No WMD? It Wasn't the Main Cause for War Anyway

News Abroad

Mr. Pipes is the director of the Middle East Forum. His website address is http://www.danielpipes.org.

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Two oddly similar searches are underway in Iraq these days, one for Saddam Hussein and another for his weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Neither has yet been found.

No one argues that because Saddam has not been located, he never existed. But that is what some are saying about the coalition forces not finding actual WMD. Probably those weapons were well hidden; maybe some were latterly destroyed. What if they are never found -- does that undercut the rationale for going to war?

Hardly; WMD was never the basic reason for the war. Nor was it the horrid repression in Iraq. Or the danger Saddam posed to his neighbors. Rather, the basic reason was Saddam's having signed a contract with the United States, then breaking his promise.

Let's replay this video:

Iraqi and coalition military leaders met in Safwan, in southern Iraq, on March 3, 1991, to sign a cease-fire agreement. This was right after the U.S.-led coalition forces ejected Iraqi troops from Kuwait.

The agreement they drew up had many provisions – specifying the cease-fire line, prohibiting certain activities by Iraqi troops, ending support for terrorism. Foremost among them was the demand that Baghdad dismantle all its WMD. To give this teeth, Baghdad had to accept outside inspectors who would locate and destroy the offending weapons.

Saddam Hussein's regime had been routed. So his generals accepted these terms, immediately and without argument. They had no choice.

Exactly a month later, on April 3, the United Nations Security Council endorsed these terms in Resolution 687. The resolution required that Iraq "unconditionally accept the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless, under international supervision, of:

"(a) All chemical and biological weapons and all stocks of agents and all related subsystems and components and all research, development, support and manufacturing facilities;

"(b) All ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometers and related major parts, and repair and production facilities."

The U.N. resolution also included provisions for a "Special Commission, which shall carry out immediate on-site inspection of Iraq's biological, chemical and missile capabilities." This work of locating and destroying was supposed to be completed in 120 days.

No way. Instead, for 7½ years Saddam Hussein and his minions played a cat-and-mouse game. They hid weapons and documents, threatened the Special Commission personnel - and on the sly developed new WMD. Overall, were more WMD destroyed or built in that period? It's hard to say.

Feeling ever more confident with what he could get away with, Saddam finally closed down the inspections in August 1998. His government blithely announced it had completely fulfilled the terms of Resolution 687 and ejected the Special Commission from Iraq. Saddam Hussein now had a free hand to build WMD without those bothersome inspectors.

With this step, however, he broke the Safwan contract. The correct U.S. response to this outrage should have been: "Let the inspectors back in and cough up your WMD-related activities . . . or else."

But 1998 was the era of "end of history" dot-com fog, and President Bill Clinton was diverted by the Lewinsky scandal. As a result, Saddam got away with his defiance. Four long years followed, without anyone keeping tabs on what WMD he might be developing.

Then came 9/11, and a new American sense that the world is a dangerous place. The old casualness toward broken promises was no longer acceptable. Beginning in early 2002, President Bush began exerting pressure on Iraq to fulfill its agreement, or pay the consequences.

The result? The same old cat-and-mouse game, with Baghdad and the United Nations both hoping this would satisfy the U.S. government.

It did not.

The Bush administration rejected the pretense of U.N. inspections and insisted on real disarmament or a change in regime. When the former did not occur, the latter did.

The moral of this story: Uncle Sam enforces his contracts -- even if a few years late. Keep your promises or you are gone. It's a powerful precedent that U.S. leaders should make the most of.

The campaign in Iraq is ultimately not about weapons. It's not about the United Nations. And it's not about Iraqi freedom.

It is about keeping promises to the United States - or paying the consequences.

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More Comments:

Ryan - 6/20/2003

1) Please show to me how the Israelis have treated the Palestinians as serfs.
2) Please name one product the Palestinian people have to offer to the EU. Second your assumption that Israel is impeding the travel of goods, from say, the port of Haifa to Ramallah is also baseless and incorrect.

I really can't understand anything else you are trying to say. You are jumping all over the place from the Palestinian economy collapsing because of the current initifada, to supposed Palestinian serfs, to Palestinian trade with the EU and on and on. What you have presented above is a great example of muddled thinking.

Don Williams - 6/19/2003

--between $17,000/year and $1600/year --suggests that the Palestinian economic relationship with Israel
is not as benign as you are trying to imply.

Don Williams - 6/19/2003

1) Your argument is that Palestinian trade with Israel will help the Palestinians because of the great disparity in wealth between the two groups. I acknowledge that as a possibility but only if the Israelis accept the Palestinians as a free people, not a bunch of serfs to exploit.
2) Palestine has other options -- Gaza borders on the Mediterranean m thereby allowing shipping to the much larger and richer EU markets. The fate of the Palestinians lie in an unbroken corridor from the West Bank to Gaza which is not subject to cutoff by the Israelis on a whim. The fact that the Israelis crafted a map that would allow each cutoffs shows the deceit of the Israeli government.

What would be best would be if land was traded so that the Palestinians had an integrated piece of land with an outlet to the Med -- e.g., trading the Gaza strip for the land area south of Lebanon that would connect the West Bank with the Med. I realize, however, that there are a lot of complications on the map (access to water, the tactical advantage of the Golan Heights for Israeli overview of Syria,etc.

Don Williams - 6/19/2003

1) The roughly 250 F16s that Israel has -- some of which were used to bomb Palestinian apartment buildings --were made in Fort Worth , Texas and indirectly paid for by the $3 Billion in aid the US government gives to Israel each year due to American Likudite's political pressure.

2) That's the reason Bin Ladin gave for the 3000+ Americans killed in the Sept 11 attack -- Neither Bush nor American Likudites are going to keep that covered up forever, no matter how hard they lie.

Ryan - 6/19/2003

I said:

"Palestinians have developed more under Israeli control than while Egypt and Jordan occupied them".

For some reason you responded by giving me a link to the World Bank that stated Palestinian GDP fell as a result of the current intifada. First off you missed my point completely, therefore I will state it again. Before 1967 the West Bank and Gaza was in the control of Jordan and Egypt then after the Six Day War Israel took control of those lands. A brief glance at how the Palestinian economy was before 1967 and after clearly shows life is much better for Palestinians under Israeli control (Also don't forget the King of Jordan had 10,000 Palestinians murdered after Arafat wanted to start a revolution there).

Now there are two things you might want to consider regarding the current state of the Palestinian economy:

1. Palestinian economy dropped just like the Israeli economy crashed as a result of the current intifada. The main reason the Palestinian financial system fell so dramatically is because they depend so much on the much stronger Israeli market.
2. It has become extremely difficult after the Palestinians declared an intifada (war), on Israel, for Palestinians to find jobs. No body likes to hire their enemies. It's like Mexico declaring war on America and people complaining that Mexican migrant workers are having a hard time finding work in America.

Hence it was not the Israelis who destroyed the Palestinian economy but the Palestinians themselves. If anything the Israelis did what the surrounding Arab countries refused too.

Corevan - 6/18/2003

Hi Wilson,

I don’t think any Democratic country in the Middle East will lose utility to the US in the near future.

"On the contrary, Israel's superior fire power and U.S. backing seem to be helping it immensely. "

Who, based on this statement is supporting Israel? The fire power is all Israel’s, and US Support is political and material, it does not include troops on the ground, only Israelis die not Americans, Europeans, Asians, etc. There are no blue helmets keeping the peace.

The rest of the world is mostly anti-Semitic, but that has not stopped us for 2000 years.

Don Williams - 6/18/2003

See http://lnweb18.worldbank.org/mna/mena.nsf/61abe956d3c23df38525680b00775b5e/81299af1b1220c528525680e0071d721?OpenDocument

Palestinian GDI (income) per capita: $1610 /year
60% of population under poverty level of $2/day ( $730 /year)

The World Bank lists 2001 Israeli GNI per capita at $16,750 (Atlas method) --CIA World Fact books says $19,000 /year using purchasing power parity (PPP) method. See http://www.worldbank.org/data/countrydata/countrydata.html

Don Williams - 6/18/2003

See http://lnweb18.worldbank.org/mna/mena.nsf/61abe956d3c23df38525680b00775b5e/81299af1b1220c528525680e0071d721?OpenDocument

Palestinian GDI (income) per capita: $1610 /year
60% of population under poverty level of $2/day ( $730 /year)

The World Bank lists 2001 Israeli GNI per capita at $16,750 (Atlas method) --CIA World Fact books says $19,000 /year using purchasing power parity (PPP) method. See http://www.worldbank.org/data/countrydata/countrydata.html

Don Williams - 6/18/2003

see http://usinfo.state.gov/regional/nea/summit/text2003/0305econ.htm

Wilson - 6/18/2003

"Since no one else is willing to confront these murders, it is left to Israel to defend itself. The results are not pretty, and may even hurt them in the short run."

On the contrary, Israel's superior fire power and U.S. backing seem to be helping it immensely. In the short run. Israel's long term life doesn't look so rosey. What happens to Israel when it ceases to be of vital political utility for the United States? The rest of the world is indignant at Israel, for right and wrong reasons both.

Kate - 6/18/2003

Just curious, are you Leslie Wayne Milton?

Ryan - 6/17/2003

"Why doesn't Israel simply build a wall between herself and the West Bank/Gaza?"

A wall is being built around West Bank and there is already one around Gaza (that is why most suicide bombers come from the West Bank).

"Why does Israel insist on having a knife at the Palestinians throat for all eternity? To keep the Palestinians in perpetural economic bondage?"

Actually Palestinians have developed more under Israeli control than while Egypt and Jordan occupied them:

"During the 1970's, the West Bank and Gaza constituted the fourth fastest-growing economy in the world -- ahead of such "wonders" as Singapore, Hong Kong, and Korea, and substantially ahead of Israel itself. Although GNP per capita grew somewhat more slowly, the rate was still high by international standards, with per-capita GNP expanding tenfold between 1968 and 1991 from $165 to $1,715 (compared with Jordan's $1,050, Egypt's $600, Turkey's $1,630, and Tunisia's $1,440). By 1999, Palestinian per-capita income was nearly double Syria's, more than four times Yemen's, and 10 percent higher than Jordan's (one of the better off Arab states). Only the oil-rich Gulf states and Lebanon were more affluent.

Under Israeli rule, the Palestinians also made vast progress in social welfare. Perhaps most significantly, mortality rates in the West Bank and Gaza fell by more than two-thirds between 1970 and 1990, while life expectancy rose from 48 years in 1967 to 72 in 2000 (compared with an average of 68 years for all the countries of the Middle East and North Africa). Israeli medical programs reduced the infant-mortality rate of 60 per 1,000 live births in 1968 to 15 per 1,000 in 2000 (in Iraq the rate is 64, in Egypt 40, in Jordan 23, in Syria 22). And under a systematic program of inoculation, childhood diseases like polio, whooping cough, tetanus, and measles were eradicated.

No less remarkable were advances in the Palestinians' standard of living. By 1986, 92.8 percent of the population in the West Bank and Gaza had electricity around the clock, as compared to 20.5 percent in 1967; 85 percent had running water in dwellings, as compared to 16 percent in 1967; 83.5 percent had electric or gas ranges for cooking, as compared to 4 percent in 1967; and so on for refrigerators, televisions, and cars.

Finally, and perhaps most strikingly, during the two decades preceding the intifada of the late 1980's, the number of schoolchildren in the territories grew by 102 percent, and the number of classes by 99 percent, though the population itself had grown by only 28 percent. Even more dramatic was the progress in higher education. At the time of the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, not a single university existed in these territories. By the early 1990's, there were seven such institutions, boasting some 16,500 students. Illiteracy rates dropped to 14 percent of adults over age 15, compared with 69 percent in Morocco, 61 percent in Egypt, 45 percent in Tunisia, and 44 percent in Syria."

As for "the Palestinians have[ing] been left to rot in poverty and refugee camps for 50 years" that you can blame on the Arab countries who when Israel declared her Independence she was attacked. The invading Arabs told the Palestinians that they should move out of the way while they 'judenized' the land so when Palestinians returned they wouldn't have to face the Jewish problem. Yet, the Israeli's showed their resilience and pushed back the Arab aggressors. After the war, Arab nations kicked out the Jewish inhabitants that lived in on Arab land even before Muhammad. The newly formed Jewish State opened it's doors to the expelled Jews while the Arabs have forced the Palestinians to languish in Refugee Camps using them as political tools.

Corevan - 6/16/2003

Don Don Don,

Your anger betrays you young Jedi.

I do not doubt your patriotism, but for the future survival of this great Republic it is incumbent upon its citizens to know what its elected leaders are committing us too. You may not like or agree with the relationship we have with the State of Israel, but do not let that blind you to the threat of Islamic terror. Those whom you ignore in your criticism of Isreal would gladly destroy everything we stand for.

Kent - 6/16/2003


I agree with you entirely on this point. I would add, however, that we need to also focus on American politicians who, on one side of the spectrum, pander to voters who equate any and all criticism of Israel with antisemitism, and those on the other side of the spectrum who pander to voters who think the events in the Middle East represent biblical prophecy coming true. The former are frustrating, the latter are scary.

Don Williams - 6/15/2003

The US has given Israel an estimated $91 Billion over the past decades, $3 billion per year now, and sells advanced weapons like the Apache and F16 fighters. Israel is by far the most powerful military power in the Middle East. Meanwhile, the Palestinians have been left to rot in poverty and refugee camps for 50 years.

Why doesn't Israel simply build a wall between herself and the West Bank/Gaza? Is it because Israel has the same problem as the apartheid regime of South Africa ?? That she wants the cheap labor of the Palestinians?

Why did Israel structure the land boundaries so that the Palestinians are broken up into chunks of land connected by corridors which Israel controls . Why does Israel insist on having a knife at the Palestinians throat for all eternity? To keep the Palestinians in perpetural economic bondage?

