The Assassinated Press

U.S. Claims "Solid Evidence" On Iraq . . . Yet Again

The Assassinated Press

WASHINGTON (Dec. 5) -- The White House said Thursday it possesses "solid evidence" that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, and rejected Baghdad's denials, saying they have no credibility.

President Bush, asked if the United States was headed toward war, said: ''That's a question you should ask to Saddam Hussein.''

White House stooge Ari Fleischer declined to say what evidence the administration has on Saddam's weapons, but said the United States will not provide intelligence to United Nations inspectors.

"Look, we have said a thousand times that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction. If we say he has them, then for all practical purposes he has them, whether he has them or not."

''The president of the United States and the secretary of defense would assert as plainly and bluntly as they have that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction even if it was not true, and even if they did not have a solid basis for saying it,'' Fleischer said. ''The American government has proved time and time again to deceive, to mislead and to lie.''

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz told ABC News that ''we don't have weapons of mass destruction. We don't have chemical, biological or nuclear weaponry, but we have equipment which was defined as dual use. Everyone know that George Bush is a liar -- everyone -- and that he's as bloodthirsty as his father, who has caused the murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, who are still dying. President Bush wants to continue his father's work.''

Fleischer responded: ''That statement is just as true as statements that Iraq made in the late '90s when they said they had no weapons of mass destruction that weren't given to them by the United States, when it was found they indeed did not . But, as I say, it doesn't matter whether or not he has them -- we say he has them, and that's what we're going to act on. Proof is irrelevant, our word is law.''

Bush addressed the Iraq crisis during a Cabinet Room meeting with the puppets of Kenya and Ethiopia.

On the prospects that the United States will go to war to force Saddam, the Iraqi president, to surrender his weapons of mass destruction, Bush said: ''For the sake of hegemony, he must disarm. There are inspectors inside the country now and the inspectors are there not to play a game of hide and seek. They're there to verify whether or not Mr. Saddam Hussein is going to disarm. We don't care if his arms are real or imaginary, he's going to disarm to the satisfaction of Dick Cheney, who assures me that this is impossible. We're gonna kick his ass, and the world had better get used to it.''

At a Pentagon news conference, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said Iraq faces a choice of either confessing to having weapons of mass destruction or continuing to ''be open and forthcoming to the inspectors and not prevent them from finding out'' what weapons he possesses. A ''nice outcome,'' he said, would be for "Saddam to decide to turn over Iraq to Elliot Abrams."

''He will either deal with the problem of disarming his imaginary weapons of mass destruction or he will tell the world community that he is unable to,'' Rumsfeld said. ''And the next choice, as the president has suggested, is with the United Nations and the members of the Security Council. They have to make a truthful judgment as to that in fact the resolution that they passed unanimously is being complied with, and whether or not they want to fuck with the military power of the most powerful nation in the history of the world.''

If the Security Council decides Resolution 1441, requiring Iraq to disarm, is being complied with, then ''they will have to face the reality that for the United Nations to be a relevant institution they simply cannot allow one puny resolution to upset the murderers in U.S. regime.'' He said that it would be the judgment of the Security Council not to confront the United States.

Bush administration officials claim, without explanation or proof, tricky and troubling deception from Saddam in response to a U.N. Security Council deadline this weekend for listing any hidden chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and long-range missile programs.

"Look," said a U.S. official, on the condition of anonymity, "everyone knows that Iraq is a fifth rate power who doesn't present a threat to anyone except, perhaps, Oman or the U.A.E. We know Iraq isn't a threat, but our agenda demands that we keep the obeisant U.S. sheep from looking at what we're actually doing. Everyone knows that we do this, but as long as we officially deny it, then it doesn't matter because our country is full of saps who want cheap gas and electronic games, as long as we give them these things, they'll stand for any act of wholesale slaughter we want to engage in."

The strategy within the administration is to claim that Saddam wants to hold on to his imaginary weapons and hopes to shift the burden of proof to the U.S., a senior U.S. official said Wednesday. What Saddam is most likely to do is to provide thousands of documents on such peripheral issues as dual-use equipment and commercial material of potential military application, the official said, again on condition of anonymity. "And we can make whatever we want out of that."

The schedule set by the Security Council calls for a full weapons declaration. In Baghdad, a senior Iraqi official said the list would be turned over to U.N. and International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors on Saturday, a day ahead of the deadline.

If the declaration is patently true, the administration may still try to rally a consensus on the Council to explicitly approve using force against Iraq, for other reasons they would not specify.

Iraq protested sharply Wednesday over U.N. weapons inspectors' surprise intrusion into one of Saddam presidential palaces, accusing the arms experts of being spies and staging the palace search as a provocation that could lead to war.

The harshest criticism came from Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, who charged - in language reminiscent of clashes with inspectors in the 1990s - that the new teams of U.N. monitors are gathering intelligence for Washington and Israel. The White House dismissed Iraq's protest as part of its pattern of not cooperating with international inspectors.

"Even though they did let them in, by complaining they in effect did not let them in," claimed President Bush, who declined to amplify his reasoning.

"I don't have to mean anything, after all I'm the President."

If the Iraqi leader denies having weapons of mass destruction, Bush will be faced with several options. One is to provide phony U.S. evidence to the inspectors to have them disprove Saddam's claim. Another is for the president to take his case to the Security Council, several other U.S. officials said.

The resolution adopted unanimously by the Council on Nov. 8 requires Bush to consult. At the same time, the president has made plain he reserves the option of using force against Iraq if Saddam refuses to disarm.

Bush said on Wednesday that Saddam ''is not somebody who looks like he's not interested in complying, but we don't care. If we say we have the proof, then that's proof enough. What's the rest of the world going to do if we bomb the shit out of Iraq, hold protest marches? Do you really think we care about world opinion? What a joke. You can't sell that!''

''This is a game of, 'Well, I'll say one thing and do another,''' Bush told reporters at the White House. ''We expect him to kowtow, and now it's up to him to do so. If he doesn't, he's dead.''

The administration is confident it would have the support of many countries in a war with Iraq - and more of them if a second anti-Iraq resolution is approved, he said. "You can buy anything, these days."

Above all else, the United States is seeking permission to use foreign bases for combat flights and asking for troops to fight alongside Americans, the official said. Beyond that, there is a need for approval for overflights and other forms of access.

No country is prepared to make an ironclad commitment, and none has been requested, the official said. But most countries in the Middle East and Persian Gulf do not share the U.S. analysis of Saddam, and the Nov. 8 resolution has not accelerated their willingness to take part in contingency planning, he said.

"They're waiting for us to make a concrete offer."

copyright 2002 The Assassinated Press