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Coalition of the Bribed

Saddam had WMD. Every Democrat; every Republican; French, German, British and Israeli intelligence; Kofi Annan; every opponent of the war and every proponent of the war was familiar with its history, its use and Saddam’s refusal to obey UN Security Council Resolutions to provide that he had destroyed it. The Duelfer Report doesn’t tell us what happened to it (we and U.S. Army Intelligence suspect Syria) but it does tell us what Saddam was doing while we thought we were “containing” him.


Saddam had WMD. Every Democrat; every Republican; French, German, British and Israeli intelligence; Kofi Annan; every opponent of the war and every proponent of the war was familiar with its history, its use and Saddam’s refusal to obey UN Security Council Resolutions to provide that he had destroyed it. The Duelfer Report doesn’t tell us what happened to it (we and U.S. Army Intelligence suspect Syria) but it does tell us what Saddam was doing while we thought we were “containing” him.

After the Gulf War, Saddam had maintained the skill base for WMD, including nuclear technology. The scientists, the labs, the knowledge were still there. Sanctions prevented Saddam from maximizing his capabilities, so he bribed France, Germany and the UN with Oil-for-Food money to lift the sanctions and use their veto to prevent a U.S.-led war. (Google “Claudia Rosett Oil Food” to learn the whole nasty story and see what real investigative journalism looks like, as opposed to that Dan Rather/CBS trash.)

JINSA wrote in March 2001:

The U.S. was the long-term loser in the Gulf War. We ejected Iraqi troops from Kuwait, but did not remove the source of the threat. We did not stop development of weapons of mass destruction or ballistic missiles inside Iraq and did not provide safety for the Kurds in the north or the Shiites in the south. Saddam rules, pumps oil, threatens Israel, Kuwait and others, signed a “free trade” pact with Syria (surely the only free thing in either country) and has key U.S. allies Jordan and Turkey begging us to lift sanctions because they need the economic boost.

OK, maybe we were wrong about the “development of WMD” part, but the rest of it clearly was the case and far from having a stable “equilibrium” in the Gulf, the U.S. and Britain were alone in maintaining no-fly zones above a crumbling sanctions regime under which some people were making a lot of money and Saddam was waiting for “breakout.” Leaders of the vaunted 1991 coalition – France, Germany, Russia, Arab states and the UN secretariat – had switched sides.

“Old Europe” didn’t oppose the war because President Bush’s diplomacy was somehow deficient – they opposed it because there were being paid to oppose it.

So why didn’t Saddam just prove he didn’t have WMD stockpiles and have the sanctions lifted through the front door? He couldn’t. UNSCR 687 (1991) demanded that Iraq “unconditionally accept” the destruction, removal or rendering harmless “under international supervision” of “all chemical and biological weapons and all stocks of agents and all related subsystems and components and all research, development, support and manufacturing facilities. [Emphasis added.]” Complying would have taken the underlying capability away. He needed sanctions lifted without complying. And he was close.

If you still aren’t sure that Saddam posed a “grave and gathering threat” to Israel and others, ask yourself what would have happened if the U.S. had thrown in the towel, allowed sanctions to be lifted and permitted Saddam to trade in any commodity he wanted. It was the right war at almost the last possible moment.