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Weapons of mass destruction have been a popular topic recently. That we did not find them in Iraq is not as relevant as some other facts that have developed during Bush's watch.
If you are willing to skip the editorial page and the opinion pages and draw your own conclusions from the news, this Friday's (October 8, 2004) New York Times is a gem. There are three prominent articles that when taken in as a whole, amount to a complete refutation of John Kerry's entire position on Iraq.
Finally; "U.S. Report Says Hussein Bought Arms With Ease" http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/08/politics/08sanctions.html?ex=1098432310&ei=1&en=81feee72ee642926 is on page one. This article notes that the Duelfer report states that Saddam Hussein used the U.N. Oil For Food program to raise billions of dollars doing business with "...six governments and private companies from a dozen other nations that were willing to ignore sanctions prohibiting arms sales... which included components of long range missiles, spare parts for tanks and night vision equipment." It goes on to state that: "Prohibited goods and weapons were being shipped into Iraq with virtually no problem."
The Times also points out that, "Iraq went to great lengths to build a missle system with a range longer than the limits imposed by the United Nations..." This is a key point, because the UN weapons inspectors (who, by the way, returned to Iraq as a direct response to President Bush's showdown with Saddam) were In Iraq looking for illegal missle systems along with WMD.
The next article: "French Play Down Report of Bribes in Iraq Scandal"
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/08/international/europe/08france.html?ex=1098433386&ei=1&en=d1c62fe8e695ec86This cites Charles A. Duelfer, in his report as saying that millions of barrels of discounted oil were sold to French officials "...to encourage France's support for Iraq in the Security Council."
The final article: "Inspector's Report Says Hussein Expected Guerrilla War," http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/08/politics/08intel.html?ex=1098433940&ei=1&en=22ef990e96b05002
also citing the Duelfer report, states that according to extended interrogations of Mr. Hussein and his top deputies, that "...from August 2002 to January 2003, Army leaders were ordered to move and hide weapons and other milliatry equipment at off-base locations including farms and homes." According to the Times, "...the Duelfer Report describes the M14 Unit (Iraqi Intelligence) as having trained Iraqis, Palestinians, Syrians , Yemeni, Lebansese, Egyptian and Sudanese operatives in in counterterroism, explosives, marksmanship and foreign operations..."
If you just follow the T.V. news, or only read the headlines, you would think that all that the Duelfer report said was that Saddam had no WMD. The above articles demonstrate the pattent untruth of that conception.
Now, let's get to Mr. Kerry's position. The war was unwise because:
I'd like to sort through some of the positions related to the candidates and give them a relative weight as I see it:
Iraq Survey Group declares no WMD in Iraq
This is one of the most overblown issues in the news. Yes, it appears that President Bush and Colin Powell appear to have been mistaken on this issue. So was the CIA and MI5 and many critics of the millitary approach. The overall Bush position that we could not take the chance that the WMD was there is still valid.
Paul Bremer say US forces in Iraq insufficient
This one hurts. I can't imagine any possible refutation for the Bush appointed Czar of Iraq stating that he asked for more forces and was denied. Ouch!
Kerry said "Wrong war, wrong place, wrong time" but now says finishing the job is vital.
Though I disagree with Kerry's exclamation, it's internal logic holds. You can object to an action and then feel the vital need to finish it once it has begun.
Kerry's attachment to comming to a concensus with our "allies" prior to pre-emptive millitary action.
This is probably the scariest thing that I have heard so far from either candidate. As far as I am concerned, this is what disqualifies Kerry as a candidate to be our next president. We are approaching what is probably the most vital crossroads of our lifetimes. If we do not bear down heavily and unilaterally on Iran at this point in time, nuclear terrorism will move from the realm of theory to reality. Who really trusts the Europeans, who stood by for Bosnia in their own continent to work with us to keep the bomb out of the Mulllah's hands? It's a chance that I am simply not willing to take. On this issue, I go with the cowboy over the intellectual.
So Kerry says invading Iraq after 9-11 was like invading Mexico after Pearl Harbor. How about invading Germany after Pearl Harbor?
When Kerry speaks about North Korea, do you get the idea that he is just taking a position for the sake of being contrary to George Bush? North Korea is a very sticky issue and I would submit that it is quite unclear as to what the best way to resolve it. But does anyone seriously believe that it is our government's refusal to sit down with that regime out of the context of the current multilateral discussions is the primary problem? As if somehow, Bush just needs to invite Kim Il Jong to his ranch and the two of them will work out the whole misunderstanding.
North Korea is a great example of the weakness of negotiations when a WMD program has progressed to the point that the inspected party has attained deterrence with their weapons program. Thank you Jimmy Carter and thank you "the inspections work" crowd.
With the first debate tonight, the presidential race is front and center. The issue that has our attention is Iraq. Unfortunately, most of what we read and hear about Iraq provides more heat than light on the subject. Below, I have listed some simple and known facts about Iraq. I have put them together to point out that despite the fact that most of these are propoganda points for either the right or the left, each one is true:
After four years of consistent pestering from a friend who has unbounded confidence in the value of my opinions, I have decided to submit and share with the world my opinions, ideas and observations. What is and extreme centrist? Isn't it a contradiction in terms? By definition, the extremes are on the edges, while a centrist resides in the middle. In the world of politics, however, this creates an unfortunate formula. Much of the most passionate on the right and left of the political spectrum deviate farther and farther to their respective extreme. Sad really, if one wishes to cry out on the top of their lungs for gay rights, then their foreign policiy opinions should probably conform with that on the left of the Democratic Party. What rubbish! I therefore reserve the right to be passionate, even obstinante on a variety of issues from both the left and the right. In writing this blog, I invite you all to become extreme centrists.