Saddam’s Ticking Time Bomb

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


c6a2349c-113d-4a9a-86e4-4ca9f2566855_16x9_600x338History is filled with ticking time bombs. The time bombs can be ignored, but they never go away. The rhetoric of even the most talented politicians can reshape whether people hear the ticking, but not whether the bombs will explode.

Saddam was a ticking time bomb.

In 1992, Al Gore accused President George Bush of “a dangerous blindness to the murderous ambitions of a despot.” Eight years later, the Democratic Party platform proclaimed, “As President, Al Gore will not hesitate to use America’s military might against Iraq.”

Three years later, the Democratic Party, which had initiated the most aggressive military action against Iraq since the Gulf War and whose leading lights had repeatedly pledged to get tough on Saddam, had reinvented themselves as the anti-war party.

In 2002, Gore had told the Council on Foreign Relations that Iraq was “a virulent threat in a class by itself.” A year later he was talking that way about George W. Bush.

But did Iraq stop being a virulent threat in a class by itself because Al Gore changed his mind?

When President Clinton called Iraq “a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction,” did that change once his party decided that their political advantage lay in pretending that one of the few countries whose use of chemical weapons against civilians was explicitly documented never had any WMDs?

History marched on. The Democrats used their wartime sabotage to catapult themselves into Congress and the White House and became, as they had been before, the war party. And Saddam’s WMDs that they had joked about in the heady days when Bush was a chimp and Michael Moore was a cinematic genius had not gone away.

A decade after the worm had turned, it turned again. And Saddam’s WMDs were used again. This time in Syria. And the Democrats found themselves scrambling to explain why they didn’t want to go to the United Nations or give Assad a chance to disarm.

The Democrats had turned a bipartisan position on Iraq, a position that they had actually attacked Republicans for being too soft on, into a partisan position. And now they find themselves haunted by the legacy of that betrayal.

Their pretense that Bush’s case for war in Iraq was bad, but that their case for war in Syria is good, rings hollow. Bush’s case for war was also Clinton and Gore’s case for war. It was not some innovative notion cooked up by Dick Cheney in a bunker, but a widely held consensus.

The Democrats had undermined American foreign policy to get to Bush. Now getting Bush may cost them Assad. Each action is a choice and each choice has consequences further down the road.

Their actions cost the lives of American soldiers and made it impossible to move against Syria. And now that they have finally decided that they want to move against Syria, they are burdened by the weight of the Post-American policy order that they put into place. The limitations on their freedom of action come from their attacks on the Iraq War.

It was widely known that Saddam’s WMDs had been moved to Syria. The reports had come down from everyone from top Saddam loyalists to James Clapper, now the Director of National Intelligence. The Democrats had refused to give credence to those reports and their media allies had refused to take them seriously for purely political reasons.

Now they watch while the United Nations does what it does best, nothing, and the reports come in that Assad is moving his WMDs back to Iraq.

The irony would be quite toxic if the Democrats were capable of admitting what they had done.

Saddam’s pursuit of weapons of mass destruction was one of those ticking time bombs of history and while the mad dictator may be dead, his bombs are still ticking. The rhetoric of the left succeeded in reshaping the political landscape, but it could not banish the actual weapons from the page.

Now the Democratic Party is forced to operate within the confines of a deep suspicion about American intervention over WMDs that it cultivated when it was to its political advantage while struggling to cope with a problem that its unwillingness to recognize Syria’s role in the Iraq War helped create.

During the Iraq War, Syria had become the receptacle for Saddam’s WMDs and the pathway for the waves of suicide bombers coming to kill Americans. Today the two countries have changed places with Syrian WMDs allegedly headed into Iraq and Iraqi suicide bombers headed into Syria.

Had President Bush been free to act against Syria, the insurgency might never have taken off and Saddam’s WMDs would not have turned into a regional traveling sideshow. But the same men who had warned about the threat of Saddam had decided that the threat of George W. Bush was even greater.

They made their choice and now they are being forced to live with it.

