#22 The Quiet Funeral of “Bush Lied – Thousands Died!”
A Reference Library
Capsule: #22 The Quiet Funeral of “Bush Lied – Thousands Died!” presents all of the evidence and reasoning behind the decision to invade Iraq. Once a person is made aware of this, they will understand that for President Bush to have ignored it all and decided to not invade Iraq would have been a dereliction of duty.
A Zombie Gets Shot In the Head and Buried for Good
Focus: How many nails in the coffin would it take to bury a liberal zombie argument once and for all? In this case, sixteen.
Details: #22 The Quiet Funeral of “Bush Lied – Thousands Died!” maps out in numbered detail virtually every piece of evidence that justified the decision to invade Iraq. Liberals hate Republican Presidents. They especially hate George W. Bush, so it is quite natural that they would take one of his greatest accomplishments – the deposing of Saddam Hussein – and attempt to reframe it as one of his greatest failures. ‘The Quiet Funeral of “Bush Lied – Thousands Died!”‘ buries this argument in the ground for good.
Excerpt: ~Perhaps no other issue heats a liberal’s pot up to boil more than the Iraq War. “Bush lied – thousands died!” That has been the liberal groupthink mantra. No matter how successful the war has ultimately turned out, no liberal will ever accept that it has been worth the blood, money and loss of reputation to America – at least until they read this essay. I realize, American neighbor, that you have been led to believe that the Bush administration lied about the prewar intelligence to encourage the American public’s support for the invasion of Iraq. The Blackshirts orthodox media, Democrat politicians and the liberal blogosphere have hammered home this assertion for years. But what evidence have they ever presented that supports their case? Simply repeating the same assertions over and over is not evidence. Get this, American neighbor: It is a simple fact that the conclusions of multiple bipartisan government oversight reports, as well as considerable other evidence does not support the liberal groupthink mantra. The rationalization behind the derogatory “Bush lied – thousands died!” is just another liberalism. President Bush, in his recent book, stated that he felt it would take “several decades” to draw any final conclusions about his presidency, but we have already established clear conclusions on the benefits of his tax cuts and his little fault regarding the housing bubble bust and 2008 financial crisis. Now we will clear up this issue once and for all – welcome to the lonely funeral of the liberal mantra, “Bush lied – thousands died!”~
Preface: The Nuclear Counterarguments Essay Series is written for both contemporary American liberals and contemporary American conservatives – for the liberal (or progressive) as an exit counseling process with the purpose of removing the inherent paranoia that prevents them from seeing that in their core belief they are, in fact not a liberal, and for the conservative as a strategy for dealing with liberal acquaintances. (FYI, I am a Canadian – the implications of this are explained in the Introduction and #1 Deprogramming Liberalism with Nuclear Counterarguments.)
[All citations are active number/letter codes. Code links beginning with an * indicate that the linked page has additional information for the topic at hand. Links without an * are cited for evidence of existence and reference only, as in a quotation or number or case in point. Citations validate my points so that you can trust my claims, and will often provide you with invaluable supplemental information.]
Contents – Essay #22
• Mini critical thinking exercise • “Bush Lied – Thousands Died” – R.I.P. • Intelligence committee report 2004 • Commission on intelligence capabilities • 9/11 Report • Intelligence committee report 2008 • Smoking gun – Iraqi media • More smoking guns – western media pre-9/11 • More smoking guns – Clinton administration • 16 words & the lies told about them • The anthrax attack • Iraq invasion authorization • The American people had supported invading Iraq since before Bush • Hans Blix report • Evidence for WMD • The Duelfer report • Dr. David Kay • The ISG on the ground in Iraq • Unfinished business – liberals can finish the WMD search • Deprogramming lessons • Deprogramming exercise • Humor, sort-of
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• Mini critical thinking exercise
How many nails does it take to permanently close and bury the coffin of a zombie argument, American neighbor? Well, we’ve already reburied a multitude of liberal zombie arguments in the first 21 essays of the Nuclear Counterarguments Essay Series. Let’s bury another persistent zombie argument for good. But first a question: If you were looking to see if something exists and had a pretty good idea of all the possible places it might be, what percentage would be enough to conclude that what you are looking for doesn’t exist? Obviously, if you looked in every possible hiding place, that would be enough. What if you looked in only 90% of the possible hiding places. Would that be enough to make a definitive conclusion? What about 80%? Would that be enough? What about 50%? If you looked in 50% of all possible places to look and couldn’t find it, would that be enough to decisively conclude that it does not exist?ab
• “Bush Lied – Thousands Died” – R.I.P.
Perhaps no other issue heats a liberal’s pot up to boil more than the Iraq War. “Bush lied – thousands died!” That has been the liberal groupthink mantra. No matter how successful the war has ultimately turned out, no liberal will ever accept that it has been worth the blood, money and loss of reputation to America – at least until they read this essay. I realize, American neighbor, that you have been led to believe that the Bush administration lied about the prewar intelligence to encourage the American public’s support for the invasion of Iraq. The Blackshirts orthodox media, Democrat politicians and the liberal blogosphere have hammered home this assertion for years. But what evidence have they ever presented that supports their case? Simply repeating the same assertions over and over is not evidence. [c5jkk] Get this, American neighbor: It is a simple fact that the conclusions of multiple bipartisan government oversight reports, as well as considerable other evidence does not support the liberal groupthink mantra. The rationalization behind the derogatory “Bush lied – thousands died!” is just another liberalism. President Bush, in his recent book, stated that he felt it would take “several decades” to draw any final conclusions about his presidency, but we have already established clear conclusions on the benefits of his tax cuts and his little fault regarding the housing bubble bust and 2008 financial crisis. Now we will clear up this issue once and for all – welcome to the lonely funeral of the liberal mantra, “Bush lied – thousands died!”ac
• Intelligence committee report 2004
~ “None of the analysts or other people interview [sic] by the committee said that they were pressured to change their conclusions related to Iraq’s links to terrorism.”~
The Intel community was not found to have been pressured to “change their conclusions” to conform with the supposed desires of the administration. Did you get that, American neighbor? Democrats and Republicans both signed off on a report that could find no administration meddling in the intelligence services. Further, the report concluded:
~ “The Committee found no evidence that the IC’s [Intelligence Community’s] mischaracterization or exaggeration of the intelligence on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capabilities was the result of political pressure.”~
300-word pages of text = 46
Reference citation links = 70
Recommended-reading links = 10
Profound insights = 21
Cover photo: Cover photo: U.S. Department of Energy photograph XX-39 CLIMAX
Cover background: SQUIDFINGERS [4rol8]
Copyright 2012 Jim Autio License Note: Although free, this essay remains the copyrighted property of the author, and may not be reproduced, copied or distributed for commercial or non-commercial purposes. For fair use only.
Even though the report assumed that the pre war intelligence on WMDs was a “mischaracterization or exaggeration” (the report did not examine this issue however), it did not find that the presumed mischaracterization or exaggeration was a result of “political pressure” from the administration, so even if the intelligence that President Bush relied on to make the decision to invade Iraq was mischaracterized or exaggerated (and it was mostly not, as you will soon see), the fault according to this report did not lie with the President or the administration, but with the intelligence community.
