President Bush continued his working vacation this week at his Crawford, Texas ranch, convening senior military advisors to review upcoming defense budgets as a part of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s ongoing transformation of the Department of Defense. Many in the media – Left and Right – conjectured that the real purpose of the meeting was in regard to a war strategy for Iraq – a presumption that clearly annoyed the President and Secretary of Defense. The real (hence unreported) news from the meeting is that for the first time in recent years, defense budgets will be crafted on the basis of military readiness, including missile defenses made possible by the U.S. withdrawal from the obsolete Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
And on the subject of Iraq, The White House has previously noted that, prior to any military action against Iraq, concrete evidence of the country’s WMDs – and terror activities – will be made public. And this public indictment of Iraq has begun. The Federalist has confirmed with reliable Pentagon sources that three chemical weapon facilities in Iraq – Fullujah I, II and III – which were disabled in the 1991 Gulf War, are back in full operation. Additionally, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld reported this week that al-Qa'ida terrorists in Iraq are reorganizing for future attacks, certainly with the consent of the Iraqi government. “In a vicious, repressive dictatorship that exercises near-total control over its population, it’s very hard to imagine that the government is not aware of what’s taking place in the country,” said Mr. Rumsfeld.
Iraq adamantly disputes Rumsfeld’s claim, instead seeking to shift attention to an al-Qa'ida-related chemical or biological weapons facility in northern Iraq, an area under Kurdish control. Saddam Hussein’s regime is anxiously trying to point the finger at the Kurds, an ethnic group the U.S. hopes to enlist in any efforts to oust the Iraqi tyrant. It is altogether impossible that the ad hoc Kurdish state would knowingly host U.S.-hunted terrorists. It is equally improbable that al-Qa'ida is capable of developing chemical or biological weapons without terror state aid. And who in the neighborhood has known capabilities in such weapons and has used them – on Kurds?
But how close is any impending offensive against Iraq? President Bush said Thursday, “The American people know my position and that is regime change [in Iraq] is in the interest of the world. How we achieve that is a matter of consultation and deliberation. I am a patient man. We will look at all options and we will consider all technologies available to us and diplomacy and intelligence.” The Pentagon has contracted two massive cargo ships to transport armored vehicles and helicopters to the Persian Gulf region, and eight additional ships for moving tanks, ambulances and ammunition. Following the military action in Afghanistan, the military says its weapons stockpiles in the region will be fully replenished by this fall.
Meanwhile, amid a sea of denials from Iraq regarding its state sponsorship of terrorism and WMD development, Abu Nidal, a leading Jihadistan mastermind responsible for three decades of murder and mayhem, is dead in Baghdad. This former PLO member split with Yasser Arafat to form the Fatah-Revolutionary Council, which is culpable for hundreds of terrorist attacks and murders. President Bush said of Abu Nidal’s unlamented demise: “No terrorist can hide forever. They said he committed suicide with four bullet holes to the head, so I’m not quite sure how he died.”
Some friends of The Federalist, familiar with the fate of Nidal, suggest that a foreign intelligence agency may be responsible for the acute lead poisoning of Nidal’s brain – resulting in his death. That same foreign intelligence service may have used Nidal’s demise as a calling card on Saddam. As we have noted in these pages previously, the military objective in the region is not the annexation of Iraq – but the annihilation of Saddam.