In short: the war in Iraq was justified. There were good reasons for the United States’ attacking Iraq when we did.
I am so tired of hearing the “Bush lied, people died” mantra and the labels of “fascist” being liberally applied to President Bush by liberals that I want to provide the underlying justification for the war. While I do not claim that my justification for the war against Iraq is the best one out there, I am frustrated by the lack of pro-American accounts of the war being offered in the media.
Let me begin by providing an offering of articles prior to the LAST war with Iraq. Prior to Saddam Hussein’s attack and subsequent rape of Kuwait, it is simply mind boggling to contemplate the refusal of both media and government intellectuals to comprehend Saddam Hussein’s clearly-stated intentions. The man had massed tens of thousands of troops on the border; the man had vowed to attack Kuwait in public speech after public speech. But this is a smattering of what the “experts” believed in the days immediately prior to August 2nd, 1990, when Iraqi tanks and troops poured into the tiny country of Kuwait:
Time Magazine had the following story by Jill Smolowe on 11 June 1990, less than two months before Saddam invaded:
“… most are convinced that Saddam is cunningly sane. “He is not a lunatic,” says a high- ranking Israeli intelligence official. “He is a megalomaniac, but he is rational.” Concurs Philip Robins, head of Middle East programs at the London- based Royal Institute of International Affairs: “He is not driven by ideology or whim. He coldly calculates every move.”
For that reason Saddam is not likely to do anything that would jeopardize his standing either in Iraq or in the Middle East. Many Western analysts believe Saddam would not be so foolish as to initiate a first strike against Israel, a move that would invite only his destruction.
The article concluded:
“The U.S. Administration and Middle East moderates, including Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Jordan’s King Hussein, feel that the best antidote to Saddam’s potential barbarity is to keep him engaged in dialogue. In November 1988 the U.S. used quiet diplomacy to extract from Saddam a promise that he would not be first, in future, to use chemical weapons. Despite his confrontational tone in Baghdad last week, Saddam signed on to a watered-down communique that fell short of his call for oil sanctions against the U.S. That was only a minor victory for the region’s moderates, who have much to fear from Saddam’s breed of radicalism. But it provided some encouragement that as long as they can keep Saddam talking, there is hope of persuading him to pursue a more reasonable course.”
Well, shoot, maybe dialogue and diplomacy doesn’t work every time? Maybe at some point it actually becomes counter-productive, in that it prevents us from taking essential steps in a timely manner? Hey, maybe reasonably intelligent people might conclude that we shouldn’t count on such diplomacy working the next time we had a go-around with Saddam Hussein? (Of course, the words reasonably intelligent exclude liberals, who are rarely ever either reasonable or intelligent). The point is that those who are ignorant to the lessons of the past are doomed to repeat the failures of the past.
But let us continue on our tour of the “experts’” “analysis” of the buildup to Gulf War I:
On 3 April 1990, Nick B. Williams, Jr. and Daniel Williams of the Los Angeles Times wrote a page one story under the headline, “Iraq Threatens Israel with Use of Nerve Gas.” But the Times’ story went with the assesment of an expert from London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies who dismissed the threat as “good propoganda, saber-rattling stuff.”
The Washington Post had a 2 July 1990 story by Caryle Murphy and Jackson Diehl titled, “New Middle East War Seen Unlikely; Threats, Saber-Rattling Abound, but Deterrents Curb Both Sides” on 2 July 1990, one month before Saddam invaded. It began: Rumors of war are sweeping through a tense Middle East, but the region’s military and political balance weighs against the outbreak of a new Arab-Israeli conflict, in the view of a wide range of officials and experts.
And, on the same day that the Post dismissed Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait as a nonevent, a headline on the washington Times on 2 July 1990 headline read, “New Middle East War Seen Unlikely.”
The media “experts” were wrong, wronger, wrongest and wrong all over again.
But official government “experts” were every bit as wrong. Let’s not omit the failings of the “geniuses” who draw their paychecks from the public dole:
In November of 1989, a DIA assessment concluded, “Iraq is unlikely to launch military operations against any of its Arab neighbors over the next three years… To protect its image of moderation, Iraq is unlikely to take military action against Kuwait.
On 20 July 1990, the DIA advised top Pentagon officials that “Iraq is unlikely to use significant force against Kuwait,” though it concluded that “small-scale incursions are possible.”
On 25 July 1990, a Defense Special Assessment stated, “Iraq is using rhetoric, diplomatic pressure, and significant military posturing to force Kuwait to comply with recent oil and economic demands. Although unlikely to use military pressure, Iraq is marshalling forces sufficient to invade Kuwait.”