To some extent, I have lost all patience with Sharon's posturing and quibbling. Contrary to your earlier statement Israel has given the US little or nothing for our support --we don't even have a significant military base in Israel. And the $3 billion a year we give to Egypt is a bribe to the most powerful Arab state to desert the Palestinians and leave Israel alone.

Regrettably, the US now has a moral obligation to establish peace because our past support created Israel the aggressor. I think the US needs to determine the most equitable arrangement and then enforce it -- with a gun at Sharon's head if necesary. And any Americans who attempt to interfere with that process need to be thrown into prison as unregistered agents of a foreign power. Sept 11 showed that it's time to put an end to this crap. For $91 billion, we should have bought the whole damm country and given it to the Turks.

corevan - 6/15/2003

Great research and insight, I just wish there was this kind of pressure on Arafat over the past 20 years. How many innocent lives would have been save. Or even on Hamas when they combined with two other terror groups to blow up 20 people on a bus the day after the announced agreement to the road map. Where is your out rage for that? I find it hard to understand why is it OK for them to kill innocents in their struggle while we cannot kill terrorist in self-defense. Why Sharon gets blamed for protecting his people when no one else will step up to defended us. “If I am not for me who will be for me?”

While "A clear majority of Israelis have consistently favored withdrawal from most or all of the West Bank and Gaza, including the dismantling of most settlements." If you see the questions asked it usually indicates that there is clear and demonstrable cease-fire in exchange for the land. But then asked if Israel should just unilaterally withdraw without a clear indication the terror will stop the answer is a deceive no.

Although the ideological resolve of the settlers may be strong, and may be fanatical, I don’t see Orthodox Jews dressed as Palestinian workers blowing up women and children leaving their Mosque. I don’t even see them killing innocents unless by fluke or accident.

""According to the Torah, there is no place for Arabs in the Land of Israel," the rabbis' statement said." It is stated by God that no foreigner should be allowed to remain in the land or they will be thorn in our side. This comes from Deuteronomy, but I can’t fined the actual passage, I will post it when I do. But it seems to be clearly true. Also, unlike some other religions, one Rabbi does not speak for all the people. Do you not know that when you have 10 Jews you'll have 12 opinions, and that is with 2 asleep?

Let us also consider the Jewish Law of the Pursuer. If person A is chasing person B with the intent to kill person B, person C is obligated to stop person A, even if it means killing person A.

In the past Arafat has arrested and released or refused to arrest these murders, read your history of Oslo, and Madrid Accords etc. etc. Knowing that these terrorist are planning to kill more Israelis it is the obligation of the government to stop such actions.

Lets not forget the sixth commandment Thou Shall not murder (as properly translated from the Hebrew. Most interpretation indicates that killing in self-defense is permissible (what I think Israel does) while murder, what homicide bombers do, is expressly forbidden.

While I don’t agree with all the actions of the Israeli government, I think Netanyahu had peace within his grasp and did not take it, I don’t think the blame is placed on the proper antagonists, Arafat, Hamas and terror.

Don Williams - 6/15/2003

Some excerpts from this story at the Toronto Star (see

"Whether he deserves it or not, Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon finds himself today bearing the brunt of the blame for perhaps the bloodiest and most depressing week in the past 33 months of Middle East misery.

Sharon's decision on Tuesday to dispatch Israeli helicopter missiles against extremist Hamas political leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi was, in the view of many, akin to holding a match to a pile of dry leaves."
No surprise, too, that Haaretz, the most dovish of Israeli newspapers, editorialized yesterday against what it called "a poor decision" by Sharon.

"The timing and method of the operation reinvigorated doubts regarding Sharon's sincerity and commitment to Bush's vision for the Middle East and its implementation," Haaretz said.

What is surprising, however, is that as many as half of Israelis themselves believe Sharon's motivation for the attack was to sabotage the peace plan, according to a poll yesterday in the Hebrew daily Yedioth Ahronoth.

The survey showed Israelis evenly divided, with 43 per cent of respondents accepting at face value the Sharon government's explanation that Rantisi was a "ticking time bomb" of terror.

Yet 40 per cent of Israelis say they believe the attack came for the sole purpose of sabotaging the road map. A further 3 per cent say both reasons were behind the strike.

"The number of citizens who reject the government's explanations and attribute malicious intentions to it is very high," wrote Yedioth analyst Sever Plotzker.

"When the percentage of Israel's citizens that depend on the army's professional ethics is identical to the percentage who view the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) as a political tool, it is not only the state leaders who have a problem of justification. The IDF also has a credibility problem that it has not suffered from so far during the intifada."

The Yedioth survey, which sampled opinion from 501 people, giving it an error margin of 4.5 per cent, also found six out of 10 Israelis favour an immediate halt to further assassinations.
A clear majority of Israelis have consistently favoured withdrawal from most or all of the West Bank and Gaza, including the dismantling of most settlements.

Yesterday's survey numbers indicated that as of this week, 67 per cent of Israelis agree with Sharon's controversial assertion that the military "occupation" of Palestinian territory must end.

But the ideological resolve of Israel's estimated 200,000 Jewish settlers and their international supporters backers remains breathtaking. Every bit as breathtaking as Hamas' resolve to never accept the existence of Israel, under any circumstance.

As the week drew to a close, settlers were busy reconstructing the 10 uninhabited outposts dismantled Monday and Tuesday as Sharon's first gestures toward the promises of the Aqaba peace summit. Settler leaders also won Israeli court injunctions stalling the removal of five additional outposts.

Emboldened by the disintegration of peace prospects with each passing day, the Yesha Council of West Bank rabbis went on the offensive, restating its biblical claim to the whole of the territory and urging neighbouring Arab countries to absorb all Palestinian refugees.

After "a serious look at the Arab problem," the rabbis concluded the only solution is "at the roots."

"According to the Torah, there is no place for Arabs in the Land of Israel," the rabbis' statement said.
Conventional wisdom holds that U.S. presidents quietly close their Mideast files in the run-up to re-election out of fear of provoking the wrath of domestic lobbies. If the theory holds true, the window of opportunity for Bush to win traction for his road map amounts to only a few more months.

The interminable process of 2004 elections will then be upon him.

We all know who those "domestic lobbies" are, don't we?

Maezeppa - 6/15/2003

How Pipes could see a predatory grab ofIraq's natural resources as "contract enforcement" and the inspections a "pretense" strains credulity.

In the fullness of time the truth, I believe, will be inescapable: the Bush Administration wilfully brushed aside any (lack of)evidence that interfered with its acquisitive goals that have been over a decade in the fulfilling.

corevan - 6/15/2003

Hey Don,

1) Likud can vote all it wants against a Palestinian state, that wont over rule what the US wants from the final form. And again when Israeli civilians continue to die on their way to work or school can you blame them for wanting to put restriction on their approval of this step?

“The Israeli approval with reservations is not enough. We want them to approve the roadmap completely, with no conditions, as the Palestinian side did," top aide to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat”

This quote from the article your reference is laughable, Arafat is irrelevant and based on his reaction to Oslo, (remember he was offered 90% of what he asked for and answered by starting the current round of violence), what he think about Israeli approval of any step toward peace is meaningless.

2) Israel has been a good friend to the US, and it is the only democracy in the region. Would you prefer we cozied up to Saudi Arabia? Also, we give almost as much money to Egypt as we do to Israel,
“…the amount of money bound for Colombia makes it the third largest recipient of US aid, behind Israel and Egypt. The Senate foreign assistance bill would ...“
From an intelligence and military support perspective which state do you think is a better investment? Also, did you forget the fact that the US funds over 50% of UNRWA, a UN Agency mostly supporting Palestinian Refugees?

3) Any accusation that our support for Israel directly lead to the September 11 attack show an ignorance of the Middle East situation and the hate of radical Islam toward the West. While our support of Israel may be a factor it is more an excuses than a prime cause. Why do the Arab nations not provide money and material for the Palestinians? Oh, I’m sorry they did, Saddam gave $25,000 Dollars to each family of a homicide bomber, and the Saudi’s had a fundraiser most of that money went to Hamas.

4) Again you show ignorance, deliberate or otherwise, of the facts. Likud sabotages the Pease process??? Please read your history of the Oslo Accord again.

“Did Arafat march through Jewish synagogues with several hundred followers carrying AK47s in late 2000?” This statement is ludicrous! Arafat only kills women and children, there were only 50 people with Sharon, and Israelis don’t us AK 47’s.
It is these kinds of statements that lead me to think people are anti-Semitic. This was a political move gone wrong, but can you blame Sharon for the violence unleashed by Arafat?

5) “The US government's extremely one-sided support for Israel is a fact. The damage to America caused by that policy -- and that such a policy is contrary to US national interest --are facts.”
The US Government was extremely one sided in Viet Nam and Korea, as well as WWII, not to mention in covert actions against Cuba and other S.American countries fighting Communism. I think you need to re-think what is in America’s interests. The image portrayed of the USA by Hollywood, and McDonalds, do more harm to our National Interest than our relations with Israel. That relationship will be far more profitable than it has been with above-mentioned countries.

“The huge campaign donations made to the Democratic Party by Israeli supporters is a fact. Bush's extreme cultivation of those contributors is a fact. Their malign influence is a fact.” What about the money coming from the gun lobby, trail lawyers the Teachers Union? Do you see why I question your motives? This is the first major country since Napoleonic France that has given us the opportunity to flourish without fear, can you blame us for wishing to maintain that?

6) “My quarrel is not with Jews -- it is with wealthy men and their whores in Congress who have brought disaster upon my country for no good reason.”

Based on this you may want to give up on Washington all together.

Please step back and look at what is happening in the world. I think you will find Israel is not a cause of the problem, but a tool used to by terrorists to make you think it is.

R. Piper - 6/14/2003

What's the foaming-at-the-mouth racist Pipes doing at the HNN?

Is Herr Goering next?

Tomye Kelley - 6/14/2003

If this is the real reason for the war, and it well could be, it does make sense, then why did no one tell Bush?
Why didn't he g et informed sufficiently to be honest with the American people instead of all of his bantering about
about WMD? Why can't the ole' preacher get his stories straight?

As a American voter I resent being lied to.

Herodotus - 6/13/2003

I'm looking forward to the account written in about thirty five years from now by someone who has access to the intelligence records of the U.S. and Britain (and perhaps Iraq...), who will write a very interesting expose about the funding links between Syria and Iran and the various Palestinian terrorist groups like Hamas, and on the incredible efforts by all of the different parties to close down these links in advance of a final peace settlement.

What stories they will be...what interesting things must be going on in the shadow world.

Bill Heuisler - 6/13/2003

No US regime can handle the Palestinian Israeli question unless they withhold all money until the murder stops. Aid should resume when there has been no bombings of civilians or strikes against the West Bank or Gaza for two months. After that each Hamas bomber of civilians costs six months and each Israeli strike into Palestinian territory the same. One policy against terrorism in the US and another in Israel weakens our reputation, resolve and moral authority.

Welcome? Hell yes. If we all agreed this would be damned boring.
Bill Heuisler

Don Williams - 6/13/2003

1)Likud recently came close to voting against a Palestinian state-- and it attached a number of restrictions to a blueprint approved without reservation by the Palestinians. See

2) The US has been a good friend to Israel, propping up her
economy for decades with an estimated $91 Billion dollars.
3) Because of our support, we suffered 3000+ dead on Sept 11, along with several hundred $billion in direct costs and over a $Trillion in indirect costs.
4) Every attempt we make to establish peace continues to be sabotaged by Likud.
Did Arafat march through Jewish synagogues with several hundred followers carrying AK47s in late 2000?
Look at the recent news headlines -- why did Sharon try to assassinate Hamas leader
Rantissi on June 10 --see http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=564&ncid=564&e=2&u=/nm/20030610/ts_nm/mideast_dc_279
--do you not think that the Arabs realize those Apache helicopters are made in the US and sold by the US with aid money supplied by the US?

5) The US government's extremely one-sided support for Israel is a fact. The damage to America caused by that policy -- and that such a policy is contrary to US national interest --are facts. The censorship/misleading depictions in the US news media are a fact. The huge campaign donations made to the Democratic Party
by Israeli supporters is a fact. Bush's extreme cultivation of those contributors is a fact. Their malign influence is a fact.

It is not anti-Semitism to point this out. My quarrel is not with Jews -- it is with wealthy men and their whores in Congress who have brought disaster upon my country for no good reason. It is with people who manipulate and deceive the American voters.
Some of the strongest Likudites are not Jewish. Richard Perle, for example, is ,in my opinion, merely a lapdog for Canadian media magnate Conrad Black--who is not Jewish.

You need to decide whether you are an Israeli or an American.

Wilson - 6/13/2003

This guy is truly amazing.

Can anyone verify that "Daniel Pipes" is not a leftist plant designed to discredit all manner of support for right thinking and upright citizens?

I bet even Karl Rove is stunned at this latest Pipes salvo.

Does anyone else feel that the Right wouldn't be so consumed by M Lewinsky if they were getting a little more action? There's also a certain note of jealousy. The question is of whom- Bill, or Monica?

Kent - 6/13/2003


You observe that the basis for the war is "actually multiple violations of a cease-fire agreement - de facto resumption of hostilities. We didn't begin your "unnecessary" war we reacted."

Not according to the President. It was because of Hussein's direct involvement in the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and possesion of chemical and biological weapons that led us to war. This sort of bait and switch is one of the things that irks me. War is a serious matter not to be taken lightly. I find it inexcusable to simply weave a false tale to build public support. If, even without the weapons, the war was "necessary" (note I said "necessary" not "just"), then why wasn't the president honest with us from the start? You ask me to give the president the benefit of the doubt; how about the president giving us the benefit of the doubt?

"...problems involving Iraq could not be settled in any real sense until the Palestinian question had be sufficiently dealt with... Not true. In fact the opposite is true. See oil money."

