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Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Go Hans!
President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair have lost credibility, the world is not safer now that Saddam Hussein is out of power and it was clear 10 months ago that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, according to Hans Blix, the former U.N. weapons inspector who returned to New York on the one-year anniversary of the war. -- CNN

"It was a reaction to 9/11 that we have to strike some theoretical, hypothetical links between Saddam Hussein and the terrorists. That was wrong. There wasn't anything," he said in an interview with NBC's "Today" show.

And he disagreed that the war had made the world a safer place.

"Sorry to say it doesn't look that way. If the message was to terrorists that we are willing to take you on, then that has not succeeded. In Iraq, it has bred a lot of terrorism and a lot of hatred to the Western world," he told an audience of 1,200 at NYU.

"Disarmament by war and democracy by occupation are difficult prospects."

He was especially critical of the United States and Britain for claiming the war was meant to uphold U.N. resolutions when the rest of the Security Council refused to back the conflict and he said Bush and Blair "oversold" what they knew.

By May I knew there was nothing because the Americans had interrogated so many Iraqis by then and even offered money and still they found nothing.
-- Hans Blix, former U.N. weapons inspector

"The moral of this story was clearly a loss of credibility for the leaders of this war and that they didn't think the council mattered, that was a mistake," Blix said.

Referring to passages from his book, the 75-year-old Swede identified Vice President Dick Cheney as his No. 1 opponent inside the Bush administration.

Cheney is EVERYONE's number one opponent.

Blix said he had been convinced for years that the Iraqis were hiding weapons of mass destruction but began having doubts when intelligence provided by the United States and other countries wasn't producing results. He blamed an over-reliance on defectors and a refusal on the part of the White House to consider the possibility that the intelligence was wrong.