On October 9, 1998, the Senate Committee on Armed Services wrote a letter to President Bill Clinton, reminding him of that February's resolution authorizing military force if Saddam failed to comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions "concerning the disclosure and destruction of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction."
The letter concluded: "[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs." The Democrat Senators Levin, Lieberman, Lautenberg, Dodd, Kerrey, Feinstein, Mikulski, Daschle, Breaux, Johnson, Inouye, Landrieu, Ford and Kerry signed it.
President Clinton then addressed the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Pentagon staff. The following are his remarks:
"Please be seated. Thank you.
"Thank you very much, Mr. Vice President, for your remarks and your leadership. Thank you, Secretary Cohen, for the superb job you have done here at the Pentagon and on this most recent very difficult problem. Thank you, General Shelton, for being the right person at the right time.
"Thank you, General Ralston, and the members of the joint chiefs, General Zinni, Secretary Albright, Secretary Slater, DCIA Tenet, Mr. Bowles, Mr. Berger, Senator Robb thank you for being here and Congressman Skelton. Thank you very much, and for your years of service to America and your passionate patriotism both of you. And to the members of our armed forces and others who work here to protect our national security.
I have just received a very fine briefing from our military leadership on the status of our forces in the Persian Gulf. Before I left the Pentagon, I wanted to talk to you and all those whom you represent, the men and women of our military. You, your friends and your colleagues are on the front lines of this crisis in Iraq.
"I want you, and I want the American people, to hear directly from me what is at stake for America in the Persian Gulf, what we are doing to protect the peace, the security, the freedom we cherish, why we have taken the position we have taken.
"I was thinking as I sat up here on the platform, of the slogan that the first lady gave me for her project on the Millennium, which was, remembering the past and imagining the future.
"Now, for that project, that means preserving the Star Spangled Banner and the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and it means making an unprecedented commitment to medical research and to get the best of the new technology. But that's not a bad slogan for us when we deal with more sober, more difficult, more dangerous matters.
"Those who have questioned the United States in this moment, I would argue, are living only in the moment. They have neither remembered the past nor imagined the future.
"So first, let's just take a step back and consider why meeting the threat posed by Saddam Hussein is important to our security in the new era we are entering. This is a time of tremendous promise for America. The superpower confrontation has ended; on every continent Democracy is securing for more and more people the basic freedoms we Americans have come to take for granted. Bit by bit the information age is chipping away at the barriers economic, political and social that once kept people locked in and freedom and prosperity locked out.
"But for all our promise, all our opportunity, people in this room know very well that this is not a time free from peril, especially as a result of reckless acts of outlaw nations and an unholy axis of terrorists, drug traffickers and organized international criminals.
"We have to defend our future from these predators of the 21st century. They feed on the free flow of information and technology. They actually take advantage of the freer movement of people, information and ideas.
"And they will be all the more lethal if we allow them to build arsenals of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them. We simply cannot allow that to happen.
"There is no more clear example of this threat than Saddam Hussein's Iraq. His regime threatens the safety of his people, the stability of his region and the security of all the rest of us.
"I want the American people to understand first, how did this past crisis come about?
"And I want them to understand what we must do to protect the national interest, and indeed the interest of all freedom-loving people in the world.
"Remember, as a condition of the cease-fire after the Gulf War, the United Nations demanded not the United States, the United Nations demanded, and Saddam Hussein agreed to declare within 15 days, this is way back in 1991, within 15 days his nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them, to make a total declaration. That's what he promised to do.
"The United Nations set up a special commission of highly trained international experts called UNSCOM, to make sure that Iraq made good on that commitment. We had every good reason to insist that Iraq disarm. Saddam had built up a terrible arsenal, and he had used it not once, but many times, in a decade-long war with Iran, he used chemical weapons, against combatants, against civilians, against a foreign adversary, and even against his own people.
"And during the Gulf War, Saddam launched Scuds against Saudi Arabia, Israel and Bahrain.
"Now, instead of playing by the very rules he agreed to at the end of the Gulf War, Saddam has spent the better part of the past decade trying to cheat on this solemn commitment. Consider just some of the facts:
"Iraq repeatedly made false declarations about the weapons that it had left in its possession after the Gulf War. When UNSCOM would then uncover evidence that gave lie to those declarations, Iraq would simply amend the reports.
"For example, Iraq revised its nuclear declarations four times within just 14 months and it has submitted six different biological warfare declarations, each of which has been rejected by UNSCOM.
"In 1995, Hussein Kamal, Saddam's son-in-law, and the chief organizer of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program, defected to Jordan. He revealed that Iraq was continuing to conceal weapons and missiles and the capacity to build many more.
Then and only then did Iraq admit to developing numbers of weapons in significant quantities and weapon stocks. Previously, it had vehemently denied the very thing it just simply admitted once Saddam Hussein's son-in-law defected to Jordan and told the truth. Now listen to this, what did it admit?
"It admitted, among other things, an offensive biological warfare capability, notably 5,000 gallons of botulinum, which causes botulism; 2,000 gallons of anthrax; 25 biological-filled Scud warheads; and 157 aerial bombs.
"And I might say UNSCOM inspectors believe that Iraq has actually greatly understated its production.
"As if we needed further confirmation, you all know what happened to his son-in-law when he made the untimely decision to go back to Iraq.
"Next, throughout this entire process, Iraqi agents have undermined and undercut UNSCOM. They've harassed the inspectors, lied to them, disabled monitoring cameras, literally spirited evidence out of the back doors of suspect facilities as inspectors walked through the front door. And our people were there observing it and had the pictures to prove it.
"Despite Iraq's deceptions, UNSCOM has nevertheless done a remarkable job. Its inspectors, the eyes and ears of the civilized world, have uncovered and destroyed more weapons of mass destruction capacity than was destroyed during the Gulf War.
This includes nearly 40,000 chemical weapons, more than 100,000 gallons of chemical weapons agents, 48 operational missiles, 30 warheads specifically fitted for chemical and biological weapons, and a massive biological weapons facility at Al Hakam equipped to produce anthrax and other deadly agents.
"Over the past few months, as they have come closer and closer to rooting out Iraq's remaining nuclear capacity, Saddam has undertaken yet another gambit to thwart their ambitions.
"By imposing debilitating conditions on the inspectors and declaring key sites which have still not been inspected off limits, including, I might add, one palace in Baghdad more than 2,600 acres large by comparison, when you hear all this business about presidential sites reflect our sovereignty, why do you want to come into a residence, the White House complex is 18 acres. So you'll have some feel for this.
One of these presidential sites is about the size of Washington, D.C. That's about how many acres did you tell me it was? 40,000 acres. We're not talking about a few rooms here with delicate personal matters involved.
"It is obvious that there is an attempt here, based on the whole history of this operation since 1991, to protect whatever remains of his capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction, the missiles to deliver them, and the feed stocks necessary to produce them.
"The UNSCOM inspectors believe that Iraq still has stockpiles of chemical and biological munitions, a small force of Scud-type missiles, and the capacity to restart quickly its production program and build many, many more weapons.
"Now, against that background, let us remember the past here. It is against that background that we have repeatedly and unambiguously made clear our preference for a diplomatic solution.
"The inspection system works. The inspection system has worked in the face of lies, stonewalling, obstacle after obstacle after obstacle. The people who have done that work deserve the thanks of civilized people throughout the world.
"It has worked. That is all we want. And if we can find a diplomatic way to do what has to be done, to do what he promised to do at the end of the Gulf War, to do what should have been done within 15 days of the agreement at the end of the Gulf War, if we can find a diplomatic way to do that, that is by far our preference.
"But to be a genuine solution, and not simply one that glosses over the remaining problem, a diplomatic solution must include or meet a clear, immutable, reasonable, simple standard.
"Iraq must agree and soon, to free, full, unfettered access to these sites anywhere in the country. There can be no dilution or diminishment of the integrity of the inspection system that UNSCOM has put in place.
"Now those terms are nothing more or less than the essence of what he agreed to at the end of the Gulf War. The Security Council, many times since, has reiterated this standard. If he accepts them, force will not be necessary. If he refuses or continues to evade his obligations through more tactics of delay and deception, he and he alone will be to blame for the consequences.
"I ask all of you to remember the record here what he promised to do within 15 days of the end of the Gulf War, what he repeatedly refused to do, what we found out in 1995, what the inspectors have done against all odds. We have no business agreeing to any resolution of this that does not include free, unfettered access to the remaining sites by people who have integrity and proven confidence in the inspection business. That should be our standard. That's what UNSCOM has done, and that's why I have been fighting for it so hard. And that's why the United States should insist upon it.
"Now, let's imagine the future. What if he fails to comply, and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route which gives him yet more opportunities to develop this program of weapons of mass destruction and continue to press for the release of the sanctions and continue to ignore the solemn commitments that he made?
"Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction.
"And some day, some way, I guarantee you, he'll use the arsenal. And I think every one of you who's really worked on this for any length of time believes that, too.
"Now we have spent several weeks building up our forces in the Gulf, and building a coalition of like-minded nations. Our force posture would not be possible without the support of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the GCC states and Turkey. Other friends and allies have agreed to provide forces, bases or logistical support, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Portugal, Denmark and the Netherlands, Hungary and Poland and the Czech Republic, Argentina, Iceland, Australia and New Zealand and our friends and neighbors in Canada.
"That list is growing, not because anyone wants military action, but because there are people in this world who believe the United Nations resolutions should mean something, because they understand what UNSCOM has achieved, because they remember the past, and because they can imagine what the future will be depending on what we do now.
"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program. We want to seriously reduce his capacity to threaten his neighbors.
"I am quite confident, from the briefing I have just received from our military leaders, that we can achieve the objective and secure our vital strategic interests.
"Let me be clear: A military operation cannot destroy all the weapons of mass destruction capacity. But it can and will leave him significantly worse off than he is now in terms of the ability to threaten the world with these weapons or to attack his neighbors.
"And he will know that the international community continues to have a will to act if and when he threatens again. Following any strike, we will carefully monitor Iraq's activities with all the means at our disposal. If he seeks to rebuild his weapons of mass destruction, we will be prepared to strike him again.
"The economic sanctions will remain in place until Saddam complies fully with all U.N. resolutions.
"Consider this already. These sanctions have denied him $110 billion. Imagine how much stronger his armed forces would be today, how many more weapons of mass destruction operations he would have hidden around the country if he had been able to spend even a small fraction of that amount for a military rebuilding.
"We will continue to enforce a no-fly zone from the southern suburbs of Baghdad to the Kuwait border and in northern Iraq, making it more difficult for Iraq to walk over Kuwait again or threaten the Kurds in the north.
"Now, let me say to all of you here as all of you know the weightiest decision any President ever has to make is to send our troops into harm's way. And force can never be the first answer. But sometimes, it's the only answer.
"You are the best prepared, best equipped, best trained fighting force in the world. And should it prove necessary for me to exercise the option of force, your commanders will do everything they can to protect the safety of all the men and women under their command.
"No military action, however, is risk-free. I know that the people we may call upon in uniform are ready. The American people have to be ready as well.
"Dealing with Saddam Hussein requires constant vigilance. We have seen that constant vigilance pays off. But it requires constant vigilance. Since the Gulf War, we have pushed back every time Saddam has posed a threat.
"When Baghdad plotted to assassinate former President Bush, we struck hard at Iraq's intelligence headquarters.
"When Saddam threatened another invasion by amassing his troops in Kuwait along the Kuwaiti border in 1994, we immediately deployed our troops, our ships, our planes, and Saddam backed down.
"When Saddam forcefully occupied Irbil in northern Iraq, we broadened our control over Iraq's skies by extending the no-fly zone.
"But there is no better example, again I say, than the U.N. weapons inspection system itself. Yes, he has tried to thwart it in every conceivable way, but the discipline, determination, year-in-year-out effort of these weapons inspectors is doing the job. And we seek to finish the job. Let there be no doubt, we are prepared to act.