As we write the situation in Israel is once again on the brink. As long as this situation persists, the potential for any conflict in the region to explode is simply too real to ignore. To pursue our policy without addressing this larger problem may allow a short term, immediate goal to be won, but leaves the longer term goals may be seriously undermined as a result. Our engagement in Iraq may soon come to a "theater" near you (and me).

"Clinton also recognized that Osama bin Laden was the real threat to American interests in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Again not true. He was offered OBL by the Government of the Sudan and refused for weak legalistic reasons."

Admittedly, this is news to me. If true (and I'd give you the benefit of the doubt in a heartbeat, the president, well....), I think that it would be important to consider the timing; for a period of time Clinton agreed to a Saudi request to lay off bin Laden (a policy I might add that Bush continued until 9/11/2001).

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. In spite of my sarcasm and disdain, I am giving President Bush the benefit of the doubt because now I have no choice in the matter. The deed has been done. As a nation all we can seriously hope for is that the rosy scenario that has been so often touted will actually materialize--I honestly hope it does, for my sake, for your sake, and for everyone else's. If it doesn't pan out the way our president says it will, then, as a nation, we're going to experience some tough times for the foreseeable future.

If the more dismissal scenario plays out, then let's hope that the next generation has the fortitude to fix the problems the current administration will be leaving in its wake. Are you still welcoming me back?


Corevan - 6/13/2003


Your assertions have a conspiratorial and anti-Semitic undertone. Put aside the political jockeying of these politicians and focus on the larger issues. If Iraq were not a true threat to the US the Democrats, as anemic as they are today, would not roll over as easily as they did on this war.

Corevan - 6/13/2003

Unfortunately no matter what Israel does it will be blamed. We are dealing with a larger contingency, backed if not controlled by Yaser Arafat, which does not want Israel to continue to exist. They leverage support with the sympathies of the left leaning governments of Europe by using their oil and large consumer markets, not mention Europe’s underlying anti-Semitism, to pretend that they are willing to negotiate peace. Israel is forced to give while this contingency is rewarded for terror. (The Oslo Accord is only one example)

It is my hope that there is a majority of Palestinians who are willing to negotiate peace, but the likes of Hamas et. al. have no other intention than the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews. Anyone getting in the way is killed, thank you Abdul Nasser. Until the conflict that flared after the collapse of Oslo, more Palestinians had been killed by Palestinians as collaborators than killed by Israel.

Since no one else is willing to confront these murders, it is left to Israel to defend itself. The results are not pretty, and may even hurt them in the short run. But eventually thinking and rational people will see through Arafat and Hamas et. al. Unless, of course anti-Semitism is deeper rooted than I wish to believe.

Bill Heuisler - 6/13/2003

Disagreement on assumptions is our problem. First and most important, we will discover the nuke-connection - wait another month or two. Second, Iraq was a rogue state and an oil producer using oil for purposes inimical to US interests. For example: Syria has no oil. Syria is a client-state of Iraq. Syria has annexed Lebanon. Syria blew up our Marines in Beirut.

Your "problems and tensions" were actually multiple violations of a cease-fire agreement - de facto resumption of hostilities. We didn't begin your "unnecessary" war we reacted.

"...problems involving Iraq could not be settled in any real sense until the Palestinian question had be sufficiently dealt with..." Not true. In fact the opposite is true. See oil money.

"Clinton also recognized that Osama bin Laden was the real threat to American interests in the Middle East and elsewhere."
Again not true. He was offered OBL by the Government of the Sudan and refused for weak legalistic reasons.

We will never agree, but I ask that you give W the same benefit of the doubt you seem to give Clinton.
Bill Heuisler

Clayton E. Cramer - 6/13/2003

So, what's Genentech's track record on genocide and aggressive war?

Clayton E. Cramer - 6/13/2003

"Incidental killing of civilians in the course of a military operation is, according to the Bush administration, something called 'collateral damage'."

Actually, that's the accepted definition, and has been for a century. What made this war better than most was the relatively small number of civilians killed while firing at military targets--much better than any number of 20th century wars.

"2) The fundamental idea in international law and in the UN is that one state does not have the right to attack another state except in self-defense."

This isn't even a debatable point. Iraq's government instituted hostilities against Iran and Kuwait. The invasion of Kuwait was resolved by a ceasefire and a series of resolutions that Iraq repeatedly violated. Iraq also attempted an assassination of a former president of the United States after that cease fire. There is at least plausible evidence of Iraqi involvement in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and some very, very curious coincidences that would at least make you wonder if they had some involvement in the 1995 Oklahoma City federal building bombing.

"Bush does not have a viable claim to self-defense, especially considering the great disparity in power between the US and Irag and the fact that Iraq has never shown a significant sign of attacking the US."

Great disparity in power isn't enough. A nation that is building nuclear weapons or chemical weapons--and that has shown Iraq's willingness to use them against its own civilians, while spouting aggressive rhetoric against the U.S.--represents a very dramatic risk to the U.S.

"The Iraq invasion showed a contempt for international law and peace. Bush does not have the right to install /remove the governments of sovereign nations on a whim and he invites another Sept 11 by doing so. "

France intervenes in the internal affairs of African nations quite regularly, and it seems to generate no great upset.

"3) The US gets most of its oil from Mexico, Canada, Venezuela, and Nigeria -- although imports from Saudi Arabia have risen in the past two years. It is not in the national interest to spend roughly $50 billion a year maintaining military dominance of the Middle East just to buy roughly $25 billion /year of oil."

You have just pointed out the flaw in your argument: it's not in our economic interest to dominate the Middle East. We aren't doing this for the oil.

"The US would be far better off if just a small fraction of US Middle Eastern expenditures (e.g., the $3 Billion /year that goes to Israel) were devoted to R&D for energy independence."

And how would this solve the problem that bin Laden is intent on imposing Islamofundamentalism on the West?

"The fact that's not done is due to the malign influence of the oil lobby and AIPAC. In any event, we have no right to install /prop up dictatorships just to serve a minor mercantile interest."

It was in the interests of the "oil lobby" to drop sanctions and resume business with Iraq. There is no oil company advantage to fighting a war to overthrow a tyrant. If this were being done for mercantile interests, we would be cozying up to whatever thug we thought was most stable.

"I have no sympathy for Bin Ladin --but I think part of our hatred should be directed at the deceitful manipulators who wrap their selfish business agendas in the flag and provoke Sept 11 attacks. Those who, with the blood of 3000 dead Americans on their hands, continue to mislead the public."

Try again. Bin Laden's hatred, and that of of his followers, is not derived from our business interests, but from the embarrassing reminder that the only thing that could protect Wahabbist Saudi Arabia from secular Iraq was the military might of the infidel United States. For people who believe that Islam is the ultimate truth, and that Muslims have a specially favored position relative to God, this is a humiliating reminder of the inherent flaws in their claims.

Clayton E. Cramer - 6/13/2003

Are you suggesting that bin Laden's concerns weren't adequately represented in the American media? It seems clear enough to me what he was upset about.

Clayton E. Cramer - 6/13/2003

I think you can put a fair amount of blame on Hamas, which keeps blowing up civilians in its efforts to prevent a peaceful solution.

Kent - 6/13/2003


Nope, didn't miss those quotes. Let's be clear about our terminology. "Cooking evidence" does not mean making it up out of whole cloth; it means embellishing the evidence, making it seem more formidable than it really is, etc. In my first post I noted that in relation to U.S. geopoltical/geoeconomic interests, key elements of the Clinton and Bush administration are fundamentally angling toward the same goal.

In relation to some of your observations regarding the problems and tensions between the U.S. and Iraq throughout the 1990s, there is reason to believe that something was going to happen between the U.S. and Iraq. But note how three of the five quotes you've presented were from 1998. Think back, at that time the Clinton administration was under siege by the Starr investigation and every time he did any thing relating to the use of the military Clinton's critics (perhaps you and "Herodotus" were among them) accused him of some sort of "wag the dog" scenario to divert public attention away from the scandals and on some foreign adventure. Thus, when Clinton did launch strikes against Iraq in 1998, he, members of his administration, and key supporters in Congress made it clear that there were real justifications for such actions, that it was not merely a means to divert the public's attention.

Also in respect to Clinton: Because of the hounding he received at the hands of his political enemies, his political capital was stretched pretty thin. He had to contend with the very real problem concerning Milosovic and Kosovo, and he also understood that the problems involving Iraq could not be settled in any real sense until the Palestinian question had be sufficiently dealt with (G. H. W. Bush also understood this as well--unfortunately, like father, unlike son). Additionally, Clinton also recognized that Osama bin Laden was the real threat to American interests in the Middle East and elsewhere. Thus when considering all of these factors, if you examine Clinton's foreign policy toward the end of his second term, the U.S. launched missile strikes against Iraq, but through NATO took Milosivic out; blew up a chemical producing plant in the Sudan that had ties to Iraq; launched a missile strike against an encampment in Afghanistan where intelligence sources indicated bin Laden was residing--we missed him by a couple of hours; and tried to bring the Israelis and Palestinians together at the Wye River meetings. You may also recall for each one of these, Tom DeLay and Trent Lott hit the Sunday morning talk show circuit claiming all of this was a ruse to divert the public's attention from the scandals consuming Clinton's administration.

As for the 2002 quotes from Robert Byrd and Hillary Clinton, both were in October 2002, in the weeks before the election of 2002. Karl Rove was milking the fictitious Iraq-9/11 connection for all it was worth and the Democrats were scrambling and getting increasingly desparate as they looked toward election day. Now Hillary was not up for re-election, I don't recall whether or not Byrd was (but, considering how influential he is, it didn't matter), but the comments Hillary and Byrd made were part of a larger effort to sound "hawkish" and thus possibly mute Rove's election strategy. Additionally, members of the House and Senate from both parties based their comments on "pre-cooked" evidence fed them by the White House. Given these variables, what else would have expected them to say?

Let's see, that leaves the one by Jacques Chirac. Contrary to popular opinion, France was NOT opposed to military action against Iraq, they simply advocated a different timetable than the one that the Bush administration advanced and finally implemented.

Now, here are some quotes for you to consider:

1. "Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological and chemical weapons."
George W. Bush, September 12, 2002.

2. Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons.... We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons--the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have."
George W. Bush, October 5, 2002

3. "The Iraqi regime...POSSESSES AND PRODUCES (my emphasis and note he's using present tense) chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons....We KNOW (my emphasis) that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas."

"We also DISCOVERED THROUGH INTELLIGENCE (my emphasis) that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We're concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVS for missions targeting the United States."

"The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his 'nuclear mujahideen'--his nuclear holy warriors. SATELLITE PHOTOGRAPHS REVEAL (my emphasis) that Iraq is rebuilding at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past. Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons."
George W. Bush, speech in Cincinatti, Ohio, no date.

4. "We KNOW for a FACT (my emphasis on both) that there are weapons there."
Ari Fleischer, January 9, 2003

5. OUR INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS (my emphasis) estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard gas, and VX nerve agent."
George W. Bush, January 28, 2003

6. "INTELLIGENCE GATHERED BY THIS (my emphasis) and other governments LEAVES NO DOUBT (my emphasis again) that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of teh most lethal weapons ever devised."
George W. Bush, March 17, 2003

7. "[We know] where they are; they're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad."
Donald Rumsfeld, no date.

If the statments made by Bush, Fleischer, and Rumsfeld are true to fact, then where are the weapons, the facilities, the manned and unmanned aerial vehicles? If Rumsfeld is to be believed, we knew where they were; if Bush is to be believed, we have satellite photographs to guide us to the proper locations.

Are we to honestly believe that Hussein destroyed these things so completely that no trace of it is left? Did Iraq also develop phaser technology like what Capt. James T. Kirk uses on the starship Enterprise?

Did he sell or give it all away to terrorists just so the U.S. wouldn't find it? That, considering he had so much materials, do you think he could have sold it without any intelligence gathering agency catching on? We can spot a single plane carrying unauthorized material from Pakistan to North Korea, but we can't spot Hussein giving/selling enough material to make "500 tons of sarin, mustard gas, and VX nerve agent." If you believe that Bill, then I have some beach-front property in Arizona I'd like to sell you.

If he had all that Bush claimed he had, why didn't he use it during the war? Either we've had it all wrong and Hussein is really a nice guy (not!), or he didn't have it the first place. Let me quickly add that having a weapons program and actually having the weapons are two different things, don't confuse them. Another point, chemical and biological agents have a limited shelf life of roughly five years. Having these weapons 1991 meant nothing in 1996; having them in 1998 means nothing in 2003. If he was still making the stuff in 2002 and 2003, where is it?

Lastly, if Bush and his cronies did not intentionally "cook" the evidence than explain these recent comments by Paul Wolfowitz regarding the matter:

1. "The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureacracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction."

2. (While deemphasizing the importance of Hussein's possession of chemical and biological weapons as the cause of the war) "The country swims on a sea of oil."

The first clearly suggests the threat of the Iraqi weapons program to the region and the U.S. was deliberately manufactured (dare I say "cooked"?) by the administration. The second indicates that the real reason was for oil--a charge that the administration has denied throughout all of this. Thus, the administration lied about the threat Iraq posed to the United States in order to cover up the real reason for the war, oil.

As for my observation that the war was unecessary, I stand by that comment on the basis that Hussein was well contained in Iraq and he did not pose a clear and present danger to the United States, contrary to what the president claimed, at the time he launched the strikes against Iraq on March 19, 2003. I stand by my comment that the war has, quite possibly, permanently damaged the credibility of the United States. I stand by my observation that the war has caused more problems than it solved.

Bill, you're a spirited and worthy opponent. I look forward to your response.



Don Williams - 6/12/2003

I work in computers. I have a Masters in Computer Science. I have , in the past, worked on several military and intel contracts. My comments here are , of course, unclassified.

