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)

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. John Rogers says:

    I do find it satisfying.

    You’ll remember: In 1998, it looked as though it was only a matter of time before sanctions were lifted and Iraq was welcomed back into the international community, free to do whatever it wished within its own borders.

    The media has whitewashed Kay’s report.

    Dormant weapons programs that could be quickly reactivated are enough for me if they are in the hands of a psychopathic maniac responsible for the deaths of a million people and with a particular grudge toward Americans and Israelis.

  2. JohnC says:

    Ah yes, Saddam as Über Capitalist. You guys crack me up. I know it’s really easy to be fooled by shiny pieces of tin foil, but no actual evidence has been produced for any independent verification. And the actual report is a classified report – conveniently. We can’t even fact check to see if Kay is actually making accurate representations of what has been discovered.

    Geesh. The “Trust Us” line is wearing real thin.

    Given that every single piece of evidence so far has been completely debunked (think Trailers of Mass Destruction), I’d say that the odds are long on Dr. Kay’s report withstanding the light of day.

    But I’m sure independent verification won’t happen until at least 2005, by that time it will have served its purpose and no one will bother with it.

  3. Paul says:

    What drugs are you on?

    They must be good!

    but no actual evidence has been produced for any independent verification.

    Take another toke.