|Thursday, June 10, 2004
12:55 - Oh boy, WMDs
I don't normally post stuff from Stratfor, because a) it's typically under a for-pay umbrella and not something I'd feel comfortable reposting on a blog, and b) Stratfor is held in some suspicion by a lot of analysts, whether justly or not. But this bit is just a half-page brief, and I have something to say about it, so here:
U.N.: WMD Equipment Found?
June 10, 2004 1501 GMT
Acting Chief U.N. Inspector Demetrius Perricos told the U.N. Security
Council on June 9 that equipment used for producing weapons of mass
destruction -- including 20 engines from banned Iraqi missiles -- were
found in a Jordanian scrap yard. A similar discovery was recently made in
the Netherlands. U.N. weapons inspectors believe the metal can be used
both for legitimate purposes and for creating banned weapons. Perricos
said, "The only controls at the borders are for the weight of the metal,
and to check whether there are any explosive or radioactive materials
within the scrap." Inspectors do not know whether the items were at the
sites during the Iraq war, or looters sold them as scrap.
Hooray. All right. Huzzah.
But you know... even if such links are proven, it'll be a hollow victory, because all it will serve to do is answer people's bilious claims that the war was all about WMDs, which if nonexistent rendered the war "invalid" or "illegal". It wouldn't do anything to convince people that the war was necessary in a much bigger sense, WMDs or no WMDs—that arguing semantics over how many missiles of so-and-so range were allowed to Saddam, or whether they were built post-1991 or properly declared to the UN, completely misses the point of why we actually fought this thing (e.g. to bring about widespread revolution against autocracy throughout the Middle East), and why there will be—must be—more targets than just Iraq.
The doubters have managed to turn the discussion from "spreading freedom and democracy, which in turn smothers terrorism in its cradle" to "Well, okay, there's sarin and buried jet fighters and scrapped missiles, but if you can't produce a warehouse full of nukes, the whole war was just an illegal and opportunistic oil-grab that exploited post-9/11 paranoia". And that, coupled with Bush's lack of energy in getting the real message out and publicly refuting his opponents (though not all of that is his fault), is going to cause far more damage to the conviction we once had toward winning the war than any military defeat ever could.
Another case of something whose global significance is lost because people won't stop harping on the least interesting and most damaging aspects of it.