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Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Year after year, Saddam Hussein has gone to elaborate lengths, spent enormous sums, taken great risks to build and keep weapons of mass destruction. But why?

The only possible explanation, the only possible use he could have for those weapons, is to dominate, intimidate or attack.

With nuclear arms or a full arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, Saddam Hussein could resume his ambitions of conquest in the Middle East and create deadly havoc in that region.
-- from the State of the Union Address.

Replace "Saddam Hussein" and "he" with "the United States" and the statement becomes truer. Certainly Saddam may have sought weapons to dominate, intimidate or attack, but that is not the "only possible explanation." For over twelve years Iraq has been under brutal military and economic attack from the world's only superpower. Since Saddam's has few ways of delivering such weapons at any significant distance, using them for the defense of his country from that superpower is certainly a possible explanation, and a pretty likely one, if not the only one. And except for the Iran-Iraq war, in which the US supplied arms to both sides, almost all of the "deadly havoc in the region" has been at the hands of the US or its client state, Israel. As Ramsey Clark points out, more people were killed in the US invasion of Panama in 1989 than were killed in Iraq's invasion of Kuwait eight months later. But well over 100,000 Iraqi soldiers and civilians were killed in the Gulf War, and many more than that died from the destruction of infrastructure it caused and the draconian sanctions which were applied.