Posts Tagged ‘Hans Blix’

Iraq War Justified: What the Chronology Reveals (Part 2)

May 6, 2008

Iraq Chronology: 2000-2002, and 2003

Available at http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/s814212.htm

My sometimes admittedly smarmy editorials [appear in brackets]. I selectively choose dates in the chronology, and I add bold type face wherever I wish to emphasize a point, but I do not alter any other information in this presentation.

On 3 Feb 2000, the US Navy seized the Russian tanker Volgoneft-147 in the Persian Gulf, which was carrying Iraq oil in violation of UN sanctions against Iraq. Action resulting from smuggling by another Russian tanker results in Royal Dutch Shell’s agreeing to pay a $2 million fine, though it appeared to have been an unwitting victim of Russia’s [illegal] operations. On 23 March Vice Admiral Charles Moore, overseeing US operations in the Gulf, briefed the United Nations Sanctions Committee on the increased smuggling of Iraqi oil. Iraq is expected to earn in excess of $500 million from oil smuggling, and possibly up to double that amount, in the absence of strong action by Iran to prevent the use of its territorial waters by smugglers. [Darn. That’s a lot of money. But Saddam Hussein can be trusted to only use it for niceness, and not evilness. At this time, weapons inspectors have not been allowed into the country for two years]

On 30 March 2000, The United Nations Security Council votes to allow Iraq to import $1.2 billion in spare parts and other equipment for its oil industry this year under the “oil-for-food” program. This is an increase from the previous $600 million annual value allowed. [This program would become the worst case of UN fraud in a history chock full of fraud, and allow Iraq to continue profiting (thus rendering all UN sanctions essentially useless).]

On 24 Aug 2000, Iraq‘s Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz says “Iraq will not cooperate “with UNMOVIC, the body created by the United Nations to replace the former UN Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM). [This a rather crystal clear statement as to whether Iraq intends to cooperate with weapons inspections. As will be shown, everyone says Iraq should cooperate, but a few countries will not allow any measure that punishes failure to cooperate. Everything that follows in this chronology is just part of the same sick joke]

On 30 Aug 2001, Iraq fires missiles at US aircraft, and claims to have shot down a “spy plane.” The US retaliates with air strikes. [Under the cease fire agreement, the US was allowed to fly over Iraq].

[On 11 Sep 2001, the United States is hit with four terror attacks using passenger aircraft as flying bombs (a fifth was planned but was prevented from boarding). 3000 Americans are killed. Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda claim responsibility. American intelligence realizes that a terrorist attack with weapons of mass destruction would be catastrophic beyond imagination. Understanding that the most dangerous WMD must be developed b a nation-state, planners begin to consider the possibilities of a nation-state covertly providing WMD to some terrorist organization.]

On 27 Nov 2001 Iraq rejects a call by U.S. President George Bush to let United Nations weapons inspectors back into the country to determine whether it is building weapons of mass destruction.

28 Jan 2002 Iraqi crude oil is flowing through a pipeline to Syria and being exported – or at least substituted in Syrian refineries allowing for more Syrian crude oil exports – in violation of United Nations sanctions. Analysts have placed the amount of crude oil being sent from Iraq to Syria at between 150,000 and 200,000 barrels per day. Iraq also negotiates with Turkey to export oil – in violation of the UN program – in details which emerge on 7 Feb.

29 Jan 2002 President Bush clearly states (at the State of the Union) that “The United States of America will not permit the world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most destructive weapons.”

On 13 Feb 2002, Iraq says that it will not allow United Nations arms inspectors to return to Iraq. Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan states, “There is no need for the spies of the [U.N.] inspection teams to return to Iraq since Iraq is free of weapons of mass destruction.” The United States has declared that actions may be taken against the Iraqi government if U.N. arms inspectors are not allowed to return.

On 4 April 2002, An Iraqi defector tells Vanity Fair that Iraq is developing a long-range ballistic missile system that could carry weapons of mass destruction up to 700 miles.

On 3 May 2002, UNMOVIC and Iraqi officials hold talks. The United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan says these are the first talks to take place at a technical level since December 1998. [In other words, over three years have passed since UNSCOM/UNMOVIC have done any significant monitoring of Iraq’s weapons program].

On 5 July talks in Vienna between the United Nations and Iraq end without agreement on inspections as Baghdad seeks assurances that sanctions will be lifted.

On 30 July The leaders of Germany and France say they could not support an attack on Iraq without a U.N. mandate. [But France wields a UN veto that can stop any UN action, and France and Germany are both participating in major illegal arms sales to Iraq, as well as profiting from violations in the UN oil for food program].

On 31 July [Former United Nations chief weapons inspector] Richard Butler tells a U.S. Senate Committee that Iraq increased the production of chemical and biological weapons after U.N. inspections ended- and might even be close to developing a nuclear bomb. A former Iraqi nuclear engineer tells the Committee that Saddam Hussein will have enough weapons-grade uranium for three nuclear bombs by 2005.

On 4 August 2002 Hans Blix rejects an Iraqi invitation to travel to Baghdad for “technical talks,” saying he would not do so until Saddam Hussein approved the return of weapons inspectors. [Iraq continues to refuse to allow weapons inspectors in clear and repeated violation of its cease fire agreement.]