The same report goes on to conclude about a possible Iraq/al Qaeda connection:
~ “Despite four decades of intelligence reporting on Iraq, there was little useful intelligence collected that helped analysts determine the Iraqi regime’s possible links to al Qaeda. [redacted paragraph] The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) did not have a focused human intelligence (HUMINT) collection strategy targeting Iraq’s links to terrorism until 2002. The CIA had no [redacted] sources on the ground in Iraq reporting specifically on terrorism. The lack of an official [redacted] U.S. presence in the country [redacted] curtailed the Intelligence Community’s HUMINT collection capabilities.”~
What did they say? The CIA didn’t actually have any “on the ground” intelligence about a possible Iraq/al Qaeda link. They didn’t even have a strategy. It adds elsewhere:
~ “The CIA had no [redacted] credible reporting on the leadership of either the Iraqi regime or al Qaeda, which would have enabled it to better define a cooperative relationship, if any did in fact exist.”~
Do you understand the importance of this admission in this bipartisan report, American neighbor? It was not that the CIA had intelligence that suggested there was little to connect Iraq and al Qaeda. The CIA had NO direct intelligence to go on at all. In other words, they had only second hand knowledge (presumably from old reports and other foreign intel agencies, or informants). In fact, the CIA and other agencies had never penetrated the inner circles of either Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden, as was stated by an “IC analyst” in testimony before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee:
~ “I don’t think we were really focused on the CT [counterterrorism] side, because we weren’t concerned about the IIS [Iraqi Intelligence Service] going out and proactively conducting terrorist attacks. It wasn’t until we realized that there was the possibility of going to war that we had to get a handle on that.”~
Basically, up until the buildup to the Iraq War the intel community had not even attempted to collect first hand knowledge about any possible connections between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. They didn’t even suspect that Saddam’s intelligence service might be interested in foreign terrorism. The CIA was of no help in determining whether there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. This 2004 Senate Select Intelligence Committee “Report on the US Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq” represents the first nail in the coffin of the liberal groupthink mantra, “Bush lied – thousands died!”ad
• Commission on intelligence capabilities
Our next bipartisan report is the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction released in March, 2005. [285pbjq] It confirms the findings of the above Senate Select Intelligence Committee report with the main conclusion labeled, “Overall Commission Finding”:
~The Intelligence Community’s performance in assessing Iraq’s pre-war weapons of mass destruction programs was a major intelligence failure. The failure was not merely that the Intelligence Community’s assessments were wrong. There were also serious shortcomings in the way these assessments were made and communicated to policymakers.~
Again, the “failure” is actually debatable and not determined by this report. It also agrees that there was no “political pressure” put on the intelligence agencies to produce a desired outcome:
~Analysts universally asserted that in no instance did political pressure cause them to skew or alter any of their analytical judgments. We conclude that it was the paucity of intelligence and poor analytical tradecraft, rather than political pressure, that produced the inaccurate pre-war intelligence assessments.”~
Once more, the presumed “inaccurate pre-war intelligence assessments” were not determined by this report, and ended up being far more accurate than presumed at this time. The report also questions the post war assumption that it should have been relatively easy for the intelligence community to determine the extent of Saddam Hussein’s WMD programs:
~For commissions of this sort, 20/20 hindsight is an occupational hazard. It is easy to forget just how difficult a business intelligence is. Nations and terrorist groups do not easily part with their secrets and they guard nothing more jealously than secrets related to nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. Stealing those secrets, particularly from closed and repressive regimes like Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, is no easy task, and failure is more common than success. Intelligence analysts will often be forced to make do with limited, ambiguous data; extrapolations from thin streams of information will be the norm. […] Indeed, defenders of the Intelligence Community have asked whether it would be fair to expect the Community to get the Iraq WMD question absolutely right. How, they ask, could our intelligence agencies have concluded that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction given his history of using them, his previous deceptions, and his repeated efforts to obstruct United Nations inspectors? And after all, the United States was not alone in error; other major intelligence services also thought that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.~
As you will see later, American neighbor, the intelligence community turned out to be even more remarkably correct than these post war reports thought. It can be clearly seen by these first two reports that the administration was not found to have pressured the intelligence community into concluding that Saddam Hussein had WMDs or links to al Qaeda. This second report represents the second nail in the coffin of the liberal groupthink mantra, “Bush lied – thousands died!”ae
• 9/11 Report
The next report is the voluminous Final Report of the bipartisan National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, commonly known as the “9/11 Report”. [49xkf] One thing to remember about this report is that it was not specifically about Iraq, but about terrorism and related events prior to the 9/11 attack. Another important note is that it was issued on Jul 22, 2004. To this point virtually none of the hundreds of thousands of captured Iraqi intel documents and audio and video recordings had been translated and examined. Because of this any conclusions drawn from the 9/11 Report in regard to Iraq have mostly been proven to be at least inaccurate, and at most false (more on this later). Nevertheless some valuable information can still be gleaned from its pages.
On page 58 it is written of Osama bin Laden when he was in Sudan:
~ “Bin Laden now had a vision of himself as a head of an international jihad confederation. In Sudan, he established an “Islamic Army Shura” that was to serve as the coordinating body for the consortium of terrorist groups with which he was forging alliances. It was composed of his own al Qaeda Shura together with leaders or representatives of terrorist organizations that were still independent. In building this Islamic army, he enlisted groups from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq…”~
Did you catch that American neighbor? The 9/11 Report states that Osama bin Laden saw himself as head of a consortium of enlisted groups from countries including “Iraq”. Haven’t liberals told us that there was no connection between Iraq and and bin Laden. Why would bin Laden think this if he had no “terrorist groups” in Iraq to consort with? On page 61 we find:
~ “With the Sudanese regime acting as an intermediary, bin Laden himself met with a senior Iraqi intelligence officer in Khartoum in late 1994 or early 1995. Bin Laden is said to have asked for space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but there is no evidence that Iraq responded to this request. As described below, the ensuing years saw additional efforts to establish connections.”~
~In mid-1998, the situation reversed; it was Iraq that reportedly took the initiative. In March 1998, after Bin Ladin’s public fatwa against the United States, two al Qaeda members reportedly went to Iraq to meet with Iraqi intelligence. In July, an Iraqi delegation traveled to Afghanistan to meet first with the Taliban and then with Bin Ladin. Sources reported that one, or perhaps both, of these meetings was apparently arranged through Bin Ladin’s Egyptian deputy, Zawahiri, who had ties of his own to the Iraqis. […] Similar meetings between Iraqi officials and Bin Ladin or his aides may have occurred in 1999 during a period of some reported strains with the Taliban. According to reporting, Iraqi officials offered Bin Ladin a safe haven in Iraq. Bin Ladin declined, apparently judging that his circumstances in Afghanistan remained more favorable than the Iraqi alternative. The reports describe friendly contacts and indicate some common themes in both sides’ hatred of the United States.~
~He [Clarke] wrote Deputy National Security Advisor Donald Kerrick that one reliable source reported Bin Ladin’s having met with Iraqi officials, who “may have offered him asylum.” Other intelligence sources said that some Taliban leaders, though not Mullah Omar, had urged Bin Ladin to go to Iraq. If Bin Ladin actually moved to Iarq, wrote Clarke, his network would be at Saddam Hussein’s service, and it would be “virtually impossible” to find him.~
The Washington Times reported in June, 2004 about former Clinton administration Defense Secretary William Cohen:
~Mr. Cohen elaborated in March in testimony before the September 11 commission. He testified that “bin Laden had been living [at the plant], that he had, in fact, money that he had put into this military industrial corporation, that the owner of the plant had traveled to Baghdad to meet with the father of the VX program.” He said that if the plant had been allowed to produce VX that was used to kill thousands of Americans, people would have asked him,” ‘You had a manager that went to Baghdad; you had Osama bin Laden, who had funded, at least the corporation, and you had traces of [VX precursor] and you did what? And you did nothing?’ Is that a responsible activity on the part of the secretary of defense?”~ [8d5vvpo]
Thomas Kean, co-chairman of the September 11 Commission stated after the release of his report:
~ “There was no question in our minds that there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda.”~ [2a8x8os]
CNN reported in 2004 that Saddam’s own regime was preparing to carry out terrorist attacks against America:
~Russian intelligence services warned Washington several times that Saddam Hussein’s regime planned terrorist attacks against the United States, President Vladimir Putin has said. […] The warnings were provided after September 11, 2001 and before the start of the Iraqi war, Putin said Friday.~ [5gwrx]
• Intelligence committee report 2008
This last bipartisan report was released in June, 2008 by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence under a Democrat majority called, “Report on Whether Public Statements Regarding Iraq by U.S. Government officials Were Substantiated by Intelligence Information”. [2dn9hvh] This report was four years in the making. As its title suggests, the study examined the credibility of the most prominent speeches delivered prior to the launch of the war by administration officials, including the President and the Vice President:
~ “To conduct this review, the Committee assembled hundreds of intelligence reports produced prior to March 19, 2003 in an effort to understand the state of intelligence analysis at the time of the various speeches and statements. The Committee is fully aware that officials may have had multiple credible sources of information upon which to base statements, but has not attempted to document or analyze source materials other than the intelligence, since that is beyond the scope of this report.”~
The report goes on to stipulate that, “the Committee reviewed only finished analytic intelligence documents, with few exceptions.” This did not include “less formal communications”. Presumably this would also exclude any prior media reports and foreign intelligence reports not specifically dealt with by the chosen “finished analytic intelligence documents”.
