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The soundtrack to this post is the Stones' Gimme Shelter. Don't know why it plays in my mind while I write this but it does. That voodoo sound at the start always sent shivers down my spine though...
How many times has this happened to you:
You're flying into Baghdad on a C130 along with a lot of other GIs and some members of the Iraq Survey Group whose report will soon be released and while waiting for the plane engines to fire up (after which point conversation becomes impossible) you say: "So what's the bottom line?"
And one responds: "He didn't have stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, but he could have reconstituted his programs in a matter of months."
Which is exactly what I've thought for quite a while (ahem) please see my April 6 2003 post here. Really, it's short, go read, and note that the Thunder Run was ongoing at that time, but the media spin had already begun. But given the myriad reasons why the time was right for ending the Hussein regime it's an issue of only minor importance to me - more significant as political strategy than military - but what do I know?
I did know on hearing that ISG response that many in the media would ignore the second part entirely, and miss only the "stockpiles" part of the first half. Such is life. Sitting here with my feet in the sands of Iraq the question seems of little importance. I feel about as disappointed as I did when the Iron Curtain fell and the Soviet Union was revealed to be not as advanced as we once thought - was the cold war therefore a waste of time?
So now you have available to you the Iraq Survey Groups full response, or the one-sentence condensed version above. What's new? Well, Oil-for-Food tie-ins and some other things that NY Times readers will certainly not be confronted with any time soon. It's a worthwhile read, and for your entry port into it I'd recomend this post from LGF.
Because if I told you any more I'd have to kill you.
Hah! Surely I'm kidding, right?
I've got a TS-SCI clearance. Tell me more! (We'll just forget about that need-to-know part for now.)(grin)Posted by Scott at October 7, 2004 09:00 PM
Me, too, but I'm just here for the Stones...Posted by Blackfive at October 7, 2004 11:36 PM
Well I think the foreign media will keep highlighting France, Russia and China and their 'principled' stand against the war ($$$$$$$$$). The media can try (and succeed) but the NEW MEDIA ain't letting them off the hook.Posted by Kathleen A at October 8, 2004 12:00 AM
"How many times has this happened to you:
You're flying into Baghdad on a C130 along with a lot of other GIs..."
Yeah, you pretty well lost me there. ;-) LOL
but if it helps, I felt like I was there!!!
Isn't it comforting, G'Hawk that I may well have caught a ride into Da Nang from that very same airplane back in '66?Posted by Peter at October 8, 2004 02:14 AM
Concur with your findings. Your take squares with my experience (as a former ISG guy). Charlie Duelfer is an honorable man (and a hell of a fast runner).
His entire report deserves to be read, not just the parts that partisans of the left or the right want you to read.Posted by JS at October 8, 2004 03:12 AM
Good lord I love you Greyhawk. Your blog has become a must-read for me daily. God Bless you and your family and God Bless our troops.Posted by SAHMmy at October 8, 2004 04:44 AM
I think it is more accurate to say that it would take several years for Saddam to have actually developed new usable WMD, not some months your quote infers. All while the U.S. with its surveillance abilities would be watching the reconstruction of plants and other busy activities to set up manufacturing again.
Why support a ship that is sinking of its own feces and close off reality with brain fog. Hawkhawk, I hope you and all the other servicepeople, other Americans and friends are safe and will stay that way. The only way I can see that happening for sure is to stop the Bush war on Iraq and leave.Posted by pete at October 8, 2004 05:33 AM
Respectfully Pete I think you are misinterpreting facts. Frankly and frighteningly, it doesn't take that much to make basic chemical weapons such as mustard gas. All the information suggests that Saddam could easily restart his weapons programs. I'm not even taking into consideration the trailer labs whose only feasible purpose so far could be military ventures. And finally, this debate illustrates that even the most sophisicated intelligence operations in the world has serious weaknesses in which low tech can counteract high tech(face to face communication, blind drops, etc).
This war is important for many reasons. The Bush Administration sees it. Al-Quida sees it. It's unfortunate, that those on the left either see it as a quagmire or an imperialist American venture.Posted by Phil Urich at October 8, 2004 06:30 AM
P Urich: "All the information suggest that Suddam could easily restart his weapons programs."
Really? I think you are exaggerating there. If all the existing facilities had been destroyed, how easily would it be to gear up again with much equipment needed to be purchased that was under sanctions. Look at the case of Iran and N. Korea, getting the centrifuges right is no easy task. What information are you refering to; get me so cites.
You claim about the "trailer," Colin Powells trailer, has been debunked for a year now.
Bush's war was not necessary and any sane person now knows it.Posted by pete at October 8, 2004 07:48 AM
The left would like to debunk the WMD trailer story, but you haven't succeeded.
IncomingPosted by Mrs Greyhawk at October 8, 2004 07:55 AM
Pete sometimes I swear I think you're a Republican operative trying to make the opposition look bad. "Months" isn't my quote - it's the ISG's. And it doesn't infer anything - it states it rather forthrightly. Please read carefully. Whether your "years" estimate is more accurate than professionals and those of us in country is up to the individual readers. For added weight to your words you may want to present you credentials though - but even if it's just your "feelings" that you're expressing that's fine too. Thanks for sharing. And thanks for your interest in the national defense.
