Skip to comments.Saddam: What We Now Know (He was at least as big a terror threat as Osama Bin Laden)
Posted on 09/14/2011 6:47:12 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Saddam Hussein was a WMD threat and a terror threat to the United States and its allies.
Too many of the post-9/11 critics have forgotten or were never aware of this fact. Even in last weeks NRO symposium, writers called the invasion of Iraq an unjust war, an optional war, and finally a result of the flawed intelligence that skewed the perceived threat posed by Saddam Husseins regime to the United States.
There is little doubt that the pre-war intelligence on Iraq was faulty, mostly because of Saddams continuing attempts to convince Iran that he still maintained a potent WMD capacity despite years of sanctions. Unfortunately, in the years of recriminations following the invasion of Iraq the actual truth was lost, until it became commonplace for even those who supported the invasion to admit that Saddam did not pose a WMD threat. Likewise, as he was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks, many believe he was not a terror threat either.
Before the consensus is written in stone, it is worth going over the evidence collected since the removal of the Saddam regime. Leaving aside the fact that he slaughtered more than a million of his own people and was prone to launching unprovoked wars against his neighbors both good reasons for his violent removal what threat did Saddam actually pose? Lets go through just a sliver of the evidence.
SADDAM AND WMDS When American tanks smashed into Baghdad, Saddam had already completed construction of an anthrax production facility, which was a week away from going live. If it had been permitted to go into production, this one facility could have produced ten tons of weaponized anthrax a year. Experts estimate that anthrax spores that infect the skin will kill 50 percent of untreated victims. Inhaled anthrax will kill 100 percent of untreated victims and 50 percent of those receiving immediate treatment. That means that a mere 1 percent of Saddams annual production (200 pounds) sprayed by crop-duster over New York City would have killed upwards of three million people.
Anthrax, however, was far from the only WMD Saddam was actively researching and working assiduously to acquire. He also had teams working overtime to create a stockpile of some of the most deadly biological weapons possible. Several years ago, the press had a field day when two suspected mobile bio-labs, presented at the U.N. as evidence of Saddams continuing WMD development programs, actually turned out to be weather-balloon stations. That same press, however, then ignored the fact that postwar investigators found five actual mobile bio-labs in and around Bagdad. One of these labs was discovered in a mosque, which had been placed off-limits to prewar U.N. inspectors. Another was found in Baghdads Central Public Health Laboratory. One can imagine the anguished cries from the Left if we had bombed what the Iraqis claimed was a public-health facility. Saddam even had a huge bio-warfare production facility masquerading as the Samarra Drug Company. This facility would have been capable of producing up to 10,000 liters of deadly pathogens a year. It was less than a month from going into production when the invasion of Iraq began. If this plant had turned its attention to botulinum toxin, it could have produced enough in a few months to wipe out the world. Again, how would bombing a plant that Saddam would claim was producing life-saving drugs have played in the media?
Investigators also found two labs that appeared to be producing animal vaccines. However, according to investigators, all of the equipment was dual use . . . and easily diverted to produce smallpox or other pathogenic viruses. Another nearby lab was busily working on cowpox vaccines, with the exact same equipment necessary to create smallpox. One should note that even a thimbleful of smallpox germs would be enough to kill tens of millions. Smallpox, placed in the hands of a terrorist group and released at a sporting event, would devastate a large swath of the United States. It should be noted that each of these facilities was staffed or often visited by persons previously identified by the U.N. as being associated with Saddams preDesert Storm WMD programs. One facility, often visited by Dr. Rihab Rashid Taha al-Azawi, better known to Western intelligence as Dr. Germ, maintained, according to investigators, a small capacity for production of organic agents. When it comes to smallpox, a small capacity is all one needs to create global havoc.
