T Nation

A Reason for War?


WMD just a convenient excuse for war, admits Wolfowitz

By David Usborne
30 May 2003

The Bush administration focused on alleged weapons of mass destruction as the primary justification for toppling Saddam Hussein by force because it was politically convenient, a top-level official at the Pentagon has acknowledged.

The extraordinary admission comes in an interview with Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Defence Secretary, in the July issue of the magazine Vanity Fair.

Mr Wolfowitz also discloses that there was one justification that was "almost unnoticed but huge". That was the prospect of the United States being able to withdraw all of its forces from Saudi Arabia once the threat of Saddam had been removed. Since the taking of Baghdad, Washington has said that it is taking its troops out of the kingdom. "Just lifting that burden from the Saudis is itself going to the door" towards making progress elsewhere in achieving Middle East peace, Mr Wolfowitz said. The presence of the US military in Saudi Arabia has been one of the main grievances of al-Qa'ida and other terrorist groups.

"For bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on," Mr Wolfowitz tells the magazine.

The comments suggest that, even for the US administration, the logic that was presented for going to war may have been an empty shell. They come to light, moreover, just two days after Mr Wolfowitz's immediate boss, Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary, conceded for the first time that the arms might never be found.

The failure to find a single example of the weapons that London and Washington said were inside Iraq only makes the embarrassment more acute. Voices are increasingly being raised in the US - and Britain - demanding an explanation for why nothing has been found.

Most striking is the fact that these latest remarks come from Mr Wolfowitz, recognised widely as the leader of the hawks' camp in Washington most responsible for urging President George Bush to use military might in Iraq. The magazine article reveals that Mr Wolfowitz was even pushing Mr Bush to attack Iraq immediately after the 11 September attacks in the US, instead of invading Afghanistan.

There have long been suspicions that Mr Wolfowitz has essentially been running a shadow administration out of his Pentagon office, ensuring that the right-wing views of himself and his followers find their way into the practice of American foreign policy. He is best known as the author of the policy of first-strike pre-emption in world affairs that was adopted by Mr Bush shortly after the al-Qa'ida attacks.

In asserting that weapons of mass destruction gave a rationale for attacking Iraq that was acceptable to everyone, Mr Wolfowitz was presumably referring in particular to the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell. He was the last senior member of the administration to agree to the push earlier this year to persuade the rest of the world that removing Saddam by force was the only remaining viable option.

The conversion of Mr Powell was on full view in the UN Security Council in February when he made a forceful presentation of evidence that allegedly proved that Saddam was concealing weapons of mass destruction.

Critics of the administration and of the war will now want to know how convinced the Americans really were that the weapons existed in Iraq to the extent that was p ublicly stated. Questions are also multi plying as to the quality of the intelligence provided to the White House. Was it simply faulty - given that nothing has been found in Iraq - or was it influenced by the White House's fixation on the weapons issue? Or were the intelligence agencies telling the White House what it wanted to hear?

This week, Sam Nunn, a former senator, urged Congress to investigate whether the argument for war in Iraq was based on distorted intelligence. He raised the possibility that Mr Bush's policy against Saddam had influenced the intelligence that indicated Baghdad had weapons of mass destruction.

This week, the CIA and the other American intelligence agencies have promised to conduct internal reviews of the quality of the material they supplied the administration on what was going on in Iraq. The heat on the White House was only made fiercer by Mr Rumsfeld's admission that nothing may now be found in Iraq to back up those earlier claims, if only because the Iraqis may have got rid of any evidence before the conflict.

"It is also possible that they decided that they would destroy them prior to a conflict," the Defence Secretary said.

  • The US military said last night that it had released a suspected Iraqi war criminal by mistake. US Central Command said it was offering a $25,000 (315,000) reward for the capture of Mohammed Jawad An-Neifus, suspected of being involved in the murder of thousands of Iraqi Shia Muslims whose remains were found at a mass grave in Mahawil, southern Iraq, last month.

The alleged mobile weapons laboratories

As scepticism grows over the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, London and Washington are attempting to turn the focus of attention to Iraq's alleged possession of mobile weapons labs.

A joint CIA and Defence Intelligence Agency report released this week claimed that two trucks found in northern Iraq last month were mobile labs used to develop biological weapons. The trucks were fitted with hi-tech laboratory equipment and the report said the discovery represented the "strongest evidence to date that Iraq was hiding a biowarfare programme".

The design of the vehicles made them "an ingeniously simple self-contained bioprocessing system". The report said no other purpose, for example water purification, medical laboratory or vaccine production, would justify such effort and expense.

