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Jewish World Review July 10, 2003/ 10 Tamuz, 5763

Larry Elder

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Saddam Hussein plus al Qaeda equals WMD | The they-can' t-find-weapons-of-mass-destruction-in-Iraq-thus-invalidating-the-legitimacy- behind-the-U.S.-led-invasion chorus grows louder and louder.

Presidential contender Howard Dean (D), the former governor of Vermont, says, "I think the president owes this country an explanation because what the president said was not entirely truthful, and he needs to explain why that was. . . . We need a thorough look at what really happened going into Iraq. It appears to me that what the president did was make a decision to go into Iraq sometime in early 2002, or maybe even late 2001, and then try to get the justification afterward."

Senator Robert Byrd, D-W. Va., often referred to as the "conscience of the Senate," said, "What amazes me is that the president himself is not clamoring for an investigation. . . . It is his truthfulness that is being questioned. It is his leadership . . . under scrutiny. And yet he has . . . expressed no curiosity about the strange turn of events in Iraq, expressed no anger at the possibility that he might have been misled. How is it that the president, who was so adamant about the dangers of WMD, has expressed no concern over the whereabouts of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Indeed, instead of leading the charge to uncover the discrepancy between what we were told before the war and what we have found -- or failed to find -- since the war, the White House is circling the wagons and scoffing at the notion that anyone in the administration exaggerated the threat from Iraq."

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Let's go to the videotape.

In 1998, Saddam Hussein kicked out the United Nations inspectors. At the time, the inspectors concluded that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, including VX nerve gas and anthrax, and continued to develop them.

President George W. Bush, according to the all-we' re-saying-is-give-peace-a-chance crowd, assumed, apparently, that Saddam Hussein voluntarily -- with no outside pressure and no inspectors -- destroyed his weapons program merely because his inherent decency and integrity demanded it. Even former weapons inspector Hans Blix admitted that, but for the 250,000 American troops amassed on the border of Iraq, Hussein would not have allowed inspectors to re-enter his country.

The United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441 requiring Saddam Hussein to fully and thoroughly declare his weapons. Saddam failed to do so. Even the French admitted Saddam failed to comply. Furthermore, the resolution said that failure to comply triggers "serious consequences." What do you suppose "serious consequences" means? That the United Nations would padlock one of his presidential palaces, or let the air out of one of his Mercedes Benzes? No, "serious consequences" meant war, and all who signed the resolution knew it. Many members of the Security Council, however, assumed Hussein rational enough to comply, therefore avoiding war and the loss of his power. The president, post-Sept. 11, simply could not allow a dictator, who lost the first Persian Gulf war, to defy numerous U.N. resolutions requiring him to declare and destroy his weapons of mass destruction.

Hussein, with ample time to hide, move or destroy his weapons program, nevertheless interfered with the second round of inspectors. Secretary Colin Powell, in his address to the United Nations, described telephone intercepts between Iraqi officials in which the Iraqis discussed schemes to thwart the inspectors.

Mansoor Ijaz, in an article in the National Review, furthermore outlines the ties between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda: "The Iraqis were intimately involved in helping al-Qaeda develop chemical-weapons capabilities -- and this continues to have consequences. In early June, 10 letters laced with toxic powders were found in Belgium addressed to -- among other targets -- Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt and the American, Saudi, and British embassies. . . . Documents found in the rubble of Iraq's Mukhabarat intelligence headquarters by reporters for London's Daily Telegraph show that Iraqi military and intelligence officials sought out al-Qaeda leaders much earlier than previously thought, and met with (Osama) bin Laden on at least two occasions. In addition to previously reported meetings between Farouk Hijazi, a senior Iraqi intelligence officer, and bin Laden in Sudan in 1994, the Mukhabarat documents show that on February 19, 1998, about six months prior to the attacks in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, Iraqi intelligence officials made plans to bring a senior bin Laden aide to Baghdad from Khartoum. . . . Even the most diehard opponent of the war can no longer deny the physical evidence of the ties that bound Saddam to al-Qaeda and other terrorists, the scientific linkages that made them lethal, and the rationale for having to put an end to it all."

Finally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, too, faced charges of deliberately misleading the public. A Parliamentary committee investigating the allegations reported, "It is too soon to tell whether the government's assertions on Iraq's chemical and biological weapons will be borne out." The report questioned some of the intelligence on which Blair relied, but the committee found no evidence of "politically inspired meddling."

Expect a similar U.S. congressional investigation regarding Bush, and expect the same results.

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JWR contributor Larry Elder is the author of, most recently, "Showdown: Confronting Bias, Lies and the Special Interests That Divide America." (Proceeds from sales help fund JWR) Let him know what you think of his column by clicking here.

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