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WMD's ? Let's see how this develops . . .
ifihadahif Posted: Thu May 6 07:02:20 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Iraqi WMDs, Now in Syria

By Larry Elder
May 6, 2004

"Week after week after week after week," said Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., about President Bush's rationale for going to war with Iraq, "we were told lie after lie after lie after lie." Were we?

Jordan recently seized 20 tons of chemicals trucked in by confessed al-Qaeda members who brought the stuff in from Syria. The chemicals included VX, Sarin and 70 others. But the media seems curiously incurious about whether one could reasonably trace this stuff back to Iraq. Had the terrorists released a "toxic cloud," Jordanian officials say 80,000 would have died!

So, I interviewed terrorism expert John Loftus, who once held some of the highest security clearances in the world. Loftus, a former Army officer, served as a Justice Department prosecutor. He investigated CIA cases of Nazi war criminals for the U.S. attorney general. Author of several books, Loftus once received a Pulitzer Prize nomination.

John Loftus: There's a lot of reason to think (the source of the chemicals) might be Iraq. We captured Iraqi members of al-Qaeda, who've been trained in Iraq, planned for the mission in Iraq, and now they're in Jordan with nerve gas. That's not the kind of thing you buy in a grocery store. You have to have obtained it from someplace.

Larry Elder: They couldn't have obtained it from Syria?

Loftus: Syria does have the ability to produce certain kinds of nerve gasses, but in small quantities. The large stockpiles were known to be in Iraq. The best U.S. and allied intelligence say that in the 10 weeks before the Iraq war, Saddam's Russian adviser told him to get rid of all the nerve gas. It would be useless against U.S. troops; the rubber suits were immune to it. So they shipped it across the border to Syria and Lebanon and buried it. Now, in the last few weeks, there's a controversy that Syria has been trying to get rid of this stuff.

They're selling it to al-Qaeda is one supposition. We know the Sudanese government demanded that the Syrian government empty its warehouse in Khartoum where they've been hiding illegal missiles along with components of Weapons of Mass Destruction. But there's no doubt these guys confessed on Jordanian television that they received the training for this mission in Iraq. . . And from the description it appears this is the form of nerve gas known as VX. It's very rare, and very tough to manufacture . . . one of the most destructive chemical mass-production weapons that you can use. . . They wanted to build three clouds, a mile across, of toxic gas. A whole witch's brew of nasty chemicals that were going to go into this poison cloud, and this would have gone over shopping malls, hospitals . . . .

Elder: You said that the Russians told Saddam, "There is going to be an invasion. Get rid of your chemical and biological weapons."

Loftus: Sure. It would only bring the United Nations down on their heads if they were shown to really have Weapons of Mass Destruction. It's not generally known, but the CIA has found 41 different material breaches where Saddam did have a weapons of mass destruction program of various types. It was completely illegal. But no one could find the stockpiles. And the liberal press seems to be focusing on that.

Elder: It seems to me that this is a huge, huge story.

Loftus: It's embarrassing to the (press). They've staked their reputations that this stuff wasn't there. And now all of a sudden we have al Qaeda agents from Iraq showing up with Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Elder: David Kay said, in an interim report, that there was a possibility that WMD components were shipped to Syria.

Loftus: A possibility? We had a Syrian journalist who defected to Paris in January. The guy is dying of cancer, and he said, "Look, my friends in Syrian intelligence told me exactly where the stuff is buried." He named three sites in Syria, and the Israelis have confirmed the three sites. They know where the stuff is, but the problem is that the United States can't just go around invading Arab countries. . . We know from Israeli and defectors' intelligence that the son of the Syrian defense minister was paid 50 million bucks to bring the stuff across the border and bury it.

Elder: Why would al-Qaeda attack Jordan?

Loftus: Jordan is an ally of the United States. It's at peace with Israel. And Jordan has a long history of trying to prosecute terrorists. . . There are a lot of reasons. . . They want to make an example of them. They want to terrorize as many of the Arab states as possible. This is sort of a political dream for the president. The worst nightmare is al-Qaeda gets Weapons of Mass Destruction from Iraq. And it looks like it's coming true.

A Syria/Iraq/al Qaeda/WMD connection? Why, this calls for a congressional investigation.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Larry Elder is the author of the newly-released Showdown. Larry also wrote The Ten Things You Can’t Say in America. He is a libertarian talk show host, on the air from 3-7 pm Pacific time, on KABC Talkradio in Los Angeles. For more information, visit LarryElder.com.



 
DanSRose Posted: Thu May 6 07:57:35 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  So, it was Syria who developed and sold the WMDs? We should have invaded them. Also, there has been no link between the former Iraqi regime and Al-Qaeda, as most cell leaders have issued fatwas against Sadam and urged the People to revolt.


 
ifihadahif Posted: Thu May 6 08:18:29 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  DanSRose said:
>So, it was Syria who developed and sold the WMDs? We should have invaded them. Also, there has been no link between the former Iraqi regime and Al-Qaeda, as most cell leaders have issued fatwas against Sadam and urged the People to revolt.
>
Dan, maybe you should sign up for some remedial reading and read the above post one more time with emphasis on comprehension instead of just trying to sound out the words.
When you have mastered your reading, pray tell me where it says Syria developed and sold the WMD's.

