Jewish World Review June 20, 2003 / 20 Sivan, 5763

Bob Tyrrell

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Too upsetting for the evening news? | There is something obscene about the rising clamor for evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The cynical omniscient tone of career peaceniks such as Susan Sontag and of prehensile presidential candidates such as Dr. Howard Dean is repellent.

It is not only that for a dozen years there has been international agreement that Saddam Hussein's regime had these weapons and, in some instances, used them. It is what we have already found in abundance throughout Iraq that makes the sniping contemptible, namely: mass graves, torture chambers, hidden prisons.

The hubbub over the missing weapons of mass destruction, attendant as it is with suggestions that Prime Minister Tony Blair and President George W. Bush are liars, has gotten more attention than the existence of these grisly killing fields and of instruments of torture. In modern times, the aftermath of war is always very untidy -- more so than the aftermath of pre-modern wars, when normal life was not very tidy to begin with.

Thus it should not surprise us that we cannot find Saddam's henchmen, his weapons, his loot or, for that matter, him. Yet the omniscient second-guessing is, in its impertinence, a bit hard to take. Hearing Dean's smug complaints is like hearing an isolationist's smug complaint in 1946 that Hitler had not been found or really all that many concentration camps, or any other evidence of Nazi atrocity.

Of course, in 1946 no isolationist after opposing American entry into World War II would be so insolent as to rebuke our victorious government. Today, the insolence of Dean and his fellow self-regarding war critics is considered the mark of statecraft, at least by them. The fact is, the weapons of mass destruction and the whereabouts of Saddam are going to be discovered eventually. Just as the concentration camps, the Nazi experiments on humans and Hitler's teeth were eventually discovered and publicized.

In fact, I would not be surprised if evidence of the weapons has already been found. Iraq is a vast country. The materials taken by our troops constitute a huge melange, much of it still most likely uncatalogued and possibly even unidentified. I know of instances in which our soldiers came across equipment so old and useless they were bewildered by the discovery.

Yet there are other discoveries the military and a few journalists have made that ought to give the critics of this war reason for pause. From the Iraqi countryside the New York Sun's Adam Daifallah writes: "Mass graves of Iraqis were discovered at Mahaweel just outside the town of Hilla. Distraught Iraqis searched through piles of bones in a chaotic, impromptu scrum. The raw emotion of those who were there searching for their lost loved ones was overwhelming, and their thirst for revenge unquenchable. ... Every day, one hears of a new horror story. There are few Iraqi families who have not seen at least one loved one die in one of Saddam's wars."

It is about time that American journalists fasten on this story. Right up to the arrival of American troops in Baghdad, Saddam's agents were butchering those that roused their wrath. In a splendid Associated Press piece, Mark Fritz tells us that Saddam -- during his last dozen years of butchery -- had "enemies of state" executed who were as young as 11 years old. Sixty mass graves have been discovered. Owing to Saddam's episodic waves of war and rebellion, "beneath one layer of bodies is sometimes another."

It is frankly astounding to me that so little has been made of these discoveries. The New York Sun, The New York Times and The Associated Press have filed stories, but those should only whet the press's appetite for more. Instead, we are regaled with stories about what has not been found -- that is to say, weapons of mass destruction.

Why not more stories about the Iraqi killing fields? Is it because film coverage of the skeletons and the torture chambers is too upsetting for the evening news? Possibly it is, but the mass graves and torture chambers that we have now discovered should be publicized. Saddam was that evil, and if civilized government arises in Baghdad, the grisly evidence of his evil will be discovered for years to come.

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JWR contributor Bob Tyrrell is editor in chief of The American Spectator. Comment by clicking here.

