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Thursday, October 07, 2004

The Duelfer Report
From the Washington Times: "Weapons inspector Charles Duelfer released his 918-page report to Congress Wednesday, saying under pressure from the United Nations, Iraq had "essentially destroyed" its illicit weapons ability by the end of 1991, with its last secret factory, a biological weapons plant, eliminated in 1996."

Clifford May of the Corner gives his interpretation of the report's findings on the website of The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. Here are some points to remember:
  • The case for war was that Saddam was violating numerous UN resolutions as well as the ceasefire agreement he had signed as a condition for being left in power.
  • The onus was on Saddam to account for his WMD and the equipment used to make them, and to destroy them in a verifiable manner. Saddam refused to do so.
  • There was never any doubt about Saddam's malevolent intentions. The question was about his capabilities. It would have been irresponsible, post-9/11, to simply cross our fingers and hope he didn't have the capabilities to match his intentions --- especially since every intelligence agency of any reputation - US, British, French, even those of Jordan and Egypt - believed Saddam retained not only the capability to make WMD but also existing WMD stockpiles.
  • Duelfer has found that French, Chinese and Russian companies were involved in the corruption of the Oil-for-Food program. It appears clear that money that Saddam skimmed from that program - money that should have purchased baby formula for Iraqi children - went instead to purchasing prohibited materials and missile components instead.
  • It probably would have been safe for Saddam to get back to WMD production soon. UN sanctions were eroding and increasingly ineffective.
John Hillen comments in the same article:
Now, the good strategist always acts against adversaries based on intent and capabilities (and informed by their track record). A lawyer waits for a smoking gun. In this world, a smoking gun means dead Americans. Bush understands this.

Ironically, the 9/11 report criticized the Clinton and Bush administrations for not attending to the gathering threat of Al Quaeda by acting pro-actively and thinking creatively about the manifestations of the threat.

At the same time, the Democrats are trying to crucify the President for doing precisely that against Saddam Hussein.
It's obvious who the lawyers are in this election. The Democrats argue for proof but the world is not a courtroom. It is enough to understand your enemy's intent and to have reasonable suspicions about his capability. We are at war, and one party doesn't know it.

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