Missing Weapons and Partisan Sniping
Jay B. Gaskill
The “WMD” dispute, fueled by partisan “friendly fire” from the media, many of the current presidential candidates, and other partisans, is gravely misplaced. Yes, we need to reassess our intelligence acquisition and analysis capability on several levels, but we can’t have it both ways. Our threat assessment mindset was far, far too complacent before the shocking attacks of 9-11-01. Recall the targets, the heart of US financial capability, the Pentagon, and the White House. Had these attacks fully succeeded, our enemies would have done more damage than Pearl Harbor. In light of that truly horrendous awakening, no responsible administration could have justified a relaxed wait-and-see attitude about a Middle East tyrant with known homicidal tendencies, implacable hostility to us and our interests, access to billions of dollars per year, a record of spending those resources on weapons of terror, and a history of actually using them. The retrospective attempts to demonize the good faith pre-invasion judgments that were made by the Bush Administration are intellectually dishonest. The level of acceptable risk from this ruthless dictator was a low one. The decision to move sooner rather than later was reasonable.
And that’s the assessment of a long time democrat.
Please walk with me through a simple thought experiment:
You are traveling abroad with your child, whose sibling recently died of an aggressive, totally unexpected cancer. Your child falls ill and is taken to the nearest hospital, a place with reasonably competent care and first rate surgeons. You are presented with a diagnosis based on x rays, blood tests, and review of the symptoms, family history, and a physical examination. Your child has cancer. Based on the family history, this is very possibly an aggressive kind. You are told that a definitive biopsy is not possible without surgery that would be about as invasive as removal of the tumor—and might promote its spread. So the recommendation is for immediate surgery to remove the tumor, followed by a course of radiation and chemotherapy. Based on this assessment, you authorize immediate action. The surgery is very successful. Your child begins a recovery which takes longer and is more difficult than expected.
When the tumor is sent off for a definitive biopsy, you learn that it was a pre-metastasic, early stage, cancer. But instead of being congratulated for acting swiftly and saving your child’s life, your spouse – not traveling with you – blames you for acting too quickly and sues for divorce. This is essentially the position of the Administration’s WMD critics.
But Saddam really was bent on our destruction and never gave up his WMD ambitions. In the example, the child’s cancer really was potentially lethal and aggressive. The dictator was eliminated. The cancer was excised at a very early stage. Only intellectually dishonest partisans can turn this good news into bad.
Now let me raise my real concern, the one the partisan critics of the administration aren’t talking about. The evidence suggesting that Saddam harbored bio-chemical weapons for use against his enemies was very strong.
It was so strong that we now have to ask ourselves: Were we too late?
Copyright © 2003 by Jay B. Gaskill
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