Saturday, February 02, 2008

Saddam's WMD

I tire of hearing that the allies 'lied' about Saddam Hussein's WMD. Everyone believed he had them - including the UN. At the time of the US invasion I talked to ex-Foreign Affairs officials in Australia who were certain he had them.

We now know that Saddam lied about having weapons to keep Iran at Bay. We also now know he intended to reconstitute an entire WMD program as soon as he could - 'chemical, biological even nuclear'.

It was essential to get rid of this very dangerous man. The claim that sanctions were working is a deceit - Saddam was thwarting them. A military invasion was required. The counterfactual of leaving Saddam in power is horrible to contemplate.

The left, those supporting a 'cut-and-run' policy and sections of the media are 'white-anting' the US effort based on an irresponsible falsification of history and by implicitly exercising ex post wisdom in relation to fighting what is obviously a difficult, costly conflict.

The implications of a hasty US withdrawal from Iraq in terms of assigning victory to terrorist forces there and destroying US military credibility globally are serious. And despite the skepticism the US 'surge' does seem to be reducing the scale of the civil conflict inside that country.

15 comments:

conrad said...

Any links to "everyone believed the ... [and was absolutely sure]"? My memory is rather hazy on that and seems to think that "everyone" is a rather bold statement.

You may as well give on this incidentally, since history is going to show that the US got defeated (again) when they withrdraw after the next US election and the world will be a worse place because of the war for Iraq (civil war/destruction) everyone else (since Iran/whoever will end up controlling Iraq) and the US (who borrowed the money to fight the war from China/Saudia Arabia et al. ). This of course is completely unsurprising to anyone that has looked at history book (think Russia in Afghanistan or Chechnya, or France in Algeria), since no-one wins in places like that.

Spiros said...

Hans Blix, the man whose job it was to find out whether Saddam had WMD, wasn't certain he had them, nor was he certain he didn't. But he wasn't allowed to find out because invasion was a done deal.

And, really, a couple of ex Foreign Affairies! The same people who either knew full well that the AWB was flouting the sanctions, or (at best) turned a blind eye because they didn't want to know. The Department of Foreign Affairs wouldn't have known if a WMD was stuck up their collective arses.

Harry, you are going to have to do better than a third hand source in the Wall Street Journal if you want to re-write history.

Bring Back CL's blog said...

this is just a usual incoherent rant from our Arry.

He was VERY dangerous. Why was he?

HE possessed WMDS? what WMDS did you think he had or were they merely the generic ones that Bush ,Howard and the rest pontificated on and never found

hc said...

Agree with Conrad - there was not unanimity but there was widespread agreement. Of cause Saddam created the impression there were WMD.

None of the responses deal with the basic issues. Saddam presented himself as a serious terrorist threat and sanctions were failing. He was going to try to reequip himself with WMD.

Being wise after the event - he didn't have them & the war proved more difficult that anyone expected - is pointless ex post wisdom.

Homer you did not read the post b- I did not claim he possessed WMD - its pointless to engage in blog discussions when you don't read the post you are commenting on.

As for accusing someone else of incoherence - that is incredible hypocrisy.

Bring Back CL's blog said...

Arry,
you said he was very dangerous but you cannit substantiate it. attempt to do so or just go ahead and say you can't.

You quiye clearly didn't read my comment.
I asked WHAT type of WMDS did he allegedly have?

NOONE at the time could answer it.

If you think about it it relates to the first point!

Lesley de Voil said...

Harry, you should be careful of the plank in your own eye when you accuse people of moral myopia.
"The claim that sanctions were working is a deceit" I would agree with, however "Saddam was thwarting them" is a bit rich - those thwarting them included members of the AWB with the agreement or connivance of members of the then Australian Government.
"The counterfactual of leaving Saddam in power is horrible to contemplate." I don't see you jumping up and down with the same enthusiasm as we hear about what is happening at this moment in Kenya and Zimbabwe (just to name a few hotspots among many.)

Bring Back CL's blog said...

let me give you a hint Arry.

What was the state of the army"? Was it battle hardened or had it been easily bested in wars? Did they even possess night goggles?
How old were his tanks? what sort of shielding did they have and how fast could they go?
What was the quality of his aiforce?
How fast could they go?

