The former Ku Klux Klansman says he wants an "immediate investigation" because "the administration's rhetoric played upon the well-founded fear of the American public about future acts of terrorism," and such statements are "just sound bites based on conjecture."
Blix and Byrd sound a lot alike -- and one wonders if they're suffering from the same malady -- a detachment from reality. Part of that reality is that by the time Operation Iraqi Freedom was launched on March 20, 2003, it was, in the words of one of the Marines I interviewed outside of Baghdad, "the most telegraphed punch in military history."
Saddam Hussein had more than five months to destroy, remove or hide anything he wanted before U.S. and British troops arrived on his doorstep.
But even with all the time Saddam had to dispose of the evidence, there is still much that has been found to validate pre-war claims by the Bush and Blair administrations. In several live broadcasts on Fox News, I reported on the terror-bomb jackets, terrorist training manuals and large numbers of foreign terrorists at Salman Pak. I also showed the chemical protective equipment, atropine injectors and chemical warfare manuals that U.S. forces found in numerous places in Iraq.
Other embedded correspondents described trace elements of chemical agents in the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. A thoroughly cleaned bio-weapons lab, found by U.S. Army troops, matched the pre-war description offered by Secretary of State Colin Powell. Significant quantities of Castor beans have been found, which can be used, among other things, to produce ricin -- a deadly biological toxin.
The Blix & Byrd dynamic duo have allies in their effort to discredit the administration. U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., as part of his outreach to antiwar Democrats, called for "regime change" in the White House, and now insists that he, too, is the victim of a misinformation campaign orchestrated by President George W. Bush.
"He misled every one of us," Kerry claims -- as he backpedals from his vote in favor of using force to bring down Saddam. The Massachusetts liberal is joined in the attack by ex-Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich and Florida Sen. Bob Graham -- all hoping to punch holes in President Bush's approval ratings.
Those who seek advantage in trying to diminish the threat Saddam once posed to the United States -- whether it be for personal presidential ambitions or their upcoming memoirs -- may yet want to bite their tongues. This week, U.S. forces turned up more proof that Saddam continued to covertly pursue nuclear ambitions while Blix headed the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The evidence -- hardware and documents -- were found in the backyard of Mahdi Shukur Obeidi, an Iraqi scientist who was at the heart of Saddam's efforts to enrich uranium before the first Gulf War. While this "find" may not be the "smoking gun" critics are looking for, it underscores the belief that Saddam went to great lengths to hide, destroy or relocate his weapons before we arrived. Before we leave, it's more than likely we will find much more.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.
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