Also you must have been living in a spider hole if you believe there has been no link between Iraq and Al-quaeda.


 
DaveHill Posted: Thu May 6 08:22:54 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I'm getting tired of all this, but don't mind me. i've never been one for politics and the circus travelling round with it.


 
addi Posted: Thu May 6 08:46:39 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  ifihadahif said:

>Also you must have been living in a spider hole if you believe there has been no link between Iraq and Al-quaeda.

there is no link of any significant consequence between al-quaeda and Saddam's Iraq that i have heard of, except the ones created by this administration and the columnists at TownHall.com, doing their best to rationalize all the lies we were told about the urgency of going to war.

defend the points you can defend, hif. I'll either shut up, or admit that i may be wrong on a belief. But tying saddam and bin laden together as cohorts and partners working together is weak, especially when you accuse us non-believers as being spiders living in a hole. When you can pull out some substancial provable facts to the contrary I'll listen with an open mind.





 
DanSRose Posted: Thu May 6 09:53:13 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  sar·casm: Pronunciation Key (särkzm)
n.
A cutting, often ironic remark intended to wound.
A form of wit that is marked by the use of sarcastic language and is intended to make its victim the butt of contempt or ridicule.
The use of sarcasm. See Synonyms at wit.

(jackass)


 
Christian Posted: Thu May 6 10:44:52 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  LMAO....this is GREAT entertainment...

...boys will be boys...lol


 
zander83 Posted: Thu May 6 11:15:22 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  heres my question...

is america officially an empire?


 
FN Posted: Thu May 6 11:28:06 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  zander83 said:
>heres my question...
>
>is america officially an empire?

Not officially.

All empires fall though.


 
addi Posted: Thu May 6 11:30:29 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  we are officially an "unofficial passive aggressive empire" lol


 
zander83 Posted: Thu May 6 11:45:57 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  shhh... public officials have been throttled publically by suggesting that the US won't eternally be the supreme force on earth... tsk tsk.. anyways doesn't really matter the rapture is coming... right bush


 
ifihadahif Posted: Thu May 6 11:51:28 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  The Al-Qaeda/Saddam Link

By Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | January 28, 2004

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Stephen F. Hayes, the staff writer at The Weekly Standard whose recent article, Case Closed, reported on the U.S. government's secret memo detailing the links between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.
FP: Welcome to Frontpage Interview Mr. Hayes. It’s a pleasure to have you with us.

Let’s begin with the State of the Union Address last week. The President talked about the War on Terror, Iraq, the importance of fighting our enemy and finishing the job etc., but he did not touch on the Saddam-Al-Qaeda connection -- which you, among others, have done an excellent job documenting. Why do you think the President was silent on this crucial theme?

Hayes: I'm not sure the State of the Union is the proper setting for any kind of a detailed rehash of prewar arguments.

That said, I think the administration has been too silent on these connections for too long. We have learned some interesting things since the end of the war, not least of which is the support of the Iraqi regime for Abdul Rahman Yasin, an Iraqi native who mixed the chemicals for the 1993 World Trade Center building. Coalition forces found a document in Tikrit several months ago that indicates the former Iraqi regime has provided Yasin housing and a monthly stipend for nearly a decade. Dick Cheney has mentioned this on a couple of occasions, but it has otherwise gone unnoticed. Why?

It's a big deal. It doesn't prove Iraqi complicity in the bombing -- we have not yet found any paperwork that suggests the regime was supporting Yasin before the bombing. But it certainly raises interesting questions. The Iraqis have said for years that they either didn't know where Yasin was or, at times, that he had been imprisoned in Iraq. We now know with reasonable certainty that they were lying. In any case, it demonstrates that Iraq was not only harboring, but supporting, a dangerous terrorist who has attacked America.

I hope the administration will abandon its reluctance to share this kind of information with the American public. Yes, anonymous leaks from sceptics at the CIA are inevitable and hard to challenge. The administration has argued for a year now that Iraq was -- and remains -- the central front in the War on Terror. These revelations will help explain why.

FP: So, let’s go over some of the facts. Tell us about the connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam. It’s been confirmed beyond reasonable doubt hasn’t it?

Hayes: Yes. I think it's telling that before the war, many who were sceptical of such a relationship were saying that there was no connection whatsoever. In the face of additional evidence to the contrary, they now seem to allow that there were "contacts" but tell us that such contacts didn't amount to anything. How they know this is never explained.

