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Sunday October 5, 2003

Of course, the more we find the higher the bar will continue to be set. It's not enough to find prohibited missiles, or UAV's. It's not enough to find components or toxins. A single vial of toxin? Well, it wasn't on a warhead. It's not all that much, really. It's not like we've found large quantities.


Before you listen to any more ranting from the left about how Bush "misled the Nation" or "lied about Iraq", take another look at what was actually said. Most of these points are also referred to in the Kay Report The following are quotes from Colin Powell's address to the UN in February 2003:


Friday October 3, 2003

All over the headlines: No Smoking Gun. No Weapons Found. No Imminent Threat. These are the words that are used to describe David Kay's report on Iraqi weapons programs. As usual you have to look at the actual report to get to the truth. Of course that doesn't stop the nay-sayers from claiming, "the war was unjustified", or "it was all about oil". Yes, Iraq has quite a bit of oil, but the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) also discovered some other little tidbits. It should be noted that often Intelligence Estimates are just that: estimates and speculation based on available evidence tempered by past experience. Are these estimates perfect? No. But I think in this instance it's instructive to look at what the evidence is on the ground (so far) with what the President said in his remarks before the war. On October 7, 2002, the President said this:

Some ask how urgent this danger is to America and the world. The danger is already significant, and it only grows worse with time. If we know Saddam Hussein has dangerous weapons today -- and we do -- does it make any sense for the world to wait to confront him as he grows even stronger and develops even more dangerous weapons?

In 1995, after several years of deceit by the Iraqi regime, the head of Iraq's military industries defected. It was then that the regime was forced to admit that it had produced more than 30,000 liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents. The inspectors, however, concluded that Iraq had likely produced two to four times that amount. This is a massive stockpile of biological weapons that has never been accounted for, and capable of killing millions.

We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas. Saddam Hussein also has experience in using chemical weapons. He has ordered chemical attacks on Iran, and on more than forty villages in his own country. These actions killed or injured at least 20,000 people, more than six times the number of people who died in the attacks of September the 11th.

And surveillance photos reveal that the regime is rebuilding facilities that it had used to produce chemical and biological weapons. Every chemical and biological weapon that Iraq has or makes is a direct violation of the truce that ended the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Yet, Saddam Hussein has chosen to build and keep these weapons despite international sanctions, U.N. demands, and isolation from the civilized world.

The ISG team found the following:

More from President Bush's remarks in October 2002:

Iraq possesses ballistic missiles with a likely range of hundreds of miles -- far enough to strike Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, and other nations -- in a region where more than 135,000 American civilians and service members live and work. We've also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We're concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVS for missions targeting the United States. And, of course, sophisticated delivery systems aren't required for a chemical or biological attack; all that might be required are a small container and one terrorist or Iraqi intelligence operative to deliver it.

Here's what the ISG found on the ground in Iraq:

Back to Bush--remember October 2002:

Many people have asked how close Saddam Hussein is to developing a nuclear weapon. Well, we don't know exactly, and that's the problem. Before the Gulf War, the best intelligence indicated that Iraq was eight to ten years away from developing a nuclear weapon. After the war, international inspectors learned that the regime has been much closer -- the regime in Iraq would likely have possessed a nuclear weapon no later than 1993. The inspectors discovered that Iraq had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a workable nuclear weapon, and was pursuing several different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb.

Before being barred from Iraq in 1998, the International Atomic Energy Agency dismantled extensive nuclear weapons-related facilities, including three uranium enrichment sites. That same year, information from a high-ranking Iraqi nuclear engineer who had defected revealed that despite his public promises, Saddam Hussein had ordered his nuclear program to continue.

The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his "nuclear mujahideen" -- his nuclear holy warriors. Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past. Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.

If the Iraqi regime is able to produce, buy, or steal an amount of highly enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball, it could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year. And if we allow that to happen, a terrible line would be crossed. Saddam Hussein would be in a position to blackmail anyone who opposes his aggression. He would be in a position to dominate the Middle East. He would be in a position to threaten America. And Saddam Hussein would be in a position to pass nuclear technology to terrorists.

Back to the Kay report:

With regard to Iraq's nuclear program, the testimony we have obtained from Iraqi scientists and senior government officials should clear up any doubts about whether Saddam still wanted to obtain nuclear weapons. They have told ISG that Saddam Husayn remained firmly committed to acquiring nuclear weapons. These officials assert that Saddam would have resumed nuclear weapons development at some future point. Some indicated a resumption after Iraq was free of sanctions. At least one senior Iraqi official believed that by 2000 Saddam had run out of patience with waiting for sanctions to end and wanted to restart the nuclear program. The Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) beginning around 1999 expanded its laboratories and research activities and increased its overall funding levels. This expansion may have been in initial preparation for renewed nuclear weapons research, although documentary evidence of this has not been found, and this is the subject of continuing investigation by ISG.

