looking back

cnn, march 8, 2003


I'm Mark Shields with the full GANG, Al Hunt, Robert Novak, Kate O'Beirne, and Margaret Carlson.

President Bush, in his first prime time news conference in 17 months, challenged the United Nations.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This issue has been before the Security Council, the issue of disarmament of Iraq, for 12 long years. The fundamental question facing the Security Council is, do its words mean anything?


SHIELDS: On the next day, U.N. weapons inspectors reported to the Security Council.


HANS BLIX, CHIEF U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: We have faced relatively few difficulties, and certainly much less than those that were faced by UNSCOM in the period 1991 to 1998. We are able to perform professional, no-notice inspections all over Iraq and to increase aerial surveillance.

MOHAMED ELBARADEI, DIRECTOR GENERAL, INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY: There is no indication of resumed nuclear activities in those buildings that were identified through the use of satellite imagery as being reconstructed or newly erected since 1998, nor any indication of nuclear-related prohibited activities at any inspected sites.


CARLSON: You know, his best qualities didn't come through because he was so subdued to show that if he's a cowboy, he's a very reluctant one, and he wanted to prove how serious he was. Wrong format for what he had to do. Just too -- almost comatose, it's like Al Gore in the second debate, after being shown the jumping-up-and- down tape in the first debate. He was just overly subdued.

NOVAK: Beyond the dramatic criticism of the president, isn't the problem that this preemptive doctrine, that we are going to preempt people that we think are dangerous, is not a very good doctrine for a democratic country?

HUNT: I'm very worried about a doctrine of preemption. As I say, I think there is a case to take out Saddam Hussein that does not rest on a doctrine of preemption. I think a doctrine of preemption is terribly dangerous because who are we, then, to turn to the Indians and say, it applies for us but not for you, if they don't like what the Pakistanis are doing?

CARLSON: And disarmament is a better road to go down than regime change.

HUNT: It doesn't mean you don't engage in preemptive strikes on occasion. But as doctrine...

O'BEIRNE: Look. Look...

HUNT: ... as a policy...

O'BEIRNE: ... that's not why France and these other countries are objecting. They object because they don't feel as though lethal threat is aimed at them, is why they're objecting to us taking any action.


O'BEIRNE: And as the president said, we don't need world approval to defend ourselves.

And if they're wrong, if they're wrong about whether or not he could be contained through inspections, the United States will be the one to pay the price. We'll have to...



remember, the administration was told there were no wmds and none were ever found

No comments: