program last year:
PM - Friday, 19 March , 2004 18:22:00
Reporter: Mark Colvin
MARK COLVIN: No but clearly what David Kay is talking about is whether we misjudged his actual intention to have and use, and whether he had weapons of mass destruction.
ALEXANDER DOWNER: Well, we didn't misjudge the fact that he had programs, we didn't misjudge the fact that he completely refused fully to cooperate with the United Nations, which he was required to do under Security Council resolutions, but we haven't found the stockpiles.
Now, I guess, look, it just depends where you come from on these issues. I don't place as much emphasis on that as some do. I mean, some people say, well, we haven't found the stockpiles so the war was wrong.
So who, exactly, placed the emphasis on disarming Saddam of his stockpiles of WMD's? And was the emphasis really on getting rid of Saddam because of his human rights violations? So you all don't forget, I dug up this little article from 2002:
Saddam can stay if he disarms, Powell says
By Anne Kornblut in Washington
October 22 2002
It would be possible for Saddam Hussein to remain in power in Iraq if he eliminated his weapons of mass destruction, says the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell.
Mr Powell, raising the possibility that the US might not seek "regime change" as it has repeatedly promised over the past 18 months, said on Sunday that if Saddam abandoned his chemical, nuclear, and biological programs, the Government would be altered so dramatically that in effect the goal would be reached.
"We think the Iraqi people would be a lot better off with a different leader, a different regime," he said, "but the principal offence here is weapons of mass destruction ... The major issue before us is disarmament."
The last time Mr Powell suggested that the US could accept Saddam continuing to govern was during a meeting with the editorial board of USA Today three weeks ago. He was then seen as stepping out of line with the Administration. Other officials have continued to insist that only with Saddam out of power can the world be assured that the weapons of mass destruction are no longer a threat.
However, other White House officials have quietly suggested the Administration is sincere about its desire to avoid war, a necessary tack if it hopes to reach a compromise on a new UN resolution.
Mr Powell said on television that although the UN negotiations were moving forward, there was no guarantee of an agreement on the resolution by the end of this week.
"Whether they can get to a final solution this week or not, I don't know. There are still some difficult issues. It isn't just going to be, 'Here it is' and that's it."
Asked whether Vice-President Dick Cheney and the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, two of the leading proponents of aggressively pursuing Saddam, agreed with his assessment that Saddam could remain in power, Mr Powell said: "The President has made it clear what the United States position is."
Fancy that - Powell was willing to let those terrible human rights violations slide, as long as Saddam got rid of the WMD stockpiles he never had! Why "if Saddam abandoned his chemical, nuclear, and biological programs,"(ibid.) which it turns out he didn't have, "the Government would be altered so dramatically that in effect the goal would be reached."(ibid.)