« TupperWAR lady of the day! | Main | A little music goes a long way: Help us support the troops »

Rather Not

(This post made possible by Lisa and e-mail).

There were several times during Dan Rather's interview with that despicable dictator last night where I had to turn the channel. At times I felt uncomfortable, at times I felt irate.

I just read the entire transcript of the interview.

Dan Rather should be ashamed of himself. He gave a full hour of television time to a tyrant, a murderer, a sadistic man who hates America. Rather did it unabashedly, without shame or trepidation. This charade of an interview was nothing more than a commercial for appeasement.

CBS should also be ashamed for airing this garbage. In a time where we are getting ready to go to war with Iraq, CBS is showing an hour long session of cozy coffee talk with the leader of that country.

What was the purpose of this interview? Have the ratings for the Michael Jackson feeding frenzy made the network execs go mad with hunger? This was the equivalent of Saddam Unplugged. I can almost here Rather and his bosses saying "Let's show the nice, gentle side of Saddam. Make sure he doesn't wear his military clothing. Focus on his face every time it looks like he may smile. It's about time Americans saw Saddam the humane, generous leader."

If they really want to jumpstart their ratings, CBS could make a season-long project out of this. Call it, Oh, the Humanity! Each week, Rather could interview someone who has a bad reputation. Coffee Talk with Arafat, where Yasser the Wonderful shows us how he knits sweaters for orphans in his spare time. Mugabe and Me, where Rather talks a long walk through the plains of Africa with Mugabe as they discuss his love of jigsaw puzzles and fluffy bunnies. My Dinner with Bud Selig.

Come on, let's give them a season's worth of Oh, the Humanity!

TrackBack

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Rather Not:

» Dan and Saddam from OliverWillis.Com
Watching last night's interview with Saddam Hussein, I knew it was only a matter of time before the usual suspects [Read More]

Comments

you for got
On The Veranda
with Hugo Chavez

I think they should call it What's The Frequency? and give blunt instruments to everyone being interviewed.

I did my part and did not watch. The topics on these shows are only after ratings so they can sell more advertising dollars. Any intellectual value is secondary. If not enough people watch, they choose other topics or simply go away.

I'm sure this is going to upset some folks, but...it's an open forum, right?

Last night gave me a little hope... Hope for open debate about this. Hope that dialogue could be a key in unlocking the door to a more peaceful world.

What do we have to lose by waiting a little longer, engaging in dialogue to try to diffuse this situation? Sure, nothing will change that Saddam is a dictator, and not historically kind... But, perhaps a debate will bring some things to light. Who could turn down the opportunity to try to discuss things peacefully in the face of war?

Then, the whole world might feel that the US has made the "last ditch effort" at trying to make peaceful sense of all this.

When a discussion is offered, how can we say "no, fight first?" Is this what we want the next generation to believe? It's better to go in and whoop some ass, then ask questions later?

If the debate were to happen and nothing seems changed, at least we could say, "Hey, this was an option that we exhausted before going in there and killing their people and ours." I have to wonder if that wouldn't earn the world's respect, AND (more importantly) the respect of the American people who for whatever reason cannot stand behind this war at this time.

Winston Churchill tried to warn folks about Hitler, and got exiled. What followed is burned into the memories and history of the world. I'm NOT saying I wish to give anyone else the chance to recreate this... But, I have to believe that if the bully wants to sit and talk, we should give that a go.

Or else, who's the bully?

Namaste.

Oh my, DeeGee. Debate usually includes facts, logic and honest points of view. Are you serious? We have work to do, making the world safe for Michele to crush our souls.

I'm sorry but a debate would be a total waste of time if last night's interview is any indication. All we'd hear from Saddam would be lies and/or misinformation. How do you debate with someone who's so cut off from reality and delusional?! He actually sat there and said they'd won the Gulf War! And talked about how popular he was because of the percentages by which he'd won re-election! What a joke! And yet, not a joke at all because he's completely serious. You can't have a debate with a nut like that. At least, that's my take on it.

I guess the question is at this jucture, what good can his desire to sit and talk do? He hopething this will buy him more time from an attack to rid him from power. He's had a chance for over 12 years to disarm. He hasnt.

How come he only takes action when we are on the precipice of war? He suddenly pulls one WMD from his stockpile (remember when he claimeed Iraq had no WMD?) and shows it to blix and says "Look we are complying! Dont attack!" Now he sits with Dan "I'd" Rather "be a communist" and expects the world to say "Hark! He's willing to sit down and talk! Dont Attack!". The way Dan was coddling to this mass murderer made me ill. It should also be noted CBS refused to allow someone from the White House on air to rebut Saddam's comments.

Liberal media at it's finest.

You gotta admit rather's response to the hussy's invitation to be the moderator was funny. "With respect Mr. President, I have other problems. I have enough problems already."

Chicken.

It comes down to what my Granny taught me....Never argue with an idiot,just say"You may be right" and move on.Then do what needs to be done.That's what we adults do.

I can't apologize for the fact that I believe that Mr.Hussein's offer of a dialogue with the President (where there hasn't been one before) should be explored.

And perhaps I'm not perusing the right (or enough) sites, but has anyone else noticed the "liberal media at it's finest" has chosen NOT to give much attention to the interview? It just seems odd that the proposal for a debate isn't really covered. Possibly because it was dismissed out of hand by the White House as "not serious?" I watched the interview, and it seemed like a real proposal to me.

I definitely appreciate having a forum to voice my ideas and opinions.

Let's look at a little history. Granted history repeating itself is not an immutable law, but it sure gives us a good baseline reference.