On 8 August Saddam Hussein warns against a possible U.S. attack on his nation, saying that anyone who wages war against Iraq will die in “disgraceful failure.

On 14 August A prominent Iraqi Kurdish leader, Jalal Talabani, publicly issues an invitation to the US for the first time to mount an invasion of Iraq from his territory.

On 2 September 2002, Hans Blix rejects a second Iraqi request that he travel to Baghdad for “technical talks,” saying he would not do so until Saddam Hussein approved the return of weapons inspectors.

On 8 September The Guardian reports that the United States has begun a massive military build-up required for a war against Iraq, ordering the movement of tens of thousands of men and tons of material to the Gulf region.

On 10 September, The Iraqi vice-president, Taha Yassin Ramadan, tells a press conference in Jordan that “the aggression on Iraq is an aggression on all Arab nations. It is the right of all the Arab people, wherever they are, to fight against the aggression through their representatives and on their soil … by all means….We call on all Arab and good people to confront the interests of the aggressors, their materials and humans wherever they are because this is a human right.”

On 12 Sep 2002 President Bush addresses the U.N. to put the case for war against Iraq.

On 13 September Baghdad rejects President George Bush’s demand for the unconditional return of U.N. weapons inspectors.

On 15 September Saudi Arabia indicates that American forces would be free to attack Iraq from bases on its soil if Baghdad rejects a fresh United Nations resolution on weapons inspectors.

On 16 September, Under growing international pressure and to avoid a possible U.S. invasion, Iraq announces it will accept the unconditional return of international weapons inspectors four years after they left.

On 21 September 2002, Iraq rejects U.S. efforts to secure new U.N. resolutions threatening war. Iraqi state-run radio announces Baghdad will not abide by the unfavorable new resolutions adopted by the U.N. Security Council. U.N. chief inspector Hans Blix says he expects an advance team of inspectors to be in Iraq by October 15, and some early inspections could be carried out soon afterward.

On 23 September British Prime Minister Tony Blair says new sources of intelligence from inside Iraq provide “persuasive and overwhelming” evidence that Saddam Hussein is reassembling and expanding his weapons programme. Also on that day, the United States military gives President George Bush a highly detailed military plan for ousting Saddam Hussein.

On 24 September Britain publishes a dossier saying that Iraq could produce a nuclear weapon within one or two years, if it obtains fissile material and other components from abroad and has constructed test equipment for a missile capable of striking British military bases in Cyprus.

On 26 September 2002 Britain and the United States reach agreement on a tough United Nations Security Council resolution which threatens Saddam Hussein with severe consequences if he fails to grant weapons inspecters unfettered access to Iraq. Russia, China and France express grave reservations about the Anglo-American text. [Russia, China, and France are all massively profiting from the corrupt U.N. oil for food program and participating in arms deals with Iraq that are illegal under the UN regulations.]

On 28 September Iraq declares it will not accept the new rules that the United States wants to impose on U.N. weapons inspections. The U.S. draft resolution calls on Iraq to: grant full access to all sites, including military bases, factories and Saddam Hussein’s presidential palaces; agree within seven days to the terms of the new resolution; and show within 30 days that it has met those demands. Failing compliance, the U.N. Security Council authorizes “all means necessary” to enforce the new conditions. Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, Tariq Aziz warns that the United States will suffer “losses they have never sustained for decades”, if Iraq is attacked.

On 1 October United Nations negotiators and an Iraqi delegation meet in Vienna to agreeterms for resuming weapons inspections. The talks leave eight presidential compounds off-limits, and the U.S. rejects the inspectors’ return without a new security council resolution toughening the inspection scheme.

On 1 October 2002 U.S. defense and intelligence officials say that President Saddam Hussein may have given army commanders conditional authority to use chemical or biological weapons if the United States invades. [Note: NOT President Bush or the White House, but the military. This intelligence is part of what shapes Bush; not part of Bush shaping the intelligence.]

On 1 October The Sydney Morning Herald reports that France and Russia have launched diplomatic strikes on the United States over its apparent determination to invade Baghdad if Saddam Hussein interfered with the work of weapons inspectors. France’s Foreign Minister, Dominique de Villepin, said the U.S.’s stated goal of “regime change” in Baghdad was” against international law”. [But the UN Security Council had authorized the plan. Again, France and Russia were themselves acting illegally under international law, and their actions were actually part of the reason that the United States believed Iraq was rebuilding its weapons programmes.]

On 2 October 2002, President George Bush secures bipartisan congressional support for authority to go to war without U.N. backing if the U.N. fails to agree on a new resolution making drastic new demands of Iraq.

On 5 October The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the United Nations will delay sending weapons inspectors to Iraq until after the Security Council has voted on a tough new resolution designed to ensure that Saddam Hussein does not interfere with their work.

On 7 October The New York Times reports that President Bush has declared in an address to the nation that Saddam Hussein could attack the United States or its allies “on any given day” with chemical or biological weapons. In an argument for disarming Iraq or going to war with that country, he said that “we have an urgent duty to prevent the worst from occurring.”

On October 7, 2002 President George W. Bush stated: “Eleven years ago, as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War, the Iraqi regime was required to destroy its weapons of mass destruction, to cease all development of such weapons, and to stop all support for terrorist groups. The Iraqi regime has violated all of those obligations. It possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons. It has given shelter and support to terrorism, and practices terror against its own people. The entire world has witnessed Iraq’s eleven-year history of defiance, deception and bad faith.”

