The release of the Saddam documents has made me think (alas, again) about the WMD issue, which we could call the “Great Gotcha” of the Iraq War. It’s all about politics and little about itself, about reality. In other words, leaving aside partisan gain, ask yourself to what extent would Saddam eventually have had significant WMDs and should we have been worried about that? The documents are showing us many things related to this issue so far, but two appear to be particularly important: 1. Saddam’s willingness to work with and encourage terror organizations when he felt like it. (See Stephen Hayes’ Camp Saddam) 2. His continued interest in WMDs via Russian and Turkish scientists, who were – if the documents are to be believed and let’s assume for the moment they are – working in Iraq right under the noses of the UN inspectors.
Now with all due respect to the Turks, I’m not especially sure of their level of scientific competence, but the Russians? The second country to have the atom and hydrogen bombs, a country we now know was willing to share at least some secrets with the Saddam regime? If we think through this with any honesty, that is a far scarier revelation in the long term than the discovery of a few suitcases of anthrax. There is an argument to be made that left to their own devices the Russians would have eventually turned Saddam into a full-blown nuclear powerwith Uday and Qusay as heir apparents. It’s Dr. Strangelove times four, Slim Pickens. Think about that one when you wonder whether the war was a good idea.
It will be interesting to see if our mainstream media, when it starts to digest this material, reacts with any thoughtfulness.