The Warrior Scholar

This is a blog about current events - a way to provide a constructive outlet for some of the thoughts I have on the issues of the day. It's also a way to generate some discussion and to get my ideas out into the world. Enjoy!

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

I'm a doctoral candidate in Virginia, with a love of history and politics. My dog is a great companion, and my family always keeps me in good spirits.

Friday, October 08, 2004

What did Iraq have before Operation Iraqi Freedom?

Some pundits and politicians are claiming that because Saddam Hussien did not have large stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, that the United States should not have gone to war with Iraq. Counterfactual events to this argument are interesting. First - if Iraq DID have stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, and they gassed the 3rd US Infantry Division and First Marine Force as they attacked north to Baghdad, would these critics be in support? If two or three thousand Soldiers and Marines had died in the most horrible deaths, would they not be crying that this was the "wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time" and that the "reckless march to war" had killed thousands of our troops? Or...if Saddam had said "yes, I have weapons of mass destruction, and I will now turn them over", then we are still left with Saddam Hussien in power in Iraq - free to invade and destabilize the Middle East and the world in general. So, what do we have to document what might have occurred?

This week, the findings of the of the Special Advisor to the Director of Central Intelligence on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction, otherwise known as the Daulfer Report, were delivered to the American government. Here is a quick review of its findings.

"Saddam Husayn so dominated the Iraqi Regime that its strategic intent was his alone. He wanted to end sanctions while preserving the capability to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) when sanctions were lifted." That was the first sentence in the entire report. I'm willing to take this at face value.

"The introduction of the Oil-For-Food program in late 1996 was a key turning point for the Regime. OFF rescued Baghdad's economy from a terminal decline created by sanctions. The Regime quickly came to see that OFF could be corrupted to acquire foreign exchange both to further undermine sanctions and to provide the means to enhance dual-use infrastructure and potential WMD-related development." The report goes on to explain how Saddam used this humanitarian program that was approved by President Clinton allowed Iraq to slip the noose and resuscitate itself.

"By 2000-2001, Saddam had managed to mitigate many of the effects of sanctions and undermine their international support. Iraq was within striking distance of a de facto end to the sanctions regime, both in terms of oil exports and the trade embargo, by the end of 1999." This supports the Bush Administration's claim that Saddam was very close to to freeing Iraq from the UN sanctions program - i.e. Saddam was no longer going to be contained.

"Saddam wanted to recreate Iraq's WMD capability - which was essentially destroyed in 1991 - after sanctions were removed and Iraq's economy stabilized...he intended to focus on ballistic missile and tactical chemical warfare capabilities."

"One aspect of Saddam's strategy of unhinging the UN's sanctions against Iraq, centered on Saddam's effectiveness to influence certain UN Security Council permanent members, Such as Russia, France, and China and some nonpemranent members (Syria, Ukraine) to end UN sanctions. Under Saddam's orders, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs formulated and implemented a strategy aimed at these UNSC members and international public opinion with the purpose of ending UN sanctions and undermining its subsequent OFF program by diplomatic and economic means. "

"The Ministry of Oil controlled the oil voucher distribution program that used oil to influence UN Security Council members to support Iraq's goals. Saddam personally approved and removed all names of voucher recipients. He made all modifications to the list, adding or deleting names t will."

The Oil for Food program was a $64 BILLION dollar program. Saddam Husayn personally directed who got the oil. On Page 31, the recipients of Oil-For-Food Vouchers included:
Russia: 30% - @19 billion dollars - including the head of the Russian Communist Party (110 million barrels) and the Russian Presidential Office (87 million barrels)
France: 15% - @ 9.5 billion dollars - including Patrick Maugein, who is claimed to be a conduit to French President Chiraq (14 million barrels) and the former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua (11 million barrels).
China: 10% - @ 6.5 billion dollars.
Most notable individual recipient: Benon Sevan, the head of the UN Oil-for-food program: 7.3 million barrels (@$215 million dollars).

Bottom Line: Saddam planned on restarting his WMD programs after sanctions were lifted, and he had bribed the Security Council to support him. End of story. We must all remember that based on UNSCR 1441, Iraq had to prove that they had eliminated their WMD program - after the previous 16 resolutions, the burden of proof was on Iraq, not on the United States or the United Nations. This was not an exercise in domestic law enforcement, where the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty. This is international relations, and the ultimate arbiter in international politics is war. The United States and its allies, based on both pre-war intelligence (which was based on 12 years of Saddam's obfuscation and obstructionism) and the post-war reports of his plans to regain his ability to threaten the region and the United States, were correct in removing Saddam Hussien. In reality, the war should have been conducted in 1998 when the UN weapons inspectors were thrown out, but President Clinton did not chose to go the distance. The rightness or wrongness of the war is not terribly debatable - it is done, and the Middle East is far better off because of it. A megalomaniacal dictator whose hero was Stalin is now in a jail, no longer able to kill more millions of both his own people and his neighbors. Isn't that what liberating the oppressed is all about?


Blogger FloridaMOM said...

yes in answer to your question. now check this for a few typos and send it off to the Wall Street Journal.

10:19 AM  

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