Image Hosted by ImageShack.usImage Hosted by ImageShack.us         Right Thinking

                                                                           Conservative Thought and Commentary

HEADLINES:      September 6 - Huge Step Taken by Europe‚Äôs Bank to Abate a Crisis       September 6 - U.S. policy on China sees little progress       September 6 - State Department drops Maoists from terrorist watch list       September 6 - Venezuela Holds U.S. Vessel And Crew On Suspicion Of Arms Trafficking       September 5 - DNC Overrules Delegates, Rams God and Jerusalem Back into Platform       September 5 - Powerful quake hits Costa Rica      

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

"Bush Lied" - A Mindless Rant

I'm amazed that I even feel a need to write this article. However, I still hear the worn-out "Bush lied" refrain being carelessly repeated time and time again.

These words are often uttered from the lips of the unread and largely uneducated who have heard others make the "Bush lied" claim and who have few thoughts of their own. Therefore, like the small child just learning to express himself, they simply repeat what they have heard. It's difficult to get too upset with these people; they don't know any better.

What is more maddening, however, is to hear an apparently otherwise well-educated, well-read, highly informed liberal making the "Bush lied" claim. Perhaps these people are not as informed as they want others to believe they are. Perhaps they are informed but have not looked at the information in a rational way and, therefore, still believe the "Bush lied" nonsense. Finally, perhaps they are informed, have looked at the information rationally, know that the "Bush lied" claim in absurd, but don't care. Their liberal bias will not let the facts get in the way of a good partisan myth.

For those in any group but the last, who want to be honest about whether or not Bush lied, the following paragraphs will provide some information to consider. For those in the last group, the following paragraphs will still provide some information to consider, but if your commitment to denigrate the President continues to be greater than your commitment to the truth, it won't make any difference.

The President is not the only person with access to intelligence information. Senators and other high-ranking officials have access to the same information, and nearly all who had access to this information prior to the March 20, 2003 beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom came to the same conclusion as the President: that Saddam Hussein was in possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD's).

Former Vice President Al Gore, giving a September 23, 2002 speech before the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco said, "We know that he (Saddam Hussein) has stored away secret supplies of biological weapons and chemical weapons throughout his country."

Just three days later on September 26, 2002, former U.S. Army general Wesley Clark, who would later run as a Democratic candidate for president, testified before the Committee On Armed Services at the U.S. House Of Representatives. Clark stated in his testimony that "There's no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat... Yes, he has chemical and biological weapons."

Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV), in an October 3, 2002 speech on the Senate floor stated, "The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retained some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capability. Intelligence reports also indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..."

The next day, October 4, 2002, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) stated on the floor of the Senate, "There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein's regime is a serious danger, that he is a tyrant, and that his pursuit of lethal weapons of mass destruction cannot be tolerated. He must be disarmed."

Delivering a Foreign Relations member Senate floor speech on October 9, 2002, Senator John Kerry (D-MA), the future Democratic Party presidential nominee, clearly stated his belief in the existence of Iraqi WMD's. "In 1991, the world collectively made a judgment that this man should not have weapons of mass destruction. And we are here today in the year 2002 with an un-inspected four-year interval during which time we know through intelligence he not only has kept them, but he continues to grow them..."

On October 10, 2002, the future Democratic Party vice-presidential nominee John Edwards declared in a Senate floor statement, "We know that he has chemical and biological weapons. He has already used them against his neighbors and his own people, and is trying to build more. We know that he is doing everything he can to build nuclear weapons, and we know that each day he gets closer to achieving that goal."

On the same day that Edwards made that statement, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) also made a speech on the Senate floor in which she stated, "In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program."

Even Jacques Chirac, the French President who opposed the United States' efforts in Iraq, acknowledged the existence of Iraqi WMD's. Global Policy Forum published an October 16, 2002 interview with L'Orient-Le Jour, in which Chirac stated, "Today, a number of evidences may lead to think that, over the past four years, in the absence of international inspectors, this country has continued armament programs." (Interview with French President Jacques Chirac)

These are just a few of the many dozens of statements from high ranking officials, made just a few months prior to the start of the Iraq war, indicating their belief that Saddam Hussein was in possession of chemical and biological weapons and was in the process of developing nuclear weapons.

