Richard Nixon versus Kofi Annan
Jude Wanniski
March 31, 1998


Memo To: Abe Rosenthal, NYT columnist
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Nixon From the Grave

In 1991, Richard Nixon wrote his last book, Seize the Moment, more or less about the New World Order. Because we were up to our ears in the Gulf War and its aftermath, those events heavily influenced the writing of the book. Nixon, for example, argued that no matter what Saddam Hussein did to comply with UN resolutions requiring him to get rid of weapons of mass destruction, we should keep the sanctions on until Saddam was gone from the scene. Nixon obviously believed with those of his friends and advisors who sculpted this strategy that Saddam would be gone from the scene in practically no time at all. By default, and because of the continuing influence of Henry Kissinger, William Safire and the Cold Warriors in the American political establishment, the Nixon edict became the unofficial policy of our government. You know that, Abe, as you have been and remain a big supporter of this hidden agenda, which would surprise the American people if they knew about it. As long as President Clinton says Saddam has it in his power to get the sanctions lifted, if he complies with the UN resolutions, the fiction can be maintained. Your column today, "Saddam's Sanitation Squad," carries on in that tradition. Let there be no mistake you are now firing the opening guns against UN General Secretary Kofi Annan's effort to bring the Gulf War to a conclusion almost eight years after it began.

In a very real sense, Richard Nixon, the political embodiment of the Cold Warrior, lives on in that 1991 policy declaration that remains in place. No matter that it has been a stupendous failure. Saddam is not only politically stronger at home now than he was 1991. Iraq also has the growing sympathy of the world community, which now realizes we have been acting in bad faith all these years, pretending to offer Baghdad a way out of its misery, when in fact we have not. The United Nations now estimates that 1.4 million civilians have died because of the economic sanctions, which Nixon and his friends expected would cause the people of Iraq to rise up and overthrow the Demon Saddam with the overt help of the Central Intelligence Agency. This is blood on the hands of someone, although I'm sure you will say that it is Saddam's fault that he was not overthrown by the people we have been starving and denying the chemicals necessary for basic sanitation. I'd say that 1.4 million people is the start of a Holocaust, which is why I've been taking the trouble to find out that most of what you have been writing on the subject is false, mostly untrue, or plain old propaganda. Because you write with such passion, and because of the reputation you had as being a great reporter before your retirement as executive editor of the Times, I assume you yourself are the victim of propaganda, believing the stuff that is regularly fed to you by the old Nixon team.

The fact is, Abe, that no matter how many times you write that the UN inspectors have been responsible for finding and destroying Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, no such thing has happened. By arguing the inspections should go on until every rock has been overturned at least several times in a land 10,000 square miles larger than California, you are giving voice to Nixon's strategy of starving every last Iraqi to death if that is what it takes to get Saddam. All UNSCOM evidence indicates that all weapons destroyed since the Gulf War were the result of the Iraqi government's decision to comply with the UN resolutions as quickly as possible in hopes of having the sanctions lifted. The UNSCOM reports reveal that no weapon has been found and destroyed by the independent action of the inspectors. That is, no hidden weapons have been discovered in the seven years of inspection. Furthermore, no weapons have been destroyed since November 1991. NO WEAPONS HAVE BEEN FOUND OR DESTROYED SINCE NOVEMBER 1991!!! Do you hear me Abe? The secret policy of our government, backed by Nixon and his pals in the political establishment, has been to move the goalposts every time Baghdad gets within a yard of compliance. This is why Saddam made such a fuss with the American inspectors last fall, purposely manufacturing a crisis in order to bring world attention to the Holocaust-like situation underway in his country.

What is driving you crazy these days, Abe, is that Kofi Annan is proving a match for the dead President Nixon. You now begin to see that Saddam played the old game of "Don't throw me into the briar patch," by insisting that inspectors would not get into his eight palace sites unless it were over his dead body. Then Kofi persuaded him to open the sites, in return promising that the process built on bad faith would switch to a policy based on good faith. That's what Saddam Hussein got out of his initiative, and those of you who talked yourself into a snit because Kofi is acting in good faith are cursing him for his interference. If we could only kill another 1.4 million Iraqi Muslims, those left might blame Saddam instead of a deceased President and his friends! In your column today, Abe, you can't find the words to describe your rage at the very idea that Kofi may have defeated a dead President. So you end with the words of Kissinger, who has written for the LA Times Syndicate words you describe as "entirely straight and true":

After all that has passed between Saddam Hussein and the U.S. no deal is conceivable no matter what Saddam does regarding inspection. The depth of this feeling must be understood by foreign leaders pressing for accommodation.... If we cannot negotiate with Saddam we must try to weaken or, if possible, to overthrow him. The outcome of any crisis with Saddam must be viewed in terms of its impact on that objective.

Yes, that's right fellows. Weaken him. Overthrow him. RMN said so, back in '91. Before Kofi. If you want to figure out how to deal with Kofi, you have to go back to the grave.