Monday, October 25, 2004

Mort Zuckerman: The Real Truth About Iraq

After Charles Duelfer issued the Duelfer Report, the Democrats and the main stream media tried to distill it down to one statement, that there were no stockpiles of WMD at the time of the invasion. A few weeks have passed since the report was issued, and people have actually had a chance to read it. What they have found is very, very scary. Mort Zuckerman has written a piece for the upcoming US News and World Report in which he outlines some of the more disturbing bits of information contained within the report:

Saddam wanted to re-create Iraq's banned weapons programs, including nuclear weapons.

Saddam was determined to develop ballistic missiles and tactical chemical weapons when the U.N. sanctions were either lifted or corroded.

Saddam retained the industrial equipment to help restart these programs, having increased from 1996 to 2002 his military industrial spending 40-fold and his technical military research 80-fold. Even while U.N. weapons inspectors were in Iraq, Saddam's scientists were performing deadly experiments on human guinea pigs in secret labs.

To what end? The overlooked section of the Duelfer report could not have put it any clearer: "Iraq would have been able to produce mustard agents in a period of months and nerve agent in less than a year or two." While Saddam had abandoned his biological weapons programs, he retained the scientists and other technicians "needed to restart a potential biological weapons program," and he "intended to reconstitute long-range delivery systems [that is, missiles] and . . . the systems potentially were for WMD." These conclusions were based on interviews with Saddam Hussein, his closest advisers, and his weapons scientists, along with the kind of industrial equipment the Iraqi government imported and maintained.

But, say the critics of the administration, the sanctions had Saddam in a "box", "he was contained!", they screech. Thsat there were no stockpiles is proof that the sanctions were effective, they maintain. Wrong. Zuckerman continues:

But what of the sanctions intended to prevent him from doing these things? The ugly truth is spelled out in Duelfer's report: "Prohibited goods and weapons were being shipped into Iraq with virtually no problem" from France, China, Russia, Egypt, Turkey, Syria, and elsewhere. How odd that many of these same countries were the ones protesting the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Saddam's strategic objective was quite simple--to end the sanctions so he could reconstitute his banned weapons programs. This has been confirmed by Saddam's chief nuclear guru, Mahdi Obeidi, in a book called The Bomb in My Garden. Under orders from Qusay Hussein, Obeidi buried a huge barrel in his back garden that contained the components of an actual centrifuge for the enrichment of uranium, in addition to printed instructions and other information on the subject. Obeidi wrote in the New York Times, "Iraqi scientists had the knowledge and the designs needed to jump-start the [nuclear weapons] program if necessary. And there is no question that we could have done it so very quickly." Why was none of this learned from the interviews of Obeidi by U.N. inspectors before we invaded? Because his family was held hostage by Saddam.

Yes, America was wrong about Saddam's weapons stockpiles and programs. But the Duelfer report makes it clear that the sanctions were increasingly ineffective and that Saddam would simply bide his time, waiting until the sanctions were either ended or eroded while turning the U.N. Oil-for-Food program into an $11 billion slush fund to buy influence among several key U.N. members, including France, China, and Russia. With the complicity of the U.N. officials allegedly involved in Saddam's Oil-for-Food bribery scheme, can there be any doubt that the sanctions would have eventually disappeared?

The French worked at every turn to frustrate efforts to hold Saddam's feet to the fire. A French legislator even told an Iraqi intelligence official that Paris would veto any U.N. resolution authorizing war against Iraq. In fact, France threatened to do just that. But for what, exactly? Iraq's deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz, told Duelfer that "French oil companies wanted to secure two large oil contracts." National bribery on top of individual bribery--now, that's something you don't see every day.

Yes, exactly. The very countries that the critics of the President say we should have listened to were the countries on the take form Saddam Hussein. They were bribed. There is nothing that could have been done or said that would have led these countries to agree to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. His power was worth millions and billions to them. As for his actions, their attitude was "So what?" So what if the money he made was going to the development of WMD, he would never use them on his friends. So what if he brutally oppressed 25 million people through genocide and persecution, if they wanted to be free they would do something about it, and besides Iraq just held an election where Saddam Hussein recieved 100% of the vote. So what if his continued defiance of UN resloutions left that organization an empty, irrelevent shell, if he ever got out of hand something could be done. So what, so what, so what. So what as long as the countries who opposed the invasion and shipped him illegal materials got the bloodmoney they thirsted for. President Bush gave these countries and the UN several last chances to be a relevent organization, they decided to continue to profit from illegal bloodmoney instead of living up to their obligations. The President was correct to invade, it was important that he do so when he did. In other words it is the right war in the right place at the right time.

Zuckerman concludes his article this way:

Duelfer told the Senate Armed Services Committee that "Sanctions were in free fall . . . . If not for 9/11, I don't think they would exist today" and described Saddam as "a grave threat" to the Middle East and to the entire world.

What stopped Saddam was the will of a few strong-minded leaders who believed in a more forceful response than simply joining hands and singing "Kumbaya."

The critics of the President have buried their head in the sands in an attempt to fool the country into believing that the war was wrong. That is dangerous, as we are very likely to face more dangerous less obvious threats than Saddam Hussein in the future. When that happens we have to have leaders that are willing to do more than sing Kumbaya while turning their heads from the threat.

(Via RadioBlogger)

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.