The Saddam-al Qaeda relationship began in the early 1990s and was brokered by Sudanese strongman Hassan al Turabi. By 1993, Saddam and bin Laden reached an informal non-aggression pact -- you don't mess with me, I won't mess with you. There is some evidence that they cooperated throughout the mid-1990s, perhaps on chemical and biological weapons -- while al Qaeda was based in the Sudan.

The relationship seemed to pick up in the late 1990s, during periods of increased tensions between Iraq and the U.S. Some of the evidence is more circumstantial and suggestive, some of it is direct and incontrovertible. And much of it is still unknown.

I thought the administration might have oversold the importance of Abu Musab Zarqawi, the al Qaeda affiliate who went to Baghdad for "medical treatment" after the war in Afghanistan. He had a starring role in Colin Powell's presentation before the UN Security Council this time last year. It looks like I was wrong. He seems to have been a central figure in pre-war Iraq/al Qaeda collaboration and, more troubling, is helping to recruit terrorists and coordinate anti-coalition activities in Iraq now. Investigations in Germany and Italy are turning up new things on Zarqawi almost daily.

FP: As you have discussed in your work, there were actual contacts between 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta and Saddam’s people in Prague. And one of these meetings occurred in April, 2001, just a few months before 9/11. U.S. and Czech intelligence have confirmed these meetings, including the fact that they involved Saddam’s approval for funding Atta. What do you think of the significance of these meetings? How can anyone deny Iraq’s direct involvement in 9/11 if Iraqi intelligence officials were meeting with one of the main 9/11 perpetrators?

Hayes: It’s a fascinating story. Five top Czech officials are on record as confirming the meeting. The Czechs have also reported to the CIA that al Ani authorized a financial transfer to Atta from the Iraqi Intelligence service to Atta. The FBI and the CIA have not been able to confirm these reports to their satisfaction. Dick Cheney once described reports of the meeting as “credible” but “unconfirmed.” I think that’s the best way to leave it at this point. Al Ani, now in US custody, has denied it. I expect we’ll hear more about the alleged meeting and the conclusions about it in the near future.

FP: Many of those in our liberal media discount the possibility of a Saddam-bin Laden connection because they don’t see a possibility of Islamic fanatics colluding with a secular regime. Many officials in the U.S. government have also had this disposition over the years in framing U.S. policy. But isn’t this utter nonsense? Anti-American Middle East secularists consistently co-operate with Islamic religious fanatics against U.S. interests. No? Could you talk a bit about this?

Hayes: Well, the standard view that bin Laden considered Saddam an “infidel” and that Saddam was highly suspicious of bin Laden is, I think, essentially accurate. What bothers me is the great leap that the sceptics take, reasoning from those data. The notion that Saddam and bin Laden would never cooperate because of their divergent goals is, as you say, utter nonsense. History is replete with examples of long-time enemies cooperating against a common foe. The facility with which some CIA analysts and sceptical journalists rule out collaboration reflects a rather profound failure of imagination.

The New York Times reported last week that among the documents in Saddam’s rat-hole was one warning his Baathists to be “wary” of cooperating with jihadists. That’s not terribly surprising. The Times reporter, two paragraphs later, cited the document as further “evidence” that challenges Bush administration claims that Saddam worked with al Qaeda. Huh? The document shows no such thing. Most of those who believe that Saddam and al Qaeda cooperated argue that such a relationship was one of convenience. Evan Bayh, a Democratic senator from Indiana, explained this well in an interview I conducted with him a few weeks back. Saddam wanted to use al Qaeda to conduct terrorist operations on his behalf; al Qaeda wanted to use Iraq for the things that only a state can provide.

FP: What do you think of Saddam’s capture? What is its significance?

Hayes: Saddam's capture was huge -- just ask Howard Dean. I had been struck in the months after Baghdad fell, just how many Iraqis told me that things would not improve until Saddam was captured or killed. It seemed ridiculous. Here you had American Bradleys driving throughout central Baghdad and the Iraqis still believed Saddam could actually stage a comeback. On one trip in late July, a member of the Najaf City Council asked Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz if it was true that the CIA was holding Saddam and waiting to use him as punishment if anti-American activities continued. This was a well-educated Iraqi speaking some four months after the end of major combat.

In the short-term, I think one reason the Shia in Iraq have become increasingly vocal over the past month about the need for direct elections is that they had confirmation that Saddam is gone for good. The Shia were horrendously abused under Saddam, of course, and given our repeated failure to make good on promises to them from 1991, have historically had good reason to be suspicious of American motives.

FP: This question posed by the member of the Najaf City Council about the CIA holding Saddam etc., brings to mind the bizarre Arab conspiracy mindset. I must be honest, in almost every one of my political discussions with my Arab acquaintances/friends, I am always on the receiving end of some kind of long monologue that relates a fantastic tale about Saddam being an American agent, bin Laden now living in Miami, the Israelis “fixing” 9/11 etc. Someone else is always in control. There are these dark sinister American and Jewish forces that are behind every Arab failure, let alone every Arab event. The “interpretations” of Saddam’s capture in the Arab press I think were a good indication of this phenomenon. Could you give a few comments on this conspiracy mentality?

