February 17, 2006
Saddam Tapes Fizzle, Right Chases Ghosts (UPDATED)
UPDATE: I am now completely confused. Traderrob points out that ABC deliberately left out parts of the 12 hour tape in which Saddam actually threatens to use a third party to attack the U.S. with WMD! So, take that into consideration as you read the following rant that I wrote before learning of this.
Not only are the 12 hours of tapes set to be released to the public by John Loftus tomorrow a fizzling non-event, but the media and many on the Right side of the blogosphere have taken those tapes out of context, twisting them to find hidden meaning where no meaning is to be found.
Without naming names, can I just say that it is totally out of context to read Saddam Hussein's warnings that 'terrorism is coming to America' as a veiled threat. Many on the Right have been so eager to find WMDs in Iraq that they are letting wishful thinking cloud their judgement. The tapes are no 'smoking-gun'
In fact, it appears that the tapes show a Saddam Hussein worried that the U.S. would blame any acts of terrorism on Iraq. After all, the U.S. was in a shooting war with Iraq in 1995 over the no-fly zone and it would be natural for President Clinton to suspect that the man who had ordered President Bush (Senior) assassinated, would also have no qualms about sending a nuclear device to the American shores.
The tapes show a Saddam Husseing trying to warn the U.S. of the danger so as not to be held responsible when the inevetable came. Which is exactly what happened in the hours right after the 9/11 attack when the natural suspicion was that Hussein may have played a part in the attack!
The tapes do show that in the mid 1990s Hussein was actively thwarting U.N. inspections. But we knew that already. The tapes do show that prior to the Iraq invasion that Hussein was given reassurances that after sanctions were lifted that a WMD program could be quickly started once again. But we knew that already.
In fact, the tapes simply seem to confirm what has been known for quite some time. They offer no insight into allegations that WMD were moved to Syria.
UPDATE: John Henke agrees.