But critics arenot convinced. No biological agents were found on the trucks and experts point out that, unlike the trucks described by Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, in a speech to the UN Security Council, they were open sided and would therefore have left a trace easy for weapons inspectors to detect. One former UN inspector said that the trucks would have been a very inefficient way to produce anthrax.

Katherine Butler

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Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.
Dick Cheney August 26, 2002

Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.
George W. Bush September 12, 2002

If he declares he has none, then we will know that Saddam Hussein is once again misleading the world.
Ari Fleischer December 2, 2002

We know for a fact that there are weapons there.
Ari Fleischer January 9, 2003

Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent.
George W. Bush January 28, 2003

We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more.
Colin Powell February 5, 2003

We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have.
George Bush February 8, 2003

Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.
George Bush March 17, 2003

Well, there is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly . . . all this will be made clear in the course of the operation, for whatever duration it takes.
Ari Fleisher March 21, 2003

There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. As this operation continues, those weapons will be identified, found, along with the people who have produced them and who guard them.
Gen. Tommy Franks March 22, 2003

I have no doubt we're going to find big stores of weapons of mass destruction.
Kenneth Adelman, Defense Policy Board , March 23, 2003

One of our top objectives is to find and destroy the WMD. There are a number of sites.
Pentagon Spokeswoman Victoria Clark March 22, 2003

We know where they are. They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad.
Donald Rumsfeld March 30, 2003

Obviously the administration intends to publicize all the weapons of mass destruction U.S. forces find -- and there will be plenty.
Neocon scholar Robert Kagan April 9, 2003

I think you have always heard, and you continue to hear from officials, a measure of high confidence that, indeed, the weapons of mass destruction will be found.
Ari Fleischer April 10, 2003

We are learning more as we interrogate or have discussions with Iraqi scientists and people within the Iraqi structure, that perhaps he destroyed some, perhaps he dispersed some. And so we will find them.
George Bush April 24, 2003

There are people who in large measure have information that we need . . . so that we can track down the weapons of mass destruction in that country.
Donald Rumsfeld April 25, 2003

We'll find them. It'll be a matter of time to do so.
George Bush May 3, 2003

I am confident that we will find evidence that makes it clear he had weapons of mass destruction.
Colin Powell May 4, 2003

I never believed that we'd just tumble over weapons of mass destruction in that country.
Donald Rumsfeld May 4, 2003

I'm not surprised if we begin to uncover the weapons program of Saddam Hussein -- because he had a weapons program.
George W. Bush May 6, 2003

U.S. officials never expected that "we were going to open garages and find" weapons of mass destruction.
Condoleeza Rice May 12, 2003

I just don't know whether it was all destroyed years ago -- I mean, there's no question that there were chemical weapons years ago -- whether they were destroyed right before the war, (or) whether they're still hidden.
Maj. Gen. David Petraeus,
Commander 101st Airborne May 13, 2003

Before the war, there's no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical. I expected them to be found. I still expect them to be found.
Gen. Michael Hagee,
Commandant of the Marine Corps May 21, 2003

Given time, given the number of prisoners now that we're interrogating, I'm confident that we're going to find weapons of mass destruction.
Gen. Richard Myers,
Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff May 26, 2003

They may have had time to destroy them, and I don't know the answer.
Donald Rumsfeld May 27, 2003

For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction (as justification for invading Iraq) because it was the one reason everyone could agree on.
Paul Wolfowitz May 28, 2003


give it a rest Lumpy..none of us are interested anymore....



...not this again...


Harkonnen, cool name!

Lumpy, interesting stuff. I hadn't seen this one yet.


Are you 'good guys' trying to say that Wolfowitz is lying? Please explain. I don't understand what 'not this again' means.


Oh yeah, another thing I don't understand is how US=GG can post stuff about how 'great' the US military is & that's so good, but when someone puts up something that deviates from the FOX treatment, nobody's interested anymore. I don't understand. Can you Americans understand that there is a difference between loving your country & loving the policies of your government?

  1. The topic has been beaten down to a pulp, so it is nothing new or informative for many people.

  2. There have been countless political discussions re: the war on this particular forum already.

  3. The "war" is over.


YEA and the point is? The war is over. And there is no point to this article.

Enough said on this PLEASE.


I agree with you Harkonnen, that enough has indeed been said.

I think the crux of the matter is this: people like lumpy took a hell of a lot of crap over saying "Show me the WMD".

