"(Saddam Hussein) has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors." - Colin Powell, February 4th, 2001
On May 15 2001, Powell went further and said that Saddam Hussein had not been able to "build his military back up or to develop weapons of mass destruction" for "the last 10 years". America, he said, had been successful in keeping him "in a box".
A neocon warblogger / addlebrained freerepublic posterboy left an anonymous (and therefore screened) comment in my journal recently... which is all fine and well, except that he felt compelled to use the comment to add a spammy plug back to his weblog. Ew.
I Googled him and found out that he's been doing the same thing to a ton of sites out there -- always with the same spamtastic .sig -- presumably in order to build traffic. How pathetic. His weblog doesn't even have commenting enabled, but then again, few neocon weblogs do, as their arguments simply cannot stand up to serious scrutiny.
As a result, I will respond to his comment, but not provide a link back to his site, as he doesn't merit the attention...
"Hey George, didn't you actually end the miserable life of that murdering thug that generations of Washington politicians and liberal do-nothings allowed to keep drawing air?"
The obvious answer is that no, George (Bush, that is... Texas grade-A meathead) didn't. Saddam is still at large. (So is Osama, now that you mention it...)
If you are going to attack Washington politicians for keeping him in power, shouldn't you start with the presidents? Saddam came to power in '79, shortly before the Reagan / Bush administration... within relatively short order, Saddam launched an unprovoked invasion of Iran. What was the response from the Reagan/Bush administration? They helped arm Iraq. They provided Iraq wiith chemical precursors. They provided him with biological agents. They provided him with cluster bombs. And then, they provided him with a team of more than 60 US intelligence officers, who provided Saddam with detailed information on Iranian deployments, plans for airstrikes, satellite data, bomb-damage assessments... and, most tellingly, those bomb damage assessments factored in that Saddam would be using weapons of mass destruction... Really, we might as well have dropped the weapons ourselves, as they wouldn't have been nearly as effective without our lethal targeting expertise. Tens of thousands of Iranians suffocated, choked on their own blood, and died as a result of chemical and biological weapons attacks during the Iran-Iraq war. It is time that the US accept its share of the responsibility for this inhumane slaughter.
Why not attack Reagan and Bush for helping to create this monster, and then failing to disarm him during the years when he was at his most genocidal and violent? Why don't you blame the wishy washy stance of the Bush administration towards Saddam for creating an atmosphere which encouraged Iraq's unprovoked attack on Kuwait? Have no doubt that there wouldn't have even been an attack on Kuwait if Saddam thought the US would actually *do* something about it. Why don't you blame Bush once more for allowing Saddam to use helicopters and tanks to slaughter the Shi'ite uprising in southern Iraq after the Gulf War? The Iraqi government specifically asked for an exemption to the no-fly rule so that they could send in attack helicopters and put down the revolt. Bush the Elder made a calculated decision -- self-determination for Iraqi Shi'ites or totalitarian stability (...and totalitarian slaughter) under Saddam -- and then he let the Iraqi helicopters loose on them. Even after a decade, many Iraqis still hate our country for betraying them, and I would wager to bet that more than one US serviceman has paid the ultimate price for that betrayal so far.
Also, you may want to consider applauding the Clinton Administration. While they imposed harsh, often murderous sanctions on Iraq, they also had UN weapons inspectors in Iraq for years... those weapons inspectors accounted for over 90% of Iraq's WMDs, and put so much pressure on Saddam that he took it upon himself to destroy his remaining WMDs.
And, let's face it, while the Clinton administration and the UN effectively disarmed Iraq, all the Republican politicians could do was criticize them, calling them slow and ineffective. Personally, I'm sure glad those "slow, ineffective" inspections teams disarmed Iraq of its chemical and biological weapons before Shrub took it upon himself to rashly send US soldiers into harm's way. How about you?