On 11 October 2002 The US House of Representatives passes a resolution giving President George W. Bush broad authorization to use military force, if the United Nations fails to rid Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction. See Richard Butler’s article in the Sydney Morning Herald Bringing Saddam to Trial is the Real Challenge.

On 16 October Iraq says that Saddam Hussein has scored 100 percent of the 11.4 million votes cast in a presidential referendum, thus securing — from a field that consisted only of himself — a further seven years as Iraq’s leader. A London-based Iraqi opposition group described the poll as an illegitimate event in which terrified citizens voted out of fear of punishment.

On 16 October The New York Times reports that the Bush administration’s push for an early American-led war against Iraq has drawn broad opposition in an unusual open debate in the Security Council. Many countries backed weapons inspections, and Arab states said they would not support an attack without United Nations endorsement, considering an attack only as a last resort. Iraq’s ambassador, Mohammed Aldouri, calls the United Nations economic sanctions against his country an act of genocide and rejects the American and British proposal for a new, tougher resolution for Iraq to disarm. [It is becoming increasingly clear that nothing will change. The U.N. is paralyzed and corrupt]

On 18 October 2002 The British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, says that Britain and the U.S. were prepared to go it alone with military action against Iraq, if they failed to secure a new U.N. mandate on weapons inspections.

On 22 October France and Russia vow to resist a revised United Nations resolution proposed by the U.S.

On 8 Nov 2002 The U.N. Security Council votes unanimously in favor of a British and American resolution to send weapons inspectors back into Iraq. George Bush promises “the severest consequences” if Saddam Hussein fails to comply. President Saddam has one week to accept the resolution in writing, at which point weapons inspectors could head back to Iraq after an absence of over four years.

On 10 November Iraq‘s parliament condemns the U.N. resolution on resuming weapons inspections and Salim al-Koubaisi, the head of the foreign relations committee, advises MPs to follow the “wise Iraqi leadership” but recommends the legislators reject the US-drafted document. The Bush administration says it will not wait for the U.N. Security Council to approve an attack on Iraq if it fails to comply with weapons inspections.

On 12 Nov 2002 The Iraqi parliament votes unanimously to reject the United Nations resolution calling on the country to disarm.

On 13 November Iraq‘s ambassador to the U.N. says that Iraq has accepted the Security Council Resolution for the return of weapons inspectors. [More of the same continual pattern of mixed signals, followed by delay and obfuscation.

On 18 November 2002 United Nations weapons inspectors arrive in Iraq to re-launch the search for weapons of mass destruction. The 30 inspectors who flew into Baghdad from Cyprus marks the first visit by U.N. arms monitors to Iraq for four years. [There are 30 inspectors to examine a country the size of Texas.]

On 19 November Coalition planes fire on Iraqi air defenses in retaliation for an Iraqi

attack. The U.S. Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, said on November 17 that such attacks are violations of the U.N.’s resolution 1441.

On 23 November 2002 U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin warn Iraq that it faces “serious consequences” if it fails to comply completely with a U.N. disarmament ultimatum. [But Putin refuses to allow ANY consequences whatsoever in ANY U.N. resolution. More useless double-talk.]

On 25 November The first team of U.N. inspectors land in Baghdad to begin their search for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. A C-130 transport plane touches down at Saddam International Airport carrying six nuclear experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency and 11 members of the Unmovic team, together with an array of high-technology sensors, computers and other equipment.

On 2 December The United States confirms it has struck targets in southern Iraq over attacks on its warplanes in no-fly zones.

On 3 December A new report published by the British Foreign Office says that the regime of President Saddam Hussein carries out “systematic torture” on Iraqi opponents of the regime.

On 3 December U.N. weapons inspectors say Iraq has admitted for the first time that it illegally tried to import aluminium tubing for weapons purposes. The Iraqis claim the tubing was for conventional and not nuclear weapons as has been claimed by the Americans and the British. [And we should believe them, because they are honest folk.]

On 4 December 2002 United States President George W. Bush says the signs that Saddam was complying completely with the inspections process are not encouraging and warns that the December 8 declaration “must be credible and complete”, adding that if Saddam did not disarm, “the United States will lead a coalition to disarm him.”

On 7 December Iraqi officials in Baghdad present the U.N. with more than 12,000 pages of documents detailing its nuclear, chemical and biological activities and formally declaring to that it has no weapons of mass destruction.

On 12 December U.N. officials say that Iraq‘s 11,000-page declaration on weapons contains mostly old information, including thousands of pages of reports that the United Nations has already seen.

On 12 December The United States reaches a preliminary conclusion that Iraq‘s 12,000-page declaration of its weapons programs fails to account for chemical and biological agents missing when inspectors left Iraq four years ago.

On 15 December 2002 The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency says that the United Nations will need a few months to reach a conclusion about Iraq’s declaration on its weapons program.

On 19 December Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix says the Iraqi arms declaration contains little new information about its weapons of mass destruction capability. The United States accuses Baghdad of being in “material breach” of the UN resolution.

On 21 December United States President George W. Bush gives his formal approval to the deployment of a further 50,000 US soldiers in the Persian Gulf.

