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Sunday, June 8, 2003

Iraq's weapons: Threat was there


Look what we have found

The weapons of mass destruction that we were told had been stockpiled by Saddam Hussein's regime have not been found and there are those who say that means what the United States did in Iraq was somehow wrong.

What the United States did in toppling the murderous Saddam was right, even if the weapons are never found.

We haven't found weapons, but there is plenty of evidence of the mass destruction that was an integral part of life under Saddam. On April 17, Kurdish officials announced the discovery of 2,000 mostly unmarked graves outside of the northern city of Kirkuk. These are believed to be some of the 100,000 Kurds estimated to have been killed by Saddam during an "ethnic cleansing" in the 1980s.

The Kirkut graves were only the first of dozens of such sites that have been uncovered throughout Iraq. Some have a few bodies, some have hundreds, some are reported to have many more. On May 28, soldiers found a mound of human bones that measured 15 by 25 yards across outside the home of Ali Hassan al Majid, nicknamed "Chemical Ali," the Saddam lieutenant who had been in charge of the regime's chemical weapons program.

The non-profit Human Rights Watch estimates there may be as many as 250,000 people killed under Saddam who are unaccounted for. Since the regime's demise, many Iraqis have been digging up these sites, searching for the remains of loved ones who disappeared under Saddam's hand.

As the graves are being unearthed, there are moves in the U.S. Congress to investigate whether members of the Bush administration massaged intelligence data about the weapons to strengthen the arguments in favor of attack. There is no doubt that the administration pushed the idea that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction that he would either against us himself, or provide them to others who would do it for him.

The fact that weapons have not yet been found does not mean that they won't be found or that they never existed. American forces, now joined by international inspectors, must keep looking for them until they have scoured every inch of Iraq.

At the same time, Congress is doing the right thing in investigating claims about manipulation of intelligence data to influence support of the administration's aims. If true, it represents an unconscionable breach of the public trust.

But it will not mean that the United States was wrong to invade Iraq. Evidence that the attack was the right thing to do is being dug up every day.




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