Biological weapons were an important and dangerous thrust of Saddams WMD program, but far from all that his regime was working on. In 1991, Saddam moved all of his WMD specialists out of government labs and into universities, once again making them off-limits to inspectors and coalition bombers. According to documents discovered after the war, by 1997 the number of university instructors doing solely WMD work numbered 3,300, with another 700 to 800 dispatched to WMD-related facilities to help with technical problems. Between 1996 and 2002 the eve of the invasion spending on WMD projects increased 40-fold, and the number of specific projects increased from 40 to 3,200. Top officials captured after the collapse of the regime repeatedly told investigators that Saddams WMD projects were in overdrive and ready to go into production the moment sanctions were lifted.
Saddams minister of military industrialization, Abdullah Mullah al-Huwaysh, stated that Saddam was working to reconstruct all of his WMD programs within five years. In his words, this would have included a sizable nuclear inventory on hand for immediate use. Huwaysh also stated that in response to a Saddam inquiry regarding how long it would take to start mass production of chemical weapons, he told the tyrant that mustard-gas production could start within six months, but Sarin and VX would take a bit longer. Other WMD scientists told investigators that they had the materials and equipment to start mustard-gas production in days.
Inevitably, a relaxation of some of the sanctions led Saddam to start thinking again about nuclear weapons. In 1999 he met with his senior nuclear scientists and offered to provide them with whatever they needed, and immediately thereafter new funds began to flow to the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC). In 2001, Saddam directed a large budget increase for the IAEC and increased the salaries of nuclear scientists ten-fold. He also directed the head of the IAEC to keep nuclear scientists together, and instituted new laws and privileges for IAEC scientists, while also investing in numerous new projects. From 2001 on, Saddam convened frequent meetings with the IAEC to highlight new achievements.
Although Saddam did not possess huge stocks of WMD material when we invaded, he was well on his way to creating an arsenal potent enough to decimate any attacking force. If we had delayed even a couple of months, until Saddam actually had his deadly pathogens and gas weapons, it would have meant the deaths of tens of thousands of American soldiers. And if those weapons had found their way into terrorist hands, it would have doomed millions. But did Saddam have these kinds of connections? Was he a global terror threat akin to al-Qaeda? The common wisdom says no. The common wisdom is wrong.
SADDAM AND TERROR In 1999, the top ten graduates of Saddams Fedayeen Academy (terrorist training center) were specifically chosen for assignment to London. Once there they were held in readiness for operations anywhere in Europe. A memorandum addressed to Saddams son Uday specifically states that these trainees were designated for martyrdom operations. In the same memorandum, outlining Operation Blessed July, Uday is briefed on plans for terrorists to be sent to Great Britain and other countries, to begin a campaign of assassinations and bombings. Interestingly, the report states that any Fedayeen terrorists operating in Europe will be provided with death capsules for their personal use in case of capture. Besides selecting and training these potential terrorists, the Saddam regime also undertook substantial logistical preparations. A glimpse of these preparations can be seen in the response Saddam received from his intelligence services when he inquired about what weapons were available to arm terrorists in Iraqi embassies. Here is part of the tally:
Romania: Missile launcher and missile
Athens [Greece]: Explosive charges
Vienna [Austria]: Explosive charges, rifles with silencers, hand grenades, and Kalashnikov rifles
Pakistan: Explosive materials (TNT)
India: Plastic-explosive charges and booby-trapped suitcases
Thailand: Plastic-explosive charges and booby-trapped suitcases
Prague [Czech Republic]: Missile launcher and missile
Turkey: Missile launcher, missile, and pistols with silencers
Sanaa [Yemen]: Missile launcher, missile, plastic explosives, and explosive charges
Baku [Azerbaijan]: American missile launcher, plastic explosives, and booby-trapped suitcases
Beirut [Lebanon]: American missile launcher, plastic explosives, and booby-trapped suitcases
Gulf nations: Explosive material outside the embassies
The memo further states that between 2000 and 2002, explosive materials were transported to many embassies outside of Iraq for special work.