"But Saddam Hussein could end this crisis tomorrow simply by letting the weapons inspectors complete their mission. He made a solemn commitment to the international community to do that and to give up his weapons of mass destruction a long time ago now. One way or the other, we are determined to see that he makes good on his own promise.
"Saddam Hussein's Iraq reminds us of what we learned in the 20th Century and warns us of what we must know about the 21st. In this century, we learned through harsh experience that the only answer to aggression and illegal behavior is firmness, determination, and when necessary, action.
"In the next century, the community of nations may see more and more the very kind of threat Iraq poses now a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction ready to use them or provide them to terrorists, drug traffickers or organized criminals who travel the world among us unnoticed.
"If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow by the knowledge that they can act with impunity, even in the face of a clear message from the United Nations Security Council and clear evidence of a weapons of mass destruction program.
"But if we act as one, we can safeguard our interests and send a clear message to every would-be tyrant and terrorist that the international community does have the wisdom and the will and the way to protect peace and security in a new era. That is the future I ask you all to imagine. That is the future I ask our allies to imagine.
"If we look at the past and imagine that future, we will act as one together. And we still have, God willing, a chance to find a diplomatic resolution to this, and if not, God willing, the chance to do the right thing for our children and grandchildren.
"Thank you very much."
In the middle of his second term, President Clinton urged Americans to be ready for a possible attack on Iraq, and warned that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had used biological weapons against his own people - and would likely use the weapons again unless he were prevented from doing so.
Hussein, said Clinton, "threatens the security of all the rest of us." Clinton said Hussein and the Iraqi leadership had repeatedly lied to the United Nations about the country's weaponry.
"It is obvious that there is an attempt here based on the whole history of this (weapons inspections) operation since 1991 to protect whatever remains of his capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction, the missiles to deliver them and the feedstock necessary to produce them," Clinton said.
Iraq, Clinton said, admitted having a massive offensive biological warfare capability, after the Persian Gulf War ended in 1991. These included 5,000 gallons of Botulinum (causing Botulism), 2,000 gallons of anthrax, 25 biological-filled Scud warheads, and 157 aerial bombs
Clinton said Iraq still posed a threat to the national security of the United States and the "freedom-loving world," accusing them of thwarting U.N. inspections through "reinterpretation" of the Gulf War resolutions, attempting to shed a question on which sites could be inspected, for how long and by whom.
Clinton made it clear that the military had the right to strike in order to secure the "vital strategic interests" of the United States in the Gulf.
Iraq pledged to make "all serious and legitimate" efforts to peacefully resolve the crisis, inviting U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to "come here with an open mind and free will" to conduct talks. Annan consulted later with the five permanent members of the Security Council. Annan and the U.N. offered to "modify" the resolutions as appeasement to Saddam. Washington insisted that the U.N. resolutions in effect since the Gulf War provided complete authorization needed for an attack.
Hussein, said Clinton with a straight face, had repeatedly lied to the United Nations about their possession of weapons of mass destruction.
In 1998, Clinton said that Iraq had abused its "last chance," spelling out non-compliance and attempts to stop an UNSCOM biological weapons team from videotaping a site, photocopying documents and preventing Iraqi personnel from answering UNSCOM's questions. Iraq failed to turn over almost all the requested documents. Clinton positioned 15 U.S. warships and 97 U.S. aircraft in the Persian Gulf, including about 70 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. More than 12,000 sailors and Marines were deployed in the region. Eight of the warships were equipped with cruise missiles in the northern part of the Gulf, within easy striking distance of Baghdad. More troops and jets were added. More than 300 cruise missiles were available for use against Iraq, plus air-launched cruise missiles aboard 14 B-52 bombers on the British island of Diego Garcia, where Britain had 22 strike aircraft.
On December 16, 1998, President Clinton, facing Impeachment, diverted attention as best he could by going on TV and telling the country that he ordered new military strikes against Iraq because they posed a threat to the entire world.
"Saddam must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons," Clinton said.
Operation Desert Fox was carried out over several days by U.S. and British forces, Clinton said.
"Earlier today I ordered America's armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces," Clinton said.
"Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors," said Clinton.
Clinton further added that other countries had weapons of mass destruction, but Saddam posed a special risk because he had used such weapons against his own people and against his neighbors.
Saddam had been warned six weeks prior. Clinton had waited until he needed the "cover" for his blowjob scandal to launch the strikes. Saddam was unimpressed and did nothing, realizing that Clinton was a paper tiger. Baghdad "promised" to cooperate.
"Along with Prime Minister Blair of Great Britain, I made it equally clear that if Saddam failed to cooperate fully we would be prepared to act without delay, diplomacy or warning," Clinton said.
Clinton was using a report turned in by Richard Butler, head of the United Nations Special Commission in charge of finding and destroying Iraqi weapons, which he said was a depressing document showing Saddam had not complied in the past, that he possessed WMD and was building more. Iraqi officials had destroyed records and moved everything to divert the inspectors.
"In halting our airstrikes in November, I gave Saddam a chance - not a license," the President explained. "If we turn our backs on his defiance, the credibility of U.S. power as a check against Saddam will be destroyed."
Clinton's strike came as a result of the unanimous agreement of his security advisors. Timing was important, said the President, who quickly must have realized that he did not want to remind millions of Americans of Monica going down on him. Iraq, he said, could produce chemical, biological and nuclear programs in a matter of months, not years.
"If Saddam can cripple the weapons inspections system and get away with it, he would conclude the international community, led by the United States, has simply lost its will," said Clinton. "He would surmise that he has free rein to rebuild his arsenal of destruction."
Clinton also called Hussein a threat to his people and to the security of the world.
•Timeli"The best way to end that threat once and for all is with a new Iraqi government - a government ready to live in peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people," Clinton said.
Clinton promised to work with Iraqi opposition forces.
"Saddam Hussein and the other enemies of peace may have thought that the serious debate currently before the House of Representatives would distract Americans or weaken our resolve to face him down," he said. "But once more, the United States has proven that although we are never eager to use force, when we must act in America's vital interests, we will do so."
Saddam concluded that Clinton's words were not believable and did nothing. By 1999, he might have thought he had won, because the inspectors were kicked out and nobody had done anything about it. Surely he was rooting for Al Gore in 2000, who promised no action. George Bush was a wild card. Saddam knew that Bush held a personal grudge against him. His father had been blamed for not taking the march to Baghdad, leaving him in power. It was one of those decisions that need to be judged with a caveat. At the time, it was the right thing to do. Over time, it was not.
If Saddam knew Bush's son would be President someday, he likely would not have ordered the terrorist assassination of his father when he visited the Middle East after leaving the White House. The attempt failed, but when Bush was elected, Saddam must have felt uneasy. Still, Bush had not raised any major rhetoric about Iraq during the campaign. Everything changed with 9/11. It was a momentous event, one that drastically turned American foreign and military policy around. It was the catalyst for a series of events that will effect the world for the next century, when the U.S. assumes a position of international greatness above and beyond all previous history.
Saddam Hussein was the single most evil human being on the face of the Earth, beginning with his ascension to president of Iraq in 1979. His crimes against humanity are well documented for well over 20 years. His crimes were committed against the people of Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, and other countries. The Bush Administration, when contemplating military action against Saddam in the Winter of 2002-03, took into full account brutal, systematic war crimes and crimes against humanity that he committed right up until the point when Bush made it impossible for him to continue committing them.
During he Iran-Iraq War, Saddam and his forces used chemical weapons against Iran, causing the deaths of 5,000 Iranians between 1983 and 1988. The use of chemical weapons had been a war crime since the 1925 Chemical Weapons treaty, to which Iraq is a party. Iraq also killed several thousand Iranian prisoners of war, a war crime in violation of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, to which Iraq is a party.
In Halabja in March of 1988, Saddam and his cousin, Ali Hassan al Majid, known as "Chemical Ali", ordered chemical weapons used on this town in northeastern Iraq, killing an estimated 5,000 civilians. This was a war crime and a crime against humanity. Photographic and videotape evidence of this attack was abundant. Most of the dead were women and children. 10,000 were wounded. 281 other villages, valleys and mountaintops were gassed under his command. Halabja's survivors, however, provided the best evidence. The United States worked with the Washington Kurdish Institute and Dr. Christine Gosden to document Halabja.
Beginning in 1987 and continuing until 1988, Saddam ordered the "Anfal" campaign against Iraqi Kurds. Chemical Ali administered the attack under Saddam's orders. According to the 1995 Human Rights Watch, Iraq's "Crime of Genocide" were chemical attacks that resulted in an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 Kurds killed. Other estimates are that 182,000 "disappeared," buried (some while still alive) in mass graves with mechanical shovels.
On August 2, 1990, Saddam ordered his forces to invade and occupy Kuwait. President George H.W. Bush organized international support and forced Saddam's troops out of Kuwait by force. During the occupation, Saddam's forces killed more than a thousand Kuwaiti nationals, as well as many others from other nations, many in mass executions. Saddam forced numerous other crimes in Kuwait, including environmental crimes such as the destruction of oil wells in Kuwait's oil fields and massive looting of Kuwaiti property. Saddam's son Uday stole numerous cars from Kuwait. Saddam's government also held hostages from various nations in a blackmail campaign. Iraqi authorities committed war crimes against coalition forces, and against American and British service members, detailed in a report to Congress and in an article by Lee Haworth and Jim Hergen in Society magazine back in 1994.
Saddam then destroyed of 4,500 Kurdish villages, hundreds of hospitals, schools and mosques, 150 Assyrian villages, dozens of churches and monasteries as well as the disappearances of about one 1,000 members of the Assyrian community.
In the village of Dujail in 1983, he had many inhabitants killed and generally punished following an assassination attempt originating from there. Shi’ite Muslims were brutalized in Southern Iraq. Iraqi tanks under his command rolled into Southern villages with the slogan “No more Shi’ites after today.”
After the Persian Gulf War in 1991, Saddam's forces killed between 30,000 and 60,000 Iraqis, mostly civilians, in order to put down an uprising. The uprising began in
the south. Experts deemed this event to be a crime against humanity and possibly also a war crime.
In the early 1990's on up to the time Bush ended it, Saddam drained the southern marshes of Iraq, depriving thousands of Iraqis of their livelihood and their ability to live on land that their ancestors have lived on for thousands of years.
Saddam engaged in "ethnic cleansing" of Persians' from Iraq to Iran, and a campaign of ethnic cleansing of the non-Arabs of Kirkuk and other northern districts. He ordered the systematic killings of political opponents, dissidents and those who displeased him, often through the use of torture and rape. He had people's tongues cut off, eyes gouged out, skinned people alive, placed people in acid baths, beheaded them, castrated them, disemboweled them, used electrical torture, and other methods. He often utilized these techniques on women and children of those he deemed his enemies, or had entire families killed and tortured. All in all, Saddam was responsible for the varied murder and torture of over 1 million humans, until President Bush put a stop to it.
Sexual assaults of women, in an effort to intimidate leaders of the Iraqi opposition, were commonly practiced, along with a campaign of murder and intimidation of clergy, especially the Shi'a. Over 10,000 clergy were estimated to have been killed by Saddam.
Saddam built a ruthless police state using a small group of associates. These included Ali Hassan al-Majid ("Chemical Ali"), Saddam's elder son Uday, a commander of a paramilitary organization, and Saddam's younger son Qusay, the Head of the Special
Security Organization and his heir apparent.
Just as Mongol conquerors built a pyramid of the skulls of their victims, Saddam Hussein used helmets of Iranian soldiers killed during the Iran-Iraq War. Saddam also killed approximately 40 of his own relatives. Allegations of prostitution were used to justify the barbaric beheading of women.
Senior Arab diplomats told the London-based Arabic daily newspaper al-Hayat in October of 1991 that Iraqi leaders privately acknowledged that 250,000 people were killed during the uprisings, most in the southern part of the country.
