The reporter for The Washington Stakeout waited with his videographer outside news show studios in D.C. Sunday, ready to ask three national leaders some pointed questions that the TV hosts had not. After appearing on CBS‘s Face the Nation, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger stopped for questions91. The reporter, Sam Husseini, asked the governor if he had considered a single-payer plan like Canada’s for his health insurance program in California. “We have considered everything,” said Schwarzenegger. He went on to say that he did not want to create a big new government bureaucracy, finished his comments and walked away. “Is there such a thing as a business bureaucracy, governor?,” asked Husseini. “Oh, yea,” said Schwarzenegger, still walking away. “OK. So have you met with Canadian officials?”, asked the reporter, but Schwarzenegger was gone. Later outside the CBS studio, presidential candidate John Edwards stopped to talk with reporters92. Husseini asked Edwards’s about his statement at a security conference in Israel that all options should be on the table for dealing with Iran. “Isn’t that an implied threat that violates international law?” “Oh no, far from it,” said Edwards, and then went on talking about diplomacy. “Doesn’t Israel’s possession [of nuclear weapons] cause volatility?,” the reporter asked. “… doesn’t the U.S. cause resentment by not acknowledging it?” Edwards did not answer those questions, but talked about Iran triggering nuclear proliferation in the region. “But you’re not acknowledging that Israel has nuclear weapons!,” said the reporter, as someone else also asked Edwards a question. “Excuse me, I can’t hear him, sorry, …”, said Edwards, and soon after walked away. Leaving the Fox News studio, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice did not stop to talk with Husseini93. “Sorry, gotta run”, she said. “You can make time for the press,” said the reporter. “I just did,” said Rice walking off to the car. Husseini asked her how her statements in 2001 that Saddam Hussein didn’t have weapons of mass destruction squared with her statements contrary to that during the build up to the Iraq invasion94x95. “I don’t think you have been asked this question. How do you reconcile?” But Rice ignored the reporter, got in the car, and an aide closed the door.
… On May 15 2001, Powell went further and said that Saddam Hussein had not been able to “build his military back up or to develop weapons of mass destruction” for “the last 10 years”. America, he said, had been successful in keeping him “in a box”.
Two months later, Condoleezza Rice also described a weak, divided and militarily defenceless Iraq. “Saddam does not control the northern part of the country,” she said. “We are able to keep his arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt.”
Beginning in 2002, Rice became one of the Bush administration’s most outspoken supporters of the 2003 war in Iraq, arguing that Saddam Hussein posed a nuclear danger to the world. As administration hard-liners worked to build support for war beginning in 2002, Rice often mentioned the fear that Hussein would develop a nuclear weapon.
In September 2002, Rice also insisted that Hussein was pursuing nuclear weapons. “We do know that he is actively pursuing a nuclear weapon,” she said on CNN‘s Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer on September 8, 2002. “The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”
After Iraq delivered its declaration of weapons of mass destruction to the United Nations on December 8, 2002, it was Rice who wrote and submitted a column to the New York Times claiming that it “fails to account for or explain Iraq’s efforts to get uranium from abroad, its manufacture of specific fuel for ballistic missiles it claims not to have, and the gaps previously identified by the United Nations in Iraq’s accounting for more than two tons of the raw materials needed to produce thousands of gallons of anthrax and other biological weapons.”
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