Apr 22, 2011
ElBaradei suggests war crimes probe of Bush team
By CHARLES J. HANLEY
AP Special Correspondent
Freer to speak now than he was as an international civil servant, the Nobel-winning Egyptian accuses U.S. leaders of "grotesque distortion" in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, when then-President George W. Bush and his lieutenants claimed Iraq possessed doomsday weapons despite contrary evidence collected by ElBaradei's and other arms inspectors inside the country.
The 68-year-old legal scholar, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from 1997 to 2009 and recently a rallying figure in
"All parties must come to the negotiating table," writes ElBaradei, who won the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the IAEA in 2005. He repeatedly chides
He is harshest in addressing the Bush administration's 2002-2003 drive for war with
He tells of an October 2002 meeting he and Blix had with Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and others, at which the Americans sought to convert the U.N. mission into a "cover for what would be, in essence, a United States-directed inspection process."
The U.N. officials resisted, and their teams went on to conduct some 700 inspections of scores of potential weapons sites in
In his own memoir, published last November, Bush still insisted it was right to invade to remove a "homicidal dictator pursuing WMD." But the ex-president also wrote of a "sickening feeling" when no arms turned up after the invasion, and blamed an "intelligence failure" for the baseless claim, a reference to a 2002 U.S. intelligence assessment contending WMD were being built.
But that assessment itself offered no concrete evidence, and Bush and his aides have never explained why the
ElBaradei cites examples, including the conclusion by his inspectors inside
The IAEA chief reported this conclusion to the U.N. Security Council on Jan. 27, 2003, and yet on the next day Bush - in a "remarkable" response - delivered a State of the Union address in which he repeated the unfounded claim about aluminum tubes, ElBaradei notes.
Similar contradictions of expert findings occurred with the claim, based on a forgery, that
"I was aghast at what I was witnessing," ElBaradei writes of the official
In such a case, he suggests, the
Formidable political and legal barriers would seem to rule out such an investigation. But ElBaradei, citing the war-crimes prosecution of
"Do we, as a community of nations, have the wisdom and courage to take the corrective measures needed, to ensure that such a tragedy will never happen again?" he asks.
© 2011 The Associated Press.
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs