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WMD, where they be?
August 1, 2003 7:55 PM   Subscribe

Another senior Iraqi officer claims Saddam destroyed all his WMD in 1991. "Iraqi scientists, including those currently held by the U.S. military, have maintained that no new unconventional weapons programs were started in recent years and that all the materials from previous programs were destroyed." Also see Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamel's 1995 statements to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
posted by skallas (20 comments total)

 


I would not be supprised if Saddam *DID* destroy the weapons the Iraqi government had.

Now, keeping the knowledge and lining up the tools to make WMD once the heat was off, I can believe that.

Remember: The UN did not demand the destruction of knowledge of WMD, just the weapons to be gone. The knowledge allows the weapons to be rebuilt.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:49 PM on August 1, 2003


Okay... so I'm clueless here.

Let's see. Saddam for years didn't have any WMD. He could have gotten the sanctions lifted by opening up to the UN at any time, and showing he didn't have WMD.

Instead, he preferred to have the sanctions stay in place, preferred to sell oil to the UN and pocket the "oil for food" money, and build palaces - all the time maintaining he didn't have WMD - but not cooperating with the UN to show it.

And then he loudly complained about how the sanctions were hurting Iraq.

(scratches head) Why doesn't this make any sense to me? Is it just because I can't think like a dictator, who'll do anything to keep control over my subjects? Or is there some sort of wierd logic to this that someone could explain?

Could it be he was just flipping off the UN and US and making sure he was squeaky clean so when it looked like it was needed he could pull back the curtain and go "See? I'm spotless!"? Only we wouldn't play that game after the fourth or fifth go-round...

Or did he just want to keep the control he knew would slip if the sanctions were lifted? (And keep hidden the excesses of his regime (and, apparently, sons)?)

JB
posted by JB71 at 10:06 PM on August 1, 2003


rough ashlar, the message of what you describe is "Containment works."

JB71 - Instead, he preferred to have the sanctions stay in place, preferred to sell oil to the UN and pocket the "oil for food" money, and build palaces - all the time maintaining he didn't have WMD - but not cooperating with the UN to show it.

And then he loudly complained about how the sanctions were hurting Iraq.

(scratches head) Why doesn't this make any sense to me?


What you describe enriches him, weakens his internal enemies, and makes his regional enemies think he's still protected by WMD. What's not to like for a murderous thug?
posted by NortonDC at 10:30 PM on August 1, 2003


Who cares what Saddam did or why, Saddam Hussein is irrelevant now. The most important thing now is the reasoning behind the claims made by people in the US government, most famouly Colin Powell and the President. Powell showed us the evidence that was "safe" for us to see and claimed that they were certain of the existence of WMD and also that they had loads of intelligence that couldn't be shared with the public.

So, was this all a huge lie perpetrated by our government? I suppose there is a chance that Saddam planted fake evidence to trick us into believing that he had weapons, but it's starting to look like it was all just bullshit from the start. I can't believe Bush is going on vacation now while people I know are sitting in Baghdad having an awful time for apparently no good reason at all.

On a side note, I guess Blair has blown his career, but I think it will be interesting to see what happens to somebody like Colin Powell. Before the last election, most Americans would have voted for him with almost no knowledge of his political platform. Now, however, the evidence may ruin Powell's image and his life's work may be overshadowed by these scandals. We'll see I guess.
posted by crazy finger at 10:37 PM on August 1, 2003


...he increasingly surrounded himself with yes-men and loyalists who were not qualified to give him expert advice on economic, military or foreign policy matters.

Was the end of the last sentence intentionally, or just coincidentally, ironic?
posted by soyjoy at 10:56 PM on August 1, 2003


JB71, that's puzzled me too. If Saddam didn't have WMD after 1991, why for god's sake did he act like he did? Why, even at the 11th hour, did he refuse to cooperate with Hans Blix, who complained about Iraq's non-cooperation repeatedly to the UN? Why did Saddam lose his country over a myth?

WMD may still turn up. Months after the war was over, inspection teams just discovered dozens of Iraqi jet fighters buried in the the desert that had not been suspected from intelligence, or seen by spy planes and satellites. Maybe the WMD's are likewise buried in the sand, undetected.

But let's assume for the sake of argument that they are not, that the WMD's were destroyed in 1991. What was Saddam hiding, then?

