Weapons of Mass Destruction — and Obstruction…
Last week, CIA adviser and head of the Iraq Survey Group David Kay offered his interim report to Congress on his team’s three-month-old search for evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. The report states, “Iraq’s WMD programs spanned more than two decades, involved thousands of people, billions of dollars, and was elaborately shielded by security and deception operations that continued even beyond the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom. … [Saddam had] dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in late 2002. The discovery of these deliberate concealment efforts have come about both through the admissions of Iraqi scientists and officials concerning information they deliberately withheld and through physical evidence of equipment and activities that ISG has discovered that should have been declared to the UN.”
President Bush made it plain to the United Nations a year ago that his principal concern in a post-September 11 world was not merely that a rogue regime such as Saddam Hussein’s had WMD programs, but that such horrific weapons could find their way out of Iraq into the hands of surrogate terrorists.
The U.S. inspection team has uncovered significant evidence of chemical- and biological-weapons programs, and even more extensive evidence of Iraq’s missile program – all banned under UN resolutions. Kay reported Saddam’s Iraq to have been in violation of UN sanctions in at least nine separate covert programs. The inspectors also found evidence of chemical- and biological-weapons testing on humans. This preliminary report – after only three months of investigation – stands in stark contrast to 12 years of failed United Nations weapons inspections; a failure culminating in the UN Security Council’s weak-kneed acquiescence to Saddam.
National Security Director Condoleezza Rice concludes that if the UNSC had known what Kay’s preliminary report shows, they would have supported military action against Saddam Hussein. “Had any one of these examples been discovered last winter, the Security Council would have had to meet. And I believe that they would have had no choice but to take exactly the course that President Bush followed,” said Dr. Rice. “Right up until the end, Saddam Hussein continued to torture and oppress his people. Right up until the end, Saddam Hussein lied to the Security Council. … And let there be no mistake, right up to the end, Saddam Hussein continued to harbor ambitions to threaten the world with weapons of mass destruction and to hide his illegal weapons activities.”
The ISG interim report confirms Iraq had weapons programs, but it did not confirm where those weapons are – particularly his nuclear and biological stores. Of course, as we have noted before, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. The question is not whether Saddam had nuke and bio WMD, but where he hid them during the months when the French were sticking their thumb in America’s eye to stall military action against Saddam’s rogue regime.
Despite ranting from Leftist political hacks and their media minions, finding and destroying these WMD stores has nothing to do with political expedience. Rather, it has everything to do with the likelihood that what we don’t find today will visit our shores in a most terrible way tomorrow.
There is a substantial body of intelligence, as The Federalist reported in November of ‘02, that Iraq shipped some or all of its chemical, biological and nuclear WMD stores and components to Syria and Lebanon’s heavily fortified Bekaa Valley.
Indeed, additional intelligence this week indicates Syria is active in the production of biological and chemical weapons – quite possibly taking up where Saddam left off. An opponent to the ousting of Iraq’s Ba'athists, Syria’s foreign minister, Farouk al-Sharaa, made his country’s position clear, saying, “Syria’s interest is to see the invaders defeated in Iraq.” Even more alarming, Damascus is pursuing a nuclear weapons program as well, under the guise of nuclear-energy development. The Syrians are conducting their nuclear R&D with contracted Russian aid…the precise pattern already observed in Iran.
Of course, Ted Kennedy and company would not acknowledge Saddam’s WMD program if he personally detonated a nuke under their Franco derrières.
In a strategic move to accelerate the democratization and reconstruction of Iraq, President Bush this week named NSA Rice to head the newly formed “Iraq Stabilization Group.” The administration hopes the group, under Rice’s leadership, will serve a sort of “traffic cop” function by coordinating operations between the different civilian and military agencies already at work in the region. In addition, the group is expected to eliminate much of the red tape separating requests to Washington from needs in Iraq. The White House emphasized that Dr. Rice’s new role will not compete with that of Iraqi interim administrator L. Paul Bremer, but will bolster and support his reconstruction work. Specifically, the work of Dr. Rice’s team will be divided into four areas: counterterrorism, economics, communications and politics.
It is also hoped that the new post will help assuage concerns in Congress over the reconstruction process and lead to a speedy approval of the President’s latest request of $21 billion in additional reconstruction funding.
Meanwhile, the Bush administration is cooling to the idea of seeking UN approval and support for the rebuilding of Iraq after a revised proposal was met with skepticism from Secretary General Kofi Annan and other members of the UNSC. The striking contrast between recent NATO cooperation and UN obstructionism in the wars aftermath may point to a viable future for multilateral, “coalition of the willing”-style, security operations.
As progress continues along the diplomatic, governmental, reconstruction and economic fronts, The Federalist reminds its readers that the democratization of the Middle East is in the vital national security interest of the United States and the Western world.
Quote of the week…
“The deadly combination of outlaw regimes, terror networks and weapons of mass murder is a peril that cannot be ignored or wished away.” –President George W. Bush
“I keep hearing in the press that the United States is going it alone – what a funny thing to say. We have 32 countries working with us in Iraq. Eleven of our 19 NATO nations have forces in Iraq today. NATO is assisting Poland as it prepares to lead a multinational division in south-central Iraq, comprising forces from 17 different nations in that one division.” – Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld
“Those who question the wisdom of removing Saddam Hussein from power, and liberating Iraq, should ask themselves: 'How long should Saddam Hussein have been allowed to torture the Iraqi people? How long should Saddam Hussein have been allowed to remain the greatest source of instability in one of the world’s most vital regions? How long should Saddam Hussein have been allowed to provide support and safe-haven to terrorists? How long should Saddam Hussein have been allowed to defy the world’s just demand to disarm? How long should the world have closed its eyes to the threat that was Saddam Hussein? Let us be clear: those were the alternatives to action.” –NSA Condoleezza Rice
From the “Non Compos Mentis” Files…
On November 7, George H.W. Bush, that’s Bush(41), father of Bush(43) as you may recall, will personally present the 2003 George Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service to – Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Bushwhack), the first American to receive the award. In announcing the award, the Bush Presidential Foundation noted Ted Kennedy, after 41 years in the Senate, has “consistently and courageously fought for his principles … his commitment to excellence in public policy and his devotion to public service serve as an inspiration to all Americans.” Well – that’s certainly more than we can say for the guy presenting the award!
This is the same Teddy Kennedy who is constantly chastising Bush(43) for his policy in Iraq, claiming, “There was no imminent threat [in Iraq]. This was made up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically. The whole thing was a fraud.” He characterized David Kay’s report on Saddam’s WMD as “an insult to our troops,” adding, “the tragedy is that our troops are paying with their lives because their commander-in-chief let them down.”
That notwithstanding, Bush Presidential Foundation spokesman Penrod Thornton said that Mr. Kennedy is indeed the “appropriate” winner. Mr. Bush(41), it’s worth noting, has sole discretion as to who receives the award.
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