‘Imminent Threat’ and ‘We know where they are’ becomes “Intent” (Cheney)
I am so naive that I still read items like this with my jaw on my keyboard:
AP reported that US Vice President Dick ‘Cheney, the keynote speaker at the Republicans’ annual Lincoln Days, said the evidence indicates that Saddam Hussein had the intent to use weapons of mass destruction, even though inspectors have not found any massive stockpiles. “We know that Saddam had the capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction,” Cheney told the crowd of roughly 800 Republicans at the Renaissance Grand Hotel. “He had the science and technology, and we know that he had the necessary infrastructure because we found the labs.” Cheney also said that American forces had found delivery systems for ballistic missiles in Iraq. “We know that Saddam Hussein had the intent to arm his regime with weapons of mass destruction,” Cheney said.’
Then U.S. Sen. Kit Bond said, “This was a country like honey attracting ants – the terrorists were coming into Iraq.”
Saddam did not have the capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction, because he did not have active laboratories doing so. He had no “capacity” whatsoever to produce nukes. His country may have had a capacity to produce some chemical weapons, but then so could a twelve year old little boy in Iowa with a bottle of chlorine and a lab set. The point is that they did not have any active production facilities at the time the war was launched. As for “intent,” well, Saddam’s WMD was destroyed under UN pressure by the mid-1990s, and he never reconstituted the programs or the facilities, so his “intent” was not exactly urgent or being implemented on a relevant timescale. Besides, in military strategy you do not worry about vague abstracts such as the over-all “intent” of your enemy. You worry about his actual, existing, concrete capabilities. These in Iraq’s case were obviously null, nada, laughable. As for the delivery systems, this means he had missiles. There is no evidence that he had missiles that could hit anything outside Iraq that had been prepared with chemical warheads and readied for use. That is what Tony Blair says he misunderstood.
As for Bond, the fact is that so little terrorist activity originated from Iraq in the late 1990s that the State Department did not bother to list the country as a major terrorist threat.
The main terrorist organization active on Iraqi soil was the Mujahidin-i Khalq Organization, which is supported by Washington Neoconservatives like Daniel Pipes and Richard Perle along with some congressmen.
A small terrorist group, Ansar al-Islam, operated in the part of Kurdistan that was under United States control as a result of the no-fly zone. It wasn’t in the Baath-controlled part of the country.
These lies could not be contested last year because of September 11, but it is interesting that the presidential contest appears to have opened up the discourse and allowed the American public to begin questioning what people like Cheney say.
As for the support expressed for the so-called Patriot Act at the Republican fundraiser, it is obscene. See ACLU’s fact sheet on it. And write your senators and congressmen urging them to protect the US constitution from John Ashcroft. Despite promises made by the Bush administration that the act would only be used against terrorists, the FBI is already using it in ordinary criminal cases, to evade the need for court orders for electronic surveillance. I’m all for catching criminals, but I’m also all for the Fourth Amendment, which the Bush administration is attempting to repeal.