Sunday, October 24, 2004

Clarity on Iraqi War

One of my favorite columnist is Christopher Hitchens. He, like Mark Steyn, can ruthlessly dissect with his words. This column is a must read. He puts the Iraqi War in perfect focus. Many people are unaware of the victories we've had in the War on Terror, and nuclear proliferation for that matter, as a direct result of regime change in Iraq. I will post a few selected paragraphs, but please read the contains several logical conclusions that seem to get by the MSM and therefore, much of our public.
This may seem like an attempt to have it both ways, but consider: We only know all of this, about the Baathist weapons programs and their erosion and collapse, because of regime change. Up until then, any assumption that all the fangs had been removed would have been a highly irresponsible one. It would have involved, quite simply, taking Saddam Hussein's word for it. His prior record of deception, double-dealing, and concealment makes that quite impossible. The long-felt need was for an administration that did not give him the benefit of any doubt, that had a nasty and suspicious mind, and that would resolve any ambiguity on the presumption of guilt.

Few felt this need more strongly than Dr. Mahdi Obeidi, whose crucial evidence we would never have acquired without the invasion. His book is one of the three or four accounts that anyone remotely interested in the Iraq debate will simply have to read. Apart from its insight into the workings of the Saddam nuclear project, it provides a haunting account of the atmosphere of sheer evil that permeated every crevice of Iraqi life under the old regime. It is morally impossible to read it and not rejoice at that system's ignominious and long-overdue removal.(/snip)

I saw Dr. Obeidi interviewed a few weeks ago on Hannity and Colmes. This man was so polite and thoughtful. You could tell he was struggling a little bit with English, but did very well. I definitely want to read his book, "The Bomb in My Garden". This man knew fear and intimidation. His family was held hostage to force him to comply with Saddam's WMD ambitions. Oh yeah, the bomb in his garden.....centrifuge for enriching uranium along with detailed plans for a nuclear bomb that was purchased on the nuclear black market. Nice, huh?
His [Dr. Obeidi] conclusion is that, given an improvement in the economic and political climate, Saddam could and would have done one of two things: reconstitute the program or share it with others. Had it not been for 9/11, it is sobering to reflect, there would have been senior members of even this administration arguing that sanctions on Iraq should be eased. And, through the open scandal of the oil-for-food program, there were many states or clienteles within states who were happy to help Saddam enrich himself. Moreover, within the "box" that supposedly "contained" him were also living Kim Jong-il, A.Q. Khan, and Col. Qaddafi. We know from the Kay report that, as late as March of last year, Saddam's envoys were meeting North Korea's team in Damascus and trying to buy missiles off the shelf. It would never have stopped: this ceaseless ambition to acquire the means of genocide. If anything, we underestimated that aspect of it.

The supposed overestimate was, in reality, part of a wider underestimate. Libya and Iran turned out to be even more dangerous than we had thought, and the A.Q. Khan network of "Nukes 'R' Us" even more widespread. But now Iraq can be certified as disarmed, instead of wishfully assumed to be so, Libya's fissile materials are all under lock and key in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and the traces "walked back" from Qaddafi's capitulation helped expose A.Q. Khan. Of course, we could always have left Iraq alone, and brought nearer the day when the charming Qusai could have called for Dr. Obeidi and said: "That barrel of yours. It's time to dig it up."
Case Closed.