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UN finds no banned weapons
December 26, 2002 5:53 PM   Subscribe

UN finds no banned weapons - that's a relief. Now the only "weapons of mass destruction" in the current debacle are owned by the US i.e. 27 stealth bombers, capable of completely destroying much of the world in just a few seconds.
posted by scotty (47 comments total)

 
Yes. I think the government of the Republic of Iraq is a reliable source for this information. Yes.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 6:00 PM on December 26, 2002


Could we hurry up and start bombing, thanks.

Gotta get my 'Fuck Iraq' bumper sticker operation ready to go.
posted by the fire you left me at 6:10 PM on December 26, 2002


tfylm, shouldn't it read:

Fuck Iraq, and North Korea too!
posted by billsaysthis at 6:14 PM on December 26, 2002


Pretty_Generic - exactly my first thought. In other news, Kenneth Lay says that Enron did nothing wrong, and North Korea claims that it's the most peaceful nation on Earth.
posted by Kevs at 6:17 PM on December 26, 2002


Fuck Iraq, and North Korea too!

How about: "Stick Your Evil Up Your Axis!!"
posted by hama7 at 6:18 PM on December 26, 2002


"Fuck Iraq and North Korea Too! And Iran, I'm Sorry About What I Said. Look, I'd Been Drinking. We All Say Things We Don't Mean Now And Again..."
posted by Pretty_Generic at 6:18 PM on December 26, 2002


How does one destroy much of the world in a few seconds with subsonic bombers?
posted by NortonDC at 6:19 PM on December 26, 2002


scott ritter is batting a 100 so far - or have i missed something?
posted by specialk420 at 6:21 PM on December 26, 2002


Gotta get my 'Fuck Iraq' bumper sticker operation ready to go.

Excuse me, but isn't it "Fuq Iraq"?
posted by matteo at 6:47 PM on December 26, 2002


Hey Scotty -- what are you implying with your statement of U.S.-owned WMD...?
posted by davidmsc at 7:10 PM on December 26, 2002


I think you know what he's implying, davidmsc.

Here we go again.
posted by jaronson at 7:45 PM on December 26, 2002


Yeah, like we can take Saddam's lackeys seriously, or the word of scientists who the inspectors refuse to take abroad to interview.
anyway...
Let me take this opportunity to recommend Ken Pollack's The Threatening Storm, which is interesting not so much for its overt pro-invasion argument, but for a number of other reasons: his insight on Iraq policy in the 1990s, his analysis of Saddam's decision making process, his insight on Iraqi expectations in 1991, etc.

It is definitely worth the attention of anyone who cares about this issue.
posted by ednopantz at 8:13 PM on December 26, 2002


Kaiser George is going to get his war regardless of what Blix and company find or don't find. This whole inspection drill is doomed to failure because we MUST have a war. Curious we aren't so fast to attempt a North Korean ass-kicking. I'm sickened by the whole goddamn exercise.
posted by lometogo at 8:19 PM on December 26, 2002


endopantz: Pollack is probably one of the best experts on this topic that I have read. I had to read a whole bunch of his stuff for an int. pol. class. Part of it was from The Threatening Storm. Quality stuff.

I'm going to join up with the scotty-is-lame-and-ignorant crowd here. Let's just put all this whining to an end by attacking Iraq. We wouldn't have this arguement if we'd just gone to war already.
posted by MrAnonymous at 8:56 PM on December 26, 2002


This whole inspection drill is doomed to failure because we MUST have a war.

What would be considered a "success" for the inspections? Finding something or not finding something?
posted by stifford at 9:22 PM on December 26, 2002


I think the government of the Republic of Iraq is a reliable source for this information.

Are we talking about providing info? How about that Hans Blix, asking the Americans and the Brits to tell the inspectors where to look, since they know that Iraq has WOMD. But for some reason, they can't help the inspectors out. Talk about your reliable sources.
posted by holycola at 9:38 PM on December 26, 2002


Oh well.. get to pull out my "No Slack for Iraq" shirt again...
posted by ph00dz at 9:43 PM on December 26, 2002


What would be considered a "success" for the inspections? Finding something or not finding something?