Had the Democrats not refused to act against Syria, Iraq might not have collapsed into an Iranian puppet and would not have become part of a Shiite axis. Had they not made it clear that they would not under any circumstances act against Iran, the Saudis and the rest of the GCC might not have decided to back a Muslim Brotherhood caliphate as a counterweight leading to the Arab Spring. And had the Democrats not then decided to back the Arab Spring, Assad would not be using Saddam’s WMDs against his people.

This is a crisis that the Democrats created at every turn.

The Democrats are spearheading their Syria campaign under a man who was for the Iraq War before he was against it and who was for Assad before he was against him and who is now for stopping Saddam’s WMDs after he was against it and after he was for it.

With moral clarity like that, it’s not too surprising that no one takes us seriously. And why would they?

The Democratic Party and the liberal establishment put all its weight into attacking the prospect of a president going to war without the approval of the United Nations and ridiculed the idea of WMDs. They turned opposition to war into the highest moral value of their party only to discover that they actually do believe in unilaterally invading places over WMDs.

Now they are trapped in their own web.

The Democratic betrayal on Iraq has left them stuck in Syria as the time bombs of history tick on.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

  • truebearing

    Clearly, lying works when trying to acquire power, but it makes governing effectively practically impossible, hence the Left’s predictably procrustean methods for killing their self-created problems.

    The lies the Left use when trying to destroy a political enemy are like forgotten landmines. Sooner or later, they can’t avoid stepping on them. Regardless the size of the explosion, however, they’ll never admit a mistake.

    If the only victims of this irony were the Left, it would be justice and it would be funny, but unfortunately, our nation and the world pay the price. Hopefully, the citizens of the West will rediscover why moral clarity is essential to survival.

  • Hass

    It doesn’t matter what country they’re in, Libtards are all the same.

    We have the same idiots in Oz. Selfish arse holes.

  • Chezwick

    Let’s not re-write history. Iraq was a misadventure from the beginning…whether or not the Dems opposed to war. We lost 4 thousand of our best and brightest, 100,000 wounded, and $1.5 trillion spent…and for what? So Iran and Iraq could unite in a Shia condominium.

    The Left are obviously wrong with their insistence that Iraq was a rank obscenity from a moral standpoint. The 80% of the country that is Shia and Kurd are infinitely better off today than they were before the invasion (terror atrocities notwithstanding). Yea, we did a good thing. But its not just the cost in blood and treasure that makes it such a questionable venture. The on-going strategic ramifications of our intervention are clear: 1) Iran is strengthened with a new client state…2) The American public is averse to NEW interventions that are strategically imperative (Iran)…and 3) Barak Obama won the Dem nomination (and thus, the Presidency) on an anti-war platform and through his “vision”, subsequently destroyed any hope of America ever restoring its fiscal health.

    All a heavy price to pay for the removal of a crippled, boxed-in Saddam Hussein.

    • justquitnow

      yeah if only we could go back to the good old days of 2008 before Obama destroyed the economy….sheesh. And I’m glad you can look on a map from safety of your computer and say to yourself…well the people that live here that I will never meet are doing better….so nice going America! Worth it!

      • Chezwick

        I wish we could indeed go back to 2008, when our national debt was $10 trillion…instead of 5 short years later, when it is now $17 trillion.

        • justquitnow

          yeah Obama just threw 5 trillion down the toilet all by himself for no reason whatsoever. Yeehaw! Things only happened if you remember them.

          • Chezwick

            I’d say most of the $800 billion stimulus package was “thrown down the toilet”…(it surely didn’t stimulate the economy). And I’d say the 4 budgets that Obama has cobbled together (none of them actually submitted to Congress for a vote) were so generous to everybody and their mother that YES, an honest appraisal would concur that a good portion of the new debt incurred could indeed be laid at the doorstep of our ‘anointed one’.

          • justquitnow

            Then you go on being mad about whatever numbers you want to arrange….