Realizing the value of suicide bombers, the regimes intelligence services, a week after 9/11, sent a letter to Saddam outlining the steps they had taken to recruit bombers: Division Commands have launched a campaign among their members, supporters, and backers of the Party encouraging them to volunteer in suicide operations, and have them write volunteer statements, preferably in their own blood. The rest of the memo is a list of the 42 persons who had already signed on to blow themselves up whenever and wherever Saddam wished. The selection and training of suicide bombers became so routine that the regime started scheduling training sessions around the volunteers vacation periods from university.
An example of a successful suicide operation is documented in a letter that Fedayeen Saddam headquarters forwarded to Uday Hussein. A woman called Nazah asks for his help in processing her husbands pension documents. She claims the request is justified because her husband died when he carried out a suicide mission on 19 July 2000, and exploded himself at the Ibn Sina Hotel during the presence of U.S. and U.K. citizens and officials from Iraqi opposition parties. She goes on to list some of his other activities that would justify a pension for his family:
Booby-trapped a car in front of the Kurdish Communist Party Headquarters
Detonated a car bomb during the motorcade of Danielle Mitterrand (wife of French president François Mitterrand) in Halsabajah City, which killed 40 enemies
Poisoned opposition-party members on the orders of the intelligence services
Saddam was also a sponsor of state terrorism on a truly impressive scale. One document sent to Saddam lists all the major terrorist groups that his intelligence services are in contact with, how long they have been in the Iraqi fold, and approximately how much support they have received. Most of these organizations also appear on the list of al- Qaedalinked terrorist groups. Saddam and bin Laden may have loathed each other, but they found common cause in financially supporting, arming, and helping to train groups that are part of the same global terrorist network. One note sent to Saddam presented an account of how many foreign terrorists were currently training in Iraqi centers.
Palestine 38 Egypt 4
Lebanon 10 Libya 1
Tunisia 8 Sudan 18
Syria 10 Eritrea 7
Morocco 3 Unknown 1
In fact, after his 1991 defeat in Operation Desert Storm, Saddam ordered his intelligence services to maintain contact with all terrorist movements in the Arab countries. Captured documents reveal that intelligence-service activities went beyond just maintaining contact. One set of details appears in a report written six weeks after 9/11. It states that Iraq was sending an administrative officer to establish and oversee a terrorist training camp, and lists the equipment being dispatched in the first set of supplies:
15,000 Kalashnikov 7.62-mm rifles
15,000 [SKS] rifles
5,000 Browning pistols
5,000 Markarov pistols
1 high-quality photocopier
The memorandum ends with the names of 52 fighters waiting for training in the camp.
Evidence of Saddams continuing interest in and support for global terrorist activities is found in a 2002 annual report of one of the directorates within his intelligence service. It states that, in the year after 9/11, it held 13 meetings for a number of Palestinian and other organizations, including delegations from the Islamic Jihad Movement and the director general of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of al-Ahwaz (al-Ahwaz is a portion of Iran inhabited largely by Arabs). The list then details the messages various terrorist groups sent to Saddam during the year. The titles of the messages range from simple best wishes on Saddams birthday to the following:
Information on the number of Palestinian martyrs killed vs. Zionists killed
Requests for military equipment and for help for the families of suicide bombers
Information on the financial status of various terrorist organizations, volunteers for suicide operations, and rumors of a plan to assassinate Saddam Hussein
The report also notes that among the 699 passports that the intelligence services issued, many were issued to known members of terrorist organizations. Moreover, it states that the intelligence services took four million dinars from their own budgets to finance Palestinian terrorist groups.