Here is the relevant text from the site that I referenced above. It is a translation of documents from the Russian archives (dated 1945 and containing information obtained at Los Alamos)-- the documents have been released in the past few years.
Document No. 12
Bomb of 'HE' (High Explosive) Type

The conducting of the first explosion of the atomic bomb is expected in July of this year.

Construction of the bomb. The element 94 without any uranium-235 is the active material of this bomb.The so-called initiator, namely a beryllium-polonium source of alpha particles, is inserted into the centre of a ball of plutonium. (The plutonium is surrounded by 50 pounds of tube-alloy,* which is the 'tamper.') All this is placed in an aluminum shell of thickness 11 cm. This aluminum shell in turn is surrounded by a layer of the explosive 'pentalit' or Composition C (Composition B according to other information) with wall thickness 46 cm. The casing of the bomb into which this explosive is inserted has an inner diameter of 140 cm. The total weight of the bomb including the pentalit, the casing, etc. is about 3 tonnes. It is anticipated that the force of the bomb explosion will be equal to the explosive force of 5000 tonnes of TNT. (The efficiency is 5-6%.) The fission count equals 75 x 10exp24.

Stocks of active material
a) Uranium-235. In April of this year it was 25 kilograms of uranium-235. Its output at present is 7.5 kg per month.

Plutonium (element 94). There are 6.5 kg of plutonium in Camp-2. Its preparation is well organized, production plan is over-fulfilled.

* Tube-alloy is the code name for uranium (commercial radium tube-alloy) [added by hand below the world 'uranium' -- ed. note]. It is not known of which type: natural 235 or enriched in a diffusion plant.

The explosion is tentatively expected on 10 July of this year
[Written by hand] Note: Information was put together for oral briefing of Academician Kurchatov.

Document No. 13
To Comrade L.P. Beria

Herewith I send a report on the construction of the atomic bomb, designed on the basis of secret-service materials received from the National KGB of the USSR.

Enclosure in 7 pages
Make 4 copies (V.N. Merkulov)
1. Comrade Beria
2. National KGB of the USSR
General Description of Atomic Bomb

In outer appearance the atomic bomb is a pear-shaped missile with maximum diameter of 127 cm and length of 325 cm including the stabilizer (fins). Total weight is 4500 kg. The bomb consists of the following component parts:

* a) Initiator
* b) Active material
* c) Tamper
* d) Aluminum layer
* e) Explosive
* f) 32 Explosive lenses
* g) Detonating device
* h) Duralumin shell
* i) Armor-steel shell
* j) Stabilizer (fins)

All the above-specified parts of the bomb with the exception of the stabilizer, the detonating device and the outer steel shell are spherical shells inserted one into the other. Thus, for instance, the active material is prepared in the shape of a spherical shell into whose center the initiator is inserted. The ball of active material itself is inserted into the interior of the tamper (moderator), which is itself a spherical shell. The tamper ball is inserted into the interior of another spherical shell made of aluminum, which is surrounded with a spherical layer of explosive.

After the layer of explosive, into which the lenses are inserted, there is a duralumin shell to which the detonating device is attached and on top of which is the bomb's outer casing made from armor steel.
Description of Particular Components of the Bomb

1. Initiator
An initiator of the 'Urchin' type is used in the bomb. It consists of a hollow beryllium sperule on whose inner surface are wedge-shaped grooves. The planes of all the grooves are parallel to one another. The surface of the grooves is covered with a layer of gold of thickness 0.1 mm and a layer of polonium. Inside this spherule is inserted a solid beryllium spherule whose surface is also covered with a layer of gold and polonium.

Dimensions of the 'Urchin'
Outer radius of the hollow beryllium spherule 1.0 cm
Radius of base of wedge-shaped groove 0.40 cm
Radius of apex of wedge-shaped groove 0.609 cm
Radius of the solid beryllium spherule 0.40 cm
Number of wedge-shaped grooves 15
Amount of polonium on the surface of all grooves 30 curies
Amount of polonium on solid spherule 20 curies

The hollow spherule is made of two halves, which are made in a nickel-carbonyl atmosphere, as a result of which a nickel coating is formed on the surface of hte spherule. This coating prevents or at least inhibits the spontaneous decay of polonium.

The initiator works as follows. The shock, directed towards the center, from the explosion of the outer layer of explosive is transmitted through the aluminum layer and tamper, throgugh the layer of active material onto the surface of the hollow beryllium spherule of the initiator. The resulting stresses fracture this spherule along the planes passing through the apex of the wedge-shaped grooves, thus exposing the beryllium of the hollow spherule to the action of the alpha-particles emerging from the polonium coating on the central spherule of the initiator. This produces a neutron flux. The adjacent surfaces of the grooves collide, as a result of which the 'Munroe jet' is generated, which penetrates through the thin layer of polonium and gold into the central spherule, thus putting in contact the polonium on the inner surface of the hollow beryllium spherule with the beryllium of the solid one. This also produces a neutron flux.

The neutron flux produced in the initiator attacks the active material.

2. Active Material

The element plutonium of delta-phase with specific gravity 15.8 is the active material of the atomic bomb. It is made in the shape of a spherical shell consisting of two halves, which just like the outer spherule of the initiator, are compressed in a nickel-carbonyl atmosphere. The outer diameter of the ball is 80-90 mm. The weight of the active material including the initiator is 7.3 - 10.0 kg. Between the hemispheres is a gasket of corrugated gold of thickness 0.1 mm, which protects against penetration of the initiator by high-speed jets moving along the junction plane of the hemispheres of active material. These jets can prematurely activate the initiator.

In one of the hemispheres, there is an opening of diameter 25 mm, which is used to insert the initiator into the centre of the active material, where it is mounted on a special bracket. After inserting the initiator, the opening is closed with a plug, made also of plutonium.

3. Tamper (Moderator)

The tamper is a spherical shell with outer diameter 230 mm, made from uranium metal. There is an opening in the ball for inserting the active material into the interior. The opening is closed with a plug, also made of uranium metal.

The purpose of the tamper (moderator) is that it reduces the amount of active material necessary for making the atomic bomb.

The outer surface of the tamper is covered with a layer of boron, which moderates the thermal neutrons emanating from the radioactive materials of the system and are capable of causing premature detonation.

4. Layer of Aluminum

The aluminum layer surrounding the outer surface of the tamper forms a spherical shell with outer diameter 460 mm, made of two halves with grooves and ridges provided for joining. There is an opening in one of the hemispheres for inserting the active material into the interior of the bomb. The opening is closed with a plug made of aluminum.

The purpose of the aluminum layer is the uniform transfer, directed to the centre, of the shock produced by detonating the outer layer of explosive.

5. Layer of Explosives and Lenses

Around the aluminum layer is placed a layer of explosive, which is formed from 32 specially shaped blocks. The inner centre-facing surface of the blocks is spherical with diameter equal to the outer diameter of the aluminum layer. On the outer surface of the blocks of explosive are special grooves whose shape provides for the insertion into them of 20 hexagon-shaped lenses and 12 pentagon-shaped lenses. A 1/16 inch thick felt pad is placed between the surfaces of the explosive and the lenses perpendicular to the axis of the sphere, and the empty spaces between the radial contact surfaces are filled with blotting paper. The air gaps between the layer of explosive and the lenses should not exceed 1/32 inch, since bigger air gaps can contribute to either the slowing-down or the speeding-up of the detonation depending on the direction of these gaps. The lenses are cast in special molds made from cellulose acetate. Each lens consists of two types of explosive, one fast-detonating and the other slow-detonating. When the lenses are installed in place, the fast-detonating part of each lens touches the layer of explosive.

Each lens is provided with one detonator, which for greater guarantee of simultaneous explosion has two electric primers. There are 64 electric wires in all, partitioned into 4 quadrants with 16 wires in each. A lens is connected to two electric wires but from different quadrants.

6. Duralumin Shell

The layer of explosive and lenses is covered with a duralumin shell, to which a blasting device weighing 180 kg is attached. The inner diameter of the shell is roughly 1400 mm; the weight including the blasting device is about 700 kg.

7. Outer Casing of Armour Steel

8. Stabilizer (fins)

Assembly of Bomb

The ball of uranium is inserted into the interior of the aluminum sphere in such a way that the opening on it fits opposite the opening in the aluminum. The blocks with the lenses are stacked on the outer surface of the aluminum except for one block which is placed over the opening in the aluminum. The lenses are mounted on the duralumin shell, to which the blasting device is also fastened. In that form the bomb is ready for transportation to the place of use. Further assembly is carried out as follows. The initiator is inserted into the interior of the tamper. The plugs are put into place, after which the last block of explosive is superimposed and the openings on the duralumin and steel shells are closed.

Becasue the plutonium and the radioactive materials of the initiator are spontaneously heated to a temperature exceeding that of the surrounding region by 90 degrees Celsius, the bombs are transported to the place of final assembly in special containers equipped with a cooling system.

" " October 1945

Faithfully: Colonel (VASILEVSKII)

James Thornton - 6/12/2003

Thank you for referring the article, however a firewall prevents the PC I use from accessing it. Hopefully I am not prying, but what line of work are you in?

Bill Heuisler - 6/12/2003

More quotes you must've missed:
"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs." -- From a letter signed by Joe Lieberman, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara A. Milulski, Tom Daschle, & John Kerry among others on October 9, 1998

"Saddam's goal ... is to achieve the lifting of U.N. sanctions while retaining and enhancing Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. We cannot, we must not and we will not let him succeed." -- Madeline Albright, 1998

"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retained some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capability. Intelligence reports also indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons, but has not yet achieved nuclear capability." -- Robert Byrd, October 2002

"What is at stake is how to answer the potential threat Iraq represents with the risk of proliferation of WMD. Baghdad's regime did use such weapons in the past. Today, a number of evidences may lead to think that, over the past four years, in the absence of international inspectors, this country has continued armament programs." -- Jacques Chirac, October 16, 2002

"The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow." -- Bill Clinton in 1998

"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, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. 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. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security." -- Hillary Clinton, October 10, 2002

Kent, Hillary used the N-word. If you can't believe her who's left?

Don Williams - 6/12/2003

In above post, I forgot to note--you need to page down to read Document 12 and Document 13. Sorry.

Don Williams - 6/12/2003

With my work experience, I can imagine both our capabilities and our vulnerabilities.

The US spent roughly $30B in current dollars on the Manhattan Project , in a frenzied effort to develop the bomb. The Russians had to spend some money developing refining plants, but they saved a bit of time and money when Klaus Fuchs/Theodore Hall handed them the following information:


James Thornton - 6/12/2003

I am not concerned about maintaining technological advantages vis a vis any foe or potential adversary. We spend more on R&D than ALL other nations combined. At MIT the Army is supporting research on nanotechnology that will allow soldiers to become invisible, have superhuman strength, and have their medical needs administred too by their uniforms. In the future you will see robots increasingly replace men. Drones will fly preprogrammed missions, and robotic tanks will assault enemy lines. Imagine a cross between "Predator" and "Terminator". Mr. Williams, you underestimate our capabilities today and cannot even imagine what the near future holds.

Bill Heuisler - 6/12/2003

Not to be abrupt, but I don't have time for repetition. My first post on this subject repeated only part of the vast intel that made the invasion of Iraq necessary was shared through at least two administrations and three countries over a dozen years.
Your statement:
"Bush and his cronies cooked the intelligence." isn't worthy of your fine mind. We've all seen past communications from you that illustrate aggressive curiosity, high intellect and a disdain for dogma. Your unsupported claim is foolish on its face.

Don Williams - 6/12/2003

See http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,975538,00.html
An excerpt:
"t is question rarely asked by Israel's Jews, and almost never in public. But yesterday one member of the Israeli parliament, Roman Bronfman, cautiously wondered if the prime minister, Ariel Sharon, did not have Jewish blood on his hands.

In carefully couched terms, he raised the question after the militant Islamic movement Hamas responded with its favourite weapon - the suicide bombing of civilians - to Israel's botched attempt to kill its political leader.

"It is necessary to examine government policy which may not have been helpful in progressing the "road map" and seems to have taken us back to death, pain and sorrow," Mr Bronfman said

In the 24 hours between the failed assassination bid on Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi and the killing of 16 people on a bus in central Jerusalem, there was fevered speculation about the timing of Mr Sharon's order to kill Dr Rantissi. "

Sharon will continue because he knows Bush and the Republican leaders of Congress are amoral whores who will do anything for a campaign donation -- even when such pandering triggers attacks like Sept 11, costing 3000+ lives. Hell, Bush will even greet the widows with tears in his eyes for the photographers.

Herodotus - 6/12/2003

"What's more, the war was unecessary. Bush and his cronies cooked the intelligence. They out and out lied to the American public and did so deliberatly"

I think, in light of the events relating to the looting of Iraq, historians and those who study history might do well to avoid rock hard statements like this, if only to keep themselves from looking stupid when all is said and done.

Herodotus - 6/12/2003

and unlike my quotation, yours is rude:

"Why? Because Iraq was seen as a threat to Israel if not to the US, Because wealthy San Francisco millionaire and Democratic fund raiser Walter Shorenstein has always been a strong supporter of Israel, and because when Shorenstein says "Shit!" , Diane Feinstein squats and starts making grunting noises"

Kent - 6/12/2003


I believe we agree on the primary goal--the need to promote American national security interests--and that those interests are significantly tied to oil. Where we differ is on the means of achieving the goal. The lesson we should have learned since the end of the Second World War, is that if we launch a military strike that we must have the whole operation planned from beginnng to end, we must have what Colin Powell called an "exit strategy." What's our exit strategy in Iraq as another soldier was killed yesterday, as we move 4,000 troops in the largest military operation since the "end of the war," and the downing of an American helicopter by hostile fire? And this is just all within the last 72 hours! How is the situation going to improve in the Middle East with Israel once again tearing itself apart and as the optimism expressed last week quickly fades?

