Life Imitates Ted (again)

by Henry on June 26, 2007

Norman Podhoretz on the National Review Cruise, 2007.

“Aren’t you embarrassed by the absence of these weapons?” Buckley snaps at Podhoretz. He has just explained that he supported the war reluctantly, because Dick Cheney convinced him Saddam Hussein had WMD primed to be fired. “No,” Podhoretz replies. “As I say, they were shipped to Syria. During Gulf war one, the entire Iraqi air force was hidden in the deserts in Iran.” He says he is “heartbroken” by this “rise of defeatism on the right.” He adds, apropos of nothing, “There was nobody better than Don Rumsfeld. This defeatist talk only contributes to the impression we are losing, when I think we’re winning.” The audience cheers Podhoretz. The nuanced doubts of Bill Buckley leave them confused. Doesn’t he sound like the liberal media? Later, over dinner, a tablemate from Denver calls Buckley “a coward.” His wife nods and says, “Buckley’s an old man,” tapping her head with her finger to suggest dementia.

Ted Barlow on the National Review Cruise, 2003.

4:00 (Lounge 3) Seminar: Dealing with Cognitive Dissonance: Economics

Lie down and relax, as the staff of the National Review explain, in soothing tones, how the massive growth in government spending, net loss of jobs, the steel tariff, and explosive deficit growth during the Bush presidency are all part of a clever, clever plan. So clever. (Featuring ambient mix by Mobius Dick- Glenn Reynolds samples the first Orb album in its entirety and then adds, “Indeed” in a dreamy voice. CDs available.) (Note: Dealing with Cognitive Dissonance: Iraq attracted more interest than anticipated. We will cover WMDs in a special session on Thursday)

Looks like the Thursday session ended up getting delayed again …

{ 47 comments }

1

Matt 06.26.07 at 6:30 pm

Sadly, the “the weapons of mass destruction _did_ exist, they were just sent to Syria!” line is one you can hear a lot if you talk to enough right-wing true-believers. (I don’t mean people who would generally be accepted as crazy, either, but people with real and regular access to power or with prestigious positions- law professors at the University of San Diego, for example.) I suppose it’s a bit less crazy than thinking that the Iraqi air force was hidden in _Iran_ during the first gulf war, but since that’s only a bit less crazy than the inter-galactic lizard conspiracy it’s not saying much.

2

David in NY 06.26.07 at 6:38 pm

Is Buckley proud he created this monster? If only he were properly ashamed.

3

Rob 06.26.07 at 7:15 pm

Of course Buckley isn’t proud. There is not enough overt racism for him.

4

Luis Alegria 06.26.07 at 7:24 pm

Mr. Matt,

The Iraqi airforce (or much of what was left of it after a few days of bombing, probably most of the flyable aircraft) did indeed escape to Iran in January 1991. The Iranians kept the planes.

http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/history/q0071.shtml

This incident is in all the histories.

5

Shawn Fassett 06.26.07 at 7:24 pm

Talk about conspiracy theorists

6

KCinDC 06.26.07 at 7:45 pm

My most Republican uncle told me years ago that the WMDs, along with Saddam Hussein himself, were smuggled out of Iraq in a Russian diplomatic convoy. He’d heard it on Fox, where he gets all his news. I’ve been meaning to ask him when they smuggled Saddam back in, but we generally try to avoid getting into conversations with him about politics or current events.

7

R. Stanton Scott 06.26.07 at 7:47 pm

L.A.: There is a big difference between “hidden in Iran” and “escaped to Iran.” The first implies cooperation between Iraq and Iran like that implied by Podhoretz with Syria–and in his formulation suggests that Iraq hid WMDs in Syria for later use as they had aircraft in Iran during Gulf War I. While it appears that Iraq did send its planes to Iran in an effort to preserve them for later use, they were in no way “hidden” as Podhoretz claims WMDs were spirited out of the country. Matt is correct to say that it is crazy to think the Iraq “hid” its air force in Iran, even though the planes did indeed escape there.

