- The Washington Times - Monday, February 2, 2004

Kay concessions mischaracterized

Georgie Anne Geyer’s “Kay’s sobering conclusions” (Commentary, Sunday) badly mischaracterizes the facts on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and David Kay’s recent testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee. For example, Mr. Kay said Saddam Hussein attempted to revive his nuclear weapons programs in 2000-01, not just in the 1990s. Regarding uranium shipments, evidence has surfaced in a memo to Saddam from his chief of intelligence discussing shipments from Niger having safely transferred through Libya, which Miss Geyer ignores. That actual shipments have not recently been found is immaterial in that Iraq previously purchased uranium from Niger, and former Ambassador Joseph Wilson told the CIA in 1999 that he was convinced that such sales may be continuing.

Two Iraqi military officers told British intelligence before the war that they had seen orders from Saddam to arm Iraqi artillery and rockets with chemical weapons. They have confirmed their view since, telling British Parliament that the chemical weapons could be used in 30 to 45 minutes. Would Miss Geyer have had us ignore such testimony? On Syria, Miss Geyer relies on double talk by claiming there is no “conclusive evidence” that any WMDs were moved from Iraq, but fails to note that Mr. Kay was insistent that some forms of WMD or WMD technology were in fact moved to Syria, the exact nature remaining unknown. (And it has not been the Bush administration but former Iraqi intelligence and military officials who have made this claim).

Miss Geyer then claims that this all proves the U.N. inspection system works wonderfully and that we need not rely on coercive diplomacy or regime change. She is wrong on at least four points. Mr. Kay’s testimony makes clear that he maintains his support for Iraqi regime change as carried out by the American and allied coalition. In addition, if the U.N. inspection process is so wonderful, why does Miss Geyer herself concede that weapons programs in Iran, Libya and North Korea are far advanced when compared to Iraq, even though U.N. weapons inspectors visited all of these countries? Furthermore, the U.N. inspection process was implemented as part of a cease-fire agreement that followed massive U.S. and allied military intervention to push Iraq out of Kuwait, an inspection process that also did not discover elements of Saddam’s weapons until his weapons master, his son-in-law Hussein Kamal, defected and spilled the beans.

The strength and dimensions of the effort in Iraq were unprecedented and came about only as a result of the application of U.S. and allied military power. If Miss Geyer will remember, support for sanctions against Iraq in 1991— as opposed to using force to push Saddam from Kuwait — would have resulted in Iraq’s acquisition within six to 12 months of a nuclear bomb, according to then-U.N. weapons inspections chief Rolf Ekeus. Only our destruction of Iraq’s WMD programs with our military power changed what could have been a catastrophic course of events.

Finally, Miss Geyer is completely wrong about the nature of the CIA intelligence on Iraq. There is no evidence that any analyst was ever pressured to distort or change evidence, and this Mr. Kay confirmed. Parenthetically, the BBC’s similar charge against the Blair government has been found to be a fabrication. In 1998, 27 senators, including 15 Democrats — among them John Kerry and Dianne Feinstein — said Iraq had WMD, would use them against the United States and therefore posed a serious and growing threat to the United States. In their October 1998 letter to Bill Clinton, they called on the president to use military force to produce regime change in Iraq. Much of the evidence cited was exactly what the Bush administration relied on in 2002-03 to make its decision to fulfill the call for regime change in Iraq, a goal formalized with the passage of the Iraqi Liberation Act signed by Mr. Clinton in 1998. The intelligence on Iraq may very well turn out to be imperfect — but it was so because we were denied on-the-ground agents when the use of “unsavory” characters in intelligence gathering was forbidden, a point emphasized by Mr. Kay.

In conclusion, it’s true that we — and the French, German, Israeli, Russian and British governments — all overestimated the extent of the Iraqi WMD program during and after 1998. But Miss Geyer concedes similar programs in Iran, North Korea and Libya were far more extensive than the United Nations believed precisely because we relied on an outdated and ineffective inspections regime that underestimated these threats.



GeoStrategic Analysis


Spinning at the Sierra Club

As a former president of the Shasta Group of the Sierra Club (1972-73) and as a Sierra Club member, I say the club needs new leadership (“Sierra Club fights takeover drive,” Culture, Thursday). As a civil and environmental engineer, I know, and so do most club members, that more people means more land and trees taken from nature, less habitat for wild animals, more cars on wider freeways, more damming of rivers for water, more sewage and more drilling for oil where life is fragile. But the establishment Sierra Club oppresses the majority of its members and, as if having made an omerta-like vow, refuses to discuss population growth’s pressure on America’s resources and wild animals. Why?



As a former member of the National Population Committee of the Sierra Club, I take exception to an obviously orchestrated attempt by some to put a deceptive and sinister spin on the upcoming election.

In the 1980s, it was recognized within the Sierra Club that U.S. population growth is a problem for us and the world, especially considering our high resource consumption, disproportionate contribution to greenhouse-gas emissions and the futility of trying to protect our environment against ever-increasing human pressures. The club hierarchy, at that time, agreed with the concept of a reasonable U.S. policy that would move us toward population stabilization, not a position that was “anti-baby” or “anti-immigrant,” merely a recognition that the rest of the developed world had stopped growing, and we must too.

Then came leadership changes within the Sierra Club, apparently away from a science-based philosophy to some sort of come-one-come-all social philosophy. The club went so far as to place gag orders on chapter leaders, forbidding them to even discuss U.S. population, or most particularly, immigration — even though immigration fuels most of a growth rate catapulting us toward a possible 1 billion Americans by the end of this century, three times our current population.

That is not “anti-immigrant,” as depicted by some, who seem unable to debate the issue on merit, so they fall back on the rather pathetic tactic of attempting to discredit those with whom they disagree.


Los Alamos, N.M.

Defining down heresy

I’m not a member of the Episcopal Church, but any Christian should be appalled at the quotes attributed to the Rt. Rev. Peter J. Lee, Episcopal bishop of Virginia, in Saturday’s Washington Times (“Heresy better idea than schism?” Page 1). Approvingly quoting a “Presbyterian scholar,” Bishop Lee told the diocesan council, “If you must make a choice between heresy and schism, always choose heresy … For as a heretic, you are only guilty of a wrong opinion,” but one who causes division within the church has “torn and divided the body of Christ. Choose heresy every time.”

I read those statements several times in disbelief that a senior member of even as liberal a denomination as the Episcopal Church could make such remarks. If a church that claims to be “the body of Christ” is willing to embrace or even tolerate heresy (religious belief contrary to established church doctrine) for the sake of keeping its denomination intact, for what does it stand? Where would the line be drawn? Anyone could interpret any portion of the Bible, including fundamental Christian doctrines such as the deity of Christ, the importance of the Resurrection, the virgin birth of Christ, and the essential nature of the blood and sacrifice of Christ for the remission of sin, in any way he or she chose. The church would stand for nothing — there would be no absolute truth.

To reduce “heresy” to the level of “a wrong opinion” to be tolerated so as to avoid schisms in the church is abominable. The Apostle Peter devoted an entire chapter (2 Peter 2) to the judgment awaiting “false teachers” who “privily shall bring in damnable heresies.” To hear a bishop say, “Choose heresy every time,” is almost incredible. That statement alone should cause the true followers of Christ in the Episcopal Church to abandon their attempts to “work within the system” and run, not walk, to another church that holds the immutable Word of God in higher esteem.



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