My frustration is that this war has made a difficult problem infinately worse, and the outcome is far from certain. The analogy that comes to mind are firefighters in the West initiating a control burn when suddenly unexpected wind gusts move in spreading the fire beyond control; before it's over the fire consumes 1/4 of the state.

What's more, the war was unecessary. Bush and his cronies cooked the intelligence. They out and out lied to the American public and did so deliberatly. Wolfowitz et al. are evening acknowledging that fact noting recently that the real reason we went to war with Iraq was because it's a country "swimming on a sea of oil."

Yet, and today the GOP in Congress claims no further investigation into this is needed! These are the same people who thought it was worth millions of tax payer dollars to find out exactly where, for how long, and to what end President Clinton touched Monica Lewinsky. The public support for this comes from a clique that crucified historian Michael Bellesiles for "cooking" his evidence in his book _Arming America_ regarding data that related to only 4 pages out of a book that's over 400 pages long!

Clinton's trist with Monica did not effect me personally. Can the same be said about Bush cooking the evidence regarding Iraq? Earlier this year we paid $79 billion for the reconstruction of Iraq, and apparently that's only the first payment.

Bellesiles' argument did not result in the loss of a single American life. Can the same be said of the war with Iraq. No, we're still counting the bodies.

To quote one well known conservative commentator, where's the outrage Bill?

Bush's approach to foreign policy has not made us safer since 9/11; it has not reduced the threat of terrorism; it has not yet even secured our most vital national interests--in fact before it's all over it may well have set us back 50 years!

Again, where's the outrage?

I did not have any faith in Saddam Hussein and I do not lament the passing of his regime. Faith, like respect, has to be earned. President Bush has earned neither my faith nor respect.

Don Williams - 6/12/2003

From http://www.sfchronicle.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2002/09/24/MN115876.DTL
a list of political figures arguing against Bush's attack on Iraq
back in Sept 2002

Former President George H.W. Bush's aides: Brent Scowcroft, the elder Bush's national security adviser, and two former secretaries of state, James Baker and Lawrence Eagleburger, have said that Iraq poses no imminent threat.

Congress: Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb.; Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.; Sen. Arlen Specter, R- Pa.; and Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., chairman of the Senate Intelligence .Committee, who says there is no firm proof Iraq is developing weapons of mass destruction.


Dianne Feinstein, Senator, D-Calif.: She co-sponsored a nonbinding resolution to have Bush obtain congressional approval before beginning a military attack. .After Bush's U.N. speech, .she commended the "welcome shift" in policy.

Dick Armey, R-Texas, House majority leader: He has said Hussein has taken.no overt act to threaten.the United States.

Others: The majority of the Bay Area congressional delegation, including House Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi, D-S.F., has expressed reservations about military action. Vocal opponents include Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, and Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Marin. Nationally, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, has voiced intense opposition.

Diane Feinstein was on the Intelligence Committee and she stated, along with Bob Graham and Nancy Pelosi, that there was no sign of an imminent threat from Hussein.

Unlike Pelosi and Graham, however, Senator Feinstein voted to approve the attack.

Why? Because Iraq was seen as a threat to Israel if not to the US, Because wealthy San Francisco millionaire and Democratic fund raiser Walter Shorenstein has always been a strong supporter of Israel, and because when Shorenstein says "Shit!" , Diane Feinstein squats and starts making grunting noises.

Look at who funds the Democratic party, who supports Sharon,and then you understand why Democratic leaders only make strangled gagging sounds when Bush panders to Sharon, even when it damages national security.

Herodotus - 6/12/2003

"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs." --

From a letter signed by Joe Lieberman, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara A. Milulski, Tom Daschle, & John Kerry among others on October 9, 1998

Herodotus - 6/12/2003

Your introduction of the oil question is interesting, and I'm pleased to see that you did not suggest that oil interests alone were driving the Afghani policy after September 11 (as the "move on" type people were).

But check your geography (not just the map)...it might be possible to bring the oil from Central Asia down through Iraq, but it would have to come down through the mountains of Kurdistan. It would be easier to bring it down through Iran (as some oil companies have explored), or to push it across Azeri/Armeni territory to Turkey, which would be safer.

You might make a case that the oil interests would appreciate a regime change in Iran because it would benefit their central asian oil plans, but to think that would be the _only_ reason for seeking regime change in Iran would be foolish.

Thank you for keeping the thread sane.

Herodotus - 6/12/2003

Mr. Williams may be surprised to learn that calling the people of the Nile river valley "wogs" is generally considered gauche.

Bill Heuisler - 6/12/2003

You answer a question not asked. You say,

"As for why didn't Clinton go to war with Iraq in '98, I suspect it had more to do with the fact that Clinton understood what Bush apparently does not. Going to war in pursuit of a narrowly defined goal that benefits one nation virtually to the exclusion of every other interested party is doomed to failure."

Your "narrowly defined goal" was a badly broken peace treaty. Not enforcing the treaty guaranteed a war. Stop indulging wishful philosophy. Placing unearned faith in a man like Saddam and refusing similar faith in our current President seems a little unbalanced and very unfair.

Aren't you forgetting a few dozen terror attacks? Reagan should have responded to the Beirut Marine barracks. Clinton should have responded to the Cole. Clinton should have responded to Mohammed Aidid in Somalia and taken OBL from the Sudan. Had somebody done something decisive in the past twenty five years maybe we wouldn't have had our 9/11 terror crescendo.

Like it or not, 9/11 has transformed the future the way the great catastrophe ended the Bronze Age. Nothing will ever be remotely similar again. Reckless? No, Kent, President Bush recognizes a war to the death and has acted decisively in the second phase of what will be a long struggle.

Kent - 6/11/2003


I had to cut off my conversation earlier, so point being my comments were not intended to postulate some grand conspiracy theory, quite the opposite. The pols (whether Democratic or Republican) were/are, as you note in your response, pursuing our national interest--this does not, however, justify their actions, it simply allows for the context to be better understood.

The problem with this is the manner in which our national interest is pursued. The current administration is reckless to say the least. The war with Iraq may have acheived a short term goal of removing Hussein from the equation, but the war is far from over. American soldiers are being killed and wounded every day and the problems in the Middle East are intensifying in spite of W's efforts. His rabid insistance that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons on a scale to seriously threaten the U.S. simply was, and is not credible. So, while achieving a short term goal, our president may well have sacrificed our long term interests. That is what I find so tragic about all of this.

As for why didn't Clinton go to war with Iraq in '98, I suspect it had more to do with the fact that Clinton understood what Bush apparently does not. Going to war in pursuit of a narrowly defined goal that benefits one nation virtually to the exclusion of every other interested party is doomed to failure. That failure may not come tomorrow, maybe not next week, but this administration is making up its currently policy in Iraq as we go--there is no planning, no long range vision, nothing. That's alarming.

Clinton also had a better understanding for his American constituency. Going to war at any time is risky business, it could always backfire. If the violence persists, it the situation in the Middle East continues to worsen, there is going to be a greater likelihood that public support for the war will dwindle. If this happens, then we will not be able to follow through on our promises made to rebuild Iraq and all goes down the toilet.

The concurrence of opinion regarding Iraq as a perceived threat between the Clinton and Bush administrations is not a conspiracy; some may regard it in that light because it's not discussed openly. Pols on both sides of the aisle have to play to the American public and they have to always wonder what we're willing to accept. Clinton took the cautious approach, selective targeting and seeking an internal solution to the situation in Iraq. Bush took the reckless path, and his lies about Iraq's military hardware regarding chemical and biological weapons and the threat posed to the U.S. may seriously come back and bite 'em in the ass in 2004.

Am I being pessimistic? No, I'm being realistic; and what I'm saying is being borne out every day.

Thomas Gallatin - 6/11/2003

Hatemonger turned historical distortionist Pipes writes:

"1998 was the era of 'end of history' dot-com fog, and President Bill Clinton was diverted by the Lewinsky scandal. As a result, Saddam got away with his defiance. Four long years followed, without anyone keeping tabs on what WMD he might be developing.
Then came 9/11."

Is this the new Elect W (for the first time) Campaign lie ?

Sentient Americans will remember that Clinton was distracted by Lewinsky in 1996, and youthfully indiscrete Henry Hyde and his fellow hypocrites on the Judiciary committee were distracted by the possibility of Ken Starr's witch hunt being good material for the 1998 off-year elections. The ploy failed and Gingrich the Newt went into retirement. Then came the Project for the New American Century. No one distracted them from their half-baked imperialist fantasies, but starting last year, the Cheny-Rumsfeld clique used WMD arguments to distract much of the American news media from the real reasons for the recent war: to distract the American public from the failures of an incompetent presidency.

Saddam's violations of the 1991 ceasefire MIGHT HAVE BEEN a valid reason for going for a UN SECURITY COUNCIL resolution authorizing
a re-invasion of Iraq. Under a more experienced and less inept U.S. presidential administration we might have achieved such a resolution. But that is COUNTER-FACTUAL history. Needless to say, Pipes has as little ability there as he does with real history.

Don Williams - 6/11/2003

and I recently saw bentonite in the pottery room at a neighborhood arts center.

But soccer moms are ignorant and easily frightened by ghost stories aren't they? Which leads Bush and the neocons into a great deal of hypocritical posturing -- creating excuses to justify actions intended to serve a hidden agenda.

One of the reasons the American public never learned why the Sept 11 attack occurred was that Condoleeza Rice went to the network CEOs and pressured them to halt further broadcasts of Bin Ladin.
The CEOs --their profits directly linked to FCC regulations and desiring relaxation of media ownership constraints (thank you, Commissioner Powell) -- fell over themselves to comply.

Ms Rice's excuse -- that Bin Ladin might be sending "secret messages" -- was hilarious to anyone with the slightest knowledge of covert communications. Nations and resistance movements have had the ability to send unbreakable encrypted messages worldwide since at least WWII. The encryption method used is the one time pad. The messages are sent a numbers recited over the shortwave -- one can hear such sessions any night of the week. A shortwave transmitter costs about $300 and can be run off of an automobile battery.

Ms Rice's suggestion that Bin Ladin would use an American TV broadcast -- the editing of which is beyond his control -- to send a message instead of using far better methods was deceitful.
It convinced the ignorant, however, and was used to justify censoring major news from the American people in order to manipulate their opinion.

Don Williams - 6/11/2003

in the 1990s and his wife, Lynne Cheney, was on Lockheed Martin's Board of Directors until Jan 2001. (Yes, the same Lockheed Martin who sold 52 F16s to Sharon in June 2001 --with Bush's permission. So what if Bin Ladin didn't like it-- the F16s are built in Fort Worth Texas).

By the way, Lockheed also launches commercial satellites from Kazakhstan's Baikonur spaceport --which brings in some currency.

It's interesting that the Bush administration is using the "War on Terror" as a front for building several military bases in Central Asia (see http://www.inthesetimes.com/issue/26/11/feature2.shtml )
Those bases , paid for by the US taxpayer, will allow Bush and Dick Cheney to protect Houston's billion dollar investments in the Caspian Sea oil deposits.

By the way, the oil is unlikely to come to the US. China will have a huge demand for oil in the coming decades as several billion Chinese buy automobiles -- the potential profits are huge and will be shared by a favored few.

Hey, what kind of "services" did you think Big Oil was buying from the Halliburton? Why do you think Halliburton, an "oil services" firm, hired a pudgy ex-bureaucrat with little to no experience in the oil industry --or in corporate management -- and made him a CEO?

As for the President, recall that George W Bush had all the advantages of a privileged upbringing --Exeter, Yale, acceptance into Harvard's MBA program (even with poor grades), plus money to start his own business. Yet when Bush reached middle age, he was a drunk and a failed businessman who had to be bailed out by rich friends. Face it -- he's their whore and always will be. The national interest be dammed.

Bill Maher - 6/11/2003

This was an intelligence response to missing anthrax, ect? Do you also have a difficult time spotting, to borrow an image from Tennessee Williams, the great gray cockaloonie flying overhead?

Bill Heuisler - 6/11/2003

The reason for citing Clinton, Deutch et al wasn't politics, it was to show that those in a position to know knew. You are correct politics is not the issue. National interest is the issue. Presidents and CIA Directors are in a far better position to gauge from good intelligence than you or me. Oil? Right. We need it since we won't drill caribou-slush. Reasons to invade? Abu Nidal's warm Baghdad pillow was sufficient for me. Why do so many otherwise sensible people think the US must be Christ-like and act against her own interests for the "good" of others? Keep in mind in this world economy: if we prosper, so does the world, but if we fail the world goes back to Hobbs' nasty darkness.

I don't agree with your conspiracy theory, but I'm tired arguing the unprovable with the unmoveable.

So, let's talk geopolitics:
Oil is as good a reason for fighting a war as any and cutting off oil is an act of war. Japan'43, Israel '51 and '56, The United States '73. Do you remember 1973 - the OPEC embargo? Do you drive a car? Heat your house with oil? We should've taken out the Saudis when they expropriated the oil fields the US and Brits developed. Same for the Iraqis. That we didn't shows our altruism, but also exhibits weakness and encourages aggression.
One could posit that had we acted like a true world power after WWII much of the tumult in the last half-century could've been avoided. Fear is profound. Remember, Presidents don't run for saint, they run to preserve, protect and defend the US. As well they should. President Carter tried otherwise and gave half the world back to bloody-minded zealots who hated us. Christ-like?

Screw the barbarians, turn loose their women, take their oil and knock down their Wahabbist madrassas. Civilization is not just some morally equivalent tea party and Rome didn't build roads with the Gaul's permission.
Bill Heuisler

a de laurell - 6/11/2003


d. pipes front runner to replace the dual citizenship holder a. fleischer. who said up was not really down and right was not actually left. and breaking contracts with the US will not result in a cost to its taxpayers of some $100 billion. the likes of pipes are every american citizens dream.

