Is there any evidence that Iraq would supply terrorists if we didn't go to war?

Here’s the part of the war question I’m thinking the most about:

Iraq will most likely not give their WMDs to terrorists if we do not go to war with them, and almost certainly will if we do. This has been asserted by anti-war activists, and the CIA in a report to Congress. I have not heard/seen any Bush Administration official, or indeed, anyone on the SDMB, deny this (if they have, I just missed it, and I’d like to hear the reasons given).

Now, given that the reason that we’re going to war is to protect American lives and interests, if the above assertion is true, isn’t war counterproductive? This is one reason I formed my previous thread asking war supporters what would happen if we didn’t invade: I wanted to see if there were other circumstances and possible consequences that outweighed this risk. Since the point I wanted addressed wasn’t, I thought I’d try starting a thread specifically on it.

I’ve looked in the threads dealing with the asserted Al Queda/Iraq link and other war-related threads, trying to find specific arguments by war supporters refuting the above, but haven’t been able to find any. If there are, I’d appreciate the pointer.

Otherwise, I’d like to toss out these questions: why do supporters of war feel confident that the certain increase in terrorist threats is worth the risk, given that we’re going to war partly to prevent these threats? If they do believe that Saddam (almost typed “Saddamn” there) will distribute WMDs, why? What do they expect him to do that couldn’t be handled by non-war means of whatever sort? If they agree with the CIA Congressional report, why the continued support of war?

As with my other thread, this is mostly for my own edification, so if you have relevant links to other threads that I’ve missed, please pass 'em along here. Thanks!

Well don’t hold your breath. I have raised this very same point at least a dozen times in different threads and have yet to read any real counter-arguments from the hawks. However they still keep repeating the “Saddam passing weapons to terrorists” argument again and again as if nothing had happened.

I guess they borrow their tactics from the Bush administration: ignore inconvenient facts and counter-arguments and just keep repeating your talking points again and again.

Ok, since you asked. Here are two items that appear to be agreed upon, as reported by the media, as accurate.

  1. The noted terrorist, Abu Nidal, lived in Baghdad for somewhere around 4 years, before succumbing to suicide late last year by shooting himself no less than four times in the head.

  2. It has been noted that Saddam pays the families of Palestinian suicide bombers cash money of $25,000.

  3. A senior Al-Qaeda member was treated in Baghdad in the last year after escaping U.S. bombing of Afghanistan.
    In the first case we have Saddam giving aid and comfort to a known international terrorist, ditto number three. In the second, we have him paying for suicide bombers. These aren’t the sole indictable actions of a terrorist sympathizer, just three of the more blatant.

These actions, undoubtedly merely the tip of the iceberg, do indicate a complicit relationship with a variety of terrorist organizations. It can hardly be argued that it is some leap of the imagination from aid and comfort to actual supply and support of active terrorist activities. The real question then would be, how could we absolutely prove it, one way or another? Based on what we know we know, AND what we think we know, what is the best determination we can make?

As to the argument made by anti-war folks that Saddam won’t use these nasties unless we attack, I have to ask; what the heck are you smoking? Has he used them in the past? Yes. Has he attacked neighboring countries without provocation? Yes. How on earth can you say with a straight face that letting this maniac continue to maintain and improve his weapons programs will be safer than dealing with him now? International covert intelligence is not just a matter of finding the available clues and piecing together the puzzle. There are bits and pieces of all sorts of things to be sought and analyzed. It begins by knowing which precise pieces are missing, which are disinformation intended to deceive, delay, or misdirect, which pieces fit an entirely different puzzle, and you really must know what the picture shows as the pieces fit together in order to defend against the threat posed. Far too many people seem to think that international terrorism is in a separate little box, not touching the box next to it labelled “rogue states”. You simply cannot make that assumption without evidence. You must question everything. And I do mean everything.

Um piddling publicity stunts like paying the families of suicide bombers is orders of magnitude different from passing along WMD which can kill tens of thousands of people and invite massive retaliation if ever used. The first is simply not evidence of any sort for the latter.

Question: Saddam has possessed bio/chemical weapons for more than 20 years? Why hasn’t he ever passed along those weapons to terrorists in the past? Why did he refrain from using these weapons against the US and Israel during the Gulf War? Why exactly will he suddenly start using them now? Note that he has only used those weapons against Iran and the Kurds who could not retaliate like the US and Israel can.

You ust answered your own question. Read what you wrote, and see wy he doesnt use wmd’s against the U.S. or ppl more powerful than him.