8

luci 06.26.07 at 7:48 pm

“He has just explained that he supported the war reluctantly, because Dick Cheney convinced him Saddam Hussein had WMD primed to be fired.”

Personally, I think that few people (semi-informed or better) actually believed Saddam had any weapons. Even though neo-cons, liberal journalists, national security/terrorism experts, Republicans, Democrats, intelligence agencies, etc. mouthed the words with frequency. The substance of the “unresolved issues” from Hans Blix and UNMOVIC involved unaccounted for weapons (probably long inert) from the 1980s. Powell’s presentation amounted to much the same.

IMO, people like Norman P. (or Cheney) didn’t believe Iraq had weapons.

They didn’t believe these weapons, even had they existed, constituted a threat worth invading over.

And it was mostly “wink wink nudge nudge” all the way down. This leaves unanswered the “why” so many people were in favor of, or went along with, bombing Iraq. Personally, I think it comes down to: they were Arabs/Muslims, which was good enough, and Saddam was bad, therefore they “could”.

9

dearieme 06.26.07 at 7:48 pm

I said from the start that W was a dreadful leftie menace, and I reckon that I’ve been proven right.

10

Uncle Kvetch 06.26.07 at 7:59 pm

Personally, I think it comes down to: they were Arabs/Muslims, which was good enough, and Saddam was bad, therefore they “could”.

You forgot to mention that for a large chunk of the American population, and an even larger chunk of our political and media elites, waging war (for any reason, or no reason at all) is an enormously gratifying activity, both economically and emotionally.

11

luci 06.26.07 at 8:00 pm

BTW, Ted is the shizzle.

12

Luis Alegria 06.26.07 at 8:09 pm

Mr. Matt,

So, whats the difference if banned weapons were “hidden in Syria” or “escaped to Syria” ?

The Iraqi airforce analogy is perfectly good; the Iraqis were willing to send these aircraft to Iran on the (desperate) chance that they would be able to negotiate their return later vs. their near-certain loss.

It is perfectly plausible that the Iraqis would have evacuated whatever chemical/etc. weapons or otherwise whatever evidence of their more egregious violations of the agreements they had to Syria for later use – as a bargaining chip at least, or to embarass the US. They seem to have evacuated most of their ready cash also, for the same resons.

Syria was far more friendly to the Iraqi regime in 2003 than Iran was in 1991, and the Saddam Hussein regime seemed to think it had a good chance of bouncing back after the US occupation was over.

Naturally the evidence for all this is very limited. In the Middle East there is a tall tale for every purpose, and the Syrian regime is not only inpenetrable but is also reputed to have a considerable armament of WMD’s of its own. It seems to be a great place to lose the Iraqi WMD’s.

13

Kurt Montandon 06.26.07 at 8:18 pm

So, whats the difference if banned weapons were “hidden in Syria” or “escaped to Syria” ?

You truly can’t grasp the difference between the two?

The former implies secrecy – i.e., we didn’t see it happen. The latter implies an observed escape – like what happened to the Iraqi Air Force in ’91. The Iraqi aircraft didn’t hide in Iran, they fled there, and we saw it happen.

The Iraqi WMD didn’t escape to Syria, nor were they hidden, because they didn’t exist to begin with.

14

Matt 06.26.07 at 8:20 pm

Luis,

First, since “Matt” is my first name, it’s strange to call me “mr. Matt”. (You’ve got a habit of this odd trait. It’s not really very cute.)

Secondly, as said above, (not by me) it doesn’t seem the Iraqi planes were “hidden” in any sense. There is also _no evidence at all_ that WMD, in any plausible sense of that term, were moved to Syria. It’s conceivable, but since all the evidence points against it it’s a crazy thing to think it must be so. Insisting that it’s the _most likely_ thing, as in the passage quoted in the post, is a sign of being an idiot or liar. I’d expect that Podhoretz is a bit of both. What do you think?