900,000 Iraqis were made refugees by Saddam's oppressive government, which included his Arabization campaigns, forcing Kurds to renounce their identity or lose their property. 200,000 Iraqis lived as refugees in Iran prior to the 2003 war.
The U.S. Committee for Refugees in 2002 estimated that nearly 100,000 Kurds, Assyrians and Turkomans had been expelled. In the five years prior to Saddam's removal by Bush, 400,000 Iraqi children under the age of five died of malnutrition and disease, even though it could have been prevented by the government. The oil-for-food program sought to make available to the Iraqi people adequate supplies of food and medicine. The regime blocked access for international workers to ensure distribution, then tried to blame the West for maintaining sanctions.
Coalition forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom discovered military warehouses filled with food supplies meant for the Iraqi people, which had been diverted by the Iraqi military. Saddam routinely refused visits by human rights monitors from 1992 until 2002.
A huge number of extrajudicial executions on political grounds were discovered by the U.N. Special Rapporteur's report in September of 2001. The report further detailed the execution of 4,000 prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in 1984; 3,000 prisoners at the Mahjar prison from 1993-1998; 2,500 prisoners were executed between 1997-1999 in a "prison cleansing campaign"; 22 political prisoners executed at Abu Ghraib prison in February/March 2000; 23 political prisoners executed at Abu Ghraib prison in October 2001; and at least 130 Iraqi women beheaded between June 2000 and April 2001.
Beginning in 1991, U.N. weapons inspectors found and destroyed a supergun, 48 Scud missiles, 40,000 chemical munitions, 500,000 liters of chemical-weapons agents, 1.8 million liters of precursor chemicals, and large quantities of equipment related to biological warfare. In late July of 1998 inspectors were convinced that large quantities of the weapons were still missing. Since they were never allowed back in, one must assume that when the war started in 2003, he either still had them or had destroyed them himself. If he destroyed them, he did not prove that to the world.
Inspectors found a document that said Iraq had used 6,000 more chemical bombs in the Iran-Iraq War than in fact they used. The "minders" took the document. The extra 6,000 were never found.
While the U.S. may have "pumped up" its case against Saddam, as former U.N. weapons chief Richard Butler asserted, they had a case. Conservatives had overestimated the Soviets in the past, which included a high estimate of their 1976 gross national product. In 1989, the CIA published a review of its threat assessments and admitted to "substantially overestimating" the Soviets.
In the 1990s, the CIA estimated that Chinese military spending was twice what it was determined to be in the 1999 Cox report. Threat estimates of North Korea, Libya. Iran and Syria today are probably high. But none of this changes the fact these enemies were and are evil. Many of the high estimates are based on chest pumping by the threat countries themselves, who paraded nukes and all form of weaponry past the Kremlin and Tiannenmen Square. Saddam was always boasting about his countries' strength.
One of the most compelling arguments for regime change in Iraq was not just Saddam's human rights abuses, war crimes, genocide, weapons of mass destruction (chemical, biological, nuclear) program, support of terror networks like Al Qaeda and Hezbollah, and possible link to 9/11. His two sons became completely intertwined in his regime, achieving power eclipsed only by the father. Therefore, any coups, assassinations or changes meant a chilling scenario in which Iraq would be passed on to two individuals who, amazingly, may have been worse than the father.
Qusai Saddam was his younger son. He held wide-ranging power over the security apparatus. He was a man who compelled the basest possible kind of fear. Ranked number two on the coalition forces' list of the 55 most wanted men from the Iraqi regime, behind only Saddam himself, he was also wanted for numerous war crimes. Qusai was particularly dangerous because he did not necessarily look the part of an evil despot. He had a quiet nature and was considered relatively good looking. At age 37 prior to the war, he was in charge of the intelligence and security forces that protected the family. Since the slightest fissure in security made the family vulnerable to the thousands who desired Saddam and his kids dead, the loyalty factor on the force was beyond anything that Westerners could imagine.
Anybody who volunteered to serve knew from urban legend what would be required of them, which meant that only the cruelest, most violent and fanatical minds ever considered such a thing. Many were orphans, most from the Iran-Iraq War, a few from the Persian Gulf War. They were inculcated with hateful lies about Western conspiracies that were responsible for their parents' deaths. They were gullibly sold on the idea that only Saddam protected them from the "Crusaders." Still, only the worst and most loyal of them made the cut, so to speak. Sometimes a recruit would be forced to kill a relative, a friend, a child, an old person, or just a citizen on the street, to prove their mettle.
A recruit could be killed or tortured for the slightest indiscretion. The ones who survived this hell were utterly impervious to reason, human suffering or logic, blindly devoted to Saddam and Qusai. Qusai also commanded the Republican Guard, an over-hyped 80,000-soldier force responsible for defending Baghdad. It is out of this group that the U.S. faced guerilla opposition in Iraq after the 2003 war. The liberals "blamed" Bush for this, as if the average citizenry opposed the American presence, or as if Bush had "created" additional terrorism. These media lies emanating from the West were utter statements of garbage.
Qusai stayed out of public view, but his older brother, Odai, was very flamboyant. He collected luxury cars and women. In a manner not unlike Bill Clinton in Arkansas, who used state troopers as pimps, if Odai saw a girl he fancied he had his guards order them, often by force, to his quarters for sex which, often was pure rape. If a woman resisted, she would likely be killed after the raping, or maimed. Boyfriends and husbands who protested were killed and tortured, or killed just to silence them even if they said nothing. Iraqis nicknamed Odai "The Snake'' for his bloodthirsty ways.
Qusai was a more trusted advisor by his father, considered the heir until George Bush removed that possibility. Odai, partially paralyzed by a mid-1990s assassination attempt, was thought to be too reckless to be the heir. Qusai rose to power by demonstrating a taste for ruthless genocide following the 1991 defeat at the hands of the first President Bush. He orchestrated a terror campaign, mass executions and torture to crush the Shiite uprising. He also engineered the drainage of the southern marshes to destroy the Shiite "Marsh Arabs."
Qusai ran the detention centers and torture system, ordering the "prison cleansing" - mass executions of thousands of prisoners to free up cells. Most were killed via bullets, but occasionally Qusai and his henchmen amused themselves by watching men being dropped into shredding machines. Prisoners who went in head first died quickly, which was not sporting to Qusai. He ordered them put in feet first so he could hear them screaming.
Qusai enjoyed using power saws to amputate foots, hands, arms and other body parts. Saddam was highly impressed with these qualities. He rewarded his son by making him chief of the army branch for the ruling Ba'ath party in 2000. This placed him in charge of all army movements. Prior to the American invasion, Qusai was placed in charge of defending the nation's capital and heartland. However, he had no military experience. He had not fought against the Iranians or the Americans. Military commanders, however, were forced to defer to him as if he was Doug MacArthur. Qusai's only military "experience" was his marriage to the daughter of a senior military commander.
Odai Saddam Hussein was put in charge of Iraq's national soccer program. His idea of motivation was a little different from Knute Rockne's. Odai killed and tortured athletes who failed to perform well. He was also head of the Fedayeen Saddam paramilitary unit, used to eliminate opponents and exert total control over a population of 25 million people. This was another major source of the post-war guerrilla opposition to American troops. Odai was "elected" to parliament in 1999 with 99 percent of the vote, but did not usually attend sessions.
Odai enjoyed murder more for the sport of it than Qusai. He would murder and torture or no reason. The practice of dropping people into acid baths to watch them burn up was apparently his idea, although his brother and father liked the put it into practice regularly during the Clinton years, until George Bush ended it. Historians compared Odai to Rome's infamous Caligula. He called himself Abu Sarhan, an Arabic term for "wolf.''
Occasionally, Odai's murderous rampages went against his father's desires. Saddam was exasperated with Odai for killing one of his favorite bodyguards in 1988, which was the main reason Odai was demoted and Qusai moved ahead of him. Odai also had a bodyguard named Kamel Gegeo, who arranged sex for Saddam. Odai became worried that one of the women, who later married Saddam, would undermine his position as heir. Mad at Gegeo for having found the woman, he beat him to death with a club and an electric carving knife in full view of guests at a high-society party.
After the 1996 assassination attempt that left Odai with a bullet in his spine, the two brothers became rivals and a deadly power struggle likely would have ensured had Bush not made the point moot.
Odai owned the newspaper Babil, the weekly Al-Zawra and Youth TV. He beheaded journalists he disagreed with. He never beheaded Peter Arnett or Dan Rather.
Much of Odai's notoriety abroad stemmed from his position as head of the National Iraqi Soccer Club. He once forced track athletes to crawl on newly poured asphalt while they were beaten and threw some of them off a bridge. He had a special prison just for underperforming athletes.
Jailed soccer players were forced to kick a concrete ball after failing to reach the 1994 World Cup finals. Odai also enjoyed dragging them through a gravel pit and dunking them in a sewage tank so infection would set in.
Like Stalin, Saddam's role model, army officers were targeted in Iraq. In 1983, Odai bashed an officer to death when the man refused to allow Odai to dance with his wife. He also shot soldiers who failed to salute him. Odai divorced the daughter of one uncle, Barzan Ibrahim Hasan, in 1995 after she complained of being beaten. Odai shot and wounded another uncle, Watban Ibrahim Hasan. The U.S eventually captured both uncles, much to their relief.
Iraq was a Third World cesspool of poverty and hunger, but Odai lived like Hugh Hefner. He called himself a Muslim, but enjoyed alcohol in heavy doses. U.S. troops who stormed his mansion in Baghdad discovered a personal zoo with lions and cheetahs, an underground parking garage for his collection of luxury cars, Cuban cigars with his name on the wrapper, and $1 million in fine wines, liquor, and heroin.
Odai was obsessed with pornography, prostitutes and Internet sex sites. His "black book" contained detailed ratings of his many women. He also popped pills, medicines and sexual fortifiers. He had a self-testing HIV test kit.
After 9/11, the question about Iraq took on a new urgency. Bush's semi-isolationist views no longer seemed relevant. America had entered a worldwide War on Terrorism. Terrorism emanated from the Middle East. Osama bin Laden was the face of terror, and his premise was Fundamentalism. But Saddam was a longtime enemy of the U.S., and immediately conjecture was made regarding his connection to terrorism, and his potential future threat.
The first job at hand was to go into Afghanistan, which Bush and the military did in marvelous, short efficiency. Osama was not captured. He may or may not have been killed, but he was effectively eliminated as a threat. But the threat was still there, in terms of terror, WMD, and instability.
"We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them," President Bush said in the aftermath of 9/11. Countries are either "with us or against us," he said. Iraq was assuredly against us. Bush brilliantly identified an "Axis of Evil," Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Like Reagan's "evil empire" speech, it enraged liberals and made despots weak in the knees. The Clinton era was over.
The New Conservatives began to assert themselves. The Afghanistan operation was absolutely essential, both in terms of national security, regional stability and a need to satisfy America's resolve to make those who had attacked us pay the ultimate price.
But Iraq went beyond that. In terms of pure national security, it was not obviously essential. The U.S. military and intelligence community had established a certain amount of dominance over the terror situation, in Afghanistan particularly. Iraq posed a threat as a sponsor of terror, and of course they posed a threat because they had never gotten rid of their weapons of mass destruction. Inspectors no longer were in the country, and various estimates were bandied about over how quickly they could deliver a blow to America or her interests.
But other considerations came into play. Iraq's ability to flaunt itself in the face of the West, to play themselves as pseudo-victors of the 1991 war, were creating a highly de-stabilizing atmosphere in the Middle East. The human rights atrocities and genocides committed there were reasons in and of itself to go after Saddam. There were other countries committing atrocities against their people, but Iraq was obviously, and for many, varied reasons, the first place that needed to be neutralized.
But the New Conservatives saw in Iraq a momentum that had started in Afghanistan and could be built on. The old isolationism was no longer, in their view, an option. If Saddam could be overthrown and freedom, stability and peace brought to Iraq, then American Hegemony could start to be achieved in the Middle East. Despots, terrorists and sponsors of terror; read: Syria, Palestine, Libya, Iran, et al, would know they faced an entirely new paradigm shift in U.S. policy. No more isolationism. No more appeasement. Countries like North Korea, Cuba, and other rogue states would realize they had little choice but to make themselves benign in a U.S.-dominated world.