Having worked for years as a chemist I can tell you that producing certain WMD, particularly chemical, is not that difficult. You don't need a dedicated "WMD" lab or facility. There must be many laboratory facilities in Iraq that could be used. Note that I do not say converted. In some cases there would be no conversion, you just use the facilities and instruments as is. It's a laboratory--it's designed for this. A dedicated facility can be more efficient and, importantly, much safer for preparing larger batches. The months of preparation that you would have in the U.S. is mostly due to safety considerations--proper ventilation, containment, forced air supply system for suits, etc. If you aren't too worried about the safety of your lab techs you can definitely cut corners.Posted by MuddyMo at October 8, 2004 02:29 PM
You hit it my friend. That is exactly correct. ANY insecticide plant can turn from insect killer to people killer in a few days, as the two substances are chemically similar.
Nice try, but POSSESSION of WMD's was not the issue, the issues were:
1. implacable (means unbending, unswerving) hatred of the US,
2. the desire for power,
3. proven ties with terrorists including Abu Nidal and Al Quaeda,
4. proven capability and desire to attack the US (remember the aborted attempt to assassinate Bush 41?)
5. Need to plant a democracy in the Middle East,
6. Need to send a message to other terrorist-sponsors that they will be held responsible (note Libya's roll-over),
All these, despite your "DNC-playbook" answers were the reason. NO ONE said that they were tied in to 9/11! NO ONE said that they were imminently going to attack US interests (See Bush's Jan 2003 State of Union speech "We need not wait until an attack is imminent!") Repeat the lies till you believe them, then cower in your corner waiting for the next attack while your betters protect you.
OOPS...was that too harsh?Posted by CI_PI at October 8, 2004 04:08 PM
First of all, there was uranium in the enriching process. The US felt there was such a danger that they airlifted it out. Secondly, the trailers were never disproven. Intelligence experts agree that the design is slanted in such a way that chemical weapons are the only logical conclusion. They didn't find chemical residue since incredibly powerful chemicals were used to disinfect the trailers.Posted by Phil Urich at October 10, 2004 07:16 AM
Pleased to see you thought Saddam had to go even if there were no WMD.
My article "The Unspoken Case for War with Iraq" (Published Oct 2002 in Sierratimes.com, also at www.fightingliberalfundamentalism.com/unspoken.html) explains why GW's case for war with Iraq back then was "built on quick sand" but that the case for war was actually imperative. I think I was the only commentator to argue this, and the only one I know of who has been proved right.
If you ever have the time, check out the article, and the web site. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.
JohnPosted by John Campbell at October 11, 2004 01:07 PM
The arguments against the war are so fundamentally flawed that they defy logic and, most importantly, the facts. I am - strike that was - a lifelong democrat, but lets look at the record for the left wingers who have hijacked my party. Rolf Ekeus, a former Swedish Ambassador to the U.S., was the head of the first UNSCOM inspection team. He is now the the Director of the Stockholm INternational Peace Research Institute. That should get my leftwing friend's attention.
After years of the French and Russians undercutting his every move to find WMD during the 90s(and UNSCOM I found thousands of tons of W?WMDs, and listted thousands of tons more still missing). according to his successor, Richard Butler, another well respected diplomat from Australia, Mr. Ekeus resigned after his children were threatened by Saddam's thugs. And, as you all recall, Mr. Butler and UNSCOM were run out of Baghdad with AK-47s pointed at them in NOv. 1998. HOwever, Mr. Ekeus made it very clear in the Washington POst on June 29-2003, that Saddam remaining in power with his programs intact - regardless of WMD in existence- was unacceptable, and, in his view, justified military intervention.
Mr, Ekeus' credentials are unassailable from the left, and his experience in trying to find WMD in the face of Saddam's lies and deceit, and the duplicity and mendacity of Saddam's whores (France and Russia)behind the scenes from the end of the war through Mr. Ekeus' departure in 1997 is more than sufficient to venture such an opinion.
Oh, by the way, you might want to read Richard Butler's prescient book "The Greatest Threat" which was published in 2000, and not only documented Saddam's cover up of its WMD stockpiles and programs from 97 to Nov. 98, but predicted the U.N. debacle headed by France, Russia, and to a lesser degree China. The record is replete with evidence supporting intervention.
However, one must open one's eyes to see the truth.
My left wing bretheren have misused and abused the principles of freedom that were paid for with blood during the days of Roosevelt and Truman. The "leaders" of the party now are timid little souls who live in an ideological fog inside a closet where they curl into fetal positions and let better men than they are protect them, and then pretend to be martyrs for freedom before the cameras. How sad. After Moveon.org and Howard Dean infected my party, I am a Democrat no more.Posted by john at October 11, 2004 09:26 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(17) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)