On 23 December US military officials announce that Iraqi aircraft have shot down a US unmanned surveillance drone over southern Iraq.

On 26 Dec 2002 An Iraqi scientist refuses to be interviewed by UN weapons inspectors without Iraqi officials present. [Clearly, the scientist – fearing reprisals from his government – makes this request so that Iraqi Intelligence will be able to confirm that he told the inspectors nothing.]

On 27 December A United Nations spokesman says that an Iraqi scientist interviewed by inspectors has given details of a military program suspected of being part of a secret effort to build a nuclear weapon.

On 30 December US military commanders tell the New York Times that the Saudi government has agreed to allow American planes to use its bases in a war with Iraq. Earlier On 11 December, The United States and Qatar signed a pact to upgrade Qatari military bases which the U.S. could use in a conflict with Iraq. Turkey similarly authorizes the US to use its territory for military action against Iraq on Jan 10, 2003. [Clearly, the US DOES have allies – including Arab allies – in its cause (specifically Iraq‘s neighbors)].

On 6 January 2003 An address by Iraqi president Saddam Hussein is televised to mark the 82nd

anniversary of the establishment of the country’s army. Saddam Hussein accuses the UN inspectors of being spies and calls his enemies the “friends and helpers of Satan”. He also declares that Iraq is fully prepared for war.

On 7 January Britain announces that it will mobilise 1,500 reserve forces and despatch a naval task force of 3,000 Royal Marines and about 2,000 sailors to the Persian Gulf.

On 9 January Hans Blix and Mohammed el-Baradei deliver interim assessments to the UN Security Council in New York on Iraq’s weapons declaration. Mr Blix tells reporters: “We have now been there for some two months and been covering the country in ever wider sweeps and we haven’t found any smoking guns.” [According to some sources, at the rate they are going, it will take the inspectors five or more years to complete their inspection even if Iraq continues to “cooperate.”]

On 16 January 2003, The Washington Post reports that UN weapons inspectors have found a cache of 11 empty chemical warheads, in “excellent condition” that were not listed in Iraq’s final weapons declaration. Gen. Hussam Mohammed Amin, head of Iraq’s weapons-monitoring directorate says the chemical shells were overlooked because they were stored in boxes similar to those for conventional 122mm rocket warheads.

On 16 January Four Iraqi scientists refuse to be interviewed without Iraqi officials present, [again, indicating that they wish to prove to their government that they had said nothing to inspectors]. Hans Blix again warns Iraq that it must cooperate more fully with his monitors if it wants to avoid a war with the United States and its allies. [But Iraq NEVER cooperates more, do they?]

On 19 Jan 2003 The United States offers Saddam Hussein immunity from prosecution if he leaves Iraq.US Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld says in a television interview: “If to avoid a war, I would…recommend that some provision be made so that the senior leadership in that country [Iraq] and their families could be provided haven in some other country.” [The ball is in Saddam’s Court.]

On 20 January US military officials announce that they are sending a force of about 37,000 soldiers to the Persian Gulf region. This takes the number of US troops ordered to deploy to around 125,000.

On 21 January The Iraqi government agrees to measures for greater cooperation with the United Nations including encouraging scientists to grant interviews to inspectors. [But they do not allow the scientists to be questioned outside of the country.]

On 22 January The United States issues a detailed report, Apparatus of Lies which seeks to expose what it calls Iraq’s “brutal record of deceit” from 1990 until the present.

On 23 Jan 2003 Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran and Turkey meet in Istanbul in a diplomatic effort to avert a war in Iraq. They urge Iraq to “demonstrate a more active approach” in providing information on its weapons programmes. [But ‘urging’ is meaningless without resolutions defining military consequences].

On 23 January Australia sends its first batch of an expected 1,500 troops to join the US-British buildup in the Persian Gulf region. Prime Minister John Howard farewells HMAS Kanimbla saying that it was right for the international community to try and disarm Iraq.

On 24 January United States Deputy Defense Secretary, Paul D. Wolfowitz says that Washington has evidence that Iraq has threatened to kill scientists and their families if they co-operated with UN inspectors.

On 24 January China and Russia join France and Germany in calling for the Bush Administration to work within the United Nations. [It is noteworthy to point out that China, Russia, and France – longstanding opponents of American foreign policy – have veto power in the UN and can block any measure the US attempts to pass. They are also all deeply involved with massive sales to Iraq. Based on its long history of pursuit of human rights, China is probably also motivated by a profound sense of altruism.]

On 25 January 2003 Three more Iraqi weapons specialists refuse to be interviewed by UN inspectors without government authorities present. [Why don’t they want to speak with UN inspectors? And so much for the 21 January agreement.]

On 27 January In an address to the World Economic Forum in Washington US Secretary of State, Colin Powell says that Saddam Hussein has clear links with the al-Qaeda network. Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz denies the accusation saying Iraq has no “relationship with terrorist groups.” [They are just such nice people. The U.S. has legitimate beliefs that Iraq is doing NOTHING to disprove.]

On 27 January The newspaper of Iraq’s ruling Baath party advises the Iraqi people to be prepared for martyrdom in the event of an invasion. It also says that US and British soldiers will face the choice of “withdrawing from the battlefield or returning home in bodybags.” [Yep. That’s cooperation, all right. Hey, let’s keep trying!]