On 27 July 1990 – just six days before the invasion – the DIA actually reported to top Pentagon and Bush administration officials that “tensions between Baghdad and Kuwait are subsiding… Kuwait will give Saddam most of what he wants to avoid military confrontation.”
On 2 August 1990, Saddam Hussein poured his forces into hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned Kuwait. The brutality that would follow would shock and stun the world.
Newsflash: we can’t see into either an evil mind or an evil country and know what it is doing or what its intentions are. If we’re smart, we’ll quit believing we can.
In his book Epicenter, Joel C. Rosenberg writes: “As the summer progressed, I kept asking experts throughout Washington, “Doesn’t all the evidence add up to an invasion, not just bluster?” Most of them said no. And it was not only what they said, it was how they said it, as if the only sophisticated, intellectually-defensible answer was “Of course not, you uneducated moron” (45).
Interestingly, this perspective is offered by a man who, in his novels, had predicted that the United States would attack Iraq, and predicted that a plane flown by an Islamic terrorist would deliberately crash into an American building – both BEFORE the events occurred. A 3 Nov 2003 article by Paul Bedard of U.S. News & World Report refers to Rosenberg as a “modern Nostradamus” and begins, “It’s getting a little weird being Joel Rosenberg…” Rosenberg thinks and writes from the perspective of an informed man who believes in God and in the Judeo-Christian Scriptures – including such prophetic passages as Ezekiel chapters 37 and 38. Beginning on page 40 of Epicenter, Rosenberg describes how he relied on Scripture to creatively reason to a vision of the future. He realized that only two Islamic countries were not mentioned as taking part in the last days invasion of Israel led by what is modern-day Russia and Iran: Modern day Egypt and Iraq. Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel that has lasted some 35 years; but Rosenberg couldn’t understand how an Iraq under Saddam Hussein would refuse to take part in such an attack. So, as a plot device, he “overthrew” Saddam at the hands of a U.S. invasion.
Secular liberals will enjoy calling Joel Rosenberg “a religious lunatic” until they run out of breath, but nobody can deny that Rosenberg accurately understood events in the Middle East, and the secular-minded “experts” did not. Based on his track record alone – in which he understood before the events what these experts failed to understand even as the events were unfolding right before their eyes – the man deserves a hearing.
A miscalculation of such magnitude simply boggles the mind. This was not a secret conspiracy plotted in the shadowy caves of Afghanistan. To the contrary, Saddam Hussein had broadcast his ambitions and his intentions to the whole world. He amassed tens of thousands of men and hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of military equipment on Kuwait’s border in full view of U.S. spy satellites and Western news reporters. Yet so few believed him. Why? How could people so smart, so well versed in ancient and modern history, and so well informed by the best classified intelligence money can buy have so badly misread the situation?
Again, the answer lies not in the failure of inteligence gathering per se but a failure of imagination. The experts simply refused to believe that Saddam was so evil that he would order the rape and pillaging of an Arab neighbor. They refused to believe that he was so evil that he would launch thirty-nine Scud missiles against Israel, and more Scuds against Saudi Arabia. What’s more, they refused to believe Saddam when he described himself as a “modern Nebuchadnezzar,” one of the most evil tyrants ever described in the Bible. And therin lies the problem.
Too many in Washington today have a modern, Western, secular mind-set that either discounts – or outright dismisses – the fact that evil is a real and active force in history. They insist on interpreting events only through the lenses of politics and economics. Yet to misunderstand the nature and threat of evil is to risk being blindsided by it, and that is precisely what happened on August 2, 1990, and September 11, 2001. Washington was blindsided by an evil it did not understand, just as it had been blindsided by Auschwitz, Dachau, and Pearl Harbor, and much as I believe it will be blindsided by future events (pp. 46-77).
In other words, the “experts” do not understand religion, and they utterly fail to comprehend human nature, or human evil (which they frequently dismiss as a religiously manufactured concept). Before I proceed with my justification for war against Iraq, let me digress for a bit on the refusal to understand the nature of evil, which I hope will serve to provide a landscape for the decision as to whether to invade Iraq.
Even today, the U.S. government, as well as the media, routinely talk about the politics and economics of the crisis in the Middle East. I have for years routinely heard discussions about poverty and desperation in the Islamic world, and discussions as to what extent American foreign policy is bringing the Muslim violence and cries for more violence about. But again, we’re not listening. The 19 men who carried out the 9/11 attacks were educated members of affluent families. Our experts – who think they know everything - didn’t understand a word from the people who carried out these attacks. And they’re still not listening. We talk in terms of the political, the economic, and the military situation in Iraq and in the Middle East and completely forget the one thing that matters most: the religious extremist view of the jihadist terrorist.