We could say that all of these people lied about Saddam's WMD's, just like the President did. To believe that, we would have to believe the following:

1. The President is a purely evil man. He knew that Iraq had no WMD's, but claimed otherwise just to start a war for personal reasons, knowing full well that thousands of people would be killed, including innocent men, women, and children.

2. The President is stupid. When starting his war, he never thought about the fact that when no WMD's were found to exist, he would be highly and widely criticized.

3. The others mentioned above are also evil. They knew that Iraq had no WMD's, but claimed otherwise to help insure that the President would, indeed, go to war so that they could all claim afterward that the President lied. While plotting this elaborate scheme, they, too, were aware that thousands would die, including innocent men, women, and children; but like the President, they didn't care.

4. The others mentioned above think the American people are stupid. They thought that when no WMD's were found, the American people would forget about the fact that they, in addition to the President, had proclaimed the existence of Iraqi WMD's.

It seems to me to be quite a stretch to believe that President Bush, or the others quoted above, lied.

So if they didn't lie, they were mistaken, right? Well, maybe. Maybe they were all mistaken. Maybe U.S. intelligence was mistaken. Maybe foreign intelligence was mistaken. Then again, maybe not. Maybe they were all correct.

What do we really know? We know that at one time Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. He used them against Iran; he used them against his own population. We know that in October of 1998, Iraq issued a ban on U.N. inspections, and more than 230 U.N. personnel were withdrawn from Iraq. We know that after Iraq agreed to resume cooperation, some of the inspectors returned briefly, but in December they were once again, this time permanently, withdrawn after Iraq once again failed to cooperate. What we do not know is what happened in regard to Iraq's WMD's between December of 1998 and March of 2003.

To believe that President Bush (and all others who made the same claims as the President) were mistaken about what happened during that interval would require a stretch of the imagination as great as the stretch required to believe that they all lied. To believe they were all mistaken, we would have to believe

1. In October, 1998, Iraq was free or nearly free of WMD's, but Saddam Hussein decided to cease cooperation with U.N. weapons inspectors just to make the world think that he still had his arsenal.

2. During the four-year interval from 1999 to 2003, Saddam secretly destroyed all of his remaining WMD's and refrained from building new ones, but continued to deny U.N. inspections.

3. When U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441 gave Saddam a "final opportunity" to avoid war by fully disclosing "all of its nuclear, chemical, biological and missile programs" and by fully cooperating with U.N. inspectors, he chose instead to continue to dissemble, even though he had nothing to hide.

In short, we would have to believe that Iraq was WMD free after 1998, but Saddam Hussein managed to fool the world into believing that he still had them by refusing to allow monitoring and verification, thereby choosing to risk losing his absolute power, riches, and luxury by challenging the most powerful military in the history of the world.

All of that is possible, but it doesn't seem likely. The debate for the past two years has been primarily focused on whether "Bush lied" or whether he and everyone else were mistaken. Neither argument makes sense. A much better question to ask would be "What happened to Iraq's WMD's?"

One possibility is that they are still hidden in the country. In July of 2003, U.S. forces found over 30 Iraqi aircraft, including several Soviet-built MiG-25s, buried in the sand west of Baghdad. If Saddam can bury 30 plus fighter jets under 10 feet of sand, he would certainly be able to bury any other kind of weapon, including chemical and biological.

Efraim Halevy, who is a former chief of the Israeli foreign intelligence agency Mossad, has recently stated, "I would not rule out the possibility that they (Iraqi WMD's) might be found in the future. Iraq is a vast country, and only several months ago, a full squadron of aircraft was discovered buried in the sand. I do not believe that Saddam Hussein risked the fall of his regime and his own capture just out of false pride." (US may still find WMDs in Iraq: ex-Mossad chief)

A second possible explanation for what happened to Iraq's WMD's is that they were shipped out of the country to a neighboring terrorist state. Syria comes to mind. Is there any evidence to indicate that this possibility is more than just wild speculation? You bet.

According to The Washington Times, Iraq Survey Group, a 1,400-member team organized by the Pentagon and CIA, has information from Iraqi sources indicating that "Saddam Hussein periodically removed guards on the Syrian border and replaced them with his own intelligence agents who supervised the movement of banned materials between the two countries..." (Scarborough)

In the same article, retired Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper Jr., who heads The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the U.S. intelligence agency that analyzes satellite imagery, is quoted as stating, "There is no question that there was a lot of traffic, increase in traffic up to the immediate onset of combat and certainly during Iraqi Freedom."

