Skip to comments.The Report That Nails Saddam - by David Brooks
Posted on 10/09/2004 8:35:50 AM PDT by LinnieBeth
addam Hussein saw his life as an unfolding epic narrative, with retreats and advances, but always the same ending. He would go down in history as the glorious Arab leader, as the Saladin of his day. One thousand years from now, schoolchildren would look back and marvel at the life of The Struggler, the great leader whose life was one of incessant strife, but who restored the greatness of the Arab nation.
They would look back and see the man who lived by his saying: "We will never lower our heads as long as we live, even if we have to destroy everybody." Charles Duelfer opened his report on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction with those words. For a humiliated people, Saddam would restore pride by any means.
Saddam knew the tools he would need to reshape history and establish his glory: weapons of mass destruction. These weapons had what Duelfer and his team called a "totemic" importance to him. With these weapons, Saddam had defeated the evil Persians. With these weapons he had crushed his internal opponents. With these weapons he would deter what he called the "Zionist octopus" in both Israel and America.
But in the 1990's, the world was arrayed against him to deprive him of these weapons. So Saddam, the clever one, The Struggler, undertook a tactical retreat. He would destroy the weapons while preserving his capacities to make them later. He would foil the inspectors and divide the international community. He would induce it to end the sanctions it had imposed to pen him in. Then, when the sanctions were lifted, he would reconstitute his weapons and emerge greater and mightier than before.
The world lacked what Saddam had: the long perspective. Saddam understood that what others see as a defeat or a setback can really be a glorious victory if it is seen in the context of the longer epic.
Saddam worked patiently to undermine the sanctions. He stored the corpses of babies in great piles, and then unveiled them all at once in great processions to illustrate the great humanitarian horrors of the sanctions.
Saddam personally made up a list of officials at the U.N., in France, in Russia and elsewhere who would be bribed. He sent out his oil ministers to curry favor with China, France, Turkey and Russia. He established illicit trading relations with Ukraine, Syria, North Korea and other nations to rebuild his arsenal.
It was all working. He acquired about $11 billion through illicit trading. He used the oil-for-food billions to build palaces. His oil minister was treated as a "rock star," as the report put it, at international events, so thick was the lust to trade with Iraq.
France, Russia, China and other nations lobbied to lift sanctions. Saddam was, as the Duelfer report noted, "palpably close" to ending sanctions.
With sanctions weakening and money flowing, he rebuilt his strength. He contacted W.M.D. scientists in Russia, Belarus, Bulgaria and elsewhere to enhance his technical knowledge base. He increased the funds for his nuclear scientists. He increased his military-industrial-complex's budget 40-fold between 1996 and 2002. He increased the number of technical research projects to 3,200 from 40. As Duelfer reports, "Prohibited goods and weapons were being shipped into Iraq with virtually no problem."
And that is where Duelfer's story ends. Duelfer makes clear on the very first page of his report that it is a story. It is a mistake and a distortion, he writes, to pick out a single frame of the movie and isolate it from the rest of the tale.
But that is exactly what has happened. I have never in my life seen a government report so distorted by partisan passions. The fact that Saddam had no W.M.D. in 2001 has been amply reported, but it's been isolated from the more important and complicated fact of Saddam's nature and intent.
But we know where things were headed. Sanctions would have been lifted. Saddam, rich, triumphant and unbalanced, would have reconstituted his W.M.D. Perhaps he would have joined a nuclear arms race with Iran. Perhaps he would have left it all to his pathological heir Qusay.
We can argue about what would have been the best way to depose Saddam, but this report makes it crystal clear that this insatiable tyrant needed to be deposed. He was the menace, and, as the world dithered, he was winning his struggle. He was on the verge of greatness. We would all now be living in his nightmare.
excellent piece! nails what John Kerry cannot seem to understand right between the eyes!
Is this a subtle endorsement of GW's actions there?
Even though it's on the Op-Ed page it's nice to see something truthful come out of the NY Times.
Original post here http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1239726/posts
Excellent article and analysis by David Brooks, who along with William Safire, are the ONLY two voices of reason on the ultra-left NY Times Op-Ed Page.
In fact, I believe that over the last year or so Brooks has been much more pointed, trenchant and effective in his analyses than Safire.
However, Brooks is as the "lone voice in a far-left wilderness" over at the NY Slimes.
Seems to me like there's been an ever increasing number in recent history.
....The world lacked what Saddam had: the long perspective....
Well not exactly. As a student of Will Durant I have a long perspective. My favorite pol Newt has, and I feel certain the Bush administration has.
Unfortunately for Saddam, the current view in the long perspective doees not include Saddam Hussein. The writer may be glimpsing the reality of George Bush. We are not going to play the same old game, we are going to play a new game and it has just begun.
The pride of the Arabs is in masterminding the killing of children.
Next, Korea, Iran, or others - whatever is necessary!
Kerry and his playmates in the media understand it all too well. If the truth were to become known, then Bush's actions would be incontestable -- and their own indefensible.
Understanding that, they attempt to spin the truth into something else...
Check comment# 28 on this thread about WMD in the Duelfer(sp?) report.
I don't know why all parties continue to report that no WMDs were found in Iraq. The Duelfer Repost states that 53 Chemical WMDs have been found in Iraq since June of this year. The complete report is available on the following CIA website:
Check out Page 30.
Forty one SAKR-18 Sarin tipped rockets were found in one location. The SAKR-18 is an Egyption manufactured copy of the Soviet BM-21. Each Rocket has a range of 20-40 Km depending on the rocket motor and carries a 38 Kg war head. This particular version of the SAKR carries the capability of dispersing smoke for battlefield concealment. Anyone of these fired into a population center or smuggled into a public gathering could easily inflict 10X 100X the casualties of 911. The real danger was in one of these getting into the hands of terrorists.
For example, if Sarin-tipped artillery shells had constituted the known sum of Saddam's WMD programs, they would not have represented a sufficient reason to go to war -- on their own. It was the suspected presence of a nuclear program and known biological weapon research that drove the decision.
And, to my mind, fully justifies it still.
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