Remember What NY Times Said of Saddam

Seething with rage and frustration at the success of the war in Iraq, liberals have started in with their female taunting about weapons of mass destruction. The way they carry on, you would think they had caught the Bush administration in some shocking mendacity. (You know how the Left hates a liar.)

For the sake of their tiresome argument, let’s stipulate that we will find no weapons of mass destruction-or, to be accurate, no more weapons of mass destruction. Perhaps Hussein was using the three trucks capable of assembling poison gasses to sell ice cream under some heretofore undisclosed UN "Oil For Popsicles" program.

No one cares.

Should we apologize and return the country to Saddam Hussein and his winsome sons? Should we have him on "Designer’s Challenge" to put his palaces back in all their eighties Vegas splendor? Or maybe Uday and Qusay could spruce up each other’s Rape Rooms on a very special episode of "Trading Spaces"? What is the liberals’ point?

In fact, the question was never whether Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. We know he had weapons of mass destruction. He used weapons of mass destruction against the Kurds, against the Iranians, and against his own people.

The United Nations weapons inspectors repeatedly found Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction in Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War, right up until Saddam threw them out in 1998.

After doing nothing about Saddam Hussein for the previous six years, President Clinton said it was urgent to bomb the day of his scheduled impeachment in December 1998, citing the Iraqi regime’s "nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs." Clinton said, "I have no doubt today that, left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again." (Indeed, this constitutes the only evidence that Saddam didn’t have weapons of mass destruction: Bill Clinton said he did.)

Liberals are now pretending that their position all along was that Saddam had secretly disarmed in the last few years without telling anyone. This would finally explain the devilish question of why Saddam thwarted inspectors every inch of the way for 12 years, issued phony reports to the UN, and wouldn’t allow fly-overs or unannounced inspections: It was because he had nothing to hide!

A Sporting Chance

But that wasn’t liberals’ position.

Liberals also have to pretend that the only justification for war given by the Bush administration was that Iraq was knee-deep in nukes, anthrax, biological weapons, and chemical weapons-so much so, that even Hans Blix couldn’t help but notice them.

But that wasn’t the Bush administration’s position.

The Bush administration took the position that there were lots of reasons to get rid of Saddam Hussein and none to keep him. When President Bush gave the Hussein regime 48 hour’s notice to quit Iraq, he said: "All the decades of deceit and cruelty have now reached an end." He said there would be "no more wars of aggression against your neighbors, no more poison factories, no more executions of dissidents, no more torture chambers and rape rooms. The tyrant will soon be gone. The day of your liberation is near."

Liberals kept saying that’s too many reasons. The New York Times leading hysteric, Frank Rich complained, "We know Saddam Hussein is a thug and we want him gone. But the administration has never stuck to a single story in arguing the case for urgent pre-emptive action now."

Similarly, in September 2002, Sen. John Kerry (D.-Mass.) complained that the administration "has complicated its own case and compromised America’s credibility by casting about in an unfocused, overly public internal debate in the search for a rationale for war." Then again, what would John Kerry know about war? Oh wait, no-sorry, it’s been almost 10 seconds since the Senator called me at home to personally remind me that he served in Vietnam.

Contrary to their current self-advertisements, it was liberals who were citing Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction-and with gusto-in order to argue against war with Iraq. Writing in the New York Times, Kerry said there was "no question that Saddam Hussein continues to pursue weapons of mass destruction," but urged Bush to pursue "the virtue of utilizing the procedures of international law and community." Having repeatedly warned that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, liberals’ important plan for action was: Don’t rush.

The Bush administration took the position that we were not going to wait to find out how close Saddam was to acquiring nuclear weapons-a strategy that the Clinton administration deployed to such great effect with North Korea. As Condoleezza Rice said on CNN in September 2002, "The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t what the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

But liberals warned that America would suffer retaliatory strikes, there would be mass casualties, Israel would be nuked, our troops would be hit with Saddam’s chemical weapons, it would be a Vietnam quagmire-because Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Remember that? That’s why liberals were so smitten with the idea of relying on UN weapons inspectors. As their title indicates, "weapons inspectors" inspect weapons. They don’t stop torture, abolish rape rooms, feed the people, topple Saddam’s statues or impose democracy.

Thus, for example, in January this year, the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof cited the sort of dismal CIA report that always turns up in the hands of New York Times reporters, warning that Saddam might order attacks with weapons of mass destruction as "his last chance to exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him." He nervously cited Hussein’s son, Uday’s warning: "If the Americans come, what they wept for on Sept. 11 and what they view as a major event, it will appear as a picnic for them." An invasion, Kristof said, was too dangerous. Weighing the "costs and benefits," he concluded we should not invade because there was "clearly a significant risk" that it would make America less safe.

In his native tongue, weaselese, Kristof claimed he would be gung-ho for war if only he were convinced we could "oust Saddam with minimal casualties and quickly establish a democratic Iraq." We’ve done that and now he’s blaming the Bush administration for his own idiotic predictions of disaster. Somehow, that’s Bush’s fault too. Kristof says Bush manipulated evidence of weapons of mass destruction-an act of duplicity he calls "just as alarming" as a dictator who has weapons of mass destruction.

Liberals repeatedly cited Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction in order to argue that "all" we needed to do were disarm Saddam Hussein. This would have required a military occupation of Iraq and a systematic inspection of the 1,000 or so known Iraqi weapons sites without interference from the Hussein regime.

In other words, pretty much what we’re doing right now. Let the inspections work!

In February of this year, the New York Times editorialized: "In our judgment, Iraq is not [disarming]." As the Times put it, Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction were "not like Washington’s unproved assertions about an alliance between Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. There is ample evidence that Iraq has produced highly toxic VX nerve gas and anthrax and has the capacity to produce a lot more. It has concealed these materials, lied about them, and more recently failed to account for them to the current inspectors."

Consequently, the Times bold plan for action was for the UN Security Council to "pass a new resolution that sets a deadline for unconditional Iraqi compliance."

Since they never print retractions, liberals can say anything. What they said in the past is never admissible, just like their theory of criminal jurisprudence. Confessions mean nothing-except in the criminal prosecution of a taxpayer or abortion clinic protestor.

If Americans were lied to, they were lied to by liberals who warned we would be annihilated if we attacked Iraq. The left’s leading intellectual light, Janeane Garofalo, was featured in an antiwar commercial before the war, saying: "If we invade Iraq, there’s a United Nations estimate that says ‘There will be up to a half a million people killed or wounded.’" Now they’re testy because they fear Saddam may never have had even a sporting chance to unleash dastardly weapons against Americans.