The fight against terrorism now had the potential of spreading to narco-terror in Colombia. A wide-reaching New World Order like the one the first Bush had envisioned, which had been put on hold by the Clintons, could be revived by the people who knew how best to implement it, the conservatives. If Iraq could be safely restored, to the benefit of its citizenry, as Afghanistan had been, then the "Arab street," poisoned for years by vile Al-Jazeera lies, would see clearly the benefits of being American allies. The Marines have a saying: "No more better friend, no worse enemy."
Surely, the world had seen that opposing the U.S. militarily was suicide, but incredibly there were still some, like Saddam, who lived in a world of illusion. America could use the situation to again prove that we were not anti-Muslim, at war with Islam, and that the 21st Century was not destined, as if controlled by the dark forces of Satan, to be a violent Clash of Civilizations. The Middle East is the hot bed of all world politics, and it is part of Biblical prophecy. Armageddon is in the Middle East. The anti-Christ (assuming (s)he is not Joseph P. Kennedy or one of the Clintons) is supposed to come from there. There are many who take a negative view of the situation there, much like those who felt Communism could only be defeated in a war. Reagan had done it peacefully.
Now, the U.S. found itself the only superpower left, the most powerful nation in world history. The gap between American military strength and the next best military was greater than the gap had ever been between any powers in history, whether it was Rome, Napoleon's Grand Army, or the British. The New Conservatives knew that as strong as our military was, our identity was even stronger. American influence, ideas, culture and the sheer power of our message - freedom and opportunity - had the ability to effect the world in a way not seen since Christ's message spread 1,500 to 2,000 years ago. It was utterly new and unique, brought about by the awful events of 9/11, which in brilliant irony had created an opportunity for change and goodness that we had been "blinded" to until it happened. The Clinton Presidency had dulled our sense of purpose. We had lost direction and faith in our ability to change the world for the better. Not anymore.
In the heart of the Middle East, where hate, lies and misunderstanding were the order of the day, lay our next great challenge. A direct confrontation with evil that only the U.S. is prepared to fight. We would take the battle to the capitols of evil and defeat it on its home turf, replacing it with goodness. Maybe, just maybe, we could do what Lawrence of Arabia had wanted us to complete back in 1919, and leave the region with a legacy of love. The next century is the great test for Islam. It holds the promise of being a time in which this great religion, with all of its potential, can look deep within itself and, like the Jews and Christians of yesteryear, rid itself of Fundamentalism, Wahabism, and the elements of hate that hold it back. Who better to help it accomplish this goal than the United States, a secular state formed by "people of the Book"; a country that separates religion from its government, yet inculcates religious morality into its actions in every corner of the globe?
If Iraq could be achieved successfully, then Palestine would come next. The hardcore terrorists who had run Palestine for years would know their methods had failed, and finally a peace could be established with the Jews. The Biblical prophecies of violence do not have to happen. Armageddon can be averted. Only America - and the New Conservatives know this - could change this downward spiral of events from turning into conflagration.
In contemplating these issues in the run-up to Operation Iraqi Freedom, the New Conservatives knew they were treading in dangerous territory. For a few fleeting months, America and its most important city, New York, were viewed sympathetically. The Yankees had gone out and played like the champions they are, quickly dissipating their rare position as the "sentimental favorites." New York came back strong and bustling, refusing to be beaten, and showing that they did not need anybody's sympathy. The U.S. made the decision that they would rather be respected than loved, and they definitely had no desire - albeit, they had an obligation - not to be felt sorry for.
Many would misunderstand us. The Middle East media would lie. The liberals would howl. Old Europe- France, Belgium and Germany, in particular - would do anything to make their lack of political power in the New World Order less…obvious. But the Rubicon had been crossed on 9/11. Now it was up to George Bush to lay down a gauntlet, to demonstrate to the enemies of freedom and decency, once and for all, that the old ways were over forever.
The New World Order!
Bush loves his father, but models his Presidency on Reagan. Reagan had pledged to consign an "evil empire" to the "ash heap of history." Bush decided to consign terrorism to the ash heap of history. It is the defining challenge of our generation. Bush made it clear that he planned to take aim at states harboring terrorists as well as at terrorists themselves. The first domino to fall was the Taliban. In Bush's view, terrorism could not be defeated if Saddam still held power in Iraq.
Like bin Laden, Saddam hated America so much that he would do anything he thought he could get away with against her. If Saddam had a nuclear weapon, and thought he could destroy the U.S. without having us turn him into a fireball in retaliation, he would have had no moral compulsions. The Iraqi situation was not just geo-political. It was a blood feud. Saddam hated the Bush family. He had tried to kill the elder George, and it was the decision not to go after him that had cost Bush much of the imprimatur of his 1991 victory. George the younger now felt an obligation to finish the job his father had started and been criticized for.
Saddam had accumulated a wide array of chemical and biological weapons, especially after he kicked out the inspectors. There was no intelligence outfit in the world that doubted this, whether it be the CIA, Britain's MI5 or MI6, the Israeli Mossad, or any others. Republicans and Democrats, Labor and Conservatives, liberals and patriots all had acknowledged this reality.
Sanctions had turned his once-powerful country, an economic and military arsenal in the Middle East, into a second-rate state. But Saddam had become a cornered animal, like a headstrong Mafioso unable to separate "business" from personal. The most dangerous aspect of Saddam was his megalomania, combined with his failure to grasp reality. Saddam and his family had surrounded themselves for so long with "yes men" and sycophants, that they no longer grasped the slightest semblance of truth. In his mind, he could get away with attacking his enemy, triumphing in his sordid dreams like a modern day Saladin.
This manifested itself in his risky expulsion of inspectors from Iraq. He hid his weapons in mosques, schools, hospitals, farms, private homes and hundreds of other clandestine sites that no inspector could hope to find. The grave danger of weakness in the White House was exemplified in this brazen act. But Saddam's "yes men" had failed him miserably, not just in causing him to believe he had the power to offend America, and defend himself against the U.S. He lacked the most basic intelligence. Somebody apparently failed to sit him down and explain the difference between conservatives and liberals, and Republicans and Democrats.
He saw the laughably corrupt Clinton and determined that American had lost her greatness. His own lack of honesty blinded him from understanding the power of an honest, straight-shooting man in the Oval Office. He might have kept getting away with it except for 9/11.
Saddam may have been part of the 9/11 planning. If so, he was his own worst enemy. However, this is, considering his psychological make-up, in sync with what we know about him. However, the exact nature of 9/11 may not have been his work. If so, Saddam saw powers unleashed in its aftermath that should have terrified him. His "advisors" and his own inflated ego failed to warn him of the future.
After 9/11, Saddam should have realized the game was up. When the U.N. pushed for inspectors to go in, he should have cooperated. It was his only hope. In previous years, countries in Latin America, as well as South Africa, had been required to relinquish their WMD programs. They had cooperated and made a very concerted effort to demonstrate their full compliance with measures, and destruction of all weaponry. This was the only model that could have saved Saddam.
Aside from the WMD he had used against his own people and the Iranians, Saddam had enough anthrax to kill millions of people, as well as other biological agents. Had he already given some of this stockpile to Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad or other terrorist groups? The New Conservatives considered certain options. Saddam could use it against us, or terrorists could use it against us. The only way to stop Saddam from using it against us was to destroy him once and for all.
Now, and this is a very, very important point, if he had given some to these terror groups, they would still have it after Saddam was gone. So, how does the U.S. protect itself from them? Remember to put yourself in their shoes. Osama had overseen a perfect attack, and the result was the diametric opposite of his hopes and dreams. If Saddam's defiance would result in the diametric opposite of his hopes and dreams, then what could Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad or the remnants of Al Qaeda hope to gain by launching a big hit against us?
In their "best case scenario," they hit us with a nuclear bomb, kill a million or two with anthrax, or take out a city with bio-chems. Then what? This sounds easy and surgical to say, but America can take it. The U.S. can survive even that kind of atack. But worse for them, not only would America survive that sort of event, they would come back stronger than ever. What the world saw, when Americans joined together after 9/11, then efficiently went after Al Qaeda, Osama and the Taliban, was a mere speck of dust compared to what we would do if the response called for enough firepower. It took the heart out of them.
By going after Iraq, the New Conservatives were planning to send the clearest message possible. Terror not only would be prevented, but America had reached a point in which terrorists no longer had any viable political objectives on a grand scale.
That would leave only evil. The New Conservatives were confident that they had the political and moral will to tackle this job. Intelligence reports in 2002 indicated that Saddam desired a nuclear arsenal. He had a clandestine program, spread over many hidden sites, to enrich Iraqi natural uranium to weapons grade. He had the designs and the technical staff to fabricate nuclear weapons once he obtained the material. He had the money to buy the material and components as well as finished nuclear weapons. How close was he? We will know that answer. We knew that we could not "relax" on this issue. We had missed his nuclear program in the early 1990's, just as we had failed to predict the Indian nuclear test in 1998.
We knew that Saddam had tried to assassinate the first President Bush in 1993, which is a terrorist act. He operated a terrorist training facility at Salman Pak complete with a passenger aircraft cabin for training in hijacking. His collaboration with terrorists was well documented by the CIA. A senior Iraqi official met with Mohamed Atta in Prague prior to 9/11. He collaborated with terrorist groups, some of whose leaders lived in and operate from Iraq, and gave safe haven to them. He openly paid the families of suicide bombers, which is not evidence of terrorism, but the simple act of it. He praised the attacks of September 11. While he and bin Laden were different (secular vs. Fundamentalist), their common enemy was the same.
Bush also knew that governments in the Persian Gulf would celebrate Saddam's removal from office. The liberals tried to paint a war scenario as an attack against Islam, but to most Muslims, his reign of terror was an insult to Islam. Saddam's fall would result, the Bush Administration felt, with dancing in the streets of Baghdad. The rest of the so-called "Arab street" would be inflamed by Al-Jazeera, but like much of the vitriol the West sees from the Arab world, it would be more for show. This is an important aspect of the Middle East psyche, which Westerners fail to understand. Arabs are an emotional, hot-blooded people. They live under a searing Sun in a part of the world that is repressive. They do not have the outlets for their pent-up frustrations that we do. They do not drink or take in a Georgia-Florida football weekend. They take to the streets and yell. Then they go home and pray. It is very much a facade. At the end of the day, other Arab populations would welcome a peaceful successor.
Saddam's nuclear ambitions were not new in the early 2000s. In 1981 Saddam struck a deal with those arbiters of Truth and Incorruptibility, the French, to build a nuclear reactor. Once fuel was placed in the reactor, it could not be bombed without releasing lethal radioactive material. Allowing the fueling to go forward meant that Baghdad could eventually get the plutonium to build a nuclear weapon. The Israelis said, "Not on our watch." In a pre-emptive precision strike that humiliated Saddam, they bombed the reactor at Osirak, destroying it.
Bush had inherited the remnants of the CIA's dispirited intelligence apparatus under Clinton. 9/11 occurred less than nine months into his Presidency. He was determined never to be caught flat-footed. He had decided to take pre-emptive action just like the Israelis. He did not ever want to be accused of waiting too long.
The U.S. discovered that Iraq refurbished sites formerly associated with the production of chemical and biological agents while retaining the means to manufacture them, possibly by attaching them to bombs, shells, artillery rockets and ballistic missiles.
Saddam was known to place extreme importance on possessing weapons of mass destruction, because he felt that was the key to his nation's power. He did not consider them "last resort" weapons. He concealed them from inspectors, and failed to live up to the resolutions or the sanctions. The intelligence community concluded that Saddam continued to produce chemical and biological agents into the 2000s. Some estimates were that he was in 2003 just 45 minutes away from being able to launch them. There was intelligence that he had given Qusai the authority to use these weapons, too. He developed mobile laboratories for military use, corroborating earlier reports about the mobile production of biological warfare agents, and pursued illegal programs to procure controlled materials of potential use in the production of chemical and biological weapons.
