No doubt among these Lefties are a few who sincerely believe Bushie’s decision to invade Iraq was a something he concocted out of thin air at his ranch in Crawford, or a misguided attempt to avenge the attempted assassination of his father, or the desire to line his cronies’ pockets with oil money, or his unthinking allegiance to those neo-con Jews who just don’t like Arabs and were itching for a fight.
For them, and those “Conservatives” who find themselves irresistibly drawn to the Siren song of the anti-war movement (amplified daily via our noble Mediacracy), I submit the following as antidote: my IRAQ INVASION ANNIVERSARY ONLINE REFRESHER COURSE - a $250.00 value - yours today for absolutely free!
(Disclaimer: This course employs an instructional device somewhat alien to Lefties known as “History.” A definition of the term can be accessed by clicking here.)
We begin with the first Gulf War, which was followed swiftly by the end of the first Gulf War. This cessation of hostilities was premised upon Iraq’s complying with conditions spelled out in United Nation’s Resolutions 686 and 687 . In short, these demanded Iraq allow U.N. inspectors immediate and unrestricted access to verify its commitment to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles, as well as “not commit or support any act of international terrorism or allow any organization directed towards commission of such acts to operate within its territory and to condemn unequivocally and renounce all acts, methods and practices of terrorism.” (Curious don’t think – since we all know that Saddam had NOTHING to do with terrorists?) The U.N. then also issued Resolution 688 demanding that the Iraqi regime cease at once the repression of its own people, including the systematic repression of minorities which, the Council claimed, “threatened international peace and security in the region.” For your edification, particularly those now of the opinion things were better off under Saddam, I give you, Saddam’s rap sheet.
Utterly vanquished and exposed, Saddam had no choice but to agree. The Iraqi regime promised to destroy and stop developing all weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles, and to prove to the world it had done so by complying with rigorous inspections. (Begin Music – “Send in the Clowns” here). As some of you may recall, Iraq failed to comply. Again. And again. And again. And again. And again.
Within months of the cease-fire, the Security Council twice had to renew its demand that the Iraqi regime cooperate fully with U.N. inspectors, condemning Iraq's serious violations of its obligations as laid out in Resolutions 686, 687, and 688. This game continued throughout the 1990’s: the Security Council renewing its demands in 1994, twice more in 1996 (here and here) strongly deploring Iraq's clear violations of its obligations, three more times in 1997 (here, here, and here) citing “flagrant violations”, three more times in 1998 (here, here, and here) calling Iraq's behavior “totally unacceptable”, and once again in 1999. Do we see a pattern here? One is forced to draw two conclusions. Conclusion A. The Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein cannot be trusted. Conclusion B. The U.N. Security Council is utterly useless.
In fact, only after a senior Iraqi weapons program official defected and revealed damning information, did Saddam admit to producing tens of thousands of liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents for use with Scud warheads, aerial bombs, and aircraft spray tanks. U.N. inspectors at the time also believed Iraq may have produced two to four times the amount of biological agents it declared, and noted that Iraq had failed to account for more than three metric tons of material that could be used to produce biological weapons. United Nations' inspections also revealed that Iraq likely maintained stockpiles of VX, mustard, and other chemical agents, and that the regime was rebuilding and expanding facilities capable of producing chemical weapons. Oh yes and in 1995, after four years of deception, Iraq finally admitted that it had neglected to mention its crash nuclear weapons program. Whoopsie daisy.
Given these developments, a prescient U.S. President William Jefferson Clinton – nobody’s fool - issued an ominous prognostication regarding Iraq in early 1998.
"If he refuses or continues to evade his obligations through more tactics of delay and deception, he and he alone will be to blame for the consequences. Now, let's imagine the future. What if he fails to comply, and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route which gives him yet more opportunities to develop this program of weapons of mass destruction? Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And some day, some way, I guarantee you, he'll use the arsenal. And I think every one of you who's really worked on this for any length of time believes that, too."
"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line."
- President William Jefferson Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998
"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
- President William Jefferson Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998
Magnificent! True to form, President Clinton then went on to completely ignore his own eloquence and do absolutely nothing about the situation, until, in October of 1998, he received the following message in a letter from hawkish Senators:
"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."
The hawkish Senators penning this missive? Senators John Kerry, Carl Levin, Tom Daschle and others. Once again that’s Senators John Kerry, Carl Levin, and Tom Daschle.
Inspired to action, President Clinton quickly penned his own brusque and manly missive - the Iraq Liberation Act. With this he signed into law “regime change in Iraq,” and advocated U.S. moral and financial support for the democratic opposition in Iraq. Naturally, Iraqis were thrilled with this courageous declaration from the world’s sole superpower, recalling vividly how well this “you’re on your own” approach worked out for them in 1991.
