Monday, February 09, 2004

Where is that convoy?

To me and other Iraqis it wouldn’t matter much if all what was told about the WMDs were nothing but lies, although we all know that this isn’t the case, the war on Saddam’s regime (yes it’s not a war on Iraq) would still be the best decision even if unjustified in the minds of others.

But again this would be so selfish on our part to ask for the world to sacrifice, provide enormous resources and go into, what seems to be a very dangerous split in international relationship that may endanger peace in the whole world, just to save us, Iraqis, from a brutal tyrant who some people blame us to be too coward and lazy to do it ourselves.

So the question is why do I bother answering it? And does it matter what I say in this respect?
The most commonly heard question nowadays"Where are the WMDs?" is irrelevant when it comes to us in Iraq,but when this question is presented to the world it is relevant and we are after all part of this world, so why look at it from this narrow aspect only? And being an Iraqi may add something when I discuss this matter as just a human being, as I lived my whole life under Saddam’s regime and I had the opportunity to know a few things of how secret issues were dealt with at his time and I had many relatives and friends who came in direct and indirect contact with such type of information.

I will not discuss the whole issue as this is beyond my capabilities, but I’ll try to present some well known facts and use them in discussing 2 points: to whom this question should be directed!? And whether the war was the best option available?

-Saddam was a dangerous man.
-He possessed WMDs and there was a reasonable doubt that he did posses some before the war or at least was trying to develop some.
-He used those on his enemies and on his people (a fact, and no need for real distinction here between those 2)
-When those were destroyed as happened several times, he simply started over again.
-During the period from 1991-2003 he made every possible effort to avoid the inspection, and he expelled the inspectors several times.
-When he used to agree for the return of the inspectors, it was only due to threatens from the USA and UK.
-Generally, the technology of producing WMDs or buying them is getting cheaper and easier every day, and the greed of human beings never end.

From the above simple facts, one can conclude without much difficulty the fact that Saddam was a dangerous and crazy man with enormous resources at his disposal and great lust for possessing WMDs. that is if we supposed that he didn’t had them already.A frightening and serious matter that needed to be dealt with firmly and urgently.

What options there were to deal with this serious problem? Obviously not many, and each carries a serious drawback and uncertainty. Let’s take an examining look at the most suggested by the (anti-war) camp and see which is the safest, less costly and more effective,and I'm speaking of contineous inspection process:

-This was tried for 12 years without achieving the desired result, and this is a fact that all agree on.
-This process costs a lot of money too (Iraqi people’s money and USA and UK also)
-It is true that this process made good progress sometimes, but only with the (American gun) pointed directly at (Saddam’s head).
-That power (the American’s) had to act many times to prove that it was serious which cost the lives of civilian Iraqis, as we all know that it was part of Saddam’s ways to protect himself and his precious weapons by using civilian properties as a cover.

So one can reach the result that the world, in order to avoid war, using inspections, needed the military power of the USA at (Saddam’s doorstep) for an unknown period of time, and still will not feel safe with all the cheating, and cooperation that was given to Saddam by other regimes and foreigner firms, and will also cause continuous loss of lives of civilians and American’s tax payers’ money that will surly be higher than what the war did cost putting in mind that there was no possible end (at least not in the short range) to this threat as long as Saddam was in power.

There still one thing that worth mentioning here; is that there is one factor that (favors) the previous alternative over war, that is there would’ve been much less losses among the Coalition soldiers. I agree totally with that and I believe that this should be the first concern of any government, but there remains the fact that this same concern is dealt with, not unusually, by military force, and soldiers are soldiers, they are brave men and women who are well trained and willing to defend the lives and interests of their fellow-citizens. There will always be the sad fact that soldiers, and especially American, for well known reasons, will die during this process, and we can accuse the government of not caring much for the lives of these brave people only when military action is unnecessary or can be safely and effectively be replaced by other alternatives, a case that, in my opinion, doesn’t apply in the extremely important situation we are still discussing. The lives and interests of Americans’ cannot be defended from the national borders, and that has been the case since WW1.

Now, allow me to give an example of my own experience of the old policy: there was a military facility near our district where one of my relatives used to work and despite the fact that I knew the nature of this facility through his (big mouth), it was nearly a common knowledge that this facility was used to develop long range missiles. Few days before the (desert fox) operations, and as it was clear that the allies were planning, and had set up their minds on carrying military strikes directed to Saddam’s regime and mainly to his military power, the old regime, as always, managed without much difficulty to transfer most of the important weapons and instruments that were located in that particular facility, as well as others as could be expected, to other unknown places. I saw with my own eyes at one of those nights a convoy of long green vehicles that was entirely covered, getting out of this facility and it didn’t need a CIA agent to know what was going on, but it sure needed much more than that to know where those vehicles were heading. What happened 2 days later was that 10 cruse missiles were fired at that (important target), and were very accurate as one the whole 9 empty warehouse inside that facility were totaly destroyed. I saw that (live). Oh and sorry for not explaining from the start why 10 missiles were fired instead of 9. The reason was that one of those 9 lost its way, somehow, and hit the ground about 500 meters away from the target. There was no civilian causality that time, but as similar attacks took place allover Iraq, one can imagine the benefits, the costs and the risks. What brought me so such dangerous zone? I didn’t do more than watching from the roof of my house which is located this far(about 400 meters) from the facility and needless to say that our house was there before that facility. I remember watching those missiles go down one after the other and despite the fear and worry, I couldn’t help counting: 1,2,3…10 there goes 10 million $ for nothing. This was one of the most useless applications of hard-earned money and superior military technology, the least to say. What still unknown to me, and to which my relative couldn’t give any help, is what happened to that convoy.

When I hear the question “where are the WMDs?” I cannot but agree and indeed where are they? With one difference is that my question is directed to the anti-war camp rather than to the American administration! Can you confirm to us the fate of that convoy among many others? Can you prove that all the WMDs that were present at Saddam’s times were destroyed? And if so, how, when and where? Or do you want us to take Saddam’s words for it? The only case that would make your questioning about the honesty of the coalition leaders valid, is if it had been proven by the inspectors (after the war) that Saddam had destroyed all his WMDs. Something no one had confirmed till now.

This is the same misunderstanding that was present before the war. Saddam thought/wanted the world to accept, that full cooperation demanded by the Security Council was opining all the doors, but this wasn’t what it meant. What was needed from him is to provide full evidence that he destroyed all his WMDs including providing full documented history and showing the inspectors the places, the remains if any and the way by which the WMDs were destroyed in addition to convincing the international community that he had stopped all the ongoing projects and that after the departure of the inspectors he would no longer consider re-building those and as he failed to do so- and it wasn’t at all expected from him to do it and taking in consideration his history with WMDs and his readiness to use them- the fact that the inspectors at that time found nothing worth mentioning regarding the WMDs, is far from being reassuring and on the contrary cannot but further increase the suspicions to near certainty. Something really effective and decisive was needed and it was done.
Thanks to the people who had the courage to take the decision of going into this inevitable war, our concerns and fears about the Saddam’s WMDs is now only comes from a technically legal point of view, and Kurds, Iranians, Kuwaiti, Saudi and Israeli people no longer fear those horrible weapons.

-By Ali.

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