Weapons of Mass Delusion

Joe Conason writing for Salon (subscription, or sitting through an annoying ad, required) has the scoop of the day. During a press conference with the Polish president yesterday, President Bush repeated the flatly false statement that Saddam Hussein didn’t let weapons inspectors into Iraq last year.

Here are Bush’s words, from the White House transcript:

“I was hoping the United Nations would enforce its resolutions, one of many. And then we went to the United Nations, of course, and got an overwhelming resolution — 1441 — unanimous resolution, that said to Saddam, you must disclose and destroy your weapons programs, which obviously meant the world felt he had such programs. He chose defiance. It was his choice to make, and he did not let us in.”

What’s especially dismaying about yesterday’s incident is that, although the entire White House press corps was in attendance, not a single reporter chose to ask Bush the obvious question: If Saddam refused to let weapons inspectors in, what were Hans Blix and UNMOVIC doing in Iraq last fall?

Worse, no one but Conason even bothered to mention the falsehood in their coverage of the press conference.


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Zachary Roth is a contributing editor to The Washington Monthly. He also has written for The Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, Slate, Salon, The Daily Beast, and Talking Points Memo, among other outlets.