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Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Saturday | June 21, 2003

Eight reasons why WMD matters

I was listening to the Capital Gang as I woke up from a horrifying dream of being chased by elephants and rhinos, and I heard the Beltway Kool Kids justify the latest Bush spin on why the snipe hunt was no big deal.

I beg to differ.

1) American soldiers are dying because Saddam was alleged to have a specific amount of hidden chemicals and pose a direct threat to our troops and our allies in the region. This is not past history. As you read this, some poor infantryman or MP is on patrol in Iraq and yet another teenager is going to come home in a metal coffin. Some poor Iraqi is going to have his home burst into and searched. In the real world away from the Beltway, real people are being harmed.

2)If the weapons are a threat and exist, they need to be found and destroyed. If they do not exist, we need to know their fate. Not knowing this is gross incompetence on the part of the Bush Administration.

3)The mass murder of Shia and Kurds, while a valid reason for the overthrow of Saddam, are not the valid reasons to send US soldiers to die after the fact. No one asked them to die for people they never heard of. They were sent because of WMD.

4)There was no link between Iraq and Al Qaeda in any way, shape or form, and focus against a deadly terrorist sponsor was lost to invade and occupy Iraq.
The only loigical reason to invade and occupy Iraq was due to WMD.

5) As long as US forces are in Iraq, the North Koreans have a free hand. If they were to plunge across the Han River tomorrow, we have ONE heavy division able to deploy to Korea. Half of the US combat power is now stuck playing policeman in Iraq and will be for months, their equipment breaking down daily, men being killed by enemy action.

6)The entire intelligence establishment was sent to find these weapons and cannot. Either they don't exist or were destroyed and if determining that is too difficult for our intelligence community, we need a new one.

7)The fact is that the war is not over and has never ended. When Saddam left the field, guerrillas, some from other Arab countries, took the field. Sure, it would be like starting to play the Yankees, have them quit and then play the Texas Rangers, but unlike baseball, wars have no rules about substitutions. 54 dead Americans, most of who were too young to buy a beer. 54 families burying sons, most teenagers. For what? An American empire in the sand? Certainly not for the right of Iraqis to elect the fundamentalist government of their choice. It may not matter to Paul Wolfowitz, who's children aren't sweltering in the Iraqi summers of 107 degrees in the day, 80 at night. Nor are any of the Beltway Kool Kids children walking point before the glares of hostile Iraqis. Nope, just average Americans get that job.

8) When it comes to national security, one can lie about the details, but the fundamental case should be true. Yes, the Gulf of Tonkin was a mistake, and at best an error, but the fact was that the North Vietnamese were close to toppling the South Vietnamese government. Maybe they should have, but the threat was real and evident to anyone who cared to notice. In this case, even the fundamental case seems to be a lie.

Only the most desperate partisan expects to find bunkers of WMD. Or to have them planted. The time for planting is long over. A few rusty shells may even be worse than no WMD. Because to find junk would mean the Bush Administration sent Americans to die for what? A family grudge? The ambition of exiles? Iraq would have posed no threat and the evidence will be on TV for all to see. Despite the Hearst-like fear mongering of Ken Pollack, Saddam was a minor threat with a weak army who had no chance to rebuild that, much less his special weapons (what the Army calls WMD) program.

It matters if we find them or not because the President said they were there in quantity and that America should risk their sons and daughters to eliminate this threat. Saddam is gone and in hiding somewhere, US troops are still dying, this time in a nasty guerrilla war and someone needs to be held accountable for this. Waving the dead Shia about will not protect Bush and his cronies from the justifiable rage of those burying their teenage sons.

Steve Gilliard

Posted June 21, 2003 05:40 PM | Comments (81)


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