Listen to the videotaped speeches of Osama bin Laden or any of the spokespeople for al Qaeda, and you will clearly hear them telling you – literally again and again – that 9/11 was a religious act, just as the war being carried out against the Great Satan (that’s the United States) and the Little Satan (that’s Israel) was and continues to be a religious act. And – as difficult as it is for Western Europeans brought up under the Judeo-Christian worldview – we must try to understand this vision of the world that seeks our submission or death.
We frankly still haven’t even begun to address the religious dimensions of Islamic terrorism, simply because the same “experts” who inform our thinking fundamentally don’t understand religion and therefore don’t understand the nature of evil. And so they simply choose to ignore the elephant in the room.
Let me now turn to a discussion of the magnitude of Saddam Hussein’s moral evil. Again, it was right before the world’s eyes all along, but somehow the secular humanist “experts” – in failing to understand Saddam’s evil – also completely failed to understand the actions that this moral monster would take.
I “googled” the keywords ‘Iraq, mass graves, rape, torture, Hussein‘ (without commas or quotes), and was frankly stunned by the content found in links appearing at the top of the list. Some of the articles literally trivialized Saddam Hussein’s brutality, and fixated instead on the abuses of the U.S. detention facility known as Abu Ghraib. The idea was to make the United States under President Bush as evil as Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Now, please don’t get me wrong; the abuses of Iraqi detainees under U.S. custody were despicable. But in the overwhelming number of cases, these abuse involved psychological humiliation rather than genuine physical torture. No one was discovered to have been slowly lowered into barrels of acid, or to have had holes drilled into their heads with power drills. It is noteworthy that the subsequent investigation found that – with 7,000 detainees versus 450 inadequately-trained guards – the command structure simply broke down. In this environment, a few soldiers demonstrated that evil is something any people can manifest. Nevertheless, of the nine U.S. servicemen convicted, no officers were found to have been directly involved in either their own actions or their orders to their subordinates. And no one was convicted for anything resembling homicide.
Now allow me to contrast the travesty of Abu Ghraib with actions taken under the rule of Saddam Hussein:
Saddam’s oldest son, Uday, as commander of the Fedayeen Saddam, publicly beheaded more than 200 women throughout the country. The Iraqi Government systematically used rape and the sexual assault of women to extract information and force confessions from detained family members; to intimidate Iraqi opposition members by sending videotapes showing the rape of female family members; and to blackmail Iraqi men into future cooperation with the regime. Some Iraqi authorities even carried government personnel cards identifying their official “activity” as the “violation of women’s honor” – literally a license to rape in the name of “official business.” In addition to systematic and repeated acts of rape, women in Saddam’s jails were subjected to tortures such as brutal beatings, electrical shocks, and branding. And the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women reported that more than 4,000 women have been victims of so-called “honor killings” just since Article 111 went into effect in 1990.
But that these crimes against Iraqi women are just the tip of the iceberg. Saddam committed genocide on a scale not seen since Pol Pot. A USAID report contains the following:
Since the Saddam Hussein regime was overthrown in May, 270 mass graves have been reported. By mid-January, 2004, the number of confirmed sites climbed to fifty-three. Some graves hold a few dozen bodies—their arms lashed together and the bullet holes in the backs of skulls testimony to their execution. Other graves go on for hundreds of meters, densely packed with thousands of bodies.
“We’ve already discovered just so far the remains of 400,000 people in mass graves,” said British Prime Minister Tony Blair on November 20 in London. The United Nations, the U.S. State Department, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch (HRW) all estimate that Saddam Hussein’s regime murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent people. “Human Rights Watch estimates that as many as 290,000 Iraqis have been ‘disappeared’ by the Iraqi government over the past two decades,” said the group in a statement in May. “Many of these ‘disappeared’ are those whose remains are now being unearthed in mass graves all over Iraq.”
If these numbers prove accurate, they represent a crime against humanity surpassed only by the Rwandan genocide of 1994, Pol Pot’s Cambodian killing fields in the 1970s, and the Nazi Holocaust of World War II.
And the numbers HAVE proven accurate. Realize: 400,000 bodies had been discovered as of January 2004. Over a million Iraqi people have simply vanished. Saddam Hussein has a lengthy documented record of unending brutality and genocide. Another official source contains the following:
Mass graves in Iraq are characterized as unmarked sites containing at least six bodies. Some can be identified by mounds of earth piled above the ground or as deep pits that appear to have been filled. Some older graves are more difficult to identify, having been covered by vegetation and debris over time. Sites have been discovered in all regions of the country and contain members of every major religious Examination of mass grave sites by the coalition team and local Iraqis. CPA photo and ethnic group in Iraq as well as foreign nationals, including Kuwaitis and Saudis. Over 250 sites have been reported, of which approximately 40 have been confirmed to date. Over one million Iraqis are believed to be missing in Iraq as a result of executions, wars and defections, of whom hundreds of thousands are thought to be in mass graves.