Hayes: I was at a dinner party within a couple of weeks of September 11 where a young Moroccan told me, matter-of-factly, that the Mossad was behind the attacks. The striking thing for me was not the existence of the conspiracy theory, but that it was posited by someone who had lived in the United States for more than a decade. That’s scary and somewhat bewildering.

FP: Yes, it is scary and bewildering. But could you give a little bit of an insight here into the psychological mindset? Is it connected to the fact that the real world is simply too painful for many Middle Eastern Arabs to accept, because it would necessitate too many painful truths about the failures and bankruptcies of their own culture and civilization?


Hayes: Well, that may explain part of it. There is clearly a segment of the Arab world, for lack of a better term, determined to scapegoat Jews, the West, imperialists, America, etc. If you believe the polling in the region – and I’m not sure that I do – that’s a big chunk. And it’s reasonable to expect that those feelings will diminish the more inhabitants of the Middle East can determine their own future and create their own success. That’s not going to happen overnight and it’s not going to happen over the next decade. Winning the “hearts and minds” of the Arab world is a long-term problem that requires a long-term commitment and fundamental, systemic changes in relations between countries in the region and the West.

FP: So where are we headed now in Iraq? In what direction should U.S. involvement in Iraq go?

Hayes: I think we're at an important juncture in Iraq. (Of course, I've been saying that for the past nine months, too.) Ayatollah Sistani, the leader of the Shia in Iraq, is by most accounts a reasonable man. He's certainly not a rabble-rouser, just stirring things up to cause trouble. We have no choice but to listen to his requests. I'm told that he's not being nearly as dogmatic in private as the press reports would have us believe. Yes, he has strong views and wants to make certain that the Shia are adequately represented in the new Iraqi government, but he's not ruled out some kind of compromise on direct elections.

I think we're in Iraq for a while. It's now become something of a cliché, but it's a cliché because it's true: we can't afford to fail in Iraq. The changes we have made throughout the Middle East -- in mindsets, if not yet political structures -- are huge. We can't lose that momentum.

FP: Is democracy possible for Iraq? What can we do best to prevent Islamization of the country or a Khomeini-style take-over?

Hayes: Yes. It’s difficult for me even to entertain the notion that democracy is impossible. As the late Michael Kelly once put it: who would choose to live in a dictatorship? There’s a lot of political space between a Jeffersonian democracy and a dictatorship. I expect that what evolves in Iraq will occupy some of that space.

Your second question is much more difficult. I think even advocates for democracies in the Islamic world struggle to come up with adequate answers. With respect to Iraq, the US has a tremendous potential ally in Ayatollah Sistani. He has quite a following and has indicated repeatedly that he favors some form of democratic government. He qualifies this by insisting that such a government must not conflict with the teachings of Islam – which leaves a lot open to interpretation. But I worry that we could alienate Sistani by refusing to be flexible about how, exactly, elections are to take place in Iraq.

FP: In my recent interview with Dr. Richard Pipes, he stated that he would advise Bush not to bother trying to install a western-style democracy in Iraq and just to concentrate on setting up an effective tribal government. He argues that, “Democracy requires that all institutions standing between the individual citizen and the state be eliminated, but this is not possible in countries with strong tribal traditions.” What do you make of this?

Hayes: I’m not sure I’d agree that democracy requires that all such institutions be eliminated. Many democratic theorists argue that a strong civil society is precisely what sustains democracies. The tribes in Iraq today are the source of tremendous power and loyalty – it’s one of the reasons that Saddam, after neglecting the tribes for so many years, appealed to them for support when he was threatened. Much of the work that U.S. forces are doing in Iraq is conducted with the active cooperation of tribal sheikhs.

FP: Where do we stand right now in the War on Terror?

Hayes: That's a great question, and one that ironically doesn't get enough attention. I was speaking to a member of the national Commissioner investigating the September 11 attacks not long ago, and he told me that we had captured or killed more than 75 percent of the top al Qaeda leadership. That's astonishing. I think most Americans understandably believe that as long as we don't have bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al Zawahiri, we're not winning. It's important to get those guys, but we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that the operation they once had at their disposal has been largely wiped out. That's not to say it isn't regenerating itself. It is. But as a measure of success, I like 75 percent.

One other point on that score. Remember all of the antiwar types who told us that we would lose cooperation in the broader War on Terror if we removed Saddam Hussein? They were wrong. And in some cases, mostly among our would-be allies in the region, we have seen a significant increase in cooperation on al Qaeda and its network.

FP: The antiwar types you refer to argued that we would lose our cooperation in the broader War on Terror if we attacked Saddam because that is what they wanted to happen. The Left clearly wanted the U.S. to be defeated in Iraq, just as it wants American defeat in the War on Terror. Do you agree? Why do you think the Left sides with the bin Ladens and Husseins of the world over the U.S. and freedom?

