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2002-09-10

Bush Administration Escalates Propaganda for An Attack On Iraq: Former Head of the House Foreign Relations Committee Lee Hamilton Discusses Past and Present Tactics

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The Bush administration has dramatically escalated its diplomatic efforts and PR campaign calling for an attack on Iraq.

In the last four days alone, President Bush has called the leaders of Russia, China, France, Denmark, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, as well as UN secretary general Kofi Annan.

President Bush met personally with Prime Minister Jean Chretien yesterday and British Prime Minister Tony Blair over the weekend.

Bush and Blair claimed there is ample evidence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Blair cited a "new report" by the International Atomic Energy Agency supposedly showing new construction at a former nuclear weapon site. But Atomic Energy Agency spokesman Mark Gwozdecky immediately said the agency has been reviewing the commercial satellite photos in question for more than two years and that there is no new evidence of Iraqi nuclear activity. He said the New York Times article had gotten it wrong.

Now, hawks in Washington and London have seized on a new British report on Iraq’s nuclear capability as "proof" that Saddam Hussein is just months away from launching a nuclear bomb. But there is no proof in the International Institute for Security Studies report. The report also says Iraq’s chemical, biological and ballistic missile programs are far weaker now than they were before the Gulf War in 1991.

The New York Times is reporting White House officials are following a meticulously planned strategy to persuade the public, the Congress and the allies of the need to attack Iraq. The officials are claiming the rollout of the strategy this week was not hastily concocted after some prominent Republicans began to raise doubts. The White House chief of staff who is coordinating the effort, Andrew Card, Jr. said: "From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August."

Today we’re going to have a roundtable discussion about the Bush administration’s PR campaign.

Guest:

  • Lee Hamilton, former head of the House Foreign Relations Committee, served as US congressman from Indiana for 34 years. He is currently with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

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Guest:

  • Scott Peterson, reporter with the Christian Science Monitor

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Guest:

  • John Stauber, editor of www.prwatch.org and co-author of 'Trust Us, We're Experts!', and ’Toxic Sludge Is Good for You!'

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Guest:

  • Kim Sengupta, journalist with the London Independent

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