15

norbizness 06.26.07 at 9:24 pm

It’s like trying to explain nuclear physics to a really stubborn cat.

16

djd 06.26.07 at 11:14 pm

So those thousands of Kurds who died during the Anfal campaign died of old age? And the tens of thousands of Iranians who died with blistered lungs? Asthsma?

Grow a brain.

17

Luis Alegria 06.27.07 at 12:00 am

Mr. Matt X, Mr. Montandon,

The point of the comparison was the willingness of the Iraqi state to put the “family jewels” in the safe-keeping of their neighbors, hidden or not. If they were willing to take such a gamble with such a deadly enemy as Iran, in 1991, they were certainly on more solid ground doing so with a friendly Syria in 2003, indeed, it looks like Syria harbored in safety not only most of the fleeing Baathists but also much of their money.

It would obviously not be expedient for their neighbors to admit to holding the WMD’s, and it would have been impossible to fly aircraft to Iran in secrecy. Secrecy or otherwise is neither here nor there.

As for evidence – as usual in this sort of thing it is impossible to obtain certainty of any sort. Most of what is known or alleged is not in the public domain. Tenet of the CIA seems to have been convinced of this, as apparently also the Israelis.

There are formerly senior Iraqis making claims, as well as via leaked Iraqi documents, etc. On the other hand the public reports of the US WMD investigators claim that no evidence has turned up through their efforts. I don’t think this questioned will be definitively answered for quite a while yet. Everything to do with this is covered with a fog of unknowns, filled with disinformation, unreliability and credulity in all directions. As usual in the Middle East.

As for my mode of address – I find it useful to maintain a calm attitude in Internet controversies. It sets the stage, so to speak.

18

Matt 06.27.07 at 12:48 am

Luis,
When someone specifically asks you not to use a form of address and you keep on using it, it sets the stage for people thinking you’re an ass hole.

As for your other claims, I find them highly dubious. No such claim has come from a source that wasn’t highly dubious. Given the level of scrutiny Iraq was under at the time it’s already highly likely that any such movements would be noticed. Given this and the other evidence it seems that there’s nothing but faith to back your claim. I hope you’ll forgive me if I have significantly less faith.

19

Barry 06.27.07 at 1:07 am

Mr. Luis, perhaps you’ve noticed that the ‘Syrian Gambit’ involved not only moving the weapons without being detected, but also in moving all means of production. Rather hard to do, in the real world.

20

albert 06.27.07 at 1:11 am

So this debate is about the difference between “plausible” and “have any shred of evidence for”? Seriously, if arguing the occurence of historical events based on whether they are “plausible” is the best case you can make, you really shouldn’t bother making the case.

21

Barry 06.27.07 at 1:15 am

Especially since ‘no evidence produced, where vast amounts should be available’ negates ‘plausible’.

22

Martin Bento 06.27.07 at 1:41 am

Mr. Alegria,

You can call me “Mr. Bento”, you can call me “Martin”, you can even call me “Mr. Martin”, if you like, though I think it would be confusing.

In addition to what others have said (I would like to see any affirmative evidence too), consider that Saddam’s gambit in Iran involved two leaps of faith: 1) That the US would leave him in power, so he could later get the planes back, and 2) That he would be able to get Iran to return them. 1 panned out and 2 did not; but 2 made no sense unless he was banking on 1. In the case of Iraq War the 2nd, 1 was clearly not on the table unless Saddam could somehow compel it. If he had WMDs, therefore, he had every reason to use them; nothing to lose, perhaps something to gain, depending on the specifics. So the Syria gambit makes no sense even from the standpoint of strategy.

23

Luis Alegria 06.27.07 at 2:26 am

To the gentleman who is particular about the way in which he is addressed,

All sources about any aspect of this situation is “highly dubious”, it seems to me. There is very little over there that can be taken at face value, that can be certified by unimpeachable sources.

There was apparently plenty of extra traffic detected across the Iraqi-Syrian border in 2002-early 2003. You can look in the published reports of both Kay and Duelfer, and their testimony, which was repeatedly asked in Senate testimony. This all has been discussed ad infinitum on the internet for the last four years.