Most of the graves discovered to date correspond to one of five major atrocities perpetrated by the regime.
* The 1983 attack against Kurdish citizens belonging to the Barzani tribe, 8,000 of whom were rounded up by the regime in northern Iraq and executed in deserts at great distances from their homes.
* The 1988 Anfal campaign, during which as many as 182,000 people disappeared. Most of the men were separated from their families and were executed in deserts in the west and southwest of Iraq. The remains of some of their wives and children have also been found in mass graves.
* Chemical attacks against Kurdish villages from 1986 to 1988, including the Halabja attack, when the Iraqi Air Force dropped sarin, VX and tabun chemical agents on the civilian population, killing 5,000 people immediately and causing long-term medical problems, related deaths, and birth defects among the progeny of thousands more.
* The 1991 massacre of Iraqi Shi’a Muslims after the Shi’a uprising at the end of the Gulf war, in which tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians in such regions as Basra and Al-Hillah were killed.
* The 1991 Kurdish massacre, which targeted civilians and soldiers who fought for autonomy in northern Iraq after the Gulf war.
Opponents and critics of the regime from all religious and ethnic groups were also executed and buried in mass graves. Many of these are believed to be located at or near prisons and former military establishments.
These crimes have acquired a measure of notoriety and salience. Thousands of other Iraqis, including Marsh Arabs, Shi’a Muslims in the 1970s and 1980s, and students involved in uprisings in Najaf in 1999 may also be lying in mass graves in Iraq.
In short, the people who wrote these articles blithely comparing what they label American “atrocities” to Saddam’s massive crimes against humanity are moral idiots who could have served in Joseph Goebbel’s Reich Propaganda Office. They are genuinely stupid people, not because they have low IQs (which would amount to an acceptable excuse), but because they are so radically committed to a perverse worldview that they are unable to look beyond their own political causes to see the world either as it really is, or as it really should be. A normal person does not look at what occurred at Abu Ghraib, and what occurred under Saddam Hussein’s vicious, genocidal regime and view them as equivocal. Such people are incapable of experiencing moral outrage beyond their own narcissistic, perverted, narrow-minded ideological agendas.
There are as many as one million Iraqi people lying dead in unmarked graves as a direct result of Saddam Hussein’s brutal tyranny.
Jano Rosebiani, a filmmaker of the documentary “Saddam’s Mass Graves” held a press conference with two survivors of Saddam Hussein’s torture and mass murders, and – under the title “Unearthed Mass Graves: Iraqis Coming to Terms with Their Past” – said:
And I hope these two films will reach the American public, because it is somewhat apparent that there is a lot of misinformation. There are films that are coming out that are actually belittling what has happened to the Iraqi people, how life was under Saddam, and that the American public has the right to know the type of dictator we had, the type of terror we had, who we hope is the last one of his kind. As you see, the past century had a handful of them, and let’s hope Saddam is the last one. But we can only do that if we fully understand the extent of his crimes and we all work together as a human body, as human beings, and help prevent the creation of such dictators. And that could only be possible by removing Saddam. And I think the greatest gift of life that has been given to the Iraqis — myself, I’m an Iraqi Kurd from the north — was the removal of Saddam, because otherwise, the many mass graves we already have in Iraq — we have an Iraq of 22 million people sitting on mass graves — there would have been tenfold more for the many years to come.
Those who trivialize Saddam Hussein’s brutality and emphasize the United States’ complicity with evil do so because a realization of the true extent of Saddam Hussein’s genocide would become a defacto justification for the invasion – and they will not allow that. But the fact remains: Saddam Hussein was so completely evil that he would pose a threat to the world as long as he remained in power. We were right to remove such a monster.
David Hirsch, describing the disintigration process of the collective psyche actualized by the postmodern (what he also calls the “post-Auschwitz” dehumanism) provided this account from Bruno Bettelheim, a psychologist who spent a year at Dachau and Buchenwald prior to the the “Final Solution” beginning in 1939: The most dedicated followers of the Nazi state were destroyed as persons in our sense, as may be seen from … the story of Rudolph Hoess, commander of Auschwitz…. While his physical death came later, he became a living corpse, from the time he assumed command of Auschwitz … But he had to divest himself so entirely of self-respect and self-love, of feeling and personality, that for all practical purposes he was little more than a machine functioning only as his superiors flicked the buttons of command” (David H. Hirsch, The Deconstruction of Literature: Criticism after Auschwiz, 1991), p. 247.