          • Chezwick

            Sorry….there IS actually something called accountability. Obama has spent money like a drunken sailor…and the exponential rise in our debt is the direct result. Doesn’t exonerate Bush from his own mistakes (and W was hardly the picture of austerity)….any more than than – almost 5 years in – one can credibly blame Bush for Obama’s economy….(though the Prez and his minions keep trying).

          • justquitnow

            well good thing you are around then…give em hell Chezwick.

          • truebearing

            What exactly are you babbling about….or did I ask the wrong person?

    • UIO

      The war in Iraq destroyed the power of balance between Shia and Sunnis, destroyed the enemy of Iran and made Iran much stronger.

      Better stay at home. It is embarrassing to see how America is outsmarted again and again by bearded cretins. In short you are making everything worse.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        “The war in Iraq destroyed the power of balance between Shia and Sunnis, destroyed the enemy of Iran and made Iran much stronger.”

        Iran would have been next if not for the fight with leftist fifth columnists.

        “Better stay at home. It is embarrassing to see how America is outsmarted again and again by bearded cretins.”

        Better stay at home. It is embarrassing to see how America is defeated again and again by those leftists who enable bearded cretins.

        “In short you are making everything worse.”

        Until we destroy the crypto-communists on the left.

    • Mike Cee

      “the 80% of the country that is Shia and Kurd are infinitely better off today than they were before the invasion” What are basing this on ? Years of US propaganda demonizing Saddam as a pretext for war ?

      Look Saddam was authoritarian and had his problems for sure but generally speaking we was fair as long as you didn’t question his authority. When you consider how infested Iraq was (and still is) with Islamists and Al Qaeda and how the US spent millions in covert operations trying to undermine the Iraq regime, you cant really blame Saddam for being so authoritarian when he was in power.

      If you had Al Qaeda in your town, would you want them to be allowed to do as they please. No, Didn’t think So ! Without strict rules you end up with current day Iraq and daily carnage.

      • Fritz

        Saddam fair if you didn’t question his authority? Approximately 10,000 people a year disappeared into the hands of Saddam’s secret police, this isn’t W’s figures this is Amnesty International’s figures. He was a paranoid delusional dictator that modeled himself off of Joseph Stalin, if someone looked at one of his many posters cross eyed that could constitute questioning his authority. He was a mass murderer going back to the early 70s when he became vice president, he used nerve gas on his own people, and massacred thousands of others years before the Gulf War. Nobody told him to invade Kuwait in 1990 now did they? I’m always puzzled by the anti American left apologizing for the despicable behavior of megalomaniacs, “Yah, he rounded up and killed his own people, and his worthless son thought rape was a hobby, but it was the U.S plots that drove him to do it!” This are the same kind of tripe banalities rolled out as an excuse for Joseph Stalin’s behavior.

        • Mike Cee

          You know who the real Anti-Americans are. They are the globalists who have hijacked America and through there pushing of unnecessary wars and the control of the FED money supply. They have enslaved the US with 17 trillions worth of debt.

          One day the globalists will call in the debt that’s owned to them, and the US to will fall into depression and loose all influence in the world and we’ll have “patriots” like you too thank for empowering these authoritarians.

  • justquitnow

    You’re attempts to rehabilitate Bush is tired and sad. The Iraq War wasn’t a moral and tactical disaster because Democrats thought it so. OMG the weapons we didn’t find were moved to Syria and now their being moved back to Iraq…of course! This author is incapable of admitting the truth to himself. A big supporter of the Iraq War and the false pretense that took us there, he is trying to rehabilitate himself as well…FAIL.

    • Loupdegarre

      Yeah and I’ll bet you still think we lost the Tet Offensive just because Walter Cronkite got on TV and told you so. Since that day the media has become the lap dog of the left and since they are relativist there is no such thing as a lie only promoting the agenda, which you are attempting to do by regurgitating the talking points that were emailed to you this morning.

      • justquitnow

        You mean my comments criticizing direct elements of the article are talking points issued to me? Do you think in the same stupid hyperbole that you write in?