While this is not proof that WMD's were shipped across the border in the days before the start of the war, when evidence of satellite imagery is examined in light of the afore mentioned information from the Iraqi sources, there is certainly cause for a reasonable suspicion that Iraqi WMD's have found their way to Syria.

Further indication that Iraqi WMD's may have been shipped to Syria came in the form of an April, 2004 planned al Qaeda chemical weapon attack in Jordon. Five trucks originating from Syria and containing 20 tons of chemical weapons were intercepted in Jordon, just 75 miles from the Syrian boarder. Had the attack been successful, up to 80,000 people could have died from the resulting cloud of poison gas.

In a May 6, 2004 interview with Larry Elder, terrorism expert John Loftus stated, "There's a lot of reason to think (the source of the chemicals) might be Iraq. We captured Iraqi members of al Qaeda, who've been trained in Iraq, planned for the mission in Iraq, and now they're in Jordan with nerve gas. That's not the kind of thing you buy in a grocery store. You have to have obtained it from someplace."

Elder then asked, "They couldn't have obtained it from Syria?"

Loftus replied, "Syria does have the ability to produce certain kinds of nerve gasses, but in small quantities. The large stockpiles were known to be in Iraq." (Elder)

So how can we explain the fact that stockpiles of WMD's have not been found in Iraq since the toppling of Baghdad? Perhaps they are still there and will eventually be found. Perhaps they were shipped out of the country just prior to the start of the war. It could be that a combination of these two explanations is true; some of the WMD's were shipped across the border, while some are still hidden in Iraq.

It seems less logical to believe that the President, numerous high-ranking government officials from both parties, U.S. intelligence, and foreign intelligence were all mistaken.

The least logical and least likely answer is that all of these people lied. Yet the left continues to start with this premise, conveniently ignores all statements but those of the President, and senselessly concludes that "Bush lied."

SOURCES

"Interview with French President Jacques Chirac." Global Policy Forum. 26 Jul. 2005
http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/attack/2002/1016chirac.htm

"US may still find WMDs in Iraq: ex-Mossad chief." The Hindu. 10 May. 2005. 26 Jul. 2005
www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/003200505101451.htm

Scarborough, Rowan. "Saddam agents on Syria border helped move banned materials." The Washington Times. 16 August 2004. THE WASHINGTON TIMES. 26 Jul. 2005
www.washingtontimes.com/national/20040816-011235-4438r.htm

Elder, Larry. "The curious lack of curiosity about WMD." Cshink.com. 6 May. 2004. 26 Jul. 2005
www.cshink.com/curiosity_about_wmd.htm

4 Comments:

Anonymous Prodigal said...

Your article was very informative and helpful... not to mention well written and researched. Thank you.

Have you heard the suggestion that Hussein only "thought" he had weapons to hide and that he was no better informed than our intelligence organizations?

Do you think its possible that President Bush might have information that agrees with the Israeli supposition that the weapons are in Syria, but that with troops in Iraq he simply hasn't the resources to confront Syria?

I think the "Bush Lied" myth is being used by the informed and educated left simply because it is effective.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Bryan Alexander said...

- Hussein only "thought" he had weapons to hide...

I hadn't heard that, but it's pretty funny - thanks.

As far as the possibility that President Bush has knowledge of the WMD's in Syria - I think that is very possible.

Thanks for your feedback.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Dwilkers said...

I came over from JunkYardBlog after you posted the link. I think you do a very good job of explaining why the meme doesn't make any sense.

Its a difficult thing to explain though, as its one of those things that if you have to explain it, you're dealing with someone that probably cannot or will not listen.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Bryan Alexander said...

dwilkers,

You're absolutely right, we are dealing with people who cannot or will not listen. But thanks to talk radio and the internet, at least we can now get the message out there. There are a lot of people who will never listen, but if we repeat ourselves often enough, we'll reach some of them.

Thanks for visiting my site; I hope you'll check back often.

12:17 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

The Conservative Sites Webring by lazarst
[ Join Now | Ring Hub | Random | << Prev | Next >> ]