Well, that all depends on what we don't find, and if what isn't there corresponds to what we never expected to find. If, on the other hand, we find something, it had better be something we didn't expect to find, or, conversely, something we had expected to find, but which is, ultimately, not what it appears to be.
posted by Opus Dark at 9:46 PM on December 26, 2002


makes sense to me.......
posted by elwoodwiles at 10:20 PM on December 26, 2002


A stealth bomber is not a weapon of mass destruction, which is generally characterized as a nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons system capable of widespread casualties. A stealth bomber is a potential delivery system for a weapon of mass destruction -- we do have nuclear stockpiles {although no biological stockpiles, and chemical stockpiles are scheduled for complete destruction under the CWC by 2007}, and the bomber was originally designed to break through Soviet defenses. There is no evidence that any of them are presently on station with nuclear weapons, however; their deployments in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and potentially in Iraq have been exclusively with conventional weapons. Although the B-2 does have intercontinental range they do require refueling to reach the Persian Gulf from their permanent base in Kansas, a trip that at subsonic speeds would take approximately 20 hours. Assuming that each B-2 were armed with its full complement of nuclear weapons, the entire 20-bomber force would have the capability of reaching up to 320 targets in their initial sorties. Typical nuclear yields would mean approximately 80 square miles of destruction times 320 targets or 25,000 square miles, the approximate land area of the state of West Virginia. So, on the off chance they are loaded with nuclear weapons right now, they would be able to destroy land area equal to 1/100 of 1% of the earth, and it would take them up to 20 hours to do it. Granted, those would probably be some of the most highly-valued parts of the earth; but in any case nuclear weapons are not magical.

Of course, the United States is not under an armistice agreement in which it promised to eliminate this arsenal, nor have UN resolutions demanded it do so as guarantee of the security of its neighbors. Both qualities apply to Iraq.

As for the characterization of the UNMOVIC report to the UN Security Council, which is due on January 27 (an informal report has been requested soon after the first of the year) and has been seen by no one outside of UNMOVIC, Iraq may not be the best source of information. The inspectors themselves offered no comment on the declaration by the Iraqi minister. The IAEA, which was tasked by the UN with forming UNMOVIC, last week said Iraq must do more to prove it is clean; and before that, the head of UNMOVIC (and the former head of the IAEA) Hans Blix said that the Iraqi government was not giving his weapons inspectors "full cooperation", forcing him to request further intelligence from the UN membership; declared the 12,000 pages of documents turned over by Iraq as "incomplete" and a "missed opportunity", and characterized the declaration as "not credible". Iraq quite naturally would prefer that the question of compliance centers solely on the findings to date of the inspectors, but the UN Security Council has made clear that the Iraqi government must give a high degree of compliance to the inspections process and other considerations before lifting its oversight, and regardless of the findings, that has not happened. This is the time when Iraq had the highest incentive out of the last twelve years in which to comply, and they have failed to do so to the satisfaction of the major parties involved, which really should tell you something. Indeed, they spent the time from 1999's establishment of UNMOVIC to its first inspections in 2002 actively blocking efforts to comply; it is only the threat of force, alas, which has brought them this far, and they are short of what was asked of them. If they truly do not have nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons, accounting for their absence should be a relatively straightforward process.

Indeed, it seems that this announcement may have been intended to distract attention away from the next step UNMOVIC would like to take in order to continue this verification of the declared absence of weapons: interviewing the key weapons program scientists, in safe and secure locations outside of Iraq, a point on which Iraq has balked (though just today they relented). A curious thing, for a country which has no weapons programs and is desperately eager to demonstrate its bona fides with UNMOVIC.

