Tags: Miller | WMD | Hussein | war

Judith Miller: 'False Narratives' on Hussein's WMD Must Be 'Retired'

By    |   Saturday, 04 Apr 2015 09:57 PM

The "false narratives" surrounding whether the George W. Bush administration fabricated evidence regarding former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction need "at last, to be retired," former New York Times reporter Judith Miller said on Friday.

"There was no shortage of mistakes about Iraq, and I made my share of them," Miller, now a Fox News contributor, said in an essay in The Wall Street Journal. A Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, she is the author of a new book, "The Story: A Reporter’s Journey."

"The newsworthy claims of some of my prewar WMD stories were wrong," Miller said. "But so is the enduring, pernicious accusation that the Bush administration fabricated WMD intelligence to take the country to war.

"Before the 2003 invasion, President Bush and other senior officials cited the intelligence community’s incorrect conclusions about Saddam’s WMD capabilities and, on occasion, went beyond them," she added. "But relying on the mistakes of others and errors of judgment are not the same as lying."

The Iraq War began in 2003, ending officially when the United States pulled out of Baghdad at the end of 2011. Hussein was captured by American troops in December 2003 — and he was convicted and sentenced to death. He was publicly executed in 2006.

Saying that she had "never met George W. Bush" and did not discuss the war with former Vice President Dick Cheney until the winter of 2012, Miller also sought to debunk the idea that her information had come directly from the White House.

"No senior official spoon-fed me a line about WMD," she said. "That would have been so much easier than uncovering classified information that officials can be jailed for disclosing.

"My sources were the same counterterrorism, arms-control and Middle East analysts on whom I had relied for my stories about Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida’s growing threat to America."

Those reports, published eight months before 9/11, brought the Times and Miller a Pulitzer.

"Another enduring misconception" that needed to be dispelled was that "intelligence analysts were 'pressured' into altering their estimates to suit the policy makers’ push to war," Miller said. "Although a few former officials complained about such pressure, several thorough, bipartisan inquiries found no evidence of it."

She added that "another widespread fallacy" was that former Bush adviser Richard Perle and the president's Defense Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, "strong-armed an inexperienced president into taking the country to war."

Miller called the pair "neoconservatives."

"President Bush, as he himself famously asserted, was the 'decider,' " she said. Noting that "Hans Blix, the former chief of the international weapons inspectors, bears some responsibility.

"Though he personally opposed an invasion, Mr. Blix told the U.N. in January 2003 that despite America’s ultimatum, Saddam was still not complying fully with his U.N. pledges," Miller said. "In February, he said 'many proscribed weapons and items,' including 1,000 tons of chemical agent, were still 'not accounted for.' "

Years later, however, U.S. soldiers would find "remnants of some 5,000 inoperable chemical munitions made before the first Gulf War that Saddam claimed to have destroyed," Miller said.

"Not until 2014 would the U.S. learn that some of Iraq’s degraded sarin nerve agent was purer than Americans had expected and was sickening Iraqi and American soldiers who had stumbled upon it."

But by then, "most Americans had concluded that no such weapons existed," she said.

"These were not new chemical arms, to be sure, but Saddam Hussein’s refusal to account for their destruction was among the reasons the White House cited as justification for war."

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The false narratives surrounding whether the George W. Bush administration fabricated evidence regarding former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction need at last, to be retired, former New York Times reporter Judith Miller said on Friday. There...
Miller, WMD, Hussein, war
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2015-57-04
Saturday, 04 Apr 2015 09:57 PM
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