How far could his missiles go?

When you learn the snawers to these questions you couldn't be so silly as to say Hussein was a very dangerous man mind you given your battiness in regard to Haneef you might just do that.

conrad said...

HC,

I think your memory is not going too well today (either that or you are feeling somewhat Stalinesc). There was nothing like widespread agreement across countries (and nor within countries either) about WMDs, which is why it was only possible to have a coalition of the willing (or war-mongering/stupid, which might be more accurate given weapons were not found).
Similarly, the wikipedia entry basically agrees with my memory. The UN inspectors found no evidence of a WMD program, and the 2003 conclusion was basically that they did not have anything that could be used anymore, even of the nastier non-WMD chemical weapons.

derrida derider said...

What Harry means by "everyone" is "everyone I listened to at the time". Its not the same thing at all mate.

I wrote quite a few long blog posts in 2002 saying that Saddam could not possibly have a significant CBW, let alone nuclear, capability given the utter inability of every Western (or any of the neighbours' for that matter) intelligence agency to produce any hard evidence despite their looking very, very hard. And of course it never made any sense for him to keep a small capability - that would be the worst of both worlds for him.

And I was far, far from alone. Try this post for an example (a post well worth reading for reasons beyond the Iraq issue, BTW).

I know who's rewriting history here, Harry; it aint your critics.

hc said...

I deleted an insulting remarkl from Spiros - you are becoming a pain in the ass my friend.

I think you are rewriting history DD and I stick with my observation that 'most' (I accepted Conrad's recognition of my careless use of the term 'everyone' which was inaccurate) accepted that Saddam had WMD. Certainly Kevin Rudd did.

The reason was clear - Saddam was being so cagey concerning the inspection process. Indeed he has now stated that he wanted to give the impression he had WMD to deter Iran.

The main point of the post was to point out that Saddam had evidently wanted to restock his arsenal with all types of WMD.

I think the alternative course of action of continuing to pursue ineffective sanctions would not have worked.

I am not persuaded at all that in the current situation we should withdraw from Iraq and let the opposing factions fight it out. It is clear that both Sunni and Shia factions have had it with the terrorists so there is a basis for some optimism.

I hear tonight that the two women who self-destructed in Bhagdad markets were mentally ill. They had bombs attached to them and once they were within range of enough civilians the vbiombs were exploded remotely.

This sort of filth should not be allowed to be victorious in Iraq.

I also think that the loss of face experienced by the US would be disastrous in the ongoing war against terrorism. How would terrorists around the world react to a US capitulation - by laying down their weapons? I don't believe it.

Bring Back CL's blog said...

Harry WHAT TYPE of WMD did YOU exactly think Hussein had?

I agree with DD.
Anyone who actually thought about was a lunatic to think he had them.

How was he going to threaten anyone if he did have them.

What missile was he doing to use. What warhead did he possess.

You are either entirely gullible , which is highly likely given your embarrassment of Haneef, or one of the laziest researchers ever.

Anonymous said...

Mark U says:

Harry,

The evidence that was put up for WMD turned out to be a pile of cr_p. But the majority of the population could only take this evidence at face value (including Kevin Rudd). A significant minority (I will boast that I was one) remained skeptical about the evidence and turned out to be correct. I do not ever say that the allies lied about the WMD, but I suspect the intelligence services were all too keen to grasp at any straws of evidence to make their case.

conrad said...

HC,

if you want to pay for Iraq (in money, time, and potentially your life -- probably for decades), then suggesting "saving face" or not withdrawing is a good idea might be reasonable. Given that I'll just assume you don't intend do that, nor intend to encourage your children too, then I'll just assume that what you are saying is hypocritical. Another case of old conservatives sending people mindlessly to their death, and wanting them to pay for the priviledge.

Apart from that, it isn't logical either, because if you want to make the world a safer place and have a few triliion dollars at hand, there are better ways to spend it.

Bring Back CL's blog said...

Harry,

as a professor of Economics did you ever attempt to think after the Gulf war how much money Hussein had to spend to rebuild everything, build himself some swishy palaces at the same time yet find the money to develop WMDS that would make him a 'very dangerous' man?

No I didn't think so nor did the very people you simply accepted at face value who alleged he had WMDs.

Rather sad actually

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