January 10, 2007

Still Doubt That Saddam Hussein Had WMD's?

No weapons of mass destruction? Bush lied? Read selections from the following article.

Tape bares Saddam's chilling admissions of war crimes
By JOHN F. BURNS, New York Times, Published on: 01/10/07

In audio recordings made years ago and played this week in his absence, Saddam was heard justifying the use of chemical weapons against the Iraqi Kurds in the late 1980s, predicting they would kill "thousands" and saying he alone among Iraq's leaders had the authority to order chemical attacks.

In the sequence of scratchy recordings — some with the dialogue quite clear, some barely decipherable — Saddam repeatedly showed the ready resort to brutality that made Iraq a nation seized with fear during his 24 years in power.

One recording revealed, more clearly than anything before, Saddam's personal involvement in covering up Iraq's attempts to acquire weapons of mass destruction, the program that ultimately led to President Bush sending U.S. troops to overthrow him. Talking to the Iraqi general heading Iraq's dealings with U.N. weapons inspectors until weeks before the 2003 invasion, he counseled caution in the figures being divulged on the extent of Iraq's feed stocks for chemical weapons, so as to disguise the use of unaccounted-for chemicals in the attacks on the Kurds.

But it was Saddam's chilling discussion of the power of chemical weapons against civilian populations that brought prosecutors and judges to the verge of tears, and seemed to shock the remaining defendants. One of the recordings featured an unidentified military officer telling Saddam that a plan was under development for having transport aircraft carry containers packed with up to 50 napalm bombs each rolled out of the back of the cargo deck and dropped on Kurdish towns.

(Television footage taken in the aftermath of the Halabjah attack, which more than any other event focused world attention on the atrocities committed under Saddam,) showed the horrors: a father wailing in grief as he found his children lying along a street littered with bodies; dead mothers clutching gas-choked infants to their breasts in swaddling clothes; young sisters embracing each other in death; and trucks piled high with civilian corpses. "I ask the whole world to look at these images, especially those who are crying right now," Faroun said, referring to the outpouring of sympathy for Saddam.

U.S. Justice Department lawyers who have done much of the behind-the-scenes work in sifting tons of documents and other evidence gathered after the invasion of 2003 had never hinted that they held the trump card, judicially and historically, that the audio recordings seem likely to be.

I give credit to the administration for keeping details of the evidence about Iraq's WMDs secret to obtain a conviction rather than giving it up simply to silence Democratic and foreign critics.

Is everyone satisfied, now, that Hussein had and used weapons of mass destruction, or do you have to experience them yourself to be convinced? How long would you have allowed these mass murders to continue if you were President? So much for "Bush Lied." At what point would more weapons be manufactured and provided to terrorists for use against us? Did we have to know any more to be worried about our security and about justice and to act, while the U.N. stalled as its officials were profiting from Hussein's payoffs?

Are there any admissions of being wrong on this issue and apologies forthcoming or just more blind patisan denials?

Finally, where do we go from here? Pull out and abandon the Iraqi people again to terrorists and tyrants or stay until we win the battle?

Posted by Woody M. at January 10, 2007 09:00 AM | TrackBack

Did Saddam Huessein have WMD's in 2003 that could have been used to threaten the United States or its interests abroad? That's the relevant question. From what you posted above, I don't think you've answered it.

Posted by e. nonee moose at January 10, 2007 11:55 AM

Was Saddam Hussein in non-compliance with the terms of the first Gulf War and U.N. sanctions? That was the issue that started the war. U.N. inspections were a joke considering that Hussein required, and was given, advance notice of the sites to be checked.

One thing for certain from the article is that Iraq had the weapons before 2003 and could produce them again. The only mystery is where were they before the invasion, which is your question and which is still unknown, but he had plenty of time to send them to Syria or hide them elsewhere.

The bottom liine to me is that we had a "search warrant" and Hussein fought it. If he didn't have anything to hide, then all he had to do was comply. Do you want to take a chance on trusting a mass murderer?

Posted by Woody at January 10, 2007 12:49 PM

If he didn't have anything to hide, then all he had to do was comply. Do you want to take a chance on trusting a mass murderer?

Nobody trusts Saddam Hussein and I'm very satisfied with the outcome of his trial but Saddam often engaged in 'sabre-rattling' and likely that's all this was. I don't think he had the ability to attack the U.S. or its allies in any way in 2003.

Posted by e. nonee moose at January 10, 2007 12:58 PM

Moose, I suspect, as you, that much of what Hussein did was sabre-rattling. However, could we afford to take that chance? He had already tried to assassinate President George H. W. Bush, and he had the connections and motives to provide weapons to terrorists. He may have been holding a bad hand, but he bluffed too long until it was too late. I think, however, he was holding some aces in his sleeve and we stopped him before they were played.

Finally, because it's worth mentioning, the reasons for attacking Iraq went far beyond just those sixteen words in the State of the Union Address. Hussein caused instability in the region, as evidenced by his wars against Iran and Kuwait and against his own people, and his burning of the oil wells in Kuwait was pure insanity. I surprised that Al Gore didn't take offense to that.

Posted by Woody at January 10, 2007 02:51 PM

I am still part of the lunatic fringe, along with Soviet defector Ion Mihai Pacepa, that believes that the reason Primakov was in Iraq until December 2002 was to get rid of weapons and records - to Iran, to Syria, and to the bottom of the Gulf of Aqaba. Link: What happened to the Iraqi stockpiles of WMD

I agree, BTW, that not many politicians would let evidence for their vindication lie around for years for as small a thing as justice.

Posted by Assistant Village Idiot at January 10, 2007 05:23 PM

Once again, you advocate staying until "we win".
Has there ever been a conflict where an organized military force "won" over a guerrilla force? The closest I can think of was the insurrection in the Phillipines in the early 1900's.
Another point, to "win" over the guerrilla force, you need to have a person/organization that says "OK, we surrender". Is there such a person/group presently in Iraq? Or. possibly we need to find out if Iran/Syria is the force that we need, to accede to the end of this conflict.
"Horror of Horrors, could it be that the Baker commission was right about that?

Posted by James S Melbert at January 13, 2007 09:14 AM

Well, James, the Soviets and Chinese were certainly effective at defeating guerrilla forces in region after region.

Much will depend on one's definition of "guerrilla," but popular citizen rebellions have certainly been put down more often than not in the history of mankind. The Malayan Emergency would be a good recent example.

Posted by Assistant Village Idiot at January 13, 2007 05:51 PM

Yeah AVI, the Russians did so well in Afghanistan and look at their success in Chechnia. Although in the case of the latter (I can't spell that country) there does seen to be a central authority of sorys.

Posted by James S Melbert at January 14, 2007 03:49 PM

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