Hans Blix speaks.
October 12, 2004 9:33 PM   Subscribe

Hans Blix speaks. (RealPlayer) Hans Blix gave a recent interview with BBC Radio 4 in which he indicates that UN weapons inspectors were on the verge of private interviews with witnesses to the destruction of Iraq's WMD stockpiles shortly before the Bush administration forced inspectors to leave.
"I think that it would have been desireable for us to have more time. . . I think that the Iraqis were actually beginning to try to do cooperation of substance, and they were almost frantic to do so. . ." In his report to the UN on March 7th, 2003 Blix said UN inspectors were on the verge of inspecting a site where much of Iraq's WMDs were disposed and that "The investigation of the destruction site could, in the best case, allow the determination of the number of bombs destroyed at that site." Did the Bush administration "rush to war" in order to prevent the fatal undermining of their justification for war?
posted by insomnia_lj (48 comments total)

 
Equipment and materials that could be used to make nuclear weapons have disappeared from Iraq, the UN's nuclear watchdog warned yesterday.
posted by homunculus at 9:51 PM on October 12, 2004


Christ almighty, how many times we can we have the same frickin thread and the same frickin discussion? Do you enjoy this?
posted by xmutex at 10:01 PM on October 12, 2004


>Did the Bush administration "rush to war"

Yes. Its that simple.
posted by skallas at 10:07 PM on October 12, 2004


See, also The Inspection Process was Rigged to Create Uncertainty Over WMD to Bolster the US and UK's Case for War, penned by former UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter.
posted by The God Complex at 10:13 PM on October 12, 2004


Do you enjoy this?

Yes (they do). Its that simple.
posted by justgary at 10:18 PM on October 12, 2004


>Yes (they do). Its that simple.

Considering the President in a debate aired last week denies rushing to war, this is just as topical as ever.
posted by skallas at 10:37 PM on October 12, 2004


Didn't say it wasn't topical. Said it was enjoyable. And although it's topical, it doesn't mean at this time it isn't pointless.

This isn't something new, it's more of the same, and I don't see it causing anyone to switch camps.
posted by justgary at 10:53 PM on October 12, 2004


This is about as topical as my scrotum.
posted by shoos at 10:56 PM on October 12, 2004


But far more boring and tedious.
posted by shoos at 10:59 PM on October 12, 2004


Does shoos ever have anything pertinent to say? I mean, really.
posted by The God Complex at 11:01 PM on October 12, 2004


Now that's one sad sac.
posted by euphorb at 11:01 PM on October 12, 2004


>Said it was enjoyable.

Well gary, do you think I fucking enjoy hearing how messed up the leadership is in my country? That guys like this are dying for some bullshit Neocon wet-dream of Oil and Israel? Yeah, I'm all smiles.

No one likes to hear this stuff, but its always been the duty of the plebs to shout out when they are being lied to. The mainsteam corporate media sure as fuck isn't.

Last I check it was the righties who got hard-ons with the war porn, not the moderates and the lefties.
posted by skallas at 11:12 PM on October 12, 2004


Hell no.
posted by shoos at 11:14 PM on October 12, 2004


the same frickin thread and the same frickin discussion? Do you enjoy this?

frickin a.
posted by quonsar at 11:44 PM on October 12, 2004


Well gary, do you think I fucking enjoy hearing how messed up the leadership is in my country?

Sure seems that way.

*scratches scrotum*
posted by Krrrlson at 12:07 AM on October 13, 2004


don't scratch your head too much, buddy
posted by matteo at 12:52 AM on October 13, 2004


DUDE, THEY DIDNT RUSH! ITS CALLED HINDSIGHT IS 20 20!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by Satapher at 1:10 AM on October 13, 2004


pertinence? are you kidding? thats the worst teen movie.
posted by Satapher at 1:13 AM on October 13, 2004


The rest of the world knew of the lies and the arm twisting, maybe even before Krrrlson et al started scratching their scrotums. And they still dont care. I have always been amazed by sociopaths. They have the appearance of normal, even intelligent people, but they understand fuck all.
posted by acrobat at 1:13 AM on October 13, 2004


"I have never been able to look upon America as young and vital but rather as prematurely old, as a fruit which rotted before it had a chance to ripen."
posted by The God Complex at 1:59 AM on October 13, 2004


I loved it when Blix, right after the invasion happened last year, referred to (presumably) the American administration as 'those bastards' in an interview with BBC World. I never saw that clip anywhere else. I presume it was live.

