The question of whether or not Dave Gaubatz is a rogue agent or an honest and truthful man is among the most important that can at present be asked. If he is truthful, then the fate of the world may well hang on what he has been trying to tell us since he found weapons of mass destruction in southern Iraq in 2003.
Mr. Gaubatz was for 12 years an agent in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. In 2003, he was posted to Nasariyah in southern Iraq. His mission was to identify suspected weapons of mass destruction sites, and he has been claiming for some time now that he did just that.
Not only that, he says that these sites are now empty because they were looted by Iraqis and Syrians in the chaos that followed the inept US invasion of Iraq.
Between March and July of 2003, he claims to have been taken to four sites in southern Iraq which contained biological and chemical weapons, nuclear materials, and parts for medium range missiles of a type prohibited by the UN.
The sites were gigantic bunkers buried beneath the Euphrates River to hide them. Mr. Gaubatz says that he told the Iraq Study Group of his findings, but they refused to bring heavy equipment to the area to open the bunkers.
The upshot of all this is that everything in the bunkers was apparently taken to Syria. More disturbing are rumors that the reason that both Republican and Democratic delegations have recently gone to Syria is that US intelligence is reporting that centrifuges are now in use there as well as in Iran, producing the type of fissionable material needed for use in nuclear weapons.
Two congressmen, Peter Hockstra and Curt Weldon, have both attempted to follow up his account by reviewing the 60 classified intelligence reports he claims to have submitted. However, the Defense Department and the CIA claim that they cannot be found, and the implication is that they never existed at all.
However, when the CIA eventually did send a visitor to the sites, the report came back that they had indeed been looted. What was in them, though, remains an unknown--but one that should be investigated seriously and quickly, if only because Mr. Gaubatz and his staff were apparently exposed to high levels of radiation at some point when they were in southern Iraq.
But so far, there is little investigative interest. The New York Times has identified Mr. Gaubatz as a weapons of mass destruction obsessive. Unfortunately, there may be political reasons for this. First, there is the Bush Administration and the Republican Congressional Delegation. They aren't going to let the world know that the administration, by sending too few troops into Iraq, actually allowed the WMDs to be stolen by Syria.
Of course, the last thing that the Democrats want to hear is that there were WMDs in Iraq after all.
John Loftus, the organizer of the Intelligence Summit has asked for a congressional investigation into the situation. So far, he has been ignored, despite his formidable credentials.
So, it would appear that Washington fiddles while...well, it could be Washington that will burn.
If, as Loftus suggests, there now exists a nuclear axis between Syria, Iran and North Korea, supported by Russian and Chinese scientific expertise and technology, then their bomb is well on its way to being completed, and most likely farther along than western intelligence services believe.
So, what does that mean?
It does not mean that we will wake up one morning and find that Tel Aviv has been nuked. The reason is simple: a nuclear weapon exploding anywhere in the mideast would devastate the whole region.
The plan is likely to be much more audacious. It will use the Bush Administration's stunning post-911 failure to harden the United States against smuggled nuclear materials.
It would begin with a nuclear explosion of undetermined origin in a great American city--perhaps Los Angeles, possibly Washington, probably New York.
The reason that New York is more of a target of opportunity than Los Angeles is that it is a much more concentrated area, and a small nuke can inflict fantastic casualties there, whereas Los Angeles is so spread out that even a Hiroshima-sized bomb would do relatively less damage. Washington is not the first choice either, for reasons that will be seen in a moment.
After the bomb exploded, an unknown terrorist group would then announce that it had nuclear weapons planted in a number of other cities, American and otherwise, and it would forbid the US government and the president to leave Washington, saying that, if they try to protect themselves, another great city will be destroyed.
A 'tough' president might call their bluff--with the certain result that another nuclear explosion would occur somewhere in the west. Possibly, this time, the target would be London.
Still, the "terrorist group" controlling the weapons would remain unknown and, in fact, any attempt to investigate would likely result in further nuclear assault.
The west would, in effect, be ended at that point as a factor in the geopolitical future of the world. "Islamic fundamentalism"--which is by no means the whole of Islam, or even a particularly significant part of the religion--would appear to have won. But not over Christianity, because that isn't the real battle and, in fact, this isn't even a religious war. It would have won over secularism, freedom and individuality, which is what the war between North Korea, Syria and Iran, in the form of the Ahamadinejad regime, and the west is really about. The religious aspects of the thing are mere posturing. This is about totalitarianism and freedom, and the totalitarians have, to some extent, wrapped themselves in the flag of a particular religion, in order to gain support.
No matter the true nature of the enemy, though, if Dave Gaubatz is right, we're on a superhighway to destruction. The fanatical leadership of three rogue countries are much farther along the road to nuclear success than we have yet imagined.
So, what can we do? I think that we should certainly write our congressmen and let them know that his claims need proper investigation.
More than that, though, we need to send an audacious message to Syria, Iran and North Korea, and their Russian and Chinese supporters, to the effect that, if a nuclear weapon goes off anywhere in the west, the immediate and unquestioned result will be the total and complete destruction of all three countries. We will not wait for proof, or even for evidence of who did it.
It sounds like a hideous and unfeeling policy, and it is. It is also a policy of desperation, because the actual truth is that we lack a viable or humane choice.
The policy is not wrong, however, because the detonation itself will be the proof. Such a weapon could have come from nowhere else. If they sow the whirlwind, they must understand clearly that they will reap the whirlwind.
The doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction kept us out of a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union. This doctrine must be replaced with a new one: the doctrine of Certain Retaliation that states that, if a nuclear weapon is detonated anywhere in the west at all, North Korea, Syria and Iran can expect to be destroyed utterly and immediately, no questions asked.
If this policy is effective, and that can only happen if the west shows a new unity of purpose and resolve to countries like Syria, Iran and North Korea, then it will never be tested, and the world will never taste its horrific consequences. The point of such a policy must be, of course, to create a situation, like MAD did, where it never need be executed.
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