Franks Sez WMDs *Did* Go To Syria
Retired General Tommy Franks, who commanded the successful U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, said Thursday that he saw persuasive evidence that Saddam Hussein had transferred his weapons of mass destruction to Syria.Of course they went to Syria, just as sure as Saddam had WMD.
"We saw all kinds of suspicious activity which, all of us could have speculated, meant for certain that weapons were being moved into Syria," the top military man told WWRL Radio's Steve Malzberg and Karen Hunter.
General Franks added that while he "never saw anything that was absolutely convincing, the possibility remains" that Saddam's WMDs were removed.
Franks was responding to claims by his second in command, retired General Michael DeLong, who told Malzberg last year:
"Two days before the war, on March 17 , we saw through multiple intelligence channels - both human intelligence and technical intelligence - large caravans of people and things, including some of the top 55 [most wanted] Iraqis, going to Syria."
This is not, well, rocket science. Saddam played shell games with UN weapons inspectors for twelve years. If he didn't have a WMD arsenal and programs, what was he hiding? Why act guilty if you can prove your innocence and get the scrutiny (such as it was) of the "international community" off your back?
I've never bought the suggestion that the WMD never existed but that he thought he had them because his top lieutenants "lied to him." Hello? Lying to Saddam Hussein was an ingraved invitation to a very agonizing and grisly fate. There's a reason why he so terrorized his closest Ba'athist associates above all others, after all, and why he had redundant secret police apparatuses: he didn't trust anybody. It wasn't in his nature.
One could advance the theory that he pretended to have WMD so as to keep the UN sanctions in place as a cover for the twenty-one billion smackers he was skimming off the Oily Food program, with an eye toward financing the reacquisition of a fresh WMD arsenal. Except that that hypothesis doesn't require him to have been "pretending." Indeed, the UN's appalling corruption would have been the proverbial icing on the cake.
Many people make the mistake of confusing the concepts of "evil" and "insanity," as though it isn't possible for a man to rationally reason his way to heinous conclusions. This is typically a retrospective error, which follows confrontations and conflicts brought about by the eager tendency on the part of those same people to delude themselves about the evil of aggressor dictators like a Hitler, a Stalin, a Mao, or a Saddam out of a craven reluctance to, yes, pre-emptively confront it. While such men may be whacked about certain things (Hitler's anti-Semitism, commies' quasi-religious faith in Marxian romanticism), and definitely paranoid (as Saddam certainly was), they have, on the whole, proven themselves eminently capable of taking the measure of the democratic (small "d") leaders with whom they deal.
It seems obvious to me that Saddam knew the UN was no threat to him, even before the Oily Food gravy train got rolling. He reasoned that to the extent he couldn't manipulate them, he could buy them off with their own subsidies. By such means could he both safeguard his WMD arsenal and programs and gain "investment capital" to vastly enlarge them, with an eye toward dominating the Middle East and even beyond.
He miscalculated with George W. Bush partly because he was used to the feckless idiocy of the Clinton regime and partly due to the buffoonish propaganda caracature created of the 43rd POTUS by his domestic political enemies. But when Bush made the mistake, at then-SecState Colin Powell's insistence, of going back to, and working through, the UN instead of bypassing it and invading Iraq as soon as possible, Saddam was provided with an extra six months' breathing room, and he evidently put it to good use by evacuating his WMD assets to Syria, manipulating the Western press into propagandizing their absence to discredit Bush's pre-emption strategy on his behalf, and establishing the "insurgency" to wear down the Coalition "occupiers" and pave the way for his triumphant return to power.
The latter two didn't work out for the same basic reasons as the original miscalculation. But to insist, as the Bushophobes still do, that the WMD never existed at all is the epitome of foolishness and reflects unfounded assumptions grounded in overt partisan malice.
General Franks grasps Occam's Razor. Pump Saddam full of sodium pentathol and he'd most likely confirm it.
Libs, though, will battle it to the death, because facts and substance have become politically lethal to them.
Which goes to show that oftentimes, complexity is just a facade for the intellectual emptiness concealed behind it.