The following memo, which might have slipped from the briefcase of a White House staffer, may have been found by a cleaning crew in Lafayette Park. Or maybe not ...
MEMO TO: POTUS
FROM: NATIONAL SECURITY STAFF
Sir, as you know, the Iraqi document dump is larded with enough extraneous matter, repetition, impenetrable prose and sheer garbage to keep the entire CIA Middle East Bureau busy for a decade. Running through this Babylonian babble are the usual denials, dodges and lies.
They deny a chemical weapons program despite the discovery by UN inspectors in the 1990s of enough VX gas precursor chemicals to kill every man, woman and child on the planet.
And yet, moments of clarity did emerge over the weekend. Gen. Amir al-Saadi, Saddam's new favorite spokesman, seemed incredibly insouciant, admitting -- for the first time -- that Iraq did have a nuclear weapons program in the 1980s. He claims that all work on such a program ended with the Gulf War in 1991.
Even without hard evidence that such work continued, who would be fool enough to believe that Iraq would have an incentive to stop its nuclear program? (Now, sir, we know your sense of humor: Don't say the State Department!) If a bloody war (at least on their side) followed by serious sanctions and a rigorous, internationally monitored inspection regime did not stop them, why would they abandon the program after successfully evicting the inspectors and evading the sanctions?
Anyway, it shouldn't take longer than a week or two to compile a substantial list of lies from these documents, and you can then contrast this with what we've been able to gather through our intelligence. Debkafile (www.debka.com) is reporting that the UN inspections team has been thoroughly penetrated by Iraqi intelligence agents. So now it's out in the open. They've also reported that British and American special forces, arrayed around Iraq, are keeping a close watch on Saddam's major weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Here's the exact wording:
"The project (of secret inspections) is in the hands of a special multinational task force made up of special elite units and armed with combat helicopters and aircraft, spy planes and satellites. Unlike the Blix outfit, which is based in Baghdad, the alternative investigators are fanned out across the country. One well-placed source disclosed: ‘Our men in the field know where 90 percent of Saddam's missiles and unconventional weapons systems are located, even the mobile ones that are moved from place to place every hour. We are keeping them under tight, on-site observation because when the war begins, we want to be there before Saddam orders his men to hit the triggers.' According to our sources, this highly sensitive, elaborate and secret inspection project has been going on for more than three months."
Our advice is that you present the truth, as we have discovered it, to the American people and to the world in a televised speech (with maps and graphics) on the day our forces commence the attack on Iraq. Just as the United States displayed aerial photographs of Soviet missiles being delivered to Cuba in 1962 during the Missile Crisis, and just as we played tapes of the Soviet ground to air communications proving that they ordered the shoot-down of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 in 1983 (though they denied that, too), we should present our evidence for the world to see and hear, and for history to record.
But we should do so only after the bombers are in the air. Christmas Eve would be ideal. Just as George Washington surprised the Hessians, the Iraqis would not anticipate an attack on that day. Any further delay of our war on Iraq risks losing the momentum you have carefully choreographed.
The Congress has voted its approval. The United Nations has voted its approval. And as you have so eloquently put it on the day Resolution 1441 was approved: "The outcome of the current crisis is already determined: the full disarmament of weapons of mass destruction by Iraq will occur. The only question for the Iraqi regime is to decide how. The United States prefers that Iraq meet its obligations voluntarily, yet we are prepared for the alternative. In either case, the just demands of the world will be met."