Don Williams - 6/11/2003

The technology transfer associated with globalization tends to undermine the very military advantage that a hegemon like the US needs to sustain globalization. The British defeated 50,000 dervishes at the 1898 Battle of Omdurman with gunboats and Maxim guns -- see http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1898churchill-omdurman.html.
Within a generation , however, the wogs learned how to operate machine guns and pretty soon they knew how to build them.

Consider, for example, the F117 stealth fighter shot down over Serbia in 1999. That wreckage wasn't recovered. What will chemical analysis of it tell our enemies and how might they use that knowledge to bypass our missile defenses? Consider that our plans for world domination are based upon extensive use of stealth aircraft --which will be inevitably lost to the enemy.

We are a mere 290 million people on a planet of billions -- can we afford the arrogance of Bush and the neocons? Especically with a debt that Bush says if headed to $9 Trillion by 2008?

Don Williams - 6/11/2003

Taking the points in order:
1) If we use the Bush Administration's definition of terror, then our Founding Fathers were terrorists and we have sponsored terrorists --excuse me, "freedom fighters" in South America and elsewhere. His definition of terrorism is another example of how he uses semantics to deceive. The deliberate targeting/killing of noncombatants is terrorism and is beyond the pale. Resistance against tyrannical governments and those who support them is not. Incidental killing of civilians in the course of a military operation is, according to the Bush administration, something called "collateral damage".

2) The fundamental idea in international law and in the UN is that one state does not have the right to attack another state except in self-defense. Bush does not have a viable claim to self-defense, especially considering the great disparity in power between the US and Irag and the fact that Iraq has never shown a significant sign of attacking the US. The Iraq invasion showed a contempt for international law and peace. Bush does not have the right to install /remove the governments of sovereign nations on a whim and he invites another Sept 11 by doing so.

3) The US gets most of its oil from Mexico, Canada, Venezuela, and Nigeria -- although imports from Saudi Arabia have risen in the past two years. It is not in the national interest to spend roughly $50 billion a year maintaining military dominance of the Middle East just to buy roughly $25 billion /year of oil. The US would be far better off if just a small fraction of US Middle Eastern expenditures (e.g., the $3 Billion /year that goes to Israel) were devoted to R&D for energy independence. The fact that's not done is due to the malign influence of the oil lobby and AIPAC. In any event, we have no right to install /prop up dictatorships just to serve a minor mercantile interest.

I have no sympathy for Bin Ladin --but I think part of our hatred should be directed at the deceitful manipulators who wrap their selfish business agendas in the flag and provoke Sept 11 attacks. Those who, with the blood of 3000 dead Americans on their hands, continue to mislead the public.

4)The argument for removing Hussein would be more convincing is the Bush did not tolerate/support dictators where it is in Houston's interest. I guarantee you will not see Dick Cheney preaching the joys of democracy in Kuwait or the Central Asia oil dictatorships any time soon. The US company that was the target of the recent attack in Saudi Arabia has long supplied mercenaries to train the Saudi "National Guard" -- the organization that keeps the citizens of Arabia under the thumb of the small royal family.

5) Bush's invasion of Iraq will encourage other countries to build up their defenses and to covertly develop powerful weapons (e.g., DNA engineered bio weapons ) in order to deter Bush's aggression.

Kent - 6/11/2003

Hey Bill, it's me again, you know "Marcus Aurelius"?

The problem that I have with this trend this thread reflects is that it is taking an overly partisan tone. First and foremost, this is not (at least should not) be viewed as Republican versus Democrat, thus it simply is irrelevant as to who said Hussein had what at any given time.

To my mind, what is releavant is that whether you're Republican or Democrat and you're involved in the upper echolons of power there is more common ground--in geopolitical/geoeconomic terms-- than some are willing to concede.

Think back to the events prior to 9/11, when the Taliban still ruled Afghanistan. American oil interests were very interested in securing a pipeline across Afghanistan that would allow for these companies to get Caspian Sea oil out through ports in Karachi, Pakistan. It was the Clinton administration that initiated talks with the Taliban to secure a pipeline route--but those negotiations fell through when the Clinton administration protested the manner in which women were being treated under the Taliban. When Bush assumed the role of president in 2001, negotiations for an oil pipeline resumed--but also fell through in the spring of 2001 for the same reasons that doomed Clinton's efforts. The al Quaida attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon transformed everything.

As the war in Afghanistan led to the collapse of the Taliban, attention once again turned to an Afghani pipeline, but the chaos and the fact that warlords loyal to the Taliban are in control of too much area make investing in a pipeline in that part of the world unfeasible.

Look at a map. If Afghanistan doesn't work, look to the western side of the Caspian. Hey, isn't that Iraq? Bringing the oil out of the Caspian region through Iraq isn't very palatable either, however, with Saddam Hussein in power. But what if we have a regime change in Iraq? Yea, that's the ticket.

These sentiments hold true for the Bush administration and they held true for the Clinton administration. Why do you think Rumsfield, Perle, and Wolfowitz approached Clinton in 1998 and pitched the idea of the U.S. attacking Iraq to him then? Considereing the ideological backgrounds of R, P, and W what made them think they should even approach Clinton with this idea?
Because whether you're Republican or Democrat, there were larger geopolitical issues at stake.

Gotta go for now, let me know what you think about this info.

Bill Heuisler - 6/11/2003

Mr. Thornton,
Gus has probably climbed to a high dudgeon and can't get down.
Somehow the SKrause dialogue escaped me. But there are quite a few intelligent, articulate Liberals who visit this site. They're the reason HNN is so enjoyable and challenging - alien species making careful contact, like in a zoo, but who is examining whom and which is unable to leave? Too bad some of the input from the Left is so Sophomoric, but after years of reading Foner, Chomsky and Zinn brain cells must surely commit suicide from interminable despair.
Bill Heuisler

James Thornton - 6/11/2003

I also agree that WMD was the wrong reason to "sell" the war, but I supported the war effort for reasons posted elsewhere. President Bush had to attack Iraq to preserve American integrity and demonstrate to the world that the United States is going to actively pursue and defend it's national interests whether those interests are stated or not. Any nation that would sponsor a catastrophic attack on the US must think twice now that this administration has demonstrated that an act of terrorism is considered as an act of war vice a criminal act. You cannot utilize resources for a major terrorist attack without state sponsorship. The September 11th attacks were made possible only through the use of Afghanistan as a safe harbor.

Bio and Chemical weapons would be extremely useful for a terror attack, but have little utilization on the battlefield. In fact, I would characterize them as psychological weapon and for harassment rather than a weapon that has the capacity to destroy the enemy in great numbers.

Other countries are likely to attempt to counterbalance American power towards which various foreign head of states envision a "multi-polar" world. We can and should employ a divide and conquer strategy to prevent that alliance from taking shape. However, the combined militaries of all those nations you name do not even come close in comparison to the might of the American military. Presently, we have a small volunteer force when you consider the population and economy of the US. Imagine what the US would be capable of if mobilized as it was during the Second World War. The "giant" the world fears has barely lifted a finger to swat insignificant enemies in Afghanistan and Iraq.

James Thornton - 6/11/2003

I got my butt kicked by SKrause on last week's poll regarding former President Clinton. She is either a one woman think tank and churns out massive amounts of data or I got ambushed by a very clever mind that anticipated my counter arguments and was forearmed with counter-counters. Regretably, she also has a penchant for getting personal and name calling. I consider myself a moderate independent with liberal social views and a foreign policy hawk, and use to think the only meanies were the Gingrinch type Conservatives, but I now think that Liberals are the most vicious variety of political animal. Stephen Kriz exhibit A of what I mean. Heard from Gus Moner recently?

Homer Simpson - 6/11/2003

Whew, boy, the great champion of peace goes haywire!!

Let's go to a bar and drink a few Duffs, Kriz. I wonder if you make any more sense drunk than sober.

Don't you have something to do with your life?

Herodotus - 6/11/2003

and this is at odds with Blix's earlier statements about the missing tons of anthrax how?

Bill Heuisler - 6/11/2003

Mr. Milton,
Vague reports of progress? Think about that. What possible purpose, except to massage the press. Mum until positive, however, keeps fugitives off balance and suckers political opponents into untenable accusations. But you reinforce my Sherlockian no-dog-barking point. Not a word. The absolute silence on nukes is unusual since we've known about at least two nuke facilities since '93. We control all information coming out of Iraq and there's not been a nuclear word.

Bill Kristol has few friends in the Administration. Remember his premature criticisms during the invasion? His opinion is worth just as much as ours...probably less.

Bill and Al lying about WMD? Why would they? Deutch was pretty positive for a spook-in-chief. And that misses the point of the discussion - that W misused, inflated, exaggerated, whatever to promote his war. Well, if W conspired, he had apriori Democrat allies. That's the ridiculous part of the accusation.
Bill Heuisler

Bill Heuisler - 6/11/2003

Mr. Thornton,
Incisive, thorough and well-written. You don't need any help.
We disagree on WMD as rationale, however. If there was one chance in twenty that Saddam possessed nuclear capability W had no choice. School's still out, but Saddam's nuke-meister testified with eerie certainty to the Senate Intelligence Committee a few years ago that Iraq was only years away. Did he exaggerate? So what? Hobson's choice - overreact or deadly goof. Think about oil tankers entering a harbor with a primitive nuke. It could still happen, but what President could take such a chance? Reverse the argument. Picture a six-o-clock mushroom cloud over Tel Aviv or Miami and imagine the damning headlines.
Bill Heuisler

Don Williams - 6/11/2003

Here is what Hans Blix is saying this morning:
"LONDON - Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix, in an interview published Wednesday, accused U.S. officials of mounting a smear campaign against him.

The normally cool Swede, who is due to retire from his U.N. post at the end of the month, also said American officials pressured him to use more damning language when reporting on Iraq (news - web sites)'s alleged weapons programs.

"By and large my relations with the U.S. were good," Blix was quoted as saying in London's Guardian newspaper. "But toward the end the (Bush) administration leaned on us."

Source: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=535&ncid=535&e=7&u=/ap/20030611/ap_on_re_eu/britain_blix
(or go to Yahoo.com's World news )

Bill Maher - 6/11/2003

Jan.22,2003: Hans Blix reports that there is "no convincing evidence" that Iraq destroyed stocks of anthrax. Indeed, "strong evidence" that it produced more and "at least some of this was retained." Also declared that Iraq possessed 650 kilograms of "bacterial growth media," enough to "produce . . . 5,000 litres of concentrated anthrax." He also noted that there were "indications" that VX had been "weaponized." Over 6500 "chemical bombs" that Iraq produced, he noted, were unacounted for.
If there is a Bush conspiracy with regard to weapons of mass destruction, Blix, Bill and Hillary, John Deutch, Gore, German and French intelligence agencies, Senators Kerry, Liebermann, and Graham (to name just a few), Sandy Berger, and at least four other national security individuals tied to the Clinton administration. One hell of a plot. Maybe even Stephen Kriz is involved.
The point is simple. Pipes didn't have to write his article. Everyone, even The Nation, knew Iraq had the weapons. Was everyone wrong? Were they destroyed? Did they go elsewhere? If they were destroyed by Iraq, why not produce the documentation?
What I have written above should be nothing new. Everyone gets involved in the above because rancor helps avoid the real question: Did Bush have the right to operate outside "international law/opinion?" Of course he did. History does not generally acknowledge as heroes those who sacrifice their native land for an ideal. Bush, like just about everyone else, saw a threat. Unlike everyone else, he acted.

Hepatitus - 6/11/2003

Whether or not the war was just and good, the point is the administration willingly and publicly lied--distorted intelligence, exagerrated threats, claimed sure knowledge of weapons that did not exist. I opposed the war, but I am glad to see Hussien gone and am cautiously hopeful that some long term good might come of it.

But the fact that US lives were risked on the strength of deliberate lies is truly disturbing. Now war supporters are claiming, like Pipes, that the original justification didn't matter, because look, it's all good anyway

Well the interesting comparison is perhaps to Clinton, Clinton lied about an adulterous affair, actually injuring three people--himself, his wife, and lewinsky. It cost the taxpayers little or nothing at all. For this, he was impeached, even though the economy was booming.

Bush's deliberate lies involved heavy cost in human life and in dollars. the results of his lying are still being played out--every day, it seems another American dies in iraq, whe the economy stagnates and national debt balloons.

impeachment, anyone?

Don Williams - 6/11/2003

To iterate my points:
1) The phrase "Weapons of Mass Destruction" is a term invented for deceit --used to muddy the discourse. A focus on the specific nature of actual weapons would have shown the public the flawed arguments behind the invasion of Iraq. It would have shown that the invasion would increase, not decrease, the danger to America because it would (a) Give Saddam a very strong motiviation to begin development of weapons elsewhere in the world (b) would not capture covert weapons nor prevent their future development, and (c) would leave Saddam with nothing to lose by an attack on America.

2) Bio weapons can be built covertly anywhere, chemical weapons can also be built anywhere and are probably not worth the trouble
considering alternative attacks, and nuclear weapons require such a huge plant that they should have been discovered before the war -- and certainly should have been found by now.

3) More importantly, the behavior shown by Bush and the neocons is creating enemies in states far more powerful than Iraq. Russia, China, France, and Germany now have strong motivation to make common cause against the US. Any of them is vulnerable to destruction by a US divide and conquor strategy. None of them will accept global domination by the US. None of them can be sure when the Bush and the neocons will attack. All of them would be made more secure by a major attack on the US infrastructure (nuclear detonation on Houston oil refineries, Silicon Valley,etc.) because such an attack would cripple the US economy and hence eventually weaken the US military greatly.

I think such an attack could be done covertly without being traced back to the sponsors.

Corevan - 6/11/2003

I'm so glad to see the tone of discussion coming back to a more civil level. It’s amazing how the 1 Rotten Apple theory really works. Everyone hug you computer now.

I'm with you Les, the more we discuss the more we learn.