On 28 January Hans Blix reports to the UN Security Council on the progress of weapons inspections in Iraq, 60 days after they began. The 15-page report states that although Iraq had been quite co-operative, there was an absence of full transparency including the deliberate concealment of documents. The report also states that inspectors have evidence that Iraq produced thousands of litres of anthrax in the 1990s and that the deadly bacteria “might still exist”. It also says that Iraq may have lied about the amount if VX nerve gas it has produced, and that it has failed to account for 6500 chemical bombs.

On 28 Jan 2003 Australian Prime Minister John Howard calls on the United Nations Security Council to act, saying it was time for the UN “rhetoric” to be backed with action. He also tells reporters that letting Saddam Hussein get away with keeping weapons of mass destruction “makes it a more dangerous world for all of us.”

On 28 January Former UN chief weapons inspector Richard Butler tells BBC radio that there is no doubt Iraq is developing weapons of mass destruction but that an attack on Iraq without approval of the Security Council would be a contravention of international law. [Let’s put aside his political insights and consider his area of expertise: the former chief says “there is no doubt.”]

On 30 January A survey by EOS Gallup Europe says that although 66 per cent of European citizens agree that Iraq poses a serious threat to world peace, 82 per cent would not support their countries’ participating in a military intervention without UN support. 72 per cent of Europeans believe that Iraq’s oil resources are the main reason behind Washington’s desire to intervene militarily. [It is interesting to note that, five years after the invasion, the US hasn’t touched Iraqi oil.]

On 30 January The leaders of Britain, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Hungary, Poland, Denmark and the Czech Republic call on Europe to stand united with America in the battle to disarm Iraq, in a letter published in newspapers worldwide. The letter also states: “The Security Council must maintain its credibility by ensuring full compliance with its resolutions. We cannot allow a dictator to systematically violate those resolutions. If they are not complied with, the Security Council will lose its credibility and world peace will suffer as a result.”

On 30 January before a private meeting with the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, US President George W. Bush publicly endorses efforts by Arab leaders to negotiate exile for President Saddam Hussein. [The ball is still clearly in Saddam’s court to avoid war. This offer has been made previously.]

On 4 Feb 2003 Australian Prime Minister John Howard makes a statement to Parliament on Iraq: “To explain to the House and through it to the Australian people the government’s belief that the world community must deal decisively with Iraq; why Iraq’s continued defiance of the United Nations and its possession of chemical and biological weapons and its pursuit of a nuclear capability poses a real and unacceptable threat to the stability and security of our world; why the matters at stake go to the very credibility of the United Nations itself; why the issue is of direct concern to Australia and why, therefore, the Australian government has authorized the forward positioning of elements of the Australian Defense Force in the Persian Gulf.”

On 6 Febuary US Secretary of State Colin Powell presents tape recordings, satellite photos and informants’ statements to the UN, which he says constitute “irrefutable and undeniable” evidence that Saddam Hussein is concealing weapons of mass destruction. Read the full text of Colin Powell’s speech.

On 6 Febuary The European Union formally demands Iraq fully comply with UN inspectors. [But Iraq doesn’t comply. Now what?]

On 6 Febuary 2003 The Prime Minister of Turkey declares his government’s support for America‘s plans for military action in Iraq. On 7 Febuary Turkey’s Parliament approves a plan that will allow the United States to renovate the country’s military bases and ports.

On 7 February the Sydney Morning Herald reports that France, Russia and China have rejected US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s argument that urgent action should be taken against Iraq, saying the case for war was not strengthened by his address to the UN Security Council.

On 8 Febuary Chief UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix says inspectors had found another empty warhead Iraq had not disclosed, bringing to 18 the number uncovered thus far.

On 9 Febuary The Iraqis give the chief weapons inspectors more documents to try to clarify questions about chemical and biological weapons. Australian Prime Minister John Howard says Saddam Hussein needs to do more than just hand over more documents to the UN if he wants to avoid military strikes.

On 10 Feb 2003 France, Germany and Belgium block a NATO plan to improve defenses for Turkey. All three countries are involved in illegal deals with Iraq and Saddam Hussein]. Turkey responds by becoming the first country in NATO’s 53-year history to publicly invoke Article 4 of the alliance’s mutual defense treaty which binds the 19 allies to talks when one perceives a threat to its “territorial integrity, political independence or security.”

On 12 Febuary UN weapons inspectors in Iraq destroy a declared stockpile of mustard gas and artillery shells at a former weapons site.

On 13 Febuary US military officials say that US and British warplanes have struck an Iraqi surface-to-surface missile system located near Basra in southern Iraq that had been moved into striking range of US troops in Kuwait for the second time in two days. [How much longer should the U.S. allow Iraq to move its arsenal into position to kill its soldiers? Does France, Russia, China care?]

On 13 Febuary A team of international missile experts conclude that an Iraqi ballistic missile program is in clear violation of UN mandates prohibiting Iraq from building medium and long-range missiles.

On 14 Febuary United Nations chief weapons inspector Hans Blix delivers his verdict on Iraq’s compliance with his team, telling the UN Security Council that Iraq has not fully co-operated. Blix also states that the inspectors have not found any weapons of mass destruction. The problem is that the inspectors can’t possibly find such weapons UNLESS Iraq cooperates.

