Hans' News and Politics Blog

A Blog of Conservative News, Politics, and Foreign Affairs

Thursday, February 19, 2004

What happened to the WMD?

Over the last few months there has been an increased public outcry demanding an answer to the question of WMD. Why have none been found to date? Various explanations have been offered, from the possible to the improbable. Here I am going to give an analysis of several offered scenarios and the likelihood that they could be true:

Saddam Hussein had all the WMD destroyed prior to the beginning of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM to prevent them from falling into Coalition hands. In this scenario Saddam was hoping for a drawn out conflict and wanted to prevent WMD falling into Coalition hands. Expecting a political intervention by France and Russia to abort the war prematurely, he figured if the US were to find WMD during the early stages of the invasion France and Russia could no longer lobby in his behalf to end the war. Therefore, by denying the US the justification needed to continue the war, President Bush would have to bow to international pressure and give up their attempt to displace Saddam Hussein. Potential Scenario: High probability.

Saddam Hussein was bluffing and did not have any WMD. SH had given up his WMD, or found it impossible to continue producing them due to the sanctions. He did not, however, wanted to admit to that weakness and believed that the perception he had WMD was the best guarantor of his continued rule of Iraq. Hussein thought that the US would not dare to attack Iraq for fear of an Iraqi counterstrike with WMD. Therefore, anything that reinforced the perception that Iraq had WMD, while not outright admitting to their possession, would make an attack unlikely. Not admitting to WMD meant that the UN would remain split on endorsing action, while Iraq’s uncooperativeness in WMD inspections would raise the fear of mass casualties in case of an attack. Potential Scenario: High probability.

Saddam Hussein’s scientists were deceiving him. His scientists were either unable or unwilling to produce the WMD he desired and lied to him about their progress, creating the perception in him that he had an arsenal that he had to hide from the UN. The scientists either spent the money while failing to create WMD, or simply diverted the money for their own benefit. Given Saddam’s brutal nature and paranoid personality, it is unlikely that the scientists would have lied to enrich themselves, it is more likely that they were unable to procure the weapons he desired, and concerned with receiving the ultimate punishment, they planned to systematically deceive him. Given the police state nature of his regime it would be surprising if they had been able to pull it off for a multi-year period. Potential Scenario: Low probability.

Saddam Hussein had the WMD moved to another country just prior to the war. Specifically, Hussein had the WMD moved to Syria, which had become an important ally of Iraq since Bashir Assad took the reigns from his father a few years ago. There have been several sources that have claimed that the WMD were currently located in three sites in Syria and Lebanon. Syria had in the last few years served as a conduit for Iraq’s effort to evade UN sanctions and several billion dollars were allegedly moved into Syrian government banks prior and during the war. Potential Scenario: High probability.

President Bush exaggerated (lied about) the WMD evidence to go to war with Iraq. This has become the mantra of the opposition to the war in the last few months. It seems like the simplest answer to the question on WMD when looked at in a vacuum. Bush said there were WMD, none were found: hence, President Bush lied. There are, however, several nagging facts that make the charge implausible. President Bush was not the only one who made those claims. Some could claim they were deceived as well, such as Democratic Senators running for President such as Kerry and Edwards, but there were many more who supported the US position on WMD, even if they did not support the war. Chirac and Schroeder, the ‘Axis of Weasels’ agreed with the assessment of Iraq’s WMD, but argued inspections could work. Indeed, nobody at the UN made the argument that Iraq didn’t possess WMD, probably because the UN inspectors UNMOVIC and UNSCOM had concluded as much. Most of the US case was based upon evidence gathered by the UN inspectors. In addition, President Clinton, VP Al Gore, and most Senate Democrats made exactly the same argument in supporting OPERATION DESERT FOX in 1998, an attempt to punish Saddam Hussein for his lack of cooperation with UN inspectors through a sustained bombing campaign. Saddam Hussein himself admitted to having WMD in 1998 and refused to turn them over to UN inspectors for destruction. So if President Bush had lied or exaggerated the WMD threat from Iraq, he must have had the willing assistance of the French and German governments, the UN inspectors, the previous administration, as well as Saddam Hussein himself! Furthermore, the conspiracy would have predated his administration by almost three years. Potential Scenario: Very low probability.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

This is from Kerry's testimony in Congress from the cooked up "Winter Soldier testimony" of communist activists faking to be Vietnam Veterans:

"They had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country."

Basically, to enhance his anti-war credentials Vietnam Veterans Against The War enlisted the services of a bunch of phonies, who pretended to have served in Vietnam, to raise allegations of systematic war crimes perpetuated by US soldiers, he then used this fake evidence to sell to the public a lie.

And of course this was also played by the North Vietnamese government in propaganda broadcasts to their population to spurn them on to fight and kill American soldiers. I think "aiding and abetting the enemy" is the term that comes to mind.

Kerry then took a consistently pro-communist position during the 70's and 80's, opposing the rebuiling of our military, opposed the liberation of grenada, supported an unilateral "nuclear freeze", opposed the construction of virtually every major weapon system in the US military's inventory, such as the M-1 Abrams, M-2 Bradley, Cruise Missile, Patriot Missile, F-15, B-1, B-2, Apache Helicopter, MX missile, etc. Opposed the liberation of Kuwait, even with UN approval. He also consistently voted to defund the CIA. During the campaign he claimed that the threat from terrorism is "exagerrated", and that terrorism is mostly a law enforcement activity, which was our approach during the 90's and it failed miserable.