I've liked the man immensely ever since.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:05 AM on October 13, 2004


You guys are precious.
posted by shoos at 2:46 AM on October 13, 2004


People, it's hard work. Will you guys freaking stay the course already?
posted by PrinceValium at 5:03 AM on October 13, 2004


Not to be a stickler here but does anyone not believe that Saddam could've produced dozens (hell hundreds) of "witnesses" who all would've claimed to have personally witnessed the dismantling of all of Iraqi WMD?
posted by PenDevil at 5:25 AM on October 13, 2004


"Not to be a stickler here but does anyone not believe that Saddam could've produced dozens (hell hundreds) of "witnesses" who all would've claimed to have personally witnessed the dismantling of all of Iraqi WMD?"

Now now, you know Saddam was a great man... beloved of the Iraqi people and working as hard as he could to make the world a safer place for us all. Certainly he isn't the kind of person who might lie to the UN.

If only the evil USA hadn't chosen him as a scapegoat for their (insert cause of the moment here) he and Hans Blix would have personally accounted for every molecule... removed all doubt and set all this confusion to rights.

Hell, if your not sure about it... just ask France. They certainly woudln;t lie to you.

Even now, left alone, Saddam and the UN would be working hand in hand to track down those evil terrorists and restore peace and freedom to the region.
posted by soulhuntre at 7:10 AM on October 13, 2004


" Not to be a stickler here but does anyone not believe that Saddam could've produced dozens (hell hundreds) of "witnesses" who all would've claimed to have personally witnessed the dismantling of all of Iraqi WMD?"

The witnesses would have been important only insofar as they could point to the location of the destruction sites so their could be physical verification obtained.

Of course Saddam would lie and of course other verification would be sought. Now please return to your regularly scheduled scrotum scratching.
posted by srboisvert at 7:23 AM on October 13, 2004


"I loved it when Blix, right after the invasion happened last year, referred to (presumably) the American administration as 'those bastards' in an interview with BBC World."

Ah... that appears to be from the Guardian in June 2003.

"I have my detractors in Washington. There are bastards who spread things around, of course, who planted nasty things in the media. Not that I cared very much."

He was called on it in other interviews after that point, and joked about his comment. See this clip from the Daily Show.
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:32 AM on October 13, 2004


"does anyone not believe that Saddam could've produced dozens of "witnesses" who would've claimed to have personally witnessed the dismantling of all of Iraqi WMD?"

First off, Blix had uncovered independent evidence telling him who was present during the destruction of the WMDs, and had a list of people to talk to. He didn't need Saddam to tell him who was present at their destruction.

Secondly, Blix fought for having the interviews held outside of Iraq, without any witnesses.

Third, we now *KNOW* that Saddam did, infact, destroy WMDs in 1991. So, given that fact, what is so horrible about inspectors hearing the details on that from those who were there?
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:43 AM on October 13, 2004


Not to be a stickler here but does anyone not believe that Saddam could've produced dozens (hell hundreds) of "witnesses" who all would've claimed to have personally witnessed the dismantling of all of Iraqi WMD?

Not like Bush, who only produced a few dozen witnesses that claimed to know where exactly the WMDs were.

Remember this? We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.
posted by bashos_frog at 7:46 AM on October 13, 2004


Blix Believed Iraq Dossier Was 'Understated'
Former UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix believed the Government’s controversial Iraq weapons dossier actually understated the case against Saddam Hussein, according to documents released today by the Foreign Office.

The papers released by the FO show that British officials at the United Nations in New York showed a draft of the dossier to Dr Blix in September 2002, two weeks before the final version was published.

A note from one official, Adam Bye, said that Dr Blix had liked the section on chemical, biological and nuclear weapons as he believed that it did not exaggerate the facts.

