quote:We 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 of these deliberate concealment efforts have 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 ISG has discovered that should have been declared to the UN.
quote:Discussions with Iraqi scientists uncovered agent R&D work that paired overt work with nonpathogenic organisms serving as surrogates for prohibited investigation with pathogenic agents. Examples include: B. Thurengiensis (Bt) with B. anthracis (anthrax), and medicinal plants with ricin. In a similar vein, two key former BW scientists, confirmed that Iraq under the guise of legitimate activity developed refinements of processes and products relevant to BW agents. The scientists discussed the development of improved, simplified fermentation and spray drying capabilities for the simulant Bt that would have been directly applicable to anthrax, and one scientist confirmed that the production line for Bt could be switched to produce anthrax in one week if the seed stock were available.
A very large body of information has been developed through debriefings, site visits, and exploitation of captured Iraqi documents that confirms that Iraq concealed equipment and materials from UN inspectors when they returned in 2002. One noteworthy example is a collection of reference strains that ought to have been declared to the UN. Among them was a vial of live C. botulinum Okra B. from which a biological agent can be produced. This discovery - hidden in the home of a BW scientist - illustrates the point I made earlier about the difficulty of locating small stocks of material that can be used to covertly surge production of deadly weapons. The scientist who concealed the vials containing this agent has identified a large cache of agents that he was asked, but refused, to conceal. ISG is actively searching for this second cache.
quote:Let me turn now to chemical weapons (CW). In searching for retained stocks of chemical munitions, ISG has had to contend with the almost unbelievable scale of Iraq's conventional weapons armory, which dwarfs by orders of magnitude the physical size of any conceivable stock of chemical weapons. For example, there are approximately 130 known Iraqi Ammunition Storage Points (ASP), many of which exceed 50 square miles in size and hold an estimated 600,000 tons of artillery shells, rockets, aviation bombs and other ordinance. Of these 130 ASPs, approximately 120 still remain unexamined. As Iraqi practice was not to mark much of their chemical ordinance and to store it at the same ASPs that held conventional rounds, the size of the required search effort is enormous.
While searching for retained weapons, ISG teams have developed multiple sources that indicate that Iraq explored the possibility of CW production in recent years, possibly as late as 2003. When Saddam had asked a senior military official in either 2001 or 2002 how long it would take to produce new chemical agent and weapons, he told ISG that after he consulted with CW experts in OMI he responded it would take six months for mustard. Another senior Iraqi chemical weapons expert in responding to a request in mid-2002 from Uday Husayn for CW for the Fedayeen Saddam estimated that it would take two months to produce mustard and two years for Sarin.
quote:Saddam, at least as judged by those scientists and other insiders who worked in his military-industrial programs, had not given up his aspirations and intentions to continue to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Even those senior officials we have interviewed who claim no direct knowledge of any on-going prohibited activities readily acknowledge that Saddam intended to resume these programs whenever the external restrictions were removed. Several of these officials acknowledge receiving inquiries since 2000 from Saddam or his sons about how long it would take to either restart CW production or make available chemical weapons.
In other words, Iraq was actively researching WMDs and was working to hide these efforts from the UN. He arranged his reaseach so that it would have been almost impossible to find it while he was in power. In some cases, such as mustard gas, he may have been able to produce some in just a few months. In light of this, I say that the war in Iraq was entirely justified. Iraq may not have had active stockpiles (though that is still an open question), but he was planning on starting production.
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What in any of that is supposed to suggest Saddam was about to start production? What's described above barely even qualifies as looking into the possibilies of WMDs, and doesn't even come close to an actual attempt to produce WMDs.
The fact remains that Saddam had WMDs before and yet we have found none now. That means Iraq seems to have gotten rid of them (or we are just terribly inept at finding them). That means they have been complying with the demand to dismantle their weapons program, to a very large extent, even if not to a perfect extent.
Now, before we were saying we 'had to' preemptively strike Iraq immediately because they were an immediate threat to our safety, since they had WMDs that they could be giving to terrorists. That was wrong enough by itself. But now are you suggesting that we 'had to' preemptively strike Iraq immediately simply because Saddam had looked into the possibility of once again producing WMDs sometime in the future, even though none existed, none was being produced, and none was actually being planned on being produced at the time the war began?
By that criterion, is there any country in the world we are not justified in invading?
According to the report, he was actively researching how to produce them. He was forbidden this by the UN, and he lied to hide it. From what I see, he was probably just looking for the international community to let down its guard before swinging into full production. That contitutes a threat, if not an immediate one. Furthermore, we have just scratched to surface in our searches. Don't discount the possibility of future findings.
quote:From what I see, he was probably just looking for the international community to let down its guard before swinging into full production. That contitutes a threat, if not an immediate one.
But wouldn't the solution to this simply be to not let down our guard and continue watching Iraq as we had been (the solution proposed by France, Germany, and Russia and rejected by Bush)? After all, we had not invaded up to that point, and yet Iraq did not produce the weapons. Therefore war was not necessary to deter WMD production.
quote: In some cases, such as mustard gas, he may have been able to produce some in just a few months [edit:That contitutes a threat, if not an immediate one.
.Most of the counties on Earth, even the poorest, could produce mustard gas in only a few months, from a standing start. It is relatively simple from a chemical engineering stand point. [edit: The problem is the administration used the phrase "imminent threat" ad nausuem. The case has certainly not been made that Saddam was an imminent threat. /edit]
But you do make some good points, Hazen. The problem is that Kay's findings will be heavily discounted here and especially abroad. I will skim the report this week if I can, the media often over-simplifies.
I try to keep an open mind about the war with Iraq but it's not easy. The case for or against the war is now indeterminate for me, while earlier this summer I was convinced the case was not made. Subsequent developments have robbed my of my earlier certainty the war was a mistake. Morbo
From my perspective, a non-response to Iraq's actions just before the war would have been an example of the international community letting its guard down. From the statement:
quote:We need to recall that in the 1991-2003 period the intelligence community and the UN/IAEA inspectors had to draw conclusions as to the status of Iraq's WMD program in the face of incomplete, and often false, data supplied by Iraq or data collected either by UN/IAEA inspectors operating within the severe constraints that Iraqi security and deception actions imposed or by national intelligence collection systems with their own inherent limitations. The result was that our understanding of the status of Iraq's WMD program was always bounded by large uncertainties and had to be heavily caveated.
I understand that just before the war, Iraq was being just as uncooperative as ever. I think Saddam was hoping that the international furor would die down, so he could continue and escalate his efforts. What do you propose we could have done to stop Saddam's WMD development, in light of his non-cooperation?
For me, furthermore, Saddam's brutal treatment of his people combines with his continuing efforts at WMDs to justify the war.
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