A Review Of The Saddam Tapes Segment On NightLine

I caught Nightline last night and it wasn’t the blockbuster segment I think a lot of conservatives, myself included, were hoping for.

On the upside, these tapes seem to contradict what is now the official story: that Saddam destroyed his WMDs after the Gulf War. Since the Iraqis were explicitly admitting that they were lying to the UN inspectors about the WMDs in their posession….

“We did not reveal all that we have (my emphasis),” Kamel says in the meeting. “Not the type of weapons, not the volume of the materials we imported, not the volume of the production we told them about, not the volume of use. None of this was correct.”

…, in a 1995 conversation, that would seem to suggest that they had WMDs at the time.

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Moreover, they played a clip saying that essentially Iraq had what they needed to rebuild their program in short order. Whether Saddam had WMDs or had gotten rid of them and simply intended to rebuild them at some point in the future, doesn’t matter much. Either way, you’d have eventually had an anti-American nutjob, who supports terrorists, with WMDS — unless he was removed.

On the other hand, Saddam essentially said that Iraq wouldn’t launch a terrorist attack at the US, which is more than a little hard to believe after he tried to have Bush 41 assassinated back in 1993.

Ironically, at one point in the tapes, they actually discussed whether to come clean with the UN about what they were doing. The person talking (this wasn’t Saddam), said he didn’t think that was a good idea. Of course, in retrospect, that seems to have been a very bad piece of advice.

In any case, this didn’t add anything to, “the WMDs were sent to Syria,” theory that started to gain momentum since Iraqi general Georges Sada made that claim.

Nor did these tapes, at least what they played on Nightline, shed light on one of the most puzzling questions of recent memory: if Iraq actually destroyed their WMDs, why did Saddam refuse to cooperate with UN inspectors, lose countless billions of dollars because of sanctions, and go to war with the United States all over WMDs that no longer existed? Despite everything that’s been written about this subject, that’s one question that has never been answered to my, or many people’s satisfaction, and it’s why it is very hard to believe that we know the whole story yet.

*** Update #1 ***: PS: I thought the Nightline interpretation of one part of the tape was incorrect:

“Also at the meeting was Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, who said Iraq was being wrongly accused of terrorism. “Sir, the biological is very easy to make. It’s so simple that any biologist can make a bottle of germs and drop it into a water tower and kill 100,000. This is not done by a state. No need to accuse a state. An individual can do it.”

Actually, if you look at what he’s saying in a little more detail, he’s really just making the argument that picking Iraq out of a hat and saying that they might hand WMDs to terrorists is a bad argument, because it could be applied to a lot of people and nations. You could accuse Pakistan or Israel, or anyone who could make WMDs of doing it. That’s what he’s saying, not that Iraq wouldn’t do such a thing.

That becomes more apparent if you look at the full quote:

“Sir, the biological is very easy to make. It’s so simple that any biologist can make a germ bottle and drop it into a septic tank and kill 100,000. This is not done by a state, no need to accuse a state, an individual can do it. Even an American in a house, close to the White House, I mean, they don’t have a logical argument.”

Given that Iraq has used WMDs against Iran and their own people, the White House was right to be particularly worried about them. That’s why Aziz’s argument doesn’t hold up.

It’s sort of like a serial killer getting all huffy because no one wants him to live in their apartment complex. Why, any of these people could theoretically murder someone, so why are they all so nervous about me?

They have good reason, buddy. Just like we had good reason to be worried about Iraq handing off WMDs to terrorists.

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