Hayes: I’m uncomfortable with sweeping generalizations about the Left – it’s a pretty diverse crowd. There are certainly some on the fringe who would be happy to see the U.S. defeated in the War on Terror. That has a lot less to do with their desire to bin Laden or Saddam succeed than it does with eagerness to see President Bush fail. It’s an imprecise guide, but I think it’s not unimportant that many Democrats supported the war in Iraq – including some who want to make political points now.

That said, I was astonished by the number of those on the Left who were unmoved by the human rights arguments for removing Saddam. One failure of the Bush Administration’s case for war was its refusal to highlight Saddam’s abuses. I understand that some of our allies – chiefly the British – wanted to focus on WMD. And it could have been rightly pointed out that we didn’t care so much about Saddam’s human rights abuses when he was fighting Iran. Still, I would have relished seeing Dominique de Villepin explain to the world why, in the face of perhaps 1 million Iraqi deaths, France did not support removing Saddam. The mass graves we are finding now were no secret before the war. I interviewed an Iraqi-American in Dearborn, Michigan, who said he knew the precise location of a mass grave and begged me to pass on to the US government directions to it.

At the end of the day, the French and their antiwar counterparts here in American, were determined to oppose us. So I don’t think such human rights arguments would have changed things dramatically. But a fuller airing of Saddam’s history of torture and murder would have helped expose their arguments as fundamentally political.

FP: Yes, the French made no secret about where their loyalties were on Iraq. What’s their problem?

Hayes: The French were determined to oppose us. There’s no getting around that fact. It’s funny, in the days after the unanimous Security Council vote on resolution 1441, Dominique de Villepin gave an interview with French radio that doesn’t get nearly enough attention. In defending the French vote he told the audience two things: 1) that Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological weapons that threaten America, and 2) that the language in the resolution threatening “serious consequences” was understood by everyone involved to mean war. Avoiding war, he said, was the responsibility of Saddam Hussein.

The subsequent French posturing was just that – posturing. They knew very well that they had, in effect, already signed off on a war. Everything they did from that point on was designed to position France as the key geopolitical alternative to the United States. It was dishonest in a fundamental way and why, I believe, we were right to deny them the opportunity to bid on Iraqi contracts.


FP: Ok, so tomorrow your phone rings and it is President Bush. He is calling to ask you what concrete steps he should take next in Iraq and the War on Terror. He just wants a few concrete short-term plans. What do you tell him?


Hayes: I tell him to call someone a lot smarter than I am.


FP: Ok, so I guess that question didn’t work. Well. . .let's pretend that Bush doesn't call you then. Let’s just say I call you and ask you what you think the U.S. should do next in Iraq and the War on Terror. In your estimation, in what direction should U.S. policy be headed?

Hayes: It's important that we remain aggressive. It would be nice to imagine that our work is done, as I think half the country does. They're wrong. It's arguably more important to pressure outlaw regimes now than it was shortly after September 11. The terrorists and their state sponsors think of America as soft, as unwilling to sustain casualties, as lacking the will to fight. They're wrong, I hope, the more we can demonstrate that we are serious about removing threats the better we will be.

This does not, of course, mean more wars. Diplomacy can be more effective now, after the use of force, than it would ever have been after eight years of Clinton Administration dithering. Who, in early 2001, believed we would use force to eliminate terrorists and their state sponsors? Who doesn't believe it now?

FP: Thank you, Mr. Hayes, our time is up. I really appreciate you taking the time out to come on Frontpage Interview.


Hayes: My pleasure Jamie.

*



 
ifihadahif Posted: Thu May 6 11:59:24 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Lies About the President’s Policy in Iraq
By Eleana Gordon
FrontPageMagazine.com | January 14, 2004


A rising chorus of new studies, articles, opinion pieces and interviews is accusing the Bush administration of lying about Iraq and misleading America into an unnecessary war. Ironically, the proponents of this narrative are validating their thesis by doing exactly what they accuse the Bush administration of doing: selectively highlighting some facts and ignoring others, unabashedly presenting quotes out of context, and ignoring the broader issues that substantiated the case for war, such as Iraq’s violation of more than 17 UN Security Council resolutions. The result is a skewed picture of the administration’s case for removing Saddam Hussein from power, and the emergence of two myths in particular that trivialize the very real dangers and challenges America faces in the international arena in the wake of 9/11:


Myth 1: The case for the war in Iraq was based on the belief that Iraq’s advanced program of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) posed an “imminent” threat. According to this view, the failure to find massive stockpiles of WMD proves the threat was not imminent, that the policy of “containment” was working and that war was therefore unnecessary. Bush simply made a bogeyman out of Saddam Hussein because his hard-line advisors were war-hungry.


Myth 2: Saddam and al-Qaeda are so ideologically opposed that they would never work together, even against their common enemy -- the United States. Therefore, there was no need to be concerned about Iraqi weapons ever falling into the hands of al-Qaeda.