There were reports that Saddam covertly sought technology and materials for the production of nuclear weapons, specifically significant quantities of uranium from Africa, despite having no active civil nuclear power program that could require it. He had nuclear specialists in his government. He illegally retained up to 20 Al Hussein missiles, with a range of 650 kilometers, capable of carrying chemical or biological warheads. Saddam started deploying his Al-Samoud liquid propellant missile, and used the absence of weapons inspectors to work on extending its range to at least 200 kilometers, which was beyond the limit of 150 imposed by the United Nations;
He started producing the solid-propellant Ababil-100, and was making efforts to extend its range to at least 200 kilometers, which was also beyond the limit of 150 imposed by the United Nations.
He constructed a new engine test stand for the development of missiles capable of reaching the U.K. Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus and NATO members (Greece and Turkey), as well as all of Iraq's Gulf neighbors and Israel. He pursued illegal programs to procure materials for use in its illegal development of long range missiles. He also learned from years of previous U.N. weapons what they looked for, how they find it, and what their methods were. This allowed him to more effectively conceal sensitive equipment and documentation in advance of the inspectors.
The Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) judged Saddam a major threat for all of the above reasons. They determined that by 1998, Iraq's weapons of mass destruction were in breach of international law. Under a series of United Nations Security Council Resolutions Iraq was obliged to destroy its holdings of these weapons under the supervision of U.N. inspectors. Iraq engaged in a history of deception, intimidation and concealment in its dealings with the U.N. inspectors. The JIC also concluded that the violent and aggressive nature of Saddam's regime and his record of internal repression and external aggression intensified the overall concern regarding his threat potential. Iraq was able to finance its WMD program drawing on illicit earnings of upwards of $3 billion generated outside U.N. control.
In the Fall of 2002, the rhetoric heated up regarding war with Iraq. The Bush Administration cited all the reasons herein stated: WMD (chemical, biological, nuclear), terrorism, human rights, war crimes, genocide, and stability in the Middle East, among the others, as justification for invasion.
With mid-term elections approaching in the first week of November, Bush wanted to get international and national support for war. He approached both the United Nations and the U.S. Congress. Both bodies provided him with legal approval for the war. First, he attained U.N. Resolution 1441, which Iraq accepted. The U.N. codified Bush's "zero tolerance" if Iraq failed to cooperate with inspectors, and included language that made it clear that the U.S. "will launch military strikes if it deems it necessary."
Saddam accepted the new U.N. resolution (1441) demanding that U.N. inspectors be given unhindered access to any suspected Iraqi weapons site or face "serious consequences.'" President Bush again warned that the United States would have "zero tolerance" for any Iraqi interference with inspections and made it clear he would launch military strikes against Iraq if he deemed it necessary.
After a four-year absence, U.N. weapons inspectors returned to Iraq in November of 2002 with the prospect of war or peace hanging in the balance. The U.N. Security Council resolution authorized the inspectors' return and mission promised "serious consequences" if Iraq did not cooperate with the probe.
The new U.N. resolution was necessary because the inspectors left Iraq in 1998 after Iraq put up too many obstacles and they needed to get back. Now, the United States and Britain threatened war if the inspectors were not allowed to operate freely. The crux of the Resolution read as follows:
"Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
"1. Decides that Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations under relevant resolutions, including resolution 687 (1991), in particular through Iraq’s failure to cooperate with United Nations inspectors and the IAEA, and to complete the actions required under paragraphs 8 to 13 of resolution 687 (1991);
"2. Decides, while acknowledging paragraph 1 above, to afford Iraq, by this resolution, a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions of the Council; and accordingly decides to set up an enhanced inspection regime with the aim of bringing to full and verified completion the disarmament process established by resolution 687 (1991) and subsequent resolutions of the Council;
"3. Decides that, in order to begin to comply with its disarmament obligations, in addition to submitting the required biannual declarations, the Government of Iraq shall provide to UNMOVIC, the IAEA, and the Council, not later than 30 days from the date of this resolution, a currently accurate, full, and complete declaration of all aspects of its programs to develop chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other delivery systems such as unmanned aerial vehicles and dispersal systems designed for use on aircraft, including any holdings and precise locations of such weapons, components, sub-components, stocks of agents, and related material and equipment, the locations and work of its research, development and production facilities, as well as all other chemical, biological, and nuclear programs, including any which it claims are for purposes not related to weapon production or material;
"4. Decides that false statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq pursuant to this resolution and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of, this resolution shall constitute a further material breach of Iraq’s obligations and will be reported to the Council for assessment in accordance with paragraphs 11 and 12 below;
"5. Decides that Iraq shall provide UNMOVIC and the IAEA immediate, unimpeded, unconditional, and unrestricted access to any and all, including underground, areas, facilities, buildings, equipment, records, and means of transport which they wish to inspect, as well as immediate, unimpeded, unrestricted, and private access to all officials and other persons whom UNMOVIC or the IAEA wish to interview in the mode or location of UNMOVIC’s or the IAEA’s choice pursuant to any aspect of their mandates; further decides that UNMOVIC and the IAEA may at their discretion conduct interviews inside or outside of Iraq, may facilitate the travel of those interviewed and family members outside of Iraq, and that, at the sole discretion of UNMOVIC and the IAEA, such interviews may occur without the presence of observers from the Iraqi Government; and instructs UNMOVIC and requests the IAEA to resume inspections no later than 45 days following adoption of this resolution and to update the Council 60 days thereafter;
"6. Endorses the 8 October 2002 letter from the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC and the Director-General of the IAEA to General Al-Saadi of the Government of Iraq, which is annexed hereto, and decides that the contents of the letter shall be binding upon Iraq;
"7. Decides further that, in view of the prolonged interruption by Iraq of the presence of UNMOVIC and the IAEA and in order for them to accomplish the tasks set forth in this resolution and all previous relevant resolutions and notwithstanding prior understandings, the Council hereby establishes the following revised or additional authorities, which shall be binding upon Iraq, to facilitate their work in Iraq:
"- UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall determine the composition of their inspection teams and ensure that these teams are composed of the most qualified and experienced experts available;
"- All UNMOVIC and IAEA personnel shall enjoy the privileges and immunities, corresponding to those of experts on mission, provided in the Convention on Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations and the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the IAEA;
"- UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have unrestricted rights of entry into and out of Iraq, the right to free, unrestricted, and immediate movement to and from inspection sites, and the right to inspect any sites and buildings, including immediate, unimpeded, unconditional, and unrestricted access to Presidential Sites equal to that at other sites, notwithstanding the provisions of resolution 1154 (1998);
" - UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have the right to be provided by Iraq the names of all personnel currently and formerly associated with Iraq’s chemical, biological, nuclear, and ballistic missile programs and the associated research, development, and production facilities;
" - Security of UNMOVIC and IAEA facilities shall be ensured by sufficient United Nations security guards;
"- UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have the right to declare, for the purposes of freezing a site to be inspected, exclusion zones, including surrounding areas and transit corridors, in which Iraq will suspend ground and aerial movement so that nothing is changed in or taken out of a site being inspected;
"- UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have the free and unrestricted use and landing of fixed- and rotary-winged aircraft, including manned and unmanned reconnaissance vehicles;
"- UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have the right at their sole discretion verifiably to remove, destroy, or render harmless all prohibited weapons, subsystems, components, records, materials, and other related items, and the right to impound or close any facilities or equipment for the production thereof; and
"- UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have the right to free import and use of equipment or materials for inspections and to seize and export any equipment, materials, or documents taken during inspections, without search of UNMOVIC or IAEA personnel or official or personal baggage;
"8. Decides further that Iraq shall not take or threaten hostile acts directed against any representative or personnel of the United Nations or the IAEA or of any Member State taking action to uphold any Council resolution;
"9. Requests the Secretary-General immediately to notify Iraq of this resolution, which is binding on Iraq; demands that Iraq confirm within seven days of that notification its intention to comply fully with this resolution; and demands further that Iraq cooperate immediately, unconditionally, and actively with UNMOVIC and the IAEA;
"10. Requests all Member States to give full support to UNMOVIC and the IAEA in the discharge of their mandates, including by providing any information related to prohibited programmes or other aspects of their mandates, including on Iraqi attempts since 1998 to acquire prohibited items, and by recommending sites to be inspected, persons to be interviewed, conditions of such interviews, and data to be collected, the results of which shall be reported to the Council by UNMOVIC and the IAEA;
"11. Directs the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC and the Director-General of the IAEA to report immediately to the Council any interference by Iraq with inspection activities, as well as any failure by Iraq to comply with its disarmament obligations, including its obligations regarding inspections under this resolution;
"12. Decide to convene immediately upon receipt of a report in accordance with paragraphs 4 or 11 above, in order to consider the situation and the need for full compliance with all of the relevant Council resolutions in order to secure international peace and security.
Then Bush was given further authorization for war by the U.S. Congress, who passed a Use of Force Resolution, in which Iraq was forced to disarm and comply with the U.N. The House of Representatives passed the H.J. Resolution 114 on October 10, 2002 by a vote of 296-133. Senate approval came in by a vote of 77-23. The resolution reads as follows:
"RESOLUTION AUTHORIZES THE USE OF MILITARY FOIRCE IN IRAQ
"Specifically, the resolution authorizes President Bush to:
"use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to -
"(1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and
"(2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.
"DETERMINING NEED FOR FORCE
"Before employing military force in Iraq, the resolution requires that the President first determine that continued diplomatic efforts 'or other peaceful means alone,' will not adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq or is not likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.
"PRESIDENT MUST NOTIFY CONGRESS
"The resolution also requires the president to notify Congress before or within 48 hours after actually committing military forces against Iraq.
"PRESIDENT MUST REPORT TO CONGRESS
"The President is also required to report to Congress at least once every 60 days a report on all actions taken in relationship to the powers granted to him in the resolution and on any planning efforts regarding the potential use of military forces against Iraq."
"The House of Representatives has spoken clearly to the world and to the United Nations Security Council," President Bush stated. "The gathering threat of Iraq must be confronted fully and finally. …Today's vote also sends a clear message to the Iraqi regime: It must disarm and comply with all existing U.N. resolutions, or it will be forced to comply."
Over the next months, U.N. inspectors returned to Iraq in a sham display. Saddam hid all of his weapons of mass destruction, and the "minders" used every possible tactic of deception and obfuscation to delay and prevent the inspectors from finding anything. It was impossible for them, after all the years they had been out of the country and Saddam had to hide and conceal his weapons, to find anything. The fact that Saddam had WMD was known by all. Saddam claimed he did not have any. To let him get away with that was tantamount to letting a murderer off the hook because he said I didn’t do it.
When it became obvious that Iraq had no intention of complying with the U.N. Resolution or cooperating with inspectors, the White House then began their final military and public relations campaign, in preparation for the inevitable showdown. In a fact sheet entitled "A Decade of Deception and Defiance," the administration stated that Saddam had "repeatedly violated 17 United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) designed to ensure that Iraq does not pose a threat to international peace and security…he has tried, over the past decade, to circumvent U.N. economic sanctions against Iraq, which are reflected in a number of other resolutions. As noted in the resolutions, Saddam Hussein was required to fulfill many obligations beyond the withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait. Specifically, Saddam Hussein was required to, among other things: Allow international weapons inspectors to oversee the destruction of his weapons of mass destruction; not develop new weapons of mass destruction; destroy all of his ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometers; stop support for terrorism and prevent terrorist organizations from operating within Iraq; help account for missing Kuwaitis and other individuals; return stolen Kuwaiti property and bear financial liability for damage from the Gulf War; and he was required to end his repression of the Iraqi people." Instead, Saddam repeatedly violated the agreements.