James Thornton - 6/11/2003

The Bush Administration was mistaken to use Iraq's WMD as a Casus Belli. However, the outstanding UN resolutions provided the legal pretext under international law for the war to be waged. The geopolitical issues of for the war were not discussed until the eve of hostilities, but this should have been done so and debated from the outset. These issues were:

1. The War on Terror. That Saddam supported terrorism was undeniable. While his links to Al Qaida were dubious it should be noted that the War on Terror is not an exclusive war on Al Qaida, but on all forms of international terror. This should include Hezbollah and the Palestinian groups Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Al Aqsa Brigades, and perhaps even the FARC of Colombia. Removing Saddam from power and starving the groups he patronized from moral and financial support was a blow against international terrorism.

2. Middle East Geopolitics. Removing Saddam has two additional benefits in the grand scheme of politics in the Middle East besides ending support for terrorists. With Saddam gone the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP) is given a boost and the momentum from the war could result in a final solution between Israel and the Palestinians. Much as Desert Storm resulted in Madrid Peace Conference, OIF will produce progress in the MEPP. Additionally, with Saddam gone the justification for maintaining a large military presence in Saudi Arabia has evaporated. With American forces evacuating the Kingdom in favor for other bases in the region, one of Bin Laden's main points of contention for his fatwa against the US is moot. This of course will not end Al Qaida's campaign of terror, but recruitment of Saudi's into Al Qaida's ranks will be affected.

3. Oil. Given that there is nothing such as a sure thing in geopolitics we cannot be complacent about the House of Saud defeating the militant Islamists within their own borders. Saudi Arabia is a potential adversary of the US and we need to find alternative sources of energy. With a friendly regime in Baghdad we have access to Iraqi oil. Thus, Saudi importance is greatly diminished.

4. Moral obligation to free Iraqis from tyranny. This issue is more philosophical in nature. Do we, as a superpower, have an obligation to free a people from tyranny or halt genocide regardless whether American interests are threatened or not? The implications are enormous with either answer. Why did we intervene in Kosovo but not Rwanda? Why Haiti and Somalia, but not the DROC (Zaire)? The fact that the miiitary operation was named Iraqi Freedom speaks for itself. Wilsonian internationalists would support this justification in and of itself.

5. WMD. Large states such as Russia, China, the US, and Europe need to maintain a balance of power. During the Cold War, nuclear weapons and MAD maintained stability and assisted in keeping the Cold War cold. Nations with reckless and aggressive regimes must not posess WMD. Saddam demonstrated the willingness and ability to use WMD on the Iranians and the Kurds. Once the genie is out of the bottle, the bottle must be smashed. That is what differentiates Iraq from Syria. Iran used WMD against Iraq as well, and also is the leading state sponsor of terror. That disqualifies Iran from possessing WMD in my mind. Iran has no legitimate claim to WMD for deterrence while Syria does. However, it is in the interest of the major powers to push for disarmament of the entire region, including Israel. North Korea is also an exception because it has demonstrated a propensity for proliferation.

As you see, Operation Iraqi Freedom was clearly a just war and in America's interest. The Administration did a very poor job of convincing the world, and by stressing the WMD angle has damaged American credibility in the short run. Discovering large stockpiles of weapons will solve that problem, but the more time that passess the less confident I am that such discovery will be made.

Herodotus - 6/11/2003

Counterintelligence agents and police elements (border patrol, immigration, civil police, etc) played a greater role than coalition ground forces in stopping Ba'athist saboteurs and sympathetic terrorists in Europe, the United States and elsewhere in the world for the simple reason that the ground forces were in the Persian Gulf.

We don't know what actions were stopped or diverted because it is not in the nature of the intelligence world to reveal these cases. Recall than a number of Iraqi diplomats were ejected from a great many countries in the months before the war.

If the last Gulf War is any indication, the Iraqi intelligence network overseas was as bunch of keystone cops.

Don Williams - 6/10/2003

My statement " The Bush invasion did nothing to interdict or prevent an attack by Saddam's agents." was clear. The invasion of Iraq had no effect on Iraqi cells/money/assets hidden in Europe, the US or elsewhere. The invasion was telegraphed for over a year, so Saddam had plenty of time to deploy assets outside the country. The invasion certainly provided him with a reason to start the clock ticking.

Moreover, I think a lot of countries will now be much less cooperative than previously when it comes to intelligence sharing,etc. A response to a clear and present danger would have been understood. An invasion undertaken to seize oil and remove a security concern of Israel will not be accepted or excused.

The neocons' tardy cries of "Freedom! Democracy!" will be dismissed for the bullshit that they are. Ask the people of Kuwait how much freedom they have 12 years after we restored the Emir to power. Ask the poor people of Saudi Arabia who has kept the royal family in power for the past several decades -- the royal family who sells off the one resource of Arabia and keeps most of the profits for themselves. Ask the people living under the dictator of Kazakhstan how often Dick Cheney preached the joys of democracy while he served on Kazazhstan's Oil Advisory Board.

The measures the rest of the world take will be covert and not seen for some time --but they will be taken. It's one thing for the people of this country to suffer a war's cost and casualties when it is necessary to defend against an enemy -- it is something else to suffer a war provoked by someone deceitfully pandering to business/political agendas wrapped up in the flag.

From what I've seen, most of the infrastructure protection is being handled by the states and local police -- with little of the monetary help promised by the Bush administration. The infrastructure is still vulnerable and to some extent will always be so. The money spent on the Iraq invasion was badly needed here.

Herodotus - 6/10/2003

it wasn't fair of me to lump you in with Kriz; you're quite right.

Herodotus - 6/10/2003

you raise a good question on why the administration has not hinted more about what they _have_ found, if anything.

("The administration would happily give vague reports of progress to the press to take off some of the heat they're feeling. But even William Kristol has said he's skeptical that we'll ever find any and if that's the case, then we ought to reflect on what was said by the administration as opposed to what they were hearing.")

I think we're going to have to reflect on the obsessive secrecy desire that this administration has. On some levels (protection of intelligence operations) that can be good, but on other levels that can quite easily be bad.

It seems to me that we have to weigh the silence against this noted tradition of silence...I would like to hear at least something, but perhaps they're just staying silent until they've captured the weapons, so as not to tip off whoever is holding them.

Les Milton - 6/10/2003

Funny, I don't feel dizzy.

Besides, unlike some on both sides, I don't come to these things looking to compete, but rather to learn and hone my own arguments.

Les Milton - 6/10/2003


Actually, I think "naive" is a nice word for what I sometimes am.

I see your point about the cocaine, but we at least have evidence of its existence. Then again, if the same people who are trying to keep cocaine out of the country are in charge of ascertaining the existence of WMD's, truly we may never know.

I'll keep hoping we find them, though.



Les Milton - 6/10/2003

I see what you're saying about why they might be waiting to say where these weapons are, but I don't know how plausible that scenario actually is. The administration would happily give vague reports of progress to the press to take off some of the heat they're feeling. But even William Kristol has said he's skeptical that we'll ever find any and if that's the case, then we ought to reflect on what was said by the administration as opposed to what they were hearing.

I don't think that pointing to the Clinton administration and saying, "But THEY said there were WMD's, too!" (as if Bill and Al are trustworthy sources) is going to fly when their own intelligence sources were saying that there might possibly be WMD's while they themselves were saying that there were definitely WMD's. Even if we find the tons and tons of weapons they claimed were definitely there, to replace the word "possibly" (or even "probably") with the word "definitely" is simply dishonest and irresponsible. I don't see how one can argue that point.

Herodotus - 6/10/2003

just for fun, I kept reading more of your post. I found this gem:

" The Bush invasion did nothing to interdict or prevent an attack by Saddam's agents."

If you're saying that, and you mean it with all sincerity, then you have access to intelligence information that it vastly higher than everyone else on this board. You're privy to all kinds of knowledge that leads you to this firm conclusion based on your understanding of all the intelligence operations and counterintelligence operations that the U.S. undertook in the months preceding the war.

Or you're just speculating out of thin air, and don't have a clue what the U.S. did or did not do to protect the critical infrastructure of this country. Given the increase patrols in this neck of the woods, I think you're wrong.

Herodotus - 6/10/2003

I'll take on your first two paragraphs.

First of all, weapons of mass destruction is a widely-understood phrase that encompasses several classes of weapons, of which you have enumerate chemical, biological, and nuclear. There are also radiological. This phrase is used as a convenient shorthand to distinguish them from weapons whose destruction is more limited, such as artillery rounds, cluster bombs or napalm. These weapons can cause "mass" destruction relative to that of a single bullet or explosive charge, but are themselves limited in power when compared to the vast damage that a biological, radiological or nuclear weapon can wreck. If you wish to be really precise, then you can discuss how chemical weapons tend to be right on the edge of this definition. They serve the purpose of being an area-denial weapon, and have limited effectiveness (only a few hours). However, a single gas shell can wreck greater damage over a larger area than say, napalm or an ordinary artillery shell...and thus it is included in the terms of 'mass destruction.'

As for the second paragraph, there is this widespread mistaken impression that the Bush Administration identified Hussein's weapons of mass destruction as an imminent threat to the country IN THE SENSE THAT THE BA'ATHIST REGIME WAS PREPARING TO ATTACK THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES. The threat outlined was that (1) the Ba'athists would attack U.S. forces in the region, and (2) that the WMD produced by Iraq or within Iraq by terrorist groups would in turn be available to terrorists including Al Qaeda for use against the United States. In this sense, Iraq's willingness to turn a blind eye to this activity, as had the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, was a danger to the United States.

Herodotus - 6/10/2003

well, that seems settled.

Mr. Thornton, your request is noted.

I think Les and Kriz have been left spinning in the dust.

Corevan - 6/10/2003


While we may be getting two slightly different stories from our intelligence community, what about the protestations of Bill Clinton, Hans Blix and all the other UN members who voted in favor of most recent resolution that Iraq had specific amount of WMD? As well as the documented amounts from the end of the Gulf War.

Also, while I have no other proof than my own intuition, all that US cash seems like evidence to me, all-be-it, circumstantial evidence. I do not wish to accuse you of naiveté, but how does ton of Cocaine get into this country with out any evidence whatsoever?


Corevan - 6/10/2003


Every administration is rife with inconsistencies, and based on the dribble spilling out from Mr. Kriz, my choice is a simple one.

Don Williams - 6/10/2003

and I think the news media should call Bush on this. There are no such things as "weapons of mass destruction" -- there are nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, biological weapons --but are no such thing as WMDs and people who use the term are trying to mislead the public.

Several Democratic members of the Intelligence Committees (Bob Graham, Nancy Pelosi, Diane Feinstein) stated before the war that they knew of no imminent threat to the US posed by Iraq.

Consider each of the three types of weapons and see if they justify the Iraq war.

Re nukes, the industrial plant needed to refine uranium should certainly have been visible to our intelligence -- and the nonmobile nature of such facilities means they should have been found by now.

Re chemical weapons, anybody can build a chemical weapon from easily available or stolen materials.

What's unlikely is that Saddam could deploy such a weapon of any size in the United States. A greater danger, in my opinion, is an attack on the chemical plants in US urban areas. The Bush invasion did nothing to interdict or prevent an attack by Saddam's agents. The Iraq invasion, if anything, created the hatred to motivate another terrorist attack.

Commonplace biological weapons(anthrax,smallpox,etc) pose a similar problem of dispersal. Plus they and more exotic forms can be created in any suburban area under the cover of a legal business. Again, Bush's attack did nothing to interdict such an attack -- his attack merely motivated covert groups to pursue a future attack.

The major failure of the Iraq war is that it's convincing the other major powers that the US government is a deceitful, power hungery hegemon bent on world conquest behind a false facade of benign humanism. Bush's patrons are getting all the profits from his imperialism while the American worker is paying for it -- via the trillions being stolen from his Social Security account. Just as on Sept 11, the American worker will also suffer the casualties when the world strikes back.

James Thornton - 6/10/2003


I respect your postings on subjects throughout the forum and I must admit I got hammered by SKrause on the subject of Clinton's presidency. I simply do not have the time to do the extensive research she did and my counterpoints were woefully weak. If y'all happen to see me duking it out with her again I would appreciate the help so long as you honestly agree with my position.

You will find her a much more worthy opponent and much less hostile than Mr. Kriz.


j horse - 6/10/2003

"WMD was never the basic reason for the war. Nor was it the horrid repression in Iraq. Or the danger Saddam posed to his neighbors."
"The campaign in Iraq is ultimately not about weapons. It's not about the United Nations. And it's not about Iraqi freedom."

What is surprising about these statements is that they don't come from someone in the antiwar movement, but from Daniel Pipes. You would expect the antiwar community to question George W. Bush's and Tony Blair's justifications for going to war, but not a Bush supporter. The problem with Pipe's justification for war (the cease fire agreement) is that it was never used by either Bush or Blair (and if it was used it was not prominently mentioned, therefore, it was not the "main" reason for going to war). If the reasons presented by Bush and Blair were not the true reasons for going to war as Pipe alleges, then it appears that Bush and Blair misrepresented the war. As the saying goes, oh what a tangled web we weave . . . With friends like Daniel Pipes, who needs enemies.

Bill Heuisler - 6/10/2003

Mr. Milton,
As with the looting-negligence charges, this puffery will prove to have been sorely premature once people can talk. Notice the "Intelligence Community" is not saying anything. Certain members with axes are making hints on TV. But those in the know cannot talk about current situations and those in the know about the immediate past (the ex-CIA Director, Ex-President and ex-Vice-President) have acknowledged the presence of WMD in Iraq.

Forget gas or germs; they're relatively unimportant to the US. But entertain a plausible scenario: Imagine there is evidence of nuclear weapon development...but no weapons. Imagine the price available for primitive warheads. Imagine teams of investigators trying to trace and locate material and personnel. Ask yourself, would you tell Geraldo or Peter anything? Or would you keep your mouth shut and deny finding anything until you've paid snitches, interrogated prisoners, infiltrated the Teheran underground and tumbled the Beqaa Valley and the Jabal Lubnan?