The chorus singing these myths reached its crescendo last weekend when former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill’s told "60 Minutes" that the Bush administration was eyeing an invasion of Iraq "from the very beginning,” and that he had never seen anything he would characterize as evidence of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.


O’Neill’s remarks came in the wake of recently published books and articles on President Bush’s alleged deceptiveness by prominent liberal writers such as David Corn at the Nation, Michael Kinsley of Slate and syndicated columnist Molly Ivins. The newly minted Center for American Progress has issued numerous reports purporting to expose the White House’s rhetoric against the “facts” in Iraq. MoveOn.org, the Web-based grassroots organization that became famous for its unprecedented success in raising funds online for anti-war candidate Howard Dean -- and more recently by its connection to an ad comparing Bush’s invasion of Iraq to Hitler’s invasion of Czechoslovakia -- is now promoting a documentary that claims to tell “the story of how the truth became the first American casualty of the Iraq war.” And the liberal Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has issued “WMD in Iraq: Evidence and Implications,” which claims to uncover the truth about how intelligence was manipulated for political purposes.


These self-described exposes of the Bush administration’s “mistruths” fall short when they are held up against a thorough examination of the information and facts that were available to the administration when it began to shape its Iraq policy in 2001 and 2002.

Iraq’s Weapons Programs

The fact that no huge stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction have been found to date in Iraq has led many to justifiably question whether, given the existing intelligence, the administration exaggerated the state of Iraq’s weapons programs. There is no doubt that the administration projected confidence that it would find extensive weapons stockpiles in Iraq. Many Democrats, eager to use this to their political advantage, are now claiming that the administration intentionally misled the nation about the “imminent threat” posed by Iraq.


Of course, the Bush administration was not alone in worrying about the threat from Iraq. One of the most vocal and articulate proponents of regime change was Kenneth Pollack, who served as Director of Gulf Affairs on the National Security Council from 1990 to 2001 under both Clinton administrations. In his book the Threatening Storm, Pollack gave a detailed analysis of the history of containment -- and why it was failing. He explained in a March 2002 Foreign Affairs article that the only viable policy option left was regime change: “The last two years have witnessed a dramatic erosion of the constraints on the Iraqi regime. The Bush administration's initial solution to this problem, the smart sanctions plan, would be little more than a Band-Aid and even so could not find general acceptance. If no more serious action is taken, the United States and the world at large may soon confront a nuclear-armed Saddam.”


Furthermore, the fundamental case for war never rested on what we knew about Saddam’s weapons, but rather the opposite: What we did not know, and what we feared we would never know as long as Saddam persisted in defying the United Nations, with increasing help from other governments.


Of particular concern were the vast quantities of chemical and biological agents (such as VX, Sarin and anthrax) that Iraq had once admitted to having, and then claimed, without any proof, to have destroyed. In his presentation to the United Nations in February 2003, Hans Blix himself stated: “This is perhaps the most important problem we are facing." Former President Clinton explicitly stated his support for the war on precisely those terms in a Larry King interview last July, saying there was "a substantial amount of biological and chemical material unaccounted for " in Iraq, “so I thought it was prudent for the president to go to the U.N. and for the U.N. to say, 'You got to let these inspectors in, and this time if you don't cooperate the penalty could be regime change, not just continued sanctions.'" Clinton understood the bigger picture that the angry Left is ignoring: We didn’t have the luxury of waiting for certainty about Iraq’s weapons programs before we acted.


If anything, our history with Iraq had taught us that Western intelligence had consistently underestimated Iraq’s weapons programs. Not only did we discover in 1991 after the Gulf War that Saddam’s nuclear program was far more advanced than we thought but, throughout the 1990s, UN inspectors were regularly hoodwinked by Saddam’s regime, and most of their major weapons discoveries were thanks to defectors, not inspections. Once inspectors left in 1998, we were in the dark about Saddam’s activities. And in 1998, the Clinton administration successfully passed the Iraq Liberation Act, which made regime change in Iraq the official policy of the US government.


After 9/11, it was only responsible to weigh the risks of continuing business as usual against the distinct possibility that Saddam was secretly reconstituting his weapons programs and to consider what tools were available in order to prevent such an outcome.


The same lack of perspective has led Bush’s critics (and much of the mainstream media as well), to misrepresent the recent findings of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), presented by David Kay to the US Congress in November 2003, as suggesting that the ISG has found no evidence that Saddam had any significant weapon programs at all.


Not so. With respect to nuclear weapons, the ISG found hidden documents and equipment in scientists' homes that could be used to resume uranium enrichment. Scientists told the ISG team that Saddam had made it clear to them that he expected them to be able to quickly reactivate the nuclear program. Kay concluded that "the testimony we have obtained from Iraqi scientists and senior government officials should clear up any doubts about whether Saddam still wanted to obtain nuclear weapons.”