Well by now Saddam – having had quite enough of all this nonsense - threw the U.N. monitors and weapons inspectors out of his country. Immediately the U.S. and U.K. threatened military action, realizing this was the only mode of “diplomacy” to which Saddam was at all receptive. With B-52’s literally minutes away from flattening Baghdad, Saddam graciously conceded to allow U.N. monitors back in. The bombers were recalled and the ping-ponging weapons inspectors returned. Days later, Chief U.N. weapons inspector Richard Butler reported that Saddam was back at his old game of impeding inspections. Exit the ping-ponging U.N. inspectors, and fire up the bombers once again. On December 15, another very sternly worded and really most formal U.N. report accused Iraq of a repeated pattern of obstructing weapons inspections by not allowing access to records and inspections sites, and by moving equipment records and equipment from one to site another. On December 16, The United States and Great Britain began a massive air campaign against key military targets in Iraq known as Operation Desert Fox. Surprisingly, this decisive action on the part of the U.S. and U.K. inspired considerable disagreement within the U.N. Security Council, particularly from U.N. secretary general Kofi Annan and three out of five permanent members of the council: France, Russia and China. Imagine that.
At this time, many brave and noble American patriots stepped forward to support their Commander in Chief, issuing profound statements about the threat Saddam Hussein’s Iraq posed to regional, national, and global security; and the necessity for decisive military action. Most notable among them, current Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA): "Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
And Captain Planet Himself, then Vice President Al Gore:
"If you allow someone like Saddam Hussein to get nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, chemical weapons, biological weapons, how many people is he going to kill with such weapons? He's already demonstrated a willingness to use these weapons. He poison-gassed his own people. He used poison gas and other weapons of mass destruction against his neighbors. This man has no compunction about killing lots and lots of people. So this is a way to save lives and to save the stability and peace of a region of the world that is important to the peace and security of the entire world."
(No figures were available on the exact level of carbon emissions released during Operation Desert Fox.)
Four days of bombing ensued, ending just in time for Ramadan! Nothing much seemed to come of it either way, unless of course one pays any heed to reports at the time that Saddam was reaching out to terrorist organizations in an attempt to exact revenge upon the United States for the attacks – as reported here , here, and in this list of a hundred or so stories regarding Saddam’s dealings with terrorists. But again, as we all know, Saddam never had any dealings whatsoever with terrorists and so clearly, these are all lies.
At this point I would like to enquire of any Lefties still reading, do we notice something missing in all the above? Yes, that’s it - the name George W. Bush. Not a whisper. In fact no Conservatives, Republicans, or neo-cons have played a role at all in any of the goings on cited thus far. Hmmm.
At this point - what with soiled dresses, impeachment hearings, Y2K, presidential campaigns, and hanging chads - the world forgot about Saddam and Iraq (except of course those making millions off the oil for food scam).
But then came a certain Tuesday in 2001. We all know Saddam had nothing to do with the specific attacks on the United States occurring on September 11, 2001 and we all know that Bushie never claimed he did. As you may recall, given the national mood at the time, had Bushie said Quebec was responsible for the attacks, virtually every citizen of the United States would have gleefully supported the immediate incineration of their French-like neighbors to the North. Why then Bushie – allegedly with a bee in his bonnet over Iraq from the day he took office – would NOT have capitalized on this opportunity to gratify his craven desire for the utter destruction of Iraq remains a mystery. Unless one entertains the possibility that he had no craven desire for the utter destruction of Iraq - nor for their oil – and was motivated merely by a desire for justice and maintaining the national security of the United States?
In a larger sense, however - and this is the point Lefties seem to have completely forgotten - saying that the situation in Iraq (see ALL OF THE ABOVE) had nothing to do with the attacks of September 11th is like saying the rabid pit-bull residing at your next door neighbor’s house has nothing to do with the Doberman pincer across the street that mauled your child yesterday. You have a problem. You had better deal with it. The 9/11 attacks exposed a vulnerability to the threat of terrorism the United States had heretofore not taken seriously. After that day, all threats – past, present, and future – no matter how seemingly insignificant or unlikely - were to be seen in a new light and a vastly heightened regard for their potential of becoming reality.
Immediately following the attacks this was common sentiment. In fact, in December of 2001, President Bush received the following message in a letter from hawkish Senators, strangely reminiscent of the letter from hawkish Senators received by President Clinton some three years earlier. The letter was signed by Senator Bob Graham (D, FL.) and many others who – for reasons of conscience and deep personal introspection (or rabid opportunism) – can now no longer be counted among those supporting our decision to invade Iraq.
"There is no doubt that ... Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies." Said they.