A few years back, there was this small country who wanted nukes for themselves. They were the kind of country run in a way that these WMD would have been used offensively. There were a lot of serious concerns about war due to this, but diplomacy was used.

Our president at the time used the best possible diplomacy possible and finally signed a treaty with this country, even giving them some aid. The country promised not to pursue nukes any more and the crisis and possible war was averted. This is how diplomacy works and is why we should take the same route with Saddam, right?

Oh, that country is known as North Korea, and we all know they still are bound to that pact and have never tried to get nukes again, right?

What about an Oh the Humanity! Episode with George W. Bush. He can talk about how he's making tougher laws for Corporate America, and how he's trying to reduce the unemployment rate. Or maybe he can discuss the positive results of CIA funding for terrorist organizations.

As far as the White House dismissing a possible debate, well they're passing up a great opportunity to repair some of the damage they've done to their global relations. Why not take the opportunity to whip Saddam in a public forum before they blow him up?

Deegee,

Listen to what the man said--read it, it's on the site.

The man might actually want to talk, but what does it accomplish to listen to the ravings of a madman?

His word is repeatedly shown to be a total lie, a stream of falsehoods designed to give him time to complete his plans.

We can sit and talk all we want. After the war. At his trial. Or his funeral.

DeeGee, do you honestly believe that in the past 12 years there has been no discussion, no dialogue, no diplomacy? Does the process have to start over from scratch just because some portion of the public wasn't paying attention?

It is obvious what Hussein has to gain by delay - he has stayed in power for 12 years by delaying a week here, a month there, a few more days over and over again. But what is the advantage to the Iraqi people, or to the West? My taxes pay for every day that soldiers sit over there waiting. In fact my taxes have been paying for enforcement of the no-fly zone all along. Why stretch out a war that started 12 years ago any longer than it already has endured?

The only thing I need to hear from Hussein after 12 freakin' years of "resolutions" (ha!), talk, diplomacy, talk, cajoling, talk, stern talkings to, talk, and talk, is this:

"I surrender. May I choose my own burial suit?"

Doesn't matter one way or another if we go to war. The US has already assured our mid-east "allies" Saudi Arabia and Turkey and Syria that when/if we do the regime change in Iraq, we WON'T install a democracy.
It's all for crap anyway, cause we don't have the guts to do what NEEDS to be done, so we will get to do this again in another 10 years, when another building falls to terrorism. And then we can ask each other why we didn't stop this 10 years ago, or 20 years ago, and on and on. We are spineless, and all of the demonstrations and interviews and speeches and petitions just prove it.

OliverJ, I suggest you check on today's news, specifically coverage of yesterday's speech by Bush.

In short, we will install a democracy.

Dee Gee

The media reaction has nothing to do with the WH...the media would love to stick it to Bush...they recognize a dog in a manger when they see it.

Ask yourself why Saddam doesn't allow his own people to debate the merits of his rule.

Another thing I wonder, while we're all wondering... How could the American people NOT go for watching a debate between the leaders of two sovereign nations on the verge of war?

How could we NOT at least want to entertain the idea? Reality TV is a BIG hit these days... What could be more real than these two men discussing the state of current affairs today?

I don't think I'm the only one, but I may be the only one here who's thinking... "Well, gosh, I'd like to hear what he actually has to SAY."

I haven't heard it yet, straight from the horse's mouth. This MIGHT be an opportunity for that to happen.... Now, what we decide to DO afterwards could be anyone's guess.

President Bush goes head to head with President Saddam Hussein... Neilsen could definitely mark my household down for that one... Even over "Married by America" or "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here" or whatever else "reality" TV show is "hip" at the moment.

C'mon folks... what reality is more important?

I just can't help but feel that this is a real opportunity here... An opportunity for BOTH sides. GW Bush has the opportunity to, before the whole world, state/prove his case with the accused opposite him doing the same.

I would be there with a bowl of popcorn and an open mind.

I don't mind kicking some ass, but I like to think I've exhausted all the options first.

DeeGee
I'm copying from San Antonio ExpressNews
dated Feb. 21, 2003
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
"Five years ago: U.N. Secretary General
Kofi Annan began formal talks with Iraqi
officials in the standoff over weapon
inspections."

So ya think 5 more years will do the trick?

Dee Gee – You said before that Saddam is “not historically kind”

No, he is not historically kind – in fact, he is a mass murderer, a torturer of children, and a proven liar.

Would you like to see interviews with other mass murderers on television? Would you like to give them legitimacy by offering them a chance to debate with our statesmen and leaders? Do you want to hear what they have to say? Will you believe it?

Do you think offering a mass murderer, torturer and liar a public forum will encourage aspiring mass murderers, torturers and liars?

I do.

This interview with Rather is the political equivalent of 'Jackass.' Reality TV bites.

Honestly, what could a debate with GW and SH possibly accomplish?

A dialogue between Saddam and US? Unlikley. I'd rather the US have a dialogue with a democratically elected head government of Iraq.

Will Saddam disarm after a debate? Unlikely. He hasnt after umpteen UN resolutions have demanded he do.

Will Saddam have bought a few more days/weeks of power by the extremely unlikely event of the US agreeing to having a debate? Very likely.

Why would the US want to grant a man who has been lying to the world for 12 years airtime against the POTUS? The US has nothing to gain in such an endeavor.

What will Saddam demand next? A Cheney vs Aziz debate? Powell vs a Kofi/Blix tag team?