    • patron

      I feel if the American public knew the full picture on Iraq instead of the Democratic party’s lies, there would be more support.

      The US had thousands of troops stationed in Kuwait to allow for weapon inspections, and implemented a highly expensive no-fly zone.

      Saddam was bribing the UN and maintaining his chemical weapons infrastructure. Nuclear precursors existed in his country and the only thing preventing their enrichment was UN stickers and unarmed bueracrats.

      Members of his military and intelligence were caught working with al-Qaeda on terror missions. I highly doubt Saddam was unaware. Saddam outreached to Osama and they exchanged favors of endorsement and propaganda.

      I doubt Iran would be a perpetual mortal enemy in a region where loyalities and allegiances shift practically daily. No gurantee exists for the reported “Iranian counterweight”. It’s guaranteed that in the age of proliferation Saddam would have gone nuclear.

      • justquitnow

        Well of course man, you’re the truth bearer. Everyone else is operating on false information but you. If only the world knew that we really did find weapons, Iraq wasn’t a clusterf*ck, and all the war hype rationale was actually right on the money….and the earth is a cube.

        • glpage

          Well, the earth is not a cube, nor is it a perfect sphere. But, all sorts of evidence of WMDs were found in Iraq, and as the article stated, there is overwhelming evidence that Saddam’s chemical weapons were moved to Syria. Just because the NY Times, WashPo, and HuffPo refuse to admit it doesn’t mean it isn’t true. You also seem to forget that we didn’t go to war with Iraq because Saddam had WMDs, we did it to enforce 18 UN resolutions, which, by all accounts, Saddam refused to honor and refused to allow the UN to verify.

          I like the way you cast aspersions, it’s kinda like a little kid having a tantrum.

          • justquitnow

            No, it’s me making fun of you. What’s amazing is we went from mushroom cloud to some old gas canisters buried on a farm and you guys are perfectly content. It’s not your fault and you are running to help the author rehabilitate Bush. I remember…I was there. It’s just the cult and FPM know that if you believe hard enough then reality changes.

          • glpage

            No, we went from being told that Saddam had WMDs by the Brits, Bill Clinton, the CIA, the UN, and all sorts of other people and organizations to there never were WMDs and back to hey, maybe he did and they were shipped to Syria and now we’re sending them back to Iraq.

          • justquitnow

            Even “WMD” was introduced into the vernacular to obscure the difference between a nuclear weapon and and some old defunct sarin gas. Anyone familiar with the shelf life of chemical weapons? Iraqi sarin was reportedly of a particularly poor quality. It’s really easy to say “yeah the “weapons” were taken here or there”, but do you know what that would mean or entail? What “weapons” are being moved around over the course of decades that still remains viable?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            A jet plane is a weapon of mass destruction in the wrong hands. That’s what changed the metrics.

            You should. Just quit.

          • justquitnow

            We are talking about the chemical weapons. Thanks for being two days late to the conversation and peppering the board with little one line bs insults. Asshole.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “We are talking about the chemical weapons.”

            And the point sailed over your head like a passenger jet.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Thanks for being two days late to the conversation…”

            Ohh, I seeee. The leftist comes up with the excellent point that the conversation is over.

            Very good. You’re funnier now than 2 days ago. Lucky me.

          • justquitnow

            If not for disqus, no one would ever see what you wrote, and then it;s only me. I’m saying don’t call me back here basically to answer your trolling on a 2 day old post(s). I think you missed a few BTW…there might be objectionable diction or shorthand you can misunderstand still there.

            As long as you bothered me…a couple of things, 1) I’m not a leftist…I’m not your boogeyman. You don’t get to give me beliefs. 2) I understood the whole “9/11 changed the metrics”…so what? That’s your brilliant point. The conversation was about whether or not weapons were going back and forth between Syria and Iraq and you chime in with “passenger jet”. So here is your bit of attention for the evening you thick headed dolt. If you think that 9/11 justified invading Iraq then great! but it’s hardly an original or really salient argument,…it’s actually the kind of thinking that Bush used to invade the country that had nothing to do with 9/11. Good night.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “If not for disqus, no one would ever see what you wrote, and then it;s only me.”