These were its conclusions:
~Conclusion 1: Statements … regarding possible Iraqi nuclear weapons program were generally substantiated by intelligence community estimates, but did not convey the substantial disagreements that existed in the intelligence community.~
~Conclusion 2: Statements … regarding Iraq’s possession of biological agents, weapons, production capability, and use of mobile biological laboratories were substantiated by intelligence information.~
~Conclusion 3: Statements … regarding Iraq’s possession of chemical weapons were substantiated by intelligence information.~
~Conclusion 4: Statements … regarding Iraq’s chemical weapons production capability and activities did not reflect the intelligence community’s uncertainties as to whether such production was ongoing.~
~Conclusion 5: Statements … regarding Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction were generally substantiated by intelligence information, though many statements made regarding ongoing production prior to late 2002 reflected a higher level of certainty than the intelligence judgments themselves.~
~Conclusion 6: The Secretary of Defense’s statement that the Iraqi government operated underground WMD facilities that were not vulnerable to conventional airstrikes because they were underground and deeply buried was not substantiated by available intelligence information.~ But this conclusion did go on to add that “many intelligence analysts suspected that the Iraqi government might be using underground facilities to conceal WMD activities, no active underground WMD facilities had been positively identified.” Even though underground WMD facilities were suspected they could not be identified.
~Conclusion 7: Statements … regarding Iraqi ballistic missiles were generally substantiated by available intelligence.~
~Conclusion 8: Statements … that Iraq was developing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that could be use to deliver chemical or biological weapons were generally substantiated by intelligence information, but did not convey the substantial disagreements or evolving views that existed in the intelligence community.~
~Conclusion 9: The President’s suggestion that the Iraqi government was considering using UAVs to attack the United States was substantiated by the intelligence judgments available at the time, but these judgments were revised a few months later, in January 2003.~
~Conclusion 10: Statements … regarding Iraq’s support for terrorist groups other than al-Qa’ida were substantiated by intelligence information.~
~Conclusion 11: Statements that Iraq provided safe haven for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and other al-Qa’ida-related terrorist members were substantiated by the intelligence assessments.~
~Conclusion 12: Statements … suggesting that Iraq and al Qa’ida had a partnership or that Iraq had provided al Qa’ida with weapons training, were not substantiated by the intelligence.~ This is a carefully worded conclusion. In the first instance it depends on the definition of “partnership”. We have already seen above that they had a communications network and cooperated on certain levels. In fact it is now well known that Saddam operated at least three terrorist training camps. Did al Qaeda specifically send operatives to be trained at these camps? The evidence is inconclusive, so the report’s conclusion is technically accurate. But did foreign terrorists train at these camps and subsequently end up joining al Qaeda? Yes. Also of note is the above report that stated that the CIA had not even attempted to gather prewar intel on whether a relationship existed or not, so this conclusion is not so much saying that there was no evidence, only that the CIA didn’t have any because they never bothered to look.
~Conclusion 13: Statements … regarding Iraq’s contacts with al Qa’ida were substantiated by intelligence information. However, policymakers’ statements did not accurately convey the intelligence assessments of the nature of these contacts, and left the impression that the contacts led to substantive Iraqi cooperation or support of al Qa’ida.~ Again more careful wording in the qualification statement. What is important is that the administration statements have been confirmed.
~Conclusion 14: The Intelligence Community did not confirm that Muhammad Atta met an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in 2001.~ They may not have been able to “confirm” the meeting, but neither does it say that the conclusion was that the meeting never took place. Czech intelligence, however, has confirmed this meeting and continues to stand by this conclusion.
~Conclusion 15: Statements … indicating that Saddam Hussein was prepared to give weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups for attack against the united states were contradicted by available intelligence information. […] All of these assessments noted that gauging Saddam’s intentions was quite difficult…~ Again this harkens back to our above report that illustrated that the CIA never investigated whether Saddam had links with foreign terrorist groups. This conclusion along with conclusion 12 must necessarily viewed within that limited scope and not as an outright finding of no evidence for the alleged connections.
It is important to remember that this report does not analyze congressional Democrat statements prior to the war or statements by the previous administration which paralleled the majority of the conclusions made by the Bush administration. In other words, most of the Bush administration assertions had been previously made by the Clinton administration and congressional Democrats.
Basically, an after-the-fact report released by a Democrat majority in Congress concludes that prewar “Public Statements Regarding Iraq by U.S. Government officials [the Bush administration]” were mostly “substantiated by intelligence information” available at the time. In other words, Congress was not misled by the administration into approving the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. This report hammers home the fourth nail in the coffin of the liberal groupthink mantra, “Bush lied – thousands died!”ag
• Smoking gun – Iraqi media
The Iraqi media inadvertently exposed Iraq’s relationship with al Qaeda, doing its best impersonation of a smoking gun in the hand of none other than Saddam’s own son, Uday:
~ “OOPS. In what could go down as the Mother of All Copyediting Errors, Babil, the official newspaper of Saddam Hussein’s government, run by his oldest son Uday, last fall published information that appears to confirm U.S. allegations of links between the Iraqi regime and al Qaeda. It adds one more piece to the small pile of evidence emerging from Iraq that, when added to the jigsaw puzzle we already had, makes obsolete the question of whether Saddam and Osama bin Laden were in league and leaves in doubt only the extent of the connection. […] In its November 16, 2002, edition, Babil identified one Abd-al-Karim Muhammad Aswad as an “intelligence officer,” describing him as the “official in charge of regime’s contacts with Osama bin Laden’s group and currently the regime’s representative in Pakistan.” A man of this name was indeed the Iraqi ambassador to Pakistan from the fall of 1999 until the fall of the regime.”~ [26l32zc, 25xr3yq]
As pointed out in the quote, this little bit of gunpowder stained evidence leaves no room for the contemporary media mantra that Saddam had no connections with al Qaeda or Osama bin Laden. In fact, by this admission Iraq had an official diplomatic position to administer communication between the two. This was not a one man clandestine operation. As an ambassador he would have offices, diplomatic aids, couriers, diplomatic privileges, secret communication privileges, official transportation, etc. He was the “official in charge of regime’s contacts with Osama bin Laden’s group”, implying multiple contact components over a period of years. This idea that a secular Hussein and the strict Islamist bin Laden were natural adversaries seems to have been overridden by the very pragmatic axiom, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. In fact, Saddam was hardly a secularist. Both Saddam and bin Laden were Suni Arabs. Allahu Akbar (God is Great) was added to the Iraqi flag by Saddam, and he often prayed in public, and as well, he instituted religious exams for Baath party members, also requiring prayers during party meetings.