According to the note, Dr Blix said that the dossier even risked understating Iraq’s ability to produce weapons of mass destruction – particularly the lethal anthrax virus.

He also described the claim that even if Iraq was able to acquire fissile material from abroad, it would still take at least two years to build a working nuclear bomb as “modest”.

Since war, Dr Blix has strongly criticised the case made for war by Britain and the United States, based on Saddam Hussein’s supposed possession of illegal WMD.

However, in a Commons statement, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said that at the time the dossier was published, the assumption that Iraq did indeed have WMD was shared across the international community.

In his note, sent to Mr Straw’s office, Mr Bye said: “On the whole, Blix liked section 6 (on WMD) – he felt it did not exaggerate the facts, nor revert to rhetoric, probably both desirable for its credibility.

“Blix felt that more evidence of illegal procurement activities would have been good – this was the sort of activity/evidence that most impressed him when reading WMD reports (Blix is of course a more sophisticated reader than most).

“Blix also thought that the section risked understating Iraq’s indigenous capacity to produce WMD (ie meaning that, even if it held low stocks of WMD, it could quickly produce more).

“Specific mention of anthrax might be particularly worthwhile in this respect – Unmovic (the UN weapons inspectors) believed this was an area where Iraq had very likely maintained indigenous capability (though Unmovic had not said so in public, nor was the case totally watertight).”


Under “additional thoughts”, Mr Bye noted that Dr Blix regarded the assessment in the dossier of the time it would take for Iraq to build a nuclear bomb as “modest”.

“Blix believed the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) had, at the time, assessed Iraq could complete a nuclear bomb within a year. While Iraq had trouble putting together a missile (mismatch between the size of the bomb and size of the missile) a bomb could have been delivered by plane,” he wrote.

Mr Bye said Dr Blix also regarded the section on Iraq’s chemical weapons capacity as “modest” and he had not challenged the claim in the dossier that Iraq had tried to acquire uranium from the African state of Niger.

“He thought we should be clear that such uranium was not weapons usable without enrichment (no small feat). However it was illegal for Iraq to buy it,” Mr Bye wrote.

However Dr Blix did challenge claims in the dossier that aluminium pipes acquired by Iraq were for the purpose of uranium enrichment and that castor oil resin could be used by the Iraqis to create a battlefield weapon.

The comments by Dr Blix were made before UN weapons inspectors were able to re-enter Iraq and see for themselves conditions on the ground.

However they will be seen by the Foreign Office as further corroboration for their view that at the time the dossier was published, the view that Iraq had WMD was widely shared across the international community.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 8:04 AM on October 13, 2004


Even now, left alone, Saddam and the UN would be working hand in hand to track down those evil terrorists and restore peace and freedom to the region.

There is just so fucking much wrong with this statement I don't know where to begin.

Is there no concept of the fact that by kicking over the hornet's nest in the manner that we have, we have created more evil terrorists, we have in fact set up the largest terrorism training camp on the planet, almost exclusively at the U.S. taxpayers' expense?

At what point do we acknowledge that the forces we have unleashed are far more dangerous than the force we deposed?

Ah, right. Never.
posted by kgasmart at 8:06 AM on October 13, 2004


kgasmart, if i'm reading what you wrote correctly, you're saying that you think saddam was a great person and that he wasn't a threat to anyone. you also seem to be saying that you want to see suitcase nukes exploding in all of america's major cities.

additionally, you're ignoring the fact that the ill-defined international community thought saddam had weapons of mass destruction: and, obviously, if this internat'l community was sure saddam had weapons of mass destruction, that means that everyone is a-ok with way the u.s. handled the situation -- or damn well should be, if they know what's good for them.

finally, i'd just like to point out that the only person who can keep america safe is pres. george w. bush, god bless him.

/is being a bush supporter for one day just to see what it's like.
posted by lord_wolf at 8:23 AM on October 13, 2004


Green Peace is the one pushing this news.
Because radioactive material/contaminated scrap metal have gone missing in Iraq. They are seeking out the where abouts of the dismantled facilities and equipment that would have been used to make the WMD.

