Saturday, January 15, 2005

Iraqi WMD

The New York Times has weighed in on the apparent end of the WMD hunt in Iraq:

The fact that nothing was found does not absolutely, positively prove that there wasn't something there once, something that was disassembled and trucked over the border to Syria or buried in yet another Iraqi rose garden. But it's not the sort of possibility you'd want to fight a war over. What all our loss and pain and expense in the Iraqi invasion has actually proved is that the weapons inspections worked, that international sanctions - deeply, deeply messy as they turned out to be - worked, and that in the case of Saddam Hussein, the United Nations worked. Whatever the Hussein regime once had is gone because the international community insisted. It was all destroyed a decade ago, under world pressure.

What, are they taking lessons from CBS?

So the possibility that under pressure from the US that Saddam may have sent his WMD into Syria for safekeeping is irrelevant?

Are we really to believe that the international community had anything to do with Saddam's lack of WMD in April 2003 when the editorial even admits to the possibility that they are in Syria? Is the fact that Saddam was building up assets and weakening the sieve-like sanctions while asserting he still had WMD of no matter at all?

And Saddam's arsenal was destroyed a decade ago? Was Desert Fox, the four-day air campaign against Saddam in 1998 an exercise in bouncing rubble? Did we not destroy missiles that violated range limits as late as the eve of the invasion?

Is the Times serious in asserting that Saddam would not have been off to the races once sanctions collapsed as they were clearly heading in early 2001? Saddam clearly wanted to pretend he had WMD as a deterrent to his enemies and once sanctions were gone he would have made good on that bluff as soon as he could. If he didn't want WMD why did he bluff? Is anyone seriously arguing that Saddam would have just bluffed forever?

The whole argument of the Times relies on the memory hole. Opponents of the war with Iraq did not claim Iraq did not have WMD. Indeed, as the editorial shows, they still do not assert that. Opponents of the war said we could deter Iraq and that invading them would just provoke WMD use! For them to claim that lack of WMD vindicates their stand is to forget what their stand was. They opposed regime change--period.

And the sudden insistence that WMD was the only issue over which we invaded Iraq is stunning considering the repeated complaints by war opponents that the administration could not settle on one single reason for war and instead lofted various reasons for war. I never understood why we could only have one reason and the present claims that only WMD were a reason for war are just a blatant rewriting of history.

We were right to overthrow Saddam for all the reasons put forth in 2002 and early 2003. And anyone who thinks that Saddam would not have acquired nukes and bugs and whatever else he wanted had we failed to destroy his regime in 2003 is in denial.

As a bonus, we will soon have a free and democratic Iraq. Not bad for a "mistake."

And I will repeat what I've said before. We will find the WMD that Saddam had. I do not believe that every intelligence agency in the world with an opinion on Saddam's WMD was wrong. He had them on the eve of the war and only our year-long "rush to war" gave Saddam the time to hide or scrub them from Iraq.