This was not the first time that the newspaper Babel had referred to Osama bin Laden. As much as four years earlier it praised bin Laden:
~On August 27, 1998, Iraq’s Babel newspaper, published by Uday Hussein, labeled Osama bin Laden an “Arab and Islamic hero.”~ [7jrlz]
Clearly, this supposedly reasonable assumption that Saddam and Osama were at odds with each other because of ideology is a conclusion without merit. The smoking gun evidence direct from Iraq is completely contradictory to that notion. So now, with Saddam’s own newspaper we have the fifth nail in the coffin of the liberal groupthink mantra, “Bush lied – thousands died!”ah
• More smoking guns – western media pre-9/11
Prior to the war the western orthodox media also presented a position supposing a very real connection between Iraq and and al Qaeda. In November, 1998 The NY Daily News reported direct contact between a deputy chief of Saddam Hussein’s intelligence agency and Osama bin Laden:
~He also has another series of interesting ties to major arms dealers in the former Soviet Union and to Osama Bin Laden, the wealthy Saudi-born Islamic extremist who’s financing the rash of anti-American terrorist bombings round the world. According to the sources, Hijazi and Bin Laden have met face to face.~ [mqenr6z]
The Guardian confirmed the meeting as a discussion about sanctuary for Osama bin Laden to conduct his worldwide terrorism from Iraq on February 6, 1999:
~Saddam Hussein’s regime has opened talks with Osama bin Laden, bringing closer the threat of a terrorist attack using chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, according to US intelligence sources and Iraqi opposition officials. The key meeting took place in the Afghan mountains near Kandahar in late December. The Iraqi delegation was led by Farouk Hijazi, Baghdad’s ambassador in Turkey and one of Saddam’s most powerful secret policemen, who is thought to have offered Bin Laden asylum in Iraq.~ [3pooykl]
~U.S. intelligence officials are worried that a burgeoning alliance between Islamic terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein…~ [3pjccmp]
A January 11, 1999 Newsweek story with no less than four contributing authors states:
~Here’s what is known so far: Saddam Hussein, who has a long record of supporting terrorism, is trying to rebuild his intelligence network overseas–assets that would allow him to establish a terrorism network. U.S. sources say he is reaching out to Islamic terrorists, including some who may be linked to Osama bin Laden, the wealthy Saudi exile accused of masterminding the bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa last summer. […] An Arab intelligence officer who knows Saddam personally and stays in touch with his clandestine services predicts that “very soon you will be witnessing large-scale terrorist activity run by the Iraqis.” The attacks, he says, would be aimed at American and British targets in the Islamic world. Washington is somewhat skeptical, but this source says plans have already been put into action under three “false flags”: one Palestinian, one Iranian and one “the al-Qaeda apparatus,” the loose collection of terrorists who receive bin Laden’s patronage. “All these organizations have representatives in Baghdad,” says the Arab intelligence officer.~ [22nw5xw]
So now we can see that Osama also had a counterpart “representative” to Saddam’s “official in charge of regime’s contacts with Osama bin Laden’s group” in Pakistan. Clearly there was a communications network between the two leaders. Not to be outdone by Newsweek, ABC News produced this report a few days later on January 14, 1999:
~ “Saddam Hussein has a long history of harboring terrorists. Carlos the Jackal, Abu Nidal, Abu Abbas, the most notorious terrorists of their era, all found shelter and support at one time in Baghdad. Intelligence sources say bin Laden’s long relationship with the Iraqis began as he helped Sudan’s fundamentalist government in their efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction. […] ABC News has learned that in December , an Iraqi intelligence chief, named Farouk Hijazi, now Iraq’s ambassador to Turkey, made a secret trip to Afghanistan to meet with bin Laden. Three intelligence agencies tell ABC News they cannot be certain what was discussed, but almost certainly, they say, bin Laden has been told he would be welcome in Baghdad.”~ [2c9odem]
National Public Radio confirmed the ABC News report on February 18, 1999:
~ “There have also been reports in recent months that bin Laden might have been considering moving his operations to Iraq. Intelligence agencies in several nations are looking into that. According to Vincent Cannistraro, a former chief of CIA counterterrorism operations, a senior Iraqi intelligence official, Farouk Hijazi, sought out bin Laden in December and invited him to come to Iraq.” […] “Iraq’s contacts with bin Laden go back some years, to at least 1994, when, according to one US government source, Hijazi met him when bin Laden lived in Sudan. According to Cannistraro, Iraq invited bin Laden to live in Baghdad to be nearer to potential targets of terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. There is a wide gap between bin Laden’s fundamentalism and Saddam Hussein’s secular dictatorship. But some experts believe bin Laden might be tempted to live in Iraq because of his reported desire to obtain chemical or biological weapons.”~ [22l6wyx]
~Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has offered asylum to bin Laden, who openly supports Iraq against the Western powers.~ [27h2zvj]
Aberdeen News February 14, 1999:
~U.S. intelligence officials are worried that a burgeoning alliance between terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein could make the fugitive Saudi’s loose-knit organization much more dangerous. […] Such an alliance, said officials who spoke only on the condition of anonymity, could provide bin Laden’s far-flung operatives with professional training, sophisticated equipment and — in the worst-case scenario — even access to chemical or biological weapons. In addition, the officials said, Palestinian terrorist Abu Nidal is now in Iraq, as is a renowned Palestinian bomb designer, and both could make their expertise available to bin Laden. ”It’s clear the Iraqis would like to have bin Laden in Iraq,” said Vincent Cannistraro, a former head of counterterrorism operations at the Central Intelligence Agency and now a private consultant. ”And the Iraqis have all the technological elements, the trade-craft bin Laden lacks, and they have Abu Nidal.”~ [2bfkx2e]
In mid 1998 it was determined by U.S. intelligence that the El Shifa pharmaceuticals plant in Sudan had begun producing the main chemical ingredient for VX nerve gas. Numerous media reports linked the plant with Iraq. Phone calls between plant executives and an Iraqi nerve gas scientist and officials in Iraq’s chemical weapons program had been intercepted. The following was also reported by the Associated Press in 1999:
~U.S. electronic intercepts of telephone calls during this effort showed ties between senior executives of the plant and known terrorist groups, including the one headed by Osama bin Laden […] The intercepts also linked these executives with people involved in Iraq’s weapons development, including Emad Al Ani, known as the father of Iraq’s chemical weapons program. […] Information from various sources also established a link between the privately owned plant and the Sudanese Military Industrial Complex, a government organization involved in armaments development, the intelligence official said. Prior to 1996, when bin Laden was living in Sudan, he was known by U.S. intelligence to be working with the Sudanese to develop less expensive ways to store and dispense chemical weapons.~ [btfxoqw]
A January, 1999 Washington Post story reported that Iraqi “nerve gas experts” worked at the plant and that Osama bin Laden had been linked to operators of the plant:
~While U.S. intelligence officials disclosed shortly after the missile attack that they had obtained a soil sample from the El Shifa site that contained a precursor of VX nerve gas, Clarke said that the U.S. government is “sure” that Iraqi nerve gas experts actually produced a powdered VX-like substance at the plant, when mixed with bleach and water, would have become fully active VX nerve gas. […] [Clarke also] said that intelligence exists linking bin Laden to El Shifa’s current and past operators, the Iraqi nerve gas experts and the National Islamic Front in Sudan.~ [22uyxlo]
There was much reporting on the Iraq/Sudan/al Qaeda connections. [2zdvw] And there are many other media stories alluded to on the internet predating 9/11 that linked Osama and Saddam or referred to Saddam’s WMDs where the stories have been pulled. [6d9swfj, b6o7h, 5h4nnu] Here are some of the NY Times headlines from before the war: “Iraq Has Network of Outside Help on Arms, Experts Say” (November 1998), “U.S. Says Iraq Aided Production of Chemical Weapons in Sudan” (August 1998), “Iraq Suspected of Secret Germ War Effort” (February 2000), “Signs of Iraqi Arms Buildup Bedevil U.S. Administration” (February 2000), “Flight Tests Show Iraq Has Resumed a Missile Program” (July 2000). [6d9swfj] Clearly, before it became a political story to undermine justification for the Iraq War the orthodox media had no qualms about reporting connections between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden or Iraqi WMD development. The prewar American media establishment, American neighbor, constitutes the sixth nail in the coffin of the liberal groupthink mantra, “Bush lied – thousands died!”ai
• More smoking guns – Clinton administration
Next we will examine the thoughts and conclusions of the Clinton administration. We’ll begin with the report, Patterns of Global Terrorism 1999 from the U.S. Department of State in April 2000: [m72wrqk]
~Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, North Korea, Cuba, and Sudan remain the seven governments that the US Secretary of State has designated as state sponsors of international terrorism.~
~Iraq continued to plan and sponsor international terrorism in 1999. Although Baghdad focused primarily on the anti-regime opposition both at home and abroad, it continued to provide safehaven and support to various terrorist groups. […] Iraq continued to provide safehaven to a variety of Palestinian rejectionist groups, including the Abu Nidal organization, the Arab Liberation Front (ALF), and the former head of the now- defunct 15 May Organization, Abu Ibrahim, who masterminded several bombings of US aircraft.~
~Abu Nidal organization (ANO) a.k.a. Fatah Revolutionary Council, Arab Revolutionary Brigades, Black September, and Revolutionary Organization of Socialist Muslims […] Made up of various functional committees, including political, military, and financial. […] Has carried out terrorist attacks in 20 countries, killing or injuring almost 900 persons. Targets include the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Israel, moderate Palestinians, the PLO, and various Arab countries. […] Al-Banna relocated to Iraq in December 1998, where the group maintains a presence. Has an operational presence in Lebanon in the BekaaValley and several Palestinian refugee camps in coastal areas of Lebanon. Also has a limited presence in Sudan and Syria, among others, although financial problems and internal disorganization have reduced the group’s activities and capabilities. Authorities shut down the ANO’s operations in Libya and Egypt in 1999. Has demonstrated ability to operate over wide area, including the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. […] Has received considerable support, including safehaven, training, logistic assistance, and financial aid from Iraq, Libya, and Syria (until 1987), in addition to close support for selected operations.~
Clearly the Clinton administration was convinced that Saddam Hussein had allied with and supported many international terrorist groups, despite the above quoted reports admitting that direct intelligence gathering in this area was inadequate. For the sake of argument, even without evidence of a direct link between al Qaeda and Iraq (remember, above we found direct evidence), it is unquestionable that Saddam provided a very real threat through other well established terrorist groups and terror masterminds. What difference would it have made if an Iraqi supplied WMD went off in NYC if it was placed by some other terrorist group other than al Qaeda? I doubt New Yorkers would have cared to make a distinction.
