September 1, 2010

That obscure object of George's obsession

It may be too soon to look back on the War in Iraq. But as I was listening to the official close of our involvement I kept thinking about how it went during that August in 2002 when the endless fixation on Saddam Hussein ratcheted up additional notches as the Senate started hearings on the possibilities of going to War with Iraq on July 31st. How, in retrospect, it seemed like a crash course heading for inevitable invasion that nothing Iraq did would stop it - it all seemed preordained. Of course, we didn't really know it at the time and it's interesting to listen back to these broadcasts, a sampling of US and overseas news reports and interviews, starting with events of August 2nd and going until the initial inspection reports and "false statements" on December 19th. Listening to a few hundred hours of news in one sitting can be tedious at best.

And those tiny asides that went by almost unnoticed:

Helen Thomas (during a September Press Conference): “You are leaving the impression that you wouldn’t mind if you go to war against Iraq. But, you know, you deal with another nation that may have weapons in a different way. But there are two other impressions around; one that you have an obsession with going after Saddam Hussein at any cost, and also that you have the oil fields.”

Bush: “Yeah. Well, I’m a . . .some people have the right impressions and some people have the wrong impressions.”

Or knowing Hans Blix got himself in a no-win situation:

Lianne Hansen (NPR Weekend Edition - December 8, 2002): “There’s been some tension between the White House and Hans Blix, the Chief UN Weapons Inspector. The Administration has said it would like the team to encourage Iraqi scientists to defect, bring with them their knowledge of Baghdad’s weapons programs and Hans Blix has said that the inspection team would not serve as a defection agency. Is that part of the job of Weapons Inspector?”

David Kaye (Chief Weapons Inspector in Iraq 1991-1992): “ It’s really not part of the job of Weapons Inspections, but what is part of the job is getting the best information you can on what the Iraqi’s are doing."

All that hindsight. All that noise. All those sleights of hand.

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