Jewish World Review May 3, 2004 / 12 Iyar, 5764
Some things are more important than domestic politics
Within a long, convoluted answer to a softball question tossed him by
MSNBC's Chris Matthews on his 'Hardball' program Tuesday, Sen. John Kerry
said something remarkable:
"It appears, as we peel away the weapons of mass destruction issue, and
we may yet find them, Chris," Kerry said. "Look, I want to make it clear:
Who knows if a month from now, you find some weapons. You may."
Kerry's response undercuts the Democratic meme that "Bush lied!" about
weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Perhaps Kerry was hedging because the night before Jordanian television had
broadcast the confessions of the surviving suspects in an al Qaida plot to
attack the U.S. embassy in Amman and the headquarters of the Jordanian
intelligence service with 20 tons of explosives and deadly chemicals.
"Shown in a casual interview setting, detainees Azmi al-Jayousi and Hussein
Sharif Hussein provided calm descriptions of a plot they say was hatched in
Iraq and forged in Syria and Iraq," wrote the Chicago Tribune's Evan Osnos.
The explosives and chemicals were to be carried in three trucks with
reinforced bumpers for crashing through gates. The explosives were to be
just enough to create a poisonous cloud of blister, choking and nerve
agents. (In the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, the terrorists used
too much explosive, and the chemicals in the van were consumed in the
blast.) The conspirators said they hoped to kill as many as 80,000 people.
Intelligence expert John Loftus said the nerve agent in the chemical
cocktail was VX. Syria doesn't make VX. Saddam Hussein's Iraq did.
The same day that Jordanian conspirators were making their confessions,
Israel's military chief told an Israeli newspaper there is "no doubt" that
Iraq possessed both chemical weapons and the means to deliver them.
In the first two days of the war, the U.S. acting on tips from Israeli
intelligence destroyed the aircraft Saddam had prepared to carry chemical
munitions, LtGen. Moshe Yaalon said. The munitions themselves were buried,
or transferred to other countries.
"We very clearly saw that something crossed into Syria," he said.
"We have six or seven credible reports of Iraqi weapons being moved into
Syria before the war," a senior administration official told Kenneth
Timmerman of Insight magazine.
A Syrian intelligence officer, in letters smuggled to an anti-regime
activist in Paris, identified three sites in Syria where Iraqi WMD is being
stored, Timmerman said. The sites were the same as those identified earlier
by a Syrian journalist who defected to Europe.
Syria's defense ministry has been smuggling missiles and weapons of mass
destruction components to Sudan in an apparent effort to conceal them from
Western inspection, the Middle East Newsline (MENL) reported this week.
"Western intelligence sources said the regime of Syrian president Bashar
Assad has been flying shipments of Scud C and Scud D extended range missiles
as well as WMD components to warehouses in Khartoum since at least January
2004," MENL said. "The sources said the Syrian shipments to Khartoum were
placed on civilian airliners but were authorized and directed by the Defense
MENL said Sudanese President Omar Bashir was unaware of the Syrian
shipments. When he learned of them, Bashir ordered that the missiles and
WMD components be returned to Syria, Arab diplomatic sources said.
"New evidence out of Iraq suggests that the U.S. effort to track down Saddam
Hussein's missing weapons of mass destruction is having better success than
is being reported," Timmerman said. "In virtually every case chemical,
biological, nuclear and ballistic missiles the U.S. has found the weapons
and the programs that the Iraqi dictator successfully concealed for 12 years
from UN weapons inspectors."
Charles Duelfer, the chief weapons inspector in Iraq said that a primary
source for funding Saddam's illicit weapons programs was kickbacks on
contracts set up under the UN's oil for food program.
These developments have received little attention from the major media,
perhaps because they are unhelpful to Democratic prospects in the fall. But
what if the Jordanian attack had succeeded? What if the target had been
Chicago instead of Amman? Some things are more important than domestic
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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a
deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan
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