Hosting a PBS documentary in July, 2002, former Clinton State Department spokesman James Rubin stated:
~ “Ten years after the Gulf War and Saddam is still there and still continues to stockpile weapons of mass destruction. Now there are suggestions he is working with al-Qaida, which means the very terrorists who attacked the United States last September may now have access to chemical and biological weapons.”~ [mac2ss2]
Clinton Justice Department U.S. attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald, prepared an indictment of Osama bin Laden in 1998 that read:
~Al Qaeda also forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in the Sudan and with the government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hezbollah for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States. In addition, al-Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al-Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al-Qaeda would work cooperatively with the government of Iraq.~ [8d5vvpo]
In 1998 on CNN then UN Ambassador Bill Richardson spoke of:
~ “…direct evidence of ties between Osama bin Laden […] You combine that with Sudan support for terrorism, their connections with Iraq on VX, and you combine that, also, with the chemical precursor issue, and Sudan’s leadership support for Osama bin Laden, and you’ve got a pretty clear-cut case.”~ [mac2ss2]
Also in 1998 Secretary of State Madeline Albright said:
~ “Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.”~ [23gwqmb]
Clinton administration national security adviser, Sandy Berger, wrote in a 1998 Washington Times piece asserting the administration:
~ “…had physical evidence indicating that al Shifa was the site of chemical weapons activity. […] Other products were made at al Shifa. But we have seen such dual-use plants before – in Iraq. And, indeed, we have information that Iraq has assisted chemical weapons activity in Sudan.”~ [mac2ss2]
And elsewhere Berger was quoted as saying:
~ “He [Saddam Hussein] will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983.” ~ [23gwqmb]
Reporting an interview with Clinton administration counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke in January, 1999 the Washington Post wrote:
~Clarke said U.S. intelligence does not know how much of the substance was produced at al Shifa or what happened to it. But he said that intelligence exists linking bin Laden to al Shifa’s current and past operators, the Iraqi nerve gas experts, and the National Islamic Front in Sudan.~ [mac2ss2]
During the 2000 presidential election campaign Democratic candidate Al Gore made it clear that he would invade Iraq to get Saddam Hussein:
~US Vice-President Al Gore has told Iraqi opposition politicians that the United States remains committed to the overthrow of President Saddam Hussein.~ [lzpkm64]
~ “You know as well as I do that as long as Saddam Hussein stays in power there can be no comprehensive peace for the people of Israel or the people of the Middle East. We have made it clear that it is our policy to see Saddam Hussein gone.”~ [mjnx7tg]
All of these above statements were made after a minimum seven straight years of UN inspections in Iraq. There is no doubt that the Clinton administration believed that there were serious connections between al Qaeda and Iraq, and a WMD problem in Iraq.
~Let me tell you what I know. When I left office, there was a substantial amount of biological and chemical material unaccounted for.~ – Bill Clinton, July 2003 [bop53uv]
~So I thought it was prudent for the president to go to the U.N. and for the U.N. to say you got to let these inspectors in, and this time if you don’t cooperate the penalty could be regime change, not just continued sanctions.~ – Bill Clinton, July, 2003 [bop53uv]
~Clinton told King: “People can quarrel with whether we should have more troops in Afghanistan or internationalize Iraq or whatever, but it is incontestable that on the day I left office, there were unaccounted for stocks of biological and chemical weapons.”~ [cv2n2tu] – Bill Clinton, July, 2003
Note that these last three quotations of former President Clinton are from four months after the beginning of the Iraq War. Dozens more juicy Democratic Party member quotations are available here: [*8zh6amo] This is the seventh nail in the coffin of the liberal groupthink mantra, “Bush lied – thousands died!”aj
• 16 words & the lies told about them
Remember the stink created by those “16 words” in 2003 State of the Union address?
~ “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”~
Well, it turns out that according to the above referenced Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction report and a parallel British Butler Report, at the time, British Intelligence and the CIA did indeed believe this. [pfamjet] Again, this turned out to be an error in intelligence, not a lie by the President. Oh, and remember how Joe Wilson claimed after-the-fact he had disproved the State of the Union statement? That turned out to be a Joe Wilson lie. His only report to the CIA led them to conclude that Wilson “lent more credibility to the original Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports on the uranium deal.” As an aside, Joe Wilson is married to none other than Valeria Plame whose CIA cover was supposedly blown by a vindictive White House. This too has turned out to be a Joe Wilson lie. Here is a rebuttal of the recently released movie that tells only Joe Wilson’s side of the story: [*28opo6k, *27kd4t8] The first article also clears up the controversy about the aluminum tubes as well. This link provides another even clearer explanation of the Plame story: [*cjtnzlf] Here is an eighth nail in the coffin of the liberal groupthink mantra, “Bush lied – thousands died!” If liberals want to go after a real case of endangering a real covert spy, maybe they could go after the Obama administration. [*7o94rtz]ak
• The anthrax attack
Beginning one week after the 9/11 attack, letters containing weaponized anthrax arrived at various locations throughout the United States. Immediately, al Qaeda was suspected as the sender and Iraq as the source. Subsequent investigations have never led to any solid conclusions, but evidence now again points to this scenario as the likely explanation since the prime domestic American suspect has now been virtually exonerated. [yejs9bf, 3buvm3l]
Following the attacks there was controversy over an Iraqi origin because of a lack of bentonite in the samples. A presence of bentonite would have been strong evidence of an Iraqi origin, but its lack of presence does not rule out Iraq. Indeed, the fact that bentonite was not used may be that the Iraqis wished to sacrifice the additional lethality for anonymity. The high silicon content still made the anthrax extremely deadly (the silicon content was controversial for some time, but is now accepted). A direct connection to al Qaeda was a Sun tabloid editor who worked at a Florida address that received an anthrax letter and whose wife was the landlady of two of the 9/11 highjackers. [2r4cjh] Other bits of evidence were the 9/11 attackers interest in crop dusting aircraft, and one of the highjackers being treated for what appeared to be anthrax lesions at a Florida emergency room. [3j7t9vn] Regardless of the subsequent evidence, the administration in 2002 could not exhaustively rule out Iraq as the anthrax source, and certainly the news media had not. It would have been extremely reckless to do so, at least in private, and would have been suspicious evidence of a direct connection between Iraq and al Qaeda, and more justification for an invasion. We now have a ninth nail in the liberal groupthink mantra, “Bush lied – thousands died!”al
• Iraq invasion authorization
Congress passed and President Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 [5d9d7v, afco] which called for regime change in Iraq. This was preceded by the Iraqi Breach of International Obligations [5s624gf] which instructed the President to “take appropriate action … to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations.” Both of these laws were still in effect when the President finally acted on these instructions – President Bush, that is. In October, 2002 the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 [pbn59] was enacted which again authorized President Bush to do, in stronger and more detailed terms nothing more than the resolutions passed in 1998 had previously authorized.