I guess my point is that I'm tired of the excuses and the games. Let's get this over already, get rid of Saddam, and liberate Iraq.

What other options after the debate? How about a game of foosball? Then after that, we'll have a stare off? Thumbwrestling may still be "too physical", but it's an option.

What part of 12 years of trying do you not understand? We HAVE exhausted every option that should have gotten results. A debate is simply more time given to Saddam that he doesn't need. We gave peace a chance, it failed. It will continue to fail. Why is that so hard to accept?

Your rebuttal is probably "Why then would a debate be so hard to accept?" Because after you hit me in the face 100 times, a kiss on the cheek isn't worth shit.

I must really type slow. My above post was directed to DeeGee, but I guess others got thier words in edgewise whilst I was typing.

close italic tag

Hey, I KNOW I closed my italics tag. I wonder why it did that?

Going into Don King Mode:

Remember when Saddam offered to face GWB in a star-trekesque batte to the death a few months ago? I would rather watch that then a debate. GWB would most certainly win.

Biggest pay per view in history baby!!!

DeeGee, Chip, other tinhats and asswits..

the time for talking is past, it's hammer time. Let's Roll!

I'm glad I watched the interview, and I appreciate Rather's guts in making it. (I know I'd have pissed my pants about 30 minutes in to the hours-long car ride to the Palace.)

It was another brick in the wall of my support for the war; Saddam was transparently lying and manipulating, and it was good to see that for myself. I mean, come on, he himself spouted the line about winning a 100% vote! Either he is so nuts he actually believes it, or he is so accustomed to automatic agreement that he thinks even a blatant lie will be accepted without question. Either way, he's shown himself to be dangerously unstable.

The debate proposal makes me think he's started to believe his own bullshit. Would he really provide a forum for the U.S. President to speak directly to the Iraqis? Does he actually believe the Iraqis love, trust, and believe their dictator? (I can't bring myself to use the word "leader".) Moot point, of course; they'll be hearing from Bush soon enough. But the blind arrogance and self-deception involved is truly frightening.

Thanks Bill.... I appreciate folks that resort to insults when faced with an idea that is outside their comfort zone.

I think the asswits comment says alot more about you than it does me.

I'll continue along my path, meditating and sending energy toward a peaceful resolution and toward those that have decisions to make that could alter the course of history. If maintaining hope and positivity makes me an asswit, then I'll gladly don the Tinfoil Hat.

That's my way of contributing to the good.
I'm not in charge, but I can still do my part.

Namaste.

When I saw the adverts for the the interview, all I could think was, the CIA can't manage to pick this guy off, but Dan Rather can get him on camera?

Of course, if it will help you feel better, FARK has a photoshop/survey thing going where users can suggest the next interviewee
for Rather.

DeeGee since I'm not calling you names please answer this question for me.

What defines peace?

Is simply not going to war peace? If that's the case, every Iraqi citizen has to live under the constant brutal threat if they so much as sell a roll of film to a foriegner. I don't see that as a peaceful solution.

In my perfect world, Saddam would bend to diplomatic pressure and step down. Then, all the Iraqis would elect a leader who could move them into a peaceful society.

After 12 years of trying, it's time to call it quits.

Also, bonus points if you can define a peaceful solution that has not been tried and has a historically favorable outcome.

Is it peace when you have to constantly patrol a no fly zone? How about when your patrol aircraft are fired on?

Mary - GWB is just as bad as Saddam. He's even more of a proven liar "We know there is a link between Osama and Saddam" sure thing George, do you mind showing us? What you have nothing? That's what I thought. "Ok, so we have no link, but Saddam still gassed those Kurds." Wait a second George, doesn't all of the evidence point to the Iranians gassing the Kurds? It does? Oh, I see, you're wrong again.

Bill Oh - "It's hammer time.." Just like a closed minded war monger. Let's kill 'em all and let gawd sort 'em out.

Everyone Else - 12 years this, 12 years that...AWWWW shut the hell up! I'd give him 12 more years just to have you all stop your bitching. Saddam hasn't made an agressive move against the U.S. Therefore; the U.S. has NO RIGHT to invade Iraq. Too bad so sad. NEXT!

Robb,

First of all, thanks for being respectful. If we had more of that in the face of frustration, things would be quite different, I believe.

peace [ peess ]
noun

1. freedom from war: freedom from war, or the time when a war or conflict ends


2. mental calm: a state of mental calm and serenity, with no anxiety


3. peace treaty: a treaty agreeing to an end of hostilities between two warring parties


4. law and order: the absence of violence or other disturbances within a state Peace reigned throughout the land.


5. state of harmony: freedom from conflict or disagreement among people or groups of people


1peace
Pronunciation: 'pEs
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English pees, from Old French pais, from Latin pac-, pax; akin to Latin pacisci to agree -- more at PACT
Date: 12th century
1 : a state of tranquillity or quiet: as a : freedom from civil disturbance b : a state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom
2 : freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions
3 : harmony in personal relations
4 a : a state or period of mutual concord between governments b : a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity
5 -- used interjectionally to ask for silence or calm or as a greeting or farewell
- at peace : in a state of concord or tranquillity

I realize that we don't live in the perfect world that you mentioned, Robb. In my perfect world, I see much the same as you do.

My point is.... This discussion is something that hasn't happened before. We're (the US) the ones who are set to go in and kick their asses, and we'll probably do a fine job of accomplishing our mission of liberation over there. But, this proposal for a conversation that I COULD WITNESS? That's a bone this dog is interested in taking... If he's a raving delusional, we'll end up over there anyway. But, by discussion, we (and I mean the public) have an opportunity to hear both sides of the story.

