I have been meaning to blog about this article for some time.
In it, Melanie Phillips claims to have learned from a Dave Gaubatz of the US Air Force Office of Special Investigations that “Saddam’s WMD did exist”. They were buried, then removed to Syria after the occupation.
This places Phillips in a minority of neo-cons who are still spinning the line about Iraqi WMD. Most, including Blair, have moved on to the “Hell, we got rid of Saddam, so what does it matter?” line. Plainly, others like Phillips feel their intellectual credibility is at stake. These are people whose fanatical world view does not permit of the possibility of having been wrong. Those weapons must exist.
So, Phillips buys the story of Mr Gaubatz, who tells us that the weapons were buried in four vast, thick, concrete bunkers in Southern Iraq.
He was, he says, in no doubt whatever that this was true.
This was, in the first place, because of the massive size of these sites and the extreme lengths to which the Iraqis had gone to conceal them. Three of them were bunkers buried 20 to 30 feet beneath the Euphrates. They had been constructed through building dams which were removed after the huge subterranean vaults had been excavated so that these were concealed beneath the river bed. The bunker walls were made of reinforced concrete five feet thick.
After we had invaded and occupied Iraq, in the massive search for Iraqi WMD, with Bush and Blair’s credibility vanishing by the hour, inexplicably nobody would listen to Mr Gaubatz saying he had found the WMD. From this account, apparently Mr Gaubatz did not feel that the discovery of Iraq’s WMD was important enough to put in his requests to the Iraq Survey Group in writing. I presume that is what Phillips means when she says he “verbally” told them, although of course writing also uses words and she intended to say “orally”.
And then what happened?
the WMD buried in the four sites were excavated by Iraqis and Syrians, with help from the Russians, and moved to Syria.
Now let us consider what Phillips is selling us here. Sometime after July 2003, with some quarter of a million coalition troops and other personnel occupying Iraq, four vast bunkers of WMD, presumably weighing hundreds of tonnes, were secretly excavated, some from thirty feet under the Euphrates, and then smuggled many hundreds of miles in trucks across the desert and across the Iraqi border, without anyone noticing or a single weapon being caught?
Don’t forget that these are not facilities hidden in deep desert near the Syrian border. They are under the Euphrates – the great river along which most Iraqi towns lie, and alongside which all the roads and other infrastructure run, in constant use by allied forces, who were also patrolling the river in boats.
Think about the building of these facilities in the first place. Iraq was under intense scrutiny from both satellite and aerial photgraphy. UK and US airforces were in constant sortie over the area described, which lies within the Southern no-fly zone. On the ground UN inspectors were roaming widely, poking into anything suspicious.
The Euphrates is not a stream. it is one of the great rivers of the World. Phillips tells us these great projects involved diverting the Euphrates around dams. And no-one noticed?
This story goes beyond the unlikely into the ludicrous. Phillips has obviously allowed political and atavistic hatred to override her powers of reason. Put starkly, the woman has gone barking mad.
All of which would be funny, except that she is given the widest access to all forms of media to broadcast her racial hatred against Arabs and Muslims, and her vile, hate-filled books sell well. Yet the rational can easily dissect her output as rubbish beyond the pale of reason.
Glad to see that she has made up with the Spectator though. On 21 January 2005 she wrote in her published diary
The Spectator. What kind of hatred of the Jews resides at that magazine…