06/12/03: Rain(es)ing Clintoon myths
06/05/03: Hillary-ous is pathetic
05/29/03: Shakedown
05/22/03: End of the last great persecution of the 20th century?
05/15/03 :‘Grey’ turns to grim at Times
05/08/03: The only intellectual force in Western history to gain moral superiority by being wrong
05/01/03: Dinning with Tom Wolfe: More lessons in nusual aspects of American life, hitherto ignored
04/28/03: Ambuscade at scholarly frontier
04/21/03: Stars in search of a galaxy
04/10/03: Baghdad Bob and Tom Daschle
03/31/03: When the media itself becomes the story
03/20/03: Revealed! Estrada is a gifted linguist -- a Japanese-American fluent in Spanish
03/14/03: Genuinely in charge
03/10/03: Stalin and Saddam
03/05/03: They just cannot stomach a protracted alliance with the Bushies
02/25/03: Identity gridlock
02/18/03: People calling Dean a fruitcake are underestimating his political savvy
02/13/03: The new political establishment
01/30/03: The time is now
01/27/03: Witnessing self-love by people completely incapable of self-criticism
01/21/03: Of course our kiddies are depressed
01/13/03: Why is it that Official Washington still believes that a tax reduction means a revenue reduction?
01/02/03: Missing Moi
12/27/02: The grizzled and menacing-looking senator in Confederate drag is a Dem
12/24/02: Uprooting Christianity in the Holy Land
12/20/02: Under fire, Lott showed an ignobleness that is embarrassing
11/26/02: Bartley's enemies have been routed
11/14/02: Clarence Thomas and the segregationist Mississippi sheriff
11/07/02: I muffed up
10/31/02: Is the American university turning its back on change, on progress?
10/24/02: So why aren't the Dems buoyant?
10/17/02: Mourning the loss of the "yellow-belly"
10/10/02: American politics at its most ignominious
10/03/02: A man above the law, a bully
09/26/02: Is Bob Greene a victim of an anti-Clinton backlash?
09/19/02: I knew Mafiosi and
09/12/02: Chickens and poseurs
09/05/02: Sympathizing with the Europols
08/29/02: 9-11 did not change us forever
08/22/02: Public persons frivoling with serious matters
08/15/02: Beachcombing among the fat of the land
08/08/02: They pave the way for corruption, not personal responsibility
08/01/02: Believing the unbelievable
07/25/02: The congressional posse comitatus
07/18/02: Cosmopolitan Arab fashion
07/11/02: What the prez actually knows
07/04/02: The vindication of a truly original thinker
06/27/02: The perfect book for Hillary
06/20/02: To say that they were ordinary is not to slight them
06/13/02: Daschle must begin to act like an adult
06/06/02: Lack of "intelligence" --- and sheer stupidity
05/30/02: Revealing a carefully guarded media secret
05/23/02: In these times, thank Heaven for Clinton!
05/16/02: Fast Times at the Church of the Nativity
05/09/02: "Name the Prettiest Suicide Bomber"
05/02/02: Vindication for the Boy Scouts
04/25/02: A topic almost no other columnist will touch
04/18/02: 'Conventional Wisdom' --- and those who defy it
04/11/02: Let the Sun shine in
04/05/02: Hooded men of color in sheets
04/01/02: A McCain-Feingold Act for Hollywood
03/21/02: Yakkin' on Yates
03/15/02: No role for Paul Volcker in Enron: the movie
03/07/02: My membership in the Communist Party U.S.A.
02/27/02: This award is bestowed by 'contrarians'
02/21/02: Mike Tyson: Made for Washington?
02/14/02: Enron as underdog?
02/07/02: Freed from the presence of money -- hard or soft -- most politicians would be just as bad
01/31/02: Needed: Bush to make a preemptive strike against his enemies . Ones who'd like to see him fail even during war
01/24/02: Hucksters will move on to make their next marks
01/17/02: Debonair prez should begin to do the High Life
01/10/02: Move over Twinkies --- "the acne medicine made him do it!"
01/03/02: Leaving the Nazis looking comparatively humane
12/27/01: A "self-made journalist"
12/20/01: Calamities and unanticipated benefits
12/13/01: America's grief ought not to give comfort to those who caused it
12/06/01: Leahy, the strict civil libertarian!? A short-term exploiter of the Constitution is more like it
11/29/01: Welcome to Afghan, Maryland?
11/26/01: So, why don't more folks hate us?
11/15/01: America's quagmire and other certainties
11/09/01: No longer the smug statists, the prodigal Keynesians?
11/01/01: The New Seriousness
10/25/01: Bright lights and the Taliban
10/18/01: Is bin-Laden propaganda from Western intelligence?
10/12/01: No yellow ribbons
10/05/01: Bubba's back --- again!
09/28/01: Exposing peacetime's frauds
09/21/01: So protected, we're vulnerable
09/14/01: At Barbara Olson's home
09/11/01: Duh! All conservatives are racists
08/31/01: Arafat's terrorists have created their own hell
08/24/01: Time for some political prophecy
08/16/01: They claim to be doing so much good
08/10/01: Visiting the source of the White House braintrust
08/03/01: Morality and reality
07/31/01: Blinded by success?
07/24/01: The latest Kennedy capitulation in Massachusetts
07/13/01: Talk about tawdry
07/06/01: Delighting in the Dictator
06/29/01: The G-dphobes
06/21/01: Fashionable Washington is sempiternally in a stew
06/15/01: The limits of hypocrisy
06/08/01: Flagging our general apathy

© 2001, Creators Syndicate