Saddam gave up all Iraqi WMD after 1991 Gulf War, says former nuclear chiefA transcript of Jaffar's interview with the current affairs show "Newsnight" was released in advance of broadcast. Excerpts also appeared on the BBC's website (www.bbc.co.uk/news).

"He revealed that under Saddam, Iraq "specifically" adopted a programme to build a nuclear bomb in late 1987 -- six years after Israeli warplanes bombed the country's Osiris nuclear reactor for fear it might actually do just that.

Asked how close Iraq actually got to building a bomb before the 1991 war, Jaffar replied: "I cannot say really how close... It's difficult to estimate, but perhaps a few years."

"The facilities of the programme were damaged during the war and Iraq did not have, would not have had the resources under (UN) sanctions to continue," he explained.

He added: "Saddam took a decision in July 1991 to abandon the (nuclear) programme and destroy what remained of its equipment."

We had 500 tonnes of yellow cake (uranium) in Baghdad at the time, so why should we go and buy another 500 tonnes from Niger?" he said.

On US and British claims prior to the March 2003 invasion that Saddam had restarted Iraq's nuclear programme, Jaffar said with a laugh: "My reaction? I knew they were lying to their people. That was my reaction.""
posted by thomcatspike at 9:06 AM on October 13, 2004


"Is there no concept of the fact that by kicking over the hornet's nest in the manner that we have, we have created more evil terrorists, we have in fact set up the largest terrorism training camp on the planet, almost exclusively at the U.S. taxpayers' expense?"

So just to be clear... a bunch of people who have made the centerpiece of their religion (for all intents) our destruction are now mad at us that we aren't going to just let them kill us anymore?

This is supposed to be a revelation? A surprise? Something that should upset me? You know, it usually does make the people who hate you mad when you stop laying down and start fighting back.

Oh no, please, please don't let the people who work daily for my destruction get really upset at me... they might try and hurt me.

That training camp thing? They are welcome to work on how to fight us - and we are more than capable of working on how to fight back.

This is an ideological fight to the finish... their concept of the world and how it should be versus ours. The only way to do that is going to be to unravel the culture that holds sway in the Middle East - that means bringing with it democracy and driving those who thrive on hate away from those who want to be free. That takes time.

I am not at all surprised that terrorists from inside and outside Iraq are fighting us with everything they have. If they drive us from Iraq they win a reprieve - it will be decades before another nation has the courage to face the threat head on. If we win in Iraq it is the beginning of the unraveling of their whole world.
posted by soulhuntre at 9:10 AM on October 13, 2004


If we win in Iraq it is the beginning of the unraveling of their whole world.

That's the great lie, the great dodge. By imposing regime change in Iraq, we've struck a great blow to the heart of terrorism!

Bull.

Iraq had little to nothing to do with terrorism that threatened the U.S. For all Saddam's crimes, Iraq was as secular a state as you get in the Middle East.

We invaded Iraq because we saw an opportunity. Here was a regime that was criminal and for which the greater Islamic world had no great love. So what better place to try and establish a democracy that would serve as a shining beacon to the rest of the region?

Great idea. Shitty follow-through.

Every single key assumption about how the post-war would unfold has been wrong. Hubris? Yeah, it's hubris to believe you can democratize an entire corner of the globe, it's hubris to believe that you can actually eradicate a practice - terrorism - that has been around for thousands of years.

And hubris is going to get you errors like this. Errors that get people killed, errors that ultimately increase the probability of more terror attacks, more American fatalities, until that magical time when all terrorists in all of the world are smited.

Whenever that might happen. Which is never.

The assertion that it's either this or destruction is absolutely false. The assertion that fighting terror in this manner is the ONLY way to fight terror is a lie.

An ideological fight to the finish? Only to the ideologues. Who, basically, are good for one thing and one thing only: Getting other people killed to prove their unprovable point.
posted by kgasmart at 9:31 AM on October 13, 2004


Well, the US deliberately avoided getting Zarqawi while they could because it would have undermined their case for war in Iraq, so does anyone honestly believe that Bush was going to just sit around and take the chance that the inspections would succeed? I think not.
posted by clevershark at 9:32 AM on October 13, 2004


If we win in Iraq it is the beginning of the unraveling of their whole world.

