WaPo: Kay Cites Evidence Of Iraq Disarming

U.S. weapons inspectors in Iraq found new evidence that Saddam Hussein’s regime quietly destroyed some stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons in the mid-1990s, former chief inspector David Kay said yesterday.

The discovery means that inspectors have not only failed to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq but also have found exculpatory information — contemporaneous documents and confirmations from interviews with Iraqis — demonstrating that Hussein did make efforts to disarm well before President Bush began making the case for war.

The fact that Iraq disarmed at least partially before 1998 but did not turn over records to U.N. inspectors even when threatened with war has led Kay to conclude that Hussein was bluffing about his weapons capability to maintain an aura of power.

Methinks David Kay really covets the limelight after a career in obscurity. Otherwise, why continue to trickle this information out rather than just, oh, write all this in the report and then give the whole story in one interview?

Both sides of the debate are using Kay’s comments to support their case. It seems to me, though, that they have largely been exculpatory against the “Bush lied” charges. Kay has now said repeatedly that all the available evidence was that Saddam had weapons and weapons programs in place. Now, he says that the weapons were being destroyed in the late 1990s–meaning Saddam had been in violation of the post-Desert Storm treaty for nearly a decade–but intentionally hid that fact, thus failing to live up to another part of his treaty obligation. Had he produced the documents that Kay’s teams have recently unconvered, Saddam could have averted war. He did not.

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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. mal says:
  2. Paul says:

    And lost in the shuffle is the claim that Saddam thought he had WMD but his own people tricked him. When this theory was floated a few months ago I thought it was loopy. Now a guy -who arguably is the most knowledgeable in the world on this topic- says that was the case.

    I would have thought the media would jump all over such an odd claim from what they consider a credible source.

    Certainly if Saddam thought he had WMD Bush can not be called a liar and it is hard to fault the CIA for not knowing.

    I have no idea what to make of the whole Kay affair other than to say “curiouser and curiouser.”