I submit that not only were the torturers and murderers of Saddam Hussein’s regime so dehumanized, but so also – albeit to lesser extents – are the individuals who would trivialize Iraq’s brutality under Saddam Hussein as a rhetorical device for the purpose of denying American legitimacy. Something is missing in these people.
After the 9/11 attacks on 11 September 2001 which left 3,000 Americans dead, the question facing President George W. Bush was a simple one: are we willing to be so blindsided again with yet another terrorist attack, this time with chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons being involved; or should we proactively attempt to prevent an attack that could be much, much worse? If these terrorists had possessed WMD, would they have hesitated to use them? Should we trust a man like Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass terror and destruction? Should we assume that he would never allow them to be used against the United States or one of its close allies?
I wonder how many conversations George W. Bush had with his father, former president George H.W. Bush, who had found himself so surprised by the evil of Saddam Hussein – an evil none of his “experts” considered – prior to his decision to end the regime of Saddam once for all. Perhaps one day we will know. I look forward to reading President Bush’s memoirs for that singular reason. In any event, after being so blindsided once by “experts” who strenuously argued that Saddam wouldn’t dare invade a fellow Arab state, President Bush II was determined that the United States would not be blindsided by Saddam Hussein or his demonic evil again in the new post-9/11 world. Once bitten, twice shy.
Naysayers point to an inability to link Saddam Hussein with al Qaeda, and in many cases they point to the claims of the same “experts” (who have proven so wrong in the past) that a secularist such as Saddam would never work with terrorists or terrorist organizations. But the fact is, Saddam Hussein HAS worked with terrorists.
Saddam Hussein was providing a $10,000 payment to Palestinian gunmen killed during firefights with Israelis and a $25,000 payment to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers (see also this BBC account of the same program). If that isn’t enough to dispel the myth that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with terrorism, former Iraqi intelligence agents have detailed a terrorist training camp located at Salman Pak, Iraq, in which both Iraqis and non-Iraqi Arabs receive training on hijacking planes and trains, planting explosives in cities, sabotage, and assassinations. Given such established links between Saddam’s Iraq and terrorism, who can rationally make the case that Saddam Hussein would not possibly clandestinely provide WMD weapons to terrorists? You don’t need videotape of Saddam Hussein shaking hands with Osama bin Laden: all you need is a realization of the evil of both men, and an awareness of the anti-American agenda both men clearly share in common.
I found an article that was eye-opening in terms of what we knew, what we thought we knew, and what we believed but could never hope to verify, concerning what was going on in secretive, totalitarian Iraq in the years immediately preceding the second American invasion in 2003. Sorry to inform you liberals, but it comes right out of your own crew over over at PBS.
From 1991 to 1998 UNSCOM and IAEA carried out numerous inspections in Iraq, but with varying degrees of success.
For the first few years, Iraqi officials failed to disclose much of their special weapons programs to the inspectors. In 1995, Saddam Hussein’s son-in-law Kamel Hussein defected. He had been in charge of the bioweapons program and revealed to UNSCOM that there was a vast arsenal of weapons they had failed to uncover, including biological weapons, and described how the Iraqis were hiding them. This was a breakthrough for the inspection teams, and they continued their work until 1998, when Iraq blocked further access and expelled UNSCOM…
In summary, the IAEA report says that following the August 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Iraq launched a “crash program” to develop a nuclear weapon quickly by extracting weapons grade material from safe-guarded research reactor fuel. This project, if it had continued uninterrupted by the war, might have succeeded in producing a deliverable weapon by the end of 1992. [PBS source: Tracking Nuclear Proliferation, a Guide in Maps and Charts, 1998, Rodney W. Jones and Mark G. NcDonough, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. (1998). p. 191]…
Nuclear physicist and Iraqi defector Khidhir Hamza agrees. He told FRONTLINE that Iraq did not relinquish certain critical components of the nuclear program to the inspectors, and that it retains the expertise necessary to build a nuclear weapon. He believes that Iraq may have one completed within the next couple of years.
Note: IAEA was allowed back into Iraq in January 2000 and again in January 2001. But its inspectors were blocked from full access inspections…
The following information is found under the section titled, ” Iraq’s Biological Weapons (BW) Program“:
Between 1991 and 1998, UN inspectors conducted more than 70 inspections into Iraq’s biological warfare activities. In its 1999 final report to the U.N. Security Council, UNSCOM noted that Iraq’s biological warfare program was “among the most secretive of its programs of weapons of mass destruction.” It said that Iraq “took active steps” to conceal the program, including “inadequate disclosures, unilateral destruction, and concealment activities.” Therefore, the Commission concluded, “it has not been possible to verify” Iraq’s statements about the extent and nature of its biological weapons program.”