I believe that the inspectors see their role, and judge their success by, providing the UN Security Council with an accurate accounting of their work in Iraq. They are not a policy body, but an enforcement body. It is up to the UN Security Council to determine what policy responses there should be to a discovery of weapons -- or a failure to do so.

lometogo, are you suggesting that if we geared up for simultaneous wars on Iraq and North Korea, you would be less sickened? Or was that mere hyperbole? And do you honestly think that North Korea is at the same stage of the process as Iraq, which has been under UN oversight and inspection requirements for over a decade, while North Korea has not?
posted by dhartung at 10:24 PM on December 26, 2002


Dhartung - re:"...a trip that at subsonic speeds would take approximately 20 hours. Assuming that each B-2 were armed with its full complement of nuclear weapons, the entire 20-bomber force would have the capability of reaching up to 320 targets in their initial sorties. Typical nuclear yields would mean approximately 80 square miles of destruction times 320 targets or 25,000 square miles, the approximate land area of the state of West Virginia"

---Good exposition, but.....necessary? After all, given the simple physics determining the flight speed necessary for Santa Claus to deliver presents to all the good little (Christian) boys and girls in the world IN ONE EVENING, weellll...the necessary flight speeds would cause the reindeer to BURST INTO FLAME!.

so said the Vicar...of course the cretins who derived this calculation do not realize that Santa uses magical reindeer....

Anyhoo - the Stealth Bomber/weapon distinction seems a little less clear to me. For example: what of a ['magical'] "delivery system" which could "deliver" 5 tons of peanut butter each on the heads of everyone in North America or, even more specfically, everyone in Baltimore. (apologies to 'The Sum of All Fears') would that constitute a 'weapon' of mass destruction? ...and what of the Peanut Butter's responsibility?"
posted by troutfishing at 11:31 PM on December 26, 2002


Santa uses magical reindeer....

Hopefully these magical reindeer don't need to eat.

But troutfishing, haven't you heard? Our leaders have supernatural powers too!
posted by homunculus at 12:07 AM on December 27, 2002


What did you expect?

"Yes, we are developing many weapons of mass destruction so we can bring an end to your western tyranny! Here is a map with their exact locations." - Iraqi Embassador
posted by tomorama at 12:10 AM on December 27, 2002


Make no mistake-
It is on. I know of 2 people who are being deployed at the end of January. I have a relative who just returned from Kuwait. The whole debate is a smokescreen; the invasion has been on for months. And I trust the military folks that I know more than I do the pundits.
posted by 2sheets at 12:48 AM on December 27, 2002


blah blah blah...so, on the off chance they are loaded with nuclear weapons right now, they would be able to destroy land area equal to 1/100 of 1% of the earth, and it would take them up to 20 hours to do it.... in any case nuclear weapons are not magical.

I cannot properly convey the utter relief I felt upon learning that "land area" would be so relatively unaffected in U.S. strike with our Weapons of Mass Destruction. I mean, really. Only 1/100 of 1%.

"Land area". Not populations rotting in the sun. Not twisted cities beneath poison shrouds. Not a girdle of global radiation. Not generations of childhood cancers. Not cultures wiped from earth's green face. "Land area". Really.

And up to 20 whole hours to do so (do you realize that's 1200 whole minutes). If they had to fly that far. Yeah. And for sure why worry because some of those nasty planes maybe aren't even loaded. Right now anyway. So it would take probably some more hours (maybe two...or even three, if you can believe that) to load them. Really.

And they're not magical. No sirree. They're controlled by [a few of the] men and women of the United States. And see...that's Good. We're [the few who control them are] not Evil. 'Course, we as a country won't get to exactly vote on any uses of our WMDs...but never mind that. Our "interests" (or at least the "interests" of the powerful) generate our morality (plus, some ideologues think that ethical considerations in foreign affairs is far too goddamned inconvenient anyway), and that's OK. OK?

Of course, the United States is not under an armistice agreement in which it promised to eliminate this arsenal, nor have UN resolutions demanded it do so as guarantee of the security of its neighbors. Both qualities apply to Iraq.

And calm my beating heart with the revelation that the Weapons of Mass Destruction Wielded by the United States would (if it came to that) fall under the effective control of the United Nations! What a relief to me and the rest of the world to understand that the U.S. is ready to disarm without so much as a peep if the UN so mandates.

Where have you gone, Ed Teller, now that your country needs you?
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:56 AM on December 27, 2002


Make no mistake-It is on.

I don't doubt it.

