Tuesday, January 21, 2003

From today's press baffling:
Q The second question. You and the President have repeatedly said that Saddam Hussein gassed his own people. The biggest such attack was in Halabja in March, 1988, where some 6,800 Kurds were killed. Last week in an article in the International Herald Tribune, Joost Hilterman writes that: while it was Iraq that carried out the attack, the United States at the time, fully aware that it was Iraq, accused Iran. This was apparently part of the tilt toward Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war. And the tilt included billions of dollars in loan guarantees. Sensing that he had carte blanche, Saddam escalated his resort to guesswork there and graduating to ever more lethal agents.
So you and the President have said that Saddam has repeatedly gassed his own people -- why do you leave out the part that the United States, in effect, gave Saddam the green light?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, Russell, I speak for President George W. Bush in the year 2003. I think if you have a question about statements that were made or purportedly made by an administration in 1988, you need to address those to somewhere other than this White House. I can't speak for that. I don't know if that's accurate, inaccurate. But I think you have all the means to ask those questions yourself.
Suggested followup: So you are suggesting that we go and ask the President's father about this?

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