This is a must read book for George W. Bush lovers, haters and everyone in between. It is clearly written by the president about the problems he faced, how he confronted the most difficult ones and why he made the decisions he did, in his view, to save and improve America.
Where are the WMD? (Weapons of Mass Destruction)
When Sadddam didn’t use WMD on our troops, I was relieved. When we didn’t discover the stockpile soon after the fall of Baghdad,I was suprised. When the whole summer passed without finding any, I was alarmed. The press corps constantly raised the question, “Where are the WMD?” p. 261
Members of the previous administration, John Kerry, John Edwards, and the vast majority of Congress had all read the same intelligence that I had and concluded Iraq had WMD. So had the intelligence agencies around the world. Nobody was lying. We were all wrong. The absence of WMD stockpiles did not change the fact that Saddam was a threat. 262
I read this book because I wanted to know Bush’s view on WMD. I had believed, even before the war, that Saddam had hidden them with the intent of using them as a bargaining chip after the war had reached a stalemate or he himself was held hostage. Long before the war began there were incursions into Iraq by the UN inspectors trying to determine what Saddam had done and was doing with his well documented WMD programs. But, the inspectors were always required to give notice to any place they intended to inspect. Secrecy of intent and ability is always of paramount importance in discovering truth of political motivations of terrorists.
I remembered the shattering pain of 9/11, a surprise attack for which we had received no warning. This time we had a warning like a blaring siren. Years of intelligence pointed overwhelmingly to the conclusion that Saddam had WMD. He had used them in the past. He had not met his responsibility to prove their destruction. He had refused to cooperate with the inspectors, even with the threat of an invasion on his doorstep. The only logical conclusion was that he was hiding WMD. And given his support of terror and his sworn hatred of America, there was no way to know where those weapons would end up.
Everyone remembers the moment they first saw the World Trade Center hit with airliners, the fires and the collapse. I was packing my suitcase into the car for a vacation at Lake Tahoe when my friend Ted phoned and told me to turn on the TV. I saw the whole event with a fast beating heart. I was and am in excellent health but I thought I might have a heart attack it was beating so hard. How stressful it must be to be responsible for our nations response to such a horrible outrage. Anyone who has ever had any responsibility for other humans lives whould feel some compassion for the Presidents predicament.
Saddam wanted, when all else had failed, to make both Presidents Bushs and the whole American Congress feel bad and even guilty when they found no WMD in Iraq. And he succeeded beyond his hopes because all these years later Bush wrote,
“No one was more shocked or angry than I was when we didn’t find the weapons. I had a sickening feeling every time I thought about it.” I still do. 262
So Saddam won that small psychological victory over Bush. But, it undermined only a small part of the reason to go to war and the war to rid the world of this monster who killed hundreds of thousands of his own civilians and many others in the various wars with Iran and the US which he fomented. Just because Hitler didn’t have WMD doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have eliminated him and his government.
The other error was the intelligence failure on Iraq’s WMD. Almost a decade later, it is hard to describe how widespread an assumption it was that Saddam had WMD. Supporters of the war believed it; opponents of the war believed it; even members of Saddam’s own regime believed it. We all knew that intelligence is never 100 percent certain; that’s the nature of the business. But I believed that the intelligence on Iraq’s WMD was solid. If Saddam didn’t have WMD, why wouldn’t he just prove it to the inspectors? Every psychological profile I had read told me Saddam was a survivor. If he cared so much about staying in power, why would he gamble his regime by pretending to have WMD? 269
The real error was in not finding the WMD which Saddam clearly possessed. It seems obvious that he simply had everything concerned with it buried in the months just before the attack. There was a search performed but with years of time he had to secretly dig his storage mines deep underground with slave labor which never left the mines. Thousands of people could have been involved with these totally hidden projects who simply vanished when the mines were closed and then the overseers of this project simply vanished also right up to Saddam himself. In the end perhaps only Saddam knew where the mine entrance was located and even the door to the entrance might be deeply buried where it will never be found.
For all his deception of the world, the person Saddam ultimately deceived the most was himself. 269.
Saddam still had the infrastructure and know-how to make WMD. And as the final weapons inspections report by Charles Duelfer concluded, “Saddam wanted to re-create Iraq’s WMD capability . . . after sanctions were removed and Iraq’s economy stabilized.” 270.
If somehow Saddam had been able to return to power and close his borders he would have brought these weapons back into play once more. Let us hope that he didn’t reveal his secrets to some trusted lieutenant who will exploit them when the Americans eventually depart Iraq. When these things are finally used lets hope The EarthArk Project and The LifeHaven Project are in place.