For a taste – search and you shall find.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/01/25/wirq25.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/01/25/ixnewstop.html

We are not dealing with facts, we are dealing with judgements based on unreliable information. That is just the nature of these problems.

24

Luis Alegria 06.27.07 at 2:36 am

Mr. Bento,

(And thank you for using a real name, I like to imagine I am speaking with a real person.)

It seems obvious that Saddam Hussein, and more especially the people who constituted his regime, did not think that their destruction was an absolute certainty. They made elaborate preparations to survive and outlast a US occupation. Perhaps in this they were unrealistic, but that is not the first time Saddam Hussein misjudged a situation vis-a-vis an external enemy.

It was also likely that even SH knew that whatever WMD he had was useless against a dispersed mechanized army, and it was better preserved as a bargaining chip, or hidden away to embarass the US, or to wait in the wings in case of a civil war following a US withrawal.

25

Martin Bento 06.27.07 at 2:43 am

Mr. Alegria. I am glad you so imagine.

26

roger 06.27.07 at 2:54 am

I think mr. luis is right, except in his speculations about Saddam’s motivations. Surely, seeing the american invading his country, his first thought was that actually using the WMD would kill Americans. As we know, this planet exists only to make sure that Americans can invade countries with relatively few casualties, after which the flowers and candies are pulled out. The pity in Saddam’s heart was truly magnificent, and in some ways, he died as a WMD martyr, a sort of Jesus of the WMDs.

Meanwhile, to make sure there are enough WMDs for everyone, Britain and the U.S. are competing to sell delivery machines to the Saudis for their WMDs, i.e. those Pakistani atom bombs for which the Saudis have been generous in loans and underwriting. Is this a sweet world or what? One nation actually has the wmds, spends money supporting Al Qaeda, even has its secret police send money to the hijackers, and they become our best friends – Pakistan. Another country supplies the majority of the hijackers – and we sell them more fighter planes and bombers. The third we invade cause of their nasty WMDs, but do to the feelings of universal humanity that animate Saddam Hussein’s heart, they hide them in Syria. They do it with their invisible machine, so there will be no evidence. If we invade Syria, no doubt they will hide their WMDs in Iran. It is a fabulous world when you are a warmonger – just a little out of focus.

27

rea 06.27.07 at 4:05 am

Some of the posters above seem to have the notion that there was some sort of corroboration bewteen Iraq and Iran regarding the “escape” of the Iraqi aircraft to Iran in GW I. Iran properly carried out its duty under international law to intern belligerent armed forces entering its territory.

Mr. Alegria, by your reasoning, the fact that German ships were interned in neutral (including American)ports at the beginning of WW II ought to lead us to suspect that German WMD are hidden in Switzerland, shouldn’t it?

28

will u. 06.27.07 at 4:16 am

Surely the fanciful, blue sky thinking of Messrs. Podhoretz and Alegria underscores the Lack of Ideas on the lockstep Left.

29

John M 06.27.07 at 12:16 pm

Whatever the truth of the ‘Syrian hideaway’idea, the absence of WMDs is an embarrassment for both sides of this debate. We all know and acknowledge that Saddam did have WMDs at some point (that’s what the inspectors were there for). If he dismantled them in line with his international obligations, the occupying forces should have uncovered the evidence of that. But it is nowhere to be found. All we have are a few unused casings and a secreted nuclear centrifuge. So where are the WMDs that were rendered safe (or the record of how, who, where and when)?

30

Barry 06.27.07 at 12:25 pm

John M, there was a bunch of inspecting and dismantling done in the early 1990’s. History didn’t start on 9/11. But nice try on blaming the lack of WMD’s on everybody – so even handed of you!

Luis Allegra: “All sources about any aspect of this situation is “highly dubious”, it seems to me. There is very little over there that can be taken at face value, that can be certified by unimpeachable sources.”