The ISG’s findings thus validate pre-war concerns that Iraq had kept its nuclear teams in place and in a position to reactivate secret nuclear research activities. It was on this basis that the International Institute for Strategic Studies, an independent, London-based research institute, determined in a July 2002 report that while Iraq would take several years and foreign assistance to build fissile material production facilities, “it could, however, assemble nuclear weapons within months if fissile material from foreign sources were obtained.”


The possibility that Iraq was seeking, or had already obtained fissile material from Africa was therefore not to be taken lightly. Although US intelligence was never able to substantiate that Iraqis were attempting to purchase uranium from Niger (the infamous “yellowcake” affair), the British Secret Intelligence Service to which the claim was credited continues to stand by its evidence. In September, the UK parliamentary commission that was created to investigate pre-war British intelligence claims concluded that the basis for the uranium intelligence was "reasonable."


According to a Washington Post article in December 2003, it now appears that the CIA and the State Department “knew Hussein already had a stockpile of the same type of uranium that he was supposed to be seeking." It seems remarkable that this has not received more attention.


In connection to Iraq’s biological and chemical weapons, the ISG found a clandestine network of laboratories maintained by Iraqi Intelligence with equipment for ongoing chemical and biological research; new research on BW-applicable agents, Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF); continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin; and leads into chemical research activities that have yet to be investigated. Kay also pointed out the magnitude of the task in trying to locate chemical weapons: “ISG has had to contend with the almost unbelievable scale of Iraq's conventional weapons armory, which dwarfs by orders of magnitude the physical size of any conceivable stock of chemical weapons.”


Finally, in connection to missiles and delivery systems, the ISG concluded that Iraq was engaged in undeclared activities to produce missiles with ranges of at least 1000km, well in excess of its permitted range of 150km. “These missile activities were supported by a serious clandestine procurement program about which we have much still to learn," Kay added.


What all of this suggests about Iraq’s weapons programs is that Saddam was moving from the vast, centrally controlled WMD manufacturing capability of the 1980s to a smaller and more clandestine system that left fewer traces, and would have allowed it to maintain the façade of obeying the UN while retaining the ability to quickly activate the production of WMD on a just-in-time basis. In other words, it was a program specifically designed to elude inspectors as he continued to pursue his goal of acquiring weapons of mass destruction – a goal there is no reason to believe he ever gave up. This constituted the “grave and growing” danger the administration spoke of (which, conceptually and strategically, is different from an “imminent” threat – a description the administration did not employ). In other words, it was not necessarily the presence of actual weapons -- or the imminence of attack -- but the ongoing intention and the ease with which Saddam could covertly create a capability to act on those intentions that constituted a challenge that we could not ignore and had to address decisively.



Connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda.

Critics of the President claim that he created the idea of a link between Saddam’s regime and al-Qaeda out of thin air. The Center for American Progress stated: “No evidence exists to substantiate the claim that Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda had any connections. In fact, most evidence points to the contrary.” This is echoed by Fairness and Accuracy, the leftwing media watch group, which similarly claimed in a July 18 press release that the administration "has produced no evidence to demonstrate that this link exists." These groups have either failed to do their homework, or are deliberately misleading their audiences.


The CIA has intelligence pointing to contacts between al-Qaeda and Iraq starting in the early 1990s. George Tenet – who has served as CIA director under both President Clinton and President Bush -- referred to this intelligence in a October 2002 letter to Senate Intelligence Committee: “We have solid reporting of senior-level contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda going back a decade. ... We have credible reporting that al Qaeda leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire WMD capabilities." Secretary of State Colin Powell also mentioned this history of contacts in his testimony to the UN: “We know members of both organizations met repeatedly and have met at least eight times at very senior levels since the early 1990s.” Powell went on to state that Guantanamo detainees from Afghanistan have revealed that an al-Qaeda militant known as Abdallah al-Iraqi was sent to Iraq between 1997 and 2000 to obtain help in acquiring poisons and gasses.


CIA officials also told the New Yorker’s Jeffrey Goldberg about al-Iraqi and that members of the Iraqi secret police were sent to Afghanistan to train al-Qaeda on terrorist tactics and weapons. Vanity Fair’s David Rose learned that there were over 100 CIA reports of Iraq/al-Qaeda contacts which were all given the CIA’s highest credibility rating, and the Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes recently published a leaked classified Pentagon memo documenting 50 intelligence items on contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda since 1990, including a meeting between bin Laden and the chief of the Iraqi Intelligence Service.


The Clinton administration was concerned about a possible collaboration between Iraq and al-Qaeda as early as 1996, when the CIA observed that Iraqi experts were working with the al Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan (where bin Laden was based at the time, and the target for US bombings in 1998). These suspicions were strengthened in 1998 when the CIA found traces of the acid known as EMPTA, a key ingredient for the deadly nerve agent VX. Only Iraq was known to produce VX agent using EMPTA.


In its 1998 indictment of bin Laden for the East African embassy bombings, the Clinton administration claimed: “Al-Qaeda reached an understanding with the Government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq.”


