Bush Admits He Lied
US Calls Off the Hunt For Weapons In Iraq

By Ted Rall
Universal Press Syndicate

NANTES, France--Once again Bush and his top officials are responsible for an outrageous scandal whose monumental scale and grotesquely terrifying implications for our democracy make Watergate look like a fraternity prank. Yet the miscreants are getting away scot-free.
As usual.
The Bush Administration, reported The New York Times on January 8, "has quietly withdrawn from Iraq a 400-member military team whose job was to scour the country for military equipment. The step was described by some military officials as a sign that the administration might have lowered its sights and no longer expected to uncover the caches of chemical and biological weapons that the White House cited as a principal reason for going to war last March."
The Bushies have good reason to think they won't find any weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq. They knew full well that the flimsy reports they used to sell their sleazy oil war were more than four years out of date--ancient history by intelligence standards. And, as The Washington Post reports, a newly discovered memo to Saddam Hussein indicates that Mr. Worse Than Hitler got rid of his WMDs in 1991. Unlike the United States, which unilaterally partitioned Iraq into no-fly zones and created a new Kurdish state, Saddam appears to have complied with the ceasefire agreement that ended the Gulf War).
1,400 members of the Iraq Survey Group have been searching for WMDs during the last seven months. They've spent hundreds of millions of dollars. They've been to every government installation in the country. They've come up empty-handed.
All we've gotten are numerous false alarms, each trumpeted as vindication of the Bushies' claim that Saddam would have nuked or gassed or poisoned us if we hadn't taken him out first. On May 31, Bush said: "You remember when Colin Powell ) stood up in front of the world, and he said Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons...we've so far discovered two. And we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong. We found them."
Actually, we didn't find anything. Both "mobile labs" turned out to be rusted trailers used for filling weather balloons. But Bush's lies got so much more media coverage than subsequent attempts to set the record straight that all but the most press-obsessed were misled. By June 18, 35 percent of Americans told a Harris poll that they believed that we had already found WMDs in Iraq. And 48 percent thought that Bush's fictional link between Iraq and Al Qaeda had been "proven."
Iraq's WMDs were probably destroyed at least 13 years ago. Fortunately for Bush, they exist only in the one place he cares about: the deluded minds of a frighteningly ignorant American electorate.
Which is why our troops in Iraq are no longer bothering to go through the motions of searching for them. And why Bush yanked the Joint Captured Matériel Exploitation Group that was supposed to destroy WMDs if and when they had been discovered. "Its work was essentially done," a Defense Department official told The Times, because it was tired of "waiting for something to dispose of."
Nearly 500 American servicemen have been killed in the war against Iraq. At least 2,400 more have been wounded. We've killed so many Iraqis--tens of thousands, certainly--that the Pentagon can't keep count. We've borrowed more than $160 billion to pay for this extravaganza, with many more hundreds of billions to follow. And what was the point of this waste of life and treasure? "To disarm Iraq," Bush told us.
But Iraq, as everyone from the CIA to Hans Blix to Saddam told us beforehand, didn't have any arms to dis.
Calling off the WMD hunt is Bush's tacit admission that he lied about the reasons for war. It's hard to think of anything worse that a president can do. It's even harder to imagine the American people, so cynically accepting of deception, holding him accountable.
(Ted Rall is the editor of the new anthology of alternative cartoons "Attitude 2: The New Subversive Social Commentary Cartoonists," containing interviews with and cartoons by 21 of America's best cartoonists. Ordering information is available at




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