If Saddam stripped himself naked and stood in shivering submission to every inspection imaginable, we would accuse him of harbouring nuclear lice.
posted by Opus Dark at 1:31 AM on December 27, 2002


Saddam Hussein is going to be forcibly removed from power, by the US military. Please get over it.
posted by Beholder at 1:33 AM on December 27, 2002


Weapons of Mass Destruction? That is so last week: Saddam has weapons of mass terror.
posted by Dick Paris at 3:14 AM on December 27, 2002


Saddam Hussein is going to be forcibly removed from power, by the US military. Please get over it.

You know, for some reason I find such arrogance pretty fucking difficult. Please get over that.

Oh, and nice euphemism, by the way. 'Forcibly removed', as if Saddam has threatened to fart loudly in the opera house, and would sir please vacate the premises. Rather than, you know, the whole killing lots of people en route to him thing.

And whatever you say about Iraq, there are plenty of people here who do a good line in Weapons of Mass Bullshit. dhartung should be sent to the front line to bore the Iraqis into submission, alongside Ari Fleischer.
posted by riviera at 4:35 AM on December 27, 2002


Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

I personally find it hard to trust any Iraqi spokesman. They know that one wrong word leaves them rotting in the sun with a hole in their head.

Iraq will not miss Saddam when he's gone.
posted by tholt at 5:37 AM on December 27, 2002


Saddam Hussein is going to be forcibly removed from power, by the US military. Please get over it.

do you ever talk sometimes without thinking about what you're saying actually means?

anyhow, if we aren't to trust the inspectors, then why bother sending them? the only good thing to come out of this mess so far is that I'm now $5 richer via a bet for predicting this sort of response.
posted by mcsweetie at 7:36 AM on December 27, 2002


the only good thing to come out of this mess so far is that I'm now $5 richer via a bet for predicting this sort of response

I am glad the war on terror is paying off for you.

It is on. I know of 2 people who are being deployed at the end of January. I have a relative who just returned from Kuwait. The whole debate is a smokescreen; the invasion has been on for months. And I trust the military folks that I know more than I do the pundits

good, now try and tell EVERYONE else. Alot of us have friends and family whose dispositions are changing as far as military postings. But the invasion is not on until it is on.

could someone tell me why we should not remove Sadamm?
posted by clavdivs at 8:23 AM on December 27, 2002


Because it's all about the OILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL, clavdivs. How can you forget?
posted by jammer at 9:07 AM on December 27, 2002


Today there are 8(?) nuclear powers. These states have gained the bomb in roughly two waves: US, Russia, China, France and Britain by 1960, India, Pakistan and Israel by 1980. We are now seeing a third wave of nuclear proliferation, with the next likely states to be N. Korea, Iran, and Iraq. All three could be nuclear powers in five years.

The way I see it, we have two choices:

1) Proliferation can continue unabated, creating 13 or so nuclear powers by 2005, and possibly another dozen by 2020.

2) The US, with arrogant bullying, can stop this.

Which do you prefer?

The rest of the world could wake up to the danger, gets some backbone and deal with the problem. However, given France, Russia, China, et. al's bending over backwards to appease and accomodate Saddam, I am not real hopeful.
posted by ednopantz at 9:17 AM on December 27, 2002


I have this tendency to immediately laugh at anyone who makes the "it's all about oil" arguement. Because that has become the standard ingorant liberal arguement. Educated and knowledgeable liberals aren't making that arguement. If you would take the time to study the situation, you will see that it has very little to do with oil. In fact, this could have a negative effect in regards to oil. Because we could end up with a smaller supply if Arab nations get ticked off at us for this. We'll have to be very careful or else we'll be paying $5 a gallon for gas, which is something I'd rather avoid.
posted by MrAnonymous at 1:53 PM on December 27, 2002


Christopher Hitchens: "WMD" and "Inspection"
posted by semmi at 2:13 PM on December 27, 2002