The answer may be in the transcript of Hussein Kamal's interview that FAIR links to. Kamal says the WMD's were destroyed in 1991, but "People who work in MIC were asked to take documents to their houses. I think you will have a new war of searches." (p. 9) He also speaks of launcher parts and rocket moulds being hidden on the farms of party members.

Now, we have physical evidence that this was true, that plans and parts were distributed to the homes of Baath party members and WMD program scientists. On a tip from the US, Blix's inspectors found WMD plans in the house of an Iraqi scientist, and there has been the recent discovery of blueprints and centrifuge parts (for enriching uranium) at the home of another. It seems likely that little bits and pieces of Saddam's WMD program are scattered in private homes across Iraq.

It may be there were no WMD's in Iraq in 2002. But it looks as if Saddam was ready to re-start his program as soon as the heat was off. The reason that he wouldn't let Iraqi scientists speak privately, outside Iraq, to Hans Blix's team may be that those scientists knew where the WMD plans were, even though there were no actual WMD's.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 10:59 PM on August 1, 2003




even though there were no actual WMD's

yes. so ... we're saying its ok to invade a country preemptively and kill 7,000 innocent men, women, children, grandmothers, grandfathers... and have future generations of american pay 70 billion and counting for what it "might" do in the future?

if that is what we are going to do - then that is what the f*ck up bush and his junta should have told americans we are going to do ... and allow them to decide. if i was a mainstreet america republican - i'd be pissed. real pissed.
posted by specialk420 at 11:42 PM on August 1, 2003


That article about shifting the rhetoric is interesting- they want to make Iraq the first of the middle-eastern states to be free and democratic. What I find funny, though, is last week's Fortune magazine which had an article about Paul Bremer and Iraq and it mentioned that the money that has been alotted for the civilian reconstruction* is probably going to run out by end of 2003- Congress alotted $2.3 billion for use over the next 2 years- whereas the military operation is costing $1 billion a week. Furthermore, Bremer thinks that the only solution is for foreign investment in the form of US companies buying the Iraqi oil production rights (the Iraqi Congress is not too keen on this). Judging from the money issues, I'm sure that reconstruction is an enormous priority for the Bush Administration.

*$2.3 bill- US Congress
$2-$2.5 bill- frozen/seized Hussein assets
$1 bill- UN
<$1 bill- sold Iraqi assets (oil)
posted by crazy finger at 11:50 PM on August 1, 2003


Better writeup here.

2AM snatch and grabs, incommunicado for months after voluntary surrender, letters replied with "We'll check to see if your husband has any rights under the geneva convention, etc.

And we're supposed to be the good guys?

Maybe the cognitive dissonance of Saddam not having deployable WMD withing 45 minutes is putting the military is gestapo mode. Regardless, Bush must be called on his lies and no American should ever have stepped foot in Iraq. Not to mention all those missing Al'Queda operatives running wild in Baghdad.

Yeah, they'll find *something*, but it sure aint gonna be something that will produce the smoking gun of a "mushroom could" as Condi and Bush insisted or the unmanned biological drones, nor the tons upon tons of anthrax.

Meanwhile, I'll sit patiently here waiting on Kay's "mountain and miles of evidence we're just sorting through before we release it to the public" propaganda while American soldiers are being shot in the face buying video cassettes. Really now, if they had one solid biological or chemical weapon it would be all over Fox News in an instant.
posted by skallas at 1:51 AM on August 2, 2003


Before the last election, most Americans would have voted for him with almost no knowledge of his political platform.

And people say democracy works....
posted by rushmc at 6:05 AM on August 2, 2003


crazy finger: And if you recall what happened to Afghanistan (Afghani-who?), and how the government bloody 'forgot' to earmark any money to help that bombed-to-hell country rebuild...well, you wouldn't be as surprised that they may end up doing that to Iraq as well.

Of course, Iraq has been a much bigger issue than Afghanistan, and is much more in the public's eye (both here and around the world) so I think that we *will* indeed give more of a stab at rebuilding this time around.

I'm not sure which is worse, though--leaving another country to the wolves, or sucking our own country even more bone-dry of money than this administration already has -_-
posted by cyrusdogstar at 9:25 AM on August 2, 2003


If Saddam didn't have WMD after 1991, why for god's sake did he act like he did? Why, even at the 11th hour, did he refuse to cooperate with Hans Blix, who complained about Iraq's non-cooperation repeatedly to the UN? Why did Saddam lose his country over a myth?

