Saddam's WMD went to Syria...
One year ago, this column first reported that Allied Forces would be unlikely to discover Saddam's WMD stores in Iraq -- that the UN Security Council's foot-dragging had provided Saddam with plenty of time to export his biological and nuclear WMD. Back then, I wrote, "There is a substantial body of intelligence supporting our position that Iraq shipped some or all of its biological and nuclear WMD stores to Syria and Lebanon's heavily fortified Bekaa Valley." In December, a senior-level intelligence source confirmed again that much of Iraq's WMD had, in fact, been moved to and through Syria.
This week, there was, for the first time, official public confirmation of our report. (In case you missed it as the Leftmedia's lead story, don’t fret; we missed it too.) Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, now director of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, told reporters that U.S. surveillance satellites captured images of vehicle traffic dispersing WMD materiel to urban locations in Iraq and moving large quantities into Syria as well.
"Those below the senior leadership saw what was coming, and I think they went to extraordinary lengths to [dispose, destroy and disperse] the evidence," said Gen. Clapper. "By the time that we got to a lot of these facilities...there wasn't that much there to look at. There was clearly an effort to disperse, bury and conceal certain equipment prior to inspections." Gen. Clapper added that there is "no question" that people and WMD materiel were moved by truck convoys into Syria.
So why wait until now to release this information? First, as we noted last year, the extent and accuracy of this information is a valuable intelligence asset, and the CIA, DIA and NSA are responsive only to U.S. national-security interests. Finding and destroying these WMD stores has everything to do with the likelihood that what we don't find now will visit our shores in a most terrible way later. Undoubtedly General Clapper's remarks were thoroughly vetted for their national security implications as we endeavor to contain Saddam's WMD and make clear that any effort to move them will confirm their current location.
Secondly, because some Americans and their Leftmedia opinion-shapers have very short attention spans, recent claims by Ted Kennedy et al. that President George Bush "misled" the nation regarding the "imminent threat" posed by Iraqi WMD, have undermined some domestic resolve. It is critical that our national resolve remain high and that Americans understand how important it is to keep the frontlines of our war with Jihadistan on their turf, not ours.
And third, because this merely confirms what many Americans not blinded by political ambition, already knew: that Saddam's most deadly WMD are still out there, still capable of inflicting catastrophic devastation in one or more major U.S. urban centers of an al-Qa'ida sleeper cell's choosing, and still capable of wreaking havoc on the economic recovery now underway.
Quote of the week...
"I want to tell you something about this war against terror we are fighting in Iraq and around the world. The foreign terrorists, the Ba'ath Party sympathizers, the Islamic extremists who wantonly kill Americans and innocent people from many nations, have no idea what they are up against. ... When we say we are going to win this global war on terrorism, we mean exactly that. We don't mean a moral victory, or victory in some abstract sense. The reality of more than 3,000 dead in New York, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon does not allow for such nuances." --Gen. John M. Keane, Army vice chief of staff, at his retirement ceremony earlier this month
"When it comes to whether or not we are going to wage this war against terror in places like Kabul or Baghdad or be more likely to have it waged in places like Boston or Kansas, the American people understand the front line has become Iraq. ... We saw it again over the weekend, but that's where it needs to be. We need to take this fight to them and we need to support our troops in that effort." --RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie
In a draft memo to the Republican congressional leadership, Mr. Gillespie added: "Last week a significant minority, including leading Democrats, moved to the left of Syria and France by opposing funding for troops and reconstruction in Iraq. ... When it comes to winning the war against terror, the president's critics are adopting a policy that will make us more vulnerable in a dangerous world. ... Specifically, they now reject the policy of pre-emptive self-defense and would return us to a policy of reacting to terrorism in its aftermath."
In other news...
The Muslim holy month of Ramadan commenced with a murderous bang in Iraq ... literally. Monday marked a new and unprecedented wave of violence, when at least 39 people were killed and 224 were wounded in a series of coordinated attacks in Baghdad, including the bombing of the Red Cross headquarters. On Sunday, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was just a floor away from an attack on his hotel -- which killed an American military officer -- one of two Americans killed in the attacks. (Sources advise The Federalist that some of the shoulder-fired rockets involved in the attack were French-made, and noted they were produced after the arms embargo against Iraq.)
The terrorist assaults are being coordinated by Saddam or most likely his Ba'athist loyalist Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, No. 6 among the "Deck of Death" of 55 most wanted Iraqis, working in conjunction with the Jihadi group Ansar al-Islam, which has proven links to al-Qa'ida. Two captured members of Ansar al-Islam -- a terrorist faction largely composed of foreign Islamist insurgents to Iraq -- admitted responsibility for attacks against U.S. occupation forces and identified al-Douri as the mastermind behind the attacks.
This recent spate of attacks has not been aimed at American targets, however. Their bloodthirsty objective has been to discourage Iraqi "collaborators" -- those supporting the democratization of Iraq after decades of Saddam's terror.
President Bush, pledging to keep the warfront with Jihadistan on their turf, said, "This country will stay the course. We'll do our job. ... The more successful we are on the ground, the more these killers will react. We're determined in this administration not to be intimidated by these killers. We will find these people, and we will bring them to justice."
Of the terrorist's media campaign, Kansas Republican Sen. Sam Brownback concluded, "The opposition, the terrorist groups, the Ba'athists read our media and read our public opinion polls and are trying to play to the country's opinion. ...No question in my mind. This is an international media. They know the importance of this." But not only are they playing to public opinion -- and to partisan political "debate" -- they are also attempting to enliven Muslim sentiment during Ramadan toward anti-U.S. and anti-coalition efforts. Indeed, the Leftmedia is currently an invaluable Jihadi tool, a veritable Islamist recruiting agent.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld added, "We are in a war of ideas, as well as a global war on terror. [I]deas are important, and they need to be marshaled, and they need to be communicated in ways that are persuasive to the listeners. ... In many instances, we're not the best messengers."
Despite all the news on the attacks, L. Paul Bremer, U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq, notes, "There are a lot of wonderful things that've happened in Iraq since July. We have a Cabinet now; ministers actually are conducting affairs of state. ... We have met all of our goals in restoring essential services. ... All the schools and hospitals are open. Electricity is back at prewar levels."
Further, Commerce Secretary Donald Evans returned from his tour of Iraq estimating the nation's oil output to hit five to six million barrels per day within the next three to for years -- an amount tripling Iraq's current output. Iraq's oil ministry, meanwhile, remains decidedly more cautious in its estimates, hoping to reach the six million barrel-per-day mark by 2014. The Federalist suspects Evans' optimism derives from his expectation that free-market incentives will accelerate the rebuilding of Iraq's dilapidated or destroyed oil infrastructure.