The UN then rubberstamped the war option with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441 passed unanimously as a warning to Saddam Hussein; “a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations”. [y9cs7db] A “final opportunity” before what, American neighbor? Well, obviously not another resolution, but before invasion. The multinational force was already on Iraq’s border. No matter what other arguments are put forth about some supposed ambiguity over whether the resolution authorized invasion are all rendered mute by this term “final opportunity”. This was the last in a line of UN resolutions that Saddam had violated, dating back over a decade, specifically “recalling that its resolution 678 (1990) authorized Member States to use all necessary means” to resolve the conflict. When Saddam was found to have violated resolution 1441 as well, by this wording the resolution in effect became a continuing declaration of war by “all necessary means”. Furthermore it declared that a continuing “ceasefire would be based on acceptance by Iraq” of resolution 687 which it had continued to violate. Based on the above resolution, it concludes that Iraq would face, “serious consequences as a result of its continued violations”. All of these wordings, “final opportunity”, “all necessary means”, “ceasefire would be based on acceptance” and “serious consequences” amount to an authorization for invasion if this resolution or any previous resolutions that it covered were again violated. Saddam Hussein violated all of them. These authorizations represent the tenth nail in the coffin of the liberal groupthink mantra, “Bush lied – thousands died!”am
• The American people had supported invading Iraq since before Bush
From February, 2001 (one month after the George W. Bush inauguration) to February, 2003 (one month prior to the invasion), the American people consistently favored forcibly removing Saddam Hussein from power, with never less than 52% for removal and never more than 43% against. While this is not explicit evidence against the mantra that Bush lied, it does illustrate that a large plurality of the American people believed Saddam was enough of a threat to necessitate forcible removal. Note that these polls predate 9/11 and the early ones would be a reflection of opinions first made under the influence of the Clinton administration. [d6xufej] Bush did not have to convince the American people – they were already convinced. This consistent support represents the eleventh nail in the coffin of the liberal groupthink mantra, “Bush lied – thousands died!”an
• Hans Blix report
On February 14, 2003, chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix presented a verbal report to the Security Council. In his report he identified the single most important obstacle of the inspections:
~Another matter – and one of great significance – is that many proscribed weapons and items are not accounted for. To take an example, a document, which Iraq provided, suggested to us that some 1,000 tonnes of chemical agent were “unaccounted for”. […] Mr President, in my earlier briefings, I have noted that significant outstanding issues of substance were listed in two Security Council documents from early 1999 (S/1999/94 and S/1999/356) and should be well known to Iraq. I referred, as examples, to the issues of anthrax, the nerve agent VX and long-range missiles, and said that such issues “deserve to be taken seriously by Iraq rather than being brushed aside”. The declaration submitted by Iraq on 7 December, despite its large volume, missed the opportunity to provide the fresh material and evidence needed to respond to the open questions. This is perhaps the most important problem we are facing.~ [co5qakx]
Did you get that, American neighbor? Large quantities (“many proscribed weapons”) of previously documented biological and chemical WMDs, and long range missiles were still unaccounted for through the inspection process. Iraq was proving to be uncooperative in determining the whereabouts of known illicit materials and weapons. Blix concluded: “This is perhaps the most important problem we are facing.” In May of 2003 Blix reported:
~Inspections and declarations and documents submitted by Iraq, not least during the period under review, contributed to a better understanding of previous weapons programmes. However, the long list of proscribed items unaccounted for and as such resulting in unresolved disarmament issues was not shortened either by the inspections or by Iraqi declarations and documentation. From the end of January 2003, the Iraqi side, which until then had been cooperative in terms of process but not equally cooperative in terms of subsistence, devoted much effort to providing explanations and proposing methods of inquiry into such issues as the production and destruction of anthrax, VX and long-range missiles. Despite those efforts, little progress was made in the solution of outstanding issues during the time of UNMOVIC operations in Iraq.~ [c89oaq8]
This statement was made two months after the Iraq invasion. Large known stockpiles of anthrax and VX nerve agent could still not be accounted for, and have never been accounted for up to this day. These reports represent the twelfth nail in the coffin of the liberal groupthink mantra, “Bush lied – thousands died!”ao
• Evidence for WMD
That Iraq possessed stockpiles of WMDs up until shortly before the invasion is of little doubt, American neighbor. The evidence that WMDs were transported out of the country is overwhelming for anyone who cares to do a little reading. Unfortunately, this does not include Democrats, the orthodox media, many Republicans and liberals in general. For instance, there is no formal, public account for three Russian ships that were suspected of carrying Iraqi WMDs smuggled out through Syria that steamed shortly before the beginning of the Iraq invasion. The strategy was probably based on a hope by the regime that Bush would fail to overthrow Saddam Hussein, and when safe the WMD could be returned to Iraq. For months these ships were tracked steaming around in circles with long periods of no radio communication, suggesting much of Saddam’s WMDs may now be at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean. [5tz2caw, 5uu5f6h] Additionally, another two Russian cargo ships sailed from the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr shortly before the beginning of the invasion [mnlmsx4] and may have dumped WMD cargo into the Indian Ocean. It may even be that WMD stockpiles are still hidden in underground bunkers with flooded access. A number have been identified by official WMD hunters, but as of 2008 they still had not been inspected. [5qhpaf, 4gvglwk] And the evidence and testimony that WMDs were transferred to Syria, Lebanon and other countries is more than enough to place doubt in the conclusion that there simply were not any WMDs in Iraq before the war. [d6qsx2m, 6uslx5c] The doubts that this evidence creates is the thirteenth nail in the coffin of the liberal groupthink mantra, “Bush lied – thousands died!”ap
• The Duelfer report
After the invasion the Iraq Survey Group was assembled and originally headed by post Gulf War weapons inspector, David Kay to find WMDs and determine Saddam’s intentions prior to the war. Kay resigned in January of 2004 (more on David Kay later). Another weapons inspector, Charles Duelfer took over the ISG and made a final report known as the Duelfer Report on September 30, 2004. [2dh8b3x] Here are some of the findings:
~Hussein’s primary goal from 1991 to 2003 was to have UN sanctions lifted, while maintaining the security of the regime.~ [c56neu7]
~By 2000-2001, Saddam had managed to mitigate many of the effects of sanctions and undermine their international support.~ [c56neu7]
~The Iraq Survey Group (ISG) judged that events in the 1980s and early 1990s shaped Saddam’s belief in the value of WMD.~ [c56neu7]
~Saddam wanted to recreate Iraq’s WMD capability, which was essentially destroyed in 1991, after sanctions were removed and Iraq’s economy stabilized. Saddam aspired to develop a nuclear capability—in an incremental fashion, irrespective of international pressure and the resulting economic risks—but he intended to focus on ballistic missile and tactical chemical warfare (CW) capabilities.~ [c56neu7]
~Many former Iraqi officials close to Saddam either heard him say or inferred that he intended to resume WMD programs when sanctions were lifted. Those around him at the time do not believe that he made a decision to permanently abandon WMD programs. Saddam encouraged Iraqi officials to preserve the nation’s scientific brain trust essential for WMD. Saddam told his advisors as early as 1991 that he wanted to keep Iraq’s nuclear scientists fully employed. This theme of preserving personnel resources persisted throughout the sanctions period.~ [2dh8b3x]
~Iraq attempted to balance competing desires to appear to cooperate with the UN and have sanctions lifted, and to preserve the ability to eventually reconstitute its weapons of mass destruction. Iraqi behavior under sanctions reflects the interplay between Saddam’s perceived requirements for WMD and his confidence in the Regime’s ability to ride out inspections without full compliance, and the perceived costs and longevity of sanctions.~ [2dh8b3x]
~The Regime made a token effort to comply with the disarmament process, but the Iraqis never intended to meet the spirit of the UNSC’s resolutions. Outward acts of compliance belied a covert desire to resume WMD activities. Several senior officials also either inferred or heard Saddam say that he reserved the right to resume WMD research after sanctions.~ [2dh8b3x]
~Iraq attempted to balance competing desires to appear to cooperate with the UN and have sanctions lifted, and to preserve the ability to eventually reconstitute its weapons of mass destruction.~
~Several senior officials also either inferred or heard Saddam say that he reserved the right to resume WMD research after sanctions.~
~In addition to preserved capability, we have clear evidence of his intent to resume WMD as soon as sanctions were lifted.~
~There is an extensive, yet fragmentary and circumstantial, body of evidence suggesting that Saddam pursued a strategy to maintain a capability to return to WMD after sanctions were lifted by preserving assets and expertise. In addition to preserved capability, we have clear evidence of his intent to resume WMD as soon as sanctions were lifted. The infrequent and uninformed questions ascribed to him by former senior Iraqis may betray a lack of deep background knowledge and suggest that he had not been following the efforts closely. Alternatively, Saddam may not have fully trusted those with whom he was discussing these programs. Both factors were probably at play. All sources, however, suggest that Saddam encouraged compartmentalization and would have discussed something as sensitive as WMD with as few people as possible.~ [2dh8b3x]
There are many more statements to the same effect in the report. The salient point here is that Saddam Hussein was determined to have the sanctions against Iraq lifted so that he could again freely pursue the development of WMDs. This had been determined as far back as 1998 in the Clinton administration:
~“Saddam’s goal … is to achieve the lifting of U.N. sanctions while retaining and enhancing Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs. We cannot, we must not and we will not let him succeed.”~ – Madeline Albright, Secretary of State
Saddam would again become a terrorism threat:
~Fourth, the Iraq Survey Group also found that Saddam Hussein’s henchmen had plans to emplace sarin nerve gas and sulfur mustard in “perfume sprayers and medicine bottles which they would ship to the United States and Europe.” … Fifth, the Iraq Survey Group learned that “ricin [a deadly toxin] was being developed into stable liquid to deliver as an aerosol.” As one of the ISG’s inspectors, Richard Spertzel, observed in the Wall Street Journal last October: “Such development was not just for assassination. If Iraq was successful in developing an aerosolizable ricin, it made a significant step forward. The development had to be for terrorist delivery. Even on a small scale, this must be considered as a WMD.” … Sixth, Saddam’s regime actually tested its arsenal of WMD against human subjects. According to Mr. Spertzel, this may have continued as late as 2002.~ [choezcw]
~An average of 250 people die every day in Iraq due to the direct effects of sanctions (UNICEF, 1998). … For every seven children in Iraq, one dies before the age of five — an estimated 5,000 excess child deaths every month above the mortality rate in 1989, before sanctions were imposed (UNICEF, 1999). … The total value allocated to each person in Iraq under the UN Oil-for-Food programme amounts to less than 49 cents per day. … And estimated 14-16 million Iraqis — some two-thirds of the population — are solely dependent on food rations for their survival (UN Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq — UNOHCI).~ [d8q4otp]
On September 5, 2002 the Arab League called for the UN sanctions to be lifted from Iraq:
It was inevitable that the Iraq sanctions would eventually crumble and Duelfer’s conclusions that Saddam Hussein would reconstitute his WMD programs would have become reality.
