T Nation

Another Bush Err...

  • AP -

White House: Bush Erred on Mustard Gas

WASHINGTON - Once again, President Bush (news - web sites) misspoke on a weapons issue, telling the nation that 50 tons of mustard gas were found in Libya ? twice the amount actually uncovered.

The White House moved quickly Wednesday to correct the record, with press secretary Scott McClellan seeking out reporters to point out the mistake. The president should have said in his Tuesday night address and press conference that 23.6 tons of mustard gas were found in Libya, instead of 50 tons, McClellan said.

Bush used the 50-ton figure twice.

The first time, he was making the case that his decision to go to war in Iraq (news - web sites) has produced foreign policy successes elsewhere. The president argued that Libya's agreement last December to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction programs was the result of the U.S.-led war to topple Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (news - web sites).

"Colonel Gadhafi made the decision, and rightly so, to disclose and disarm for the good of the world," Bush said, referring to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. "By the way, they found, I think, 50 tons of mustard gas, I believe it was, in a turkey farm, only because he was willing to disclose where the mustard gas was. But that made the world safer."

The second time, Bush was using the example of the Libyan mustard gas disclosure to suggest that weapons of mass destruction could still turn up in Iraq. Though Bush's prewar allegations of Saddam's alleged weapons were his main rationale for going to war, none has yet been found.

"They could still be there," Bush said Tuesday of the Iraq weapons. "They could be hidden, like the 50 tons of mustard gas in a turkey farm."

The White House's fast acknowledgement of this error was sharply different from its handling of Bush's now-discredited claim in his January 2003 State of the Union address that Iraq had sought uranium from Africa for weapons.

It wasn't until July 2003 that the White House said the statement, largely based on evidence of Iraqi activities in Niger that turned out to be forged and that had been doubted beforehand by some in the intelligence community, should not have been included in the speech.


A first degree faux pas. Agreed.

But he didn't misquote the statistics in making a case for war with Libya, so this is...NO BIG DEAL. Chill.

Shall we examine any of Kerry's misstatements (which we can call them if we're being charitable)? The other day is called Sadr "a legitimate voice," then backtracked when Sadr announced his support for Hezbollah and Hamas. Apparantly, Sadr's ties with Iran and assassination of a moderate, popular Shiite leader did not strike Kerry as remarkable.


The man spoke for a long time (for him) without notes. I dislike him intensely, but I can give him some slack for misquoting one of several numbers and factoids he was cramming for this.

Ever cram for an exam and get 100% Not often!


Who's not chill?

BS - you're awfully defensive for someone who ignores party lines. I took no stand, said no thing -- simply posted an article from the AP.

And, I'm disappointed you would only call this misstatement of facts a "faux pas" and "no big deal." Sorry, "NO BIG DEAL."


So there were only 23.6 tons of mustard gas? How many people would that kill, just out of curiousity?


I'm sorry... but what's the difference between having 23.6 tons of mustard gas or 50? There WAS mustard gas there, and it was a pretty huge amount. Get over it.



It has been discovered that people make mistakes...


This conclusively proves that Bush lied to go to war with Iraq.

Perhaps there should be a commission created to investigate this.


i'm no scientist but i think 23.6 tons of mustard gas can still do some damage.


True, simple mistake, but...

"The White House's fast acknowledgement of this error was sharply different from its handling of Bush's now-discredited claim in his January 2003 State of the Union address that Iraq had sought uranium from Africa for weapons. "

...is everything excusable?


Oh please. At least twenty times a day I say one thing and mean another.

I'm not a Bush fan by any means, he's an idiot, but he misspoke. Who gives a shit? I can't believe some loser reporter thought it was worth writing a story about.


It's not news? The president misstated a fact that he used to substantiate certain actions and arguments to the entire country on prime time television! This isn't worthy of at least a blurb?

BTW, I have heard the news flash that people make mistakes...I've also heard that our President makes them quite often...tighten up, fellas.


You're obviously reaching. One candidate's difficulty with extemporaneous speech does not make it better to vote for a candidate who always chooses his words so carefully...

I personally would like Bush to explain our the ideological goals of our foreign policy better. I don't care whether he stutters though, or misstates a fact that he says on the spot he might not have correct. Currently, Tony Blair is the voice of the free world.

However, in the meantime, the ideological goals John Kerry has for our foreign policy are totally incoherent, and not for lack of facility with the English language.