The Bush Administration had dedicated itself
to deposing Saddam Hussein by invading Iraq for several months
now. It appears that some sort of military action is likely,
probably at the beginning of next year. This column asserts
unequivocally that any action will have devastating consequences
for the administration itself, the United States and the world.
Bushís last nationally televised addressed
address raised the specter of a "mushroom cloud" if
Hussein wasnít stopped, and soon. British Prime Minister Tony
Blair outlined this fear in greater detail in front of
Parliament by explaining how Hussein sought several items for
the eventual creation of a few nukes. These items, listed
previously in a column by Gordon Prather of Worldnetdaily.com,
include gases for the enrichment or uranium, and materials to
manufacture third-generation composite gas centrifuge rotors for
the eventual production of nuclear weapons.
Now, it is true that Hussein had obtained
these itemsÖin 1988. By the end of the Persian Gulf War,
Husseinís nuclear capabilities were destroyed as part of the
cease-fire agreement. Husseinís ability to receive the
materials needed to produce uranium was eliminated, because the
Nuclear Supplies Group, which includes all countries with
nuclear weapons, began to tighten up their procedures, which was
proper. Hussein originally got these supplies from Germany, and
Germany prosecuted those individuals who supplied Hussein with
The International Atomic Energy Action Team
was in Iraq throughout the 1990s, and never had a problem
verifying that Husseinís ability to create a nuclear weapon
was destroyed. (Inspectors for chemical and biological weapons
complained about non-compliance. The nuclear inspectors never
did, ever.) Those inspections stopped after 1998, but
resumed in 2000. For Hussein to create a nuclear bomb, he would
need tons of uranium. Itís extremely unlikely that Iraq now or
ever could produce more than a few grams. If he did try to
create any type of nuclear device, our satellites would pick
that up within seconds.
Did Blair intentionally mix up the dates 1998
and 1988 so in order to justify an eventual attack on Iraq? It
sure looks that way, but that is ultimately speculation. What
truly matters is that if an invasion of Iraq is going to occur,
it should be based on what Husseinís nuclear capability was in
1988, not since 1998.
The aforementioned Gordon Prather, who is a nuclear
physicist, wrote the following on September 14th:
"President Bush may make his case to the UN that Saddam has
nukes and intends to use them against us. That isn't going to be
easy to do, since almost no one who knows anything about nukes
thinks Saddam does have indigenous nukes." Anyone
interested in learning in greater detail about Husseinís
inability to produce and ultimately detonate a nuke should go to
Gordon Pratherís archives.
But what about chemical and biological
weapons? It is likely that Hussein possesses these weapons,
sure. But Hussein did not use them during the Gulf War, as he
feared massive retaliation by the United States. Indeed, Hussein
would never use these weapons unless he had nothing to lose,
which is precisely what would happen if the United States
Many commentaries bring up the slaughter of
Kurds at Halabja during the Iran-Iraq war as proof of Husseinís
willingness to use these weapons at the slightest provocation.
However, the facts of that incident Iran, and not Iraq, with the
use of chemical weapons in that case.
Jude Wanniski of Polyconomics has been
following this story for quite some time, and he points out that
documents of the United States government prove that Iraq was
not culpable for that particular attack. The CIA has stood by
the U.S. Army War College Report on the incident, which states
"Blood agents were allegedly responsible for the
most infamous use of chemicals in the war Ė the killing of
Kurds at Halabjah. Since the Iraqis have no history of using
these two agents- and the Iranians do- we conclude that the
Iranians perpetrated the attack."
Moreover, the weapons inspectors in Iraq, who
go by the name of UNSCOM, were able to destroy more than 90% of
Iraqís arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. This work was
done by the Iraqi of fear of military retaliation, and by the
diligence of Scott Ritter and the UNSCOM team.