Continuing with the lies – there is one source which is not suspect. That is that the administration hasn’t coughed up jack sh*t, when it’s strongly in their interest to do so.

31

ajay 06.27.07 at 1:14 pm

Mrs. alegria: “It is perfectly plausible that the Iraqis would have evacuated whatever chemical/etc. weapons or otherwise whatever evidence of their more egregious violations of the agreements they had to Syria for later use – as a bargaining chip at least, or to embarass the US. They seem to have evacuated most of their ready cash also, for the same reasons.”

It is my belief that they also evacuated most of their flowers and chocolate to Syria, which explains why it wasn’t around to welcome our troops.

32

Bob Mutch 06.27.07 at 2:11 pm

The “Saddam hid his WMDs in Syria” excuse goes back to when Hans Blix wasn’t finding them in Iraq. Scooter Libby told it to an otherwise smart guy I know, who told it to me. (No, I never had even indirect access to those people. The guy was researching a book and had to talk to several people in the administration.) Assuming for the moment that the WMD argument was serious, what didn’t make sense to me then, and still doesn’t, is why Assad would agree to hide Saddam’s weapons. When the US is threatening to invade Iraq because it has WMDs, why would Syria be so altruistic as to volunteer to become the target instead? But if Saddam did get Assad to agree to such a scheme, then the WMDs must still be in Syria. So why are we threatening to bomb Iran?

33

pedro 06.27.07 at 2:42 pm

Mr. Alegria,

whatever you may think of the relative value of the claims of Podhoretz and Buckley about the absence of WMDs in Iraq, you must agree that the mental process that leads some of Podhoretz’s allies to conclude that Buckley is a coward (simply because he does not agree with Podhoretz’s claims) is very sloppy, if not disingenuous. I have a serious problem with the many voices on the right that have made it a habit to dismiss dissent as unpatriotic, cowardly, and even treasonous. That habit betrays extraordinary failure of imagination, don’t you agree?

34

sayke 06.27.07 at 2:53 pm

It’s pretty straightforward – where’s the evidence? So far, all Mr. Algeria and friends can bring to the table is a bit of he-said-she-said – Mr. Kay said that somebody else said they went to Syria!

That is, quite franky, pathetic. Open-source information detailing the Iranian nuclear program is availible in spades (armscontrolwonk, thank you), so we are able to conduct evidence-based discussions of the issue.

However, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and the complete lack of evidence supporting the assertion that Iraqi WMD went to Syria makes it clear what side we should err on. Iraq had no significant WMD capability or programs in early 2003. I knew that. Hans Blix knew that. Anybody who didn’t know that, but was supposed to be providing intelligence to our government’s decision-makers, should be fired for incompetance.

It’s that simple.

35

Ralph Hitchens 06.27.07 at 3:09 pm

Thanks for the Podhoretz quote. The man is a stranger to facts: “During Gulf war one, the entire Iraqi air force was hidden in the deserts in Iran.” No, actually, the aircraft were kept in hardened shelters (small hangars) where the Iraqis believed them to be safe from Coalition bombing. When the US Air Force began methodically destroying these shelters with special penetrating bombs, a lot of aircraft were flown, in a panic, to Iran, where they remained. Saddam never got them back. Oh, those wily Ba’athists!

36

djd 06.27.07 at 4:46 pm

Let’s try to bring some sanity to the debate. Here are some indisputable propositions:

1. Saddam had and used significant amounts of WMD in the ’80s.

2. UN inspectors determined that Iraq had large stockpiles of WMD after the Gulf War.

3. The relevant UNSC resolutions required the regime to account for and relinquish its stockpiles of WMD.

4. The regime never accounted to the satisfaction of the UN inspectors for the whereabouts of the stockpiles.

5. There was utterly no argument from the nations opposed to US military action in 2002-03 that Iraq had complied with the accounting requirements of the UNSC resolutions; in other words, everybody agrreed that the regime was noncompliant. The only question on the table was what to do about it.