MrAnonymous, I think you're overstating your case a bit. I agree with you that "it's all about oil" is a stupid, unfounded argument (if it can even be called an argument), when in fact it is only partly about the oil. I think it's pretty likely that a U.S. friendly regime in Iraq would mean an oil bonanza for U.S. corporations, but just because some corporations might benefit from Saddam's removal doesn't mean that removing Saddam isn't the right thing to do.
posted by Ty Webb at 3:53 PM on December 27, 2002


an oil bonanza for U.S. corporations

I doubt it.
1) Iraq is a minor producer, on par with Norway or the UK - so there isn't much short term oil to begin with.
2) Any post war govt. is going to be under tremendous pressure to avoid looking like a US puppet
3) Russia and France won't let it happen
4) most new oil deals these days are done by multinational consortia anyway, so the more likely scenario is a US/French/Russian/Japanese etc. consortium deal.

Of course, oil is a factor in the whole game. Saddam uses oil revenues to pay for his WMD, huge standing army, battalions of thugs and torturers, bribes for smugglers, etc. Without the power oil gives him, we wouldn't know who he is.

The US (and everyone else) is interested in the Gulf region becuase of oil, as is Saddam. (he didn't invade Kuwait for the beachfront views) Neverthelese, there are global implications of Iraq's nuclear and biological programs.

Given that the war will likely cost three times the wholesale price of Iraq's entire annual oil output, only an idiot would argue that this is about cutting the price of oil five or ten percent.
posted by ednopantz at 6:36 PM on December 27, 2002


I am glad the war on terror is paying off for you.

thanks. I have a sneaking suspicion I may be the only non-millionaire to profit.

could someone tell me why we should not remove Sadamm?

the burden of proof is on the aggressors.
posted by mcsweetie at 8:59 PM on December 27, 2002


Ha! The war in Iraq is about more than oil, "weapons of mass destruction", or the "terrorism" of Saddam. It's a stepping stone in a war that will be waged later; larger in scope, that eventually entails severely curbing or controlling Saudia Arabia. And I'll put $5 on that.
posted by ericrolph at 10:53 PM on December 28, 2002


the burden of proof is on the aggressors.

Is it really? Even after what the Iraqi regime has already done? Why isn't Iraq, by now, considered the aggressor?

When non-democratic regimes get there paws on, or near weapons of mass destruction, they've already demonstrated the right of the outside world to remove them.

It's good to see that Metafilter's base has broadened to include more than predominantly leftist pacifists.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:40 PM on December 29, 2002


Noam was here.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:01 PM on December 29, 2002


When non-democratic regimes get there paws on, or near weapons of mass destruction, they've already demonstrated the right of the outside world to remove them.

really? go tell it to China, and North Korea, hon.
posted by amberglow at 7:42 PM on December 29, 2002


Amberglow: right doesn't = ability to.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:39 AM on December 30, 2002


I don't understand what democracy has to do with it. Does democracy necessarily stop a state being dangerous or aggressive? Does a lack of democracy automatically make it 'evil'?
posted by Summer at 6:58 AM on December 30, 2002


Is it really? Even after what the Iraqi regime has already done?

yeah. we're pretty much guilty of everything we've accused them of. including, gassing our own people, which saddam may or may not have done.

When non-democratic regimes get there paws on, or near weapons of mass destruction, they've already demonstrated the right of the outside world to remove them.

(did you not read the post's link or what?) it's kinda funny how the same people that really want to go to war to make the world safe for democracy are usually the ones that would point out that the US itself isn't a democracy, but rather a republic. (not that I'm saying you're like that! though I wouldn't be surprised.)

anyways, I think summer put it best.

I want you to do me a favor. make a big mug of hot tea, put on a CCR greatest hits compilation, and sit on your porch a while and think for a while about why you really want this war to happen.
posted by mcsweetie at 8:18 AM on December 30, 2002


ednopantz- Why should we "allow" some states to have the bomb and not others? What gives us the right to say that Pakistan and India should have the bomb (i.e., going to war with THEM) and not Iran, Iraq and North Korea? Has any nation ever been completely innocent? There's more to this than simply keeping a bomb out of the Axis' (nice flashback term, huh?) hands.
posted by hoborg at 11:42 AM on December 31, 2002


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