In January, 2003, Bush gave his State of the Union speech. In it, he cited a British intelligence report that, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
After the war, this statement came under question. The British continued to stand by it, but American Democrats attempted to discredit the winning President. A retired State Department official named Joe Wilson wrote in the New York Times, "I have little choice but to conclude that some of the intelligence related to Iraq’s nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat."
In reality, the "scandal" was not Bush's making. It was Bill Clinton's. He allowed U.S. capabilities in Africa to be all-but destroyed. Wilson was a diplomat in Niger, the African country in question. As charge d’affaires in Iraq in 1990, he was the last American to meet with Saddam. Later, he served as Ambassador to Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe. In the late 1990s, he was an official with President Clinton’s National Security Council, where his duties took him to Niger.
In 1998, uranium accounted for 65 percent of Niger's exports. A French company headed the consortium that ran Niger’s uranium mines. Wilson claimed "that it was highly doubtful that any such transaction had ever taken place," and told the CIA that.
"In an effort to inquire about certain reports involving Niger, CIA’s counter-proliferation experts, on their own initiative, asked an individual with ties to the region to make a visit to see what he could learn," said CIA Director George Tenet. "He reported back to us that one of the former Nigerian officials he met stated that he was unaware of any contract signed between Niger and rogue states for the sale of uranium during his tenure in office. The same former official also said that in June, 1999 a businessman approached him and insisted that the former official meet with an Iraqi delegation to discuss ‘expanding commercial relations’ between Iraq and Niger. The former official interpreted the overture as an attempt to discuss uranium sales."
Documents alleged to demonstrate a uranium deal between Iraq and Niger, which were part of the basis of the British report, turned out to be forged. Maybe. But what does not wash is that the CIA had to rely on a retired State Department official to travel to Niger to double-check British intelligence about Niger’s uranium!
Mines in Africa that produce uranium that can be used in weapons of mass destruction should have been a major source of concern to Clinton, but it was not.
"…Our coverage in the continent of Africa is abysmal because we made a decision to pull out our assets in Africa," said House Intelligence Chairman Porter Gooses (R.-Fla.) in an interview with Human Events editor Terrence Jeffries. "It was also compounded by the scrub that was done during the…John Deutch DCI-ship, the scrub of assets. We basically denuded ourself of capability in the [Human Intelligence] world and we’re paying for that. There was nothing sinister about it. That was the judgment of the day. We were a nation at peace and prosperity and that was what society said was okay to do. We did it. We did it at our peril."
During the Clinton years.
"And there’s been more than uranium sales mischief out of Niger…" Goss added. Another reporter asked Goss if he thought the British report cited by the President might be correct. "I think that is a very fair question to ask the British," he said. "I have no reason to doubt the British report…"
Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), discredited the British report. However, ElBaradei and the IAEA also presented evidence that tended to support the British report.
On March 7, 2003 ElBaradei appeared at the U.N. Security Council to report on the IAEA’s investigation of Iraq’s nuclear-related activities. He said the Iraq-Niger documents were "not authentic," but revealed that Iraq had sent an official to Niger in 1999.
"For its part," said ElBaradei, "Iraq has provided the IAEA with a comprehensive explanation of its relations with Niger, and has described a visit by an Iraqi official to a number of African countries, including Niger, in February 1999, which Iraq thought might have given rise to the reports [of a uranium deal]."
ElBaradei pointed out IAEA interviews with Iraqis were conducted within Iraq, in the presence of an Iraqi government monitor. Therefore, they could not be relied upon. Why would Saddam have sent an emissary to Niger? The emissary was their Ambassador to the Vatican, Wissam Al Zahawie, who was named in "forged" documents used as evidence of the Niger-Iraq uranium connection. Iraq had previously purchased uranium from Niger in 1980, which was used in their building of the Osirak reactor that Israel destroyed.
What is highly possible is that the "forgeries" were set-ups meant to throw the West off their scent. Apparently this was the story that Ambassador Wilson bought. A former Niger official said that in June of 1999 a businessman approached him and insisted that the former official meet with an Iraqi delegation to discuss "expanding commercial relations" between Iraq and Niger. The former official interpreted the overture as an attempt to discuss uranium sales.
Tony Blair never backed off his assertion that Iraq was purchasing uranium from Niger for nuclear purposes.
"Let me just say this on the issue to do with Africa and uranium," Blair said. "The British intelligence that we have we believe is genuine."
In February, 2003 Secretary of State Colin Powell cited "undeniable" proof of Iraqi violations of the Resolution, which meant that the U.S. now had the authorization under both the United Nations and the Congress to take action "deemed necessary" by Bush.
Powell presented satellite imagery and communications between Iraqi officials to demonstrate their efforts at deceiving inspectors. Iraq is in "material breach" of council Resolution 1441, he said, and must now face the "serious consequences" threatened in the measure, stating further that the world "places itself in danger of irrelevance if it allows Iraq to continue to defy its will without responding effectively and immediately."
China, Russia, and France waffled on the subject, but Powell cited evidence of an Iraqi chemical munitions plant and mobile biological-weapons laboratories.
"There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more and he has the ability to dispense these lethal poisons and diseases in ways that can cause massive death and destruction," Powell said.
Powell cited a pattern of illegality as evidence of a possible Iraqi effort at developing nuclear weapons, plus long-range ballistic missiles, including two systems cited in the previous week by chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix.
Powell detailed U.S. allegations that Baghdad and Al Qaeda were in league through operatives, citing Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, who was accused of ordering the murder of a U.S. diplomat in Jordan in 2002.
"We wrote [Resolution] 1441 to give Iraq one last chance," Powell continued. "Iraq is not so far taking that one last chance. We must not shrink from whatever is ahead of us. We must not fail in our duty and our responsibility to the citizens of the countries that are represented by this body."
Iraq's ambassador to the U.N., Muhammad al-Duri, said Powell's claims were "utterly unrelated to the truth." He said Iraq "will provide detailed and technical responses to the allegations."
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw echoed Powell's statements that Iraq was in "further material breach" of Resolution 1441. 10 former Communist countries, now staunch U.S. allies, supported America's stance on Iraq. The so-called "The Vilnius 10" included Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
"In the event, in the near future, the inspectors don't report to the council that Iraq has changed its attitude with regard to its obligations, the Security Council will have to take the appropriate action for the implementation of the relevant resolutions adopted since 1990," Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Pasi said of Powell's compelling evidence of Iraq's arms programs.
Their joint statement said the trans-Atlantic community "must stand together to face the threat" of Iraq. The "Vilnius 10" joined 12 other European countries, including European Union members Spain, Italy, Britain, and Denmark, in a "coalition of the willing" supporting the U.S.
As it became obvious that Iraq had violated the U.N. Resolution, and that Bush intended to make him pay for it by virtue of invasion, the anti-war protests began to mount. There were three elements to the anti-war argument. First, traditional Central Europe - namely France, Belgium and Germany - opposed the U.S. In the case of France and Germany, their main reasons for doing this were a stark realization that they no longer had any real world power. The U.S. had so thoroughly eclipsed them in terms of military thunder, influence and political hegemony, that these old powers were now close to irrelevancy. This is not to say they lack any importance, but as movers and shakers who had the ability to control events, their time had passed. These were countries that, in the past 200 years, had made full-scale efforts at world domination. They had failed. Now the position they once aspired to was filled by the United States. Opposition to the U.S. was based on little more than a backlash against their own "failures" to attain dominance.
The opposition of countries like Belgium, France and Germany had psycho-historical roots, too. Belgium had committed outright genocide against the black population of their colony, the Belgian Congo, during the reign of King Leopold in the 19th Century. France had committed racist atrocities in Indochina, Algeria, and other colonies, much of it causing probems in the Middle East that the U.S. was now in the process of cleaning up. During Napoleon's reign, they had opted for pure, naked aggression, and had failed in their attempt to turn the Middle East into part of their sphere of influence. Germany, of course, had committed the worst possible crimes against humanity, and prior to that had been the greatest war criminal in the world, during the Great War. Before that they had opted for naked aggression in the Franco-Prussian War. Russia, also opposed, had committed crimes against humanity on a scale above Nazi Germany. China was blown away by U.S. power and had little to say as they hunkered in the shadow of a reality in which their so-called status as a world power was nary a blip on the screen compared to the U.S. They uttered a few quiet words in opposition. Of course, their record for murder eclipsed even Germany's and Russia's in the 20th Century.
Russia and China were not expected to back us, really. Russia had too recently been humiliated by our total victory in the Cold War. But Belgium, France and Germany represented NATO. So why? It has to do, as mentioned, with their oft-miserable human rights records. These countries had committed terrible atrocities and could not conceive of power used wisely, because when they had it they abused it.
Only Britain, among major powers, had, like America, the moral backbone of its history. America had spread goodness and decency throughout the world, so the U.S. trusted itself to do the right thing. England, at the height of their empire, had kept Chinese and Indians out of country clubs, and occasionally exhibited a heavy hand. But they were responsible for bringing Christianity, education, medicine, trade, business, jobs, culture, decency and excellence to millions of natives. Despite all the hemming and hawing of liberal historians, this was a great thing. Britain is not a nation, like so many other nations, that needs to apologize for its past. Therefore they are free to be confident in their friendship with that other great nation, which owes so much to them, the United States.
Next came the liberal Democrats in the United States. Their problem was purely political, and was based on the naked realization that George Bush was already a highly popular Republican President, who had led the country in the aftermath of 9/11, a major victory in Afghanistan, and was on the verge of a huge success in Iraq. Democrats knew that if he succeeded in this endeavor, he would ascend to electoral heights they could never hope to match. Bush and the G.O.P. would be in a position of such superiority in the 2004 elections that the long-suspected notion of the Democrat party as an irrelevant dinosaur, staved off by recession, Bill Clinton, Ross Perot and the Internet, might be impossible to stave off much longer.
The Democrats found themselves in an old, new position. First, there was the Alger Hiss fallout, in which they had been forced to "invent" McCarthyism to dissuade the public from the Communists in their midst. Next came Clinton, who they had to defend, like Hiss, to the end because he was their last hope against extinction. But what was new was that for all their perfidies and unpatriotic sentiments over the years, the traditional Democrat party had always been the "loyal opposition," or in the case of JFK and LBJ, defenders of the U.S. But to "defend" America now was more and more looking like political suicide to many Democrats. It was a complete Catch-22, because many Democrats, like John Kerry, Joseph Lieberman and even Hillary Clinton, knew that to oppose the war was also political suicide. They knew that in future years, the Iraq War would be a huge American victory, and to oppose it would place them on the wrong side of history. But if they supported it, they were supporting Bush, who faced a "win/win" situation. Would they support their country, and therefore support a Republican? For all too many, the answer to that question was "no." They had little in the way of reasoning to back their arguments.
Many who would have served themselves by staying quiet could not help it and said goofy things that amounted to, "Saddam has no weapons of mass destruction, and if we go to war he’ll use his weapons of mass destruction." Liberals simply do not realize the fundamental truth of America, which is that we are the world's least exclusive club with the highest dues. Still, in an odd twist of fate, liberals may have saved us from Saddam's WMD. How? When Saddam identified them as his best "friends" in the West, he also knew the only way he could hold on to their second-hand "support" was by not using the weapons, and in fact, to hide them in such a way as to make the conservatives look foolish. Of course, there those among the conservative class who recognize such tactics and expose them. Thus, and it is.
Finally, there were the street protesters. These may have been the new constituency of the Democrat party, but in reality they represented old-line opposition with roots in Rousseau's France, Thoreau's America, and in the anarchism of Emma Goldman, Sacco and Vanzetti. The bottom line on these people was that they simply did not like one country - America - being so great, so successful, so powerful and so influential as the U.S. now was. Their philosophy was based on the same thought process that J. Robert Oppenheimer used when he decided to give atomic secrets to Soviet scientists. They believed in a fuzzy kind of "fairness," a desire to even the playing field because they simply did not trust that America would do good with the power it possessed. To feel this way was to fail to know history, and to lack the basic understanding that in all the annals of Mankind, America was the only nation that had earned, through its own track record, the trust of the world to handle its power responsibly.