6. No rational observer would have dreamed that the regime destroyed its stockpiles without telling anybody that it had done so.

7. Nations, like other actors, can only act on reasonable appearances and, particularly in the intelligence sphere,have to rely on circumstantial evidence and reasonable inference.

37

Nat Whilk 06.27.07 at 5:57 pm

Re #3: Could someone bring me up to speed by providing a link to a recent act of overt racism by Buckley? (I don’t recall any being recounted in Judis’s biography, but that’s, what, 20 years old.)

38

Barry 06.27.07 at 6:03 pm

Nat, search on Brad DeLong’s blog – he was posting excerpts from the National Review.

djd, you’re forgetting things like Iraq destroying a large amount of stuff under UN supervision, and UN inspectors having considerable access in ’02-03, and finding nada.

Little details there.

39

Nat Whilk 06.27.07 at 6:13 pm

Re #38:

The first page I found from a search for “racist” and “Buckley” on Brad DeLong’s blog was a list of quotes from the 1960s (when, e.g., a sainted Democratic icon like the late Mel Carnahan was appearing in blackface). My request was for something “recent”.

40

roger 06.27.07 at 6:36 pm

Ajay’s theory at #31 – which is a good deal better than the “theory” of evolution, which has been disproved again and again at the Billy Graham Institute of Higher Thinking – explains the only real mystery in our tremendously successful liberation of Iraq. Yes, stuff happens, but I do think that the Bush administration, early on, was much too modest in concealing the 150 percent approval for our liberation of their benighted land from the Iraqis and their longing to give us something in return. The evil Ba’athist forces, seizing the chocolate and the flowers and sending them to Syria, naturally caused the Iraqi population to search high and low for other candies to give to our boys – hence, the so called “looting”. Since then, everything has settled down. Only the terrorist supporting MSM doesn’t report it! Vast numbers of Iraqis are so secure, nowadays, that they are taking extended vacations outside the country – which, of course, Al qaeda supporters and their useful idiots represent as “refugees”.

The serious question is: is hiding mass confectionary a breach of UN security rules? Should we invade Syria to get our candies back? Or have they all melted by now?

41

Martin Bento 06.27.07 at 7:03 pm

djd wrote;

“4. The regime never accounted to the satisfaction of the UN inspectors for the whereabouts of the stockpiles.”

There were some holes in the paperwork, but the last UN inspector prior to the Bush II round, Scott Ritter, stated unequivocally that Saddam had no WMDs. He was the person in the best position to know, and to not equivocate on a negative existential proposition requires very high certainty.

In response to luci, I would point out that Josh Marshall tore Ritter a new one for suggesting that Iraq had no WMDs. Was Marshall no better than semi-informed? The “everyone knew” bit is revisionist. Since the President clearly has private knowledge others do not, it was always possible Bush was telling the truth. His public case was not convincing, but he made no public case at all for bin laden’s responsibility for 9/11 and that went unchallenged. The issue that has to be faced is the problematic nature of simply trusting the government.

42

Uncle Kvetch 06.27.07 at 8:21 pm

Everything to do with this is covered with a fog of unknowns, filled with disinformation, unreliability and credulity in all directions.

Well, nothing clears away the fog like a little ak-shawn. Nuke Damascus!

43

djd 06.28.07 at 9:53 pm

Mr. Bento:

If you ace in the hole is Scott Ritter, you’re in big trouble. As you might know, Ritter resigned from UNSCOM in 1998, asserting at the time that Saddam was blocking the inspectors. Four years later–when he had no affiliation wth UNSCOM at all– he suddenly figures out that Saddam had no WMD! The guy is now in approximately Cindy Sheehan territory.

44

Martin Bento 06.29.07 at 1:29 am

He asserted that Saddam was blocking the inspectors because Saddam was. Saddam claimed that the inspection team had been infiltrated by US agents, which was, unknown to Ritter, true, so he had a reason to block under the agreement that governed the inspections. Ritter did not claim in 1998 that Saddam had weapons, and knew in 2003 that he still did not. And the facts proved him right, however, many fantasies about Syria the unreality-based community may try to spin.