Which is pretty much the point of the OP. If Saddam only picks on the weaker, being a bully, and he knows that any suggestion that he was the source of an attack on the U.S. would invite retaliation from the U.S., wholly justified under international law and needing no U.N. support even to keep up appearances, then his most likely action would be to keep those weapons to himself where he can pretend he’s a tough guy.

The minute he gives those weapons to al Qaeda, we take his dictatorship away from him. Therefore, his best strategy is to not arm terrorists and our best strategy (at the moment) is to keep the threat of taking away his country over him. Once we launch an attack, he has nothing left to lose, encouraging him to actually do something with those weapons, just as he fired the Kuwait oil fields when it was clear he could not hang on to that conquest.

Let’s not forget that the Iraqi intelligence service also plotted to assassinate former president Bush while on a visit to Kuwait. President Clinton launched a cruise missile attack against Iraq’s intelligence service headquarters in retaliation.

And of course, as has been repeatedly pointed out, Saddam has not hesitated to use chemical weapons when he thought it was to his advantage.

I find it easy to believe that Iraq is likely to supply nuclear or CBW weapons to terrorists. Although I have misgivings about a war against Iraq, I have to wonder exactly what would need to happen before the anti-war crowd would drop their objections. Another 911, this time with nukes, gas or germs and tens or hundreds of thousands of casualties? Do we wait until Paris, London or Washington are radioactive craters before we act?

I think you’re assuming too much rationality on the part of Saddam. Like Hitler (yes, I know comparisons to Hitler and the Nazis are made much too often these days, but I think it fits in this case), Saddam’s egotism and lust for power have led him to make to some very bad moves (e.g. the attack on Iran, the invasion of Kuwait) and are likely to do so in the future. Certainly you outline a sound strategy for Saddam here, but it seems likely that Saddam is not as rational as you.

Damn, I just admitted a liberal is rational. I must be getting soft in my old age.

He only attacked Iran when he (mistakenly) perceived that the Islamic Revolution had destroyed its officer corps (particularly, the Air Force).

He only attacked Kuwait when he (mistakenly?) perceived a comment from a U.S. diplomat as indicating that the U.S. would not interfere.

He has never attacked anyone when he thought he would be opposed. Given the current situation, there is no reason for him to ever believe that he will be given that latitude in the future.

Don’t worry about it. Only people standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the John Birch Society would actually believe I was a liberal.

There is no doubt in my mind that Hussein would never even consider using nuclear weapons against the US or its allies. It would be an immediate death sentence.

That said, a problem with Iraq developing WMDs is the instability factor. What happens to them if Hussein is deposed or Iraq exhibits some sort of instability a la the USSR. In those circumstances, a breakdown in the security structure could very well allow warheads, materials, etc. to fall into the wrong hands. I don’t think this is really an immediate concern at this time though, since the Baathist regime looks pretty stable for the forseeable future (outside foreign intervention, of course).

This is a long and excellent article by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker casting serious doubt that the Iraqis were behind the assasination attempt.

About Saddam's "miscalcuations" that is really just speculation. Many countries including the US have at some time or the other made big miscalculations and blunders. None of Saddam's miscalculations involve using WMD against the US or Israel. In fact he conspicuously refrained from doing this during the Gulf War. He has survived in power for more than 20 years; this would hardly be possible if he were fundamentally irrational. 

But even there is a possibility of Saddam miscalculating that has to balanced against the certainty that he will use his WMD if the US invades.

Once again:

If the US doesn’t invade there is a possibility of Saddam using his WMD or giving them to terrorists(probably a small one)
If the US invades there is a certainty of Saddam using his WMD or giving them to terrorists.

This is an argument against war.

You have (inadvertently?) identified another strong argument against invasion since it will produce precisely the instability in Iraq which makes it likely that bio/chem weapons are stolen and sold in the black market. The US doesn’t have a clue where the weapons are hidden and probably won’t be able to find all of them for weeks or months if at all. By that time many of them will be gone.

The only thing worse than Saddam controlling the weapons is no one controlling the weapons.

Y’all do realize that this war is exactly what the US military needs in order to test it’s new weaponry. I am anxiously awaiting the results of the high tech toys that the US will be playing with this time. :smiley:

Magnetic pulse technology…is now ready for use. Damned that’s just too cool. I sure hope it works as well as expected.

Oh, the OP…according to Saddam’s mistress, Ossama has been in Saddam’s house several times in the past. He (Hussein) even gave Bin Laden money to help finance his camps.

