The New York Times' David Rosenbaum asks "Bush May Have Exaggerated, but Did He Lie?" Rosenbaum's spin is that Bush didn't lie (about Iraqi weapons or the tax cut), he just seemed "typical of somebody trying to sell somebody something". The following was given as an example of Presidential exaggeration:
The October speech was devoted largely to the threat of banned weapons. Iraq, Mr. Bush said, had "a massive stockpile of biological weapons" and "thousands of tons of chemical agents" and was "reconstituting its nuclear weapons program." The president asked, "If we know Saddam Hussein has dangerous weapons today — and we do — does it make any sense for the world to wait to confront him as he grows even stronger and develops even more dangerous weapons?"[emphasis mine] The President said in his October 7 speech that the Iraqi regime "possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons", and he presented the basis for that claim. The Times left out some important context for the chosen quotes. Here are Bush's exact words:
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 is capable of killing millions. We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, and VX nerve gas. Saddam Hussein also has experience in using chemical weapons. He has ordered chemical attacks on Iran, and on more than forty villages in his own country. These actions killed or injured at least 20,000 people, more than six times the number of people who died in the attacks of September 11th. And surveillance photos reveal that the regime is rebuilding facilities that it has used to produce chemical and biological weapons.That's a little different from what the New York Times implies, isn't it? The Times' quote fragment makes it sound like the President said that Iraq had these specific quantities of chemical and biological weapons at the time of the speech. But he was merely saying that Iraq had produced those weapons at a previous time and had failed to account for their disposal.
Did Rosenbaum lie about what the President said? No, he simply quoted selectively, "typical of somebody trying to sell somebody something".Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at June 22, 2003 05:41 PM