The public is the one organizing the marches and protests and sending emails...That same public might very well, like me, wish for more information. Just MORE.

Yeah, Saddam is full of shit. But, hey, so are we. (Anyone ever hear of the Law of Mirroring???) We have our own selfish intentions and motivations, just like he does. But, if THIS discussion between them gives me an opportunity to be more informed, I'll definitely root for that.

Oh, if someone could direct me to a transcript of an open discussion like this that has occured already, please do so. So far, everything I've heard indicates that Saddam has kept pretty closed mouthed, until this offer.

Umm Chip, can you please provide me the proof of Iran's involvement in the gassing? According to the top CIA officials, they don't know who it was, only that it did not appear to be a mustard based gas which the Iraqis were known to have (they may have owned the other stuff, but it's not KNOWN). Apparently you have more information on that subject. Please share.

Now, "GWB is a liar". Ok, so that makes Saddam's ruthless tyranny ok. Got it. I agree on the fact that he's stretching the link between the Al-Qiada and Saddam but that's part of the business of politics. Clinton lied just about every time he opened his mouth. So what?

Oh, and those missles that Iraq has fired upon our planes, I agree. That's not an attack at all.

You need to pull your head out of your ass because from the looks of your post, you're definitely not getting enough oxygen to the brain.

DeeGee, unless this debate could influence Hussein to accede to his own commitments then it is a clear waste of time.

Dee, I still don't understand what it brings to our side of the table. Saddam gets weeks of more time, and we get 60 minutes of sensationlistic tele-journalism with commercials for Ritz crackers and Nike thrown in.

In the end, your perceptions will alter what you saw in the interview. Some people will feel that Saddam was being truthful or at least trying and that means we should give him time. Others (like myself) will see it as simply a move to buy time. My guess is that it would only strengthen everyone's opinion and not change it.

Dan Blather's show didn't change my mind, another "Survivor - Iraq" won't do it either.

Well 12 years of being bombed by the U.S. might just incite someone to maybe fire back.
Hell, the U.S. doesn't even need a reason to bomb people, they're the ones who bombed Canadian troops during a live fire practice.
Here is a little bit of that information you requested Robb.

Wow... No one has all the answers, yet everyone is sure who is right.

Well, I'm not sure. That's why I hope for more information from a discussion between the two guys who are swearing up and down that they've got it right.

Anyone have some info on this discussion having already happened?

Chip - Oh, please – not the “GWB is just as bad as Saddam.” argument. Were you carrying a Bush=Hitler sign at the last anti-war demonstration?

To save space, lets just admit that when it comes to mass murder and torture, the comparison is ludicrous. And the lies – can you name a politician that doesn’t bend the truth now and then? If you’re going to use that as a comparison, even our local school board would be comparable to Saddam. The difference is, Saddam lies about the committing crimes like mass murder and torture.

So you’d like to see Saddam in power for 12 more years. Most Iraqis would be sorry to hear that.

Yes Chip, I read that same article posted on a site that claims 9-11 was really set up by Israel so that we would attack the Arab nations. The end point is that there is no FACTS, only eyewitness accounts that are discredited by opponents. But that one incident isn't why I'm against the bastard.

I guess then the countless reports from Iraqi exiles about the brutal treatment aren't true. ESPN ran a report about the Olympic Comittee's investigation of Iraq since many of their atheletes defected during the last Olympic games since Uday beat them mercilessly if they lost. But that's not true either.

Dee, I do have the answer.

We go in, kick Saddam's ass, set up democracy and sit back as gas prices drop to below a dollar again! The sooner we do this, the sooner there will be peace for them as well as us.

Your damning Dan Rather for holding this interview, but what did we learn from it that we already didn't know? Ideologically, it was not victory for the anti-war movement. No matter what side you're on I think there's no doubt that Hussein's out of his mind.

If you believe in free-market capitalism and you believe that the media is part of that, you can't knock Rather for holding the interview.

Under the auspices of "informing the public" Rather still contextualized Hussein's claims and kept the program well within the hegemonic viewpoint. Only a true moron could watch what Hussein was saying and not be skeptical.

Its called journalism. You are provided with both sides of the story. Yes, its imperfect in practice, but not everything on television has to be war propaganda in one direction...

I don't necessarily want to hear from a murderer and dictator, either, but that is part of the unbiased nature of journalism, as it should be.

Give CBS and Dan Rather props for bringing the other side of the story to the US, even if mostly propaganda is spewing our of Hussein's mouth. Whether or not the sole motivation was ratings doesn't obscure the idea that the other side of the story must be told.

Robb,

I said no one has ALL the answers.

And, no one does. At least, no one that I know. And if someone knows someone who has all the answers, could you please have her come sit by me when I fill out my Lotto Ticket?

How many different "truths" have been represented in just this one post? If the discussion between Bush/Hussein went anything like this, with name-calling, etc....

Hell, if it went like that, I'd consider my time more well spent than watching "Joe Millionaire". And, if it didn't, who knows?
There might be a chance for all of us "loser peaceniks" to get the record set straight finally!

Ya know for a country that spouts "innocent until proven guilty" this smacks of some SCARY future possibilites.... I mean, what would happen if folks started showing up in OUR airspace, on OUR shores saying, "we think you have this, so...."

I don't want whats good for Hussein's goose ending up being good for our gander.

I can't even open the North Korea, Israel/Palestine can of worms... but, oh, I sure want to....

"I can't even open the North Korea, Israel/Palestine can of worms... but, oh, I sure want to...."

