This Modern Age

Posts Tagged ‘UNSCOM

Iraq War – Remembering the Causes: Part II

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If you need to catch up, Iraq War- Remebering the Causes: Part I can be found here.

David Kay rightly admits that somehow we made some decisions based on bad intelligence.  But it was Saddam Hussein who put forth a great effort to make our bad intelligence on WMDs look good.  UNSCOM was blocked from inspecting sites that they wanted access to in Iraq.  Iraqi escorts forbid UNSCOM from taking any photographs during inspections.  Various Iraqi personnel were not allowed to answer UNSCOM’s questions.  And worst yet, UNSCOM inspectors would be forced to wait outside of building, sometimes for up to twenty-four hours, while trucks would leave filled with who-knows-what.  When they would finally be allowed in the buildings would be empty; no furniture or documents.  Obviously weapons inspectors were never intended to find any evidence of WMDs.  Most of this information is from the testimony of Charles Duelfer, the former vice-chair of UNSCOM.  David Kay filled in this odd gap of “We can’t find weapons” – “Saddam doesn’t seem to have any, yet he acted like he did.”  God Bless him, Saddam thought he had WMDs.  He was paying big money for materials and scientists and he was getting robbed blind.  This means he had every intention of developing these weapons but only through his own dumb fault it didn’t work out.  That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard happen to a tyrant since the seventy straight years of “bad weather” that prevented the Soviet Union from growing any food and being the workers’ paradise it should have been.  Meanwhile, during his testimony Kay made an observation that should have caught everyone’s attention.  Kay believes, “this may be one of those cases where it was even more dangerous than we thought.  [When] we have the complete record, you’re going to discover that after 1998 it became a regime that was totally corrupt.  Individuals were out for their own protection.  And in a world where we know others are seeking WMD, the likelihood… of a seller and a buyer meeting up would have made that a far more dangerous country than even we anticipated…  We know that terrorists were passing through Iraq.  And we now know that there was little control over Iraq’s weapons capabilities. … Iraq was a very dangerous place.”   

It will be tempting for political enemies of George W. Bush to say that he lied and manipulated the American people to get us into a war with Iraq.  But follow that through to its logical conclusion.  To have lied, he would have had to know that the intelligence of the United States, Great Britain, Israel, France, Germany, Australia and the United Nations was false.  George W. Bush and Tony Blair made the best decision they could with the information they had.  Countless other people examined the same intelligence and came to the same conclusion.  Bush and Blair had two choices, put their trust in their own and their allies’ intelligence or in promises from Saddam Hussein, a warmongering madman, who has pursued nuclear weapons more than once and used chemical weapons on his own people.  In the end, there was intelligence that was perfectly accurate – Hussein was hiding that he was actively pursuing WMDs.

For Iraq War – Remembering the Causes: Part III click here.

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Iraq War – Remembering the Causes: Part I

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I know, I know… why am I rehashing this now?  But with reports of the successful surge and pending troop withdrawls, it is important to remember what got us there in the first place.  The Iraq War will define a portion of the history of the United States and nearly the entire history of George W. Bush’s two term presidency.  Enjoy…

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Here is what the free world knows about Iraq’s weapons.  In 1981, under the cover of night, Israeli forces destroyed a nuclear facility in Iraq.  At the time Israel was the scourge of the world.  In hindsight we know how valuable that attack was.  Ask this question, “Given that Saddam was trying to build nukes in 1981, do you think he simply gave up and never recommitted himself to that goal because a bunch of Jews interfered with his plans?”  Next, we discovered all kinds of WMDs in Iraq after Desert Storm.  Under the surrender treaty Saddam was to openly and completely dispose of all of his banned weapons.  There is no record to be found that he destroyed these weapons.  This is why we sent in the UNSCOM inspectors in the first place.  Where are all the weapons we knew he had few years prior?  Further, as recently as 1998 he launched biological and chemical weapons against Kurds in the North.  Saddam and his buddy Ali, fondly known as Chemical Ali, went so far as to video the effectiveness of their weapons after their attack on the Kurds.  Sometime in between then and now Saddam must have gotten rid of his weapons to avoid being in material breach of his surrender resolution and numerous following resolutions.  But he also had to get rid of the weapons openly.  Obviously that never happened.  David Kay offered the most likely solution to this problem to the London Daily Telegraph.  Kay believes that Iraq moved some weapons to Syria before the war began.  He sited interrogations of former Iraqi officials.  Kay’s story fits with reports during the war that convoys of trucks were moving along the highway connecting Baghdad to Baathist controlled Damascus, Syria.  Jed Babbin reports that some of our Special Forces heaviest fighting occurred on this highway around Al Qaim, on the border into Syria. 

 

In his speech to the nation on December 16, 1998 President Clinton made these points. 

  1. His mission was to destroy “Iraq’s nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs.”
  2. His decision to use force against Iraq due to their material breach was backed by the unanimous recommendation of his national security team.
  3. Saddam has used WMDs against Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the Kurds.
  4. “The international community has little doubt then that left unchecked Saddam Hussein will use these weapons again.”

On September 26, 2002 Wesley Clark testified before a House Committee.  “[Saddam Hussein] retains chemical and biological warfare capabilities and is actively pursuing nuclear capabilities…  Saddam has been actively pursuing nuclear weapons for over twenty years.”

Quoting President Clinton and General Clark is not point the finger and say, “Them too!”  But more, to show that it is not reasonable to believe that it was the Bush White House that sat around and cooked this all up from scratch. 

More later…

For Iraq War – Remembering the Causes: Part II click here.