Despite evidence of Saddam's continued ambition to acquire nuclear weapons, to date we have not uncovered evidence that Iraq undertook significant post-1998 steps to actually build nuclear weapons or produce fissile material. However, Iraq did take steps to preserve some technological capability from the pre-1991 nuclear weapons program.

Much of this seems to confirm what was said about Iraq before the war. In my opinion, this information lends much creedence to the Bush position. The war wasn't entirely about WMD, it was also about violations of numerous UN resolutions, including cease fire agreements, as well as sickening human rights abuses. It was, most importantly, about the potential threat to national security if we allowed Saddam to remain in power. Bush puts it all together with this:

Some citizens wonder, after 11 years of living with this problem, why do we need to confront it now? And there's a reason. We've experienced the horror of September the 11th. We have seen that those who hate America are willing to crash airplanes into buildings full of innocent people. Our enemies would be no less willing, in fact, they would be eager, to use biological or chemical, or a nuclear weapon.


If you don't read anything else today (or this week) check out this "must see" exposition by William C. Whittle on Power. He delves into the history of power, the corrupting influence of power, the correct and moral use of power and many other deep thoughts. Most importantly, as those affable Brits are wont to say, he's "spot on". Would that I could write with such perspicacity. It's long and impossible to do it justice in an excerpt, but here's a tidbit:

Those that would have us disarm, withdraw, apologize and retreat make the assumption that by removing American Power from the world, the planet will become a harmonious village of diversity and mutual respect. Remove American capitalism, and the world's people will trade solar cars for indigenous beads, our European moral betters will hand over their cash to the third world until all are perfectly equal, and everyone will live in a sustainable ecological paradise. Remove American cultural power and Britney will be replaced with Beethoven, and an exquisite and reasonably priced Pate de Foi Gras Existentialist Meal can be had at a corner drive in where the former McDonald's once stood.

This is utter nonsense. It has never been true for a single page of the history of the Damned Human Race. There has never never been a day in human history when some form of power has not flooded the world, or competed to do so; and those times when the power was most one-sided reveal themselves to be the times of greatest relative peace, stability, and advancement of that quaint notion known as civilization.

This is not merely a European construct. We see this iron rule in Inca and Aztec histories in South America, in Shaka's Zulu nation, in Chinese empires and Japanese Shogunates, Native American tribal relations, and wherever else we turn our eyes.

The idea that all would be well if only America would retreat from the world and stay at home is a pernicious and seductive one. It appeals not only to those that hunger after the freedom to do mischief in our absence as it does to our natural sense of isolationism. It has been the mantra of communists, totalitarians and elitists of every vile stripe for well over a hundred years. It is utterly and completely wrong. Political power has never been removed from the world it has only been replaced. And so our choice now pay attention you No Blood For Oil types is not between power and no power. It is a choice only of what kind of power will fill that vacuum. Chinese? Russian? European? We have seen all of these before. The horrors they have inflicted, with far less absolute power than the US wields, do not leave me pining for those alternatives. Someone is going to be the world power, or tear the world apart fighting for it. And no matter how hard we may wish it, the winner will not be a Blindfolded Jury of Archangels.


I've long said that this is by far the worst of all the scandals attributed to the former President because it has potentially disasterous ramifications to the future of our national security:

Newly declassified documents show that President Bill Clinton personally approved the transfer to China of advanced space technology that can be used for nuclear combat.

The documents show that in 1996 Clinton approved the export of radiation hardened chip sets to China. The specialized chips are necessary for fighting a nuclear war.

"Waivers may be granted upon a national interest determination," states a Commerce Department document titled "U.S. Sanctions on China."

"The President has approved a series of satellite related waivers in recent months, most recently in November, 1996 for export of radiation hardened chip sets for a Chinese meteorological satellite," noted the Commerce Department documents.

These special computer chips are designed to function while being bombarded by intense radiation. Radiation hardened chips are considered critical for atomic warfare and are required by advanced nuclear tipped missiles.


Allen Barra at Slate defends Limbaugh's comments on ESPN:

Rush Limbaugh didn't say Donovan McNabb was a bad quarterback because he is black. He said that the media have overrated McNabb because he is black, and Limbaugh is right. He didn't say anything that he shouldn't have said, and in fact he said things that other commentators should have been saying for some time now. I should have said them myself.

Read the whole thing. He backs up his assertion with statistics. My only question is: Why didn't any of these other commentators say this? Discuss.