The report also provides a list of activities the intelligence services considered exemplary events, for example:
Re-equipping and training Palestinian fighters in al-Quds training camps [in Iraq]
Establishing and activating a course to train Arab Liberation Front fighters on martyrdom operations
Establishing fighter schools for Arab volunteers and later for Iraqi volunteers
Re-establishing and re-equipping the military base of the Arab Liberation Front
Training groups from the occupied territories [Palestine] on light weapons in secret 30-day courses
All of this is just the tip of the iceberg of available evidence demonstrating that Saddam posed a dangerous threat to America. There are other reports providing specific information on dozens of terrorist attacks, as well as details of how Iraq helped plan and execute many of them. Moreover, there is also proof of Saddams support of Islamic groups that were part of the al-Qaeda network. A good analogy for the links between Saddam and bin Laden is the Cali and Medellín drug cartels. Both drug cartels (actually loose collections of families and criminal gangs) were serious national-security concerns to the United States. The two cartels competed for a share of the illegal drug market. However, neither cartel was reluctant to cooperate with the other when it came to the pursuit of a common objective expanding and facilitating their illicit trade. The well-publicized and violent rise of the Medellín cartel temporarily obscured and overshadowed the rise of, and threat posed by, the Cali cartel, in the same way that 9/11 camouflaged the terror threat posed by Saddam. In reality Saddam and bin Laden were operating parallel terror networks aimed at the United States. Bin Laden just has the distinction of having made the first horrendous attack.
Given the evidence, it appears that we removed Saddams regime not a moment too soon.
Jim Lacey is the author of The First Clash and Keep from All Thoughtful Men.
Well, I heard it was because Saddam threatened Bush’s Daddy ... [/libspeak]
Terrific article. Thanks for posting it.
RE: Terrific article. Thanks for posting it.
Must be bookmarked as ammunition against the “Bush lied, people died” groupthinkers.
Saddam was the producer of WMD and Osama would be the delivery boy was the reality.
Bush did the absolute right thing.
And if Bubba had done the right thing after the '93 hit on the NYC Tower, maybe 9-11 would have never happened.
Saddam didn’t have WMD’s. Uh huh. Go tell that to the Iranians and the Kurds. The elephant in the room is, what happened to those WMD’s? Why is this such a hush-hush matter?
1. There were buildings on Iraqi bases that were off limits because people got deathly ill upon entering.
2. Anthrax shots were initially not mandatory for civilian deployees to Iraq. What changed?
I think CNN is running a series of stories on this. Oh, wait a minute, that series is on hot tennis players.
I’ll bet the Syrians have them.
So effective has been Big Media's whitewash of Hussein's wmd programs that I have friends who vigorously deny Hussein EVER!!! has any wmds. I'd point out the slaughter of the Kurds to them, and they'd shake their heads. Because they "know" Hussein never had any wmds. Their lib leaders told them so.
This article makes a strong case for the necessary action against SH. I never doubted that he was a grave threat. He was not an immediate threat but the long term possibilities were very strong. He was surrounded by terrorists. The only dependable fighters in GW2 were the Fedayyan, trained terrorists. SH hated the US and had every intention to seek revenge. With the sanctions lifted (or at least eased), he had the means and opportunity to wage unconventional warfare. Ironically, policy that emerged during the Clinton administration was to remove SH. The Clinton administration waged war on SH with periods of heavy bombing.
GW’s mistake was nation building. He campaigned against nation building and then discarded his policy with the threat of terrorism. Nation building has enormous costs and hardly ever works. Bush should never have conducted nation building in Iraq. Nation building in Iraq ruined his presidency and caused the loss of Republican control of Congress. Democrats and their allies showed their true disdain for out military with their incredible rants against Bush and the military. These rants were responsible for deaths and maiming of our military people as the terrorists were emboldened by the prospect of US unrest. Obama has not changed policies much yet there is hardly any protests. Incredibly, he has started a new war which will most likely end badly with a new regime being worse than the previous regime.
Thank you for posting this.
I saw that blob, Michael Moore, on the Today show reminding everyone how he was the first to say publicly no WMDs would ever be found in Iraq. Savannah “Too Tall” Guthrie let it go.