A 58 page annex to the final report describes what the Commission was able to learn about the BW program, despite Iraq’s concealment activities, and documents discrepancies between what Iraq claimed to have developed, or destroyed, and the physical evidence. Some of the findings include:
* Extensive BW program: Iraq had an extensive BW program from 1973 until at least 1991. In mid-1995, Iraq admitted that it had weaponized BW agents, but claimed that the entire BW program had been in “obliterated” in 1991 and that all BW weapons had been destroyed and all bulk BW agents had been deactivated. The Commission found, however, that the evidence produced in support of this claim was not credible, and that Iraq “retained suitable growth media, BW facilities, production equipment, teams of expert personnel, and the essential technical knowledge” after 1991.
* Bulk production: In July, 1995, Iraq acknowledged that between 1988 and 1991, it had produced two BW agents in bulk: botulinum toxin and Bacillus anthracis spores (anthrax). Iraq reported 19,180 liters of botulinum toxin (10-20 fold concentrated) and 8445 liters of Bacillus anthracis spores (10 fold concentrated). UNSCOM found, however, that “bulk warfare agent production appears to be considerably understated,” given the resources available to Iraq’s BW program, including growth media and fermenter capacity. The Commission said that the production rate of Botulinum toxin could be as much as double the stated amount, and 3 times greater than that stated for Bacillus anthracis spores.Iraq claimed that it unilaterally destroyed more than 7500 liters of the Botulinum toxin and 3412 liters of Bacillus anthracis spores in 1991; UNSCOM noted that there was not evidence to support quantities claimed to be destroyed. The report concludes “the Commission has no confidence that all bulk agents have been destroyed… and that a BW capability does not exist in Iraq.”Iraq also claims to have produced lesser quantities of clostridium perfringens spores, ricin, and wheat cover smut.
* BW Warheads: Iraq claimed to have produced 25 Al-Hussein missile warheads and filled them with BW agents. The Commission found that there was no credible evidence to show that only 25 missiles were produced and filled. Iraq declared that the 25 missiles were unilaterally destroyed; the Commission found enough physical evidence to account for the declared quantities of BW warheads, but the location of the remnants were inconsistent with Iraq’s story.
* BW bombs: Iraq declared that 200 R-400 aerial bombs were manufactured for BW purposes, but acknowledged that the numbers of bombs filled with particular agents (100 with botulinum toxin, 50 with bacillus anthracis spores, and 7 with aflatoxin) were “guesses.” UNSCOM did find evidence of the destruction of some BW bombs at the site declared by Iraq, but found that the remnants account for less than one third of the bombs Iraq claims to have destroyed. In addition, UNSCOM found evidence of R-400A bombs carrying BW at an airfield where no BW weapons were declared.
* Aircraft drop tanks: Iraq claimed that it produced 4 aircraft drop tanks to disseminate BW agents, and was developing a pilotless aircraft that could carry the tanks, holding either BW or chemical weapons, and release the toxins at a preset time. UNSCOM found that there was no evidence corroborate that only 4 were produced, and noted that interviews indicated that 12 were planned. Remnants of only three destroyed tanks were recovered. UNSCOM also rejected the evidence offered by Iraq–a letter thanking the project workers–that the pilotless aircraft project was shut down.
* Aerosol Generators: Iraq developed aerosol generators for the dispersal of BW agents by modifying helicopter-borne commercial chemical insecticide disseminators. Although Iraq claimed the devices were ineffective, UNSCOM received documentation that they were successfully field tested. Interview evidence suggests that there were 12 devices produced; none were destroyed by UNSCOM.
The next section, titled, “Iraq’s Chemical Weapons (CW) Program,” is every bit as disturbing in terms of detailing Iraqi concealment, deception, cover-up, delay, and lies as regards to those programs.
PBS links to official sources, such as the UNSCOM Report to the Security Council dated 25 Jannuary 1999 from which I was able to find a link titled, “ACTIONS BY IRAQ TO OBSTRUCT DISARMAMENT.” The facts that are reported detailing a longstanding pattern of the same delay, deception, and concealment tactics that are detailed above are related in point after point. Point 31 states, “By the end of the 1998, there remained significant uncertainties in the disposition of Iraq’s prohibited programmes.”
And what I have documented here is nowhere near close to a full presentation of Iraqi efforts under Saddam Hussein to stymie U.N. and American efforts to discover what was going on with Iraqi WMD capabilities. From what we see here, however, a child in a carnival fun house would have a had a far more accurate picture of what the world around her looked like than one of the 30 or so U.N. inspectors looking for signs of WMD in Texas-sized Iraq.