            Obviously you don’t read many articles here. What a stupid answer.

            And it would be one thing if you mentioned that as an aside (in which case I’d ignore it) but that was basically your most salient and only accurate point (the timeline of our respective comments…good job).

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “1) I’m not a leftist”

            You’re a leftist dupe. I didn’t expect you to agree with that evaluation either.

            “2) I understood the whole “9/11 changed the metrics”…so what? That’s your brilliant point.”

            It undoes your stupid attempt to diminish the danger of weaponized gases and virtually any WMD. Any weapon system, improvised or known, is more deadly according to history as of now, as of 9-11-2001. That’s a lesson from all of history about “progress” in technology. In particular military technology. Another way of putting it would be that our threat map got more crowded.

            So get off this leftist spin doctoring about how blatant deception was employed to make the case for war. Spin was used, after the left started rising up. Bush should have proceeded without ratcheting up drama to win over leftists. He doesn’t actually understand them. He had plenty of justification for war and he should have made his case more honestly.

            “If you think that 9/11 justified invading Iraq then great!”

            That’s not the entire case. I said it changed the metrics with an existing enemy in an ongoing war. What’s shocking about that? What is shocking about how it played out is how the left totally exploited 9-11 politically while accusing Bush and Republicans of doing it.

            The root cause is a desire for revenge for attacking Clinton and then the so-called hanging chad. They were seething for payback. And they’re for the most part either ignorant about foreign policy, or their blatant internationalists that hate what made America great.

          • justquitnow

            Everyone’s a leftist if they don’t think just like you….what a surprise! Go stick it in your cornhole ya cultic troll.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Everyone’s a leftist if they don’t think just like you…”

            If they’re delusional dupes of the left, then yes of course they are leftists. It’s an objective standard.

            There are people who don’t think like me that are not leftist. Not many, but they exist. There are plenty on this site. Very few think like me, but we often find common cause and rally around salient facts. If that’s what you mean by “think like me” then I guess it’s an accurate statement.

            Sorry if you hate facts. Again, more evidence.

            I’m a member of the cult of those who reject delusion.

          • justquitnow

            “If they’re delusional dupes of the left, then yes of course they are leftists. It’s an objective standard.”

            Hahaha…um..hahahahah,,,whew..
            Cultist…

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Cultist…”

            Words themselves don’t actually have power. In the context that you’ve used the word, it means almost nothing. The irony is that the dogmas of the left lead you to think you’ve scored points. That says a lot more about you than it says about me.

            You’re a member of a cult that embraces delusion and dogmas while attacking others for it. Delusional and hypocritical.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Even “WMD” was introduced into the vernacular to obscure the difference between a nuclear weapon and and some old defunct sarin gas.”

            The term predates nukes, dumbass.

          • justquitnow

            I didn’t say it was invented then but introduced into popular speech…no one was saying WMD until then. Can you not be so eager to find fault that you make yourself look stupid?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “I didn’t say it was invented then but introduced into popular speech…no one was saying WMD until then.”

            You said it was to obscure.

            You: “Even “WMD” was introduced into the vernacular to obscure the difference between a nuclear weapon and and some old defunct sarin gas.”

            Where did you come up with that? Gas attacks are the epitome of WMD deployment because there is no other tactical use. It’s MORE appropriate to describe sarin as WMD than it is nukes.

            K? The only thing that is obscured is YOUR thinking and your paranoid accusations about the intentions of people that you disagree with.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            You’re pissed that Bush at least prevented Saddam from actually using WMDs?

            You need the proverbial or literal mushroom cloud to justify preventative war?

            You no sense makey makey.

          • DVult

            I like that line “…if you believe hard enough then reality changes.” but what is the FPM?

        • objectivefactsmatter

          Dumbass, it is you that holds the minority view. You live in a leftist bubble.