The story now goes that these Senators – many of whom are quoted below – were misled to these conclusions by the wily and war-mongering Mr. Bush. To this I would say - as I have in the past - were that true, Mr. Senator, you and your easily-lead-by-the-nose-friends are not fit for office of this caliber and ought be tried for criminal negligence and dereliction of duty. For behold their inflammatory, saber-rattling rhetoric…
"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandated of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them." -Sen. Carl Levin (d, MI), Sept. 19, 2002
"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country." -Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002
"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power." -Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002
"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." -Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002
"The last U.N. weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..." -Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002
"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force-- if necessary-- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security."- Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002
"There is Unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years ... We also should remember we have always Underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction." -Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002
"He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant U.N. resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do" -Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002
"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members ... It is clear, however, that if left Unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons." -Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002
"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction." -Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002
"[W]ithout question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real ..." -Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003
Despite all the tough talk, and a world on heightened alert, Saddam kept at his game in defiance of global condemnation and common bloody sense. He allowed Al Qaeda terrorists escaped from Afghanistan to come to Iraq, and he continued to withhold important information about the nature and capacity of his weapons’ programs. In fact, in 2002, the U.N. (note NOT the U.S. nor U.K.) reported that in violation of Security Council Resolution 1373, (issued 9/28/2001) Iraq continued to shelter and support terrorist organizations that direct violence against Iran, Israel, and Western governments.
Given all of this, a certain George W. Bush, who happened now to find himself the leader of the Free World, felt compelled to go before that same international body that for the past ten years had so vehemently warned of the gathering danger to regional and global security that was Saddam Hussein, and remind them of their purpose.
“As we meet today, it's been almost four years since the last U.N. inspectors set foot in Iraq, four years for the Iraqi regime to plan, and to build, and to test behind the cloak of secrecy.
We know that Saddam Hussein pursued weapons of mass murder even when inspectors were in his country. Are we to assume that he stopped when they left? The history, the logic, and the facts lead to one conclusion: Saddam Hussein's regime is a grave and gathering danger. To suggest otherwise is to hope against the evidence. To assume this regime's good faith is to bet the lives of millions and the peace of the world in a reckless gamble. And this is a risk we must not take.” -President George W. Bush September 12, 2002
Well despite mispronunciations, malapropisms, and mangled syntax, Bushie’s eloquence was sufficient to convince the U.N. Security Council, as evidenced by their unanimous passing of Resolution 1441 that offered Iraq "a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations" set out in innumerable preceding resolutions, namely Resolution 660, Resolution 661, Resolution 678, Resolution 686, Resolution 687, Resolution 688, Resolution 707, Resolution 715, Resolution 986, and Resolution 1284. (One does begin to question the meaning of the word “resolution” doesn’t one?) Nonetheless …
U.N. Resolution 1441 states: 1) That Iraq was in material breach of the ceasefire terms presented under the terms of Resolution 687. Iraq's breaches related not only to WMDs, but also the known construction of prohibited types of missiles, the purchase and import of prohibited armaments, and the continuing refusal of Iraq to compensate Kuwait for the widespread looting conducted by its troops in 1991.
2) That the ceasefire granted under Resolution 687 was binding only insofar as Iraq was willing to hew to the terms of that ceasefire.
3) That 1441, and its deadline, represented Iraq's final opportunity to comply with disarmament requirements. In accordance with the previous Resolutions, this meant Iraq not only had to verify the existence or destruction of its remaining unaccounted-for WMD stockpiles, but also had to ensure that all equipment, plans, and materials useful for the resumption of WMD programs was likewise turned over or verified as destroyed.
4) That "...false statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq pursuant to this resolution and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of, this resolution shall constitute a further material breach of Iraq’s obligations".
To everyone’s shock and amazement, as of December 2002 – the “deadline” put forth under Resolution 1441 - Saddam had failed to comply with the resolution in every possible way. The U.N., true to form, balked. George W. Bush, risking political suicide, followed through. In his position - given all that was known, given all that was suspected, given all that had happened - what would you do? What would Winston do?
“Our difficulties and dangers will not be removed by closing our eyes to them. They will not be removed by mere waiting to see what happens. Nor will they be removed by a policy of appeasement. What is needed is a settlement, and the longer this is delayed, the more difficult it will be, and the greater our dangers will become. I am convinced that there is nothing for which they have less respect than for weakness, especially military weakness. For that reason, the old doctrine of balance of power is unsound. We cannot afford, if we can help it, to work on narrow margins, offering temptations to a trial of strength. If the Western democracies stand together in strict adherence to these principles, no one is likely to molest them. If, however, they become divided or falter in their duty, and if these all-important years are allowed to slip away, then indeed catastrophe may overwhelm us all. Last time I saw it all coming, and I cried aloud to my own fellow countrymen and to the world, but no one paid any attention."
- Sir Winston Churchill, 1946, in his heroic "Iron Curtain" speech warning of the peril of Western indifference, inaction, and weakness in the face of the growing Soviet threat. Ominously relevant don’t you think? Or is it just me?