“There are no WMDs in Iraq and therefore the war is wrong!”
The statement is a nest of fallacies and on so many levels that scornful dismissal seems the only appropriate response to it. To begin with, the “no WMD” assertion is not even factually correct. Chemical weapons have been found in Iraq post-invasion, albeit not the stockpiles everyone was expecting, those weapons Saddam Hussein once possessed and used with devastating results on Iranians and Iraqis alike which have never been accounted for. Securing WMD production so that the Ba’athist regime would never again become a threat to the region or to anyone else was as much an objective of the mission as locating whatever of his arsenal was then in house.
We also know from the testimony of Iraqi officials and scientists documented in the Kay Report that Saddam was committed to acquiring nuclear weapons. Given that containment was breaking down, evidenced by his many infractions of the Gulf War cease-fire agreement, things had been moving for some time in the direction of a scenario in which the only possible courses of action for concerned members of the free world were 1. Allow the probability that Saddam would regain his pre-1991 status (or worse) and 2. Take military action.
But none of the above is the primary reason I supported OIF then and continue to support it now. In fact, the considerations, motivations, deliberations, implications, justifications are so many and so diverse that different people naturally emphasize different reasons. I count twenty-three clauses in the Joint Resolution to Authorize Force in Iraq, and it bears mentioning that this is not an exhaustive list. Some of the strategic reasoning behind the decision is subtle and goes beyond the scope of my short fisking here.
Which is not to say that there aren’t contrary opinions on the decision to go to war that I can respect. However, at this point, when somebody repeats that “no WMD” mantra you can safely assume he/she is, at best, willfully misinformed.
I review these things in order to stress that one’s feelings about the casus belli of the war ought not be significantly affected whenever a story like this one surfaces, even should that story at some date turn out to have been credible.
Having served for 12 years as an agent in the US Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations, Mr Gaubatz, a trained Arabic speaker, was hand-picked for postings in 2003, first in Saudi Arabia and then in Nasariyah in Iraq. His mission was to locate suspect WMD sites, discover threats against US forces in the area and find Saddam loyalists, and then send such intelligence to the Iraq Survey Group and other agencies.
Between March and July 2003, he says, he was taken to four sites in southern Iraq — two within Nasariyah, one 20 miles south and one near Basra — which, he was told by numerous Iraqi sources, contained biological and chemical weapons, material for a nuclear programme and UN-proscribed missiles. He was, he says, in no doubt whatever that this was true. This was, in the first place, because of the massive size of these sites and the extreme lengths to which the Iraqis had gone to conceal them…
There is every reason to be skeptical about one man’s testimony when the reports that document his claims all seem to be missing.
….The American administration failed to act on his information, ‘lost’ his classified reports and is now doing everything it can to prevent disclosure of the terrible fact that, through its own incompetence, it allowed Saddam’s WMD to end up in the hands of the very terrorist states against whom it is so controversially at war.
Yet this part almost sounds plausible:
The Republicans won’t touch this because it would reveal the incompetence of the Bush administration in failing to neutralise the danger of Iraqi WMD. The Democrats won’t touch it because it would show President Bush was right to invade Iraq in the first place. It is an axis of embarrassment.
It would be in character with our beloved political parties, wouldn’t it?
H/T to Provoking the Muse