~At two-day Arab League meeting, Arab foreign ministers strongly oppose a possible unilateral US attack against Iraq, call for UN sanctions to be lifted, appeal to Iraq to come to an agreement with UN on inspections. (Financial Times, 6 September 2002, 2; Washington Post, 6 September 2002, A18)~ [2txcvx]
France, Russia and China had demanded that the sanctions be lifted for years. [cfsxn7c, btr6jw5] In Canada an all-party committee recommended lifting the UN sanctions. [cod593v] Dozens of organizations from around the world had publically called for the removal of the sanctions. [ccx9tx3, bup77zf, blllc29, bta5uhr] It was inevitable that the Iraq sanctions would eventually crumble and Duelfer’s conclusions that Saddam Hussein would reconstitute his WMD programs would have become reality. A new set of rules, called Smart Sanctions were attempted in 2002, but failed to get UN support because of many doubts as to their effectiveness. A continuing failure of the sanctions without invasion would have signaled to the world’s terrorists that the United States and the UN were nothing more than paper tigers, and that Iraq would again be a safe-haven from which to strike out, possibly even supplying them with newly developed WMDs in perfume bottles, and more. The fact that the ISG saw Saddam Hussein as a definite future WMD threat without the sanctions which were failing more each year with less and less support, represents the fourteenth nail in the coffin of the liberal groupthink mantra, “Bush lied – thousands died!”aq
• Dr. David Kay
As mentioned above, David Kay was the first head of the ISG. He provided a preliminary report to three congressional committees on October 2 2003. For a concise summary of Dr. Kay’s report and its implications read this article by Andrew Sullivan (the full report follows): [*clwek2c]
From the report:
~With regard to Iraq’s nuclear program, the testimony we have obtained from Iraqi scientists and senior government officials should clear up any doubts about whether Saddam still wanted to obtain nuclear weapons. They have told ISG that Saddam Husayn remained firmly committed to acquiring nuclear weapons.~
~We have discovered 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.~
This is postwar proof that Saddam failed to live up to the final UN resolution 1441, thus providing justification for the decision to invade, in full accordance with UN approval. This conclusion by David Kay taken in parallel with the Duelfer Report’s later conclusion that Saddam would immediately restart his WMD programs once sanctions had been lifted, illustrates the extent of the threat of Saddam Hussein.
~With regard to Iraq’s nuclear program, the testimony we have obtained from Iraqi scientists and senior government officials should clear up any doubts about whether Saddam still wanted to obtain nuclear weapons. They have told ISG that Saddam Husayn remained firmly committed to acquiring nuclear weapons.~
And this was no pipedream of Saddam. His regime had a detailed, working knowledge of how to manufacture a nuclear weapon, far beyond anything available on the internet. [*bslhtlz]
~Kay told the SASC during his oral report the following, though: “Based on the intelligence that existed, I think it was reasonable to reach the conclusion that Iraq posed an imminent threat. Now that you know reality on the ground as opposed to what you estimated before, you may reach a different conclusion — although I must say I actually think what we learned during the inspection made Iraq a more dangerous place, potentially, than, in fact, we thought it was even before the war.”~ [clzb7tf]
I could stop right here, American neighbor, and say, “Case closed – what else do you need to know?” This is the fifteenth nail in the coffin of the liberal groupthink mantra, “Bush lied – thousands died!”, but I’m not done yet.ar
• The ISG on the ground in Iraq
In conclusions about the Al Muthanna chemical weapons complex the CIA states:
~ISG conducted multiple exploitations of the Al Muthanna site to determine whether old chemical weapons, equipment, or toxic chemicals had been looted or tampered with since the last UN visit to the site. ISG is unable to unambiguously determine the complete fate of old munitions, materials, and chemicals produced and stored there.~ [men5vqp]
In his report to congress David Kay described the risks of the search for WMDs:
~The bad news is that we have to do this under conditions that ensure that our work will take time and impose serious physical dangers on those who are asked to carry it out.~
The postwar search for WMDs was no Easter egg hunt. These were not prewar inspections of infant milk plants.
~A military unit designated Expeditionary Task Force-75 (XTF-75) was deployed during the war to investigate suspected locations for WMD stocks. Many sites were inspected but with an aim of discovering WMD, not inspecting and developing an analytical assessment of the Iraqi programs. Wartime conditions prevailed with concern about force protection primary. The work of XTF-75 was therefore aimed at discovery of possible WMD locations (to eliminate a threat), not the compilation of evidence to build a picture of what happened to the weapons and programs. […] Physical inspection of sites has been pursued to the extent possible. This is a dangerous activity under the circumstances of 2004: We had two fatalities, and ISG teams have been shot at many times with some serious injuries. Many armored cars have been destroyed in attacks. This has made site investigations more difficult.~ [cdba2bm]
~The bad news is that we have to do this under conditions that ensure that our work will take time and impose serious physical dangers on those who are asked to carry it out.~ The postwar search for WMDs was no Easter egg hunt. These were not prewar inspections of infant milk plants.
The American military didn’t care about difficult-to-access places that might be hiding WMDs. They were worried about easy access dumps that might be looted by the insurgents. If they weren’t easily accessible to the ISG, they weren’t easily accessible to the insurgents either, so they were ignored.
