War In Search Of A Justification
By Joshua Frank
29 March, 2006
March 20, the twits at FrontPageMag.com interviewed Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney,
a retired U.S. Air Force pilot, who stated without a doubt that Saddam
shipped WMD off to Syria on the eve of the Iraq invasion. McInerney
was referring to documents he believes prove that Saddam was hiding
his horrible weapons. Of the 600 documents that have been released to
the public thus far, none, I repeat none, say that Saddam shipped off
his WMD to secret hiding spots.
It is clear that McInerney,
a Fox News (sic) commentator, and the FrontPage conspiracy nuts are
desperate to find evidence that WMD existed in Iraq prior to the invasion
three years ago. They are also hoping to uncover ties between bin Laden
and Saddam. Many of the documents they hope will uncover these claims
contain forgeries, rumors, and disinformation. In short, they aren't
the most reliable sources.
Nonetheless, here's an example
of the hearsay propped up by McInerney:
"Yes, [Saddam shipped
off WMD] to three locations in Syria and one in Lebanon [Bekaa Valley]
in the September-December 2002 time frame. This information was provided
by Jack Shaw, the former deputy undersecretary of defense for international
technology security. He charged that Saddam's stockpiles of WMD were
moved by a Russian Spetznatz team headed by Yevgeny Primakov, the former
Russian intelligence chief, who came to Iraq in December 2002 to supervise
the final cleanup."
I suppose if Jack Shaw says
it's true, it must be. Right. Here's a guy who in December 2002 released
a report of Saddam's alleged crimes, but as Noam Chomsky noted at the
"It was drawn almost
entirely from the period of firm U.S.-UK support, a fact overlooked
with the usual display of moral integrity. The timing and quality of
the dossier raised many questions, but those aside, Straw failed to
provide an explanation for his very recent conversion to skepticism
about Saddam Hussein's good character and behavior."
On the flip side of the translation
game, Saddam noted over and again that Iraq had no WMD in 2002. In several
of the documents now available on the Web in English, Saddam Hussein
is quoted as saying to his deputies:
"[The UN inspectors]
destroyed everything and said, 'Iraq completed 95 percent of their commitment.
We cooperated with the resolutions 100 percent and you all know that,
and the 5 percent they claim we have not executed could take them 10
years to [verify]. Don't think for a minute that we still have WMD.
We have nothing."
McInerney and other war supporters
have attempted to interpret the Arabic material that has yet to be released
in English. Letting the amateurs slug it out is not likely to produce
anything of quality or truth. Yet, many conservative bloggers have tried
to nail down Saddam's ties to bin Laden by highlighting documents that
seem to refer to a 1995 meeting between bin Laden and an Iraqi intelligence
officer in the Sudan. However, many intelligence officials claim such
documents must be taken with a grain of salt. Conversations were recorded
over the radio; others were only passed along by secondhand sources
– but none have produced any direct link between Saddam and a-Qaeda.
Even so, a meeting between in the mid-1990s doesn't mean Saddam had
anything to do with 9/11, or that the two were in cahoots against the
Besides, if a smoking gun
did exist, wouldn't the Bushies be the first to point it out? Why would
they need an ex-fighter pilot on David Horowitz's neocon site and a
few right-wing bloggers to uncover the truth? As with most of Bush's
PR, the release of these documents is only meant to boost his dismal
Searching out justifications
for the Iraq invasion are all the war's backers seem to have left. I
guess they all failed to read David Kay's report on the matter of WMD.
Even Charles Duelfer, another war supporter like Kay who sought Saddam's
nonexistent arsenal and wrote a report about it, is convinced Saddam
didn't have squat even before the first bombs dropped in 2003.
Now, I think it is pretty
simple (but obviously hard for the war supporters to grasp): if Saddam
didn't have WMD before the war began, then he didn't have any WMD to
ship off to Syria and hide. That means there was nothing to destroy,
It's just more fabrications
from the seekers of the nonexistent smoking gun. The only thing smoking
right now, however, is the war crowds' continued lies and smoldering
Joshua Frank edits the radical news blog www.BrickBurner.org and is
the author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush,
published by Common Courage Press (2005). Josh can be reached at BrickBurner@gmail.com.