And there we see DeeGee the Peace Maker's real agenda: to start a trollish argument. No thanks.

Please don't pretend to know my agenda just from these posts, Andrea...Come over for coffee one day, we'll discuss.

crack (worms wriggle)

Why aren't we taking up North Korea right now? Why haven't we liberated Palestine already?

That's my "trollish" argument.Make what you will of it... It's not the crux of my issues, but a couple of them (and I have MANY issues with this war.)

Picking and choosing has earned us more animosity than respect... Especially with hinted (or downright blatently obvious) selfish motivations at work....

Here's more fuel for the fire, cause I'm feeling FEISTY by now... What do you think about this?......

FAIR-L
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
Media analysis, critiques and activism

MEDIA ADVISORY:
Star Witness on Iraq Said Weapons Were Destroyed:
Bombshell revelation from a defector cited by White House and press

February 27, 2003

On February 24, Newsweek broke what may be the biggest story of the Iraq
crisis. In a revelation that "raises questions about whether the WMD
[weapons of mass destruction] stockpiles attributed to Iraq still exist,"
the magazine's issue dated March 3 reported that the Iraqi weapons chief
who defected from the regime in 1995 told U.N. inspectors that Iraq had
destroyed its entire stockpile of chemical and biological weapons and
banned missiles, as Iraq claims.

Until now, Gen. Hussein Kamel, who was killed shortly after returning to
Iraq in 1996, was best known for his role in exposing Iraq's deceptions
about how far its pre-Gulf War biological weapons programs had advanced.
But Newsweek's John Barry-- who has covered Iraqi weapons inspections for
more than a decade-- obtained the transcript of Kamel's 1995 debriefing by
officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the U.N.
inspections team known as UNSCOM.

Inspectors were told "that after the Gulf War, Iraq destroyed all its
chemical and biological weapons stocks and the missiles to deliver them,"
Barry wrote. All that remained were "hidden blueprints, computer disks,
microfiches" and production molds. The weapons were destroyed secretly, in
order to hide their existence from inspectors, in the hopes of someday
resuming production after inspections had finished. The CIA and MI6 were
told the same story, Barry reported, and "a military aide who defected
with Kamel... backed Kamel's assertions about the destruction of WMD
stocks."

But these statements were "hushed up by the U.N. inspectors" in order to
"bluff Saddam into disclosing still more."

CIA spokesman Bill Harlow angrily denied the Newsweek report. "It is
incorrect, bogus, wrong, untrue," Harlow told Reuters the day the report
appeared (2/24/03).

But on Wednesday (2/26/03), a complete copy of the Kamel transcript-- an
internal UNSCOM/IAEA document stamped "sensitive"-- was obtained by Glen
Rangwala, the Cambridge University analyst who in early February revealed
that Tony Blair's "intelligence dossier" was plagiarized from a student
thesis. Rangwala has posted the Kamel transcript on the Web:
http://casi.org.uk/info/unscom950822.pdf.

In the transcript (p. 13), Kamel says bluntly: "All weapons-- biological,
chemical, missile, nuclear, were destroyed."

Who is Hussein Kamel?

Kamel is no obscure defector. A son-in-law of Saddam Hussein, his
departure from Iraq carrying crates of secret documents on Iraq's past
weapons programs was a major turning point in the inspections saga. In
1999, in a letter to the U.N. Security Council (1/25/99), UNSCOM reported
that its entire eight years of disarmament work "must be divided into two
parts, separated by the events following the departure from Iraq, in
August 1995, of Lt. General Hussein Kamel."

Kamel's defection has been cited repeatedly by George W. Bush and leading
administration officials as evidence that 1) Iraq has not disarmed; 2)
inspections cannot disarm it; and 3) defectors such as Kamel are the most
reliable source of information on Iraq's weapons.

  • Bush declared in an October 7, 2002 speech: "In 1995, after several
    years of deceit by the Iraqi regime, the head of Iraq's military
    industries defected. It was then that the regime was forced to admit that
    it had produced more than 30,000 liters of anthrax and other deadly
    biological agents. The inspectors, however, concluded that Iraq had likely
    produced two to four times that amount. This is a massive stockpile of
    biological weapons that has never been accounted for, and capable of
    killing millions."
  • Secretary of State Colin Powell's February 5 presentation to the U.N.
    Security Council claimed: "It took years for Iraq to finally admit that it
    had produced four tons of the deadly nerve agent, VX. A single drop of VX
    on the skin will kill in minutes. Four tons. The admission only came out
    after inspectors collected documentation as a result of the defection of
    Hussein Kamel, Saddam Hussein's late son-in-law."
  • In a speech last August (8/27/02), Vice President Dick Cheney said
    Kamel's story "should serve as a reminder to all that we often learned
    more as the result of defections than we learned from the inspection
    regime itself."
  • Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley recently wrote in the
    Chicago Tribune (2/16/03) that "because of information provided by Iraqi
    defector and former head of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs,
    Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamel, the regime had to admit in detail how it cheated
    on its nuclear non-proliferation commitments."

The quotes from Bush and Powell cited above refer to anthrax and VX
produced by Iraq before the 1991 Gulf War. The administration has cited
various quantities of chemical and biological weapons on many other
occasions-- weapons that Iraq produced but which remain unaccounted for.
All of these claims refer to weapons produced before 1991.

But according to Kamel's transcript, Iraq destroyed all of these weapons
in 1991.