Of course she was probably lying too…

Interesting responses so far… Wish we’d get more visits from others on this board who agree with the need for war…

I’d like to ask directly, has the Bush Administration ever addressed the points I’m asking about? If not, why not?

*Originally posted by Leaper *
Now, given that the reason that we’re going to war is to protect American lives and interests, if the above assertion is true, isn’t war counterproductive?

I think it’s pretty simple… no one can tell what will or might happen if things stay the way they are. IF you kill Saddam, he can’t GIVE anything to anybody. IF you find and destroy the WMD, they can’t BE GIVEN to anybody. Hey, I’m just a simple carpenter, what do I know? But, doesn’t this explaination make sense?

I get what you’re saying, but the argument here is that if Saddam is overthrown, he (or at least his cronies who control the WMDs WILL give them to terrorists, and that we CAN’T find them in time. On the other hand, the argument goes, if we don’t go to war, he WON’T give them away, which gives us the time to actually find, and destroy, the WMDs, and that going to war knowing that he’ll give them away is a counterproductive risk, considering the reason to fight in the first place.

A slight misinterpretation, but not too serious.

I have to think that probably most of the objections would disappear if unambiguous evidence were presented that Iraq posed a serious threat to the USA. That seems to be the question that the OP is asking. If there were a clear link to the 9/11 attacks, there’d be much less hesitation. As it is, I’d guess that many people are asking exactly how Iraq is more dangerous than North Korea, or really any tinpot Third World dictatorship with a weapons program and a mad-on for America. It’s also an open question whether an essentially unprovoked invasion of Iraq is going to reduce terrorism, or prompt a new spate of retaliatory attacks from “anti-imperialist” groups worldwide (which after all seems to be what bin Laden was counting on). The administration needs to be clearer on these points.

On the other hand, the argument goes, if we don’t go to war, he WON’T give them away,

Who is guaranteeing Saddam’s actions? Like I said in my first sentence, NO ONE can tell what will or might happen. But, being proactive makes more sense to me than trying to outguess a madman, trusting in a WAG about what he will or will not do.

There have been two basic points made in this thread that I can see.

  1. Saddam has no connection to terrorists.

  2. Saddam will only give his weapons to terrorists if we attack him.

My arguement is this:

If he has no connection to terrorists then how would he even know who to give the weapons to in the event of a war. He must have some connection to terrorists or else point #2 wouldn’t even need to be argued. SO lets assume, for the sake of arguement about point #2, that Saddam does have connections to terrorists, which would make point #1 false. (Whether we want to say that they are just drinking buddies or partners in crime doesn’t really matter.)

So assuming that there is a connection based on my previous point I would have to argue that the current situation is more than likely that Saddam has already given them some of these various weapons. In what quantities and types I could not venture a guess, but my intuition makes me believe that he must have given something to them at some point. Serioulsy, we have a guy who is hated by the U.S. (Saddam) and a group of people who hate the U.S. with all of their heart (terrorists). They must at some point have given each other atleast a passing glance. (I know my huge assumptions go beyond the scope of liberal thinking but you have to follow me here.)

So right now our choices are to leave Saddam alone and hope he doesn’t give them anymore weapons than he already has or we can take Saddam out at which point he may very well hand over his stash to the terrorists. Either way, they have these weapons. The idea that they would have 400 pounds of anthrax as opposed to 40 if we didn’t go to war really doesn’t make a bit of difference. All that I can hope is that in the end Saddam will be gone, which would make the world a better place. Not a good place, but better.

(Next on the to-do list: North Korea)

Well Saddam surely has knowlege about the terrorists and probably some type of contact with some of them. I would imagine virtually every major government in the world including the US has contacts with terrorists, if for no other reason than to infiltrate them. That doesn’t mean they pass WMD to them.

“The idea that they would have 400 pounds of anthrax as opposed to 40 if we didn’t go to war really doesn’t make a bit of difference”
First of all the difference may be more like 400 versus 0. But even in your case it does make a huge difference in the offensive capacity of Al-queda. There is absolutely no reason why the US should choose an option which may give Al Qaeda the means to kill tens of thousands of Americans.

BTW just today I was reading about possible preperations by Iraq for war. One interesting tidbit was that Saddam is so cautious that even regular Republican Guards units are not allowed in Baghdad for fear of a coup. If Saddam is so paranoid about his own troops, how likely is it that he passes WMD to Islamic terrorists who are well known to hate his regime and could easily use them to threaten his regime. It’s theoretically possible, I suppose, but highly unlikely and an awfully dubious rationale for a war.