You would have thought that the lies about the Iraq war might have stopped by now. But still they continue. The latest neocon attempt to rewrite history is to claim that the war was all Saddam Hussein's fault because he 'pretended' to have Weapons of Mass Destruction.
The latest person to peddle this brazen lie is John Williams, in today's Guardian. Williams, the civil servant whose claim to fame was drafting Blair's dodgy dossier, writes:
"I still find it hard to understand why a dictator who had possessed and used illegal weapons should have continued pretending he still had them, up to the point when his deception cost him his job and his life."
I wonder if Mr Williams can produce any evidence to back up his claim that Saddam (above) the dictator her refers to, pretended to possess illegal weapons? If so, I'd be happy to hear from him.
The fact is that Saddam and his officials repeatedly denied that Iraq possessed illegal weapons. CIF commenter 'Edward Rice' posts an interview Hussein gave with CBS anchor Dan Rather in February 2003:
CBS anchor Dan Rather's "exclusive interview with Hussein that aired on 60 Minutes II on February 26, 2003."
"Hussein told Rather that Iraq was permitted to have missiles of a limited range under existing United Nations resolutions. As for weapons of mass destruction, Hussein offered a clear response:
RATHER: Saddam also rejected Bush administration allegations that besides the missile delivery system, he still has weapons of mass destruction.
HUSSEIN: I think America and the world also knows that Iraq no longer has the weapons. And I believe the mobilization that's been done was, in fact, done partly to cover the huge lie that was being waged against Iraq about chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. That is why, when you talk about such missiles, these missiles have been destroyed. There are no missiles that are contrary to the prescription of the United Nations in Iraq. They are no longer there."
"'Saddam's bluff' becomes conventional wisdom--with no evidence presented"
"...Iraqi officials practically pleaded with the world to believe their 12,000-page declaration of December 2002, which stated that Iraq had no WMD. The country's U.N. ambassador and chief U.N. liaison gave televised press conferences to stress this point (CNN, 12/6/02, 12/8/02)..."
In addition, I also have a video recording of Tony Benn's interview with the late Iraqi leader in which once again, he stated unequivocally that his country did not possess WMD.
It's astonishing how neocon lies can be accepted as truth without a single piece of evidence being presented. The Serbs committing 'genocide' in Kosovo. Milosevic being a 'dictator'. Hugo Chavez being a 'dictator'. Iran's 'nuclear weapons programme'. The lie about Saddam 'pretending' to have WMD is only the latest in a long line of deceptions.
UPDATE: CIF commenter Olching, who also occasionally comments here, is angered- justifiably- by Williams' article. He has left the following comment on the Guardian's website:
February 18, 2008 1:00 PM
A question for the Guardian (this will be deleted):
"How can you get an arsehole like John Williams to write for you? He deserves nothing, absolutely nothing but contempt. In a different place, a different time, he'd suffer the repercussions of leading a country into an illegal war. You're rewarding him with a column. Well done! There are several reasons why I don't buy your rag anymore. I'll add this wanker to the list.
Anyway, here it is pre-typed: [deleted by moderator] You can use it as a template for the ridiculous censorship that will come into force. How about if you delete that wanker's article, which is the biggest insult to your readers and more importantly to the 100,000s of dead Iraqis for which he is directly responsible! Laughable that you should give him a column. Laughable that this comment will be deleted unlike his justification for a war crime."
Sometimes, these things need to be said, and if the Guardian does delete Olching's comment, then at least we have a record of it here. If like me, you'd like William's lie about Saddam pretending to possess illegal weapons to be officially corrected, you can email the Guardian's Readers' Editor, Siobhain Butterworth at email@example.com. And if like me, you are concerned that The Guardian, since the replacement of Seumas Milne as Comment Editor, is turning into its pro-war sister-newspaper The Observer, by running a succession of deceitful, pro-war articles such as John Williams', you can email the newspaper's editor, Alan Rusbridger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
During his editorship of the comment pages Seumas Milne faced a barrage of attacks and complaints from the Eustonista/Henry Jackson crowd for the 'crime' of running articles from journalists (myself included) who did not meet with their 'official' approval. Now it seems they have got the compliant newspaper they want.