In the Volume 7, No. 1 – March 2003 issue of the Journal MERIA (Middle East Review of International Affairs), Ibrahim al-Marashi begins his article, “How Iraq Conceals And Obtains Its Weapons Of Mass Destruction,” with the following two sentences: “After the 1991 Gulf War, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein conducted a systematic concealment operation to disrupt the mission of the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM), whose mandate was to eliminate Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD). This article surveys and analyzes the different techniques used to fool and foil inspectors so as to conceal continued development or possession of these weapons.”
He then details the methods behind what the U.S. Department of Defense called, “The deliberate, methodical, extensive and well-organized national-level strategic effort which aims at deceiving not just the United States, not just the United Nations or even the public media, but, in fact, the entire world.” According to UNSCOM, the goals of this concealment apparatus have been to “retain production capability and the “know-how” documentation necessary to revive programs when possible.”
In his article, he provides the following, researched and carefully footnoted information:
In May 1991, Saddam Hussein formed a Concealment Operations Committee (COC) to be supervised by Qusay. UNSCOM inspectors became aware of the existence of this covert network as a result of inspections and interviews conducted between 1991 and 1996. They believed that this apparatus, created in 1991, was designed to hide documents, computer records, and equipment related to its WMD program. When the COC was created, the Iraqis believed that the inspection process would last only a few months. They based their assessment on the model of previous IAEA inspections, which had examined Iraqi nuclear facilities without detecting the Iraqi nuclear weapons program.
UNSCOM investigations into the activities and tactics of the concealment apparatus began in March 1996 and were continuously impeded by the Iraqis. As a result, UNMOVIC’s, and its predecessor UNSCOM’s, mandate evolved from inspection agencies to detective agencies in order to investigate, impede and unravel the activities of this Iraqi concealment network. Chairman of UNMOVIC Hans Blix declared on January 28, 2003, “As we know, the idea that Iraq would declare its weapons and then the inspectors would verify these statements too often turned into a game of ‘hide and seek.’”
The “hide and seek” game mentioned in Blix’s statement has characterized the interaction between the Iraqi concealment apparatus and UN inspectors. Blix adds, “Rather than just verifying declarations and supporting evidence, the two inspecting organizations found themselves engaged in efforts to map the weapons programs and to search for evidence through inspections, interviews, seminars, inquiries with suppliers and intelligence organizations.” Blix indicated that the deception practiced by the Iraqi concealment apparatus continues unabated.
In his conclusion, al-Marashi states:
The Iraqi concealment apparatus has over seven years of experience now in countering UN inspections, as well as a four year “window-of-opportunity” to hide, conceal and camouflage its WMD program in the absence of any inspectors. The concealment apparatus benefited from these years of expertise to call on numerous intelligence agents, scientists, and soldiers to fill its ranks.
French inspectors on the UNMOVIC team have remarked that the Iraqis have made progress in their know-how and ability to hide things in the twelve and a half years of embargo. Other inspectors expressed how impressed they were with the apparatus’ professional skill, which makes it “difficult to find irrefutable proof and evidence of flagrant violations.”
The UNMOVIC team in Iraq has a formidable adversary. UN inspections have slowed Iraq’s progress in further developing its WMD capability, but the scope of this concealment apparatus could indicate that many of these programs remain largely intact.
I can provide articles justifying and elaborating upon this position again and again and again. I can point to history documented by the weapons inspectors themselves, such as when: “On one of UNSCOM’s first assignments, inspectors demand access to an Iraqi military facility. The base commander will not allow inspectors into the building, but lets them climb onto a water tower, where inspectors spot Iraqi trucks slipping out the back gate. Although U.N. vehicles catch up with the trucks and try to pull them over, the Iraqis refuse to stop and fire warning shots at the inspectors. However, the inspectors obtain photographs showing the trucks are carrying calutrons — giant iron magnets that can be used to enrich uranium.”
Or when (again detailed in the same PBS link along with MANY other similar stories): “In a surprise raid on an Iraqi government building, UNSCOM inspectors, led by David Kay, discover a hidden archive of documents that reveals Saddam’s plans to develop a nuclear weapon. Incensed by the inspectors’ discovery, the Iraqis haul off the original documents, and demand the inspectors turn over their photographs of the documents. The standoff lasts for four days and the weapons inspectors are held hostage in the parking lot outside of the building. They are finally allowed to leave with their evidence when the U.S. announces it will intervene militarily on behalf of UNSCOM.”
I submit that I can do a far better job defending the hypothesis that Hans Blix was arrogant, naive, and eager for continued personal celebrity than a critic of my position can defend the hypothesis that Hans Blix would ever be able to complete a full, thorough, and complete determination as to the extent of Iraq’s WMD capability. Blix was arrogant in believing that he would be able to discover Saddam Hussein’s entire WMD capability in what amounted to a fools’ game; and naive in not realizing that the deck had been completely stacked against him by a legion of Iraqi men officers and scientists every bit as expert as himself.