Even David Benjamin, a former National Security Council advisor on terrorism during the Clinton administration who rejects the idea that al-Qaeda and Iraq have any formal cooperation, acknowledged in a USA Today article that “there are bound to be some (al-Qaeda) contacts with Iraqi agents, even some who are known as such.”


There is no question that Saddam’s Iraq was supporting other radical Islamic terrorist groups such as Hamas whose members also are known to have contacts with al-Qaeda. Captured members of the Kurdish Islamic terrorism group, Ansar al-Islam, which is affiliated with al-Qaeda, have also disclosed that they received assistance from Iraqi intelligence.


It is not difficult to imagine how weapons expertise and stocks might be funneled from one group to another, with or without Saddam’s expressed approval.


Meanwhile, new evidence continues to trickle out of Iraq. In December 2003, the Iraqi Governing Council uncovered a document from July 2001 in which the former head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS), Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, describes arranging for 9/11 plotter Mohamad Atta to obtain three days of training in Baghdad by the Palestinian terrorist Abu Nidal, under the “direct supervision” of the IIS.


Whether all this evidence is authentic and compelling, and how much is conclusively revealed about the working relationship between al-Qaeda and Iraq are fair questions. But to deny this evidence altogether is dishonest – unless one is alleging that the Clinton administration, George Tenet and Colin Powell, among others, were lying.


At issue here is not whether the Bush administration should come under scrutiny for how it presented the case for war. It should, and our democracy is only strengthened by such critical inquiry. But as Bush’s critics shine the light narrowly on the administration’s pre-war statements, seeking to expose contradictions, exaggerations and falsehoods, they should not obscure the issues that were at stake. As Aesop warned, “Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.”


The premise that the case for war relied on convincing evidence of an imminent and urgent threat posed by Iraqi WMD is simply wrong. It also is naïve to promote the myth the secular Ba’ath regime and al-Qaeda would never have worked together due to their ideological differences – despite ample evidence that the Ba’ath regime worked with other Islamist terrorist groups.


In the post-9/11 world, as we face the growing and converging threats of radical Islamist terrorism and weapons proliferation in the hands of dictators with records of aggression, genocide and other human rights abuses, the burden should be on those who opposed taking decisive action to disprove that claim that Saddam represented a grave and growing threat, and to disprove that the liberation of Iraq did not represent a net benefit for Americans, Iraqis, the Middle East and the world.



Eleana Gordon is Vice-President of Communications and Democracy Programs at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.





 
addi Posted: Thu May 6 17:48:19 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I was reading and trying to view your post with as open mind as possible. i stared to get suspiscious when the FP interviewer started making statements instead of asking questions.
then I got to this:

FP: Yes, it is scary and bewildering. But could you give a little bit of an insight here into the psychological mindset? Is it connected to the fact that the real world is simply too painful for many Middle Eastern Arabs to accept, because it would necessitate too many painful truths about the failures and bankruptcies of their own culture and civilization?

the failure and bankruptcy of the middle east arab culture and civilization?!!

let's just lump every middle eastern arab country, and arab citizen, together into one big lump of worthless crap! and it's the interviewer, not the person being interviewed! amazing!

soooo then I says who is this front page. com anyway? soooooo i go to the site and in less than 30 seconds shake my head. they don't even try to hide their biases and ultra-conservative bent

you took 40 minutes out of my life that i could have spent studying our constitution, or at hotteenchicks.com, with conservative tabloid mind mush!!

how dissapointing!


 
FN Posted: Thu May 6 17:53:22 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Lol I wondered what it was all about so took a visit at frontpagemag.com as well.

Funny.


However, imagine my dissapointment when I couldn't reach hotteenchicks.com


 
addi Posted: Thu May 6 18:37:20 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:

>However, imagine my dissapointment when I couldn't reach hotteenchicks.com

sorry
i made that one up : (

although i am shocked there isn't one named that


 
ifihadahif Posted: Thu May 6 19:10:30 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  addison said:
>
>soooo then I says who is this front page. com anyway? soooooo i go to the site and in less than 30 seconds shake my head. they don't even try to hide their biases and ultra-conservative bent
>
>how dissapointing!
>
yes of course they have a conservative mindset, and why should they try to hide it ? That would be like Dan Rather or Peter Jennings denying their liberal bent.
Just because they have a conservative mindset doesn't make them wrong.

And by the way, he doesn't lump every middle eastern arab country and citizen into one big lump of worthless crap, if you read it again, he plainly says "many middle eastern countries", and that is very plainly a truth.

Also, it makes a very convincing case for al-qaeda and Iraq in cahoots with each other as does my other cut and paste job.


 
ifihadahif Posted: Thu May 6 19:11:08 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Damn ! when did they take hot teen chicks down !
:(


 
marsteller Posted: Fri May 7 03:37:44 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  take over the world! more money and cheap oil for me!


 



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