|Iraqi WMD: The Real Missing Debate
George Tenet?s new book contends that there was no ?serious debate? over Iraq war options. But is there another issue?perhaps more critical in terms of the immediate future?that is being overlooked?
The memoirs of former Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet went on sale Monday, generating a mass of debate and media coverage?once again?about the part that intelligence on weapons of mass destruction (or lack thereof) played in the instigation of the war in Iraq.
Could it be, however, that the real debate is being missed? Amid all the controversy, backpedaling and duplicity surrounding the subject, are the real questions being asked and answered? Evidence suggests there may exist a far more deadly cover-up that could yet have future impact, the debate of which fits the agenda of neither the liberal media, nor the government.
The assumption the whole public debate is built upon is that no evidence of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons was ever found to justify the stated reason for the invasion of Iraq.
?Dave Gaubatz, however, says that you could not be more wrong,? Britain?s Spectator magazine reported April 21.
Saddam?s wmd did exist. He should know, because he found the sites where he is certain they were stored. And the reason you don?t know about this is that the American administration failed to act on his information, ?lost? his classified reports and is now doing everything it can to prevent disclosure of the terrible fact that, through its own incompetence, it allowed Saddam?s wmd to end up in the hands of the very terrorist states against whom it is so controversially at war.
Before you dismiss this bold assertion out of hand, consider from where it comes. Dave Gaubatz is a counterterrorism specialist and Arabic linguist, having served as an agent in the U.S. Air Force?s Office of Special Investigations for 12 years and worked on assignments in several Middle Eastern countries. In 2003, he was specially selected for a position in Iraq. His assignment was to track down suspected wmd sites, in addition to pinpointing threats to U.S. forces in the area and hunting down Saddam loyalists. ?Mr. Gaubatz is not some marginal figure,? writes the Spectator. ?He?s pretty well as near to the horse?s mouth as you can get.?
In 2003, Gaubatz found four sites in southern Iraq that he is convinced contained stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons in addition to material for a nuclear program and missiles prohibited by the United Nations. Independently gained and agreeing testimony from numerous Iraqi sources was substantiated by what Gaubatz found on the ground. The four sites were massive, and great care had been taken to conceal them: Three were bunkers built underneath the Euphrates river bed, with reinforced concrete walls 5 feet thick. ?There was no doubt, with so much effort having gone into hiding these constructions, that something very important was buried there,? said Gaubatz.
Iraqi informants ?explained in detail why wmds were in these areas and asked the U.S. to remove them,? said Gaubatz. ?Much of this material had been buried in the concrete bunkers and in the sewage pipe system. There were also missile imprints in the area and signs of chemical activity?gas masks, decontamination kits, atropine needles. The Iraqis and my team had no doubt at all that wmds were hidden there.?
Further supporting the claims, the medical records of Gaubatz and his team revealed that they had been exposed to high levels of radiation at these sites.
When Gaubatz reported his findings to the Iraq Study Group, he was told it lacked the necessary manpower and equipment to break into and examine the underground sites.
Others, however, appearing to place a higher value on what was contained in these bunkers, apparently did not lack the needed manpower and equipment. Gaubatz subsequently found out from Iraqi, cia and British intelligence that the wmd had been excavated by Iraqis and Syrians, with Russia?s help, and transferred to Syria. ?The worst-case scenario has now come about,? writes the Spectator. ?Saddam?s nuclear, biological and chemical material is in the hands of a rogue terrorist state?and one with close links to Iran.?
Attempts since then by Mr. Gaubatz and several other concerned parties, including two congressmen, for the claims to be investigated have been stonewalled, with the Defense Department and cia refusing to provide information. What?s more, all 60 of Gaubatz?s classified intelligence reports, submitted in 2003, reportedly went missing.
The Spectator states why the issue is such a political hot potato:
The Republicans won?t touch this because it would reveal the incompetence of the Bush administration in failing to neutralize the danger of Iraqi wmd. The Democrats won?t touch it because it would show President Bush was right to invade Iraq in the firs