This is a pretty long read- I think I’ll clip it out of the New York Times and read it in the waiting room at my next appointment. < /sarc >
CONTRA Michael Moore....
WikiLeaks docs prove Saddam had WMD, threats remain
by Seth Mandel
October 28, 2010
WikiLeaks latest publication of Iraq war documents contains a lot of information that most reasonable people would prefer remained unknown, such as the names of Iraqi informants who will now be hunted for helping the U.S.
And although the anti-war left welcomed the release of the documents, they would probably cringe at one of the most significant finds of this latest crop of reports: Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
By late 2003, even the Bush White Houses staunchest defenders were starting to give up on the idea that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Wired magazines Danger Room reports. But WikiLeaks newly-released Iraq war documents reveal that for years afterward, U.S. troops continued to find chemical weapons labs, encounter insurgent specialists in toxins and uncover weapons of mass destruction.
That is, there definitively were weapons of mass destruction and elements of a WMD program in Saddam Husseins Iraq when U.S.-led coalition troops entered the country to depose Hussein.
Predictably, the liberal media did their best to either ignore the storylike the New York Times and Washington Post didor spin it. Its not an easy choice to make, since ignoring the story makes you look out of the loop and hurts your reputation as an informative publication, yet spinning the story means actively attempting to confuse and mislead your readers. CBS News chose the latter.
WikiLeaks Iraq War Logs: No Evidence of Massive WMD Caches read the headline on CBS News online. Here is the storys opening paragraph:
The nearly 400,000 Iraq war log documents released by WikiLeaks on Friday were full of evidence of abuses, civilian deaths and the chaos of war, but clear evidence of weapons of mass destructionthe Bush administrations justification for invading Iraqappears to be missing.
There are two falsehoods in that sentence, demonstrating the difficulty in trying to spin a clear fact. The Bush administrations justification for invading Iraq was much broader than WMDin fact, it was similar to the litany of reasons the Clinton administration signed the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, which specifically called for regime change in Iraq as the official policy of the United States government (Iraq had repeatedly violated international law, Iraq had failed to comply with the obligations that ended the Gulf War, Iraq had circumvented U.N. resolutions, etc.).
If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow, President Clinton said in February 1998. Some day, some way, I guarantee you, hell use the arsenal.
The second falsehood was the phrase appears to be missing. In August 2004, American soldiers seized a toxic blister agent, a chemical weapon used since the First World War, Wired reported. In Anbar province, they discovered a chemical lab and a chemical cache. Three years later, U.S. military found buried WMD, and even as recent as 2008 found chemical munitions.
This isnt the first time Iraq war documents shattered a media myth about Saddams regime. In 2008, a Pentagon study of Iraqi documents, as well as audio and video recordings, revealed connections between Saddams regime and al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Called the Iraqi Perspectives Project (IPP), the reportbased on more than 600,000 captured original documents and thousands of hours of audio and video recordingsproved conclusively that Saddam had worked with terrorist organizations that were plotting attacks on American targets around the world.
One way to identify a media narrative in deep trouble is the naked attempt to draw conclusions for the reader instead of just presenting the story. The CBS report on the leaked WMD documents is a case in point of the reporter telling the reader what they ought to think, knowing full well that otherwise the facts of the case would likely lead the reader to the opposite conclusion.
At this point, CBS reporter Dan Farber desperately pleads, history will still record that the Bush administration went into Iraq under an erroneous threat assessment that Saddam Hussein was manufacturing and hoarding weapons of mass destruction.
Thats as close as the liberal mainstream media will get to admitting they were wrong. Its their version of a confession. The myth that Saddam Husseins Iraq was WMD-free has met its demise.
And these weapons couldnt simply be the lost scraps of Saddams attempts to destroy the stockpile, as Ed Morrissey points out.
Had Saddam Hussein wanted those weapons destroyed, no lower-ranking military officer would have dared defy him by keeping them hidden, he writes. It would have taken dozens of officers to conspire to move and hide those weapons, as well as a like number of enlisted men, any and all of whom could have been a spy for the Hussein clique.
