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Ample justification for war in Iraq

By Carol Devine-Molin
web posted February 16, 2004

Is it just me, or is anyone else compelled to review the testimony of long-time arms inspector David Kay, former head of the Iraq Survey Group, who triggered a firestorm when he indicated in a variety of venues, both official and media venues, that "we were all wrong", no large stockpiles of WMDs were found in Iraq and were unlikely to be found in Iraq. The liberal press is up to their usual tricks of twisting the truth – in this case taking Kay's partial statements and spinning them into the "big lie" that there was no justification for war in Iraq. In fact, David Kay said quite the opposite before the Senate Armed Services Committee on January 28, 2004: "Senator Warner, I think the world is far safer with the disappearance and the removal of Saddam Hussein. I have said I actually think this may be one of those cases where it (the Iraqi regime) was even more dangerous than we thought."

Kay further espoused before the Senate:" Well, it's not that they (the Iraqis) don't have a weapons program – didn't have a weapons program. It is that they had a weapons program but it was a program activity designed to allow future production at some time. And that the missile program was actually moving ahead." Moreover, Kay described the vital Iraqi weapons-infrastructure that was in effect: "So they kept the scientists and they kept the technology, but they came to what I think is a fair conclusion. Why keep the stockpiles of weapons that are vulnerable to inspectors when you've lost your delivery capability? Wait till you have your delivery capability, and then it's a relatively short order." In other words, the Iraqis were poised to promptly move forward in the development of WMDs once they got rid of the inspectors and had their delivery systems in play.

Bush welcomes Kay to the Oval Office of the White House on February 2
Bush welcomes Kay to the Oval Office of the White House on February 2

In this election year, clearly the Democrats have been biting-at-the-bit to club President George W. Bush, and, unfortunately some of David Kay's statements, albeit select statements plucked from the larger context, provided Democrats with a powerful political weapon. As a matter of expediency, the Democrats supported the Iraq War, but in their little Left-leaning hearts you have to believe that they resented Bush's war proclivities from the get-go. Now, in the face of mounting criticism from Democrats enraged that no significant stockpiles of WMDs have been found, President Bush continues to defend his decision to liberate Iraq by asserting that Saddam Hussein's outlaw regime: Refused to abide by numerous UN resolutions, perpetrated atrocious crimes against humanity including the murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens, funded terrorists and suicide bombers, destabilized the entire region with its aggression toward neighboring countries, and possessed a dangerous weapons program that had the capacity to produce WMD's. The latter involving a "weapons program" has been particularly difficult for the American public to sort out. What the heck constitutes a "weapons program"?

Let's review a portion of David Kay's Interim Progress Report on the activities of the Iraq Survey Group before Senate committees on October 2, 2003, as Kay delineated aspects of Iraq's weapons program:

  • A clandestine network of laboratories and safehouses within the Iraqi Intelligence Service that contained equipment subject to UN monitoring and suitable for continuing CBW research.
  • A prison laboratory complex, possibly used in human testing of BW agents that Iraqi officials, working to prepare for UN inspections, were explicitly ordered not to declare to the UN.
  • Reference strains of biological organisms concealed in a scientist's home, one of which can be used to produce biological weapons.
  • New research on BW-applicable agents, Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin were not declared to the UN.
  • Plans and advanced design work for new long-range missiles with ranges up to at least 1000 km - well beyond the 150 km range limit imposed by the UN. Missiles of a 1000 km range would have allowed Iraq to threaten targets throughout the Middle East, including Ankara, Cairo, and Abu Dhabi.
  • Clandestine attempts between late-1999 and 2002 to obtain from North Korea technology related to 1,300 km range ballistic missiles --probably the No Dong -- 300 km range anti-ship cruise missiles, and other prohibited military equipment.

Mind you, this is just a sampling from David Kay's interim report, which is quite informative as to what comprises a weapons program. It's also notable that Kay and his Iraq Survey Group were stymied in their search by "Ali Baba looting" and intentional destruction of records.

Frankly, I'm tired of the Democratic Party and their elite media cohorts falsely accusing the Republicans of having bamboozled the nation regarding Iraq. If the Bush administration was corrupt, it would have had a ready supply of "throw down" evidence to back up a claim of WMDs in Iraq. In truth, the administration consistently acted with integrity -- It sought honest, unvarnished intel for the purpose of making sound decisions. Although President Bush is loath to cast aspersions upon CIA Director George Tenet, there must be some public accountability regarding this current intelligence failure. In the opinion of many, it's time for Tenet to fall on his sword so that the nation can move forward with new and untainted CIA leadership at the helm. Furthermore, President Bush's commission to investigate pre-war intelligence problems will undoubtedly be cast by Democrats as a delaying ploy, so that the issue can be placed on a backburner until after the election. And we can all be assured that Democratic candidate John Kerry will continue to excoriate Bush on pre-war intelligence that ostensibly jettisoned us into war under "false pretenses", positioning himself as the Vietnam hero who truly grasps the horrors of combat. Oh my!

The Leftists find it convenient to fiercely disregard the pertinent facts: former President Bill Clinton, the United Nations, and many foreign intelligence agencies were singing from the same hymnbook on the WMDs matter, which is certainly indicative of lousy pre-war intel across the globe. Presently we are being told that Saddam's own scientists were deceiving him, which is actually understandable considering they were fearful of being slapped with "war crimes" pursuant to WMDs production. These scientists had every reason to want to destroy evidence of a weapons program and to eschew active development and deployment of WMDs. Did any CIA analysts take this into account? And can someone please tell me whatever happened to the "precursor elements" for WMDs, which were reportedly obtained by Iraq from the likes of France, Germany, Russia and China?

It appears that both human intelligence and analysis were inadequate to the task in Iraq. Conservatives particularly should have abided by the warnings of investigative journalist Bill Gertz of the Washington Times who made it known that the intelligence community had been rendered somewhat ineffective over the past thirty years. In his book Breakdown, Gertz espoused, "(It's) a system hamstrung by bad politics, poor leadership, and bureaucratic ineptitude. But the most important problem facing US intelligence agencies today is the lack of accountability."

Moreover, it's vital to acknowledge that the Bush administration, and the GOP for that matter, made a strategic blunder by hyping the WMDs issue in making its case for the Iraq War. Simply put, WMDs should not have been the centerpiece of the arguments for military action. With the benefit of hindsight (yes, hindsight is twenty-twenty as the old adage goes), we can see that equal footing should have been afforded: a) the heinous "crimes against humanity" being perpetrated by the madman Saddam Hussein (including the systematic torture and mass killings of Iraqi citizens with entire villages of men, women and children slaughtered, the use of rape-rooms, and the incarceration of children), b) the thorough enmeshment of Saddam Hussein with a variety of terror groups, as he provided funding, safe harbor and training for terrorists that actively planned to target the West, and, c) the tremendous monies and efforts being expended by the US and Great Britain to contain the lawless regime over a period of more than a decade. The truth is that not only was Saddam Hussein failing to abide by the agreements that halted the 1991 Gulf War and the ongoing UN resolutions, but he was having his soldiers regularly shoot at US and British aircraft. In fact, there was ample legal and moral justification to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein.

Carol Devine-Molin is a regular contributor to several online magazines.

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