Monday, August 26, 2013
Going to War in Syria? Against Whose WMDs?
Drudge linked a story this morning about the UN weapons inspectors looking into the gas attack in Syria were coming under fire.
That reminded me of the Duelfer report from Iraq.
Duelfer lead the Iraq Study Group looking for WMD's in Iraq after we went in. He eventually issued a final report on what they found. Of the people reading this post, I'm going to guess that I'm the only one who read Duelfer's full report when he issued it. Most media outlets reported that the group found no evidence of WMDs. Case closed.
But not every media outlet reported it that way.
What they didn't tell you was that Duelfer's group came under fire too. They got attacked when they tried to investigate reports that the WMDs were moved to Syria before we got there - reports that I think are credible. Two members of Duelfer's team were killed in the attack, and the site investigations stopped at that point. The team concluded that there was no official movements based on interviews with Iraqi scientists and Hussein himself after his capture. Did they interview General Sada - his Chief of Air Force - who claimed he flew the WMDs out in 53 sorties under cover of humanitarian aid? Not in any report that I see.
The reports say this:
""Based on the evidence available at present, ISG judged that it was unlikely that an official transfer of WMD material from Iraq to Syria took place," the addendum says.
- Well, what qualifies as "official"? Did Sada's flights qualify?
"Duelfer said the group found that Iraq had transferred military and other non-WMD material to Syria in violation of U.N. sanctions prior to the war."
Okay, there were some transfers to Syria. On Sada's flights? Or otherwise?
"The addendum says the group "could not rule out the possibility" of WMD transfers, as it was unable to complete its investigation. Site visits in Iraq were shut down last November because of security concerns, he said, noting the deaths of two team members from suicide bombings since September."
Bingo. Unable to rule it out because members of their team were killed and they reasonably stopped looking. So, don't rule it out.
"For now, this report is the best picture that could be drawn concerning the events, programs, policies, and underlying dynamics of the relationship of the former regime to WMD over the last three decades," Duelfer wrote.
- the best picture, but not a 100% picture.
Furthermore, the report does not rule out the possibility that unofficial transfers of "limited WMD-related materials" might have occurred.
- So don't you rule it out.
That report came out in 2004. You can find it if you look. I did, here.
We've learned other things since then. Two things come to mind:
WikiLeaks contained many documents that showed that WMDs were hunted and found after the report.
Chemical weapons were used in Syria last week. Where did they come from. Do we know?
Who used them? The Iranian-Soviet-Hezbollah backed government of Assad? Or the Sunni-Hamas-Obama backed rebels fighting under the black flag of a-lQaida.
Clearly, John Kerry and John McCain are beating the drums for war in Syria. The Obama administration will start the war without answers to the two questions (where did they come from and who used them).
Are you ready for war in Syria? Do you have an opinion on whether we should back the Shia radicals or the Sunni radicals in this civil war? Are you okay that Obama gave weapons to al-Qaida in this fight, and that the CIA trained "rebels" are advancing on Damascus - murdering Christians along the way?