WMD FOUND IN IRAQ?

Colin Powell seems to think so:

The interim findings of David Kay and the Iraq Survey Group make two things abundantly clear: Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was in material breach of its United Nations obligations before the Security Council passed Resolution 1441 last November, and Iraq went further into breach after the resolution was passed.

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The report describes a host of activities related to weapons of mass destruction that “should have been declared to the U.N.” It reaffirms that Iraq’s forbidden programs spanned more than two decades, involving thousands of people and billions of dollars.

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Lo and behold, Kay and his team found strains of organisms concealed in a scientist’s home, and they report that one of the strains could be used to produce biological agents. Kay and his team also discovered documents and equipment in scientists’ homes that would have been useful for resuming uranium enrichment efforts.

Kay and his team have “discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in late 2002. The discovery . . . has come about both through the admissions of Iraqi scientists and officials concerning information they deliberately withheld and through physical evidence of equipment and activities that the Iraq Survey Group has discovered that should have been declared to the U.N.”

The Kay Report also addresses the issue of suspected mobile biological agent laboratories: “Investigation into the origin of and intended use for the two trailers found in northern Iraq in April has yielded a number of explanations, including hydrogen, missile propellant and BW [biological warfare] production, but technical limitations would prevent any of these processes from being ideally suited to these trailers. That said, nothing . . . rules out their potential use in BW production.” Here Kay’s findings are inconclusive. He is continuing to work this issue.

Kay and his team have, however, found this: “A clandestine network of laboratories and safe houses within the Iraqi Intelligence Service that contained equipment subject to U.N. monitoring and suitable for continuing CBW [chemical-biological weapons] research.” They also discovered: “a prison laboratory complex, possibly used in human testing of BW agents, that Iraqi officials working to prepare for U.N. inspections were explicitly ordered not to declare to the U.N.”

This strikes me as a bit of a stretch, given the emphasis on WMD before the war.

Daniel Pipes seems to argue simultaneously that Saddam had and didn’t have WMD:

[T]here was indeed massive and undisputed evidence to indicate that the Iraqi regime was building WMD.

Defectors and other Iraqi sources nearly all agreed on his WMD program. The actions of Saddam’s government – fending off United Nations weapons inspectors tooth and nail, hiding evidence, forgoing opportunities to have the economic sanctions lifted – all confirmed its existence.

Nor is that all: Rich Lowry of National Review has shown that the entire Clinton administration leadership – as well as the United Nations and the French and German governments – believed in the existence of Iraqi WMD.

If no WMD exist, the real mystery is not how the Bush administration made the same mistake everyone else did; the mystery is why Saddam created the false impression that he had them. Why did he put himself into the bizarre position of simultaneously pretending to build WMD and pretending to hide his nonexistent weapons?

This is indeed an interesting question, but likely one for which we’ll never find an answer.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War
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.

Comments

  1. JohnC says:

    Yes, just the kind of reasoning which we should use when going to war pre-emptively, against all the treaties we, ourselves, wrote.

    Rock on!

  2. Rodney Dill says:

    I think most of the emphasis on WMD (as real and ready weapons) has been since the war began. I seem to remember more emphasis on weapons programs prior to that time. The liberal repeated line that there will be no “weapons”, there will be no “weapons”, now only makes the evidence of weapon program data seem significantly wanting.

    The main thing the I’ve picked up from blogs and news sources is that Hussein was at least partially bluffing on the weapons programs he had. Our Intelligence services picking up on the “bluff” as positive information should not necessarily be considered bad as the “Bluff” information has the bigger downside if it were true.