According to Newsweek, Kamel told the same story to CIA analysts in August
1995. If that is true, all of these U.S. officials have had access to
Kamel's statements that the weapons were destroyed. Their repeated
citations of his testimony-- without revealing that he also said the
weapons no longer exist-- suggests that the administration might be
withholding critical evidence. In particular, it casts doubt on the
credibility of Powell's February 5 presentation to the U.N., which was
widely hailed at the time for its persuasiveness. To clear up the issue,
journalists might ask that the CIA release the transcripts of its own
conversations with Kamel.

Kamel's disclosures have also been crucial to the arguments made by
hawkish commentators on Iraq. The defector has been cited four times on
the New York Times op-ed page in the last four months in support of claims
about Iraq's weapons programs--never noting his assertions about the
elimination of these weapons. In a major Times op-ed calling for war with
Iraq (2/21/03), Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institution wrote that
Kamel and other defectors "reported that outside pressure had not only
failed to eradicate the nuclear program, it was bigger and more cleverly
spread out and concealed than anyone had imagined it to be." The release
of Kamel's transcript makes this claim appear grossly at odds with the
defector's actual testimony.

The Kamel story is a bombshell that necessitates a thorough reevaluation
of U.S. media reporting on Iraq, much of which has taken for granted that
the nation retains supplies of prohibited weapons. (See FAIR Media
Advisory, "Iraq's Hidden Weapons: From Allegation to Fact,"
http://www.fair.org/press-releases/iraq-weapons.html .) Kamel's testimony
is not, of course, proof that Iraq does not have hidden stocks of chemical
or biological weapons, but it does suggest a need for much more media
skepticism about U.S. allegations than has previously been shown.

Unfortunately, Newsweek chose a curious way to handle its scoop: The
magazine placed the story in the miscellaneous "Periscope" section with a
generic headline, "The Defector's Secrets." Worse, Newsweek's online
version added a subhead that seemed almost designed to undercut the
importance of the story: "Before his death, a high-ranking defector said
Iraq had not abandoned its WMD ambitions." So far, according to a February
27 search of the Nexis database, no major U.S. newspapers or national
television news shows have picked up the Newsweek story.

***
Read the Newsweek story:
http://www.msnbc.com/news/876128.asp

***
Read Glen Rangwala's analysis of the Kamel transcript:
http://middleeastreference.org.uk/kamel.html

***
If you'd like to encourage media outlets to investigate this story,
contact information is available on FAIR's website:
http://www.fair.org/media-contact-list.html

BTW, I really do think it's great that we can all come together like this and "talk."

I always come to this site expecting to be exposed to new ideas, or to learn something I didn't know before....

Thanks Michele!

Couldn't disagree with you more. The interview demonstrated everything good about the United States' open society and freedoms of press and speech. We present all information to the public and allow them to make their own decisions as to how they feel. CBS should be rightfully proud of their ability to bring the interview to the american public, however propagandist it may have been.

Yeah, because goodness knows there's never any other propaganda in the media...

I don't see why everyone wants to rush off and attack Iraq. Where is the harm in giving Saddam "more time"? I don't see any issues if that time is used effectively to do things like, continue the weapons inspections, attempt some sort of public dialogue between Saddam and Bush, or continue to build a more solid military foundation in the event of a possible attack. I can understand the entire liberation of Iraq concept, it probably won't happen, but I understand the need. I can also understand the economic implications of having an inactive standing army. But neither of these are good enough excuses. Liberating a country at gun point isn't very likely to work, and it will require an assult of "hiroshima-like" proportions, I personally believe the innocent Iraqi civilians that are "brutally tortured and murdered" every day by Saddam, are better off right now, than they would be with an onslaught of American bombs landing in their front yards. I also believe it would be a little bit more expensive to wage a war and then have to invest in the eventual clean up involved, not to mention the various bribes being handed out to neighboring countries like Turkey.
So, I ask again. Why?

"I personally believe the innocent Iraqi civilians that are "brutally tortured and murdered" every day by Saddam, are better off right now"

Hey, Chip, can you name one Iraqi dissident - out of the few who managed to escape with their lives and make it to America - who agrees with your statement? I mean, everything I've read indicates that, while they aren't overjoyed at the idea of war, they understand what the end result will be: Freedom for their people. I think I'll side with the opinions of those who actually lived through it (and were lucky enough to get away) rather than a bunch of folks posting endless reams of rather meaningless statistics they cut and pasted off other websites. I'm sure they appreciate your consideration as to how they'd be better off, though.

Closing end tag...

Ok, Chip. "More time." More time to do what? He's had 12 years to come clean. That's over 4000 days. I've finished high school, finished college, spent 5 years in grad school in all that time. Saddam has done dick in that time (well, except murder and starve innocent Iraqis; he's gotta pass the time somehow, I guess). Do you honestly think he's going to wake up tomorrow and say "Dayum, I really feel like disarming today"? Honestly? In your heart of hearts? How about next week? Maybe he's planning on giving up anthrax for Lent. Yeah, that's it.

DeeGee - This is a report from 1995. Is this supposed to be a revelation? Well, then Hans Blix should know about this – and Powell, and all those others – you should send this to them! They’ll be so relieved.

Or maybe not. Maybe Powell and Blix are part of the vast right wing conspiracy assembled by Bush and his junta.

I thought you said that nobody had all the answers – and here you’ve had them all along.

Or maybe not. Maybe the reason Newsweek didn't feature it is because it's not such a 'scoop'

Do you really think that Saddam is defenseless

– despite the fact that he is one of the wealthiest mass murderers in the world, with an estimated fortune of $2 billion (wealthier than Arafat, with his paltry fortune of $300 million.)