Perception is reality, a variation of The Mouse That Roared. Saddam was interested in one thing only...keeping power. He gambled and, hopefully for more than the time being, he lost.
posted by ElvisJesus at 10:46 AM on August 2, 2003


Meanwhile, I'll sit patiently here waiting on Kay's "mountain and miles of evidence we're just sorting through before we release it to the public" propaganda while American soldiers are being shot in the face buying video cassettes.

More on Kay: "Former United Nations weapons inspector David Kay's appointment a few weeks ago as an adviser for Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director George Tenet on WMD issues is a shining example of how the game is being played. Kay is now benefiting from his successful efforts to help the Bush administration justify the Iraq war. He was the one who told the government that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna produced a report in 1991 that indicated that Iraq was at the time just six months away from having a bomb. Bush and Blair held a news conference in Crawford, Texas, last September touting Kay's claim, and the US media published it prominently. The media did not verify the allegation by talking to representatives of the IAEA, which would have been worth the investment of a few minutes' time, since such a report by the IAEA simply doesn't exist."
posted by homunculus at 10:55 AM on August 2, 2003


Don't you guys keep track? President Bush proclaimed we already found weapons in the form of MOBILE BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS LABORATORIES capable of making such things as ANTHRAX. These dangerous trailers clearly demonstrate what Saddam was up to. Anything is liberal disinformation meant to cloud your mind. Don't believe it. Our president is trustworthy and doing his best to rid the world of the terrorist scourge.
posted by euphorb at 11:19 AM on August 2, 2003


Why, even at the 11th hour, did he refuse to cooperate with Hans Blix, who complained about Iraq's non-cooperation repeatedly to the UN? Why did Saddam lose his country over a myth?

I wouldn't let the cops search my house if I could avoid it - not because there's anything here that would get me in trouble, but because I don't like the idea of a bunch of strangers poking around looking at my stuff in order to judge whether I have complied with their rules. Maybe Hussein saw it as a matter of pride.
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:44 PM on August 2, 2003


Oh please euphorb, even the British admit they're for the production of hydrogen.

More here:
Questions over the claimed purpose of trailer for making biological weapons include:

· The lack of any trace of pathogens found in the fermentation tanks. According to experts, when weapons inspectors checked tanks in the mid-Nineties that had been scoured to disguise their real use, traces of pathogens were still detectable.

· The use of canvas sides on vehicles where technicians would be working with dangerous germ cultures.

· A shortage of pumps required to create vacuum conditions required for working with germ cultures and other processes usually associated with making biological weapons.

· The lack of an autoclave for steam sterilisation, normally a prerequisite for any kind of biological production. Its lack of availability between production runs would threaten to let in germ contaminants, resulting in failed weapons.

· The lack of any easy way for technicians to remove germ fluids from the processing tank.

One of those expressing severe doubts about the alleged mobile germ labs is Professor Harry Smith, who chairs the Royal Society's working party on biological weapons.

He told The Observer 'I am concerned about the canvas sides. Ideally, you would want airtight facilities for making something like anthrax. Not only that, it is a very resistant organism and even if the Iraqis cleaned the equipment, I would still expect to find some trace of it.'

His view is shared by the working group of the Federation of American Scientists and by the CIA, which states: 'Senior Iraqi officials of the al-Kindi Research, Testing, Development, and Engineering facility in Mosul were shown pictures of the mobile production trailers, and they claimed that the trailers were used to chemically produce hydrogen for artillery weather balloons.'

Artillery balloons are essentially balloons that are sent up into the atmosphere and relay information on wind direction and speed allowing more accurate artillery fire. Crucially, these systems need to be mobile.
>Anything is liberal disinformation meant to cloud your mind.

Heh, thanks for the laugh.
posted by skallas at 2:05 PM on August 2, 2003


Heh, thanks for the laugh.

Exactly! I think that post was a parody. I mean, "Anything is liberal disinformation meant to cloud your mind. Don't believe it. Our president is trustworthy and doing his best to rid the world of the terrorist scourge."?! Come on! That's a good one. People aren't really still saying things like that after all that's happened in the past few months.


...are they?
posted by nath at 2:18 PM on August 2, 2003




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