But now that weve answered the question of whether there were actual weapons of mass destruction in Iraqthere were and arewe may have a more significant question to answer: Who has possession of these weapons now?
But the more salient issue may be how insurgents and Islamic extremists (possibly with the help of Iran) attempted to use these lethal and exotic arms, Wired reports. In 2006, for example, neuroparalytic chemical weapons were brought in from Iran.
That same month, then chemical weapons specialists were apprehended in Balad, the Wired report continues. These foreigners were there specifically to support the chemical weapons operations. The following month, an intelligence report refers to a chemical weapons expert that provided assistance with the gas weapons. What happened to that specialist, the WikiLeaked document doesnt say.
RE: Michael Moore, on the Today show reminding everyone how he was the first to say publicly no WMDs would ever be found in Iraq
What does the Boviator say to this :
Hundreds of chemical weapons found in Iraq: US intelligence
US-led coalition forces in Iraq have found some 500 chemical weapons since the March 2003 invasion, Republican lawmakers said, citing an intelligence report.
“Since 2003, Coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent,” said an overview of the report unveiled by Senator Rick Santorum and Peter Hoekstra, head of the intelligence committee of the House of Representatives.
“Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq’s pre-Gulf war chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf war chemical munitions are assessed to still exist,” it says.
The lawmakers cited the report as validation of the US rationale for the war, and stressed the ongoing danger they pose.
“This is an incredibly — in my mind — significant finding. The idea that, as my colleagues have repeatedly said in this debate on the other side of the aisle, that there are no weapons of mass destruction, is in fact false,” Santorum said.
A Pentagon official who confirmed the findings said that all the weapons were pre-1991 vintage munitions “in such a degraded state they couldn’t be used for what they are designed for.”
The official, who asked not to be identified, said most were 155 millimeter artillery projectiles with mustard gas or sarin of varying degrees of potency.
“We’re destroying them where we find them in the normal manner,” the official said.
In 2004, the US army said it had found a shell containing sarin gas and another shell containing mustard gas, and a Pentagon official said at the time the discovery showed there were likely more.
The intelligence overview published Wednesday stressed that the pre-Gulf War Iraqi chemical weapons could be sold on the black market.
“Use of these weapons by terrorists or insurgent groups would have implications for coalition forces in Iraq. The possibility of use outside Iraq cannot be ruled out,” it said.
Santorum said the two-month-old report was prepared by the National Ground Intelligence Center, a military intelligence agency that started looking for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq when the Iraq Survey Group stopped doing so in late 2004.
Last year the head of Iraq Survey Group, Charles Duelfer, said that insurgents in Iraq had already used old chemical weapons in their attacks.
Nevertheless, “the impression that the Iraqi Survey Group left with the American people was they didn’t find anything,” Hoekstra said.
“But this says: Weapons have been discovered; more weapons exist. And they state that Iraq was not a WMD-free zone, that there are continuing threats from the materials that are or may still be in Iraq,” he said.
Asked just how dangerous the weapons are, Hoekstra said: “One or two of these shells, the materials inside of these, transferred outside of the country, can be very, very deadly.”
The report said that the purity of the chemical agents — and thus their potency — depends on “many factors, including the manufacturing process, potential additives, and environmental storage conditions.”
“While agents degrade over time, chemical warfare agents remain hazardous and potentially lethal,” it said.
Reporters questioned the lawmakers as to why the Bush administration had not played up the report to boost their case for continued warfare in Iraq.
“The administration has been very clear that they want to look forward,” Santorum said. “They felt it was not their role to go back and fight previous discussions.”
Fear that Saddam Hussein might use his alleged arsenal of chemical and biological weapons was a reason US officials gave for launching the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Mark - Read later. Seems like a good companion to Cheney’s book - which I am listening to.