- despite the fact that he has been busy building mosques – giant, million dollar Mosques, including the Mother of all Battles Mosque, which was built at the cost of $7.5 million.

I’m sure this poor, religious man couldn’t afford to spend a penny on weapons.

Dee Gee, this investigative reporter/troll thing isn’t working. It was better when you were telling us to visualize world peace. Other ‘peacenicks’ have made this suggestion – why don’t you try it:

Breathe in suffering of the oppressed, breathe out joy, contentment and peace. See that suffering and joy are the same thing.

More news that I’m sure the Iraqis will be thrilled to hear.

Jesus, DeeGee, some blog etiquette, such as: long-ass comments should be posts on YOUR OWN BLOG. Christ, you can get them for free. You don't even have to own your own computer; a homeless guy has one, he blogs at the public library.

I'm as critical of the media as anybody, but I have to strongly agree with Anthony's comments above. Journalism. How can we expect to be an informed populace without hearing all sides of the story, especially those we're about to bomb? Yes yes, he's an evil lying bad man - duh, Americans know that already. That's all this administration has been shoving down our throats. All the more reason I want to know more about him and hear what he has to say at this moment in history. Know thy enemy.

What are you afraid of? Are you afraid Saddam Hussein will somehow hypnotize Americans and sway public opinion? Any Americans dumb enough to be so easily swayed have ALREADY been swayed - by Bush - so you don't need to worry about them. Meanwhile, the rest of us want as much information as possible.

Do®k,

You already have all the information underneath the same fingers it took to write your post. Search the net. It's not all controlled by Bush (I think that's by Gore's design). There are more sites out there than there are TV stations.

Are you that swayed already by television to think that 30 to 60 minutes of commercial ridden footage will give you all the information you would ever need?

I was against the war at the beginning. I thought we needed to find OBL and rid the world of him before we embarked on anything else. I had no idea the depth of the cruelty Saddam waged. Now, after all my information, my eyes are opened.

Oh, and by the way, I do not watch much television, and I refuse to ever watch the network news. They don't provide enough information for me.

Still think a live debate is worth it?

I'm betting this is an "old, tired topic; let's roll" by now, but....

My apologies for posting such a long comment. (Thanks for pointing it out so eloquently, Andrea.) I don't have my own blog, obviously, and I come to this one because Michele presents a forum for people to come together and discuss.

Everyone else seems ready to write all this off as a moot point, and I was trying to get some serious feedback about something that JUST CAME OUT. (Article I referenced)

I don't know what you folks mean when you say "reporter/troll", all I know is that I'm trying to make some sense out of something that will/could change the face and temperment of the residents of this planet.

So, please, forgive my etiquette faux pas.

No worries, I AM still visualizing inner peace (which is the best way to lead to outer peace), so no problems there. I can do that AND still quest for more information; I guess I'm just a multi-tasker like that.

Anyway, thanks for the fruitful discussion. It's no wonder that the world is fraught with worry/terror/evil or WHATEVER, when people can't even voice their ideas/opinions/questions without being insulted.

I'll be "seeing" you folks around! Regardless of what happens with this war, whether we go or not, I'll continue to send energy towards a peaceful resolution (for everyone).

May everyone be happy.
May everyone be free from suffering.

Namaste.

Hmmm. Good posts all around. But still no explanation as to what gives America the right to wage war on Iraq. If it's a liberation deal, then that's the U.N.'s human rights comissions domain, not George W. Bush's. If it's about enforcing a resolution, that's the U.N. Security council's domain, not George W. Bush's. If it's about covering up his horrible domestic record, and cow towing to corporate America and oil companies, then it IS George W. Bush's domain.

DeeGee, yes "kill them all and let God sort them out" is one way, it actually happens to be Mrs. Bill's way... although she advocates massive nuclear strikes to sterilize the whole place from the lower Gulf to the Med. And they say men are violent! To quote her "Blow them all up".

But on to the Newsweek (non)story. So we concede they may have destroyed large amounts of their WMDs. That was over seven years ago. Are you that naive that you don't think they couldn't have made more, especially since they weren't starting from scratch? Christ Almighty, we and others developed a nuclear bomb in less time than that.

As I said before, the time for talking and posturing and sending "peace waves" and whatever is over, the end game is about to begin. Deal.With.It.

But still no explanation as to what gives America the right to wage war on Iraq.

Right, we don't need no stinking right! By what right did we enter WW1, WW2, Korea, Vietnam, Kosovo, Panama, Somalia, etc.? The pursuit of freedom for all Earth's residents is enough right. The rest is just icing.

If it's a liberation deal, then that's the U.N.'s human rights comissions domain, not George W. Bush's. If it's about enforcing a resolution, that's the U.N. Security council's domain, not George W. Bush's.

The UN is done, over, finished. They have no more need to exist, they are a paper tiger, spending our money for things we don't believe in, they just occupy valuable space in NYC that could be used for furtherance of American commerce.

If it's about covering up his horrible domestic record, and cow towing to corporate America and oil companies, then it IS George W. Bush's domain.

I'm not sure in 2 yrs. one can have a "horrible domestic" record. Would you care to elaborate on that one? Is it political, economic, social, medical, what? Cow towing? we don't use cows to tow anything in this country, nor do we tow cows. Young ignorant pup, you give corporate America more power than they really have. When you get into high school or college you'll learn (maybe) the power in this country is the consumer. With some seasoning you'll look back and wonder how you could be so stupid. Now put that tin hat back on and receive DeeGee's peace waves.

