Monday, November 13, 2006

NewU: Saddam Scare Is A Big Lie

The following sentence in the NewU article below irked me:

We had spent millions of dollars searching the country, wherever we wanted, and found no indication that Hussein was manufacturing or developing weapons of mass destruction.

LGF tipped me off to this little paragraph (#14 to be exact) in an article published November 3rd in the New York Times:

The Web site, “Operation Iraqi Freedom Document Portal,” was a constantly expanding portrait of prewar Iraq. Its many thousands of documents included everything from a collection of religious and nationalistic poetry to instructions for the repair of parachutes to handwritten notes from Mr. Hussein’s intelligence service. It became a popular quarry for a legion of bloggers, translators and amateur historians.

Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making sure Iraq had abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the Persian Gulf war. Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein’s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away.

European diplomats said this week that some of those nuclear documents on the Web site were identical to the ones presented to the United Nations Security Council in late 2002, as America got ready to invade Iraq. But unlike those on the Web site, the papers given to the Security Council had been extensively edited, to remove sensitive information on unconventional arms.

The deletions, the diplomats said, had been done in consultation with the United States and other nuclear-weapons nations. Mohamed ElBaradei, the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which ran the nuclear part of the inspections, told the Security Council in late 2002 that the deletions were “consistent with the principle that proliferation-sensitive information should not be released.”

The evidence of Saddam's aim to build a nuclear bomb did exist - and that he was close to finishing. No indications my foot!

Link to article

Saddam Scare Is A Big Lie
By Bill Repking

Voters disrobed President George W. Bush on Tuesday, Nov. 7. They removed his political armor. He is now naked, without a conservative Congress for defense, before a vindictive Democratic majority. Like an abused dog, his sides welted from the lash of his master’s whip, the Democratic party has lain servile, yet eager, for the opportunity to strike. The Democrats may not have any new ideas for Iraq, but I welcome their power to force attention towards those most culpable for the war. And to the Democratic party, though I belong to no party, I offer this gift. I offer my recrimination of the president.

Bush shares one trait in common with all other politicians. This trait is not his mysterious smile in press conferences, nor is it the aura of wisdom that wreathes his lips as he recites statistics. It is not the irrelevance of those statistics either. The shared trait is his propensity to lie. Some politicians lie directly and daringly, while others lie discreetly and ambiguously. Former President Bill Clinton lied intrepidly about his affair, and in debates, often the one who evades the questions best wins. I do not blame our politicians for misleading, for the act is a political necessity. In a world where no one is ever completely right or completely wrong, a politician can rarely admit his or her error.

So by calling Bush a liar, I would not necessarily condemn him. However, what concerns me and criminalizes him is the depth of his deceit and its circumstances. His was not a simple omission. He was not one congressman forgetting a fact in his espousal of welfare. It was more historical. He was a young Salem girl telling the mayor he saw his neighbor communing with Satan. His administration’s claim about Iraq’s weaponry was one of those deceptions that will occasionally fester with fear, infect the government, perverting its policies and inflicting enduring harm. It gives me a nauseating sense of nostalgia. Joseph McCarthy used the urgency of the Soviet atomic threat to begin the Red Scare and imprison whomever he wished. Senator McCarthy’s hunt for the Reds afflicted the country with terror, the residue of which still tinges the word “Communism” today.

The 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center created a profound sense of unease similar to the effects of Soviet nuclear testing 50 years ago. We felt a compulsion to act, to eliminate our enemies, who in fact were sometimes our own citizens, sometimes phantoms who appeared and disappeared arbitrarily. We invaded Afghanistan, the most culpable sponsor of terrorism. Then we invaded Iraq.

We know now that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake. But we should also understand that at its inception, the invasion should have been recognized as such. We had spent millions of dollars searching the country, wherever we wanted, and found no indication that Hussein was manufacturing or developing weapons of mass destruction. This meant one of two things: that he was developing them in secret, in mobile vans or deep underground laboratories set in the desert sand, or that he was not trying to build weapons at all. If the latter, we had no cause to invade, at least not from a national security perspective. If the former, the weapons would be of such minuscule quantities they would not even threaten his neighbors.

Under these circumstances, Bush pushed and pushed his case against Iraq. He directed the nervous energy of his advisors, the Senate, congressional leaders and some of the American people and impelled them into irrational fear. Bush created an insidious deception, one that arose through his hatred of Hussein and that propagated because of the extreme sense of peril at the time. This frenetic fixation created enormous political pressure within the administration to discover Hussein’s hidden cache, which everyone supposed would exist, even contrary to simple logic.

In Salem, magistrates hardly needed evidence to verify witchcraft they already knew was true. I do not doubt that even Bush believed his lie. Thus, the investigation became a frenzied hunt for any evidence that could justify the inevitable war rather than a cool search for factual evidence that would have prevented a war.

We did depose a brutal dictator – drown a witch – but Hussein wasn’t the witch he was supposed to be. When we invaded, he was a devil to his own country and none other. Our hunt ended Hussein’s torturing of Iraqis but killed thousands of U.S. soldiers. And tens of thousands more Iraqis died than would have otherwise. We could have spent the funds better securing Afghanistan but instead spent the money creating new terrorists in Iraq.

Bush was not the only young girl tattling on witches. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who recently resigned, shares huge responsibility. To the Democrats, I plead: Gnaw through those conservative collars and free your liberal leashes to spring upon Bush in nonpartisan justice. The perpetrator of the Red Scare didn’t evade ignominious recognition, and neither should the perpetrators of the Saddam scare.

Bill Repking is a third-year economics and history double-major.

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