This means that Iraq probably still possesses
10% of its former capability. This is a legitimate threat. This
warrants the use of inspectors in Iraq. This does not justify a
Scott Ritter, formerly of UNSCOM, echoed this
sentiment himself with an interview with CNN. "No one has
substantiated the allegations that Iraq possesses weapons of
mass destruction or is attempting to acquire weapons of mass
destruction. And of course that is the reason we have been given
for going to war against Iraq -- because of the threat posed by
these weapons. It has been nothing but rhetorically laced
speculation, not hard facts, that have been presented by either
the United States or Great Britain to back this up, and until
they provide hard facts, there is no case for war."
This raises the ire of individuals who want
to insure that terrorists and tyrants do not hold our country
hostage. But this knee-jerk reaction ignores this fundamental
point: Another terrorist activity akin to 9/11 will become
more likely, not less likely, if the United States invades Iraq.
The worst threats to the United States do not
arise from the military capability of adversarial nation-states.
The U.S. has more military firepower than the 2nd to
10th most powerful countries in the world
combined. There is no nation on the planet, especially
Iraq, which could successfully pose any conventional military
September 11th occurred because a
mere 19 people converted civilian aircraft as missiles. That act
demonstrated to the world that the U.S. is vulnerable to an
unconventional, surprise attack from unsuspected sources on our
own soil. Invading Iraq would not solve this problem; instead,
invading Iraq would exacerbate domestic threats by producing a
whole new set of would-be terrorists hell-bent on counteracting
U.S. encroachment into Islamic territory with martyr attacks
around the world.
Moreover, It is not in Saddam Husseinís
makeup to wage a preemptive strike against the United States.
Hussein is a Stalinist, not because he is a Communist, but
because he is an admirer and emulator of Josef Stalin. As brutal
and distasteful as he was, Stalin did not attack and prey upon
enemies stronger than him. He acquired power by liquidating
individuals and countries that were weaker than him. His primary
goal has and continues to be survival, and then the accumulation
and consolidation of power in his own nation.
Some may interpret my column as a defense of
Saddam Hussein. Nothing could be further from the truth. Hussein
would kill you or me if it made him more powerful, or if he
thought it would make him more powerful. Engaging in a Manichean
attack against the United States would only end his life.
Leaving the Hussein issue aside, the Iraqi
people have suffered enough. Since the end of the Persian Gulf
War, Iraq has been deprived of water systems, medical supplies,
and other necessities as a result of the continued bombing of
Iraq and the sanctions imposed on the country. 1.5 million
people have died, 600,000 of them children. This is one of the
most unreported stories in the last ten years, and it certainly
serves as one of Americaís most shameful actions since the
carpet-bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War.
Does Hussein share complicity in the suffering of his people
as a result of the sanctions? You bet. But the United States
does as well, and the least we could do for the Iraqi people is
to airlift the country with supplies, instead of invading a
country whose infrastructure, civil society and future
generation have been all demolished.
The United States now possesses more power than any other
group of people in the history of the world by a mile. The
question is how the U.S. will wield that power over the world
over the next couple of generations. If the United States
invades Iraq, then the message to the world will be that other
countries can be invaded on the assumption that they pose a
threat. This is the policy of preemption, and the idea of might
makes right. Any notion that war should be conducted on the
basis of aggression will be pushed off the table.
Such policies towards Iraq may reap some very bitter fruit.
If the U.S. invades Iraq, how can we tell China not to invade
Taiwan? For India not to invade Pakistan? For Iraq not to invade
Kuwait again? The United States will be left without any moral
authority, because there will be no standard that can be applied
to any country, except for the whims and suppositions of its
There are numerous other reasons not to
invade Iraq, but hopefully this column has served its purpose
for now. That purpose is to stand up against the folly and
devastation being planned in the name of national security.
Hopefully, enough voices will dissent from this potential war so
as to make its implementation impossible.
I thought the 21st century would be far more
peaceful than the 20th century that has been left
behind. I guess I was naÔve. Maybe the invasion and occupation
of Iraq will go as well as the Persian Gulf War did, although it
will mean thousands of more innocent Iraqis being killed. I just
see no justification for finding the answer.
by David McCullough
by Ann Coulter
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