Security Scholars for a Sensible Foreign Policy - Open Letter

Policy errors during the occupation and reconstruction of Iraq have created a situation in Iraq worse than it needed to be. Spurning the advice of Army Chief of Staff General Shinseki, the Administration committed an inadequate number of troops to the occupation, leading to the continuing failure to establish security in Iraq. Ignoring prewar planning by the State Department and other US government agencies, it created a needless security vacuum by disbanding the Iraqi Army, and embarked on a poorly planned and ineffective reconstruction effort which to date has managed to spend only a fraction of the money earmarked for it. As a result, Iraqi popular dismay at the lack of security, jobs or reliable electric power fuels much of the violent opposition to the U.S. military presence, while the war itself has drawn in terrorists from outside Iraq.

The results of this policy have been overwhelmingly negative for U.S. interests. While the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime was desirable, the benefit to the U.S. was small as prewar inspections had already proven the extreme weakness of his WMD programs, and therefore the small size of the threat he posed. On the negative side, the excessive U.S. focus on Iraq led to weak and inadequate responses to the greater challenges posed by North Korea’s and Iran’s nuclear programs, and diverted resources from the economic and diplomatic efforts needed to fight terrorism in its breeding grounds in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere in the Middle East. Worse, American actions in Iraq, including but not limited to the scandal of Abu Ghraib, have harmed the reputation of the U.S. in most parts of the Middle East and, according to polls, made Osama Bin Laden more popular in some countries than is President Bush. This increased popularity makes it easier for al-Qaida to raise money, attract recruits, and carry out its terrorist operations than would otherwise be the case.


Israeli Think Tank Concludes Bush Administration Makes Terrorism Worse


President Bush has called the war in Iraq an integral part of the war on terrorism, saying that deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein hoped to develop unconventional weapons and could have given them to Islamic militants across the world.

But the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University said that instead of striking a blow against Islamic extremists, the Iraq war "has created momentum for many terrorist elements, but chiefly al-Qaida and its affiliates."

posted by y2karl at 9:37 AM on October 13, 2004


"We invaded Iraq because we saw an opportunity."

Of course. But then, that has been my contention all along (older posts will show this). Iraq was a nice weak point to place the sharp end of the wedge and start pounding.

In the short term has it made the forces against us more embittered? Sure. Has it swelled their ranks in the short term as a reactionary thing? Sure. But that was inevitable once we stopped laying down and greasing up.

The long term is the thing. The temporary increase in zealots willing to die will be balnced by the increased freedom in the region over time. When you can be raised with something other than that climate where terrorism seems like your best bet or what god wants from you things will change.
posted by soulhuntre at 10:09 AM on October 13, 2004


I don't understand the point of even debating that this was a huge mistake. The fact is the Bush administration had to make up some reason to put troops in Iraq to fulfill its fantasy which was carefully outlined on their PNAC website before 9/11. This is about PNAC.
posted by abez at 10:17 AM on October 13, 2004


DUDE, THEY DIDNT RUSH! ITS CALLED HINDSIGHT IS 20 20!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by Satapher at 1:10 AM PST on October 13


did you forget about that 'ultimatum' before the war started? 'Saddam has 40 hours to evacuate the country' or some such bullshit. Do you think that would be even possible, even if he was willing? Would you do it?

Dude, they totally rushed. (!!!)
posted by Miles Long at 10:38 AM on October 13, 2004


In related news, Babies found in Iraqi mass grave. Who had "mass grave with babies" in the October Surprise betting pool?
posted by planetkyoto at 10:43 AM on October 13, 2004


The long term is the thing. The temporary increase in zealots willing to die will be balnced by the increased freedom in the region over time. When you can be raised with something other than that climate where terrorism seems like your best bet or what god wants from you things will change.

Questions, then:

1. I've always been intrigued/amused by the "increased freedom" thing because it cuts both ways.

To wit: What happens if we create a system in Iraq where the people may freely choose their leaders... and they choose radical Islamists?

Freely elected governments aren't always those who maintain a commitment to permit people to elect governments freely.

2. Edwards asked this of Cheney in passing during their debate: it should have been pressed. Officials have identified some 60-plus countries that sponsor terrorism at least to the degree that Iraq did.

