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.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Website Counter
Hit Counters