Memo To:President Saddam Hussein
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Free advice
Now that the elections are behind us in the United States, President Clinton does not have to worry about being accused of bombing Iraq in order to divert attention from his personal difficulties. It looks like there will be a big push from our Political Establishment to apply force, no matter what the UN Security Council says. You don't seem to realize that the only way you can get the sanctions lifted is by developing broad-based support in the UN General Assembly for the idea that you have done everything you can possibly think of to rid your country of these sanctions, but the United States has demonstrated again and again that no matter what you do, the sanctions will remain.
The people of the United States are fair-minded, Mr. President, but they pay scant attention to what is going on in your part of the world, which leaves them vulnerable to arguments of the Establishment forces here that you have always been a monster and will always remain a monster. So much intellectual and political capital has been invested in you being a monster, that you can only overcome that demonization — as unfair as it seems to you — by getting a great many sympathizers in the General Assembly to openly question U.S. treatment of Iraq, and thereby force our Political Establishment to reconsider. We have the power to do just about anything we wish to do in the world, but our leaders know that there is only just so much bullying and propaganda they can get away with. It is a disgrace that our Congress has publicly authorized $97 million to be spent on an attempted overthrow of your regime. This is an act of war and a violation of all international principles, but we are the Global Sovereign and therefore can do as we please.
It has been clear to me since 1994 that your military maneuvers and rhetorical blusterings were the product of your own frustration in getting the sanctions lifted. I've also done enough research to understand the rationale behind the invasion of Kuwait. Almost no American journalist will bother with this kind of due diligence, because once our power elite decides on a common enemy, there is little point in contesting it. The electorate has to become concerned enough to make it clear to the political leaders that they insist upon a policy shift. You should understand this very well, because you are the power elite in Iraq, and will not put up with any internal criticism. Here, I have some leeway in will not put up with any internal criticism. Here, I have some leeway in being able to play devil's advocate for you and others we call "rogues." Your ambassador to the United Nations, Nizar Hamdoon, has done an extraordinary job of holding off these dark forces, but you need more help from other Islamic countries in particular in making the case for reasonableness on the part of the only Superpower. I've been doing the best I can, but I'm only one little guy from New Jersey, without portfolio, but with a website. Here is a memo I sent the editor of the New Yorker magazine on Monday, regarding the November 11 story on Scott Ritter.
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November 2, 1998
Memo To: David Remnick
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Peter Boyer on Scott Ritter
Marvelous piece ["Scott Ritter's Private War." The New Yorker. 11-9-98] in that while it seemingly supports Ritter, it also makes it clear why he has been a problem for the government, another Ollie North cowboy type. Boyer does have some major errors in the story, which involve claims that UNSCOM found secret weapons caches. Nizar Hamdoon told me in January that the last weapons unearthed were in . November 1991 and that no weapon was found without the assistance of the Iraqi government. The Boyer piece suggests that nuclear finds were made with the help of a September 1991 U-2 operation. My understanding was that Baghdad never denied having a nuke program, except that the nuke plant the Israelis blew up in 1983 was really only a power plant — which we have since learned probably is true. Boyer also says the Russian chief inspector found the missile site with VX. That's not true. UNSCOM was shown the site in 1991 and could have gone back to it at any time to poke around for VX. My sources tell me it is extremely improbable that the facts in the case point to the weaponization of VX. That is, it is almost certainly true that Iraq tried to develop a VX weapon during the war with Iran, but that it failed. The Swiss and French reports confirm the dubious nature of that VX report.
My involvement in keeping up with this story goes back to my suspicion in 1990 that Saddam would not have gone into Kuwait if he believed we would complain about it. I only joined in support of the Gulf War when the Saudi ambassador persuaded me that Iraq was preparing to invade his country after securing Kuwait. I now believe this was baloney. The investigative reporting now indicates our State Department blundered by giving Saddam the green light, and that King Fahd at first opposed doing anything about Saddam because he thought the Emir of Kuwait had it coming to him, having cheated Saddam. The story gets more and more interesting the more you get into it. Saddam is not a nice man, I'd agree, but we did back him in the Iran war and it is silly to say we didn't know about his biological and chemical efforts when we helped him in those programs. There is also no evidence he ever gassed his own people, no matter how many times Abe Rosenthal and Bill Safire insist he did.
Finally, if you go back far enough, you will find that the Iran-Iraq war that led to this mess would not have occurred if President Richard Nixon had not taken the U.S. and the world off the gold standard. You smile, but I kid you not.