On 17 Feb 2003 French President Jacques Chirac publicly pledges that France will veto a second UN resolution that explicitly authorizes military action.

On 18 Febuary Australia’s federal cabinet decides to support and lobby for a new US-led UN resolution on Iraq, setting a deadline of about two weeks for Iraq to fully comply with UN disarmament demands or face military action. On 19 Febuary Australia‘s ambassador to the United Nations, John Dauth, urges the UN Security Council to deal with Iraq and Saddam Hussein without delay.

On 21 Febuary UN officials say that chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix has ordered the destruction of dozens of Iraqi missiles with ranges that violated UN limits. General Amer al-Saadi, science adviser to Saddam Hussein says they are considering the demand and will “come up with a decision quite soon.” [In other words, Iraq doesn’t comply and delays again].

On 21 Febuary US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announces that the US has sufficient troops and equipment in the Gulf to launch an attack on Iraq at any time.

On 21 Febuary The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the US Navy is boarding an average of six vessels a day as it steps up patrols in international waters searching for Iraqi weapons. UNMOVIC had previously announced that there were reports suggesting that Iraqi weapons had been smuggled abroad in recent months. [What kind of weapons? Smuggled to where? We KNOW Saddam Hussein had WMD because he used it repeatedly. Where did it go? Are we truly supposed to believe that Saddam destroyed it out of goodness and guilt?]

On 22 Feb 2003 US Secretary of State, Colin Powell says there will be no war if Saddam Hussein leaves Iraq. [This is at least the third U.S. invitation to avoid war]

On 22 Febuary An intelligence official tells The Washington Times that Saddam Hussein has started deploying his armed forces around Iraq in order to prevent the US from achieving a quick victory. [And we should continue to wait so he can do a better job]

On 24 Febuary The US, Britain and Spain propose a UN resolution declaring that Iraq “has failed to take the final opportunity” to disarm itself of weapons of mass destruction.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard backs the resolution, saying that if it was not carried then the credibility of the Security Council would be weakened. Germany, France and Russia present a rival initiative saying that “the military option should be the last resort.” [The Security Council will never have credibility again. The rival measure provides no end to the stalling, because there will always be some new gimmick.]

On 25 Febuary British Prime Minister Tony Blair gives an address to the House of Commons and says a vote on a new UN Security Council resolution will be delayed to give Iraq a last opportunity to disarm voluntarily.

On 25 Feb 2003 France and Germany reiterate that they will oppose the new US-backed resolution. French President Jacques Chirac says that “a majority of the UN Security Council is opposed to a second resolution” to allow the use of force to disarm Iraq. [There HAD been that first resolution back on 28 Sep 2002, however.]

On 25 Febuary France urges Iraq to avoid war by destroying its illegal al-Samoud 2 missiles. [But they don’t]

On 26 Febuary In a televised interview with CBS News, Saddam Hussein denies any connections with al-Qaeda and says he will refuse any offer of asylum, vowing to die in Iraq. He also denies his al-Samoud 2 missiles break UN resolutions and refuses to destroy them.

On 26 Febuary 2003 Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix says his team will need a few months to complete inspections in Iraq, even if Iraq “immediately, actively and unconditionally” co-operates. He also states that it is “not clear whether Iraq really wants to co-operate.” [It’s “not clear”? What is this guy smoking? It has ALWAYS been clear that Iraq intended to do everything it could NOT to cooperate. And as Blix plays a fun game of hide-and-seek and basks in the glow of media exposure, over 150,000 American troops are, and have been for months, stuck in a flea-ridden desert at exorbitant financial cost to the United States.]

On 26 February US President George Bush says that only full disarmament by Iraq will avert US military action.

On 26 February The Washington Post reports that the United States and Saudi Arabia have reached a new agreement on the use of Saudi military facilities in the event of a war against Iraq.

On 26 Feb 2003 The US military says that warplanes taking part in US-British patrols have attacked two air defense cable communications sites in southern Iraq after the Iraqi air force violated the no-fly zone.

On 26 Febuary The US tells Iraqi opposition groups that it has no intention of governing a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq any longer than it has to. [Although the aftermath has been

difficult, it clearly still doesn’t].

On 26 Febuary The British government puts forward a motion asking for backing for UN efforts to disarm Iraq which is passed by 434 to 124. However 199 MP’s, including members of the Labour Party, back an amendment to the motion which states the case for war is as yet unproven.

On 28 Febuary Pentagon officials say that satellite imagery has detected Iraqi Republican Guard units moving south from Mosul to Tikrit, about 160km north-west of Baghdad, while other units are moving into residential areas of Baghdad.

On 2 March 2003 Leaders of the 22-member Arab League gather in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheik for a summit on the Iraq crisis. They declare a “complete rejection of any aggression on Iraq” and call for more time for inspections. They also urge Baghdad to abide by UN demands that it surrender weapons of mass destruction and missiles it could use to deliver them. The United Arab Emirates calls on Saddam to step down. [The second two requests will clearly never happen. The only question is whether the world – and specifically the US, Britain, and Australia, should tolerate WMD in the hands of Saddam Hussein or not].

