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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Saddam's Generals

As I was crusing my blogroll tonight, I found an interesting link over at Right Wing and Right Minded, Indian Chris's outstanding blog. And it blew me away.

The NY Times is running a two day story on the Iraq War, given from the perspective of senior Iraqi officals. They were interviewed after the war in Iraq, by military intelligence posing as historians. (registration required, but you should do it to read this article!)

There are two things that stand out in this article. The first is the paranoia of Saddam Hussein, even while everyone in the world was sure that the US was going to invade, he was worrying about Shiite uprisings as his biggest problem.

He felt the US would stop south of Baghdad like they did in 1991, but was afraid after that the Shiite's would rise up and try and overthrow him.

But the second, and the one that deserves attention, is that his military was convinced, until just a few months before the war that they did have a stockpile of WMD!

In December 2002, he told his top commanders that Iraq did not possess unconventional arms, like nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, according to the Iraq Survey Group, a task force established by the C.I.A. to investigate what happened to Iraq's weapons programs. Mr. Hussein wanted his officers to know they could not rely on poison gas or germ weapons if war broke out. The disclosure that the cupboard was bare, Mr. Aziz said, sent morale plummeting.

The article goes on to detail how he wanted the country scrubbed of it's WMD, but didn't want it widely known. He was determined they would be a deterrent to both the US, and Iran, who he was still fearful for.

So this brings up a question for the "Bush Lied" crowd, if the top leadership in Iraq had no clue that they had no WMD, how exactly were the CIA and other intelligence agencies supposed to be sure they were gone?

I'm pretty sure they will find a way to dismiss this article, but it's pretty damning to the idea that Bush knowingly went in knowing the WMD were gone.

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9Comments:

Blogger shoprat said...

I had heard shortly after we reached Baghdad that his generals were suprised to discover the WMDs did not exist.

If he fooled the people next to him, it is very easy to fool much of the world.

However some weapons obviously did exist because he used them. If he got rid of them what did he do with them? Where are they now?

8:39 PM  
Blogger Old Sgt said...

In an article dated Feb 19, 2006, NewsMax ran a story covering this very subject. According to the article Saddam's WMD were moved to Syria and Lebanon "by the Russian Spetnaz (special forces) units out of uniform", that were specifically sent to Iraq for that purpose. To eradicate any evidence of their (WMD's) existence. Where they went from there is uncertain.

Story link: http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2006/2/18/233023.shtml?s=lh

9:26 PM  
Blogger MDConservative said...

http://ci-report.blogspot.com/2006/02/saddam-is-smart-as-he-plays-left-like.html

A key quote from my piece:
"A lot of materials left Iraq and went to Syria," Duelfer said. "There was certainly a lot of traffic across the border points. We've got a lot of data to support that, including people discussing it. But whether in fact in any of these trucks there was WMD-related materials, I cannot say."

10:41 PM  
Blogger Lone Pony said...

Good question CP, and thanks for the new blog (Right Wing and Right Minded). It looks great!

5:55 AM  
Blogger Ed Abbey said...

To me, it seems as if there was evidence also suggesting what this article implied, that Saddam had gotten rid of the WMD's. So rather than verifying for sure, which may have been impossible, we cherry picked the evidence for WMD's in Iraq, built up a case and went in. Hindsite shows that there weren't any. I don't think Bush lied but maybe he didn't supply all the facts.

But that isn't what troubles me. What troubles me is that Iran was and still are waving their hands saying we are making WMD's and we chose to go into Iraq where nothing was proven. At the time, Iraq was the easier mark but now I am not so sure.

11:09 AM  
Blogger MDConservative said...

A lot of it falls on the fact that the people of Iran were/are more likely to stand up. There was no chance of change in Iraq without removing Saddam. BUT, Iran is different. In addition many times it is necessary to flex a muscle to encourage change.

However, that does not mean I have jumped the WMD ship.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Ed, I think the part that maybe you didn't catch was the nuance of doubt. While he did get rid of them, he was making sure it was hard to verify. Which I'm sure he now sees as a disasterous strategy. Had he fessed up he would have casterated Bush's arguement.

As for cherry picking, I think this actually helps point against that. Most of what is known as "operable intelligence" comes from human sources. If the folks we'd get that from (their military) was convinced that late in the game he still had the WMD, it would be very hard for the CIA to come up with other information.

Shoprat, Ed and the Sgt point to some articles that have gone into that. There has been a lot of speculation about it. A number of milbloggers go into the details of some small caches that have been discovered, but definitely not in the amounts that the UN claimed he had when they were kicked out in the late 90's.

9:19 PM  
Blogger Ed Abbey said...

CP, I agree with you that there was doubt about WMD's in Iraq. However, there is no doubt in Iran and that is what worries me. Why take on the country with doubt first?

The only answer I can think of is that Iraq needed to fall to have a chance of succeeding in a war with Iran.

7:24 AM  
Blogger on-my-mind said...

ed - you have an interesting point....

do you know whether Iran has ever gassed its own people like SH did?

3:00 AM  

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