MOSCOW, October 16 (RIA Novosti) — Because of the recent disclosure of secret documents by the US government showing that Saddam actually did have chemical weapons and many US and coalition soldiers were injured during Operation Iraqi Freedom, American involvement in Iraq can finally be legitimized, said Jeffrey D. Gordon, senior fellow at the Center for a Secure Free Society in Washington, in an interview with Radio VR, responding to the recent revelations of the New York Times.
“In Pentagon, people knew that chemical weapons were there and that people were finding them, and it was not much of a secret, it is just the media were pushing the line that “Bush was wrong”, “Bush lied, people died”, there were horrible war protests. So now that the New York Times is attacking the Pentagon, it is suspicious”, Mr.Gordon says, referencing one of the recent publications of the New York Times, which claims that the Pentagon concealed reports of US and coalition troops’ encounters with chemical weapons in Iraq. “I think this story is coming out today because of the news that some of Kurdish fighters have been killed apparently with chemical weapons according to all the evidence. And the New York Times is never shy about taking a shot at the Pentagon, no matter a Democrat is President or a Republican. And for Pentagon, the fact they want to hide it does not make a lot of sense, I mean if the Pentagon has been talking about soldiers finding thousands of these chemical weapons, that would sort of legitimize the reasons for the war in the first place”, the expert adds.
“I believe the US had a legitimate reason to go to war in Iraq”, Mr.Gordon goes on, pointing out the dangers the Saddam regime posed to the rest of world. “Had we not have the 9/11, of course no, but we did have 9/11, 3,000 people died in this country then, and so President Bush wanted to do anything he possibly could to prevent another one, and since Saddam Hussein had already gone to war against Iran, he invaded Kuwait before being kicked out of there, he was giving money to families of the suicide bombers in the West Bank, in Gaza. I think that Saddam was very destabilizing so I think that President Bush was right to get him out”.
Regarding the political considerations that pushed the Bush administration towards the direct involvement in Iraq, the expert says that, in his opinion, “the entire Iraq war is one of the things that are the most misunderstood than any war in recent times. President Bush wanted to do whatever he could to stop the active weapons of mass destruction program in Iraq. And the reason why people believe there was one is because Saddam Hussein was playing all his games with weapons inspectors. Also, Iraq used chemical weapons against Iran in the Iraq-Iran war in 1980-1988, there were about one million people killed, Iranians killed by the Iraqi. Also, in Halabja, the whole village of Kurds were wiped out by chemical weapons. So a lot of people knew Saddam Hussein had chemical weapons, it was just whether he had an active program to develop more chemical weapons, biological weapons or a nuclear program, there’s a lot of confusion from the get-go in what happened with the Iraq war and why it was started in the first place”.
There was a significant media bias, surrounding the war from the starting point, Mr.Gordon notes, and the media played a significant role in shifting the domestic policies of the US. “I think the mainstream media always have the narrative they want to push. Most of the media in the US and Western Europe were initially in favor of going to war in Iraq, but once things started to go poorly, once we started to lose a lot of US and coalition casualties, then the media pulled back and said “oh, wait a minute”, and started criticizing President Bush for the war, and with all these rallies across the country they helped Democrats win a House of Representatives in 2006 and then the Senate, so that’s one part of the problem“.
On the other hand, Mr.Gordon points out, the Pentagon failed its PR mission by not responding to the narrative pushed by the media. “It would seem to make more sense to acknowledge right away there were chemical weapons there because a lot of people said, “well, we did not find the chemical weapon” and the whole media world was pushing the storyline that “Bush was wrong, there were no chemical weapons”. There actually were a lot of chemical weapons as we’re finding now, because ISIS is using them against the Kurds today, as we can judge by the pictures, some Kurdish fighters were killed by a sort of mustard agent. We know that Iraq has its stockpile of chemical weapons still, we know that ISIS is in control of some parts of Iraq where those chemical weapons are, and so it is reasonable to conclude that ISIS is using them against the Kurds”.
The main issue which triggered the US invasion in Iraq was the behavior of the Saddam regime, Mr.Gordon suggests, as the Iraqi ruler misled the international community. “Any intelligence agency at the time believed that Iraq had an active chemical weapon or other WMD program because like I said Saddam Hussein was playing games with inspectors, so the UN weapon inspectors did not really know, and so they concluded, based upon the games Saddam was playing that he did have something that he did not. I mean the active WMD program. Anybody knew he actually had chemical weapons themselves, we’re talking about rockets and shells, we knew he had those things and I think the mainstream media narrative was not to report about this at the time. And I think that the Pentagon is responsible to make sure that each of the soldiers, injured by the Iraqi chemical weapons, should get the treatment they deserve”, Mr.Gordon notes.
The expert sees the war against Saddam as a natural continuation of the War on Terror, triggered by the attacks on 9/11. However, Mr.Gordon notes, “people still debate about the connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11, and I see no direct evidence that he was involved with the 9/11 hijackers in any way. I think that after the people were killed in the 9/11 attacks, Saddam was potentially the next big threat, that’s why President Bush took the action”, the expert concludes.
The New York Times article, published October, 14, stirred a heated debate in the media by disclosing the secret reports of the Pentagon about the existence of Iraqi WMD's and the hidden US and coalition casualties from encounters with them. Conservative commentators, including Mr.Gordon, insist that while the Pentagon is responsible for the care of the afflicted soldiers,, other accusations are groundless.