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Iraq's WMD and the Road to War (Great Viewpoint)

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IRAQ'S WEAPONS & THE ROAD TO WAR

By DANIEL PIPES

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June 3, 2003 -- TWO oddly similar searches are underway in Iraq these days, one for Saddam Hussein and another for his weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Neither has yet been found.

No one argues that because Saddam has not been located, he never existed. But that is what some are saying about the coalition forces not finding actual WMD.

Probably those weapons were well hidden; maybe some were latterly destroyed. What if they are never found - does that undercut the rationale for going to war?

Hardly; WMD was never the basic reason for the war. Nor was it the horrid repression in Iraq. Or the danger Saddam posed to his neighbors. Rather, the basic reason was Saddam's having signed a contract with the United States, then breaking his promise.

Let's replay this video:

Iraqi and coalition military leaders met in southern Iraq on March 3, 1991, to sign a cease-fire agreement. This was right after the U.S.-led coalition forces ejected Iraqi troops from Kuwait.

The agreement they drew up had many provisions - specifying the cease-fire line, prohibiting certain activities by Iraqi troops, ending support for terrorism. Foremost among them was the demand that Baghdad dismantle all its WMD. To give this teeth, Baghdad had to accept outside inspectors who would locate and destroy the offending weapons.

Saddam Hussein's regime had been routed. So his generals accepted these terms, immediately and without argument. They had no choice.

Exactly a month later, on April 3, the United Nations Security Council endorsed these terms in Resolution 687. The resolution required that Iraq "unconditionally accept the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless, under international supervision, of:

"(a) All chemical and biological weapons and all stocks of agents and all related subsystems and components and all research, development, support and manufacturing facilities;

"(B) All ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometers and related major parts, and repair and production facilities."

The U.N. resolution also included provisions for a "Special Commission, which shall carry out immediate on-site inspection of Iraq's biological, chemical and missile capabilities." This work of locating and destroying was supposed to be completed in 120 days.

No way. Instead, for 71/2 years Saddam Hussein and his minions played a cat-and-mouse game. They hid weapons and documents, threatened the Special Commission personnel - and on the sly developed new WMD. Overall, were more WMD destroyed or built in that period? It's hard to say.

Feeling ever more confident with what he could get away with, Saddam finally closed down the inspections in August 1998. His government blithely announced it had completely fulfilled the terms of Resolution 687 and ejected the Special Commission from Iraq. Saddam Hussein now had a free hand to build WMD without those bothersome inspectors.

With this step, however, he broke the Safwan contract.

The correct U.S. response to this outrage should have been: "Let the inspectors back in and cough up your WMD-related activities . . . or else."

But 1998 was the era of "end of history" dot-com fog, and President Bill Clinton was diverted by the Lewinsky scandal. As a result, Saddam got away with his defiance. Four long years followed, without anyone keeping tabs on what WMD he might be developing.

Then came 9/11, and a new American sense that the world is a dangerous place. The old casualness toward broken promises was no longer acceptable. Beginning in early 2002, President Bush began exerting pressure on Iraq to fulfill its agreement, or pay the consequences.

The result? The same old cat-and-mouse game, with Baghdad and the United Nations both hoping this would satisfy the U.S. government.

It did not.

The Bush administration rejected the pretense of U.N. inspections and insisted on real disarmament or a change in regime. When the former did not occur, the latter did.

The moral of this story: Uncle Sam enforces his contracts - even if a few years late. Keep your promises or you are gone. It's a powerful precedent that U.S. leaders should make the most of.

The campaign in Iraq is ultimately not about weapons. It's not about the United Nations. And it's not about Iraqi freedom.

It is about keeping promises to the United States - or paying the consequences.

Daniel Pipes (www.DanielPipes.org) is director of the Middle East Forum and author of "Militant Islam Reaches America."

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I read this on the ferry over this morning, good article. I often wondered if W would have went after Sadam if 911 never happened. We should have went in when 687 was ignored for the 7.5 years but the country was diffrent and we were being led by a diffrent president. It's interesting that people say we were lied to for the reasoning behind this war when the truth is their we're many reasons and WMD was the only thing that got anyones attention blame it on the heavy media coverage or poor PR from the White House. The fact is that Iraq violated the 91 agreement by not destroying all of it's WMD, producing rockets that can fly past 150kilometers and firing at us on a daily basis isn't the latter reason enough to go there and hand him his ass?

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Originally posted by mr mahs

I read this on the ferry over this morning, good article. I often wondered if W would have went after Sadam if 911 never happened. We should have went in when 687 was ignored for the 7.5 years but the country was diffrent and we were being led by a diffrent president. It's interesting that people say we were lied to for the reasoning behind this war when the truth is their we're many reasons and WMD was the only thing that got anyones attention blame it on the heavy media coverage or poor PR from the White House. The fact is that Iraq violated the 91 agreement by not destroying all of it's WMD, producing rockets that can fly past 150kilometers and firing at us on a daily basis isn't the latter reason enough to go there and hand him his ass?

I just posted another article about this bullshit "Bush lied about WMD" political crap......check it out--all about how the Clinton administration continually claimed Iraq had WMD and was a grave threat to the world..

If the anti-Bush hate brigade wants to come after him about "lying" about WMD, then they will have to go after the UN inspection teams, the entire Clinton administration, European and Arab govt and intelligence officials, and every defector...

I just watched an interview with a former nuclear scientist from Iraq, who stands by his claim that Iraq had WMD--and he claimed the WMD program was set up to make it impossible to find, unless the people who worked in the program up to the last minute could be found

Hans Blix made a statement today that his team did not find any WMD evidence, BUT Iraq play a masterful deception came and was uncooperative.....

Hhhmmm--if they had no WMD, why be uncooperative?

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