It was this strain of anarchism/liberalism that had written much of the critical history that had tried, desperately, to paint American success and altruism as racism, exploitation and greed. The Founding Fathers, they said, were slave owners, but they had not shed light on their plan to end importation of slaves by the early 1800s, which was supposed to allow slavery to die on its own. Instead, slave owners treated slaves so "well" they kept multiplying until the 1860s. Their critics were the people who always pointed out American slavery, instead of lauding this nation for ending the practice by using laws written in America by Americans to end it forever.
These were the people who said America "stole" land from Mexico, when it was the Mexicans who invited American mountain men with guns into their territories to protect settlements from marauding Injuns, and after the Americans restored order, the Mexican government told them they were Mexican citizens.
These were the people who called the Indian Wars "genocide," when in reality the American West was an utterly unique situation. For centuries, invading nations had sent armies in to secure territories first. Now, for the first time, ordinary settlers came of their own volition, using their skills and capacity for hard work to forge something in the West. The Army was sent in not just to protect the settlers, but to protect the Indians, too.
These were the people who said American expansion in the Middle East, the Pacific and China was exploitation, but failed to understand that we were protecting our legitimate trading interests, bringing Christianity, medicine, Democracy and modernity to backwards peoples.
These were the people who argued that Communism was not a big threat, when it was a bigger threat than Nazism. They sacrificed the patriotic core of the Democrat party at the altar of this specious lie, and used it to hamstring our boys in Korea and Vietnam, then left our allies hanging out to dry.
Finally, with Reagan, the conservatives had said, "Enough." They took a stand, and vowed to never let this strain of anarchism/liberalism dominant our worldview again. So resolved, they defeated Communism, they were now in the middle of defeating terrorism, and had decided to enter the "window of opportunity" that would allow them to shape a truly safe, secure world in the new century.
The so-called New Conservatives, whose vision of the New World Order had been delayed for eight years by Clinton, knew and understood this strain of anarchism/ liberalism. They knew their history, and that they were on the right side of it. Armed with this simple premise, they endeavored, once again, to do the right thing.
On March 20, 2003, about 90 minutes after the lapse of a 48-hour deadline imposed by Bush for Saddam and his sons to step down and go into exile, the "right thing" started. President Bush announced that he had ordered the coalition to launch an "attack of opportunity" against specified targets in Iraq. 36 Tomahawk missiles and two F-117 launched GBU-27 bombs assaulted clear, high-level Iraqi governmental officials and targets, including Saddam himself, based on specific intelligence which led the U.S. government to believe it knew his movements.
Special Forces troops operated inside Iraq. Australia, the United Kingdom and the U.S. put Special Forces troops in the area. Iraq launched a number of missiles at targets in Kuwait, including the coalition forces stationed there. This was a material breach of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441 and would be counter to what Iraqi officials had claimed. U.K. and U.S. ground troops moved into the demilitarized zone between Iraq and its neighbor, Kuwait.
General Tommy Franks commanded the coalition forces. 40 satellite-guided Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched, "surgically" striking a bunker holding top Iraqi officials.
"On my orders, coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein's ability to wage war," Bush announced. "These are opening stages of what will be a broad and concerted campaign."
Called "Operation Iraqi Freedom," the initial phase of the war employed a new term called "shock and awe," based on a concept devised in the mid-1990s. The idea was to the show the enemy so much pure firepower and technological wizardry that it would eliminate the slightest hope that it could be defended against, thereby causing them to surrender before real damage could be done to the populace and the infra-structure.
It was a tremendous plan, but failed to address some peculiarities intrinsic to the Husseins. First, Saddam and his sons did not consider surrender or exile a viable option, because they were aware that their long history of war crimes would make them subject to trial, or worse, public retaliation from the people they had terrorized. But the most important element was their own lack of real information. In cultivating an atmosphere of utter obedience, in which the slightest bad news meant the messenger would be killed, they had isolated themselves from the truth. As hard as it is to believe now, they actually felt that the Republican Guard could hold off an American invasion of Baghdad. Just as Hitler felt "in my blood" that he could conquer Russia, it would prove to be a fatal error.
Furthermore, after eight years of Clinton, Saddam simply did not believe Bush would launch a full-scale invasion. He figured he could hunker down and survive an aerial bombing campaign. He had not taken into account the fact that now, for the first time since Bush's father attacked him 12 years earlier, he was dealing with a President whose word could be trusted.
Despite protests, Great Britain's Tony Blair courageously supported and backed Bush and the American effort. On March 21, Royal Marines occupied the strategically important al-Faw peninsula in the southeastern corner of Iraq. Soon, Royal and U.S. Marines captured Umm Qasr, Iraq's only deep-water port. Coalition forces were greeted with cheers from Iraqi citizens.
U.S. and U.K. forces moved through the south of the country. Forces towards the east reached the edge of Iraq's second city, Basra. The U.S. Third Infantry Division towards the west reached the outskirts of the strategically crucial town of Nasiriya on the Euphrates River, where they came under fire from Iraqi defenses. The British government announced that coalition forces had all the major southern oil fields under control.
Saddam ordered wells to be destroyed but the coalition, led by Special Forces, prevented all but a few to be set on fire. Special fire fighting troops extinguished two of those. Baghdad came under heavy aerial bombardment, and the Iraqi Minister for Information said the strikes wounded 207 civilians. Subsequent information showed this to be untrue. Airstrikes were also made on the northern cities of Mosul and Kirkuk.
The Iraqi Army 51st Division quickly surrendered to U.S. Marines. The Iraqi government reported that no Iraqi troops had surrendered. It was an Iraqi lie. British troops capture the Faw Peninsula in southern Iraq. U.S. forces captured Umm Qasr. 1,000 Turkish troops entered from the north.
Over the next days, surgical air strikes continued on military targets in Baghdad. It was already clear that the U.S. possessed an uncanny ability to strike specific targets without creating massive "collateral damage" - civilian casualties. As incredible as the 1991 Persian Gulf victory had been, the 1990s technology boom had improved our weapons capability by an enormous magnitude. There seemed nothing the U.S. could not do.
Furthermore, the Pentagon had made a key decision, which was to "embed" reporters with the units. In Vietnam, success had been denied in large part because of lies, untruths, propaganda and liberal media spin. The Pentagon calculated that if reporters were right on the action and saw the troops up close, it would be like reporting on the New York Yankees. That is, success and excellence would be openly, obviously displayed to them. Therefore the simple truthful descriptions of events would be descriptions of greatness. They were right.
Iraqi soldiers began surrendering, but the Iraqi government provided further false reports of victories, no surrenders, and civilian casualties. The British entered Basrah, and an American soldier killed one fellow soldier while wounding 13 others in a hand grenade attack. He was a black Muslim who had told others that the U.S. was committing war against Islam and planned to rape Muslim women. The media virtually ignored the story because it was not Politically Correct to portray a black Muslim in such a fashion. Had he been white it would have been world news.
U.S. Marines battled into Nasiriya, a key crossing of the Euphrates River about 225 miles southeast of Baghdad. Despite low casualties, mostly accidents and not combat-related, the media began to depict British and American soldiers wounded and killed by the Iraqis, as shown by the Arabian Al-Jazeera TV network. It was an attempt to portray the war as a "quagmire." Embedded reporters, however, told the real story, which was continuing success and advancement.
When 10 U.S. Marines were ambushed, CNN attempted to portray this as an example of poor planning. The Iraqis captured some mechanics and videotaped them tortured and killed execution-style, in violation of the Geneva Convention. Coalition forces began to take control of the An Najaf province, where a huge chemical weapons plant had existed. When troops came upon the site, they discovered that the weapons of mass destruction had been moved prior to their arrival.
Five civilians were reportedly killed when a missile fell on their houses in a populated district in the west of Baghdad, but it was not known whether it was a misguided American missile, a Iraqi missile off-course, or an intentional Iraqi strike to drum up propaganda. Americans braced against chemical attacks, but they did not come. The informed speculation was that Saddam had boxed himself into a corner regarding his WMD. He knew that if he used them, it would be a direct U.N. violation, justifying the American attack. He still had a portion of the liberal world supporting him on this issue. The theory began to circulate that he had hid them, or even destroyed them, in order to frustrate the Americans and make them look bad.
The United States discovered that Russia had delivered weapons to Iraq, which included GPS units and anti-tank missiles. This was a violation of the sanctions by the United Nations, and shed led on why Russia had opposed the invasion. The Shiite population of Basra rebelled against the Iraqi militia. With the port city of Umm Qasr rendered "safe and open" after a fabulous operation in which divers dismantled off-shore mines, British ships began to land additional medicine, food and water for the population area.
In Nasiriya, coalition forces discovered and confiscated weapons caches and gear to protect against chemical weapons, including a T-55 tank, over 3,000 chemical suits with masks, and Iraqi munitions and military uniforms. All of this equipment was hidden in a Nasiriya hospital. The only purpose for having these was if Iraq possessed and planned to use chemical weapons. Explosve suits, used by terrorists, and discovered terrorist training facilities supported the link to international with Saddam.
The U.S. operation was already being hailed as the most spectacular military invasion in history, but dust storms slowed up the march on Baghdad. Thousands more chemical suits, further evidence of Iraq chemical weapons, were discovered in An Nasiriyah. The fear of chemical weapons used in the battle of Baghdad occupied the commanders.
The American central command in Qatar admitted that bombardments could have killed civilians due to the fact that Iraqi military assets were being placed close to civilian areas (within 300 feet in some cases). Two explosions occurred on a commercial street in Baghdad, killing 14 civilians and injuring 30.
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld accused Syria of supplying arms and material to Iraq. Humanitarian aid began to make its way to the population after securing the port. The Iraqis began to dress their soldiers as civilians. 140 of these fighters were identified and killed by the U.S. The Iraqi information minister denied they were soldiers.
An Iraqi Silkworm missile exploded in a shopping center in Kuwait City. The Iraqi lie was that it was a malfunctioning U.S. cruise missile. An Iraqi military suicide bomber, driving a taxi, killed four U.S. soldiers in an attack.
"We will use any means to kill our enemy in our land and we will follow the enemy into its land," Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan said, "This is just the beginning. You'll hear more pleasant news later."
On March 31, U.S. troops killed seven civilians, including women and children in a suicide car attack that drove through a checkpoint. The driver ignored warning shots, and non-lethal gunfire into the engine. Journalist Peter Arnett of NBC gave an interview to Iraqi television in which he lied, saying the American operation was going poorly. He possessed the information that it was going as planned, but in lying gave aid and comfort, albeit false comfort, to Iraq. Arnett's lies about a "baby milk factory" that was a munitions depo in the first Persian Gulf War had been previously identified and exposed. He had lied regularly while reporting from Vietnam in an effort to discredit America. Arnett was fired.
On April 1, a 32-year-old Iraqi lawyer, whose wife worked as a nurse at a hospital in Nasiriyah, risked his life to help coalition forces rescue prisoner of war Private First Class Jessica Lynch. The lawyer said Lynch had been tortured and sought help from coalition forces. Black Hawk helicopters flew in under cover of darkness, touched down next to the hospital, and a team of heavily armed commandos stormed the building, using hand-drawn maps given to them by the lawyer and his wife. Lynch was successfully rescued. The lawyer and his family were flown to a refugee center in the southern port city of Umm Qasr.
The next day, the U.S. reached the Baghdad suburbs, where small units of Iraqi Republican Guards fired upon them. The sandstorms had made the troops look like they were bogged down. Many in the media questioned the war plan. Cartoons began to appear with Democrats asking, "Is it Vietnam yet? Is it Vietnam yet?" The liberals were unable to hide the fact that they did not favor America in this fight. Liberal college professors like one at Columbia went so far as to say they hoped for "a thousand Mogadishus." In the mean time, when the sandstorms lifted, it was discovered that the Americans had made use of them to advance unimpeded to Baghdad.