On 5 March France, Russia and Germany again vow “not to allow” a resolution authorising war to be passed by the UN security council. They also state that Iraq must do more to cooperate, saying: “We strongly encourage the Iraqi authorities to cooperate more actively with the inspectors towards the full disarmament of their country. These inspections can not continue indefinitely.” [But they already HAVE continued indefinitely, and France, Russia, and Germany vow to ensure that they continue to continue with no consequences].

On 5 March US Secretary of State Colin Powell says Saddam Hussein has told Iraqi government officials that everything must be done to ensure inspectors do not find any weapons of mass destruction.

On 6 March 2003 China joins France and Russia in opposition to a US-British second resolution authorizing war with Iraq, saying “the Chinese side still supports using political means to resolve the Iraq issue”. Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan says there is no need for a new UN Security Council resolution on the Iraqi crisis. [Presumably this is because China is satisfied with all the progress made over the last five years].

On 7 March Turkey’s armed forces say they are in favor of allowing thousands of US troops to pass through the country and create a second front against Iraq.

On 7 March US president George W. Bush gives a news conference at the White House and says he will insist on a vote on a new resolution authorizing war on Iraq, and that it is time for UN Security Council members to “show their cards”. Bush also tells Saddam Hussein that only “total disarmament” is acceptable.

On 8 March The United States and Britain propose a March 17 deadline for Iraq to disarm or face war.

On 8 March 2003 A report by UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix to the Security Council says that he suspects Iraq might be trying to produce new missiles. He also says it will take months to disarm Iraq, even with its active cooperation. The Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed El Baradei, says there is no evidence Iraq has a nuclear weapons development program.

On 8 March Russia‘s deputy foreign minister Yuri Fedotov tells the BBC that Russia will do everything it can to ensure that an amended draft UN resolution that sets a March 17 deadline for Iraq to disarm is not passed by the Security Council. [In other words, those who believe the US should wait for a UN resolution to attack Iraq therefore believe that Russia should be able to unilaterally control the decision. Russia can block ANYTHING it wants to with its veto.]

On 9 March Japan declares its support for the UN Security Council resolution and Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi calls it “a final effort by the international community to pressure Iraq to disarm on its own.”

On 10 March France and Russia say they will oppose the US-backed resolution setting a March 17 ultimatum for Saddam Hussein. In a televised statement, French President Jacques Chirac says, “Whatever happens, France will vote no.” [France also has the ability to block ANY resolution it wants. At this point I add again that both France and Russia are massively benefiting from the corrupt oil for food program and from weapons sales to Iraq].

On 10 March 2003 Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed El Baradei tells the Al-Hayat newspaper that a “dramatic and fundamental change in spirit and substance” from Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is needed to avert war. [But one isn’t coming; so what do we do?]

On 11 March The New York Times reports that UN weapons inspectors in Iraq have found a new variety of rocket apparently configured to spread bomblets filled with chemical or biological agents over large areas.

On 11 March Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Abdel Tawab Mullah Huweish says, “our leadership, people and army are ready for the battle of destiny.” [So GIVE it to them. They have never cooperated. They will NEVER cooperate].

On 11 March Romania announces that it has expelled five Iraqi diplomats for activities incompatible with their diplomatic status.

On 11 March Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov states “that if the draft of the resolution containing ultimatum-type demands that were submitted to the UN is put on the vote, Russia will vote against it.”

On 12 March 2003 The British government puts forward six tests that the Iraqi president will have to pass to avoid war. These include a televised statement by Saddam Hussein saying he is giving up his weapons of mass destruction, permission for Iraqi weapons experts to be interviewed abroad and the complete destruction of all al-Samoud 2 missiles.

On 12 March A spokesman for the UN weapons inspectors tells reporters that Iraq has destroyed three more al-Samoud missiles.

On 13 March The UN says it has pulled out more than 30 weapons inspectors throughout Iraq.

On 13 March 2003 Australian Prime Minister John Howard gives a major speech to the National Press Club, laying his case for Australian support of US-led military action and saying that it is “very much in the national interest of Australia that Iraq have taken from her chemical and biological weapons and be denied the possibility of ever having nuclear weapons… if terrorists ever get their hands on weapons of mass destruction that will, in my very passionate belief and argument, constitute a direct, undeniable and lethal threat to Australia and its people.”

On 13 March Islamic Action Front leader Sheik Hamza Mansur warns Australia and other countries backing a US-led attack on Iraq that they face a violent backlash from across the Arab world.

On 13 March The UN Security Council holds a meeting to discuss Britain‘s six-test plan to deal with Saddam Hussein. French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin rejects the proposal, saying the new ideas do not address the key issue of seeking a peaceful solution to the crisis. Iraqi foreign minister Naji Sabri dismisses the British compromise proposal calling it “an attempt to beautify a rejected aggressive project.”

On 13 March Iraqi technicians begin destroying three more banned al Samoud 2 missiles.

On 14 March 2003 In a speech in Santiago Chilean President Ricardo Lagos proposes five “benchmark” tests, a three-week deadline, and a final council judgment. [Yes, but the French don’t like such a “test,” and the French should rule the world through the UN]

On 15 March The office of the chief UN arms inspector Hans Blix announces that it has received a report from Iraq containing details of the VX chemical agents it says it destroyed 12 years ago. [But there’s no evidence beyond the claim that it was destroyed]

On 15 March ABC News Online reports that Iraqi troops have started planting mines along the border with the Kurdish-controlled north of the country. [And we should keep letting them do that]

On 16 March US President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar hold an emergency summit in the Azores. They give the United Nations 24 hours to enforce “the immediate and unconditional disarmament” of Saddam Hussein. President Bush says: “Tomorrow is a moment of trut for the world. Tomorrow is the day that we can determine whether or not diplomacy will work.”