How many of them are we going to invade?

For in the neoconservative worldview, Iraq was never to be the end of this. It was only the beginning; if freedom is going to march through the Middle East in this manner, there have to be more wars. So how many? What will it cost? How long can we expect them to last, how many lives will it cost?

And how in the name of God do you expect to do it without a draft?

3. And ultimately, how many are we willing to kill to save the few?

In the apocalpytic neoconservative world view, terrorists somehow have the superhuman ability to "destroy all mankind" or something to that effect. But this is manifestly false. Even a worst-case "suitcase nuke" scenario likely would result in a few thousand killed, at most. A horrible, horrible thing, without a doubt; but if the wars to prevent such a thing wind up killing thousands or tens of thousands of Americans, at what point do we stop and say: Killing 10,000 to save 100 is not necessarily the wisest course of action?
posted by kgasmart at 10:44 AM on October 13, 2004


So just to be clear... a bunch of people who have made the centerpiece of their religion (for all intents) our destruction are now mad at us that we aren't going to just let them kill us anymore?

No, I think you may be misreading the situation.
  1. Most people in Iraq did not make our destruction the center piece of their religion
  2. In fact, even throughout the greater Arab world, our destruction was not the center piece of their religion
  3. Bin Laden and a relatively small but violent core group of followers wants to consolidate all of the Middle East into a single Arab power
  4. Bin Laden and his small and violent group of followers was waging war against the US. Much of the rhetoric of Bin Laden was expressed as a radicalized version of Islam, but it's certainly not a core of Islam on the whole, and I'm not even sure it wasn't more about power than religion anyway at least for Bin Laden
  5. Bin Laden has been trying to convince much of the Middle East that the US is an imperial power that wants to control all of the Middle East in order to exploit them for their natural resources (oil)
  6. Many in the middle east were sympathetic to that argument, but it didn't tip the scales towards all out war for most of them
  7. That is until the US invaded and occupied Iraq
  8. Now, many, many people who would have been content to live and let live with respect to the US believe that Bin Laden was correct. His small and violent core of followers is becoming a growing army and the US will in all probability have to spend at least the next one to two decades reaping the animosity it has sowed in the middle east
Hope that clears things up for you.
posted by willnot at 10:45 AM on October 13, 2004


DoD News Briefing, Tuesday, 08 Oct 2002 - 1:00 pm

Nuclear Revelations Show Need for Resuming International Control of the Tuwaitha Site

Lack of security in Iraq could help terrorists, warns nuclear watchdog

Analysis: IAEA Concerned Over Dismantlement Of Former Iraqi Nuclear Sites

One year on, UN takes up Greenpeace Iraq warnings

Greenpeace in Iraq - the blog of the inspection mission.

Iraq’s Dangerous Junkyard

Al Tuwaitha Nuclear Center

Missing Iraq technology raises alarm

Iraq asks nuclear watchdog back

U.S. says it will investigate reported disappearance of nuclear equipment in Iraq
posted by y2karl at 11:09 AM on October 13, 2004


Add this to my comment up above.
Equipment and materials that could be used to make nuclear weapons have disappeared from Iraq, the UN's nuclear watchdog warned yesterday.

Note, the missing equipment & materials in the article were documented by the UN inspectors which were or being dismantled before the Iraq War. How they know that these items are missing now. A nuclear contamination is the cause for alarm here.

Wonder how long it will be that we will see an out break in cancer in this region of the world.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:06 PM on October 13, 2004


how many times we can we have the same frickin thread and the same frickin discussion

Until you fucking morons get it through your fucking thick skull that you were wrong, and that you are still wrong.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:41 PM on October 13, 2004


Wonder how long it will be that we will see an out break in cancer in this region of the world.

You will probably have to wait until people stop dying of other more immediate things like bullets, bombs and infectious disease before cancer is even on the radar.
posted by srboisvert at 5:12 PM on October 13, 2004


>a bunch of people who have made the centerpiece of their religion (for all intents) our destruction

Enough with the Christian bashing!
posted by skallas at 9:58 PM on October 13, 2004


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