Jewish World Review June 20, 2003 / 20 Sivan, 5763
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
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
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
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
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.
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© 2001, Creators Syndicate