In Mosul, northern Iraq, citizens told reporters that they were happy that the Iraqi soldiers were gone. Continuing joy expressed by the citizenry put the further lie to liberal claims that we were "hated" and would be opposed as "conquerors" and "imperialist infidels." The U.S. took control of Saddam International Airport.
More evidence of weapons of mass destruction and Iraq's terror link was found the next day when MSNBC discovered deadly toxins' ricin and botulinum at a laboratory in northern Iraq, used as a training camp for Ansar al-Islam, a terrorist group with ties to the Al Qaida terrorist network.
U.S. forces searching the Latifiyah Explosives and Ammunition Plant, south of Baghdad, discovered thousands of boxes full of vials of a white powdery substance, atropine (a nerve agent antidote) and Arabic documents on how to engage in chemical warfare. The facility had been identified by the International Atomic Energy Agency as a suspected chemical, biological and nuclear weapons site. U.N. weapons inspectors visited the plant at least nine times, including as recently as February 18, 2003. It was further evidence of Iraq's WMD.
Arab media attempted to say that the U.S. killed journalists at the Palestine Hotel, but further reporting by Western sources revealed that journalists face fired in Abu Dhabi from Iraqis beneath them. Journalists at the Palestine Hotel denied the story of U.S. fire from or around the hotel.
Iraqi media depicted great victories and descriptions of huge American casualties, enormous civilian death tolls from U.S. fire, and American forces turning in retreat. In reality, few civilians had been injured. The Americans were driving their vehicles into the heart of Baghdad, literally where the commentator could see them, with the red, white and blue flying high, right outside his window.
On April 9, Baghdad fell to U.S. forces amid Iraqi street celebrations. American infantrymen seized the deserted Ba'ath Party ministries and pulled down a huge iron statue of Saddam. Throngs of Iraqis kicked the statue with their shoes, the ultimate sign of disrespect. Old Glory hung from where the statue had been. The new Iraqi flag then replaced it. Iraqi citizens celebrated wildly. Some carried signs indicating that anti-war protestors had been "wankers" because they merely aided Saddam. In Marin County, California, cars driving by Sean Penn's home rolled their windows down and screamed, "Hey Sean, let's go to Baghdad now."
Penn, a Hollywood celebrity, had traveled to Baghdad much like Jane Fonda had traveled to Hanoi during Vietnam, to provide aid and comfort to Saddam' regime under the guise of "peace." Penn did not go to Baghdad, where thousands were now free despite his best efforts.
Saddam's forces melted into the population. Kurdish troops took over Kirkuk. Looting occurred among the long-repressed populace. Government and public buildings were plundered. Reports of looting at the National Museum of Iraq, which contained much historical antiquity going back to the Mesopotamian era, were reported. Later, it was discovered that Saddam's people had stolen much of what was missing prior to the battle. However, museum officials had already removed most of the artifacts. 90 percent of the museum's possessions were restored. Once inside the city, it was discovered, incredibly, U.S. bombing had not destroyed a great deal of the infrastructure.
On April 13, Saddam's hometown of Tikrit was captured by American Marines without notable casualties. The war was over. U.S. forces continued a "mopping up" operation. Small guerrilla factions continued to pose a deadly threat, but slowly they were compartmentalized into pockets that would allow the coalition to shrink them. The first post-war problem came from Fundamentalist Muslims, who began to rally their fanatics at mosques, followed by demonstrations in the streets. Fears of a "Democratically" elected Fundamentalist state circulated. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld quelled that quickly when he informed the world that such an event fell into that category of things that was not gonna happen!
In May, Bush, a former fighter jock, co-piloted a jet onto an aircraft carrier, where he was received by wildly cheering Navy personnel. The liberals lost it because their guys were draft dodgers and cowards. Bush was accepted as a bona fide member of the "warrior fraternity." Speaking on the deck of the carrier, Bush lauded the performance of the American military, which had won a decisive, virtually perfect victory. He lauded the British, who had also been brilliant. He thanked our allies for their support. He also made a point of talking about the new nature of American military technology. We now had at our disposal weapons that were so precise that we could wipe out military targets with minimal civilian casualties. The Iraqi War had been won with an incredibly low number of civilian deaths. Even Iraqi army casualties were relatively low, despite the rout they took, because the "shock and awe" campaign had been so effective that many simply ran and hid.
Countries across the globe who had maintained a "hands off" attitude suddenly joined the Coalition. France met with Bush and offered "pragmatism." Victory has many…in this case, cousins.
The aftermath of the victory would not be without problems, but they were not unforeseen. There had been some expectation that Iraqi police and security forces might be transferred into civilian forces under U.S. interim authority, but the weight of the security and re-building fell, of course, to the Americans, who took on the responsibility.
On May 27, Rumsfeld quoted Thomas Jefferson, who said, "we are not to expect to be translated from despotism to liberty in a featherbed."
"Time and patience," he said, were required. Democrats, however, began a suicidal period of criticism. Despite Congressional approval in October, they had taken an adversarial position for pure political reasons. With a Presidential election a little over a year away, they had assembled a number of Primary hopefuls, most of whom had staked out an anti-war position.
The Democrats had entered dangerous and unpatriotic territory, desperately trying to disguise their lack of support as being something other than unpatriotic. The basic premise of protest as being part of the American tradition was, of course, true, but the obvious benefits to the U.S. and the world were so glaring that they had placed themselves into a corner they would possibly never crawl out of.
Prior to the war, the Democrats had stategized that if they opposed the war and it was a disaster, they could campaign on a nebulous "see, I told ya so" plank. When the war went perfectly, that option was gone to them, but a mea culpa like the one they should have made in admitting Communists were in their midst, or that Clinton was corrupt beyond redemption, was not the path they chose. Instead, they tried to paint the war as something other than what any person who could read or watch TV could see what it actually was: An unmitigated success.
They had firmly confirmed what many suspected of them for years, and what many others simply knew to be true of them. This was that they benefited only from American failure. They had forced themselves by their positions and failures to root for American disaster, economic depression, and a general hopelessness that only their ancient discredited prescriptions could fix. They had nothing and they knew it.
They grasped at the fact that Saddam's weapons of mass destruction were not found yet, even though the logic of this lack of discovery was quite available to all thinking men. Put yourself in Saddam's shoes. First, he had four years to hide his WMD from inspectors. The possibility that Saddam did not have weapons of mass destruction were so far from being possible as to be, for all practical purposes, simply that with which is impossible! After 9/11 and Afghanistan, when the focus was placed back on him, he was cornered, Bush was a new kind of President, a man to be feared unlike Clinton.
If Saddam used his chem/bio cache, he would violate the U.N. Resolutions in such a way that even his "useful idiot" friends would be forced to justify the attack. Furthermore, he knew that American troops had the proper equipment to render such an attack as all but fruitless. It was not a viable option to him. So what did he do? Saddam either hid his weapons in such a manner that they would never be found, or he destroyed them himself. If he destroyed them per the U.N., it would have been seen as "caving in" to the Americans. Instead, he wanted to foil Bush, to make him look bad, and he knew that his best ally in this endeavor was liberalism. Liberals were actually willing to go on record and say that Saddam never had these weapons, which for all practical purposes put them in the position of giving Saddam the benefit of the doubt over Bush.
Res ipsa loquiter.
Saddam could have thrown his WMD in the Tigris River. Either way, what he did with them will be known eventually. One impossibility is the answer that he did not have the weapons. He had them. It was also obvious that U.N. inspectors were never going to find his weapons on their own with Saddam in power. That falls into that category of things that was not gonna happen!
"While our goal is to put functional and political authority in the hands of Iraqis as soon as possible, the Coalition Provisional Authority has the responsibility to fill the vacuum of power…by asserting temporary authority over the country," said Rumsfeld in late May. "The coalition will do so. It will not tolerate self-appointed 'leaders.'"
In the aftermath of the war, problems occurred in Iraq. Factions of Saddam loyalists continued small-scale attacks on U.S. troops. A steady stream of attacks resulted in U.S. casualties. Acts of retribution against Iraqis cooperating with the Americans were committed. Authorities discovered that Saddam's infrastructure was worse than it had been thought to be. Long delays in getting electricity up and running in the 120-degree heat created short tempers. The process of putting together a Democrat government in Iraq was a major challenge.
European countries did not shower praise on America, either, but their attitude was understandable. The world had changed to the point in which the gap between U.S. superiority and the rest of the world was too great a chasm to bridge. This resulted in frustration and envy from the rest of the world. They "liked" us when we were down after 9/11, but we came back in a way no other country could have done. This demonstration of American resolve and greatness was the last and obvious piece of evidence that no other nation was even in our shadow, much less represented a legitimate rival, friendly or otherwise.
In late July, Qusai and Odai Hussein were found and killed. Attacks and the lack of a perfectly smooth, functioning, up-and-running Iraq within a few short months had the Democrats, liberals and their allies in the media complaining about Bush's "lack" of a "plan." In reality, what had and was occurring in Iraq was highly, precisely and to quintessential effect, that with which had been carried out and was the plan:
11 Win the war quickly with minimal "friendly" casualties, minimal civilian
casualties, minimal Iraqi military casualties and minimal damage to the
12 Secure the country; use the military on the ground to do the hard, challenging, necessary work of fighting opposition, guerrilla and criminal attacks.
13 Install an administration to work with the Iraqis on securing the country and.
14 Bring in the international community.
15 Transition to Iraqi control free Democratic choice.
Many of the "attacks" reported in the press were actually police actions, not unlike those that occur in American urban centers when the cops stop ordinary crimes in the process of occurring. Another interesting development occurred. A number of the attackers were also terrorists who came to Iraq from other Middle Eastern countries. This created the odd scenario of playing into the U.S. hands. It was messy, but the end result was that it condensed terrorists into one single place where the American military could marginalize, control, group them together, and eliminate them more easily than if they were scattered throughout the world.
It tended to be better to fight the terrorists in Iraq with our Army than to fight them on American streets with our citizens, cops and firemen. It was better than having disparate security forces from various countries fighting multiple rearguard actions. It did not speed the process of securing Iraq, which was a problem, but it did seem to beg the notion that if these terrorists wanted to die in large numbers in order to meet Allah, the Americans would be willing to satisfy their requests.
No country in the world could have done a better job. It was an incredibly hard task. Instead of cheering Bush and cooperating in the difficult work, Democrats just criticized. When Iraq is the new model for freedom, Democracy and peace in the Middle East, they will "jump on the bandwagon" as they did after the Cold War was won despite their harping.
Their complaints completely failed to recognize the alternative scenarios; defeat, chemical explosions, anarchy, chaos, and a hundred spinoffs, none of which occurred. They took various attacks, of debatable size, organization and effect, and tried to paint it as "failure" by George W. Bush.
It would be like stating that Abraham Lincoln had "failed" to win the Civil War because of Quantrill's Raiders. It would be like stating that FDR had "failed" to win World War II because it took years to clean up and organize Germany and Japan. The American Silent Majority listened to all of it. They said little, leaving Democrats with the false impression that their hue and cry had resonated with more than their now-tiny group of hardcore die-hards. The Silent Majority formulated plans to express themselves in the voting booths of this nation. The Democrats, who never learn, will be just as dumbfounded at their losses as Pauline Kael was in 1972, when she exclaimed, "I don't know how it happened <Nixon winning 49 states>. I don't know anybody who voted for him." The votes come from Des Moine, Omaha, Shreveport, Syracuse, Fresno, and a million points of light in between, where good citizens raise their families and do the right thing. They do not come from the high crime precincts and liberal salons that propel Hillary Clinton.
In the mean time, having done all the heavy lifting, the United States began the process of magnanimously bringing in the United Nations to give an international flavor to the reconstruction of Iraq. It is likely Bush and America will never be given the genuine thanks for the gift of freedom they provided in Iraq.
Res ipsa loquiter.
Causes Steven Travers Supports
Conservative, Christian, USC, American patriotism