Tomorrow is BtB's 10th blogiversary. It never really got off the ground and these days readership is dwindling, but the archives are still a treasure!
Nine Years Ago.
June 18, 2004 ~ FrontPage Magazine:
... Jordan seized 20 tons of chemical weapons while foiling an al-Qaeda plot to kill 80,000 people. The stockpile they uncovered contained 70 different kinds of chemical agents, including Sarin and VX gas.... On April 17, Jordanian King Abdallah claimed these poisons came from Syria – but experts say Syria only has the capacity to produce small amounts of these weapons, not the 20 tons al-Qaeda possessed.
Please excuse the interruption; I'd just like to point out that King Abdullah is meeting with Obama this afternoon at the White House.
Significantly, David Kay and others have said Syria acted as a depository for Saddam’s WMDs. Former Justice Department official John Loftus has made a compelling case that even more WMDs are presently buried in Syria. And these are merely the latest in a long line of WMD discoveries, inside Iraq and out.
Seven Years Ago.
January 26, 2006 ~ The New York Sun:
The man who served as the No. 2 official in Saddam Hussein's air force says Iraq moved weapons of mass destruction into Syria before the war by loading the weapons into civilian aircraft in which the passenger seats were removed.
The Iraqi general, Georges Sada, makes the charges in a new book, "Saddam's Secrets," released this week. He detailed the transfers in an interview yesterday with The New York Sun.
"There are weapons of mass destruction gone out from Iraq to Syria, and they must be found and returned to safe hands," Mr. Sada said. "I am confident they were taken over."
Mr. Sada's comments come just more than a month after Israel's top general during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Moshe Yaalon, told the Sun that Saddam "transferred the chemical agents from Iraq to Syria."
The flights - 56 in total, Mr. Sada said - attracted little notice because they were thought to be civilian flights providing relief from Iraq to Syria, which had suffered a flood after a dam collapse in June of 2002.
"Saddam realized, this time, the Americans are coming," Mr. Sada said. "They handed over the weapons of mass destruction to the Syrians."
Mr. Sada said that the Iraqi official responsible for transferring the weapons was a cousin of Saddam Hussein named Ali Hussein al-Majid, known as "Chemical Ali." The Syrian official responsible for receiving them was a cousin of Bashar Assad who is known variously as General Abu Ali, Abu Himma, or Zulhimawe.
Five Years Ago.
Jonathan Alter, writing for the Washington Monthly:
... the stakes in 2008 are simple: the restoration of our image in the world and our image of ourselves. Everything else flows from that.
America’s prestige in the world is central not for grandiose reasons but strictly pragmatic ones. Every big international problem nowadays must be addressed multilaterally, from terrorism to climate change to Russian aggression to Iranian nukes to AIDS to poverty. Without global cooperation, none of these issues can be confronted. And without American leadership, global cooperation will be spotty at best. The United States as "the essential nation" is not neocon exceptionalism run amok; it’s a straightforward description of the bare requirements for problem solving in a complex world.
I think of it like the scene in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in which Tom gets his friends to help him paint Aunt Polly’s fence. The United States can’t and won’t paint the fence of global problems by itself. We have to charm and manipulate other nations into helping, or we’ll all get a whipping.
Our allies and their people understand the stakes. That’s why 200,000 well-wishers showed up to hear Obama in Berlin in July.
I was there, and met Germans who had organized Obama clubs in their suburban towns. They wore "Obama Tsunami" T-shirts. Why? Partly because he’s cool, but mostly because they know that only Obama has a chance—just a chance—to lead again as the Americans did for so many years....
July 23, 2012 ~ Wall Street Journal:
Syria's government acknowledged for the first time Monday that it had weapons of mass destruction, saying it has the capability to use its chemical and biological weapons in case of a foreign attack.Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said Damascus wouldn't use unconventional arms against its citizens. "Any stocks of WMD or any unconventional weapons that the Syrian Arab Republic possesses will never be used against civilians or against the Syrian people during this crisis in any circumstance, no matter how the crisis should evolve," he said.
President Obama in a campaign speech to the VFW, that same day:
.... We’re not just ending these wars; we’re doing it in a way that achieves our objectives. Moreover, it’s allowed us to broaden our vision and begin a new era of American leadership. We’re leading from Europe to the Asia Pacific, with alliances that have never been stronger. We’re leading the fight against nuclear dangers. We’ve applied the strongest sanctions ever on Iran and North Korea -- nations that cannot be allowed to threaten the world with nuclear weapons. (Applause.) We’re leading on behalf of freedom -- standing with people in the Middle East and North Africa as they demand their rights; protecting the Libyan people as they rid the world of Muammar Qaddafi.
Today, we’re also working for a transition so the Syrian people can have a better future, free of the Assad regime. And given the regime’s stockpiles of chemical weapons, we will continue to make it clear to Assad and those around him that the world is watching, and that they will be held accountable by the international community and the United States, should they make the tragic mistake of using those weapons. (Applause.) And we will continue to work with our friends and our allies and the Syrian opposition on behalf of the day when the Syrian people have a government that respects their basic rights to live in peace and freedom and dignity.
Because we’re leading around the world, people have a new attitude toward America. There’s more confidence in our leadership. We see it everywhere we go. We saw it as grateful Libyans waved American flags. We see it across the globe -- when people are asked, which country do you admire the most, one nation comes out on top -- the United States of America. (Applause.)
So this is the progress that we’ve made. Thanks to the extraordinary service of our men and women in uniform, we’re winding down a decade of war; we’re destroying the terrorist network that attacked us; we’re strengthening the alliances that extend our values. And today, every American can be proud that the United States is safer and stronger and more respected in the world.
Today: It doesn't have anything to do with sarin or other WMD - not directly, anyway - but you still might want to read Peggy Noonan's declaration of "Obama fatigue" at the Wall Street Journal.
.... In all his recent interviews Mr. Bush has been modest, humorous, proud but unassuming, and essentially philosophical: History will decide. No finger-pointing or scoring points. If he feels rancor or resentment he didn't show it. He didn't attempt to manipulate. His sheer normality seemed like a relief, an echo of an older age.
And all this felt like an antidote to Obama—to the imperious I, to the inability to execute, to the endless interviews and the imperturbable drone, to the sense that he is trying to teach us, like an Ivy League instructor taken aback by the backwardness of his students. And there's the unconscious superiority. One thing Mr. Bush didn't think he was was superior. He thought he was luckily born, quick but not deep, and he famously trusted his gut but also his heart. He always seemed moved and grateful to be in the White House. Someone who met with Mr. Obama during his first year in office, an old hand who'd worked with many presidents, came away worried and confounded. Mr. Obama, he said, was the only one who didn't seem awed by his surroundings, or by the presidency itself.