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February 7, 2003

Old Europe — and getting older by the minute

The year was 1962, the foe was the Soviet Union and their surrogate, Fidel Castro’s Red regime in Cuba. Before the UN Security Council, U.S. delegate Adlai Stevenson confronted the Soviet delegation with intelligence proving Soviet nuclear weapons were staged in Cuba – well within range of the continental United States: “[Soviet Ambassador] Zorin, I do not have your talent for obfuscation, for distortion, for confusing language, and for doubletalk. … But in view of…the statements of the Soviet Government … when Mr. Gromyko denied the existence or any intention of installing [nuclear] weapons in Cuba, I am going to make a portion of the evidence available right now.”

On Wednesday of this week, for the first time in four decades, a new regime was confronted with evidence it poses an equal or greater threat. A reluctant “old Europe” looked on as Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the UN Security Council, crossing swords with representatives of a belligerent despot, Saddam Hussein – an enemy denying he possesses nuclear weapons and access to al-Qa'ida surrogates to deliver and detonate those weapons in U.S. urban centers.

Mr. Powell reiterated: “Last November 8, this council passed Resolution 1441 by a unanimous vote. The purpose of that resolution was to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction. Iraq had already been found guilty of material breach of its obligations, stretching back over 16 previous resolutions and 12 years. Resolution 1441 was not dealing with an innocent party, but a regime this council has repeatedly convicted over the years. Resolution 1441 gave Iraq one last chance, one last chance to come into compliance or to face serious consequences.”

The secretary then offered persuasive corroborative evidence from multiple sources about Iraqi noncompliance with its agreements – albeit severely restricted evidence so as not to compromise intelligence sources and means. (You may fairly assume that this evidence represents less than one-tenth of 1% of our knowledge of the whereabouts of Saddam’s heat – the other 99.9% will become evident within the first hours of the next air campaign.)

Of Saddam’s nuclear arsenal, Secretary Powell noted that Saddam’s cadre of nuclear scientists is still in place and the plans and much of the technology to construct fission weapons have been in Iraq’s possession for some time: “It is noteworthy that, over the last 18 months, Saddam Hussein has paid increasing personal attention to Iraqi’s top nuclear scientists, a group that the governmental-controlled press calls, openly, his nuclear mujahedeen. He regularly exhorts them and praises their progress. Progress toward what end?”

While Mr. Powell did not say Iraq now has nuclear weapons, he did not rule out that possibility. As we reported last September, The Federalist’s reliable intelligence sources confirmed that in mid-July of 2002, there was a paradigm shift in the Bush administration’s strategy for “regime change” in Iraq. According to those sources, the change was in assumptions – specifically, we now assume Iraq has developed some number of crude nuclear devices.

That paradigm shift prompted President Bush, last September, to issue this mandate for the use of tactical nuclear weapons in his National Security Presidential Directive 17 (HSPD 4): “The United States will continue to make clear that it reserves the right to respond with overwhelming force – potentially including nuclear weapons – to the use of [weapons of mass destruction] against the United States, our forces abroad, and friends and allies.” In December, a declassified version of the above directive was released publicly, which stated, similarly, “The United States will continue to make clear that it reserves the right to respond with overwhelming force – including through resort to all of our options….”

We are quite certain that Saddam understood “all our options” to include our offensive tactical nuclear-strike capabilities – especially the use of very low-yield nuclear-warhead bunker augers, which can cause a really bad day for even the deepest bunker dweller. According to our sources, conventional Earth Penetration Weapons can be used in tandem with the VLYN bunker augers – a combination of EPW B61s soften the target area, allowing for the sequential deep penetration and detonation of a VLYN warhead – the shock wave collapses virtually any conceivable hardened bunker while leaving its low-level nuclear contamination deep underground.

Of Saddam’s WMD delivery systems, Secretary Powell discussed at length Iraq’s ties to al-Qa'ida terrorists: “Iraq today harbors a deadly terrorist network headed by Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, an associate collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his al-Qa'ida lieutenants. … Early al-Qa'ida ties were forged by secret, high-level intelligence-service contacts with al-Qa'ida, secret Iraqi intelligence high-level contacts with al-Qa'ida. We know members of both organizations met repeatedly and have met at least eight times at very senior levels since the early 1990s.”

Concerning Iraq’s biological WMD capability, Mr. Powell gave special attention to weaponized-anthrax stores Iraq has previously admitted to possessing. Powell stressed that Baghdad has never accounted “for even one teaspoonful” of that lethal agent and may possess stores in excess of 25,000 liters. In 2001 just a few letters tainted with anthrax significantly disrupted the U.S. economy and killed four citizens. (And the first death was a Florida resident who lived only a few miles from where some al-Qa'ida terrorists sought flight training.)

Weaponized anthrax distributed by al-Qa'ida terrorist cells in simultaneous mailings from multiple cities would cause significant casualties and severely cripple the U.S. economy – precisely Osama bin Laden’s stated objective. As The Federalist first reported in March of last year, our sources indicate that at least six al-Qa'ida sleeper cells remain in East Coast urban centers.

Secretary Powell said in conclusion about the “nexus” and threat: “Terrorism has been a tool used by Saddam for decades. Saddam was a supporter of terrorism long before these terrorist networks had a name. And this support continues. The nexus of poisons and terror is new. The nexus of Iraq and terror is old. The combination is lethal. … And unless we act, we are confronting an even more frightening future.”

Shortly after the UN confrontation, President George Bush concluded succinctly, “The game is over,” and Secretary Powell added, “This will be concluded in weeks.” Let’s see, 03 March is the next new moon cycle, and the U.S. will have about 200,000 warriors in the region by then. Sounds about right!

In the 48 hours since Secretary Powell delivered his indictment of Iraq, there have been endless ruminations about “going to war” – when will it start? Some folks just don’t get it! We are ALREADY at war with Jihadistan (al-Qa'ida, et al.) and its state sponsors and have been since September 12, 2001. Iraq is just the next front. Navy Capt. T.L. McCreary, spokesman for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the War College last week, said of terrorism as an act of war: “Since 9-11, from a military perspective, there has been a sea change, I think, in the way we’ve looked at terrorism, itself. That’s what’s allowing your military to go look for al-Qa'ida, to operate against terrorist organizations, because we’ve basically classified them as enemy combatants.” And not a minute too soon.

On that other troublesome “Axis of Evil” front, North Korea continues to issue disturbing pronouncements. (You don’t think North Korea is envious of all the attention on Iraq, do you?) This week, Kim Jong-Il’s spokesmen announced reactivation of the Yongbyon nuclear plant, as photos showed movement of nuclear fuel rods, and Kim stated that “total war” would erupt, should the U.S. lead an attack on the nuclear facilities there. While the U.S. is taking measures to “contain” the Korean Peninsula threat while it deals with Iraq, Kim’s time will come.

Ah…. Do you find yourself asking, “Did the United States have a commander-in-chief in the 1990s?”

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