~Work in Iraq was very difficult. Contrary to expectations, ISG’s ability to gather information was in most ways more limited than was that of United Nations inspectors. First, many sites had been reduced to rubble either by the war or subsequent looting. The coalition did not have the manpower to secure the various sites thought to be associated with WMD. Hence, as a military unit moved through an area, possible WMD sites might have been examined, but they were left soon after. Looters often destroyed the sites once they were abandoned. … A second difficulty was the lack of incentive for WMD program participants to speak with ISG investigators. On the one hand, those who cooperated risked retribution from former Regime supporters for appearing to assist the occupying power. On the other hand, there was substantial risk that the Coalition would incarcerate these individuals. Hence, for the most part, individuals related to Iraqi WMD tried to avoid being found. Even long after the war, many Iraqi scientists and engineers find little incentive to speak candidly about the WMD efforts of the previous Regime. This is exacerbated by their life-long experience of living with the threat of horrible punishment for speaking candidly. … The third constraint was the growing risk from the insurgency. From roughly November 2003 onward, it was very difficult to simply travel to points of interest by investigators. Armored cars and protection by military units were required. Many ISG armored vehicles were damaged or destroyed by hostile fire or improvised explosive devices, and two military personnel lost their lives assisting the investigation, SGT Sherwood R. Baker and SGT Lawrence A. Roukey. … A fourth hurdle was that, given the difficult conditions existing in Iraq, many individuals had little interest in remaining in Iraq for a lengthy time, and typically an analyst would come to ISG for only a couple of months, which produced great inefficiencies: Individuals would become familiar with certain Iraqi issues and then depart. Many detainees were interviewed multiple times by a number of analysts seeking answers to the same question. The only ISG member who was present from the beginning until the drafting of this report was the ISG Chaplain.~ [cdba2bm]
~From roughly November 2003 onward, it was very difficult to simply travel to points of interest by investigators. Armored cars and protection by military units were required. Many ISG armored vehicles were damaged or destroyed by hostile fire or improvised explosive devices, and two military personnel lost their lives assisting the investigation … many individuals had little interest in remaining in Iraq for a lengthy time, and typically an analyst would come to ISG for only a couple of months, which produced great inefficiencies: Individuals would become familiar with certain Iraqi issues and then depart. … The only ISG member who was present from the beginning until the drafting of this report was the ISG Chaplain.~
~Moreover, many locations associated with the previous WMD programs and sites under monitoring by the United Nations have been completely looted. In fact, the sites that filled the database of monitored locations are radically different postwar. Equipment and material in the majority of locations have been removed or ruined. Often there is nothing but a concrete slab at locations where once stood plants or laboratories.~ [cdba2bm]
~For example, we cannot express a firm view on the possibility that WMD elements were relocated out of Iraq prior to the war. Reports of such actions exist, but we have not yet been able to investigate this possibility thoroughly. Likewise, there remains some uncertainty concerning reports of mobile BW capabilities—though we have conducted an extensive investigation and we have a paucity of confirmatory information, there is still some possibility that such a capability did exist.~ [cdba2bm]
~Dr. Kay believed that, if ISG were to find any WMD in Iraq, the Iraqis would probably have to lead ISG to it.~ Scope Note
~RM: Can you describe these sites with a little bit more detail? DG: The first site is within a couple of miles of several thousand U.S. military personnel at Ali Air Base, previously called Talil Air Base. WMDs (chemical and/or biological) are inside concrete bunkers buried under the riverbed of the Euphrates. The second site is in the sewage pipe system near the SaddamHospital, where Private Jessica Lynch was a POW. There are pipes within the pipes. The third site has WMD buried in canals and is approximately 20 miles south of Nasariyah. Missile imprints were seen near the canal. The fourth site is at Umm Qasr. The WMD are hidden in the channel of the Umm Qasr. An Iraqi police captain assigned to both Nasariyah and Basra had information on this site. Other Iraqis identified this site as well.~ [cz6y9jg]
~Even Charles Duelfer acknowledged that the ISG had only inspected less than 10% of the sites.~ [cz6y9jg]
~Charles Dulefer [sic] admitted the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) only searched less than 10% of all suspected sites. The four sites myself and other Agents identified in 2003 were not pre-1991 weapons.~ [czd7bwk]
~Our President only gets filtered information provided to him. Charles Duelfer, the former director of the ISG, provided the information he wanted President Bush to obtain. He never informed President Bush that the ISG was negligent by only searching less than 10% of all sites identified. Charles Duelfer said at the beginning of the war and in an interview two weeks ago that “it was dangerous to go to suspected sites, and is still dangerous; the area is a war zone.” This is what we were up against. I have never known of any war that was not dangerous. He should have taken this into consideration before accepting the Director position.~ [cz6y9jg]
~Charles Dulefer [sic] admitted the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) only searched less than 10% of all suspected sites.~
~The Department of Defense instructed all US intelligence officers that every mosque in Iraq was off-limits and we were not authorized to go inside them. This was a mistake. Every intelligence officer knew that weapons were stored in Iraqi schools and mosques. In war there should never be off-limit areas. The U.S. should have learned this from previous wars. If a mosque is off-limits, then this is where our enemies and their weapons will be hidden. We knew it then and we know it now, but it is politically incorrect to search them.~ [cz6y9jg]
• Unfinished business – liberals can finish the WMD search
The Duelfer Report was the result of a multinational mission to account for the WMD stockpiles that were believed to exist in post-invasion Iraq. It failed to do so, and erroneously concluded that WMD stockpiles no longer existed in Iraq despite not investigating more than 90% of the estimated and previously uninspected sites, including the bunkers mentioned above. That over 90% of suspected sites have not been inspected is not surprising. First, as layed out by David Kay, it was dangerous, time-consuming and expensive work, often in a hostile environment. It was certainly nothing like inspecting warehouses or baby milk factories with Iraqi government minders, as before the invasion. Many of the suspected sites were suspected to be remote bunkers, with deteriorated access, often underground and underwater, requiring large equipment, partial damming of rivers and security details, and if they actually did contain WMDs, may very likely have been booby trapped. Who the hell would want to do that kind of work when the risks were so high and the payoff is so minimal? Apparently not too many based on the extremely high turnover rate of personnel – even at the top. David Kay lasted only a few months, and his replacement Charles Duelfer couldn’t have wrapped things up sooner, again after only a few months, with over 90% of potential sites left uninspected. (And then there were also the hundreds of mosques and schools that were deemed off-limits to inspection due to political correctness – what kind of liberal shit-thinking was that?!?) The prevalent attitude seemed to be, ‘Better to let sleeping dogs lie’ (as with the above mentioned bunkers). If they were difficult for the American military to investigate, the thinking was that they were also difficult for the insurgents to loot. Unfortunately, President Bush had to bare the brunt of unjust criticism for not finding WMD stockpiles, that for a Democratic President the above explanations would have been more than enough to fully exonerate (the inevitable liberal double standards). So anyone insisting unequivocally that there were no WMD stockpiles in Iraq is just playing stupid – how could anyone possibly know when the official mission didn’t even do a thorough search? (Now when you hear that in the news or read it on some blog, you know you’ve stumbled upon a presumptuous, uninformed demagogue, American neighbor.) The most that can be stated is that no large stockpiles were found (publicly known of that is) in the very few places that were searched before the search teams scrammed out of there. At this time there is no possible way to know if there were or still are WMD stockpiles in Iraq. (Any liberals care to go do some digging and prove me wrong? There are still 90% of the suspected sites left to be inspected, and at the time there were hundreds of mosques and schools to examine as well. In effect, this probably means that less than 1% of all potential hiding places for Saddam’s WMDs were inspected. Hope you don’t get blown up, or beheaded, or shot, dragged by a truck and hung from a bridge…)at
• Deprogramming lessons
Saddam was a mass murderer who had used WMD’s on innocent people. He possessed WMD’s, equipment to manufacture large amounts of WMD’s, large supplies of precursors for chemical weapons, concentrated bioweapons ready to reconstitute a full biological warfare department, a technically prepared nuclear weapons program (at least on paper – and likely more in hardware than we know). Saddam also trained international terrorists, funded international terrorists, and had working ties with al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. Liberals insisted that invading Iraq would provoke even more terrorism worldwide. Again they were wrong:
~The State Department reported Thursday there were fewer international terrorist attacks last year than any time since 1969~ April 29, 2004 [coh2j8f]
At this time there is no possible way to know if there were or still are WMD stockpiles in Iraq. (Any liberals care to go do some digging and prove me wrong? There are still 90% of the suspected sites left to be inspected, and at the time there were hundreds of mosques and schools to examine as well. Hope you don’t get blown up, or beheaded, or shot, dragged by a truck and hung from a bridge…)
In conclusion, the prewar intelligence that suggested that Saddam Hussein would inevitably become a future threat has been confirmed as generally accurate at the time by four separate bipartisan U.S. government oversight reports, the British Butler Report and FactCheck.org which mostly agree with pre-9/11 American media reports, the Clinton administration and Saddam Hussein’s own newspaper.
Was the intelligence about Iraq water tight? No. Were there exaggerations by the administration? Sure. Was there intelligence to support most of the administration’s contentions and conclusions? Absolutely! Former President Bush would have been a reckless fool to ignore the intelligence illustrating that Saddam Hussein was most certainly a future threat that would have to be confronted. The former President had no choice but to invade Iraq, and any reasonable person in his place would have come to the same conclusion.
Remember our MCTE question: How many nails does it take to permanently close and bury the coffin of a zombie argument, American neighbor? Well, for the zombie argument of “Bush lied – thousands died!” it apparently takes sixteen nails. At least for you and me, American neighbor, this zombie will never again see the light of day. Liberty cannot be realized without security. Invading Iraq was all about the future of liberty in America. Thank you for your leadership, President Bush!au
• Deprogramming exercise
Quotes and Facts on Iraq [*4e28x]
Reasons for War: Things you might have forgotten about Iraq. [*5h4nnu]
Why We Went to War [*qnfz]
Literally dozens of links to media reports: No Lies About Iraq [*78tm5y]
More media links: Connect the Dots . . . Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden [*3o33y]av
• Humor, sort-of
It is ironic that despite the fact that our end of essay humor is one big joke, it also can be described in only two little words – Joe Wilson.
~The bipartisan Senate report also discovered that Wilson was telling the press things that he couldn’t possibly have known about. Wilson was the source in a Washington Post article that said documents related to the supposed Niger uranium sale to Iraq were forged because “the dates were wrong and the names were wrong.” Except, as the Senate report noted, Wilson “had never seen the CIA reports and had no knowledge of what names and dates were in the reports.” Wilson told the Senate committee that he may have “misspoken.”~ [28opo6k]
Indeed, and not the first time…
[This is the end of #22 The Quiet Funeral of “Bush Lied – Thousands Died!”. Proceed to Previews & Links to 22 N.C. Essays.]