Sunday, October 10, 2004

Here we go again. Yet another earth-shattering report that Saddam Hussein, after all, did not possess stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) immediately prior to the American invasion of Iraq. How many more times must we hear this before the election?

Charles Duelfer, the chief of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) — the organization of 1,400 British, U.S. and Australian military experts searching for Iraqi WMD — announced Iraq’s nuclear program had deteriorated since 1991 and that the country had no stockpiles of biological or chemical weapons.

Interestingly, just a few days before,, in a report I link to on my new blog at, reported that recently confiscated Iraqi intelligence documents show that Saddam was working with terrorists to target Americans with mustard gas and anthrax, both considered WMD.

Frankly, my head is spinning with all the conflicting reports about Saddam and his alleged WMD or lack thereof. Some time ago, I gave up hope we would ever find a smoking gun on Iraqi WMDs. But even the ISG report conceded Saddam was still intent on developing WMD and that his regime’s “guiding theme” was to be able to start making them again with as short a lead time as possible.

I obviously don’t know if Saddam had renewed his WMD program or accumulated stockpiles of them, but neither does anyone else, except Saddam and some in his inner circle. If he did have stockpiles, he either hid them in that vast country or transferred them out.

But let’s assume he didn’t have them. So what? What does that prove? What does it say about President Bush’s decision to attack Iraq, partially on the basis of Saddam’s supposed WMD stockpiles?

Our intelligence agencies clearly said Saddam did have WMD stockpiles and was actively pursuing development of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

In the vice-presidential debate Tuesday night, John Edwards said Mr. Bush erred in not giving the sanctions more time to work. Oh? Perhaps he didn’t read the ISG report they are gleefully touting. As Tony Blair said, “Just as I have had to accept that the evidence now is that there were not stockpiles of actual weapons ready to be deployed, I hope others have the honesty to accept that the report also shows that sanctions weren’t working.”

And can we get real here about the inspections process? If we are just now gaining confidence Iraq had no WMD stockpiles after being in control of and thoroughly searching that nation for over a year, how could we have ever relied on weapons inspectors with limited access to a foreign land controlled by a hostile dictator?

We couldn’t, because it’s impossible to prove a negative. What we could be sure of is that he violated 17 U.N. resolutions and the peace treaties following the first Gulf war, that he had and used WMD, and that he never met his burden of proving to us he had disposed of the weapons. In fact, he behaved as a leader who still had those weapons, as he played cat and mouse with the inspectors and filed a bogus 12,000-page “compliance” report.

How could President Bush have done anything other than attack Iraq? Our intelligence agencies and foreign intelligence services said he had WMD, and Saddam himself acted as if he had WMD.

Moreover, Saddam had a history of sponsoring terrorists, including the families of the Palestinian suicide bombers. We know he hated the United States, loved terrorists, either had or was trying to produce WMDs, and would have — had we permitted him to remain in power — handed those off to terrorists to use against the United States or its allies.

President Bush announced the Bush Doctrine shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and it involved taking the fight to the terrorists and their sponsoring nation-states and, if necessary, doing so pre-emptively — attacking them before they could attack us. Based on the information Mr. Bush had, indeed, based on the information we have now, he had to take out Saddam. And you can be sure if he hadn’t and we were later attacked by terrorists with WMD acquired through Saddam, Democrats would crucify him for not doing enough.

While John Kerry says President Bush has hurt our credibility with foreign nations, a nation doesn’t gain credibility by making nice, but by following up on its promises, threats and commitments, and enforcing resolutions, as Mr. Bush has done.

The United States is, or will be, safer in the long run because George W. Bush had the wisdom and courage to dethrone Saddam Hussein. God bless President Bush.

David Limbaugh is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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