Charles Krauthammer has a new one:
Rolf Ekeus, living proof that not all Swedish arms inspectors are fools, may have been right.
Ekeus headed the U.N. inspection team that from 1991 to 1997 uncovered not just tons of chemical and biological weapons in Iraq but a massive secret nuclear weapons program as well. This after the other Swede, Hans Blix, then director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, had given Saddam Hussein a perfectly clean bill of health on being non-nuclear. Indeed, Iraq had a seat on the IAEA board of governors.
Ekeus theorizes that Hussein decided years ago that it was unwise to store mustard gas and other unstable and corrosive poisons in barrels, and also difficult to conceal them. Therefore, rather than store large stocks of weapons of mass destruction, he would adapt the program to retain an infrastructure (laboratories, equipment, trained scientists, detailed plans) that could “break out” and ramp up production when needed. The model is Japanese “just in time” manufacturing, where you save on inventory by making and delivering stuff in immediate response to orders. Except that Hussein’s business was toxins, not Toyotas.
The interim report of chief U.S. weapons inspector David Kay seems to support the Ekeus hypothesis. He found infrastructure, but as yet no finished product.
As yet, mind you. “We are not yet at the point where we can say definitively either that such weapons stocks do not exist or that they existed before the war and our only task is to find where they have gone,” Kay testified last week.
Plausible, but not particularly satisfying.
(Hat tip: Moe Freedman)