      • Erudite Mavin

        and remember this

        The UN Security Council started the Oil-for-Food program in 1996 to allow Iraq to sell enough oil to pay for food and other necessities for its population, which was suffering under strict UN sanctions imposed after the first Gulf War. But Saddam Hussein exploited the program, earning some $1.7 billion through kickbacks and surcharges, and $10.9 billion

        http://www.cfr.org/iraq/iraq-oil-food-scandal/p7631
        and the isolationists and appeasers don’t want to deal with this one.

        • justquitnow

          Don’t forget the rape rooms…we had lots of reasons to go over there…American F*CK YEAH!

    • Erudite Mavin

      Text Of Clinton Statement On Iraq

      Text of President Clinton’s address to Joint Chiefs of Staff and Pentagon staff:
      http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1998/02/17/transcripts/clinton.iraq/
      Clinton rants about WMD in Iraq in 1998 , slaps a few fingers
      and moves on and he & his fellow democrats who agreed later bashed Bush as typical of Democrats playing politics.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      “The Iraq War wasn’t a moral and tactical disaster because Democrats thought it so.”

      The Iraq War is declared a moral and tactical disaster because Democrats fought it so. Even before it began.

  • bob e

    justquitnow should

    • Guy Fromage

      It seems to think pulling random logical fallacies out of an old Crown Royal bag is all you need to distract people from facts.

      The BDS is strong with this one.

  • Erudite Mavin

    “Saddam was a ticking time bomb.”
    Exactly. This hits on what most don’t know or forget.
    Clinton’s inaction re the Middle East as a major contribution
    of emboldening radical Muslims to attack American soil
    and spread the war.
    and exactly what Obama has been doing the past 5 years.

  • stone7

    Ten years of no fly zone, no end in sight.

    Saddam paying suicide bomber’s families.

    Ooday trolling around Baghdad, picking up
    young girls, raping them, and feeding them to his dobermans.

    Leftists are liars. Everyone knows it.

  • Leland64

    They were for it before they were against it. That is the story of the Democratic Party. Where there is political advantage to be gained, we can be sure the Dems will flip and leave our troops high and dry. The three Ds sum up the Democrats perfectly: Disingenuous, Disloyal, Deceptive. That said, the one S, sums up the Republicans: Stupid.

  • stone7

    Yeah sure, stealth mode lefties everywhere.

    If democrats were only disingenuous, disloyal, and deceptive. They’re much, much worse than that. They’re pure enemies now, pure nihilist.

    You can be a fighter pilot, but if you’re a republican, lefty says you’re stupid. You can bring down the berlin wall and collapse an entire nation with only your words, but if lefty says you’re stupid, you’re stupid.

    History will make these judgements. Not short range lefty and his venal and disgusting pursuit of power at any cost. Lefty will be sitting at the table with the muslims.

    The table for the NOT EVER to be trusted.

    Make your bed dumbass.

  • rotorhead1871

    its what happened when one chooses to put politics in front of leadership….the dems are more into control of and maintaining power in America…..more than they are into being righteous world leaders

  • Mike Cee

    Common get real. The Invasion of Iraq, Libya, and the plan for Syria was highly immoral and cannot be justified.. Even if you are selfish enough to think its worth killing people for the financial benefit of the US, the benefit to the US for these wars was very small anyway. The only people who gained were arms dealers and oil companies. The US is no safer with the fall of Sadame and Gadaffi, and it left US taxpayers with trillions in debt. Lets not even mention the ZERO benefit for attacking Syria.

    War should only be used to save people from imminent massacre and not for regime change and geo-political gain. Also the chemical attack in Syria was false flag by the rebels, common sense and evidence tells us this.

    • maxime1793

      Note these Islamophobic sources always scream about Islamic terror and will highlight atrocities in Libya or Syria, but, at the end of the day, they’re neocons who will ally with the Islamists if it suits their geopolitical purpose. So you’re supposed to just believe “teh Mooslimz” are bad and not differentiate between Assad and Al-Qa’ida and use hatred of Islam to back whatever wars THEY want.