By the way, the questioned evidence dealt with African sales of fissionable material to Hussein and importation of tubes from Jordan. The Iraqi Nuclear Program, however, was attested to by credible witnesses testifying to the Senate Intelligence Committee on the existance and progress of certain facilities. Have you seen one story about facilities? Wouldn't you think there'd be a milk-factory-style W-debunking if it were possible?

Save your scepticism a while. Recall the critics who blamed the loss of the world's birthright on a few negligent Marines.
Bill Heuisler

Les Milton - 6/10/2003

Hi Corevan,

I've heard Ritter say that when he was inspecting, he said that if we weren't allowed to continue to inspect, that Hussein could rebuild his weapons program. But, yeah, I take everything anybody says with a grain of salt these days!

Anyway, like I said before, we're getting two stories these days. One from the administration which stands by its assertion that Hussein had TONS of WMD's and was an imminent threat and one from the intelligence community which is saying that it never claimed that Hussein DEFINITELY had large stockpiles of WMD's. This can only be troubling, I think. And it should be of great concern. What reason do these intelligence agents have to lie? What reason does the administration have to lie? Important questions.

I agree that we have to look hard for these WMD's and I hope very much that we find them.

It's also troubling that once we had control of Iraq, we delayed securing nuclear facilities while we rushed to secure the oil fields. I'm not one of those folks who thinks that this war was just about oil, but it certainly doesn't support the administration's claim that security was the main priority when it couldn't be bothered to secure the most obviously dangerous places in Iraq, the nuclear facilities, until weeks after we had control, by which time they'd been completely plundered.

I'm skeptical of the notion that Hussein didn't have time to take cash with him or that purchases of such huge stockpiles of WMD's could occur without any evidence whatsoever.

But, like I said, I do hope we find them, because if we don't and if there's no evidence that they were there, it's going to hurt us quite a bit in the long run.

dan - 6/10/2003

..." inconsistencies in the current administrations arguments, some of which had the weight of Mr. Kriz's arguments.

I'm glad you noticed at least THAT.

So either Mr. Kriz's arguments are solid, or the administration's aren't.

Your choice...

(Sorry Kriz...)

dan - 6/10/2003

"Blix also reported that Iraq possessed 650 kilograms of "bacterial growth media,"..."

So next Bush plans to invade Genentech, Inc.?

dan - 6/10/2003

"The Bush administration rejected the pretense of U.N. inspections and insisted on real disarmament or a change in regime. When the former did not occur, the latter did."

So, have YOU stopped beating your wife yet? IF not, we are going to beat the crap out of you...

How manly.

Herodotus - 6/10/2003

Ah, Mr. Kriz, your irrelevance is revealed. You prove unable to engage in serious debate, or to consider matters seriously...and here I thought that bit about G.W. Bush being worse than Hitler (and the holocaust) just an abberation.

Ah well...welcome to irrelevance. It is well-deserved.

Corevan - 6/10/2003

Hi Les,

I heard Scott Ritter, on a radio interview about a week ago deny that Iraq had any WMD, at the time of the invasion. He never addresses the question then put to him about his statements as Chief Inspector when he declared Iraq had WMD. When asked if he lied in the past he dodged the question by pointing out inconsistencies in the current administrations arguments, some of which had the weight of Mr. Kriz's arguments. Something funky happened to Ritter when he wont address his own inconsistencies. Thus anything he says must be taken with a grain of salt.

As for the WMD, you feel there are not any, but what about all the official UN and even French admissions that there were WMD, and in the hands of Hussein a threat. Was that all made up, were all those years of UN inspectors complaints about Iraqi cover up and diversions false? If so the UN is more worthless as a political body than I thought.

Consider this. Saddam Hussein was one of the worlds largest money launders, who profited by moving illegal drugs, weapons and money and this was a major underpinning of his funding. Have you ever seen someone in the work place get caught doing something illegal? What do they do? (if you don’t have first hand experience think of Enron or Watergate) Every thing gets shredded or hidden or buried, especially if they have the forewarning, or can stall for time to cover up. Thanks to the UN and the French, players who knew and in my mind were complicit in his threat, Saddam had ample time to move or hide or destroy much his WMD program. Did you not find it interesting that one of the first things we found over there was over $1 Billion US Dollars, money not well hidden or in a vault? Maybe in his haste to sell WMD he did not have time to hid or take that money.

Our concern should not be weather our intelligence said there was WMD or that there may have been WMD, our concern should be finding where they went. Let us hope the delay imposed by the French, who were struggling to cover up or gain long lost political importance, did not allow enemies of the West to get their hands on Saddam’s WMD. For if that did happen we may find those WMD in London or Chicago or NY.

Stephen Kriz - 6/10/2003

Mr. Milton:

It has been an extremely dishonest affair, because it has been based on lies, deception and greed. The neoconservatives in the Bush Administration convinced the intellectually lazy Bush that we should flex our imperialistic muscles, just because we can, and squash a few Eurasian countries to show them how tough we are. Then, their flawed neocon thinking goes, they will see how glorious the American way of life is and want to emulate us and have plasma screen TVs, so they can watch intellectually stimulating shows like "Friends" and "Bachelor". This also sat well with Bush's more base instincts like revenge and a need to win at all costs, which if you read biographies of Bush and his Daddy, they just really hate to lose, goldarn it! So, Bush gets revenge on Saddam for trying to snuff Poppy, he gets the rights to a functionable oil field, which the pathetic loser was never able to do on his own nickel, and the neocons get the second notch in their imperialist holsters. Voila! Trifecta!

And we the American people are saddled with massive debt, a quagmire that will never be anything remotely approaching a democracy and the virtual certainty that one of our American cities will be obliterated by a WMD, thanks to all the ill will we have created around the world.

Peace is the only answer,

Steve Kriz

Stephen Kriz - 6/10/2003


Get over it. I didn't take any contrary positions on anything. If your reading skills were better, you would understand. You have nothing to say or add, so consider yourself invisible. I do.

Steve Kriz

Herodotus - 6/10/2003

having failed to explain his contrary positions on the rigged elections in 1960 and 2000, and having failed to convey to us his consistency on the need for Electoral College reform (after all, the Electoral College failed everyone in 1960, didn't it, if the Daley machine could manipulate Chicago, and thus Illinois, and thus the whole Electoral College).

I'm surprised you even showed your face in here.

Steve K - 6/10/2003

Pipes' article was hardly any comfort to me. It would appear that the whole affair was presented in an insincere manner. This administration routinely backpedaled from claims and now keeps stepping backwards. The Cincinnati speech used all sorts of scary language about WMDs and mushroom clouds. Imagery designed to terrify the American population into support for the war. It garnered a few supporters but still not enough. Then the "links" to al-Qaeda were trotted out. Casually dropping Saddam, 9/11 and terrorist groups into the same sentences without firmly establishing any connection. A majority of Americans bought it but still seemed a bit wary of proceeding into a conflict. Finally, they turned to "liberation" and the fact that Saddam is a bad man. That's something everyone could agree on. Feeling as if they had struck the proper chord, the Bush Administration moved into conflict. Now, we're learning that the intelligence community is feeling embarassed and pressured. In a comment yesterday, Bush backed off from the WMD claim to a claim of simply "weapons". (I almost think the Democrats have been a greater source of shame for their decided inability to challenge the president during this policy. Especially since they seemed so ready to go along with everything and then whine after the fact. Nice to see that checks and balances and separation of powers are totally collapsing behind a rubber stamp Congress.) As documents become available in the distant future and White House officials start to write their memoirs, it will be interesting to see what the real motivation for this war was. I don't want to oversimplify it into revenge for Dad or an oil grab. There are obviously some factors at work that we are unaware of.

Also, I believe Pipes' contention that this was about enforcing contracts is misleading. The "old casualness" he refers to is also a bit misleading. This was about opportunity. The American Enterprise Institute and the Project for the New American Century carefully outlined goals that could be labeled as American hegemony at best and imperialism at worst. 9/11 provided the conveient opportunity to pursue those goals behind the image of patriotism.

Time will tell if this policy is a success or failure. No way to judge now. But as a previous writer noted, this would have been easier to buy had Bush simply said, "He's a cruel leader and we want to free those people." All the bombastic speeches and frightening images make it appear as if there is still some agenda that is obviously unfinished. As the right wing continually changes its reasons for pursuing this diplomatic line, it proves to be an effective case study of searching for the correct angle.

Les Milton - 6/10/2003

Hi Bill,

Looking forward to disagreeing with an agreeable fellow.

Ritter already made his documentary. And he wasn't paid by the Iraqi's, but rather an Iraqi American living in Detroit, I believe. He made something like $40,000 to write and produce the film, according to him at least. He said the Iraqi government offered him gold and that he refused and immediately reported the offer to our government. He doesn't seem dishonest to me. Have you caught him in a lie I should know about?

My feeling about the WMD's isn't that there aren't any but rather whether or not they were sufficient to pose a clear threat to the U.S. as Bush said they did on the night of the invasion. It's really confusing to me, because if the Bush administration had just said out of the box that the Iraqi people were suffering and Hussein is a murderous dictator who needs to go, I might have gotten behind them on that, though I would have had to think about the legalities of it. (Plus, it would have been weird for all these guys who supported and armed murderous dictators during the cold war to suddenly want to depose them.)

But, now you have a lot of U.S. intelligence people saying that when Bush and his crew were saying that we KNOW that Hussein has dangerous amounts of WMD's, they were getting reports saying that he MIGHT have WMD's. They based their assertions of a nuclear program on amateurishly forged documents. Bush himself said on his very special aircraft carrier speech that Hussein was an ally of Al Queda, but no one in the intelligence community really believes that.

You have to admit, even if you agree with the invasion, that it's been a pretty sloppy, dishonest affair, don't you think?

Just wondering,

Les Milton

Bill Heuisler - 6/9/2003

Mr. Kriz,
Profanity adds nothing to your message and makes you sound like a frat-boy with one book. And don't use Scott Ritter as a source.
Ritter has already collected a portion of his Iraqi remuneration for a proposed documentary. Will he return it? To whom? Will he produce his documentary without a client? Quoting Ritter in this context is facile: he has taken both sides with equal fervor.

1)Hans Blix aadmitted to the U.N. Security Council 1/27/03, "No convincing evidence" that Iraq's stocks of anthrax were ever destroyed. But there was "strong evidence" that Iraq produced more anthrax than it had admitted "and that at least some of this was retained." Blix also reported that Iraq possessed 650 kilograms of "bacterial growth media," enough "to produce 5,000 litres of concentrated anthrax."

2)CIA head, John Deutch testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee 9/19/96, "We believe that [Hussein] retains an undetermined quantity of chemical and biological agents that he would certainly have the ability to deliver against adversaries by aircraft or artillery or by Scud missile systems."

3)Former Defense Secretary, Cohen this last April said, "I am absolutely convinced that there are weapons...I saw evidence back in 1998 when we would see the inspectors being barred from gaining entry into a warehouse for three hours with trucks rolling up and then moving those trucks out."

4)German intelligence reported in 2001 that Hussein might be three years away from three nuclear weapons and that by 2005 Iraq would have a missile with sufficient range to reach Europe. French President Chirac declared this February that there were probably weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that "we have to find and destroy them."

5)Al Gore said last September (based on what he'd learned as vice president) Hussein had "stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."

6)Former President Clinton, 2/98 described Iraq's "offensive biological warfare capability, notably 5,000 gallons of botulinum, which causes botulism; 2,000 gallons of anthrax; 25 biological-filled Scud warheads; and 157 aerial bombs." He added, "Iraq still has stockpiles of chemical and biological munitions, a small force of Scud-type missiles, and the capacity to restart quickly its production program and build many, many more weapons." He concluded, "kind of threat Iraq poses...a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists...who travel the world among us unnoticed."

The word liar seems a little silly now doesn't it, Mr. Kriz? Anger diminishes and diffuses. Deal with it and we'll talk.
Bill Heuisler

Les Milton - 6/9/2003

If, as Mr. Pipes asserts, the U.S. invaded Iraq because it broke its promises, I wonder why they didn't simply state that going in? Why did they need to lie to the American people and the rest of the world about the certainty of WMD's and Iraq's imminent threat? Was it the only way they could get permission to make Iraq "pay the consequences"? Should the countries with whom we've broken promises invade us? I think the fact that the people who direct our foreign policies lack the honor and decency to be honest about their intentions is a far greater problem than making weak dictatorships (and their citizens/victims) pay in blood for broken promises.

Corevan - 6/9/2003


Grow up you pathetic loser. You don’t have the brains or the balls to debate anyone on the facts. All you can do attack ad hominem, and through out week platitudes.

Here is a wild guess on my part; if it were not for the Internet your trailer on the commune would be littered with comic books and playboys.

Stephen Kriz - 6/9/2003

Yes, Mr. Pipes, we know that Saddam had WMDs, don't we? The Reagan and Bush I administrations kept the receipts. So goes the unfunny joke that was making the rounds. But like the unfunny jokes they are, the Bushies absolutely built public support for the illegitimate invasion of Iraq on the supposition that Saddam had WMDs and was willing to use them at any time or would supply them to groups like al-Qaeda, who would use them at any time. While that message may not have been explicit, it was implied at every opportunity and was exploited by the most corrupt Administration in American history.

Despite the urgings of former weapons inspector Scott Ritter, who the right-wing attack machine went after with a viciousness not seen since the Clinton mock scandals, everyone thought Saddam still had 'em. Ritter argued forcefully, and now has been shown to be right, that nearly all of Saddam's arsenal of gas and germs that Reagan and Bush I had sold him had been destroyed by the inspectors or were so old and degraded as to be ineffective. Of course, he was shouted down by the right-wing pundits and we destroyed our credibility for the next century.

Mr. Pipes, you are full of shit, just like the rest of your right-wing stooge friends.