In short, there were no inspections whatsoever for a period of four years between 1998 and 2002; Iraq was flush with cash – and thus able to purchase WMD-related components – from illegal activities associated with the now-known to be completely corrupt U.N. Oil for Food Program; Iraq had benefited from uncountable illegal weapons sales; the number of U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq never reached 100 in a secretive, totalitarian state the size of Texas; and Iraq had no reason to change its delay and concealment tactics because it had allies in France, Germany, Belgium, Russia, and China who would allow no meaningful action whatsoever to be taken against Iraq in either the U.N. or its Security Council. To ask just one pertinent question: who on earth would believe that UNSCOM inspectors could ever hope to succeed in discovering all of Iraq’s secret WMD-related documents given that they could literally have been hidden anywhere in the country?
A 10 December 2002 New York Times editorial titled “Smoking Gun” put the situation into perspective pretty well:
Those determined to avoid war at all costs may demand more direct and irrefutable evidence than this kind of coercive inspection program is capable of producing in the face of willful Iraqi deception. But the rigorous evidentiary standards of an American courtroom do not apply here. A case for military action is likely to be made by highlighting any major discrepancies between Iraq’s report and American and other findings. Given Baghdad’s track record, which includes serial aggression against neighbors, wholesale duplicity toward the Security Council and missing stocks of nerve gas and biological weapons material, this seems a reasonable approach. …
Iraq is entitled to no presumption of innocence. It has arrived at this point after invading, occupying and looting Kuwait and then failing to honor the cease-fire terms it accepted after that conflict. Had Baghdad kept its word then, its unconventional weapons would long ago have been destroyed and the sites where they were developed permanently monitored. If careful scrutiny of Iraq’s new report shows it to be still defaulting on its promises, it will have forfeited the chance for a peaceful solution.
I completely agree, and I cannot understand how someone can impeach the basic grounds for this position. An inability of a few U.N. inspectors to obtain “irrefutable proof and evidence of flagrant violations” in such a hostile environment doesn’t even begin to provide convincing evidence for the argument that Saddam Hussein had totally destroyed his WMD program, or that the United States had no right to attack to protect itself from an evil tyrant. Given Saddam Hussein’s repeatedly demonstrated evil and his similarly repeatedly demonstrated ability to completely fool the “experts,” President Bush and allies such as England and Australia were rightly demanding nothing less than a complete accounting of Iraq’s WMD program.
Finally, the dilemma of the Iranian nuclear program serves as a sober reinforcement of the rightness of President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq. As with Iraq, we have in Iran a closed, totalitarian society that our intelligence cannot reliably penetrate. How will we know for sure when and if Iran develops nuclear weapons? Do we simply choose to allow them to do so? Are we willing to suffer the consequences of the world’s largest terrorist state and supporter of terrorism to have nukes? Are we willing to give President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – who has publicly described his belief in an apocalyptic figure known as the “Twelfth Imam” who will come into the world via an act of global catastrophe – a nuclear trigger to place his finger upon? Are we willing to put nuclear weapons into the hands of someone who has repeatedly vowed to “wipe Israel off the map“?
If Iran gets nuclear weapons, you can pretty much figure that World War III is coming soon. For one thing, the country is led by apocalyptic religious fanatics who will likely either use the bomb to attack Israel, or else will smuggle it into the hands of terrorists who will do the job for them. For another, a nuclear weapon in Shiite Iran will trigger a nuclear arms race in the craziest region in the history of the world, as Sunni states feverishly work to build their own bomb to balance the power.
Meanwhile, we find both Democratic presidential candidates vocalizing longstanding opposition to the Iraq war, and promising a swift pullout if elected. The question is this: how can a president who claimed that the United States was wrong in attacking Iraq over legitimate concerns that it possessed weapons of mass destruction proceed to threaten to attack Iran over legitimate concerns that IT possesses nuclear weapons? And conversely, as the United States attempts to prevent Sunni Arab nations from developing their own nuclear weapons programs to balance Shiite Iran, how will a president – who refused to honor the American commitment to stand by Iraq – proceed to succeed in convincing Sunni countries that we will stand by them against any threat posed by Iran?
If we say that the United States was wrong to attack Iraq, then we tacitly affirm that it will be wrong to attack Iran even as it feverishly works on creating enough centrifuges to have the type of refined uranium it needs for one and only one purpose.
ABC News’ Brian Ross and Christopher Isham report that it is now known that Iran has enough centrifuges to produce enough uranium to have a weapon by 2009 – a full six years earlier than previous estimates. And analysts further point out that the uranium they are enriching could NOT be used in the Russian nuclear power reactor they are currently building.
Something serious is coming right around the corner. What are we going to do about it?