Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Democrat Quotations on WMD in Iraq

I thought this subject was completely dead, until I saw a twitter note on it. I was shocked. I remember in that time period a bumper sticker, "Regime Change Begins at Home!" It existed because regime change was a stated goal, due to Saddam Hussein's ongoing violations of at least 16 U.N. resolutions. Once no nuclear weapons were found, though, those bumper stickers were quickly scraped off. Note that we found plenty of chemical weapons, which were documented to have been used. After the fact, the media insisted those weren't WMD in their eyes, though. They wanted nukes!

Saddam didn't have nukes. He used chemical weapons, and put on a great show of developing nukes, mostly to fool his neighbor Iran, but he didn't have them. His show of developing them had everyone believing him, however.

Fox News military analyst Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney said it well: "Everybody knew Saddam had chemical weapons, the question was, where did they go. Unfortunately, everybody jumped on the offramp and said 'well, because we didn't find them, he didn't have them.'"

Did everyone know Saddam had WMD's? Everyone with access to intelligence data seemed to think so. It wasn't just President Bush.

"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."
- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members ... It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
- Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

Just in case there's any doubt, let's also hear from former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi:

"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
- Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998

As it turns out, after years of bashing Bush for "lying" about the intelligence they interpreted the same way, opponents of the war might have to eat some crow. Then, an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) went off in Iraq that apparently contained sarin gas, a nerve agent.

No one would make much of a stink about one nerve gas filled shell if the cries of "Bush lied" and "there are no WMD's" hadn't been so loud. Now the cries have become, "Those aren't the WMD's we were looking for," and, "Those stockpiles are so old they've become degraded and harmless."

We'll deal with those objections separately. First, were those the WMD's we were looking for? Why, yes, they're precisely the ones. We knew that Saddam couldn't make nuclear weapons yet. He'd tried before, but Israel stopped him in 1981 by blowing up the French-built nuclear reactor he was publicly saying was intended for a civilian nuclear power program. No, we're not talking about Iran in 2005, we're talking about Iraq in 1981. If we'd learned from history, we might have been a little louder about Iran's "peaceful nuclear program." Even had Saddam obtained uranium as intelligence indicated he was planning to do, those weren't what caused weapons inspections to break down and the U.S. to invade Iraq.

In fact, a large portion of the motivation for war was that Saddam failed to account for some 550 shells containing mustard and sarin gases, and we weren't ready to let him hide them away. He had a bad habit of using them against Kurds in Northern Iraq and everyone knew it. Again, I turn to a Democrat to make the point: "He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983." - Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998. We simply weren't going to allow him to stymie inspections and hide weapons any longer. So we went to war.

Second, the idea that the WMD shells found were degraded past the point of effectiveness is only half true. The shells containing mustard gas were probably harmless by now. The shells containing sarin gas, however, were perfectly lethal. Sarin, when mixed, does degrade fairly rapidly. That's why Saddam's shells kept the chemical components separated until the shell was fired, meaning the sarin gas never had the chance to degrade. It was mixed when fired. In fact, the sarin shell that was used in an IED against our troops probably didn't kill anyone because the chemicals didn't have the chance to mix in the unfired shell. However, the chemical components in those shells were perfectly viable, and could be used to make sarin gas, or if anyone happened to load them in a howitzer, would have immediately been usable as WMD's against our troops or Saddam's own people. Additionally, experts in the field say that sarin is so lethal some degradation, had the gas been mixed, wouldn't really prevent it from being extremely effective. It's just that deadly.

A chilling report has come from Dr. Richard Spertzel, who is a member of the team inspecting Iraq's weapons. Evidence has surfaced that Saddam fully intended to mix sarin gas and introduce it into perfumes to be sent to U.S. and European stores, possibly as a "thank you" for the humiliation of weapons inspections. The lethality of sarin can't be disputed. A gram or so can kill about 20 people with decent dispersal. Gram for gram, that makes this stuff 10 times more lethal than the fissionable material used in the bomb over Hiroshima. If Saddam had gotten his way, this wouldn't be mathematical theory, we'd have gruesome empirical data to prove the point.

There's still more to find, too, according to former Iraqi nuclear scientist Gazi George, who worked for Saddam's regime. He firmly believes additional WMD's were transported to Syria and still others buried.

Getting rid of Saddam, his murderous plans and his weapons wasn't a bad thing. Whether how we ended up pursuing the war was optimal is certainly up for debate, but what we knew going in isn't: there were weapons of mass destruction, and Saddam had the desire to use them.

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