What A Difference Four Years Makes


Mainstream Media sources have repeatedly asserted that UN Weapons inspectors were kicked out of Iraq. EXTRA the magazine published by FAIR every month has provided an excellent comparison of coverage by major news outlets in 1998 and recently, and exposed the lies and distortions currently being used to support a war against Iraq… Make sure to check out ZNet’s coverage of the Mainstream Media, and also check FAIR out…

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The U.N. orders its weapons inspectors to leave Iraq after the chief inspector reports Baghdad is not fully cooperating with them.

– Sheila MacVicar, ABC World News This Morning, 12/16/98

To bolster its claim, Iraq let reporters see one laboratory U.N. inspectors once visited before they were kicked out four years ago.

–John McWethy, ABC World News Tonight, 8/12/02


The Iraq story boiled over last night when the chief U.N. weapons inspector, Richard Butler, said that Iraq had not fully cooperated with inspectors and–as they had promised to do. As a result, the U.N. ordered its inspectors to leave Iraq this morning

–Katie Couric, NBC‘s Today, 12/16/98/

As Washington debates when and how to attack Iraq, a surprise offer from Baghdad. It is ready to talk about re-admitting U.N. weapons inspectors after kicking them out four years ago.

–Maurice DuBois, NBC‘s Saturday Today, 8/3/02


The chief U.N. weapons inspector ordered his monitors to leave Baghdad today after saying that Iraq had once again reneged on its promise to cooperate–a report that renewed the threat of U.S. and British airstrikes.

AP, 12/16/98

Information on Iraq’s programs has been spotty since Saddam expelled U.N. weapons inspectors in 1998.

AP, 9/7/02


Immediately after submitting his report on Baghdad’s noncompliance, Butler ordered his inspectors to leave Iraq.

Los Angeles Times, 12/17/98

It is not known whether Iraq has rebuilt clandestine nuclear facilities since U.N. inspectors were forced out in 1998, but the report said the regime lacks nuclear material for a bomb and the capability to make weapons.

Los Angeles Times, 9/10/02


The United Nations once again has ordered its weapons inspectors out of Iraq. Today’s evacuation follows a new warning from chief weapons inspector Richard Butler accusing Iraq of once again failing to cooperate with the inspectors. The United States and Britain repeatedly have warned that Iraq’s failure to cooperate with the inspectors could lead to air strikes.

–Bob Edwards, NPR, 12/16/98

If he has secret weapons, he’s had four years since he kicked out the inspectors to hide all of them.

–Daniel Schorr, NPR, 8/3/02


This is the second time in a month that UNSCOM has pulled out in the face of a possible U.S.-led attack. But this time there may be no turning back. Weapons inspectors packed up their personal belongings and loaded up equipment at U.N. headquarters after a predawn evacuation order. In a matter of hours, they were gone, more than 120 of them headed for a flight to Bahrain.

–Jane Arraf, CNN, 12/16/98

What Mr. Bush is being urged to do by many advisers is focus on the simple fact that Saddam Hussein signed a piece of paper at the end of the Persian Gulf War, promising that the United Nations could have unfettered weapons inspections in Iraq. It has now been several years since those inspectors were kicked out.

–John King, CNN, 8/18/02


Russian Ambassador Sergei Lavrov criticized Butler for evacuating inspectors from Iraq Wednesday morning without seeking permission from the Security Council.

USA Today, 12/17/98

Saddam expelled U.N. weapons inspectors in 1998, accusing some of being U.S. spies.

USA Today, 9/4/02


But the most recent irritant was Mr. Butler’s quick withdrawal from Iraq on Wednesday of all his inspectors and those of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitors Iraqi nuclear programs, without Security Council permission. Mr. Butler acted after a telephone call from Peter Burleigh, the American representative to the United Nations, and a discussion with Secretary General Kofi Annan, who had also spoken to Mr. Burleigh.

New York Times, 12/18/98

America’s goal should be to ensure that Iraq is disarmed of all unconventional weapons…. To thwart this goal, Baghdad expelled United Nations arms inspectors four years ago.

New York Times editorial, 8/3/02


Butler ordered his inspectors to evacuate Baghdad, in anticipation of a military attack, on Tuesday night–at a time when most members of the Security Council had yet to receive his report.

Washington Post, 12/18/98

Since 1998, when U.N. inspectors were expelled, Iraq has almost certainly been working to build more chemical and biological weapons,

Washington Post editorial, 8/4/02


Butler abruptly pulled all of his inspectors out of Iraq shortly after handing Annan a report yesterday afternoon on Baghdad’s continued failure to cooperate with UNSCOM, the agency that searches for Iraq’s prohibited weapons of mass destruction.

Newsday, 12/17/98

The reason Hussein gave was that the U.N. inspectors’ work was completed years ago, before he kicked them out in 1998, and they dismantled whatever weapons they found. That’s disingenuous.

Newsday editorial, 8/14/02

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