Sunday, 21 September 2003 - 8:28 AM CDT
Bush Administration Spends Week Retracting Assertions about Saddam's Threat
to the U.S.
The Bush administration this week backed away from three major rationales
for going to war in Iraq last March, undermining its assertions that
Hussein's Iraq posed an imminent threat to the United States and its allies.
As recently as Sunday, Vice President Cheney, claimed that on the question
of Saddam Hussein's involvement in September 11th, "We just don't know."
But within days, both President Bush and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld each
admitted there was no evidence that Hussein had any connection. On
Wednesday, Bush maintained there was "no evidence" that Hussein was
involved. Two days later, Rumsfeld, said, "I've not seen any indication
that would lead me to believe that I could say that."
Yet in March, Hussein's possible involvement in the terrorist attacks
garnered support for the war from many Americans. At the time, the widely
reported meeting between 9/11 planner Mohammed Atta and Iraq's security
chief in Prague a few months before the attack was found by the CIA not to
'Reconstituted Nuclear Weapons Program'
Recently, Cheney backed away from the assertion he made three days before
the war began, that the strongest reason for going to war was that "we
believe [Hussein] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons." But the
International Atomic Energy Agency reported two weeks before that , "There
was no indication of resumed nuclear activities." And six months later on
Meet the Press, Cheney said simply, "I misspoke."
Weapons of Mass Destruction
This week, Rumsfeld reversed earlier statements claiming that the U.S. knew
where Iraq's weapons of destruction were located. When asked why the
weapons hadn't been found, this past Tuesday Rumsfeld said, "What do you
mean? You're talking about a country the size of California." Yet months
ago, just two weeks into the war, Rumsfeld said, "We know where they are.
They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and
1. Meet the Press, NBC, 9/14/03.
2. Remarks by the President After Meeting with Members of the Congressional
Conference Committee on Energy Legislation, 9/17/03,
3. Defense Department News Briefing, Secretary Rumsfeld and General Pace,
4. "Bush Team Stands Firm on Iraq," Washington Post, 9/15/03, p. A1.
5. Meet the Press, NBC, 3/16/03.
6. The Status of Nuclear Inspections in Iraq: An Update, 3/7/03,
7. Meet the Press, NBC, 9/14/03.
8. Defense Department News Briefing, Secretary Rumsfeld and General Pace,
9. This Week with George Stephanopolous, ABC, 3/30/03.