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I am: progressive, not a wild-eyed Progressive; liberal, but shun liberals and Liberals; conservative, but some Conservatives worry me; absolutely NOT a libertarian. I am: an idealist, but no utopian; a pragmatist, but no Machiavellian. I am a realist who dreams.


I welcome all opinions.

Friday, April 07, 2006

   Re-arguing old news

I am in a dispute with someone who still believes Bush lied about Saddam's WMD at marccooper.com (Marc Cooper writes pieces for Nation.com).

For my own records, I am reprinting one of my postings here. It contains some quoted info about how Saddam hid knowledge of the lack of WMD from even his generals.

Jay Cline Says:
April 7th, 2006 at 2:49 pm

The NYT reported just this last March 12 that Saddam secretly only told his generals the truth about the WMD in December 2002. Now I really don’t think our intel then (or now) was good enough to get that info from Saddam’s chambers to Washington within the 3 months that preceded the war. So the question is, if Saddam’s generals believed Saddam had WMD ready to use, what crystal ball should Bush have had?

You’ll have to go to the library and read the hardcopy. NYT’s makes anything older then one week available only to paid subscribers:

Mr. Hussein did take some steps to avoid provoking war, though. While diplomatic efforts by France, Germany and Russia were under way to avert war, he rejected proposals to mine the Persian Gulf, fearing that the Bush administration would use such an action as an excuse to strike, the Joint Forces Command study noted.

In December 2002, he told his top commanders that Iraq did not possess unconventional arms, like nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, according to the Iraq Survey Group, a task force established by the C.I.A. to investigate what happened to Iraq’s weapons programs. Mr. Hussein wanted his officers to know they could not rely on poison gas or germ weapons if war broke out. The disclosure that the cupboard was bare, Mr. Aziz said, sent morale plummeting.

To ensure that Iraq would pass scrutiny by United Nations arms inspectors, Mr. Hussein ordered that they be given the access that they wanted. And he ordered a crash effort to scrub the country so the inspectors would not discover any vestiges of old unconventional weapons, no small concern in a nation that had once amassed an arsenal of chemical weapons, biological agents and Scud missiles, the Iraq survey group report said.

Mr. Hussein’s compliance was not complete, though. Iraq’s declarations to the United Nations covering what stocks of illicit weapons it had possessed and how it had disposed of them were old and had gaps. And Mr. Hussein would not allow his weapons scientists to leave the country, where United Nations officials could interview them outside the government’s control.

Seeking to deter Iran and even enemies at home, the Iraqi dictator’s goal was to cooperate with the inspectors while preserving some ambiguity about its unconventional weapons — a strategy General Hamdani, the Republican Guard commander, later dubbed in a television interview “deterrence by doubt.”

That strategy led to mutual misperception. When Secretary of State Colin L. Powell addressed the Security Council in February 2003, he offered evidence from photographs and intercepted communications that the Iraqis were rushing to sanitize suspected weapons sites. Mr. Hussein’s efforts to remove any residue from old unconventional weapons programs were viewed by the Americans as efforts to hide the weapons. The very steps the Iraqi government was taking to reduce the prospect of war were used against it, increasing the odds of a military confrontation.

Also, in testimony before the Senate Armed Forces Committee on Jan 28, 2004, David Kay made the following statements about Saddam’s deception,

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R.-Ala.): I believe at one point you noted that even his own military officers believed they had them [WMD]. In other words, they Would think-

David Kay:-that someone else had them.

Sessions: Could you explain that?

Kay: Well, in interviewing the Republican Guard generals and Special Republican Guard generals and asking about their capabilities and having them, the assurance was they didn’t personally have them and hadn’t seen them, but the units on their right or left had them. And as you worked the way around the circle of those defending Baghdad, which is the immediate area of concern, you have got this very strange phenomena of no, I don’t have them, I haven’t seen them, but look to my right and left. That was an intentional ambiguity.

And realize freedom of discussion and movement was not something encouraged in Iraq. For example, Republican Guard divisions never entered into the city limits of Baghdad. Only the SRG [Special Republican Guard] was allowed to. You didn’t even train in multidivisional units because of that issue of his concern about them. It was a powerful deception technology. We have it [WMD], but we haven’t seen it, but we know that someone else has it.

Sessions: And it is true, I think no one can dispute, that had he not had these weapons of mass destruction and had opened his country and plainly demonstrated it, this war would have been avoided.

Kay: Yes, I think that’s true. And that’s one-always been one of the mysteries for all of us to determine: how-why would he have run this risk that cost him his regime and the death of members of his family if he didn’t have those weapons?

Anyway, like I said, This is something I just wanted to save.


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