This is why Kerry had to attack Bush's military record, to weaken his strength and to cover up his weakness. So far, whenever Kerry's surrogates have been challenged on Kerry's very weak record on national security, they had to flee into Kerry's Vietnam record as if that was relevant to the issue at hand, and to insinuate that to critizise Kerry's national security record is to question his patriotism. Ending of course in feigned outrage of "how dare you question the patriotism of this Vietnam war hero".

How exactly is he going to keep us safe in the age of terrorism?

Monday, February 09, 2004

Why Wesley Clark won't be getting my vote

Many questions have been raised in the last few months on why Wesley Clark was relieved from his Command after the Kosovo war. The reason General Wesley Clark got fired was for repeatedly lying to the Pentagon, going behind their backs, promising Albright and Clinton, and the NATO allies that he can get Milosevic to cave within 1 or 2 days of limited airstrikes and without the need for a committment of ground troops. General Hugh Shelton called this "character and integrity issues", which sounds innocuous, but is considered very damning in military speak. It was Clark's promise to President Clinton that the war could be waged in the casualty-averse nature that caused Clinton's call for no ground troops. He later changing his position and calling for ground troops after we had been bogged down. The Pentagon was right in its assessment of what it takes to beat Milosevic, and Wesley Clark was wrong. But because he wanted the war he undermined the Pentagon's assessment by circumventing the chain of command and intervened directly with Clinton and Albright. We ended up in a conflict with insufficient resources and preparation. When we ran out of NATO approved targets after 2 days, he decided to simply bomb the already approved targets again - until we ran out of bombs. You see, since Clark had said it would only take 2 days at most, he never had stockpiles moved up for sustained bombing. When we tried to fly troops to Albania we couldn't, because all our transports were already committed to flying ammo into theater, due to Clark's poor planning. Then we ran into another problem: we had bad weather and couldn't aim at target on the ground. Of course, if we had SOF units in theater we could have inserted them to target them from the ground, but since Clark had promised we don't need troops, we didn't have any plans for their use, nor the authorization necessary, and had to stop bombing for a week. After resuming bombing we quickly ran out of high-value military target. Of course, we could have bombed Serbian troops, but that would have required low-flying aircraft or troops on the ground to direct the fire (as we did in Afghanistan). Since Clark had promised that we wont suffer casualties, this was deemed to risky. After all, enemy soldiers shoot back. So we switched tactics and did high altitude bombing of the civilian infrastructure. The NATO partners grew increasingly nervous about the drawn out conflict and challenged Clark's leadership. A friend of mine who sat in on Videoconferences Clark had described him of having a defeated and dejected appearance, he looked as if he were ready to give up and quit.

In the end it was the British and the State Department that saved us. The British committed ground forces in Macedonia (and less well known, SAS into Kosovo to guide airstrikes, we couldn't use ours because of Clark's previous promise, repeated by Clinton on national tv). We got the State Department to convince the Russians to mediate, where we dropped all the demands that Yugoslavia had previously rejected at Rambuillet, specifically:
1. No referendum on independence after 3 years
2. International force including Russians instead of NATO only
3. Permitting the return of Serbian customs agents, instead of removal of all Serbian government agencies.
4. and limiting KFOR jurisdiction to Kosovo, instead of free reign throughout Yugoslavia.

These were the 4 points Milosevic had previously rejected, and were cited as the reason for the failure of diplomacy prior to the war, and we gave up on ALL FOUR OF THEM!

That not being enough, the Russians double-crossed us and rushed troops into Pristina to seize their airfield in order to fly in more troops from Russia and to carve out a Serbian enclave in the north-east, just as the Serbs wanted all along, using the pretext of the second concession. Our State Department made a call to Rumania and got them to block their air space, leaving the Russian battalion in Pristina stranded. When the battle was essentially won, Clark ordered the British General to remove the Russians by force, which the British general refused since, being a rational man, he didn't want to start WWIII. A day later the Russians gave up since they were out of water, a somewhat more elegant solution than the one Clark proposed.

I worked on the Kosovo campaign and it was a horrible mess, Clark constantly made promises he couldn't possibly keep to get the nod to go ahead, when the Pentagon tried to stop him from making those promises, he ignored them and undermined them by going behind their backs.

After the war Clark tried to shift blame upon everyone but himself, as is evidenced in this article in the Washington Post.

Needless to say, I'm not very fond of Clark, and neither are most people in the Military who came in contact with him.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

It has been a long time since I last updated my blog, and since someone reminded me to do so, well, here it goes:

Today, Ricin was found in Bill Frist's office. Some of you may remember that Ricin was found in London last year. That Ricin was traced back to Answar Al-Islam, the Iraqi branch of Al Qaeda.

This from CNN is interesting:

U.S. troops in Iraq have found 300 bags of a type of bean used to produce a deadly poison, U.S. officials said. The discovery was made in a former brake fluid plant. The bags of castor beans were marked "urea," which is a fertilizer compound. Castor beans are used in the production of ricin, a poison that can be used in biological weapons. U.S. officials said the discovery is under investigation.

So Iraq had 300 bags of Ricin hidden and mislabeled in their possession. Answar Al-Islam, a branch of Al Qaeda located in northern Iraq, had ricin poison, which is made of castor beans, in their possession. Ricin pops up in London and D.C.

Anyone else care to connect the dots?

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