Sunday, July 22, 2012
Let's Not Forget Where Most Of Syria's Chemical Weapons Came From: Iraq
One of the articles of faith of the Angry Left on Iraq was always 'Bush Lied, People Died.'
What they were referring to, of course, was our 'not finding any of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction' in the country after we invaded.
That premise was based on 15 words in President Bush's address to Congress talking about how Saddam Hussein's regime had purchased yellow cake uranium, something the British Butler Report ( their equivalent of our 9/11 commission) also made note of.
Today, because of the turmoil in Syria, there's a great deal of conversation among concerned parties about Syria's WMD's and chemical weapons falling into the hands of Muslim terrorist organizations like Hamas, Hezbollah or al-Qaeda.
And it brings to mind something I wrote about on these pages a long time ago.
Our actually finding WMD's in Iraq, a country the size of California, would have been far more surprising than not finding them. There were two main reasons for this.
First of all, thanks to Tony Blair and the Brits, President Bush made the stupid decision to listen to Blair's pleas and go for a second UN resolution on Iraq,because Blair's Labour Party constituency was throwing a collective tantrum about the idea of supporting Britain's American ally in invading Iraq.Needless to say, the American Left followed up with their own antics.
That cost us a delay of 15 months before implementing Operation Iraqi Freedom, time Saddam Hussein used to his advantage.
Aside from arming various factions and setting the scene for what became a vicious sectarian civil war, he also did just what he did during Operation Desert Storm. He turned over strategic materials to his fellow Ba'athist to the north, Basher Assad of Syria.
In 2006,Iraqi general, Georges Sada , second in command of the Iraqi Air Force who served under Saddam Hussein wrote a comprehensive book, "Saddam's Secrets" that went into copious detail on exactly how Saddam Hussein moved his WMD's to Syria during the runup to the U.S. invasion.
As Sada told the New York Sun, two Iraqi Airways Boeing 747's were converted to cargo planes by removing the seats, and special Republican Guard units loaded the planes with Saddam's WMD arsenal. They ended up making 56 flights.
According to General Sada,the Iraqi official responsible for transferring the weapons was a cousin of Saddam Hussein named Ali Hussein al-Majid, widely known as "Chemical Ali."
The regime also used truck convoys across the desert into Syria, convoys that were observed by both Israeli and U.S. intelligence, according to John Shaw, former deputy undersecretary of defense. Israel's Chief of Staff during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Moshe Yaalon, said exactly the same thing in comments to the press that mostly went ignored. So did Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon.
Shaw also mentioned that the Russians had a large hand in removing WMD's and all traces of Russian involvement from their Iraqi client.
Former chief of Russian intelligence chief Yevgeni Primakov, a KGB general with a long history with Iraq and with Saddam Hussein , was in Iraq during the 15 month run up and left just before the U.S. invasion in March of 2003. He reportedly was in charge of supervising the removal of Saddam's WMD's and covering Russia's tracks of any involvement, and had the assistance of units of Russian GRU and Spetsnaz troops.
There's no doubt Saddam Hussein had lots of chemical and biological weapons. He used some of them on the Kurds. There's also no doubt that while Saddam may not have had an active nuclear weapon, the knowledge to put one into production certainly existed. You might remember that the French built Saddam Hussein a nuclear reactor at Osirak that was actively being used to work on creating a nuclear weapon until the Israelis destroyed it back in 1981, but many of the scientists and technology involved were still accessible to the regime. In 2002 the internationally respected International Institute for Strategic Studies in Britain published a detailed review of Iraqi military capabilities and concluded that Iraq could assemble nuclear weapons within months if fissile material from foreign sources were obtained.
That fissile material, by the way, was in Saddam's hands. It was yellow cake uranium almost certainly purchased by Saddam from Niger and was later sold after the American invasion by the Iraqi government to Canada. It was simply being held in reserve by Saddam, likely until the sanctions were relaxed enough to proceed.
As mistaken as the decision to invade Iraq was (not to mention the even more mistaken decision to hand it over to the Shi'tes to create what's essentially becoming an Iranian colony), it was typical of the Left to eviscerate President Bush over one of the few things he actually got right.
Many of the politicians, media figures and pundits on the Left were veterans of the anti Vietnam war movement and knew exactly how to sloganize and propagandize this, and they did a fine job of it. We'll perhaps never know entirely how much American blood and treasure their successful efforts are going to cost in the future.