April 28, 2004
WAR: Oh, Those WMD
We already knew that the critical charge supporting the legal basis (if you take such things as UN resolutions seriously) of the war in Iraq has been confirmed by David Kay: Saddam Hussein's regime failed to comply with numerous UN resolutions that formed the basis of the 1991 cease-fire between the U.S.-led coalition and Iraq, specifically including his use of force and fraud to deceive UN inspectors about the status of his WMD programs.
But the question remains: what, really, had those programs accomplished, and why did our intelligence project a more advanced program than we have found evidence of?
Kenneth Timmerman at the conservative publication Insight Magazine has been parsing the evidence coming out of Iraq and now claims that we have, in fact, found many of the pieces of the WMD puzzle, but in ways that lack the sex appeal needed to dislodge the now-settled media narrative that the Bush Administration was just making this stuff up out of thin air for the past six years. Among the items Timmerman notes:
*A prison laboratory complex that may have been used for human testing of BW agents and "that Iraqi officials working to prepare the U.N. inspections were explicitly ordered not to declare to the U.N." Why was Saddam interested in testing biological-warfare agents on humans if he didn't have a biological-weapons program?
*"Reference strains" of a wide variety of biological-weapons agents were found beneath the sink in the home of a prominent Iraqi BW scientist. "We thought it was a big deal," a senior administration official said. "But it has been written off [by the press] as a sort of 'starter set.'"
*New research on BW-applicable agents, brucella and Congo-Crimean hemorrhagic fever, and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin that were not declared to the United Nations.
*A line of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, "not fully declared at an undeclared production facility and an admission that they had tested one of their declared UAVs out to a range of 500 kilometers [311 miles], 350 kilometers [217 miles] beyond the permissible limit."
*"Continuing covert capability to manufacture fuel propellant useful only for prohibited Scud-variant missiles, a capability that was maintained at least until the end of 2001 and that cooperating Iraqi scientists have said they were told to conceal from the U.N."
*"Plans and advanced design work for new long-range missiles with ranges up to at least 1,000 kilometers [621 miles] - well beyond the 150-kilometer-range limit [93 miles] imposed by the U.N. Missiles of a 1,000-kilometer range would have allowed Iraq to threaten targets throughout the Middle East, including Ankara [Turkey], Cairo [Egypt] and Abu Dhabi [United Arab Emirates]."
*In addition, through interviews with Iraqi scientists, seized documents and other evidence, the ISG learned the Iraqi government had made "clandestine attempts between late 1999 and 2002 to obtain from North Korea technology related to 1,300-kilometer-range [807 miles] ballistic missiles - probably the No Dong - 300-kilometer-range [186 miles] antiship cruise missiles and other prohibited military equipment," Kay reported.
Timmerman also notes evidence that Iraqi WMD were moved to Syria during the interminable 14-month "rush to war". (Links via Powerline here and here).
Let's see how this plays out.
"...if you take such things as UN resolutions seriously..."
Ah, the fatal flaw in this logic. Who does take UN resolutions seriously? Certainly not the UN...
You gotta be kidding me! The prescription strength of the rose-colored glasses supporters of this Administration are willing to wear is amazing. I don't recall any pronouncements of obscure hypothetical weapons programs that might possibly one day rise to the level of needing to wear a respirator when you enter the room. Do these quotes ring a bell?
"Iraq definitely has reconstituted nuclear weapons." -- Cheney
"They have the weapons and we know where they are..." -- Rumsfeld
I wouldn't have a problem with what they did or didn't find in Iraq if we were told they might or might not find anything beforehand. They sold the war on "sex appeal" so this crap doesn't cut the mustard gas.
I wonder if a chemist could take a few swabs under my kitchen sink and claim there are some "strains" that could be construed as bio-weapons. The answer is yes.
As far as the WMDs moved to Syria story...it's crap. And if it's not crap then the Bushies are even more stupid than I fear and bungled the pre-war even worse. This is not a defense for them, but further indictment of their incompetence.
Mr. Furious you are right on... amazing what passes for conservative "thought" these days.
Crank -- all we ever get from you is banal regurgitations of desperate right wing pundits defending a failed Administration or ridiculous statements like Kerry is the most liberal senator in Congress. I mean really...
Your baseball coverage is great though, why don't you stick to that?