45

John M 06.29.07 at 10:10 am

“There were some holes in the paperwork, but the last UN inspector prior to the Bush II round, Scott Ritter, stated unequivocally that Saddam had no WMDs. “

As has been pointed out Ritter, like every other informed observer, believed that Saddam had WMDs and is on the record to that effect. He has never denied this, by the way, (he has confirmed it on many public occasions since, I could probably dig out an audio file if you want it, of his debate with C Hitchens where he is very candid about this) although he does not believe that military action should have been taken to remove them.

46

John M 06.29.07 at 11:25 am

It may be worth quoting Ritter at length, from his New Republic article in 1998. Martin bento and others sdeem to have forgfotten that when he was in a position to know best Ritter considered ther US/UN action against Saddam as too lenient and was completely convinced that he had not disarmed:

‘As a member of unscom since 1991, and its chief inspector responsible for investigating Iraq’s concealment mechanism from July 1995 until my resignation on August 26, 1998, I know that this is hardly the first time Saddam has pulled such tricks [removing weapons from sites before inspectors are allowed in]. In fact, they are at the heart of his strategy for preserving his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and, eventually, getting rid of U.N. economic sanctions (which he has largely succeeded in eluding anyway). Through skillful manipulation of the situation on the ground in Iraq, international public opinion, and rifts among the members of the Security Council, Saddam actually aims to cap his comeback by getting unscom to issue a clean bill of health. It is an audacious plan, but it may succeed, thanks in no small part to the mistakes of U.S. policymakers themselves.

If it succeeds, the consequences could be dire. The Baghdad regime– strengthened by having retained the capability to produce weapons of mass destruction and psychologically fortified by having outlasted the world’s sole remaining superpower–will rapidly restore its internal and regional constituencies and reemerge as a force to be reckoned with. Since his defeat in the Gulf war, Saddam has built up eight years’ worth of resentment and frustration that can only be released through renewed efforts at territorial expansion through armed aggression and blackmail, both economic and military.

Even today, Iraq is not nearly disarmed. Unscom lacks a full declaration from Iraq concerning its prohibited capabilities, making any absolute pronouncement about the extent of Iraq’s retained proscribed arsenal inherently tentative. But, based on highly credible intelligence, unscom suspects that Iraq still has biological agents like anthrax, botulinum toxin, and clostridium perfringens in sufficient quantity to fill several dozen bombs and ballistic missile warheads, as well as the means to continue manufacturing these deadly agents. Iraq probably retains several tons of the highly toxic VX substance, as well as sarin nerve gas and mustard gas. This agent is stored in artillery shells, bombs, and ballistic missile warheads. And Iraq retains significant dual-use industrial infrastructure that can be used to rapidly reconstitute large-scale chemical weapons production.

Meanwhile, Iraq has kept its entire nuclear weapons infrastructure intact through dual-use companies that allow the nuclear-design teams to conduct vital research and practical work on related technologies and materials. Iraq still has components (high explosive lenses, initiators, and neutron generators) for up to four nuclear devices minus the fissile core (highly enriched uranium or plutonium), as well as the means to produce these. Iraq has retained an operational long-range ballistic missile force that includes approximately four mobile launchers and a dozen missiles. And, under the guise of a permitted short-range missile program, Iraq has developed the technology and production means necessary for the rapid reconstitution of long-range ballistic missile production.

47

djd 06.29.07 at 9:03 pm

As John M. demostrates, it’s astonishing how much a $400,000 “fee” from the Saddam regime bought in Ritter’s case. From Neocon #1 to Noam Chomsky without even a pause at the Al Franken stage. He’s as trustworthy as the Party orator in Nineteen Eighty-Four who, in the middle of a rant, is told that the enemy is and always has been Eurasia not Eastasia.The guy ought to be prosecuted. Wait, come to think of it he was–for some kind of sexual misbehavior with minors.

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