On 16 March 2003 The official Iraqi News Agency says President Saddam has warned that if Iraq was attacked, it will take the war anywhere in the world “wherever there is sky, land or water.” [There is no question that Saddam Hussein has no intention of fully cooperating. Only a fool would think otherwise. The problem is that there are so damn many fools]

On 16 March France, Russia and Germany issue a joint declaration, saying there was no justification for a war on Iraq and that UN weapons inspections were working.

On 17 March 2003 Peter Goldsmith, Attorney General for England and Wales, set out his government’s legal justification for an invasion of Iraq. He said that Security Council Resolution 678 authorised force against Iraq, which was suspended but not terminated by Resolution 687, which imposed continuing obligations on Iraq to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction. A material breach of resolution 687 would revive the authority to use force under resolution 678. In Resolution 1441 the Security Council determined that Iraq was in material breach of resolution 687 because it had not fully carried out its obligations to disarm, and in early 2003 sent teams of weapons inspectors to verify the facts on the ground. [And there is also that U.N. “all means necessary to enforce” resolution from 28 Sep 2002 that has been conveniently forgotten.]

On 18 March 2003 Britain, Spain and the United States withdraw a draft resolution seeking UN Security Council authority for military action to disarm Iraq, after concluding a consensus by the Security Council will not be possible. [And never will be possible].

On 18 March US President George W. Bush gives a televised speech saying “Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict commenced at a time of our choosing.” [This is the fourth offer].

On 18 March The British Government votes to allow military action in Iraq with 412 votes for and 149 against. [But I thought this was George Bush’s war. Mind you, there were similar overwhelming numbers in the US House and Senate. But Britain has the same type of cowards the US does, who vote for a war, then retreat from it and start stabbing the men still fighting in the back].

On 19 March Saudi Arabia officially proposes that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein should go into exile as a last-ditch effort to avert war. A Saudi diplomatic source says that “the kingdom, and other parties, are exerting maximum effort to prevent a devastating war and they have proposed the idea of exile for Saddam and securing a safe haven for him and his family”.

On 19 March 2003 Iraqi President Saddam Hussein appears on national television and rejects the US ultimatum to leave the country or face war, saying “this battle will be Iraq‘s last battle against the tyrannous villains and the last battle of aggression undertaken by America against the Arabs.” [That’s right; I’m sure somewhere that there is a tape of Bush saying “We’ll go after Jordan next!”]

On 19 March The Iraqi parliament unanimously rejects the US ultimatum for President Saddam Hussein to leave the country and says any US-led invasion of Iraq will end in defeat.

On 19 March At the UN Security Council, Germany, France and Russia condemn any military action. [Is that a surprise, or what?]

On 19 March Chief UN Weapons inspector Hans Blix tells the UN Security Council that “I naturally feel sadness that 3 months of work carried out in Iraq have not brought the assurances needed about the absence of weapons of mass destruction or other proscribed items in Iraq.” [This is completely correct: we rightfully demanded assurances, and Iraq did nothing to provide such assurance. We rightfully demanded that the UN produce a resolution that had some kind of teeth, and some kind of consequence for noncompliance, but a few key countries repeatedly declared and demonstrated that no such resolution would ever come.]

On 19 March 2003 Thailand expels three Iraqi diplomats because they posed a threat to national security. On 18 March Germany’s foreign ministry said that four Iraqi diplomats had been ordered to leave the country for activities “incompatible with their diplomatic status.”

On 19 March Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi declares his support for the United States‘ stance on Iraq but says Italy will take no direct part in a US-led military assault.

On 20 March 2003 US President George W Bush announces that he has launched war against Iraq: “My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger… On my orders, coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein’s ability to wage war. These are opening stages of what will be a broad and concerted campaign… this will not be a campaign of half measures and we will accept no outcome but victory.” [President Bush doesn’t like a campaign of “half measures”? Then he must have been really annoyed by the 1/1000th measures that the U.N. had been providing].

In my editorial comments, I state three things that I do not attempt to prove here:

1) That the U.N. oil for food program is corrupt.

2) That specific countries which oppose any meaningful U.N. resolution containing consequences for Iraq if it does not fully cooperate with weapons inspections illegitimately benefit from the oil for food program.

3) That specific countries which oppose any meaningful U.N. resolution containing consequences for Iraq if it does not fully cooperate with weapons inspections engage in significant weapons sales with Iraq.

The establishment of these facts will take up my third article in this series, “Iraq War Justified.”

See also Part 1: Iraq War Justified: Lessons from Saddam’s History

See also Part 3: Iraq War Justified: Paralysis, Corruption at U.N. Made Truth Impossible

Iraq War Justified: Lessons from Saddam’s History (Part 1)

May 5, 2008

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.

He continues:

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?

See also Part 2: Iraq War Justified: What the Chronology Reveals

See also Part 3: Iraq War Justified: Paralysis, Corruption at U.N. Made Truth Impossible