Bill, Perhaps it's naivete....

I'll concede that there is alot of mis/disinformation out there, and it's hard to know what's what. That's why discussion and debate are so important....

As for the WMD that Kamel said were destroyed in '91, please correct me, but aren't THOSE weapons the ones that are being made a big deal of? Aren't we saying, "Prove to us that these weapons you were reported to have back then have been destroyed." I can't recall that this is about weapons that we suspect they might have made since then (of couse that's a concern, and a legitimate one), but that we want proof about the old stockpiles that they had before.

So, from what I've read, we want proof that the WMD from Daddy Bush's time were destroyed, when the same source that lots of folks quote today (Kamel) saying that they had these weapons ALSO said that they were destroyed in '91. This is where I confused. Quote the star witness, but only partially???

Also, am I the ONLY person that gets the heebie-jeebies thinking about some big shot country coming over HERE and saying, "Well, we THINK you have this, in fact, we're pretty damn sure, so, we're going to come and disarm you." If the shoe was on the other foot, so to speak, this would be problematic for us. Or maybe just me. Because, I would have to think, "Just because you THINK we have something, you're going to come over here and start up?" Is that the innocent until proven guilty American way? Or are we willing to accept and adopt for OURSELVES, the guilty until proven innocent idea. The bell that rings in my head is, "Welcome to the New World Order." Honestly, that scares the hell out of me. I would think it would scare alot of people. Does anyone remember the movie, "Red Dawn"? Yes, a reference from decades of yore, but I still have a picture in my mind of soldiers dropping from the sky.... I wouldn't want that to happen to our America. That's why I hesitate... I try to see it from the perspective of how would I feel if this happened to US?

**I'm sending peace waves to everyone!

Where there is spirited debate, there is passion, where there is passion, there is CARING or concern. Obviously, we all care about this topic. That's good.

I will continue to hope that concern and intelligence will combine to see an end game result that contributes more good than bad.

Now, Chip, I'm sorry, but we're going to have to duke it out over that tin hat. I was growing attached to it!

:-)

I'm with you on the Newsweek, article Deegee. It does call into question the existence of the "missing" WMD. Kamel did state that Iraq retained blueprints and designs to rebuild the weapons, so they could have built more. BUT, the weapons that the inspectors and the US are most worried about, the ones they can't find, seem to be the one's Kamel is referring to.

REGARDLESS, information like this (that was supressed by both the CIA and the UN) needs to be discussed, debated and should have an effect of slowing the rush to war, at least a little bit. A lot of the people here arguing for the war seem to be saying "no more discussion, no more talk, time to roll... they had 12 years, blah blah" and that's not how an enlightened demcracy should work. Wherever there are questions, wherever there is free thought there must be free debate. There should be debate, questioning, and discussion up to the very minute this folly begins. And if the powers of violence and aggression have their way and the war does begin, there should continue to be debate. That's an open society.

As Americans we are facing a domestic regime that seems hell-bent on closing any discourse. The less informed and enlightened and questioning we Americans are, the better. And I find that insulting.

If you all want to serve as an example for the blogosphere, don't attack somebody off the bat when they don't agree with you. People on the internet tend to let their agression hang out because they get to hind behind their monitor. While I rarely agree with Michele, I must admit that she does try to provide a forum. Maybe you should rise above the impulse to slam somebody and just engage in a discussion. That way, everyone might learn something rather than come away angry or vindicated.

Just a thought...

Bill Oh - "...the American Consumer..." ah, spoken like a true merchant. A filthy pedlar of goods. Making a living off other people's work, producing nothing, but gaining everything. There is no honour in this war, and there is no honour in you.
As far as the World Wars, well the U.S. was asked to participate in those wars. They were formally invited by countries that wanted their assistance, but yet they still took their sweet assed time in getting involved. They waited until an act of aggression was committed against them. Unlike this invasion, where the U.S. is the aggressor.
The U.N. is finished, a paper tiger, spending your money? If this truly is the case, I fear for the world.

"If it's a liberation deal, then that's the U.N.'s human rights comissions domain, not George W. Bush's."

Gee, where was the UN's HRC during the massacre of Rwandans, slavery in Sudan, or while thousands of civilians are being tortured and murdered in Iraq and No. Korea?

"If it's about enforcing a resolution, that's the U.N. Security council's domain, not George W. Bush's."

It would be nice if the security council would actually enforce its resolutions. We wouldn't even have inspectors inside Iraq right now if it wasn't for Bush and Blair reminding the UN of its duties.

"If it's about covering up his horrible domestic record, and cow towing to corporate America and oil companies, then it IS George W. Bush's domain."

You forgot to mention Pres. Bush's responsibilities as Commander-in-Chief. It's his domain to insure that the American people are safe from terrorists, domestic and international. How is it that left-wingers seem to forget that part of the job description?

Robb(ed of a brain),

Yes, I'm quite willing to return playground namecalling. :-)

To clarify, I was responding to the original post decrying Rather interviewing Saddam at all. I think it's a good thing that Rather interviewed Saddam. No, you can't really find that experience on the web -- a face-to-face interview of American's current enemy by one of America's most prominent journalists.

However, I am not particularly for a debate between Bush and Saddam. Bush is not a journalist, he's the commander-in-chief, and I'm sure he has strategic and political reasons for not entertaining the suggestion of a debate.

Oh, by the way, I don't watch much TV either. I'm willing to bet nobody here does. Most of us probably get our news coverage and commentary online. That's why we're here. It's a national trend, so i wouldn't brag about it.