"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

And of the lies?

SCOTT RITTER's testimony, taken by RAY McGOVERNJan 20 2006 http://www.bushcommission.org/Text/Ritter.htm Extract:

RM: Mr. Ritter, the administration even now repeats one of Mr. Rumsfeld's dictas here, not only trained apes, but all our allies, all intelligence services, everyone in the whole world including Mr. Rumsfeld's trained apes, knew, believed that there were weapons of mass destruction there. Would you comment on how everyone could have been so disastrously wrong?

SR: First of all, we need to differentiate between the concept of knowledge and the concept of belief. I can't vouch for anybody's belief. There are many beliefs out there, some of which are valid, some of which aren't. But the administration has said that the French, the Germans, the Russians, indeed the entire world, felt that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. I can tell you as the person who was responsible for some of the most sensitive intelligence operations run by the United Nations vis a vis Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction program, the person who had total access to every shred of intelligence data provided by the international community of the United Nations regarding Iraq's weapons of mass destruction that while there may have been uncertainty about the final disposition of the totality of Iraq's WMD programs, the entire world including the CIA acknowledged that the United Nations' weapons inspectors had, by 1998, accounted for 95-98% of Iraq's declared stockpiles. That there was uncertainty regarding the final disposition of this 5-2% that could not be absolutely verified, but there was no nation, and I will say that again, no nation including the United States, that had any hard factual data to sustain the argument that Iraq a) retained weapons of mass destruction, or b) was actively reconstituting weapons of mass destruction.

So I will contradict the Bush administration by stating NO nation supported the Bush administration's contention that Iraq maintained viable massive stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction at any time from 1998 up until the eve of the invasion in March of 2003.

RM: Are you saying, Mr. Ritter, that the president marched us off to war in the subjective mood? Are you saying that his rhetoric was incredibly declarative-- "There can be no doubt." Quote- end quote. And the intelligence analysts themselves were betwixt and between to come up with the proof that he needed.

SR: I will say this, that as early as 1992 the CIA was in possession of enough data to sustain the notion that Iraq had been disarmed in the field of ballistic missiles. By 1993 the CIA had enough data to sustain the notion that Iraq had been disarmed in the field of biological weapons. By 1994, the CIA had enough data to sustain the finding that Iraq was disarmed in the field of chemical weapons. And by 1995, the CIA was in possession enough data to sustain the finding that Iraq was disarmed in the field of biological weapons. This knowledge, this certainty of data, was passed over from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration. Therefore, I would say that the president's rhetoric was not only baseless, but deliberately misleading.