Now, that it appears there are no WMD, the abusers don't want to know. My guess is that if WMD had been found there would be a lot of "told you so" and "admit it you leftie fuckhead" going on.

But, as you say, it's old and no-one will change their minds [or, in some cases, alleged minds] so why hold our breath.


Amen Fitone...thanks for summing up the sentiment....


Yeah, give it a rest already.

Besides...one person lying about a blow job is obviously a clear-cut example of the decline of the entire western civilization. He was pure scum whose lie was directly responsible for all manner of terrorist attacks. Just ask Jerry Falwell if you don't believe me.

On the other hand, an entire administration lying about WMD is a yawner. We all knew all along that they didn't exist, but we bought into the Bush "misdirection" so we wouldn't let on to the "bad guys" that we knew the real story all along.

Or something like that....I think. I'm so confused, I don't know who to believe anymore. George wouldn't ever lie to me? Would he?


TME..would you please return to the squat rack to do some more barbell curls???


ptr - Wow, that was a good one.

Here's a clue: I finished a tour in the 1/10 Cav before you finished making boo-boos in your big boy pants. And no, you still can't kick my ass.

What's the difference between a christian fundamentalist and an islamic fundamentalist? I don't know either. Neither one is any more or less full of shit than the other.

I'm outta here for a week or so, flame away if it makes you feel better. I'll be back around the 8th, so maybe you could save your best for then so I don't miss anything.


Classic! I will subscribe to this thread and make sure I am hanging around on the 8th for the fireworks.


go away for a coupla days and I miss all this fun.

great post tme


After watch the Micheal J. Fox "Look-a-like" (Former Clinton Chief of Staff) try repeatedly to get to senator's (one from each party) say negative things about the intel on WMD and the rescue of PFC Lynch on Sunday I though after I email my support to each senator, I would stop off here to enlighten my fellow T-maggers.
1) One WMDs. I have aready posted the official definition of one. If you are interested, please search for it.
1a) Both senators responded that Iraq has had and deployed WMDs, before. If Iraq, had destroyed their, why play games?
1b)Having said that, I and many people with my level of training can assemble a WMD with little or no trouble. Terrorism are not going to pass through customs with WMD, they will assemble them from materials at hand.
2) The troops that rescued PFC Lynch acted on the intel they had and the did a damn fine job. "Let's see, we have a POW behind enemy lines. Why don't we drive up in a ambulance and ask for her back." The troop went in there and rescued a captive american soldier! I am sick and tired of all this Monday morning quarterback on the part of people who have not walked a mile in "their" shoes.
Rant Over.
Best of Luck.


"What's the difference between a christian fundamentalist and an islamic fundamentalist? I don't know either. Neither one is any more or less full of shit than the other."

Easy, one goes around killing infidels and themselves in the name of Allah, the other doesn't.

No Roy, that isn't "classic" or whatever you called it. Everytime you post you make it increasingly difficult for me to believe your an American, and that your conservative. I consider myself conservative and I don't agree with anything you say.



Quoting from the original article:

There have long been suspicions that Mr Wolfowitz has essentially been running a shadow administration out of his Pentagon office, ensuring that the right-wing views of himself and his followers find their way into the practice of American foreign policy. He is best known as the author of the policy of first-strike pre-emption in world affairs that was adopted by Mr Bush shortly after the al-Qa'ida attacks.

Okay, did any of the Conservatives here vote for Paul Wolfowitz for President?

If not, why is this loony-tune calling the shots for Bush?


[quote]No Roy, that isn't "classic" or whatever you called it. Everytime you post you make it increasingly difficult for me to believe your an American, and that your conservative. I consider myself conservative and I don't agree with anything you say.

Oh, Gee... I am not a fundamentalist, therefore I am not conservative. Even worse, you don't agree with my point of view! You clearly don't know the definition of conservative or libral. It has NOTHING to do with religion.

Don't ever question my partriotism or love for my country. In fact, the very fact that you hate anyone complaining about the government just shows that you don't give a flip about what America really stands for.

So Islamic fundamentalists are the ONLY ones who kill people? Did you really type that? It is scary that people like you, with no interest in the past or sense of history, are voters.

I noticed you avoided my reply to you on the "hell yeah war" thread. I addressed your reply to me directly, and you just sort of missed that one... probably because you didn't have enough of a background in recent history to hold your own in a debate. For you it has to descend in to name calling. If you don't know an intelligent repsonse, call someone a "leftist". That makes you look really smart and witty.